Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Release Blitz: Milo by Lily Morton (Review + Excerpt)

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RELEASE DATE: 02.15.19
Milo Cover
COVER DESIGN: Natasha Snow Designs

Once upon a time a brave knight rescued a young man. Unfortunately, he then spent the next few years bossing the young man around and treating him like a child.
Milo has been burying himself at Chi an Mor, hiding from the wreckage of his once promising career and running from a bad relationship that destroyed what little confidence he had. Niall, his big brother’s best friend, has been there for him that entire time. An arrogant and funny man, Niall couldn’t be any more different from the shy and occasionally stuttering Milo, which has never stopped Milo from crushing wildly on the man who saved him.
However, just as Milo makes the decision to move on from his hopeless crush, he and Niall are thrown into close contact, and for the first time ever Niall seems to be returning his interest. But it can never work. How can it when Milo always needs rescuing?
From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages series comes a story about a man who needs to write his own happily ever after.
This is the second book in the Finding Home series, but it can be read as a standalone.
Content warning: There are descriptions of domestic abuse in this book.

Milo Teaser 1
Milo Teaser 2

“Bloody hell, is that a relation of my husband or a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case?”

I laugh and Cora startles slightly. I shush her and kiss the tiny fingers she holds up to my face. Moving next to him, I stare down at the picture. “He is a bit grim, isn’t he?”

“Grim? Caligula was grim. This is a new and previously undiscovered level of malevolence.” He cocks his head to one side. “Is it my imagination or do his eyes follow you when you move?”

I shake my head. “My remit isn’t to judge. Instead, I reveal what has been previously hidden.”

“While I’m sure that sounds romantic in your head, let’s be realistic. You’ve actually just wiped dirt off a grumpy old git’s face.”

I laugh. “I’m so glad my time at art college wasn’t wasted.”

He looks searchingly at me and opens his mouth but then closes it again. I stare at him. “Oh my God, what were you going to say? It must be bad if it’s made Oz Gallagher shut up.”

He laughs, and I look affectionately at him. I know he’s going to tell me the truth. Oz doesn’t ever shy away from that. He’s my best friend in the world and it comes as a shock to realise that I’ve only known him for a couple of years. He came here to Chi an Mor in all his wisecracking, sassy glory and proceeded to turn everyone’s lives upside down. Footloose and fancy-free, he only intended to stay for a few months and ease the old house into opening to the general public. The best-laid plans always go wrong – or right – and now he’s settled with his husband Silas, the current earl, and they have a beautiful seven-month-old daughter.

He clears his throat and looks at me, and I straighten from kissing Cora’s forehead. “What?”

“I just think that you’re actually a bit wasted here, Milo.”


“Because you’re so bloody talented. People from all over the country are starting to come here to consult with you, and rather than enjoying it you’re stuck in a small, cold room wearing ugly gloves and hunched over a hideous painting. It’s like something from a Dickens novel.”

He pauses for breath and I try to relax my instinctive defensive shield. I don’t need it with him.

He rubs my arm affectionately. “You’re so clever and talented and no one sees it here apart from us, and you need more than that. You should be living it up and going to exotic parties. Mixing with artists and the bohemian crowd.”

I swallow hard at the thought of the people that used to surround Thomas. “I don’t think I’m cut out for a bohemian crowd. They sound quite noisy and tiring,” I manage to say.

“Well, maybe look for a sub-branch. The whispering bohemians or something.”

3.5 Stars

Not as good as Oz, because of... Spoilers follow in the review. Sorry, but the tale was a little ruined for me.

I'm not quite sure of the timeline, but I think this tale picks up not too long after Oz ends, and features Milo, the guy who was once meant to be apprenticing to Oz, and Niall, Silas's close friend and estate manager. Milo is now an art restorer, but the tale starts with a flashback to some five years previously when he was in a bad place and a bad relationship, and Niall popped in to the rescue and bore him off to Silas's estate. He's been there ever since, and now, Niall has suddenly noticed Milo as more than his BFF's little brother (... hmmm).

As usual, there's Lily Morton's trademark humour in the tale, but not as much as I'd expected (refreshingly, as sometimes she tries too hard) and not as funny as in Oz (disappointingly. You CANNOT beat that Boris Johnson joke, lol!), but there were a few (minor) funnies, such as:
"I do read you know.' (Niall).
"The weather reports and Lee Childs (btw, when name-dropping, it's best to check the actual name!) novels, mainly!" Oz says tartly.
"They're very educational.""Only if you're interested in the violent exploits of a midget.'He sighs in a long-suffering manner. "I've told you a hundred times it was the film that had the violent midget in it and not the books."

"Oh God. It's not p-p-porn, is it?"He laughs, the sound rich and warm in the stairway. "No. That's why God invented computers and locked doors." He pauses. "And socks."

"And he's doing that himself? Don't bigwigs like him bring their entourage with him to wipe his brow, bring him champagne, and separate the red Skittles from the other colours?"I shake my head, a smile playing on my lips. "I think that was the Roman Empire you're talking about. Either that or Mariah Carey."

Hmm. This time things felt a little tired and I didn't LOL, but yes, the occasional smile made an appearance.

I was mostly enjoying the tale up until..............SPOILERS FOLLOW.......... (Hover over the blank space with your mouse if you want to read them)

... it's revealed that Niall has been sleeping with Gideon, his BFF and Milo's brother, ever since they were 15, and they're still doing so, even as recently as a month ago. And, Gideon and a female arrive, clearly ready to pick up the threesome they left off a short while ago. I hated reading that Milo knew about Niall and Gideon and felt like he would never measure up and that Niall would always go back to Gideon. I hated that Gideon seemed to be a schemer, not quite out to hurt his little brother, but not ready to give up on Niall, though the latter made his apparently changed feelings clear. I wasn't sure if we were meant to think the worst about Gideon and then encounter him as a reformed character, or an about-to-be-reformed character, in a future tale in the series. Gideon seemed to have a mean/nasty streak to him, and perhaps that's because he has real feelings for Niall, which we may or may not find out about later (by the end, I was on the 'yes we will' side of the fence, as he did a little too much of an about-face), but yeah, this side of things spoilt the tale a bit for me. And, that Niall had a chance to end things with Gideon, but allowed himself to be sidetracked, didn't show him as that serious about Milo. NB: no sex with any others is shown on page.

I also couldn't fathom why the odd Americanism made its way into an entirely English tale; it threw me. We Brits do not use 'startle' as a verb, yet it appeared more than once, US-style. And, it feels a little as if the book has been rushed for publication, as phrasing is not as clear as it should/could be: we hear that Niall and Gideon are 39, and Milo is 27, and that Gideon was carted off to boarding school (as per the English class system?) at age 7 - this seems to be recounted from the perspective of Milo, which even if he had memories from age 2 or 3, would make him minus 7/8yo. Obviously, that can't be the case, as I can't see the author getting her sums this badly wrong, but more than once the phrasing suggested this was Milo's experience. Baffling.

There's also quite a bit of filler in this, with the trip to Verbier, with the housekeeper who asks Milo to babysit her 5yo granddaughter for an hour, with Simeon, with the bigoted old dear (really not typical of Brits, as we're mostly live and let live) ...

Overall, this is a readable tale and it does end in the start of a very permanent HEA for the leads, but sorry, I didn't believe in their connection (it was there from Milo's side, that was clear, but not so from Niall's, I didn't feel/think/see). Niall didn't have a sudden eureka! moment where he suddenly saw Milo in a different light, and his protectiveness didn't kick up a gear, so... sorry, not convinced on this one.

ARC courtesy of the author and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

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Lily writes contemporary romance novels, and specialises in hot love stories with a good dose of humour.
Lily lives in sunny England with her husband and two children, all of whom claim that they haven’t had a proper conversation with her since she bought her first Kindle.
She has spent her life with her head full of daydreams and decided one day to just sit down and start writing about them. In the process she discovered that she actually loved writing, because how else could she get to spend her time with hot, funny men!
She loves chocolate and Baileys and the best of all creations – chocolate Baileys! Her lifetime’s ambition is to have a bath in peace without being shouted by one of her family.

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