ARC Review: Secrets and High Spirits (Lou Harper)

While the Secrets series might not be my favorite from Lou Harper (I prefer Dead Man and L.A. Paranormal), I liked the previous three books enough that I wanted to read this one as well. Harper wrote at her website that this would be the last installment in the series (for now). Teag was friend and roommate of Dylan, the hero from book #3. In my review for that one, I said that I was curious about Teag and would love to read his story.

Alas, apparently, Teag was the reason for me to not liking this book much. See, I found Teag to be irritable, uptight, and very defensive, it became offensive. I usually can warm myself towards bad-tempered characters because I deal with these people in real life just fine, but I had a difficult time making that connection towards Teag. Maybe because I also found Teag to be pretty judgmental, not only towards Bruce but his friends. It made him slightly unlikable for me. Bruce could be the antidote to counteract Teag’s prickly behavior, however, he was too plain to be able to entice me.

I thought that Teag and Bruce didn’t have the chemistry for me to care. Bruce was laid-back, he involved in Ren Faire, he betrayed his physique and actually liked being bossed around sexually, while Teag was determined and wanted to be in control of things — it should matched up nicely somehow in opposite-attracts kind of way, but for me it just felt off, including the D/s tone. Their relationship slowly progressed – Teag’s attitude majorly contributed to it — and I usually like slow-burnt romance, but this one didn’t make me feel like wanting to root for them. Heck, I thought this story barely passed as a romance. It was frustrating.

In addition, even until half-way through, I still had no idea where the book was going. It felt meandering. Yes, Teag and Bruce were busy restoring the bar and make it their own, but the sense of something more interesting just wasn’t there. The blurb mentioned “miles of police tape” which somehow promised a crime happening or mystery looming, but I guess it arrived a little bit too late to keep me interested. It wasn’t even the focus because the detective took care of that and not our main characters. There was also part mentioned about ghost and a probable satanic ritual, which made me go, HUH?

Bottom line, this is my least favorite of the whole series, sadly. Only my attachment towards Harper’s writing style that helped me finish reading this book.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5


The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.



secrets-and-high-spiritsTitle: Secrets and High Spirits (Secrets, #4)

Author: Lou Harper
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 42,468
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: October 27, 2015


ARC Review: Irresistibly Yours (Lauren Layne)

*3.75 stars rounded up*

This is only the third Lauren Layne’s book that I have read. I read the first Sex and Stiletto book but I didn’t continue it. The thing is, what they do, what they write, is TOTALLY not my kind of reading. I found female magazine boring. I don’t care about the relationship and sex tips (I’m asexual!) or fashion tips (I like my shirt and shorts and sandals, thank you very much) or make-up tips (don’t like ’em). Yep, I found them boring.

However, when I read the blurb for this one, I thought it had potential. First, it is about SPORTS magazine (well, a men’s magazine but with sport editors). Second, it has “fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes”. Let’s face it, THAT kind of woman I think I could connect to. I may not be a tomboy who hang with dudes, but I feel like she will be more relatable to me than the Stiletto girls.

Well, I was right … this book was cute!!

I liked Penelope — she is (using Cole’s own words) unabashedly honest and I found it, dare I say it, quite refreshing. I loved that she prefers junk food (hotdog, popcorns, pretzels) over posh dining. I loved that she preferred her casual look over dresses up nine-to-five. Heck, when Penelope is talking about lipstick and the fact that she never think of figuring out whether it expires, or that most of the time she doesn’t think of put lipstick on, I feel like she’s talking about ME!!! So I enjoyed that part.

I also liked Cole … when he’s not being a jerk (I get to that part later). I loved his loyalty to his brother, his sense of responsibility, and most of all I loved reading about his camaraderie with the other men. Their ‘bro-chemistry’ is off the charts *lol*.

As a story, there is this easiness that made me gobbled up the sentences fast and furiously. The first half definitely was DELIGHTFUL — until these two playing tags in making the other one jealous while sending those mixed signals. For two people who can talk about daily things, it was frustrating that Penelope and Cole couldn’t communicate what they meant to say.

I also had problem with Penelope’s insecurity of her self-potential of being someone’s girlfriend and Cole’s tendency to quickly make assumptions along with his reluctance to share important things (namely his own big brother). Mostly the last one, I think. I mean, seriously Cole, you said it yourself that Penelope was different plus you thought that you had feelings for her. But you kept her out when something personal happened to you? What gives, man? Plus that last move you did, well, you were a jerk to her. You were an ass to ALL your friends actually *hmph*. I kinda needed more grovel from him.

So yes, I had my complaints. But if I see this as an overall reading experience, I must say I was pretty satisfied. Thus the rounded-up to 4* rating. I am intrigued with Lincoln’s story. Unfortunately, his is not until book #3 and I’m NOT at all interested with blurb for the second book. Let’s just see, shall we?

RATING: 4 out of 5


The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.



23395414Title: Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1)

Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: N/A
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House)
Release Date: October 6, 2015