ARC Review: Sleepless in Manhattan (Sarah Morgan)

2.75 stars rounded up

I enjoyed previous trilogies by Sarah Morgan before, so I was happy when Netgalley/HQN approved my request for an ARC. I was curious about this new trilogy, as it ‘moved’ from small-town in Puffin Island to the big city. Unfortunately, this one didn’t exactly hit the mark for me.

Let me go with what I liked about it first. I did like Paige. I liked that she was determined to be independent and proved to everybody that she could do things on her own. I liked that she didn’t want to be protected all the time — even if she said it quite repetitively — and that she was the one who made the first move. Who says that women can’t do it, right? Sure, she became too pigheaded to ask for help, but maybe because she was too protected before and she couldn’t deal with people seeing her as incompetent. I could definitely accept that.

I also LOVED the friendship among the girls — plus the idea of starting up a new company was exciting. Although it made the book felt a chick-lit vibe more than contemporary romance.

… and now what I disliked:

I disliked the male hero — he was so stereotypical/cliché as an Alpha Male with women issues who owned motorbike, rich beyond belief, had different females every month (including a woman named Bambi — and ON THAT NOTE, can we STOP using name Bambi to portray stupid pretty woman?!? Because seriously, it’s getting OLD. I like Bambi okay — nothing wrong with the name
Bambi damn it!), but not wanting to make a move on his best friend little sister because he made a promise to the brother.

YAWN. Nothing exciting about Jake, AT ALL. Everything he thought about Paige, and his unwillingness to make his move was outdated and repetitively boring.

(Oh repetitiveness, that was definitely a HUGE issue here, by the way)

Then Paige’s friends … well, at the moment, I couldn’t find anything good to say about them too.

Eva was written as too romantic, too positive, with heads in the cloud kind of characters, that I couldn’t believe for one second she could exist in real life. She felt two dimensional and caricaturish, something out of a fairy tale book. I couldn’t relate to her at all.

And Frankie? She was too sharp around the edges, too distrustful, that made her distant to me as well. Yes, I understand that she has problem with her mother, but I prefer my heroines to be a little more nuanced. Not blatantly black and white.

However, Frankie’s story will be the second book and she will be coupled with more seemingly laid-back Matt, Paige’s older brother, so maybe it can be a recipe for a better book. Besides, Frankie and Matt will have one of my favorite romance themes: friends-to-lovers …

Conclusion: I wasn’t too impressed so far with the novella and the first book of this trilogy. Fingers crossed that the next one is better.

 

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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.

 

BOOK INFO:
28447978Title: Sleepless in Manhattan
Author: Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan With Love, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: May 31, 2016

ARC Review: Beta Test (Annabeth Albert)

Characters have always been an important element for me to enjoy in a contemporary romance. Once I click with a character and empathize with their journey, including romantic built-up, the probability for me to love the story will be high.

In Beta Test, I fell hard with Tristan. Maybe because he is an introvert like me, maybe because I knew exactly what Tristan feels when he needs a time alone, or when he feels like he hit a quota of social interaction. I can’t help feeling like Tristan and I share a soul spirit or something. So I definitely empathize with him and I cheered hard for Tristan when he fights for his happiness.

Ravi and Tristan are as different as the sun and the moon, but then when they are forced to spend time together — ROAD TRIP, BABY! — they realize that they are actually good together.

Ravi is the extrovert one, the impulsive one. Ravi loves to socialize, involves with various charity works. At the same time, Ravi is the one most likely to avoid any situation that feels uncomfortable for him — case in point, avoiding his sister’s wedding because he doesn’t want to deal with his mother and grandmother.

Meanwhile Tristan is the introvert one, the planner one. He plans everything to the T — with color-coded spreadsheets — to make sure that everything goes well. But at the same time, for me, Tristan shows more of a rebellious streak compared to Ravi, including finding a job in a game developer company which is not what his parents have planned. Oh, and despite Tristan not exactly showing his ‘gayness’, but he doesn’t exactly keep it a secret from his disapproving parents.

So Beta Test is a case of opposites attract done right. Ravi and Tristan’s romance is developed slowly but effectively. You can feel the chemistry, how Ravi and Tristan compliment one another when they are together. Yes, there were conflicts but you know that in the end, Ravi and Tristan definitely learn from each other, from their differences, from their arguments, from their lovemaking, and realize their happy ending is worth fighting for …

The only thing that stops me from giving higher rating is because in the beginning, the story felt a little bit off. It took me a while to get hooked. Maybe because I am not a gamer? Also some of the game talks went over my head, totally didn’t understand any of the references *lol*. However, in overall, this one is another winner from the pen of Annabeth Albert.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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.

 

BOOK INFO:

27286868Title: Beta Test (gaymers #2)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 64,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: May 30, 2015

ARC Review: Blown Away (Brenda Rothert)

3.5 stars

I was intrigued with this book mainly because the blurb said “storm-chasing”. I am a HUGE fan of the movie Twister (1996) and I thought storm-chaser characters were not exactly abundant in romance.

For the most part, I enjoyed this. It was fast-paced, the writing was quite good, and I liked the whole actions regarding storm-chasing. It was good for the adrenaline. Although it wasn’t all action, there was one heartbreaking moment that had to due with an aftermath of a tornado that hit a town, and that felt as real as I could imagine.

I also liked the characters enough. I liked Drew for wanting to try something new, to feel alive after losing her fiancé. She was quite a brave girl this one. I liked Aiden for his true feeling for Drew, even if he pushed her a lot due to the fact that Drew was his deceased best-friend’s fiancée. I thought they connected enough and I could believe their relationship. The epilogue in particular, was sweet and making my heart soared.

I wasn’t huge fan of the sexual charge of the book though or the fact that Drew had a different thought about Aiden first because **SPOILER ** Drew saw Aiden doing sex with another girl and she sort of wanted to be that girl ** SPOILER **. Oh, I know, I know, romance should at least have sexual attraction between the main characters — it couldn’t be avoided. But to me, I liked Drew and Aiden better when they talked about their past, their hopes and dreams, rather than when they were lusting over one another. I couldn’t see lust and sex as intimacy — well, physical intimacy maybe. But I prefer ’emotional’ intimacy better, that happened outside of sex scenes.

Conclusion, I enjoyed it but I didn’t loved it.

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
35

 

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.

 

BOOK INFO:

27876302Title: Blown Away
Author: Brenda Rothert
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 205 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Being an Amazon Customer

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I tweeted about this issue yesterday (#MyFirstAmazonOrder), when I was browsing my Amazon account and realized that I had been a customer since 1997. Yep. I have had Amazon account for almost 20 years!!

For an Indonesian girl, I thought it was pretty neat. None of my friends — whom I knew back then — even considered buying things online, especially from an international website. But I love books since I was a young girl and I wanted to read English books, and the only way for me to browse a (more) complete collection was through online.

Living in Indonesia, of course the pricing becomes exorbitant, with the currency rate exchange as well as shipping/handling fee. Not to mention the delivery time. Once, a package from Amazon arrived almost 4 months later *lol*. Yep, I already considered that one a missing package.

I also had experience of Amazon sending me the wrong book. At first they asked for me to return the wrong book while they sent the correct book. But I told them, I lived across the ocean, it would be very expensive for me sending the wrong book!! So they let me keep it. Well, I guess it was one of the advantages too, huh? *LOL*

Nowadays, my purchase habit at Amazon has changed. I don’t purchase print anymore. All of my purchases these days are ebooks. I no longer read print books, to be honest. But if I ever want to purchase print books, there are other retailer options that have better offers for the shipping cost. But I don’t think I’ll stop being an Amazon customer. And no, this is NOT me promoting that site. It’s just a fact. Especially since I also own two Kindle devices.

And next year, it will be 20 years since I first purchased books at Amazon. Probably my longest experience with a retailer website. Definitely one of my longest relationships *LOL*