ARC Review: Twelve Days of Christmas (Debbie Macomber)

I think the term “Like a Hallmark Movie” will be thrown a lot to describe/review this book. I personally think that is apt and at the same time will give you an idea what to expect.

On the downside, I thought there were quite minimal character development. Cain, at least has a background that might make it enough to explain his attitude. I could see why he has trust issues and not exactly nurturing a sunny disposition.

But Julia? Julia is a little too perfect for my taste. She’s perky and upbeat, she’s good at baking cookies, she volunteers, she helps kids on a holiday program … there is nothing wrong with this woman (oh, except for maybe using her blog to capture the ‘project’ progress she has with Cain). I think I might end up being a Scrooge myself around her *lol*.

On the plus side, just like a Hallmark movie, it comes with very good LIFE message … to “kill people with kindness“. There is nothing wrong with being kind to others because it might just help you as much as the other person, and give you a whole new outlook about lives. Being kind is good for your karma :). Considering this is a holiday book, despite myself reading it in August, it is a wonderful reminder for everyone to start doing it.

 

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

11613309

 

 

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:

debbieTitle: Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Debbie Macomber
Genre: MF Holiday Romance
Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: October 4, 2016

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ARC Review: Bitterwood (Rowan Speedwell)

Insta-love aside — which is the major downside for me because I really dislike reading about people immediately knowing their true love within days! — I thought this was a good fantasy-adventure-quest novella. I don’t usually jump into high fantasy tale, but I’ve known Rowan Speedwell’s writing so I figure I will be okay.

Captain Faran leads his men to the North in order to support a young mage, Meric, and find the mythical mysterious golden beast and a master mage. They arrive at Bitterwood Manor which belongs to Joss Daene from the Daene family, looking for shelter.

How I LOVED the quest part; Speedwell’s description of the harsh cold and the land, and how Farran, Meric, Joss, and their men were struggling to find the beast was ENGAGING for me. It felt rich and vivid. I thought that fantasy part was one of the strengths of this book. Even if it was a novella, I had enough understanding of the world-built; it was wonderfully explored. Even the history behind the Daenewood land and the myth of the beast was well-written.

I also loved the men — there were two relationship featured here. One was of Faran and Joss, who were more mature and despite the instant attraction, still felt rather slow-burned for me. Probably because both men had responsibilities … Faran with his quest, and taking care of Meric, and Joss with his sons, the manor, the land of the North and the people. Because his family, the Daene, is the oldest of the kingdom.

The other one was of young Meric and Joss’ youngest son, Eissa. Both still in their teenager years (Meric was almost 18, Eissa only 16), their love was also immediate. They recognized each other as the other’s true love. Which could easily made my eyes rolled hard, except that there was a sense of pure innocence and such tender loving between the two, that I couldn’t begrudge them that much.

It is a lovely fantasy story. If you haven’t had the chance to read it (when it was released by the now-defunct publisher) and you enjoy high fantasy element … give this one a try.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

11613309

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:

30623998

Title: Bitterwood (2nd edition)
Author: Rowan Speedwell
Genre: MM Fantasy
Word Count: 44,300 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 19, 2016

ARC Review: Connection Error (Annabeth Albert)

I LOVE Albert’s gaymers series so I jumped into the chance of requesting the ARC edition from Netgalley. After I finished, I found that I enjoyed it slightly less than the previous two books but still a very good read.

My biggest obstacle was probably because I couldn’t see where the romance was going, especially from Ryan’s point of view. It was easier to see what Josiah (the adorable younger man) wanted — he was into Ryan right from the very beginning. Despite the foot-to-mouth problem that Josiah was having when he first discovered that Ryan was a (view spoiler) but he was quickly redeemed himself. It was clear he didn’t see Ryan as different because of the extent of his injury. I truly loved him for that.

Ryan, on the other hand, was a little bit difficult for me to connect. I had to give KUDOS first for Annabeth Albert to have a not-physically-perfect character here. Plus the progress of Ryan of getting better, with the therapy and the surgery felt right. Nothing was easy for him. I could feel Ryan’s frustration, for someone who usually be in control, in command, to find himself dealing with compromise was definitely a challenge.

It was in terms of him approaching the relationship with Josiah that became a little bit of an issue. I wonder what Ryan wanted. Later on I could slightly understand that he was trying to make Josiah his project because in the way he could help Josiah made him feel like he could still do something. But was it simply because of his need for control or was his ego of wanting to feel needed? Was it some sort of hero complex? Again, it was more difficult for me to get Ryan which influenced my enjoying the story.

Oh, also, I felt that Josiah and Ryan spent more time apart rather than together because they lived in different part of the country. So often, they communicated via means of technology only, a lot of emails here back and forth … and I have never been patient with epistolary writing.

Due to Ryan’s health situation, there wasn’t a lot of steam here, but it also felt right. It would probably annoy me to no-end, if the story become highly charged with sex scenes when Ryan had to focus on getting himself to be better.

So I thought the characters and the plot to be well-written and strong. I liked that the ending didn’t feel like Happily Ever After, that the two men were still working on it but felt as SOLID.

I enjoyed this series SO MUCH. Probably more than Albert’s other series, Portland Heat.

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

11613309

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:

28807263Title:
 Connection Error
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: gaymers, #3
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 66,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: September 05, 2016