ARC Review: Junkyard Heart (Garrett Leigh)

Simply another case where the story not exactly what I imagine it would be when I started. I knew Leigh’s brand of angst, so I was bit threw off because I thought Jas and Kim initial meeting was pretty cute. Then the whole story, despite Kim’s addiction problem, didn’t feel that ‘moody’ for me. Guess I couldn’t figure out where the story would go, I kept expecting something worse waiting at the end of the line and it didn’t.

I am being very vague, I know. But that was what I felt — detached. It was Garrett Leigh’s writing that kept me going.

I DID feel uncomfortable with Lena’s situation though. ** SPOILERS ** I know that Kim doesn’t cheat on Lena with Jas considering Lena she has been away, and when Kim is with Lena he has open relationship … but since Jas has his heart broken when he falls hard with a man who turns out to be married, this thing didn’t make me happy. And that scene when Lena is watching the two men having sex? WEIRD. I guess that part is just not my cup of tea.

RATING: 3 out of 5

 

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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:

Title: Junkyard Heart
Author: Garrett Leigh
Series: Porthkennack Universe, #7
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 50,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: December 4, 2017

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ARC Review: Vampire Fight Club (Larissa Ione)

Nathan Sabine is a manager of Gladius, an underground gladiator rings where supernatural beings fight to the dead, a secret part of club Thirst. At first Nate decides to works there to plan for a revenge upon the demon who kills his wife. However, years gone by and Nate loses the fire that burns his rage. Until a female nurse who smells like canine shifter — but claims to be a Tiger shifter — walks into his office, asking for a job. Vladlena “Lena” Paskelkov’s brother comes to her hospital dying, and his last word is ‘Thirst Club’. Lena wants to find out what really happened so she decides to work undercover at the club as part of the medic team.

I admit that it has been a while since I read the Demonica series — I used to LOVE that one years back — so I didn’t remember much about the characters… BUT this one could pretty much read as a stand alone anyway. Since it’s a novella, everything happens really fast. BUT I appreciate that Ione keeps the sex scene near the end instead of spreading it around the chapters. I liked both Lena and Nate; and even if I didn’t remember much, it was nice to see the demon brothers and sister of the Underground General Hospital again.

PS: This story is previously released in an anthology. I don’t know whether it has been re-edited or re-expanded though.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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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:

Title: Vampire Fight Club
Author: Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica Universe
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Vampires
Length: 100 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: November 28, 2017

ARC Review: A Special Delivery (Laura Bailo)

Colin receives a package that is meant for James. He decides to deliver the package himself since James’ house is only few streets over and he needs to walk his dog, Anubis, anyway. But then comes the storm and Colin ends up spending a night at James’ house while waiting for the situation to be safer for him to walk back home…

This story is basically telling about this first meeting (and an epilogue). And I thought Bailo was able to show the easy connection between Colin and James. I also loved the dog 🙂

At around 8k, A Special Delivery is a sweet holiday story.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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The ARC is provided by the  author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:
Title:
A Special Delivery
Author: Laura Bailo
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance / Short
Word Count: ~8.100 words
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 20, 2017

Release Day Blitz, Review, & Giveaway: Tequila Sunrise (Layla Reyne)

Title: Tequila Sunrise

Author: Layla Reyne

Series: Agents Irish and Whiskey (Spin-Off)

Publisher:  Carina Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Length: 120

Sub Genre: MF, Romantic Suspense, Novella

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Book Blurb

True love perseveres in this Agents Irish and Whiskey spin-off novella from author Layla Reyne

Former FBI agent Melissa “Mel” Cruz spent years skirting the line between life and death, knowing the next assignment might be her last. Back from overseas and eager to enjoy life outside the Bureau, she’s ready to give Danny Talley a Christmas Eve he’ll never forget.

A proven asset in high-stakes missions, Danny’s known for having the skill and brains to get the job done. When the Talley flagship is hijacked during the company holiday party, he’ll do anything to save his family, his love and everything they’ve all worked so hard to build. But their enemies have a secondary protocol—leave no survivors—and that plan is already in play.

Navigating through a tangled web of lies and betrayal, Mel and Danny race against the clock to retake the ship before their future goes up in flames. As the seconds tick down, they’re forced to face their greatest fear—losing each other.

Purchase

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Excerpt

This had to be karma, retribution for sleeping his way through his teens and twenties. Don Juan Danny, Mel had once called him. Then of course he’d fallen for her, the resident badass who could break his neck as easily as she could break his heart. Which almost happened last spring when she’d nearly died, twice.

He could still remember her unconscious form, thrown against the wall and hair singed off by an explosion. And not twelve hours later, her blood, her life, pooling under his hand and staining her white sweater, bleeding out from the gunshot wound she’d taken to save his brother and their niece.

Miraculously, she’d pulled through, both times, and so had they, but Mel refused to be caged, and Danny knew they’d never last if he tried to put her in one. Granted, he got a stomach ulcer for it, no matter how calm he seemed on the outside, but if that was the price he had to pay for being with her, so be it. Having come close to losing that love, to losing her, he didn’t want to experience that awful feeling again for many, many years.

Years. They’d have years together, a lifetime, he reassured himself…

Praises for Tequila Sunrise

A brilliant return to the Irish & Whiskey universe with nonstop excitement and a badass heroine. It was so gratifying to see a fearless character like Mel who didn’t sacrifice love and tenderness toward a significant other just for the sake of being strong and powerful.

–Nora Sakavic, author of the All for the Game series

On Christmas Eve, on the night when John Talley, the patriarch of Talley family (also Aidan and Danny’s father), formally retires from Talley Enterprise, their ship where the event is held is hijacked. Danny and Mel — alongside familiar faces Aidan, Jamie, Nic, and Cam — have to figure out how to disarm the hijackers while keeping everyone safe.

While I am not completely satisfied with Irish and Whiskey series in overall (I’m still holding a grudge against Aidan) but I like both Danny and Mel in those books. So I was pretty happy when I heard they would get their own spin-off story. In Tequila Sunrise, we catch up with what they are up to, after Mel resigns from the FBI and joins Talley Enterprises as their Chief of Security.

We get some flashbacks from important moments of their relationship, which I thought was quite amusing. Danny has Casanova reputation, and Mel is not exactly a stranger towards the Talley family, so Danny needs some ammunitions to convince Mel about his feelings. There are also a couple of flashbacks of Danny with his oldest brother (who died) as well as Mel with Gabe (who also died) which are quite touching.

I wasn’t really into the hijacking plot though — there were a little twists and turns regarding the motivation behind it; it was a bit too Hollywood spy movie-esque for me. Never a big fan of that when it comes to my romantic suspense *shrugs*.

Overall, it is a nice novella.

Author Bio

Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

 

Connect with Layla: Author Site | Twitter | FB | FB Group | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

Giveaway

To win any back catalog ebook by Layla Reyne + a secret swag pack full of Agents Irish and Whiskey goodies and gift card!

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ARC Review: All Of The Above (Quinn Anderson)

Brendon stumbles into a relationship quiz on a magazine given by his friend. He thinks the quiz’s answers are so perfect for him and Brendon becomes a little obsessed. Well, actually Brendon believes that the quiz maker is his soulmate. After doing a little “(online) research” and finds his name to be Matt; Brendon starts his quest for true love.

All of the Above is pretty predictable when we have an MC who does a little stalkerish action to set-up a fake meet-cute with a love interest who says that he hates being lied to. BUT, this also has a rom-com formula that feels familiar and it makes me smile on several occasions. I mean Brendon is a bit neurotic about it, and it was FUN to read. I thought Matt was being judge-y, though maybe he has a valid reason for it.

It was an entertaining read — if you can close your eyes of both the MCs’ flaws and don’t let it bother you much 🙂

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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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:
Title:
All Of The Above
Author: Quinn Anderson
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: ~41.100 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 20, 2017

ARC Review: Wheels Up (Annabeth Albert)

I never thought I would’ve used this one word to explain an Annabeth Albert’s book. But I found Wheels Up , the fourth book in her Out of Uniform to be BORING.

The basic is this … Dustin and Wes first meet online, they don’t really share a lot of personal information when they decide to have face-to-face encounter. But after that one night, Wes finds out after being transferred that Dustin is his new XO. Which means they cannot pursue further relationship since fraternization among officers and enlisted officers ends up with serious ramifications. Of course it’s easier said that done…

I think THAT is my problem. I know that the author is trying to portray this type of relationship as realistically as possible, unfortunately as a story, personally I think Wheels Up is nothing but rinse and repeat. The conflict is stretched pretty thin to fill in the pages. As in … Dustin and Wes try to stay away from one another but they can’t, then comes the guilt, then they try to stay away (again), but they can’t … and so on.

I also found it hard to connect with these two men because I didn’t feel like I knew or understood them in the end. Wes having a very sick sister but I didn’t feel like his emotional turmoil was explored enough — especially since his sister was sort of kept off page for the most part. Then there was Dustin … he has been hiding his bisexuality ALL of his life… considering that his younger BROTHER is gay, his best friend too, and his brother actually MARRIED to his best friend, I struggled to understand why Dustin never said anything. Yeah, sure, maybe not immediately to his parents… but to Dylan, or Apollo?

I figure the sex scenes are probably good for most readers. But I’m always one who enjoy sex MORE when I’m invested enough with the characters. Since I didn’t, well I ended up SKIPPING most of them (yes, I got bored).

I’m rounding this slightly to my “just okay” category because there were still moments that hit me the right way, like when Dustin consoles Wes when Wes receives news about his sister. And of course I like reading about Apollo and Dylan again, even if it’s just a short update.

I LOVED the last three Albert’s books that I read. I hit bump with this one but hopefully her next book will be better for me.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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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:

Title: Wheels Up
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out Of Uniform, #4
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Release Date: November 6, 2017

ARC Review: Off the Ice (Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn)

I am going to say that it’s TWO for TWO for me, when it comes to Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn’s writing partnership, after Permanent Ink. Because I loved this one as well!

Off the Ice is the first book of the new trilogy, Hat Trick, featuring Tristan Holt, a defenseman for Atlanta Venom, and Sebastian Cruz, sociology professor at Georgia State. It has a number of tropes that may attract readers of this genre. Let’s see … student/teacher, age-gap, d/s kink … and well, hockey players!

The two men meet when Tristan enrolls for summer course during his season break and takes Sociology 3201 where Sebastian is the professor. Initially Sebastian — despite his PhD in sociology and his lecture about perceptions, mind you — ends up falling into stereotype trap as he thinks that Tristan is just a jock, who plagiarizes his fellow student’s paper. Boy, I LOVED that scene where Tristan reminds Sebastian about it, takes him down a peg *laugh*. They don’t start dating after the final grade is given though, to avoid breaking the rule.

The main conflict of the book is nothing new, especially if it involves non-straight athletes. Tristan being in the closet, afraid of the repercussion of being an out player, versus Sebastian’s out status and unwillingness to be a secret lover. Having said that, I didn’t think it was angst-heavy. We still have a lot of them being in the state of sexual bliss, outside of Tristan coaxing Sebastian to start paying attention of hockey. Addressing the issue is being kept until later in the book to act as the bridge to deliver the happy ending.

All in all, it’s a great start to introduce readers to the series. I already look forward to reading the upcoming books. I hope the next one is about Ryu, the Venom goalie.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the authors via A Novel Take PR for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Off the Ice
Author: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn
Series: Hat Trick, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 70,900 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 30, 2017