ARC Review: The Other Five Percent (Quinn Anderson)

Okay, let me get the positive things about The Other Five Percent first. I LOVE Quinn Anderson’s writing. I really do. That is probably why, even if I haven’t been completely satisfied with her previous books (and this one) I still want to read the future releases. Her writing just clicks with me and I love her humor. Logan’s narrations — especially in the first two chapters — makes me chuckling in delight.

He looked down and wiggled his toes, watching the calfskin bulge. They’d cost almost as much as his suit, but his boss was always telling him, “The shoes make the man.”

I guess that makes me a baby cow.

I also like Logan’s co-worker and his two sisters. They are fun to read

Logan started to protest, but she’d already ducked into her cubicle. To his chagrin, she shouted over the wall, “No buts, mister! If I see you back in this office before one thirty, I’ll …” There was a pause. “Um.”

A male voice sounded from the other cubicle. “Steal all of his pens?”

“Thank you, Anderson,” Jennifer called back.

Unfortunately, I really am not sure about Logan. So Logan runs into his *best friend* Ellis after four years, whom Logan is very close with in college, the one Logas has “sexual experimentation with a man” with, and the one behind Logan’s joke of “I’m ninety-five percent straight” (because the other five percent is basically Ellis) … and Logan claims he cannot REMEMBER how he ends their friendship?

Come on!!! Not with the level of closeness that they shared in college. No way!! not when Logan claims that he “worshipped” Ellis back in college and even his sisters said that Ellis was all that Logan talked about back then.

I also don’t understand Logan’s denial about his sexuality — he is never bullied for liking boys, his sisters are cool, and Logan himself think that his parents can accept it if he’s not straight, so where does his root of denial comes from? I think the whole straight and bisexuality theme here isn’t being fully explored. Logan’s acceptance of his bisexuality is too abrupt. Being an asexual myself, I understand that sexuality can be a spectrum, but since Logan keeps denying that there is possibility that he likes men (or in this case, only Ellis), everything after the revelation is way too fast.

The epilogue is cute … but I want a bridge to get to that point, to make a believer out of me. Sadly I don’t get it…

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:
The Other Five Percent
Author: Quinn Anderson
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: ~40.000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: July 10th, 2017

Netgalley Review: Trial By Fire (Lore Graham)

I requested Lore Graham’s Trial By Fire from Netgalley for one reason. The fact that this book features lesbian relationship and a trans character. See, I promise myself that I will try to read more outside my MM-romance comfort zone with cisgender characters. So this sounds like a perfect option!

I thought the relationship between Elena and Lacy felt naturally progressed. While the time-span was actually pretty quick but somehow I could feel the chemistry between the two that it didn’t really matter. They just ‘clicked’ somehow. I adored the two of them. I even liked all the talks about what they liked to do during intimate moments, which was probably caused by Lacy who transitioned and have yet all the surgeries yet. It felt different for me.

I still skipped the sex scenes though *oops*. Nothing to do with ‘lady-bits’, I just don’t like reading about sex that much being an asexual (I skip MF or MM sex too most of the times)

But I did feel the whole superhero and villain world-built to be a little lacking, even if I appreciated the big action near the end. Or maybe I admit that I’m just not into superhero stories, and prefer to see it on big screen.

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: Trial by Fire
Author: Lore Graham
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Lesbian / Trans
Length: 32,000 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: May 31st, 2017

ARC Review: An Unnatural Vice (K.J. Charles)

An Unnatural Vice is the second book in K.J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities series; featuring Justin Lazarus, the Seer of London who is famous with his séances, and Nathaniel Roy, son of archbishop (he has left church though) who becomes a journalist. If I am not mistaken, the timeline starts almost at the time around the ending of An Unseen Attraction. Nathaniel himself is a friend of Clem, one of the main characters in book #1.

Nathaniel is dead-set in exposing Justin’s tricks and lies. He thinks that Justin is an amoral man, who makes fortune upon people’s griefs. However he can’t dismiss the attraction he feels for Justin, first time he feels that way for another man since the death of his partner five years previously.

I thought this book was slightly a bit lagging in the beginning with Charles setting up the background, confrontation, and burning attraction between Nathaniel and Justin. While Charles always EXCELS in writing enemies-to-lovers / people with different background — I found myself at times a bit bored with Nathaniel’s inner conflict of being attracted to Justin.

I did loved Justin though — what can I say, Charles’ morally ambiguous characters are always attractive for me *laugh*. Justin doesn’t regret his occupation. People who can afford his séances are not from poor class anyway.

The book picks up its pace when murder and mayhem happens, Justin finds himself in the path of a killer who takes no for an answer, and he seeks refugees at Nathaniel’s. This was when I started to feel fully engaged with the two as a couple.

I loved those times with the two of them conversed about their lives and expectations. My heart sometimes went over for Justin when his confidence was dwindling — when he questioned Nathaniel’s motive for helping him. Because Justin really did take advantages of people and he wondered why Nathaniel was able to look past that.

Aside from the romance, An Unnatural Vice also shapes up the mystery around the missing heir that will be fully concluded in book #3. I, for one, look forward to that one.

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: An Unnatural Vice
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: June 6, 2017

ARC Review: Intercepting the Chef (Rachel Goodman)

Intercepting the Chef is the first book from new-to-me author Rachel Goodman’s upcoming series “How to Score“. It features rising star chef Gwen Lalonde and Logan Stonestreet, NFL golden boy and quarterback for the Colorado Blizzards who is also best friend with Gwen’s twin brother, Chris. After being fired by her ex-boyfriend celebrity chef and is forced to return home to Denver, Gwen is hired by Logan to be executive chef for his restaurant that he develops on behalf of his mother’s love for food…

I enjoyed this romance — but I must admit that while I thought Logan was such a darling, I had a difficult time to warm up to Gwen. This more or less influenced my opinion.

I know that as a woman, I can be quite hard on heroine characters in the romance books I read. I did applaud Gwen’s determination to fulfill her dream of having her own restaurant. I admired her for being focused on her passion. Because we need females like that too, right? Those who strive to excel professionally; not just in relationship.

Unfortunately, Gwen also felt distant and aloof to me. It was slightly difficult to emotionally root for Gwen because she came up as being dismissive and judgmental over other people’s dreams and issues. Like when Gwen was surprised that her brother did charity (because she always thought of Chris as shallow). Or that Logan didn’t like all of the aspects of football (because Gwen thought Logan enjoyed the glory of the game). For someone who was fired because she assumed that her ex-boyfriend would be thankful of what she did, I was hoping that past experience made Gwen more humble than she was.

I couldn’t help wishing that Gwen to show a softer side once in a while because I found myself taking side with Logan when they had their arguments.

I couldn’t find a lot of faults of Logan. He was warm, and kind, and clearly loved his mother. I felt sorry for Logan because everybody in his life — his father, his agent, his coach, his teammates — seemed to only see him as a franchise. They didn’t care that he was in pain, that he was injured … they only wanted him to bring the win and the money. I wanted to hug Logan and to protect him from all harms. So with Gwen keeping their relationship at arm’s length, sometimes I wondered if Gwen was good enough for Logan.

With this being the start of a series — and I didn’t find any issue with Goodman’s writing — I think I will keep my eyes out for future books in this series. I am quite interested to read romance featuring Gwen’s brother, Chris, or her best friend, Missy. They were two secondary characters that definitely caught my attention here.

 

RATING: 3.5 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.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Intercepting the Chef
Author: Rachel Goodman
Series: How to Score, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Release Date: May 2, 2017

ARC Review: Leaning Into Love (Lane Hayes)

Leaning into Love is first released as part of It Was Always You Anthology; I never read that one, but I love friends-to-lovers theme and I generally enjoy Lane Hayes’ works … so I decided to request for the ARC.

Eric and Zane have been best friends for over a decade; even if in high school they were not really running in the same circles. On the wake of announcement of engagement of Eric’s ex-boyfriend, Eric is asked by Zane to go to the party together, and he starts to see Zane in a new light.

It is a sweet friends-to-lovers story for sure. The chemistry between Eric and Zane is palpable. I have no problem at all imagining that these two men are falling for one another.

However, I’m a bit miffed that some of scenes here were summarized … it became “telling than showing” kind of thing. Plus apparently there is a slight time jump because the start of Chapter 6 is this line “The year melted away in the usual flurry of holiday parties and family gatherings“. Urgh, I dislike that!! I want to be a witness of Eric and Zane’s dates and activities. NOT just the sex, mind you *pout*

Oh, and one other complaint would be how Eric reacted to his ex’s news … I thought it was really stupid.

The bonus chapter is cute though ^^

 

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

 

BOOK INFO:

 

34093621Title: Leaning Into Love (2nd edition)
Author: Lane Hayes
Series: Leaning Into, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Novella
Length: 24.000 words
Purchase Link:
Release Date:February 10th, 2017

ARC Review: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost (Lucy Banks)

Kester Lanner is a 22-year-old young man who follows his mother’s dying request to go to Dr. Ribero’s Agency. Not knowing who or what Dr. Ribero is, Kester discovers that a whole new world that he never knows before, the world of supernatural investigations, including catching them and such. Not only that, Kester also learns a lot more about his family and the secret that his mother keeps all these years. Then Kester is thrown to the business when he is roped to help with a case of haunted painting of an apparently very viscious lady in green-dress…

I couldn’t help feeling curious with The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost because of the GORGEOUS cover and the blurb that said “family business: catching supernatural spirits”. Look, British Ghostbusters! *smile* And well, I quite liked this debut…

Kester is definitely the youngest addition to the supernatural agency; all of the other characters are a whole lot older than he is. Maybe because of that, at first I didn’t feel a cohesive and welcoming team towards Kester. Especially coming from Serena, the extinguisher on the team.

After a while, I understand that it is caused by Serena’s fear of Kester taking over her job, since it turns out Kester has “something” running in his blood that apparently is very useful in the ghost-hunters business. Plus Kester is the boss’s son. But still I didn’t feel that closeness yet between them which influences my enjoyment a bit.

However, I could see that this may be a work in progress. After he welcomes the idea of supernatural world, Kester would be quite helpful for the agency. He has a knack for research — and actually enjoys it! — which will contribute to the other skills that the rest of the team has.

I enjoyed reading about the rest of Kester new co-workers — in addition to Serena, we have Ms. Wellbeloved who is a conversant, Pamela – the resident psychic, Mike who designs all the equipment, and of course the head of the team, Dr. Julio Ribero. Even if they sometimes squabble quite loud; it is also probably due to the fact that they had been together for years.

The ghost case is quite engaging; I loved that this book mixes supernatural beings from legends as well as cultural folklore (we have sighting of a dislocated Japanese spirit who wakes up in a wrong time-zome *lol*)

I’d say this is a lovely debut and I’m looking forward to future sequels 🙂

 

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:

greenTitle: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost
Author: Lucy Banks
Series: Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural #1
Genre: Supernatural Fiction
Length: 284 pages
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Release Date: March 7, 2017

ARC Review: The Prince of The Moon (Megan Derr)

** REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILER **

I enjoy Megan Derr’s fairy-tale stories but this one fell short. I adored both Solae and Millio. My heart went out for kind and sweet Solae. I thought their relationship was lovely. The ending most particularly, put a huge smile to my face. They were so cute together! I also loved the twist on how the curse was broken…

Unfortunately, I didn’t like how the ‘bad guys’ didn’t exactly get what they deserved, especially the king. After the way he treated Solae, plus the fact that apparently there might not even an enchanting spell in the first place?? I guess I was disappointed knowing that the curse was broken, and the kingdom was saved, but it drove Solae away from it.

Oh, I know, I know, Solae was happy, he was loved, he could travel with Millio while learning his magic and have an adventure … Yes, maybe it was the better future for him rather than staying at the kingdom, but still I wasn’t completely satisfied with how it turned out for the king. Where is the justice? *pout*

FYI, this story was originally published in Fairytales Slashed 4; I haven’t read that one so I don’t know if there is something essentially changed from the first edition.

 

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: The Prince of the Moon
Author: Megan Derr
Genre: MM Fantasy / Fairy Tale
Length: 30,000 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: January 9th, 2017