ARC Reviews: Slow Burn Cowboy (Maisey Yates)

 

Slow Burn Cowboy is the latest book in Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge universe; it is the first of The Donnellys — four half brothers: Cain, Finn, Liam, and Alex, who get together again after their grandfather died and left the ranch to them. Even though Finn is the only one staying and taking care of the ranch while the rest of the brothers build their lives somewhere else.

Lane is Finn’s best friend for the past decade. He has been pressing his feeling for Lane because he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. But with his brothers coming to stay indefinitely, Finn feels like his life is changing and he cannot control it. Then suddenly his feeling for Lane is getting stronger more than ever…

I do love friends-to-lovers theme … BUT there is a downside to it, unfortunately. The arguments can be really repetitive and frustrating. And that was what I felt here. I liked the beginning just fine. I could get why Finn is upset when his half brothers are all coming down to the ranch, taking what they consider as legally theirs when they never help Finn with the ranch all these years. I’m probably going to be quite bitter too.

I also liked that Finn was the one making the first move. Usually when the heroine is the hero’s friend’s younger sister, he will be the one dragging his feet. Not here though.

It is Lane that I was having trouble to connect. Yes, Lane had a past, but I failed to see why it made her reacted the way she did. I couldn’t understand her arguments when she pushed Finn away after he made the first move. I just didn’t get it. I thought Lane’s past wasn’t 100% her fault (**SPOILER** Lane got pregnant when she was sixteen and then gave the baby for adoption)

Lane has been Finn’s friend for so long, she knows him well, does she really think that Finn will blame her? Does she think that Finn is not good enough for a steady relationship? I guess, I thought Lane was being a bit unreasonable. When Finn challenges Lane, that she seems to only needs Finn to do things like changing the light-bulbs, or getting rid of a mouse, simply because he’s a man, I could totally see Finn’s point.

Simply put, Lane frustrated me because her reasons are not convincing enough for the hot and cold attitude she put on Finn. And THAT made the book less enjoyable for me.

We did have a a turn-around with Lane suddenly being the one wanting more and Finn that says he can’t — and for me this also didn’t feel convincing with how both characters act with each other prior to that particular moment.

The epilogue is sweet though 🙂

While this isn’t my favorite of the series, I’m still quite intrigued with the next story. It will be about the oldest brother Cain, a single father with a teenage daughter and Alison, Lane’s good friend who is previously in an abusive relationship. I think that has potential, right?

 

RATING: 3 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: Slow Burn Cowboy
Author: Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge: The Donnellys, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle US, Barnes & Noble Nook, iBooks
Release Date: April 18, 2017

ARC Review: One Wild Night (Melissa Cutler)

Skye Martinez is determined to shed her rebellious streak, since few years back it brought her nothing but heartbreak. Skye wants to settle down with a dependable, kind-heart Catholic man, to build a family of her own. Just like what her mother has always wanted from her. Meanwhile Gentry Wells is the bad boy of country music, with songs like “Beer O Clock” and “Well Hung”, well, Gentry definitely is NOT one to put down roots. So what happens when the two meet and have one wild weekend night together?

One Wild Night is the third book in Cutler’s One and Only Texas series; but can still be read as stand-alone. I am not completely in love with the book, though. While Gentry and Skye are pretty hot together — boy that one wild night is WILD! — I didn’t feel the right emotional connection for me to root for them.

I guess I wasn’t really amused with the drama presented … especially after the dramatic turn around 2/3rd of the book.

Individually, both Skye and Gentry are pretty okay as characters. There are traits from them that I admire.

Gentry’s career is pretty much built by other people — including songs that are written by others. He might have that bad boy image but Gentry clearly wants to shake it all off. He wants to write his own songs, staying true to himself. The part where he holds audition for his new band, and Skye’s grandmother ends up auditioning as keyboardist is a HOOT (“Dude, you can’t have a full-on geriatric band. It’s not right for the image.”). And one cannot say that he’s not dedicated to Skye…

As for Skye, she might think that she needs to let go of her wild side. But I definitely think that it is what makes Skye who she is. She just needs to see past the heartbreak, to realize that she is not being punished for her rebellion.

Verdict: I didn’t dislike it but I wasn’t overjoyed with it either. It was just an okay read for me. And seeing I felt the same way for book #2 and the novella, maybe I have to pause reading this series for now.

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:

31450462Title: One Wild Night
Author: Melissa Cutler
Series: One and Only Texas, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Purchase Link: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Release Date: March 7, 2017

ARC Review: An Unseen Attraction (K.J. Charles)

First book of a new Victorian series from K.J. Charles … that introduction made me really, truly excited. It’s a fact that I find Charles’ books to be solid read and most of the times, I find them truly enjoyable.

An Unseen Attraction is both a romance and a mystery, set in London at early 1870’s. Personally, I thought Charles was able to balance it both pretty well. The book introduces us to lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer and preserver (or taxidermist, in modern term) Rowley Green – one of Clem’s lodgers.

I honestly thought Clem as a very interesting character. See, Clem first came to me as a little slow. He gets easily nervous with too many stimuli (which is why he avoids crowd). He is gentle, kind, and avoids confrontations with others. When Clem goes up against a ‘louder’ men, he easily stutters.

However, Clem seems to flourish when he is around his friends at the Jack and Knave (a club for men who likes other men). And when it comes to the bedroom … Clem is the more dominant compared to Rowley. Even if during their first kiss, Clem is the one who forget to breathe! But as their relationship goes further, Rowley is the one more submissive — and interestingly Rowley also seems to be the one with less experience.

So you see, Clem’s contradictory intrigued the hell out of me! I thought Clem has more layers compared to Rowley; whose job is probably is the most interesting part about him. Clem is more than meets the eyes …

As for the mystery part, it circles around the murder of another lodger with connection to Clem’s family members. The ending of this one is a bit of a cliffhanger; we find answers but it the mystery develops into something bigger, which is why I think it will be the arc of the whole trilogy (the title of the third book, most especially, is the biggest hint).

UNFORTUNATELY, Clem’s way of handling issues that comes to him, especially in regards to the murder and his bully of a brother frustrated the HELL out of me. This influenced my enjoyment of reading the book because most of the time I wanted to STRANGLE Clem for being too naive and trusting. He refuses to think that there might be something amiss happening. In this particular case, Clem is like a child who puts hands on his ears and refuses to listen while people tells him about his mistakes.

I also admit that I was getting uncomfortable reading about the details of Rowley’s job. The part where Charles wrote about the stuffing process, it creeped me out so much I had to put the book down and switched to another title for a while. I think if I watch the process with my own eyes, I will get nightmares for weeks!

So I have to settle with 3-stars this time. Nonetheless, rest assured, I WILL be there for the rest of the series!!

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:

unseenTitle: An Unseen Attraction
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #1
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 247 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US
Release Date: February 21, 2017

ARC Review: The Wrong Kind of Angel (Ruby Moone)

Captain Charles Farrington has settled for the life of lonely man when a knock on his door on Christmas Eve brings a handsome young man running from trouble into his door. Harry Valentine knows that if he tells Charles about his secret, he will bring danger to his angel’s house and he’s not sure if there is a future in them afterwards.

I liked both men okay – Charles for opening his house to save a man in need, and Harry for getting into trouble because he also tries to save another young man. Both are noble in their own way. I would prefer for the resolution to be neater because I thought that the villain didn’t get what he deserved. But at least Harry finally gets his happy end with Charles.

Oh, and I really could do less with the numerous times Harry calling Charles “my angel”. Sorry, I’m not into too many occasions of endearments being used *shrugs*

While I wasn’t in favor for the short timeline for these two men to fall in love (I think it only happens within a day or two) but in the core of it The Wrong Kind of Angel is a sweet heartwarming story that fit the mold of holiday spirit.

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:


thewrongkindofangelTitle:
 The Wrong Kind of Angel
Author: Ruby Moone
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 22,280 words
Publisher: JMS-Books
Purchase Link: Amazon US, All Romance Ebooks
Release Date: December 17, 2016

ARC Review: Wrapped Together (Annabeth Albert)

Well, it was a nice holiday read. It has the formula of a little Grinch, tons of holiday-extravaganza, and some sexy times.

Unfortunately, I had trouble to form an empathy and rooted for the couple. Despite it being said that Hollis and Sawyer have been friends for almost two decades — get this, Hollis and Sawyer are both sets of twins; in fact Hollis’ twin sister is married to Sawyer’s twin brother! — I felt like I didn’t have enough backstory about the two of them. Interspersed between the present day, where Sawyer was trying to coax Hollis into Christmas spirit, were few flashbacks scenes that I ended up wishing for more.

Instead of that, I got quite a number of kinky sex scenes between Hollis and Sawyer before Hollis pushed Sawyer away, then had an epiphany, and bam! HEA … While I know this will please majority of MM readers, it’s not my cup of tea. I don’t mean that I dislike kinky sex. However, I enjoy reading sex scenes more if I’m invested enough with the characters and their romance leading up to those. And I didn’t get that here, not so much.

I want to understand about Hollis more; I want exploration on his introvert self and his crush for Sawyer over the years. I want more of Hollis’ past with that older guy that most definitely screwed him in the head enough for relationship. There is a huge chance that I can see myself so much in Hollis because I am also an introvert; social scene tires me out, I prefer to have small company to celebrate important events. So the fact that I didn’t get any of this made me disappointed a little.

It’s not a bad one, I’m sure that fans of Annabeth Albert will like this. It’s just not one of my favorites coming from her.

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:

29536941Title: Wrapped Together
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat, #5
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Release Date: December 6, 2016

ARC Review: Hotline (Quinn Anderson)

I was literally groaning out loud when this story fell into what I would like to describe as stupid and juvenile misunderstanding between the two young men. Zack said it himself … “It’s like one of those bad teenage dramas where the whole plot could be fixed with two minutes’ worth of honest dialogue”, he said to his neighbor.

Up to that point, I thought Hotline was pretty good. New-to-me author, Quinn Anderson, offered a different take of an MC working in sex industry. Actually the words “phone sex operator” in the blurb were what drew me in to request the ARC from Riptide … and I’ve enjoyed what Ms. Anderson wrote about Zack’s job. It was pretty detailed — and even if the whole role plays and phone sex didn’t do anything to me, I thought the fact that these operators could whip out scenarios and acting on them on the spot was pretty awesome.

Since the book was solely told from Zack’s point of view, as a character, I found him to be ‘alive‘ on pages. I loved his personality, and I loved reading about his friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same impression about John. John as a character was still a bit mysterious to me. So yeah, he was a law student, and he was rich … but that was it. To me he was flat and rather undeveloped. I felt that I got more connection with Zack’s friends and neighbors compared to John.

Which was why I thought that latter conflict was stupid and it ruined my overall reading experience. I already wasn’t impressed with John and the budding romance, so when faced with what John did as well as how they got to that conflict, I was ready to bang my head on the table (but I don’t want to injure myself *lol*).

Oh, one more thing … I thought that Anderson didn’t follow up the problem that Zack had with his parents. His parents appeared once, they had painful dinner conversation, and they were just gone. I would love to get some kind of resolution for that particular matter.

The good thing though, I thought Anderson’s writing style fit me :). This book was long, but I wasn’t really bored. I’ll keep eyes on her future titles. I heard that she would have a second “Murmur Inc.” book; I’m going to check that one for sure.

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:

30828044Title: Hotline
Author: Quinn Anderson
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 94,700 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 31, 2016

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