ARC Review: New Tricks (Kelly Moran)

New Tricks is Drake (the oldest O’Grady brother) and Zoe’s story. I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for this one. All of the bread crumbs given in previous books by the author promised a quite emotional read. With Zoe being both Drake’s and Heather’s — his deceased wife — best friend, it’s a friends-to-lovers with a side of guilt kind of situation. I want to know how Kelly Moran tackled that.

Well, guess what this book is another winner for me; it’s totally right up my alley.

Same heart; different ways of love

I thoroughly appreciated the fact that while in the beginning Drake might be in conflict regarding his new-found feeling towards his best friend, but then he completely embraced it. Drake saw Zoe in both her strengths and vulnerabilities. The progress from seeing Zoe as his best friend to someone Drake loved a lot more was convincing; it helped that Zoe was in his life since forever. They had their own special moments, even when Heather was still alive.

In terms of pursuing this relationship, Zoe was the one holding back. Usually I’m easily annoyed with a heroine’s tendency to run away from her possible happiness. In this case, though, I could understand why Zoe was reluctant. She had a lot on her plate. It was more than Drake being her dead best friend’s husband, but there was another issue related to Zoe’s mother having early onset dementia.

For me, Zoe’s excuse rang true and it was heartbreaking to read. My heart went all out for her. I thought Zoe was an amazing character, and she might be my favorite heroine from this series. If I have an ounce of her beautiful heart, I’d probably be a better person.

Reading Drake and Zoe’s relationship flourished was a delight. That grand romantic gesture by Drake made me all teary eyed *sigh*.

We met in an empty room.
Two broken souls among the fray.
Years and distance and regret between us,
And with one call, you stayed.

I wish there is one more chapter, an epilogue maybe, just so I can see everyone in their happily ever after

Redwood Ridge has been an excellent series read. I’m so happy that the author tweeted back to me back in July and said that there would be more books from Redwood Ridge (Jason the firefighter is next followed by Parker the sheriff!)

RATING: 4.5 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: New Trick
Author: Kelly Moran
Series: Redwood Ridge, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 216 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: September 26, 2017

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ARC Review: Tracking You (Kelly Moran)

“You are no star, Gabby. You’re the sky. The rest of us are just circling your orbit.”

Excuse me while I swoon…

Sometimes you have a feeling that a book will be wonderful. This is one of those occasions for me. From the very beginning, I felt my heart being enchanted by both Gabby and Flynn. I loved these two so f*cking much.

Gabby Cosette is the girl-next-door… she is the good girl that everyone likes to be friends with, but not exactly attracted to her as something more. Gabby longs to have someone who wants her for her, who loves her, who worships her, because she is worth all that.

Flynn O’Grady, the middle of the O’Grady doctor, has been born deaf … so he is used to being invisible. People don’t really know how to engage with the deaf boy, do they? But Gabby has been Flynn’s best friend for over two decades. There isn’t a significant moment in Flynn’s life that he can’t think of not sharing it with Gabby. Because of that, he doesn’t act on his secret attraction on Gabby. Especially because Gabby isn’t romantically interested in him – or so he thinks.

Oh, these two *hugs them tight*. I love friends-to-lovers trope, and I think that Tracking You is this trope being written AMAZINGLY WELL. I believed on the process of Gabby and Flynn moving into something more. They have been in each other’s lives since the forever! I could also believe the conflict. With this trope, usually the argument is “I don’t want to risk the friendship” … and that can be dangerous because it is easy to make it lame and repetitive.

Not here though. I could understand how Flynn thought that he was dragging Gabby down. His life is tightly integrated with Gabby. She is in both his personal and professional life. Does Gabby choose this life because she wants to or simply because she is his friend? That as kindhearted as Gabby is, she wants to make Flynn’s life easier … like she did more than twenty years ago when she demanded to learn sign language to be able to communicate with Flynn.

I LOVED the conflict and the internal arguments that happened between both our heroine and hero. I loved Gabby for being so wonderful, gentle, loving, loyal, and tough in her own way. I loved Flynn for being flawed (not because he is deaf, but because he can’t see what is good for him! Stupid boy). And I loved them together.

This is definitely one of my most favorite romance novels of the year. It has almost everything I want … including the grand gesture that put me all teary eyed. I only wish Ms. Moran adds another chapter or an epilogue just to wrap this one with colorful rainbow tie

Now I cannot wait to read Drake’s story.

RATING: 4.5 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: Tracking You
Author: Kelly Moran
Series: Redwood Ridge, #2
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: May 23, 2017

ARC Review: Tough Luck Hero (Maisey Yates)

I wasn’t really happy with the previous book — Sierra and Ace in One Night Charmer — so I admit I was approaching this with lower expectation. Especially since I didn’t get enough impression of Colton in the last book.

Well, I’ll be damned … this is definitely my favorite of the series so far, and one of the most entertaining reads of the year!! Even after I slept on it, the only thing I could think about the next day, was how this book as well as the characters of Colton and Lydia amused the hell out of me throughout *hugs book, beaming happily*

Getting hitched under influence in Vegas is a cliché plot. Usually I have trouble in believing why the couple should together. However, I thought Maisey Yates gave a pretty plausible explanation on why Colton and Lydia should keep their marriage for now. Lydia is running as Mayor of Copper Ridge and she can’t go through a scandal (since she already told people she married Colton, while she was still drunk *haha*). And Colton also needed to take consideration of his mother’s health.

I LOVED Colton and Lydia — their banters, while sometimes full with barbs and wires, were sizzling and crackling!! Both were quick with their quips!! It was SO DELIGHTFUL reading it!! Especially because Colton and Lydia were actually share similar traits. They were both like to be in control, and it was fun to see when things didn’t really come their way.

I thought the progress from adversaries to lovers was believable. I could actually feel the difference in their attitudes and dialogs from the first chapter to the last. They had chemistry and in the end, I believed that they loved one another. Their passion was OFF THE CHART! I was so ready to read their first kiss and actual sex scenes, because the tension was so thick and crackling, I thought it was going to be explosive for sure *lol*

So yes, I really loved this one. I love it when a book can still surprise me, especially when I start it with low expectation. I guess now I’m pretty excited to read Gage’s story 🙂

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
4.5

 

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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:

28220051Title: Tough Luck Hero
Author: Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge, #5
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: June 28, 2016

ARC Review: A Seditious Affair (K.J. Charles)

For the past year, gentleman official Dominic Frey meets his brute every Wednesday and embraces his submissive nature — of wanting to be dominated and controlled with pain and rough sex. For the past year, Radical idealist Silas Mison meets his Tory every Wednesday and gives in what they both what in a darker kink side of sex. They don’t share each other names. Until Dominic’s job to capture the pamphleteer who wrote sedition under the pseudonym of Jack Cade brings Dominic into Silas’s bookstore…

K.J. Charles opens this book with a bang! That first chapter alone, my GOSH *fans self* Personally, I thought this book was better than the A Fashionable Indulgence, the first book in this series, in both characters and story-line. See, I’m a very character-driven kind of reader. Once I feel emotional connection with characters and their inner struggle (of romance, of family, of life, of dreams, of everything) I will be easily pulled in by their story.

For me, Dominic and Silas have that compelling struggle — their job and principles basically make them enemies of sort. Dominic is a Home Office official. He believes in rules, order, and laws, because without that, it will be riot and chaos. Dominic doesn’t believe that people can govern themselves. People needs government. Meanwhile for forty-year-old Silas (I love older men in my romance, don’t you?), he wants to see people to have a choice, to have a voice. He will fight for that, writing his pamphletes, sharing his thoughts to the people of his class. On the other hand, they also have their Wednesdays, where they connect intimately (despite the strong D/s nature) and not just intellectually, where they start to care for one another in the matter of the heart. I found both their politics and sex to be stimulating and captivating at the same time.

Then, we also have the backdrop of the Cato Street Conspiracy as part of the story, which for me was more exhilarating than Julius trying to teach Harry about the importance of garments and the color puce in book #1 (yes, the PUCE made strong impression *laugh*). Although I’m not very much aware about the event (thank you Wikipedia for all your help!) but I found the progress to that final climax of the Spencean Philanthropists’ attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister to add the thrill of the story. Even if sometimes, the real history/politic part still feels a little too distant for an Indonesian like me (and my eyes started to glaze over) but I was literally biting my nails near the end because I fear for Silas’ fate, him being friends and part of this group. I know that this is romance, and it will end happily, but I still couldn’t stop worrying. It is a proof of the mighty talent of Ms. K.J. Charles, to make me feel so involved and cared with the life of this fictional characters.

Simply put, I found A Seditious Affair to be a mesmerizing and satisfying romantic fiction entwined with real historical events. Despite the differences of their social class economy or the dominant/submissive nature of their sex life, Dominic and Silas are both strong characters, equals in every other thing that matters. It is one of my best reading experience of the year for sure. Now, I cannot wait until April next year for the conclusion of the trilogy, in which it will be with delight to see how Cyprian finally takes that stick out of Richard’s (lovely) arse *laugh*

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
4.5

 

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:
25241403Title: A Seditious Affair
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Society of Gentlemen #2
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 251 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: December 15, 2015

ARC Review: Unnatural (Joanna Chambers)

Friends-to-lovers theme (and to that extend, second chances as well) is my weakness. I simply love it. It doesn’t matter that often the issue that stops the friends to be lovers is cliché (i.e. doesn’t want to change the friendship status) or that it becomes repetitive and frustrating, I will still choose to read them. Because then what matters to me is how the story makes me FEEL. Like, how many times I will feel my heart tied up in knots, even when I want to knock the character’s head for being unable to recognize that happiness is right before their very eyes. Yes, it all boils down to that.

Joanna Chambers’ Unnatural, a spin-off from her Enlightenment series fits that criteria to the “T” … and oh, how it makes me feel. What can I say, everytime I read about Iain’s regret, about how he wants to reconciliate with James, and then the thick tension of the two men when Iain finally sees James again after two years, it just done wonders to my heart. I devoured the story like it was a precious gem. I savored each moments … from their early childhood moments, growing up, first kiss, the big blow out at Kit Redford’s place (P.S. you can also read about that from Chambers’ free short story, Seasons Pass), until the reunion, and finally, FINALLY the happy ending.

Yes, it was a bit frustrating because Iain keeps going back and forth from rejecting James to coming back to him. However, reading the early scene that contributes to Iain’s guilty feeling as well as the baggage of upholding his family honor helped me to surpress my frustration. I knew that the ending would be worth it — the moment when Iain can finally let go, and embraces the promise of happiness that James can give him. And oh, it was GLORIOUS. I admit that my eyes became all watery.

The only thing that stops me from giving this 5-stars is the structure of the story, which is moving back and forth from past to present. On one hand, this structure helps build up momentum because I kept wondering how the past unraveled to understand more about what happens in the present time. On the other hand, it also made me a bit impatient since I wanted to read how Iain can fix everything.

This is MY kind of romance, MY kind of story. It is tender, sweet, frustrating, but romantic, oh, how it is so romantic. It might lack sexy times but that what draws me to it, honestly. Because it makes better emotional connection for me as a reader — knowing that the thread of love between Iain and James is more than just physical. It is something stronger, something more binding, something more … meaningful. Thank you so much for this story Ms. Chambers. It’s definitely one of my favorite of the year.

*draws little ♥ all over my Kindle*

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
4.5

 

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:

26344445Title: Unnatural
Author: Joanna Chambers
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Word Count: 70,076
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: November 24, 2015