ARC Review: Chasing Christmas Eve (Jill Shalvis)

Spence and Colbie meet on the legendary fountain when Spence practically pushed Colbie into it — well, it’s the dog’s fault, but still… *grin*. Spence then takes Colbie to stay at his building when Colbie says she needs temporary place to stay while she is working on her writing (psst, Spence doesn’t know that Colbie is a famous YA author, okay? She uses pen name!). There is attraction from that first moment and they decide to act on it, even if they know it’s going to be a short one since Colbie is heading back to New York in three weeks…

When it is announced that there will be MORE books of the Heartbreaker Bay series, not just the original three books, I am so happy! Because Shalvis introduced bunch of interesting characters right from the start, and I thought back then, if Spence and Joe didn’t get their own story, I was going to haunt Shalvis on her Twitter everyday! *laugh*.

Chasing Christmas Eve is the story for our millionaire and resident genius, Spence, and it offers Shalvis’ brand of sizzling humor and chemistry. I know I can count on Shalvis when the mood strikes and I want to read something light, easy, and fun. Spence and Colbie are amusing to read individually AND together. Especially when Spence is dealing with Elle’s bitchiness or Caleb’s tendency to steal food and Colbie’s way of trying to work on her books.

The ‘conflict‘ happens because they both know about the time limit. Spence and Colbie don’t want to involve feelings into their romantic affair. Of course we all know that resistance is futile *laugh*. I’m not worried that Spence and Colbie won’t make it, they are a good match for one another.

The only thing that slightly frustrated me in this book was Colbie’s inability to say no to a lot of people in her life. I think Colbie lets her family depends on her a little bit too long because she’s used to being the provider. Her family members annoyed me, to be honest. It also takes time for Colbie to deal with her agent and publisher. I wanted to see her to be more strong-headed towards all of them, and it didn’t happen as quickly as I expected.

I cannot wait to read Kylie and Joe’s story next…

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Chasing Christmas Eve
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay, #4
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Books
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: September 26, 2017

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ARC Review: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (Avon Gale)

Years before I stumbled into MM romance, I actually adored a number of F/F couple and friendship from TV shows & movies: Xena/Gabrielle, Rachel/Luce (Imagine Me & You is one of my favorite feel-good movies of all time) … I adore Jess and Jules in Bend It Like Beckham (they’re friends but I can imagine they are so much more *laugh*).

BUT I don’t read a lot of F/F romance because I am uncomfortable reading sex scenes description involving two women. I don’t like the words like cunt, pussy, or tits. Heck, I don’t like reading them in M/F too which is why I avoid M/F erotica at all cost. I like reading/seeing F/F kisses and touches but not when they go all the way ‘there’.

Having said that, I’ve started to read F/F romance last year. Not many, just one or two. Then I saw that Avon Gale, one of my favorite authors, is releasing one this month. It makes me curious enough that I requested the ARC for it. After I finished, I can safely say this:

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell is DELIGHTFUL and CHARMING; definitely one of my favorite reads of the year so far!!

In fact, I thought it has ALL the right recipes for a perfect summer movie … indie musicians doing performances on stages, ROAD TRIP(!!!), as well as friendship, sexual discovery, and FALLING IN LOVE. Not only that, people, The Love Song of Sawyer Bell also has a BISEXUAL HEROINE (hell yes!) and one of the band member is an ace.

I adored both Sawyer Bell and Victoria “Vix” Vincent right off the bat. In fact, I think I spent ALL of my time reading the book with smile on my face. These girls are SO ADORABLE together … I felt like my heart is full with joy, and I loved being able to be a spectator on their blooming relationship … from the first kiss, the sex, the jealousy, the (really short) break-up, to the happy ending.

Avon Gale writes these characters in a way that it feels REALISTIC (like this could easily be a portrayal of one of the indie groups out there) and RELATABLE like they also could easily be my friends, albeit “younger” friends, y’know? Never for once I felt this to be over-the-top dramatic. Sawyer’s hating her school or Vix’s concerns about the possibility of dating a band member are both very much grounded. Heck, even the discussion that Sawyer has with her parents regarding the school was so f*cking real to me.

Another thing that works for me is how Avon Gale makes the exploration of the sexual part of their relationship to be FUN. Vix always knows that she is a bisexual, she is open and unapologetic about it. Sawyer, on the other hand, has only acknowledged her attraction to girls: Vix is her first crush. Still, when they finally doing it, it was full of happy moments. One of my favorite scenes is when both Sawyer and Vix visit a sex shop then Sawyer is busy trying a strap-on dildo for her “lesbian lifestyle investment“. *LAUGH GLEEFULLY*

This book is not only about the friendship and the romance though, it is also about reaching for your dreams. Vix is living her dream right from the beginning, playing her music with her own band. Sawyer, on the other hand, might take a little detour before getting there. I could feel both the girls’ passion about their dream in every performance they do, in they way the collaborate together writing notes and lyrics… It was REALLY REALLY GOOD, and why I was dying to see this as a movie somehow.

Do what you love. Take risks. And when something doesn’t work, take a different one. But don’t stop taking them …. Sometimes it takes a while to find your own music, but believe me, it’s so worth it when you do. Otherwise, all you’re playing is notes.

In short, I pretty much LOVED everything about this book … maybe I thought the ending to be a little rushed, and I kind of wanting to read about a slightly grand gesture from Vix… and personally, I still cringed whenever I read those words I didn’t like. However, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, I’ll be happy to recommend this to ANY of my friends or readers who want to take a dip on new-adult F/F romance. I think it can put a huge smile to your face. I know it did to me.

RATING: 4.25 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the author 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: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell
Author: Avon Gale
Series: Tour Dates, #1
Genre: FF New Adult Romance
Word Count: 62,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 25, 2017

ARC Review: Tangled Up in Tinsel (Candis Terry)

Candis Terry returns to Sunshine Valley, Oregon, with Tangled Up in Tinsel, featuring Parker Kincade, fourth in line in the all gorgeously yummy Kincade brothers. Parker is planning to open a restaurant to help the family business in the midst of his older brother’s wedding preparation. Parker promises Jordan that the restaurant will be the venue for Jordan and Lucy’s wedding reception. Parker is pretty much under stress when Gabriella Montani, a gorgeous woman who wants to finally take first step to reach for her food dreams, approaches him and ask for a job as his upcoming chef….

I think this book is sexier than the previous two books and this time it’s a good thing. I mean, Jordan and Lucy have ‘not-so-pretty’ history. Declan and Brooke have that boss/assistant/friends-to-lovers tension. Parker and Gabi, on the other hand, have the freedom to explore the insane sparkling attraction between the two of them without any strings attached (at first!).

I LOVED how Gabi takes charge of the obstacles that came her way… You know what, she can be my new best friend! Sure, Gabi may come a little too-good-to-be-true on page (she can cook, she can use power tools, darn girl!) but I loved her tenacity. Yes, there are moments when Gabi seem to lose her confidence, that she needs to ask help from her Nonni for advice, that she crows back to the girl who had her heart broken after his father’s affair … however, it seems that Gabi is always able to get back up again.

Gabi may insert herself in Parker’s decisions about the restaurant or in Jordan and Lucy’s wedding preparation, but she has smart and clear visions, she becomes integral to the result. I didn’t find her nosy at all!! Like I said, my new best friend 🙂

As for Parker … well, when he’s NOT being an idiot he can be my new book boyfriend *grin*. How could I not love a man who can cook, who is playful, who can become a peacemaker when the family are all shouting in distress, and who can say the perfect words to his younger sisters when they both need it? Plus that Christmas gift he gives Gabi … and the words he has behind it to explain the meaning of the gift? SWOON-WORTHY STAMP OF APPROVAL!!!!

I enjoyed all of their interactions; the back-and-forth innuendos were really fun to read. Compared to book #1 and #2, I think this one is mainly has smooth-sailing pace. I didn’t see a big problem that could stop Parker and Gabi to be together. Which is why Parker being an idiot near the end felt like a bit too forced by the author to create a tension. I didn’t feel it was believable enough and I was a bit annoyed by it. Having said that, in overall, I was still very much entertained. I basically finished this in one sitting.

So I can say that this is another winner from Candis Terry, one of my favorite authors in this genre *smiling happily*.

PS: Jordan as Groomzilla was HILARIOUS!! But of course the wedding was beautiful *siiigh*

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Tangled up in Tinsel
Author: Candis Terry
Series: Sunshine Creek Vineyard, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon Books
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: September 26, 2017

ARC Review: Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs (Angel Martinez)

Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (I LOVED the title, by the way!) is the fifth book in Angel Martinez’ Offbeat Crimes series; it is also a direct sequel from the previous book, since it featured Wolf (a wolf who is cursed into human) and his boyfriend Jason Shen, an animal-control officer.

After several books that only feature perspective from one of the MCs, Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs FINALLY offers dual narrations, both from Wolf and Jason. I think this is probably my favorite of the series so far.

Wolf is ADORABLE throughout. Wolf is still navigating about human, their customs, their cultures, their feelings … I couldn’t help of wanting to protect Wolf from all of relationship traps; including facing Jason’s parents who don’t approve of him or dealing with a flirty vampire captain.

Meanwhile Jason is having relationship issue himself — since he doesn’t really have superpower, he wonders if he’s enough for Wolf. I am HAPPY to finally get to know Jason’s thoughts. It makes the romance feels more balanced for me.

The case of hoax animals is entertaining … but it seems that there isn’t enough progress of finding who is responsible for all these weird sh*t that the 77th precinct officers is facing. While I like all the offbeat crimes Martinez is introducing in each book, I would love to see the big case gets better clues to solve, though.

I LOVE this universe!! So happy that there’s already news that book #6 might arrive early January next year. Yay!

PS: Audacity the kitten RULES everybody, including the snotty vampire captain

 

RATING: 4 out of 5

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Jackalopes and Woofen-Poofs
Author: Angel Martinez
Series: Offbeat Crimes, #5
Genre: MM Paranormal / Fantasy
Length: 57,931 words
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Release Date: October 3, 2017

ARC Review: Idyll Fears (Stephanie Gayle)

Two weeks before Christmas 1997 and crime is rising in sleepy town Idyll, Connecticut. First, six-year-old Cody Forrand is missing. Cody suffers from a rare nervous system disorder; he cannot feel pain which means he cannot fell the cold like everyone else, which means it’s urgent for him to be found quickly. In other news, there is a break-in on the town’s candy store motivated by anti-gay hate speech, as well as prank calls and vandalism with homophobic slurs targeted on Idyll’s own gay chief of police, Thomas Lynch. It doesn’t help that most of Idyll’s detectives seem to catch a bad case of cold…

I read the first book, Idyll Threats, back in June and I really liked it. I thought it was a good start of a series. Plus, at the end of the first book, Thomas comes out to his detectives — and to that extent, the town. So I was intrigued to read further how Thomas’ life after that announcement.

I definitely loved this book better than the first one. Thomas Lynch as a character grew on me — on the first book, I was quite annoyed with how he dealt with his possible involvement with the crime. In here, at times I thought Thomas to be a little patronizing towards his detectives. Fact, I was very happy when he was scolded by his secretary Mrs. Dunsmore *laugh*. But at other times I knew that Thomas wanted to do his best for this town he had settled in or the cases that came to the department. Thomas may not be perfect, he can be prickly especially when people poke on him (either regarding his sexuality or his professional decisions), but that’s what makes his character feels quite well-balanced for me.

I loved ALL the mystery here — and I loved the procedural investigation that happened for all the cases. It felt realistic — nobody felt like they got the answer out of nowhere; there was frustration when the detectives received wrong tips or witnesses that didn’t provide anything helpful. At one point, the FBI entered the scene because the missing child became a kidnapping of a minor, and even this felt like it should. When I arrived at the revelation and motivation behind the the missing child it kind of broke my heart. That means Gayle was successfuly made me care for the case and everybody involved.

There were a couple of things that I thought didn’t fully answered here … but it didn’t completely ruined my enjoyment.

I hope this series continues *cross fingers*

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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The ARC is provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Idyll Fears
Author: Stephanie Gayle
Series: Thomas Lynch Series
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / LGBT Fiction
Word Count: 320 pages
Publisher: Seventh Street Publishing
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble,
Release Date: September 5, 2017

ARC Review: Her Hometown Girl (Lorelie Brown)

Her Hometown Girl is the third book in Lorelie Brown’s Belladona Ink series. Each book is stand-alone and can be read in no following order. This is the first novel length, though, also features dual narratives for the first time.

Tansy and Cai couldn’t be more different. Twenty-five year old Tansy is a girl from Idaho; she is sweet-natured and tends to be more shy. Thirty-nine year old Cai is a tattoo artist, definitely bolder than Tansy (even if it plays around the butch stereotype in tattoo artists, along with her posture and owning a bike). Tansy runs away from her wedding when she catches her future-bride getting shagged by the caterer’s assistant. She decides to get herself a tattoo and Cai is the one handling her.

One thing for sure, Brown’s writing is beautiful *sigh* And I loved her imperfect characters. Tansy has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with her ex — but I totally loved her for attempting to be braver, to stand up for herself. The part where she challenged Cai when Cai told her that she didn’t look for forever made me want to clap my hands in pride. Personally, I thought Tansy has more intriguing layers. Cai also has a sad backstory but compared to Tansy, I thought Cai is more straight-forward as a character.

I adored their relationship — aside from the one in the spoiler tag below. There were a number of tender moments between the two. Cai totally gets Tansy and doesn’t feel bothered when Tansy gets insecure. She adores Tansy, thinks she is beautiful. I thought Cai was good for Tansy.

“You are brave. It’s why I love you. You’re still soft, that’s what makes all the parts of you. That’s why you’re so amazing.”

I did feel slightly unsure about one thing, namely ** SPOILERS ** the D/s element in this. Yes, it was very interesting to read about D/s that involved two women (of course I read more MF and MM, so my D/s experience always involved men) … but it also felt like coming out of nowhere.

I would be fine if this was simply a hurt/comfort romance. Adding D/s element felt a little bit awkward; especially when Tansy started to call Cai “Daddy”, in opposite of Cai’s endearment to her as “little one”. ALTHOUGH, it contributes to those layers of Tansy that I mentioned above. Because clearly she enjoys it. Tansy can get flirty and rather demanding in her submissive role ** END SPOILERS **

Full confession: I still skipped a lot of the sex scenes. I just can’t read two women doing it physically. I get squeamish with too many girly bits involved. I mean no offense. I skip alot of sex scenes in M/M or M/F too. Please consider my asexuality and more likely sex repulsive in real life, okay?

In overall, it’s another great addition to the series.

By the way, Tansy’s grandmother is so. freaking. cool!! One of the highlights in this book for me was when Nanna told Tansy that she was ** SPOILERS ** bisexual, and would’ve married her first girlfriend if she had the opportunity! ** END SPOILERS **

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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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: Her Hometown Girl
Author: Lorelie Brown
Series: Belladonna Ink, #3
Genre: FF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 65,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: September 4, 2017

ARC Review: Sugar Pine Trail (RaeAnne Thayne)

Sugar Pine Trail is Jamie Caine’s and Julia Winston’s story. Julia is the Haven Point’s librarian. Jamie is the lead pilot for Caine Tech company jet fleet, second-youngest Caine brother and number five in line. Jamie needs short-term place to stay for six weeks while his condo is being finalized. Julia, who now owns her family house after her parents passed away, ends up agreeing to rent the upstairs apartment to Jamie. Julia has been having crush on Jamie for a long time. When Jamie arrives in all of his gorgeous glory, Julia starts to think that the arrangement is a bad idea. However, before that issue is solved, Julia finds herself also being a temporary care person for two young brothers on this holiday season …

Haven Point … I’ve been with this series since the very beginning three years ago and I always LOVE return to this small town. I read the last book back in May, and I am happy to have another one not that far along.

I loved both Julia and Jamie … I loved Julia’s kind heart. She might be acting all awkward around Jamie but once Clint and Davy come into the picture, Julia is like mama bear. She might not have experience with kids, but she’s willing to give it everything. I loved her background, and the fact that she tried to improve her life this holiday season. I loved that she finally found her confidence, despite initial thoughts that she was too ordinary, too plain, for Jamie Caine.

As for Jaime, well hell, he’s a fine, FINE man :). I might not know much about him before since I didn’t read Thayne’s Hope’s Crossings series but I loved the man that I read here. I loved his interacting with the kids (and cats!). I enjoyed the part where Jamie finally realized that he fell in love with Julia — even if he didn’t think that Julia was his type at first. And of course he had to give Julia the perfect Christmas gift *swoon*

Sure, this book enforces the “introvert librarian who lives with cats stereotype“. Plus some things might be a little manipulative to evoke emotion, like the appearance of young Clinton and Davy. I mean if Clinton and Davy are not there, will the romance between Jamie and Julia be developed? I don’t know. But I don’t bloody care. Because in the end, I was touched in my heart, had tears in my eyes, and formed a huge smile on my face. That’s all that matters.

PS: The rest of the Caine siblings are characters from Thayne’s Hope’s Crossings — except Jamie and his older brother, Aidan, who starts Haven Point series with the book Snow Angel Cove. The siblings and their significant partners made appearance in this book, alongside the Caine patriarch and I loved being with them.

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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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: Sugar Pine Trail
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #7
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books
Purchase at: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Kobo
Release Date: September 26, 2017