ARC Review: Once a Charmer (Sharla Lovelace)

Allie Greene and Sebastian “Bash” Anderson are the BEST of friends. They have been in each other’s lives for years — with Bash also pretty much becoming a father figure to Allie’s daughter. They haven’t really crossed the line though, the fine line between friends and lovers. Until that kiss, the kiss that Allie gave Bash few months ago when she thought that he was shot. Now Allie’s nights are bombarded with sexy things that Bash does to her…

I think, compared to the previous two books, this is the first time I’m being quite comfortable with the story written from the heroine’s first person perspective. With A Charmed Little Lie (book #1) and Lucky Charmed (book #2) I missed the heroes’s thoughts. I wanted to understand how they fell for the heroines. Especially because Nick was a stranger to Lanie, while Sully was Carmen’s ‘one who got away’.

In here, I felt like I didn’t need Bash’s perspective. I KNOW without a doubt that Bash always loves Allie. He has been Allie’s person for years, the one who keeps Allie’s secret, the one who Allie turns to during times of need, the one who knows Allie inside out. The ball is pretty much in Allie’s court, so to speak. Allie, who is now dealing with a teenage daughter, a father with ailing health, and news that she might lose the family diner she’s been managing for the past seven years. It is definitely NOT the time for all sexual repressed feelings towards her best friend to coming like a torrent of rain *laugh*

Allie is probably my favorite heroine of this series so far. Allie becomes a single mother when she is seventeen, her father has a gambling problem and he pretty much gambled their live savings away after her mom died. So she becomes the responsible one. It must not be easy but Allie never gives up. She’s strong, determined, and I admired her so much. I liked how she dealt with her daughter too. Allie can be a tiger Mama but she’s not exactly restraining Angel as well. I thought their relationship as mother and daughter was pretty healthy.

My slight problem with Once a Charmer is in the romantic progress between Allie and Bash. Despite my certainty of Bash’s feeling I thought there were other important things happening in Allie’s life as well (her daughter, the diner) that the romance became slightly pushed in the background. Even if Allie constantly thinking about Bash and the sexy dreams. Which is too bad considering that Bash easily takes the title as “King of Charm” in my eyes. His speech for Allie alone … MAN, hands down, kicks Nick’s or Sully’s asses in the ‘big gesture’ department … I am dying for more Allie and Bash moments.

All in all, Once a Charmer is lovely, heartwarming, and sweet. I love this series and I hope there’s still more tales coming from this small town of Charm, Texas.

RATING: 4 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:
 Once A Charmer
Author: Sharla Lovelace
Series: Charmed in Texas, #3
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 271 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: October 17, 2017

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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

ARC Review: On Point (Annabeth Albert)

Maddox and Ben have been best friends ever since they were still in SEAL training. While they always have each other’s back, personality wise especially when dealing with love and relationship cannot be more different.

Maddox is a great sniper, but his passion is not the military. He loves baking, he wants to open a bakery, he strives in church activities. Basically, Maddox wants a life outside of the military, and he longs for a committed relationship, preferably with Ben, whom Maddox has been nurturing crush over for years.

Ben, on the other hand, avoid love and long-term relationship. It probably stems from the fact that Ben thinks people change their mind and leave — like his mother, like his ex-husband. So Ben embraces one night stands, sex with a lot of people, wild nights … anything but commitment. His only commitment is the military; and Ben thinks Maddox will always be with him in this case.

Until one mission gone awry, they almost die, and Maddox starts thinking of leaving…

—-

I have been wanting to read about best-friends Maddox and Ben so much, especially after getting a glimpse of Maddox’s feeling towards Ben in the previous book, At Attention. What can I say … friends-to-lovers, people! I don’t think I will EVER get tired of this particular trope. It has been one of my favorites since I read romance two decades ago.

It just evoked ALL THE FEELINGS inside me!

I loved all the tension that happened between the two men, how they approached the change from friends to lovers, how Ben trying to keep Maddox from leaving, how Maddox contemplating between wanting to live but at the same time not hurt Ben in process, I loved reading both Maddox and Ben’s perspectives.

I cannot really say much because that will spoil the whole story. Let’s just say that there was progress happening, characters growth, that wasn’t just because of or due to sexy times. THAT I always appreciate so much in romance. I guess it also helped that while Ben leaned a lot to physical sex, Maddox didn’t :). Plus that epilogue was GOLD.

The only reason why I couldn’t rate it a bit higher was because the beginning was a little muddled with flashbacks and military action. But in overall, On Point is probably definitely my favorite of the series so far.

RATING: 4.25 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:
 On Point
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out Of Uniform, #3
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 73,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Release Date: June 5, 2017

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 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: 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: Sunset in Central Park (Sarah Morgan)

The moment I read how Frankie thought of wearing glasses would help her repel me (so to speak), I was both frustrated and annoyed with her. That scene just stood out because I knew that it would an uphill battle for Frankie to work on her issues. This was just the tip of the iceberg!!

While I knew that it was rooted deep from her father’s betrayal (of him cheating on Frankie’s mom, and then walked out of his family) as well as her mother’s way to deal with it (by breaking other relationships), I was having a hard time connecting to Frankie. She was prickly. She was insecure. And unfortunately, those were dragging the story down and I had a hard time enjoying it. Sure, Matt was probably able to make up for it —  he was this perfect gentleman who was able to ‘fix’ Frankie with twu wuv.

Maybe I was not in the good mood while I was reading this, but really, I wasn’t impressed. It is a bummer because I love friends-to-lovers stories. But I missed the sizzling chemistry and thick sexual tension that usually help me enjoying this theme because yes, friends-to-lovers stories can be boring or dragging or repetitive. Unfortunately, this one falls into that category.

I wasn’t really amused with the appearance of characters from Morgan’s other series as well. I mean, well, it was nice for me, because I read Puffin Island series. So it was catching up with familiar characters. But how about those who don’t read it. If I am one of them, I’m going to be annoyed.

In any case, this series doesn’t work for me. The previous novel (and novella) didn’t entertain me as well. So I will skip on the last book because Eva … yeah, her rose-colored-lenses and optimism about true love grated on my nerves. I am way too sarcastic for Eva.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5
25stars

 

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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:
29491357Title: Sunset in Central Park
Author: Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan With Love, #2
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: Sept 1, 2016