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

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ARC Review: Serenity Harbor (RaeAnne Thayne)

Serenity Harbor , the 6th book from Haven Point features schoolteacher Katrina Bailey (the youngest Bailey sibling, sister of Wyn and Marshall from book #4 and #5) and computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan. In between the two there is also a sweet six-years-old autistic boy, Milo, who is Bowie’s half younger brother. Bo doesn’t know that Milo existed but when he gets guardianship Bo is determined not to take care of him

Milo is pretty much the catalyst for Katrina and Bo’s relationship. Kat’s first encounter with Bo and Milo is when Milo is having a meltdown in supermarket with Bo not knowing what to do. Since Kat is a primary schoolteacher, she makes connection with Milo. Bo asks Kat to help becoming Milo’s temporary nanny, until Milo’s future autism specialist arrives and before Kat leaves back to Colombia.

~~~

Hmmmm… I’ve loved the previous stories from this series but I think I hit a snag this time around. Now, I LOVED Milo … my heart went out for this boy. It annoyed me at first that Bo seemed to focus more on his works rather than his special-needs brother. Bo gets better in dealing with Milo of course but still… he could’ve get to that point sooner.

I think my problem is because I didn’t feel the chemistry between Kat and Bo. In fact, I thought Kat had better connection with Milo. ALL of Kat and Milo’s interaction warmed my heart dearly. From the moment she crouched down on Milo’s level to talk to him out of his meltdown, to making him breakfast, to teaching him to verbally communicate. It was beautiful and touching for me.

On top of that, the whole ** SPOILER \ Katrina’s plan to adopt another special-needs girl from Colombia / END SPOILER** felt a little outside of my realm of romance. It’s a little bit too out there. Plus I couldn’t help thinking that using too many special-needs children to make me care for Kat and Bo as a couple to be a little “manipulative”.

So yes, I didn’t love this as romance as a whole. BUT everything with Kat and Milo lifted up the book for me. I’m still interested with the next book of course! It will feature the charming Jamie Caine and the librarian Julia Winston. That sounds promising 🙂

RATING: 3 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: Serenity Harbor
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #6
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books
Release Date: June 27th, 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: 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

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: Riverbend Road (RaeAnne Thayne)

It feels good returning to Haven Point, the fictional small town from the pen of RaeAnne Thayne, which started with Snow Angel Cove back in 2014. In Riverbend Road, readers are going to meet police officer Wynona “Wyn” Bailey and the Chief of Police, Cade Emmett.

I loved Wyn so much!! I thought she was totally awesome. She stole my heart early on when she walked into an old barn on fire to save two teenage boys. Then Wyn continued to charm me as the story went along, with her befriending a skittish woman and her kids, teaching self-defense class, and of course dealing with her feeling for Cade. I loved that she made the first move and later on, she didn’t back down when she told Cade what she wanted out of him.

 

“I don’t want to be vital to the department. “I only want to be vital to you. I’m in love with you, Cade. Don’t you get it?”

 

There wasn’t a lot that I could complaint about when it comes to Wyn. I adored her; she was kind, friendly, resourceful, and strong. On top of that she was also a survivor. I think Wyn is definitely my favorite heroine so far from this series.

Cade on the other hand — urgh, I could knock some sense into him. Being the best friend of Wyn’s older brother, Cade suffered from the typical attitude in romance, as in not wanting to make a move towards his best friend’s sister. It also didn’t help that Cade was practically Wyn’s boss, which could complicate their professional relationship if people found out. Especially since one of Wyn’s friends was none other than Haven Point’s mayor, a.k.a. Cade’s boss.

Despite this, I thought the story was lovely; there was definitely a chemistry between Wyn and Cade considering they were also good friends. There was douse of humor too, one of the most precious moments was when Wyn asked Cade to help with her self-defense class. Not going to spoil much but there was a good amount of drama and action near the end, which resulted in a satisfying conclusion for Wyn and Cade’s romance.

It was a satisfying read and I look forward to more stories from Haven Point…

 

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:

ARC Review: Riverbend Road (RaeAnne Thayne)
27780411Title: 
Riverbend Road
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #4
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: June 21st, 2016

ARC Review: Sleepless in Manhattan (Sarah Morgan)

2.75 stars rounded up

I enjoyed previous trilogies by Sarah Morgan before, so I was happy when Netgalley/HQN approved my request for an ARC. I was curious about this new trilogy, as it ‘moved’ from small-town in Puffin Island to the big city. Unfortunately, this one didn’t exactly hit the mark for me.

Let me go with what I liked about it first. I did like Paige. I liked that she was determined to be independent and proved to everybody that she could do things on her own. I liked that she didn’t want to be protected all the time — even if she said it quite repetitively — and that she was the one who made the first move. Who says that women can’t do it, right? Sure, she became too pigheaded to ask for help, but maybe because she was too protected before and she couldn’t deal with people seeing her as incompetent. I could definitely accept that.

I also LOVED the friendship among the girls — plus the idea of starting up a new company was exciting. Although it made the book felt a chick-lit vibe more than contemporary romance.

… and now what I disliked:

I disliked the male hero — he was so stereotypical/cliché as an Alpha Male with women issues who owned motorbike, rich beyond belief, had different females every month (including a woman named Bambi — and ON THAT NOTE, can we STOP using name Bambi to portray stupid pretty woman?!? Because seriously, it’s getting OLD. I like Bambi okay — nothing wrong with the name
Bambi damn it!), but not wanting to make a move on his best friend little sister because he made a promise to the brother.

YAWN. Nothing exciting about Jake, AT ALL. Everything he thought about Paige, and his unwillingness to make his move was outdated and repetitively boring.

(Oh repetitiveness, that was definitely a HUGE issue here, by the way)

Then Paige’s friends … well, at the moment, I couldn’t find anything good to say about them too.

Eva was written as too romantic, too positive, with heads in the cloud kind of characters, that I couldn’t believe for one second she could exist in real life. She felt two dimensional and caricaturish, something out of a fairy tale book. I couldn’t relate to her at all.

And Frankie? She was too sharp around the edges, too distrustful, that made her distant to me as well. Yes, I understand that she has problem with her mother, but I prefer my heroines to be a little more nuanced. Not blatantly black and white.

However, Frankie’s story will be the second book and she will be coupled with more seemingly laid-back Matt, Paige’s older brother, so maybe it can be a recipe for a better book. Besides, Frankie and Matt will have one of my favorite romance themes: friends-to-lovers …

Conclusion: I wasn’t too impressed so far with the novella and the first book of this trilogy. Fingers crossed that the next one is better.

 

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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:
28447978Title: Sleepless in Manhattan
Author: Sarah Morgan
Series: From Manhattan With Love, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: May 31, 2016