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: Intercepting the Chef (Rachel Goodman)

Intercepting the Chef is the first book from new-to-me author Rachel Goodman’s upcoming series “How to Score“. It features rising star chef Gwen Lalonde and Logan Stonestreet, NFL golden boy and quarterback for the Colorado Blizzards who is also best friend with Gwen’s twin brother, Chris. After being fired by her ex-boyfriend celebrity chef and is forced to return home to Denver, Gwen is hired by Logan to be executive chef for his restaurant that he develops on behalf of his mother’s love for food…

I enjoyed this romance — but I must admit that while I thought Logan was such a darling, I had a difficult time to warm up to Gwen. This more or less influenced my opinion.

I know that as a woman, I can be quite hard on heroine characters in the romance books I read. I did applaud Gwen’s determination to fulfill her dream of having her own restaurant. I admired her for being focused on her passion. Because we need females like that too, right? Those who strive to excel professionally; not just in relationship.

Unfortunately, Gwen also felt distant and aloof to me. It was slightly difficult to emotionally root for Gwen because she came up as being dismissive and judgmental over other people’s dreams and issues. Like when Gwen was surprised that her brother did charity (because she always thought of Chris as shallow). Or that Logan didn’t like all of the aspects of football (because Gwen thought Logan enjoyed the glory of the game). For someone who was fired because she assumed that her ex-boyfriend would be thankful of what she did, I was hoping that past experience made Gwen more humble than she was.

I couldn’t help wishing that Gwen to show a softer side once in a while because I found myself taking side with Logan when they had their arguments.

I couldn’t find a lot of faults of Logan. He was warm, and kind, and clearly loved his mother. I felt sorry for Logan because everybody in his life — his father, his agent, his coach, his teammates — seemed to only see him as a franchise. They didn’t care that he was in pain, that he was injured … they only wanted him to bring the win and the money. I wanted to hug Logan and to protect him from all harms. So with Gwen keeping their relationship at arm’s length, sometimes I wondered if Gwen was good enough for Logan.

With this being the start of a series — and I didn’t find any issue with Goodman’s writing — I think I will keep my eyes out for future books in this series. I am quite interested to read romance featuring Gwen’s brother, Chris, or her best friend, Missy. They were two secondary characters that definitely caught my attention here.

 

RATING: 3.5 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: Intercepting the Chef
Author: Rachel Goodman
Series: How to Score, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Release Date: May 2, 2017

ARC Review: A Charmed Little Lie (Sharla Lovelace)

I discovered Sharla Lovelace last year, with her Heart of the Storm series. I love her writing style. Which is why, when I saw that she had a new series with Lyrical Press, I jumped for the chance to request the advanced copy.

Lanie Barrett needs a husband. Stat. Apparently her deceased Aunt Ruby makes it a clause in her will that in order for Lanie to inherit the house and the money, Lanie needs to prove that she is blissfully married and must stay with her husband for three months at the house. It’s all because Lanie spun a story about her nuptial to her aunt shortly before she passed away. Enters Nick McKane, a divorcé who needs work and money to send his daughter to college. So Nick agrees to be Lanie’s husband and Lanie promises to share the wealth. Only things get complicated when their fake marriage starts to feel real.

Well, for the most part, A Charmed Little Lie is a delightful read! The story is written solely from Lanie’s first person perspective and she is FUN to be around with. I loved her quips … the humor here fit to my liking. I had so much fun reading how Lanie tried to get out from the deep hole that she dug herself into.

Some of the situations might be a little rom-com cliché, like the way Lanie’s ex (and his wife!) tried to seduce Lanie and Nick away from each other, since they were in it for the money as well … but it resulted in hilarious moments, I couldn’t really complain.

It isn’t perfect though… I wish that Ms. Lovelace explores more about Nick and Lanie “connecting” before acknowledging that they fall in love with one another. Since this book is only from Lanie’s perspective, I felt that Nick was still a mysterious character. I didn’t know much about him apart from him being a divorced father who needed the money … most of what I knew about Nick I got from Lanie’s opinion (and perception) about him. I didn’t really knew what Nick thought of Lanie and when he fell in love with Lanie. It felt a bit one sided…

Having said that, I definitely can say that I was charmed (see what I did there *wink*) and I look forward to reading the next book about Carmen, Lanie’s friend.

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:
 A Charmed Little Lie
Author: Sharla Lovelace
Series: Charmed in Texas, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 241 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Google Playstore
Release Date: April 18, 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: 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: 12 Dares of Christmas (Leigh W. Stuart)

12 Dares of Christmas ended up NOT what I expected when I read the blurb, saw the cover, and asked for the ARC from Netgalley. It started cute, when Lauren dared Gabe to wear stripper pants and jumped out of a cake in front of the women of Knitting Society of Sycamore Cove because the original stripper was unavailable.

Unfortunately, the further dares were more of the erotic nature (“If you don’t dare me, then I’ll have no choice but to assume your dare is for me to strip your clothes off and get on my knees in front of you.”) which led to more sex scenes that I prefer on this kind of holiday romance. It wasn’t my cup of tea — I was imagining the dares to be fluffier or cuter than anything sex related.

After that, this story just lost all its appeal for me *sorry*

 

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:

33001076Title: The 12 Dares of Christmas
Author: Leigh W. Stuart
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 238 pages
Publisher: City Owl Press
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
Release Date: December 6, 2016

ARC Review: The Holiday Gift (RaeAnne Thayne)

The Holiday Gift is the last story of the Nichols sister, which started Hope in The Christmas Ranch and later Celeste in A Cold Creek Christmas Story. This time, it’s the oldest sister, Faith, who finally gets her love story with her best friend, Chase Brannon.

When we are first introduced to Faith back in Hope’s book, she recently lost her husband, being a young widow with two children at the age of 32-years-old. Now, it’s two years later, and Chase who has been in love with Faith since forever, determines to finally make her see how he feels about her.

I liked Chase — I liked that Chase knows what he wants, and well, he is a fine, FINE man. He’s kind and loyal, and I totally love his devotion to his only daughter. It was Faith that frustrated the hell out of me. I seriously wanted to knock some sense into this woman, frequently groaning over her coward way of retreating from Chase, to the point that she was making that idiotic move by trying to set up Chase with another woman. Seriously, woman!!! Even your sister and aunt know how that man feels about you!!

My frustration over Faith made me enjoy her story less than her two sisters. Although all in all, it was a good holiday romance story, with low level of steam … which is just my cup of tea 🙂

 

RATING: 3.5 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:

30813474Title: The Holiday Gift
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: Nov 1, 2016