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

ARC Review: The Bridesmaid and the Bachelor (Kris Fletcher)

Dismissing the huge coincidence that put Kyrie and Ben on the same event after they spent a week together couple of years back — so apparently Kyrie’s twin sister is a friend of the bride while Ben is the brother of the groom — what I missed from this novella is the emotion. See, I picked up this ARC because it had my catnip of theme, “the one who got away“. However, the delivery lacked that something which makes me root for the couple.

I thought Kyrie’s reason to leave Ben back then was rather flimsy. I also felt that Ben might be more invested in the promise of the relationship more than Kyrie. The change of heart came rather rushed for Kyrie — which supported the whole ‘flimsy’ reason of her leaving in the first place.

Maybe if I get flashback of that first time of them together, I can feel everything better. Instead, I just have to take their words that one week is life-changing for them (especially for Kyrie, because it pushed her to reach for her dream).

In addition, the writing style felt rather off for me. Not sure if I’m curious enough to read about the rest of the sisters. I just have to wait and see.

 

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:

9781101989258Title: 
The Bridesmaid and the Bachelor
Author: Kris Fletcher
Series: Calypso Falls #0.5
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 91 pages
Publisher: Intermix
Release Date: November 15, 2016

ARC Review: Snowbound with Mr. Wrong (Barbara White Daille)

I was interested with the blurb for this one because I am a sucker for the one who got away theme. Plus it is a holiday book. Unfortunately, this book failed to made me believe in the couple or to root for them to get back together.

The story didn’t immediately told readers about the reason why Lyssa and Nick didn’t work. However, after a while, I could conclude that it was because they were too different. Apparently Lyssa loved her small-town, her family, her traditions, while Nick cared more about his job as a troubleshooter (huh, I almost never heard this job description in romance before). He often put his job ahead of her.

And as I further read it, I could feel that … I mean, I didn’t feel the chemistry, the emotional connection between them. It felt as cold as winter snow. This was one relationship in which I thought that the couple was probably better apart because of their differences.

The biggest problem for me was the hero, Nick. From the beginning, from his answers towards the kids as he was roped into being Santa, I thought he was rather rude. It was difficult for me to understand what Lyssa saw in him, that made them involved in a relationship in the first place. I mean, read Nick reaction to when Lyssa was trying to help him with his boot (he hurt his ankle)

“What, having a madwoman trying to amputate my foot with a dull shoestring? Yeah, it hurts like hell.”

You should see my face! What the hell wrong with this guy! Usually, with rude/jerk characters in a romance, we will be presented with ‘layers’, so we could see what shaped the hero (or heroine) to act like so. But I didn’t get this from the book.

The only thing that I loved in this book was the kids. Tommy, most especially, was so adorable. Mollie was sweet, and Brent was a good teenager. Lyssa was rather plain as a heroine, and she didn’t have strong enough personality to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth for Nick’s attitude.

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:
28644551Title: Snowbound with Mr. Wrong
Author: Barbara White Daille
Series: Snowflake Valley, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 193 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Release Date: November 7, 2016