ARC Review: Junkyard Heart (Garrett Leigh)

Simply another case where the story not exactly what I imagine it would be when I started. I knew Leigh’s brand of angst, so I was bit threw off because I thought Jas and Kim initial meeting was pretty cute. Then the whole story, despite Kim’s addiction problem, didn’t feel that ‘moody’ for me. Guess I couldn’t figure out where the story would go, I kept expecting something worse waiting at the end of the line and it didn’t.

I am being very vague, I know. But that was what I felt — detached. It was Garrett Leigh’s writing that kept me going.

I DID feel uncomfortable with Lena’s situation though. ** SPOILERS ** I know that Kim doesn’t cheat on Lena with Jas considering Lena she has been away, and when Kim is with Lena he has open relationship … but since Jas has his heart broken when he falls hard with a man who turns out to be married, this thing didn’t make me happy. And that scene when Lena is watching the two men having sex? WEIRD. I guess that part is just not my cup of tea.

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: Junkyard Heart
Author: Garrett Leigh
Series: Porthkennack Universe, #7
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 50,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: December 4, 2017

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ARC Review: Vampire Fight Club (Larissa Ione)

Nathan Sabine is a manager of Gladius, an underground gladiator rings where supernatural beings fight to the dead, a secret part of club Thirst. At first Nate decides to works there to plan for a revenge upon the demon who kills his wife. However, years gone by and Nate loses the fire that burns his rage. Until a female nurse who smells like canine shifter — but claims to be a Tiger shifter — walks into his office, asking for a job. Vladlena “Lena” Paskelkov’s brother comes to her hospital dying, and his last word is ‘Thirst Club’. Lena wants to find out what really happened so she decides to work undercover at the club as part of the medic team.

I admit that it has been a while since I read the Demonica series — I used to LOVE that one years back — so I didn’t remember much about the characters… BUT this one could pretty much read as a stand alone anyway. Since it’s a novella, everything happens really fast. BUT I appreciate that Ione keeps the sex scene near the end instead of spreading it around the chapters. I liked both Lena and Nate; and even if I didn’t remember much, it was nice to see the demon brothers and sister of the Underground General Hospital again.

PS: This story is previously released in an anthology. I don’t know whether it has been re-edited or re-expanded though.

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:

Title: Vampire Fight Club
Author: Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica Universe
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Vampires
Length: 100 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: November 28, 2017

ARC Review: All Of The Above (Quinn Anderson)

Brendon stumbles into a relationship quiz on a magazine given by his friend. He thinks the quiz’s answers are so perfect for him and Brendon becomes a little obsessed. Well, actually Brendon believes that the quiz maker is his soulmate. After doing a little “(online) research” and finds his name to be Matt; Brendon starts his quest for true love.

All of the Above is pretty predictable when we have an MC who does a little stalkerish action to set-up a fake meet-cute with a love interest who says that he hates being lied to. BUT, this also has a rom-com formula that feels familiar and it makes me smile on several occasions. I mean Brendon is a bit neurotic about it, and it was FUN to read. I thought Matt was being judge-y, though maybe he has a valid reason for it.

It was an entertaining read — if you can close your eyes of both the MCs’ flaws and don’t let it bother you much 🙂

 

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
35

 

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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:
All Of The Above
Author: Quinn Anderson
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: ~41.100 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 20, 2017

ARC Review: Kill Game (Cordelia Kingsbridge)

Kill Game is a book whose plot (serial killer!), characters (a homicide detective — who can do Krav Maga by the way — and a bail enforcement agent), chemistry (sizzles), action (fast-paced!), and romantic development (strong and steady; the sex near the end is pretty hot too) is RIGHT up my alley! It definitely is one of my favorite reads of the year…

This is only my second book of Cordelia Kingsbridge and I seriously wonder why I haven’t read more of hers. Maybe because I’m not really into reading free online fiction *lol*. Anyway, I requested this ARC because of the first two words of the blurb: homicide detective. Other readers have their love towards firemen, or hockey players, or military officers …

Me? Homicide detective is one of my weaknesses. I didn’t even read the whole blurb completely; I saw that and I was intrigued.

What a ride this one turned out for me!! I couldn’t put this down. Kill Game is a thrilling page-turner and everything I enjoy from mystery/romance…

First, a vigilante SERIAL KILLER. Yes, The Seven of Spades only kills people who commit crime and walk away from jail time. I enjoy reading about serial killer whose victims are not exactly innocent. The moral question on whether the victims “get what they deserve” makes the story EXCITING.

Then we have the relationship dynamic between Levi (the detective) and Dominic (thebail enforcement agent). Levi thinks that Dominic is NOT his type at all. Dominic is too big, too muscular… As for Dominic, Levi is a bit too prickly. But boy, they have delicious chemistry. They work REALLY well together too; even if Dominic is not part of the Las Vegas Police Department. I think it’s because they respect each other and they are good at what they do. I also loved them individually; I especially enjoyed the added layers that Kingsbridge gave this character… like Levi having a rich boyfriend, and Dominic as a recovering gambling addict.

The love story is slow burn for me. Until at least half of this book, Levi is in a relationship with someone else. No, Levi is not cheating on his boyfriend, they already have issues. I thought Kingsbridge offered a convincing problematic relationship when the two men involved had different ending goals.

The only thing that stops Kill Game from being a perfect read for me is, well, the ending. When I read it, I wasn’t aware that it was the first novel of a series arc that spans five books. Which means when I started, I had expectations. I wasn’t prepared with the possibility that the big question wasn’t completely answered at the end… so I was a bit bummed by it.

The final line of this book was excellent though … I know I’m going to have fun building up hypothesis about the real identity of Seven of Spades. I already have my guess at the moment, but with more books, I will have more data so to speak. Now I’m eagerly waiting for the second book and counting the days until it arrives.

RATING: 4.5 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: Kill Game
Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge
Series: Seven of Spades, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary / Mystery Romance
Word Count: 78,500 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 23, 2017

ARC Review: Nobody Rides for Free (Neil S. Plakcy)

Young FBI Special Agent Angus Green is back in this follow-up to Plakcy’s The Next One Will Kill You. After being shot in the line of duty and is forced into working desk job while he recovers, Angus finally gets himself involved in a zombie case: people who are overdosed by synthetic drugs called flakka are acting like mindless zombie, including attacking and gnawing other people’s faces. Early clue about the drug distribution seems to involve underage gay teens being abused by acting in porn movies. This becomes an extra motivation for Angus to solve both cases…

I really, REALLY liked this. I can see how the story might be tedious to some readers since all Angus does are basically doing research and filling paperworks. There are minimal of high-speed car chases or bullets flying all over the place. HOWEVER, I always enjoy procedural (and research is necessary, always!) so I liked reading how Angus working the Internet, interviewing people, and tracing facts to help him find the teens as well as looking for the source of the drugs.

It also helps that Angus is a NICE guy. Brooding lone wolf rebellious type of heroes are fine but there are a LOT of them out there. Sometimes too many, especially in a mystery genre! For me, it’s refreshing to have someone like Angus: young, eager, play to the rules, and not unwilling to work with others.

Also, he comes from a good and loving family. His stepfather and mother are still married and Angus has pretty close relationship with his brother. A detective or agent with too much baggage is overdone? It’s great to read that a not messed-up guy can still do a good investigation. I definitely rooted for Angus all the way through.

There is a slight update on the romance department for Angus, too. No, not a new guy — it’s the same old guy from the previous book, Lester, a bouncer at Eclipse, a gay bar on the outskirts of Wilton Manors. Angus is doing some “growing” up in that part of his life. It put a smile to my face 🙂

I hope Plakcy will have more stories about Angus…

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: Nobody Rides For Free
Author: Neil S. Plakcy
Series: Angus Green Series, #2
Genre: Gay Fiction/Mystery
Length: 262 pages
Publisher: Diversion Book
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: October 24, 2017

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

ARC Review: An Unsuitable Heir (K.J. Charles)

Mark Braglewicz’s inquiry to look for the missing heir of previously deceased Lord Moreton brings him to Pen and Greta Starling from the Flying Starling trapeze act. Mark is fascinated with Pen — the artist with muscular shoulder and long hair is different compared to other men or women that Mark is involved before. But Mark has a job to do, there is a killer on the loose and dead set on killing people from discovering the Earl of Moreton; even if he has to break Pen’s heart to do it.

Pen Starling doesn’t want to be an earl … he doesn’t want to live as fake and behave as a man just like society dictates it. That is not who Pen is. Being a trapeze artist and lives in the world of performance gives Pen the freedom to be who he is as he chooses to be. But Mark tells him that people are being murdered and he is trapped with decision he doesn’t want to take. Of course, falling for the inquiry agent also brings complication…

We finally get to the final book of K.J. Charles “Sins of the Cities” series. First thing that I need to address: I would like to raise my (imaginary) hat to K.J. Charles for bringing me a genderfluid character in Pen, and his pansexual lover in Mark. I LOVED how Charles wrote these characters; it never felt forced. I loved reading about Pen’s perspectives about his sexual fluidity.

I don’t see why there’s only two choices, as if unless I behave like a man then I must want to be a woman. I’d hate to put on a satin dress every night and have everyone call me she almost as much as you would. Except some nights, now and again, it would be lovely. If I chose.

And Mark adored the hell out of Pen, which was so sweet!!

Aside from the romance, I also enjoyed the answer to all the violence that started with An Unseen Attraction. It was a satisfying conclusion to the mystery — as well as providing the perfect solution to Pen’s status as Earl and his relationship with Mark. The pace of this book seemed to be smoother than the rest. The suspense was added when the killer seemed to follow Pen and Greta as they were hiding at Crowmarsh while the matter of their title is being investigated, and made attempt to kill Pen.

Combined with my liking both Pen and Mark both as individuals and as a couple, all in all An Unsuitable Heir is my favorite book of the trilogy

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: An Unsuitable Heir
Author: K.J. Charles
Series: Sins of the Cities, #3
Genre: MM Historical Romance
Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Loveswept
Purchase at: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble US, iTunes, Kobo
Release Date: October 3, 2017