ARC Review: Action (Quinn Anderson)

Action is the second Quinn Anderson’s book I read after her debut last year, Hotline. Unfortunately I have likes and dislikes about this book, and it ends up only within my so-so category…

First off, with having only one perspective, I didn’t feel like I have enough balance. Yes, I loved Pete Grifflow — I loved his babble, I loved his friends, I loved his mom, and honestly Pete’s insecurity issues were a bit endearing (except near the end). BUT I couldn’t say the same about his love interest, Evan Darko. He came off as a bit two dimensional and I always got quickly bored with gorgeous and perfect specimen anyway, which was how Evan was described (at least from Pete’s perspective).

Second, this book is LONG. While I didn’t exactly put it down because I was quite engaged with Pete, but at times I thought that the editor (or Anderson herself) could cut several scenes to make it a bit more effective. And may I say that I really didn’t find Pete’s smoking habit as attractive? Sorry, but I’m not a fan of smoker characters. So having THAT habit written on page annoyed me. Probably would be the scenes I expect to be deleted.

Third, while Pete did experience growth throughout the book, where he gained confidence while being with Evan, but I was not completely happy when even near the end Pete was still a bit in denial about his relationship. Like he wasn’t certain about what Evan saw in him, and he couldn’t even say that Evan was his boyfriend.

ALSO, I wasn’t completely happy with Pete’s decision about whether or not he should be honest about his job as a porn start to his mother.

Having said that, I liked how Anderson sort of “humanized” porn stars. I mean, they like doing what they do. They came to the industry with various reasons and there aren’t any angst, guilt, or humiliation coming from these characters. I also appreciated Anderson’s reaching out to diversity by having a Muslim female character — a friend of Pete — who also kicks ass in my opinion. Sana’s reply to one obnoxious customer at the coffee shop where Pete works his day job is one of my favorite scenes in this book.

In conclusion, I am still going to check out Anderson’s next books. But I hope she steps up her game and gives me a more stellar read than the two books in this Murmur Inc. series.

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: Action
Author: Quinn Anderson
Series: Murmur Inc. #2
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 97,000 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 5, 2017

ARC Review: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost (Lucy Banks)

Kester Lanner is a 22-year-old young man who follows his mother’s dying request to go to Dr. Ribero’s Agency. Not knowing who or what Dr. Ribero is, Kester discovers that a whole new world that he never knows before, the world of supernatural investigations, including catching them and such. Not only that, Kester also learns a lot more about his family and the secret that his mother keeps all these years. Then Kester is thrown to the business when he is roped to help with a case of haunted painting of an apparently very viscious lady in green-dress…

I couldn’t help feeling curious with The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost because of the GORGEOUS cover and the blurb that said “family business: catching supernatural spirits”. Look, British Ghostbusters! *smile* And well, I quite liked this debut…

Kester is definitely the youngest addition to the supernatural agency; all of the other characters are a whole lot older than he is. Maybe because of that, at first I didn’t feel a cohesive and welcoming team towards Kester. Especially coming from Serena, the extinguisher on the team.

After a while, I understand that it is caused by Serena’s fear of Kester taking over her job, since it turns out Kester has “something” running in his blood that apparently is very useful in the ghost-hunters business. Plus Kester is the boss’s son. But still I didn’t feel that closeness yet between them which influences my enjoyment a bit.

However, I could see that this may be a work in progress. After he welcomes the idea of supernatural world, Kester would be quite helpful for the agency. He has a knack for research — and actually enjoys it! — which will contribute to the other skills that the rest of the team has.

I enjoyed reading about the rest of Kester new co-workers — in addition to Serena, we have Ms. Wellbeloved who is a conversant, Pamela – the resident psychic, Mike who designs all the equipment, and of course the head of the team, Dr. Julio Ribero. Even if they sometimes squabble quite loud; it is also probably due to the fact that they had been together for years.

The ghost case is quite engaging; I loved that this book mixes supernatural beings from legends as well as cultural folklore (we have sighting of a dislocated Japanese spirit who wakes up in a wrong time-zome *lol*)

I’d say this is a lovely debut and I’m looking forward to future sequels 🙂

 

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:

greenTitle: The Case of the Green-Dressed Ghost
Author: Lucy Banks
Series: Dr. Ribero’s Agency of the Supernatural #1
Genre: Supernatural Fiction
Length: 284 pages
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Release Date: March 7, 2017

ARC Review: Hotline (Quinn Anderson)

I was literally groaning out loud when this story fell into what I would like to describe as stupid and juvenile misunderstanding between the two young men. Zack said it himself … “It’s like one of those bad teenage dramas where the whole plot could be fixed with two minutes’ worth of honest dialogue”, he said to his neighbor.

Up to that point, I thought Hotline was pretty good. New-to-me author, Quinn Anderson, offered a different take of an MC working in sex industry. Actually the words “phone sex operator” in the blurb were what drew me in to request the ARC from Riptide … and I’ve enjoyed what Ms. Anderson wrote about Zack’s job. It was pretty detailed — and even if the whole role plays and phone sex didn’t do anything to me, I thought the fact that these operators could whip out scenarios and acting on them on the spot was pretty awesome.

Since the book was solely told from Zack’s point of view, as a character, I found him to be ‘alive‘ on pages. I loved his personality, and I loved reading about his friends. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same impression about John. John as a character was still a bit mysterious to me. So yeah, he was a law student, and he was rich … but that was it. To me he was flat and rather undeveloped. I felt that I got more connection with Zack’s friends and neighbors compared to John.

Which was why I thought that latter conflict was stupid and it ruined my overall reading experience. I already wasn’t impressed with John and the budding romance, so when faced with what John did as well as how they got to that conflict, I was ready to bang my head on the table (but I don’t want to injure myself *lol*).

Oh, one more thing … I thought that Anderson didn’t follow up the problem that Zack had with his parents. His parents appeared once, they had painful dinner conversation, and they were just gone. I would love to get some kind of resolution for that particular matter.

The good thing though, I thought Anderson’s writing style fit me :). This book was long, but I wasn’t really bored. I’ll keep eyes on her future titles. I heard that she would have a second “Murmur Inc.” book; I’m going to check that one for sure.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

11613309

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:

30828044Title: Hotline
Author: Quinn Anderson
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 94,700 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 31, 2016

ARC Review: Treble Maker (Annabeth Albert)

I am going to start with a disclaimer. I love Annabeth Albert’s stories … I enjoy her Portland Heat series and her contribution to this year’s Goodreads M/M Romance “Don’t Read in the Closet” event, Waiting for Clark, is simply one of my favorites and an almost perfect read. So when I saw that she was releasing a full-length novel, and then the book was available in Netgalley, I didn’t think twice. I just requested right away (and was lucky to be approved).

Albert’s writing was good and attainable; I had no problems with it it all. Then there was Cody, one of the main narrators. While he sometimes showed a Diva-esque behavior as he thought of himself as the best and lead singer of Embellish, Cody ended up being quite endearing for me. Cody’s background struggle with his family, his determination to make it on this business, alongside the judgments and sneer from others because of his Goth/Twink/Rainbow/Man-Whore attitude made Cody much rounded character. Yes, Cody pushes Lucas with his flirt and his arguments, but it brought different dimensions of him, and I’m SUCH a sucker for that complexity.

Unfortunately, this book failed me in other levels. It might also had something to do with expectations, and this one didn’t give me what I wanted. Thus, my lack of enjoyment during and after finishing the read. First off, it felt too long. Cody and Lucas going hot and cold for more than 200 pages challenged my patience. Especially when the drama felt childish — then again, these were 20’s years old men, so maybe that was why it was difficult for me to connect? — Seriously, it felt dragging, and I found myself skimming the 1/3rd of the book or so.

Then, we also had the sex content over the story. Okay, so this MAY be just my issue, all right? I don’t see many M/M readers having problem with it. I guess I was expecting the emphasis to be combination of the competitions, how the group was going each week, while having the romance in between. I felt that the competition was pushed WAY back, whereas the parts that related to the competition was actually some of my favorites: like Cody taught Lucas how to dance, how the choreograph the dance, heck, even how they chose the song to sing. Instead this felt like a repetitive sex-lessons for a gay virgin hero, which didn’t work for me at all. I couldn’t care less for the mutual jerk-off sessions, or the push-and-pull about doing it in the bedroom, etc. I wanted the romance and I didn’t get it.

Oh, and everything related to the “conservative way = bad” and “free to do what you want = good” was also not a favorite theme of mine *shrugs*

Bottom line, this is not my favorite from Albert. As always, reading is a personal experience, and I might come to this with different set of perceptions and preferences. I can see this being a favorite for those who love their new adult boys, and their angst. It’s simply not mine.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5
25stars

 

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:
23519651Title: Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony, #1)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance / New Adult
Word Count: 102,403
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Release Date: August 4, 2015