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: A Special Delivery (Laura Bailo)

Colin receives a package that is meant for James. He decides to deliver the package himself since James’ house is only few streets over and he needs to walk his dog, Anubis, anyway. But then comes the storm and Colin ends up spending a night at James’ house while waiting for the situation to be safer for him to walk back home…

This story is basically telling about this first meeting (and an epilogue). And I thought Bailo was able to show the easy connection between Colin and James. I also loved the dog 🙂

At around 8k, A Special Delivery is a sweet holiday story.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5
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The ARC is provided by the  author for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:
Title:
A Special Delivery
Author: Laura Bailo
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance / Short
Word Count: ~8.100 words
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: November 20, 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
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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: Wheels Up (Annabeth Albert)

I never thought I would’ve used this one word to explain an Annabeth Albert’s book. But I found Wheels Up , the fourth book in her Out of Uniform to be BORING.

The basic is this … Dustin and Wes first meet online, they don’t really share a lot of personal information when they decide to have face-to-face encounter. But after that one night, Wes finds out after being transferred that Dustin is his new XO. Which means they cannot pursue further relationship since fraternization among officers and enlisted officers ends up with serious ramifications. Of course it’s easier said that done…

I think THAT is my problem. I know that the author is trying to portray this type of relationship as realistically as possible, unfortunately as a story, personally I think Wheels Up is nothing but rinse and repeat. The conflict is stretched pretty thin to fill in the pages. As in … Dustin and Wes try to stay away from one another but they can’t, then comes the guilt, then they try to stay away (again), but they can’t … and so on.

I also found it hard to connect with these two men because I didn’t feel like I knew or understood them in the end. Wes having a very sick sister but I didn’t feel like his emotional turmoil was explored enough — especially since his sister was sort of kept off page for the most part. Then there was Dustin … he has been hiding his bisexuality ALL of his life… considering that his younger BROTHER is gay, his best friend too, and his brother actually MARRIED to his best friend, I struggled to understand why Dustin never said anything. Yeah, sure, maybe not immediately to his parents… but to Dylan, or Apollo?

I figure the sex scenes are probably good for most readers. But I’m always one who enjoy sex MORE when I’m invested enough with the characters. Since I didn’t, well I ended up SKIPPING most of them (yes, I got bored).

I’m rounding this slightly to my “just okay” category because there were still moments that hit me the right way, like when Dustin consoles Wes when Wes receives news about his sister. And of course I like reading about Apollo and Dylan again, even if it’s just a short update.

I LOVED the last three Albert’s books that I read. I hit bump with this one but hopefully her next book will be better for me.

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: Wheels Up
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Out Of Uniform, #4
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble
Release Date: November 6, 2017

ARC Review: Off the Ice (Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn)

I am going to say that it’s TWO for TWO for me, when it comes to Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn’s writing partnership, after Permanent Ink. Because I loved this one as well!

Off the Ice is the first book of the new trilogy, Hat Trick, featuring Tristan Holt, a defenseman for Atlanta Venom, and Sebastian Cruz, sociology professor at Georgia State. It has a number of tropes that may attract readers of this genre. Let’s see … student/teacher, age-gap, d/s kink … and well, hockey players!

The two men meet when Tristan enrolls for summer course during his season break and takes Sociology 3201 where Sebastian is the professor. Initially Sebastian — despite his PhD in sociology and his lecture about perceptions, mind you — ends up falling into stereotype trap as he thinks that Tristan is just a jock, who plagiarizes his fellow student’s paper. Boy, I LOVED that scene where Tristan reminds Sebastian about it, takes him down a peg *laugh*. They don’t start dating after the final grade is given though, to avoid breaking the rule.

The main conflict of the book is nothing new, especially if it involves non-straight athletes. Tristan being in the closet, afraid of the repercussion of being an out player, versus Sebastian’s out status and unwillingness to be a secret lover. Having said that, I didn’t think it was angst-heavy. We still have a lot of them being in the state of sexual bliss, outside of Tristan coaxing Sebastian to start paying attention of hockey. Addressing the issue is being kept until later in the book to act as the bridge to deliver the happy ending.

All in all, it’s a great start to introduce readers to the series. I already look forward to reading the upcoming books. I hope the next one is about Ryu, the Venom goalie.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

The ARC is provided by the authors via A Novel Take PR for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.

 

BOOK INFO:

Title: Off the Ice
Author: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn
Series: Hat Trick, #1
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 70,900 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 30, 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