ARC Review: Serenity Harbor (RaeAnne Thayne)

Serenity Harbor , the 6th book from Haven Point features schoolteacher Katrina Bailey (the youngest Bailey sibling, sister of Wyn and Marshall from book #4 and #5) and computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan. In between the two there is also a sweet six-years-old autistic boy, Milo, who is Bowie’s half younger brother. Bo doesn’t know that Milo existed but when he gets guardianship Bo is determined not to take care of him

Milo is pretty much the catalyst for Katrina and Bo’s relationship. Kat’s first encounter with Bo and Milo is when Milo is having a meltdown in supermarket with Bo not knowing what to do. Since Kat is a primary schoolteacher, she makes connection with Milo. Bo asks Kat to help becoming Milo’s temporary nanny, until Milo’s future autism specialist arrives and before Kat leaves back to Colombia.

~~~

Hmmmm… I’ve loved the previous stories from this series but I think I hit a snag this time around. Now, I LOVED Milo … my heart went out for this boy. It annoyed me at first that Bo seemed to focus more on his works rather than his special-needs brother. Bo gets better in dealing with Milo of course but still… he could’ve get to that point sooner.

I think my problem is because I didn’t feel the chemistry between Kat and Bo. In fact, I thought Kat had better connection with Milo. ALL of Kat and Milo’s interaction warmed my heart dearly. From the moment she crouched down on Milo’s level to talk to him out of his meltdown, to making him breakfast, to teaching him to verbally communicate. It was beautiful and touching for me.

On top of that, the whole ** SPOILER \ Katrina’s plan to adopt another special-needs girl from Colombia / END SPOILER** felt a little outside of my realm of romance. It’s a little bit too out there. Plus I couldn’t help thinking that using too many special-needs children to make me care for Kat and Bo as a couple to be a little “manipulative”.

So yes, I didn’t love this as romance as a whole. BUT everything with Kat and Milo lifted up the book for me. I’m still interested with the next book of course! It will feature the charming Jamie Caine and the librarian Julia Winston. That sounds promising 🙂

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: Serenity Harbor
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #6
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books
Purchase Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books
Release Date: June 27th, 2017

ARC Review: Back to You (Chris Scully)

A journalist who comes home to his sleepy hometown after two decades. A second-chance romance with the first boy he ever kissed. And an answer to the mystery of a missing teenage girl that might either make or break the possible future between the two of them

This book is (nearly) perfect for me in every way. It is MY kind of read.

From the moment it opens with Alex driving his car towards his hometown of Alton Pop. 3,200 I was bewitched with Chris Scully’s atmospheric prose. Alex returns home to visit his estranged dying father, after a call from his older sister. But Alex knows, he also going back to Benji Morning, his former best friend. Once Ben was part of Alex’s childhood life, they did everything together. And Ben was also Alex’s first kiss with a boy. Unfortunately, after Alex’s mother packed up their bags and left their father, Alex ceased to continue communication with Ben…

In hindsight, I suppose I could have Googled him, or found him on Facebook like any other long-lost friend, but I was already in motion, driving the extra hour east purely by instinct, as if Benji were my true north and I the needle on a compass.

However as he arrives in Alton, Alex is involved with a mystery involving Ben’s older sister. Twenty years ago, Misty Morning, disappeared without a trace; her case was considered a runaway. But a little over a week before Alex’s arrival, Misty’s car was found near a lake, and Ben’s mother insisted for the police to re-open the case.

The memory of Misty’s white Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme seeped into my brain, coalescing like a slow-developing Polaroid. Calling it a shit-bucket would have been generous.

Back to You is written solely from Alex’s perspective. While Ben’s POV is missing but I wasn’t completely bothered by it. For me, this is basically Alex’s journey. He is the one returning home. He is the one that needs to make peace with his father and his decision to ‘cut-off’ any communication with Ben. In a way that matters Ben’s is the solid one — like Alex said, his true north.

I was as engaged with the answer to the mystery as much as I did with the romance. Scully cleverly throws some red herrings before she reveals what really happened to Misty all those years ago. She skillfully navigates the dysfunctional family dynamic in both Alex and Ben’s family the serves a role to the mystery that both heartbreaking and thought-provoking.

At the same time Scully steadily develops the relationship between Alex and Ben, which is appropriate considering when they left things, the two men were only in a brink of their teenage years. Alex and Ben need to work through the years that they have been separated, to untangle what they are meant to each other then and now.

To me, this is a compelling story. It fulfills my (reading) heart’s desire for a strong plot and characterizations — and not simply leaning on sexual content. I did wish the epilogue to be more of a firm happily ever after decorated with sunshine and rainbows.

I have been a fan of Chris Scully since the very beginning — this is definitely her best yet and my favorite so far.

RATING: 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: Back to You
Author: Chris Scully
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance / Mystery
Word Count: 70,500 words
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: June 12, 2017

ARC Review: Tough Luck Hero (Maisey Yates)

I wasn’t really happy with the previous book — Sierra and Ace in One Night Charmer — so I admit I was approaching this with lower expectation. Especially since I didn’t get enough impression of Colton in the last book.

Well, I’ll be damned … this is definitely my favorite of the series so far, and one of the most entertaining reads of the year!! Even after I slept on it, the only thing I could think about the next day, was how this book as well as the characters of Colton and Lydia amused the hell out of me throughout *hugs book, beaming happily*

Getting hitched under influence in Vegas is a clichĂ© plot. Usually I have trouble in believing why the couple should together. However, I thought Maisey Yates gave a pretty plausible explanation on why Colton and Lydia should keep their marriage for now. Lydia is running as Mayor of Copper Ridge and she can’t go through a scandal (since she already told people she married Colton, while she was still drunk *haha*). And Colton also needed to take consideration of his mother’s health.

I LOVED Colton and Lydia — their banters, while sometimes full with barbs and wires, were sizzling and crackling!! Both were quick with their quips!! It was SO DELIGHTFUL reading it!! Especially because Colton and Lydia were actually share similar traits. They were both like to be in control, and it was fun to see when things didn’t really come their way.

I thought the progress from adversaries to lovers was believable. I could actually feel the difference in their attitudes and dialogs from the first chapter to the last. They had chemistry and in the end, I believed that they loved one another. Their passion was OFF THE CHART! I was so ready to read their first kiss and actual sex scenes, because the tension was so thick and crackling, I thought it was going to be explosive for sure *lol*

So yes, I really loved this one. I love it when a book can still surprise me, especially when I start it with low expectation. I guess now I’m pretty excited to read Gage’s story 🙂

RATING: 4.5 out of 5
4.5

 

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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:

28220051Title: Tough Luck Hero
Author: Maisey Yates
Series: Copper Ridge, #5
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: June 28, 2016

ARC Review: Riverbend Road (RaeAnne Thayne)

It feels good returning to Haven Point, the fictional small town from the pen of RaeAnne Thayne, which started with Snow Angel Cove back in 2014. In Riverbend Road, readers are going to meet police officer Wynona “Wyn” Bailey and the Chief of Police, Cade Emmett.

I loved Wyn so much!! I thought she was totally awesome. She stole my heart early on when she walked into an old barn on fire to save two teenage boys. Then Wyn continued to charm me as the story went along, with her befriending a skittish woman and her kids, teaching self-defense class, and of course dealing with her feeling for Cade. I loved that she made the first move and later on, she didn’t back down when she told Cade what she wanted out of him.

 

“I don’t want to be vital to the department. “I only want to be vital to you. I’m in love with you, Cade. Don’t you get it?”

 

There wasn’t a lot that I could complaint about when it comes to Wyn. I adored her; she was kind, friendly, resourceful, and strong. On top of that she was also a survivor. I think Wyn is definitely my favorite heroine so far from this series.

Cade on the other hand — urgh, I could knock some sense into him. Being the best friend of Wyn’s older brother, Cade suffered from the typical attitude in romance, as in not wanting to make a move towards his best friend’s sister. It also didn’t help that Cade was practically Wyn’s boss, which could complicate their professional relationship if people found out. Especially since one of Wyn’s friends was none other than Haven Point’s mayor, a.k.a. Cade’s boss.

Despite this, I thought the story was lovely; there was definitely a chemistry between Wyn and Cade considering they were also good friends. There was douse of humor too, one of the most precious moments was when Wyn asked Cade to help with her self-defense class. Not going to spoil much but there was a good amount of drama and action near the end, which resulted in a satisfying conclusion for Wyn and Cade’s romance.

It was a satisfying read and I look forward to more stories from Haven Point…

 

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:

ARC Review: Riverbend Road (RaeAnne Thayne)
27780411Title: 
Riverbend Road
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Series: Haven Point, #4
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: June 21st, 2016

ARC Review: Need You For Mine (Marina Adair)

Harper is used to be put on the friend-zone by men except Adam, because Harper doesn’t really want to be friend with the bad boy fire-fighter. But then to secure Adam’s promotion and to save Harper’s grandmother’s lingerie store, they end up in fake relationship (it is started with Adam kissing Harper then come visit the store when Harper is meeting an important lingerie brand representative and thought Adam is Harper’s boyfriend) …

It is a nice read, Harper feels like an everday girl (she likes cookies!!), and it’s always read about a bad-boy who tries to reform his reputation. The grand gesture in the end was very good (you go, Adam!). Having said that, I wonder if I would feel more connected to these people if I read the first two books in the series… because I haven’t and I’m not as invested with Adam and Harper as I would’ve liked to.

RATING: 3 out of 5
3-stars

 

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:

25808500Title: Need You For Mine
Author: Marina Adair
Series: Heroes of St. Helena, #3
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Release Date: March 29, 2016