ARC Review: Intercepting the Chef (Rachel Goodman)

Intercepting the Chef is the first book from new-to-me author Rachel Goodman’s upcoming series “How to Score“. It features rising star chef Gwen Lalonde and Logan Stonestreet, NFL golden boy and quarterback for the Colorado Blizzards who is also best friend with Gwen’s twin brother, Chris. After being fired by her ex-boyfriend celebrity chef and is forced to return home to Denver, Gwen is hired by Logan to be executive chef for his restaurant that he develops on behalf of his mother’s love for food…

I enjoyed this romance — but I must admit that while I thought Logan was such a darling, I had a difficult time to warm up to Gwen. This more or less influenced my opinion.

I know that as a woman, I can be quite hard on heroine characters in the romance books I read. I did applaud Gwen’s determination to fulfill her dream of having her own restaurant. I admired her for being focused on her passion. Because we need females like that too, right? Those who strive to excel professionally; not just in relationship.

Unfortunately, Gwen also felt distant and aloof to me. It was slightly difficult to emotionally root for Gwen because she came up as being dismissive and judgmental over other people’s dreams and issues. Like when Gwen was surprised that her brother did charity (because she always thought of Chris as shallow). Or that Logan didn’t like all of the aspects of football (because Gwen thought Logan enjoyed the glory of the game). For someone who was fired because she assumed that her ex-boyfriend would be thankful of what she did, I was hoping that past experience made Gwen more humble than she was.

I couldn’t help wishing that Gwen to show a softer side once in a while because I found myself taking side with Logan when they had their arguments.

I couldn’t find a lot of faults of Logan. He was warm, and kind, and clearly loved his mother. I felt sorry for Logan because everybody in his life — his father, his agent, his coach, his teammates — seemed to only see him as a franchise. They didn’t care that he was in pain, that he was injured … they only wanted him to bring the win and the money. I wanted to hug Logan and to protect him from all harms. So with Gwen keeping their relationship at arm’s length, sometimes I wondered if Gwen was good enough for Logan.

With this being the start of a series — and I didn’t find any issue with Goodman’s writing — I think I will keep my eyes out for future books in this series. I am quite interested to read romance featuring Gwen’s brother, Chris, or her best friend, Missy. They were two secondary characters that definitely caught my attention here.

 

RATING: 3.5 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: Intercepting the Chef
Author: Rachel Goodman
Series: How to Score, #1
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket Star
Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
Release Date: May 2, 2017

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ARC Review: The Next Competitor (Keira Andrews)

This book is re-released in the midst of the popularity of the anime Yuri On Ice which has pretty much taken the online social media by storm — by the way, if you don’t know that anime, you probably haven’t read Heidi Cullinan’s passionate blog post about it (*haha*). I can already see fans of the show who also love M/M romance might take an interest on the story of Alex Grady, a twenty-year-old American figure skater on his way to his first Olympic.

I admit that it wasn’t easy for me to immediately warm up towards Alex. Alex is abrasive, sometimes dismissive and he doesn’t seem to have a filter from brain to mouth, which ends up with him hurting other people with his words more than once. But I could chalk it up at him being young and also feeling the pressure to win — after all of his family has done to support him.

Unfortunately, it also made me frustrated with Alex’s determination to win the Olympics without actually showing that he loves the skating itself. I don’t fit to athlete’s “I’m in it to win it” philosophy; which also means that I definitely suck in competitive environment. I guess I really want to see Alex loving the sport because he can’t see himself doing anything else, rather than because of a gold medal (and possibly an Olympic tattoo).

On the other hand, I think that IS what the story is all about. It’s about Alex’s journey to find that there are things other than a place at the podium. Oh, winning is important but it is not everything, you know? Alex learns about friendship, about love (with Matt), and finally able to skate because he loves being on ice. THAT is what I loved the most about this story.

As for the romance — eh, it was okay, I guess. Since Alex is the narrator, I didn’t get to know a lot about Matt’s personal thoughts except in conversations with Alex. I liked Matt just fine though. I thought he would be a good partner for Alex, to remind Alex whenever he is in over his head.

I didn’t enjoy the sex scenes though, which was the HUGE reason for my not being able to put this on my 4-stars category. This is definitely due to personal taste. I have come to realize that I find Keira Andrew’s sex scenes to be personally off-putting. In this case, it felt dirty and I didn’t like to read dirty/advanced sex scenes with young adult/new adult characters *shrugs*.

All in all, this is a good sports-romance with figure skaters. There are quite a number of technical terms used during Alex’s training and performance, but you can take it in stride. Or you can try to watch Yuri On Ice for better visual image of what Alex is doing *lol*

 

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

 

BOOK INFO:


33009275Title: 
The Next Competitor (2nd edition)
Author: Keira Andrews
Genre: MM Contemporary/Sports Romance
Length: 222 pages
Purchase Link: Amazon US, Amazon Global
Release Date: December 4th, 2016

ARC Review: Irresistibly Yours (Lauren Layne)

*3.75 stars rounded up*

This is only the third Lauren Layne’s book that I have read. I read the first Sex and Stiletto book but I didn’t continue it. The thing is, what they do, what they write, is TOTALLY not my kind of reading. I found female magazine boring. I don’t care about the relationship and sex tips (I’m asexual!) or fashion tips (I like my shirt and shorts and sandals, thank you very much) or make-up tips (don’t like ’em). Yep, I found them boring.

However, when I read the blurb for this one, I thought it had potential. First, it is about SPORTS magazine (well, a men’s magazine but with sport editors). Second, it has “fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes”. Let’s face it, THAT kind of woman I think I could connect to. I may not be a tomboy who hang with dudes, but I feel like she will be more relatable to me than the Stiletto girls.

Well, I was right … this book was cute!!

I liked Penelope — she is (using Cole’s own words) unabashedly honest and I found it, dare I say it, quite refreshing. I loved that she prefers junk food (hotdog, popcorns, pretzels) over posh dining. I loved that she preferred her casual look over dresses up nine-to-five. Heck, when Penelope is talking about lipstick and the fact that she never think of figuring out whether it expires, or that most of the time she doesn’t think of put lipstick on, I feel like she’s talking about ME!!! So I enjoyed that part.

I also liked Cole … when he’s not being a jerk (I get to that part later). I loved his loyalty to his brother, his sense of responsibility, and most of all I loved reading about his camaraderie with the other men. Their ‘bro-chemistry’ is off the charts *lol*.

As a story, there is this easiness that made me gobbled up the sentences fast and furiously. The first half definitely was DELIGHTFUL — until these two playing tags in making the other one jealous while sending those mixed signals. For two people who can talk about daily things, it was frustrating that Penelope and Cole couldn’t communicate what they meant to say.

I also had problem with Penelope’s insecurity of her self-potential of being someone’s girlfriend and Cole’s tendency to quickly make assumptions along with his reluctance to share important things (namely his own big brother). Mostly the last one, I think. I mean, seriously Cole, you said it yourself that Penelope was different plus you thought that you had feelings for her. But you kept her out when something personal happened to you? What gives, man? Plus that last move you did, well, you were a jerk to her. You were an ass to ALL your friends actually *hmph*. I kinda needed more grovel from him.

So yes, I had my complaints. But if I see this as an overall reading experience, I must say I was pretty satisfied. Thus the rounded-up to 4* rating. I am intrigued with Lincoln’s story. Unfortunately, his is not until book #3 and I’m NOT at all interested with blurb for the second book. Let’s just see, shall we?

RATING: 4 out of 5
4stars

 

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:

23395414Title: Irresistibly Yours (Oxford, #1)

Author: Lauren Layne
Genre: MF Contemporary Romance
Word Count: N/A
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House)
Release Date: October 6, 2015