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Search tags: Romance-Contemporary
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review 2018-09-24 19:13
Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote 4 Star Review!
Imperfect Harmony - Jay Northcote

Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…

John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.

Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.

Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.

 

Review

I think this romance is a bit of hidden treasure. Each element is carefully painted. The choir, the music, the grief, the age difference... we even get dogs!

I am a big fan of Jay Northcote and this book really speaks to why. I love the imperfect loveliness of the heros. The risk of a second chance the not perfect sex and so much love.

Pick this one up and enjoy.

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review 2018-09-19 14:43
Safe From Harm by Kate SeRine
Safe from Harm - Kate SeRine

One year after the murder of his best friend, yet another person Gabe Dawson loves is in danger. He barely manages to save Elle McCoy's life and almost dies himself. It looks like the father of his friend's murderer, an anti-government fanatic, is behind the attempted assassination and Gabe knows this is just the beginning...


Another great read in this series.

The cast of characters was once again wonderfully portrayed, especially the Dawson family dynamics and the tight bonds that bind the five men together.

And the romance worked much better in this one as well (no formulaic, pace-stalling sex scenes for Gabe and Elle). I loved the UST-filled bickering at the beginning and though, IMHO, the "conflict" went on a page or two too long, the two resolved their mutual issues rather quickly and satisfyingly.
Gabe and Elle worked very well together in my view. They were strong-willed individuals and they brought that grit into their relationship as well. And I was very happy that Elle was the one who truly brought the real Gabe out in the open. Theirs was a very cute and hot romance.

The suspense angle was different from the one in the previous book. First, there was the major difference in the topic (religious anti-government fanatics instead of human traffickers) and the identity of the villain(s) was known from the start, leaving the characters to grapple with just how to make something stick.
I'm rather miffed the final showdown seemed very déjà-vu-ish. I felt like I read those particular scenes with those particular characters (maybe even with rather similar names) somewhere else.

Still, overall it worked and now I really hope to be able to read the eldest Dawson brother, Tom's story someday (the quirky doctor sounds rather good as a heroine, especially after learning just what was going on in the final days of Tom's marriage). And let's not forget Mac, the patriarch, deserves a second chance at a happy ending as well.

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review 2018-09-18 02:44
The Dating Game (Owen & Nathan, #1) by Jay Northcote 3.5 Star Review!
The Dating Game - Jay Northcote

Five sex-free dates—how hard can it be?

When they were at uni, Owen always had a bit of a crush on Nathan. But Nathan was apparently straight, and Owen was too busy with other guys to take his crush seriously.

When Nathan moves back to Bristol after a year away, Owen hears that Nathan has come out of the closet, and he propositions him. Nathan doesn’t want to be just another notch on Owen’s bedpost, though, so he challenges Owen to prove he can be serious: five dates before they have sex.

Owen doesn’t think that sounds too difficult. He’s expecting Nathan to find his charms irresistible anyway. But as they grow closer, Owen begins to care more about proving himself to Nathan than he does about getting him into bed.

 

Review

 

This is a charming read when Owen and Nathan date after crushing on each other in college. It could be richer in that we don't really meet families or see their work life but the dating is great. 

I love the time they spend together and watching them fall in love.

Jack and Simon, (Owen's coupled roommates) need their own book if that don't have one.

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review 2018-09-17 06:44
Stop at Nothing by Kate SeRine
Stop at Nothing - Kate SeRine

Kyle Dawson has spent almost his entire life defying authority, thanks to his family legacy in law enforcement and his deep resentment of his father, an almost legend in the field. That's why he went into the FBI instead of becoming one of his father's deputies, like his three older brothers did. And the job also served him well in order to leave Indiana behind to avoid his family, but mostly to try to forget the woman who broke his heart three years ago.

Unfortunately, his defiance of authority comes back to bite him in the ass, when he's reassigned from New Orleans, without finishing a big drug-trafficking case, back to Indiana and very close to home. And then Abby, the heart-breaker, ends up in danger thanks to her uncovering some shady dealings involving her brother-in-law and...Human trafficking. It might be a coincidence, but Kyle seriously doubts it...And in the end, both he and Abby will learn it's impossible to run away from the past, and family ties are too strong to be severed, no matter what.


I really enjoyed this book, heck, I loved it to pieces most of the time.

Most of all, I loved the dynamics in the Dawson family; the four brothers and their taciturn, austere father were so similar in some aspects, but so utterly different in others. I loved how, despite their differences and disputes, they came together in the end when one of them needed help, and I loved how they ironed over those differences and disputes in a very manly way. I'm looking forward to what the next story brings in the Dawson family department (and I really hope Ms SeRine decides to write the older brother's and father's stories as well; they both deserve a second chance at happiness, methinks).

Then there was the suspense aspect of the story, which worked very, very well. It was gripping, intense, and it kept the reader guessing for the better part of the story about who's involved, what might happen next and just how it all will be resolved.
Unfortunately, the author dropped the ball a little with the main villain, since his identity was glaringly obvious from the start, despite the attempts at misdirection.
And I loved the gentlemanly assassin/independent contractor and his helping hand in how the story started to resolve. It was a nice little twist.

And we finally come to the main couple. I liked them both separately and together, and I felt their romance was nicely done and portrayed, although the main "conflict" made very little sense outside the heroine's mind. What I didn't like were the sex scenes. They came across as rather cold and formulaic, even repetitive towards the end. What bothered me the most was the lack of "connection" between the two protagonists while they were bumping uglies. There was no intimacy in the scenes, it was just sex.
There was chemistry and tension there when they were fully clothed or making out, the connection was there even when they were fighting. Yet, once the clothes came off...nothing.
And instead of helping in moving the plot (at least the romantic sub-plot) forward, helping in establishing the connection between the hero and heroine, the sheer amount of the scenes and rather "clinical" execution, only served in stalling the flow of the story. Ugh.

Barring the last part, this was a very good read. Gripping and intense, with wonderful family dynamics and brotherly relationships, a solid suspense arc, and a great cast of characters.

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review 2018-09-10 12:05
Wolf Rising by Paige Tyler
Wolf Rising - Paige Tyler

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

SWAT Officer Jayden Brooks has his hands full. First, he has to keep his recently injured pack member, Zane, from possibly quitting and leaving the pack. Second, he has to deal with a locked-up werewolf hunter wanting to share information. Then there's the new drug lord in town cleaning up the gangs and selling his drugs in the form of energy drinks...Brooks certainly doesn't have time for a woman, even though she might prove to be the elusive The One.

Unfortunately, he hasn't much say in the matter, since first he has to save her from getting shot by a gangbanger...And then they both have to deal with the pesky little detail that she's obviously turning into a werewolf.


Having read the blurb, I was really looking forward to this story, especially once it was known Brooks's mate is an Omega. Unfortunately, the book ended up being quite a disappointment.

I still liked the action sequences; the drug busts, the saving of hostages and even the full-on assault on the SWAT compound (though those hunters are becoming rather boring). It was the romance that left me cold and severely slowed the pacing of the book.

Is it just me, or are the situations between SWAT members and their Ones starting to be repetitive? They meet under stressful situations, she either turns into a werewolf because of it or remains human, they have sex, he tells her the truth about him (and possibly her), she bolts, talks to whomever happens to pass by at the moment and blurts everything, then she's in danger and calls the werewolf, they make up, have some more sex, someone attacks them, and they all have the BBQ at the end.
It's always a variation on the same theme, and though sometimes the variation is rather nicely developed, this one came across as generic template.

I didn't particularly like the heroine. I didn't dislike her, but I didn't like her either. I felt as if Brooks was relegated to the role of window dressing on this one, since everything turned out to be about Selena (ending up in a slight retcon as to just what sort of werewolf one of the SWAT is—rather convenient, if you ask me)...Their romance was simply meh, but it did slow the pacing down.

I ended up skimming their scenes together and concentrated more on the action sequences. Which were also rather repetitive, but at least something happened. And the mole inside the DPD was so obvious, it was painful.

The slight foreshadowing at the end sent my teeth on edge as well with the newest member of the SWAT team, Rachel, letting one of the hunters go after both of them staring at each other strangely (although the fact she might mate with one of the hunters does offer quite a few nice plot possibilities and bucket-full of angst).
I do hope, Zane's story is next, though. Maybe he'll meet a nice California girl/werewolf while on assignment. He sure deserved a happy end.

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