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review 2018-02-02 21:52
His Quiet Agent by Ada Maria Soto 4 Star Review
His Quiet Agent - Ada Maria Soto

Arthur Drams works for a secret government security agency, but all he really does is spend his days in a cubical writing reports no one reads. After getting another “lateral promotion” by a supervisor who barely remembers his name, it’s suggested that Arthur try to ‘make friends’ and ‘get noticed’ in order to move up the ladder. It’s like high school all over again: his attempts to be friendly come across as awkward and creepy, and no one wants to sit at the same table with him at lunch. In a last-ditch attempt to be seen as friendly and outgoing, he decides to make friends with The Alien, aka Agent Martin Grove, known for his strange eating habits, unusual reading choices, and the fact that no one has spoken to him in three years.

Starting with a short, surprisingly interesting conversation on sociology books, Arthur slowly begins to chip away at The Alien’s walls using home-cooked meals to lure the secretive agent out of his abrasive shell. Except Martin just might be something closer to an actual secret agent than paper-pusher Arthur is, and it might be more than hearts at risk when something more than friendship begins to develop.




I loved this romance with its complex heroes and slow build. I don't want to give anything away but the perfectly paced unveiling of each character and watching the romance bloom was great.

Each hero is complex and so interesting.

However, the payoff in this book is disappointing. One of the heroes is asexual so it wasn't a sexual connection I was looking for...but an emotionial intimacy is faded to black as well and some mysteries about the characters are hinted at but not revealed. 

I will for sure read more by this writer but I hope for a more fulfilling closing.

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review 2018-01-06 21:32
Feral (Shelter #1)
Feral - Kate Sherwood

This was a nice read, and certainly a different kind of romance. But it never really got better than nice. I'm still looking forward to the rest of the series though. 


Noah's a veterinarian student, volunteering at a vet clinic. Shane's homeless and goes to the clinic to seek help for his puppy when the puppy gets sick. Shane doesn't trust the system or the cops, and Noah, despite a spot of trouble in his past, has lived a sheltered life. As they become friends, working together on an outreach project, they challenge each others' world views and come to new understandings. 


I think this would've worked better if it had covered more time. They both changed too much too quickly. The story takes place in just under week. I do like that they don't fall in love in that length of time, though they do care for each other. Shane's possibly on the ace spectrum, so there's no sex for those of you who are looking for that. 


Dodger the puppy was adorable. I would've liked to see a bit more of Noah's family situation since that was mentioned in the beginning and we saw them in the first chapter, but that didn't really happen. We do get a bit of mystery to solve, and it's good to see Shane's protective side come to the fore time and again. I especially liked that Shane's situation isn't magically solved because he met some good Samaritans. 


So again, a nice solid start to the series, and I'm interested to see who else we get to meet along the way.

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review 2017-08-12 16:50
The Alpha and His Ace (The Alpha and His Ace #1) by Ana J. Phoenix Review
The Alpha and His Ace - Ana J. Phoenix

Young, handsome, and the alpha of his wolf pack, Brandon has never had trouble finding men to have sex with. Only one thing is missing--his mate. Brandon can’t find him, and the rest of his pack is growing concerned about his lack of partner. An alpha needs a strong partner.

Things seem to be looking up when he finally finds his fated companion in Aidan. One problem—Aidan’s asexual, and Brandon’s now confused. Who doesn’t want sex? Aidan, that’s who. And Brandon hasn’t got a clue how to make someone love him without it.

It's going to take some serious self-examination, acceptance, and some really good cake for Brandon to make his way into Aidan’s heart.




A pretty bland wolf shifter romance made more interesting by the fated mate being asexual.


The world building needed much more detail but the characters and character driven conflict was intersting. Needed more time.

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review 2017-07-22 23:53
His Quiet Agent
His Quiet Agent - Ada Maria Soto

I really enjoyed this one. It's my first by this author, but I'm certainly interested to read more.


This is a very quiet story and a very slow build. Martin is highly shielded and Arthur is socially awkward. They're both considered weird by their coworkers and Arthur tries to find out if they're weird compliments each other. 


The cover made me think this was going to be historical Brit fic rather than contemporary American, so that took a couple of chapters to adjust to. I did like the quiet tone of the book and how Martin and Arthur's relationship developed. It's difficult enough to show relationship development when the characters are talkers, even more difficult when they're not, yet somehow this author manages it. The small gestures, the show of trust and caring - it's all convincing. I was especially surprised and pleased when both MCs were revealed to be asexual and this didn't become a "fix the ace" travesty. (So those who want sex in your books, you're not going to get it here.)  


There are a lot of unanswered questions, which is a given considering their jobs, and I'm ok with those. I would've liked to get to know more about Martin's backstory, but he doesn't really start to open up until the very end. The hints we get are intriguing though and opens the room for a lot of reader speculation, which in a way is more fun than getting it all spelled out for you. (Still, if ever there was a book that needs an epilogue, this is it.) There's some handwaving that needs to be done in regards to the Agency and how it appears to operate, but it didn't detract from the tension or suspense in the last quarter of the book at all. It was actually used to some great effect. 


There were a few more typos than I would overlook normally, things like verb tense changes and at one point even character names get mixed up, and general typos that wouldn't get caught by spellcheck but should've been caught by an editor.

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review 2017-01-31 01:24
The Galloway Road by Catherine Adams
The Galloway Road - Catherine Adams

Renna is a young mage on her way to her first job. Her traveling companions include a pair of musicians specifically requested by Renna’s new employer, plus Brett, the mercenary hired to protect them all. Brett is closed mouthed about himself and his past, and Renna has secrets of her own. However, none of that may matter if they can't manage to survive the Galloway Road’s deadly horrors.

This story takes place over the course of 11 days and mostly features the group traveling from one inn to another. The beginning was boring, dull, and a little confusing, although the Galloway Road’s creepy atmosphere eventually grew on me, as did Renna and Brett (sort of). A word of warning: some of the descriptions are gruesome. The Galloway Road is called that because it's lined with gallows and gibbets. Sometimes the people Renna, Brett, and the musicians pass are dead, and sometimes they're not. Honestly, if I had been Renna or the musicians, Galloway Road alone would have had me questioning the wisdom of agreeing to work for Lord Galloway.

Okay, on to the characters. The musicians made so little of an impact on me that I had to check the story just to make sure I had the number of characters right - I had thought there were three musicians, not two. Brett was an intriguing character, apparently competent and yet prone to self-destructive behavior (he’d been banned from at least one or two inns because of his drinking). Renna...was just there. I never felt like I really knew her beyond the most surface level. I did gasp at the big revelation about her, but that was in large part because I hadn’t noticed any sign of it in her behavior or thoughts up to that point. This bugged me a bit, because the event had happened so recently. I suppose it could be explained away as emotional numbness on her part, but still.

The main reason I got this story was because it was one of Less Than Three Press’s recent releases in their “asexual” category. Renna was asexual, possibly homoromantic depending on the specifics of her feelings for her best friend. There was a hint of something that might have been ace-related angst - at one point, Renna wondered if she was “stone-hearted, cruel-hearted” (37). It was a bit ambiguous, though, and might have also been inspired by the thing that happened shortly before she was hired by Lord Galloway. I honestly don’t know.

I appreciated what this story tried to do, but overall my reaction was just “meh.” I didn’t care enough about the characters for the ending to have the kind of emotional impact that it should have had. Also, I hate to say this, but I laughed a bit during some of the events in the tomb. I know that stuff was probably supposed to be horrifying/scary, but I kept imagining B-movie special effects.

Rating Note:

I might have opted to give this 3 stars if I had rated and reviewed it right after finishing it. However, my thoughts have had time to settle, and I think 2 stars is more appropriate. There just wasn't enough there in terms of content, characters, or world-building.

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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