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review 2017-03-18 23:27
This is definitely going to be a series to watch...
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.


"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."




Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!


"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."






I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review via Netgalley.

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review 2017-03-17 08:51
Right here
Right in Front of You: A Friends to Lovers Contemporary Romance - Lacey Silks

Friends To Lovers series continues with another epic love story about best friends who must go through the fire to find what burns in their hearts.  A truly impressive story about love, loss, and strength.

 

The gang is back in this second installment about pain, growth, and real friendship.  Carter, Molly, and the rest teach us what love is all about.  This book being Carter & Molly's story.

 

Molly has always wanted to be a doctor.  Carter only wishes to be a fireman.  When tragedy strikes, can the future still be clear?  

 

Sweet and sad tale of five friends and how life changes them as they grow.  I loved that characters, the friendships, and the sexy.  There is a solid mystery to solve as well.  I was truly enchanted.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-03-14 22:31
Release Day ARC Review: Two Cowboys And A Baby by B.A. Tortuga
Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires Book 30) - BA Tortuga

On the surface, there's a cute story here. You got cowboys, small town antics, and even an abandoned baby on your doorstep that holds the twisted answer to a long-kept secret. So, I was ready for cute and sweet and lots of cowboys. And I got that, to some extent.

What didn't work for me as well were some parts of the relationship bromance between Hoss (the supposed baby-daddy) and Bradley, two men who've been friends forever and a day, but who had a falling out when Hoss came out to Bradley way back when in high school. I totally believed that Hoss was in love with Bradley, and that Bradley was in love with Hoss - no issues there - and when Bradley confessed to Hoss that maybe back then he was an idiot, and he's regretted that ever since, their bromance became much more and their romantic relationship really took off.

The parts that were harder to swallow had to do with the revelations about the little innocent baby Hoss finds on his doorstep one morning, and how she looks a little too much like Hoss, and how the DNA test shows that .... well, I'll let y'all read this yourself. The drama that unfolds between Bradley and Hoss was, while understandable, a little out of left field. Up until that point, I thought that the back and forth banter between them showcased their relationship, and they truly felt like they'd been friends for a very long time. So it was a bit of a shock for me to see Bradley react the way he did when that twist came about, and while the lack of real communication between them was indicative of their relationship, I would have thought that Bradley wouldn't be such a dumbass and trusted Hoss a bit more than what he did. Yeah, yeah, surely the "surprise" was a shock to them all, but when your man tells you "no, I didn't", then maybe you ought to stop and listen instead of being all Judgy McJudgerson, eh?

I also thought that the twist was a bit over the top, but then I've come to expect that sort of over the top kind of thing from this series, so I wasn't put off by it. I adored Hoss being all awkward with the baby, without a clue what to do, so that part rang true for me. Even if his mama came to help out a bit.

The author really captured the small town Texas feel, and made me feel like I was right there at the rodeo with Hoss and Bradley - well done, that.

Also, if your sheriff's name is Pooter - 'nuff said. I giggled a lot whenever he was on page. Stereotypical small town characters all around, and that part was a lot of fun.

This was an enjoyable read, even if I didn't like some parts. The book works well within the Dreamspun Desires series, and should be read the way it was intended - as a bit of fluff, a bit over the top, and a "love will save the day" kind of romance.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-03-09 06:04
Ten years later and neither one of them grew up? Boo.
The Education of Caroline - Jane Harvey-Berrick

I'm happy for the reunion. And happy ending.

But...Caro and Sebastian both acted childish.

Ten years apart didn't help them grow.

Carolina is the same insecure person (jealous and mean spirited considering any woman interested in Sebastian as a bitch, or wants to smack them, etc)

Sebastian is demanding, possessive, jealous and sometimes OTT. He acted like the same jealous 17 year old when other men deemed to look at Carolina.

And they acted like teenagers when together.

And yet I couldn't stop reading.

Even after rolling my eyes.

I even read the 2 extra epilogues.

The writing isn't world moving but I guess a good thing I'd say is that both main characters were consistent in characterization.

Carolina was a doormat when step away from the romantic haze. She gave in, rolled over for anything Sebastian came up with.

Still.

Sebastian loved her. Carolina loves him. Never doubted it but the time apart didn't seem to help them grow...much.

3.5 stars

(I'll most likely cave and read the companion piece too.)

Despite my gripes.

I can't seem to be able to let this couple go.

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review 2017-03-07 17:29
Back & forth, back & forth, it's like watching a ping, pong game...back & forth...
Close to You - Skylar M. Cates

I did enjoy 'Close to You' more than 'Lovers, Losers & You' but I have to admit I didn't love it. Tomas and Marc didn't leave me feeling all gushy and happy. In all honesty there were times that if anything I was left feeling slightly annoyed and frustrated and this was mostly because of the shifts back and forth between past and present because of their connection and the fact that they've been best friends for a good portion of their lives I both understand and appreciate the value and importance of having the background between these two men since so much of what's between them in the present is directly related to and a result of their past. It's definitely necessary information.

 

Sadly, this is probably one of my least favorite ways for a story to be told. I've probably only ever read 2 maybe 3 books that were done this way that I ended up really, really liking and 'Close to You' has not added to that list. 

 

There were so many things in this story that should have nailed my hot buttons...second chances, friends to lovers, hurt/healing/comfort, recurring secondary characters which for me makes it feel like I'm spending time with old friends and there were other things but mostly I was looking forward to reading Tomas and Marc's story finding out what was holding these two back from being together. 

 

As much as the shifting back and forth of the timeline kept jerking me out of the story the other thing that frustrated me was the amount of time spent in their heads and I'm not talking about their memories. I'm talking about the self chastisement and the repetition of it that took things for me from being an honest and personal reflection of their lives and events that happened and shaped them into the men that they would become, to what felt like perpetual pity parties.

 

Don't get me wrong neither of these men had it easy. Especially Marc, his life was heartbreaking. No child should ever have to grow up the way he did. There's an expression that says "It takes a village to raise a child". Sadly for Marc there was no village there was only abuse and neglect. From his father to his teachers...especially Mrs. Lynn. She had a moment...a moment in which she could have chose to make a difference, but did she? No, in that moment she chose to be part of the problem. Not until Tomas did Marc have someone in his life who truly saw him...believed in him and knew that there was a good and kind person hiding behind his protective shell. 

 

Also just a bit of a side note on Tomas. While he did have hardships in his life. Losing his father at an early age and his mother definitely had mental health issues. I liked that he also had loving and supportive albeit strict grandparents but he definitely had a strong positive family influence in his life and that was good and helped to add a positive dimension to the overall story. 

 

For me it comes down to sometimes less is more and while I know that getting the background on these two men was so very integral to their story, I needed for it not to have taken up quite so much of the book as it did. I wanted more of them in the here and now finding their way back to each other, developing a relationship as they dealt with the past that both shaped them and tore them apart. 

 

'Close to You' was ok for me and I liked it well enough but I guess I just wasn't feeling the love...I wanted more of the here and now and less of the then and what was.

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