26 September 2016

Just my Luck by Andrea Bramhall

Hey everyone,

I wanted to love Just my Luck by Andrea Bramhall. I went in hoping it would be a cute friends-to-lovers contemporary romance, which arguably it is. Yet something stopped me from loving this book. But before I get into the nitty gritty of the review, I would like to thank Ylva publishing and Netgalley for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The book:

Genna Collins works a dead end job, loves her family, her girlfriend, and her friends. When she wins the biggest Euromillions jackpot on record everything changes…and not always for the best.

When Abi Kitson fell in love she always knew it would go unrequited. The woman of her dreams was so close yet seemingly untouchable for so many reasons. Reasons like – they are best friends, or the big age gap, or the ‘other’ woman, nevermind Abi’s own baggage. And even when those reasons crumble it seems luck just isn’t on her side.

It’s a learning curve for both of them. But what if money really can’t buy you everything you want? What if the answers aren’t hidden in a big, fat bank balance? What if happiness is right in front of them? They just have to reach out…

My thoughts:

Just my Luck had so much promise! The premise was incredibly interesting, a young woman winning the lottery and a friends-to-lovers romance, but right of the bat I struggled to connect with the story. Andrea Bramhall’s writing style is almost interactive with the audience. Genna and Abi would often talk to the audience, as if they were recounting the story to a friend, asking them questions and filling in the answers. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad writing style but I personally found it brought me out of the story. Rather than getting lost in Genna and Abi’s world I was being forced to participate in it. Also despite the story being set in Manchester, England and being British myself, I didn’t understand all the pop culture references that Andrea Bramhall used to describe people or events.

I want the earth to open up and swallow me. It doesn't happen. I want the alarm to go off and wake me up from this nightmare. It doesn't happen.

20 September 2016

Steady Stroke by A.M. Arthur

Hey everyone,

Today I’m reviewing Steady Stroke by A.M. Arthur, this is the second book I’ve read by this author and as I thoroughly enjoyed the first one I had high expectations. Steady Stroke is the second book in A.M. Arthur’s Off Beat series, but I read this without reading the first one and thought it worked perfectly as a stand-alone. Before I get properly into the review I should thank Swerve, via Netgalley, for sending me a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The book:

After a tragic accident, Lincoln West’s dreams of making it big as a guitarist fell apart. Unable to play music, he’s battling a hopeless downward spiral, and takes his friend’s offer to stay at their beach house for the summer. While at an open mic night at local bar Off Beat, he locks eyes with a busboy who doesn’t make Linc feel so broken anymore.

Emmett Westmore lives for the anonymity of busing tables in his aunt’s quirky bar where no one pities him for the fire that killed everyone he loved. He blames himself for the fire, and he doesn’t want anyone to see him—except for Linc. Emmett’s walls drop when he’s around the gorgeous blue-eyed guitarist, but he has a secret that could destroy his budding relationship with Linc.

Both Linc and Emmett are looking for a way to live again…will they let their fears control them or take a chance on something real? 

My thoughts:

In Steady Stroke we are first introduced to Lincoln West, who is struggling to adjust to life after a car accident that left him unable to play music. He feels isolated from his former friends who are all still pursuing a career in music. Yet he is stuck in the same place as last year, but this time unable to play his beloved guitar. In the beginning of the book we are seeing the world from Linc’s perspective, his feelings of hopelessness, anger, and resentment. His struggle to move forward without constantly wishing for what he had.

A year ago, XYZ was on the verge of a breakthrough into an actual record deal. Lincoln was happy, healthy, and so proud of Dominic for beginning to work through some painful emotional baggage.

11 September 2016

Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

Hey everyone,

Garret Leigh is an author who has always been on the periphery of my reading. I’ve been aware of their work for a while but have never taken the dip and read one for myself. Yet after reading the blurb for Rented Heart on Netgalley I knew I had to read this book! Luckily for me, Riptide Publishing, via NetGalley, were kind enough to send me a copy in return an honest review.

The book:

 Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for. 

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

My thoughts:

Liam is a serious cutie-pie who needs to be protected at all costs. He is kind, respectful, generous and unpretentious despite being seriously rich. He never treats Zac with anything less than respect, and at times even stops Zac from disrespecting himself. As the relationship between Zac and Liam evolves, the issue of payment crops up, because Liam is happy to keep paying it because he knows Zac needs it more. Of course, Zac would prefer not to take the money as he doesn’t want to feel like a ‘hooker’. I loved that Liam didn’t hold the money over Zac, and never made Zac feel less for his job.

Because I don’t want to feel like a john any more than you want to feel like a hooker.

3 September 2016

Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart by Marie A Crosswell

Hey everyone,

Firstly I need to thank Netgalley and Less Than Three Press Publishing for sending me an ARC copy of this book for review. Secondly, I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long! Life got ahead of me and then a massive reading slump meant that blogging just went out the window. But I’m back now and will be returning to my regular schedule. When I saw Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart I was immediately drawn in by the beautiful cover, and when the blurb mentioned that one of the heroes was an asexual aromantic I had to read this book!

The book:

Sam, a sheriff's deputy in a small Arizona town, is off-duty when he finds himself in the middle of a hold-up at a local diner. He makes it out alive only because of Montgomery, who shoots the robber attempting to kill Sam—but in the fallout, the second robber gets away. 

In the aftermath of that ugly night, Sam is determined to know Montgomery better, while Montgomery is determined to find the man who escaped. He's also dead set on avoiding the deputy, having secrets of his own he doesn't want out. 

But loneliness is hard, and Montgomery can't resist the companionship Sam is offering—the companionship he's always wanted, but could never find. If they're going to explore it, however, first they'll have to stop the growing threat of the robber who got away...

My thoughts:

How do you review a romance book that doesn’t have a romance? Neither Sam nor Montgomery identify as gay or consider themselves to be sexually attracted to their own gender. From the beginning, it is clear that the relationship building between them isn’t a romantic one. In fact, the whole tone of Lone Star on a Cowboy Heart could put some readers off, as it isn’t one brimming with emotion. Montgomery, in particular, is a difficult character to read, even when you are in his head, and I struggled to connect with the writing style of this book. I kept being thrown out of the story due to a turn of phrase Marie Crosswell had used. Yet I kept reading because I was invested in these characters.

“They fall silent again for a long few minute, drinking their coffee, never looking at each other at the same time. The house is quiet, not even the sound of the wind against the wood or the windowpanes.”