Frostbite by Alexandria Bellefleur

FrostbiteRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Fantasy; Fairytale
Publication day:
 April 26, 2017
Length: 
48 pages  
Publisher:
 Less Than Three Press

After his sister touches a lethal Frost Flower and succumbs to Frozen Sickness, Rainor seeks out the mysterious Dragon, who purportedly holds the only cure for the fatal disease. In gratitude for saving his sister’s life, Rainor agrees to bring him fresh bread twice a week—despite the man’s insistence he wants for nothing.

As Rainor makes his deliveries, the two slowly become friends, and Rainor finds in the Dragon all the things he never found in his little village. But on his way to make his latest delivery, the unthinkable happens, and Rainor fears that if he asks for the cure he needs to live, he’ll lose the man he’s coming to love…

My View: Frostbite is a cute take on an old fairytale. The settings, atmosphere, and period characterization were excellent. The handful of characters is diverse and well-thought.

Drachen and Rainor are an interesting couple. I enjoyed how their friendship started and how they complemented each other. They have similar stories and family plays a role in their pasts and futures.

My only complaint is about the pacing. Not because it’s a short story, but because the time lapses seem randomly selected. Some unimportant details took the place of more relevant information.

Overall, a quick bedtime story.

What I liked the most: The main characters.

I wanted more/less: Less of a time lapse.

Who should read it: Fans of fairytales.

ARC provided by Less Than Three Press, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

Back Piece by L.A. Witt

Back PieceRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary; Military
Publication day:
 April 25, 2017
Length: 
316 pages  
Publisher:
Swerve

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

Back Piece is a sexy, emotional journey of two people learning to love and finding acceptance for who they really are.

My View: Back Piece is a beautiful story about self-discovery and first loves. Even when the characters aren’t new adults, the story has a youthful feeling. Both, Colin and Daniel have complicated pasts that keep them from moving forward with the lives they want. This book shows us their journey and how hard, but worth it, it was for them to heal and move forward.

As always, the accuracy of the military descriptions gives this story a strong sense of place. The tattoo details just add to the overall picture. I liked the slow pace of their relationship, but I think they have a stronger connection as friends/mentor than as lovers.

If you want to know more about enlisted military men with everyday jobs and tattoo artists, this is a perfect story for it. It’s not an easy book to read due to the MCs backgrounds, but it’s an interesting start to a series.

What I liked the most: The military accuracy.

I wanted more/less: More of a love connection between the MCs.

Who should read it: Fan of military stories.

ARC provided by Swerve, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Joy by C.S. Poe

JoyRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 April 5, 2017
Length: 
76 pages  
Publisher:
 Dreamspinner Press

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

My View: Joy starts right into the action and the main characters first meeting. It’s easy to see their personalities and how the rest of their new acquaintanceship is going to be. Gideon spends a lot of time on his head, but it paints a better understanding of everything happening and how his life’s unfolding.

This story has a slow burn and many of the dates between the characters happened off page. I wished we could have seen some of those to help move their relationship forward instead of taking it as a given.

I like Silas and Gideon and how everyone rallied behind them. All the secondary characters are great and take part in setting them up. There’s no angst, or anything else happening during the story, other than their love story developing. We see a little background, but the story is well-centered in the present.

Overall, a very sweet, very quick read. A perfect distraction for a  rainy day.

What I liked the most: How true to form the descriptions of life in a small town were.

I wanted more/less: I wanted a bit more conflict.

Who should read it:  Fans of sweet, angst-free romances.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

An Unseen Attraction (Sins of the Cities #1) by K.J. Charles

an-unseen-attractionRating: 3.5 stars
Genre: 
Historical; Mystery 
Publication day:
 February 21, 2017
Length: 
247 pages  
Publisher:
Loveswept

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship…

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding… it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.

My View: An Unseen Attraction is an interesting historical that goes with K.J. Charles’s style. As always, it’s well-written and detailed; perfect for the period and the mystery ahead. Everything from the weather to the clothing plays a part in the book.

This story can be considered a friends-to-lovers even when we don’t see much of the friendship taking place. The setup reminds me of a game of Clue; trying to determine where the murder was committed, how, by who, when, etc. There are players inside the boarding house and outside forces.

Some parts moved at a quick pace and others dragged. The sex scenes were a bit hard to follow and Rowley’s preferences, mixed with Clem’s responses were some sort of surprise. Almost like having stuntmen taking their place. Plus, they switched from confident to needy in a blink of an eye.

If you are a K.J. Charles’s fan, love historicals or mysteries, this story is for you. It’s easy to read an interesting enough for a single day read.

What I liked the most: The period’s details.

I wanted more/less: Less details about Rowley’s work and more interaction with other characters.

Who should read it:  Fans of historical mysteries.

ARC provided by Loveswept, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Guarding Mr. Fine by Helenkay Dimon

guardingRating: 4 stars
Genre: 
Contemporary
Publication day:
 February 14, 2017
Length: 
240 pages  
Publisher:
 Loveswept

As an agent with the CIA’s special activities division, Seth Lang lives for risk—and yet he’s stuck playing bodyguard to the U.S. consul general in Munich. Although Seth’s last assignment nearly killed him, babysitting some desk jockey in a suit sounds way too easy. But when he lays eyes on the new top man, tactical expert Rick Fine, Seth’s thrilled to see just how hard this job is going to get. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Quiet has a body worth guarding—and he requires hands-on attention day and night.

Dispatched to a German consulate to expose the murder of his predecessor, Rick finds himself in an extremely vulnerable position. He needs a man like Seth—in so many ways. This mission will inevitably plunge them both into jeopardy, but each new threat only brings them closer. Rick just hopes that he can keep his deepest, darkest secret hidden—or else risk imperiling a relationship they’re both fighting for their lives to protect.

My View: Guarding Mr. Fine is a romance with an international political plot line as an important element. It starts with a quick introduction to the main characters, directly into the action. The author didn’t waste time letting us see their personalities and in Seth’s case, his profession.

One of the things I like the most about this story is how comfortable the main characters are in their skin, even when they struggled to connect with a partner. They are so into what works for them, that opening their hearts is more frightening than climbing down a multi-story building.

The romance plot is simple, but the undercover investigation adds to the book flow. Figuring out the good and bad guys isn’t hard, but still enjoyable. There are characters from previous books included but this is definitely a stand-alone book. I love the banter and the quick wits of all the characters, not just Seth and Rick.

There’s a real sense of danger throughout the story and a good sense of place. There are not many changes in settings, but it’s easy to visualize the ones introduced by the author. Overall, this is another good book in the series.

What I liked the most: The chemistry between the main characters.

I wanted more/less: More alone time between Rick and Seth outside the bedroom.

Who should read it: Fans of the series and law enforcement stories.

ARC provided by Loveswept, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.