Monday, January 29, 2018

Jen's Quickie Review Round Up: Ana Tejano, Claire Kent, and Kelly Maher

Today is all about quickie novella thoughts. First one from Pat, now you get a three-for-one deal from Jen!







Jen: I didn’t think I liked novellas all that much until I read and loved My Lady’s Lover a few months ago (at some point, I promise I will stop stanning for that book...but today is not that day), and now they make up a pretty regular part of my reading diet. They are especially great when I’m not sure what to read next---they’re short, sweet, and satisfying. 






You Could be the One: Stories of Friends, Lovers, and Friends Becoming Lovers by Ana Tejano 
Publisher: Ana Tejano  (April 23, 2017)
Genre: Contemporary Romance (NA)


Experience the spark of discovering something new with someone familiar in You Could Be the One, a collection of stories about friends, lovers, and friends becoming lovers. Complications abound when the line between platonic and romantic gets blurred, but they did say that friendship is the foundation of a great love story. Will you take the risk for a relationship upgrade? 

It’s a Match

Cams Ronquillo is single and ready to mingle—at least, online. After finally moving on from her last breakup, she decides to try online dating thanks to the encouragement of Gabriel Evangelista, her friend, business partner, and a serial online dater. As she learns to navigate uncharted dating territory with the potential dates at her fingertips, Cams decides to break one of the online dating rules she was taught...and gets an unexpected match.

Bottleneck

Love is patient—just ask Gelo Morales, who waits for Lara Nolasco after his class every day just so he can spend time with her on their commute home. She doesn’t know that, and she also doesn’t know that he’s been in love with her since they met. He’s planning to tell her one day—he’s just waiting for the perfect moment. Will he find a way to reach Lara’s heart in time, or will be run into bumper-to-bumper traffic on his way there?

Fake It Till We Make It

Ruth Garcia is in her thirties and still hasn’t been in any relationship. She’s totally fine with that, but her family thinks otherwise. When her aunt orders her to bring a significant other to the next family event, she enlists her friend Ian Balboa to be her fake boyfriend. But when things go a little too well, she wonders just how they’ll get out of it without ruining their friendship. But does she even want to end the charade? 



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Jen's Review:



This sweet little read contains three short stories, each with a friends to lovers theme. I especially liked the first and second story (the third one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger with a full novel planned for the couple). In the first story, Cams and Gabriel have had crushes on each other for a while, but they’re not ready to talk about it until Cams tries online dating and they end up getting matched by the dating service. The second is a New Adult romance, and this is maybe my favorite. It is adorable--Geno has a massive crush on Lara, and he sticks around campus every day so he can commute back with her every afternoon. He asks a couple he meets, “So how did you finally get together?” The couple exchanges a glance and the woman tells him, “We told each other the truth.” Gelo says, “That’s it?” He knows he should tell Lara about his feelings, but it’s still so hard for him to take that leap. Chaste romances aren’t my usual scene, but these three stories were a completely delightful way to spend an hour.

3 1/2 STARS! 







Hold by Claire Kent
Publisher: Claire Kent (February 20, 2015)
Series: Hold, 1
Genre: SciFi Erotica


Find the strongest man there. Give yourself to him in return for protection. It’s the only way you’ll ever survive.

Convicted of a minor crime, Riana is sentenced to a prison planet—a dark primitive hold filled with convicts vying for power. Her only chance of survival is with Cain, a mysterious loner who has won his territory in the prison through intelligence and brute strength. Sex is all she has to offer, so she uses it. She’s under no delusions here. No one is ever released, and no one ever escapes. Survival is all she can hope for—until Cain.

An earlier version of this book was published under the same title and a different penname by Ellora’s Cave. It has since been substantially revised and expanded.



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Jen's Review:



So, this one? Not chaste. I’ve been making an effort to read books from my TBR collection and previously enjoyed books by this author. Hold is absolutely not going to be for everyone, but I thought it was a fascinating read. Riana is a fresh arrival on a prison planet, and her only chance at survival is to align herself with a strong man. She chooses Cain, and their physical relationship morphs into something more. It was dark in a way that worked for me, because despite Riana’s terrible circumstances, she makes her own choices and finds a man who respects her rights to her own body. The narration keeps a tight focus on Riana and her fierce determination to survive. For me, that made this dark story feel hopeful.

4 STARS!







A Scandal in Scandinavia by Kelly Maher 
Publisher: D Ink Editions (January 30, 2018)
Series: Capital Kisses, 1.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance


She had no intention of letting romance interfere with the road trip of a lifetime.

Missy Karlsen is on a mission to remake herself after a quitting a toxic friendship, and a dream trip through Copenhagen, Olso and Stockholm is her chance to find her balance.

She’s not supposed to be knocked off it by the first man she sees when she lands in Scandinavia.

Rik Scholz thought the bus tour would be a routine undercover operation to find out if the tour leader was indulging in an illicit side hustle. He’s surprised to find himself wanting to spend more and more time with a lovely American who has a fascination for Scandinavian crime novels.

Rik can close his case, but he can’t get Missy to trust the feelings growing between them and since he has secrets of his own, he’s reluctant to push for more than he deserves.

Can they be more than a road trip romance or will Missy’s messy past and Rik’s secrets throw them off course?

For readers who love road trips, sexy times between older women and younger men, and a little heart-in-mouth intrigue with their heart eyes.

Related books:
The Bridesmaid and the Hurricane - Missy makes a brief appearance in this book, but you don't *have* to read it to understand what happens in her story. Technically, A SCANDAL IN SCANDINAVIA is book 1.5 in the Capital Kisses series, though it happens outside of the timeline of the Bridesmaids trilogy.



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Jen's Review:



Poor Missy Karlsen, she’s booked a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Scandinavia to rediscover herself after ending a bad friendship. When she arrives in Copenhagen, she barfs all over her tour guide’s shoes (honestly one of the most crushingly awkward moments ever to start a romance!) and is assisted by fellow passenger Rik Scholz. After that beginning, there’s a slower few chapters with lots of exposition describing Rik’s real purpose for being on the tour. One of the things I like best about this novella is that Missy is doing quite a bit of soul-searching about herself as a person---she was a bad friend, and she lost people she loved as a result. Missy isn’t sure how to balance this exciting new romance with her self-improvement goal. The narrative style tells more than it shows, which isn’t my personal favorite; but I always enjoy a story where the main character is evaluating and taking stock of her life.

3 1/2 STARS!



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Jen received an e-ARC of this book from the author.

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Thanks for the reviews, Jen!

Two questions for you all:
1) Have you read any of these authors before? and 
2) What are your feelings on novellas?



Enjoy!



Until Next Time,










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