Saturday, February 22, 2014

ARC Review: A Valentine Rainbow Anthology- Heather's Reviews, part 1

Valentine Shower (A Valentine Rainbow)
From the blurb:

For Reuben, numbers are everything people are not: rational, predictable, and soothing. Outside of this family, his boss, Terry, is the one person he feels connected with. In the years they’ve worked together, listening to Terry’s jokes and stories over coffee has become a reliable part of his routine. But he’s missed having family nearby since his parents retired to Florida, and figures he’ll need a woman to correct the problem. He’s hurt and confused when Terry not only refuses to help, but announces he won’t be coming around much anymore. It’s up to Reuben’s no-nonsense sister Yaffa and his therapist, Dr. Greenberg, to help him understand Terry’s feelings—and his own. 

Heather's rating:

Oh I LOVED this little story by new-to-me author John C. Houser. I'm having great luck with the A Valentine Rainbow Set collection so far. This story is for all the fans of uber-geeks out there.

Reuben is a savant who views the world through logic and reasoning and is completely clueless about emotional connections. When his best friend of a decade, Terry, tells Reuben he can't spend time with him anymore, Reuben is crushed and doesn't understand why.

I loved the single POV and seeing Reuben work through his feelings with the help of his therapist and his spunky sister. I was surprised at how quickly I became invested in this little story. I was in it and I almost cried a few times (just from emotion, this book isn't sad at all). It reminds be a tiny bit of Blame It On The Mistletoe. I'm thrilled at what this author accomplished in so few pages.

Just be forewarned, this book is a completely clean romance (no sex- grrrrr). But it was totally lovely and I'll be reading more from this author in the future.

Under the Table and Into His Heart (A Valentine Rainbow)From the blurb:
At the Under the Table host club, Valentine’s Day means one thing: cash. Neglected housewives, newly ex-girlfriends, and lovelorn thirtysomethings pay for the attention of handsome men. Shy bartender Jem has always wanted to be a host, and when the club’s owner, Miss Rye, accepts a contract from a MensLove Convention, Jem volunteers to flirt and make out with another host for the ladies’ entertainment. Bailey, an older man who’s had his eye on Jem, convinces Miss Rye to let him be Jem’s partner, and everyone gets more than they expected—especially Jem and Bailey.

Heather's rating: 

Welcome to the club of published authors, Raine O'Tierney! A lovely debut novella, if I do say so myself. This was a wonderful way to kick off my reading of the entire A Valentine Rainbow Set. It had a few of my personal favorite themes so it worked very well for me.

The plot takes place at a hosting club, where neglected women can come spend some time in the company of some hot men. When a group of women requests two of the hosts get a little... intimate... with each other, Jem jumps at the chance to participate. But when Bailey pushes to play with Jem, will it be just acting or something more?

I loved Jem's delicious innocent nature (what can I say, I love me some corruption!) and I thought he had nice chemistry with Bailey. I could have used more of a slow buildup and a slow burn, but this short is only 49 pages so I it is hard to do slow burn in that amount of space. I also think that the relationship could have been "like" and not "love" and I would have been happier. However, this was sweet and a little sappy and I was very pleased with it.

Campfire Confessions (A Valentine Rainbow)From the blurb:
Best friends Case and Mitchell are so inseparable everyone assumes they’re dating. Case’s dad even buys them a joint gift—a camping trip. Even though Case hates the woods, he wants Mitchell to have a good time. When they discover the trip is a couples’ retreat, they have to fake a relationship. Case can’t understand why the trust and intimacy exercises the other couples struggle with come so naturally to them. After all, they’re not really boyfriends…. 

Heather's rating:

Am I going to like every story in A Valentine Rainbow Set? I think so! I guess I'm just a sap at heart because this was another adorable short.

For all of you friends-to-lovers fans, this was really well done. I had a few little questions (what was Jason's role in the whole thing? An offshoot story?) but overall it was sweet and romantic.

The Accidental Cupid (A Valentine Rainbow)
From the blurb:

 While performing as Cupid on Valentine’s Day, Josh has the unpleasant task of delivering a break-up message to Dallas from his girlfriend, Jess. Jess is convinced Dallas is gay, and when Josh tries to comfort him, he finds she may very well be right. When Dallas’s best friend Austin arrives, it’s up to Josh to show both young men the love and acceptance they’ve always had in each other. 

Heather's rating:

Another winner from A Valentine Rainbow Set!

I hadn't read the blurb prior to reading this story and I'm kind of happy that I didn't because the whole plot was a pleasant surprise for me. It was a sexy, adorable, and really funny read.

I think the best part of the book was Josh's inner monologue. Whenever the story veered a bit towards the sappy or unbelievable side, Josh steered it back with his hilarious thoughts. I loved him and I want him to have his own story (please, Xavier Mayne!).

A perfect short for GFY or friends-to-lovers fan and a great Valentine's Day read.

A Cupid's Wager (A Valentine Rainbow)
From the blurb:

The name’s Lio, and I’m a cupid working for the Gay Division of the Inter-Dimensional Association of Cupids. An Aztec god, whose modern name, Ethan, doesn't make him any less scary, just busted me shooting a closeted human with a gay lust arrow. I might find him sexy with all those tattoos and piercings, if I didn’t have a rule against getting it on with other supernaturals—especially ones working for the Straight Division. Now, to save my butt I'll have to strike a bargain with this tough god. But what I didn't see coming was my little wager not only risks my career, but places my broken heart completely in Ethan's hands. 

Heather's rating:

A nice story (sweet and hot) and a cute concept, but was I the only one who felt like something was missing? It seemed like it was the first part of a much longer story. A lot went unanswered at the end and I needed to know more. What was the deal with Ethan and Lio? Why did they have this intense connection? Why was everything so damn cryptic!?


But there was rimming and sex and blow jobs so... bonus points.

Love and an (Orange) Lamborghini (A Valentine Rainbow)From the blurb:

Freelance journalist Will Turner is struggling both financially and emotionally since being dumped by his boyfriend. While his sports car obsessed roommate, Niki, is busy leaving notes for the female owner of a Lamborghini Gallardo parked in their area, Will takes a last-minute assignment to interview a sportsman. The attraction between Will and racing driver Tim Johnson is instant, but Tim is unwilling to risk his career by coming out. Niki has big plans for Valentine’s Day, but it will take a near miracle for any of them to find happiness.

Heather's rating:

I don't know, this was just "meh" for me. Short and forgettable, in my opinion. I didn't feel the connection between Will and Tim and wasn't really sure why they pursued something in the first place. The whole thing felt a bit forced. Maybe just not my cuppa.

Come Clean (A Valentine Rainbow)
From the blurb:

Peru Cabral, the youngest of five brothers, has just come out to his family. Lawson Todd has returned to his small hometown in disgrace after losing his corporate advertising job. When Peru and Lawson spot each other at the family Laundromat where Lawson works, the attraction between them is undeniable. But the fears, insecurities, and false fronts both men are hiding behind might doom the relationship before it begins—unless the brothers Cabral step in. 
Heather's rating:

Another goodie from the A Valentine Rainbow Set! I liked the MCs (the young Peru and 7 years older Lawson) and thought that this story managed to do a lot in only a little space. I thought the whole family dynamic with Peru's clan was particularly well done. It was a little light on the romance, but it is difficult to develop romance in only 50 pages or so. Still, a very enjoyable short and a great intro to another new-to-me author.

Stay tuned for part two of my reviews! You can buy the entire collection from Dreamspinner Press here!

**All copies provided in exchange for honest reviews**

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