Friday, 28 November 2014

Blog Tour: Claiming Carlos by Rachelle Ayala

I received a copy of Claiming Carlos in exchange for my review.

Choco has always been the responisble older sister, well apart from once, but now her life seems to be stuck in a rut. She runs the show at her parent's restaurant without getting any credit, and her relationship with her best friend, Carlos, seems to be in jeopardy. But when a new business consultant, Johnny Dee, comes into town, he starts to try and win Choco, even though all she can think about while he does so is how he isn't Carlos. All Carlos needs is a hint from Choco that she's interested, he knows she is but until she says something he can't do anything about it, though his tactics leave something to be desired....

I've read books from Ayala before and thourghly enjoyed them, so I had no doubt that I'd enjoy Claiming Carlos as well. I thought that the split point of view (Choco's from a first person and Carlos' from a third person) worked really well, though there were a few moments where I really started to wonder about the motives of both of them because of it. Knowing the reasoning behind both of their actions just made me want to bang their heads together, but also made it so they were equally reliable, and equally flawed.

As with the previous book, Taming Romeo, there was a lot of Fillipino culture in Claiming Carlos, from the names that they called family members, to the food that they were eating. I liked it because it is a change to have ethnic characters and have those characters part of their own culture. It also introduced me to certain dishes and customs that I hadn't heard of before, which is always a good thing!

One of the themes that came through due to the culture was the idea of Choco being a ruined woman (though not many people actually knew and I won't spoil it by telling you why other than to say it was due to not being a virgin). I also really like the way that Choco addressed the fact that even though they pretend to be, most of the women around them pretending to be virgins were lying by omission.

Johnny as a character was someone that I disliked a lot, though saying that there were times when I was disliking Choco's father as well. There was something about him that I didn't like from the start (even before Carlos' POV where jealousy came into it) and then the big shocking reveal happened and I liked him even less. He certainly wasn't good enough for Choco.

Carlos and Choco were both great characters, and I liked that the main thing that attracted them to each other was the things that made them them, and not some fantasy. The chemistry between them throughout the book was immense, though they didn't actually have much sexual interaction for most of the book; that's how good their chemsitry is (that you could feel it before they kissed).

The ending of the book itself was always going to be what it was, and that's not a problem, I want my romances to end like that, but there were a lot of twists and turns along the way, and times when I couldn't figure out how Carlos and Choco were actually going to end up together. There were also a few points where I wondered if they'd end up together at all or just happy with other people.

I really enjoyed this book, it has a rich culture, strong characters, and sizzling chemistry even outside the bedroom.

Book #2 of Sanchez Sisters Series

Choco Sanchez is stuck in a rut. She's never hit a softball and has been friends forever with Carlos Lopez, the head cook at her family's Filipino restaurant. When flashy restaurant consultant Johnny Dee hits her with a pitch, she falls head over heels and gets a makeover

Carlos Lopez is not about to lose one for the home team. Johnny launches a full scale change on the menu, and Carlos sends him straight into the dumpster. Claiming Choco's heart proves more difficult. But never underestimate a man who can cook hot, spicy, and steamy, and we ain't talking just food.

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[Love to Hate Miranda]

“Stop.” Miranda waves a spatula and blocks our way. “No members of the wait staff allowed in the kitchen.”
“I need another order of vegan spring rolls. No meat!” Sarah yells.
“She stole my gluten-free bangus.” Susie pushes her way past Miranda, who bounces against the door to the cold room, opening it.
“Out, out of the kitchen.” Miranda sticks a finger in Susie’s chest. Big mistake.
Susie’s nostrils flare and her piercings dance. “Out of my way.”
With a hefty push, she shoves Miranda who stumbles back into the cold room. Her arms windmilling, she falls in between the sides of raw pork belly hanging up to dry.
“Ai ya!” Miranda slaps at the pork bellies and pulls on a trussed whole duck for balance, right when a wooden tray of balut, fertilized duck eggs with the intact embryo, falls and splatters over her. The slime and partially formed embryos ooze down her hair and face.
Everyone except Johnny bursts out laughing. I whip out my cell phone and snap as many pictures as I can before Johnny blocks my view to help his mother.
Out of nowhere, Carlos appears, and he gives Johnny a kick on the back of his tight leopard printed butt, sending him sprawling against the skewered suckling pigs. They tumble like dominoes, knocking Johnny on top of his balut-covered mother.

Carlos picks up a tray of the Vietnamese style transparently wrapped no-fry spring rolls and flings the contents into the cold room all over Johnny and Miranda. “Vegan spring rolls is off the menu.”

About the Author
Rachelle Ayala is a bestselling Asian American author of dramatic romantic suspense and humorous, sexy contemporary romances. Her heroines are feisty and her heroes hot. She writes emotionally challenging stories but believes in the power of love and hope.

Rachelle is the founder of an online writing group, Romance in a Month, an active member of the California Writer's Club, Fremont Chapter, and a volunteer for the World Literary Cafe. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has won awards in multicultural and historical romance

Connect with the Author:
Website I Blog I Facebook Twitter I Goodreads

Tour Schedule

1st Prize - $20 Amazon Gift Card
2nd Prize - Choice of Rachelle Ayala's eBooks

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