Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kiss Me, I'm Irish - Anthology

Kiss Me, I'm IrishI don't normally read anthologies that have re-issued stories, but when I asked to read this book from NetGalley, I didn't realize that these stories came from 2006, 2003, and 2005 respectively.

The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire
Okay. This is very twelve-year-old-boy, but the "hero's" first name is Deuce. As in, "I'm going to drop a..." No. Just... no.
So, Kendra Locke has been in love with Deuce Monroe forever. But he slept with her, then walked away to realize his dreams of being a big-time ball player. But now he's come home (after crashing a race car) to run the family bar and expects to pick up his life just where he left off. Without telling anyone that he's coming back. After years of not communicating. And he's shocked to realize that the former Irish bar is now a computer cafe.
It's hard to make a good short story and St. Claire definitely tries. There was just so much history with Deuce and Kendra, it would have been a great novel-length book.

Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis.
Oh, I love Jill Shalvis. At least her full-length novels, but, again, too much going on. Ty's secret past coming back, Nicole having to deal with being an over-worked doctor/former child-genius, trying to meet her family's expectations, and getting hit on by her boss. Why did that last need to be in there? It didn't really add to Nicole's character.
There was more development of a relationship in this story which was nice to see.

Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child
We're introduced to Connor Reilly as one of three brothers who made a bet to see who could last ninety days without sex. One brother is already down and Connor is confident that he's going to win. At least until his best friend suddenly decides that she's not content to be just one of the guys. Does he have what it takes to hold out and win the bet? Or will Emma be more important?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

And then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Gurhke

Miss Emmaline Dove is the consummate secretary. In the five years she's worked for the Viscount Marlowe, she's made his life easier than he deserves. She smooths all of his bumps including buying gifts for his family, meeting with his publishers, and even giving his mistresses their conge. She's grateful that he has given her the chance to prove that women can do the same job as men, and he even pays her the same salary as her male counterparts. But she really wants to be an author and Marlowe keeps turning her down, telling her she's just not writing the sort of thing that people would be interested in. And she's believed him. Until her thirtieth birthday, when she realizes that he's never even cracked one of her manuscripts. So she quits (it's not a hissy fit, just an acceptance of the situation.) Marlowe isn't concerned at first, but then his office starts falling apart and Emma gets a job with his greatest competitor. The woman that he hired "just to make a point in the House," transformed his life and then left it in shambles. Suddenly, Miss Dove has stepped out of the role as secretary and the Viscount is seeing her as a woman. Can these two separate their personal and professional lives (did I mention that Harry (the viscount) bought the publisher Emma now works for? But her column is so popular he can't afford to let her go)?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Michelle Sanderson is returning to Blackberry Island after years at war. She has a hip injury from being shot and PTSD but she wants to go take over the inn left to her by her father.
But the place she left isn't what she remembers. For one, her ex-BFF, Carly Williams, is now the inn's manager. Why is she ex? Well, it seems that Carly found her fiance and Michelle (our heroine?) in bed together. A pregnant Carly married the man anyway and he promptly ran off with all her money. But Michelle's mother helped Carly out and now she's running the inn, even living there with her now-ten-year-old daughter.
Michelle tries to fire Carly but finds out that under the terms of the second mortgage on the inn (it seems she left her mother to run the place, and she did, right into the ground,) Carly has to stay in charge. Michelle obviously can't stay so she finds an apartment on her own.  In order to save the inn, Michelle and Carly will have to figure out a way to work beyond their past.
This is a great look into the life of a returning soldier. Certainly more realistic than most romance novels, including Michelle's problems with alcoholism.
This is not a traditional romance. There are some handsome men in the story (at least one ech for Carly and Michelle,) but the book is really more about exploring the rebuilding of Carly and Michelle's relationship. While the writing style is fairly similar to her other stories, the type of story is a departure from the other Mallery series I've read but a very welcome and enjoyable one. (But please don't stop the Fool's Gold series!)