Thursday, June 27, 2013

Some Like it Hot by Susan Andersen

Image from Goodreads
Four-fifths of this book was pretty good. The end... was a little muddled. But let's start at the beginning.
Harper Summerville is a wanderer. Has been her whole life. And she's ended up in Razor Bay working at Jenny Salazar's hotel as the activities coordinator. She's also volunteering at Cedar Village, a home for at-risk boys.
Max Bradshaw has a special connection with Cedar Village. It helped him out when he was a young, rebellious teen and now the deputy sheriff wants to give back. And now getting to see Harper every day is a real plus. Ever since he saw her, there's been an electric connection between them and it's becoming more than just physical.
It was a a good story and kept me involved. Until the end. Large portions of it just felt dated, like it was written in the nineties. And
WTF was the deal with Harper thinking that if she stopped wandering, she would die? That part just came out of left field and didn't really factor into the overall story. And then the back and forth with where they'd live... eh. The two things together really felt like Andersen needed to stretch out the book another twenty pages to meet a quota.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery

Image from Goodreads
Felicia Swift is an uber-genius whose super-smarts have always made her something of a freak. She's never had a real relationship with a man and the first man she was ever... with... got roughed up by two of her best friends the night after they were... together.
That man, Gidieon Boylan, is also in Fool's Gold. He knew that he had demons
which were not really dealt with
and he wanted to just live his quiet life with his radio station and little human contact.
It was a fun story about two people finding each other. If you've been following and enjoying this series, you'll enjoy this book as well.

So, why no five miler? Yeah... Felicia didn't really appear to be that much of a freak. We didn't really see her super-smarts a ton except that she seemed to relate to people
especially Gideon's grieving, unexpected son. And WTF was up with that anyway? Why throw a random kid in the mix?
. And, like all of the FG books, Mallery tries desperately to keep us updated with all of the previous eleven books. It's nice, in a way, but after so many books and so much time, it takes me out of the book every time she mentions a character and I have to stop and think about whether I can remember who he/she is, who they're married to, and what their story was. Add in all of the characters with upcoming books and Felicia/Gideon's story ends up almost being a novella.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It Had to Be You by Jill Shalvis

Jill Shalvis is a must-read author for me. I LOVE her books. The humor, the writing, it all works for me. Usually.
Image from Goodreads
Luke Hanover is a cop who needs to get away for awhile. His renters have moved out so he's in Lucky Harbor to get away from the press of a case-gonewrong in San Francisco.
Ali Winters is not having a good week. Her boyfriend broke up with her in a text and canceled their rental agreement the same day. And now, there's a stranger in the kitchen and she's wearing nothing but her undies.
What's going to keep these two together? How about $50,000 missing from the ex's office? And Ali was the last one known to be in the office. Luke decides to stick around and help out.
Somehow, the story just didn't work for me as well as her other stories in this series. Honestly, it was her writing that even bumped it up to three stars. I was so disappointed by the "I-don't-have-a-condom-it's-okay-I'm-on-the-pill" conversation. He's flattered that she "trusts him" which I guess is maybe an acknowledgement of being clean but it's not a real conversation.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hotshot by Julie Garwood

Picture from Goodreads
When he was fourteen, Finn McBain was a troublemaker. At least until the day he looked next door and saw six-year-old Peyton Lockhart falling into her parents pool. It was a during a party an no one else noticed. Finn saved her life and she's remembered him ever since. Through his high school years while he was winning three Olympic gold medals and all through his training days at the FBI. On the other hand, Peyton has finished school. And discovered that she didn't want to do anything with her Journalism major or English Lit minor; instsead, she wanted to cook. Much to the dismay of her mother (who is amazingly like Mrs. Bennet, just thinking that her daughters have to be married.) When she gets accepted to a prestigious cooking program and then gets a job for a magazine right after, the world is a bright place. Unfortunately, her boss is a lech and, because his wife is the owner's daughter, the heir-apparent to taking over the magazine. He ends up scaring her right out of town. Before she leaves though, Peyton gets the evidence to take him down and he's not happy. He sends one of his thugs after her and Finn notices the damage to he vehicle. When he first sees Peyton at his brother's wedding, Finn only notices that she's a beautiful woman. Peyton captures his lust immediately and his concern rather belatedly. But he is somewhat reassured that she'll be safe because her Uncle Len has given her and her two sisters the chance to own his seaside resort if they can turn it around in the next year. I love Garwood's writing. Since I started reading romances nearly two decades ago, I've read every one of her books. So why did this book not get a five? And why did I almost give it a three? Twice. Not once, but twice, a character had the "it's okay not to use condoms, I'm on birth control pills" conversation. While I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a number of things in Romancelandia, teaching that STDs aren't a concern isn't one of them. Also, the thing that annoys me about Garwood is that her heroines are so... dang... young. I think Peyton is being set up to be this strong woman who takes her destiny in her own hands but I'm not really getting that vibe. It's more like, she does one strong thing and then lets Finn and everyone else take over. And, for god's sake
she's a virgin? Really? Who still has a hymen in this day and age? And her magical virgin hoo-ha makes Finn, an inveterate bachelor, fall headfirst into love? Seriously reconsidering my three-and-a-half star rating...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Perfect Fling by Carly Phillips

Picture from Goodreads
I've been curious about Erin Marsden since we read about her in earlier Serendipity novels. She's the good girl, the lawyer who never stepped out of line. Until the night she had a one-night-stand with Cole Sanders, the mysterious man who is rumored to be all manner of things from a drug dealer to a mob hitman, none of them wholesome. And then she comes up pregnant. Am I pissed about this trope? Normally I might be but Phillips takes a tack I haven't read before (I'm sure it's been done, it's just new to me) and has the birth control fail. Because it's not 100% effective. Subtle PSA Ms. Phillips. I liked it.
And Cole finds out about the baby when Erin is shot. I love that he doens't question whether the child is his. He's in it 100% as soon as he hear's the word "pregnant."
Cole's father was (and is) emotionally abusive and he's not sure he knows how to be a good father, but he knows he doesn't want to do to his kid what his father did to him. It's pulling him apart because he wants to be the perfect man for Cara but he knows deep down that it just isn't in him.
While this wasn't my favorite Carly Phillips, it was still enjoyable. I can't wait for the next one.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak

Image from Goodreads
Oh Brenda Novak, you just keep ripping out my heart with these fantastic characters with major, major flaws and just making me fall in love with them.
We know Noah Rackham from earlier Whiskey Creek novels. He's a handsome biker (mountain, not motor) whose best friend, Baxter, is completely in love with. Unforunately for Baxter (who, dear God in heaven, please let us read his story soon, he needs a good man), Noah is straight, a huge player in fact,... and about to meet his own match.
The story opens when he hears a voice coming from the same mine where his fraternal twin died in high school. It's Adelaide Davies who has been beaten, threatened, and tossed down a mine (I accidentally typed "well" twice. Which would have been a great story, but not this one). From the blurb on the back, you can probably figure out the secret that Addy is keeping but it might be considered a spoiler by some, so I'll hide it.
In high school, Addy was raped by five boys on the baseball team, including Noah's brother who died when Addy finally was able to fight back. Now she's involved with his brother? Whose parents don't want to believe anything bad about their beloved, long-dead son? Um, issues!
Suffice it to say, it's a secret that is long reaching and big enough to divide the town.
She didn't want to come back to this place, the place where her life changed overnight, but her grandmother is sick and Addy needs to be with her, even if it means stirring up sleeping dogs. But not if it means coming into contact with Noah, the boy who she obsessed over for years. But she can't seem to stay away...
Good condom use in this story. Love Novak for that and deserves a bump up to four-and-a-half stars.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood

Image from Goodreads
When I saw the preview for this book on NetGalley, I thought, "This looks cute." When I got the approval to read, I was pleasantly surprised. This is a great first book by a new author. There are definite fits and starts that are part of any first books but a solid start to a series I will continue to read.
Random thought: total props to creating what is a new (at least to me) description for boobs on page 361, "her delirium-inducing bosom." What a great use of a hyphen!
Felicity Wilcox is upset (to say the least) when her uncle loses her family home in a card game. She meets the new owner when he almost runs her down. He doesn't and light flirtation ensues.
James Collington doesn't realize that the girl he assumed  was a governess is actually part of the family he is kicking out. Actually, he doesn't even know he's displacing them as her uncle lied through his teeth saying no one lived there.
What's a girl to do? Pretend to be a ghost? Okay then.
There were other misunderstandings, maybe few too many, but the conclusion was satisfying. Three and a half stars.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Everything's Coming Up Rosie by Kasey MIchaels

(So... the bare bones of this review was up on Goodreads for almost a year but I had to update after I woke up last night and couldn't go back to sleep. I pulled up an old book thinking it would lull me back into slumber. Two hours later, I was shutting down  my Nook with a happy sigh. Oops. Thank goodness I don't work today.)
So... much.. fun. This book has been in my TBR pile for so long I almost forgot it was there but I am so glad I pulled it out. (And on re-read, it's still fantastic).
Everything's Coming Up RosieArchitect Douglas Llewellyn has been named Philadelphia's most eligible bachelor four times. At first, he thought it was fun. But now, at forty, he's starting to see his partner settling down and he's realizing that a different woman every night is starting to wear him down. 
He's off to watch his cousin's young daughter get married. The same cousin who tries to set him up with every desperate woman she knows. Also, the same cousin who's been stepping out on her husband with boys half her age. He's not looking forward to it.
But when he gets to the party, he's attacked by a woman he's never met, someone who's calling him darling. He's game and plays along. It turns out that Rosie Kilgannon is trying to escape her own setup. They decide to band together and escape Bettie's (the cousin) machinations. 
Rosie, at thirty-two, is older than the average age of the women Douglas dates by almost a decade. However, there's something about her that he just can't escape. For her part, Rosie's a love'em-and-leave 'em sort of gal but something about Doug makes her start thinking about settling down. It's a horrifying thought. But the sex is spectacular and she really needs his help to figure out why the groom (the man marrying a dear friend of hers) seems so... hinky.
The main characters are relateable, the secondary characters are adorable but not intrusive.
Loved. It.
(Why only four stars for such a glowing review? There was not only no outright mention of using condoms, when Doug and Rosie are having sex not near them, she offers up the old chestnut, "I'm on the pill." Like that protects you from STDs. Really Kasey Michaels?)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

When Honey Got Married--Anthology

When Honey Got MarriedI requested this book from NetGalley and got okayed, but when I went to download the book the next day, it had been archived. I was so intrigued by the premise that I ordered the book from Kobo. And I did NOT regret it. What a fun book, definitely a four-miler.
Grace Felt the Heat by Kimberly Lang
Gracie Lee Duggins got out of Bellefleur as fast as she could on the day she turned eighteen. But now she's back to coordinate Honey Moreau's wedding. Honey was the high school golden girl, and in a refreshing turn, she wasn't a giant bitch. But that's not the now-christened Grace's problem. No, it's the fact that she has to work with well-known chef Beau Vaughn, the man who (as a boy) humiliated Grace and became the reason she was teased for the last three years of high school. And  now he doesn't even recognize her.
But then he figures it out and tracks her down and hotness ensues.
Short, not really enough time to develop a great love story but Lang does a great job with what she has.
Eve Met Her Match by Anna Cleary
Eve Fortescue has been invited to the Moreau-Delacroix wedding even though her family doesn't really get along with the Delacroix's and even though she's hopelessly in love with the groom. However, his cousin Rainer is there to make sure that the delectable Eve is happy to walk out with the better man.
Nina Tempted the Lord by Kelly Hunter
This is sort of a random story in with all the others. One where Honey's sister is the protagonist. A girl who literally ran away to join the circus when she was seventeen. But she's been doing her job now for many years and doesn't need the new finance director, Alex Carradice, telling her what to do. But she will accept his help when she has to go back for the sister-who-she-adore's wedding and will have to face her disapproving parents.
Alex has loved Nina for two years but how can he ask her to leave a life she loves?
Fun story.
Pippa Bared All by Ally Blake
Pippa Montgomery has been traveling around the country writing for her syndicated blog. She used to date the groom and even lived with his family for awhile. Which got awkward when she realized that his brother, Griff, created more of a fire than her boyfriend did. And for his part, Griff knew that Pippa cold be his forever-love but she was dating his brother and wasn't that weird?
But they're both here now and the magic is still there...
Honey Lived Happily Ever After by Ally Blake
Honey has been nervous about this wedding. She's loved Brent since preschool but she knows that he hasn't always been so constant. She's not sure if she's being married for her family connections, her political poise and not just because he loves her.
A great look at the start of "After" in her own HEA.