Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey

Image linked from Goodreads
In her first two books (Exclusively Yours and Undeniably Yours , Shannon Stacey took some of the regular romance tropes and straightened out many of the problems most authors have when using those tropes. This book presents the well-trod "Fake Fiance" path. Is she again successful? It's an okay book, but not as good as the first two.
Sean Kowalski is just back from the war. And it appears that he's acquired a fiancee in the form of a woman he's never met. Apparently, Emma Shaw was trying to convince her grandmother that she was doing-just-fine-thank-you-very-much and decided a fake fiance was the way to go. Of course, Emma had just been talking to her best friend earlier in the day and Sean's name had come up so she just blurted it out. Since then, she's had pictures photoshopped of the two of them together and expanded on the storyline. Now her grandmother's coming back up to visit and Emma needs a savior. Sean isn't cool with that. But then his family sort of guilts him into it so he goes along. 
Neither is interested in a complete relationship, but the more they fake it, the more they wonder if this thing could really work...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Image linked from Goodreads 
We met Kevin Kowalski in Exclusively Yours as the brother of the hero. In this book, he gets his own HEA. Beth Hansen is a floater. She moves through life on her own terms, not setting down roots anywhere. Which is why it is a shock to come up pregnant after a one-night stand where protection was used. A one-night stand where she believed he was a player.
Kevin immediately jumps into protective mode. He just wants to make sure that Beth is taken care of. None of her jobs provide insurance and her apartment has... issues. So she moves in across from Kevin.
I loved that this story took place over a year. Kevin learned from his brother's mistake. Don't marry just because of the baby. Insurance wouldn't cover it anyway. But he thinks he's falling in love. It's sort of insta-love but we actually get to see that it sticks around.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A little better

I had a lieu day because of the Martin Luther King  Day Holiday so I used it to get up at 5:15 and pick up my friend Heidi so we could go to pilates. Then, I sat on the couch for longer than I care to admit. I grabbed the dog and finally made it out around 3:00. We were out for about 20 minutes and ran a total of a mile (with several walk breaks in between.) It was harder than it needed to be. At least in my mind. Intellectually, I know that running is different than aerobics but I am still fairly fit and... oof. Need to try this weekend again.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Look of Love by Bella Andre

Image linked from Goodreads
keep seeing Bella Andre's books on sale and various blogs have reviewed other books favorably. When I had a chance to get the first five from PaperbackSwap, I jumped at the chance.

The first book is okay. I had a HARD time with the insta-love that Chase had for Chloe (she was a little more cautious though she definitely has insta-lust as well.) Especially given Chloe's situation, it all happened a little too fast and Chase was just a little too charming. The guys I've met who've been that smooth just haven't had same purpose as Chase (love and marriage). 
Anyway, the story is that Chase is photographing his mother's seventieth birthday party and while driving home, encounters a woman on the side of the road. Even though he works with young models (and sleeps with a LOT of them), he instantly falls into lust with this curvy (I wish I had this as an ebook and could count the number of times this word or some variation is used to describe Chloe), nontraditional beauty.
Will I continue to read the series? Yes. Most of my problems were with Chase's attitude. I want to see if all of Andre's heros are like this or this was just a rough first outing. (some are better, most are not and I would much recommend Shannon Stacey if you like contemporary romance.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey

I've read the excerpt for this book several times and thought, "I might like this." And I was right.
Keri Daniels had a forever-kind-of-love with her high school boyfriend Joe Kowalski. These days, she's a Hollywood gossip reporter and he's a famously reclusive horror/mystery writer. When her boss finds out that Keri knows Joe, like KNOWS Joe, she's given an ultimatum, get a story on Joe or else.
8417155Joe pretty much figures out that Keri is doing this story under duress but he decides to screw with her anyway. Loved that there was no deception. He's just up front about the fact that he wants to mess with her and that's why she'll be spending two weeks with his family on their "Kowalski Vacation of Doom" (or something close to that) without electronics of any kind and, in return, she'll get one question a day which he will answer.
There are several subplots, most prominent is with Joe's twin sister, Terry, who is having some serious issues with her husband and taking them out on her former BFF, Keri.
Why no five stars? I didn't love that Keri's life-long goals were just supplanted by falling in love. It wasn't Joe's super-wang but it still sort of rubbed me the wrong way.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Caroline and the Duke by Sabrina Darby

Image linked from Goodreads
I had never read anything by this author before but the NetGalley blurb sounded interesting. I also hadn't realized that this was a short story (though it does say it right on the cover.)
Normally, I don't really enjoy short stories, but Ms. Darby created some characters that I quite enjoyed.
Caroline, Lady Ballister, is a widow. Marriage? Been there, done that. At the story's open, she is in a ballroom with her best friend Julia, discussing possible lovers. Julia offers up her brother, a man that Caroline had long been fascinated with.
For his part, Sutbridge has also been fascinated with Julia, but he wants marriage, not just a night in her bed. Can he convince her that there is more to a relationship than just sex?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

Image linked from Goodreads
Kayla Green is a rising star for her marketing firm. She'd be the happiest girl in the place if it weren't for the office Christmas party right outside. Kayla, it turns out, doesn't like Christmas. In fact, she accepts an assignment to go to a remote lodge just to get away from the celebrating. 

Jackson O'Neil was once a very successful entrepreneur. Now, he's left his business behind to help try and save his family's once-popular resort. His grandparents and mother have been working at it for years but it's just fallen out of favor with the general public. Now he's hoping that Kayla Green can help them pull it into the 21st century.

While the resort is indeed festive, Kayla Green is not prepared for Jackson's family and the warmth that she receives from them. Nor is she ready for the attraction that she and Jackson feel for each other. She lost the dream of happily-ever-after a long time ago and she doesn't want to reintroduce the hope that led to such heartbreak in her past.

The reviewers at Smart Bitches Trashy Books talked this book up so much I jumped at the chance to read the ARC from NetGalley. It's a good first full-length novel. I didn't connect fully with Kayla and there were some plot points that I thought weren't quite wrapped up fully but I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Next Books in the Series: Suddenly Last SummerMaybe this Christmas