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Review: Perfect Partners (Love Unexpected) by Carly Phillips

Perfect Partners

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A “Love Unexpected” Novel …

No sooner had lawyers Chelsie Russell and Griffin Stuart lost their siblings in a car crash than they find themselves fighting for custody of their two year old niece. Griff wins only to discover Chelsie is the only one who can sooth the child’s night terrors and fears. Chelsie and Griff bond over the little girl and their growing sexual desire is mutual. But Chelsie’s been hurt before and Griff isn’t sure he can trust the woman who once tried to take his niece away. What will it take for these two unexpected lovers to believe they can be perfect partners after all?

 

 
Perfect Partners was…a rather “meh” category romance. I have no strong feelings about the book, the characters or the plot. The plot was is rather formulaic: Plot moppet’s parents (the hero’s brother and the heroine’ sister) are killed in an accident, orphaning the plot moppet. The heroine and hero are forced together by their love of the plot moppet and their desire to keep her safe and happy.

Since Perfect Partners is not an actual HQN category romance – just written exactly like one – the hero doesn’t force the heroine to marry him in order to deal with the plot moppet (which might have made the story more interesting, TBH). Instead of marriage, the two MCs create a marriage-like environment for the plot moppet by spending almost every evening together (and first) and then combining their businesses (both MCs are attorneys) to work out of the hero’s home office.

There are a couple of other threads of plot which were both more and less interesting than the romance arc: the actions and reactions of the heroine’s parents (less interesting) and the heroine’s work with domestic violence. Neither plot point did much to make Perfect Partners more interesting for me.

Meh.

Review: The Heat is On (Out of Uniform #6) by Elle Kennedy

The Heat is On

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As a Navy SEAL, Matt O’Connor specializes in Bad Boy. At least, that’s what he thinks…until he finds himself face down on the floor during a bank robbery, arguing with a sexy, bad-girl blonde who wields her sharp tongue with surgical precision.

Just like that, Matt begins to wonder if maybe the idea of settling down with one woman isn’t as crazy as he thought.

Savannah Harte is addicted to first kisses and whirlwind romances. Once the thrill is gone, though, she’s outta there. She’s eager to follow the adrenaline rush she feels with Matt into the nearest bed, but when tangled sheets begin to feel like tangled heartstrings, her first instinct is to cut him loose. There’s only one problem: Matt’s not going anywhere. And not even a steamy threesome seems to dull her growing feelings.

Which leaves Savannah having to decide what she wants more. The casual thrill of now…or the scary thrill of forever.

Product Warnings: This title features a hot threesome with explicit sex, a bad-girl heroine, and two Navy SEALs guaranteed to make you sweat.

Meh.

There was a lot to like about The Heat is On…but there was also a lot I didn’t like. And frankly, I’m going to chalk part of it up as a learning experience.

The Heat is On is one of those rare romance books where gender roles are slightly reversed. Savannah, the heroine, doesn’t like relationships – her drug of choice are relationship firsts: first kisses, first dates, first fucks, etc. As soon as a guy Savannah is dating starts getting serious, she starts packing her bags. This works for her until she meets the hero, Matt.
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Review: Gotcha! (Tall, Hot & Texan #1) by Christie Craig

Gotcha!

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Macy Tucker was five years old when her beloved grandfather dropped dead in his spaghetti. At twelve, her father left his family in the dust. At twenty-five, her husband gave his secretary a pre-Christmas bonus in bed, and Macy gave him the boot. To put things lightly, men have been undependable.

That’s why dating’s off the menu. Macy is focused on law school, and putting herself through—which means being the delivery girl for Papa’s Pizza. But cheesier than her job is her pie-eyed brother, who just recently escaped from prison to protect his new girlfriend. And hotter than Texas toast is the investigating detective. Proud, sexy…inflexible—he’s a man who would kiss her just to shut her up. But Jake Baldwin’s a protector as much as a dish. And when he gets his man—or his woman—Macy knows it’s for life.

Gotcha! is the second Christie Craig book that I’ve read, the first being Divorced, Desperate and Delicious. I enjoyed both Divorced, Desperate and Delicious and Gotcha! – but they are both rather similar books. Both books have a police officer hero and a divorced 30-40 something heroine. Both books have the hero being forced to stay with the heroine (almost 24/7) due to some type of police/murder case and both books have the heroine do something so incredibly stupid (in the name of plot humor?) that it made me want to rage.

I really liked the hero, Jake, in Gotcha! but I wasn’t that big a fan of the heroine Macy. Macy was…a little TSTL and a little too stubborn about her police protection. She almost gets killed several times but refuses to take the necessary precautions to keep herself safe. I’m never a fan of that.
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Review: Parlor Games Anthology – Fallen Angel by Jess Michaels

Parlor Games

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Do you dare open the door and enter a place like no other?

In these three historical tales of sensual awakening, nothing that stimulates and titillates is taboo, ecstasy comes in many sizes, and pleasure is its own reward . . . a world of seduction and sensation, where inhibitions are unlaced and desires long corseted are gloriously freed. . . .

Fallen Angel – Jess Michaels

London’s greatest beauty and most notorious madam employs the services of a disgraced Bow Street Runner to keep her safe from a stalker . . . and satisfied after dark.

 

 
Meh. Really, really meh.

Parlor Games was the third book I read using my Scribd trial. Scribd introduced me to Jess Michaels via the book Everything Forbidden – and suggested this title since I read Everything Forbidden. As of today this book is on sale at Kobo for $9.99. Since this story is part of an anthology I that already priced – I’m still counting this as book 3.

The heroine, Arabella, is being threatened. After receiving multiple written threats and surviving several attempts on her life, Arabella calls on Valentine, former Bow Street Runner, to protect her and pretend to be her lover.

Most of the short story focused on the sexual power plays between Arabella and Valentine – they both have been hurt by relationships – but these sections felt a little forced. To be honest, the entire story felt a little forced – especially the HEA. I did not believe in the HEA and I really didn’t enjoy [the story] that much.

I was able to figure out the antagonist from the first moment they were introduced on page. Meh.
 

 
90 Day Scribd Trial
3rd Book Read
Current Price of Book: $9.99
Total Cost of Books read: $21.97
Total Amount Saved: -$5.00 (price of all books read minus price of service ($26.97))

Review: Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire #1) by Stephanie Rowe *spoilers*

Kiss at Your Own Risk

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He needed a killer woman…
Blaine Underhill is one lucky man after having recently escaped a century and a half of imprisonment at the hands of an evil witch. Now he’s determined to save his still-enslaved friend, but in order to do so, he’ll need the help of one of the world’s most lethal women.

She was drop dead gorgeous, literally…
Trinity Harpswell is sick and tired of being a Black Widow. Having managed to go three years without accidentally killing anyone she loves, she’s one short week away from freeing herself from this killer curse forever.

When Blaine tracks her down and convinces her to help him, little does Trinity know that the next seven days are going to be murder!

 
Kiss at Your Own Risk is the tenth (10) book I’ve read using the Scribd service and the first book in the Soulfire series. This book is currently on sale at Kobo for $5.79. Stephanie Rowe is a new to me (NTM) author that I discovered using the Scribd recommendation engine.

I don’t know what to say…this wasn’t what I expected it to be. At all.

Let’s start with worldbuilding: it didn’t exist. That’s not completely fair – the world building existed but it was not explained to the reader in any way. You really just have to go with the flow for this one…and my extensive experience with reading paranormal romance (PNR) tells me that the author’s world in this series is one in which magic in all its PNR shapes and sizes are run of the mill, everyday activities. Ok. So let’s walk into the book with that assumption.
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Review: Good Girl Gone Plaid (The McLaughlins #1) by Shelli Stevens *light spoilers*

Good Girl Gone Plaid

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Falling for the bad boy is even more dangerous the second time around.

In high school Sarah fell for her best friend’s older brother—one of the sexy, Scottish McLaughlin boys. But a painful betrayal showed her she’d been a fool to give her heart to a bad boy. At least it made it easier to leave him and move halfway around the world when her Navy dad got stationed in Japan.

Eleven years later, the death of her grandmother has forced Sarah back to Whidbey Island for a month. It’s the length of time she must stay in her inherited house before she’s allowed to sell it, take the money and run. But when she sees Ian, bad as ever and still looking like sin on a stick, she can’t keep her mouth from watering.

One look at Sarah stirs up the regret lingering in Ian’s heart—and never-forgotten desire lingering in his body. He should walk away, especially since divorced single mothers aren’t his style. But when she starts showing up at his family’s pub, he can’t resist a little casual seduction for old time’s sake.

One thing quickly becomes clear, though. The heat between them is causing an avalanche of secrets and betrayal and nothing will ever be the same.

Product Warnings
A bad-boy hero who’s good with his hands, a heroine who’s trying to be good. Contains liberal consumption of Scotch whisky, a Highland Games competition, men in kilts wielding large poles, and a potential Sarah McLaughlin of the non-musical kind.

I…don’t know what to say about this one.

It is not my favorite.

The writing is fine – good, even. The characterizations, etc all worked well. I can’t say that I met a lot of cut-out characters….

But come the fuck on. There’s suspension of disbelief and then there’s taking disbelief into the back shed and shooting it.

Good Girl Gone Plaid has two of my hated tropes: a secret baby and revisionist history. Revisionist history is technically “the reinterpretation of orthodox views on evidence, motivations, and decision-making processes surrounding a historical event.” What I mean in this specific situation is that the text takes events that are known by all parties and then changes the understanding of that history based on newly received information. Work with me here…

When Good Girl Gone Plaid started I was enjoying myself, for the most part. I could tell the author wanted to take me on a more angsty ride than I was looking for but the angst made me roll my eyes more than get the feels. So I kept reading. As I read I kept thinking…these two people are really tripping considering that they were only dating a short period of time. As the book continued and I learned why the couple broke up (in high school), I still thought they were taking their issues farther than expected. Then the secret baby showed up. And I rolled my eyes.

I hate secret babies because I do not feel that there is any real justification for keeping a parent and child separate. I mean, life and safety are the only real reasons to do so…and the heroine in this book did NOT have those reasons. So it pissed me off something fierce.
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Review: Undeniably Yours (Kowalski Family #2) by Shannon Stacey

Undeniably Yours

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One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?

Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly…

Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.

Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child…

Well, this book just…felt like it went on forever. And it annoyed me greatly – well, the heroine annoyed the living shit out of me.

I really, really dislike books where the reason the hero and heroine don’t get together is because “reasons.” In Undeniably Yours the reason the H/h stay apart the entire book is because the heroine doesn’t want to do permanent relationships. Because her parents hovered and smothered. Although she has a good relationship with them. And she’s pregnant. And broke. Because reasons! And feelings!
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