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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: It Happened One Wedding by Julie James (FBI/US Attorney #5)

It Happened One Wedding

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SHE KNOWS BETTER THAN TO SAY “I DO”

After a humiliating end to her engagement, investment banker Sidney Sinclair is done with commitment-phobic men. But when her sister winds up engaged after a whirlwind courtship, she’s thrown in to close contact with exactly the kind of sexy playboy she wants to avoid—the gorgeous best man. She’s stuck with him, for better or worse, until her sister walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean she has to give in to his smooth advances, no matter how tempting they are…

BUT HE MAKES IT HARD TO SAY “I DON’T”

Special Agent Vaughn Roberts always gets his man on the job and his woman in bed. So Sidney’s refusal to fall for his charms only makes him more determined to win over the cool and confident redhead. Only what starts out as a battle of wills ends up as a serious play for her heart. Because the one woman who refuses to be caught may be the only one Vaughn can’t live without…

I decided I wanted to read this book after it received a Recommended Read tag by Dear Author. Once I made that decision, this book and I did a little dance for some weeks. Amazon and Barnes & Noble sell the ebook version for $5.99…but I have a Kobo. Kobo sells the ebook for $7.99. That made my itchy “buy” fingers slow down. I simply was not going to spend $2 for the privilege of buying the book from Kobo and I almost always compare prices. When you have a book buying habit like mine every penny counts. So I eyed the MMPB a few times. B&N was selling it for $7.99 but Amazon was selling it for $7.19. I stared at it a few times but didn’t buy – I wanted the ebook. Then I saw that Amazon dropped their MMPB price from $7.19 to $6.64. I bought it right away. I have no problem paying more for a paper version but I wasn’t paying $2 more for the ebook just because I own a Kobo and not a Kindle or a nook.

Anyway.

I loved this book! I’ve had a pretty good case of the cranky book fussies lately. Very little has really caught my attention long enough for me to complete a book. It’s been driving me a bit batty, lol. I finally had a chance to crack open It Happened One Wedding on a recent flight and I became seriously annoyed when people (including the suddenly talkative hubby) kept interrupting me. Yaaaay! I love a good read!
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Review: Safe in His Arms by Renee Rose

safe in his arms

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For as long as she could remember, Becca dreamed of a dominant man to take her in hand, and Zac, the handsome Marine she met at her sister’s wedding, filled the role with aplomb… for a weekend. Then the fling came to an end, Zac went off to war and died for his country, and Becca learned she carried a child who would be born without a father.

Seven years later, Becca has done her best to move on and forget about Zac… until the day she walks into her kitchen to find the man she believed she would never see again locked in mortal combat with her son’s nanny, and realizes everything she thought she knew about Zac was a lie.

Like all Black Ops agents, Zac doesn’t exist in any government record. His life is a series of deadly missions, and relationships of any kind are unsanctioned. But he keeps one secret. He watches over Becca, the beautiful daughter of a rogue agent, and Parker, the six-year-old boy he fathered that fateful weekend. When he spots a known assassin in their apartment posing as a nanny, he’s forced to reveal himself and take them to safety… whether Becca likes it or not.

While Becca may have enjoyed his dominance once, bending her to his will again may not be quite so easy. He is determined to keep her safe, however, and if a long, hard spanking is required, he is more than willing to oblige. Having Becca over his knee rekindles more than his passion, though; even when the immediate danger has passed, he finds it much more difficult to “ghost out” on his family again. Must he resign himself to protecting those he loves from afar, or can he find a way to be the man Becca needs and longs for, the man who is worthy of her submission and her love?

Publisher’s Note: Safe in His Arms is an erotic romance novel that includes both consensual and non-consensual spankings, anal play, graphic sexual scenes, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

This is short story/novella length. I find reading and reviewing shorts/novellas to always be rather challenging – so I can only imagine that writing them must be just as challenging. There’s a lot of information that needs to be condensed down to its purest version to be able to fit into the required word count.

And that is the exact same reason why I find reading shorts to be challenging – I want so much (from the book, the author, the characters, the plot) but there’s so little space available. *sigh* One of the biggest issues I normally have with shorts is the relationship of the characters themselves (not the relationship the characters have with the reader). How do you convey the appropriate amount of tension and intimacy while not writing a full length novel? The mind, it boggles.
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The Bride’s Baby (The Brides of Bella Lucia #8) by Liz Fielding

the bride's baby

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The wedding of the season!

Events manager Sylvie Smith is organizing a glittering fund-raising event: a wedding show in a stately home. She has even been roped into pretending to be a bride…a bride who’s five months pregnant!

The bride everyone is talking about!

It should be every girl’s dream to design a wedding with no expense spared, but it’s not Sylvie’s. Longbourne Court was her ancestral home, and she’s just discovered that the new owner is Tom McFarlane—her baby’s secret father. Now Tom’s standing in front of her, looking at her bump…

Sylvie Smith, wedding planner extraordinaire, is talked into planning the wedding of her old school friend Candy to billionaire Tom McFarlane. Three days before the wedding Candy runs off with Sylvie’s employee. After meeting, Tom and Sylvie have sex and Sylvie ends up pregnant.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Sylvie and Tom were both nice people who were easy to like. The problem I had with this book is that the whole book is based around a series of misunderstandings. After Sylvie realizes that she’s pregnant, she writes Tom a letter in which she tells him if he never wants anything to do with them he doesn’t have to respond. Tom runs away for six months. During the time he is away he sees a picture of pregnant Sylvie with her ex and assumes it’s his baby. When Tom finally gets back in the country, Sylvie is doing a magazine spread for a wedding fair that Tom assumes is for her own wedding.

All of these silly problems could be taken care of with one frank conversation that doesn’t take place till the end of the book.

Four stars for the characters
One stars for plot lines

2 1/2 Stars!

Baby Bonanza (Billionaires and Babies #2) by Maureen Child

baby bonanza

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Twins? The startling revelation that his affair with Jenna Baker had produced two little boys was almost impossible to grasp. Tycoon Nick Falco had never considered himself the settling-down type, yet now that fatherhood had been thrust upon him, he was determined to give his sons his name. But their mother wasn’t about to let him back into her life…at least not without those three little words Nick had never, ever said.

Jenna Baker has had a slight crush on her cruise ship tycoon boss Nick Falco for a while now. The only problem is that he has a “no-hands on employees” policy. When Nick sees her one day and thinks she is a passenger, she doesn’t correct him. They spend a magical week together before he finds out – at which time he breaks up with her and fires her. She finds out she is pregnant and has twins. Jenna tries to contact him. She gets no response so she books passage on his cruise ship to tell him “Hey, guess what? You’re a daddy x2!”

This one was a little silly to be honest, but fun. It’s a decent book with good writing but something rang false with me. If Nick lives on the ship how does he not recognize his own employee? The resolution came easily for them and I was a little bored by the pat ending. It’s still a quick and decent read – a typical Catagory Romance – and it was entertaining.

The Gift (3-in-1) by Nora Roberts

the gift

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“Home for Christmas”
After years spent abroad, reporter Jason Law returned home determined to win back the girl he left behind. It would take all his skills–and then some–to win Faith back. But this time, nothing would stand in his way–it was time faith was rewarded.

“All I Want for Christmas”
Identical twin boys Zeke and Zach wanted only one gift from Santa this year: a new mom But convincing their love-wary dad that their music teacher, Miss Davis, was his destiny and part of Santa’s plan wasn’t as easy as they’d hoped–.

“Gabriel’s Angel”
All Gabriel Bradley wanted was solitude. But when Laura ended up at his remote cabin during a blizzard, desperate, alone and on the run, the modern-day Scrooge couldn’t turn her away. For she brought him the gift of passion, life, hope–if he had the courage to reach for it.

This is a trilogy of “secret baby” short stories, none of them particularly satisfying…

…even with the whole “I’m at the beach and could care less” thing I had going on.

So, this is one of the many books I read on my vacation and boy was it blaah.
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