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Review: The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Brothers, #1) by Lauren Dane

The Best Kind of Trouble

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She has complete control…and he’s determined to take it away

A librarian in the small town of Hood River, Natalie Clayton’s world is very nearly perfect. After a turbulent childhood and her once-wild ways, life is now under control. But trouble has a way of turning up unexpectedly–especially in the tall, charismatically sexy form of Paddy Hurley….

And Paddy is the kind of trouble that Natalie has a taste for.

Even after years of the rock-and-roll lifestyle, Paddy never forgot the two wickedly hot weeks he once shared with Natalie. Now he wants more…even if it means tempting Natalie and her iron-grip control. But there’s a fine line between well-behaved and misbehaved–and the only compromise is between the sheets!

I loved this book. LOVED.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what touched me so much about The Best Kind of Trouble. Like Mary Poppins, it was practically perfect in every way. The Best Kind of Trouble is a reunited lovers story – the best kind, at that. Natalie and Paddy didn’t break up on a sour note and they shared great times together. The Best Kind of Trouble is a rockstar story – which I normally avoid – but the story takes place in a small town that shelters the group from the constant attention of the paparazzi. The Best Kind of Trouble (and the entire Hurley Boys series) follow a rock group…but the series seems to be more about family than about stardom. OMFG. LOVE.
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Review: Enticed (Pregnancy & Passion, #1) by Maya Banks

Enticed

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Bryony Morgan has come to New York for answers–and she won’t accept a brush-off from the father of her unborn child. She fell for wealthy hotelier Rafael de Luca when he courted her for her beachfront real estate. Then he disappeared. That’s because a crash has left Rafe with selective amnesia. But how could he ever forget a combustible beauty like Bryony? His solution to their stalemate: return to the island where they met, and relive the unforgettable nights in question–until he remembers everything….

“Top Pick! […] An extraordinarily moving romance with wonderfully charismatic protagonists.”
–RT Book Reviews on The Tycoon’s Secret Affair

ENTICED was originally published as Enticed by His Forgotten Lover

 
Enticed is the first category romance that I have read by Maya Banks. Strangely enough, Maya Banks wrote the very first menage book that I read. I guess you can say that she helped to break me into reading erotica. So when I saw Maya Banks’ name on a HQN category romance, I had to grab it.

Enticed is – at first glance – a pretty typical Harlequin Presents story: ruthless business tycoon hero and innocent, financially needy heroine. At first glance.

The biggest differences – to me – was the general lack of angst, lack of conflict and the hero’s grovelling. Which greatly changed the tone of the book for me.

Enticed begins with the hero, Luca, at a public event and suffering from amnesia. He sees a woman glaring at him so he goes to speak to her and she informs him that not only had the two been in a relationship but that he’s going to be a father. The rest of the majority of the book revolves around Luca and Bryony trying to recover Luca’s memory.

There is very little angst in Enticed until the end of the book. There is little to no conflict in the book. I have to admit that the lack of angst and conflict really…made the book slow and boring for me. I was never emotionally invested in Enticed and I can barely remember the MCs names.

Although I found Enticed boring and slow, Maya Banks’s writing is still very polished and a pleasure to read.

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: Exclusively Yours (The Kowalski Family #1) by Shannon Stacey

Exclusively Yours

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When Keri Daniels’ editor finds out she has previous carnal knowledge of reclusive bestselling author Joe Kowalski, she gives Keri a choice: get an interview or get a new job.

Joe’s never forgotten the first girl to break his heart, so he’s intrigued to hear Keri’s back in town–and looking for him. Despite his intense need for privacy, he’ll grant Keri an interview if it means a chance to finish what they started in high school.

He proposes an outrageous plan–for every day she survives with his family on their annual camping and four-wheeling trip, Keri can ask one question. Keri agrees; she’s worked too hard to walk away from her career.

But the chemistry between them is still as potent as the bug spray, Joe’s sister is out to avenge his broken heart and Keri hasn’t ridden an ATV since she was ten. Who knew a little blackmail, a whole lot of family and some sizzling romantic interludes could make Keri reconsider the old dream of Keri & Joe 2gether 4ever.

This book has been an interesting experience for me. There was a lot of negative impressions/views about Keri (the heroine) at the beginning of the book and those negative views were not initially tempered by Keri’s own voice. Other than the basic character introduction and [plot] motivation, the reader is told about Keri from the view of Joe (the scorned ex) and his twin sister Lisa (the scorned ex-best friend). Not to beat about the bush, the initial view of Keri is…pretty atrocious. Seriously. The reader learns that Keri dropped Lisa – her best friend – in high school when she became popular and that Keri dropped Joe – her high school sweetheart – as soon as the diploma hit her hot little hands. Then Keri leaves town and doesn’t see or speak to them again…for almost 20 years. The reader learns that Lisa was really hurt by Keri’s actions and that Joe was devastated: he withdraws from his family and friends and becomes an alcoholic.

Let’s be honest, Keri sounded like a bitch and I have a hard time rooting for bitches. I was about five seconds from DNF’ing this book at chapter one…until I thought about something: Keri was 18 when she moved away…Joe became an alcoholic at 18?! WTF, yo! That’s…a bit much to try to put on a kid’s shoulders. Having that thought really was the only thing that kept me from tossing this one.
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Review: Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay Saga #1) By Nora Roberts

sea swept

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A champion boat racer, Cameron Quinn traveled the world spending his winnings on champagne and women. But when his dying father called him home to care for Seth, a troubled young boy not unlike Cameron once was, his life changed overnight…

After years of independence, Cameron had to learn to live with his brothers again, while he struggled with cooking, cleaning, and caring for a difficult boy. Old rivalries and new resentments flared between Cameron and his brothers, but they tried to put aside their differences for Seth’s sake. In the end, a social worker would decide Seth’s fate, and as tough as she was beautiful, she had the power to bring the Quinns together–or tear them apart…

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. REALLY, really wanted to like it more. And I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy parts of it – even most of it – but the reality is that while I enjoyed aspects of the book the romance fell flat for me. Flatter than Flat Stanley. I just did not believe the romance…at all.
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Under Her Skin by Jeaniene Frost, Meljean Brook & Ilona Andrews

under her skin

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Three short stories of paranormal romance…

“Pack” brings you a tale of a lost hiker and her encounter with some very frightening–and sexy–wolves. A female werewolf helps a sheriff track down a killer “In Sheep’s Clothing.” A woman must repay her family’s debt to a shapeshifting magician in “Grace of Small Magics.”

Please note: Each of these stories previously appeared in print in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance. This is a collected e-book edition of Ilona Andrews’, Jeaniene Frost’s, and Meljean Brook’s contributions.

Pack by Jeaniene Frost: I both liked and didn’t like this one. My major problem? I don’t like deception in books. It…just makes me uncomfortable most of the time. Unless the person being deceived is the bad guy. Continue reading

Always by Carol Rose

always

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Elinor Prescott has come home at last…to Oakleigh, the gracious antebellum mansion that was home to generations of her Southern family. But the beautiful old house is a near-ruin and she can’t afford to restore it. Elinor hopes to find a buyer who will cherish the home as she does. But she has one rule – she won’t sell to handsome, self-made millionaire Cole Whittier.

Cole has the locals upset over his plans to build a factory nearby and Elinor’s leading the opposition. He’s got a fight on his hands to convince the stubborn beauty of the merits of his plans – and of everything else he discovers he wants to offer her.

It’s up to Cole to persuade Elinor to see things from his perspective. The sexy industrialist is convinced that Elinor is well worth winning over.

Always (or “The Angry Heroine”) by Carol Rose

I had a lot of problems with this book. There are a lot of good ideas but the bad execution destroys a lot of that promise. The story should have been right up my alley…but I found myself wanting to toss this book across the room on several different occasions. I also found myself putting it down and not coming back for long periods of time. In fact, I had to force myself to finish. That’s never a good sign. This book is in need of a good editor, STAT.*
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