Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: On the Plus Side by Alison Bliss


Big girls don't cry.

They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin' curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie's luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie's determined to get Logan's attention . . . even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can't remember a time when Valerie didn't secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It's only when he finds Valerie's naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.

On the Plus Side features one of my favorite tropes:  romance with a friend's younger sister.  Valerie has had a thing for Logan for a long time.  A.  Long.  Time.  Despite his leaving their hometown, that thing has not diminished.  Now Logan is back and in need of help with his bar, so Valerie immediately steps in. 

As with the first book in the series, Size Matters, this book contains several Big Misunderstandings and outright lies between Valerie and Logan.  Some of their arguments seemed really contrived.  While they had great chemistry, their non-sexual interactions needed work, and I was really surprised by the rushed ending.  It didn't feel necessary or ring true. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of On the Plus Side.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood


LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.

Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

The Rebel of Clan Kincaid picks up almost immediately after The Beast of Clan Kincaid.  Magnus is dealing with the fallout of learning his true identity, which comes with a lot of emotions, when he meets Tara Iverach.  He steals a kiss from Tara, who happens to be engaged/betrothed to Hugh, Alwyn's legitimate son. 

Tara has lived in a nunnery before the Earl of Buchan claims her as his ward.  She is thrust into the fray after she learns of her sister's death and is promised to marry Hugh, the son of Buchan's friend and supporter. 

Tara and Magnus are tossed together in a convenient line-of-sight plot.  I didn't always buy their chemistry or connection, but they were able to work together and achieve their respective goals with the help of the other.  The Rebel of Clan Kincaid wasn't as dynamic or intriguing as The Best of Clan Kincaid, and I think the pacing hindered the story, probably because I wanted to see Magnus lose control and reveal his true self to Alwyn. 

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with a ARC of The Rebel of Clan Kincaid.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On the Plus Side by Allison Bliss








Big girls don't cry. They go after what they want.

Thanks to her bangin' curves, Valerie Carmichael has always turned heads-with the exception of seriously sexy Logan Mathis. Just Valerie's luck that the object of her lust-filled affection is also best friends with her overprotective brother. But Valerie's determined to get Logan's attention…even if it means telling a teeny little lie to get a job at his new bar.

Logan can't remember a time when Valerie didn't secretly fuel all his hottest fantasies. Now the curvaceous she-devil is working behind his bar, tempting him every damn night. It's only when he finds Valerie's naughty things-to-do list that Logan decides to break every rule in the book-by making each red-hot deed a reality.

No one warned them that they were going to fall this hard. And no one warned them that sometimes the smallest secrets can have the biggest consequences.



EXCERPT

Valerie Carmichael needed a drink. A strong one. Because it was the only way she envisioned herself getting through the night.

An elbow nudged into her side, bringing her thoughts back to the crowded bar. “I can’t see anything through all of these people,” Brett said, scanning the room with his eyes. “Come on, let’s go to the other side so I can get a better view.”

Sighing, Valerie trudged behind him without a word.

When Brett had asked her to attend the grand opening of Bottoms Up, a new bar in their hometown of Granite, Texas, she’d hesitated to say yes. Sure, she was curious what the inside of the recently remodeled bar looked like and had no doubt the place would be jam-packed with handsome, available men. But it was still the last place on earth she wanted to be.

She knew better than to hang out in bars with her older and only—thank God—brother. Every time she’d done so in the past, the nights had always ended the same way. Brett would spend the entire evening hovering over her like a rabid pit bull, daring any single guy with a glint in his eye to look her way. Because Valerie turned heads. She always had.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review: Size Matters by Alison Bliss


The rules of (fake) engagement . . .

Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she's sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren't enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper - or the fact that he just told her mother that they're engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah's date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay "just friends," and make Leah's family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah's decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren't going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he's for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

I appreciate when authors break out of the norm in romances.  Most women (myself included) are size 16, so to have stereotypical heroines be portrayed over and over again, well, it's nice to have a option.  Leah Martin seems like she could be a super fun character.  Someone who'd laugh with you, someone who is a perfect baker, someone who would be an all-around awesome friend. 

If only Leah would be a friend to herself!

Size Matters was a easy read, literally perfect for an afternoon escape.  Unfortunately, there were a LOT of BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS between Leah and Sam, starting with the night they met.  And the misunderstandings -- or lack of communication -- continue until the end of the book.  I was very surprised by the ending. 

Leah's mother plays the role of villain, but Leah does a lot of self-harm as well through her negative thoughts.  Between Leah and her mother, it's a wonder Leah is a functioning member of society! 

I do plan to read the second book of the series, On the Plus Side, which features Leah's friend and co-worker, Valerie. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Size Matters.)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor



IS MARRIAGE A BLESSING OR A CURSE?

A man of honor, Alexander Hallworth, Marquess of Pembrooke, will not rest until he exacts revenge on the man who destroyed his family. Just one more piece must fall into place for him to succeed. He needs to convince his enemy’s fianc√©e, the tragically beautiful Lady Claire Cavensham, to marry him instead.

Lady Claire’s curse has always left her one misstep away from social ruin Her past three engagements have gone awry, and now her fourth is headed in the same direction. . .until Alex, a man she barely even knows, shocks the ton and Claire by announcing their engagement. What begins as a sham turns into something deeper, and more passionate, than either Claire or Alex could have imagined. But when their secrets are revealed, will the truth behind their union scandalize them both or is their love strong enough to break the curse and lead them toward their happily ever after?

EXCERPT

 Alex smiled in earnest. “I would never allow you to be humiliated in front of society. I’m trying to help you.” Somehow, he had to convince her of that fact, then the idea of marrying him would be much easier to accept.

She blinked rapidly, then turned back to him and, for an instant, appeared startled to see him there. “That’s very gallant, my lord. Truly, thank you for the effort. But I must leave.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review: Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer


Fiona Ferguson and her twin sister Mairead are missing. Sisters of an alleged traitor, they have been cast out by their noble grandfather, who believes their brother's reputation will taint them. Furious at the old man's behavior, Drake's Rakes Alex Knight and Chuffy Wilde set out to find the sisters.

What Alex and Chuffy don't know is that they are also leading agents for the traitorous cabal The Lions right to the women. Caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, the sisters and their rescuers are forced farther and farther into the slums of London to escape not only the Lions, but Minette Ferrar, a notorious assassin looking to revenge herself on Ian Ferguson by killing his sisters. What Fiona Ferguson cannot escape, though, is the dawning realization that she is falling in love with Alex Knight, who is burdened with secrets that pose the most danger of all.


In an effort to finish books I've started, then put away for one reason or another, I sat down and made myself read Twice Tempted.  I have read all the Drake's Rakes novels (Always a Temptress was my favorite of the series), so it was pretty easy to put myself back into this world, even though it's been several years.

The pacing of the story moved well -- we know Alex and Fiona will have a HEA; we assume Minette, the assassin, will be caught and the threat neutralized -- but once Chuffy and Mairead's connection became obvious, I was glad to see Chuffy get a HEA as well.   He has been my favorite minor character since the first novel.

The main issue I had with Twice Tempted is that it felt like a series finale.  All the loose ends were tied neatly, and I found myself speed reading simply to reach The End without having a real sense of connection between Fiona and Alex.  Still, all's well that end's well, and I'm glad Drake's Rakes ended well. 

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Twice Tempted.) 
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