Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancĂ©’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Sutton and Wyatt aren't strangers, but they are from different sides of Cottonbloom.  When Sutton discovers her fiance has been cheating with her best friend, she lies that she and Wyatt have been involved as well.  Wyatt agrees to go along with it because of his childhood crush on Sutton.

There is a bit of a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING between Sutton and Wyatt, just as their true love starts to take hold, thanks to something said by Wyatt's oldest brother, Ford.  I'll be interested to see how Ford is portrayed in future books.  

It's always fun to visit Cottonbloom - both sides! - and see characters from the previous series.  The Abbotts of Cottonbloom, Louisiana, have a lot of tension simmering between them, so I'm excited to see where this new series goes. 

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Leave the Night On.)

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: The Bad Luck Bride by Janna MacGregor

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 fiancee, 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?

I love to give new authors, especially authors of historical romances, a chance.  Unfortunately, I didn't connect with Ms. MacGregor's writing as much as I had hoped.  

Alex is after revenge on behalf of his deceased sister.  Claire just happens to be in the way as a pawn.  Alex's manipulations and Claire's behavior, particularly in the second half of the novel, didn't engage me.  I kept wondering why they were still together!  The ton believes Claire is cursed, so a separation would only feed into that notion.   

A disappointing historical romance for me, I'm sorry to say. 

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Bad Luck Bride.)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Suddenly One Summer by Julie James

Divorce lawyer Victoria Slade has seen enough unhappy endings to swear off marriage forever. That doesn't mean she's opposed to casual dating—just not with her cocky new neighbor, who is as gorgeous and tempting as he is off-limits. But once she agrees to take on his sister's case, she's as determined to win as ever—even if that means teaming up with Ford...

Investigative journalist Ford Dixon is bent on finding the man who got his sister pregnant and left her high and dry. He's willing to partner with Victoria, despite the fact that the beautiful brunette gets under his skin like no other woman. He might not be looking to settle down, but there's no denying the scorching attraction between them. Still, the more time he spends with Victoria, the more he realizes that the one woman as skeptical about love as he is might be the only woman he could really fall for...

Suddenly One Summer has been on my TBR since its release.  Her first novel not featuring an FBI agent as a main character, previous heroes and heroines are mentioned or appear as secondary characters, so this book ties into the series as a whole. 

When I read one of Ms. James' books, I know I'm going to get a lot of sexual tension between the heroine and hero; both characters will be smart or crafty -- above-board, I suppose.  And it's usually their personalities and dialogue that drive that sexual tension.  It makes them relatable and real, and I typically LOVE it.  

So I was surprised that Ms. James used a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING between Ford and Valerie.  Fortunately, the couple talks and are able to come back together quickly with honesty between them.  To a point, I suppose Valerie and Ford assumed things about the other from the moment they met in the building.  Still, it was a surprise.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham

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


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.)
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