Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis


After dropping out of pastry school and messing up her big break on a reality cooking show, Leah Sullivan needs to accomplish something in her life. But when she returns home to Lucky Harbor, she finds herself distracted by her best friend, Jack Harper. In an effort to cheer up Jack's ailing mother, Dee, Leah tells a little fib - that she and Jack are more than just friends. Soon pretending to be hot-and-heavy with this hunky firefighter feels too real to handle . . .

No-strings attachments suit Jack just fine - perfect for keeping the risk of heartbreak away. But as Jack and Leah break every one of their "just friends" rules, he longs to turn their pretend relationship into something permanent. Do best friends know too much about each other to risk falling in love? Or will Jack and Leah discover something new about each other in a little town called Lucky Harbor?

I have loved each and every one of the Lucky Harbor books, plowed through them in fact.  Couldn't wait to open them and see what Lucille would post about the prospective couple on Facebook.  While the circumstances in which Leah and Jack get together have never been used (that I can recall) in this series, the interesting and quirky characters are starting to blend together.  The things that made this series -- and the town -- special seem to be recycled.  And I hate to say that!  I hate to say I'm getting tired of Lucky Harbor, but ... I'm getting tired of Lucky Harbor.  *sigh*

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

Review: Sleigh Belles by Beth Albright

Join the Sassy Belles for Christmas, Southern style!

With her hair perfectly coiffed and a heavy trail of perfume wafting behind her, local news reporter Dallas Dubois is sure she's about to kick her career—and maybe her love life—into high gear. The director of the Tuscaloosa children's Christmas play has fallen ill, and Dallas is ordered by her station manager to take the reins. Everyone is shocked—especially the musical director, Cal Hollingsworth, who still remembers her as the Ice Queen from high school.

Dallas has never met a challenge that a little lip gloss and a Chanel knockoff couldn't fix, but she has no idea how to relate to these kids. Things are made even more complicated by the butterflies she gets whenever Cal is near….

I've really enjoyed this series thus far, and I knew in order to get to know Dallas Dubois, we would have to hear things from her point of view and not Blake O'Hara Heart's.  Unfortunately, I really missed Blake's voice and perspective on life in Tuscaloosa.  

Dallas Dubois is a news reporter trying to get ahead.  She's been portrayed as a schemer and a do-anything-to-further-her-career kind of gal, but that's not who she really is underneath the perfect hair and heavy makeup. 

While I'm glad to have heard directly from Dallas, enabling me to get to know her without Blake or Vivi's impressions and opinions, there was something missing in this final installment of the Sassy Belles trilogy, and I didn't enjoy Sleigh Belles as much as I had hoped. 

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Sleigh Belles.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Surrender to Sultry by Macy Beckett

Leah McMahon is back in Sultry Springs, Texas to help her dad recover from surgery. But there's a new sheriff in town and he's none other than Colton Bea, the wild-as-weeds boy who stole her heart a decade earlier. Colt's a changed man now, and the feelings between these high school sweethearts are stronger than ever. But Leah's got a secret so devastating that he may never forgive her. Can she find a way to earn absolution and build a future with the sultry man she's loved half her life?

Colton Bea isn't the same man Lean McMahon knew in high school, and when Leah returns to Sultry Springs after a ten-year absence, Colt is going to show her just how much he's changed.  Leah's changed too, though, and she's certain her reason for leaving will drive Colt away once again.  

It's unfortunate that after all the questions in the two previous books about why Leah had suddenly up and left Sultry Springs, the reason was that.  It's a favorite trope of mine, yes, but it was not the answer I was looking for in this instance.  

Surrender to Sultry was a nice ending to the series -- we were rewarded with glimpses of both couples from the previous books -- but the story was a bit of a disappointment to me. 

(A very special thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Surrender to Sultry.)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Cake by Lauren Dane

She won't be satisfied with just one bite….

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. Wren's gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she's determined to show him that just one taste won't be enough….

Cake has all the elements I typically expect from a Lauren Dane romance:  sexual tension, a heroine with serious confidence, a gritty, prickly hero.   Yet despite knowing this going in, I didn't love Cake as much as I thought I would. 

Wren is an art student with a messenger job, so she gets to flirt with Gregori Ivanov from time to time as she delivers documents to him.  She knows what she wants -- both professionally and personally -- and she's confident enough make her success happen. 

Gregori is an artist with an attitude.  At least that's the persona he projects in public.  Wren, however, gets him; she sees him where he's most comfortable and real.  But Gregori has female issues, specifically his crazy ex-wife, and he doesn't want Wren to be hurt.  

As I read, I thought Cake should have been retitled to Sweet.  Both Wren and Gregori crave sweets, and Gregori always has cookies lying around the kitchen, which he uses to tempt Wren into staying longer on her deliveries.  A trivial matter perhaps, but I only recall them sharing cake once, yet they eat cookies together all the time.  Is cake somehow more significant than cookies?

Wren is certainly the more aggressive of the two.  She tells Gregori like she sees it and deals with whatever fall-out happens from there.  I wanted to get to know Gregori more to understand exactly what makes him so attractive to Wren (besides his physical appearance and artistic skills). 

(A very special thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Cake.)  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Color Me Bad by Sharon Sala

An original short story by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala links to her full-length contemporary women's fiction novel, The Curl Up and Dye.

The novella centers around the four women who run the Curl Up and Dye hair salon and their relationships with the quirky customers of small-town Blessings, Georgia. Their meddlesome efforts at match-making run awry, but there's always another makeover just around the corner.

There is nothing more Southern than hanging out in a beauty parlor.  You can hear gossip, get the latest hair trends, and meet an amazing variety of people.  That's exactly what happens in Color Me Bad: we meet the movers and shakers of Blessings, Georgia.  

And boy, does this town move! 

There's allegations of an affair with a pastor, a vindictive and revengeful wife, and bedroom secrets of another couple revealed. 

Color Me Bad is a great introduction to Blessings and its inhabitants, which segues nicely into Ms. Sala's full-length novel, Curl Up and Dye (February 2014).  I'm looking forward to returning to Blessings!

(A very special thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of Color Me Bad.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Related Posts with Thumbnails