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review 2017-08-17 02:56
Thoughts: Bare Essentials
Bare Essentials - Jill Shalvis,Leslie Kelly

Bare Essentials
-- Naughty But Nice by Jill Shalvis
-- Naturally Naughty by Leslie Kelly

 

 

Naughty But Nice

Lingerie model Cassie Tremaine Montgomery intends to have her revenge on the citizens of her hometown—starting with seducing the sheriff, Sean "Tag" Taggart. Tag, however, isn't cooperating.  He's more than willing to set the sheets on fire with her, but he's asking for more than just sizzling sex….  He knows Cassie's not as tough as she pretends.  And he knows she cares about him—even if she won't admit it.  So he'll just turn up the heat until she concedes there's more between them than this red-hot passion.

Naturally Naughty

Kate Jones, the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, is home.  And she's got an agenda.  To get revenge on the man who humiliated her mother, Kate's going to seduce that man's son—the town's golden boy, John Winfield Jr.—and then leave him drooling in a puddle of lust.  However, when she finds herself seduced by a sexy stranger named Jack, little does she guess that the tables have just been turned….



Interesting premise with the adult women's store.  Standard premise of small town girls living a crappy life, wanting to get out and make something of themselves to show their town up.  The revenge story doesn't really build up all that well, and some of the revenge points aren't exactly resolved; however, in it's own way, that kind of creates a different story based on two women's need to take their revenge on a town that always treated them terribly.

Instead, we get a sweet set of stories with a love story and a journey to self-discovery.  Sort of.

 

 

Naughty But Nice

by Jill Shalvis
-- 3.5 Stars

Naughty But Nice is a typical Jill Shalvis type story--witty, fun, sexy... with just enough story for it to be enjoyable, and just enough drama for it to be thought-provoking, even while being a bit too angst-ridden for my liking.

Cassie is a great character, with all the sass and outrageous personality to make her stand out.  Unfortunately, Tag is a little boring, but he's at least not a broody alpha and makes for great boyfriend material.  The romance is sweet, but might have come off a little juvenile at times, and yet quite predictable as it was.  Cassie might have been a bit too stubborn; Tag might have been a bit pushy.  The romance itself might have gotten a bit cheesy.

And other characters were in line with a typical Jill Shalvis small-town-set, all with their interestingly unique personalities and a potential worth of back story.

The conclusion still seemed open-ended, with the issue between tag and his father quite unresolved.  The issues concerning Cassie's revenge plot kind of loses wind, and it would have been nice to see at least one person from Cassie's past eat their words, or get walloped with some sort of repentance or even get shown up.

But we make this story more about Cassie's own self-revelations, with some life-altering events... and then we move on.  The open ended resolution is probably apt as a way of showing that life just moves on whether or not you get your revenge.  There are always going to be people you treat you fairly, and others who will never see past their pre-judgments.

I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here; but I'm not entirely sure I can put my finger on what it is.

Naturally Naughty

by Leslie Kelly
-- 3.5 Stars

I found that I liked Naturally Naughty more than Naughty But Nice, if only because the romance felt a bit more down-to-earth.  I mean, sure there's a big "lust and first sight" factor going on here, but it's pretty standard, and not completely unbelievable.  HOWEVER, when we throw in the "meant to be at first sight" deal more towards the end--that whole "I think I've loved you since that first time I saw you" nonsense, I always roll my eyes.  Had that been left out of the story, I might have been more inclined to give it a higher rating.

The revenge story that slowly develops into another self-revelation story feels a bit more realistic in this second Bare Essentials story than the first had been.  Truth, it's not that Naughty But Nice wasn't a believable romance, it just felt too cheesy to be more than a sweet contemporary romance.

On the other hand, Naturally Naughty progresses at a more banal pace, skipping over certain points of the story that had already been told in the previous; but at the same time, it gives more of a feel for Kate's little self-discovery journey as she comes home to Pleasantville and begins to see things in a different light.

Kate and Jack make a great couple, with a nice lusty friendship that slowly builds into more of a loving intimacy as they work around their problems--a semi-feud between each other's family, and a secret hanging over each other's heads.  I find it kind of amusing that both Kate and Jack are holding onto the same secret, unwilling to tell the other for the same reason: they don't want to hurt each other from finding out about a loved one's betrayal.

This story, unlike the first, was more about a self-revelation for both Kate and Jack, and in that sense, I really liked it.  This story is a little bit better resolved, with some old hates and hurts being forgiven and forgotten readily after some reflection by each character.

Once again, I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned here as well.  Once again, I'm not entirely sure I know what it is.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/thoughts-bare-essentials.html
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review 2017-08-16 16:43
Review: Love, Special Delivery by Melinda Curtis
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis

The first half of the book is a solid 3 stars, but it falls apart in the second half. The plot moppets (Maddie's sister and Ben's godchild) grated on my nerves and sucked a lot of enjoyment from reading Maddie and Ben's story. And this is the second book I read this week that did not resolve the paternity question that is the heart of the hero's motivation - so frustrating!

 

Maddie is an okay heroine, although her constant smiling drove me up the wall. She has the stereotypical tragic back story, a little OTT for my taste. Her mother abandoned her and her younger sister to their grandparents, her grandmother died of cancer, her grandfather died from complications due to mismanaged diabetes and dementia, her sister is a cancer survivor, and since she had to take care of her younger sister after all that death, she never went to college and instead became a postal worker. She was given the promotion of postmaster in Harmony Valley, her grandfather's old post office that hasn't been open in more than a decade. The younger sister is a piece of work, closing in on 18 going on 8.

 

Ben's story isn't puppies and rainbows either. He left a fire station in Oakland, CA to move with his dying dad and mother to Harmony Valley so that his dad can finish out the 10 months left for a full retirement and benefits. Dad is the new fire chief, Ben is regulated to firefighter and to cover for dad's less than awesome health in front of the council and mayor. Oh and he is the guardian of a bratty seven year old after the brat's mother (and Ben's colleague) died in the line of firefighting duty. He is searching for said brat's father (named John Smith on the birth certificate) but there might be a chance the brat's his daughter. His mother "naps" a lot and the brat leaves the house to explore the town and find critters of the animal variety to bring home. Ben just wants to find the brat's dad, get his own dad safely to retirement, then leave this crap town for good and become a fire investigator.

 

Needless to say, I didn't warm to anybody in this book and I actively hated the sister and godchild/possible daughter by the end. Maddie and Ben love being in denial about their lives and constant crappy decision making. The arsonist villain got off with a slap on the wrist (excuse me "psychological evaluation") due to his advanced age. I have no interest in continuing reading this series.

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review 2017-08-15 03:14
Very Brief Thoughts: One Night with her Boss
One Night with her Boss - Noelle Adams

One Night with her Boss
by Noelle Adams
Book 4 of One Night novellas

 

 

Anne has worked for her sexy, ex-surfer, businessman boss for seven years, and she’s been in love with him for two.  Jake doesn’t think about her as anything but his ever-efficient assistant, though.  She’s been trying to get over her feelings by dating other men and interviewing for other jobs—which doesn’t make Jake very happy.  But Anne is determined not to put her life on hold for him.

When she gets a new job offer, Jake will do anything he can to keep her, but he still only seems to want her as an employee.  Anne might find him irresistible, but she’s learned to resist.  There are lines that he’ll just never cross.

But then everything changes in only one night...



Extremely underwhelming read, even for a short novella with a simple contemporary romance.  The romance itself wasn't bad, and Anne's attempts to move forward with her life, and her determination not to put her life on hold for a crush is commendable.  The ending angst seemed a bit juvenile and unnecessary, and kind of rushed; but at least it wasn't drawn out.  Characters were okay and good, had potential, and maybe would have benefited from a longer story with more development.

Not much else to say about it.  I never reviewed the first three One Night novellas--enjoyed the first two, found the third lacking.

This was even tinier than bite-sized, and easily finished within the hour if you have nothing else to do in the meantime--something to pick up if you're between books and not sure what you want to read next.

I will probably stop reading this series with this last novella, though.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/08/very-brief-thoughts-one-night-with-her.html
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review 2017-08-14 13:32
Review: A Promise by Daylight by Alison DeLaine
A Promise by Daylight (Hqn) - Alison DeLaine

DNF at 35%

 

Reasons:

1. The heroine is doing a half-ass job of disguising herself as a man. No voice alteration, no alterations in movement, just clothes and a prosthetic penis that is way too big for her body or to be believable. The hero knew from the jump she wasn't a man because of the bulge.

 

2. The hero is a creep; he went into a secret room so he could watch the heroine take a bath in her dressing room.

 

3. Hero is Over The Top Rake - everything is sex with him and its at the point I think he has a sex addiction.

 

4. Heroine is hoping that indulging in his sex addiction, the hero would be heading back to Greece (his original destination, before the accident in Paris); the reason she took the job was that this was her free trip to Greece, where she could go to surgeon's school. Since the duke decided to return to England instead, she is hoping that a parade of women would improve his mood enough to head back to Greece so he can indulge more kinky stuff. Hero really likes his orgies. Heroine does not care about hero's health, she just wants a free ride and wages to pay for school.

 

5. Hero's man servants are pissed that the hero hasn't been up to his usual orgies and they haven't gotten any of his sloppy seconds or willing traveling maids of hero's visitors. The man servants (Harris and Sacks) are just gross, especially in their conversations with the heroine (who they think is a like-minded male).

 

6. All the female characters in this book are only mentioned in their purpose of satisfying the hero. There is the stereotype of Parisian and Spanish women being slutty and objectifying on a absurd level. The only woman character to come out as anything but a fuck toy is (OF COURSE) the English heroine.

 

7. It is set in Georgian England, but you wouldn't know that because there are NO period details whatsoever. I guess that would take away from the SEX! SEX! SEX! details.

 

Give this a hard pass.

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review 2017-08-13 22:55
Review: The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall
The Baby Barter (Love Inspired Historical) - Patty Smith Hall

I read one other book by this author and that was a DNF. I picked up this book during Harlequin's October sale, so that was prior to the DNF. I struggled at times to get through this book, but it was a decent inspirational romance.

 

Sheriff Mack Worthington is trying to handle the changing times in his small town of Marietta, Georgia while also trying to adopt a baby girl named Sarah. Sarah was born with a mouth deformity (read to me like it was a cleft palate). The changing nature of his small town was due to the war ending (sending GIs home) and the bomber plant cutting jobs (mostly women employees). The judge for the adoption is not looking favorably on Mack's lack of marriage prospects. Lucky for Mack, his high school friend/crush has come home from the war along with the GIs.

 

Thea was an Army nurse during the European campaign and is home only to help out her dysfunctional family. Thea left Marietta eight years ago (for nursing school, then the Army) and her presence has the whole town buzzing. Thea's goal is to find her recently deceased sister's baby and raise it as her own. Her high school friend/crush just so happens to be trying to adopt the baby.

 

There was a lot to like about this story. Mack and Thea had a history that was based on friendship and honesty. Thea was a capable nurse and had a wonderful bed side manner. Ms. Aurora Adair is an angel and the confident both Thea and Mack needed individually. She was my favorite character in the book. The pacing was slow in the first half of the book, but picked up when Thea agreed to a marriage of convenience to Mack.

 

There were some lackluster parts to the story. For one, all the answers to the question of Sarah's birth parents can be found in Ms. Williams' letter that neither Mack or Thea ever opened or read. That was the major plotline behind the stalled adoption and it was never resolved. Mack's cousins and his lawyer were cloying and annoying, especially Beau (Mack's conversations with Beau is what I struggled with). For a book that took place mere weeks after the end of WWII, there was hardly any world building or period details. The religious tone and actions/words from the characters felt very performative and shoe-horned in and not natural to the story or the characters.

 

I am glad I kept reading this book, but I don't think I want to read anything more from this author. I just wasn't "Wow"ed by the writing.

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