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review 2017-07-25 17:49
Review: The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray
The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom (Dreamspun Desires Book 14) - Kate McMurray

It was a decent, if lackluster category romance. The title is misleading; Archimedes Katsaros is most assuredly not a tycoon, hence his marriage to Ondrej in order to prop up his family business. The marriage of convenience trope in contemporary romance is hard to get right, and this book doesn't really make itself an exception.

 

Archimedes Katsaros inherited a failing real estate firm after the death of his father eight months ago. Although Archie has worked at the firm for a number of years prior to his father's death, the state of the financial mess was a surprise to Archie (who has an MBA from NYU). Seems Archie wasn't paying that close of attention to what Dad was investing in; I mean, a NYC real estate firm is pretty easy to make money from. Turns out Dad had invested a lot, and therefore lost a shit ton, of money in Greek banking and real estate. Archie isn't much better at being a businessman himself.

 

Enter the rescue party, in the form of a summer intern from the Czech Republic named Ondrej. Ondrej's work visa is running out and he hasn't found "suitable" employment after his internship was over. Ondrej did not look hard enough nor really gave much thought to actively look for work; he was living on inherited money he invested and was happy to spend his days at his leisure. However, since he wasn't employed, he needed a way to stay in the country. So a marriage to Archie was devised, allowing him to apply for a green card and in return, give Archie needed funds to keep the company afloat.

 

There was a lot of sex and a lot of inner monologues about feelings and the possibility of being caught as green card marriage frauds. A lot of repetition, a lot of keeping up appearances as wealthy men so as to attract new money/business, but really no chemistry. I think there was more chemistry with Archie and the new stadium deal than with Ondrej. Ondrej was sweet and smart but LAZY as hell; Archie was to afraid of looking bad to make good business sense. The ending was fine; I like the vow renewal ceremony and party as a way of saying "fuck you" to the immigration office who decided their case HAD TO BE investigated NO MATTER WHAT. But this story wasn't anything special.

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review 2017-07-25 17:13
Review: A Sultry Love Song (The Gentlemen of Queen City #3) by Kianna Alexander
A Sultry Love Song (The Gentlemen of Queen City) - Kianna Alexander

A quick read considering it was a slow burn. Being a category, there is insta-lust, then a bunch of sex, the big crisis that turns into the shortest break up ever, and the making up and getting married. I thought that this was a better than average story, because the author did two things to mix it up the formula.

 

1. The heroine owned a business that is usually reserved for heroes. Joi is co-owner of Citadel, a security firm that handles both physical and cyber security for their clients. Her co-owner runs the cyber part of the business, Joi is best at physical part. They hire prior law enforcement and military women. Joi is a hands-on boss and you see her really working to make her business a success. There was no middle of day manicure session that a lot of professional heroines seem to do.

 

2. This is an interracial romance with both partners being POC. Marco is from Limon, Costa Rica, has friends he is close to in both countries, and is working as branch manager for his buddy's expanding bank firm. Joi is a black woman with friends and family of her own, plus she is good to her employees. There is no isolated loner hero/heroine nonsense. There were scenes with the heroine hanging with her crew and the hero hanging with his without the other being present or needing to be there. No clingy quasi-adults here.

 

The story line meandered a bit until the big crisis, which was actually realistic and not a flimsy excuse to move the story to warm Costa Rica from cold North Carolina. The break up was less realistic, because Joi could have calmed down and they could have hashed the conflict out pretty much then. I just felt that Joi overreacted to a nothing burger. The make up was a little over the top, but I felt that Joi and Marco deserved a little over the top since the story was such a slow burner.

 

 

 

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review 2017-07-18 19:30
Review: A Family for Christmas (Texas Grooms #3) by Winnie Griggs
A Family for Christmas - Winnie Griggs

This inspirational historical romance started with a lot of promise to be another excellent book by Ms. Griggs, but fell flat after the first 25% of the book. I will say this is the first book in the series I read and I had no problem with the world building or keeping previous relationships straight in my head, so the books can be read out of order without a problem.

 

Eve (the heroine) is on her way to Tyler, Texas for employment opportunity/banished from the family home due to her "behavior" issues; however, she leaves the train in Turnabout, Texas after problems involving a 10 year old stowaway on her train come to light. Not one to leave an unchaperoned minor to his own supervision, she takes physical guardianship of the Leo. I really liked Eve in the beginning; she was feisty, but only in defense of Leo and was the only one to see a lost boy rather than a criminal.

 

At the train depot they meet Chance Dawson (hero) and Dotty Epps, who take them in and give them shelter and food. The sheriff works to verify Leo's story. This is all good.

 

Then the book takes a turn into a too-sweet story. Chance is a little too perfect of a hero that it was hard to believe him as a real character; he was given a back story (functionally illiterate and the black sheep of a well to do family in Philadelphia) that had potential, but never really materialized into something that matters. Eve was a wet blanket of a heroine and scared of her own shadow to boot; she was so boring to read and tiring being in her head. At this point I just read without being invested in the story, which turned predictable plot twist after predictable plot twist. Everything is coming up roses until Eve gets into a bitchy mood and is unforgiving and selfish about Chance's secret - she blew up at him for admitting he is illiterate. I couldn't even with Eve after that...she needed Dotty to verbally slap her upside the head for her to realize her reaction was less than awesome.

 

I recommend skipping this installment of the series.

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review 2017-04-07 22:05
Review: Weddings Under a Western Sky by Various Authors
Weddings Under a Western Sky: The Hand-Me-Down BrideThe Bride Wore BritchesSomething Borrowed, Something True - Lisa Plumley,Elizabeth Lane,Kate Welsh

As Meatloaf would sing "....cause 2 out of 3 ain't bad." 

 

1. The Hand-Me-Down Bride by Elizabeth Lane - 1 star

    The first story was not well-executed. These characters sucked and the insta-love trope was so "insta" I got whiplash. Arabella comes to Montana to marry her fiancé Charles (they were engaged before he left Boston to settle in Montana and he provided the train ticket for her to come out). Charles slept with Sally, a dim-bulb of a seductress, and got her pregnant. Sally's brother Stewart found out after she started showing and made her marry Charles at gunpoint. Stewart takes an instant liking to Arabella, even though he wants her to leave in order to keep Sally's marriage to Charles from unraveling; after several damsel-in-distress situations that had Stewart rescuing Arabella, they were in love and married within one week.

 

Yeah, that would be a big nope on me believing either couple's HEA. This anthology is not off to a good start.

 

2. The Bride Wore Britches by Kate Welsh - 4 stars

    A longer and more fleshed-out story than the first one. Dylan and Rhiannon's story was more realistic and sweet without being too heavy-handed or insta-love. The side characters rounded out the story very well. A very worthy HEA. Since the story is part of a longer series, the mystery isn't solved in the story.

 

3. Something Borrowed, Something True by Lisa Plumley - 2.5 stars

    This was okay. Very fluffy and more physically affectionate than the two previous stories. A mail-order bride trope with a twist that made the trope feel fresh despite the insta-love. There wasn't much conflict and the HEA went on a little too long, but I rooted for Nellie and Everett. The side characters were the highlight of the story though.

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text 2017-02-28 22:47
February 2017 Wrap Up
To Defy a Sheikh - Maisey Yates
The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts) - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Craving Temptation - Deborah Fletcher Mello
Courting His Countess - C.J. Archer
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell

My NOOK and Kindle got quite a work out this month. I am so glad to have participated in the Romance Bingo, as I was given an incentive to read a lot of books from the very bottom of my TBR.

 

Highlights, Lowlights, and Challenges

Best books of the month: The Just Desserts set from D.F. Mello were great. Highly recommend. Really loved To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates as well.

 

Worst books of the month: Celtic Viking - Danish Celtic Viking having coffee before plundering a barely formed England in 876 AD...and puts the "mis" in "mishistorical romance". His Ring Is Not Enough by Maisey Yates was just a waste of time.

 

Disappointment of the month: Key of Knowledge - Nora why did you put me through that?

 

Romance Bingo: 10/25

Library Love Challenge: 1 - but will be making it up come March

Diseases and Disasters: 0 this month, as I concentrated on bingo

BL/GR Reading Challenge: 32/150

Pop Sugar Challenge: 4 this month

 

Re-cap 

1. To Defy a Sheikh by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Secret Billionaire) - 4 stars

 

2. Dangerous Allies by Renee Ryan (Romance Bingo - Rogue) - 2.5 stars

 

3. His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates (Romance Bingo - Virgin) - 0 stars

 

4. The Sweetest Thing (Just Desserts #1) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Free Space; Pop Sugar Challenge - Author is POC) - 4.5 stars

 

5. Craving Temptation (Just Desserts #2) by Deborah Fletcher Mello (Romance Bingo - Eyeshadow and Bosom; Pop Sugar Challenge - MC is different ethnicity than reader) - 4.5 stars

 

6. Beauty and the Rake by Erica Monroe (Romance Bingo - Fairy Tale Re-telling) - DNF

 

7. Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts (Romance Bingo - Key to the heart; Library Love) - 1.5 stars

 

8. Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell (Romance Bingo - Guy/Girl Next Door; Pop Sugar Challenge - holiday setting other than Christmas) - 2.5 stars

 

9. A Lady Dares by Bronwyn Scott (Romance Bingo - Pirates) 2.5 stars

 

10. Celtic Viking by Lexie Timms (Romance Bingo - Man in Kilt) - .5 star

 

11. Courting His Countess by CJ Archer (Romance Bingo - Gothic) - 3 stars

 

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