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review 2015-08-04 22:21
Review: Just One Lie by Kyra Davis
Just One Lie - Kyra Davis

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.


This review contains spoilers for JUST ONE NIGHT, the first book in this series. You can read JUST ONE LIE as a standalone. In fact, I think you might prefer it that way.


I still remember how blown away I was by Kyra Davis’s fantastic JUST ONE NIGHT serial. It was only three parts, but the plot was paced perfectly between them, with a relentless knife-edge tension that I rarely see in romance stories that aren’t dependent on physical threats to the heroine. So when I heard there was a follow-up book about that heroine’s doomed older sister, I was more excited than I probably should have been. Because although I did enjoy reading JUST ONE LIE, it was in spite of my elevated expectations, not because of them.


In the previous story, JUST ONE NIGHT, our heroine Kasie Fitzgerald had lived her whole life to her parents’ extreme specifications, never allowing herself to step out from behind their imposed facade of the good girl who never makes mistakes. After all, Kasie’s sister Melody made all the wrong decisions and that’s why she’s dead. Or is she? Because as we eventually discover in the opening chapters of JUST ONE LIE, Melody might be dead, but Mercy is very much alive, and trying desperately to stay that way.


Now the man who helped kill Melody, as Mercy keeps telling us, is back in her life and wants to pick up where they left off. Ash doesn’t seem like the best choice for Mercy but she can’t resist the pull, even as she’s becoming more drawn to Brad, the new drummer in her band. Which man will help Mercy heal from her tragic past, and which man will drag her back to the grave she thought she’d buried Melody in for good?

I’ll confess that although I knew this book was about Kasie’s sister, I was a bit lost at the beginning. Once I figured out what was going on, I was able to settle down and enjoy what turned out to be something completely different than what I had expected.


Because unlike JUST ONE NIGHT, JUST ONE LIE is a New Adult romance in every respect, and I was not prepared for that. Mercy made terrible choices as Melody, and continues to do so as Mercy for a major portion of this story. Ash was the guy who helped get Melody evicted from her home and life, yet she wants to him to be the one who saves her now. Brad is clearly the better choice, yet there there’s no clear path between them and real happiness either. Between the drama and a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, it was sometimes only my need to see how all this tied back into Kasie’s story that kept me going. But once the book stopped jumping around in time and began its final approach to Mercy’s HEA, I was all in.


Although I did enjoy reading JUST ONE LIE, I honestly think I would have liked it more as a completely standalone book. The connection to the previous book set up assumptions that weren’t correct or fair. And that’s not the fault of the story, which is a touching romance about two people who eventually learn the right lessons from their past mistakes so they can be truly happy together. If you love dramatic angsty New Adult romance, JUST ONE LIE is what you want. It’s not JUST ONE NIGHT, but it’s still a good read.

Source: mharvey816.mh2.org/?p=921
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review 2014-06-07 19:14
Review: The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica Clare
The Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving - Jessica Clare
A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

Although this isn’t my first Jessica Clare book, it is the first one I’ve read in her Bluebonnet series, where different couples find love in a tiny but interesting fictional Texas town. I didn’t have any problem diving into the story of a hero and heroine from vastly different worlds who found themselves more compatible than anyone could have predicted. Elise and Rome’s romance is both sweet and hot, and it kept me interested even as another character in the book did her best to try to make me stop reading altogether.

Elise is quiet and shy because she spent her formative years suffering from a self-image severely damaged by a large facial birthmark and scoliosis. The birthmark was mostly removed by lasers, the scoliosis mostly fixed by years in a body brace and major surgery, but some external and internal scars remain. So when Elise finds herself irresistibly drawn to a handsome stranger covered in piercings and tattoos, she’s as surprised as anyone at her decision to pursue what would be the first real romantic relationship of her life. But will he give her a chance? 

Rome has learned to trust no one after the multiple betrayals of his family resulted years spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His checkered past and intimidating appearance have kept everyone at arm’s length, until pretty little Elise sneaks past his defenses and convinces him to embark on a passionate affair. But when Elise’s over-protective brother discovers the truth, what will it take to keep the lovers together when it seems like everyone else is working to keep them apart?

For me, reading THE VIRGIN’S GUIDE TO MISBEHAVING was a constant battle between the parts of the story I loved and the parts that made me want to throw my ereader against the wall in frustration. Rome and Elise really are a beautifully matched couple. Each has been taught not to trust other people, albeit for entirely different reasons, and even as they realize they want to be together, they each still take turns bracing for what they believe will be an inevitable betrayal by the other. It was wonderful to see how Rome proved he wouldn’t take advantage of Elise’s naivete, and how Elise in turn showed him how he was worthy of her love and the respect of others. Their intimate scenes exquisitely raised the sexual tension and deepened their emotional attachment each time they came together, and by the end of the book, we could see that they’ll continue to grow in their affection and trust as a united team against anyone who would dare threaten their happiness. But Rome and Elise weren’t the problem for me.

The reason I found this book to be as annoying as it was entertaining can be summed up in one word: Brenna. Brenna is the fiancee of Elise’s brother, Grant, and she is as wild and crazy as he is buttoned down and straitlaced. She may be a good person, but she is not a good friend to Elise. Brenna is the reason why Rome thought Elise didn’t like him. Brenna is the reason why Grant finds out about Rome and Elise before they are ready to go public, even after Elise specifically asked her not to tell anyone. And then to top it all off, when Rome leaves town in a misguided attempt to protect Elise from her brother’s wrath, Brenna is the reason why Elise uses a truly reprehensible trick to force Rome into coming back. 

I’ll admit it’s possible that if I’d read Brenna’s book before this one, I might have a more rounded picture of who she is and why she behaves as she does here. But as a new reader to the series, I found Brenna to be such an incredible distraction that every time she appeared to mess things up, I wished I could tell her off and make her go away for good. If Brenna is in all the other Bluebonnet books, then frankly, I’m not interested in reading them. Thanks to her, I was only just able to finish THE VIRGIN’S GUIDE TO MISBEHAVING so I could enjoy Rome and Elise’s lovely HEA, including a satisfying epilogue that emphasized just how good they would always be for one another. But if you can stomach a relentlessly wacky secondary character like Brenna, you might like this book even better.


Overall: 3
Sensuality level: 3


Source: mharvey816.mh2.org/?p=583
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