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Search tags: disability-infirmity-in-main-character
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review 2016-07-11 13:17
"Never Seduce a Scot" by Maya Banks
Never Seduce a Scot - Maya Banks

If you're looking for engrossing, well-researched, vividly detailed historical accuracy, Maya Banks is not your girl. However, if you're hoping for a quick escapist romp that's reasonably well written, with a plot that moves right along, likeable characters who don't forget to bring the feels, and a generous dash of CrazySauce to keep things interesting? Well then, this is a good bet, especially if you can pick it up on sale. 


The Montgomery and Armstrong clans have been feuding for decades. Determined to put a stop to the infighting, King Alexander decrees that Laird Montgomery must marry the Armstrong's only daughter. Unfortunately, Eveline Armstrong is rumored to be daft. Luckily, it turns out she's not daft, just deaf, and luckier still, she can read lips flawlessly and kinda-sorta-almost hear the hero's voice (and only his voice), so of course their happiness is assured... just as soon as they swim through the CrazySauce.


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review 2016-04-11 12:58
"Getting it Back" by Elizabeth Harmon
Getting It Back - Elizabeth Harmon

I liked the first book in this series, "Pairing Off," but I found "Getting it Back" to be a total snoozefest. I had to force myself to finish. The plot is very slow and detailed, and I never warmed up to the characters, who don't communicate very well. The ending was a total cliche. Ugh!

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review 2016-01-19 17:48
"Crash into You" by Katie McGarry
Crash into You - Katie McGarry

My full-on glom of this YA series continues. This third installment focuses on Isaiah, who is about to age out of the foster care system. (Readers of prior books in the series will know Isaiah as the best friend of book one's hero, Noah, and the boy who was in unrequited love with book two's heroine, Beth.) Needing to come up with rent money, Isaiah enters his Mustang in an illegal street race, where he meets Rachel. Rachel is the precious daughter of one of Louisville's most privileged families, but when she can sneak out from under the parents' and brothers' overprotective thumbs, she likes to race. She winds up at the street race more or less by accident, because Plot.


When things at the race go sideways, Rachel and Isaiah end up indebted to a scary crime boss who will hurt/rape/kill them if they don't pay him back. (Also because Plot.) This makes them unlikely allies, who eventually become unlikely lovers. (Well, unlikely heavy petters, anyway -- this is YA.)


I was fond enough of Isaiah from the previous books to be excited to read his story, and mostly this didn't disappoint, though this whole series is a little angsty for my tastes. (Again, it is YA.) I thought Rachel's backstory was interesting and well done. (There are only so many ways you can make a "poor little rich girl" a sympathetic figure, and McGarry did well in taking an unexpected route.)


I really disliked the ending, which was abrupt and rather of the deus ex machina variety, but otherwise this book was fun. On to the next!

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review 2016-01-13 16:53
"Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarry
Pushing the Limits - Katie McGarry

I had heard good things about this series, but approached it warily because high school romance is not generally my speed anymore. I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this as much as I did, since it's much more angsty than I usually like. The two main characters have backgrounds so tragic it was a bit of a trial to willingly suspend my disbelief. Yes, maybe such a series of extremely unfortunate events could happen to one person, but two? And I'm to believe that these two so completely damaged people would be a good match for each other, rather than being too broken to help themselves, much less each other? 


Still, for purposes of a good story, I went with it. I ended up liking Noah and Echo very much, and I liked the way the story revealed the layers of their tragic histories gradually, without info dumping or excessive navel-gazing. I liked that both characters had their own individual character arcs, independent of their evolution into a couple. I liked that supporting characters were well-developed and had important roles in the story, and were not just there to give the main characters someone to talk to when their significant other wasn't around. -And the romance was very satisfying, though much angstier than I generally prefer. 


Because this book is about and for high school readers, the main characters don't have sex, though there is discussion of it and progress toward that end goal. 

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review 2016-01-07 19:11
"Anything for You" by Kristan Higgins
Anything for You (The Blue Heron Series) - Kristan Higgins

Kristan Higgins' contemporary romances have been auto-buys for me for a long time, though it's been ages since I really loved one. However, they are always well-written, solidly entertaining, usually humorous, with likeable characters and relateable conflicts. Anything for You is in this same good but not great vein.


Connor has been in love with Jessica since they were 12, when her dog bit his face. Unfortunately, Jessica has always had a lot of issues, some of which have followed her even into adulthood. Her parents were alcoholics, which kept their family dirt poor. Jessica's younger brother has fetal alcohol syndrome, and Jessica has always been the only one reliable enough to take care of him. Back in high school, Jessica slept around with the popular boys in order to get them to help look out for her brother, Davey, so he wouldn't be bullied. It's been almost 15 years since high school, and in all that time she's only ever slept with Connor, but her sullied reputation remains.


Anything for You begins with Jessica turning down Connor's marriage proposal. They've dated on the down low for ten years, but Connor wants to make it real, and Jessica doesn't want anything to change. Their on-again/off-again "friends-with-benefits" arrangement doesn't work for Connor anymore, and so when Jess turns him down, they split up. Connor briefly tries playing the field, but quickly comes to the realization that he doesn't want to be with anyone else, so he has to find a way to convince Jessica that she can have the white-picket-fence life he's offering.


Therein lay my problem with the book. I felt for Jessica, even as the whole story is set up that she's the one who needs to change, to come around to Connor's way of thinking. While reading, I'd get frustrated with Jessica's tendency to run hot-and-cold on Connor, to reject him when things get rough, to blow off his heartfelt proposal, and to get mad when he tries to win her over by winning over her brother, Davey. The reader is supposed to feel, and does, like Jessica's being unreasonable in not giving Connor a chance.


Stepping out of that romance-reader mindset where the ultimate goal is happily ever after, though, when I think about this book with a more liberal, feminist perspective, I'm more skeptical. Why should Jessica have to change? She's been saving to buy her own house for her whole life; why should she give up that dream just because Connor already has a house? Yes, their ten-year arrangement of sneaking around together is untenable, and something has to change, but is Connor's proposal of marriage and happy-ever-after in his house with the white picket fence really the only option?


In the end, I was happy enough with where the story ended up, but I was uncomfortable during the journey, because Jessica was being pushed into the marriage-and-picket-fence-lifestyle that is not necessarily right for her. I was not happy with the epilogue, but I often think books are better without that schmaltzy scene tacked on at the end.

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