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Search tags: forced-arranged-marriage-of-convenience
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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 2016-01-31 20:35
"Pairing Off" by Elizabeth Harmon
Pairing Off - Elizabeth Harmon

I picked this up on sale at Amazon this week, and I really enjoyed it. It's kind of like that 90s skating movie, "The Cutting Edge," except the plot's a little more complex. Yet it certainly targets the same audience, and it hits the same sweet spots. 


I was skeptical when the hero and heroine hook up in a coat room at a party in Amsterdam during the prologue, because while I'm no prude, I think a drunken one night stand is generally not a good way to start a relationship. I kept an open mind and kept going, and the story improved. Years later, Anton (Russian) and Carrie (American) are reunited after each is betrayed by their long-time skating partner. In order to salvage their careers, they partner with each other, even though it means Carrie has to move from balmy Georgia (US) to frigid Moscow and become a Russian citizen. After a rough start, they find their skating styles compliment one another far more than the styles of their prior partners, and they begin enjoying their sport and excelling at it more than ever before. 


"Pairing Off" employs a TON of romance tropes: kiss-kiss/slap-slap love-to-hate-em initial tension, ruined reputation (Carrie's), mistaken identity (it takes Anton forEVER to realize Carrie is "Amsterdam Girl"), fish out of water (Carrie is an outsider in Moscow), damsel in distress, infidelity (Anton's), sabotage by ex-lovers (both), tragic past (Carrie's), marriage of convenience, sports rivalry, secondary romance between supporting characters, and probably several others I'm forgetting. Still, they're all woven together in a way that feels fresh and keeps the plot moving along, though the romance itself is fairly slow-burning. 


This was certainly well worth the $1.99 I paid for it, and I will seek out Elizabeth Harmon's work again. 

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text 2015-05-12 20:31
Reading progress update: I've read 134 out of 439 pages.
The Duke's Disaster - Grace Burrowes

I'm really enjoying this so far, which is such a relief because my last several reads have been stinkers! I like that this is not so much about romance leading up to marriage (as most Regency-era-To-Catch-a-Duke stories seem to be), but rather about developing emotional and physical intimacy after marriage, in order to make a success of a marriage that didn't get off to the best start. The scenes between the hero and heroine are refreshingly cozy, without the hustle and bustle of balls and teas and see-and-be-seen rides in the park. 


The conflict stems from a couple of miscommunications, which is usually a trope that doesn't work for me. (Why have an honest conversation when we can wring 100 pages of melodramatic plot out of wrong assumptions and blatant mistakes?) Here, while I still think it's boneheaded of the hero a) to leap to mistaken conclusions about his wife's premarital sexual experience and b) not correct her mistaken assumption about the paternity of two plot moppets in his care, I'm enjoying the sweetly intimate (not necessarily sexual) and sharply entertaining process of their learning how to rub along together in marital harmony enough to overlook the Big Miscommunications.


I hope the sweetness keeps up. I hate when I'm loving a book and then the ending goes south on me.

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review 2015-04-09 14:21
A Marriage of Inconvenience
Four Nights With the Duke - Eloisa James

Once again, I let a week slip by before writing my review, and suddenly I have no idea what I meant to say. I enjoyed this book very much, although the end let me down a little bit.


Mia and Vander have both lived with scandal. Their parents' long-running extramarital affair was an open secret, even before they perished together in an inn fire. That same fire that killed Mia's father and Vander's mother also took Mia's brother and sister-in-law, leaving her to care for her young nephew, who is lame because of a club foot. Mia has always loved the boy (indeed, more than his own parents), but unless she marries within a year of her brother's death, the child's physical and financial well being will be entrusted to an unscrupulous, villainous guardian. Mia was on track to marry, but then her fiance jilted her at the altar a month before the one year deadline, leaving her in desperate straits. Consequently, she turns to Vander, her childhood crush turned the author of her most stinging humiliation, because though she doesn't like him, she knows he will marry her: he has to, because she has a letter that threatens his fortune and title. (Mia's actually a very nice girl who would never turn to blackmail except to save a child.)


Furious at the blackmail scheme, Vander agrees, but only with the understanding that he will only share his bed with Mia four nights a year (the bare minimum he considers necessary to get an heir). Foolish boy, he fails to consider that his own libido would prove much, much stronger than Mia's, and Vander suffers under their bargain more than she.


I enjoyed the sparks between the couple as their enmity shifted to attraction and ultimately to love, until the ending, which was a little angsty for my tastes.

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review 2015-04-08 17:57
Milquetoast Heroine, Douchey Hero, Stereotypical Villainness, Boring Plot
When Lightning Strikes - Brenda Novak

I'm in the market for a new contemporary romance author / series... and it looks like Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek books are not going to fit the bill. I picked this one up on sale a month or so ago at the recommendation of Smart Bitches Trashy Books (I think), but I struggled to get through When Lightning Strikes. I usually enjoy a good marriage of convenience plot, but I really struggled to connect with both the hero and heroine in this book. The hero was kind of a jerk (though he improved with sobriety), the heroine was very milquetoast, and the plot just seemed to drag. 


I hated that the villain of the story is the hero's ex-wife. Yes, divorce brings out the worst in people, and yes, there are plenty of real-life women who behave badly, but reading about fictional women behaving badly pushes all of my Feminist Rage Buttons because these stories needlessly perpetuate the worst stereotypes about women.

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