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review 2017-10-18 18:29
Kidnapped! (Harlequin Blaze #345)(Forbidden Fantasies) - Jo Leigh

I've spent the last 7 days staring at it balefully. The back cover reads interesting. But then you get to the set-up...and the end.

 

The h was kidnapped as a teen, along with her cousin. She escaped, her cousin...didn't. She sort of got over that, only to get kidnapped *again* while in college, by a couple of fellow students. So she's become agoraphobic - supposedly. Daddy Warbucks has surrounded his precious darling with ex agents and military types, under the guise of well, household employees. She lives "alone" and is clueless of this.

 

The H is one of these - her chauffeur. He finds the whole thing stupid - he wouldn't mind the elaborate security if it was a head of state, but some pampered princess? Yes, he does hold her in contempt. He's worked for her for a few months. She is attracted to him, and he's aware of it, also finds it amusing.

 

Her therapist suggests a kidnapping for hire adventure to help her with her phobia.

 

He listens in on her telling her friend about it, does research (which he apparently left lying around)

 

She meets her dad for dinner at a restaurant, which is cleared in advance of their arrival, sees pity in the H's eyes, and decides to go through with it.

 

H's brother is worthless pondscum that the H has been bailing out since they were kids. He finds the "research" and decides to fill in...or arrange a fill in - I quit at this point - because he owes some bookie a lot of money.

 

Since I read the last few chapters as well...the h apparently only found out that her staff were all security people after she more or less rescued herself, because her dad was incensed and blamed the H for everything. The H kept to his cover as hapless chauffeur the entire time he was in her presence, and didn't take the opportunity to take care of the bad guys when he had several chances. No - I didn't understand that. She was in her room, he could have taken them out one by one, and solved the whole problem. Granted, he likely wouldn't have killed his brother but still...

 

The part I didn't read - the middle - I can only guess that...the kidnapping happened, he allowed himself to be captured assuming it was just a game, slept with the h (that he considered useless and pitiable), figured out it wasn't a game, didn't do anything about it until AFTER they'd reached the Caymans and she'd been dragged off the boat (read *that* part), etc.

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review 2017-10-16 00:47
Release Day ARC review: The Fireman's Pole by Sue Brown
The Fireman's Pole - Sue Brown

This book is pure fluff. Which, let's be honest, fits perfectly within the Dreamspun Desires titles. And the cheeky title - hahahaha!

Here we have Dale, a firefighter who recently moved into the little village of Calminster, still smarting from a bad break-up with his closeted, cheating ex, hoping to lick his wounds and put his hopes and dreams for that relationship behind him. Unwilling to be in the closet himself, he's open about his sexuality, but has no aspirations to find himself another boyfriend.

Called out for a fire on his first shift, he manages to rescue the homeowner, a sweet elderly woman, and draw the ire of his Lordship at the same time. Shortly thereafter, he backs the big fire engine into the maypole, which was originally erected by his Lordship's great-great-grandfather. So, having blown his opportunity for making a good first impression, Dale offers to fix the pole in hopes to calm down Ben, Lord Calminster, who is behaving like an ass both during the fire and after Dale's unfortunate mishap with the big fire truck and the maypole. 

Don't expect any kind of realistic or believable relationship development - there's none. 

Ben, the lord of the manor, has kept his own sexuality hidden to the point where he's got a girlfriend/beard. Of course, he takes one look at our hunky firefighter, feels the stirring in his loins and finds the backbone to break things off with the woman he's been dating. 

Dale was a nice guy, and I liked him. Ben, once he removed the stick from his ass, was a nice guy too. I liked him fine as well. 

It's just that nothing here between Ben and Dale felt anything close to realistic. Dale states that he's still hurting from the break-up and doesn't want to fall in bed with yet another closeted man, but then shortly thereafter dismisses that notion and jumps right in with Ben. 

Ben apparently, after meeting and tongue-lashing Dale twice, is willing to risk a whole lot for the possibility of being with Dale. Perhaps exchanging angry words with the firefighter turns him on. 

There's a bit of mystery here with someone unknown setting fires all over the village, a subplot that culminates in an edge of your seat sequence of events that not only casts Dale as a hero again but also firmly pulls Ben right out of that closet for good. 

Since I usually suspend disbelief whenever I read one of the Dreamspun Desires titles and don't expect anything realistic, I didn't mind the rapid development of the romantic relationship. What I did mind however is that we're merely told these two men have the hots for each other - we're not actually shown that they do - so this book ended up in three star territory. Sure, there are sexy times within, but I didn't really feel their passion - I was only told about it.

Still an enjoyable read that fits perfectly within this harlequin-esque series. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **

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text 2017-10-09 23:29
Reluctant Hero by @DebraWebbAuthor @ReganBlack
Reluctant Hero (Harlequin Intrigue) - Regan Black,Debra Webb

A thoroughly enjoyable suspense read with a nice hook. Here's the blurb:

 

For top security expert Parker Lawton, the anonymous threat is explosive. Return the gold stolen during his intelligence unit's last Iraq mission—or they'll each be hunted down. And when one of his men is killed just before meeting investigative reporter Rebecca Wallace, he must take her under his "protection." But her persistence in getting the real story is even more dangerous—and irresistible. 

For a dashing war hero, Parker is the most guilty-acting innocent man Becca has ever seen. Still, working with him is the only way to stay ahead of a ruthless enemy. And as her instincts and Parker's skills hone in on the truth, trusting the desire simmering between them could be their only chance—or the last move they'll ever make.

 

I though V for Vendetta when I read the beginning of the book, and there are a few similarities. Except Parker realises he's made a mistake shortly after making it, and that's where the similarity ends. I liked the way it's really Becca who's the emotional rock. Parker Lawton is no traditional Alpha: he lets emotions get in the way of common sense, and he makes a few bad decisions because of it. Which only makes him more human and sympathetic, despite basically kidnapping Becca. It's explained in the book, and the explanation rings true in the novel's world.

 

I've mentioned before that I find it irritating when the reader is constantly reminded by characters how "strong" the female protagonist is. That should be evident by her words and actions. It happens once in this book, and it's Parker thinking it while he was alone. And, given his own gung-ho military background, it's perfectly reasonable he'd be surprised given Becca's background.

 

The plot is very suspenseful but it's a bit more in the background, which is necessary given that circumstances dictate a slower development of the romantic interest.

 

<Sort of digression> very many romances use the trope of the first attempt at bonking being interrupted to build up the tension before they finally 'do it'. I remember wondering, the first time I read a modern romance at the beginning of this century, what the purpose was. Then I remembered the circus and the trapeze artists. The pièce de resistance was always 'the most difficult manoeuvre ever attempted'. And they always failed the first two times, and made it on the third. If they made it on the first try, what was so difficult about it? The equivalent in pro wrestling are false finishes, where the 'babyface' (hero) almost pins the 'heel' villain at the end, getting to a two and three-quarter count twice or thrice before finally finishing him off by getting the three count. It builds up tension the same way. Easy is boring. <end digression> 

 

Recommended. 

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review 2017-10-03 08:10
Book Blitz w/Review - Bidding On The Bachelor

 

 

 

Recently divorced Carissa Blackwell returns to her hometown and reconnects with her first love Jasper Dumont, while the ubiquitous Bayside Blogger reports their every move for the town newspaper in this delightful & playful novel by award-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter.

 

About Bidding on the Bachelor:

 

Title: Bidding on the Bachelor
Author: Kerri Carpenter
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Series: Saved by the Blog #2
Format: Print/Digital
Print ISBN: 9780373623792
Digital ISBN: 9781488079146

 

Another roll of the dice


Big news, fair readers! Bayside High's favorite It Girl is back. Would you have bet Clarissa Blackwell would ever return? Ten years ago, she crushed Jasper Dumont's heart under her Jimmy Choos and left town for a bigger, better life. Her return raises one question: What is she running from (or is it to) now?

 

Perhaps Jasper knows? One look at Carissa and he fell in the bay! (Rich, single and devastatingly handsome, Jasper's our catch of the day.) That icy plunge should have brought him to his senses, yet "Casper" has been spotted together all over town. Does this mean Bayside's legendary couple may reunite? The stakes are high, but the Bayside Blogger's money is riding on love!


Add to your TBR list: Goodreads

Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

“I’m back in town.”

 

“For how long?” he asked quickly, too quickly. In fact, if she wasn’t mistaken, anger laced his question. She must have reacted to it because his features softened. “Sorry, it’s none of my business. And I do remember that today is your birthday. So, happy birthday, Carissa.”

 

“Thanks,” she said, and meant it. She decided to offer an olive branch because the truth was that she’d dumped him and she hadn’t been kind about it. This icy reception she was receiving was well deserved. While she knew the reasons behind her decision, she’d never let Jasper in on it. She’d been a bratty, selfish teenager, not capable of understanding her emotions. Unwilling to admit that Jasper had always reminded her of her father and that summer her dad had dropped a bombshell on her.

 

“I don’t know how long I’ll be in town. I’m sort of in a transition period right now.” He waited patiently. After another long drink of beer, she finished. “I just got divorced.” Saying the words out loud left an awful taste in her mouth. An acidic aftertaste of yuckiness.

 

First, shock flashed on his face. Then, true concern shone in his eyes. “I’m sorry,” he said.

 

And that might have been her undoing. Because he had every reason to be stiff and awkward with her. Instead, any kind of compassion from him loosened her lips.

 

“Today is my twenty-ninth birthday. I’m having a beer next to my ex-boyfriend, who hates my guts, in a dive bar in the town I swore I would never step foot in again. An ex-boyfriend I should really apologize to because I was an evil witch to him.” The words were flying now. She gripped her hand tightly around her glass. “I’m not even thirty and already I’ve been married and divorced. And I got divorced because he freaking cheated on me.”

 

She couldn’t miss the way Jasper’s eyes narrowed, his hands curled into fists, and there was a definite tic in his clenched jaw. “He cheated on you?”

 

“Yep. Apparently, the fact that I was homecoming queen, prom queen and head cheerleader did nothing to impress him. Or keep his pants zipped up when anyone wearing a skirt in the Central Time Zone walked by. That probably makes your whole day, doesn’t it?”

 

He slammed his hand on the bar and she jumped. But she just as quickly composed herself. “What? You have every right to revel in my misery after the way I broke up with you. I got divorced. You win.”

 

His eyes narrowed. “I don’t want to win at that game. And I certainly don’t want to hear that some idiot cheated on you. I’m sorry you’re getting divorced.”

 

“That makes one of us.”

 

Copyright © 2017 Bidding on the Bachelor by Kerri Carpenter

 

 

 

 

Bidding on the Bachelor (Saved by the Blog, #2)Bidding on the Bachelor by Kerri Carpenter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the Saved By The Blog series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading this series in order.

Jasper finds out that his high school sweetheart who dumped him is back in town. He cannot help but be attracted to the even better looking beauty. Even to the detriment of all his dating.

Carissa just wants to start over. She has gone back to her hometown with her tail between her legs following a divorce. Now all she wants to do is start her own business.

Sweet and funny story. The characters are easy to relate to. It is also kind of frustrating since the blogger could not have been in some places without being seen. Is the author trying to tell us something?


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

Rafflecopter for Bidding on the Bachelor Blitz Giveaway:

 

Kerri is offering one (1) lucky Grand Prize winner a $50 Amazon Gift Card and three (3) Runner-Up winners with an eCopy of one of Falling for the Right Brother (Saved by the Blog #1)! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29428/?

 

 

 

Other Books in the Saved by the Blog series:

 

Falling for the Right Brother

 

Saved by the blog!

 

This just in, fair readers! Chic and stunning, that gorgeous new woman about town is none other than our very own little Ellie--now Elle--Owens. She's a far cry from the frumpy, bookish student we used to know, but then, living in Italy will do that to a girl! Still, this blogger can't forget the infamous video that caused her to leave!

 

Apparently Miss Elle has been spotted with yummy contractor Cam Dumont...but we thought her heart belonged to his little brother. Are Cam and Elle a new couple? They were seen cooling their passions in the bay...in April! If this is love, let's hope she's swimming with the right brother. The Bayside Blogger will keep you posted.

 

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

 

 

 

About Kerri Carpenter:

 

Award-winning romance author Kerri Carpenter writes contemporary romances that are sweet, sexy, and sparkly. When she’s not writing, Kerri enjoys reading, cooking, watching movies, taking Zumba classes, rooting for Pittsburgh sports teams, and anything sparkly. Kerri lives in Northern Virginia with her adorable (and mischievous) rescued poodle mix, Harry. Visit Kerri at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or subscribe to her newsletter.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

 

 

 
 
 
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review 2017-10-03 01:59
Release Day ARC Review: The Bunny And The Billionaire by Louisa Masters
The Bunny and the Billionaire (Dreamspun Desires Book 43) - Louisa Masters

This is such a Harlequin-esque book. I mean, seriously, this one lays it on super thick, and as such fits the Dreamspun Desires series to a T.

Here we have Ben Adams, a nurse from Australia, who recently inherited a large sum of money (and when I say large, I mean LARGE) from the old lady whom he looked after for some time, and whom he still misses. Never having known wealth, Ben decides on a tour of Europe but still counting his pennies and saving money where possible. 

While in Monaco, he meets Leo Artois, the billionaire from the book's title, who's never known a day without wealth, seeing how his mother is a princess and his father is not only fabulously wealthy but also almost French royalty or something of the sort. 

Why Leo insists on calling Ben Bunny all the time escaped me. Leo, as well as his circle of friends, come across as the sort of people who never had to work a day in their lives and who think nothing of spending money whenever they please. 

Ben only planned to stay in Monaco for a few days before heading to Italy, but after meeting Leo, and the instant attraction he feels for the man, he decides to stay a while longer. 

What I liked about this book is that Ben isn't shy about pointing out to Leo how wasteful spending isn't impressive to him, and that Leo make concessions for Ben's point of view on money issues, but also teaches him that some things are worth the money they cost and introduces him to some of the finer things in life that most mortals will never be able to afford. 

Ben, despite his substantial inheritance, is still a normal guy and tries to impress that normalcy on Leo. 

I believed their holiday fling. Their attraction burned brightly from the start, and I bought that Leo was fascinated with Ben, and vice versa, but their HEA romance - nah. Didn't believe it. They had so little in common, and despite Ben's new wealth, their social circles and life experiences didn't really mesh for me at all. Ben was too normal whereas Leo was way more sophisticated and often came across as someone whose illusions of entitlement were showing. Ben came across as uncomfortable with the OTT displays of wealth Leo and his circle found normal, and that doesn't make for a life-long romance. I mean, obviously with this series, disbelief must be suspended most of the time anyway, but the romance should still be something that resonates. And here, it sadly didn't, for me. YMMV.

The writing was pretty good; the dialogue was believable (with some snark, yay) for how the two men were characterized, and I'm interested in reading more by this author.



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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