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review 2020-01-18 19:18
Real
The Wedding Truce - Kerri Carpenter

This story can be found in the Something True series.  The novel can be read as a standalone.  For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading The Dating Arrangement before reading this title.

 

Grace makes happy endings easier for all the brides she works with.  She wants someday to have an HEA of her own.  Right now the only man that makes her sizzle when she thinks of him is Xander.  Yet, he is supposed to be off limits.

 

Xander did not expect to run into Grace.  When an incident happens, he becomes very protective and he is not sure why.  He has always been attracted to her, but he is sure she will never give him the time of day.  How do you change a stubborn woman's mind?

 

This book was what traditional romance should be.  These characters are rich, deep and compelling.  I loved that they were opposites, who cannot stop thinking about each other.  The chemistry for them is strong.  The heat in this story is on par and sizzles throughout the book.  This author is a 1-click for me and after reading this, I am sure you can see why.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

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

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review 2015-05-07 16:05
A Doctor For Keeps
A Doctor for Keeps (Harlequin Special Edition) - Lynne Marshall

This was a rather nice story about a young woman who is trying to learn about her family & falls in love with the sexy doctor next door.

Desdemona 'Desi' Rask has lived a vagabond existence with her pianist/lounge singer mother, Ester, all her life. She's never had any connection with her mother's family, except for vague memories of her grandmother who attended a birthday party or two when Desi was young. And she didn't even know the name of her father.

But all that changes after her mother dies. Armed with her father's name and her need to connect with the family that had so long been denied to her, Desi accepts her maternal grandmother's invitation to come stay with her and learn a little something about her mother's past.

This was a quick and sweet read. Both Desi and the hero Kent were easy characters to enjoy. Even though their romance is very low conflict, it doesn't come without its own challenges. Kent is wary of trusting any woman because his wife left him and his son because she hated life in their town. She just up and left and basically served him papers once she reached the big city. He is wary of the pretty newcomer who effortlessly charms his son and makes him feel the first real stirrings of anything since his wife left him. But he can't trust her to stay so he tries to keep her at arm's length.

And for her part, Desi is grappling with identity issues. She is biracial. She's only ever lived with her white mother and yet she has no connection with her Scandinavian roots any more than she does with her African-American heritage. She feels a little betwixt and between.

Outside of the romance which was charming, I thought a major strength of the book was how the author had Desi grapple with her own ignorance of all parts of her heritage, not just her AA heritage. The town her grandmother lives in was settled by Scandinavian settlers and even generations later the town is pretty much still predominantly that. It is during a founder's day parade where the Finnish, the Swedish, the Danish, the Viking and the Icelandic peoples all wearing their different native costumes brings home how, even though Desi grew up with her Danish mother, she has no clue what that means. There is a moment when she is looking at faces of the people wondering if she can see herself somewhere in there too.

But later she also meets an African American man, Lincoln, who runs a restaurant and it also brought home to her how very little she knows about AA heritage as well. There was lightly comic scene where he's appalled at her lack of knowledge of soul food.

Her first meeting with Lincoln made me grin. There was an episode of the tv show Black-ish where the father is lecturing his son on the importance of 'The Nod'. 'The Nod' is what happens when the only two AA people amongst a group of non-AA people encounter one another. They acknowledge their sameness amongst the difference around them. They give each other 'The Nod' (btw, I can attest that this does happen. When my oldest son was just starting middle school we moved to a new house in a predominantly white community. We went to the open house and while going from classroom to classroom, we passed a black couple. The only other black family I had encountered that night. Passing through the halls our eyes met and we gave each other 'The Nod' and kept going. My husband (who is white) said 'Do you know those people?' I said 'Never saw them before in my life'. 'The Nod' is real y'all.)

But back to the book. During the parade amongst all the Nordic folk, Desi is feeling a little...brown. She happens to catch Lincoln's eyes. The two are about the only two brown folk there and they kinda smile at each other and give each other 'The Nod'. The author even acknowledges that this is what it is. SO yeah, like I said, it made me grin.

Desi is determined to put the pieces together of her background even if it means leaving to find her father and Kent (who by now is falling in love) is determined to keep Desi around. I also liked the initial awkwardness with her grandmother that slowly turns to true family affection. And I liked how the whole thing with her father went down. It was a bit messy in a real life way.

My only real issue with the book is that it feels a little incomplete. I wish Desi had had more conversations with her grandmother about her mother. I wanted to know more about Ester. Also I wonder if this book is part of a series that takes place in the town. There is a side plot about a big town discovery that does not get resolved at all.

But overall I enjoyed this. Good discovery.

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review 2013-09-08 00:00
Flirting with Destiny - Christyne Butler Rating 3.25 stars
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review 2013-08-26 00:00
A Cold Creek Reunion (Harlequin Special Edition) - RaeAnne Thayne By far the worst part of this book was the heroine. Everything she said I wanted to kick her in the head. I really don't understand the narrative of this book positioning her as sympathetic or the aggrieved party. I mean, is it just me: Ten years ago, after years of being friends then lovers, Lauren and Taft were set to get married. A week before the wedding she broke off the engagement and took off for Madrid. For some reason he agreed to say it was a mutual decision. Turns out, six months prior his parents had been brutally murdered in their home. He was having a hard time dealing with his grief so he closed up. Went to the bar a lot, apparently flirted with girls there. He never did anything with them. Lauren got mad that he shut her out and wouldn't postpone the wedding and that's why she broke up with him. At this point I was put out with her. Everything she was saying was that she was pissed at him for not making his grief about her. To her it was about what she wanted and wasn't getting and so she broke his heart on top of everything else and ran away. Then later she reveals through her POV, with some "not that he ever shared this with her" snide whining, that it wasn't just that his parents were murdered. He came home right after it happened, saw his father dead and his mother bleeding to death on the floor. When the paramedics arrived he was covered in his mother's blood from giving her CPR, but she couldn't be revived. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! He went through that and within six months you ditch him all because he didn't make it about you?! You couldn't give him more time than that? That just screamed "heartless bitch" to me. At some point she said if he were willing to postpone the wedding she might have stuck around. So she put her foot down and broke up with him, but didn't put her foot down about the wedding? What the hell? She even says she knew he was angry, bitter, and lost in deep grief. And it never occurred to her that maybe he closed up to protect her from his anger and the horror of what he'd been through. It doesn't sound like she tried to help him, or get through to him. Just expected him to know what she wanted and left when he didn't give it to her. She called herself silly and naive then, that she was stupid to believe in love, and he broke her heart. Never once was it brought up what she did to him. Not once. How it must have been for him lost in that grief and losing the love of his life. And for some reason he kept apologizing and feeling guilty about the past and she never once did. She was painted as the victim. Especially because once she left him and the country he started drowning his grief and heartbreak in women. Something that she kept using against him like a spear throughout the book. Saying stupid things like she can't trust him with her and her kids because he'll decide he doesn't want it again, and miss his partying lifestyle. What the hell? Just, what? When they see each other again she starts out being nasty to him, and continues. He's nothing but sweet to her and the kids and she's just rude and mean. She was the victim, right. Of course. He said he should have gone after her when she left but he wasn't the man he is now then or something like that. And I was like, no, you were in the throes of profound grief and not in the right place to know what to do. That wasn't on you. But she says, 'yeah, if you had even called or emailed I would have come right back.' What? OH, MY GOD. SHUT UP. And I hate that he stuck to that "mutual decision" lie. I really wanted his family on his side. Not one person in this book was on his side. That made me even madder. Lauren kept saying how she was weak and pathetic then. She was, but not in the way she thinks. Quite frankly her shitty marriage was karma for the way she treated Taft. She got knocked up by a guy she didn't love, and married him anyway, then had another kid. He kept things from her like she accused Taft of doing and why she left him, except Javier did it for everything. Including all his women on the side. She said a few times that she never loved him, even once wondered if she had tried harder to love him he wouldn't have run around with all those other women and he'd still be alive (he died while boating with one of them). Then, when she suddenly realized she loves Taft and never stopped she was all, 'I loved Javier. Of course I did. I wouldn't have married him otherwise.' What?! Since when?? That was a 180 degree turnaround from what she was saying before. She doesn't know what she's talking about or what she feels. She's not stronger or smarter. She's just as stupid as the girl who ran out on her fiancé when he needed her most because it wasn't easy and about her. I don't remember the last time I hated a heroine this much.I liked Taft, but he made me mad because he took all the blame for the past on himself and in my opinion he shouldn't have. He took all her unwarranted anger and the unearned barbs she threw at him, and all I wanted to do was yell at him to find someone worthy of his love. I didn't get why he felt anything for her.And then in the end it skips over them reconnecting in any way. She pushes him away, is nasty to him, and does her best hurt him any way she can no matter how sweet he is, so there was never any of them getting to know the people they are now. But that all changes based on an over the top situation She leaves the kids alone by the creek for a minute and they fall in, Taft risks his life, against all protocol, to save them. Then, of course, she loves him without reservation and they can be together. Cue my heavy sighs and eye rolls. The character I liked most was little Maya. This was probably one of the best treatments of a kid with Downs Syndrome I've read. It wasn't continually brought up, she was treated as any other child. Though I didn't like the couple of times Laura referred to her as "fragile" and "vulnerable", but like I said, everything she said made me want to harm her. Especially after she used it as a reason to tear into Taft when he was going on about how adorable and lovable Maya is. "Don't you pity her!" Uh, he wasn't. He was loving her. Idiot.I really wish the backstory between Taft and Laura had been different and she hadn't been so awful. I liked the rest of the book enough to have wanted to like the story.
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review 2013-08-06 00:00
The Medic's Homecoming - Lynne Marshall First of all, I'd like to thank Vashti for lending me this book. Thank you so very much! You're a real sweetheart :*Now let's move onto the book. It wasn't really a good read, I can't say that I enjoyed it. It seemed way too bland and unemotional. I'm not a big fan of the author's writing. At first I thought that it might have been written by a guy, but a couple of scenes towards the end convinced me otherwise (the award ceremony scene and the kissing scene that follows). But even then, I didn't like it very much.My main concerns were the lack of passion and emotion. When I read a romance, I expect it to be well written, smooth, and romance-y. That is exactly why I read romances, because I like the rainbows-and-unicorns, flowery, feel-good feeling. Like the way Judth McNaught and Nora Roberts write :') You are taken to a completely different fantasy world where everything is like a dream.  This book was not like that. It had too much of story telling and not enough romance. (Yes, I know Betty Neels is like that, but her books take you to a completely different world so don't you dare compare her to this awful author!)Another reason why I probably disliked this book so much was because it was modern. I hate, I seriously really hate, the casual relationship/sex theme that is so common on modern romances. God. It leaves an awful taste in my mouth. This is why I much prefer historical romances, where the characters have morals and values and sex is not something that is treated so casually. And, of course, vintage Harlequins :')As for the characters, they were both meh. I liked Lucas better than I liked Jocelyn, but not that much. Like I said, the lack of morals really bothers me. As for Jocelyn, she wasn't that likeable either. Her hang-ups about being beaten (even though she never was really beaten), the way she lost her scholarship and her fear of Lucas irritated me. AND SHE WAS NOT A VIRGIN. Yup, that was what made me dislike her the most. The rest of the characters weren't very 3D for me either. I liked Anne, Lucas's sister, in the beginning but when I learnt that she was being a bi*** with her boyfriend Jack and wouldn't admit that she loved him, I really hated her. All in all, I pretty much hated everything about this book. Not my cup o' tea. But I gave it 2 stars because it wasn't that bad either.
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