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Search tags: taming-of-a-manwhore
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review 2016-03-06 20:23
"Big Rock" by Lauren Blakely
Big Rock - Lauren Blakely

"Big Rock" is narrated in first person point of view by the hero of this romance, Spencer, who has a big (rhymes with 'rock') and knows how to use it (or so he claims). He gets around a lot, but when his father is ready to sell the family jewelry business to a conservative, uptight stick-in-the-mud, Spencer needs to put his manwhoring ways on hold for a week and pretend to be engaged to his best friend and business partner. What does his father's business dealings have to do with Spencer's personal dealings, you ask? Absolutely nothing, except Plot. 

 

Having read that paragraph, I bet you know exactly where this book is going. You're right. It's exactly that predictable. He and Charlotte swear their engagement is all pretend, that no one will fall in love, that things won't get weird... but sh*t gets real, they develop feelings, and things get weird. There are no unexpected plot twists. 

 

Yet it's fast and readable and reasonably entertaining. The characters are likable if a little bit flat. The dialogue is funny. The sex is steamy. If you're not looking for anything groundbreaking, but just want a quick, feel-good read, this might be right up your alley. 

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review 2016-02-06 03:16
"Wicked Sexy Liar" by Christina Lauren
Wicked Sexy Liar - Christina Lauren

A lot of series lose steam as they go along, but this one keeps getting better. This is book four in the "Wild Seasons" series, and it's better than book one, "Sweet Filthy Boy," though connected to that story more than the subsequent books in the series. Each book stands alone, but it will probably be a little more satisfying if you read at least "Sweet Filthy Boy" first, because that book introduces Mia, who is the ex-girlfriend of the hero, Luke, of this one. 

 

"Wicked Sexy Liar" is a Reformed-Rake/Taming-of-the-Manwhore story. Five years ago, Luke broke up with Mia, his high school sweetheart, and went a little crazy on the rebound. He's spent the interim having lots and lots and lots of casual sex, and when he meets London, that's what they're both looking for. 

 

Of course, London's got a magical hooha, and as soon as Luke hooks up with her, he can't get enough, but she has good reasons for wanting to keep things casual, especially when she realizes Luke is her friend Mia's ex. (Because friends' exes are, of course, off limits.) 

 

The entertainment of the Manwhore-Taming trope usually stems from watching the hero get his comeuppance, after years of dismissing clingy women, in finally finding himself in the role of the Clinger rather than Clingee. "Wicked Sexy Liar" does the same, but even though it isn't groundbreaking, it's entertaining. Christina Lauren does snappy dialogue really, really well, and the secondary characters are well developed and contribute to the story (rather than merely being scenery in it -- yet another reason to read the series in order, though again, this would stand alone). 

 

I loved Luke's relationship with his sister Margot, and I love how smart and sassy and grounded London is as a heroine. The ending of this book was a little too abrupt, but still emotionally satisfying, and the first 4/5ths of the book were great fun. 

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review 2016-01-20 20:26
"Take Me On" by Katie McGarry
Take Me On - Katie McGarry

I think some authors, in their zeal to avoid the cardinal sin of telling too much and showing too little, err on the side of brevity so much that they leave the reader hanging. This fourth installment of Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series, which I have totally devoured this week, is an example of such a book. This story has an interesting premise: both the hero and heroine are homeless, though by very different circumstances. Haley's family has been on a slow slide from lower middle class stability since her father lost his job, and they've been bouncing around from shelters and friends and finally settle in an overcrowded two bedroom house already occupied by Haley's mean-spirited and controlling uncle and his family. Meanwhile, West goes from being the pampered scion of Louisville's wealthiest family to living in the back of his car overnight when his rebellious behavior gets him kicked out of school, which is the last straw for his father, who kicks him out. There are so many issues this book could have explored about the similarities and differences between West and Haley's positions and their attitudes toward their shared circumstance, and it's not that the book didn't touch on these things... but it only touched on them, it didn't sink its teeth in.

 

That's true of so many of the subplots as well. There's a lot going on in this story: issues with Haley's family and West's family, Haley's history of domestic violence with an ex-boyfriend and the trauma associated with it, West's discovery of a deeply guarded secret regarding his past, West's sister's recovery from an almost fatal car accident, Haley's efforts to find a way to pay for college, Haley's history as a champion kickboxer (a sport she's walked away from) and West's introduction to that sport, a final confrontation between West and Haley's ex, and West's and Haley's developing feelings for each other. "Take Me On" deals with all of these things, but only glancingly. The plot skips right along, but all of these issues are too weighty to be addressed as summarily as they are. The whole book whet my appetite, but didn't satisfy.

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review 2016-01-11 21:33
"The Rogue Not Taken" by Sarah MacLean
The Rogue Not Taken - Sarah MacLean

I really enjoyed this first installment in Sarah MacLean's new historical Scandal & Scoundrel series, which is nice because I haven't really been connecting with historicals in about a year. The heroine, Sophie, is the youngest of five daughters known collectively as the Soiled S's, 'soiled' because their father bought his earldom after making a fortune mining coal, and 'S's' because their names all begin with S. At a ton fete, Sophie catches her brother-in-law cheating on her pregnant eldest sister, and pushes him into a fishpond. One might think his reputation would be the one to suffer as a result of this scandal, but no, he is a duke and Sophie is a coalminer's daughter, so she is the one ruined.

 

Desperate to flee the humiliating scene, Sophie comes upon King, who is climbing out of a soon-to-be-married lady's bedroom window. No stranger to scandal himself, the Marquess is nevertheless unwilling to help Sophie, so she poses as one of King's footmen to hitch a ride home. (Just go with it.) Unbeknownst to her, though, King's carriage isn't headed to Mayfair: he's on his way to Cumbria to see his estranged father, having heard his father is on his deathbed. On the journey north, Sophie and King's misadventures lead, gradually, to the correction of the wrong assumptions each made of the other on their initial acquaintance, and ultimately to love, though trust is harder to come by.

 

Much of the appeal of this book, for me, stems from the fact that apart from the initial scene at the garden party, "Rogue Not Taken" is a roadtrip story. It doesn't take place in London's drawing rooms and ball rooms, but in carriages and curricles and posting inns along the North Road. I also appreciated that Sophie isn't truly of the aristocracy, nor does she aspire to be, but she is also keenly aware that her past life of comfortable anonymity, before her father became an earl, is no longer available to her either. She's truly adrift in that sense, without a community, which makes her a more compelling character.

 

King didn't really stand out from the crowd of romance heroes, to me, and yet I appreciated his character arc as he grows from someone who treats Sophie fairly badly early on, but ultimately comes around to be her champion.

 

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review 2015-11-23 19:03
Another Typical NA Taming-the-Manwhore Sports Romance
The Friend Zone - Kristen Callihan

I don't follow football even a little bit, but I'm on a sports-romance kick and I inhaled this series, though I read them out of order, finishing with this one (the second of 3 so far). As with the other books in the series, I really enjoyed the pacing and the witty banter, especially the text messages the heroine, Ivy, and hero, Gray, exchange throughout the story. I do tire of the taming-of-a-manwhore trope so common in so many subgenres of romance, though, and this definitely fits in that category. I'm not sure exactly why I find it so tiresome. I'm not judgey about the sex, so long as the fella is respectful towards his many women. I think it's the one-sidedness of it, because these stories rarely involve an oversexed heroine as well as a manslut. No, she is almost inevitably comparatively pure and innocent, and her goodness shames the man into fidelity. I don't buy that. I can usually willingly suspend my disbelief for purposes of going along with the story, but there's nothing particularly interesting about the manwhore trope as it is usually done.

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