Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.
Well, I guess one could count Roderick Alleyn as a public servant, seeing as he's a policeman, but the actual pièce de résistance in this book are the servants at the North Country estate where his wife Troy is staying for Christmas (having been commissioned to paint the owner's portrait) -- because they are, every man jack of them, murderers. Or, well, at least homicides, whose sentences were commuted to something less than the gallows or life in prison because they had some pretty convincing "provocation" for their deeds, or who were let out early because of a successful appeal. So of course, when their employer's Christmas party ends up with the disappearance of the manservant of an elderly guest couple (who is soon suspected to have been killed, even though nobody can find his corpse, either), they duly consider themselves in more than a bit of a pickle: all the more so as, in the days preceding the death, a number of pranks of questionable taste have occurred, each one of which seems to mirror the particular circumstances or modus operandi of one of their bloody deeds. -- And it doesn't make one iota of a difference that Mr. Alleyn, originally having arrived from London to keep his wife company and escort her back home, but soon enough (and very unwillingly) put in charge of the case, assures them that suspicion does not lie their way solely because of their past history.
This was a revisit of a favorite Golden Age mystery, courtesy of James Saxon's audio narration, which I enjoyed very much.
Knocked Up and Tied Down is sexy and a bit naughty with the teacher/student aspect and sort of a second chance romance. While Elijah and Nikki don't actually seal the deal the first time around, the attraction is certainly there.
Elijah is an oh so sexy professor and it's all he can do to not act on his attraction to his student. He and Nikki can't forget their magnetic pull and when they come together a few years later, it's fan yourself sexy and they can't get enough of each other. Of course, as is obvious from the title, an unexpected pregnancy throws a wrench into the works.
I can't say that I necessarily felt the romance between this pair, but the sexual chemistry is definitely there. It is an interesting story, but I felt that a bit more development on the romance between Elijah and Nikki could've easily transformed this one into a five-star read.
While this isn't my favorite book from Minx, it is well worth the read and I will continue to check out future works from her.
Tied Up in You by Erin Fletcher
Release Date: 7/10/17
About the book:
Everyone says hotshot goalie Luke Jackson is God’s gift to girls, but the only girl he wants is his best friend, Malina Hall. He’s always known how brilliant she is, but now that he’s “accidentally” kissed her, he can’t stop thinking about her…or wanting to kiss her again.
Problem is, things have been a little…awkward since the kiss. Because she likes him, too? Hopefully, but even if she did, their futures—and the ridiculous schedules that come with them—are in the way. And now one of his teammates is showing interest, and the guy has more in common with Malina than Jackson ever will.
As her best friend, Jackson should get out of the way. But if there’s one thing he’s learned from hockey, it’s that you have to go for what you want, even if it means falling flat on your face. And he’s definitely falling for Malina.
Disclaimer: This book contains a hot hockey player who goes after what he wants, a super-hot, super-distracting shirtless workout, and the kind of best friends to lovers romance every girl in the friend zone has dreamed of.
My hand froze awkwardly in midair as reality slammed into me. Oh, shit. Shit. I kissed my best friend. “Sorry,” I said, jumping up and slamming my leg on the coffee table. “Ow,” I moaned as I turned on the lamp, then turned on the overhead light for good measure.
The look on Malina’s face was one I hadn’t seen before. Her eyes were wide with something—shock? Disgust? Embarrassment?
My cheeks and ears burned. Was it possible for your nose to blush? I was pretty sure mine was. “Malina, I’m so sorry. I was just…” I ran a hand through my hair, struggling to come up with something, anything I could say to excuse what had happened. “I was just so relieved there wasn’t a serial killer or something in the kitchen, and I just…” Nope. There weren’t any more words. There were hundreds of thousands of words in the English language and not one of them was going to help me.
For a long time, she didn’t say anything. A long time. The expression on her face didn’t change. Then she nodded slowly. “Right. Yeah. I was relieved, too.”
She was going to accept my ridiculously lame excuse? Or at least pretend to accept it? “Right? Yeah. Okay. Sorry.”
She frowned. “Just…don’t. Do that. Ever. Again.”
“No,” I said quickly. Spastically quickly. Oh God, my cheeks were still on fire. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. “Sorry. I won’t. It won’t happen again. I should probably go.” Then I winced and said, “Ow,” when I took a step that jarred my bruised leg.
Her frown changed from confusion to concern. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I said, too quickly again. “Fine. Just…bruised my leg. Banged it. I’ll be fine.”
“Do you need some ice?”
“No. No. I’m fine. Sorry again. Thanks for dinner. I’ll see you at school, right? Sorry.” Instead of coming out like individual sentences, the words kind of blurred together into one big blob of awkward.
Malina got up and walked me to the door. “Yeah. I’ll see you at school.”
I had one foot out the door when she stopped me.
As much as I wanted to keep going, I couldn’t ignore her. I stopped and turned and looked somewhere in the vicinity of her left shoulder. Not in her eyes. Not at her lips or her boobs. Shoulders were safe. “Yeah?”
“I don’t really know what just happened, but it was an accident. We’re still friends. It’s fine.”
I forced a nod and kept my eyes on her shoulder. “Okay. Thank you. Sorry. Good night.”
When I got in my car, I leaned back against the headrest and tried to breathe. Despite what she said, it wasn’t okay. I’d kissed my best friend. I’d acted like an idiot who didn’t know how to human, not the confident hockey player who kissed girls all the time.
But the worst part? Worse than the kiss or the embarrassment or awkwardness that followed?
I liked kissing Malina.
I was screwed.
Tied Up In You by Erin Fletcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is book #2, in the All Laced Up series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this great series in order.
Malina and Luke AKA Jackson, have been best friends a long time. They used to do everything together. Lately, school and other commitments have kept them further apart. So when they do spend time together, they seem to fight a lot.
Jackson knows he should not be feeling attracted and hot over his best friend, but he cannot seem to put aside his feelings. When they go on a double date, jealousy gets the better of him and he almost self destructs!
There was so much to love about this story, where do I start? The characters were amazing. They were real, flawed, and felt all the feels. The banter was so much fun. I laughed out loud, I cried, I just basically enjoyed this novel right to the very last page!
***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.
View all my reviews
About the author:
Erin is a young adult author from North Carolina. She is a morning person who does most of her writing before sunrise, while drinking excessive quantities of coffee. She believes flip-flops qualify as year-round footwear, and would spend every day at the beach if she could. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics, which is almost never useful when writing books.
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