Monday, October 27, 2014

Quick (and a few not so Quick) Romance Reviews

Quickie reviews today - some books that I enjoyed, some that I didn't. A lot of these are outstanding reviews that I wanted to get out there. Some are books I just didn't have much to say about, and a few others are ones that I didn't really enjoy for one reason or another and didn't want to have lingering in my review queue. 

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Amy Andrews
Entangled: Brazen
Contemporary Romance
Amazon Kobo

Newly single school counselor Josie Butler just made herself a Sexy To-Do list (featuring Bad Boys only). To her mortification, her best friend's gorgeous older brother Mack finds it…and laughs. But when Josie goes looking for some sexy fun, Mack's nice guy side turns all hot bad-assery, and suddenly she's pinned against an alley wall. Hottest. Sex. Ever. 
Veterinarian Mack Kennedy can't believe Josie wants to ditch her sweet, girl-next-door lifestyle. Even worse, that she'd consider doing it with anyone but him. When she leaves for London they'll go back to being 'just friends' but until then, he's going to show her just how badnice guys can be.
And it's the perfect plan, as long as no one finds out... and no one falls in love.


I was really surprised by how *hot* No More Mr. Nice Guy was. The premise has Josie becoming entangle with her best friend's older brother, Mack. Mack's always been a nice guy, so when he starts showing his bad boy side off, it's a bit of a shock to the system - a very, very nice shock.

I really enjoyed this one. The set-up is one of my favourite tropes - a couple connected because one is the friend of the other's sibling - and it's really played up here.

Plus... the heat. Whoa. Off the charts! The first real encounter between Josie and Mack, in the alleyway? Phew!  Steamy, steamy hot.

This is a quick read, it's not deep or soul-searching but instead very entertaining. Absolutely the kind of the book I want to pick up on a grey day to give my mood a boost!

5 stars

The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins
Pocket Books
Historical Romance
Amazon Kobo

Prince Alexsey Romanovin enjoys his carefree life, flirting—and more—with every lovely lady who crosses his path. But when the interfering Duchess Natasha decides it’s time for her grandson to wed, Alexsey finds himself in Scotland, determined to foil her plans. Brainy, bookish, and bespectacled, Bronwyn Murdoch seems the perfect answer—she isn’t at all to the Duchess’s taste.

Living at the beck and call of her ambitious stepmother and social butterfly stepsisters, Bronwyn has little time for a handsome flirt—no matter how intoxicating his kisses are. After all, no spoiled, arrogant prince would be seriously interested in a firm-minded female like herself. So…wouldn’t it be fun to turn his “game” upside down and prove that an ordinary woman can bring a prince to his knees…


This is the first of a new series by Karen Hawkins, and unfortunately I don't think I'll be back for more. The Prince Who Loved Me wasn't a terrible book - it takes the Cinderella story and adapts it quite neatly. Unfortunately I just didn't buy into the love story. I needed more to happen to this couple to really make me believe in their bond.

Alexsey and Bronwyn do have some good back-and-forth, and their initial meeting and misidentification of each other amused me.

There are some really sweet elements, including the meddling grandmother (aren't know-it-all relatives so irksome??) and an off-page romance. I'd recommend it for fans of Cinderella adaptations, of historical romance featuring arrogant princes and bookish heroines.

3.5 stars

Her Perfect Game by Shannyn Schroeder
Contemporary Romance
Amazon Kobo

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…
Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior--in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn't quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she's entering a "hackfest" over spring break--where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who's been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can't fight the desire that comes rushing back.
Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they're face to face again, he doesn't know how to admit that her online admirer is really him--or how to convince her that he's offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?


I had very high expectations for this novella, because I enjoyed the first in the series, because I'm a huge geek myself and because I really want more books featuring nerdy men and women finding love. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by Her Perfect Game. On the one hand, I really liked the premise of the couple - they had a history, there was a misunderstanding around their break-up, and now they've found their way back to each other, first in an online game, and then in real life. Unfortunately the online game component, and the convention just didn't work for me at all. The online game material didn't feel realistic in the least - I'm an avid gamer and nothing about the description of the game and playing the game resonated with me at all. It felt more like a fantasy novel come to life than an online RPG and the negative event that takes place in the game was so beyond the realm of possibility - consider the graphics and the commands necessary... it just... no. Sorry, but no, I couldn't believe it. 

Ultimately, it felt more like these nerdy elements were being exploited for their currently trendy quality rather than being leveraged for the benefit of the story. Which makes me feel awful because I don't think this was at all the intention. It really just needed to be more influenced by what's actually possible in video games right now or else, maybe it's aimed at an audience that doesn't include me.

2 stars with the caveat that it is a well conceived romance and if you don't get obsessive over the video game it's probably more of a 4.

Fairy Tales and Ever Afters: Books 1 and 2 by Danielle Monsch
Romantic Geek Publishing
Amazon Kobo

Loving a Fairy Godmother:

It ain't easy being the only Fairy Godfather in existence, especially when the Fairy Godmother of your dreams wants you kicked out of the program.

Tiernan is given his hardest assignment yet - get a girl by the name of Cinderella her HEA or lose his status as a Fairy Godfather. His supervisor for this job is none other than Reina, the one woman he's interested in and the one woman who wants nothing to do with him. Well, Reina is going to see just how good he is at this Fairy Godmothering business, because Tiernan is not only going to get Cinderella her prince, but he's going to get Reina her Happily Ever After too.

Loving an Ugly Beast:

When a Beast gets a chance to become a Beauty, he takes it.

Benton never cared what anyone thought of him or his beastly visage until Nissa entered his life, but to win her love he would do anything, including make a wish to a Fairy Godmother to change himself into someone else. Now he is everything he wasn't before - handsome, charming, and desirable. But does Nissa really prefer beauty, or will she fight to get her beast back?


These erotic re-tellings of common fairy tales entertained me. They were a big surprise - I don't love the cover, but I was going through a fairy tale adaptation phase when I requested this one and I'm so glad that I did. I loved the idea of an organization of fairy godmothers who are working for happy endings and, ultimately, for happily ever afters. There's a lot of... don't judge by covers... in these two, which is fine because fairy tales have always been a little on the didactic side. I certainly don't remember Cinderella nor Beauty and the Beast being quite so sexual, but I was absolutely okay with these updates, and the vagueness around the setting (clearly not in our world, but something approximate with some tweaks in a sort of idealized medieval time frame?).  

My only criticism of these books is that there were a few moments when the language being used - mostly in the dialogue - felt oddly and suddenly out of place. There's a reference to 'nookie' in the first book that made me cringe, and there were a couple of spots in the second that similarly made me frown a bit. They were, I guess not anachronistic but... just didn't fit the overall atmosphere of the books. 

Still, very good, I recommend them for anyone who likes fairy tale adaptations, romance and explicitly sexual tales

4 stars

I Need You by Jane Lark
New Adult
Amazon Kobo

Guilt can eat away at you, but love can cut like a knife... 
Wanting his best friend's girlfriend is a cliché Billy knows well - it's the tightrope he's walked for years. But now Jason and Lindy have broken up and Billy can't help but be there for the girl he's loved from afar for so long. She's hurting.
Fighting to find a road to the future, Lindy's heart hurts.  She's trying to escape the truth, but Billy keeps making her face it - and it's ugly. How can she keep living when everything is made of glass and it keeps shattering?
Her one constant is Billy. Only, rebound isn't his style and when Lindy starts to see him in a different light, he just can't trust her. He's no one's second best.


I liked the premise - guy has been in love with his best friend's girl for ages, then when she's suddenly available and very emotionally low, he's there to help her through the break-up but doesn't want to be her rebound guy.

I Need You starts in a really negative place - Lindy is very depressed, and everyone else is feeling pretty darn guilty about what's happened to her in the last several months. This goes on for a few chapters, during which more about Lindy's life is revealed and on top of that, it becomes clear that she's been lashing out and rather bitchy because she's carrying this big secret around. Now, perhaps if I'd read the first two books in the series, I would have been more emotionally invested here. But I didn't, so I wasn't.

Instead, I couldn't really handle all the negativity so I skipped to the end to see if the story ends up in a better place. And the answer felt like... kind of?  So I skim read through the rest of it, and... enh.  I'm calling this one a DNF. New Adult tends to embrace these really broken characters and then show how they grow and mature out of that pain, usually by shaking their lives up with a new person or a by seeing a person in their life in a new way. I Need You didn't take that approach, which is fair - I'm all for trying something new! - but, for me, it was too 'down' for too long to keep me engaged.


That wraps it up for reviews today - thank you so much for stopping by! Don't forget to follow the blog either on bloglovin or Twitter (links in the sidebar at right!). Drop me a note in the comments if you've read any of these and want to let me know that you agree or disagree with my take! 

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