3/5, Contemporary Romance, ebook, review copy

2940015969276_p0_v1_s260x420About the book:

Danielle and Wes have been best friends since college, so when Wes needs a date for his sister’s wedding and Dani needs a partner for her company’s retreat, they devise the perfect plan: a fake engagement to get through both events unscathed. Adrenaline-junkie Wes can prove to both his ex and his family that he’s well and truly moved on, and serious-minded Dani can prove to her boss that she’s worthy of the promotion he seems to only want to give to a family-oriented employee.

But amid the fake swoons, fake kisses, and forced proximity, neither expects the very real feelings that develop. There’s nothing more dangerous than falling for your best friend…but what if the landing is worth the fall?

I love the best friends to lovers trope – throw in a fake engagement and I’m in heaven… if it works well. For me, FALLING FOR HER FIANCE didn’t work. I never felt the connection between Dani and Wes. Wes kept remarking that he liked her because she was “one of the guys” and she kept saying there was no pressure when around him. They have friend chemistry, but I didn’t “feel” the romantic chemistry between them. The story also felt too long. It seemed as if the couple was finally going to get together and something else would get in their way…repeatedly.

Even though the story didn’t really work for me, I loved the authors writing style and voice. The dialog is witty and the characters are all very funny and three-dimensional. I will definitely be reading something else by this author.

the book girl gives FALLING FOR HER FIANCE a 3/5

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3/5, Historical Romance, review copy

9780062027801_p0_v1_s260x420About the book:

Catriona Cameron was once famed for her seductive beauty and charm. Now she saw no one, hiding from the world . . . and no one dared break through her self-imposed exile.

No one, that is, until Mark Thorburn burst into her home, and Catriona’s darkened world began to have color again. Thorburn, secretly the heir to an Earldom, claimed he was a footman. But Catriona didn’t care about the scandal their passion could cause . . . for his very touch sparked her back to a life of sensuality, one she thought she’d never have again.

Little does she know that Mark is part of a masquerade. One that will end when they become the target of a madman set on revenge. Mark realizes he will have to do more than win her love . . . he will have to save her life as well.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved parts of the story and there were other parts that I didn’t like at all. I almost didn’t read past the first few chapters, because I just couldn’t find anything likable about Catriona in the beginning of the book. In fact, I didn’t really warm up to her until close to the very end. The reason I kept reading was Mark. His character was so unique and interesting that I wanted to know more about him and I really liked the way he dealt with Catriona after her accident. I enjoyed the romance between Catriona and Mark. His attention to her and the way that he doesn’t pity her or focus on her injuries pull her out of her self-imposed prison and also cause her to take stalk of her life and realize what’s missing. She truly becomes a better person because of his love. Mark also changes. He becomes less focused on his work and realizes there is more to life than medicine. The ending to the story left me less than satisfied. It didn’t feel like the story was truly over and that there should have been something more. It just ended in an abrupt manner that to me fell flat.

the book girl gives THE LASS WORE BLACK a 3/5

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3/5, Contemporary Romance, ebook, Holiday Romance, review copy

About the book:

Caitlin McIntyre’s heart stops when her best friend drops to one knee and proposes. Kyle Lockhart never once hinted over the years that he has any idea she’s in love with him. Not wanting to jeopardize their friendship, she’s never let it slip. Good thing, too, since it turns out he’s only practicing—he’s about to propose to someone else.

A business merger might not be the most romantic reason to propose to a woman he barely knows, but Kyle’s determined to win the respect of the dying father who’s never seen him as quite good enough. Kyle’s always depended on Caitlin’s friendship, while trying to ignore the physical response she arouses. So he turns to her when it comes time to craft his proposal, not realizing his decision will affect their relationship, forever.

This Christmas, Kyle and Caitlin get one last chance to admit their feelings for each other, and find a mutual happily ever after, before he commits his life to another woman and Caitlin leaves town and him…for good.

24,000 words

I enjoyed this story, but felt that it could have been more. Kyle and Caitlin have been best friends for a very long time. They each have feelings for the other, but don’t want to spoil their friendship by admitting to them. When Kyle asks Caitlin to help him plan his proposal to another woman, Caitlin agrees even though she hates the idea of him marrying someone he doesn’t love. I really liked Kyle and Caitlin and wish there had been more to the story. The story mostly revolves around Kyle’s proposal to the other woman and Caitlin’s job choices. The sudden happily ever after for Kyle and Caitlin at the end didn’t feel right since they only share one kiss and then don’t speak to each other afterward. I liked the authors writing style and everything about the characters. I just wish the story had been longer so that the relationship had time to develop and the ending felt more realistic.
the book girl gives ASK HER AT CHRISTMAS a 3/5
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ASK HER AT CHRISTMAS is also part of the anthology ROMANCING THE HOLIDAY
3/5, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, review copy

About the book:

She wants a baby. He needs an heir. It seems like the perfect arrangement…until they decide to conceive the old-fashioned way.

Having a baby with his best friend is the means to an end for Nick Caroselli. In his quest to receive a ten-million-dollar inheritance, he’ll also be giving Theresa Phillips the one thing she really wants…a child. Once the baby’s born and the money’s in the bank, they can divorce, share custody and go back to being buddies. But their best-laid plans are about to take a sharp turn under the mistletoe, as things really heat up this Christmas.

This book was so sweet. I loved that there wasn’t any angst between the couple. They were best friends and decided that they could be parents together and they wouldn’t let it get in the way of their friendship. Nick and Theresa are perfect for each other and everyone around them knows it but them. The were a few things that I didn’t like about the story was that they decided to make the baby the old-fashioned way instead of using artificial insemination (which was Theresa’s original plan). With their original intention to keep the relationship only for the purpose of having a child and nothing romantic, it didn’t make sense for them to become sexually involved. It worked for the stories happily ever after, but made what happened feel predictable and took something out of the story. Another thing that bothered me was that the story didn’t feel finished. There are more books in the mini-series that I’m sure will tie up any loose ends, but I wish that Nick and Theresa’s story had felt more complete.

the book girl gives CAROSELLI’S CHRISTMAS BABY a 3/5

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the book girl CAROSELLI’S CHRISTMAS BABY a 3.5/5

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3/5, 4/5, 5/5, Contemporary Romance, ebook, Historical Romance, Holiday Romance, review copy

About the book:

Tis the season for romance with three original holiday-themed novellas! Unwrap this festive eBook bundle and discover why these authors are quickly becoming the biggest names in the genre. Ruthie Knox tells a heartwarming contemporary story of first loves given the gift of a second chance; Molly O’Keefe releases the ghosts of Christmas past with a prequel to her novel Crazy Thing Called Love; and Stefanie Sloane weaves an irresistible Regency tale of fiery passion that burns deep on a cold winter’s night.
 
ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox
 
Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.
 
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe
 
Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?
 
ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stephanie Sloane
 
After being jilted by her fiance , Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his new found feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.

ROOM AT THE INN- Ruthie Knox

This is the longest story in the anthology. I enjoyed the fact that we get to know the characters well throughout the story. The relationship between Carson and Julie is complicated as is Carson’s relationship with his father and the whole town of Potter Falls. There are many parallels between ROOM AT THE END and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. I loved that Julie knows she can survive without Carson and will happily, but that she also knows that she will never be completely whole without him. She also knows that she can’t be the one to make him stay in Potter Falls. He has to make that decision for himself. It’s a romantic story of destined love. 4/5

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe

I will admit that I didn’t care for this story while I was reading it. The characters were too young for me (18 & 20). When I finished and read that it is a prequel to an upcoming release the story made a lot more sense and I liked it a little more. The story is very short and mostly just acquaints the reader with Billy and Maddy as they are at age 18 and 20 when they are deciding whether marriage at such a young age is the right thing for them. 3/5

ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stefanie Sloane

I really enjoyed this story. From the beginning the reader knows that both the hero and heroine are in love with each other. The enjoyment of the story is in how the finally come together after misunderstandings, kisses under mistletoe, another suitor, and one very pesky donkey. The story is lighthearted and romantic. 5/5

 

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3/5, Contemporary Romance, review copy

About the book:

Rule Number One: Must not lie.
Rule Number Two: Must not live with parents.
Rule Number Three: Must have a job.
Rule Number Four: Must not be a friend’s ex.

These dating rules shouldn’t be hard for Lucy Benoit to follow—after all, she made them. But she didn’t plan on falling for Andy Sullivan, a scruffy-yet-attractive man who lives with his mother and is between jobs. These should be deal-breakers, but in other ways Andy is just her type. And there’s something intriguing about him…

Andy isn’t the geeky gamer he claims to be—not by a long shot. But what seemed like a harmless social experiment has put his chances of a relationship with Lucy at risk. Even if she can get past the silly rules she has set for herself, will she ever forgive him for breaking Rule Number One?

53,000 words

UNDERCOVER PROFESSOR had a lot of potential, but fell short of the mark for me. Andy is pretending to be someone else. I didn’t have a problem with that in the beginning, but once he and Lucy started sleeping with each other and he started thinking the L-word it was time to fess up. But, of course, he doesn’t. Lucy really wasn’t any better. She has this list that she keeps harping about and in the beginning she seems to be very serious about, but when faced with “Andy” she throws it all out the window. I loved the authors writing style and it was the only thing that kept me reading to the end. (Plus, I wanted to see how much groveling Andy was going to have to do – it wasn’t enough!) The dialogue was witty and the pacing perfect. I just couldn’t connect to the characters or care about what happened to them. I will be giving the author another try based on her writing and hope that I like the next set of characters more.

the book girl gives UNDERCOVER PROFESSOR a 3/5

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3/5, Contemporary Romance, Holiday Romance, review copy

About the book:

Dan Beckins isn’t sure how he let his best friend con him into volunteering to build Santa’s Winter Wonderland at the local hospital. He’s got no problems with charity work, but anything Christmas-related is off-limits ever since he lost his parents on Christmas Day years ago. The only bright spot is working with smoking-hot Anna Smith.

Anna Smith loves Christmas and volunteering at the hospital is one of her yearly highlights. She had leukemia as a teen and then a breast cancer scare in her mid-twenties, and is now operating under a self-imposed rule that she can’t have a relationship until the doctors give her a clean bill of health.

A little fling might be permissible, though, and sexy lawyer-turned-carpenter Dan seems like the perfect candidate. But when chemistry flares and the two start forming a real connection, will Anna run away before like turns to love?

NO MISTLETOE REQUIRED was an okay read. It’s short and I felt that the length really hindered the story in this instance. Both Dan and Anna have pasts that have led them to have differing opinions about Christmas. Anna loves the holiday and Dan hates it. Their relationship happens quickly and Dan changes his entire outlook seemingly overnight. The characters have depth that needed a longer story length to be explored and for the changes to feel more realistic. The writing is great and the romance had potential.

the book girl gives NO MISTLETOE REQUIRED a 3/5

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3/5, 4/5, Historical Romance, review copy

About the book:

Lessons in Sin

Miss Clementina Smythe, the newest graduate of Miss Debenham’s Finishing School, is worried. Though charming, well-spoken, and quite attractive, her obvious innocence may impede her current campaign to secure a groom—one wealthy enough to save her family from debtor’s prison. In desperation, she turns to the rakish Richard Eversham, an expert at seduction who can teach Tina how to be everything any man could possibly want.

Richard’s motives, however, are far from selfless. He finds the delightful Miss Smythe not only perfectly desirable, but perfectly suited to help him in his plan to entrap the man who killed his brother. But as the game turns more dangerous, Richard realizes the stakes may be higher than he imagined . . . for they include his life, Tina’s safety, and their blossoming, undeniable passion.

There were lots of things I loved about this book (the hero, the plot, the writing) and one thing I did not (the heroine). Tina, the heroine, annoyed me so much in the beginning that I almost didn’t read the book. She’s immature and so sure that the man she wants will want her, even though he’s shown no interest, that she goes to another man (without a maid) to hire him to teach her the art of seduction. I would have stopped right there if it hadn’t been for Richard, the man she “hires” to teach her how to seduce. He intrigued me from the start and immediately the reader finds that there is so much more to him than what Tina and the rest of London sees. Tina does grow and change throughout the book and by the end I really liked the character and was happy that I had continued reading. The story is full of romance, action and intrigue. Not everyone is really who they seem and it was entertaining to figure out who the bad guy was. I loved the romance between Richard and Tina (once she stopped being such a ninny). The story moves at a very quick pace, which helped keep my interest. The writing is great and I loved the way the author wove the action and the romance together so well.

the book girl gives SIN WITH A SCOUNDREL a 3.5/5

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3/5, Historical Romance, review copy

About the book:

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR SCANDAL…

Years ago Lady Louisa Windham acted rashly on a dare from her brother, and that indiscretion is about to come to light. She knows her reputation will never survive exposure. Just as she’s nearly overwhelmed by her dilemma, Sir Joseph Carrington offers himself to her as a solution…

But Sir Joseph has secrets as well, and as he and Louisa become entangled with each other, their deceptions begin to close in on them both…

I enjoyed most of the things about this book, but a few things didn’t work for me. First, the things that I liked. I really liked Sir Joseph and Louisa. Their courtship is awkward and sweet. I loved the banter between them. Their awkward conversation and attempts to be flirtatious with each other were both sweet and romantic. I also really liked getting to see glimpses of all the happily married Windhams and their spouses. The relationships between the siblings are special and add something wonderful to this series. What didn’t work for me were the “secrets” that both Joseph and Louisa are keeping from each other. They are revealed very slowly throughout the book, so that the reader doesn’t know if the secrets are something terrible and unforgivable or something minor that the character is blowing out of proportion.

LADY LOUISA’S CHRISTMAS KNIGHT is well written and entertaining. I’m looking forward to the other two Moreland sister’s stories.

the book girl gives LADY LOUISA’S CHRISTMAS KNIGHT a 3.5/5

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3/5, 4/5, Contemporary Romance, Contest, review copy

September’s Harlequin Reviews and Giveaway!

About the book:

Falling for the boss’s daughter
From the wrong side of the tracks, Dominic Wright is fiercely proud of his successful career—and his latest project is his gateway to the big time! The downside? Dominic is expected to babysit the boss’s spoiled daughter.

Bella Maldini knows hotshot Dominic by reputation, and where women are concerned it’s a bad one! Still, if Bella wants this project to succeed she must work closely with Dominic. If only he weren’t so impossible—cynical, complicated, controlled—and, worst of all, sexier than any man she’s ever met!

I really enjoyed this story. Both characters are allowing their parents and the past to control their futures. Bella is striving to make her father proud of her no matter what and Dominic is working hard to prove that he isn’t like his father. I liked the way these two balanced each other out and taught each other how to embrace who they really were and to let go of their parental baggage.

the book girl gives BELLA’S IMPOSSIBLE BOSS a 4/5

About the book:

Coco Jordan wished she knew the answer. Discovering she was the illegitimate daughter of the prince of Chantaine took some getting used to—especially when she was working as a nanny on a Texas ranch! As much as she tried to focus on caring for baby Emma, her newfound fame kept getting in the way. Until help arrived from an unexpected—and handsome—source…

Widowed rancher Benjamin Garner would do anything for his daughter—even fake an engagement to Coco to keep the paparazzi at bay. Princess or not, Coco’s the best woman for his child’s needs—and though he doesn’t dare think about it too much, probably his own. Soon their “royal romance” is making headlines—but can their all-too-real love survive the pressure?

A HOME FOR NOBODY’S PRINCESS is a very sweet story. Coco is almost too sweet. She’s good with babies, she isn’t upset that her royal parent gave her up for adoption, and she sacrifices her own happiness for those around her. I enjoyed the story, but would have liked it more if Coco had some flaws. Benjamin is full of them and is the more interesting character. He is afraid of his daughter and thinks that she hates him and he’s scared to let himself feel anything real for Coco. I felt that Benjamin had growth throughout the story, but Coco had no where to really grow or change.

the book girl gives A HOME FOR NOBODY’S PRINCESS a 3/5

About the book:

Wedding planner Anita della Rossa is an expert in arranging happy-ever-afters—except her own, that is. Five years ago her childhood sweetheart Giovanni Valtieri ended their relationship abruptly, keeping his reasons as secret as the love he still feels for Anita.

When Gio and Anita find themselves alone in a Tuscan hideaway, familiar passion rises to the surface once more. Gio is still struggling to open his heart…but with Anita’s baby bombshell ringing in his ears can this brooding Italian finally make all Anita’s dreams come true?

THE VALTIERI BABY is a friend to lovers story with a bit of a twist. The twist is that Anita and Gio have been a couple in the past, but Anita still isn’t sure why it ended. I loved the connection between Anita and Gio. They have a past and it plays such an important part in their future. This is a very emotional story that has a very satisfying happy ending.

the book girl gives THE VALTIERI BABY a 4/5

About the book:

Out of the limelight and into the fire…

Haunted by one scandal too many, tabloid savaged and vulnerable, Larissa Whitney turns her back on her gilded fortune. Desperately hiding from the paparazzi’s relentless cameras, Larissa escapes to a small, secluded island, seeking refuge. But she’s not alone—instead, Larissa finds herself face-to-face with Manhattan tycoon Jack Endicott Sutton.

Now she’s trapped on an island with a man she had a wild affair with five years before…A man she’s still achingly attracted to. A man who knows the outrageous truth!

HEIRESS BEHIND THE HEADLINES is an extremely emotional story. Larissa has lived a life of excess and irresponsibility. After a life-changing event she is changing her ways, but no one believes that she is capable of becoming someone different. Jack has known Larissa for a long time and used to be like her, but changed when his mother passed away. They meet away from their normal lives and the attraction they once felt is still strong, but Jack doesn’t believe that Larissa is any different from she was before and she can’t convince him otherwise. This book worked for me on some levels and on others it didn’t. I loved Larissa. The character growth for her was amazing and I enjoyed the changes she goes through during the story. I didn’t care for Jack. He is so mean to Larissa at some points that it is hard to believe that the strong person she becomes would end up with someone who treated her that way. My dislike for the way Jack acted toward Larissa made the HEA unbelievable.

the book girl gives HEIRESS BEHIND THE HEADLINES a 2/5

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