Tag: romantic fiction

Isn’t She Lovely by Lauren Layne

FINAL-Isnt-She-LovelyBook: Isn’t She Lovely

Format: Uncorrected arc

Author: Lauren Layne

Review by: Onnica

Basic story: Stephanie Kendrick won a coveted place on a film screenwriting course at NYU. Her decision to stick around in New York instead of dealing with her dad in North Carolina, wasn’t taken lightly. Forced to share the same space with her cheating ex and the girl he cheated on her with, home is definitely a place she doesn’t want to be. Dressed head-to-toe in black, sporting many piercings and generally keeping the world at bay, Stephanie isn’t prepared to be paired up in class with the preppy, blond Ethan Price. He’s charming to a fault, but Stephanie thinks she has his number. Slumming it for the summer instead of sailing some yacht in the Hamptons – he’s vapid and lacking in substance.

Ethan Price has lots of expectations put upon him by his family. He’s taking the summer out to think things through and get away from his cheating ex, his best friend and his domineering mother. Bumping into Stephanie Kendrick only reinforces his insecurities about himself not mixing with people outside his social circle. She’s a scowling mess but underneath all of the eye gunk there is something about her that fascinates him. Working together on a film script the pair decide to go with a Pygmalion theme – life begins to imitate art when Ethan propositions Stephanie to be his fake girlfriend for the summer to get his mother off his back and to save face at social gatherings. Stephanie is doubtful, but there is a free room in it for her – so she doesn’t have to stay with her ex. A few weeks posing as someone she used to be – cake walk…

Why you should read this: Lauren Layne has a great ‘voice’ – she’s able to re-spin a story as old as time and make it into something shiny and new. She references all the past takes on Pygmalion (from My Fair Lady to Pretty Woman) and manages to interweave the plot into a modern-day love story and people from very different worlds. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters – Ethan and Stephanie had depth and both had issues underneath the surface.

What you might hate: There is the inevitable boy loses girl for a bit and that may frustrate you – you need to go with it. Stephanie can be prickly and stubborn but fortunately not all the time – she’s a likeable character and so is Ethan. Does it get a bit cheesy at times? Yes. Will it make you feel good? Yes.

Rating: For a valiant attempt to update a very formulaic story, I give this 3/5. You’ll swoon and laugh and maybe even tear up at certain points. It’s a fun, light read that will make you care about the characters and laugh right along with them.

The Proposition by Katie Ashley

The PropositionBook: The Proposition

Author: Katie Ashley

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic story: Emma Harrison is turning thirty and her need for a baby is intensifying. The only problem is she’s single and her best friend Connor has backed out of his offer to become her sperm donor. She’s lived through the loss of her parents and fiancé but she believes a baby will complete her.

Enter Aidan Fitzgerald. He’s been determined to score with Emma ever since she turned him down at the office Christmas party. He’s known as a player but he’s prepared to make a deal with Emma. He’ll happily father her child on one condition: they conceive it the old-fashioned way, for as long as it takes. He has no interest in being involved otherwise so it’s a win-win situation.

Emma agrees to Aidan’s terms and before long, they’re on the baby-making trail. However, Emma finds that there’s more to Aidan than his bad reputation; his kindness and generosity have her re-thinking her initial assessment of him. Before long Emma is contemplating a future with him – but how can it work with a man who doesn’t want a family or ties of any description? Will Aidan be able to deal with his past demons and give her what she deserves?

Why you should read this: I was initially sceptical about this plot during the early chapters – a man who volunteers to get his colleague pregnant just to make her happy and so he can finally claim her as a conquest? Hmm, doubtful. However, as the book developed, the dynamic between the pair is believable. The love scenes are super steamy and very well-written. Aidan is basically a sex-god in a suit.

What you might hate: As I mentioned earlier, I really had to suspend my belief at the beginning of the book. I wasn’t sold on the premise of the story, but I was won around as the characters are well-developed and I engaged with them. I heard from the author that Book Two The Proposal will be out in January 2013, so there’s no closure for Emma and Aidan just yet unfortunately!

Rating: 3/5 – a good, fun read with likeable engaging characters. I was pleasantly surprised.

Love Left Behind by S.H. Kolee

Book: Love Left Behind

Author: S.H. Kolee

Reviewed by: Judith

Basic Plot: Emma Mills flees small town Maryland after leaving her fiancee and boyfriend of 10 years practically at the alter. An old family friend puts her in touch with Claire, a wannabe actress living in NYC. Emma moves in with Claire and quickly integrates herself into Claire’s circle of friends, the most likable of which is personal trainer, Jackson. He is the hottest guy she’s ever seen and is also trying his luck at acting. They hit it off immediately and their relationship quickly moves into love territory within the first week of dating. As months go by, Jackson and Emma become inseparable. When she unexpectedly loses her job as an executive assistant and he lands the lead role in a movie, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. They pack up their lives and plan on moving to LA together when tragedy strikes Emma’s ex-fiance. When Emma goes to aid him through a trying time, her relationship with Jackson deteriorates and finally they break it off. Cut to five years later. Emma is once again moving to NYC from Maryland and Jackson is now an international Hollywood heartthrob. She never assumes she will see him again but fate has other plans for this couple that should have been.

Why you should read this: Jackson is sex on a stick! He’s the dreamy boyfriend you always wanted, the sexy Hollywood star who couldn’t let the normal girl go. Emma fulfills one of my biggest fantasies: having a celebrity fall in love with your average woman. Emma is curvy and has a boring, basic job so watching Jackson swoon all over her is magic. The story is set in NYC, particularly the East Village which provides a fantastically gritty backdrop for the story. The writing is decent and the sex scenes steamy.

What you might hate: Jackson starts off relatively perfect and devolves into a needy, whiny, spineless, and stalkerish caricature of his former self. He becomes violent at the drop of a hat and uses sex as a weapon against Emma. It’s so not sexy at times. Then there’s Emma. She calls him out on his abusive ways and STILL lets him sleep with her. Geez. You can’t have it both ways, lady! Either he’s an abusive ex or a potential suitor. Choose one and stop whining but don’t say how much you hate him being forceful with you and then go on to say that you like it.  It doesn’t sit well with the readers! The plot is basic, the villain easily predictable, and all their problems could have been solved very easily if they had just talked to each other which they don’t, of course.

Rating: 2/5. The co-dependency and crazy ways of Jackson really grated on my nerves. Read it for the sexy scenes and not for the plot.

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

Book: Reflected in You

Author: Sylvia Day

Series: Crossfire Series

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story:

The story picks up from where Bared to You left off. Eva and Gideon are trying to make their tortured and fraught relationship work, despite not knowing how to be in a successful relationship. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but so are their shared insecurities and jealousy.

Eva grows ever more frustrated by Gideon’s reluctance to share his past with her, while he knows many of her intimate secrets.  This unleashes the darker flaws of her personality, putting further pressure on the already fragile relationship. Can their bond withstand the external pressures from all around, not to mention the internal struggles from their troubled pasts?

 Why you should read it:

It’s been eagerly awaited all summer, following the success of Bared and you’ll want to find out what’s next for Gideon and Eva. Gideon is a very sympathetic character in this book – he’s a well-drawn character, sexy as hell and you will want more. The steamy scenes (of which there are many) are hot, hot, hot!

 What you might hate:

The story is told from Eva’s skewed point of view, so it’s impossible to get away from her. She’s immature to the point of idiocy, taking her petty revenges against Gideon whenever and wherever she can. She’s behaves like Serena van der Woodsen and the book at times does read like Gossip Girl (albeit the kinky, late night version). Eva doesn’t grow as a character and I’m afraid I lost patience with her. This couple needs round the clock therapy, not twice a week sessions. And Eva’s mother? Don’t get me started on her; her issues are for a whole other review.

Rating:

I give this book 2/5 because I don’t feel that it lived up to the hype. I really wanted to like it. The back and forth between Gideon and Eva grew tiresome and while the sex was steamy, there really was too much of it. It didn’t move the story along at all. The only time I engaged with the story was during the closing chapters where they were actually talking to each other. Having said that, another great cover though!

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Book: About Last Night

By: Ruthie Knox

Series: Loveswept

Reviewed by: Onnica

Basic Story: Cath Talarico is a woman who has made a lot of mistakes in life. She documents them on her body in the form of tattoos so as not to repeat them. Determined to make a fresh start, she leaves her native Chicago behind and heads for London. Eager to shed her former life, she resolves to focus solely on work until one night she meets Nev.

Nev Chamberlain is a banker in the City and she has him all figured out – she thinks. However, beneath the custom-made suits and the vast wealth lies a would-be artist struggling to find independence from his dominant family.

When she wakes up in Nev’s bed after an alcohol-filled night out, she’s convinced she’s made yet another huge mistake. Nev doesn’t share her opinion. The passion is instant but Cath fights her intense feelings for the kind, incredibly sexy Nev, convinced there’s no place for her in his privileged world.

Why you should read it: This book is incredibly smart – Ruthie Knox is a very talented writer and she recreates London beautifully. The love scenes are seriously hot but not gratuitous and the story itself has a lot of heart. For quite a short book, the characters are well-drawn, complex and flawed. Cath’s secrets and vulnerability are often very moving, while Nev’s quiet patience makes him the perfect leading man.

What you might hate: Please don’t let the terrible cover put you off this read. It bears no resemblance to the story beneath it! You may also get a little frustrated with Cath’s attempts to keep Nev at arm’s length and Nev’s inability to stand up to his family.

Rating: 4/5 Ruthie Knox knows how to write engaging characters that you’ll care about. The story is intelligent as well as passionate and I fell hard for Nev. Definitely worth a look!

Hollywood Ever After by Sasha Summers

Book: Hollywood Ever After

Author: Sasha Summers

Basic story: Claire has an abusive ex who just won’t let go. When she goes for some much needed R&R in LA, she literally falls into newest Hollywood heartthrob, Josh Wiley. When passion explodes between them, neither is ready to let go even when Claire’s dangerous ex enters the picture ready to make Claire his wife again no matter the cost.

Why You Should Read It: great writing; tons of Hollywood heartthrobs and glamorous star studded parties; some steamy sex scenes; the chance at love with a celebrity even after a messy divorce and bearing two children; romance between a younger virile man and a middle aged woman.

What You Might Hate: how gloomy the book is–deranged exes, physical and verbal abuse, and depressing scenes are rampant; the Hollywood heartthrob is British(!); how quickly the hero falls in love with the heroine; how neat and pat the ending is.

Our rating: 3/5 stars. Not fantastic, not bad either, just a solid okay.