Saturday, November 16, 2013

ARC Review: Flirting With Danger by Claire Baxter

Flirting with Danger is a short and sweet Contemporary Romance from Claire Baxter. This story was cute and I mostly enjoyed it. There were things that I both liked and didn't like though, and those kept me from being able to love this story. Even though I liked both of the main characters, I was looking for more of a connection between these two and I just didn't really feel the chemistry between them. I just feel like there was something missing with this one for me.

Jasmine is a firefighter and grew up with her dad and four brothers. She has always been one of the guys and since a devastating break-up she has been content to not date and remain single. But when she attends her friends wedding, she ends up kissing the last person she ever thought she would and for very good reason. Aaron is not only a coworker of Jasmine's, but he is also a womanizer who cannot commit. But when they kiss after the wedding, both of them begin to really see the other as not only a coworker anymore, and both struggle with what this new attraction means. They start spending more time together outside of work, but both of them fight a relationship with the other. Aaron also has some issues from the past that have had an affect on how he handles relationships. With the growing feelings between Aaron and Jasmine, there are many obstacles that stand in their way. Can they overcome everything and risk letting each other in?

I liked Aaron. Despite the fact that he has a reputation for being a player, you could tell that he was a great guy. He also seemed to have a reputation that had was exaggerated and wasn't entirely true. He helped kids in his spare time, and really seemed to be doing it for the right reasons. But I really liked seeing him realize his feelings for Jasmine and I loved that he would go over to her house and help her out while getting to know her rather than just try and take her out and charm her. I liked Jasmine for the most part. I thought it was great that she followed her dreams of being a firefighter and that she wasn't your typical girly girl. I loved that she told Aaron exactly what she thought and wasn't afraid to be herself. I wish there had been more sexual attraction and chemistry between them though. The only real connection they had was the few times that they kissed, and the rest of the time they spent fighting each other and changing their minds constantly. The relationship just didn't seem to really develop to me and I found it pretty unrealistic considering that this wasn't a New Adult book. I think some of that is expected with a younger age group, but these characters felt a little bit immature for being older.

Overall, I felt this story was for the most part a cute and enjoyable read. These characters are nice and likable, but I wish that they had been given more depth and that their connection to each other could have been stronger. I felt that in this case, the fact that there was no sex in this book was really a hindrance to the story. I think that we would have seen more of a connection and growing relationship between Aaron and Jasmine if there would have been more physical interactions between the two of them. I also didn't think that the title was very fitting of the story as there really wasn't much danger to speak of until the end of the story, besides that alluded to in respect to their profession. I did enjoy watching them get to know each other and realize that they didn't know everything about each other. There were assumptions on both of their parts, and it was nice to see them sort of figure out that there was more underneath the surface. I think that this story is a quick and sweet read that most will find to be enjoyable. It ends with an HEA and there is no cliffhanger, and I think a lot of romance fans will appreciate that. But if you are looking for a strong connection with a lot of romance and steam, then this is probably not the book for you.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | All Romance | Kobo | iTunes |

Romance is Bliss Event with Claire Baxter

Meet Bliss author, Claire Baxter.

Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women's magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into 20 languages and have been nominated in the Romance Writers of Australia's Romantic Book of the Year Award, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers' Choice Awards (Winner, Best Harlequin Romance).

Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.

Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide's beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.

Places to find Claire:
| Site | Facebook | Twitter

Friday, November 15, 2013

ARC Review: Her Accidental Boyfriend by Robin Bielman

I have been looking forward to this book since the moment I finished Kissing the Maid of Honor. I loved Luke and Sela and I couldn't wait to get Shane's story. He was one of those guys that I just knew I was going to love, and I was really excited to get to know him better. Her Accidental Boyfriend definitely did not disappoint, and I loved watching as Shane and Kagan fell in love. This one was a lot of fun to read, and I read it pretty quickly because I couldn't put it down.

Kagan is tired of being told what to do and how to live by her wealthy and powerful father. When he basically arranges a marriage for her, she decides enough is enough. She leaves New York behind and winds up in a small town under a name that no one will recognize. She begins a low profile life and starts to feel at home with the friendly people she gets to know. But when Brett shows up in town demanding she return to NYC, Kagan speaks before thinking and declares that she has a boyfriend. Shane Sullivan the town flirt just so happens to show up at that exact moment and becomes her accidental boyfriend. He is more than happy to help out a friend and quickly goes along with the plan because he likes Kagan. Shane is not one to commit and is afraid of hurting anyone again after his past, but he has been wanting to get closer to Kagan and decides this could be his chance. The more their act goes on though and they start to really get to know each other, the more that the fake starts to become real. It isn't long before they are both starting to see a future together. But will Kagan return to NYC like she had always planned? Or will Kagan and Shane take the risk and give a relationship a shot?

I really loved Shane. Even though he starts off as a flirty playboy who is intent to keep things casual, he was just so easy to like. He is confident and sexy, but also extremely sweet and thoughtful. I really liked that even though he was scared to really feel anything for someone again, once he realized that he did, he wasn't afraid and didn't try to run from it. He was just a really great guy, and he is definitely one of my favorite book boyfriends now. I also really liked Kagan. I thought that she was sweet and kind, and even though she was looking for independence she wasn't afraid to lean on her friends for support. I really liked how Kagan opened up to Shane without a lot of lying and angst. Once they started their act, she immediately told him the truth without too much begging or convincing. I thought that it was really refreshing and unique of Bielman to take that route because usually the author saves the big reveal for much later in order to really get in some extra conflict. But I think it really strengthened the connection that Shane and Kagan were forming, and it really helped Shane and Kagan to get to know each other better. Not only did Shane and Kagan have an easy and natural way about them, but they also had a ton of chemistry! It was really clear from the start that they were both very attracted to each other. I thought that they were perfect together and they made a great couple. I really enjoyed the sweet aspect of their relationship and their getting to know each other and even though I normally like a bit more steam, I found that it really didn't hurt how I felt about this book.

Overall, I really loved these characters and this series just seems to be getting better. If I have any gripe about these books, its really that I just want more. I do miss a little of the steam and would love to see more between the couples, but that is only a minor gripe. Robin Bielman's writing is fantastic, and her characters are original and interesting. I always feel very invested in them and i'm never quite ready to leave them behind at the end of the story. That is just me being greedy though. I cannot wait to read more for Bielman, and she is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. If you haven't read any of this series yet, you are really missing out. I think that these characters are so real and easy to relate to that anyone who likes romance will really enjoy reading about them. I highly recommend that you give this one a shot and even though it is a part of a series, it is easily read as a standalone. I still would recommend that you also read Kissing the Maid of Honor though, because that book was also really enjoyable. It was nice to see some familiar faces in Her Accidental Boyfriend, and I look forward to reading more in this series and seeing more of these characters again in the future!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes |

Romance is Bliss Event with Robin Bielman

Meet Bliss author, Robin Bielman.

Robin Bielman lives in Southern California, a bike ride away from the ocean if she’s feeling really adventurous. She loves books and baking and running on the treadmill while watching her favorite TV shows. When she’s not reading or writing her next story, she’s spending time with her high school sweetheart husband and two sons, most likely watching, playing, or discussing baseball. She drives too fast, drinks too much caffeine, and if every day were Cupcake Day, she’d be a happy camper! She loves to connect with readers.

Places to find Robin:
| Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

Thursday, November 14, 2013

ARC Review: Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel

Last up on my Entangled Bliss reading binge: Sara Daniel’s LOVE HIM OR LEAVE HIM, book #2 in the Small Town, Big Dreams series (though it absolutely stands alone). I’m a sucker for small-town romances and the ‘former high school sweethearts reunited’ trope, so putting the two together generally augurs well. With LOVE HIM OR LEAVE HIM, Ms. Daniel delivers a heartwarming read with an enjoyable mix of sweetness, drama, and humour and two remarkably layered protagonists set against the cozy backdrop of a small Midwestern town.

Becca Sanders had big dreams and big plans to get out of small-town Kortville, Illinois and see the world whilst rendezvousing with then-boyfriend Connor O’Malley in exotic locations during his military leave. But her mother’s death and father’s hasty departure from a town he’d been trapped in due to a teenage pregnancy crush those dreams and make a ridiculously unprepared eighteen-year-old Becca the sole guardian of her younger brother Toby. Twelve years working a dead-end supermarket cashier job later, Becca is counting the days until Toby heads off to university and she is finally free to leave town and never look back. But there is one big, sexy obstacle in her way: former flame and current chief of police Connor, who mentors the at-risk Toby and can’t bring himself to support Becca’s vehemence that Toby go away for university when he’d be content to remain in town working in his current construction job. A butting of heads over this matter after having studiously ignored each other for two years (hard to believe considering he’s the police chief and she’s the head cashier at the town’s only supermarket, but just go with it) shows Connor and Becca that the scorching attraction from their youth hasn’t faded one bit—and leaves Connor determined to make up for his teenage idiocy and show Becca that Kortville is the perfect place to be.

Becca is one of those characters sure to leave no one indifferent. Regardless of whether you like or dislike her, it’s clear that Ms. Daniel has created a thoroughly three-dimensional, complex character anyone can relate to. What her parents did to her drove me mad—what kind of a parent makes his/her child give up their dreams to ensure the younger sibling is raised in the small town one parent wanted to be in forever and the other couldn’t wait to leave?? Becca showed incredibly fortitude and loyalty accepting the responsibility to raise her younger sibling as her mum intended, and I genuinely admire that. Add in the fact that she’s doing it in the town that spread false rumours about her promiscuity as a teen, and I’ve got mad respect for her. The one thing I disliked, though I could absolutely see and relate to where she was coming from: the way she pushed her brother to attend university out of town despite his insistence that he’d rather stay in Kortville and continue working in construction. It’s a tough line to walk between wanting to ensure Toby has the opportunities she was denied and seeking to redeem herself through him and Becca generally does a poor job of it, but watching her discover that everyone has a different path to success and fulfillment is incredibly rewarding. Equally rewarding is watching her discover herself and realise that she, too, longs to make a true life in Kortville—all thanks to a sexy lover, an unidentified vandal, a budding fitness business, and the town’s quirky residents.

Connor is the kind of hero I can get behind. Sure, he was a bit of a wanker as a teen and afraid of how a long-distance relationship would work with him in the army and Becca off at university, but he’s grown into a really great guy. He loves Kortville—though his reasons for doing so are complex and add another layer of realism to his character—and all its residents, taking the time to indulge even cantankerous old ladies who are really just lonely in daily early-morning conversations. He’s struggling with what he saw, did, and—most especially—failed to do during his deployment in Afghanistan and his time as a big-city cop and feels overwhelmingly responsible whenever something goes wrong in his town. He’s suffering from PTSD but initially refuses to accept it—and watching Becca help him admit he has a problem that he can’t beat alone, and then watching him seek help despite how those therapy sessions shred him is really heartwarming. Connor and Becca are perfect for each other, and even though I didn’t really buy the big reveal about why they broke up in high school and haven’t spoken in twelve years, I couldn’t help but root for them to work through their issues and get their well-deserved HEA.

Overall, LOVE HIM OR LEAVE HIM is a well-written, well-paced story that tempers the inherent sweetness of Bliss titles with emotionally complex characters and the right touch of drama. Ms. Daniel does a great job bringing the small town of Kortville—with its quirky characters, unavoidable gossip and butting into others’ business, and strong sense of community—to life, which will appeal to fans of small-town contemporaries. And though the love scenes fade to black, there’s enough chemistry between the protagonists and build-up to the act itself to satisfy those of us who like more spice than sugar in our romance. Having had brief glimpses of Matt and Veronica in this story, I look forward to going back to book #1 in the series and catching up on their story, as well as seeing what the town of Kortville has to offer in the future.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes |

Romance is Bliss Event with Sara Daniel

Meet Bliss author, Sara Daniel.

I write what I love—irresistible romance, from sweet to erotic and everything in between. On the personal side, I'm a frazzled maid, chauffeur, and slave to my children. I was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. (The children's book The Bravest Squirrel Ever by my alter-ego Sara Shafer is the squirrel's fictionalized version of that experience!) I'm crazy about country music and the drama of NASCAR. And I have my very own happily-ever-after romance with my hero husband.

Places to find Sara:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Real Men Don't Break Hearts by Coleen Kwan

Real Men Don't Break Hearts is the first book in Coleen Kwan's Real Men Series. This is also the first book that I have ever read by Coleen Kwan, so I went into this one not knowing what to expect. I went into this one knowing that since it was a part of the Bliss line from Entangled that there wouldn't be a ton of sex or steam and it would be mostly sweet. It definitely held up to what I have come to expect from the Bliss line, and for the most part I didn't feel as though the reader missed a ton with this one being a closed door romance. I did have a few other issues with this one though and that kept me from being able to give this one a higher rating.

Ally never expects that her knew landlord with be her ex-fiance's cousin who left town years ago in order to make something of himself. She always suspected that the reason that Seth jilted her was because Nate had never liked her and had convinced him to get out while he had the chance. Nate never expects his new tenant to be Ally. He always thought that she was nothing but prim and proper and too uptight. He knew that Seth and Ally were all wrong for each other and would never make each other happy. But he always disagreed with the way that Seth handled things. Despite the past, Ally and Nate agree to put everything behind them and move forward with as friendly and professional of a relationship as they can. But the more that they get to know each other and see the way they have each changed, the more the start to feel for the other. Before long they are acting on their attraction and begin a casual relationship. But as their feelings start to deepen, will Ally be able to trust that Nate will stick around and pursue a relationship with her? Can Nate convince Ally that he is not the same person he used to be and that she should take a risk on him?

I liked Nate. I loved that we got to see how much he had changed from the person he used to be. It was nice to see that he had not only grown and matured, but also that he would help others just because it was the right thing to do. I really didn't think that I was going to like him at first because he was kind of a jerk right off to Ally, but he quickly won me over and he was a really good guy. I really liked that he gave up a lot to move back to his hometown because he realized that money and a wealthy lifestyle doesn't necessarily mean happiness. Nate seemed like an average guy that you could connect with and I think it really drew the reader in to care about his character. I had some issues with Ally. I liked her and yet at other times I didn't like her at all. She was caring and always was thinking of her family. But she was too dependent on them and seemed to be pretty easily swayed by them. I tend to identify with stronger heroines, and I think that is why I just didn't seem to ever really feel as though I was invested in Ally's character. I just wished that her character didn't seem to have so many insecurities and that she would have grown more confident towards the end, but she always seemed to be lacking when it came to certainty. I did feel that Ally and Nate had good chemistry together though, and I liked the way that their relationship progressed.

I also didn't really care for most of the secondary characters. I couldn't stand Ally's family or her former fiance Seth. They were all pretty self centered and cared more about their needs and thoughts than anyone else's. I especially didn't like Ally's sister or grandma. They seemed to baby Ally and treat her as though she was an idiot. Thinking that they knew her feelings and what was best for her and her future, it was as though they had no clue who Ally was at all. I just never did get over the way they acted towards her. I also thought that there were a few problems with the flow of this book. At times the story seemed to really drag for me and at other times the story would almost seem to jump from one event to another with little to no explanation. It was sometimes confusing and I would have to go back and see if I had missed something. For me, this story was one that although enjoyable wasn't memorable or very unique. It was sweet, and the relationship between Ally and Nate was good, but the problems kept me from being able to fully enjoy this story. Nate was definitely the highlight of the story and I really enjoyed getting to know him and his story. If you are looking for a sweet and light fluffy read this one might be something that you would enjoy, but if you are looking for a story that is well developed and more substantial this probably isn't the one for you. The next story in this series, Real Men Don't Quit is about Ally's friend Tyler and I am interested to see where the author takes her. I liked her in this and am looking forward to getting to know her better.

**Copy provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Romance is Bliss Event with Coleen Kwan

Meet Bliss author, Coleen Kwan.

Coleen Kwan has been a bookworm all her life. At school English was her favorite subject, but for some reason she decided on a career in IT. After many years of programming, she wondered what else there was in life — and discovered writing. She loves writing contemporary romance and steampunk romance.

Coleen lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner and two children. When she isn’t writing she enjoys avoiding housework, eating chocolate, and watching Criminal Minds.

Places to find Coleen:
| Site | Facebook | Twitter

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ARC Review: Speaking of Love by Ophelia London

I’m on the fence about this one—Ophelia London’s SPEAKING OF LOVE is a perfectly fine lighthearted and fun friends-to-lovers romance, but it left me feeling underwhelmed. I think the friends-to-lovers trope is great for shorter, category-length reads because there’s a built-in connection between the protagonists that makes the transition to forever after in ~200 pages much more believable… but it just didn’t quite click for me with hero Rick Duffy and heroine Mackenzie Simms.

Well-to-do journalist Rick has had the ownership of the small-town The Franklin Standard daily newspaper foisted on him by a provision in his grandfather’s will that the newspaper remain in the family or close its doors. Having to continuously hobnob with the town’s elite at endless chamber of commerce dinners, Rick enlists the help of big-mouthed, opinionated debate teacher/coach (and secret crush) Mac to be his non-date “go-with” for these functions—all whilst shamelessly bantering and flirting with each other. Rick and Mac met 6 months ago while he was writing a story for the newspaper and shared one mind-altering kiss (the events of the first book in the Perfect Kisses series, which I have not read but did not feel like I needed to), but put the brakes on the budding romance to preserve their professional reputations. In the interim, Mac learnt that Rick is not just a reporter for The Standard but also its owner, the product of wealth and privilege, and proud owner of several luxury cars. Most importantly, his father shut down the metal plant where her father worked and catalyzed the implosion of her parents’ marriage. Ages ago. Which Rick knew nothing about because he has nothing to do with his father’s business ventures. To Mac, Rick’s parentage and upbringing are signs that they’re too different and could never be together, despite the sizzling physical attraction between them. Never mind the fact that Rick is intelligent, genuine, super laid back, and has never done anything to even suggest that he’s anything like his father. Since he can never be the man for her, she insists on setting him up with her perfect beauty-queen cousin Brandy… and what’s a man to do but agree to do whatever the woman he loves (but can’t figure out) wants whilst trying to get her to see him for who he is? And so Mac and Rick end up snowbound and alone in a cabin in the woods in what was supposed to be a sort-of-double-date matchmaking weekend escapade for Rick and Brandy, finally coming to terms (individually) with the fact that they can’t live without each other but being incapable of communicating it.

SPEAKING OF LOVE has all the makings of a great read: the friends-to-lovers trope, the enforced proximity, an adorable hero who doesn’t even pretend he gets women, enough miscommunications and premature conclusions to make you want to teach the hero and heroine to talk despite both making their living with words, and fun, flirty banter. But though the interactions between the hero and heroine were plentiful and hilarious, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between them. And I couldn’t relate to Mac at all—I just could not buy her reasons for not wanting to pursue a relationship with Rick. Because his father shut down a factory that left her father out of work fifteen years ago? Because he’s from a wealthy family? Because his surname is Duffy? REALLY?? Her assumption that he was a wanker based solely on his parentage despite having known him for six months and seen no asshattery in his behaviour really made me want to smack her upside the head and tell her to grow a bloody pair when she finally realised he wasn’t a wanker and she couldn’t live without him but mistakenly assumed he had the hots for her perfect-arm-candy cousin.

Despite my personal dislike of the heroine, SPEAKING OF LOVE is a well-written, humorous quick read that kept me entertained for the duration. It’s strictly PG and sweet without being saccharine, and will undoubtedly leave you with a smile on your face.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |

Romance is Bliss Event with Ophelia London

Meet Bliss author, Ophelia London.

Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she's lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes.

Places to find Ophelia:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Act Like You Love Me by Cindi Madsen

Act Like You Love Me is the Second Novel in Cindi Madsen's Accidentally In Love Series. This one is a standalone and you do not need to have read the first book in the series to understand or enjoy this story. This book fits into the Bliss line from Entangled perfectly. It is a quick and light story, with a mild amount of steam. I had a good time reading this one and I thought that the characters were likable. There were a few things that kept this one from being a home-run for me, but otherwise I found it to be enjoyable.

Although Brynn has outgrown most of her drama nerd ways, she still enjoys acting and participating in theater. But she is now more confident after leaving high school behind and having a friend who helped make her over. When her high school crush Sawyer shows up back in town and ends up as the director in the play she is currently starring in though, she will do pretty much anything to keep him from finding out she is the geek he had once turned down. Sawyer is determined to get to know Brynn better though and he has no idea who she really is. Brynn decides that since Sawyer is leaving soon anyways that she will practice her flirting skills and enjoy the little time they have together before he leaves town again. But when all her feelings for him return and grow deeper than anything she thought she once felt, she begins to worry that maybe he means more than just a temporary good time. Sawyer is not one to commit for many reasons, but as he gets to know Brynn better he just can't help but start picturing a future with her in it. When the truth comes out will they be able to move on from the past and have a future together though?

I liked Sawyer. I thought that he was thoughtful and sweet. I liked that he was just one of those good guys despite having gained some success in his career. He was good to his mom and also to Brynn, and you just couldn't help but want to root for him. I liked seeing that he was a little bit vulnerable after everything that he had experienced with his dad's illness and the bad breakup he had. Although he made some wrong decisions because of those things, you could tell that he was trying to protect himself and do what he thought that he needed to. I liked Brynn for the most part. She was fun and quirky, and I liked that even though she was trying to tone herself down a bit, her personality always came through. I liked that she was a bit awkward even after she had grown up, and she was who she was. It was nice to see a heroine who isn't so put together, but is more of your everyday girl next door. It was easy for me to believe in her because she seemed real to me. I do wish that there had been a bit more development as far as the chemistry and connection between Sawyer and Brynn went. I felt like by the time that the truth came out, that there was still a lot that they didn't really know about each other. I felt their attraction to each other, but it would have been nice to see a bit more as far as the physicality of their relationship went. I just felt it was missing a bit, and to me that would have made their relationship more realistic.

I also wish that Brynn would have opened up to Sawyer and told him the truth before it all came out. I understand why the author chose to have things turn out the way they did and that there needed to be conflict. But I started to get irritated at how much she started lying and omitting the truth. It was one thing to let him assume at first and to try and protect herself because she was embarrassed about the things that happened in high school. But when she admitted that she loved him, it just seemed like she should have been able to be honest at that point rather than keep dragging things out. Because of these things there were times that I just didn't really like Brynn and I thought that although somewhat understandable, she was somewhat immature and too hung up on the past. I did like how everything ended up though, and I thought that this one was a cute read that ended happily. Although I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book in the series, I thought that this was a good addition to the series. I enjoyed seeing Dani and Wes some, and it was nice to get a bit more of Paul. I think that readers who enjoy a good sweet romance will enjoy not only this story, but also this series. I like reading about characters that are connected, and I think its always nice to get glimpses of them after they get their HEA. So if that is something that you enjoy, I would definitely recommend that you give this one and this series a shot. These stories are short and sweet, and they have likable characters that will keep you turning the pages.

**Copy provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Romance is Bliss Event with Paula Altenburg

Meet Bliss author, Paula Altenburg.

Paula Altenburg lives in rural Nova Scotia, Canada, with her husband and two sons. Once a manager in the aerospace industry, she now enjoys the freedom of working from home and writing full time. She currently writes demon westerns for Entangled Publishing.

Paula also co-authors paranormal romance under the pseudonym Taylor Keating.

Places to find Paula: 
| Site | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Review: Tempting Cameron by Karen Erickson

I am a fan of Karen Erickson and I love reading books in a series. So this one seemed like a guaranteed like for me. Tempting Cameron is the second book in the Lone Pine Lake series, and I was really looking forward to getting Cameron's story. We first meet him briefly in Jane's Gift which is the first book in the series. As much as I was really wanting to love his story, I just wasn't able to. I had some problems with this story, and there were just too many things about it that kept me from rating this one higher.

Chloe Dawson has always had a crush on her best friend's older brother. But Cameron McKenzie has never returned her feelings. He has always viewed her as his little sister's pesky friend. Cameron also isn't one to commit to anyone or anything. He left his small hometown behind as soon as he was able to and only returns when he absolutely has to. But after an accident occurs while he is working, he heads home to take a break and figure out what he wants next. After he shares a kiss with Chloe at his sister's wedding reception, he begins to see her as he never has before. But he knows that he is all wrong for her and pushes her away. But after they fight and she experiences an accident that leaves her with some gaps in her memory, he decides that this is the perfect chance to spend some time with her and try to make up for the way he treated her. As they begin to spend more time together and embark on a summer fling, real feelings start to develop for both of them. But will things work out between them when the truth finally comes out? And will Cameron be able to give up his life of roaming in order to settle down with Chloe in the small town he left behind?

I really wanted to like Cameron, but for most of the story I just didn't. He was pretty much a jerk for a lot of the time, and he just seemed to be sort of self involved. He really seemed to have a huge chip on his shoulder, and I just couldn't understand why. He really didn't have many redeeming qualities and not only did he treat Chloe badly, but also his family. By the time that he started to really come around, because of his relationship with Chloe, it almost just seemed too little too late for me. I couldn't understand what Chloe saw in him and why she stuck with him. (Even with her not knowing what really happened the night of their argument) I also really was never able to connect with Chloe. I felt like even though she was sort of the town sweetheart and everyone liked her, that I just wasn't that invested in her or her story. For some reason it just seemed like we never really got to know her that well, and she just seemed a little flat for me. The physical scenes between Cameron and Chloe showed that there was chemistry and attraction between the two of them, but I just wasn't really feeling any real emotion or connection between them until the very end. It just didn't seem very natural or real to me.

I also had a problem with some of the things that happened with some of the secondary characters. I felt like they were almost doing and saying things that were untrue to the characters we had previously met in the first book. There was something that happened in this book that really had me not liking Jane for the very first time, and I had really liked her in the first book. I just didn't understand why the shift in character, and it just seemed inconsistent with what we had come to know and love about her from Jane's Gift. While there were parts that I really did enjoy, there were also parts that had me rolling my eyes. I will admit that this one was hard for me to get through at times and there were parts that almost had me wanting to give up. I am glad that I stuck with it though, and I really did like the way that this story ended. It definitely turned around towards the end, and I really liked how things with Cameron and Chloe ended up. I just wish that the first part of this story would have been more like the last half, because Cameron and Chloe really were likable at the end. I think that despite my few gripes with this book, it was for the most part an enjoyable read. It was nice to see some of the characters from the first book and it was also nice to get some more on some of the other characters that we didn't know as well. I am looking forward to reading more in this series and seeing more of Lone Pine Lake and its residents. I think that if you like to read Contemporary romances or small town stories that you will enjoy this series and should definitely give it a shot.

**Copy provided by Publisher**

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Romance is Bliss Event with Vicki Wilkerson

Meet Bliss author, Vicki Wilkerson.

Vicki is a native of the Charleston, South Carolina, Lowcountry and loves to share her enchantment with the area with readers through her writing. Even in childhood, she enjoyed penning stories and poems—no doubt fueled by her grandfather's enthusiasm for telling tales himself. Where else—but in the South—could one find the interesting blend of salt water, eerie swamps, unwritten traditions and unique characters? In her spare time, she loves traveling, spending weekends at her family's lake house, playing golf and cooking (with lots of wine). Visit Vicki at

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