Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst - What Good is a Marriage Without Money?

Pros: A fun romantic romp with a pretty decent plot, actually.
Cons: Some of those over-the-top corny moments.

The Bottom Line: For a good contemporary romance with the classic happy ending, you can't go wrong with this book.

Yet another book spotted at work that I decided would be fun to read.  I’ve been on a smidgeon of a romance kick, and this sounded entertaining.  Good job Jennifer Probst, and good job me for finding it.

Alexa is in a pickle.  Her business is doing well, but not quite well enough.  Her parents are struggling to make payments on their house, and there isn’t much time left before the bank will take it away.  Too bad there isn’t anyone around with a truckload of money to pony up.

Nick’s situation isn’t much better.  If he doesn’t want to be stuck owning half of the company he helped build up, then he’s got to marry, all thanks to his semi-wacky uncle who believed so strongly in the power of family that he made it a provision in his will.  Nick has to marry for at least one year or he doesn’t get the company.  If only there was a woman who could view such a marriage as a business transaction and not a serious thing.


Of course, we all know what’s going to happen.  Especially since Nick and Alexa knew each other as kids and their go-between is Nick’s sister, Maggie.  Their conflict is that they’re both trying to keep things business, and that’s really difficult to do when they’re both hot for one another.  Yet Alexa tries to keep her distance because she knows that Nick isn’t the settle down and live happily ever after type – and he knows it too.

But people can change, right?

It was fun to watch their little exchanges together.  Nick is a typical businessman alpha male: nice house, no pets, quiet lifestyle.  Alexa is fun-loving, fosters rescue pets so they don’t have to get put down, loves her family, and enjoys food.  Probst brought in an additional tweak that I liked and she made good use of – Nick is a Yankees fan and Alexa is a Mets fan.  Oh the rivalry.

Some might argue that it’s silly that Alexa didn’t just tell him why she needed the money, but I’m actually good with her reasoning.  For the longest time she can’t really trust Nick so who knows what his reaction might be after finding out.  Personally, I could even see him scoffing at her in a, “Ugh, why would you want to bother?  Families are awful,” kind of way since his own past is all damaged and he can’t help but take it out on others.  So I’m actually quite happy with how things played out.  I’m tired of miscommunications and here it was more of zero communication with good reasons and it makes for a nice change.

I was very satisfied with this book, although yes, it does contain some over-the-top corny moments with language that is a bit too dramatic than what I think is necessary, but hey, that’s just me.  Overall, I had a great time reading it and if you like contemporary romances, I think you will too.

Notes from the playlist: "Like Sugar" by Matchbox Twenty

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims - Rawr

Pros: A fun romp with shapeshifting goodness
Cons: A lot of inconsistencies and some unanswered questions

The Bottom Line: Despite some hiccups and the like, I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the Midnight Liaisons series.

After skimming through my copy of My Fair Succubus, I discovered a sliver of this book at the end. One of those little preview deals. I enjoyed it – and then spent forever tying to find the flipping book. Turns out Beauty Dates the Beast is under the name Jessica Sims, one of Jill Myles’s pseudonyms. Good to know.

Bathsheba is human – she just happens to work for Midnight Liaisons, a dating agency that caters to the more “special” clients in the city. From shifters to vampires, harpies to doppelgangers, if you need a date, then Midnight Liaisons is for you. But when Beau Russell’s date cancels on him, Bathsheba is in a panic. He needs a date and decides Bathsheba is his girl. Even though a human dating a shifter is strictly a no-no in the business, she might get fired anyway for losing the account. Besides, how much trouble could one little date stir up?

Apparently, quite a lot...

Bathsheba was a fun character and I really love that Sims decided to name her that. It’s different and not something you often see, well, anywhere. I like how protective she is of her sister (and her sister’s secret). I reminded me of myself and my sisters. Beau is an all around good guy that you eventually wish Bathsheba would realize and spill her guts to – even though that’s not possible for the sake of the story. Their interactions were entertaining and steamy when necessary – as they ought to be for a romance book.

However, there area lot of little hiccups in this book that I felt diminished it. The antagonist was someone who was supposed to be dead, and yet no one mentions the fact that he was still alive or questions why. His motivation is sort of weak, but I was willing to let that slide. Another issue was that it’s made pretty clear that shifters view humans as icky, and yet at the same time after Beau got his date a bunch of big-time shifters really wanted to date Bathsheba – so much so that her boss is willing to get downright ugly about making her date them. Confusing. There’s also a big deal made about Bathsheba being a virgin, making it sound as though that makes her magical in some way, but that’s never explained either (unless shifters just dig human virgins? But that still doesn’t make sense).

Scents are brought up a lot in this book, and it’s kind of contradictory at times. Bathsheba’s sister Sara is a werewolf, but they haven’t exactly had good relations with werewolves in the past, so they’re doing all they can to keep Sara away from them. A big deal is made about Sara’s wolfy scent and Bathsheba’s attempt to hide it, and at one point after the house has been broken into she doesn’t want to bring out clothes for an overnight stay elsewhere because they’ll smell wolfy and alert Beau. Yet at the same time she allows one of Beau’s shifter guys to check out the house – pretty sure the whole house would smell wolfy and they’d know anyway. And then when Sara is being kept safe in one area and Bathsheba in another, somehow she doesn’t think the shifter guys will find out – even though Sara has absolutely no way of hiding it and she’s there for several days.

I do take issue with how werewolves are portrayed in this book and wonder just how much Ms. Sims knows about wolf packs - because if the were packs are supposed to be reflecting them, then it's clear no research whatsoever was done. But this is a shifter thing and humans always screw everything up, so it's not inconceivable that they would act in such a manner. (personally, I'm just sick of wolves always being the bad guys)

There are some other things (such as a few other nonsensical decisions by Bathsheba), but then I think I might get into some spoilers and I don’t want to do that. If you just want a fun romance to read in a few hours and enjoy the paranormal side of things, then this is a solid choice.


Originally posted on

Notes fromt he playlist: "Sleep Alone" by Two Door Cinema Club

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Purchased for My Shelf

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I didn't actually buy this book - instead I got it for my birthday!  I've been wanting to read this for months and I'm #19 on the library list and they only have two books.  I had a customer come in requesting this book and initially I thought (from the title) that it was a nature book.  When I saw it was fiction, I found the book for him and then proceeded to read the blurb myself.  I was immediately intrigued.  Only later did I hear it was being made into a movie.  But that doesn't matter to me since books are 99% of the time better than their movie counterparts.  This book is one of those begin in the past and work its way toward the far-future kind with all sorts of little connecting threads that just sounded oh-so-interesting.  I very much look forward to reading this and falling into whatever world(s) Mitchell crafts and discovering all the little details that bring his characters together across time.

Notes from the playlist: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whoops! I completely forgot to mention this. Last month I reviewed Stephanie Garber's amazing book Caraval for the web blog I curre...