August Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Soul DeepSoul Deep by Pamela Clare – C I usually love Pamela Clare’s romantic suspense books and I was excited to see this one release. However, I found this novella overly saccharin and the epilogue was far too cheesy for me and hit a few of my personal hot buttons.

On a more positive note, I was happy to see Janet Killeen again and I liked Jack West from previous books. Jack is 63 and therefore significantly older than the regular romance hero. Janet is 45 and that doesn’t seem the least bit old to me anymore – I’d have almost preferred her to be older actually (with the added bonus of no hot button epilogue because reasons). This is a novella and I expected the romance would be quick but even so I was not expecting the characters to acknowledge (if only to themselves) they were in love in mere days. That was too fast for me and took the book out of realistic and into fairytale for me. Perhaps if I had started the book that way I’d have been okay but I did not so… The beginning was strong but I’m afraid the author started to lose me at the point the L word was first mentioned.   I did like that Janet was always competent, even when she was stuck in a ditch in her car in a blizzard, she had a space blanket to keep her warm.  Perhaps Jack is unusually vigorous for a man of his age (who knows – when I get closer to that age myself I may well think back to this post and slap my past self upside the head) but I was prepared to go with it for the story. 

Games of the Heart by Kristen Ashley, narrated by Rachel Fulginiti

Games of the Heart audioWhy I read it:  I received a review copy via Audible Studios.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty, who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.

Then tragedy strikes Dusty’s family, she comes back to town and Mike thinks she hasn’t changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.

He finds out quickly he’s wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.

But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he’s cautious, he’s careful to read the signs and he’s not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.

Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  When I read At Peace at while ago, I enjoyed the character of Mike Haines. Kristen Ashley has written a few books now where there has been a kind of love triangle. I say kind of because it is always clear who the prime couple is – In Mystery Man, the couple were Hawk and Gwen, and Tack was the one who missed out.  In At Peace, it was Joe and Violet and Mike was the guy who didn’t get the girl.  Tack, of course, got his HEA with Tyra in Motorcycle Man and now Mike gets his HEA with Dusty.  I liked Mike in At Peace. He was a nice guy who really cared about Violet and, if not for Joe, she probably would have had a happy life with him. They could have made it work and they had genuine feelings for each other. Generally, I’m not big on love triangles because either one of the guys (usually it’s two guys and a girl) is a dirtbag or both of the guys are great and one has to miss out.  What I really like about the way Ashley does it is that I know that there will be a book for the other guy at some point, that he will get his HEA and that he is a good guy and the feelings he has for the heroine (and hers for him) are respected – even by the hero who ends up with the girl.  This seems unusual to me and, apparently, it means that I can enjoy the love triangle as a way of showing more love for the heroine, as showing she is “worthy” of love and that she is in demand, without getting too bent out of shape that she will end up with the “wrong guy” or that the “other guy” will be pining away for the rest of his life/turn into a jerk. Also, the love triangles don’t drag on too long and that helps.

Angel in Armani by Melanie Scott

Angel in ArmaniWhy I read it:  I bought this one a while back and dug it out of Mt. TBR when I was looking for something to read recently.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  WILL A LOVE OF THE GAME

Sara Charles is striking out on her own. With her dad out of commission, Charles Air has only one helicopter left—and only Sara to fly charters. With the family business in jeopardy, Sara needs all the clients she can get and the newest one is New York Saints team surgeon, Lucas Angelo. When an unexpected flirtation escalates into a night of pure blind passion, Sara is in agony over what she believes was extremely poor judgment on her part. She wants nothing more than to avoid Lucas. And keep her business her business. But she needs him—in more ways than one.

LEAD TO A FIELD OF DREAMS?

But there is a catch: Lucas also needs Sara. Spring training is upon him, and his schedule is madness. So he asks Sara to be his personal pilot. It’s an offer she can’t refuse. She intends to keep him at arm’s length—especially when she discovers just what different lives they have. Little does Sara know that, for Lucas, the only thing more important than business is pleasure. He only plays to win. And he intends to hit it out of the park…

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I reviewed The Devil in Denim, the first book in this series, for Dear Author in August last year.  While there were some things in that book which didn’t quite gel for me, I was certainly entertained and went and pre-ordered Angel in Armani as soon as I could (I have Lawless in Leather on the TBR also).  I liked Angel in Armani a little better than the first book. The story began with Lucas and Sara together and they were in each other’s orbit for pretty much the entire book.  That’s my favourite kind of romance – lots and lots of the main characters spending time together.

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