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Anticipation by Sarah Mayberry

AnticipationWhy I read it:  I was provided with a review copy via the author.  Disclosure: The author and I are friendly on Twitter and bonded once over a Ted Baker dress.  We’ve met in person too.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Blue Sullivan knows a player when she sees one. And Eddie Oliveira—charm and sex personified—was born to play. She never wanted him to say goodbye, so for the last ten years she’s ignored the sizzling attraction between them and focused on being the best sidekick a guy could have. Smart girl, right?

Then Blue has a serious accident, and overnight Eddie changes. Suddenly he’s more intense and singularly devoted…to her. With all this sexy attention, it’s hard to stay within the boundaries she’s scrupulously drawn. The temptation, the anticipation builds and, finally, she has to have what he’s offering. Of course Eddie proves to be brilliant. Now, she worries he’s ruined her forever…and she might regret leaping from friends to lovers.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I always enjoy Sarah Mayberry books. It’s just a matter of degree.  I liked Satisfaction last year and like many other fans, I too clamoured for Blue’s and Eddie’s story.  They were so close and anyone with eyes could see they were perfect for one another.  When I received the book, I didn’t even bother reading the blurb.  Who needs a blurb when you know you’re going to like the book anyway right?

I think Anticipation is a stronger book than Satisfaction.  It felt more cohesive to me.  I gave Satisfaction a B/B+ so it’s not like I hated it or anything, it’s just that it was a book of two distinct halves.  Anticipation has a smoother feel to the transitions.  Eddie is also slightly less perfect than Rafel and this appealed to me more as well.  Eddie is impulsive and hot-tempered, although he’s rarely a jerk.

When Eddie first me Blue some 10 years before the book begins he hits on her (because of course) and she turns him down flat.  Eddie is something of a player.  That’s not something that offends me about him because he’s honest about it. He has hookups or relationships (one at a time) but they are mostly short-lived.  He hasn’t dated the woman he wants to settle down with yet.  I always thought Blue was a little unfair to Eddie in that way.  When you think about it, every relationship you have fails until one doesn’t (thank you Dan Savage) so if Eddie’s had a lot of girlfriends, what of it?  Sure, things usually end when the girl wants to take the relationship to the next level and Eddie wants to keep things casual.  But that doesn’t seem to indicate a problem with Eddie’s constitution – or that’s not what I default to. It just means he hasn’t dated the right woman for him yet.   As becomes clear through the course of the book, there are in fact reasons for this.

Holding Out For A Hero by Amy Andrews

HoldingOutForAHeroWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher.  Holding Out for  A Hero releases on October 15.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  When sensible schoolteacher Ella Lucas rides into her home town on a Harley and seduces the resident football hero, Jake Prince, she figures she can be forgiven and move on. After all, she’s just buried her mother. Two years later, back in the city, their paths cross again but this time Jake is in the process of destroying her favourite dive bar.

With her home facing a wrecker’s ball, her school being closed down and her 15-year-old brother hell bent on self-destruction, it’s the last straw. Throw in a dominatrix best friend who is dating a blue ribbon guy so straight he still lives at home with his mother, it’s no wonder the sanest person in Ella’s life is a dog.

With all this to contend with, the last thing Ella needs is Jake back in her life. But, as fate would have it, Jake is the only chance she has to save her school.

As the school football season heats up, old secrets threaten to surface and Ella takes on greedy developers, school boards and national tabloids. But can she save not just her home, her school and her brother, but also the reputation of the man she’s never been able to forget? And, more importantly, does she want to?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  This book is set in Queensland, so it probably shouldn’t have taken me as long as it did to realise that “football” in this story means “rugby league” and not Aussie Rules (which everyone knows is the only true football :P).  It is a sport book but actual game play doesn’t feature strongly in the story.  That is, I don’t think one needs to understand the game to enjoy Holding Out For A Hero. Similarly, I don’t think one will understand the game all that much better by reading it.  It does make an interesting backdrop and bookend to a tale about identity, forgiveness, and fighting the good fight as the underdog.

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