Ex Libris Romance (68)

I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

Ex Libris Romance (68)The Trouble with Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #2
Published by Avon on September 27, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance

If she has her way ...
Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her ...

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.
Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him ...

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice ...
Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work ..

Let the Holiday Romance Season begin!  What better way to start than with one of my very favorite contemporary romance authors, Jill Shalvis!  There was a lot lot like about The Trouble with Mistletoe, and I think for me it started with Willa.  I loved that she owned a pet grooming business and I also loved that she had developed a network of friends as family, since her on family wasn’t really around.  Keane felt similar distance from his family, but for different reasons.  Set in San Fransisco, Keane and Willa are equally hard working and caring, so they were perfectly paired and with all of the chemistry I have come to expect from this author.  As always, the supporting characters really added to my enjoyment, because your friends really can be your family.  I can’t say that the plot was necessarily urgent or full of big conflict, but the pacing was good and the way the relationship developed was sweet and fun.  If you look forward to Holiday romances like I do, I recommend reading this one!



I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

Ex Libris Romance (68)Making The Play by TJ Kline
Series: Hidden Falls #1
Published by Avon on September 27, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance

T.J. Kline launches a brand new series with the charming story of a NFL player who finds love when he least expects it…

Grant McQuaid has dedicated his entire life to his football career. Now an injury threatens his place on the team and he’s forced to return home to rehabilitate. But when he meets his “biggest fan,” a precocious, blue-eyed, hearing impaired boy named James—and his beautiful mother, Bethany—Grant begins to question whether football is the future he still wants.

Bethany Mills has been doing just fine since her husband walked out on them… and she definitely doesn’t need another man to disappoint her—or her son. But when James runs into his hero at the park, Bethany admits there is a void in her son’s life that she just can’t fill. Her attraction to the handsome football star is undeniable, but a man in the limelight is the last thing she wants for herself, or James.

Grant doesn’t want to subject Bethany to the chaos of dating a professional athlete. But the more time he spends with her and James, the harder it is to resist making a play for her heart…

Making the Play tackles (see what I did there?) the small town girl meets famous guy trope, as well as introducing a single mom heroine with a special needs son. There was a lot going on, but it all worked pretty well.  Bethany’s son is hearing impaired and has cochlear implants, which made for an in interesting subplot.  While the way that Grant immediately fell for Bethany was a little hard to believe, even by romance standards, his family roots and his conflicted feelings about football were a good addition to the story. I will say that this book dragged a bit in the middle.  It seems that they kept rehashing the same question over and over again instead of developing the conflict.  Since this is the first in a new series, we got a glimpse into characters we will likely see in other books. I do like sports romances, and this one was kind of different because it focused on the end of someone’s career, rather than at the beginning. Despite the slowness in some parts,  it was a sweet story and I enjoyed it.




Ex Libris Romance (68)The Bachelor Auction by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona #1
Published by Grand Central on October 4, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Romance

Jane isn't entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn't she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes---or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire---maybe do exist.

Except Brock Wellington isn't anyone's dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk---even if it was just a façade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it's karmic retribution that he's tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can't have. But while they can't have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy .

This book and I did not click.  It’s a Cinderella retelling of sorts and some of it, I admit, was cute.  Jane runs a cleaning business and has two obnoxious stepsisters who take advantage of her.  Brock is an uptight business man who is, for some reason, being forced to be auctioned and married off by his grandfather.  All of that is fine, and I am all of suspension of belief, but it was the behavior of the characters that rubbed me the wrong way.  Brock, despite claiming that he liked Jane, displayed some pretty emotionally abusive behavior toward her.  I don’t mean your usual icing out the heroine and pushing her away because feelings.  I mean yelling and throwing things around.  After they had sex.  For the first time.  Then, on more than one occasion, Jane referred to herself as a hussy because she liked sex.  Then, there was the rooster named Cock, and you better believe that joke got run into the ground.  The only redeeming thing about this book was Brock’s twin brothers, who were actually funny.  Other than that, I found the attitudes and behaviors reminiscent of the romances I would read in the 80s.  I’m ready to move on from those days.  Just because it’s a fairy tale retelling doesn’t mean the relationships have to be antiquated, too.  Obviously, this book and I did not get along, at all.



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