Funny, sweet and honest. It was short but definitely felt like an entire story. And yes, I was rooting for the right guy from the beginning, but that...moreFunny, sweet and honest. It was short but definitely felt like an entire story. And yes, I was rooting for the right guy from the beginning, but that didn't take away from the journey.(less)
**spoiler alert** This is my first Delores Fossen book, but Harlequin's INTRIGUE line is one I feel I get a lot of wins out of. They're typically smar...more**spoiler alert** This is my first Delores Fossen book, but Harlequin's INTRIGUE line is one I feel I get a lot of wins out of. They're typically smart, quick paced, stay on point, and never insults the reader.
I feel like this does that for the most part. Except (you knew there was an except, right?)...
THIS IS WHERE YOU GET A WARNING THAT SPOILERS WILL BE HERE
BUT, NO, I WON'T TELL YOU WHO THE VILLAIN IS
You can guess from the spoiler that Cooper assumes Liam is his son and immediately has his blood tested. Of course this just pisses Jessa off as she goes into mama bear mode even as she completely understands what's compelling him to do it.
The book opens with a hit and run where Jessa & Liam are run off the road. The car stops but takes off when someone else comes along the abandoned, back road almost immediately.
That's the set up.
Throughout the book people say things like, He/She/They (they assume it's a he thru most of the book, so let's go with that - but there are a lot of suspects. This isn't a giveaway point)....He won't shoot at us with Liam in the car!
The assumption is they almost killed him once. There's a lot of kidnapped babies (subplots) and assumptions that don't go with the evidence. There's the assumption that if the boy or the test or disappears no one will ever be able to prove if Liam is Coopers... you know beyond the results being stored anywhere, or the blood from the hospital, or other sources of DNA...or if they take the test away... you know, the ability to RE-TEST.
The continuity errors around the mystery at first felt like red herrings but as the book went on, it just felt like loose writing. It feels like the editor said, "I want you to throw more stuff in there so people don't guess who the bad guy is!"
OR, the writer was trying to be really complicated and the editor/reader never helped rein it in.
On the flip side: I loved Cooper and Jessa. I loved that he wasn't stupid about her and that she kept her guard up but not insane. I loved that they were both willing to put Liam first and worked together...even if that meant you never worried about how the Problem of Liam would be solved. It was kind of a POOF, We're A Family Now situation. They're a couple you want to root for. You want Cooper to regain the opportunity to love again. You want Jessa to overcome her past to let a man in...and you want that man to be Cooper.
The secondary arc and characters are interesting if a little unclear. But, that's completely acceptable for INTRIGUE since the books are short to focus only on one plot line.
BOTTOMLINE: Quick paced, easy read, great chemistry, and a good set up for an interesting series. I would definitely grab this book. Even with the looseness around the mystery, you can see where Ms. Fossen is setting up a great set of books.
Final Rank: 3.5 star!
Would I try the author again: Absolutely
Romance: 7 Heroine: 7 Hero: 8 Laughter: 5 Heat: Yes, but later in the book and not over the top Cheating: No Series: #1 Cliffhanger: The book is standalone, but this first in the series sets up a nice, complicated arc we're just diving into.
This ARC was received thru NetGalley for an honest, unbiased review.(less)
Pushed to the 47% mark and had to give up. There's so much about this book that stopped me, that I only pushed that far because it was a Netgalley and...morePushed to the 47% mark and had to give up. There's so much about this book that stopped me, that I only pushed that far because it was a Netgalley and I feel a responisibility to authors brave enough to send their work out there for review.
First off, let me start off with how excited I was. I've read Ms. Doyle's YA Historicals and loved them. I was excited to see what she'd do with NA Contemps.
That said, one of the first issues for me is this isn't truly what I'd call an NA. Yes, it's about college - but it's about a woman in her late 20s going back to get a doctorate. That's a completely different set of themes and issues than people struggling through the first growing pains of new adulthood.
Unfortunately, that didn't stop the heroine from acting like a 12yo. She was jealous where there was obviously no reason to be (a hero who has never even held someone's hand (obviously) and she thinks he has a girlfriend from before her???) She basically emotional cheats on him constantly with the one person he asks her to stay away from. She ignores his needs and it's all about her, although she never approaches him about what she wants.... I could go on. I won't.
A big issue for me is that, at the 47% mark and the premise of the book hasn't even happened. Grant has yet to disappear and Theo has yet to feel in jeopardy. I HATE being lied to by a blurb. It's like waiting for the book to actually start...waiting....waiting...waiting...
On that note, the language is, for lack of a better word, slow. It does not help the lack of actual events. This first half of the book could have been chopped down to 20% and I would have accepted that. I also found it difficult to deal with the Latin & Greek in the book which wasn't clearly guessed at. I found it frustrating. At first I'd do Google Translate and then I said, screw it. But saying screw it didn't stop me from being annoyed when I couldn't guess what a character was saying.
I have at least an average understanding of mythology. I'm no where near a scholar or student, but for an avid reader, I would say I can hold my own. Another thing I found frustrating was not being to name all the players. Yes, some were overtly obvious, but others were so not guessable that I couldn't begin to figure out where they were supposed to fit in this world.
I typically give DNFs a 1 star, but as a fan of Ms Doyle and recognizing the amount of knowledge, skill, and fine-weaving that had to go into what I'd read so far, I couldn't bring myself to do that.
Final Rank: 2 Would I try the author again: Yes, but warily
Romance: This was a romance??? Heroine: -4 Hero: 4 Laughter: 0 Heat: None at that 47% mark Cheating: Emotional cheating in excess Series: ? Cliffhanger: ?
This ARC was received thru NetGalley for an honest, unbiased review.(less)
The opening of this book (the voice, characters, setting, set-up)... loved it. I read the first chapter and was SO excited. Woo Hoo! Future 5-star rev...moreThe opening of this book (the voice, characters, setting, set-up)... loved it. I read the first chapter and was SO excited. Woo Hoo! Future 5-star review material, baby!
Up to Me started strong and meandered to a pace that just about killed me. It was like getting in a sports car and being forced to drive 20 MPH.
Beyond that, it just didn't make sense. So much of it. It was like the author forgot the premise and occasionally remembered and threw a bone at the reader.
Unfortunately, Gray, who would be an extremely likable character in other stories, doesn't bring the fluffy bunnies. He's created this situation where he's "romancing" the woman he's set to betray, he doesn't stress about it. It's a surprisingly low conflict read for the majority of the book. What he does instead is put his concerns in a box, seal it up, and stick it under the bed. Occasionally he remembers the box...sometimes he just remembers there's something under the bed.
And yet, people keep "vouching" for him. It's an odd combination of remind us/don't remind us.
Which brings us to Ella. She has the answer to her problem and refuses to take it. The fact that the money would come from a settlement for her parents' death is, yes, hard. But the fact is the entire community depends on the Manor and her inability to even consider that option felt short sighted and selfish. Of course later there's ANOTHER money issue that isn't hers so she uses the money to fix that instead.
The person in me who has been poor was really annoyed with this. Yes, when people depend on you for their livelilhood, her actions seem selfish even if her motives were almost reasonable.
The moment when Ella finds out who Gray was, it's so anticlimactic that it was almost skippable.
I liked the author's voice enough to force myself to finish this, but found even at the end that I couldn't cheer when barriers were over come.
I REALLY wanted to love this book. I would have settled for liking it. I was heartbroken as I struggled to read it, but I liked the voice enough that I kept thinking I'd start to like it any second now. Unfortunately, I didn't.
Final Rank: 2.5 Would I try the author again: Yes, but warily
Romance: 4 Heroine: 5 Hero: 5 Laughter: 6 Heat: Some Cheating: Nope, not with a woman...with a company? Sure. Series: Shore Secrets #1 Cliffhanger: No
This ARC was received thru NetGalley for an honest, unbiased review. (less)
So disappointed - Ian, well, Ian was Ian but with a bit of maturity. Unfortunately, that maturity wasn't flushed out. I still felt like he felt worse...moreSo disappointed - Ian, well, Ian was Ian but with a bit of maturity. Unfortunately, that maturity wasn't flushed out. I still felt like he felt worse about being caught by the Duke (in the previous book) than he had learned anything from hurting someone like that.
Tansy - at no point did I like her. I did occasionally pity her, but never did I come to like her. May none of us ever have a woman like Tansy cross our paths.
I think Ian should have stayed with her initial assessment of her... I see what Ms. Long was doing having him be the only man who didn't want her to becoming the only man who truly saw her, but if I was him, I would have run even further.
Such a sad follow up to DUKE which is on my reread list and remains a 5-star for me. (less)
First off, who doesn’t love Julie Garwood? No, really? Who?
Second, from the title, before I read the blurb, I assumed this was going to have racing in...moreFirst off, who doesn’t love Julie Garwood? No, really? Who?
Second, from the title, before I read the blurb, I assumed this was going to have racing in it. And, with the younger brother being involved in car racing, this didn’t seem like a jump. FYI: This book has nothing to do with racing or cars even though it sounds like it should ;)
I really enjoyed Aiden and Cordelia’s story, but at the same time it was an adjustment for me.
I’ve been reading a lot of newer trad pubs and indie writers and the deeper POV, more action/less telling, faster dialogue was a style I’d become comfortable with. When I picked up Fast Track it was a reminder of the books I used to devour. The involved telling of action, emotion, description was an adjustment at first.
It is interesting to me as a reader to see writers sticking with what worked for them for decades. I wonder as more books come out and people’s expectation of how a romance novel “moves” if this will remain the path.
Anyway, this story was light on the “suspense” and heavy on the romance and sex. It was great to see Aiden fall but, this had the same “I give him up, but I really don’t” theme as a few other books I’ve read lately. I’d love to see a “I give him up, no really” and the guy honestly has to win her over — which would probably be harder with her on guard.
Aiden is A Guy. Even as a clean-cut, white collar, high-end owning hotelier he really is A Guy. Loved that.
This is definitely Cordie’s book though, and I found her smart, sweet, and easy to read. I liked that she was extremely intelligent but Garwood didn’t make her “nerdy” – women can be exceptional and still a girl. LOVE THAT.
The “bad guy” is truly someone I can’t understand. It was interesting that this was played out all the way to the end of the epilogue. There was no “oh, wait, it’s the end of the book so everyone must be redeemed” moment – for which I’m thankful. I love writers who stay true to their characters.
So, where does this sit? It’s so hard to rank a beloved author because her books are really being judged against her books, not everything else you’re reading. With a path like Ms. Garwood’s, you look back and think, “Where does this fall on the books of hers I’ve loved?” And so….
Final Rank: 3.5, I’d rec it to romance readers whether they were Rom Suspense readers or not.
This ARC was received thru NetGalley for an honest, unbiased review.
ASIDE TO THE PUBLISHER: Obviously we understand that ARCs are not the finished product and don’t judge the story or writing on typos and errors, but the lack of formatting in this ARC was a little extreme on my Kindle. Indie’s seem to have really gotten this down. There were whole pages of one word per line. I fear that as the ARC products don’t improve formatting-wise, that other reviewers may be so distracted by that they mark the book down.(less)
This book is not getting the love on Goodreads. I was surprised at how low it was rated when I went to grab the summary. I think, undeservedly low.
The...moreThis book is not getting the love on Goodreads. I was surprised at how low it was rated when I went to grab the summary. I think, undeservedly low.
There’s a lot of talk about it being short (I was under the impression that KISS books were kind of like categories without secondary stories. I didn’t feel it was short.) That the heroine was a bitch (She struggles to find her softer side because of her relationship with her dad and the ambition she’s put in place to try to please him.) That the hero wasn’t likable (which, the example that was given said he slept around, when he hadn’t slept with anyone in 6 months.) Etc. And that they made it too complicated.
Personally, having a baby with someone you’re not involved with can’t be easy. It’s going to be complicated. It’s probably going to feel even more complicated. And it’s going to look easier from the outside.
But, I don’t want to turn this into a In Defense Of post.
I enjoyed the read. It was a quick (not short ;) ) nice contemp. There was an initial Misunderstanding that set up the characters relationship, but it was cleared up really quickly (which was great) by one character deciding to just…you know…talk about it.
I know, right? Novel idea.
So, the characters hook up, get pregnant and have to deal with it. The No Sex rule was also logical and created the situation where they characters had to get to know one another.
I could understand the heroine. Sometimes it’s scary to give up what you thought your life was supposed to be even if the new life might be better. When you work for something for so long … well, readjusting what you want can be hard.
The hero… I liked him too. Yes, he’s blind. Yes, she even gives him a pass on it (a bit) but I found him likable. He starts the new relationship by forcing himself to not force any issues. He decides that whatever she wants will have to be okay with him. And even though he realizes in his gut that it might not be what he wants, he sticks to it because he wants what’s best for her.
Before we get to the bottom, I’ll tell you I’m going to rate this a 3.5…and I’m going to round down.