Seeing myself in Romance Novels
Re-reading Ruthie: How to Misbehave

Catch-up Reviews: Once in a Lifetime, Bite Me, Rock it, and Love the One You're With


Once in a Lifetime (A Lucky Harbor Novel, Book 9) by Jill Shalvis, Publication Date: Feb 18, 2014

None of Shalvis recent Lucky Harbor novels have charmed me the way the original trilogy did, but I did enjoy visiting the Lucky Harbor once again with its bands of meddling senior citizens and over-sized dogs. Aubrey was one of other women Ali Winters's scumbag boyfriend was going around with behind her back in Bk. 7, “It had to be You".  Despite being flinty and bitchy, Ali and Leah (Bk 8) have befriended Aubrey.  Aubrey is trying to make some changes in her life as she remodels her late-aunt's bookstore and is inspired to make amends after accidentally attending AA meeting.  Ben is a widower who has finally returned home after spending 5 years burying his grief while digging sanitation systems in the remotest corners of the work.  His cousin Jack and friend Luke are trying to help him reconnect with Lucky Harbor, bullying him into running a Kid's Craft Corner, and taking his old job back. However Luke and Jack are not quite sure Ben's interest in Aubrey is a good idea.  

A light-humorous romance about making amends and forgiving mistakes than can't be fixed.

4 out 5 stars.

Source:  NetGalley, review copy provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

Cover42521-mediumBite Me (The Pride Series, Bk 9) by Shelly Laurenston, Publication Date: March 25, 2014

This is the first Shelly Laurenston book I ever read, and I am jumped in cold to the 9th book of this shape-shifter series, due to a comment I read on Twitter that mentioned the heroine of this story was a Honey-Badger shifter. Livy Kowalski is professional photographer with a chip on her shoulder and thieving violent family.  Instead of living the life of a con-artist as she was bred to do, she lives for her photography.  The book opens with Livy at her father's funeral, a farcical affair with complete with drunken relatives, a mistress/ex-wife slap-fight, where it is clear that Livy has spent a very long time trying to distance herself from these people but can't help loving them.   Vic Barinov is a Bear/Tiger hybrid who has real soft-spot for Livy, even when he find that she has yet again burrowed into his house, and raided his honey stash.    

Vic is a sweetheart and Livy was a ton of fun. There is a suspense plot involving anti-shifter villain, corruption and collusion within the various animal shifters governing bodies and getting revenge.  I got a bit lost when Livy's best-friend's family was introduced, along with their significant others who I assume are recurring characters from previous books but I thought the book was a blast.

I really enjoyed just the insanity of Livy's world and the determined accepting love Vic has for her, even as she struggles to express it.  

"Mostly because she was bad at expressing anything but her disdain."

So if you don't enjoy books with a high silliness quotient, skip this, but if you do , you can look forward to  Bear/Tiger jousting, an unstable master forger, pool emptying wrestling matches between Bear/Tiger and Bear/Lion hybrids and Honeybadgers wrecking houses and getting drunk on snake venom.

5 out 5 stars 

Source: NetGalley, review copy provided by Kensington Books

  Cover41112-medium (1)Rock it by Jennifer Chance, Publication Date: Mar 4, 2014

I really should stop trying to read rock-g0d romances.  As much as I love music, aside from Lauren Dane's Brown Family novels I find all romance novel rock-gods just really just a bit too self-involved for me. Despite my childhood love for Menudo, I don't have a lot interest in a wish-fulfillment story where your teen-heartthrob obsession picks you out from the crowd instead of charging you with stalking discovers you are his true love.

Lacey is  an up and coming junior-agent for international talent agency.  She was once also a mega-fan of Dante Falcone, a former teen heartthrob and now full-blown rock star. Dante, who is under a lot of pressure and tiring of being on the road, chooses Lacey, not her man-eater boss as his new interim tour manager. Lacey is caught between trying to hide her obsession for Dante, and showing-up her boss and wrecking her career.

I didn't feel Dante and Lacey's attraction for each other was developed much beyond the physical, and I just didn't buy the wish fulfillment aspect of having Lacey's letters to Dante when she was a teen  among the few that he read and treasured,  proof of their special true love connection. The plot for this book just sort of unraveled for me at the end, when Lacey's friends were called in to help protect Lacey after her mega-fan status was uncovered by her boss, and they launch a viral internet hoax/marketing stunt and alternate persona for Lacey called Rocker Girrl.

2 out 5 stars

Source: NetGalley, review copy provided by Random House Publishing Group -- Loveswept.


  Cover38785-mediumLove the One You're With (Sex, Love & Stiletto Series, Bk 2)

By Lauren Layne, Publication Date: Dec 9, 2013

I really enjoyed book 1 of this series and I was looking forward to Grace's story but it somehow got lost in my TBR and my review-time swallowed by Christmas.

Grace used to write the Love articles for Stiletto magazine, until she discovered that her long-time love and fiancée was cheating on her and had been for a while.  Grace took some time off from work to recover from her heartbreak and is finally ready to come back to work, except she now has great big chip on her shoulder against the whole male gender and is realizing that her spot in the Stiletto triumvirate is not as secured as she thought.  Not interested in ever again getting played and trying to regain her boss’s trust, Grace lets manipulate her into taking on cross-magazine dating challenge.  Jake Malone is a reporter for the Oxford, Stiletto’s male-focused rival.  While his true love is travel reporting, he became New York based journeyman reporter without really intending to.  With the Oxford under new management, Jake makes his move, and asks to for the travel beat, but his editor wants him do him a favor first, take on the women of Stiletto and show the world that the Oxford men understand women more than the Stiletto women understand men.

Jake and Grace are to go out on a series of dates, and write rival he-said/she-said accounts of their dates,  to see who is better at reading the opposite sex.  Their dates become closely monitored affairs with hidden cameras and recording devices, after their initial stories go viral and the managing editors try to out-play each other.  What gets lost in this magazine grudge match is that Jake and Grace do get each other and actually really quite like each other.

I really liked that both Jake and Grace are trying to re-discover parts of themselves they have neglected and carve out a relationship under the microscope.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: NetGalley, review copy provided by Random House Publishing Group -- Loveswept


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