Review: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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Attachments
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A
Rating: B


It feels really rare to come across a book that isn’t part of a series anymore. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is one of those rarities.

1999. The year of Y2K craziness and before everyone had almost constant access to the internet via mobile devices. With technology taking off, most companies began scrambling to find ways to monitor their employees’ computer activity. Fear of slacking off at work and using company time for illicit things made many employers hire IT people to monitor the worker’s online activity.

Lincoln is one of those people. His job consists of three things; reading red flagged e-mails, fixing the occasional computer problem and being bored out of his mind. He hates his job. The late hours and reading other people’s e-mails makes him feel like a voyeuristic troll. Despite this, he can’t help but enjoy reading the red flagged e-mail exchanges between Jennifer (a paranoid editor) and Beth (a quick-witted movie critic), who both work for the local newspaper. Continue reading

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Review: A Lot Like Love by Julie James

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A Lot Like Love
Author: Julie James
Published: 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: FBI/US Attorney #2
Rating: B+


A Lot Like Love is the second book in Julie James’ FBI/US Attorney series.  I really loved that this one was set in my hometown of Chicago.

Wine shop owner and heiress, Jordan Rhodes, is approached one night by two FBI agents with an offer she can’t turn down. If she helps them get an undercover agent into a high profile party, they’ll spring her brother from prison. The operation becomes threatened when the target gets jealous of Jordan’s mystery date and hires a private investigator to dig-up some dirt. What was supposed to be a very short deal quickly escalates into Jordan having to pretend she’s deeply involved with an undercover FBI agent.

Continue reading

Review: Merry and Bright by Jill Shalvis

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Merry and Bright
Author: Jill Shalvis
Published: 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A
Rating: C


Merry and Bright by Jill Shalvis is a collection of three short stories set around Christmas. I don’t normally read holiday setting books, but I picked this one up for the Ho Ho Ho Read-a-thon.

I’ve only ever read one other book by Shalvis and this collection reminded me why I never picked-up another. While the stories aren’t bad, they’re just not my thing. If I read a contemporary romance, I tend to want the conflict to stay at believable levels.The fact that Shalvis seems to think that all her stories need a conspiracy or life and death situation annoys me.

The first story Finding Mr. Right was the best story in the collection.  Chemist Maggie Bell has a crush on the contractor working outside of her office. Even though she knows he’s completely wrong for her, she decides to pursue him for a short term relationship.

Maggie has the habit of spewing out random facts when nervous. At first I liked this, but the character trait was overused to the point where it started to get annoying. Even though Maggie’s wikipedia knowledge started to get on my nerves, I still liked her character. I only wish that Shalvis had stuck with character conflict between the heroine and hero to move the plot forward, rather than going the action/conspiracy route.

The second story, Bah, Handsome, features Hope, a B&B owner, who owes a ton of money to her loan shark step brother. When one of her step brother’s lackeys shows up at the B&B, Hope doesn’t expect to be attracted to the man. This one really didn’t work well for me. Hope was annoyingly stubborn and I honestly didn’t care at all about the relationship. I also really hated how meddlesome her friends were.

The final story, Ms. Humbug, focuses on city planner, Cami, who discovers the man she’s dating is banging the office assistant. Disheartened, she takes up with mayor and long time verbal sparring partner, Matt. Another story that would’ve worked better for me if Shalvis hadn’t taken the action/conspiracy route. While this one wasn’t bad, I thought the characters were the most underdeveloped, compared to the first two stories. Despite this, I still generally enjoyed the lighthearted tone and bickering between the main characters.

Shalvis has an engaging writing style and her characters are fun, so I can see why her novels are so popular. However, she’s not for me.  If you’re looking for a cute holiday read and are a fan of Shalvis, this is probably worth checking out.

Review: Lead by Kylie Scott

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Lead
Author: Kylie Scott
Published: 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Stage Dive #3
Rating: B+


Lead is the third book in Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series, which focuses on the members of a famous rock band. After all the hype around this series, I was surprised to feel rather “meh” about the first two books (Lick and Play). This one, however, made me glad that I kept going with the series.

Lead picks-up on the coattails of Play with Jimmy, the lead singer of Stage Dive, throwing a diva-esque tantrum in a hotel room. Lena, his assistant and sobriety partner, is getting real tired of his shit. So she takes it upon herself to calm him down, all the while thinking about how she plans to quit soon. She knows she was never qualified to be anyone’s sobriety partner and she can only hide from the brewing family drama, back home, for so long. When Jimmy finds out that the one assistant he actually likes is planning to quit, he does everything in his power to convince her stay. Continue reading

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins

All I Ever Wanted

All I Ever Wanted
Author: Kristan Higgins
Published: 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A
Rating: B-


Kristan Higgins’ books seem to straddle the line between contemporary romance and chick-lit. All I Ever Wanted is one of her stand alone novels, which definitely leans more toward the latter.

It’s always a bad idea to date your boss. No one knows this better than Callie Grey who has just been blind-sided by Mark, her boss and ex-lover, announcing his engagement. Callie has been in love with Mark for years and has always held onto the hope that he would eventually feel the same way. Having that dream crushed in the middle of a work day and on her 30th birthday, followed by the announcement that the fiancée is coming to work for the company is all Callie can take. Fleeing the building with the excuse of needing to renew her driver’s license, she proceeds to have a very public meltdown in the middle of the DMV. In the following weeks, things do not get better for Callie. The fiancée has made it her personal goal to torture Callie at work; Ian, the new veterinarian, might think Callie’s stalking him; and all the dates she’s gone on in an effort to get over Mark have been disastrous.

This was a fun contemporary romance. Callie was a little annoying though. She seemed too perfect to be believable. Who goes out of their way to offer homemade scones to their ex-boyfriend’s new love bunny? Callie was just too sweet and without any real character flaws to find her character engaging. After awhile, it just got old seeing her able to make everyone into her new BFF. Also, because of how sweet Callie was, it made some of the fights she had with Ian, the hero, seem forced.

Ian was what really made this book enjoyable. There’s nothing better than a quiet and shy hero. What’s not to love about a guy who’s so shy he hides in his office from a group of little girls? I also loved how the relationship between him and his ex-wife was portrayed. It wasn’t full of animosity and the ex-wife wasn’t shown as a raging bitch. It was a nice change of pace to see a hero be on relatively good terms with an ex.

Higgins also does a great job of writing pets into the book. The two dogs involved in the plot felt just as much like side characters as Mark and the fiancée did.

I would recommend this to fans of Julie James and Jennifer Cruise.

Review: What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

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What I Did for Love
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published: 2009
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Wynette Texas #5
Rating: C –


Susan Elizabeth Phillip’s books are usually a hit or a miss for me. What I Did for Love teeters on the edge of a miss. The plot was interesting, as were some of the side characters, but what killed the story for me was the relationship between the hero and heroine.

Georgie York was once an actress on one of America’s favorite sitcoms. While still loved by the public, her personal life is going through the media grinder after her divorce. To save face, she agrees to a fake marriage with her detestable former co-star from the show, Bram Shepard. Continue reading