Confession time: I have a whole host of backlogged books to review, but even worse, I have a whole pile of reviews that were somehow never posted. I feel terrible that I haven’t given them a full treatment, so here’s the next best thing: the five-minute review. Enjoy!
Time Out by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Harlequin – Received from NetGalley
I loved this book – hard not to, as it’s by one of my favourite authors. Jill Shalvis is able to create great characters in interesting situations that hold the reader’s interest. In this case, NHL coach Mark Diego brings a pair of his misbehaving players back to his hometown for some old-school community service. There, Mark reconnects with Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend who has – up until now – been strictly off-limits. As Mark tries to reign in his players and coach a girls softball team, he discovers that there’s more than meets the eye about Rainey … and that he wants more than just friendship from her now.
What I loved: The banter! Shalvis writes great dialogue, and the conversations between these two characters are no exception to her writing style.
The heroine – Rainey is strong, competent and doesn’t take any crap from anyone. I love that she’s independent but vulnerable, and that she opens herself up again to Mark.
Best surprise: Shalvis managed to incorporate the desperation and struggle of people who have survived a devastating fire as they try to rebuild their homes and their lives into the story with sensitivity and compassion. As well, Shalvis is able to describe the surliness of teenagers without being condescending or glib. Fantastic.
Anything I’d change? Mark is a serious alpha male … I mean, CRAZY alpha guy, and a little more give and take might have made me warm to him sooner. Still, I really liked him and thought that it was a great pairing with Rainey.
Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Good Girls Don’t/Bad Boys Do/Real Men Will by Victoria Dahl
Publisher: Harlequin – Purchased at Indigo/received from NetGalley
Victoria Dahl does smoking hot relationships better than 99% of the writers out there, and this series keeps her reputation intact. These three books tell the story of the three Donovan siblings – Tessa, Jamie and Eric – and their struggle to keep the family brewery going while pursuing their respective love lives. There’s a prequel as well, but it’s not necessary to read it before these three books. There’s a lot of Dahl’s quirky humour in these books, but they do get progressively more serious as they reach the end of the trilogy.
What I loved:
Discovering that Jamie was a complete sweetheart.
Watching Tessa grow up and take responsibility for her actions.
Watching Eric unravel and become a better person as he falls in love.
Imagining myself in the brewery as the action unfolded.
Victoria Dahl writes sex scenes that scorch off the page, and this trilogy of books is no exception. Seriously, each scene is better than the one before, and I’m starting to reconsider my opinion on hot tub sex. Shew!
Jamie, naturally – and he wears a kilt!
The sibling relationship was very realistic – things are not always perfect between siblings, and the way that the three of them bicker and snip at each other made it seem like a real family relationship (although I did want to smack them upside the head at times as they were really obnoxious with each other).
“You’re walking around here with a smile on your face, Asher. It’s freaking everybody out.” ~ Good Girls Don’t
““Ms. Bishop,” he said, a smile spreading across his face like a warm, melting treat. “Thanks for coming.”
Hopefully he’d be repeating that same phrase later.” ~ Bad Boys Do
Ratings: Good Girls Don’t: 4 stars out of 5
Bad Boys Do: 4.5 stars out of 5
Real Men Will: 3.5 stars out of 5
Turn It Up by Inez Kelley
Publisher: Carina Press
Received from NetGalley
Inez Kelley is one of my go-to authors for well-written romance. Her books have fabulous banter between the characters that keeps things light, but also deal with the darker side of life. This book is no exception, as it takes on the issues of sterility, drug abuse, insecurity, and the difficult leap between being best friends to becoming something more.
Bastian and Charlie are best friends and radio co-hosts of a popular sex show. Trouble is, Bastian is in love with Charlie and wants a life with everything, while Charlie is afraid of love and wants only the physical side of a relationship.
What I loved: The pair’s on-air conversations cracked me up. Kelley is such a fabulous writer of the smart-ass comment that I can’t wait to read the next line.
The sex – the conversations are frank and real and intensely hot.
The back story. There is a great history between the two main characters, and Kelley takes the time to show you how close and important each is to the other.
Best surprise: Bastian’s brother. The recovering drug addict has secrets of his own, and he is a complicated character that you want to know better.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5.