Lady Be Good (Wynette, Texas #2) by @SEPauthor

Lady Be Good“You really go around calling yourself that? A Head Mistress?”
“It’s what I do.”
He looked vastly amused. “For proper people, you British sure do have some racy job titles.”

“We’re not talking about that now; we’re talking about the fact that I dropped off Mary Poppins and I came back to find Madonna.” His gaze took in her new outfit, purchased at one of the mall’s inexpensive teen boutiques. The sleeveless black T-dress was perilously short and closely fitted, with a zip-neck. Unzipped. Or at least unzipped far enough to be noted in a memo to London.
“Really? You think I look like Madonna?”
“You don’t look anything like Madonna.” He lowered his voice to a growl that only she could hear. “What you look like is a nymphomaniac Mary Poppins.”

Rating: 4*

Cover: Yay

Trope: England meets America

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: An English school teacher looking to lose her goody-two-shoes image meets an American golfer struggling to keep his reputation intact.

Review: Okay I have two major outstanding questions after reading this book:

1) How the hell did Emma get to be headmistress at/before the age of 30, especially at an English boarding school?!

2) Why the hell did Kenny with his million-pound endorsements didn’t offer to fund his beloved sister’s emu farm?!

SEP - Lady Be Good

Apart from those two points and Kenny being a tiny bit dickish (nothing like other SEP heroes though!) I really enjoyed this book and it’s definitely my favourite in the Wynette series so far (thank God there wasn’t any massive time jumps!)

There was some hilarious dialogue and comic scenes that are one of my favourite things about SEP romances:

“Now,this is where I draw the line! It’s bad enough everybody in town’s going to be thinkin’ I’m sleeping with a depressed, lice-ridden, hemorrhoidal foreigner who likes to be tied up and might be pregnant, although—since she’s just about cornered the market on condoms—I don’t know how that could have happened. But I will not —you listen to me, Emma!—I absolutely will not have anybody thinkin’ a woman of mine needs avaginal moisturizer , do you hear me?”

Ted was adorable (and yes a part of me did want him to end up with Emma) and there was the perfect secondary romance of Dex/Tori – to be honest I kind of wish they were given their own book.

Once Upon a Power Play by @jbondswrites

Once Upon a Power PlayARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Sports romance

Chemistry: Simmering

Review: This book was hawt! I loved the spunk Chloe showed especially at the beginning of the book where she gave as good as she got in the verbal foreplay with Ryan.

I loved the hockey world and can only hope that there will be more books in the series featuring Ryan’s team mates (presume Becca’s story is next?!)Jennifer Bonds - Ryan

Christmas Ever After (Puffin Island #3) by @sarahmorgan_

Christmas Ever After (Puffin Island, #3)“There are no buts. You can control a lot of things, Brit, but you can’t control your heart.” Her voice broke. “You can’t control that. And my heart belongs to him even though he doesn’t want it. It may have been a short relationship, but it was the most honest, true, real relationship I’ve ever had. With him, I never felt like I should try harder to be something different.”

ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: A festive delight

Chemistry: Off the charts Scorchio

Review: Oh wow, this was the perfect festive read set in both my hometown and my fantasy hometown.

I loved everything about it from start to finish but I especially loved the chapters with Alec’s family and when they were convinced that Alec/Skylar were a couple.

‘His grandmother turned to his mother with a puzzled look. “What did he say?”
Suzanne Hunter raised her voice and spoke clearly. “He said he doesn’t want a woman.”
“That’s what I thought he said, but it doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t he want a woman? Is he saying he’s gay? Has he come out?”
“He’s not gay, Mum.”
“Are you sure? Because Skylar is a beautiful girl. The only reason a healthy, vigorous, single man wouldn’t be interested in her would be if he were gay. And that would be fine. I want him to know we’ll love him whoever he is.”
Alec clenched his jaw. “I am not gay.” He was aware of Skylar, sitting Sarah Morgan - Alecacross from him. Her head was bent over Nelson so he couldn’t see her expression but he was fairly sure she was laughing.’

I mean you know it’s the perfect book when the only criticism you can make is that I am sure that Alec’s family wouldn’t be calling Father Christmas “Santa”, and that I thought that jumping to a proposal when Skylar had only just come out of a longterm relationship and they had only been together a few weeks was a bit too much.

This book was literally everything I ever wanted in a contemporary romance, complete with snow, dogs, and Christmas. Highly recommended.

Wilde for Her (Wilde Security #2) by @tonyaburrows

Wilde at Heart (Wilde Security, #3)Rating: 2.5*

Trope: Fake Relationship

Chemistry: Damp squid

One-Sentence Summary: It’s not paranoia if people actually are out to get you ….

Review: Well, this was a big fat disappointment. After having to wait 2 years for the latest installment in the Wilde series, I was practically salivating at the thought of another awesome addition the series.

Instead we got this.

It wasn’t AWFUL per say, and maybe my standards are just ridiculously high, but this book just did absolutely nothing for me.

Some things that irritated me:

1. WTF is Greer’s deal?! His brother ends up in hospital and when poor wounded Reese gives him a call he’s basically like “yeah, I knew everything that was going on” but he didn’t think to share that piece of information with his brother?!

2. Vaughan’s obsession with Lara is more than stalkerish. Did we even meet her? I presume so but cannot remember. And some joke about considering suicide by pulling the parachute too late. Not funny.

3. Reese’s finance issues seemed to sort themselves out remarkably easily at the end given the burden they’d been causing him for the whole book.

4. What are the odds that the arsonist just happens to be the same person blackmailing Shelby and just so happened was tipped off by the husband of the woman who was blackmailing Reese who was only doing it to cover said husband’s problems and then sent the blackmail photos to yet another person out to ruin Shelby – and, wait, the PI doing the actual stalking of Shelby to get the blackmail photos gets involved with Shelby’s crazy ass Mum. Confused? I don’t blame you.

5. Shelby and Reese themselves – I was completely uninvested.

6. Shelby’s crazy ass Mum and judgemental sister Eva (the latter broke my heart because I loved her book).

Sleeping with the Enemy (Out of Bounds #4) by @TracyKSolheim

Sleeping with the Enemy (Out of Bounds, #4)“No,” she said, her voice breathless. “No more. We had our walk down memory lane, but that’s all it was. We were both tired and overwrought and we lost our heads.”

He arched an eyebrow at her. “I have never been nor will I ever be ‘overwrought'”

Bridgett’s eyes narrowed and she released an exasperated huff. “No, but you are insufferable. You wore me down once, but it won’t happen again. You are a client. Nothing else can or will happen.” She jerked her chin up in the air, defying him to argue with her.

Jay felt a grin break out – not to mention a very nice hard-on begin to develop -at her belligerent stance. “That would have sounded a lot tougher if I didn’t have your panties in my pocket.”

Rating: 4.5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Reconciliation romance

Chemistry: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: A lawyer and a sports team owner are forced to confront the circumstances of their breakup

Review: This book gave me the FEELS. I was one hundred percent invested in Jay/Bridgett and their story. Apart from the scorching hot chemistry between them, the best thing about it was that their backstory actually had, you know, a STORY. All too often two characters break up over the smallest misunderstanding and you’re like “seriously, THAT is the big reveal?!”. Well, Jay/Bridgett’s backstory had young romance, angst, interfering friends, and I LTracy Solheim - JayOVED how Solheim made you wait to find out the whole story, slowly dropping hints throughout the book but making you race through the pages just so you could get to the truth.

I loved the setting as well, with the corporate world entwined with the sporting world. Secondary characters were lovable as well (well, apart from GWEN. I had to dig deep to find some sympathy for her) and I presume Blake is going to get his own book next? And Linc/Charlie? Surely they deserve a novella at least? (Pretty please, Tracy?!)

So why did it lose the star?

As much as I loved Jay/Bridgett and I appreciated the circumstances, I did feel the whole “no we can’t get involved – oops we slept together – let’s never do it again – PAUSE – repeat previous three actions” cycle was a bit repetitive. I mean Bridgett is a strong, smart woman, you would think she would be able to control her libido if she really wanted to and if she didn’t, then don’t keep protesting!

Fancy Pants (Wynette, Texas #1) by @SEPauthor

Fancy Pants (Wynette, Texas, #1)Rating: 3*

Review: Now who doesn’t like a contemporary romance novel that sees the heroine sexually violated in the first few chapters, eh? I mean is there every a better way to set the mood of the book than that?!

But rather than making me feel sympathetic to Francesca, I spent the majority of the book pretty much hoping that she was going to be killed off.

Dallie said it best when he said: “…if you had a different personality I could even see myself losing my head over you for a few weeks. But the thing of it is, you don’t have a different personality, and the way you are is pretty much a composite of all the bad qualities of every man and woman I ever met, with none of the good qualities thrown in to even things out.”

And anyone who says this about a cat is instantly in my bad books: “The cat’s unrelenting ugliness disturbed her. She had this illogical feeling that she didn’t want to be around anything so ugly, that some of that ugliness might rub off on her, that people are judged by the company they keep.”

And how can I respect anyone who, despite being absolutely starving, spends the $5 left for her on beauty products instead of food?!

Don’t get me wrong, Francesca is undoubtedly both a product of the time the book was set in and written but I just do not like my contemporary romance heroines as being spoilt, vain, childish, whiny individuals. And characters from this time are never just, you know, normal. They have to be caricatures and have extreme personalities and big emotions.

Yes, yes I know she goes through a ‘change’ and becomes more likable but the fact is that we have to deal with Spoilt Francesca for more than half of a book …..

So there I was getting frustrated with Francesca and scratching my head about how I was ever going to make through the rest of the (rather long) book when the delightfully sassy Holly Grace entered and shook things up.

(Now what does it say when I was actually rooting for Dallie to end up back with Holly rather than Francesca?!)FancyPants

And before you know it, there is a huge jump in time and we fast-forward through births, promotions, geographical relocations, friendships and Francesca is given a huge personality transplant. Yay!

So in the second half of the book, my character issues mainly lie with Dallie. Whilst of course I can understand his anger at finding out about Teddy, his concern that he is a sissy and might ‘end up queer’ if he doesn’t play more sports completely enraged me and Francesca’s defence of her son won her a few points (if only she didn’t keep ending up in bed with the now-odious Dallie).

By the end of the book, whilst a part of my shipping heart still lay with Dallie/Holly Grace, I couldn’t help but feel that Dallie/Francesca deserved each other and as for my favourite character in the book, surely it must be Teddy. No contest.

Still, having moaned about all of the above I still managed to enjoy the book. Why? Because SEP really knows how to tell a story, there is dialogue which makes me smile and whilst I usually find huge jumps in time annoying or a cop out, in SEP’s case they are necessary because the reader knows that if they hang on long enough, characters with really ugly and annoying personalities will grow up and turn into beautiful swans.