Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Second time - March TBR Challenge

I have failed fellow readers, I have failed. After being what turned out to be a day late and the wrong challenge that gave me almost a week to get this month’s CORRECT challenge done. And I didn’t get ‘er done.

I tried, I honestly tried, but no offense to the books and at another day at another time, they might have worked for me, but I couldn’t get into the ones I did attempt.

The first one Wild Cat by Jennifer Ashley just didn’t grab my attention that much. I’ve really enjoyed the first several in this series, but I just hit a spot where I thought the hero should have been grateful to the heroine and he wasn’t and I moved on. Now I fully expect I will go back to this one, but just not in time for this month’s challenge.

Having failed with Wildcat, I moved onto The Lady and the Libertine by Bonnie Vanak and again I had trouble getting into it. I quickly add that it wasn’t the book, I think it was my mood since I’ve read a few in this series and very much enjoyed them. More and more I’m becoming a mood reader though and I just wasn’t in the mood for historical during the past week. I know I will go back to it though.

And finally, I tried reading Hunter of Shadows by Nancy Gideon thinking for sure this would do the trick. Alas, it didn’t. I’ve loved all the previous books in this series but again I think it was my mood, because this one just didn’t appeal to me. I think I may be in a bit of a mini slump, at least until I stumble on the book that will wake up my sleepy mojo.

So that’s it, I gave it a good try, but just didn’t make it with any I tried.

Now what I can do, so it’s not a complete waste of a visit, is do a review of a couple of books that fit the bill, series wise. I read them in February so I think they are close to counting. The first up

Bad Boy’s Do by Victoria Dahl.

Steam Level: very nicely warm

Blurb: Olivia Bishop is no fun. That's what her ex-husband said. And that's what her smart bob and glasses imply. So with her trademark determination, Olivia sets out to remake her life. She's going to spend time with her girlfriends and not throw it all away for some man. But when an outing with her book club leads her to a brewery taproom, the dark-haired beauty realizes that trouble—in the form of sexy Jamie Donovan—may be too tempting to avoid.

Jamie Donovan doesn't mean to be bad. Sure, the wild streak in his wicked green eyes has lured the ladies before. Now it's time to grow up. He's even ready for a serious romance. But how can hat be when Olivia, the only right woman he has ever met, already has him pegged as wrong?

My Thoughts: Actually, I’m surprised I read this one. I got it at the same time as the first in the series, Good Girl’s Don’t. and I got the third one, Real Men Will, very shortly after that. I think I had coupons or something. But the reason I was somewhat surprised that I read Bad Boys Do is that I really didn’t care for the first book. I disliked the heroine quite intensely and neither of the brothers endeared themselves to me either. So I don’t know what came over me to read this one – must have been a Contemporary Mood I guess.

Whatever it was, I am SO glad I listened. I really enjoyed this second one. It was a complete change from Good Girls Don’t. We find out in this one that Jamie isn’t the screw up he appears to be in the first book. Rather, he just doesn’t bother justifying his reasons for doing things and the situation he found himself in from the first book, was him trying to do the right thing for his family and a nasty piece causing trouble.

Still, Jamie is a people kind of guy, working in the bar of the family owned winery. He has quite a reputation as a ‘good time guy’ but much of it is exaggerated. He is quite taken with Olivia, the heroine, when he first meets her. Olivia had a bad marriage and as a result, keeps pretty much to herself. She was persuaded by her friends to attend the book club (in name only) being held at Donovan’s, where she first meets Jamie. They run into each other again when he takes a community class she is teaching to learn more about the restaurant business. See, Jamie has big plans even though he doesn’t think his older, bossy brother will be interested. But he takes courses
anyway. He proposes that he and Olivia do some bartering; he will teach her how to be fun and she will help him with his restaurant plans.

Of course, this being a romance, against both their plans, they start developing real feelings for each other and what I liked, Jamie is the more willing to admit it.

I loved both Jamie and Olivia in this book. One of the big pluses is it’s one of my favourite storylines, older woman/ younger man. There wasn’t a huge difference in their ages, but enough to make me rub my hands in delight. Even the annoying sister Tessa was easier to swallow. Big brother Eric was still a pill but since I already had his book on stand-by, I knew I would be reading to see what made him tick.

Jamie has been keeping something very painful to himself and it was nice to see his trust with Olivia in being able to share it with her. This was a Most Enjoyable Read.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Real Men Will by Victoria Dahl

Steam Level: yep, steamy!

Blurb: It was meant to be a one-night stand. One night of passion. Scorching-hot. Then Beth Cantrell and Eric Donovan were supposed to go their separate ways. That's the only reason he lied about his name, telling her he was really his wild younger brother. Hiding his identity as the conservative Donovan. The "good one."
But passion has its own logic, and Eric finds he can't forget the sable-haired beauty with whom he shared a night of love. When Beth discovers that Eric has lied, however, she knows he can't be trusted. Her mind tells her to forget the blue-eyed charmer. If only every fiber of her being didn't burn to call him back.

My Thoughts: Again, like the second book, I enjoyed this one ever so much better than the first
one. Eric is to put it mildly, a stick in the mud. He doesn’t give much leeway to his family, especially his younger brother Jamie. So it’s somewhat surprising that before the story begins he has had a one night stand with Beth Cantrel, the manager of an “adult” store. But because he’s a it of that stick, he gives out his brother’s name rather than his own thinking they would never meet

So of course they do, and because he told Beth his name was Jamie, once the confusion is cleared up, he has a couple of pretty pissed off people, first off Beth, who deservedly has issues about being deceived and also Jamie who is both angry and hurt that his brother thinks he’s that kind of guy. And then there is the fact that he’s still in a committed relationship with Olivia.

But despite being not at all pleased with him, Beth is still wildly attracted to him and they agree to carry the one night past the one night. But they both have misconceptions about the other that cause me a few chuckles. Eric thinks that Beth is quite the experienced gal seeing as she gives sex demonstrations and writes a sex advice column. But Beth is only one of a number of contributors and I found it adorable that Eric thinks she’s such a wild woman. And Eric himself is going through major life changes. He’s been the big over authoritative brother all his life, but it’s not a role he ever wanted and he’s unsure of where he fits in with the changes going on with his family. He wants to be supportive but his relationship particularly with Jamie has been so antagonistic for years, neither is sure how to deal with each other.

As with Bad Boys Do, I really enjoyed this final chapter in the Donovan series. I love seeing a stuffed shirt thrown for a loop. And Beth was not the person we thought she was at the beginning. She has her own baggage and this made her an appealing character to root for.

I suppose anyone wanting to read this series of books might want to start with Tessa’s story just to get to know the family, but keeping in mind, at least for me, it wasn’t the best. But the next two more than make up for the disappointment of the first one. They have convinced me that Victoria Dahl is an author of contemporaries worth following.

Grade: 4.50 out of 5

So there you have it. I read two books that were part of a series that were in the TBR pile, but I didn't quite read them in the month we were supposed to.


AnimeJune said...

I tried reading Lady and Libertine, but the first (and second) love scenes smacked too close to sexual coercion to me.

Kristie (J) said...

I remember your less than favorable review of this book *g*. I think I'm going to like it better as I can go for over the top on occasion, but I didn't even make it to the first love scene. I was just not in the mood for a historical (or paranormal or shapeshifter)

Hilcia said...

Oh Kristie, I know how you feel this month. I'm going through a reading slump (a bad one), and nothing, nothing appeals to me at this point! I started something like 10 books and didn't get past the first page! (Not in the mood!). I settled for a short category because what the heck... it was quick and kept my attention.

I really enjoyed the last book of this series -- Real Men Will -- but skipped Jamie's book. *g* I ALMOST read it for this theme.. but again, not in the mood. Sigh... I'm so glad you enjoyed them both. :) I'm enjoying Victoria Dahl's contemporaries.

Wendy said...

I also went with category, mostly because my mini-slump is all about Real Life Distractions right now. I should probably just chuck everything else right now and go on a massive category binge because those are the only books I'm inhaling right now.....

nath said...

LOL Kristie :) I think you can be excused for not making this month's challenge. Technically, you did "next month." Perhaps in April, you can then do "last month's" LOL :)

Sounds like you really enjoyed these two books :) I think I'll have to give them a try :) I wasn't so sure because like you, I didn't like the first book much... But I've seen so many good reviews for books #2 and #3 now...

Oh and it does seem to me that it's you, not the books... I've been pretty much feeling like you, not in the mood :( Hopefully, it'll pass very soon!

Kristie (J) said...

Hilcia - as soon as your mojo comes back you simply must go back and read Jamie's story. I enjoyed it the best of the three. And I hate when the reading mood leaves you. I haven't read a book in about 2 days now - a Very Long Time for me.

Wendy: I think of series as the cotton candy of books - so maybe you just need a lot of cotton candy in your diet right now :-)

Nath: Book 2 & 3 are TOTALLY different from book 1. Like I said, I'm surprised I even started Jamie's book since I dislike the first one so much.
And I keep telling myself, this too shall pass and I'll be reading up a storm again soon.