chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday, I brought my work book home, and I finished it last night. It was The Penalty Box by Deirdre Martin.

Katie Fisher used to be bullied in school, because she was overweight and brainy. Paul van Dorn was the high school hockey star who went on to play in the NHL. Now, Katie is back in town to work on her book and to help her mother take care of her nephew, while Paul has returned after injury cut his playing career short. He now owns and operates the local bar, The Penalty Box. The two of them meet up again at their high school reunion, and neither can forget the other.

They begin dating, but Katie wants to keep things on the down low, for fear people will believe Paul is favoring her nephew, whose hockey team he coaches. Katie is afraid of falling for Paul, because she can't wait to leave her small hometown behind once more and return to her career in academia. Paul is reliving his glory days at the bar and dodging the unwelcome advances of the town barracuda, Liz Flaherty. Liz was Katie's biggest tormentor in school, and she continues in that vein as she tries to win Paul over.

The story was interesting and had a lot going on, what with Katie's sister Mina being in rehab, Liz and her evil machinations, Katie making friends with former classmates, and the inevitable clashes between Katie's desire to keep their affair a secret, and Paul's rather public persona. I liked the hockey back drop, although I wanted to body check the author for misspelling Conn Smythe. Gah!

While the book was enjoyable for the most part, the ending fell flat on its face. It was far too rushed, and too much was left unresolved. I rolled my eyes when I finished, and that's not a good way to end a book.

Favorite lines:
So here she was, dressed to the teeth and wearing more makeup than a drag queen at Mardi Gras.
"At least I wasn't naked. If this were a sitcom, I would have been naked."

Average book, average rating:

♣♣♣
chez_jae: (Books)
On my afternoon break today, I finished reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evie by Marianne Stillings. This was a departure for me, in that it was a contemporary romance without any paranormal elements.

Evie Randall's former guardian, millionaire author Thomas Heyworth, is dead. Lacking any heirs, he instead has chosen six people to participate in a treasure hunt, with the prize being the entirety of his estate. Heyworth has paired Evie with Max Galloway, police detective, lone wolf, and Heyworth's stepson. Max isn't just on board to participate in the treasure hunt, however; he is also working on solving the case of who murdered Heyworth. During the madcap search for clues, attempts are made on Evie's life, as someone apparently thinks she may be Heyworth's illegitimate daughter. Even Evie suspects that may be the case.

Overall, this was a fun story. I found myself laughing at some parts, while others were just harrowing enough to keep things interesting. The author did a good job of keeping the killer's identity a secret, and other characters had secret identities of their own.

If I have one complaint about the book, it's that the author prefaced each chapter with an excerpt from Evie's childhood diary. I saw no real reason for it, and I found it distracting. I wish I could say I'd watch for more from this author, but I no longer buy/read contemporary romance. This book has a print date of 2005, and chances are I bought it that long ago. Yikes. I would certainly recommend it, though, and I plan to hand it off to a co-worker now that I'm done with it.

Four stars:

★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home with me this weekend, and I finished it this evening. It was The Trouble With Valentine's Day by Rachel Gibson. The story is set in roughly the same verse as the author's book See Jane Score, which I read last year.

In this book, Kate is on her way to Gospel, ID to visit her grandfather. Along the way, she propositions a stranger in a bar, only to get rejected. Kate is horrified to discover that the stranger is none other than Rob Sutter, another of Gospel's residents.

Ex-hockey player Rob has his reasons for turning Kate down. Spending time around her in the small town, however, he feels a powerful attraction to her. Kate feels the same, but she and Rob strike more angry sparks off one another than lust. At least, at first. The UST between them is delicious, and the predicaments they get into are downright funny. Several times, while reading this on breaks at work, I had to explain to various co-workers what I was laughing about. I've already promised to pass the book along to one of my co-workers, and she's eager to read it, too.

If you enjoy light-hearted, humorous contemporary romances, check this one out!

Four stars!

★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
I just, as in just now, finished reading Slow Surrender by Cecilia Tan (LJ's own [livejournal.com profile] ravenna_c_tan!). All I can say is, "Wow!"

If UST is your thing, don't miss this book. It was page after page of slow burning foreplay, as college student Karina begins playing a decadent game with a stranger she meets in a bar. James challenges Karina to explore her sexuality in ways she could never have imagined. Always, it is her choice as to how far they go, but Karina boldly meets and exceeds each challenge, whetting her appetite for more.

This is the first in a trilogy, and I am looking forward to reading the rest.

Five stars!

★★★★★
chez_jae: (Books)
At work today, I finished reading See Jane Score by Rachel Gibson. It was a fun and light contemporary romance, featuring "fluff" writer Jane Alcott, who also secretly pens the audacious "Honey Pie" erotic serial. When Jane is assigned to cover Seattle's NHL team, no one is more surprised than she is. And, no one is more exasperated than the Chinooks' star goalie Luc Martineau.

Jane tackles her latest assignment by reading up on hockey, and she finds herself drawn more and more to Luc. From Luc's perspective, plain Jane is the opposite of the type of women he normally dates. She's short, small-busted, smart and sassy.

The story clipped along at a good pace, and it featured likable secondary characters and many scenes that made me smile or laugh out loud. Not only would I recommend this book, I gave it to one of my coworkers when I finished it.

:D

Four stars!

★★★★

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