Friday, 16 August 2013

Review: Three Little Words (Fool's Gold) by Susan Mallery

From Amazon:

Can first love turn into the real deal? Anything can happen in a sizzling new Fool's Gold story from New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery. 

Isabel Beebe thinks she's cursed in the romance department. Her teenage crush, Ford Hendrix, ignored all her letters. Her husband left her for another…man. So Isabel has come home to dust off her passion for fashion and run the family bridal shop until her parents are ready to sell it. Then she'll pursue her real dreams. At least, that's the plan, until sexy, charming Ford returns and leaves her feeling fourteen all over again….. 

Seeing Isabel all grown-up hits bodyguard trainer Ford like a sucker punch. Back when heartbreak made him join the military, her sweet letters kept him sane. Now he can't take his eyes—or his lips—off her. The man who gave up on love has a reason to stay in Fool's Gold forever—if three little words can convince Isabel to do the same.

My Review:

Those who follow my reviews or peek at my Goodreads shelves know that I'm a huge fan of Susan Mallery.  Her romances always provide a quick, warm escape with a sure fire formula she's perfected.   Some days, and I hate to admit this, but I feel like Fool's Gold has run it's course.  The novels don't entrance me quite as thoroughly as the originals, but still, I'm hooked and when I'm reading this series, there's a part of me that wants to hang out with the girls at Jo's and take part in the small town festivals.  It's charming and the characters are sweet, and for that reason, I keep on reading. 

In Three Little Words, we have two leads who were raised in Fool's Gold, but left to pursue other interests, and have now returned for one reason or another.  We have an unrequited young adult crush.  We have failed relationships (that were almost tacky).  We have family history.  We have hidden scars.  That said, in the midst of a fake dating scenario intended to convince Ford's mom (of Hendrix family fame) that he's in a happy relationship, the heroine, Isabel, realises she's always loved him and he has to come to terms with true love. 

This one was cute.  I enjoyed it.  I rolled my eyes a few times, but in spite of some of the elements, I really enjoyed Ford & Isabel's characters and the sub-plot of Kent & Consuelo. I enjoy the portrayal of the characters with all their quirks and imperfectness.  I appreciate how I know that the characters will stumble, will hurt each other, will laugh, will cry, but will ultimately fall in love and stay in love.  This is what makes Mallery's novels charming. 

Give it a go if you enjoy the Fool's Gold series or just merely appreciate an easy to read, quick romantic novel.  Pass if you find anything "controversial" uncomfortable - there is sex and the ex-husband divorced her because he's gay - we're not talking anything X-rated, but this is a Harlequin novel. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Review: One Heart to Win by Johanna Lindsey

From Amazon: 

Some young ladies marry for money and social standing, a few lucky ones marry for love, but Tiffany Warren is marrying to end a feud. Honoring her mother’s wishes, Tiffany reluctantly travels west to meet her estranged father and his enemy’s eldest son, rancher Hunter Callahan. Once the Warrens and the Callahans are united by marriage, both clans will stop squabbling over a disputed strip of land. But in the chaos of a train robbery Tiffany seizes a golden opportunity: By assuming the identity of her father’s new housekeeper she can live with the father she never knew while assessing the character of the neighboring cowboy to whom she is betrothed. But the moment she steps off the train, the Callahans steal the “housekeeper” from their rivals, the Warrens! 

Now Tiffany, masquerading as Jennifer Fleming, finds herself living in the enemy camp, under the same roof as her fiancĂ©, a handsome, sweettalking charmer whom she has to fight off because he can’t keep his eyes— or his hands—off Jennifer. After Tiffany’s charade is exposed, she refuses to marry Hunter. How can she wed a man who is in love with another woman? As Hunter goes about claiming his rightful bride-to-be, he knows he loves two women—proper, elegant Tiffany as well as spunky, passionate Jennifer—but he has only one heart to win.

My Review:

I believe my mother-in-law introduced me to the world of Johanna Lindsey - historical romance, dashing and roguish strong male leads, feisty and charming females, a little bit of heat, lots of adventure, overall predictable, but enjoyable.  

This might be the first of her novels that I've found to be just so-so.  It was merely okay, it was a quick read - your typical historical romantic fluff.  Unfortunately, it was a little to "blah" for my liking.  I didn't enjoy the male lead (Hunter) all that much and actually found the side character Degan to be of more interest than Hunter.  Tiffany irked me on some level that can't even pinpoint.

The premise of the story could have been wonderful - sacrificial marriage to end a feud, but really it was one deception after another with a whole heap of trouble caused either by the lies themselves or the revelation of the lies.  The romance was lost in the shuffle of subplots and backstory and I just didn't love it.  It had potential, but was missing some of the Johanna Lindsey magic that will generally capture my attention.   This is a borrow, don't buy - and save it for a mindless read.