Sunday, November 27, 2011

Contemporary Minis: Sarah Mayberry, Victorial Dahl and more...

Happy Sunday! I hope all who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful long weekend! I certainly did. Today I've grouped four recent contemporary romance reads from Harlequin and am sharing them via mini-impressions -- two recent releases and two older ones. The grades range from B+ to B- so they all turned out to be enjoyable reads for different reasons.

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All They Need by Sarah Mayberry

I really enjoy Sarah Mayberry's contemporary romances, but I was hesitant to read All They Need because well... it deals with Alzheimer's and that kind of hits home. However, Mayberry seems to explore these serious subjects with sensitivity and in the end that's what changed my mind. It was an emotional read for me and of course that touch of realism hit me hard, but the romance balanced it out. That's what Mayberry does so well.

Mel and Flynn's romance develops nice and slow. Flynn is a heck of a guy. At times I thought he was too perfect, but that's not necessarily true. I think it's good that he shows his self-absorbed side at the beginning because for the rest of the story, he's pretty much understanding, sweet, passionate and loving. Mel? Well, Mel has been traumatized by her marriage and the psychological abuse her ex-husband dished out during all that time. She's not ready for a long term relationship, and although she allows passion to rule her relationship with Flynn, her heart and head are another matter. That becomes the real conflict between them. Lack of trust and real emotion. I had a couple of issues with this romance, mainly to do with Mel's change of heart and unseen character growth. However overall, I found this to be another solid contemporary romance by Ms. Mayberry. (Harlequin, November 1, 2011): Grade B

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Real Men Will (Donovan Brothers Brewery #3) by Victoria Dahl

I liked Eric Donovan when I first met him in Good Girls Don't. I know... I know... he was tough on the kids (and kids they were, and to me they still are at the end of this series if you go by their immature and self-centered regressive behavior), but to me both those kids needed a good kick in the butt. True, he didn't always handle things correctly, but then when taking into consideration the circumstances he did the best he could and should have been admired for it. His siblings didn't really seem to appreciate Eric's position and that was a real shame. But anyway... enough about the frustrating sibling relationship and on to the romance.

I was happy that Eric found himself a woman, and Beth was definitely good for him. Their relationship began as a one night stand based on a lie, and later on continued as a steamy and sensual sexual relationship between adults that slowly developed into more. These two people had baggage and they both had to struggle to make a complex relationship a success, so as it turned out it was even sweeter when at the end it did. This was a highly enjoyable contemporary for me because I really liked both central characters and their romance. (HQN Books, October 25, 2011): Grade B+

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I also read two contemporary category romances that are older releases, but turned out to be quite fun! The first one is Sex, Straight Up by Kathleen O'Reilly (Blaze #388), the second book in the Those Sexy O'Sullivan's trilogy and Daniel O'Sullivan's story. I was really surprised at how good and sexy this story turned out and I liked it more than the first book. Why? Well, mainly because Daniel is a widower still grieving for his wife who died during the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 and he was so reluctant to let her go. However, in this book (as opposed to the first one where the male was the only reason for my grade) the female character, Catherine Montefiore, made a difference and provided balance. She turned everything around and made this story really work for me. I found this one to be a sexy, emotional and satisfying read. (Harlequin, April 1, 2008): Grade B

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The other book is By the Book by Nancy Warren (Blaze #85). Now this one was fluffy, fun and just what I needed to read at the time. Shari decides she's going to have a hot date and maybe a night with the hunky downstairs neighbor, but when she sees that he sent for a book with the title "Sex for Total Morons" she changes her mind. Luke is not about to let her, so he asks her to help him get through part of the book, and hmm.. she becomes his tutor -- just for the first few chapters. Riiiight! Of course, we all know who wrote the book, yes? This one turned out to be a book where characters have lots of preconceived ideas on all sides, with lots of fun dialogue, funny situations and sexy circumstances. As I said above, fluffy, fun and read at just the right moment. (Harlequin, May 1, 2003): Grade B-

9 comments:

  1. I've been meaning to try that Sarah Mayberry book, it sounded like something I would like. and you have intrigued me about Good Men Will, I haven't read that author before but I like the description!
    :D thanks for your minis!

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  2. Alex, Dahl writes both historical and contemporary romances. This is a good contemporary series with romances and a troubled sibling relationship that slowly gets resolved throughout the trilogy. These are B and B- reads for me (not A's), but for some readers they are! So you have to read them for yourself to decide. *g*

    Mayberry is a solid writer. So far I love, love her Harlequin Blaze contributions and I've enjoyed her Super Romances. They are all complete and well developed even though they are in a short format. Very few complaints from me. :)

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  3. Fun books! I really like Mayberry but haven't seen that first one on your list. I'll have to check it out.

    Thanks for the great mini-reviews.

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed Sex, Straight Up. I pick it up from time to time for a quick re-read. And I still have to read the Sarah Mayberry. *sigh* Too many books and not enough time! LOL

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  5. Tracy, I enjoyed all of them. That's the latest release by Mayberry, it came out at the beginning of the month. I hope you enjoy it!

    Ames, Sex, Straight Up was good! I liked both Daniel and Catherine... and O'Reilly writes some hot contemporaries, right? I have to look up her more recent releases. I still have the last book in this trilogy in my TBR (thanks to Tabitha). *g* And I know what you mean about too many books! Hope you enjoy the latest Mayberry too. :)

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  6. Well one thing for sure, you're reading LOL :) So does that mean, you stopped being distracted by your Kindle Fire? :)

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  7. Nath yes well... I've read some here and there. *g* I'm still distracted by the KF! I'm now addicted to Angry Birds, the crossword puzzle and playing Spades! LOLOL! But, I'm also reading. LOL!

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  8. LOL, Angry Birds ;) everyone has that phase, don't worry :)

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