Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: He's The One with Linda Lael Miller, Jill Shalvis, Lucy Monroe, Kate Angell, Cat Johnson

He's The One is a contemporary romance anthology with short, sweet, sexy stories about finding him, the one. This book is perfect for the beach or a vacation because you can read one short story, put the book down, go have a good time, and get back to another story later on. Not all the stories and authors worked for me personally, but there's something here for everyone.

I have two personal favorites beginning with No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service by Kate Angell. Angell scores high with me by focusing her sexy romance on one couple from her already established Barefoot Williams world. I found this short story to be truly romantic, high on the sensuality scale, with a wonderful happy ending and an absolutely gorgeous summer atmosphere that really fits this anthology.

My other favorite is Fish Out of Water by Cat Johnson. Cat Johnson's contribution won me at "hello," or as soon as the handsome but rather nerdy and brilliant English professor was introduced. I love how passions run deep and wild once he meets his "cowgirl." She sees more under his pink polo shirt and lack of fishing/camping experience, and he sees more than the "cowgirl" trappings as they take each other for the ride of their lives. This is a sexy summer read that kept me engaged from beginning to end.

Less enthralling, yet still good enough for me, is Jill Shalvis' Captivated. In this novella, the married protagonists meet at their vacation cottage under highly unusual circumstances just after she serves him with divorce papers. This is a "hot, hot" signature Shalvis piece with chemistry between the couple, great atmosphere and a beautiful summer setting. On the minus side, there is a forced quality to the set up or unusual set of circumstances and the ending is a bit "over-the-top."

Seducing Tabby by Lucy Monroe comes in on the average side with a story about a gorgeous Englishman who sets his rather possessive sights on a curvaceous beauty who believes men only approach her to gather information about her classically gorgeous sister. This story begins with a great premise, but it doesn't quite deliver. It has a nice, slow, non-sexual seduction that I enjoyed, with sexual tension used to build up the relationship. However, for some reason, his quick claims of "love" feel more calculated than passionate, and the end is rushed and rather predictable.

The one short story that didn't really work for me is Batteries Not Required by Linda Lael Miller. In this romance a woman returns to a town where she lived years ago for a very short period of time and as soon as her feet hit the ground she meets the old boyfriend she ran away from. Things get moving and shaking between the two in the blink of an eye despite the rather superficial misunderstanding that kept them apart for years. Years when they "thought about each other" every so often. This romance and its quick, improbable happy ending felt wrong from the beginning and fell flat for me in the end.

As you can see, I liked some novellas more than others in the He's The One anthology, but the one winning factor they all have in common is the summer theme. I like that the settings for the romances are different, yet they all fit the theme perfectly. Our couples find love in a diner on a boardwalk, while on a fishing trip to a lake, stranded on a beautiful Mexican beach, discovering each other in a small coastal town, and meeting again in the beautiful west. All of these places help give this anthology that wonderful feel of sunshine, warm summer breezes and well... summer love.

Category: Contemporary Romance/Anthology
Series: None
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: Kensington
Grade: B-

6 comments:

  1. sounds like a good antology over all, which is kind of hard to find these days.
    I'll try to check it out, you had me at nerdy but passionate english professor ç.D

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    1. Alex, that story by Cat Johnson was a good one! This is a good beach/poolside read. I think you'll enjoy it overall.

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  2. I swear I commented! What happened?

    Anyway, for once, we have identical opinions on all the short stories, Hils! Doesn't Fish Out of the Water makes you want to give this series of Ms Johnson a try? I know her other books haven't worked out for you, but this one, I'm really tempted LOL.

    Funny how it seems Ms Angell's short stories work better for you than her full-length novels! I remember you liking her in another Christmas anthology and that's why you started giving her a chance... Hmmmm. Perhaps it's because she's more focus in them?

    If it wasn't these two stories, the anthology wouldn't have been worth it. The Jill Shalvis was borderline okay in my opinion.

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    1. Nath, your comment was swallowed by blogger's black hole! LOL!

      You know? I definitely need to check out Cat Johnson's contemporary series. I should at least try the first book to see how it works out because I loved this novella. :) And, yes, you're absolutely right about Angell. I find that when she focuses on one romance, as she does in her novellas, her work shines. I loved the one, it was my absolute favorite.

      As far as Shalvis? Well, I'm a fan and Captivated has a lot of what works for me. But you are right, as I point out above, it has its flaws. Monroe's was ok at best, but I have to say that I liked it much more than Miller's (2 stars or D). If I had to do it all over again, I would read the rest of the stories and skip that one.*g*

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  3. LOL, i think one of the reasons I was so tough with Shalvis is because I read the short stories out of order. You know me LOL. I started with Kate Angell, because that was the one I really wanted to read and then, went on with Cat Johnson, because it came next... and then decided to go back to the beginning and meh.

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    1. Ohhh, well. I can see what happened there Nath. LOL! I read the stories in order and made my notes accordingly. Although, as you can see, when I wrote the review I chose to go with favorite to least favorite and not in reading order. :D

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