Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Jayne S

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

Posts by Jayne S:

REVIEW:  Taking Him Down by Meg Maguire

REVIEW: Taking Him Down by Meg Maguire


Rules of the Ring…

No unsportsmanlike conduct

“Matchmaker Lindsey Tuttle always thought Rich Estrada was a whole lot of sexy. What’s not to lust after? He’s a gorgeous, flirty mixed martial arts fighter. When they find themselves heating up during an unexpected–and superintense–make-out session, Lindsey is ready…until Rich ends it with no explanation.

Three rounds…

Now it’s almost a year later, and Rich has a broken foot, which means a frustrating recovery back in Boston before his next fight. But this could be the perfect time for a rematch with a sexy little matchmaker….

And minimal clothing!

There’s no denying the chemistry between them. It’s full-contact, no-holds-barred attraction…and only one can be on top!”

Dear Ms. Maguire,

After reading the first book in this series, “Making Him Sweat,” I was hoping that there would be a follow up featuring two secondary characters of that book. Rich Estrada is all cocky charm and in-your-face athletics. Or maybe that’s the other way around. Either way, he’s dedicated to his MMA training and not looking for a relationship. Lindsey Tuttle is a modern Boston woman working in an old-fashioned business – matchmaking. And while she’s enjoyed flirting with Rich she’s on again/off again engaged and not looking to cheat.

Taking Him Down by Meg MaguireThis all changes one night after Rich wins a bout that earns him the attention of agents. At an after fight party, Rich and Lindsey – who up until now hasn’t really followed MMA – finally seem to connect on a deeper basis. To Lindsey, Rich shows a hint of a man who might not be as self assured as he appears on the surface. To Rich, Lindsey gives the impression that she might actually be attracted to a man who only knows how to fight for a living. It finally seems like they might take their simmering attraction for each other past the flirting stage. Only Rich gets some misinformation and cools things down before they accelerate any further.

I like that Rich is honorable enough not to want to poach on who he thinks is another man’s woman. Lindsey is upset about how the night fizzles out but she’s got enough self respect that she doesn’t throw herself at him before he leaves and then finishes off her now permanently off engagement. The ten month interval gives enough time for Lindsey to get into MMA, Rich to train with the pros and earn his old Fight Academy some notice and both of them to think about that night that might have been before an injury brings Rich back home.

The Rich who arrives back in Boston to heal is a different man. His immigrant father’s failure to provide for his family before his death made Rich the breadwinner for his mother and sister. And the threat of following in his father’s footsteps hangs over Rich’s head. Meanwhile, Lindsey’s youngest sister has landed in Boston after running away from home and it looks like Lindsey is going to play nursemaid for a few months.

Rich and Lindsey tentatively begin to revisit their old flirty ways and then take the relationship deeper. Rich finds himself telling Lindsey things about his life and his fears that he’s never revealed to anyone. Lindsey puts her sister to work at the Fight Academy earning money as a way to convince Maya to go home but Maya just might have what it takes to become the first woman to be trained there. Rich and Lindsey finally get physical and the heat about blows some doors off. But is there enough between them to take things any further or will hawt sex be as far as they go?

My problem with half of “Making Him Sweat” was that the conflict seemed to fizzle out and too much time was spent on issues outside of the romantic relationship. Here, I didn’t have either problem. Enough space is dedicated to Rich and Lindsey’s respective careers and home life to make them well rounded as people but it doesn’t take away from their burgeoning romance. The sex is smoking but before they commit to each other, they realize that each needs the other on a deeper basis. Rich discovers that without Lindsey he’s a hollow man while Lindsey sees in Rich the man who lights her up from inside. By the time they’re set for the future, I’m totally on board. Now, I wonder who you’ll write about next. B


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REVIEW:  The Young Clementina  by D.E. Stevenson

REVIEW: The Young Clementina by D.E. Stevenson

“Charlotte, the determined heroine of beloved author D.E. Stevenson’s The Young Clementina, has her future all planned out. But when Garth, the man Charlotte loves, marries her sister instead, Charlotte is heartbroken and moves to London to escape her pain. After the two divorce, Garth’s tragic death forces Charlotte to care for her young niece, Clementina, who gives Charlotte a new perspective on life.”

Dear Readers,

God, I love the covers that Sourcebook is reissuing her books with! But frankly if this had been the first Stevenson book I’d read, I doubt I would have sought out any more. A Patient Griselda heroine + an angsty hero whose emotions run hot and cold as well as a slightly saga feel means I would probably have written this author off.

Young-ClementinaThis has a very different feel to me from the previous two Stevenson books I read. I found less humor – in fact almost no humor – much more angst and – at times – a soap opera-ish feel. I had been expecting an immediate feeling of romance or at the very least a possible romance but after reading the first 2 chapters, I had to search out reviews to be sure that I would get one. Yes, it does eventually arrive but the journey is a long one and fraught with heartache. Oh, what one little lie and some innuendo can do.

In the Miss Buncle books, Stevenson presents mainly country folk who look askance at Londoners even as they prefer to stick to their Own Kind. This is even more the case here although Charlotte Dean recounts how she spent 12 years living in London. Since she was pining for the country the whole time – does it count? The country life is lovingly detailed in all seasons – its freshness, openness, and healing atmosphere. The people, however, can be just as judgemental as anywhere else, as Char realizes.

Her sister’s divorce proceedings were shameful and painful for Char while she was in London and as she discovers once she is among them again, the 1930s attitude to a broken marriage can be as pointed in the country.

The story and people are also products of their time and might come across as odd, disturbing or prejudiced to us now. The country people are horse mad, there is an older man who fancies himself in love with a much younger girl and the attitudes of the English in the story towards African porters and Australian aborigines are very 1930s.

Once the romance arrived, it was delightful. The only problem is that after a fleeting glimpse of it at the beginning of the book, it doesn’t arrive again until the very end. Frankly, I wanted more than what I got.

It does show life from early turn of the 20th century through the mid 1930s – the good the bad and the ugly. But it is a shattered “Young Love’s Dream saga of heartache bravely faced with a stiff upper lip, one must carry on in the face of broken dreams and duty to one’s ancestral line” sort of story as well. I didn’t find it as much fun as the Buncle books but if you’re looking for an angst-fest, it might be for you. C-


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