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India Grey

REVIEW: In Bed with a Stranger by India Grey

REVIEW: In Bed with a Stranger by India Grey

Dear Ms. Grey:

This is a sequel to the Craving the Forbidden (review here) and I thought it was interesting to take an established relationship, shake it up, and still convince the readers at the end that these two could be happy beyond the pages of the book.  Sophie Greenham fell in love with Kit Fitzroy after pretending to be his brother’s fiancée.  Kit leaves for Aghanistan and when he returns, he is not the same person.  There is a bridge between the two that Sophie is unsure of how to cross.  The bridge began to build over Kit’s deployment, with his email responses and his phone conversations becoming terser, shorter.

In Bed with a Stranger	India GreyKit is suffering from a case of PTSD. It’s unclear how severe it is. He is jumpy at loud noises. He is experiencing night terrors.  He is feeling tremendous guilt over the injury to one of the young soldiers in his unit. Sophie acted quite young in this book and I was disappointed by her.  While Kit was gone for five months, it didn’t seem like Sophie did much to prepare herself for his return.  Her lack of understanding of what Kit might be going through seemed a tad self centered and a bit juvenile.

Both Kit and Sophie mask their relationship problems by enjoying each other physically, but Kit wonders that the shortness of their relationship (only three weeks before his five month deployment) could possibly withstand his mental and emotional difficulties.   They were, as Kit acknowledge, virtual strangers. Sophie preferred to believe that their physical closeness could not exist without emotional closeness.

The story transitions from Kit’s return to a trip to Morocco to meet with Kit’s estranged mother and to discover the secrets of his past.  Much of the book takes place in Morocco and the simple relationship problem is compounded by standard HP tropes which is where I felt the book faltered.  Sophie grew up with a hippy mother who refused to acknowledge ordinary structural bonds like the “mother/daughter”.  Her unconventional upbringing made her yearn for a stable home and a love like the one she believes she might have with Kit.  However, Kit’s wealth and titled family make her feel like that awkward commune girl trying to fit in with the cheerleaders at high school.  Sophie overcompensates, driven by her feelings of inferiority.  She never wants to show weakness in their relationship which, in turn, leads Kit to believe that she cannot handle the darkness of his emotions.  This emotional tug of war is great and the use of the sexual tension pushing against the emotional tension was moving.

I was less enthused by the mystery of Kit’s parentage. I felt that was an unnecessary complication and conflict and led to too easy of a resolution.  Kit hadn’t seen his mother since he was six yet the feelings of abandonment and betrayal were quickly resolved.  Combined with all the other emotional struggles Kit had to deal with, this seemed improbable. Further, I didn’t like the quick way in which Sophie became attached to Kit’s mother. In some ways, perhaps it was reasonable because Kit’s mother was like what Sophie wanted her own mother to be, but Sophie’s first priority should have been Kit’s emotional well being, just as making Sophie happy was Kit’s first thought.   This desire to push reconciliation on Kit was frustrating and seemed, again, a bit selfish.

This is not to say that Sophie was unlikeable but that this portion of the book was my least favorite.  I liked the idea of exploring their relationship at greater length, but I didn’t enjoy the mother complications, particularly because of how it was resolved. I will say that this story is very sexy and I appreciate the open door nature of the book, particularly having come off a stint of reading a few Harlequin SuperRomances where the sexual tension was about as spare as the fat on Heidi Klum’s thighs.  C+

Best regards

Jane

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REVIEW: Loving Our Heroes by Jessica Hart, Amy Andrews and India Grey

REVIEW: Loving Our Heroes by Jessica Hart, Amy Andrews and India...

I feel a bit bad about reviewing this book negatively because part of the proceeds go to a charity but I didn’t know that when it was offered on NetGalley so I will just review it like any other book, regardless of the good deed a purchase will bring about.  Maybe just donate that one pound directly?

Last Minute Proposal by Jessica Hart

Loving Our Heroes by Jessica Hart, Amy Andrews and India GreyI’m not a huge fan of reality tv shows as the basis of romance stories but I don’t know if there is anything worse than the reluctant reality tv show contestant who spends the first day saying that she wants to leave and who won’t engage in any of the activities without constant complaining.  What are you even there for?  The reality show consisted of two challenges. The first is for Tilly, the heroine, to do something that Campbell, the hero, excelled at which was an outdoor challenge.  The second was for Campbell to do something that Tilly was good at which was baking cakes. Tilly was a cake baker/decorator.

Neither of them sound authentic.  At one point, the producer of the show tells them that another couple has a GPS “That’ll give them an advantage, but we’ve got it here, and I can give it to you, too, if you like.”  How is that an advantage if everyone has one?  But regardless the response is worse.

‘What’s a GPS?’ asked Tilly

It’s a satellite navigation gizmo,’ said Campbell dismissively.  ‘Some people can’t get from A to B without them.”

Campbell is supposed to be former marine. I highly doubt he a) turns down GPS and b) calls it a gizmo.  And seriously, does anyone under the age of … 70 not know what GPS is?  And then Tilly is surprised at the fact that the camera is on them at all times.

“That’s great!’ she said enthusiastically.  ‘There’s real chemisty between you two.  The viewers will love it!’

‘What viewers?’ Tilly said blankly.

‘This is a television programme,’ Suzy reminded her. ‘That’s why we’ve been filming you.’

‘What, just now?’ Tilly cast a hunted look around.  Sure enough, one of the cameramen was filiming them from a few feet away.  ‘I thought it would be just when we were doing stuff,’ she whispered, hurriedly turning her back on him.

Ugh. Seriously?  But nothing about this book makes much sense. Neither Tilly nor Campbell are supposed to be the reality show contestants. They are both fill ins.  As if reality TV shows are desperate for candidates and will take any number of walk ons.  Plus, while the cameras were on the two every second during the outdoors trip, the cameras only showed up for the cake reveal in the second half of the competition not while Campbell was baking the cake or while Tilly was training him.  There was no consistency in the competition.

The one interesting thing in the story was seeing how different Tilly was based on her surroundings.  Outdoors, she was a ninny and worried constantly about her weight.  In her kitchen, she was confident and vibrant.  Campbell was your ordinary hard ass who softened at the end. D

Mission: Mountain Rescue by Amy Andrews

This is a reunited lovers story but the whole story felt very manufactured as if the great authorial hand came down to direct my attention.  Holly fell in love with Richard but because of their age difference and his job as a soldier with the UN, Richard broke it off. Holly was devastated but decided to do something with her life. She goes out and learns to be a midwife and she is sent to Tanrami on a humanitarian mission. Lo and behold, Richard is part of the military detachment there to protect the aid workers. The two get captured and taken to the mountains (hence the name “Mountain Rescue”). I felt detached from the story.

I didn’t believe that Holly had any interest in nursing (she was Humanitarian Barbie in my head) and Richard was portrayed initially as this hardened soldier and then transformed into Medic Ken in Tanrami, collecting water specimens and beating off the bad guys.  Maybe Medic GI Joe?

Nothing seemed to evolve naturally.  Holly and Richard need to get back together so we’ll send pretty fastidious Holly to be a midwife and then she gets to go on an aid mission.  Richard and Holly need to be together in a high stakes moment.  Let’s have them wander around unprotected and then get captured.  There needs to be medical jargon.  Let’s have some woman in the mountain village camp undergo a difficult birth so the words “cannula” and “episiotomy” can be used.  And let’s not forget that Richard, a soldier, has three different kinds of fluid in his pack “Saline, Haemaccel, Hartman’s.” (conveniently he is no longer just a soldier but a medic).  It also is amazing that Holly is the “only midwife in her student group who had witnessed a dystocia delivery.”  Richard has a big trauma that prevents him from accepting Holly’s love but in the mountains, he finds absolution in Holly’s arms.  Maybe if I enjoyed medical romances more, I would appreciate this story line but I found it too bland and unbelievable to be entertaining.  C-

Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire’s Pleasure by India Grey

Orlando Winterton is an RAF pilot who is losing is eyesight due to Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy.  He finds Rachel at the base of his brother’s grave, drinking and moaning about her sorry fate. Rachel is a famous pianist who is supposed to marry a famous conductor, the culmination of her mother’s plans.  Orlando thinks Rachel is a spoiled rich girl who won’t get her hands dirty when she protests that she can’t even cut a vegetable because her hands are precious.

I thought the confict set up was interesting. Rachel views herself as weak and helpless whereas Orlando is big and strong and capable .  They are both cowards and strong in their own ways.  Rachel emotionally picks herself up and allows herself to fall for not only Orlando but a baby that comes into their care.  Orlando, on the other hand, afraid of what others think of him and devastated by his disease, strikes out against people and becomes more isolated.  I wish that the story had been longer to tease out the contrasts, but  because of the truncated length, there is no sincerity in the emotions.

I did enjoy the story uses dramatic irony although I think it may have been overused.  Orlando thinks that Rachel holds him in disgust because of his eyesight and Rachel thinks Orlando believes her to be a useless git.  While I liked the emotion and the writing in this story more than the other three, it relies too heavily on worn tropes and sensationalized emotions.  C

None of these books feature a military person in active combat except for maybe  Medic Ken.

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