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
I’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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