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Marianne Arkins

REVIEW: One Love for Liv by Marianne Arkins

REVIEW: One Love for Liv by Marianne Arkins

Dear Mrs. Arkins,

one-love-for-liv.jpgMy decision to try another of your books coincided nicely with Samhain’s offer of this novel. It’s longer length, screwball comedy feel and more contemporary setting are a 180 degree contrast with the historical novella “Don’t Fence Me In” and gave me a good chance to see what else your writing has to offer.

Screwball comedies require a level of suspension of belief from a viewer/reader. Bizarre situations must be accepted, strange things that would never pass muster in real life have to taken on faith and we have to be willing to be lead where the story goes. Could I keep from staring in disbelief if someone told me about a woman who is almost totally controlled by her rich father despite being a successful business woman and she’s going to marry a man for whom her feelings are tepid at best? And that this woman, thinking that her fiance is cheating on her will follow the woman she thinks is the co-cheater, inveigle herself into the life of this woman’s hot next door neighbor in order to spy on her? And that she’ll end up quickly falling in love with a man who’s her total opposite while he, who has always avoided commitment will also fall for her? And it will all take place over the course of 3 weeks then lead to a HEA? Not a chance. But then this is a screwball-ish story so see the first sentences of this paragraph.

I enjoyed watching Liv come out of her shell, spread her wings and learn to enjoy fast food with beer. I was a tad skeptical that she’s never seen refrigerators without ice makers, felt she couldn’t speak up about what food was placed in front of her to eat and didn’t realize you don’t put a cardboard box in the stove while keeping dinner warm. A few of the things she does make me wonder how she could manage to get from here to there every day. She also has an annoying tendency to start crying if anything goes wrong in her life.

Mike the mechanic is more realistic. Okay this may be sexist on my part but I could totally believe the state of his bachelor apartment though I found myself nodding my head in agreement when he questions why he’s willing to give a woman he barely knows the key to his place and a prepaid grocery store card. Liv’s fiance ultimately turned out to be a nice departure from the romance norm. I loved Rhett the ferret but got tired of slobbery Spike the dog.

I do feel the need to take points away for the too quick wrap up of the story. And what’s the deal with Liv’s father’s reaction to her wedding day announcement? I mean, WTF? Where did that come from? And no way can I believe that an altered marriage license could be obtained that quickly on a Saturday. At this point my disbelief reared its head for good.

Still, this is a nice little comedy about nice people finding their HEA. I think Liv might be pleasantly surprised by the earning potential of a good garage owning mechanic. I know I wince at the per hour labor costs posted at my trusted mechanic’s shop. B-

~Jayne

available as an ebook

REVIEW: Don’t Fence Me In by Marianne Arkins

REVIEW: Don’t Fence Me In by Marianne Arkins

Dear Ms Arkins,

dont-fence-me-in.jpgI adore finding romances set in unusual times or places which is why I jumped on “Don’t Fence Me In” when I saw it listed at Fictionwise. I’ve read some great short stories that managed to completely convince me of the couple’s HEA. And then I’ve read some that just didn’t quite do it for me. And this is why, despite the fact that I think you managed to give the book a good period feel and I like your writing style, that I feel I have to grade it a C+.

I did feel the attraction between Jeremy and Lizzie. I did feel Lizzie’s sense of loss over the death of her older brother. I did feel Jeremy’s guilt about thinking he let his best friend down and that Seb died when he, Jeremy, should have been on that patrol. But I just didn’t feel that these two had fallen in love enough to sustain my belief in their HEA. Maybe if they had corresponded for more time or if the story had ended with them just getting together and starting to date it would have worked better for me. I see that you have several other titles available from Fictionwise so maybe I’ll try one of them.

~Jayne

Available from Fictionwise