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

friends-to-lovers

REVIEW:  The Do Over by M.K. Schiller

REVIEW: The Do Over by M.K. Schiller

The Do-Over  by MK Schiller

Dear Ms. Schiller:

Initially I resisted buying this book because it was fairly pricey and while The Other C Word was entertaining, it wasn’t that entertaining plus TOCW had a lot of problematic issues such as the non stop sexual harassment by the hero. However, Mistress M from SM Book Obsessions said it was sweet and funny and I needed some of that over the holiday and it was worth the money.

The positives for this book is that there was a sweet romance despite the alphahole tendencies of the hero and the heroine was pretty awesome. Attorney Lanie Carmichael is set up with womanizer Kyle Manchester and immediately sees through him but she doesn’t care.  She wants Kyle to teach her how to get his best friend Brad (her co worker who is currently dating Lanie’s sister) to fall in love with her.

Kyle thinks that this is an impossible task because Lanie doesn’t have a figure, is kind of abrasive, and has the sex appeal of a stick. Lanie thinks that Kyle is perfect for the job because he’s a shallow womanizer who is a great journalist but may be a terrible human being.  Lanie tempts Kyle with an exclusive story that could win him a Pulitzer. Four clients of hers were forced into a sex ring by a prominent politician. The clients are suing for emotional damages and are willing to share their story. Lanie’s handling that interview and thinks Kyle would be the right journalist based on his past work.

Because Kyle wants the story and is intrigued by Lanie’s plan, he agrees but tells her he can’t make Brad fall in love with her. Lanie knows this but believes that with the right information, she can accomplish anything. She’s an excellent trial lawyer (although never does the in court work) and excels at preparation and also negotiation.

“Yes. We’re both juniors at our firm. I’ll make partner this year. Brad probably will in two years.”

Jesus, is that an insult to Brad? How could he describe this girl as shy? She was very full of herself.

“That’s great. So do you like it?”

He didn’t know why, but her odd demeanor was interesting. She adjusted the mop of curly auburn hair that threatened to spring free of the tight bun on top of her head.

“I’m good at it. It’s what I’m meant to do.”

“Why? Do you like fighting for the little guy and getting justice?” Kyle asked somewhat mockingly.

Lanie took a long sip of her drink, followed by a deep breath. “No, it’s not my job to get justice for people. That’s what the courts do.”

“Then what’s your job?”

“Winning.”

I just loved this unapologetic confidence in Lanie.  This could have easily slid into wallbanger status if not for Lanie. She’s smart and knows her strengths and weaknesses.  She’s insightful, able to read Kyle easily and recognizes her sister is a horrible person but still feels some familial responsibility toward her.

There is no insta-lust. Lanie doesn’t respect Kyle or want him. She wants Brad who she views as a great lawyer, great co worker, and decent human being. She thinks that they would be perfect together and is going to use Kyle to gather all the research she needs to execute a plan of attack. Kyle doesn’t think Lanie is hot at all. After each meeting, however, Kyle begins to notice things about Lanie. First it is her hair. Then her smile. Then her eyes until he doesn’t even focus on her looks anymore, but rather Lanie herself. He notices she’s fun to spend time with and is an engaging conversationalist.

Kyle’s plan isn’t to attract and/or please Brad, but to make Lanie more desirable. They do this, not by giving Lanie a makeover, but by Kyle pretending that Lanie and he are a real couple. As pretend relationship goes forward, Lanie and Kyle spend a lot of time together but as their feelings deepen for each other they don’t even realize it at first.

What I loved was that Kyle fell for Lanie before her wardrobe makeover and before other people found her attractive so he wasn’t a victim of the plan that he had for Brad — that a guy only wants a woman who is unavailable to him. Although Lanie was emotionally unavailable to him. Lanie told him time and again that Brad was the man for her until she woke up and realized that every attribute she thought she liked in Brad actually were attributes of Kyle.

Their transformations were well paced as was the romance. It is a pleasure watching a couple actually fall in love. While the price for this book is rather high, it was worth it for me.  Most of the story is told from Kyle’s point of view. I’ve seen some comparison’s to Emma Chase’s Tangled and those are fair but while Drew in Tangled was a misogynistic asshole from beginning to end, Kyle had a real redemptive arc and his womanizing didn’t come from a hate of women but a self hate. Thanks for the recommendation, Mistress M! B

Best regards,

Jane

 

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle

REVIEW:  King of Threadneedle Street by Moriah Densley

REVIEW: King of Threadneedle Street by Moriah Densley

Dear Ms. Densley:

Historical romance reviews are hard to come by not just at Dear Author but around the internet. In an email exchange with Jayne, we joked about putting a bounty on historical reviews meaning we’d pay extra for every historical review that appeared in our inbox. But change starts at home so I pledged I would read and review one new historical every month in 2014.

The King Of Threadneedle Street (Rougemont #2) by Moriah DensleyI started early with The King of Threadneedle Street. It was the number one Victorian romance over at Amazon and it was a bargain price at 99c. The concept is tantalizing but the execution left a lot to be desired.

Alysia Villier is the daughter of a famous courtesan who married well enough to die a Countess but because of Alysia’s notorious parentage, the likelihood of her marrying well is low. Or so we are told. Alysia’s position in the Courtenay household is bizarre. She serves as almost Lord Courtenay’s secretary cum steward, sorting correspondence, sending out replies, handling tenant complaints. She also plans the wedding of Lord Courtenay’s daughter to Duke of Belmont.

Andrew asks his father “Where is the steward? Who is the mistress of the house? Is my mother so addle-brained that Alysia must manage your estate?”

Unfortunately for Andrew, Alysia and the reader, there is no response.

In a convoluted set up, Alysia grows up in the home of Marquees of Courtenay where she and the heir, Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, share a childhood romance. Lord Courtenay does not want his bloodlines tainted with the likes of Alysia and he warns her off constantly. Initially a bargain is struck to send Alysia to another home to ostensibly be a companion to Viscountess Harringer but really she’ll be the son’s mistress.

When Andrew suggests a different position for her – any position she desires whether it be lover, mistress, or wife – Alysia refuses. She’d rather, I guess, be the mistress to some stranger than be with her childhood beloved because she fears his social ostracization. Andrew continues to pursue Alysia throughout the story as she runs from him and his desire to give her a legitimate place in society, one beside the man she purports to love.

To tarnish her even more, Alysia goes to Paris where she becomes an actress and–unbeknowst to her–a demimonde in training. Fortunately Andrew has been searching for her and finds her before she can be sold to someone else. All this happens and Alysia remains untouched.

Alysia’s continued rejection of Andrew makes very little sense to me. He’s a man of great fortune. He’s brilliant. He’s the son of a Marquess. The idea that in the late 1800s him marrying a Countess’s daughter even if the Countess had a poor reputation would somehow ruin his ability to make money trading stocks wasn’t well conveyed in the book.

None of the surrounding characters made much sense either. Andrew doesn’t squawk when his sister’s new husband wants to invite Alysia on the honeymoon. While he might warn Alysia away from the Duke of Belmont, he makes no moves to warn his sister. His mother continually pushes awful women at Andrew including ones that have about as poor of a reputation as Alysia, yet shuns Alysia.  His father raises his mistress’s daughter in his household but won’t countenance a relationship between her and his son. Instead, he does everything he can to push Alysia into high class prostitution.

And it’s not that Alysia will be poor either. Thanks to the management of her money by Andrew, Alysia will be very wealthy when she comes into her inheritance.  So none of the choices made by any major players in the book seemed authentic. The plot became even more convoluted as the story went on. The twists in the story seemed melodramatic rather than interesting as we discover Alysia’s parentage and Alysia and Andrew’s social standing almost flips. Perhaps with tighter editing or a more focused plot this could have been interesting.

Andrew was a sweet beta hero who was head over heels in love with Alysia. They were two nice characters who probably belonged together but the effort to keep them apart was too artificial.

It’s a fairly long book,  made longer by the unnecessary addition of nonsensical plot point after nonsensical plot point.  It took me six days to finish this book. It’s an inauspicious start to my renewed commitment to historicals. D

Best regards,

Jane

 

 

AmazonBNSonyKoboAREBook DepositoryGoogle