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REVIEW:  Surviving America’s Sweetheart by Lori Green

REVIEW: Surviving America’s Sweetheart by Lori Green

surviving

What would happen if the Bachelorette found herself in the Hunger Games?

Riley Davenport has it all. She’s America’s Sweetheart, the lucky woman seeking her true love from a pool of twenty-five handsome bachelors. All she has to do is survive.
The odds are stacked against her. With Lucifer and God trying to one-up each other using reality television as their new battleground, Riley must fight murderous demons, boring angels and jaded TV hosts for her happily ever after.

As long as the hot tub isn’t filled with molten lava, she might have a fighting chance. If she doesn’t lose her life, she might lose her heart.

Dear Ms Green,

I saw this listed in our submissions section and something called out to me, “read this this one.” Maybe it’s the “mish-mash” plot. Perhaps it was the excerpt. But anyway, I pushed back the book I had been planning to read that day and queued this one up on the ereader.

What a cute premise! It’s different, it’s timely, it’s a crazy mix of reality/dating TV shows with a paranormal romance that winds up sending them both up. I don’t read too many paranormals and have never watched any reality TV so perhaps that’s why it all seemed so fresh to me but I had a blast reading it.

Since we the readers and Riley can’t know much about each bachelor – after all it would ruin the ratings if everyone knew who was going to start the demon fighting – having it be a first person point of view narrative makes sense. And since even the show host much less Riley doesn’t know demon from angel from mere mortal – though everyone has their suspicions – it certainly adds spice to Riley’s picks and dates.

Riley is a woman unabashedly out to find the love of her life. As such, she’s as prone to weak knees from a soul melting kiss as the next woman. But she’s also done her research on the show – demon fights generally occur on the second day during the group date – and her prep work with fight trainers, exercise coaches and fitness gurus. She’s as ready to fight off the hell spawn as she can be while keeping an open mind as to who gets a rose at the end of the night. I do love the way she tries to ensure that her two final picks are men she might actually have a future with rather than just ones who trip her trigger and send her pulses racing. Her ultimate choice is based in mutual compatibility and a hilarious final date.

“Surviving America’s Sweetheart” is fast, fun and funny though the humor is more silly than actually black, IMO. I did notice a continuity name issue and a few of the sentences needed to be read a few times for the meaning to be plain but I’m glad to gave this one a try. B

~Jayne

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REVIEW:  Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy

REVIEW: Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy

Talk This Way by Dakota Cassidy

Dear Ms. Cassidy:

I didn’t think I could be surprised by an author.  Oh, I’m well aware of the idea that authors can be good at multiple things and write in a variety of styles.  However, I’ve only known you as being the queen of the sexy, outlandish and dirty-mouthed passion.  And yet you absolutely and totally blew me away with your contemporary novella, “Talk this Way.” It’s a prequel, of sorts, to “Talk Dirty to Me,” which will be covered in another review.  I have to say that I was delighted, in some of the best ways, by the thoughtful and sensitive writing combined with page-blazing sexiness.

Catherine Butler is a woman on a mission to get her mother the best medical care possible.  There’s only one teensy, tiny problem – she has abysmal luck keeping jobs – and men.  If she doesn’t get bored with them, something happens that just ends things.  The latest job slides through her fingers thanks to handsome, charismatic and occasionally clueless Flynn McGrady.  Flynn’s mother is in the same exclusive rehabilitation facility as Cat’s – and he’s livid with her for giving his mother a smutty romance novel (oh, the irony!).  Not only that, but Cat’s the darling of the facility, taking time to get to know all of the patients and to do something a little special for each one of them every day.  With the help of Landon, one of the younger patients at the facility, Cat’s able to land a job that will keep her mother in the facility and her out of the poorhouse.  There’s just one small catch – it’s managing a phone sex operation!  Cat has to not only reconcile with her new career, but also telling Flynn before it’s too late, all while caring for the group of operators under Landon’s care, a motley collection of “companionators” and outcasts who’ve been given another chance at a great life.

All I can say is that this novella was absolutely luscious.  I loved Cat.  I love the way she gives to everyone she meets and stands up for the underdogs.  In a world of quirky heroines, she stands out to me simply because she –gives-.  Even when she has nothing, she has a smile for Flynn’s mother, who’s had a stroke.  She has a cupcake for someone who was having a birthday.  She organizes “you’re sprung” parties for those going home.  No, she’s not one of those perfect heroines who has everything together and doesn’t need anyone.  Cat’s flawed – and so is Flynn.  And that’s quite alright.  Part of Cat’s charm is that she’s not found the place to settle down yet.  In a world filled with pressure to be good at just one or two things – work, motherhood, relationships, fifty-yard-brownie-dash – Cat’s a Renaissance woman, the total package.  For me, Flynn is a little lackluster.  I wanted a bit more from him – he comes across as a little sweet, a little fumbling, but mostly the sexy man candy for Cat to booty bounce on.

Now, before you go thinking that this is going to be some “Pretty Woman” schmaltz, let me clarify something.  All of the women Landon has taken in are strong, beautiful, powerful women in their own right – survivors.  They may not look or act like typical heroines, but each one of those ladies has a story to share – and they do, in an amazingly funny, non-preachy way.  And some of them are also going to be getting their own books!

My absolute favorite character, however, is Landon.  Slowly throughout the novella we find out bits and pieces of this man’s history.  He’s in his 40s, gay, rich, and has a penchant for collecting stray people to him.  I’d say he collects people like stray kittens, but most of the people he collects could more appropriately be termed stray tigers.  The progression of character growth centered on him astounded me.  And yes, by the end of the book, I was sobbing and frantically searching Amazon for more.  I wanted more and I wanted it RIGHT NOW.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this book.  It was a decided departure from the “Accidentally” series and everything else I’ve read of your backlist.  It showcased a softer side of Dakota Cassidy and felt a bit more tightly structured than other books, less…slapdash isn’t quite the right word.  It’s more like, in your paranormals, characters tend to be rushing headlong into things at an almost frantic pace.  This one, though, had a more relaxed air.  I know that works set in your Plum Orchard universe have come before – and they’re new to me.  I’ll be slowly adding them to my Kindle – after I tear through everything else I can find in the “Talk…” series.  B

Dearly Wishing to find Her Landon,
Mary Kate

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