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REVIEW:  Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

REVIEW: Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

Looking for Trouble (Jackson: Girls' Night Out #1) by Victoria Dahl

Dear Ms. Dahl:

It was twitter chatter that made me pick this book up and I was really glad I did. Sophie Heyer is the local librarian who lives a quiet life full of secret desires for the rough and ready type of men. In walks Alex Bishop whose motorcycle boots and tattoos are as tempting as ice cream to a woman on a diary free diet. 

The conflict for Sophie and Alex centers around a twenty-five year old scandal when Sophie’s mother ran off with Alex’s father. It was learned that the two died rather than completely abandoning their families but the affair has had lasting repercussions on both families.

Alex’s mother spent his childhood chasing down phantoms, trying to locate his father at all costs. When he returns home at the request of his older brother and the promise that his mother is better. On his arrival he is already beset with regret. His mother seems more mad than ever. He feels disconnected with his brother. The one thing he does like is Sophie.

He doesn’t realize right away that she’s the daughter of the woman Alex’s mother blames for ruining their lives. Sophie has her own family problems. Her brother is having his own identity issues and starts pressing Alex’s family is uncomfortable ways.

Sophie looks like her mother and is the subject to vile things from Alex’s mother on a regular basis. Neither Sophie or Alex blame the other for their parents’ issues (although I think Sophie does a better job of this than Alex, particularly later in the book). The conflict was compelling and I bought into the resolution.

The other reviews of this book mention the sex as hot but confusing and I agree. Sophie, the subject of such onerous abuse in her hometown, dresses like the stereotypical puritan with modest clothes and hairstyles. She lives a quiet life yet no matter what she does, there are those who call her a whore, just like her mother.

In the bedroom, Sophie enjoys being called the same thing. Given her past and the way she lived her outside life, I would have liked some internal monologue on this subject. Alex’s immediate assumption of Sophie’s sexual preferences (good thing he guessed right) was also a little convenient. It reminded me of another book where the hero said that he was able to smell the heroine’s submissiveness.

It’s possible that some of this was explained in the prequel novella but I didn’t read that.

The ending is very much a HFN or leading up to a HFN which I didn’t mind. Their romance was based mostly on a physical attraction and the way in which their lives were changing, it made sense that the conclusion was a bit up in the air.

Probably the sweetest male in the book is Sophie’s dad who takes the abuse of being a cuckholded husband, raising two small children, and never ever getting angry at his kids not matter how provoked he was.

It’s not the same romance that I’ve read before. It’s very sexy. I liked both characters. It’s got flaws, but it’s a good way to spend an afternoon. B-

Best regards



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REVIEW: Not the Marrying Man by Miranda Lee & REVIEW:  The Highest Stakes of All by Sara Craven

REVIEW: Not the Marrying Man by Miranda Lee & REVIEW: ...

Dear Ms. Lee:

I was intrigued by this book because seton mentioned how much she liked in over at the Amazon thread “How about HPs’ that you like“. Seton is correct that this is a bit fresher take on the mistress/bazillionaire trope. The one drawback is that I thought the writing was kind of rough in places and I’m not quite sure how to demonstrate that.

Not a Marrying Man by  Miranda LeeThe story starts out with a young woman, Amber, writing in her diary about the imminent arrival of Warwick Kincaid, the new owner of the hotel where she works. Her first entry reflects exasperation with the furor the ownership change has created in the staff but subsequent entries show a changing mindset until Amber is swept away into Warwick’s life, as his mistress. Amber seemed much younger than 25 at times. She knows that being with Warwick is bad for her, that it offends everything that she thought she believed in, but she cannot bring herself to leave him.

Warwick treats Amber pretty poorly but you make us feel sorry for both of them by showing that Warwick’s actions make himself miserable. He’s just as much a victim to their lust/love/whatever as she is. Whether this bitter self hatred of his own actions is palatable will depend on the reader. Having read so many worse “heroes” in other books (see below), Warwick registered only as mildly assholic, particularly because after the first couple of scenes, we see that Amber has him wrapped around her finger (although she isn’t aware of it yet). Warwick tries to treat Amber poorly because he actually does love her. He wants her to break up with him and be happy to shake the dust of Warwick off her feet. But because he loves her and is weak, he also doesn’t want to leave her so he is constantly sending out mixed signals.

When Amber starts finding her nerve and bossing Warwick around, I started to really enjoy the story and certainly felt satisfied at the end. I still felt that the use of the diary and the way in which Amber talked and thought seemed too young for the story being told. C+

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Dear Ms. Craven:

This book features one of the stupidest heroines of all of time. Joanna’s father has a gambling problem and so he gets his 19 year old daughter to dress like a slut to distract other card players. Joanna feels helpless but she does it because she loves her father. It’s not like she doesn’t have options though. Her uncle owns some kind of manufacturing firm but oh no, that might require her to take secretarial courses. She churns internally with shame over how her father uses her but he loves her and so she must save him. By acting like a slut. Okay.

The Highest Stakes of All  by 	Sara Craven He displays this fatherly love by pretending she is his hot young piece on the side. All together, “ewwww”. One night in Australia, they fleece some young man and she plays a part by letting the young man feel her up in the gardens. Joanna feels awful about this but because she didn’t want the man to feel her up, she is innocent and should be absolved of wrongdoing. No matter what her father tells this young man. She extracts a promise from her father that he’ll never use her in such a way again, but alas, she is pressed to do her duty a year later when the young lamb’s protector comes after them.

Joanna’s affronted that Vassos Gordanis treats her like she is some tart at poker games who is someone’s fancy piece. Because I guess he should see inside her and recognize her shame. Thankfully she is a virgin so she can prove that she is no one’s fancy piece, just an idiot who allowed herself to be used over and over again. D

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