Saturday, June 09, 2012

WEM XVII: Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis and If the Slipper Fits by Olivia Drake

Hello everyone! How are you doing?

Ouf, it's still Saturday! Was planning to get this done this morning, but didn't have time before I had to rush out and meet my friends for Snow White and the Huntsman ^_^; Ahhh, I'm so glad it's the week-end :) This week was quite long, tiring and I was so out of it ^_^; So I really hope to enjoy my week-end and so far so good! Of course, it helped that I started my week-end by rewarding myself with some cannoli and Italian cookies :) I've been craving it for weeks now and finally, I went to the Italian bakery.... so much traffic, but worth it!

As promised, this week's WEM is a double-feature! And you guys have spoken: Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis and If the Slipper Fits by Olivia Drake :) You ask, you get LOL. Enjoy!!

Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis
published by Grand Central Publishing
Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself. And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right. But for once, she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong. And who could be more wrong than Ty Garrison? The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine. Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone...

For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave. Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't- including leaving the military for good. As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love. After all... anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Lucky Harbor series, Book #4

What do you need to know? Well with all the reviews out there, you probably know what happens in this book LOL. But here's my take.

The book opens up with a freak snowstorm in spring and Mallory Quinn, Amy Michaels and Grace Brooks find themselves stuck in the diner, bonding over chocolate cake while Amy is trying to sell Mallory the merits of walking on the wrong side of the line and dating Mr. Wrong. A tree falls in, they hit a guy and somehow, they end up in Mallory's car, tending to Mysterious Cute Guy and waiting for the ambulance... and on impulse, Mallory asks Mysterious Cute Guy out for the week-end's auction. This event is important to Mallory because a portion of the proceeds of that soirée will go towards her pet project, the Health Services Clinic. She wants to open such a clinic in memory of her sister Karen who probably wouldn't have died if she had access to such services.

Mysterious Cute Guy is Ty Garrison, a former Navy SEAL trauma medic, but was honorably discharged after a plane crash in which his team and best friends all died. In the process, he almost lost his leg and now, has re-injured it in one of his most recent assignments - private contracts to accompany and/or rescue dignitaries in war zones. So Ty has chosen Lucky Harbor as his haven to recover... and has been dubbed as the Mysterious Cute Guy on Facebook by the community.

On the auction night, one thing leads to another and Mallory and Ty end up having hot sex. Mallory has always been the "reliable" child in her family - the one that never acted out and whom her mother never had to worry about, while her siblings ran loose. After tasting a bit of wild, Mallory decides to throw caution aside and starts a temporary fling with Ty...

Why this book? I told myself I wasn't going to pick up Lucky in Love, but got swayed by all the good reviews LOL. Yes, I'm that easy. It's not that I don't enjoy Ms Shalvis books, I do... just not as much as everyone else seems to and that's why I think she and I don't click. There's something everyone else is seeing/feeling and I don't ^_^;

Any Issues? I'm going to start with the issues I had with this book, because I think it makes for a more coherent review. Basically, my issue with Lucky in Love is that it was a typical contemporary romance, like so many that are being published nowadays. Goodie-two-shoes heroine, former SEAL hero with PTSD and a romance that starts out as a fling with neither party looking for commitment or long-run... but you know they'll fall in love and you know either the H/H will walk away, realize his/her mistake and come back. If you're looking for something original and refreshing, Lucky in Love is not it ^_^; To her credit, Ms Shalvis has tried to add some depth to the story through Mallory and Ty's backgrounds/sad pasts. It works to an extent, but again, it's not very original... and I have to say, I found the weight Mallory and Ty had on their shoulder, a big draggy.

What I liked? At the end of the day though, Lucky in Love was still an enjoyable book thanks to Ms Shalvis' execution. She has two nice and likable characters as H/H, has also set up the stage for her new set of heroes and heroines well and has not looked back too much on the previous trilogy. Also, I think everyone liked the idea of the Chocoholics - CA :) And it's nice that Mallory, Amy and Grace have such good chemistry together. While the friendship is very new, there is honesty and support in there which makes for a very promising relationship. Finally, Ms Shalvis added the right touch of humor through the quirky characters in the community :) So really, it was a typical contemporary romance, but at least a solid and well-written one.

My Grade: B.

If the Slipper Fits by Olivia Drake
published by St. Martin's Press in May 2012
Will she have her happily ever after?

Is This Love Real?

Raised in a girls’ school, Annabelle Quinn longs for the world outside the walls of the academy. When she’s hired as the governess to an orphaned duke, Annabelle never expects the child’s breathtakingly handsome guardian to capture her imagination—or her heart.

Or Are They Living In a Fairytale?

Falling for his young nephew’s governess is an irksome complication in Lord Simon Westbury’s orderly life, but Annabelle’s quiet beauty and wry intellect are too much to resist. Meanwhile, a mysterious danger looms over the remote Cornwall estate. Will their newfound desire stand the test of time? Or are some happy endings just too good to come true?
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Cinderella Sisterhood, Book #1

What do you need to know? Annabelle Quinn was raised in a girls' school in Yorkshire and has remained at the school, but not by choice. Without any means and family, she doesn't have many prospects... but that doesn't stop her from longing for the outside world. When the opportunity arises for an interview to become the governess to the young, orphaned Duke of Kevern, she's determined not to miss it.

When Annabelle arrives at the Cornwall estate, she quickly realizes two things: Lord Simon Westbury, guardian of the duke, did not expect her presence and is really unhappy with it... and he has neglected his charge, leaving him to the care of the staff and the very rigid and boring vicar. Well Annabelle will have none of that...

It turns out that Simon was in love with the duchess and she reciprocated his feeling, but in the end, did not choose the younger son. When his brother announced their engagement, Simon left and enrolled in the Army and has never returned to Cornwall... and therefore, has never met his nephew. Simon was about to embark on an epic voyage to the continent when he got words of his brother's death and his new responsibilities as guardian... All this years, he has not let go of his anger against his brother and sister-in-law and that has translated to a minimum of interactions with his nephew since his return... But with the noisy and pretty governess, this is about to change.

Why this book? The cover of If the Slipper Fits really caught my eyes and I thought the book sounded interesting after reading the blurb.

What I liked? Unfortunately, If the Slipper Fits did not really meet my expectations ^_^; and I have a lot of issues with it, but there was still some positive. Overall, I did like Annabelle's character. I liked that she was persistent. Given her situation at the girls' school, it would have been so easy to give up and be depressed... but she still dreamed and when she saw an opportunity to change her life, she gave her best. She was also very genuine and definitively to give the duke a better life, a better childhood. She had guts going against Simon and standing for what she believed. My favorite part of the book was definitively the bond between Annabelle and the young duke and how Annabelle roped in Simon to care more about his nephew. I simply like seeing adults and children develop a relationship together, to see the trust that is being established... Also, I find children keep adults honest and down-to-earth :) So that part was well done. And while I wasn't impressed by Simon's behavior, I thought Ms Drake did a good job with his character and establishing the motives for his neglect. In addition, this was my first time reading Ms Drake and I did like her writing. Another good thing was the lack of sequel baiting... I have to admit it's a bit weird, because I'm not even sure we were introduced to the future characters, but I'll take it :) Unfortunately, all this wasn't enough to negate my issues.

Any issues?  As I mentioned, I have a few. The most important one is that I didn't care for the romance in If the Slipper Fits. I think that Simon and Annabelle didn't have any chemistry together and I dislike how Simon takes one look at Annabelle and desires her... At the same time, he makes no efforts to get to know her or try to establish a relationship, since he is too busy looking for a wife. Ugh. Also, I just don't see why Annabelle succumbed to his charms and when was the moment lust turned into love for both of them? Oh and Simon's proposal was just way premature. In every aspect, the romance just didn't work for me :(

The other main issue was the big reveal at the end about Annabelle's identity. It came out from absolutely no-where in my opinion and was really far-fetched. Really, I thought it was totally superfluous and once again, did not care about this twist. I guess it was to tie in the Cinderella theme, but meh. It might have worked with a bit more shadowing and if it had a bigger impact on the storyline... Speaking of Cinderella, I'm not a big fan of fairy tales retellings and Cinderella sure is not a favorite... but when the series is named Cinderella Sisterhood, you have some expectations... and really, the link between If the Slipper Fits and Cinderella is very tenuous. I guess depending on the reader, this can be a good or bad thing.

My Grade: C-. At this point, I'm not sure I'll be picking up the next book...