Category Archives: predictable plot

Waking Up Pregnant

waking up pregnantWaking Up Pregnant
by Mira Lynn Kelly
Published by Harlequin
224 pages
Genre: chick lit 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
2 / 5

 

Yeah, that title. I mean … what in the world.

So I guess you figured out that someone in this book wakes up pregnant. Only it turns out that while that may be true, the real “wake up” here is more emotional than physical.

Darcy is a cocktail waitress on her last night of work in Vegas when she meets Jeff, a gorgeous businessman there for a weekend of fun with his best buddy. The two spend the night together, and one busted condom later, someone wakes up pregnant.

Darcy tracks down Jeff (we never find out how she did this, which is somewhat curious because I’m not sure how much information these two disclosed about their personal lives prior to hitting the sheets) to tell him the good news, and before she can say, “Hey, Daddy!”, Jeff moves her into his mother’s spacious LA home under the auspices of “helping” her.

The thing is, Jeff hasn’t forgotten those precious moments of nekkid joy with Darcy, and he doesn’t appear to be upset in the least that she is expecting their child. In fact, he all but does jumpy claps upon hearing the news.

For her part, Darcy is less than thrilled to cede control over any aspect of her life, but she goes along with Jeff’s plan.

You can write the rest yourself, I’m sure.

While there is a silly and extremely predictable plot, there is also some hot headboard rockin’, and that’s what saves this otherwise forgettable tome. Not graphic, but the detail is nice. Very nice. The sexy times are hot, girls, and for that reason it’s worth the $1.99 to get this on your Kindle.

Forget the plot. Read it for the sex.

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Filed under Hot Headboard Rockin' but not much else, predictable plot

Love and Liability

love and liabilityLove and Liability
by Katie Oliver
Published by Harlequin UK
Genre: chick lit 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
2 / 5

 

About five pages into this book, I started to think it sounded familiar. Then I realized that I’d read another of Katie Oliver’s books, Prada and Prejudicewhich I … um … did not quite enjoy.

I wish I could say that my opinion of this one was better, but, well. It isn’t.

The basic story is fine. Holly James, daughter of a well-to-do family, is a junior writer for a teen-geared magazine in London and has been assigned to interview Alex Barrington, an up and coming – and single! – solicitor. They meet, sparks fly, and a romance blooms.

Problems ensue from there.

For starters, Holly professes to LOVE her job at BritTEEN, yet she would rather write about the plight of teenage victims of homelessness. She wants to befriend a young homeless girl she passes every day, yet she is so out of touch with homelessness that she thinks bringing a rucksack full of snacks with her when she spends a few days shadowing the girl is a solid idea. She loves Alex, yet she thinks he is inconsiderate, possibly cheating on her, and more concerned with winning an election than keeping promises. She is attracted to a restaurant owner, yet she claims she doesn’t care about him, yet she really does.

One of the characters has a sister who is bipolar, and sometimes I felt like this book was, too.

It reads as if Katie Oliver started writing it, put it away for a few months, and came back to it having forgotten what she already wrote. Some scenes directly contradict others, and no one is consistent. For instance, an American photographer Holly knows through work falls for a brittle magazine editor. They have an argument, but she tells him she can overlook their differences. Two scenes later, the photographer tells Holly that the editor is furious with him and that their differences are insurmountable.

Alex and Holly say terrible things to each other. In fact, they don’t seem compatible at all. Yet they supposedly love each other? The one character Holly does seem to click with is someone she happily forgoes, even though he rescues her time and again when Alex is nowhere to be seen.

It is nonsensical, and I’m not sure who to blame. Katie Oliver? She writes her stories and submits them to a publisher. So her editor, maybe? Someone has to read this before it’s published, right? And someone else SURELY notices the vast number of contradictions in this book!

We won’t even get into how much of this is a basic retelling of Oliver’s first book. The two have so much in common that it’s easy to get them confused: heroines who are daughters of wealthy men and who routinely borrow from Dear Old Dad to make ends meet, raucously humorous mishaps a la Bridget Jones, cold and apparently unapproachable love interests, and a threatening force who poses great danger.

I don’t even know why I’m giving this two stars. I guess it’s because some of the characters are likable. Or maybe it’s because I know there is a good book in there somewhere, but the problem is that it doesn’t know how to find itself.

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Filed under chick lit, predictable plot, sometimes the book just isn't good

Naked: The Blackstone Affair, Part I

Naked:  The Blackstone Affair – Book 1
by Raine Miller
Published by Atria
192 pages
Genre: erotica, mild BDSM
Thanks to NetGalley and edelweiss for the preview
3 / 5 cupcakes

Do you ever read a book that you know, deep down, is not all that good, but yet you can’t put it down? What does that say about us? I know when I read Twilight and Fifty Shades, I felt dirty and ashamed. But I couldn’t stop reading either, which made me feel even more ashamed.

Enter Naked, the first in The Blackstone Affair series. While not as awful as either of the aforementioned literary train wrecks, this book certainly is nothing you’d be proud to be seen reading.

Yet again, we have our sweet damsel, Brynne, a part-time lingerie model with a Scandal in her Past. Bless her heart. Our hero, Ethan, is one of those corporate titan-types who buys one of Brynne’s portraits and becomes obsessed. He must have her, dammit. HE MUST.

And of course he does.

And it takes him less than a week to do so.

Brynne doesn’t put up much of a fight. Her handwringing would be precious if it wasn’t so far-fetched. Yes, she’s running from some horrible secret that makes her fragile and scared. Unlike others in its family tree, however, this book does not have a scarred hero, at least not a terribly scarred one. Ethan has it reasonably together, insofar as he’s a romantic hero in an erotica novel. I mean, he has issues, but more attention is given to hers. He falls completely for Brynne; he’s all in, and he wants her all in too, even if it means dragging her in with him.

In Shades of Christian Grey, Ethan fancies himself a bit of a Dominant, although his practice doesn’t seem to get as heavy as Christian’s. Not yet, anyway. There are more books to come in this series. These two do have some good, hot, sticky sex, and those scenes are pretty well written. Nothing out of the ordinary, especially BDSM-wise. Nothing we haven’t seen before.

And yet … heaven help me, I couldn’t put the damn book down. I think it’s Ethan. Yeah, he’s imperfect, and yeah, he’s somewhat predictable, but he’s also so freaking likable that I can’t help but be drawn to him. I can see why Brynne agrees so readily to be his. I would too, Brynne.

Sadly, the book ends on a predictable note, but it’s enough of one that you will pick up the next one.

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Filed under BDSM, erotica, not another excuse to bring up Christian Grey again, predictable plot

Love Unscripted: Love Series, Book 1

Love Unscripted: Book 1 in the Love Series
by Tina Reber
Published by Atria Books
592 pages
Genre: young adult; romance; chicklit
Thanks to edelweiss for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

A picturesque hamlet on the Rhode Island shore provides a quaint setting for this book, perhaps because you can imagine a film crew rolling into this bucolic burb and laying waste to it.

Taryn is barely out of high school and already owns a bar. She has a nice, steady existence, but one not free from heartache. Her parents are dead, and a recent relationship ended. She has a close assortment of friends and coworkers, but she has trust issues. The ex-boyfriend left her unwilling – if not entirely unable – to trust her heart to another. The last thing she has time for is a movie set, much less a popular heartthrob whom girls chase from one end of the world to another.

Famous, good looking, and the object of many a girl’s (and woman’s) desire, Ryan Christensen bursts through the door of Taryn’s club, in desperate need to escape a horde of fans. When Taryn provides him safe refuge, they share a few drinks and some conversation. Despite every intention to be unimpressed, Taryn finds herself drawn to Ryan, and he is as drawn to her as she is to him.

Yes, this is a romance, and yes, there will be many rocky moments. In many ways, this is a familiar story: quiet, gorgeous girl who is unlucky in love lands the popular, gorgeous boy who heals her heart. Even Taryn’s friends sound familiar, as if we’ve read their stories before in other books.

Yet you will want to read this book because it’s fun, interesting, and allows the romance to slowly unfold. Nothing feels rushed between Taryn and Ryan, almost to a fault. This is a long book, with several endings. The length isn’t a problem, necessarily, because it does give Tina Reber time to tell a fairy tale that nonetheless feels realistic. Romance does not come easily for these two; there are issues on both their parts. Ryan is a famous actor and the subject of paparazzi, hungry fans, and distorted tabloid stories. Taryn has only known loss, and she lives as if she expects nothing but loss to come her way.

There are a few extremely tame sex scenes, so don’t read this one thinking you’re in for some hot headboard rocking. The kissing is nicely told, although you might find yourself left wanting more. Yeah, I know. “More” within the context of a book this long sounds wrong, but you might want more sexy times.

This is a sweet book that allows its story to evolve steadily and realistically. If it is occasionally predictable, and if it occasionally feels too long, we can forgive it. Tina Reber tells a good story with likable characters, and in the end, that’s what matters most.

Part II in the series came out earlier this year; I have not had a chance to read it yet, but I do look forward to the continuing adventures of Ryan and Taryn.

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Filed under chick lit, predictable plot, romance, YA

The Good Father

The Good Father
Diane Chamberlain
Published by Harlequin MIRA
368 pages
Available on Amazon.com.
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
3.5 / 5 cupcakes

The Good Father is as much the story of what one man would do for his daughter as what two mothers would do for theirs. It is also the story of how one little girl can heal three broken people.

Travis Brown is twenty-two, an age when most people are fresh out of college, bursting with the promise of what they will do next and believing that the world is their oyster. But for Travis, the world seems more like a dark, gaping wound. His high school love, Robin, had a life-threatening heart ailment, worsened by an unexpected pregnancy. Her father took advantage of her ill health to force a breakup between her and Travis, but when Travis found out about the baby, he refused to cede custody. He and the baby, a little girl named Bella, lived with his mother in Wilmington, NC, where Travis, who once dreamt of being a marine biologist, struggled to find construction jobs. But then his mother’s house burns down, and Travis and Bella find themselves homeless.

Meanwhile, Robin, who believes Travis is married, tries to forget about Bella. She is engaged to Dale, a mayoral candidate in Beaufort, working at his family’s bed and breakfast. Dale’s sister also finds herself unexpectedly with child while as a teenager, and experiencing her future niece’s birth forces Robin to remember Bella … and wonder about Travis.

Then there is Erin, a thirty-something pharmacist from Raleigh. Erin recently moved into a small apartment, away from her husband, Michael, and their fractured marriage. Erin and Michael lost their daughter ten months earlier in a freak accident, and each mourns in a different way. Erin cannot understand Michael’s grief, and he cannot understand hers.

Erin and Travis meet at a coffee shop when Travis comes to Raleigh for a potential job. Erin finds herself drawn to Bella, who is close to the age of Erin’s daughter.

I breathed in the musty smell of her hair again. I couldn’t pull the scent of her deeply enough into my lungs. Beneath my hands, I felt her ribs and the little knobs of her spine. She was tiny for four. Tiny and way too thin. Carolyn at three had been bigger than Bella at four. I rested my chin on the top of her head and opened the only book she seemed to own, and while I read to her, I thought of all the books and toys in Carolyn’s room. I could go to the house and get some of them for her. If I could make myself go into Carolyn’s room. 

Unfortunately, Travis’s job prospect turns out to be both less and more than he expected, and he needs Erin’s help. As Robin discovers that her in-laws have secrets of their own, Travis desperately tries to take care of his daughter, and Erin struggles to not succumb to her grief.

This is a gripping story, told from the points of view of Travis, Robin and Erin. We feel Travis’s hopelessness and despair. We sympathize with Erin’s disconsolate loss. We cheer for Robin, who has survived so much in her life and yet has so many more challenges to come. And Bella. Oh, Bella. We understand Erin’s need to clutch her tight and protect her. We need the three grown-ups to persevere because we need Bella to be safe, loved, cherished.

The only problem with this otherwise very well written book is its predictability. We know Travis’s job is not what he expects. We know that Dale and his family are not as perfect as they appear. At no point, will you be surprised by any of the events of this book.

Fortunately, though, the characters will keep you turning the page. And the characters are the reason why this book is as good as it is.

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Filed under good characters, literature, predictable plot