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Hot for the Fireman by Gina L. Maxwell

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Erotica/ Reviews 30th March 2017
Hot for the Fireman by Gina L. MaxwellHot for the Fireman by Gina L. Maxwell
Series: Boston Heat #1
Published by Entangled Publishing on March 27th 2017
Pages: 328
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two-stars

Ex-Army Ranger Erik Grady lives for the job. So when his chief at the Boston Fire Department offers him two choices—mandated therapy for supposed PTSD or a permanent desk job at the station, he reluctantly agrees to see a shrink. Only this doctor is unlike anything he expected. Female and curved in all the right places? Check. Hotter than a four-alarm fire? Check. The kind of woman that can heat his blood in and out of bed? Check, check. And oh, yeah, he just happens to have first hand experience...
Of all the men to walk into psychologist Olivia Jones' office, why did it have to be him? Her one-night stand isn't playing by the rules of just. One. Night. She’s had her heart broken in the past, and no way is she going there again. And now he's blackmailing her into three dates? Well, if that's what it takes to make him see a different therapist, fine. She can handle it. So what if the chemistry between them is combustible? She's a professional, damn it. She'll date Mr. I'm Too Sexy For My Bunker Pants. But it won’t end in the fun he expects.
It’s time to see how much heat this fireman can take...

It’s a one-night stand that should have had both parties going away satisfied. But coincidence (or the unlikeliest chance) has dictated that Erik and Olivia are going to meet again as therapist and patient as Erik works out his PTSD issues before getting cleared for active duty in the fire station. Early on, Gina L. Maxwell establishes that we’re looking at a firehouse of skirt-chasers and players—only the extent to which they tom-cat around varies—and it becomes clear that we’re going to see fireman after fireman take the fall when they meet their women.

I’m going to say right out that this was a difficult book to read and an even harder review to write, especially when I found myself struggling at every turn of the page as it began with a compendium of clichés. My own, deep scepticism about deep and lasting emotional connection developing after exploring physical attraction aside, it was the way both Erik and Olivia were portrayed that nearly had me running for the hills.

But perhaps, this disconnect exists only on my part, judging from the other reviews of this book.

The sex is hot, detailed and graphic. Erik’s the dirty-talking alpha, wild in bed and predictably, able to give Olivia the hottest night of her life as he uses his well-developed appendages with great expertise. They find each other beyond sexy and get it on too easily. But…what then? Maxwell’s investment in Erik’s and Olivia’s overwhelming physical attraction to each other had a 2-fold effect on me: it’s well-written—though filled with porn-like clichés in so many parts—but emphasised the sexual connection they had for most of it that I ironically had difficulty seeing past this to any compatibility that they might have had outside the bedroom.

Erik pursues Olivia based, apparently, on her hotness factor after he decides that their one-night stand can actually become much more. I couldn’t quite understand this, let alone get behind Erik’s idea that their a one-night stand was actually fate in action. Suddenly he wants a chance with the reluctant doctor when he never quite wanted with other women (the reason isn’t quite given except that she made him way hotter), then pursues her with single-minded determination until she gives in, then betrays that trust in the end when he uses sex to punish her for wanting to stick around. PTSD gets the better of some people, I understand, and it forms the major conflict towards the end of the story, but the inevitable blow-up and the resulting grovelling all come as predictable elements of a well-worn formula that I was simply left underwhelmed by the end of it.

There are other issues that I had with the story, not just with the characters, but with the patient/therapist rules that both Erik and Olivia skimmed over. On the one hand, I understand that it’s fiction, where most things can happen and will happen without too many consequences. But Erik’s cocky open talk about their hook-up with her boss/uncle made my jaw drop (not in a good way), not just because of the sheer professionalism, but that I really, really couldn’t see this happening at all in any alternate universe where people/characters could get away with it. On the other hand, Erik’s passive-aggressive brag about how he wants Olivia while insinuating about the number of hose hunnies waiting for him in bed felt patronisingly insulting somehow, even if it’s Maxwell’s way of showing how big a decision it seems for him to commit himself to one woman right now.

I wished I could have liked this more; whether I’d continue with the series is still a huge question mark, but I suspect I’m looking forward to seeing some kind of equality been the H/hr where the latter doesn’t crumble like dust in the wind at the drool-inducing sight of bulging biceps and rock-hard abs…and vice-versa. Whether the rest of Boston Heat continues in this vein, well, is still up in the air, innit?

two-stars

Sweet Victory by Gina L. Maxwell

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Sports 13th February 2017
Sweet Victory by Gina L. MaxwellSweet Victory by Gina L. Maxwell
Series: Fighting for Love #4
on February 27th 2017
Pages: 205
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three-stars

Confident but distrustful Sophie Caldwell needs help if she's going to save her family business. Her grandma left one rule for Sophie to maintain ownership from her uncle before she's thirty: get married. But how does she get her uncle off her ass when she's only twenty-seven and hasn't had a boyfriend in years?

Lean, cut, British-born MMA fighter Xander James has never lost a fight, and he's not about to start now. On the brink of a comeback to be a UFC champion, his landlord wants to take away his last chance by shutting down his gym. No. Hell no. Fortunately, his landlord's niece has a problem of her own. Time for a proposal she can't refuse.

It’s not the first marriage of convenience that has ever happened, nor will it be the last – and as it all begins, it’s a desperate situation that forces Xander and Sophie into one. Their careers and livelihoods are at stake and as it really is, a business proposition that will start and end clinically 6 months after the storm passes.

Feelings, however, as well as stirrings of mutual lust, get in the way and threaten to turn the fake marriage into a real one.

I did think that apart from the rocky beginning – Xander did come across as the womanising, bastard-type British MMA fighter who used Sophie’s face in place of the women he brought back – the story did get a little sweeter as Gina L. Maxwell tried to show how devoted both Xander and Sophie were to each other. (An English accent doesn’t – and shouldn’t – make it better, despite what it seems) But I found myself pretty much unsurprised by the progression of the story; it wasn’t unpredictable or unexpected in any way, but perhaps it isn’t meant to be at all since this imprint is really about the recycling of tropes and the numerous takes on them because readers simply like the variants.

There’s also a wrap up of all the couples in this series (though I don’t exactly remember them at all) but that’s probably an epilogue for those who do. ‘Sweet Victory’ can definitely work as a standalone though, and if the alpha MMA-type fighters are what you personally dig, then this is is something I’d recommend.

three-stars

Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Young Adult 28th August 2014
Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. MaxwellTempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell
Series: What Happens in Vegas #1
Published by Entangled: Lovestruck on August 11th 2014
Pages: 164
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two-stars

Alyssa Miller is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend. Ready to let off some steam, she heads to Las Vegas for a romance book convention where, if she's lucky, she’ll get down and dirty with one of the sexy cover models.
Dillon Alexander doesn’t do commitment—especially not where his best friend is concerned. She deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes Alyssa intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch.
Neither of them expects their explosive chemistry to burn hotter than the lights on the strip, but with a little help from Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, a flamboyant matchmaker, and TSA, what happens in Vegas might not stay in Vegas…

Quick, fun and cute read with the prerequisite angst – don’t think I’d ever get sick of the best friends to lovers trope. Sure, both the H/h have issues, but I wasn’t too convinced about Dillon’s 180 degree sudden turnaround and the piss-poor excuse he makes about being his father’s son that seems to be an apparently good enough reason for his flagrant lifestyle. Can’t blame the heroine for fleeing when the cards didn’t fall the way she expected. Alyssa’s daddy problems made more sense to me and maybe it was the POV in the writing that I felt for her more than I did for Dillon. (My confession? I’m not a great fan of the reformed-playboy-cliche that abounds in chick lit)

two-stars
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