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Worth the Trouble by Jamie Beck

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 31st January 2016
Worth the Trouble by Jamie BeckWorth the Trouble by Jamie Beck
Series: St. James #2
Published by Montlake Romance on February 23rd 2016
Pages: 309
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three-stars

Cover girl Cat St. James’s picture-perfect life is anything but flawless. Luckily, she’s a master of hiding the truth from the camera. Relying on that skill, she conceals her latest secret from her family while attending her brother’s wedding. Her only trouble now is Hank Mitchell—the soft-spoken carpenter she’d once brushed aside. Seeing him at the reception underscores her private heartache and ignites unwelcome longing, which she promptly drowns in champagne.
Hank is no stranger to sacrifice, having set aside his own ambitions to take care of his family. One thing he won’t forsake is his pride, which Cat already wounded once. But when the maddening beauty’s reckless behavior forces him to rush to her rescue, he sets in motion a series of events that leads Cat to make a business proposal granting him his dream job.
When Cat and Hank mix business with pleasure, promises and secrets unravel, and each must decide if and what they’ll surrender for love.

The superficial life where only image matters is the one that Cat St. James knows and has lived. Now faced with a dying career and a medical diagnosis that renders her infertile, she’s desperate to find a new distraction to take her away from that new reality. Setting Hank Mitchell in her sights for a proposition he can’t possibly refuse, she throws everything into it, but Hank, already wary about being brushed off, wonders if he can trust her when all she’d done is to let him down and keep him out.

Family drama abounds (yet again) in this series – which is almost akin to watching a hyped-up version of a soap opera. ‘Worth the Trouble’ succeeds on the strength of Jamie Beck’s writing that succinctly carves open the yearnings of the human heart, but even that can’t draw my sympathies for the entire St. James family whose behaviour kept me cringing and shaking my head. In the maelstrom of revelations, I could only feel sorry for Hank the outsider, who was simply torn by his loyalties through no fault of his own. Having his innate kindness and compassion flung in his face by different members of the St. James family wasn’t what he deserved – Cat included, whose hypocritical and selfish actions were meant to protecting her own secrets and her barricaded heart at the expense of Hank’s sacrifices.

Overall, that great deal of feeling and emotion that a pairing should invoke wasn’t quite present for me, but I’ll admit I’m curious enough to read more of Jackson St. James’s book when it appears.

three-stars

Worth the Wait by Jamie Beck

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Reviews 3rd January 2016
Worth the Wait by Jamie BeckWorth the Wait by Jamie Beck
Series: St. James #1
Published by Montlake Romance on March 17th 2015
Pages: 294
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three-stars

Thirteen years ago, Vivi LeBrun was sketching a rooster and eating Oreos when she first met—and fell for—her friend’s brother, David St. James. Since then, her love for David has only intensified thanks to years of friendship with his family, who rescued her from a lonely, tumultuous childhood. As she travels to Block Island to vacation with the St. James siblings, Vivi daydreams about reuniting with David, hoping he’ll finally see her as his soul mate.
After his mother’s death, David distanced himself from his siblings, determined to hide a devastating family secret. Now, he’s brought a new girlfriend along to his homecoming—one who’s pushing for a serious commitment. The last thing he needs on his growing list of problems is his budding attraction to Vivi.
With tensions running high, David’s behavior triggers a series of events that might cost him the love he’s always taken for granted and Vivi the only real family she’s ever known.

As a classic take on the brother’s best friend story, I hadn’t expected the sheer amount of drama that was strangely absorbing, as drawn out as it was – possibly unnecessarily. Familial treachery and loyalties lie at the heart of the book and there are parallels of it sketched out in most of the relationships highlighted in them.

As much as I wanted David and Vivi together, there were some questionable behaviour traits that made me hesitate about them (Vivi’s staunch insistence that the adulterous relationship that David’s father was carrying out was really ‘happiness’ he deserved in the end?!). I felt strongly let down however, that the cheating issue wasn’t resolved at all – this is a line I can’t even accept in my reading – and that the tension present in the family existed because of a deathbed secret that just had to be kept.

three-stars

Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews/ Sports 2nd September 2015
Accidentally Hers by Jamie BeckAccidentally Hers by Jamie Beck
Series: Sterling Canyon, #1
Published by Montlake Romance on October 6th 2015
Pages: 275
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three-stars

When ruggedly sexy backcountry guide Grey Lowell moves to Sterling Canyon, Colorado, after buying the ski-expedition company Backtrax, his plans don’t include romance. Still, it’s fun to look—especially across a crowded restaurant at a beauty he dubs “Bambi.” But all his plans change later that night when he’s injured by a drunk driver.
Physical therapist Avery Randall is shocked to learn that Grey’s the man her brother struck with his car, and even more stunned when he arrives at the clinic expecting her help. Despite her reservations and Grey’s silly new nickname for her, Avery agrees to work with him, and passion begins to simmer. Yet with his livelihood at stake, Grey must make tough decisions that could hurt Avery and her family. Before long, Avery’s loyalties are tested, and the choices she and Grey each make may cost them their chance at lasting love.

Accidentally Hers’ is a small ski-town drama that starts with an accident and the very real aftermath of lawsuits, money and the relationships that are forged (and destroyed) in the process. And in the eye of the storm are Grey and Avery, the victim and the sister of the man who’d drunkenly run Grey down. Having Avery as a his physical therapist merely adds to the growing complication, especially when attraction comes into play. Grey and Avery have issues of their own to settle as well and the result is a tangled mess that Jamie Beck (admirably) doesn’t downplay or put a glossy sheen over at all.

While relatable and realistic, the legal proceedings and the constant to-and-fro that’s typical of settlements and court cases bogged down the drama quite a bit for me. I alternated between getting frustrated with Avery’s trust problems and rolling my eyes at her questionable loyalty, and admired Grey’s all-too-rare constancy, got lost in the drudgeries of real life that the book successfully portrays and ultimately, wondered if this is a story I’ll still remember in a few weeks.

three-stars
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