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Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 27th June 2016
Now That It’s You by Tawna FenskeNow That It's You by Tawna Fenske
Published by Montlake Romance on September 6th 2016
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Talented chef Meg Delaney hasn’t spoken to her cheating ex-fiancé, Matt Midland, for two years. Ditching him at the altar after blurting out “I can’t” instead of “I do” would sour any relationship. But now, just as Meg is finally ready to bury the hatchet, she learns closure is permanently off the menu. And the kicker? Matt’s brother, Kyle, is back in her life, stirring up feelings that are equal parts guilt and lust.
Meg was the best thing that never happened to Kyle. He couldn’t make a move on his brother’s girlfriend—even if Matt didn’t value her nearly enough. The situation is even more complicated now that Meg’s bestselling aphrodisiac cookbook has spawned a legal battle with the Midlands. Maybe he should stay away. But love, like family, plays by its own rules. And the one woman he shouldn’t want might be the only one who’s perfect for him.

This isn’t at all what I’d expected, not that it’s a bad thing.

If the blurb made the book sound like a romantic comedy, the story itself feels the farthest removed from it. Instead, I found myself getting lost in the drama of the oddest, but somehow the most fitting relationship forming in the wake (literally) of a dead ex-fiancé, who really isn’t likeable at all from what we’re told about him, between a caterer with bigger dreams than she could ever fulfil and a successful artist torn between loyalty to his brother and a deep, abiding thing he has for her.

‘Now That It’s You’ has has quirky moments and some laugh-out-loud ones, but there’s a depressing, nostalgic strain of melancholy shot through it because a lot of the book delves into unrequited feelings, hard lines and limits in relationships and how people react – not entirely rationally – when faced with unimaginable (or potential) loss. But with Meg Delaney and Kyle Midland, Tawna Fenske has written a very sympathetic pairing here that I couldn’t help but like very much: a soft-hearted female lead and a standup male lead who thankfully, don’t fly into histrionics or behave reprehensibly in any way. I did like Meg and Kyle both individually and together very much; instead of the ‘forbidden’ aspect of their relationship, I liked Fenske’s take on their existing chemistry and friendship and how they’d simply moved forward after a decade of knowing each other.

Yet if there aren’t any sharply spiked moments of angst, there is however, a load of family drama and a huge elephant in the room that the story spend trying to work out, which did sometimes try my patience. There were times I wish Meg had stood up more for herself or that Kyle had been more decisive with his own family, but those thankfully, detract from the satisfaction I felt when I finished the book.

The Fix Up by Tawna Fenske

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 17th November 2015
The Fix Up by Tawna FenskeThe Fix Up by Tawna Fenske
Series: First Impressions, #1
Published by Entangled: Lovestruck on December 14th 2015
Pages: 235
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three-stars

While he may look like the love child of a movie starlet and an NFL linebacker, Ben Langley has the people skills of a half-drowned porcupine. Why socialize when there are chemistry labs and bad sci-fi flicks? If he has any hope of taking the helm as CEO of the family business, Ben needs an image makeover. Pronto.
Enter Holly Colvin, owner of First Impressions public relations and branding firm, and the woman who just saved Ben from the clutches of an over-attentive sales clerk. Holly’s rebranded hundreds of companies in her career, but she’s never rebranded a person. The guy clearly needs help, though, and she’s just the woman for the job.
With the clock ticking for them both, Holly and Ben face off over wardrobe malfunctions and business jargon that sounds a lot sexier than it should. But can Holly make Ben into the man he thinks he should be without losing the man she’s starting to love?

Ben Langley is eager to strip the geek out of himself, but then again, geekdom as he discovers, is more than just skin deep, especially after he hires Holly Colvin to do that particular job. What he doesn’t really count on is the eruption of innuendoes, the burning mutual attraction and the pull between desire and duty that happens thereafter.

I laughed at the amount of geek speak and behaviour in this story and for most part, loved Ben more and more as his loveable nerd-side didn’t bow to the sleazy narrow path that his father had set out for him. It isn’t often that I’m swayed by a particular protagonist more than the other, but Ben remained the spotlight stealer in this, so much so that it almost eclipsed Holly and their growing relationship. I loved the multi-faceted layers to him (geek heroes who are really NOT growling, demanding alpha males in disguise are as rare as they come) while Holly seemed a lot less complex than her obsession needing to keep her company afloat and her alpha-male issues. Strangely enough, I felt alright with this little imbalance (that much was I invested in him) as I hungrily followed the so-called journey he undertook to get himself rebranded as the new CEO of Langley enterprises.

three-stars

Protector for Hire by Tawna Fenske

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews 30th June 2015
Protector for Hire by Tawna FenskeProtector for Hire by Tawna Fenske
Series: Front and Center #4
Published by Entangled Publishing: Lovestruck on June 30th 2015
Pages: 248
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three-stars

Haunted by his time in Iraq, former soldier Schwartz Patton goes off the grid, retreating deep into Montana’s untamed wilderness. Now, ten years into his self-imposed solitude, his brother tracks him down and asks for a favor. A woman is in danger, and she needs help...and Schwartz is the only one who can protect her.
Designer-loving city girls like Janelle Keebler don't belong in the wilderness. Unless, of course, they're witnesses to a murder by their psycho drug-trafficking ex-husbands. Still, Janelle can't help the immediate physical response she has to her sexy-as-sin protector that leaves her wanting more than she could have ever imagined. Even if he does make terrible coffee...
Every word, every touch, every kiss ignites a need Schwartz thought he’d lost forever. He can't stop the desperate attraction simmering between him and Janelle, even if he wanted to. Even if it means it could get them both killed.

Protector for Hire is the broody Schwartz Patton’s tale, and despite the last book in this series leaving a god-awful taste in my mouth, my soft spot for grumpy hermits surfaced as soon as I knew Schwartz was going to take centre stage. The woman in question is a divorcee with a psychopathic ex-husband – who also happens to be a drug lord – on the prowl for her, and the only way to keep her safe is off the grid…and with Schwartz, who has been living in the wilds of Montana for the past decade.

Protector for Hire has a levity that is unexpected, though it tended to gloss over PTSD too lightly. I did find myself sardonically smirking at Janelle’s antics, which were admittedly juvenile rather than sparkling or witty at times, because if all that was needed to bring Schwartz out of his black hole, why the hell hadn’t his family figured that one out? There were cliches rehashed, off-the-charts-sex (anything else would be a travesty, wouldn’t it?) and of course, the customary TSTL action at the end when Janelle runs off which made the story drop whole stars in my eyes. Schwartz panics, quickly makes good with his family, proclaims his love, rescues the damsel in distress – and because it’s suddenly all too easy, their happily ever after left me dissatisfied.

three-stars

Best Man for Hire by Tawna Fenske

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews 4th February 2015
Best Man for Hire by Tawna FenskeBest Man for Hire by Tawna Fenske
Series: Front and Center, #3
Published by Entangled: Lovestruck on December 29th 2014
Pages: 233
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two-stars

Anna Keebler makes a living being unconventional. A wedding planner who specializes in more…unusual ceremonies, Anna's client list includes everything from nudists to paintballers to Little Red Riding Hood enthusiasts. So when her photographer up and quits during a wedding blitz in Hawaii, Anna makes an unconventional decision. She hires a hot Marine to be her new photographer.
Little does she know, Grant Patton is the best man in one of her weddings. He's so perfect he's practically a Boy Scout—if Boy Scouts were big, ripped Marines with gorgeous gray eyes, and good at, oh, everything. Especially sex. In fact, his only flaw seems to be that he hates marriage as much as she does. But Anna suspects the sexy Boy Scout routine is a cover, and if he wants this thing between them to be about more than sex, Grant must reveal the dark past he's fought so hard to hide…

I have a hard time placing the hero in this book – the perfect veneer is of course, too good to be true, but the moment his secret was revealed, I had an even harder time accepting that sort of weakness. For a man of his (apparent) calibre. As dubiously honourable as we want our heroes to be, even some lines shouldn’t be crossed.

The lack of stars is not because the book doesn’t shine in every other aspect; I laughed, I found it wacky and quirky but simply struggled a lot with a main character here.

two-stars
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