Quick & Dirty Romance Reviews – February 2015

How to Kiss a Cowboy by Joanne KennedyHow to Kiss a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
Series: Cowboys of Decker Ranch #2 (can be read alone)
Published: February 3, 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance
The couple: They’ve known each other since they were teenagers, but no-nonsense world champion barrel rider Suze Carlyle and ladies’ man bronco rider Brady Caine never thought they’d make a good match. They were wrong, of course. When they’re forced to spend time together they realize years of insecurity and miscommunication had screwed them over real good.
Purple prose: Nope. Joanne Kennedy is a great writer, and she avoids any fluffy frills that would otherwise distract from a good story.
Crush worthy: I’ve never read a western themed romance, and I was pleasantly surprised that the cowboy cuteness wasn’t obnoxious or gimmicky. These are great characters that live in a setting I’m not familiar with in my fictional reading, and I was happy to get a break from the usual flashy, urban set contemporary romance fare.
Cringe worthy: Nothing, really. This book is romantic, funny, totally inoffensive, and I can’t think of much to criticize about it except that it didn’t have that certain something that really makes me gush and squee (and who knows what that certain something is, because I’m still trying to figure that out).
Dirty rating: 💋💋💋💋 Steamy! A well balanced story-to-steam ratio.
Overall rating: ❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎ Satisfying. This book is adorable. Excellent pacing and lovely characters. I’ll definitely read more by this author.

Hero by Samantha YoungHero by Samantha Young
Series: Stand alone
Published: February 3, 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance
The couple: Many years ago, Alexa Holland’s dad destroyed Caine Carraway’s family. It’s the dirty family secret that has bothered her most of her life, and when she happens to run into Caine, now successful and filthy rich, she wants to make things right between them, even if he’s going to be a seriously grumpy bastard about the whole thing. He eventually hires her as his personal assistant – cue the indecent office attraction. (Note: Do I ever care to remember what these rich dudes in contemporary fiction actually do to make such a lucrative living? No.)
Purple prose: Alexa narrates the entire book and her voice is great – funny, never obnoxiously dense, and her reflections on her sad family drama aren’t too schmaltzy. Crush worthy: The characters’ motivations all make sense (which is very important when extreme family drama is involved), the serious stuff never feels maudlin, and the pacing and length of the novel is spot on.
Cringe worthy: Caine acts like a jerk. A lot. What do you expect from a young rich dude named Caine Carraway? But he has his reasons that make sense within the context of the story and he eventually gets his shit together, so it’s not so bad.
Dirty rating: 💋💋💋💋 Steamy! Sex on a desk in a fancy office, among many other things and places.
Overall rating: ❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎ Satisfying. I’ve avoided Young’s first novel, On Dublin Street, after reading trusted reviews that indicated the hero’s behavior is abusive and stalkerish and the heroine is merely a lovestruck doormat, but the characters in this novel stay away from that sort of silliness. This is a good read.

The Master by Kresley ColeThe Master by Kresley Cole
Series: Game Makers #2 (can be read alone)
Published: February 17, 2015
Genre: Contemporary romance, erotica
The couple: Cat Marín is on the run from a psycho ex-husband and needs a large amount of quick cash. Maksimilian Sevastyan is a horny russian billionaire with a scarred past and serious emotional issues. Solution for both? High class escort service!
Purple prose: Kresley Cole doesn’t do the flowery, cheesy writing you’d expect from old fashioned bodice rippers – she just goes straight for the super dirty talk sans silly euphemisms. And the non-dirty scenes are equally unabashed in their directness and hilarity. Overall it’s a lot of fun to read, even while you’re blushing and looking around to make sure no one is reading over your shoulder during a crowded lunch break.
Crush worthy: Cat is the classic Kresley Cole heroine – young, hot, funny, confident, intelligent, with emotional depth that is still evident through all the snark. I love her.
Cringe worthy: Maksimilian is a classic type of contemporary romance novel hero – his wealth is only rivaled by his emotional hangups. He just needs the right person to show him what real love is so he can cease his creeper ways! Even though these characters always curb the domineering angst by the end of the book, their preceding behavior can be off-putting if you’re not really into the dominant alpha male stereotype.
Dirty rating: 💋💋💋💋💋 Full frontal! Whoa.
Overall rating: ❤︎❤︎❤︎ Quite Pleasant. Kresley Cole is a fabulous writer (I LOVE her Immortals After Dark paranormal romance series) and I applaud her ability to create a super steamy, BDSM-themed novel that is still hilarious and charming. This is probably a four or even five heart read for romance fans who specifically like erotica, but I prefer the lighter stuff (e.g., no nipple clamps 😳).

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