Looking For Trouble by Victoria Dahl


Grade: B
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary, Small Town
Series: Jackson Girl’s Night Out #1
Published: 7/29/14
Reviewed by Anne
345 pages

A generation ago, Sophie’s mother and Alex’s dad disappeared on the same day, and were never seen again, fueling rumors that they’d run off together.  Alex grew up with his obsessive mom tracking down every lead she could trying to find his dad.  Sophie grew up with her loving father – and with Alex’s mom’s constant trash talking about Sophie’s mom. And Sophie.  This lead to Alex leaving town as soon as he could and never looking back.  Sophie stayed in town her whole life, trying to establish a reputation so good and pure that everyone would overlook her connection to her mother.

A few months ago (in the book Too Hot to Handle), a truck and camper were found with Sophie’s mom’s and Alex’s dad’s bodies inside.  This confirmed that the two ran off together and brought the old scandal to light again in both the town’s and Alex’s mom’s memory.  It also brought Alex back to town for the first time since he left years ago.  When Sophie and Alex meet the chemistry between them is off the charts, but wouldn’t the scandal they could cause be even bigger?

Sophie and Alex are my dream characters!  Sophie is a secretly sexy prim and proper librarian.  Alex is a shaved head, tattooed, biker bad boy.  They are so good for each other and their story was a joy to read.  Sophie’s relationship with her father and brother was also really good, and I enjoyed seeing her grow into herself – in some ways this story is Sophie’s coming of age story.  Alex has some issues to overcome, too.  The fallout of this one event and how it affected the lives of everyone involved is very believable.

On the other hand, the main conflict in this story requires the reader to accept that the town would hold Sophie accountable for her mother’s sins.  It’s certainly something Sophie believes, and it’s both more and less true than she thinks.  This was the weak point in the story for me.  Overall it was really, good, though.

I see by the series label on Goodreads that this book is the first in a new series by Dahl, but it’s clearly linked to her Jackson Hole series, since the events in book 2 are the story of Alex’s brother.  It does stand alone just fine, though, so you could jump in here and do great.

I recommend this book and I enjoyed it very much!  I admitted that the librarian and the bad boy is dream casting for me – how about you?  What’s your favorite hero/heroine combo?

Then Came You by Jill Shalvis

Grade: A
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Animal Magnetism #5
Published: 7/1/14
Reviewed by Anne
186 pages

I’ll be honest, the past couple Shalvis books I’ve read just haven’t worked for me. They were ok, but not wonderful. Well, this one, Then Came You, was WONDERFUL! This is my favorite Shalvis book ever!

Emily has a PLAN for her life. Having a plan has helped her survive some really tough years. Now she’s finished veterinary school and is on to the one year internship that came with her scholarship. Unfortunately, it’s not in L.A. like she planned. Nope. She’s in Sunshine, Idaho. So she’s altered her plan and is counting down the 365 days before she can get back on track.

Wyatt is one more thing she didn’t plan on. He was a one night stand at a convention a few months ago, and now… he’s her supervisor. This probably shouldn’t be a problem. They’re both professionals, after all. But he’s really cute, and he wears funny tshirts, and she thinks he’s hot looking no matter what he’s wearing. And then there’s the blisteringly hot chemistry that keeps popping up and they just can’t deny. They both know the score, though. Wyatt’s looking for roots and permanency. Emily is doing her time and moving on. They just need to remember not to fall for each other.

If you’ve read a few of my reviews, you know that I like low conflict contemporary romance. Lauren Dane’s Brown Siblings series is one of my favorites. This book is a lighter, funnier version of that kind of romance, and I loved it! Emily and Wyatt actually talk to each other (most of the time.) They have messed up lives and siblings and friends. And as always in a Jill Shalvis book, the humor and the dialog shine!
“You do realize that I totally blame you,” she said, breaking the silence.
“Sitting there wearing a goofy-ass tie, driving like you do everything else, which is so stupid sexy I can’t think.”
He swiveled his amused gaze her way. “Anything else?”
She blew out a breath. “Fine. Mock me. Just…keep your hands to yourself.”
He lifted them in a surrender.
“And your mouth.”
Said mouth quirked, and he mimed zipping it closed.
God, she was out. Of. Control. She covered her face with her hands and took a deep breath. “I’m going in now.”
She didn’t go in.
“This is so ridiculous,” she finally whispered.
She felt his fingers grip hers. He lowered her hands from her face. “It’s fine,” he said. “You don’t want anything to happen, nothing’s going to happen.”
She stared at him. “It’s not.”
“Well, not unless you want it to, and then instigate things in a big way.”

That was when she lost her tenuous hold on her sanity, reaching for him at the same time he tugged. She landed in his lap, straddling him. “Hi,” she said against his lips. “I’m instigating.”

This story was hot, sweet, and funny! I highly recommend it and it’s going on my best of the year list! I’ll add that I read the first two books in this series a couple of years ago and then just lost track of it for a while. So I basically read this story as a stand alone, and it does just fine. If it’s the first one in this series you’ll have no trouble jumping in.

So how about you? What’s your favorite Jill Shalvis book? Or if you haven’t read any Shalvis stories, who is your favorite contemporary romance author?

Body Heat by Katherine Garbera


Grade: C+
Hotness Level: Inferno
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: The O’Roarkes #1
Published: 6/30/14
Reviewed by Kate
384 pages

Andi is one of the rare female fire chiefs. She grew up in a household of men and learned quickly that to get ahead in her chosen line of work she would need to hide any part that made her seem womanly. Tucker is an arson investigator, content to never be settled in one place. And it seems that Tucker is the only man that sees Andi as a woman, rather than just a competent fire chief.

This one was a refreshing break for me. There’s no villian, no scheming, no conflict, no suspense. It was simply the story of Andi and Tucker learning to push past the things that have limited them in the past. And there is a passion between the two of them that was a joy to read.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, but heart felt romance, this is the one.