Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mini Reviews-- [Down and Dirty by Christine Bell] & [Baking Love by Lauren Boyd]

Down and Dirty (Dare Me #2) 
Cat Thomas has never been the kind of girl to stick. A self-professed infatuation junky, she latches on the newest, hottest guy on the block, then finds a reason—real or imagined—to dump him. When she accepts a dare to rekindle her high school flame and jump in bed with her brother’s best friend, Shane Decker, she knows she’s in trouble. She can’t resist the man, even after all these years apart, and that just won’t do.

Shane has come back to town for a couple reasons. The biggest one? He’s tired of living away from those he loves, including Cat. But now she’s spooked and will do anything to drive a wedge between them, including trying to fix him up with other women through an online dating service.

What does he have to do to make her see that settling down doesn’t mean settling, and he’s ready to spend a lifetime proving it?

Type: Contemporary Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

Amazon | All RomanceGoodreads
I love Bell's writing and storytelling. She's really got a gift and damn she'll make you squirm too. She can write a steamy and erotic love scene like you wouldn't believe and really get you caught up in the story. So, after book one in the series I was really damn excited about Down and Dirty. And it did have some down and dirty happening and one make-your-eyes-roll-back-in-your-head hero which is always a good time but it had some troubles too.

The quick of it is that Shane and Cat have a bit of a past and grew up together and all these years later they're getting a chance for a fling and, well, a bit more if Shane can get through to Cat.

So why this didn't get a higher rating for me--because seriously all the makings of a perfect read for me at this point-- was the heroine. I found Cat incredibly frustrating. She runs hard and constantly screws up and her reasoning behind all her issues was just ridiculous--when she was growing up her mom looked at her wistfully every time Cat played the violin and Shane tried to protect her when she was younger. Yeah. That was it. That's why she's so messed up. *hangs head* It didn't work for me. She also was always complaining about Shane and how he just wanted to control her but really he never behaved how she was accusing him. I spent most of the book--along with Shane--wishing she'd just grow the hell up and stop being reckless and waffling. It just went on too long for me to be okay with it all.

What saved this read for me was Shane. OMG. This man is just too much. He's sexy, involved in search and rescue, knows what he wants, is protective and just every fantasy out there. And patient as hell when it comes to Cat. Really for a while I wanted him to just move on and pick up with a side character who was just darling, a better match and actually likable. He deserved someone like her instead of Cat.

So a mixed book. I loved parts of it but just couldn't get on board with the heroine who in the end when she finally came on board got off too light in my opinion. I need a serious apology on her part and a hell of a lot more groveling. I'll definitely read more from Bell. I loved Down for the Count and her style. Just not Cat.

More Bell on herding cats!

Baking Love by Lauren Boyd
Three years ago, Kate Sullivan fell in love with her best friend, Eric Wagner. Before she could tell him, he abruptly ended their friendship. Now Eric has walked into Kate’s bakery and back into her life—but why? Is he here to confess his love for her?

No. He’s here to order his groom’s cake. He’s getting married…to another woman.

Type: Contemporary Romance, Foodie
Heat: 1 out of 5
Rating: 3 out of 5

Amazon | All RomanceGoodreads
Foodie romances are killing me. I read Baking Love straight through--other than a mad dash to the kitchen to raid the freezer for a pint of red velvet cake ice cream which was pretty fitting for the book. I love when a hero and heroine have a shared past together and are finding that bond again and turning friendship into more --so Kate and Eric's romance was so working for me. 

The quick of it is that Kate is a baker and hired to do the wedding cake and such for her ex-best friend Eric's wedding. I...wasn't sure how that would work out since he was engaged to another person for most of the book but it did for the most part with only a couple little sorta almost sketchy things that went on for a second or two. But it did work thank goodness.

There were funny bits and sweet bits and some truly awkward ones as friendships rekindled--and not just with the hero and heroine but secondary characters as well. And that was my favorite part. They felt like they could be real people hanging out at a little bakery interacting and forming bonds. And it's a bakery I would LOVE to raid. Oh my word. It all sounded so yummy. 

It was definitely a setting I enjoyed. Watching the process of the cakes being made. The friendship between Kate and her employee Jess. Going to bridal shows and rehearsals. It was a little exciting and you could feel the pressure of making the wedding cake and getting it all nice and safe in place for the wedding.

Baking Love was a fun easy foodie romance that moved quickly and had me smiling. And though the romance was light and not steamy at all I enjoyed seeing these two find each other again. Definitely looking forward to more from Boyd.

Have you read Boyd or Bell?
Have a favorite Foodie Romance?
Or a reunion romance?
Ever have a character you wish would pick up with a different hero or heroine?

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