Friday, May 17, 2013

2 Presents Reviews: Dealing Her Final Card by Jennie Lucas & Captive in the Spotlight by Annie West

Hi all!

A double review for two Harlequin Presents titles!




Author: Jennie Lucas
Release date: 22nd of January 2013
Published by: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin Presents
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 192 in e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

If my card is higher, you’ll belong to me, obeying my every whim, for as long as I desire.”

As Bree Dalton hears the icy words of Russian Prince Vladimir Xendzov, the man whose ring she once wore and life she once ruined, she nervously accepts the biggest wager of her life. Her body for a million dollars.

Bree knows better than to doubt the steely ruthlessness of this man. With everything to lose and the weight of Vladimir’s gaze upon her, she will have to play the best she’s ever played—or run the risk of losing herself completely….

Only the most innocent touch can melt their ice-cold hearts.

Review:

I knew I’d like this book if not for anything else then for the fact that the heroine wasn’t so straight laced and had led a life or “crime” by being a con artist, a successful one at that. This part of her past is also what comes to bite her at the butt when faced with her former lover, but it’s also the saving grace that helps her to sort out the mess her sister created. Well, in the end, her efforts go to waste because she falls into the clutches of someone she wants (read: doesn’t want) to get a million miles away from.

The big misunderstanding and subsequent denial and blaming didn’t fully work for me here in this book, but I can’t completely explain why. I would have also loved to get more glimpses of the first time Vladimir and Bree met and what made them fall in love with each other. Nevertheless, the chemistry between the main couple was quite sizzling and there was a lot of steamy x-rated moments, one was especially fun because of the location and reaction.

The story was quite slow in the middle and I felt as there is nowhere substantial for it to lead to (except lots of action underneath the sheets – not that I would complain), but it picked up a lot during the last phase and there were some surprising plot twists that I somewhat saw coming but then again didn’t. The end was really promising and intense next to it basically being like a prologue to a new story.

Characters:

I really admired Bree in the first half of the book: she walks in, oozes with confidence, leaves everyone’s mouths hanging and their pockets empty, and walks out with a hunk (that she doesn’t want or does she?). She was like a duck in water behind the poker table and I thought that was badass. She lost some of her spark when Vladmir whisks her away to his palace but she still manages not to lose herself against this alpha guy.

While Vladimir was everything and more you would expect from a Harlequin billionaire alpha hottie hero, he didn’t come across too all-powerful, which makes it slightly more realistic (ok, not really, but it helps) and likable. He had issues he needed to work out with his work, health, family and the girl he use to love, that suddenly appeared back in his life, so he had a lot on his mind. I was really impressed by his sacrifice that he was willing to make, not all Harlequin heroes could go through with it.

I just have to get it out: Bree’s sister was so naive and oblivious that I just wanted to slap her. Bad.

Overall:

This was a typical yet not a typical Harlequin Presents story. There were many aspects I liked and some that required something extra, but I still liked and enjoyed this story quite a bit.



3 stars!







Author: Annie West
Release date: 1st of March 2013
Published by: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin Presents
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 192 in e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Out of the limelight... Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he'll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.

And into the fire!

Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight "accepts" his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy's guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade....

Review:

Life for Lucy hasn’t been anything near fair, especially for the last 5 years in which she served time in jail for something she claims she wasn’t responsible for. After being released she doesn’t have a choice but to turn to her accuser for help, which the latter offers even without a request. But what are the true motives of the unexpected assistance? Or what could grow out of it?

Liked: The heroine was awesome, no wet blanket here, even though she was delicate and vulnerable. The hero was the right amount of conflicted. The setting was not entirely probable, but unique enough to set it apart from other common Harlequin presents plots. There was definitely chemistry between the couple and the romance was a slow burn.

Did not like: Everything was wrapped up too nicely and I couldn’t help but think that if the original trial would have been more carefulness, detailed and objective all this would not have happened. The whole court ordeal was lazy, incompetent and unprofessional and (while I don’t doubt that these things happen) thus felt quite unrealistic. The idea that there is no doubt that the pretty and young girl would only be after one thing and she no doubt is despicable enough to commit such a crime? – these notions were too self explanatory to me.

Characters:

Lucy was such a role model with her strong and dignified character. Whatever is said, done, accused, she holds her ground and doesn’t flinch at anything. She was capable of being true to herself no matter the situation. She came across extremely sympathetic with her head held high, but quite vulnerable and in need of someone to believe her and heal her pain and atone the injustice. I was glad to read that she wasn’t broken by the whole ordeal and she could forgive and move on.

Domenico was a good hero, he wasn’t all macho, suffocating or set out for cruel revenge. He was confused and that state of mind deepened constantly. He took his mistakes seriously and tried to atone as best as he could.

Overall:

An above average Harlequin Presents read that I recommend to all who want a slightly different plot with an extremely likable main couple.



4 stars!

LIIS

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