Sunday, July 5, 2015

Review: Ask Me Why by Jodi Thomas, Marie Force, Virginia Kantra, and Shirley Jump

Ask Me Why by Jodi Thomas, Marie Force, Virginia Kantra, and Shirley Jump
Publisher: Jove
Genre: Contemporary Romance Ask Me Why Cover
ISBN: 9780515155389
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

From four contemporary romance stars, stories filled with first kisses, first dances, and happily-ever-afters…

Midnight Bet by Jodi Thomas: When cousins Rick and Lizzie Matheson of Harmony, Texas, wind up on the wrong side of an attempted shooting, they know they’re in deep. Still, the biggest danger is losing their hearts—Rick to an old flame and Lizzy to an old friend she’d never noticed before…

You’ll Be Mine by Marie Force: Will Abbott and Cameron Murphy are finally ready to tie the knot—as long as family, friends and a love-struck moose don’t get in the way.

Wrapped Around Your Finger by Shirley Jump: Maggie McBride is just one of the guys in the hard-knocks world of construction. Until she’s dared to ask Nick Patterson to a wedding, enticing her to knock down some walls—and risk falling in love.

Carolina Heart by Virginia Kantra: Determined to leave her wild past behind, Cynthie Lodge is forging a new life for herself and her daughters—one that’s man-free and drama-free. But when her high school crush shows up on Dare Island, he’s determined to make her break her rules…

“Midnight Bet” (Harmony, Book 8.5) by Jodi Thomas
When Cousins Rick and Lizzie Matheson are shot at on the way home from a family party, it’s only the beginning of the action. With two love stories, a series of attempted murders, and characters with some heavy issues, there’s a lot to unpack in “Midnight Bet.” Unfortunately, this is a story that would have been far better served as a novel. As a novella, each character only gets the surface treatment because there are simply too many players and too much happening for the format. I loved Lizzie, absolutely loved her. She’s the black sheep of the Matheson clan, and no one truly sees how much she has to give. No one but her mysterious neighbor, the local veterinarian. Doc McCall is a great match for Lizzie, but we didn’t get to see too much of his character; a pity, since author Jodi Thomas hinted at some interesting parts of his character that were never explored. As for Rick, his romance with Trace left something to be desired. Though they apparently are in love, we never learn much about her beyond her name. Add in a subplot about one of the Mathesons being targeted and you get a story that has a lot going on on the surface but not much depth. “Midnight Bet” was an interesting story, but one that was not nearly what it could have been had it been fleshed out as a novel.

“You’ll Be Mine” (Green Mountain, Book 4.5) by Marie Force
Return to All You Need is Love’s Cam and Will as the two try to wrangle their family and even a local animal or two. It’s Cam and Will’s wedding weekend, and even a reader (such as I) who has not read any Green Mountain books will get swept away by the romance and good cheer of “You’ll Be Mine.” Cam, Will, and their loved ones have sparkling personalities and are easy to adore. Add in some steamy love scenes, matrimonial sentiment, and a lovesick moose, and you’ve got a story that’ll charm the socks off of anyone. I haven’t yet read All You Need is Love, but after feeling like a guest at Cam and Will’s wedding, I’ll definitely go back and read about how they fell in love.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” (Southern Belle Book Club, Book 0.5) by Shirley Jump
Construction worker Maggie McBride is always seen as one of the guys, and she’s perfectly happy that way. That doesn’t mean she wouldn’t wish for Nick Patterson to see her as more than just a coworker and friend. The gorgeous tomboy gets her wish when she takes a dare and asks Nick to be her date for a wedding. Little does she know that Nick has seen her as more than a friend for some time, only he wants to prove he’s not the playboy she believes him to be.

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” is sweet and sparkling, just like it’s protagonists. Though the story appears to be a prequel to the Southern Belle Book Club series, I first read about Maggie and Nick in Shirley Jump’s The Sweetheart Secret and have been hoping they’d get a story of their own ever since. Nick and Maggie’s chemistry is electric and I love that Maggie and Nick saw the whole of each other. That being said, Ms. Jump doesn’t make things easy on them. Insecurities and fear are powerful obstacles on Maggie and Nick’s road to happily ever after, but I was rooting for them every step of the way.

“Carolina Heart” (Dare Island, Book 4.5) by Virginia Kantra
With a sexy geek determined to win over the girl of his dreams and a single mom working to make a better life for her daughters as the hero and heroine, it’s no surprise that “Carolina Heart” is a wonderful read. Cynthie and Max are endearing characters who are wonderfully human and possess a quiet strength you have to respect. Cynthie has heard all her life that she’s not smart, that she doesn’t have it in her to be successful. She’s been told this so often that she believes it, but with two growing daughters to care for, she’s doing her best to make something of herself. What readers – and Max – can easily see is that Cynthie is far more than she believes herself to be. What I loved best about “Carolina Heart” was watching Cynthie come into her own. However, that doesn’t mean the romance is lacking – Cynthie and Max are a couple you can root for. Their romance was simply lovely to watch unfold and seeing Max become part of Cynthie’s family was fantastic. This is the first Dare Island book I’ve read, but I’ll definitely be circling back to the beginning of the series.

Ask Me Why is a lovely collection of heartwarming romances. Though each story is part of a series, they all can be read as standalones. I loved getting tastes of Mses. Thomas, Force, Jump, and Kantra’s series and in every case I want to explore the worlds further. Ask Me Why is an excellent small town romance sampler with charming stories sure to make you smile.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.