Review of the week

I know I’ve said before that I want to start reviewing more again and Liz’s post has prompted me to actually do it. My plan, such as it is, is to post one review every week. It won’t necessarily be the best or worst book I read that week, just the one I want to talk about. I read quite a lot of backlist titles as well as newer books, so it won’t always be a book that everyone else is talking about. In fact, it probably won’t be. I’m not in the business of accepting review copies, so you’ll know it’s a book I paid for (or downloaded for free if it happens to be on offer). I’m also not in the business of reviewing authors, only books.

What I’ve read this week:
The Wedding Dress Diaries by Aimee Carson (this is a freebie M&B novella)
Scandal in the Regency Ballroom (includes No Place for a Lady and Not Quite A Lady) by Louise Allen
Faking It to Making It by Ally Blake
The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville
Lost to the Desert Warrior by Sarah Morgan

So, here goes with this week’s pick for a review:
Author: Ally Blake

Publisher: Mills and Boon Modern.* It is RIDICULOUS that the kindle versions of M&B books don’t have workable tables of contents.

Date: 2013

Cover Art



I like both covers. I think the format of the UK covers is stronger, since it avoids the type getting hidden in the picture. I also like that the author names are bigger than the titles.  The ‘to’ on the US cover is all but lost as is the author’s name. But both covers capture the feel of the book and the characters reasonably well.

Hero: Nate Mackenzie. Aka Studmuffin33, sorry NJM. Studmuffin33 is the one she doesn’t pick. Because, oh yes, this is an online dating agency book. Nate needs a wedding date, for a wedding his sisters aren’t invited to, in order to get his sisters off his back. No, I don’t know why either. Nate’s father died when he was young and, because he was The Man Of The Family (he has 4 sisters and no brothers), he had to deal with Too Many Emotions at an early age. So now he doesn’t want any more emotions. Because that’s how it works.

Heroine: Saskia Bloom. Sassy statistician. No, really. She and her friend run a company which makes  infographics. I thought that was quite a cool job, actually. She’s been hired by the dating website to make  them an infographic, and apparently this entails setting up a profile and going on a date. No, I don’t know why. Anyway, she passes over Studmuffin33, in favour of NJM. And, well, the rest of the plot is contained within the title of the book. They fake their relationship for a bit. And then it stops being fake. Nate freaks out. And then he gets over himself. Cue happy ending.

Other: Gabe, Nate’s business partner, who I think was the hero of a previous book I haven’t read. Nate’s sisters, who merged into one. Saskia’s business partner Lissy who has a brief fling with Bamford, a computer geek who is one of Nate’s clients. And Ernest the dog who likes Oreos.

Marriage: Not Nate and Saskia’s.

Enjoyment factor: I enjoyed a lot of this. Nate and Saskia are good people and fun to spend time with. It’s a fairly standard buttoned-up guy meets slightly-out-there heroine and learns to relax a bit. I didn’t really buy into the reason for Nate’s emotional blinkers. I did believe in Saskia’s previous disastrous relationships and I could see how the kind of person she is would lead her into the kind of conflict in the book. I didn’t like Bamford at all – which is to say, I didn’t like him as a person, but more, I didn’t like the role he had in the book. In fact, I didn’t think he needed to be in the book at all. I couldn’t see what he added to it.

Epilogue: Yes, though I’m not sure why it wasn’t just the last scene of the last chapter. It’s a cute scene but it doesn’t do anything much. No marriage, no babies. They haven’t even moved in together.

*So I had this whole spiel about Modern Tempted, aka RIVA, aka Modern Heat, aka Harlequin Kiss. Seriously, pick a name and stick with it. But it turns out this was published as Modern in the UK and Presents in the US, which undermines all my points. It definitely read Tempted to me. I do love the over-the-top ridiculousness and intensity of Modern/Presents, but these books tend to be a little bit more normal and fun, and sometimes that’s what I want in my reading. For my take on what distinguishes these line, see here. Since I wrote that post, Mills and Boon/Harlequin have managed to co-ordinate the UK and US releases of their books and I think they now use the same titles, but I could be wrong about that. It’s always safer to check.