Taking What’s His and The Werewolf Wears Prada

taking-whats-hisTaking What’s His (Shillings Agency #4) by Jen McLaughlin (Diane Alberts), published in April 2015 by Entangled Brazen.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Source: publisher via Netgalley (thank you, Entangled, for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review).

Genre: contemporary romance.

Some lines are meant to be crossed… 

One explosive device was all it took to turn Holt Cunningham from ass-kicking Marine to IT technician. Hell, he’s still not over it. So when the cute little strawberry blonde at the bar asks him to kiss her, Holt can’t resist the temptation of a sexy distraction. Before he knows it, she’s blown his mind…and then skipped out the next morning. 

Lydia Thomas never expected things with Holt to go quite that far, but oh, it was worth it. After being far too good for way too long, she was ready to be bad. Except that there’s that tiny detail that Lydia kept to herself-Holt just spent the night doing naughty things…with his best friend’s little sister. 

One night isn’t nearly enough. But with his friendship on the line, how far will Holt go in order to claim what’s his? (Goodreads)

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My rating: 2.5/5.

This was one of those semi-interesting reads. I rather like the situation where one of the pair is “untouchable” because they’re related to a best friend (usually it’s about a best friend’s sister, right?) and the resulting chemistry.

I really, really liked Holt. His time with the Marines earned him a hit in the head and the resulting migraines are almost crippling for him. He’s a great IT technician – I have a thing for nerds, which is good seeing as I married one ;) – and a smart guy. This, combined with a fierce loyalty to his friends, makes him a very cool character.

Lydia, however, fell a bit flat for me. I wished for more depth of character, because we only get the info that her boyfriend cheated on her with her friend and that she’s a nurse. For me, that’s not enough. Sure, we see she’s a caring, loving individual when she tries to help Holt, but I would have liked to know her better.

This wouldn’t have been enough to lower my rating, however. What bothered me were three things that others might not object to, so this is a sort of a disclaimer:

  1. The sappy ending. I love a happily ever after, but flowery declarations of everlasting love after a relatively short relationship just rub me the wrong way.
  2. The “I’m doing this for your own good” gesture. Ok, I get you want to protect the person you love and make sure they get everything they deserve in life, but what about their wishes? You don’t get to make that kind of decision for anyone. COMMUNICATION, people, it helps.
  3. Half-hearted kink. So… I certainly don’t object to erotica/bdsm in romances if it’s done well (it’s kind of hard to find, actually), but here Holt and Lydia just get into some light spanking and dirty talk – and I wonder if it was really necessary.

Eh.

Overall, this is a fast read if you’re looking for a light contemporary romance.

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the-werewolf-wears-pradaThe Werewolf Wears Prada (San Francisco Wolf Pack #1) by Kristin Miller, published in April 2015 by Entangled Covet.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Source: publisher via Netgalley (thank you, Entangled, for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review).

Genre: paranormal romance.

Melina Rosenthal worships at the altar of all things fashion. Her dream is to work for the crème de la crème fashion magazine, Eclipse, and she’ll do much anything to get there. Even fixing up the image of a gorgeous, sexy public figure who’s all playboy, all the time. Even if he’s the guy who broke her heart a year ago… 

Even if Hayden Dean is a werewolf. Since his father’s death, Hayden’s the heir apparent to the San Francisco Wolf Pack—well, once he settles down. Hayden isn’t interested in giving up his partying ways, except he’s pretty sure he’s found his fated mate, and the fact that she’s a non-shifter is bad news. Now he must find a compromise between the traditions of his wolf world and his certainty that Melina is his…before fate (or another werewolf) bites them both in the butt. (Goodreads)

* * *

My rating: 3/5.

This one was fun! I am always on the lookout for a good paranormal series and while The Werewolf Wears Prada does have some problems, I think I’ll give book 2 a try when it comes out so I’ll see how things go.

I liked Melina. Despite being unable to connect with her great passion for fashion (I don’t own a single designer item of clothing *le gasp*), I respected her work ethics, her stubbornness, her refusal to put up with Hayden’s shit.

Hayden was a bit of a miss for me – while I understand why he stood Melina up, I think he should have gotten his life together far sooner; if he hadn’t partied quite so hard, things would never have progressed to a point where he had to make impossible decisions.

But I liked the action, the reason behind the conflict among the werewolves, and the way Miller handled Melina’s introduction to their secret world. As I said, I’m looking forward to seeing more of the San Francisco wolf pack and their struggles. And more Melina, preferably, because I’m sure she’ll kick some wolf ass in her new role!

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Have you read these novels? 

Do you have any good romance recommendations (either contemp or paranormal)? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • Oh Entangled Brazen, I thought I was the only person who would admit to reading their books! ;) They can certainly be pretty hit or miss some times, especially with the half-hearted naughtiness that you mentioned. I usually like Tessa Bailey’s books (she’s also an EB author) if you’re looking for more; Asking for Trouble is her best, imo. It’s book 4 in a series but you can read them non-chronologically (although I’m too neurotic to do so, ha).

    Hahaha, le gasp! How can you live without designer labels?!

    • Ooooh, COOL! Thanks for the rec.
      Ah, no, I’m DONE with the “guilty pleasure” feelings about romance. I’m *trying* to own my likes and dislikes and if I happen to be in the mood for some bad romance (ra-ra… GAH now I’ll have Gaga stuck in my head…), so be it. BUT I’m only comfortable saying this on the blog – I’m still implementing this into my “real” life :/

      Were you serious about designer labels? I remember you mentioning that sense of style is a superpower :) Naw, I like buying quality clothes but I’m not going to spend my monthly paycheck on a new pair of shoes or anything.

      • YAY! I’ve been bothering friends and family relentlessly over the past few months, trying to find a new phrase to replace “guilty pleasure.” I want to be able to say that something isn’t intellectual or all that quality, but I still enjoy it. Any thoughts? I know Nathan from Fantasy Review Barn uses the term “popcorn” fiction which I do find useful. It’s definitely hard to discuss romance reads irl…and sadly I can’t do it on my blog, because my mom reads it religiously. LOL.

        HA no, I wasn’t serious about the designer labels. As much as I love fashion and I think having a good sense of style is important, I am a student and therefore medium poor. Even if I had the cash, I’m about 5 inches too short and ten pounds too heavy for most designer fashions. ;) Personally I think pulling off a cool look on a shoestring is more impressive anyway.

        • Hmmm I like “popcorn” fiction but I’d use that more with… say… fantasy lit that’s action-packed but not too serious? For romance, the image I get is more like chocolate and caramel (something that sticks to your teeth and isn’t entirely healthy for you but is SO GOOD).

          Wow, your mom reads your blog regularly? Mine comes by every so often. But then she knows I read romance and has read 2 of my translations of romance, so she’s read the sex scenes I’ve had to translate. So has my grandmother. Doesn’t get more awkward than that :D Would your mom object to your reading romance? Mine’s forever trying to get me to read “serious” lit – like I don’t read that… Sheesh :)

          Eh, most people are either too short or too tall for high fashion and everything bigger than size 2 is too big :/ Personally, I can’t wear heels because I’m so tall (plus A. is shorter than me!) :)