Tag Archives: Entangled Publishing

TBR Challenge Review: Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson

Game for Marriage by Karen Erickson
Contemporary romance released by Entangled Publishing on January 11, 2013

He’s going in deep to make her his…

Struggling artist Sheridan Harper never imagined she’d spend a sizzling night with Jared Quinn, the smoking-hot star quarterback of her local professional football team, the San Jose Hawks. And she’s even more shocked when Jared’s publicist offers her a proposition: a fake marriage to keep Jared out of the gossip mags. Being that close to Jared would be too tempting, so to protect her heart, she insists on secretly including a clause forbidding sex between them.

Jared just wants to keep his starting QB job and keep it in San Jose. His reputation as a ladies’ man has landed him in the headlines one too many times, but there’s something about his kind, passionate new wife that tempts him beyond reason. Any sort of intimacy between them is completely forbidden, but as their bodies fall in deep, will their hearts follow suit?

I love football. I love romances that involve football. After reading the blurb for the book I immediately got a copy. As I’ve read other books by Karen Erickson before, I had high hopes going in. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, despite modern day marriage of conveniences being not really my thing, I was sold. I didn’t even get caught up in the legal potentialities!

Sheridan Harper is a great heroine. Although she’s only 25, she’s got a good head on her shoulders and great sense of self. Sure, she’s a little flighty and flaky at times, but I think that has more to do with Jared, than her. Sheridan is like every woman plus. She’s normal – other than being super hot, and having an inheritance. I like that she’s an artist, but still worries about the mundane. Paying for things, keeping her studio, and so on. Ms. Erickson writes a great balance, adding those details perfectly, making Sheridan real and relatable, instead of bogging down the story. Sheridan got major bonus points in my book for being rational and down to earth.

Jared Quinn is an entertaining hero. He’s a quarterback in the NFL, so you know his life (at least currently) is cake-like. Especially since he leads a team that does well. I liked that Jared was a home town boy and that he wanted to stay there. (Not quite actually believable or feasible in real life, but that’s why it’s fiction!) The sentiment is there though, and the fact that Jared has to work so hard to stay with the team. I also liked that he knew he was an ass, but outgrew it. He’s a reformed bad boy hero. What also authenticates this transformation is that Jared has some nudging from the team’s PR people. And that Sheridan makes him work for it. After all, Jared knows full well what he’s got and uses it to his advantage.

The fact that the characters are real and have flaws add that perfect touch. The story is pretty charmed – marriage of convenience that happens to work out. Beyond that, the premise seems like it might be a bit weak, yet Ms. Erickson makes it play out naturally. The setting, story line, developing relationship, and situations Jared and Quinn are thrown into all work together. I liked that Jared and Quinn both have good friends that are there for them. (The fact that the best friends fall for each other was obvious series bait, but I’m willing to give them a chance.)

There were some other minor things that bothered me. For example, Jared gripes that the ring he gets Sheridon costs over $100,000, but then adds how he would never tell her the cost or she’d never wear it. But lo and behold! Sheridan happens to be a connoisseur of diamond rings! And she slips it on happily. Or the fact that the owner would out Jared from the team for behavior issues. Unless you’re Bill Gates and can burn cash for warmth, or don’t care about winning… it doesn’t make sense for an owner to act thus. Yes, I am a picky reader.

But! The heat is there, and the romance is really there. I quite enjoyed Game for Marriage, and I think anyone who reads contemporary romances will like it too. In fact, I can see myself re-reading it in the future. The sports angle is just a bonus if you happen to like football. Ms. Erickson is a great writer and story teller. I’m definitely looking for her next release – in any genre.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

Guest Review: Tempting the Best Man by J Lynn

Romance Gal’s Review

Tempting the Best Man by J Lynn
Contemporary romance released by Entangled Publishing on April 23, 2012

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.
Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first…

Tempting the Best Man is a very short story as the whole book takes place within four days. Everything is covered, from the history of the hero and heroine, their attraction to one another, and  them finally being unable to resist each other. Madison loves and hates Chase at the same time but the love always tops the hatred. Chase is handsome, single and successful, so why is he denying himself love and happiness? Because he believes he is just like his father who cheated on his mother. He doesn’t want to hurt Madison but he invariably ends up breaking her heart, albeit unknowingly, every time he rejects her.

Chase is your typical hero, one who tries to avoid anything to do with relationships like the plague. His love for Madison is obvious to everyone including himself but he remains too stubborn to act on it. He is a successful business man trying hard not to turn out like his father though he can’t change the fact that they look exactly the same.

Madison is an independent, funny, sassy and witty heroine. She makes being the only girl in a group of four guys (her older brother and Chase and his brothers) seem so sexy and enjoyable. Madison is a strong heroine in some instances but she also has her weak moments. For instance, when Chase rejects her for the first time she really tries to move on but at the same time she can’t help wanting to be close to Chase and she does this by not only living in the same city as him but also in the same building! Thus, proving that she doesn’t let disappointments hold her down from getting what she wants. She is relentless and determined to win over Chase’s heart and making him see her as something [someone] other than his best friend’s little sister.

Despite knowing this is a novella I felt like I didn’t get enough time to really know the characters. In addition, there are so many things that are too predictable while reading and all the clichés you can think of are found on this one. To name a few: Madison’s car breaks down on her way to the vineyard and even though she calls her dad to come and get her, guess who shows up to the rescue? Yup, the hot guy, who happens to be her brother’s best friend that she’s had a crush on since she was a kid. They both get locked up in the wine cellar where they share a ‘steamy kiss’ but then pretend it didn’t happen. Then, of course the main one, where the rooms are overbooked so they have to share one- and coincidentally, it is a honeymoon suite! There is also the fact that the main reason that they are dancing around being in a relationship is because of Chase’s misgivings about turning out like his dad!

I also got a bit frustrated with Chase for his tendency to be possessive over Maddie. It was contradictory and unreasonable because he doesn’t wasn’t to see her with another guy but he doesn’t want to be with her himself!

Nevertheless, the book is so funny and some scenes are just beyond hilarious and I constantly found myself laughing out loud. The love between Chase and Madison was palpable and everyone around them knew about it. The relationship between the families-the Gamble brothers and the Daniels enhances the story and makes you wish you had interfering relatives around. They are corny and entertaining. Plus they are all so carefree with one another that you just have to love them.

This was a fun, short, romantic read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a light happily ever after. I hope this becomes a series because I would love stories for the other Gamble siblings as well as catch up with Madison and Chase.

Grade: C+

You can buy a copy here.

Review: Table for One by Ros Clarke

Liz’s Review:

Table for One by Ros Clarke
Contemporary Romance released by Entangled Publishing on February 13, 2012

When food critic Claudia Thomas gets dumped on Valentine’s Day, she finds herself occupying a table for one at London’s hottest new restaurant. If her job wasn’t on the line, she’d skip the whole affair, but her editor’s waiting for a review—and with luck, an interview with sexy chef Ward Nicholls. Ward, intrigued by the single woman in a restaurant full of couples, sets out to tease her palate. Claudia has never tasted anything so luscious as the special meal Ward prepares for her, but when the seduction moves from the restaurant to his bedroom, Claudia discovers the only thing more tempting than his food is the chef himself. Their connection is instantaneous, sizzling, and spicy—until Claudia comes clean about her job, reopening a wound Ward had thought long-healed. Could one accidental lie of omission end a delicious relationship before it even has a chance to start?

This short story revolves around the idea of one lie of omission being the thing that potentially destroys a relationship before it gets off the ground.  There is nothing new to the premise, and unfortunately, the author fails to bring anything to the table but the occasional witty bit of dialogue.

Claudia is spineless and weak.  She makes the wrong choices time and again and then is surprised when she loses the person she most wanted to have.  While her bossiness is funny at times, it grew stale quickly, and she appeared to be a very one-dimensional character.

Ward is the stereotyped overworked chef who takes an opportunity to seduce a woman with his food and then changes his mind when he finds out her occupation.  Ward has past demons to battle so it’s no surprise when he flies off the handle about Claudia’s selective truth.  He’s a shallow character at best, taking something that happened to his parents as a child and using it as a shield.  While that does happen in real life, it feels tacked on and trite so his reaction to the truth seems over the top and childish.

There is little more that annoys me in books then when characters do something so patently stupid just so that it creates tension in the story.  Claudia has several inner monologues about revealing her occupation as a reviewer to Ward, knowing that it is important to share it, but each time she decides to leave things as they are.  The very little bit of drama in the story was created by the heroine herself and left a lot to be desired.

The story could have been helped a great deal by adding to the length.  It’s quite a short book, and by choosing a shorter length, the author didn’t give the characters depth and time to shine, and to go further into their relationship.  The book is a quick read with a happy ending, but no surprises.  While I didn’t hate the book, I certainly won’t be reading it again.

Grade: D

You can read an excerpt of the book here, or buy it here.