Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mini Reviews: Full Throttle & Brandon's Bride

FULL THROTTLE
Fast Track #7
Erin McCarthy
Adult Contemporary Romance
304 pages
Berkley
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Easing into the turns…

As one of only two girls on the tween racing circuit, Shawn Hamby has always run with a fast crowd. But now at thirty-two, she doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. And she definitely doesn’t need a man bossing her around off of the track…

Putting the pedal to the metal…

But after a silly girls’ night at a fetish club, Shawn can’t get Rhett Ford out of her mind. He’s younger than her, and he’s her best friend’s brother-in-law, which should be red flags. Rhett is looking for someone to lead in bed, but he can’t imagine that Shawn would ever submit to him. Boldly surrendering is more her style. And with Rhett behind the wheel, it’s going to be one wild ride…


MY THOUGHTS
Much like its title suggests, Full Throttle is a fast and romantically explosive read, giving us a leading pair who make us wonder if we’re in danger of singed fingertips should we hold the pages for longer than a second or two before flipping. While the intimate scenes are undeniably scorching, Ms. McCarthy deftly ensures that the emotional component of Shawn and Rhett’s relationship is given equal weight to their bedroom forays, providing a beautiful balance that ultimately more than satisfies both the hedonist and romantic in us all.

The highlight of the relationship between Shawn and Rhett is their communication, with Rhett the type of man who thrives on making sure all his cards are on the table and desires little more than a partner unafraid to lay hers down as well. Shawn does stumble a bit in the beginning when Rhett’s introduction to his leadership role in their sexual relationship throws the fiercely independent business owner in her off-kilter, but she never takes her confusion out on him, instead letting the maelstrom of emotions wash through her and dealing with them one at a time. Rhett is ever-patient with Shawn, forcing her to talk when she might otherwise hasten a strategic retreat, and she, blessedly, never seeks to assert control by refusing to be honest with him. They address their issues and misunderstandings when they happen, providing us with a sense of calm even when tensions run high because we know the two of them are just not the type to intentionally inflict pain and then let the wound fester.

Ms. McCarthy created a devoted fan in me with her new adult release True, and she has only cemented her status as a favorite author with this adult contemporary read.

Rating: 4/5


*Note: I have not read the first 6 books in this series, this is the first I've picked up and it easily works as a stand-alone.
  
Find Erin:



BRANDON'S BRIDE
Family Secrets #3
Lisa Gardner/Alicia Scott
Romantic Suspense
320 pages
Signet
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Three siblings searching for the truth about their family are about to find more than they bargained for…

For years Brandon Ferringer has sought to untangle the mystery surrounding his father's disappearance. Now training as a hotshot—a seasonal wildland fire fighter—Brandon feels he’s on the verge of finally discovering the truth. In need of temporary lodging, Brandon rents a room at a local farm, and is surprised when his attraction to the ranch’s alluring owner threatens to distract him from his mission.

Single mother Victoria Meese struggles to find time for herself in between raising her son, Randy, and running the Lady Luck Ranch. When she meets Brandon, she suddenly finds something to believe in again. But Brandon’s search for answers is about to turn dangerous, threatening their growing connection—and their very lives.


MY THOUGHTS
Brandon’s Bride is a story a bit heavier on the mystery element than the romantic relationship, something that’s not a flaw at all save for the fact that it decreases the believability of the love between our hero and heroine in the end. Victoria is someone extremely easy to like from the beginning, a woman who is refreshingly upfront and honest in all things, especially her desire to provide emotional stability for her eight-year-old son. As the story progresses though, we become increasingly frustrated with her tendency to slip up with Brandon with flirting or passionate kisses only to immediately push him away citing her son as the reason. Make no mistake, wanting to protect her son from getting comfortable with having someone around who’s ultimately only going to be in town for six months is admirable and more than understandable, her back and forth just happens a few too many times.

Adding to the sense of frustration (and aiding in Victoria’s numerous retreats) is the fact that the two of them are continually interrupted by outside factors, the first couple times of course ratcheting up the tension and providing a delicious sense of anticipation, but after a while the interference of the mystery into the almost-intimate moments makes us want to give the book a slight shake. As a result their romance has a very staccato rhythm to it rather than a nice flowing build, and given all the stopping and starting it’s hard to fully embrace their declarations of love in the final chapters. That being said, both Victoria and Brandon do have their moments to shine in this story, particularly when Victoria finally makes a decision and refuses to let Brandon run from it, and our time with the two of them is certainly not time wasted.

Rating: 3.5/5
 

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These books were sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.
 

26 comments:

  1. I have read an Erin adult book and it was steamy and fast

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    1. That's how this one was, I adored it:)

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  2. I haven't heard of either of these, though both have aspects that I'd really enjoy. I'll definitely be coming back to this post when I'm in the mood for romance this winter. Great reviews, Jenny!(:

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    1. I can't recommend Erin McCarthy enough Keertana, she writes such great characters who actually communicate. *happy dance*

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  3. I think that I like Shawn and Rhett already, I'm glad that they're not characters who let each other believe something, but sort the situation out quickly. Whereas the continual interruptions in Brandon and Victoria's relationship I think would bug me too much! Thanks for the insightful reviews Jenny, I think I may have to give Full Throttle a try!

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    1. YES! I've only read two books by Erin, but in both the characters were honest in their feelings and there was absolutely no game playing, which makes me absurdly happy:)

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  4. The Fast Track series is really good -- and the covers are almost Vogue-ish (and a little silly. Seriously, why does she have her leg slung up his body like she's about to jump his bones. Maybe she is!).

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    1. I just have one comment on the cover...what's going on with her right foot? You can see it better obviously on the actual book, but it's quite possibly the biggest foot I've ever seen, and she has bear claw toes. I'm sure a lot of it's the angle of the photo, but I did snort when I saw it the first time:)

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  5. Great reviews Jenny! I have to admit, both have nice covers to look at. ;)

    I am glad the first one was more than just an explosive romance but had some depth to it as well. I have tried one of her other books and really liked it.

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    1. Yes, I'm pretty much an Erin fangirl now, I will be reading anything she decides to write!

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  6. I haven't heard of either of these, but I have heard of Erin McCarthy and am pretty intrigued by the Fast Track series. I have been trying to read more adult romance/new adult (I recently read my first romance novel ever!!) and this one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the great review!

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    1. Full Throttle was just sexy and fun. There was drama and conflict, but not really with the relationship itself, it was more outside conflict. Loved it.

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  7. The cover for Full Throttle did make me laugh but I'm glad the love story has some depth to it. I'm definitely interested in the mystery aspect of Brandon's Bride so I'll check that one out.

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    1. I liked the mystery aspect of Brandon's Bride, I just wish it didn't interrupt the romance quite as often. Once or twice? No problem, but it was going on 4 and 5 times they were interrupted and that got frustrating.

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  8. Those covers are HOTT! Stories that carry good depth and mystery you know I have to read. Great reviews!!

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  9. Hmmm...I don't know that either of these are for me...and these covers don't convince me otherwise...but thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  10. wonderful reviews, Full Throttle sounds good, and I am kind of bummed that the romance didn't hit home in Brandon's Bride. Did you read the rest of the series? I am wondering if you would have felt it more due to prior contact. I found this to be true with another series. Those that had met the couple previously loved it and those who hadn't were meh about it.

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  11. I do like romantic suspense and I'm drawn more to the McCarthy book. Oh I have several of her books on my wishlist and this one is going on it as well. The Gardner book might frustrate me too much for now, but will keep it on the must check out list. :)

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  12. I still haven't read my ARC of True! I was already eyeing that first book because the cover is just delicious. Glad it was more than a sexy cover!

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  13. The mystery aspect of the second one appeals to me. I think I'm just kind of really afraid of romances these days. I have read some really good ones I guess, but they weren't mainstream, or these popular ones. I'm glad you enjoyed these though!

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  14. I need to read Erin McCarthy! After reading your reviews I just know I would love her writing. This --> "a beautiful balance that ultimately more than satisfies both the hedonist and romantic in us all" is what I'm always really looking for in any romance - a good blend of steam and sweetness. :-) Great reviews!

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  15. Okay, I'm on a blogging break, but when I saw my email with you reading Full Throttle I just had to come and comment because I WANT this book! Loved True, just like you, Jenny and so I'm really curious about her adult read. This sounds exactly like my kind of read and yours is the 2nd great review I've read.

    Lisa Gardener stories are typically heavier on the mystery, but I've loved her writing. I fell in love with her Quincy/Raine series and now I love DD Warren.

    Anyhooo, I just had to say "hi"! I'll have to check in with you to see if you enjoyed Rome as much as I did. It was a close tie with Rule for me. :)

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  16. OKay, I saw the comment about the cover and I'm dying laughing! It reminds me of the simpler times when you had the Friday covers and pointed out the oddities much to our laughter. Now I can't write anything else but say how much I miss those days! :)

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  17. I haven't read Erin's Adult books, but if they are any good as her New Adult books then I'm all for it.
    And it seems like they are :))

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  18. Hooray for contemporary reads! I think the Full Throttle cover is cool.

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  19. The MC in Brandon's Bride sounds a bit annoying. Full Throttle seems like a better read to me too :)

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