Friday, 14 February 2014

Mini-view: Be Mine - Jennifer Crusie, Victoria Dahl and Shannon Stacey

Sizzle by Jennifer Crusie Business takes a backseat when successful ad executive Emily Tate meets Richard Parker. He's an accountant who's been sent to keep her in line and under budget in her ad campaign for a sensual new perfume called Sizzle. And if Emily's not careful, she could well melt in Richard's hands.  
Too Fast to Fall by Victoria DahlFor Jenny Stone, driving is her escape-from her past, her problems, her quiet life in Jackson Hole. But after Deputy Nate Hendricks stops her-again-for speeding, she could lose more than just her license. She could lose her heart. Nate seems to think that Jenny should replace her love for fast driving with something even more...heart pumping. And despite her need for speed, Jenny's never been one for defying the law. 
Alone With You by Shannon Stacey When waitress Darcy Vaughan's friend asks her to help out with the launch of a fledgling restaurant, she's happy to oblige. Little does she know the owner is Jake Holland, the perfect guy who slipped through her fingers after their one night of passion. But for Darcy and Jake, one touch was just not enough.

That's right, it's that day again. But come on, if nothing else it's the perfect excuse to curl up and read a good book (maybe with some chocolate too). You guys know how much I like short story collections, how good they are for reading on the go or for a cheeky pick me up on your lunch-break. Firstly, I think we have to discuss how Be Mine is perhaps the Holy Grail of anthologies with three stories from three of my favourite authors. While it's not new, it was actually released last year for Valentine's, it's new to me - somehow managing to slide under my radar. 

Sizzle - Jennifer Crusie:

Crusie is one of my favourite authors and I love all of her books, long and short alike. Sizzle is, at times, laugh out loud funny with some brilliant one liners and hilarious situations. Emily is the quintessential Crusie heroine; smart, sassy and independent she doesn't need a man, but wouldn't say no if the right one came along. Richard, however, is a bit of an no-go for me. Not a big listener, Richard spends much of the story riding rough-shod over Emily and her ideas, and Emily concedes far too easily for me. Unfortunately, I don't think that Crusie had enough room within the confines of the anthology to really work her magic and I found myself not really rooting for Emily and Richard as a couple. Having said that, it was still an enjoyable story that provided plenty of entertainment. The copyright page reveals that Sizzle was initially published in 1994, a very early offering from Crusie, which would explain the promise and lack of polish that the story holds.

Too Fast to Fall - Victoria Dahl:

Dahl's stories are some of the steamiest out there, perfect for a Valentine's treat and Too Fast to Fall is no different. Dahl approaches Jenny and Jackson's story as the beginning of a relationship, instant attraction rather than the 'insta-love' that can sometimes be hard to swallow, especially within little more than 100 pages. Too Fast to Fall is 1.5 in her Jackson Hole series, a particular favourite of mine. Jenny and Nate are both interesting and well rounded characters that balance each other well, their attraction practically leaping off the page. Dahl even manages to squeeze in some of her excellent secondary characters that are as equally well rounded within the space, no mean feat I tell you. Too Fast to Fall was easily my favourite story of the lot and well worth the price of the book alone.

Alone with You - Shannon Stacey:

I really enjoyed the premise of Stacey's offering, the one that got away being a particular favourite. Darcy and Jake, our final couple, are as likeable as the next although we don't get to know them as well as I'd have liked. The plot does led to plenty of simmering tension between our two characters that is particularly fun to read. I would say that Stacey's is the most romantic story in the book, ending with a perfectly delightful HEA that is just the ticket for a Valentine's packaged anthology. I enjoy Stacey's Kowalski series a lot and this small little extra is just as fun to read, although it does fit best around the full novels in the series.

If you're looking for something short and sweet to read this weekend, or any weekend for that matter, I would recommend Be Mine as a great little introduction to two of the newer authors involved.

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