Requested ARC Review: Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Format: E-book
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Series: Fool’s Gold, Book 4
Hero: Finn Andersson
Heroine: Dakota Hendrix
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 26, 2011
Started On: July 23, 2011
Finished On: July 24, 2011

If not for a request for review from Little Bird Publicity I would most probably have passed up on reading and acquainting myself with the wonderful and wholesome world that Susan Mallery seems to have created so well in her Fool’s Gold series. As I glided along into the 4th book of the series with no prior introduction into the first 3 books, I didn’t feel unwelcome but rather felt that I was amongst old friends whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, familiar and soothing in its own right that had me falling gently in love as I read along.

28 year old Dakota Hendrix is a triplet, and comes from a family of six siblings, her family being one of the first generation families in Fool’s Gold, California. Fool’s Gold is a town that has shot to fame after a student doing her thesis on human geography had discovered the fact that in Fool’s Gold there is a serious lack of men when both sexes are compared in numbers.

A PHD holder who specializes in childhood development, Dakota has no idea why she is entrusted with the job of looking out for the interests of the citizens of Fool’s Gold in the project undertaken by Hollywood’s attempt to make money out of their town’s lack of men.

When Finn Andersson with his black hair and piercing blue eyes storms into the scene demanding that his younger twin brothers Sasha and Stephen who have signed up to be part of the reality show True Love or Fool’s Gold be released from the show, Dakota has no idea that Finn would be the man to stir up her juices and get her to notice the attention her inactive libido seems to be dishing out to the sexy stranger.

Finn who hails from South Salmon, Alaska is determined that his younger brothers would not ruin their lives by setting out on a fool’s errand. Finn is a man who takes his responsibilities very seriously, some might say a bit too seriously considering the fact that he had had to grow up overnight to take care of his 13 year old younger brothers when his parents had died in a plane crash 8 years back.

When Finn realizes that the twins won’t budge from where they stand, he does the next best thing a protective older brother would do; decide to stay around in Fool’s Gold to keep an eye on them until they realize the error of their ways. However, things rarely have a way of turning out as one plans them and this is exactly what happens when Finn finds himself looking forward to staying around in Fool’s Gold, thanks to the number Dakota plays on his baser and more tender emotions.

Only Mine is not just the story of how Finn and Dakota falls in love and finds their happily ever after. Rather, its a story that intrinsically weaves together the beauty that is small town life, the wonderful togetherness one finds inside the warm circle of loving family members and friends and the realization of the hopes of a woman who dreams of holding a child that belongs to her in all the ways. It is a story that tells the struggle of a woman who wants to stand up for herself and finds love and the strength to do so in the most unexpected of places. And last of all, Only Mine shows us the beauty of a relationship that is based on sharing the burdens of life together, and that love does triumph over every other emotion in the end.

I loved a lot of things about Only Mine. First of all the soothing feel to the story that unfolded was truly appreciated. True, there were emotionally charged moments and times where I was in dire need of a tall glass of iced water to quench the heat coursing through me. But ultimately, the one thing that does shine through is the fact that Only Mine is a novel that soothes and provokes your emotions at the same time, making you feel like you are snuggled up in bed on a rainy day with a warm cup of tea right by your side.

All the characters in this story, whether they were around for the long haul or just popped up in between were endearing in their own rights and lent the story the charm that it fully exudes in spades. The secondary story of the unexpected love between Stephen and the 9 years older Aurelia certainly made things more interesting. The details and the emotions that the author fully describes about the heroine’s attempts at overcoming the limitations that PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease) imposes on her life and the way she wins over them hit close to home as I am someone who suffers from the same condition.

At times funny, charming and endearing, Only Mine is a novel recommended for those who are fans of Susan Mallery; those that love a soothing, feel-good romance with in-depth characterization and fans of the Fool’s Gold series.

Favorite Quotes

Dakota touched her (mother’s) arm. “I’m dealing. Most days it’s okay. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed. Maybe if I’d been in a relationship, I wouldn’t have felt so unlovable.”
“You’re not unlovable. You’re beautiful and smart and fun to be with. Any man would be lucky to have you.”
That’s what I tell myself. Apparently the entire gender is blind and stupid.”

She welcomed him, wrapping her legs around his hips and drawing him closer. Usually she closed her eyes, but this time she kept them open, watching him watch her.
They were connected. She felt what he felt, knew his anticipation, experienced the tension. As he got closer, so did she. The need for more grew until there was nothing to do but come together.
She clung to him as he held on to her. The night closed around them until it seemed as if they had always been together and that they could never ever be apart.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Caliber Seal: AMAZING READ!

CONTEST!!!!!

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Susan Mallery is holding a contest up on her website from 1st August till the 1st of September 2011 entitled “ONLY MINE … All Mine”.

The contest will be open to all members of Susan’s website who sign-up for a chance to win. It will begin August 1st and will end September 1st, 2011.  Once the contest has ended one lucky winner will be randomly drawn. The one lucky winner will receive a signed “exclusive first look” at Susan’s new Fool’s Gold Christmas e-novella (so fresh it doesn’t even have a title yet) and a man shortage t-shirt.

Signing up is so easy. Just visit: http://www.susanmallery.com/members/contest.php!

Review: Completely Smitten by Susan Mallery

Format: E-book
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hometown Heartbreakers, Book 8
Publisher: Silhouette
Hero: Kevin Harmon
Heroine: Haley Foster
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 1, 2003
Started On: March 12, 2011
Finished On: March 13, 2011

My first experience with Susan Mallery certainly turned out to be a delightful one. Completely Smitten has been sitting in my to-be-read pile for ages since I got the title off as a recommendation from one of the discussion threads on Amazon. Coupled with the fact that I was craving for a short and light read that would captivate me from the beginning till end together with the high ratings my friends on Goodreads seem to have given for this title sealed the deal for me and I enjoyed every minute of Haley and Kevin’s journey towards happily-ever-after.

31 year old U.S. Marshal Kevin Harmon is stuck in the middle of Kansas after spending the better part of the day hauling a convicted felon across state lines to a nearby prison. Kevin had grown up never knowing his biological father but nevertheless had grown up in a well rounded family environment with his fraternal twin Nash and their mother and stepfather Howard. Kevin’s tendency to land in the wrong kind of trouble one time too many had in the end landed him in military school which is where Kevin had learned to turn his life around and become a law enforcement professional. The last thing he is looking for when he sits down at a bar in the middle of nowhere looking for nothing more than a beer, food and a bed all in that order is the blond, blue-eyed woman who walks in, who looks completely out of place in the bar with a less than ideal crowd.

25 year old Haley Foster from Western Ohio is the only child of a widowed Baptist Minister. The death of her mother had meant that Haley had 50 or more women looking out for her whilst she was growing up. The expectations of the congregation had been what had mapped out Haley’s life, having always forgone her dreams and wants to go along with what her father and her fiance had wanted for her all her life. The final straw sees Haley driving out on her own to experience life and the wild side of it, when she meets the broodingly handsome Kevin Harmon who rescues her from the imminent trouble she stirs up when she walks into the bar.

From the moment Kevin rescues her from the 3 thugs surrounding her, he starts mumbling to himself “Why me?”. Temptation he has never thought he would feel start edging in as he spends time with Haley and though Kevin tries his damnedest to mind his own business and keep away from the tempting Haley, before the night is through Kevin finds himself helping a very drunk Haley who is hell bent on making a pass at him to her room.

A string of events that follow lands these together on a road trip which would take Kevin back home and Haley on her way to Hawaii, somewhere she has always wanted to visit all her life. Along the way, Kevin and Haley both find in each other what they have both been missing in their lives, as friendship tinged with red-hot desire that edge them towards falling in love for the first time in both their lives.

Completely Smitten is the kind of story that would make you fall head over heels in love with both the hero and heroine. The gruff and tough hero doesn’t stand a chance around our sunny and optimistic heroine who has every intention of experiencing the wild side of life. Even though Kevin tries to resist Haley and the way she so effortlessly charms him into falling for her, Kevin tries so hard to do the “right” thing by Haley and keep his hands off her. I loved how the feelings between Haley and Kevin developed, though their relationship is one tinged with sexual zing right from the very first moment itself.

I liked the premise of the small town girl taking care of the big and experienced U.S. Marshal who doesn’t know what hits him when Haley sashays into his otherwise bleak life and lights it up with her infectious smile and her tendency to embrace each and everything in life with open arms. The way Kevin takes care of Haley’s desires, and makes her feel sexy and wanted and loved at the same time are one of the best moments in the story.

Though I would have loved it if Kevin would have come after Haley even though he lets her go because he loves her and wants what is best for her, I still loved this sweet story that I very much enjoyed. I certainly would be on the lookout for other such swell reads by the author in the future.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo | Harlequin

[xrr rating=4/5]

Caliber Seal: GREAT READ!