Pub Date: Feb 14, 2012
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the author
I have to say, Love is a Battlefield has one of the most intriguing hooks I've read in a long time: a battle of the sexes story between Highland Games athletes and a Jane Austen Reenactment Society. How could I resist?
This book is hilarious. I found myself highlighting funny lines throughout the story. Genuinely funny sections that had me snorting out loud. But what kept this book going for me was that for all of the larger than life antics here, this is a story about two characters who are utterly believable and easy to root for.
Kate Simmons works in a bookstore. She's the type of girl who is more comfortable in the background, rarely stands up for herself, and prefers to live her life with old fashioned values. Which is part of the reason she is so invested in her local Jane Austen Reenactment Society. After an 'incident' involving her good friend Jada tarnishes her reputation with the society, Kate agrees to organize the group's annual "Fauxhall" event. She thinks she's found the perfect location at a public park, until she discovers that a Highland Games event has a previous claim to it. A dismissive comment from the organizer of the Games has Kate seeing red and she decides it's time to be assertive and go after what she wants.
The book is filled with situational humor as well as hilarious turns of phrase. Much of it involves Kate's outrageous friend, Jada.
"Jada straightened and stuck out her chest, her breasts a beacon for the men to follow in case they got lost along the way."or my favorite one...
"Maybe you should show her the bluff," Jada suggested. Kate kicked a rock at her. "What? You're always saying how much you love dangling precipices. Kate loves things that dangle."
"That woman who almost ripped Mikey's balls off the other night will probably be here. You want to get in a pillow fight with her?"
Peterson sighed and put a hand over his heart. "Hell yes."
Julian tossed an empty beer can at him.
"What? You forget I'm a single dad. The only action I see these days is what Barbie's giving up to Ken. And let me tell you, that chick is one big prude."
There are also quite a lot of references to boobs and balls. Lots. But hey, this is romance. We're okay with body parts. What surprised me was how few of those references were in a sex scene. I particularly loved this one.
[at 10 year old Julian's first Highland games] "Every single girl over the age of sixteen had fallen immediately to her knees, squeezing him with affection and declarations of 'adorable!' All those breasts pressed against him were soft, pliable and warm—and they had changed him. It was one of those pivotal moments of boyhood when he realized there was much more to the world than backyard forts and bicycle races. There were boobs. And they were wonderful."
I also really enjoyed the out-of-the-box idea for how to resolve the dispute between our two main characters. I won't spoil it, but I have to admit, the solution the author came up with was nowhere on my radar of possible resolutions.
The only problem I had was with the pacing. The scenes with dialogue went racing by, as I was sucked into this epic battle of wills and snappy banter, but occasionally both Kate and Julian would spend so much time in their heads that I just wanted to shake them. And there were times I wish they could have been more mature and reasonable about sharing the location...but then we wouldn't have had a story or a conflict.
Both characters have believable character growth arcs and the chemistry is present in every scene between them. I am really looking forward to seeing if Tamara Morgan can top this one. Recommended for fans of Jill Shalvis or Jacquie D'Alessandro.
My Grade: B+
Available on BN, Amazon and most major ebook retailers. You can also order directly through Samhain here.
It takes a real man to wear a kilt. And a real woman to charm him out of it.
Games of Love, Book 1
It might be modern times, but Kate Simmons isn’t willing to live a life without at least the illusion of the perfect English romance. A proud member of the Jane Austen Regency Re-Enactment Society, Kate fulfills her passion for courtliness and high-waisted gowns in the company of a few women who share her love of all things heaving.
Then she encounters Julian Wallace, a professional Highland Games athlete who could have stepped right off the covers of her favorite novels. He’s everything brooding, masculine, and, well, heaving. The perfect example of a man who knows just how to wear his high sense of honor—and his kilt.
Confronted with a beautiful woman with a tongue as sharp as his sgian dubh, Julian and his band of merry men aren’t about to simply step aside and let Kate and her gaggle of tea-sippers use his land for their annual convention. Never mind that “his land” is a state park—Julian was here first, and he never backs down from a challenge.
Unless that challenge is a woman unafraid to fight for what she wants...and whose wants are suddenly the only thing he can think about.