Tag: contemporary

Book Review: The Marriage Bargain (Jennifer Probst).

The Marriage Bargain

– Jennifer Probst.

I read a book last month which had a reference to this book and since, I liked that novel I thought might check this one out. The Marriage Bargain is a marriage of convenience type love story written by Jennifer Probst. This romance novel was the perfect kind of escapist fiction I wanted to read for the weekend.

Alexa Maria McKenzie is a 27-year-old bookshop owner. Her shop is doing well enough but her family is in financial trouble and she wants to help them but doesn’t know why. The story starts with her making a list of all qualities she would like in a man and casts a love spell. Maggie is Alexa’s best friend and they have known each other for years. Nicholas Ryan is a billionaire and Maggie’s older brother. Alex had a major crush on him when he was younger but it didn’t end well for her.

Nicholas needs to marry to inherit his father’s business but he doesn’t believe in marriage or love and wants a marriage of convenience. Nicholas (Nick) learns about Alexa’s financial trouble and he has known her for a long time decides to make a proposal to her which she accepts. This is the way Alexa and Nick end up getting married. Alexa and Nick quite opposite when it comes to their beliefs especially about relationships and family. Nick doesn’t want or even believe in marriage or love, but Alexa has always wanted the fairytale.

This is an odd situation for them to act like a happy couple in front of their families and friends but they try to make the best of it. Once they are married they become friends first and start getting along really well which leads to them becoming lovers. It seems like a natural transition because they don’t exactly know each other all that much, Maggie is the only common thread between them. The way their relationship evolves and becomes stronger, the build-up to it is interesting and fun to read.

Nick can be a bit much at times especially in the beginning but slowly there is a change in him and he becomes more likable as a character. Alexa is independent and strong, she comes from a tight-knit family and she sticks to her moral compass throughout even when it is not favorable for her. The element of magic with the love spell thing in the story is a nice surprise; it is underlying and doesn’t take anything away from the actual love story. I like how Alexa and Nick bring out the best in each other which neither of them expected and grow stronger together.

The conflict towards the end was a little rushed but it still keeps you hooked. The Marriage Bargain mostly has a predictable story but there are some unexpected events in it as well. Being a contemporary romance novel the plot does seem predictable but with a fresh perspective on it that made this story enjoyable for me. It is a feel-good, fun, and interesting romance novel. I liked reading this book and once I started reading it took me a day to finish it.

*Get a copy by clicking on the image above.

Book Review: Worth the Risk (Jamie Beck).

Worth the Risk

–  Jamie Beck.

Worth the Risk by Jamie Beck is the third novel of the St. James series. A few months ago, I had read the second novel of the series but I have never read the first one. Not reading the first book didn’t throw me off the plot of this book but I missed some background. This is a story about Jackson and Gabby who fall for each other against all odds.

Jackson decides to take a break from his life and spend six weeks healing in Vermont. Jackson lost his mom a while ago and then his brother moved away; he feels abandoned by his family. He has secrets of his own and adding to that the secrets he knows his brother is hiding from him which starts taking a toll on him. He uses alcohol as a way to escape and somewhere along the line it becomes a habit. Jackson rents a room at a home in Vermont where he is going to spend time recovering. Gabby is his landlord.

Gabby has had it rough. She is a young single mother, her mother left her when she was young and her dad is overprotective. Gabby is down to earth and sweet, she is mature for her age. I liked the way the rapport between Jackson and Gabby developed; it happened organically. Gabby’s mother leaves them because she was addicted to drugs which started with painkillers after an injury. In a way, she carries the guilt and baggage of her mother’s actions.

Jackson is a nice guy who has made bad choices over the last couple of years and he is introspective. He knows that he is an issue with alcohol use and is trying hard to overcome his addiction. Gabby and Jackson are immediately attracted to each other but keep things friendly between them as long as they can. Jackson is honest about his issues with Gabby but her father worries that she is making the same decisions that he made in regards to Gabby’s mother; Gabby is conscious about it too. Gabby’s ex, her son’s father Noah who did the bare minimum to support her over the years suddenly starts taking an interest her.

The main conflict in the story I felt was the struggle of Gabby to try and not compare Jackson with her mom and for Jackson, it is not to let his past overwhelm him. Growing up with a mother with a drug issue, you can sympathize with Gabby when it comes to her reservations but still, she takes a leap of faith. Both characters are flawed, one more than the other. The good part is that they are not oblivious to each other’s problems and how it could affect their relationship. Jackson and Gabby don’t have it easy which is realistic and keeps the story grounded. In the end, both are trying to overcome their obstacles and make it work with each other.

I liked Jackson and Gabby’s characters and their love story was cute and complicated. The writing and pace of the story are engaging, I could barely put it down and finished it in a day. Worth the Risk is an engaging and enjoyable book to read, I loved it.

*Click on the image above to get your own copy.

Currently Reading (June ’20)

My reading list for the month.

  1. If You Stay by Courtney Cole.

If You Stay is a story of Pax and Mila. Both of them come from different backgrounds; Pax drowns himself in drugs and women while Mila is down to earth and sweet. I am a couple of chapters in as of now and it is intriguing. There is an element of mystery surrounding the characters’ past especially Pax which I am super curious to find out.

2. Worth the Risk by Jamie Beck.

Worth the Risk is the third book of the St. James series. I read the other two books a while back and I wanted to read Jackson’s story. This book focuses on Jackson St. James when he decides to go to Vermont so he could prioritize his sobriety. His landlady is sweet young mother Gabby who Jackson finds alluring. Gabby and Jackson both seem to have different issues about their past yet they seem perfect for each other.  

  1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

I have been meaning to read A Tale of Two Cities for years but some reason I always stop after the first chapter. This time I have picked it up again and finished the second chapter so that is a promising sign. Set during the French Revolution, this book parallels the story between two cities London and Paris. It being a historical novel is a huge draw for me.

Book Review: Bet Me (Jennifer Crusie).

Bet Me

– Jennifer Crusie


Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie is a contemporary romance novel. I found the description of the book intriguing and different so I decided to read it. The book is about a 33-year-old woman named Minerva Dobbs. She decides to go on a date with Calvin Morrisey knowing he has made a bet about asking her out. Once she agrees to dinner, the story takes off and things change for her.

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The story starts when Minerva is dumped by her boyfriend David in a bar where she ends up meeting Cal. Min overhears Cal talking about a bet which involves her. Then the plot unfolds in a witty and sweet way. Minerva is such a great character. She is not the “ideal” romance heroine; she is plain and chubby which is not common for a romance novel. The struggles of her character regarding her issues are portrayed realistically by the writer. Her struggles to feel comfortable in her skin physically and mentally evolves in an organic manner. At no point, any character evolution seems forced in the story.

The underlying theme throughout the book is about body positivity. Min struggles to accept the standards of beauty set by society and her mom. In the beginning, she is constantly worrying about her eating, trying to fit in a particular dress for her sister’s wedding. As the story progresses Cal helps her feel comfortable with herself. Cal and Min are unique characters with their wicked sense of humor and quirky personalities. Cal’s character seems typical at the beginning of the book but there is so much depth to him as the story moves ahead.

The subplot of David and Cal’s ex, who is psychologist keep plotting to sabotage Min and Cal’s growing relationship. The theories of Cal’s ex Cyn were annoying after the first couple of times and it didn’t make sense to me. I felt that this subplot was not completely resolved as Cal never understands the whole reason behind Cyn’s pursuit of him. Even the supporting characters have distinctive voices and play a part in taking the story ahead.

The character interaction is so vivid and cool in the way it is written. The dialogues are sweet, funny and sometimes downright sarcastic. The outlook of Min and Cal towards love is practical; Min is more of a cynic in that case. She doesn’t expect fairytales or happily ever after and is calculative about everything she does. They both share somewhat dysfunctional relationships with their families but it isn’t over the top. The author doesn’t depend on drama for the story; the conflicts that do arise are not artificial in any way. The coincidental meeting between Min and Cal are so endearing to rea

Bet Me is the first Jennifer Crusie book I read and I liked her writing style. It is quick-paced, with no unnecessary drama and humorous. The romantic relationship between Min and Cal develops slowly and steadily; it is cute to see them falling in love. You can’t help but root for the characters and relate to them every now and then. The book is witty, sarcastic and fun to read from start to finish. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t finish it fast enoug