Monday, October 7, 2013

Double Book Review: Working It Out & Through the Smoke

I have two books to tell you about today!

The first one is Working It Out by Rachael Anderson.  It's a cute contemporary romance about a physical therapist named Grace who goes to a bachelor auction to help out a co-worker.  When an arrogant man outbids her, then kisses her, she is so upset she runs away.  Unexpectedly he shows up as her patient and she has to work through a lot of feelings regarding him---frustration, anger, and attraction to name a few!

I really liked the heroine, Grace, and thought she had a lot of guts.  She puts up with a lot from her brother and the hero and I admired how she handled it with, well, grace.  She has a soft spot, but she's also been traumatized and feels guilt for what happened to her brother that day on the ski slopes.  I like that her feelings are explored and she really does grow by the end of the book.

The hero I had a harder time with.  There were points that I loved him, but a lot of times he seemed unable to see how his life view affected others.  I liked that he had give and take with Grace, though, and was willing to change.  Whatever flaws he had, he did redeem himself in the end and we were treated to some sigh-worthy kisses and sweet romance.

All in all, I thought the plot was well-done and the romance was great!  An author for me to watch.

Here's the back copy:

A chance encounter . . . 

Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .

Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

The second book is Through the Smoke by Brenda Novak.  This one is about a poor village bookshopkeeper's daughter Rachel McTavish.  Rachel's mother is dying and the earl wants information on his wife's death, so Rachel makes a deal---get a doctor for my mother and I'll tell you what I know.  Only it's too late and nothing goes as planned. Things go from bad to worse as her pride lands her in trouble with the earl, the townspeople, and even the town madame.  Rachel makes every concession she can to keep food on the table for her and her brother, but is finally forced to accept the earl's help, although there is a very big cost to her and her heart.

I thought the mystery of what happened to the earl's first wife was what really kept me turning pages, although I called the murderer early on.  The romance was good, but there were a few things that bothered me about our hero.  He just seemed sort of detached sometimes and not really aware until he had to be, if that makes sense.  There are storyline hints that seem to be dropped, like the possibility of the earl himself being drugged at the time of the fire to explain his memory loss, and the fact that Rachel's mother was illegitimate and her real grandfather's name could have possibly paved the way to a union between them.  I also didn't like that intimacies were described when one of the people involved was drugged and out of it. Did no one really notice that?  It bothered me.  (And for my gentle reader, intimacies are described in this one, but they are brief and easy to skip over.)

Despite all of that, the heroine had a lot of spunk, which saved the story for me, and it was a good ending.

Here's the back copy:

A shocking betrayal…
Riches. Power. An ancient heritage of pride. The Earl of Druridge wanted only for an heir. So when he learned that his wife was carrying another man’s child, he was filled with a thirst for vengeance.

But he wasn’t the one who caused Katherine’s death. Or was he? To his horror, he remembers nothing of that dreadful night, when their last confrontation ended in scorching flame and cold blood.

A forbidden love…

Rachel McTavish, the beautiful daughter of a coal miner, knows something about the fire that took Lady Katherine’s life. In secret, the strong-willed girl strikes a bargain with the desperate earl: he must send his physician to help her dying mother or he may go to the devil—and the scaffold. He agrees, but she is still unsure that her revelation will be enough to save him when so many wish him dead.

Passionately drawn to the nobleman, despite all the doubt and mystery that shrouds him, Rachel wonders if he can really be a murderer. Or if he is the only man who will ever own her heart…

1 comment:

Debra Erfert said...

Ok, I know Rachael, and I'm trying to figure out how she would write a story where the MC, Grace, is bidding on someone where a guy is bidding against her--and wins! My mind takes this in two different directions where it doesn't want to go. Hmmmm...

I don't think the second book would interest me, although I love the title.