Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Naked Truth. Contemporary romance anthology.
- **** The Winning Truth by Erin McCarthy.
Tansey's got a dead-end job and she's sworn off men. Dissatisfied with her life, she lets her best friend talk her into entering a radio station contest: the last person to leave an SUV wins either the car or $25,000. She figures she can use the cash to go back to college.
J.T. enters the contest, hoping the cash will save the family business, which is endangered after his dad's divorce.
It's a cute story with some interesting characters--at least one of the other contestants is more than she seems at first glance, and there's even sweet secondary romance. I particularly liked that Tansey could resist her physical attraction to J.T., but the more she got to know him, the harder he was to resist--IOW, it was more than just proximity and lust. The solution to the contest was clever as well.
- ***** The Naked Truth About Guys by Alesia Holliday.
C.J. writes a weekly column on relationships for her local paper--"The Naked Truth About Guys" from the title--but in the newsroom, she's definitely one of the guys. Unfortunately, that means that Hugh, the office Lothario she's had a crush on for months, doesn't notice her. When a famous--and young!--athlete drops by, saying he's fallen in love with her through her column, she takes her best friend up on the offer of a makeover. It works. C.J. goes from a dating desert to juggling two men.
There's a reason why this story won the Rita. The writing is crisp and snappy, the characters are complete, and their stories are compelling. C.J.'s ugly-duckling is well-explained, as are the romances. The laughs--and there are a lot of them--come from the story rather than being jokes added for comic effect. Best of all, it was clear why C.J. was having trouble deciding between her suitors--all too often, it's a choice between Good Guy and Bad Guy, but that wasn't at all the case here.
- ***½ Truth or Dare by Donna Kauffman.
Bailey's just gotten the break of a lifetime--the chance to ghostwrite an eccentric billionaire's autobiography. It'll pay well, give her publishing credentials, and allow her the time to work on her own novel.
Noah, Bailey's ex-boyfriend who left without a word 6 months earlier, is a filmmaker whose action/adventure movies pay the bills for his true love: documentaries. He's talked his way into making a documentary of billionaire Franklin's life, so both Noah and Bailey will be living in the mansion.
I liked Noah's character arc--learning that there are some things in life he's willing to risk for, but Bailey's is less clear. I wasn't happy with what seemed to be the message that the solution was for Noah to rescue her. Also, there was some conflict with Franklin, who was insisting that Bailey and Noah accompany him on hair-raising adventures to add authenticity to their work, and it looked as if he had an ulterior motive, but that went nowhere.
- **** "Nothing but the Truth" by Beverly Brandt.
One of these days, I'll have to read all the Rules of Engagement stories in the correct order.
Madison is an assistant at Rules of Engagement, and is in charge of a publicity stunt/TV special about three fantasy engagements. Things start going wrong when she sees one of the prospective grooms with a partially-dressed woman, and her ex-husband, who's now married to her sister, all with her ex-husband's divorce lawyer, Scott.
Madison is frantically trying to save the day for everyone, with Scott's assistance. She averts crises, inadvertently causes others, and battles with her conscience over what truths and how much she should tell whom.
It's a little too complex for novella-length, and a little dependent on being at least familiar with the previous stories in the series, but it was a fun story, and ended realistically.
Categories: Books, 3.5stars, 4stars, 5stars, ContemporaryRomance
I'm hoping this book will get re-printed in mass market paperback. I want to get copy :)
Nice review! :)
You're right, usually I don't care for anthologies as much. There's usually only one or two decent stories and the others are duds, but I enjoyed all these. Is it a first? I'm sure I must have liked some other anthology sometime...
I can see why you like Erin's story and Beverly Bandt's story *grin*....I like their other work :)
Funny when Julia and I were discussing about anthologies yesterday, and I told her I am not as into anthologies as before, partly I haven't even heard of some authors' names before, and I wouldn't want to risk buying it just because of so-and-so's name is on it. Now that's where reviews comes along...hehe.
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