Author: Jennifer Crusie

Throwback Thursday Review: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Posted May 3, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie
Series: Dempseys #1
Also in this series: Welcome to Temptation (Dempseys, #1), Faking It
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: July 11, 2004
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie Dempsey is content living a quiet life filming wedding videos until an assignment brings her to Temptation, Ohio. From the moment she drive into town, she gets a bad feeling; Sophie is from the wrong side of the tracks and everything in Temptation is a little too right. And when she has a run-in with the town's unnervingly sexy mayor, Phineas Tucker, making a little movie turns out to be more than a little dangerous.

Yield to oncoming desire...

All Sophie wants to do is film the video and head home. All Phin wants to do is play pool with the police chief and keep things peaceful. They both get more than they bargained for when Sophie's video causes an uproar and the proper citizens of Temptation set out to shut them down.

Welcome to temptation...

As events spiral out of control, Sophie and Phin find themselves caught in a web of gossip, blackmail, adultery, murder, and really excellent sex. All hell breaks loose in Temptation as Sophie and Phin fall deeper and deeper in trouble...and in love.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on June 3, 2008.

So after reading Bet Me, I checked my shelves to see if I had any other Jennifer Crusie books. Shockingly enough, I had this one. Coming down off the high that was Bet Me, you’d think that I’d go into this book w/ high expectations. Well, I did not. Holly reminded me (more than once) that Bet Me is JC’s best book. So I started this book expecting to love like it, which I did.

When Sophie travels with her younger sister, Amy, to Temptation, she has no idea what she has gotten into. What is supposed to be a documentary on a once semi-famous actress has turned into something she doesn’t want to think about. From the day she arrived and got hit by Temptation’s most vocal citizen to the day she realizes that her sister is shooting porn, Sophie can’t wait until the day she leaves Temptation. Even Phin Tucker, Mayor of Temptation, can’t tempt her to stay in a town that is bringing up all sorts of bad memories.

As for Phin, he knows Sophie is trouble the moment he lays eyes on her. That doesn’t stop him from wanting her, nor does it stop him from pursing her. What is supposed to be a week long fling doesn’t take long to turn into something more. While everybody in Temptation seems to want something from Phin, Sophie only wants sex. Phin has no problem accommodating her, of course.

While I did enjoy this book, I wasn’t really feeling the chemistry between Sophie and Phin. Or maybe I wasn’t feeling it at first. I kept asking myself why they were attracted to each other. What at first seemed forced ended up working as both Phin and Sophie realized that their feelings for each other went beyond just a brief affair.

It was also exchanges like these between Phin and Sophie that really made me enjoy the book:

Twenty minutes later, she was suffocating on top of him in the heat of her un-air-conditioned bedroom, the ancient box springs squeaking under them like a bad accordion, and her head was unbanged because the sex was lousy.

It wasn’t Phin’s fault. He was as thoroughly competent at the Phallic Variation as he’d been orally the night before. So it must be me, she thought, as he moved under her, doing absolutely nothing for her. She felt embarrassed by the whole situation. Zane had been right. She just wasn’t the type for headbanging sex. She was too detached. She was too prissy and straight. She was doing this to write a sex scene for a movie she wasn’t even sure she wanted to make. She was hot and sticky and she could feel her hair kinking in the heat even as Phin breathed under her, so she knew she looked awful. She was unexciting. Whatever the reason, it didn’t matter, she was never going to get anywhere at this rate.

She thought briefly about faking it, and then dumped the idea when she realized that Phin would probably see through it and make fun of her performance. That pretty much left her with no option except tapping him on the shoulder and telling him to play on through because she was out of the game. Sorry, she’d have to say. I’m not even close. Or she could let him figure it out on his own, except guys never did. They just—

“You’re not even close, are you?” Phin said, breathless below her, and she refocused back on him.

“What?”

“Hi, I’m Phin Tucker, and I’m inside you. I know how these things slip your mind.” He didn’t sound annoyed, but she felt bad anyway.

Sophie’s dejection literally comes through the pages. It is funny as hell to read b/c she seems to be able to find humor in just about anything. Even the fact that what she expected to be great sex is anything but. That really makes for a fun read.

So while this book was no Bet Me, it was a good read. The cast of characters could only come from a place called Temptation, Ohio. Where the mayor’s name has stayed the same for more years than you can count. Where the city council tries to pass a “no porn” law and where one man will do just about anything to beat Phin in the next election. It’s a fun, quirky read that readers of romantic comedy will enjoy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dempseys

four-stars


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Review: Anthology – Santa Baby

Posted December 27, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Anthology – Santa BabyReviewer: Holly
Santa, Baby by Jennifer Crusie, Carly Phillips, Lori Foster
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 31st 2006
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 328
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Get ready for a holiday season you'll never forget with three of today's most sensational writers who know what every woman wants for the holidays. You'll believe in Santa all over again with these seductive stories from: JENNIFER CRUSIEMayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game--in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . . LORI FOSTERTwo dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side--and discover a love worth celebrating--in this steamy office romance. CARLY PHILLIPSA "mistletoe moment" begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: I love holiday anthologies. I would say 92% of my holiday reads come in the form of anthos.

This post was originally published January 6, 2009

I bought this anthology because the Jennifer Crusie was one I hadn’t read before and she’s one of my favorite authors. So I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when her entry turned out to be my least favorite of them all.

Hot Toy by JENNIFER CRUSIE

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game—in the arms of a sexy secret agent. . .

Believe it or not my big issue with this story was the hero. Shocking, I know, since generally it’s the heroines I have trouble with. Trudy is out looking for a toy for her nephew when she runs into Nolan, a man she dated for awhile. A man she thought was different. A man she thought might be the one. Until their 4th date when he took a call, said he’d be back and just disappeared. His reasons for doing so seemed suspect in the beginning, and unfortunately were still suspect at the end – meaning I didn’t really buy his excuse.

Having said that, a less than stellar novel from Jenny Crusie is still better than some super stellar novels by other authors. I found the novella to have her trademark sass and humor and I really enjoyed Trudy and her sister. I even liked Nolan apart from his situation with Trudy.

Overall a fun, well-written story that probably needed a bit more depth to make it work a little better for me.

3.5 out of 5

Christmas Bonus by LORI FOSTER

Two dedicated coworkers with a lot of secrets (and fantasies!) between them must plan a Christmas party side by side—and discover a love worth celebrating—in this steamy office romance.

Lori Foster tends to be really hit or miss for me. I think I probably love 2 out of every 5 books of hers I read. This definitely falls into the “love” category. It was a sweet, cute story. Maggie and Eric have been attracted to each other for ages but age – and Maggie’s father, Eric’s boss – kept them separated. When they’re forced to work together planning a holiday party things quickly heat up.

The chemistry here really worked for me and the story – while short – really had some great emotional depth. I really enjoyed it.

4.0 out of 5

Naughty Under the Mistletoe by CARLY PHILLIPS

A “mistletoe moment” begins when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead—after giving him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more. . .

Carly Phillips, like Lori Foster, is an author that’s really hit or miss for me. Something about her writing style bugs me, though I’ve never been able to put my finger on just what. But, like Foster’s entry, this one really worked for me. Actually, this may be my favorite of the collection.

Something about Max and Toni really worked for me. Maybe it was her playing Elf and Max falling like a ton of bricks. Or maybe it was Max being super sexy and Toni falling for him like a ton of bricks. Either way, it as cute and I enjoyed it.

I did have an issue with the ending. I’m not really sure I buy them being head-over-heels in love after one night. I guess on a pure fantasy level it worked, but I definitely had to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was great.

4.0 out of 5

Overall a cute collection of stories.

Total Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here.


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Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted March 1, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Retro Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Casee
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 31st 2004
Pages: 391
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This review was originally posted on June 2, 2008.

This wasn’t my first Crusie book. Years ago I read Charlie Something-or-Other. I didn’t really care for it. In fact, I had no idea why everyone was so crazy about this author. Yes, the book I read was an early Crusie novel. That’s why I wasn’t in any hurry to give her another try. Look at Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught…all authors whose earlier works are more loved than their more recent books. That’s my excuse for waiting so long to read Bet Me. I guess I have to thank Holly b/c I would have most likely not tried to read it again if she wouldn’t have coerced pressured bullied suggested it in such a wonderful way. (Holly: Am I good like that, or what? It’s ok, you don’t have to bow down to my greatness..we know. We know. LOL)

That being said, I’m so glad that she persevered b/c I loved this book.

Min Dobbs decides to teach Cal Morrisey a lesson when she overhears him making a bet that he can get her into bed. Deciding that she will string him along for three weeks until her sister’s wedding, Min accepts his invitation for dinner. It only takes one dinner for Min to admit that she doesn’t have it in her to string someone like Cal along. At the end of the night, they part ways, both satisfied that they will never see the other again.

Fate definitely had a way of laughing in their faces. Again and again Min and Cal ran into each other. Yet each time they parted, that was it. They were never going to see each other again.

There is really no easy way to review this book other than to say if you haven’t read it, you’re missing out. Crusie has some of the best dialogue that I’ve ever read. The relationship between Min and Cal was far from an easy one. Though they both had admitted to themselves that the other is “the one”, they both had hangups that wouldn’t let them admit it out loud. Add in Min’s jealous ex-boyfriend and Cal’s rational ex-girlfriend and you have a book that you can’t put down.

I loved everything about this book from how it began, to the continuing conflict, to both Min and Cal’s parents, to the ending. Everything about it just hooked me from page 1.

5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Guest Review: Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Posted October 21, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Hot Toy by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Tracy
Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Tracy’s review of Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Mayhem ensues under the mistletoe as a determined shopper grabs the very last hot toy action figure off the shelf, only to find herself plunged into the middle of a real-life spy game and in the arms of a sexy secret agent…

Trudy is a good aunt. She wants her nephew Leroy to have a wonderful Christmas but the only thing he wants this year is a Major MacGuffin action figure that spews toxic waste. Leroy’s father was supposed to buy it for him but he ran off with the nanny instead. Trudy is out at an old toy store in the hopes that they still might have one. She doesn’t find the right doll but she runs into Nolan who she went on three dates with and then he never called again.

When Trudy finds last year’s Major MacGuffin on a shelf she’s thrilled. When she runs into her father’s old research assistant and he tells her that he heard of a warehouse that has this year’s doll she’s excited but leery to get in the cab with him. When Nolan pushes his way into the cab to go too she decides it’s a good thing – until they all get to the warehouse and things start to get a little hinky, Reese isn’t who he says he is, neither is Nolan and they’re both after her MacGuffin! She’s not giving it up and she’s certainly not going to be trusting either of them!

This was the second time that I’d read this short novella but it was just as good the second time around. Trudy is such a character. She loves her family and will do just about anything for them but she does it with attitude – which I loved. Then there’s the way she stands up to Nolan which was classic. I wish I’d had the guts to tell guys off like that when I was dating (way back when). Lol

The story is sweet and cute but also has sarcasm, adventure and romance all wrapped up into a nice little package. If you haven’t read this one yet you’ll definitely want to – it’s a keeper.

Rating: 4 out of 5

This title is available from St. Martin’s Paperbacks. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-stars


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Joint Review: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Posted May 19, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Joint Review: Bet Me by Jennifer CrusieReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 432
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it's not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they're dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love. Bet Me is the winner of a 2005 RITA Award.

Holly: For years Ween and I have argued over books (among other things), because our reading taste often differ dramatically. But one book we’ve always agreed on (besides Heart of Fire by Linda Howard that is) is Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. The novel is extremely well written, hilarious and sweet, with witty dialogue and fabulous characters. But don’t take our word for it, go forth and read it yourself!

Wena: Seriously.

This book will forever be that book that made me want to try Chicken Marsala or try the chocolate glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme again because after a while they got to be too sweet. But after reading this book? I wanted to eat all of it. I swear this book made me want to find a hot guy and try out that picnic scene on my own.

For me, characters are extremely important and in this book we have lots of rich, full characters that by the end of the book you’ve already adopted into your fictional family. The hero and the heroine were just hilariously right for each other and it was just a party for my eyes to read about their journey.

Holly: Yep, this book is the sole reason I learned how to make Chicken Marsala.

The cast of secondary characters are amazing, I completely agree. And Min and Cal were so perfect for each other. I love the way they banter back and forth with each other, right from the beginning.

A cell phone rang behind her, and she started. When she turned, it was Calvin Morrisey, back again. He reached in his jacket and took out his phone, the kind that had more bells and whistles than any human being needed, and it confirmed her decision: There was no way in hell she was going to spend three weeks with a soulless yuppie just to get a date to Diana’s wedding. She’d go Dutch on dinner and then say goodbye forever; that was a plan.
She crossed her arms and waited for him to impress her with a business call, but he turned the phone off.
Min raised her eyebrows. “What if it’s important?”
“The only person I want to talk to is here,” he said, smiling that GQ smile at her.
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Min said. “Can you turn that off, too?”
“Excuse me?” he said, his smile fading.
“The constant line.” Min began to walk again. “You’ve got me for dinner. You can relax now.”

I also love the relationship between the friends. Especially the way they look out for each other. Reminds me of us. 🙂

Min tapped her fingers on the bar, trying to vent some tension. “I should have known David was a
mistake when I couldn’t bring myself to sleep with him. We were on our third date, and the waiter
brought the dessert menu, and David said, ‘No, thank you, we’re on a diet,’ and of course, he isn’t
because there’s not an ounce of fat on him, and I thought, ‘I’m not taking off my clothes with you’ and I paid my half of the check and went home early. And after that, whenever he made his move, I thought of the waiter and crossed my legs.”
“He wasn’t the one,” Bonnie said with conviction.
“You think?” Min said, and Bonnie looked wounded. Min closed her eyes. “Sorry. Sorry.Really sorry. It’s just not a good time for that stuff, Bon. I’m mad. I want to savage somebody, not look to the horizon for the next jerk who’s coming my way.”
“Sure,” Bonnie said. “I understand.”
Liza shook her head at Min. “Look, you didn’t care about David, so you haven’t lost anything except a date to Di’s wedding. And I vote we skip the wedding. It has ‘disaster’ written all over it, even without the fact that she’s marrying her best friend’s boyfriend.”

sigh

So what are you waiting for? Rush out and get this book! You won’t regret it and seriously Cal is a to die for hero (as the last JC hero standing is showing us). This book is the reason why I love Jennifer Crusie so much…it is this book that set the bar for my love of Jennifer Crusie books.

Give it a try, won’t ya?

Not only is Cal to die for, but so is Min, their respective families and the secondary characters.

5 out of 5

Wena: Ditto to what Holly said…

5 out of 5

for me too.

This book is available from St. Martin’s Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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