Review: Ever After by Rachel Lacey

Deb’s review of Ever After by Rachel Lacey
Contemporary Romance released by Forever on August 25, 2015

Ever AfterCAUGHT IN THE ACT

Olivia Bennett is not having a happy birthday. Instead of blowing out her twenty-nine candles, she’s stuck in jail, caught red-handed in a graffiti incident that (perhaps) involved one too many strawberry margaritas. Worst idea ever. The only bright side is that she ended up in the strong arms of the most gorgeous lawman she’s ever seen.

Pete Sampson (aka Deputy Hot Stuff) faces intense pressure from the sheriff to find out who’s behind a string of vandalisms. And after her spray-painting spree, Olivia is suspect number one. Still, Pete can’t stop thinking about her. Wanting her. Now he’s torn between his duty and his overpowering desire for the vivacious waitress. But he may have to bend the rules because true love is more important than the letter of the law…

Ever After is book 3 in Rachel Lacey’s Love to the Rescue series;  however, it can be read as a standalone.  It is a very sweet, well written, contemporary romance set in small town North Carolina.  I love small town romances with their interesting mix of quirky characters and fun goings on.  However, I’m not a sweet kind of gal.  I like my romances down and dirty with lots of the same in regard to the sex on the page.  And, shame on me, I have also been known to judge a book by its cover.  The cover of Ever After is…sweet. However, the hot guy and the dog on the cover roped me in, because guys who love dogs are just that much hotter, right?  So I gave myself a lecture to stop with the judging and eye rolling before I’ve even read a chapter.  And I’m glad I did because I truly enjoyed this book.

Olivia Bennett isn’t sure what she wants to do with her life.  Her parents, prominent attorneys, expect Olivia to follow in their footsteps.  She has two years of law school under her belt.  Admittedly, she’s a natural at it, but the thought of practicing law makes her cringe.  It really isn’t her “thing” so she’s taking a break to figure out just what her “thing” is.  Olivia’s true passion is animal rights and for the past year she’s gone on a crusade to close down Halverson Foods, a local chicken processing plant.  She writes a blog and has a Facebook page viewed by thousands, documenting the abusive conditions at the plant.  At this point, I’ll admit I started to step back.  This particular subject matter in a romance book?  But I kicked the judgment aside because I was liking Olivia.  She’s not a goody two shoes by any stretch and she’s not a fanatic.  She speaks her mind but doesn’t force her opinions on anyone else.  She’s a vegetarian but hey, she won’t condemn you if you are a carnivore.  She organizes peaceful protests, hands out pamphlets, and writes intelligent posts on the subject.  However, her efforts to enlighten the Halverson big wigs about the conditions at the plant repeatedly fail. So after celebrating her 29th birthday with a couple friends and imbibing in one margarita too many, Olivia goes a bit too far in her activist efforts.

When Deputy Pete Sampson comes across a teenager spray painting graffiti on the side of the Halverson Plant he’s mostly annoyed.  However, when he discovers the teenager is a very attractive woman who’s clearly indulging in a drunken prank, he’s pissed.  Since Olivia’s friends have run off, he assumes she is not only defacing property but also driving while under the influence.  A drunken driving incident he feels responsible for has caused Pete some demons he can’t let go of.  Even though he finds her cute as hell, duty prevails.  Once Olivia is sentenced to community service Pete finds reasons to check up on her.  All the while telling himself it’s just his duty.  Which is a load of baloney because he knows were it not for him being the arresting officer; he’d totally be asking her out.  Pete is adorable while at the same time frustrating as hell.  He flirts with Olivia, admits he’s attracted to her, but then comes to his senses since it’s a huge conflict of interest, and pushes her away.  Except when he’s kissing her.  And that seems to happen a lot.  When vandals begin painting nasty slogans on her car and house, it only draws Pete closer to Olivia.  He wants to protect her.  Pete is a good guy.  He adopted a German Shepard that failed the K-9 program, he takes care of his mom, he bakes muffins when he can’t sleep and donates them to the women’s shelter.  He’s also very hot.

As the vandalism events toward Olivia escalate, so does the romance between Pete and Olivia.  Pete uncovers startling information surrounding the Halverson plant and the vandalism directed at Olivia, which only makes him more protective of her.  The suspense adds a lot to the story and even though it’s not too hard to figure out, I still enjoyed it.  Ms. Lacey has done a fine job with Pete and Olivia’s relationship as well.  I thought it might turn into a sappy story but I found myself really liking the slow build, the courtship, the care Olivia and Pete take getting to know one another. There really is something to be said for a nice sweet romance.  And just so you aren’t too disappointed, there’s some pretty hot sex as well.

Grade: B

You can read an excerpt here or buy a copy here.

Birthday Month of Random

So … if you’ve been around ALBTALBS for any amount of time you know I always LIKE to and TRY to do it up big.

No idea how that’s going to pan out, or if scheduled things are going to happen in 2015 as planned… and I kinda can’t find it in myself to care at this very moment. I tried last night, and it just resulted in me wanting to set things on fire … so you know what? Why would I want to do stuff that will only make me suffer, in an attempt to celebrate? Not only was I sick for about a month, the first time I think “hey – I can almost breathe normally again and only wheezing when I laugh!” …  I’m relapsing.

As such, my gift to ME this month, is the freedom to fuck up as much and as often as I like. And to feel – at least less guilty than I normally do. If authors I arranged to guest send their posts in, then awesome. I’ll do my best to have it go live when it should. If not … well, we’re all adults. Sometimes shit happens like death or other tragedy, and sometimes we don’t know how to use calendars. I don’t care to figure out which happens when right now.

My prize to you … um, random snarkery and posts like this that I’ll probably regret in the morning?

Oh and you know, if my mood improves, maybe a kindle or something. Or maybe a box of books. Or maybe such a creatively formed string of swear words that you’d make a sailor blush if you let that loose in front of him. OR HER. You never know. (No really – we none of us know how I’ll be feeling a few weeks from now. Especially since I’ll be traveling.)

So to all the haters out there… 😀

One year I’ll learn how to be an adult. Clearly this one is not it. (And anyway, I won’t technically be a year older until the end of the month, so maybe I’ll mature in a few weeks. We’ll see.) 😉

So you know, Happy Fucking Birthday Month to Me.

Xoxo!!! Thanks for sticking around, loves! <3

Flash Giveaway: I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

I know you’re all “WTF, Lime? A Wednesday post?!” Or… maybe not. Maybe just confusion – cuz I’m the one here who swears like a sailor. XD I think all of you are … not? :X WE HAVEN’T TALKED ENOUGH LATELY, YOU GUYS. Stay with me.

So one of my favorite reads in 2013 was I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe. I loved it so much I even wrote a review of it. Which … I mean if you’re around ALBTALBS you know is rare. I write a review for the site maybe like 4 times a year. [So I’m really bad at reviewing now! … Which … needs a whole other post to explain it.] But you can read the review here if you so like. (Which man – remember when people used to comment? Even on reviews?!)

About the book:

I Married the DukeThree very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?

On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never:

  1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain,
  2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach,
  3. Battle thieves at his side,
    and
  4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.

But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job . . . and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.

SO ANYWAY. My point is, I want to do a giveaway for you guys. <3 I also know I need to pick and announce winners. Which – maybe I’ll do that later but I’m grumpy. Life also has been … well – the usual – which for me is not usual. But it hasn’t been bad per se, so that’s a win?

To enter to win this excellent read – in the form of a kindle book (sorry guys – that’s what is what I can manage – thanks Swagbucks! – financially) – comment and tell me something good. Something fun. Something exciting or interesting. I’ll draw/announce a winner … tonight? We’ll see. >.> I mean I want to do it tonight? But :X We all know I’m not so much reliable with some things. :(

[Also I’m doing this because like I said – we haven’t talked enough lately. I’ve been scheduling so much and then I feel guilty for inserting “me” posts but then today I saw a “you do as you do, bloggers.” And I was all “Fuck yeah, I’m the one who pays for this damn site. I do what I want!” Which you know – if anyone wants to chip in to have a say, you’re more than welcome. 😉 *angelface*] Also also … if the other post I want to go live ~today happens, I’ve got enough guilt already, so lemme just pile that on, mkay?

YOUR MISSION: COMMENT WITH SOMETHING GOOD/FUN/EXCITING/WHATEVER. And … GO!

Thank You, Michelle M. Pillow

Hi lovelies! So, I don’t know if you know, but ALBTALBS has advertising space. I don’t make a huge deal about it, but it’s to help cover costs. (Website hosting being the biggest … >.> only… because giveaways that I do come out of my own pocket…) But anyway, Michelle M. Pillow has been pretty much the sole support of A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet for the past year+. I wanted to draw your attention to her, and say – thanks for keeping me (us) going. <3

In case you missed it – and I know 2014 was a funky year, these are all the ads she had every month. (She also advertised in 2013 – so you know, extra <3)

The Impatient Lord

March & May

The Reluctant Lord

April

King of the Unblessed

June

The Dragon's Queen

July

The Maiden & the Monster

August

Lord of Fire Lady of Ice

September

The Jaded Hunter

October

The Savage King

November

The Pirate Prince

December

So, to thank her – I’m giving away a kindle copy of The Pirate Prince to someone who comments.

I’m also running a promotion on ad space until the end of the year – buy a static monthly ad for $15. Space is limited. If interested, email me.

Guest Jayne Denker on C***k L*t

Hello hello! Saturday is here and this month is just flying by! Today we have Jayne Denker – a first time ALBTALBS guest! We’ve chatted on twitter about TV and such, and that inspired her to write a post about that topic! … Kinda 😉 So without further ado … Jayne!

Chick Lit: You Cannot Kill It (But Why Would You Want To?)

Picture ThisI’m a “contemporary romance” writer, but whenever I can get away with it, I write chick lit. Not out in the open, though, because the official party line is chick lit is dead. Stone cold. Six feet under and pushing up daisies. Nobody wants to read stories about young or young-thinking, strong women making their way in the world!

Yeah, all right. *wink*

Oh, the entertainment industry did believe it drove a stake through chick lit’s heart a while back. Well, first they created the monster by encouraging it to flourish in the ’90s, in the wake of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Then came the dark days, when the entertainment industry (yes, book publishing, but mostly I’m looking at you, Hollywood) threw gobs of money at anything remotely resembling chick lit. Even the bad stuff.

And lo, the dark days spread and overwhelmed the earth.

Horrified at what a Frankenstein monster chick lit had become, the publishing world and Hollywood rose up against it and killed off their own creation. Never again, they said, shall the beast that is chick lit be allowed to propagate. Yea, those who speak its name shall be put to death.

And so the edict stands. The foul term “c***k l*t” is no longer uttered. No, really. Try it—I dare you. You’ll see. You’ll end up with the business end of a stiletto in your temple.

However, as with all good sagas, forbidding something doesn’t mean you can kill it off entirely. Come on, we all know that chick lit is about as unstoppable as a zombie that’s scented freshly-exposed brain matter. Better yet, let’s call it the hydra genre of literature—chop off its head, and it grows two more. Ooh! Ooh! How about the Obi-Wan Kenobi genre? Strike it down, and it becomes more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Yeah, that’s it: Chick lit is the Zombie-Hydra-Obi-Wan-Kenobi genre. You just can’t kill it, It’s not hiding in a dark cave, Gollum-like, either. (Why yes, I am the equivalent of a pop-culture-reference oil spill. Proudly mixing memes since 1978.) That so-called forbidden chick lit is actually all around us. Right now. And you probably don’t even know it!

Down on LoveBecause the publishing industry still considers chick lit The Genre That Shall Not Be Named, now we call it “romantic comedy.” Kind of like how Blackwater gets a new name every couple of years, in the hopes that everyone forgets what it was responsible for back in the Aughts. It works, too. Who doesn’t like romantic comedies, right? Sometimes it’s called women’s fiction, although I always think of WF as a bit more serious overall. Could just be me, though.

Chick flicks are still verboten, and with good reason. Wow, there were some real stinkers at the end there, weren’t there? Phew, the memories are still polluting the joint! But the genre is still in Hollywood, and not lurking in dark alleys off Sunset, either. Nope, “visual chick lit” is operating right out in the open. What, you go to the multiplex in search of a decent romcom, only to end up drowning in the glut of superhero flicks? You’re right. So think smaller.

I’m talking TV, people. It’s all over the small screen. And it’s popular! A young (or, hey, not so young—the genre is nothing if not elastic), single woman struggling with the challenges of getting her career rolling, navigating the social scene, hanging with her besties, trying to find a guy who’s not a total cretin? Oh, it’s there, baby.

It’s always been there, really. I could go into the history of young-female-centric TV shows down through the ages (I’m old enough to remember That Girl and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, although *koff* I was a mere zygote at the time), but if I got that thorough, I’d end up writing a thesis—or a book—instead of a blog post. Ain’t nobody got time for that—wait. Come to think of it…dibs on the history of chick lit! Called it!

TV’s recent history has been filled with chick-lit-type shows. I don’t care that Lorelai Gilmore had a teen daughter; there’s chick lit at the bottom of that Luke’s Diner coffee cup. Ally McBeal? 30 Rock? Durr. And those four women in New York…what was that show called, again? (I keed, I keed.)

By DesignBest of all, there’s been a huge resurgence of chick lit on TV, like, right now. The Mindy Project. Hart of Dixie. New Girl. Girls. 2 Broke Girls. Young & Hungry. I’d even throw in The Mysteries of Laura, although it’s mainly a detective procedural. And Parks and Recreation, even though it’s an ensemble comedy, because Amy Poehler.

Then there’s the queen mother of all current chick-lit-on-TV: Jane the Virgin. Have you seen it? (If you haven’t, there’s the door. Go forth and do not return until you’ve caught up with all the eps. Most of them are on The CW site and Hulu. I don’t care how you get them—just go! Go now!) Sure, the premise put people off—a young woman, who was “saving herself” till her wedding to her detective fiancé, is accidentally artificially inseminated and is now carrying the baby of a guy she had a crush on five years before—but it works. Seriously. Not kidding. It’s crazy-funny (if you don’t laugh out loud at Jane’s goofy estranged father, somebody’d better check your pulse) and it also has heart. You find yourself pulling for Jane as she tries to figure out who she is and where she’s going in life. Best of all, she wants to be a romance writer!

Of course, not every chick lit-flavored show escaped the wildly swinging Cancellation Axe of Doom. RIP A to Z, Carrie Diaries, and Selfie. (*Sob!* Selfie!) But thanks to the hydra effect (ooh, that’d make a great title—dibs on that too), we’re getting more soon, including The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, and Younger. I’m sure there are more; it’s just difficult to keep up with the onslaught.

Onslaught is good. It means that no matter what you call it, quality entertainment featuring laughs, good plots, and clever women is always in style.

About the Author: Jayne Denker divides her time between working hard to bring the funny in her romantic comedies and raising a young son who’s way too clever for his own good. She has published four rom coms with Kensington (and another is on the way). Jayne lives in a small village in western New York that is in no way, shape, or form related to the small village in her Marsden novels Down on Love and Picture This. When she’s not hard at work on another novel, the social media addict can usually be found frittering away startling amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). She’d like to say she updates her website, quite often, but most of the time when it crosses her mind, she shouts “Can’t you see I’m writing?!” and puts it off till another day. But you can find links to all my books there.

Hey, One of My Books Is on Sale:

I got away with writing pure chick lit once. It’s a Hollywood-set romcom called Unscripted, and it’s on sale for 99 cents for the entire month of December. Here’s the info:

UnscriptedOne of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there’s a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it…

Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women, she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex, the wildly popular, wildly demanding former star of her show, to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome, broad-shouldered obstacle…

Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out, the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….

 

What do you think? About chick lit? Or “chick lit”? Or any of those shows on TV? 😀

Testing

Just a quick note to say … well I know I’m behind – but also – what you don’t know, is since ~January or so some jackwagon(s) have been trying to hack into my blog and it is annoying as fuck and also apparently screwing things up so …

Yeah. Beyond that, there is just a lot going on in “Lime’s world.”

After RT I’m pretending I’ll have more time. And maybe believing that will make it happen?

I also need to know if posts are finally going to FB again. So … does anyone get here from my FB page?

And what book recommendations do you have for me?