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on 13 December 2012
I loved this book !! the story line is good and keeps your interest. A nice romantic but not too much read that did surprisingly turn a little "50 shades" half way through so be prepared for some steamy bits! a great ending too but I'm not telling lol as someone who will just about read anything if its free its great to finally find an author that can write a book that doesn't leave you hanging at the end. Can't wait to read some more of her books now and I'll happily pay to do so.
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on 13 December 2012
I seldom read books set in New Zealand so this was unusual and different. Although it was a fairly standard love story the male character was rather out of the ordinary and I liked the way the book explained the importance of rugby in NZ and the downside of being the girlfriend of a sports star. I also enjoyed the Maori connection and the information on their culture, songs and stories was quite informative and lifted the book above the usual level of a romantic novel.
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on 3 October 2015
Welcome back to the island country of New Zealand; home of the world renowned, mighty All Blacks.

In book two of the Escape to New Zealand Series. Readers are introduced to the two main characters: Kate Lamonica and Koti James. Kate has just fled the USA to live in En Zed in an attempt to escape an ex-boyfriend/stalker who is bent on taking Kate's life. Meanwhile, a world away, Koti is a local Maori rugby player; as well as being one of New Zealand's resident Casanovas.

Inevitably, there is clash when these two personalities meet and a bet is drawn. The bottom line is that Kate and Koti must participate in weekly friend 'dates.' If Koti makes a move on her he loses and if they can remain just friends for 2 months Kate loses.

The question is: Can Koti actually have a woman as just a friend? And even if he could, is that really what Kate wants?

In my opinion, this was another fun and swoon worthy installment by Rosalind James. I ate up this audio book - despite a couple of steamy scenes. What endeared me to this book ... and the series for that matter ... is that under the guise of romance; 'Just Good Friends' was packed full of cultural tidbits regarding Kiwi life. This book delved deeper into Maori life and culture; focusing on a native, Maori main-character. Points to the author for presenting readers with an interesting and ultimately likable (despite his shortcomings) culturally diverse character.

Furthermore, as a Canadian who is in love with New Zealand (adopt me?); I have fallen for this series ... although, I could take or leave the steamy scenes.

Regarding the audio version, I believe Claire Bocking did a spectacular job narrating; she also pulled off a very good Kiwi accent. I would absolutely listen to more books that were narrated by Bocking.

Morever, I would highly recommend giving this book a read or a listen if you are just looking for a fun and beachy read. Although, consider yourself warned, these books give you the urge to go to New Zealand to experience the culture for yourself.
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on 19 September 2013
Kate Lamonica has moved half-way across the world to get away from her ex-boyfriend who has been stalking her to the point that he know wants to kill her. The only people who know she has gone to New Zealand are her parents and her friend Hannah who is helping her settle in. Kate has sworn off men for the time being as she no longer trusts her judgement. She is also tells people whats she sees and has been warned off Koti James from the beginning.

Koti James is a players of the Blues and wants to be a player of the New Zealand All Blacks. He immediately butts heads with Kate when she says that he has no female friends that are not family or already married. They lay down a bet that he cannot be just friends with her, he will have to wear a pink hoodie if he loses of which she is sure he will win.

They start off slow just swimming once a week together and learning about each other. Soon he is teaching her how to surf and they are doing other physical activities in which they both start to really fancy what they see and what they find out about each other. Kate finds hidden depths in Koti that she didn't think a man like him would have.

Kate tells Koti of why she left America and how be became violent and that he is still looking for her. Their friendship soon takes over into a love affair in which they are both infatuated with each other especially their slightly kinky sex, which works for them both.

When Koti doesn't get what he wants with the All Blacks he starts shopping around, and Kate only finds out by colleagues. Deeply hurt that Koti has said nothing she breaks up with him and the break up is made public in the national paper.

Later that week Kate goes to leave for her weekly swim when she is attacked by her ex-boyfriend. It is of course Koti that comes to the rescue.

We get a nice happy ending however just like in the first book it is filled to bursting with details about New Zealand and its Māori history and rules of the game of Rugby which can get to be too much and to be honest i started to wonder if i would really miss much if i skipped those parts. As in the first book i would say that the book tries too hard in selling New Zealand rather than be the romance novel it is supposed to be.
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on 4 June 2013
This book really surprised me as I thought it was going to be massively predictable and cliched. It was both of those things (which romance novel isn't ??) but there was also just enough depth of character and fun that Rosalind James completely got away with it.

I really, really liked Kate. I thought she was very easy to invest in and not the damsel in distress I was expecting. Koti, similarly, was just a dream and I don't know if I'm ever going to accept anything other than a rugby player in my life now.

Actually, make that a New Zealand rugby player because I absolutely fell in LOVE with the setting. It wasn't necessary to the story for the descriptions of the country to be there but they made it so much better.

The only reason for 4/5 is that I didn't find anything in this purchased book that I haven't in some of the free ones.

I've now read all the books in this series, albeit out of order. Just Good Friends was the first that I read and it honestly doesn't matter one bit. The excellence of this one prompted me to purchase the others and they don't disappoint either.

If you want an easy read that's going to make you wish you were the heroine then this is possibly the best example.
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on 10 May 2016
Rosalind James is an amazing writer. This book has every emotion, tension, excitement and a lot of information about Maori culture, and is well written and well edited. The book is about Kate, an American woman who has fled to New Zealand to escape a vindictive ex-boyfriend stalker, who wants to kill her; and Koti, a rugby footballer who plays for the Blues and the All Blacks. Their relationship is interesting because Koti is very laid back, and Kate, because of the stalker, is abrasive, anxious and doesn't trust anybody. They gave many arguments and rows that spark off the page, they feel extremely real! It is an interesting and lovely story.

If you have never read any of Rosalind James' books before try this one, you won't regret it.
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on 15 September 2014
I just love New Zealand and love Rosalind's books - sit down, cup of tea and whisk yourself away into the land of the long white cloud - ideal chic lit and hunky men to boot. See if you can work out which All Black player(s) she's used for inspiration :-) Keep up the great work Rosalind - more, more, more - please x
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on 20 August 2013
After reading the first in the series of these books, I couldn't wait to read the others. There is nothing "just good" about this story, it's excellent! If you don't like a love story with sports and the culture of another country thrown in, then this book isn't for you.
Bring on book 3!
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on 7 January 2013
Lovely, non brain-straining fluff! I loved it and whiled away a wet, cold Sunday afternoon amidst hunky Kiwis, and also learned a bit about the Maori culture. Great book!
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on 20 November 2014
Love this New Zealand series! Same backdrop, very different couple . He's used to an easy path to female attention. She's no pushover and issues a friendship challenge. Stand clear ! Great escapism with a deeper seam running through.
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