The Guy Next Door: Ready, Set, Jett\Gail's Gone Wild\Just One Taste (Hqn) Mass Market Paperback – 15 Feb 2011
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|Mass Market Paperback, 15 Feb 2011||
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Grrr. I expected to get three stories with happy endings, not two setting up future books, leaving the situations unresolved! I couldn't care less which authors are setting up what series; if you sell a book, the reader has to expect to finish it and be satisfied they've read something that can stand up on its own. The middle story was mediocre and I didn't care for the characters, but it was the only one that was complete. Lori Foster's well-written entry ended on a massive cliffhanger. Victoria Dahl's pointless, plot-less story ended and the heroine didn't even know the hero's name.
If you want to give fans a prequel to a book, put it up as a freebie on your website like Roxanne St. Claire did - don't expect people to pay for something that's unfinished! Patricia Briggs started her Alpha and Omega series with an entry in an anthology. Not only was it brilliantly-written, but it held up on its own. It is clearly possible to achieve.
Ready, Set, Jett - Lori Foster
You know, I liked this up until the abrupt and incomplete ending. Natalie and Jett are neighbours and have been having a very casual relationship. Only Jett wants more, and he has to figure out a way to convince Natalie he's worth having. Natalie is heading off for a holiday on her own, but snow and ice change her plans rather a lot.
The big (and unanswered) question is, where's Natalie's sister? I can't tell you because I have to pay for another book to find out.
Minus the missing sister, I didn't think this was a bad story. In fact, I liked both main characters, and this is an author who can write steamy scenes really well without losing the emotion. There was enough character development to interest me in the new series maybe at least a little bit, but short-changing your readers is short-changing your readers, no matter how you frame it.
I understand the desire to create a lead-in for a new series, but the story would have lost nothing by keeping the `missing sister' part out until the next book. Natalie and Jett's relationship was complex enough without a hook for later stories.
That said, if there's one writer in this anthology who might have me coming back for more, it's Lori Foster. One trip to her website, one view of the book covers, one read of the excerpt from book one, and I know it's going to be hard to resist.
Gail's Gone Wild - Susan Donovan
Stereotypical nerd Gail is the frumpy mother of a teenaged girl, and she takes this teenager and the teenager's friend to Key West for spring-break. There she meets a stereotypically perfect man/famous author of South American origin who sees through her clichéd exterior and has lots of steamy holiday sex with her. But there're still the teenagers to consider, and of course they're annoying enough to work as a living birth control advertisement. Teenagers in romance may just annoy me more than small children in romance.
This one milks the 1840-style `women in their thirties are too old for EVERYTHING' stereotype so popular in romance - even today. Post feminism. Just because the heroine had a baby when she was in kindergarten doesn't mean her life is over. She didn't even know any developments in slang that have happened since about 1960! I find it strange when in fiction I encounter young women living in the present day who have the same lifestyle and mannerisms as a ninety year old.
The dialogue - from all characters - made me cringe.
"Do it, you sexy little mami."
But the worst offenders were the teenagers. Everyone and everything was "sick/sick-hot" and they'd had a "sick time". Then some men checked them out and it was a "ballin' time".
I also found it annoying that the teen girls were called Hannah and Holly. It was like a twin-set, and I could never figure out which one was supposed to be Gail's daughter and which one was the friend! There was nothing memorable about either to help with the distinction.
The heroine is naïve at the beginning, and downright nasty at the end. There's one scene where she tells the hero the books he writes are `trash' that she's never cared for, and there was no redemption available for her after that as far as I'm concerned. I hate it when people don't `fight fair'. If you're arguing about something, stick to the subject. Don't bring up a whole lot of other stuff just to be nasty, because that's not something I can forgive.
Just One Taste - Victoria Dahl
What's this about? Who knows - we never actually got to the plot. There's a business convention of some sort and the straight-laced hero develops a thing for the sexually frustrated heroine, who just happens to work at some sort of female empowerment sex shop, and who studied `Sexuality' at university (and to be honest Dahl lost my interest right there).
The heroine mistakes the hero for his brother. They have sex. She runs away without ever finding out he's a different man, and we're told we have to buy the author's new books to find out what happens. Not only that, but this couple's story isn't resolved until the THIRD book in the series - not due for release until NOVEMBER!! That's two books and almost a year between this non-story and the proper one!
It's not a complete story; it's a snippet, and I don't appreciate reaching the final page and not having the faintest idea how things worked out.
Now, unfortunately I can see Victoria Dahl is a decent writer, but with only crumbs to base a judgement on (I've never read one of her books before), it simply wasn't enough to pique my interest. As a new reader for this author she didn't do enough to encourage me to order the first book in her 2011 series.
I know it's hard to achieve a lot in a short story, but this book consisted of two "Buy my new series" prologues, and one mediocre story where I didn't like the characters. If I'd been given one good and complete entry out of three I would have rated this higher. The way it is now is nothing but a massive disappointment.
I haven't always been a fan of short stories nor have I been a big fan of anthologies. I'm starting to understand the benefit of being able to sample a few different authors before spending larger amounts of money on them. However, THE GUY NEXT DOOR played right into what I dislike MOST about anthologies. I want a complete story, not a prologue to a new series saying "if you want to find out what happens buy my new series because you just spent money on the first few chapters but not the whole story. Sucks to be you." Okay, to be fair, only 2 of the 3 stories do this, but that's still 2 out of 3 stories!
Now, the stories themselves weren't 2 Star quality, but I'm giving this anthology 2 Stars because it's frustrating to get a book of "short stories" only to find out that they aren't that! They are prologues! Agh!
***Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster (150 pages)--2 Stars
More than just lovers
Prelude to When You Dare (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor), Trace of Fever (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor), Savor the Danger (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor)
Jett and Natalie live across the hall from each other in their apartment complex. After a few times of mutual perusal of the other's body, they shared a heated night. Now, they are lovers, as in we-only-have-sex-and-never-talk-about-anything-else and it's-only-sex-and-then-I-bolt type of lovers. Natalie makes booty calls about 3 times a week, and she's made it clear anything else in her life is off limits. Jett has never wanted to be only a body to Natalie and wants more and has decided tonight is the night. After changing the rules of their relationship, Jett invites himself along with Natalie on her Spring Break trip and they really get to know each other.
This story started off with a bang. Here we have two people who already are lovers, but no true relationship. Jett takes matters into his hands to change the rules of their relationship. I had a hard time buying into their lengthy relationship talk in the physical position(s) they were in. Then, Jett came off as too much as a perfect man. As they share about themselves, Jett did everything perfect. When Natalie talked about her childhood, Jett remembered his. His memory was that he was popular, but was never mean and went out of his way to befriend a recluse because mom and dad taught him right. I mean, that's a REALLY good thing, but everything he shared and we saw he had no flaws. He seemed less and less real as the story progressed.
The ending (if you can call it that) wasn't really believable to me either. They have been lovers for weeks, never sharing anything outside of the bedroom. Then, all the sudden after 24 hours of "dating" they realize they love each other and become engaged. I just couldn't buy into it. Then, the whole time, Natalie has been worried about her sister but we never find out what that's all about. The story abruptly ends and says "Want to know what happened to Natalie's sister? Well, buy my books."
***Gail's Gone Wild by Susan Donovan (119 pages)--3 Stars
How to enjoy Spring Break in Key West
Gail is a 36 year-old single mother who has spent the last 6+ years focusing on her career and her teenaged daughter, Holly. Holly wants to go on Spring Break with her BFF but Gail absolutely refuses. Then, she gets the idea of going along to chaperone and books a trip for herself, her daughter, and her daughter's BFF to Key West. Once there, she meets hunky Jesse who lives in the cabana next door to the one she's renting. Next thing she knows, she's spending every moment with Jesse living it up letting the girls run wild.
This story was just okay. I think my view on it was tainted by the other stories not having endings (I read this one last.) I enjoyed the setting and the storyline. I just couldn't buy into several things. First, the teenagers slang was all wrong. It made me laugh. Second, Gail gives them this huge lecture about the rules while there but seems to leave them to their own devices once she hooks up with Jesse. I know she can't be around all the time, but she seemed to stop her chaperone duties after the first day. Third, we are told a lot of things but never really see things. We are told of all the things Gail and Jesse did and told they now loved each other, but we don't really see much of it. I just feel the emotion.
I really liked the idea of this story, but felt that it would have been better served by more page time to fully develop it, to show us the progression of their emotions, to become attached to them and care about their relationship and the conflict they had to overcome. Instead, it just felt glossed over and summarized.
***Just one taste by Victoria Dahl (98 pages)--3 Stars
One taste isn't enough
Prelude to Good Girls Don't (Hqn), Bad Boys Do (The Donovan Family), Real Men Will (The Donovan Family)
Eric Donovan is stuck working the business convention. Eric is part owner of a brewery with his younger partying brother Jamie and with his younger sister Tessa. Normally, Jamie is the face of the brewery, the bartender, the flirtatious one. Unfortunately due to some staffing issues, Eric is stuck playing bartender. A few booths down is Beth, the manager of a sex store. They exchange heated and interested glances. When Beth walks by the booth, she sees the name "Jamie Donovan, Proprietor" on the name plate and assumes that is Eric. When they bump into each other later that night, Eric tries to correct her, but she keeps changing the subject to a more heated topics. Soon they have a heated one-night stand, which leaves both of them sizzling for more. But, they both walk away......and the end.
Now, to find out what happens, we have to wait for the series. But not the first book in the trilogy! No--We must wait until the 3rd and final book to find out what happens! I'm not sure I will care at that point. That's a long ways away. Not only that, but what about the people who purchase the trilogy who never read this short story, will they understand what's going on with these two?
The story itself had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of page time to fully develop their characters; to see what happens when Beth figures out she slept with Eric, not Jaime; to see these two in any other setting besides trying to get into each other's pants. I wonder if that is the point so that we can read the full-length novel dedicated to these two, however, I just felt let down in the end.
Ready, Set, Jett by Lori Foster (3 stars)
This story is a prequel to LF's new series, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor. Jett Sutter and Natalie Alexander are "neighbors with benefits". Their no-strings affair should be the perfect setup for a man intent on maintaining his bachelor status, but for whatever reason, Jett feels uneasy about it. He doesn't want to marry Natalie, of course, but having her using him only for booty calls isn't enough anymore. He wants to see her outside the bedroom, even date her, but he knows someone has hurt her in the past and she's wary of getting emotionally involved with him. Will he be able to get past her barriers and, maybe, reach her heart?
I liked this story, but the cliffhanger wasn't necessary. In fact, all the events connected to it could have been left out of the story, as they added nothing to the development of Jett and Natalie's relationship and were only there to hook readers to the upcoming series. It had been a while since I last read a book by Ms. Foster and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing and how good her love scenes are. She made me care and root for Jett and Natalie's HEA, and the ending was satisfying enough. (In case you're wondering, Jett and Natalie do get their HEA; the cliffhanger has nothing to do with them.)
Gail's Gone Wild by Susan Donovan (1 star)
Gail Chapman's seventeen-year-old daughter Holly wants to go to Florida with her friend Hannah for spring break, but Gail knows better than to let the two girls take that trip alone. After some thinking, Gail concludes that she deserves a spring-break vacation more than them and decides to enjoy it at Key West, offering to take the dynamic duo (Holly & Hannah) with her. Gail is supposed to be the chaperone for the girls during their vacation, but after meeting Key West neighbor Jesse Batista - a sultry, sexy, earring-wearing sea captain with a big secret - she's the girl who's about to go wild.
Oh boy, what can I say? I thought the premise was absurd, the romance didn't engage me, and I disliked all the characters in this story:
1. Gail was an hypocrite: her concern about her daughter's safety and "virtue" simply disappeared after she met Jesse and she had no qualms doing everything she'd told her daughter not to do. Granted, she was thirty-six and her daughter was only seventeen, but she should have thought about the kind of example she was setting. Plus, her ditching her chaperoning duties and saying that she trusted her daughter didn't make sense, considering how she'd made a point of forbidding the two girls to spend spring break by themselves because they couldn't be trusted to be behave. Huh?!? I guess lust short-circuited her brain.
2. Jesse was a lecher and a liar. He was introduced to Holly & Hannah when they were fresh out of the swimming pool and wearing skimpy bikinis, and he couldn't help noticing Hannah's "hellacious curves and video-ho bikini". A thirty-eight-year-old man having that kind of thought about a seventeen-year-old girl is too disgusting for words so all I can say is, eew eew eeeew!!! Then, Jesse decided to hide his identity from Gail - he was a successful author with eight New York Times bestsellers under his belt - so he could be sure she wasn't after his money and fame. He went so far as to ask a friend who owned a bookstore to hide his books so Gail didn't find out who he was, disregarding the fact that Jesse's name was the only marketing hook his friend got to face the competition of the new chain store that was threatening to kill his business. With friends like Jesse, that poor bookstore owner didn't need enemies.
3. Holly & Hannah were stereotypical dumb teenagers, and I'm still wondering why did they deserve to have their own POV in the story. Nothing happened with/to them, so what was the point?
This was my first read by Ms. Donovan and it was very disappointing. Most of my friends like her writing so I'm willing to give her another try, but I'll wait until this story is out of my mind.
Just One Taste by Victoria Dahl (1 star)
This story is supposed to be a prequel to VD's new series, Donovan Brothers Brewery, but it's more like a teaser or a sneak peek because it has no ending. The story just stops and we're left with no resolution. WTF?!?
I don't know what to say about the plot(?), so I'll just copy/paste/edit some lines from Ms. Dahl's "Dear Reader" introduction:
The Donovan siblings run Donovan Brothers Brewery right in the heart of Boulder, Colorado. Tessa is the youngest of the family and the only sister, but she keeps her brothers wrapped around her little finger... while she keeps them in the dark about her extracurricular life. Jamie runs the front room at the brewery with ruthless charm and a devastating smile, though he can't manage to get control of his love life. And then there's the oldest brother, Eric...
Eric Donovan took charge of the family and the brewery at the age of twenty-three, and he doesn't have a rebellious bone in his body. He's the soul of responsibility... until the night he meets Beth Cantrell in a hotel hallway and decides there's something to be said for an occasional walk on the wild side. Even the most straitlaced guy needs to loosen up once in a while, and Beth is a woman experienced in smalltown discretion.
That's it! Eric and Beth meet at a business convention, she somehow mistakes him for his brother Jamie and he doesn't set the record straight, they have wild-monkey sex and, after nothing was said and all was done, they part ways. The End.
Reading this story was a complete waste of my precious time. I'm sure everything that happened in it will be rehashed when the series is released, especially because Eric and Beth's book will be the last and readers will have forgotten this "prequel" by then. I could have ignored the lack of purpose in this story if Eric and Beth had been interesting characters, but alas, I didn't care for them. I never understood why she thought that being seen with him would ruin her reputation as an "erotic boutique" (aka sex shop) manager, and I thought his excuse for lying (by omission) about his identity was flimsy at best.
This was one of the most frustrating reads of my life and I'm sorry to say that, contrary to its goal, this story made me not want to read the series.
I don't have words to express how truly talented this author really is but I'll do my best. READY, SET, JETT is an introductory novella to this series and whoooeeeee is it a complete little love story all in itself and a wonderful way to open the door to a fantastic series. I love Natalie, she is so loveable, sexy and naïve all in one. Jett on the other hand is what men should be made of! He’s exciting, raunchy yet tender and gentle at the same time. Lori is a wonderfully descriptive writer taking the reader into her world to live out the fantasy of her characters and thoroughly enjoy it from beginning to end. This whole series is not to be missed, it would be a real shame! Although short, as it is a novella, you will not find the characters lacking in any way. They have been richly developed so that you feel you really know them and everything about them. So, come on, get comfortable and start this journey of love, action, mystery, suspense and amazing smexyness!