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Mini Reviews: Battle of the Romance Tropes

Blurb from Goodreads:
If gossip is the lifeblood of a small town, then Lizzy Logan has been its beating heart. After being dumped by her fiancé for another woman, she could have decided to crawl under a rock. But no, she'd rather really set tongues wagging by "moving on" with one of the hottest cowboys in Texas, who happens to live next door at the Lucky Penny Ranch. Those busybodies don't have to know it's actually all pretend. And just because Lizzy has no aim to tame her wild, blue-eyed neighbor doesn't mean she can't enjoy the ride of her life.

Toby Dawson never was and never will be the settling-down type. But what harm could there be in agreeing to be Lizzy's pretend boyfriend? They'll put on a show for a few weeks and be done. Yet the more he gets to know Lizzy-really know her-the harder it is for him to keep his hands off of her in private. Soon this rough-and-ready cowboy is hoping to heal Lizzy's bruised heart and turn their fake affair into a true romance . . . 
My Review:
Rachel from Waves of Fiction and The Reader's Den is the heart of my heart when it comes to book reviews so when I saw her reviewing several books from this author in the sub-genre of "cowboy romance," I knew I had to try one!  And this one didn't disappoint! I am calling these mini reviews the battle of the romance tropes -- this one involves the fake boyfriend trope and it was pulled off to perfection here!  First, Lizzy was awesome -- I really liked her and loved her lack of pretension.  Second, the setting of the small town of Dry Creek, Texas was great -- it's a ranching town and I enjoyed the whole cast of characters. Third, Toby was just such a hot cowboy but also so genuine in his affection once he realized it. The really fun part of this book was that Lizzy and Toby had a thing before the fake romance and their chemistry was off the charts so it didn't take long for this fake romance to turn real!  I just purchased the first in this series about Lizzy's sister and I can't wait for the third book later this year which will be set during Christmases.  For more cowboy romance, I also really love C.J. Carmichael!  Do you have any favorites in this sub-genre?
"You aren't even my type, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been fun."  
"And you damn sure aren't mine," he said.
"What is your type?" she asked.   
"No strings.  Likes to party, drink beer, dance in old honky-tonks, and after my famous breakfast-after-sex the next morning, she goes on her way."

Blurb from Goodreads:
Cool, calm and competent, events planner Paige Walker loves a challenge. After a childhood spent in and out of hospitals, she’s now determined to prove herself—and where better to take the world by storm than in the exhilarating bustle of Manhattan? But when Paige is let go from the job she loves, she must face her biggest challenge of all—going it alone.

Except launching her own events company is nothing compared to hiding her outrageous crush on Jake Romano—her brother’s best friend, New York’s most in-demand date and the only man to break her heart. When Jake offers Paige’s fledgling company their big chance, their still-sizzling chemistry starts giving her sleepless nights. But can she convince the man who trusts no one to take a chance on forever?
My Review:
On the opposite end of using a romance trope for a new spin and a fun contemporary romance like the Carolyn Brown book above, one of my favorite tropes fell absolutely FLAT in this book.  Sleepless in Manhattan was a romance involving the brother's best friend trope (which you already know that I love) but it was pretty much everything bad about the trope.  By this I mean, the only reason Paige and Jake couldn't be together was because her brother forbid it and then, guess what?  They actually got together but didn't tell her brother so I'm sure you can imagine how well that went down.  It was just unnecessary conflict and Jake was pretty much a total jerk about the whole thing.  I found myself rolling my eyes more than once while reading this one and just wanting it to be over. There are some really good books that employ this trope, however, and my list of recommendations for books in this trope that I love is HERE.
You made me feel normal.  You were the first person who didn't treat me like I might break at any moment.  You made me laugh.  You made me feel good.  You were all I could think about, which was a refreshing change after a lifetime of thinking about only hospitals, doctors and my stupid heart.  You made me feel like a person again.
It's always fun to read new romances with tropes that you know well but to be surprised and delighted by the spin that each author takes on said trope.  Of course, the opposite sometimes happens, too and a trope can fall into the pit of predictability to the point where it is staid.  Hot Cowboy Nights and Sleepless in Manhattan were both released last week on May 31, 2016, and I would definitely recommend reading some Carolyn Brown!!


  1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the Sarah Morgan book. I read one of hers last year and loved it, and was hoping to get to this one soon.
    Can't wait to read Hot Cowboy Nights! It sounds awesome, and if both you and Rachel loved it, I'm sure I will too!

  2. Glad the first one was so good, it looks perfect for this time of year! Sorry the second one was a stinker.

  3. Wonderful review, Eva! And thanks for the compliment! I'm so happy (relieved) that you liked Hot Cowboy Nights! I usually hate no strings kind of guys, but Toby was just so sweet, and like you said, genuine with his feelings to make me like him. I think if I like the characters in a story even if I don't like what they do sometimes I'll still end up enjoying the story because of that. I can see how Sleepless in Manhattan wouldn't work with Jake being a jerk. Brother's best friend troupe is one of my favorite's too. Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover was a good one. Until Fountain Bridge by Samantha Young was another win even though it was a novella.

    1. Thanks for more recs! I can't wait to read more Carolyn Brown! ♥

  4. Great Review, I don't usually check out romances, but it was interesting seeing the trope, play out differently in the books.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

  5. I SO want to try Hot Cowboy Nights!!! Somehow you've taken a book that I would never give a second glance at and made it sound like AWESOME-SAUCE!! YASSSS! As far as the next one, Sleepless in Manhattan which reminds me of the movie, Sleepless in Seattle, I don't think I'll get too close to it...

    Thanks for these awesome mini reviews! :)

  6. I've not read a cowboy romance in ages. I was so looking forward to Sleepless in Manhattan but I've been reading some not so great reviews. I think I'll have to put this one on hold for now.

  7. I thought Sleepless in Manhattan would be better. It's too bad it didn't at least tie or come close in the battle.

  8. I hate when a favorite trope of mine goes bad. That would really annoy me too about the second one. I need more than forced conflict in my books. I have been on a romance kick lately and I have been wanting to try the first author so I'm glad to see you really liked her book Eva.

  9. I really want to read Hot Cowboy Nights. I have enjoyed reading Carolyn Brown in the past. Glad to see you enjoyed this one so much. My personal favorites are Jennifer Ryan and Emma Cane.

  10. You're not the first person I've seen give Sleepless In Manhattan a low rating, everyone says that the author really didn't meet expectations in that one, sadly. Definitely interested in the first book though!

  11. I was so looking forward to Sleeping in Manhattan! It sounded really good.
    I love the fake-boyfriend trope!!! Gimme gimme gimme! I need this book!

  12. The first book sounds good but the second book sounds kind of disastrous. Gonna have to pass on that one. But I might want to check out the first one. Cool reviews!


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