Review: Seducing Cinderella by Gina L Maxwell

 

Title: Seducing Cinderella

Author: Gina L Maxwell

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

Imprint: Brazen

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care—Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up. Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance. Soon Reid finds himself in the fight of his life…winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.

Review:

I admit the reason I wanted to read Seducing Cinderella is because of the hunky, tattooed guy on the cover.  I like tats.  More specifically, I like his tats.  Add the ink to one of my favorite romance tropes, and “Hello, book, yes, I’d like to get to know you better!”

Seducing Cinderella is the first book that I have read under Entangled Publishing’s new Brazen imprint.  I will compare this to a Harlequin Blaze, which is an imprint that I read infrequently, and again, it is usually the cover that tempts to me scoop one up.  This is hard, admitting that I am such a shallow reader! Still, with the torrential glut of new releases every week, something needs to catch my eye, and I don’t have time to read all of the plot descriptions, so I guess cover illustration it is!  I certainly don’t pick these up based on the title, some of which are so ridiculous I’m glad that I do have several eReaders!

Back to this book – if this is an indication of the Brazen imprint, I would read more, with no hesitation.  This title did have a few irritating moments, but it is a fun, fast, sexy read.  I liked the characters, especially Reid.  While I was expecting a tougher depiction of his MMA manliness, he is a softie on the inside, and the alpha-idiot only reared its ugly head near the end, for which I am grateful.  I like tender guys, who can make you feel like a million bucks with just a smile and few kind words.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a battle of wills with my guy, which so many category romance heroines seem to be in for.  That just doesn’t seem like fun, and I don’t care how rich the guy is.   If he can’t set aside his own ego for more than a few pages, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be stuck with him for the rest of my life!

Physical therapist Lucie Miller is having a really bad day.  She has been in love with a surgeon she works with closely, and when she thinks he’s about to finally catch a clue and ask her out, he asks for her best friend’s number instead.  Instead of letting him know how she feels, she coughs up the number, waits for him to leave, and bursts into tears in her messy office.  When her new patient arrives early for his therapy session, she’s shocked to discover that it’s her brother’s best friend, Reid, incognito.  Oh, noes!  He can’t help but see her puffy, tear-stained face, and after discovering her troubles, he has a proposition for her – if she dedicates the next few weeks to his rehabilitation so he’s ready to win his title back, he’ll help her win over the clueless doc.  Reluctantly, Lucie agrees, and before she knows what’s happened, sexy Reid and his rippling muscles have moved into her apartment.

I thought the pacing was spot on.  This is a whirlwind romance, and it reads like one, with all of the breathless anticipation and jittery nerves to crank up the impossible to ignore attraction that rages between Reid and Lucie.  I enjoyed their banter, but I did not enjoy the make-over Reid insisted that Lucie receive.  Her clothes are all wrong, her make-up barely there, and she can’t even make a positive impression when she enters a room.  Reid’s words, not mine. I so do despise these miraculous make-overs, because of course Lucie would not have the faintest clue how to attract a guy without Reid’s coaching.  This just made Lucie seem dumb and naïve, but we know that she’s not.  She is a successful therapist, she is intelligent, and she was married previously.  She didn’t just crawl out of a hole with no clue about what boys and girls do together, or how to get one to give you a second glance.  This particular plot device drives me nuts.

Reid’s behavior near the end irritated me, too, because of his lack of faith in Lucie.  She deserved more credit than he gave her, and I was just so disappointed with him.  If stupidity was contagious, he had just caught it.  Probably from his dad, which was a plot thread that seems unconvincing and tacked on at the end.  It’s just not possible to fix decades of indifference in two short chatting sessions, but I guess Reid needed his happy ever after with his disapproving and demanding father, too.  These quibbles aside, I found Seducing Cinderella a fun popcorn read.  Take it to the beach the next time you go!

Grade:  B/B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Gina L Maxwell, Author of Seducing Cinderella and Giveaway!

 

Be sure to check out the tour page for Entangled Publishing’s Seducing Cinderella Blog Tour!

Gina  Maxwell is the author of Seducing Cinderella, a red-hot romance from Entangled Publisher’s new Brazen imprint.  Gina stopped by the virtual offices for a chat, and she brought along a digital copy of her book for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Gina L Maxwell] Wife & mother. Addicted to romance books, Keurig coffee, dark chocolate, & writing about sexy alpha heroes & Super Power is Sonic Perkiness!

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Gina L Maxwell] I always start my stories with my characters, more specifically my hero. Once I have him figured out, I try to think of the kind of heroine he needs and who will bring him to his knees when he’s not looking. THEN I try to figure out the basic gist of the story. I don’t put too much of it together because I’m a pantser and like finding out the story’s details as I write.

With Seducing Cinderella, I found a picture of male model Parker Hurley that totally captivated me. He’s staring at the camera all intense with nothing on but a pair of shorts and black wraps on his hands. I’m also a huge UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) and MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fan, so the fighter theme jumped out at me immediately. It was then I knew I wanted to write a story about a UFC fighter and his struggle to overcome an injury and reclaim his title, among other things. So I gave him Lucie, a physical therapist who needed some help of her own that he’d be able to give her. Then I sat back and let them do their thing.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Reid?

[Gina L Maxwell] Charming, sexy, protective

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Lucie would never have in her bedroom?


[Gina L Maxwell] An exercise machine (she has a dedicated room/office for that), uncluttered surfaces (why would her personal space be any different than her work space?), or designer anything (she prefers things simple and practical).

[Manga Maniac Café] If Lucie had a theme song, what would it be?

[Gina L Maxwell] Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. At least, that’s what I think Reid would pick for her.

[Manga Maniac Café] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Gina L Maxwell] Amber Lin’s Giving It Up. Her writing was spectacular and the story so incredibly compelling. I can honestly say it’s not anything that I would normally read, but I’m so glad I did! The book totally blew me away! Everyone should check it out, regardless if it’s their normal reading fare or not.

[Manga Maniac Café] How can readers connect with you?

[Gina L Maxwell] Readers can join my one-of-a-kind romance mafia, called the Maxwell Mob, on my website at www.ginalmaxwell.com. By signing up for that, they’ll receive special announcements, exclusive excerpts, and Maxwell Mob swag.

I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, & Pinterest, and I love to hear from readers, so don’t be shy!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Ready for your chance to win a digital copy of Seducing Cinderella?  Just fill out the widget below.  Earn extra entries for following.  Open Internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Didn’t win? You can purchase a copy of Seducing Cinderella from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below

 

He’ll teach her the art of seduction…for a price.

Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care—Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up.

Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance.

Soon Reid finds himself in the fight of his life…winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.

Title: Seducing Cinderella

Author: Gina L. Maxwell

Genre: Category – Contemporary

Length: 277 pages

ISBN: 978-1-62266-949-3

Release Date: July 2012

Imprint: Brazen

Author Information

Growing up in small town Fort Atkinson, WI, Gina L. Maxwell, formerly Bisbee, could often be found onstage in the latest theatrical production, performing with her high school show choir, or holding office in her local FFA chapter. She dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps in the entertainment business, of enabling her audience to forget about life for a few hours as they enjoyed the stories she told through her love of singing, dancing, and acting. It wasn’t until her sophomore year in college when she realized she had no acting talent to speak of and her dream needed some adjusting. Another ten years would pass before she discovered a different means to accomplishing the same dream.

Within those ten years Gina married her high school sweetheart, had two beautiful children, and moved more times than she cared to count. In 2009 she started writing as a hobby while her kids were in school, and it quickly became an obsession she couldn’t stop, and then a dream to publish stories of love and passion for romance addicts just like her.

Three years later, her dream came true when she signed with Entangled Publishing for a total of seven books in two of their imprints.

Her Fighting for Love series with MMA heroes debuted July 20th, 2012 for the digital Brazen imprint with the first book, Seducing Cinderella, and reached #9 on Barnes & Noble’s best seller list in just seven days.

The first book in her paranormal romance trilogy, Desires of the Soul, is set to release both digitally and in mass trade paperback in Summer 2013 for the Entangled Select imprint.

When she’s not writing or wrangling plot bunnies, Gina keeps busy with her wonderful family and their ever-growing extra-curricular schedules. Thanks to their immense patience and support, she’s able to do The Thing She Was Meant To Do and live her dream of bringing a little romantic fantasy to the world, even if only in the pages of a good book.

Author Website: http://ginalmaxwell.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gina_L_Maxwell

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6446604.Gina_L_Maxwell

Review: Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis

 

Title: Animal Magnetism

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publisher: Berkley

ISBN: 978-0425239810

Reading Level: Adult

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Co-owner of the town’s only kennel, Lilah Young has lived in Sunshine, Idaho, all her life. Pilot-for-hire Brady Miller is just passing through. But he soon has Lilah abandoning her instincts and giving in to a primal desire.

It’s Brady’s nature to resist being tied down, but there’s something about Lilah and her menagerie that keeps him coming back for more.

Review:

Animal Magnetism is a book that I picked up on impulse at a Borders’ closeout sale.  One look at the woe-be-gone puppy cuddled to the cover model’s chest, and I had to have it.  I didn’t even read the synopsis on the back of the book.  I have been challenging myself to read books outside of my normal comfort zone, so I scooped this up, thinking that the puppy couldn’t steer me wrong.  He didn’t!

Due to preconceived, and highly erroneous,  impressions I had about the line, I have avoided any Berkley Sensation titles.  I am not sure why or when I started to view them in such a negative light, because I have never actually read one, but for the record, my idea of what they are like was so far off base it’s not even funny.  This is a fun, humorous contemporary romance with engaging characters and an added cast of critters to complicate the protagonists’ lives.

Lilah makes a bad first impression with Brady Miller when she crashes into his truck.  Oops!  It was  really the duck’s fault, but trying to explain that would make her sound absolutely nuts.  Lilah is lucky that Brady turns out to be a nice guy, because she has a carload of animals to ferry back to her kennel.  Instead of leaving her hanging out to dry, he offers to chauffeur her, and her charges, home.  Before you can say “Quack!” they share a mutual attraction, but as Brady makes it quite clear, he’s only in town for a short time to visit his foster brothers, and then he’s hitting the highway again.

And this brings me to the reason I gave the book a slightly lower grade than I would have otherwise.  Lilah pursues a fling with Brady, knowing that there is no future for them. She accepts that he isn’t going to be a permanent addition to her life, and she wants to get him and her blazing attraction to him out of her system.  This is my second least favorite romance trope, with the dreaded destined mate trope edging out in front.  I’ve only been reading romances again for a short while, and several of the book have featured this plotline.  Sigh. (Rant off)

Lilah isn’t the kind of girl to be content with a wild fling, regardless of how satisfying the sex is.  She takes her relationships very seriously.  She isn’t the love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of girl.  She values how other people feel, and that’s what I loved about her.  She grows attached to everything, even the stray animals she shelters for a short time.  It eats away at her every time she has to give them up, even knowing that she has found a wonderful, forever home for her furry charges.  I was a little resentful of Brady for what I saw as almost taking advantage of her.  He knows what she’s like, and he still agrees to a no-strings attached relationship.  Sometimes somebody has to be the adult and just walk away from a situation before someone else gets hurt.  When it started to look like his feathers were going to get singed, too, I forgave him.

The sparks fly between Lilah and Brady, and steam almost rises off of the pages.  While their relationship is riveting (and hot!), it’s the secondary characters who give this book its soul.  Lilah lives in a small town, and everyone knows everything about everybody else.  When a sexy stranger drifts into town and makes a temporary home above the animal clinic, every woman from miles around is drawn to openly drool over the very eligible bachelor.  Better yet, the staff running the clinic is made up of two more hotties, and I am left to wonder if the practice would be as profitable if Dell and Adam resembled some of their four-legged clients.  Dell, Adam, and even Jade quickly won me over with their humor.  All of these tough guys (and one snarky girl) are caring and concerned about the people around them.  I love people who will go out on a limb to give their friends a hand.  I am so happy that there will be more books featuring them, and am counting down the days until I can visit with them again and learn more about them.

There were a few places where I felt the plot was spiraling a teeny bit out of control, and I wondered at Lilah’s swift healing abilities, but I quickly shrugged these off and boosted up my suspense of belief barrier.  This is a quick, fun read, perfect for a little escape from reality.

Grade: B

Review copy purchased at Borders