09 August, 2017

Her Backup Boyfriend (The Sorensen Family 1) by Ashlee Mallory #Review

Pages -  276 pages
Publisher -  Entangled: Bliss 
Published -  January 19, 2015
Sold by -  Macmillan
Kindle Edition -  Amazon
Series -  Sorensen Family 1 of 4
Genre -  Clean Contemporary Romance
Narrative -  3rd P
Sexual Content -  0/5
Language -  1/5

One little white lie leads to more than she planned…

Straight-laced lawyer Kate Matthews always plays by the rules. But when her ex gets engaged and a big promotion is on the line at work, she blurts out that she has a new boyfriend. And now that she's proved she “has a life” outside of work, everything is perfect. Except for one teeny little detail―there is no boyfriend. And now Kate's liable for her little white lie...

Dominic Sorensen is hot, charming, and very definitely not Kate's type. But not only does Dominic want to help Kate renovate her home, he's also willing to play “boyfriend.” All he wants in return is a little pro bono work for his sister. Now, instead of Mr. Right, Kate has a delectable Mr. Fix-It-Right―and some unbelievable sexual chemistry. And if falling for Dominic is a breach of contract, Kate is guilty as charged...

326 reviews at Amazon (to-date) and only 25 are critical (3-stars and one 2-star).

I gave it 4 there and despite the flaws, really enjoyed this story.

A No-Regrets Read

Zero Personal Opinion or PSA

HEA occurs

NOT a cliffhanger ending

First, let me explain why I enjoyed the story of Kate, the attorney, and Dominic, the carpenter.

It read well, I could easily envision the characters, most of the surroundings, and even the time-frame and seasons.

I thought that the fake-dating trope, while ubiquitous to most Contemporary Romance novels, was still plausible and no way over-the-top in its inception or play-through.

The author used effort to let these two take time to unravel, regard their decisions, and enjoy their time together before the L-word appeared or the two landed in bed, thank you very much.

And, this being a 'clean' copy, she left all the explicit sex details to my own imagination and I, for one, am grateful.

Dominic Sorensen was HOT.

Sweet, thoughtful, gentlemanly, and cautious about lending his heart out to another woman while not being so withdrawn as to be unapproachable.

The author did a terrific job of never going too far left or too far right in any situation that arose in this story, and I am appreciative enough to want to read more of her work as a result.

As for Kate, the Attorney clawing her way to the top?

Hit and miss for me.

I'm not a huge fan of redheads, and unless they are loaded with Irish blood, I find it really hard to believe they are true redhead and instead of the bottled kind.

Talking about freckles and moles is NOT my idea of sexy, Sorry.

Anyway, Kate is not from a prominent or sociable background yet managed to earn her degree and land a job at a prestigious Utah firm, where she is in the running for junior partner if she can prove to the higher-ups that she is stable (in a relationship) and trustworthy (despite their clients' lack of promise).

The hokey ensues, but c'mon!

This is a romance novel, not a textbook.

She's recently purchased a lovely, older house in an established neighborhood, and Dom's aunt happens to live... either across the street or right next door... this area grew hazy when a few instances got me confused.

One time she left the back door with Dom and 'walked' to his aunt's place.

Another time Kate worried about leaving the front room curtains open after dark for fear of what his aunt might witness.

Then, she is in her driveway staring at Dom's truck parked next door.

I got lost, but whatever.

Dom's aunt introduces them, telling her nephew that Kate could use his help around the house, and Kate wants to be a good neighbor so goes along with the older woman's 'machinations'.

From Merriam-Webster
a plot or scheme.
synonyms: scheming, schemes, plotting, plots, intrigues, conspiracies, ruses, tricks, wiles, stratagems, tactics, maneuvering
"they were always wary of the machinations of rival gangs"

The author used that word quite a bit, and some of the time it just didn't fit the situation, sometimes as if it meant thoughts, ideas, or social planning.

Anyway, Kate sees Dom as a way of helping her Junior Partner cause, and Dom sees Kate as a way of helping his younger sister with her as-yet uncontested divorce.

They both enter into this rushed deal thinking little to nothing of it, except that the two are supposedly eyeing one another at the very start and repressing smoldering, budding, growing, and whatever other adjective used to describe instant attraction for one another.

Dom's good at what he does, but after his father's heart attack, he left school to help at the family's Construction Firm, where his older brother, Cruz, has practically taken over in their father's absence.

Dom is a family guy who takes care of his siblings and parents first, and he's also a once-bitten fella in the love department.

He's not anxious to get with Kate any more than she is, because Kate is also suffering a one-sided love with her ex, who also happens to work at the law firm and has broken their engagement due to family pressure.

He's also pawned off his new girlfriend on Kate as her assistant in their latest, big case.

So, long story short, the plot revolves around these two and their wary misconceptions about love, relationships, and most-importantly, self-worth.

Dom let his ex deflate his ego while Kate let her ex steer her determination in a direction she isn't even sure she wanted to head in the first place... other than always having wanted to become a judge.

Much of the chapters work on resolution of these issues while including just enough interaction to keep me interested, rooting, and wanting more.


The Down Side

The author uses Entangled Publishing, and I'm not sure about you guys, but it never bodes well when I see that house publishing any Contemporary I am interested in reading.

The type-o's increase as the chapters do, and a lot of other things occur that shouldn't IF the editor truly understands her job and takes it seriously, but they don't.

Which is a shame, especially for the author.

Here's a bit of what I highlighted for example purposes in this post

  • About the moment she took a long slurp of her cocoa, leaving a creamy chocolate mustache on her upper lip. She then used her pert little tongue to slowly lick the foam from across her lip. He closed his eyes. Maybe keeping his eyes
  • No matter much cajoling I did,”
  • Despite the fact she could not longer feel her face,
  • it she
  • as much I think the guy
  • as many cookies she could
  • right things to do
  • I just figured weren’t
  • He glanced at this watch.
  • and pulled out of the beers Kate
  • as she raised her mouth to his in a welcome.
  • protected the wide porch, almost hugging it and keeping it dry and protected.
  • was absent her doorstep—likely
  • to turn this around.” He paused and turned around and met her gaze.
  • she’d using
  • he’d had fallen
  • his grinned

Quite a lot of colloquial and cliche nonsense words/phrases being spoken by two apparently young and modern leads.

  • champing at the bit
  • Color me impressed.”
  • Throwing the baby out with the bathwater,
  • with bells on.”
  • on the road to good health,
  • paint the town red after
  • nose to the grindstone, not

And finally, just awkward usage by the author that gives the impression of her lack of English education or a complete misunderstanding of how things are actually supposed to be said

  • at a loss of how to
  • take offense from that.
  • She set the bottle back to the counter
  • and that been with
  • the help from
  • lips under his again.
  • over toward
  • that makes you actually happy?

If I knew how to find work as a Professional Proofreader, it would be terrific... especially for a lot of authors!

So, to wrap this one up nice and neatly, I still liked this story, the two leads, and their plight/resolution.

I am very interested in reading more of this author's work despite the above-mentioned issues with her and her choice of publishing house.

I would recommend this and any other Ashlee Mallory novel to anyone looking for something light and tame (especially after having read a lot of intense, by-the-throat, reality-based anything).

This is Book One of Four in the Sorensen Family Series

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