Maryam reviews Scandal in the Wind by KT Grant

I had the recent pleasure of seeing the musical Wicked, and though I enjoyed it, I complained about the ridiculously short development of Elphaba and Fiero’s romance. When I would do this, I would inevitably get a response of “OMG, have you read the book?”

“No,” I would say, thinking to myself: I don’t read fanfiction.
I feel as if I have broken my non-fanfiction rule with Scandal in the Wind – though I will admit I picked it up because of the title. I do love Gone With the Wind(but I have not read Scarlett, nor Rhett Butler’s People, because I don’t read fanfiction! Not that there’s anything wrong with that). If you are familiar with Gone With the Wind, you will recognize a few personalities. Imagine, if you will, that Scarlett — I mean, Lily — did not fall for Ashley, but Melanie! Er, that is, not Wyatt, but Mary! Now Rh–Beau wants a divorce. (I will say that I do enjoy the name Beauregard. Good planning on Ms. Grant’s part, that.) So Lily takes up with none other than Rose Ware, owner of Rose’s Delights, Charleston’s most beloved brothel. Rose becomes Lily’s friend, business partner, and lover, in that order.

I got a little more involved in this book past the halfway point, when the author began to take the plot more onto her own terms. There is this basic sort of structure that the reader has should she be familiar with Ms. Mitchell’s novel, but I have to say that the interactions between original characters Jo and Clinton were the most genuine to me. Perhaps when the characters are ‘new’ rather than ‘familiar’, there is a little more work involved on the author’s part to make them come alive. I think that is why their side-romance had that little bit of extra oomph to it. Don’t get me wrong – the relationship that blossoms between Lily and Rose is delightful and sexy, but I didn’t feel that as much craft was involved because the reader knows the character archetype. The climax(no pun intended) of the novel felt a little forced to me – the ending of Chapter 11 was a great cliffhanger, but that excitement fell short when the realization dawns that there really could be only one person to blame, and I didn’t fear for Lily’s life towards the end of the novel because, frankly, there were too few pages left for me to be concerned about an unhappy ending. And romance novels don’t have unhappy endings, anyway, and that is why we read them, is it not? Still, I think that should one decide to put one’s character in mortal peril, at least give us a bit more peril, a little more time to show some concern, maybe even a few more characters to suspect. And, my goodness – is there an editor at this publishing house? Sometimes the book needed commas, sometimes I found those commas roving around in sentences where they shouldn’t be, and I saw “you’re” in the place of “your” three times. I simply cannot say fiddle-dee-dee to grammar!

All that aside, I will say that Scandal in the Wind was a fun, quick, delightful read, and should Ms. Grant decide to give us an extended version one day so that she could take more time with the characters, I would be happy to break my unspoken rule to read it again.

Laura Mandanas and Nichole review Sleeping with the Frenemy by KT Grant

Nichole:

I absolutely loved this book. Deborah is possibly one of the most relatable characters I’ve come across in a long time and still she is raw and sweet and a bit of a bitch. She’s been through hell and manages to come out on top and I know I spent the entire book rooting for her success.

Deborah is the main character and from the first page I was drawn into her. She is sexy and shy and oh so sweet, but there is a darker side to Deborah’s life. Grant brings to life in raw, unyeilding terms, the horrors of abusive relationships, which stand true no matter the sex of the partners. But Deborah is not a victim, not anymore anyway.

Perhaps that’s why I clung to every page. She isn’t running, but becoming something bigger, something better and realizing she is deserving of more than the “love” she’s had for four years.

The icing on the cake came with Brigette, a fiery red head with a passion for art and Deborah. Tenderness and an ache for love pulse through her every move and Grant lets you see that in the sweetest way.

Sure there are times when the plot drags and a few choppy sentences, but overall this novel had me spell bound. (I literally read it in one sitting.) A great plot, heavy emotion and a few sweet, sultry love scenes make this book a keeper in my collection. :)

– Nichole

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Laura:

I had a bit of a different take on this book. While I found the sex scenes to be compelling and well written, they were the lone bright spots in a sea of mediocrity. Sleeping with the Frenemy is utterly predictable; there’s just no cleverness, no imagination, no life. The plot reads as if Lifetime fired their absolute worst scriptwriter and he or she got a $5 an hour temp job churning out cheap romance paperbacks. The villain even has a classical music soundtrack, for crying out loud.

Also? This is just a minor annoyance I had, but Sleeping with the Frenemy really doesn’t make sense as a title. Frenemy: friend + enemy. Neither of the women the protagonist sleeps with meet this description. A more appropriate title might have been “Damp: Ladies Who Need to Get It On 30+ Times A Day.” Or “J. Anistonitis: Life With Spidey-Sense Nipples.” Or possibly “Foolish: An Abused Young Woman Who Never Even Considers Calling The Police and Almost Gets Killed Because Of It.”

Beyond that, the ebook is cheap and the sex scenes are plentiful. I wouldn’t call this a bad book, but it’s certainly not a good one, either. Your call.

– Laura

Lesbrary Review: Lovestruck by KT Grant

I’m a little divided on this one. This is one of the first romance books I’ve read, so I’m pretty new to the genre. I was also a little hesitant about the power difference between the two main characters (Barbara and Jenny). I don’t mind the age difference, but I wasn’t sure about the boss/employee dynamic, especially when Barbara laughs off Jenny’s accusation of sexual harassment.

I was surprised by how easy it was to read and how much I kept returning to it, though. I was reading it on the computer, and usually I have trouble keeping my attention on one thing when I do, but it managed to keep drawing me in.

I enjoyed their couple days together, when they stay at Barbara’s house. I liked the little bit of domesticity: the calmness and comfort of it amongst the swirl of drama in the rest of the book.

I also appreciated the side characters in Lovestruck, mostly Jenny’s coworkers and friends. They added some depth to the story.

I’m still not sure what to think about this one. I liked parts of it, but I’m not sure the genre or writing is my style and I still get stuck on the power dynamics. I’ll definitely have to keep exploring the romance genre to get some perspective.