When bibliovangelist Angie recommends a book, I listen and add it to my wishlist. But when she recommends a book for fans of both Sarra Manning AND Julie James (two of my favorite contemporary romance authors), I do my best to read it as soon as I can. This was what happened when Angie reviewed Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry. While I was at it, I thought it would be a good idea to read the companion novel, Hot Island Nights right after.
Here’s the summary for Her Best Worst Mistake from Goodreads:
For six years Violet Sutcliffe has known that Martin St Clair is the wrong man for her best friend. He’s stuffy, old before his time, conservative. He drives Violet nuts – and the feeling is entirely mutual. Then, out of nowhere, her friend walks out just weeks before her wedding to Martin, flying to Australia on a mission of self-discovery. Back in London, Violet finds herself feeling sorry for suddenly single Martin. At least, she tells herself it’s pity she feels. Then he comes calling one dark, stormy night and they discover that beneath their mutual dislike there lies a fiery sexual chemistry.
It’s crazy and all-consuming – and utterly wrong. Because not only are they chalk and cheese, oil and water, but Martin once belonged to her best friend. A friend Violet is terrified of losing. What future can there be for a relationship with so many strikes against it?
Wowza, that was a lot steamier than I expected! The love scenes are definitely not fade to black, not that I’m complaining or anything. Just thought I’d get it out there in case that’s something that you’re picky about. Honestly, this is the kind of read that I would never have picked up if it didn’t come highly recommended by a trusted blogger. I have to admit that the cover is intriguing but I’m not a fan of the premise – a girl falling for her best friend’s ex-fiance? Not my cup of tea. However, Sarah Mayberry made it work. I was rooting for both Violet and Martin to be together. Here’s a snippet that I liked:
“Martin smiled, the slow curve of his mouth revealing a dimple in his left cheek.
Violet frowned, as she did every time she saw that dimple.
It didn’t belong on his face. It was as simple as that. Dimples were impish and mischievous. They spoke of laughter and pleasure, not three-piece suits and pipes and slippers and cardigans with elbow patches.”
I liked how these two individuals have so very different personalities – initially they got on each other’s nerves but eventually, they balanced each other out. I like love-hate relationships when they’re done well and I feel like that was the case here. Violet and Martin both have their own issues and I thought that added more flavor to their romance, gave it more depth. I’m a sucker for love stories when broken people are involved because the connection is much rewarding for the characters.
Moving on to the companion novel. Here’s the summary of Hot Island Nights from Goodreads:
Elizabeth Mason didn’t intend to abandon her very proper life. But that’s the best way to find her true and less than proper self. So here she is in Australia, standing in front of a man who is clad only in a towel.
Nathan Jones is so tempting he could be the ideal candidate to help this good girl be very bad! Sure enough, thanks to Nathan’s talented hands, Elizabeth is living all her sensual fantasies.
And while the sex is great, something more is developing. She trusts him, and wants to share her secrets with him. Suddenly this feels more like a real relationship than some fun in the sun. Luckily, there’s a cure for too much commitment: more wickedness!
LOL I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever featured a Harlequin novel on my blog. And check out how steamy that description is! Look at me, expanding my reading choices. Hot Island Nights is set over the same time period as Her Best Worst Mistake and follows Elizabeth’s story when she flies to Australia to reconnect with her father. While it has the same feel as Her Best Worst Mistake in terms of the writing and the romance, I didn’t enjoy reading Hot Island Nights as much. It was easier for me to relate to Violet than Elizabeth and that’s a huge factor in my enjoyment of the story. Also, I liked Violet’s romance more than Elizabeth’s – all that hate that was just a cover for strong attraction. Even though each book can be read on its own, I recommend reading them together to get a fuller understanding of the two story lines. I was wondering what was happening to Elizabeth while I was reading Violet’s story.
Overall, I liked these two novels (or are they novellas?) – they’re perfect for whenever you feel like reading something light and romantic. Now I’m curious about the rest of Sarah Mayberry’s books, I wonder if they’re just as fun? Feel free to share your thoughts or give recommendations similar to these.