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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review - - Never Been Kissed

Never Been Kissed
By Molly O’Keefe
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 1, 2014




Ashley Montgomery, daughter of a wealthy Georgia politician, is a good girl. She has a good mind, a good heart, and a record of good deeds, but she is also proof that bad things happen to good people. Unlike her brother, she has refused to follow the party line and live the life her mother has mapped out for her. While in Africa doing humanitarian work, she and an English friend and co-worker are kidnapped and held for ransom by Somali pirates. A fantasy figure from her adolescence arrives to rescue her twice, once from the pirates and a second time from her mother and the sensational-hungry media. A battered Ashley is about to discover that a rough-edged knight with an armored heart may be a bigger threat than the one from which he rescued her.

Brody Baxter doesn’t hesitate when Harrison Montgomery asks him to rescue Ashley. It may have been ten years since he was fired as a bodyguard for the powerful Montgomery family, but Brody has not forgotten the lovely, idealistic Ashley. His plan is to rescue her from the pirates and disappear from her life again, but when Ashley’s New York apartment proves to be no sanctuary from determined reporters or from a manipulative mother willing to make political capital of her vulnerable daughter, he takes her to his hometown, tiny Bishop, Arkansas, where he thinks she will be safe in a bare-bones apartment above his brother’s bar.

Half Filipino-half African American, Brody learned early in life that people he loved died or abandoned him emotionally. He has managed to preserve his emotional distance ever since. Even his relationship with his adoptive family is a guarded one. Ashley may stir his protective instincts and his libido, but Brody is confident that he can avoid any messy emotional entanglements. Readers will not be surprised when his daunting defenses prove to be no match for the potent combination of desire and love.

Molly O’Keefe has been on my favorite authors list since I first encountered her Notorious O’Neills back in 2010. She has a knack for creating damaged characters whose only hope for healing lies in giving and accepting love, a truth that strikes fear to their hearts. This knack is on display again in the second book of her Boys of Bishop series, following Wild Child.

I am not a big fan of the conventional alpha hero, but I have a soft spot for the snarling loner with a hidden core of tenderness and vulnerability. I loved watching Brody fight to maintain the walls he had so carefully shored against invasion and knowing it was a battle he had to lose in order to win. My one disappointment with the story is that the ways race complicates things is not more fully explored. Brody is a mixed race child adopted by a white couple, and he is a mixed race man in love with a white woman. Certainly these facts don’t create the tension that they once did, but in the small-town South racism is still alive and well, even though it may be a largely covert variety in 2014.

But the one issue did not spoil my appreciation of the book. O’Keefe does so many things well. She gives her readers a sizzling romance, but it is also a romance that develops in credible and emotionally satisfying ways. Her characters are always presented with rich contexts, and Brody and Ashley are no exception. Ashley’s relationship with her family and Brody’s relationship with his father and brother add interest and substance to their story. The secondary romance is a delight and a perfect balance for Brody and Ashley’s darker story.

If you like imperfect characters who confront real issues and earn their HEA by learning and growing, I highly recommend this book. The third book in the series, Between the Sheets, will be released July 29.
Any month that begins and ends with a Molly O’Keefe book has to be a great one. And Ashley’s brother Harrison gets his story in late November. I’m practically hyperventilating I’m so eager to read that one.

~Janga

Hi, Everybody!  PJ here!  I'm hijacking Janga's review to tell you about a special giveaway we have that includes Never Been Kissed.  Random House is giving away three books in a special promotion that spotlights authors Molly O'Keefe and Virna DePaul.  All you have to do to be eligible is leave a comment on this post and have an U.S. address.  We will randomly choose three winners from the comments left today through July 28th. Each winner will receive one of the books listed below.  (We will choose which book goes to which winner.) Good luck, everyone!


Never Been Kissed
by Molly O'Keefe
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 1, 2014

As the daughter of a wealthy politician, Ashley Montgomery has had enough of her parents’ expectations for her future and is going her own way, volunteering to work at a refugee camp in Africa. But her act of charity turns dangerous when she takes a boat trip and is abducted by Somali pirates. Enter Brody Baxter, who was a bodyguard for the Montgomery family ten years ago and doesn’t think twice about coming to Ashley’s rescue. Handsome and tough, Brody has always done what needed to be done. So he swoops in, saves Ashley, and brings her to a place where she can rest and recuperate without the glare of the press and her demanding family: Brody’s small hometown of Bishop, Arkansas. But Ashley soon realizes that she’s not the only one in need of healing.
 
Holed up with Ashley in a tiny apartment over his brother’s bar in Bishop, Brody is tempted and torn in ways he never anticipated. Beautiful Ashley, vibrant despite her ordeal, fearless enough to love him beyond his wall of self-punishment, is now determined to save him. But with a little faith and a lot of love, they just may find happiness in each others’ arms.




Awakened 
by Virna DePaul
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 1, 2014

Ex-soldier Barrett Miles had no idea that vampires were real—until Belladonna recruits her to serve as a covert agent and infiltrate a murderous sex ring run by the most depraved of immortals, those who feed on the purity and blood of innocents. Their latest victim: a young girl whom Barrett promised to protect. She will be sold—unless Barrett can find her first. Forced to team up with her former lover, Nick Maltese, an undercover sniper, Barrett is caught between fulfilling her personal mission and shielding her heart from the man who betrayed her.
 
Nick’s hunting a new breed of vampires and harboring a terrible secret when Barrett finds him. Soon a seething underworld of strange desires threatens to engulf them all. Can he save the girl and reclaim Barrett’s heart? Nick knows he has only one chance to prove himself to her as the hunt begins—and their love forces them to embrace the darkest places in their souls.



Between the Sheets
By Molly O'Keefe
Publisher: Bantam
Release Date: July 29, 2014

After years of running, Wyatt Svenson has now parked himself in Bishop, Arkansas, trying to do the right thing and parent a son he didn’t even know he had until recently. Over six feet tall and packed with muscles and power, Ty likes to get his hands dirty, fixing his motorcycle at night and keeping his mind away from the mistakes he’s made. Then his pretty neighbor shows up on his driveway, doesn’t bother to introduce herself, and complains about the noise. First impression? She should loosen up. Funny that she turns out to be his son’s elementary school art teacher—and the only one willing to help his troubled boy. Ty needs her. In more ways than one.
 
Though Shelby Monroe is safe in her structured life, she is drawn to Ty’s bad-boy edge and rugged sexuality. What if she just lets it all go: her worries about her mother, her fear of heartbreak, and her tight self control? What if she grabs Ty and takes a ride on the wild side? “What if” becomes reality—intense, exhilarating . . . and addictive. But Ty wants more than a secret affair. He wants it all with Shelby. But will she take a chance and open her heart? Ty is determined to convince Shelby to take the biggest risk of her life: on him.






 

31 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great review and the wonderful giveaway!

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  2. Janga, I'm new to Molly O'Keefe and am thinking about trying the 'Crooked Ranch' series, which is available in audio, and was also highly rated by you on Goodreads. It is interesting to see the massive variation in different readers assessment of this author. High volatility is usually a warning for investors, but 5 stars from both Janga and Manda is a good enough indicator for me to invest!

    Great review :)

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    1. I have read that series Quantum. I thought it was very good.

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    2. Thanks krazymama .... much appreciated.

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    3. Hi, Q! Molly O'Keefe's books are not typical romances, but I'm a fan of her smart, real stories with an edge. I think you will like them too.

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  3. Thanks for the giveaway.
    patoct@yahoo.com

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  4. I heard about this book about a month ago and now have out it in my must read list along with Molly's others......thanks so much for another heads up review Janga! This sounds not only like another great summer read but another interesting new author for me.

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  5. A great post and wonderful giveaway. thanks.

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  6. The review was good and thanks for participating in the give away too.

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  7. Love this series, especially since its set in Arkansas.

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  8. Thanks for the chance!
    Tammy H

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  9. Thanks for this great opportunity for some great books!

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  10. Love Molly O'Keefe's books! Can't wait to read the newest one :)

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  11. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  12. Love giveaways! Need to read Molly for sure!

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  13. Great giveaway, I could use any of these!

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  14. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  15. The book sounds good and I already have the first book in this series, The Wild Child. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Marcy Shuler

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  16. Nice promo love Molly O" Keefe!!!

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  17. that's three authors I haven't read yet.

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  18. Interesting books

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  19. I am not a fan of vampire books, but the Molly O'Keefe books sound really good! I love all of the covers, too!

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  20. All of these look and sounds fantastic!!! thanks for sharing ;)

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  21. I'm not familiar with either author's work. I have to say that BETWEEN THE SHEETS by Molly O'Keefe really appeals to me! There's something about a bad boy and a motorcycle that captures my attention!

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  22. Manga, thanks for the review. NEVER BEEN KISSED sounds like a book I will thoroughly enjoy. I don't think I have read any of Molly O'Keefe' s recent books. I will have to remedy that.

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  23. Would love to win any of them. Love Molly's books; haven't tried the other author.

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  24. I've fallen in love w/ Molly O'Keefe's books since first read the Crooked Creek series. I can't wait to read this new series, though I must admit I'm a little behind catching w/ all the new books coming out. Wish there's a 'pause' button somewhere I can use. :)

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  25. Would love to win any of these books.
    Karen T.

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  26. I would be happy to win any of these books. I have read a few of Molly's and liked them.
    Patty B 43

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  27. I have not read any of these books. Would be great if I would win one.
    Marie M.

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