Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Review - - The Good Ones

The Good Ones
By Jenn McKinlay
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 5, 2018
Reviewed by PJ

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

My thoughts:

Launching her new Happily Ever After series, Jenn McKinlay brings readers a small-town romance with plenty of humor, heart, sizzle, and charm as well as an enthusiastic verbal hug for the romance books we all love to read. 

Maisy is at a crossroads in her life. Chucking her academic career and louse of a boyfriend, she makes the decision to turn the home and thousands of romance books she's inherited into a romance bookstore. Who among us hasn't had that dream once or twice? She's such an endearing character. I applauded her determination, cheered when she stood up to her ex, and ached with her when things took a sideways turn. I enjoyed her relationship with Ryder's daughter and, especially, with the rescue kitten, King George. And I loved her female sidekicks!  

Ryder is a great single dad with some lessons to learn where his teen daughter, and Maisy, are concerned. He's a nice guy and his relationship with Maisy is sweet, and sexy, but unsteady. His continued hot and cold routine throughout most of the book had me frustrated though he comes around by the end and his back story, once revealed, explains much of his behavior. I liked his sense of humor, his willingness to embrace Maisy's dream, his determination to give his daughter the best life possible, and his gentle care of the adorable King George. 

If you enjoy a fast-paced, fun romance with plenty of snappy dialogue, sizzling chemistry, and endearing characters, give this one a try. 


When Jake took off his cowboy hat and pulled her close, Claire wrapped her arms around him and the two became one. When they kissed she knew they were making each other a promise for today, tomorrow, and forever. Clare sighed. For the first time in her life, she knew that no matter what happened this man, who was her partner and her best friend, would be by her side. For all time.

     Maisy Kelly closed the book and pressed it to her chest and sighed. Jake Sinclair, the perfect man, why did he reside only in the pages of a book? It wasn’t fair. She was twenty-nine and none of the men she’d ever dated had been even remotely as caring or charming as Jake Sinclair.
     Knock knock knock.
     Maisy blinked. Someone was at the door. No, no, no. She had a book hangover and she didn’t want to deal with the world right now.
     Knock knock knock.
     They weren’t going away. Maisy rose from where she’d been seated on the bottom step of the stairs. In theory, she was supposed to be cleaning out her Great Aunt Eloise’s house, in reality she was binge reading Auntie El’s hoarder’s trove of romance novels. It wasn’t making the task, which was heartbreaking to begin with, any easier.
     Knock knock knock.
     “All right, all right,” Maisy grumbled. “I’m coming.”
     She strode to the door and yanked it open. Probably, if she had bothered to glance through the peep hole she would have been prepared, but she hadn’t and she wasn’t.
     Standing on her front step, looking impossibly handsome and imposing, was a cowboy. Maisy glanced down at her book. On the cover was the artist’s rendering of Jake Sinclair, in jeans and a white shirt, leaning against a split rail fence, with a brown cowboy hat tipped carelessly over his brow. Maisy could practically hear the cows mooing in the background.
     She glanced back up. Jeans, white shirt, and a cowboy hat. This guy had it all going on, except where the artist had left Jake’s face in shadow and not clearly defined, this guy was a full on 3D HD of hotness, with full lips, faint stubble on his chin, and quite possibly the bluest eyes Maisy had ever seen this side of the sky. She had a sudden urge to poke him with her pointer finger to see if he was real.
     “Mornin’, Miss,” the man drawled, drawled!
     Miss? Huh, she hadn’t been called “Miss” since she’d started teaching at Fairdale University. Why would he…she glanced down.
     She was wearing her favorite floral Converse All-stars, ripped up denim shorts, and her old Fairdale University sweatshirt, the one with the sleeves that hung down past her hands, oh, and she had on no makeup and her hair was held back by an enormous pink headband. She probably looked like one of her college students, possibly a freshman.
     In that brief shining moment, she was certain if it was possible to die of embarrassment, she would expire in three…two…one. She gave it a second. Nope, still standing. Damn it.
     “Listen, I’m sorry, sir, but whatever you’re selling, I’m not interested—,” she began but he cut her off.
     “Oh, I’m not selling anything,” he said. He looked confused. “This is three-twenty-three Willow Lane, right?”
     “Yes, it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back--,” she let her voice trail off, hoping he’d get the hint. He didn’t.
     “I have an appointment with a Ms. Kelly,” he said. “Or Mrs. Kelly, I’m not sure.”
     Maisy knew she didn’t have any appointments today. That was why she’d indulged herself in a good long reading sesh. This guy was probably a hustler, trying to con her to buy some property insurance or new windows. Ever since she’d inherited this monster of a house from Auntie El she’d had all sorts of scammers climbing out of the cracks in the sidewalk, trying to get her to refinance or buy a security system. It was exhausting.
     The man met her squinty stare with one of his own. He shrinkled up one eye and mimicked her look of disbelief right down to the small lip curl. The nerve! Then she saw the twinkle in his one open eye, and Maisy couldn’t hold it. She burst out laughing.
     He grinned at her and her ire diminished as she noted the cowboy had a sense of humor. Okay, she decided to give him a break and at least take his name and number.
     “I’m sorry,” she said. “What was your appointment with Ms. Kelly about?”
     “It’s about the house, actually,” he said. “My name’s Ryder Copeland. I’m a restoration architect, and you are?”
     “Ryder Copeland?” Maisy’s eyes went wide. “But our appointment isn’t until tomorrow, you know, Tuesday.”
     “Today is Tuesday,” he said.
     “No, it isn’t,” she said. “It’s Monday.”

     “Sorry, it really is Tuesday. Wait,” he said. “Our appointment? You’re Maisy Kelly?”


  1. Always happy to see previews of contemp romance books.

  2. WOW, you are aware that I have complained to you many times about adding to the number of books I feel that I must have. Well, I hope you are happy, you have done it again.

    I loved the excerpt. I like Ms McKinlay's books but it has been awhile since I read one. OK! I am a sucker for cowboys (I live in Texas), I am a sucker for humor and I am a book addict. This is a perfect book for me.

    Thanks for the review, the excerpt and all you do for me.

    1. Oh, you're definitely going to like this one then. The hero is a Texas-born architect who looks just like the cowboy on the cover of the heroine's favorite romance. You're welcome. ;-)

  3. Love the excerpt. New author for me. Looking forward to reading more.

    1. This is a first in her new series. I adored her previous Bluff Point contemporary romance series. The final book, Every Dog Has His Day was one of my best books of 2018. I haven't read any of them yet but she also writes cozy mysteries.

  4. I don't normally read contemporary romance books. However, this one sounds pretty good, and I might just break down and get it.

  5. This sounds like a delightful read.
    Patricia B.