Review: Not Just Friends by Kate Hoffmann

Not Just Friends by Kate Hoffmann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not Just FriendsWhen Julia McKee’s friends buy the summer camp where they had all spent a decade of summers, she’s more than happy to take a week away from her bakery and help them with renovations. But on her first night sleeping in one of the cabins, she’s awoken by the boy she spent all those summers fantasizing – and writing in her diary – about.

Well, Adam Sutherland’s not such a boy anymore. He’s definitely become a man. And unbeknownst to Jules, he spent more than his fair share of time fantasizing about her when they were teens. Now that he sees the confident woman she’s become, he’s ready to explore whether they could keep the chemistry going beyond summer camp.

There were parts of this novel I really enjoyed. Jules and Adam feel very realistic, and not only do they have great chemistry as lovers but as friends, something that’s hugely important to me as a reader. They laugh together just as easily as they turn each other on.

Take this scene, for example, when Jules is trying to repair one the of the cabins.

“Sonuva bunny,” she cried again as she hit her thumb with the hammer.

“Sonuva bunny?” he said.

Julia jumped at the sound of his voice, then slowly turned to face him. “I guess I’m falling back into old habits. We weren’t allowed to swear at Camp Winnehawkee.”

“Why would you need to swear?”

“It’s the only thing I can do. My carpentry skills are almost non-existent. my fingers are all smashed.”

“Can I show you a little trick?” he asked, opening the door.

“If it involves finding a way to make my fingers stop throbbing, I’m listening.”

“Well,” he said. “First things first.” Adam grabbed her hand and brought it up to his lips, then gently kissed the tip of each finger. “Better?” he asked.

She released a tightly held breath, then shook her head. “Not quite.”

He pressed his lips to the center of her palm. “How about now?”

“That feels a little better. But the pain is kind of creeping up my arm.”

Laughing, he pulled her into his arms. “And has the pain reached your lips yet?”

On the down side, the conflict keeping them apart didn’t seem strong enough. From the start, I kept feeling like Jules was making a bigger deal out of than really suited her character or the situation, and it was easy to see how it would be resolved.

But overall, this is a fun, entertaining read.

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Have you read any of Kate Hoffmann’s books? What did you think?

Contemporaries to covet in February – & giveaway!

Every month, I’m giving you the chance to win a $10 book gift certificate for yourself AND one of your favorite contemporary romance authors.

How? Easy. Just let me know which contemporary romance novel being published this month you’re looking forward to reading. You can even mention one of the ones I recommend below. I’ll choose one winner and send that person a gift certificate. I’ll also send a gift certificate to the author they mention in their comment, on their behalf.

Giveaway details are at the bottom of this post. But first, there are a couple of contemporary romance novels I’ve read advanced copies of and can totally recommend. They’re both really fun, funny and entertaining books, so I hope you get a chance to read them!

Time Out by Jill Shalvis

(Read an excerpt on Jill’s blog)

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Class: How to Drive Him Crazy

Instructional program for women unexpectedly facing the totally dishy guy from their past. Everyone Welcome!

Time OutNHL coach Mark Diego’s plan to spend his off-season volunteering in his hometown goes awry when he learns that not only is he coaching teenage girls, but that the program is coordinated by energetic (and five feet two inches of trouble) coordinator Rainey Saunders, his childhood friend–and the woman he could never stand to see dating any other guy…

When their tempers flare, Mark and Rainey discover their fireworks don’t just burn angry–they burn very, very, hot! But that’ll just sweeten the victory. Because Mark always plays to win. And with Rainey, he’s planning on playing very dirty too…

224 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication date: 21 Feb 2012

My opinion:

4 out of 5 stars!

Not only is this novel super hot, but it has all of Jill Shalvis’s trademark snort-out-loud humor and gut-twisting emotion. I absolutely LOVE Jill Shalvis and am convinced she couldn’t write a bad book.

This is her first Blaze for a while, and it’s wonderful to see how much conflict and energy she can pack into even this shorter format.

Her Lucky Catch by Amie Denman

Her Lucky CatchRecently divorced kindergarten teacher Jazz Shepherd is starting a new life in the quaint lakeside town of Bluegill. After taking a summer job at the local marina to help make ends meet, she’s stunned when the chief of police enlists her help in solving a crime.

Money has been disappearing from the city coffers, and a trail leads from Bluegill’s mayor to Damien Cerberus, a rich boat owner—and possible killer. The police chief is short-staffed and in need of someone to keep tabs on the suspect. Jazz’s job at the marina puts her in the perfect position to help—and puts her in the path of Kurt Reynolds, the hottie who mans the fireboat.

When things with Kurt start heating up, how can Jazz keep her investigation undercover while enjoying time under the covers with her summer flame?

67,000 words
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 27 Feb 2012

My opinion:

4 out of 5 stars!

Told in the first person by a heroine with a wonderfully quirky voice, this novel is a highly entertaining read. Amie Denman manages to keep it hot and exciting without being overly descriptive in sex scenes, making this a wonderful book for those of you who get uncomfortable reading about detailed sexual encounters.

Fans of Kristan Higgins will really enjoy Her Lucky Catch. I read it while traveling from Denmark to the Netherlands, and it had me laughing out loud instead of pissing myself with fear on the flight or throttling a conductor when my train home was delayed by an hour. Seriously, it takes a lot to keep me in a good mood through a journey like that, and Amie Denman accomplished it.

Giveaway!

Answer one of the questions in bold below. By “contemporary romance” I mean romance between human beings set in the present day. It can be romantic suspense, inspirational, erotic, category-length or whatever.

I’ll choose one winner on Tuesday February 7th. That person will get a $10 gift certificate to the online book retailer of their choice, AND I’ll send the same to the author they mention.

If the winner mentions more than one author, I’ll ask her to choose which one gets the gift certificate.

This is open internationally.

Questions:

What contemporary romance novel(s) are you looking forward to in February? Have you read anything by the authors I mentioned? Which of their books do you like best?