Friday, July 3, 2015

review || THE PERFECT BARGAIN { blog tour }

The Perfect Bargain by Jessa McAdams

Publisher: Entangle: Lovestruck (6/30/2015)
Series: How to Marry a Highlander, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Tasty Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon | bn | ituneskobo || add to goodreads


American lass seeks brawny Scot...

As if being newly single isn’t brutal enough, Sloane Chatfield's friends are getting obnoxious about setting her up. When Sloane insists she's waiting for a certain sexy fictional Highlander to come along, her friends surprise her with a trip to Scotland to find her a new boyfriend. She’d rather have a root canal. But if she can find a Highland hunk to “break her heart” before her friends arrive…

In a remote Highland village, Galen Buchanan is struggling to keep the family pub afloat. Everything is falling apart, he’s running out of money, and now there's an opinionated American lass parked at his best table, driving him mad. But then Sloane asks Galen to be her pretend Highland boyfriend...and offers him enough money to save the pub. It’s only for a few days, he figures. What's the worst that could happen?

about Julia London/Jessa McAdams || Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular Cabot Sisters historical series, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and the The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several acclaimed contemporary romances, including The Cedar Springs series, and the recent Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming. Julia has added a short contemporary series to her titles as well, including The Perfect Bargain, writing under the name Jessa McAdams.

Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a four time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.

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{ excerpt } .
By the time they reached a smooth stretch of road, Sloane had been bounced and jolted every which way, but Galen seemed to think nothing of the jarring ride. He kept his gaze straight ahead. She rubbed her hands on her knees. “How long will it take to get there?”

“An hour.”

“I say we use the time to review some basic information.” She reached for her messenger bag and pulled out two folded papers. “I prepared a page for you, too.”

“A page of what?”

“Information about me.” He looked completely confused.

“You know,” Sloane said. “So you’ll know at least a little about the girlfriend you’d never have.”

“Ah, for the love of Christ,” Galen sighed heavenward.

“It’s part of the deal,” she reminded him.

“All right, then,” he said with a nod. “I should know why you donna have a boyfriend, or a husband, or a mate. Are you gay?”

She laughed. “If I were gay, would I need a boyfriend?”

He shrugged. “Maybe you belong to a weird religious order. Are you a nun?”

“What? What is that supposed to mean?” she asked.

“One of my teachers was a nun. Sister Mulhaney. She wore a knot in her hair and sweaters in the summer,” he said, tapping his neck. “Like you.”

“I don’t dress like a nun,” she said defensively.

“No? Seems to me a lass wanting to snare a lad will unbutton her collar.”

“I’m not trying to snare a lad,” Sloane said coolly, and unthinkingly touched the knot of hair at the base of her skull. “And do you have any idea how incredibly sexist that is? Some women button their shirts and some don’t, and it has nothing to do with their sexuality. I don’t think I needed to be all dolled up to work. I mean, you sure don’t get dolled up to work.”

“Aye, but that’s different,” he said cheerily. “I’m a man. And I’m no’ trying to woo a pretend girlfriend. I’ll say it again, then—a woman who wants a man best unbutton her collar and doll up a wee bit. We’re visual creatures.”

“Please. I don’t want a man. Not every woman is looking for one, you know. Some of us have lives.”

“Ah,” he said, nodding. “I get it.”

“Get what?”

“You must be nursing a broken heart.”

{ review } .
What a fun book.

I mean, seriously -- it was a fun book to read.

I had the pleasure of reading two similar books at the same time; this one and then K.A. Tucker's CHASING RIVER (review on July 5!). Both were extremely good; the key difference (aside from Scots and Irishmen, of course) would be the laugh-out-loud humor. This one was definitely the comedy of the two.

Have you seen Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode? Ok, so that takes place in Dublin, and this the Scottish Highlands, and heaven forbid you mix the two up, but the situation and the comedy just had me reeling -- just like the movie; heck, it even has the big bang rom-com ending.

After her engagement falls apart because she's 'cold', Sloane is left confused. In an attempt to brighten her up, her friends try everything to find her a man. One night has them talking about Jamie Fraser, and suddenly there's a plan in place for Sloane to go to Scotland. In hopes of her going on the trip solo, Sloane is terrified to learn that her friends are coming along too and manages to get them to come a few weeks later. New plan? Convince her friends that she's met someone and he breaks up with her moments before they arrive in country.

...which is also foiled.

In a hurry to find a boyfriend by her friends' arrival, and after a few pulls of whiskey at the pub owner's amusement, she asks the one man she's had much of any words with.

The pub owner.

I loved these two from the moment they met on paper. Galen and his patron's cannot stand the uptight American who takes up 'real estate' by parking her laptop and self in the same chair every day, blocking the only view in the pub. She doesn't drink anything but tea, to which Galen teases her with daily -- some sort of tea and crackers joke to go with her intolerance of the animals moseying around the property.

"I thought we had that chat about beating the coos, did we no'?"

"Why don't you go ahead and turn this place into a barn and be done with it?" Sloane tossed back, exasperated. That was the way it had gone the whole week with him--tit for tat. He seemed annoyed that she would come and sit at his table and use his WiFi and order only tea. She was annoyed that he seemed to judge her by her drink of choice.

"I think I'll give the pub business a go first," he said. "What will it be today, your highness? Tea and crumpets?"

"Crumpets? That's a definite improvement over yesterday's offer of crackers."

"No' really. They're still only crackers. I'm fancying them up for you."

When she confronts him with her ridiculous plea, Galen goes along with the jest -- surely the silly American wouldn't really pay him to date her? They put everything to bargain, even kisses and... mmhmm...

"By God, you are mad. What, then--you propose that I magically wake up one day in this wee bit of village with a new girlfriend, a foreign one at that?"
"Come on, haven't you heard of love at first sight?" Sloane tried.

"Aye, and I've heard of trolls and fairy tales, too."

To be fair, I would like to point out that Galen does try to back out of this ridiculous scheme of Sloane's. But suddenly he finds himself on a two day trip to his brother Owen's farm with her in tow.

There were many slap-happy moments, if the two I pulled above don't help with that. These two butt heads at any given moment.

But equally, there were serious ones. Sloane didn't know what happened in her previous relationship, and with all the talk of fantastic orgasms and uncontrollable lust, she wasn't sure what had gone wrong in the bed, either. Her ex was... well, let's just say he was an ass. She has trust issues and image issues, both of which do get tested with Galen. However... as much as he found her to be high maintenance in his little world, he didn't feel that she deserved what she got in her relationship with Adam.

What starts as a farce has two people falling deeply in love with one another; I loved every single moment of this story and am curious where the rest of the series is going to take us -- same friends? Same village? Or maybe one of those other Buchanans... (Namely the one who needs helf straightening him and his cottage out). Time will tell.

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