Wednesday, April 5, 2017

[ARC Review]: "All I Want Is You"

romance novel covers, contemporary romance, All I Want Is You by Candace Havens
All I Want Is You by Candace Havens
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen (April 17, 2017)
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hawke Vance will do whatever it takes to protect the family business, even if it means protecting it from his own father, a man who’s just gotten hitched in Vegas to wife number nine. Growing up seeing how much chaos wedded bliss creates, Hawke’s sworn never to fall into the matrimony trap. But to get the all-important controlling shares of the company, he does need a wife.

Being caught skinny dipping is not the way ballerina Amy Powell planned to start her vacation. When the hot biker who catches her turns out to be the owner of the house she’s staying in, she’s mortified. But embarrassment soon turns to confusion and a good dose of lust when Mr. Sex on a Stick offers her the money she needs to save her brother if she’ll agree to marry him and play pretend for two months.

Only this game of make-believe quickly starts feeling too real…

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My Review:

Hawke has spent most of his life trying to clean up his dad’s messes. And by messes, I mean his dad’s countless gold digging wives. He’s had to step in more than once to keep the newest ex from getting away with a controlling portion of their very successful business (bike shops and custom work). Yet even though he’s despised each new woman his dad married, he’s never turned his back on his many step-siblings, even long after the divorce papers were finalized. He watches out for his brothers and sisters, and has put many of them through college. But that might all be in jeopardy, as his dad has just gotten hitched again; what if this one finally manages to take the business, and therefore their very comfortable (read: wealthy) life away when she goes? The quickest way for him to get more shares is to take a wife, a provision his mother left in her will – marry, and stay married for 2 years, and he can get her shares. The problem is, Hawke has no intention of getting married, doesn’t trust or believe in it after all he’s seen. But if taking on a wife means the ability to keep his family and business safe, then he may just have to bite the bullet.

Enter Amy, the woman he’s decided he wants – not for a real marriage, of course, but since he’s attracted to her so much and she’ll be heading back to Paris in a few months to continue her ballet career, it’ll work out perfectly, fulfilling the obligations for the will, saving his company’s future, and giving him a few months with his tempting new wife, before they part ways until they can get a divorce. As it happens, she needs money, though it's not for herself, and Hawke agrees to the exchange: she gets the $50K she needs, no questions asked, and he gets the wife he needs. Simple, straight forward, with no expectations or emotions. Or so they both think.

Oh, did I forget to mention that Amy is his new step-sister? Yeah, that wasn’t in the blurb, so perhaps I should have said SPOILER first, but I think that’s something that should probably be in the description. The kind-of-taboo step-sibling trope isn’t for every reader; hell, it’s not even my thing, but I must admit, ultimately it didn’t bother me too much here because their parents just now get married, rather than them being step-siblings at a younger age and growing up together. Still, I never quite stopped giving the sneaky blurb side eye for that surprise. But I know that there are those who love this trope, so to each their own.

While this was a quick and easy read, I can’t really say that much stood out for me. It was okay, it was engaging enough to keep me flipping the pages with minimal-to-no skimming, and I never felt like throwing the book at the wall (hey, there have been others this year that caused that reaction, so it’s worth mentioning!).

The thing is, I felt like this entire book was too short and rushed, not allowing time for anything to be really fleshed out. I felt like this one could have been something more, but ultimately fell short – both in pages and execution. There were things that were mentioned in passing and should have been addressed at some point, but never were. Admittedly nothing too big, but even if it's just minor things in the story, it tells me that the story's not as tight as it should be.

There were parts that bothered me because it was clear they were put in only to make the story go the direction the author needed it to, rather than being, you know, completely plausible. For example, he hires someone to look into her background (remember, he’s been scarred by his father’s multiple gold diggers in the past so he doesn’t really trust any woman up front) yet the person couldn’t figure out that the man she’s trying to help is her step-brother from her mother’s previous marriage, nor did he find out who she is – or rather, who her mother is, and why there’s no way she’s a gold digger. Seriously, did he hire this investigator from DIY Background Check Inc or something? Also, when his black card is stolen, and he assumes she’s trying to steal his money by making all these charges, even as she denies ever having had the card in the first place, I just rolled my eyes. When charges start popping up, especially for places nowhere near where you live, you cancel the card. But no, he’s convinced she’s lying and does have the card and he just leaves the card active, thus allowing the thief to keep using it down in Mexico. Obviously it’s done for the drama of the story – oh no, he still doesn’t trust her, blah blah blah – but it just felt like overkill.

The last issue I had was when he realizes that she was a virgin, and he has this moment:

And she was twenty-two, almost twenty-three. How had she not had sex before? She was a dancer who’d traveled the world. They were like gypsies.

UGH. Enough with the judging people by their age versus sexual experience! This happens a lot, and recently another book I read lead to my little Twitter rant on it, but I will never NOT call a book out for it. So, again, for the people in the back: There. Is. No. Requirement. For. When. You. Lose. Your. Virginity. Can we stop with this idea that a virgin, at any age, is a mythical unicorn to make fun of or pity? Everyone has their reasons, and there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin, I don’t care if you’re fresh out of college or nearing your 90th birthday!

But also, referring to that same quote: Don’t use gypsy like that. Don’t use it period. Gypsy refers to a cultural identity, not just a word to throw around for someone who doesn’t stay in one spot. Especially because the way that paragraph was worded, it sounds like he’s not just saying dancers are like gypsies because of the traveling but also because of their sexual experience. So double no to that.

Overall: there’s nothing terribly bad about All I Want Is You, but I also didn’t find anything to write home about. And, as pointed out above, there were parts that bothered me. The rest of the time, it was just okay. If you like a step-sibling romance and/or a marriage of convenience story, this one might work for you.


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quote used belongs to Candace Havens; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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