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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels

Start Me Up - Nicole Michaels

****Full Review****


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mike thought he would just drop his niece off at her friend's birthday party but when a living breathing goddess opens the door he decides to brave the pink explosion inside and stay a while. The goddess, Anne, sees herself more as a slightly too heavy, on the wrong side of 30, and with the added bonus of being a single mom, not exactly a prime catch. Their attraction is immediate and neither can ignore it but Anne's self-esteem issues and Mike's former womanizing ways threaten to derail the relationship they are trying to get going.

I have to say, the beginning of this book was extremely hard to get into, however, once you get past the insta-lust Mike has towards Anne, the obligatory catty women, cliché gay male friend, and tough female friend, it gets better around the 32% mark as Mike and Anne start to be together. The story really focuses on Mike and Anne living their lives while trying to make a go at a romantic relationship; there is an angst wrench thrown into the mix towards the end that involves scorned/jealous women. I hesitate to call this a character driven story though; Mike and Anne aren't completely developed or flushed out characters. Anne is so gorgeous but just doesn't realize it! All she can see about herself is the extra weight and how she failed at marriage. These are definitely issues that affect women but the character development was very surface level. Along with Anne and her adoption story, Mike lost his parents at a very young age and seemed to have a difficult past but once again I couldn't get absorbed into the essence of his character as the writing didn't delve deep enough.

This story works best when Anne and Mike are together and interacting with all the excitement and nervousness of a new relationship. Mike was charming and did feel real (he goes way too over the top with how perfect Anne is) in the story, the cool, calm, ease, and let's face it, adorable way he interacts with Anne's daughter is pretty sigh worthy. For the calm tone of the story I was impressed with their sex scenes, nothing over the top but definitely have some heat to them. Mike can't keep his hands off of Anne and it leads to some public adventures that were fun to read about.

If Mike's insta-lust had been toned down a smidge and the author had thrown out the check list of what is typically in a contemporary romance, I think the good writing showcasing Anne and Mike's relationship could have shown through more. On a side note, I would also like to mention that Mike's job is fixing up and restoring old cars, so it was fun to read some car porn. It's not focused on a lot but it was a great fun addition, especially when he didn't want to get busy on a car he was restoring because of denting :) It's a mellow, fairly quick read that if you are looking for a story that has a well written charming single guy dating a single mother with daughter involved in the interaction, then this could trip your trigger.