Thursday, September 1, 2011

Only Mine, Susan Mallery (4 stars)

I don't know what rock I've been hiding under, but I had never heard of Susan Mallery. Granted I don't read a lot of romance, Nora Roberts aside. When I read a review of Only Mine on A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews, I wanted to buy the book. I looked up Susan Mallery online and found her all over social media. She's open and loves engaging her readers. Plus, the enthusiasm for Mallery's books on GoodReads is overwhelming. Impressed, I picked up a copy.

Only Mine is Book 4 of the Fool's Gold series. Fool's Gold is a California town gaining notoriety for its high female to male ratio. So much notoriety that a television crew comes to town to film a romantic reality competition show. Dakota Hendrix is the mayor's choice to supervise the crew and make sure Fool's Gold doesn't get misrepresented. She, along with her other two triplet sisters and mother, is facing a lot of uncertainty and disappointment in her life.

Sasha and Stephen are twins cast on the show, both looking to change their lives. Sasha wants fame and a shot in Hollywood, while Stephen is just searching. Their older brother and guardian, Finn Anderssen, follows them to Fool's Gold intent on bringing them back home and to his version of what their lives should be.

Finn and Dakota come together, hot and heavy. She's reeling from the news that having children will be difficult and looking to adopt. He's beside himself with worry about his brothers. They need an escape and find it in each other.

The story takes the reader through the twists and turns of the reality television show and Finn and Dakota's budding romance. Full of wit and humor, Only Mine doesn't disappoint on the happy ending, but most romance novels don't.

I loved the character of Dakota. She is dealing with devastating news and heads eyes wide-open into the fling with Finn. But life throws her some unexpected curveballs, as it always does. I was rooting her on the entire story and applauded her courage and ability to step back and assess a situation. Finn was just the opposite, balls-out and full steam ahead. Their passion was only the beginning.

My only complaint was how quickly they jumped in. I'm an old-fashioned gal, I guess, because I wanted a little more will they or won't they build. But there was nothing sweeter than seeing Finn's softer side come out as his relationship with Dakota shifted and deepened.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I knew Mallery was writing Books 5 and 6 centered around Dakota's sisters before I started, but it was more obvious after reading the books. The Hendrix family, as well as the whole community, have a lot more story to tell.

My biggest problem with romance novels... there's rarely new territory explored. It's girl meets boy, girl wants boy, boy is afraid to commit, but boy and girl get together in the end. This story follows that formula down the line, but it was entertaining and emotion-filled from start to finish. Thus, the four stars.

I love to escape reality as much as the next gal, and Only Mine definitely satisfied that desire. Anyone who counts the romance genre as a favorite will enjoy the dessert that is Only Mine.

You can find Susan Mallery on Facebook, at her website, and @susanmallery on Twitter.