Monday, April 28, 2014

WHAT A WOMAN WANTS by Judi Fennell

Publisher:  Berkley Sensation
Published:   March 4, 2014
Genre:   Contemporary romance
Format:  Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher - ARC
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina



For all appearances  Mac Manley is just your run of the mill annoying little sister. 

In actual fact, Mac has a very unique talent.  One that wins her a major poker game against her brothers.  Her winnings?  They have to work for her for one month as maids at her company, Manly Maids.

Sean Manly isn’t all that happy losing to his “little” sister, but he’s ready to pay his debt, especially when he finds out the house he’s to give maid service to is the very property he’s had his eye on for a rather nice B&B resort.  Things look a tad complicated by the fact that the matriarch he was negotiating with died without completing the deal to buy the property.  But it’s okay because as the maid of the house he’s had a chance to check things out and basically settle himself in.  Things are looking pretty darn good until the deceased owner’s granddaughter, Livvy, arrives.

Not that Livvy is a bad sort. In fact, Sean finds her more than attractive.  Despite her combat boots and gypsy style of dress, she’s a looker and he soon finds himself wanting to do more than look. 

But there’s a problem…that business about Sean buying the house from the elderly owner?  Well she’s left it to Livvy.  Well, sort of…Merriweather has left a trail of clues that Livvy must solve before she can take her inheritance.  Tempting as Livvy is, Sean really wants that house.  What to do…what to do…

WHAT A WOMAN WANTS, the first of the Manly Maids series is my first Judi Fennell.  It is not the last and I’m eagerly looking forward to book 2, WHAT A WOMAN NEEDS.  At first I wasn’t too sure but as I got to know Sean and Livvy I really started to like them as characters.  They came across as if they could be real people you might run into.  Sean is a complex character and Fennell did a super job of revealing his own inner battles—and there are several.  Some you see immediately and others are woven into the telling of the story.  His intentions make him a marvellous combination of a jerk and a good guy and you aren’t too sure which of those sides you want to win. 

allowed for some leeway there, especially when he starts to look for a way for the good guy in him to win.

Livvy was likeable to me for first and foremost being an animal lover.  She had her quirks and while a few of them had me shaking my head I was rooting for her to get both the guy and the house. 

My personal pet peeve in most current contemporary romance is what I really feel is a checklist approach to elements a book has to have to get published:

Gay couple – check
Interracial couple – check
Person with a disability – check
Cute, but preferably precocious child – check

You have those elements you have a book and are on your way to a series. 

There was recently quite a bit of discussion and upheaval by some M/M fans because, as they stated, they bought GLBT – M/M books to read about gay couples and did not want them showing M/F couples.  Yet in otherwise M/F contemporary romance it seems that there has to be at least one gay couple.  Fennell did a decent job of the gay couple in this book – they didn’t come across like so many do recently where the author was looking for a point to insert the couple, found it and *poof* there they were.

She did not have an interracial couple—but this was book 1 of the series. 

There is a character with a disability and I really liked the way she blended that disability into the story.  She showed that character as strong, creative, intelligent and they found a way to live with the disability but not let it define them.  Very well done.

There was a brief appearance of some “cute” kids…they seemed to be part of the foundation of another book in the series.  Hopefully the author will do as good a job writing those kids as she did dealing with the character’s disability.

I don’t have any problem with the above elements in a story—it’s just when those elements come across like a checklist and are put in the story to meet a commitment or entice readers from those groups. 

While I applauded Livvy’s compassion for her animals they did get to be a bit overdone.  After the first time of describing each one’s antics while they pooed and destroyed the furniture in one of the rooms the repetition got a bit old.  I could have done without reading it all again. I did like how Fennell brought Sean around into caring about Livvy’s pets.

All in all WHAT A WOMAN WANTS was a fun, entertaining story that has me looking forward to the next book in the series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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