Friday, August 21, 2015

Book review: Tangled Up by Robyn Neeley

Do you believe in soul mates and a little bit of magic? If you do, then go ahead and purchase this book without a second thought: You will not be disappointed, I promise.

When the author contacted me to ask me whether I wanted to review her newest release, I did a double-take. I’ve read three books by this author and she’s become one of my one-click authors—those authors whose books I’d buy without even reading the blurb (read my reviews of Batter Up, Destination Wedding, Holiday Wedding). Needless to say, I was flattered one of my favorite authors contacted me and I immediately said yes.

Best decision I’ve ever made. 

Robyn told me there was no rush and I could take all the time I wanted, but seriously? Telling a bookworm not to rush reading a book she’s been wanting to read would be like telling a dog not to eat a bone in front of its mouth! After two days, my Kindle called to me like a siren to a sailor and since I’m currently off work for the summer holiday, I took advantage of a very lazy day and picked up the book.

And so I lost myself in the beautiful town of Buttermilk Falls again and spent the whole day in a daydream world. And in case you’re wondering: Yes, I read the book in one day. I seriously couldn’t put it down!

Tangled Up is book two in The Bachelors of Buttermilk Falls series, but it works perfectly as a standalone. Although, if you ask me, I highly recommend reading Batter Up first, not because you wouldn’t understand Tangled Up but because Batter Up is a fantastic story and it was one of my 2014 top fave reads.

Anyway, back to Tangled Up: Abby and Brandon’s story—which is just as amazing and Emma and Jason’s (Batter Up). 

These two characters appeared in book one as secondary characters, and I was looking forward to reading their story. In the previous book, during one of the Batter Up nights where Emma (Abby’s cousin) casts her special cake batter spell on a bachelor of Buttermilk Falls and predicts the name of his soul mate, Abby’s name appeared in the batter Emma had mixed for Brandon.
The main problem though is that Brandon is a self-proclaimed eternal bachelor, who got out of a bad divorce and left his life and career in LA to relocate to the small magical town on the East Coast, while Abby, on the other hand, wants to find her true love and, magic batter or not, she knows he can’t be Brandon.

“Brandon Swift isn’t the guy for me. I need to be with someone who isn’t so arrogant and knows how to treat a woman.” She scrunched her nose. “And has more to his wardrobe then plaid flannels.”

What her mind wants is not what her body wants though. 

The book opens with Abby waking up in Brandon’s bed and swearing to herself she will never fall for his charm again. He doesn’t want anything more than some good time between the sheets and she wants more. She wants the whole package: body, heart and soul.

Brandon was not boyfriend material. She knew it. He knew it. Everyone in Buttermilk Falls knew that the latest bachelor in residence was hell-bent on keeping that status. She wanted more, but definitely not with him. She was ready to fall in love and be in a long-term relationship with a man who loved her back.

Since she can’t seem to make her body get the memo, she decides to cast a reverse attraction spell on Brandon. With the help of Emma’s mother’s recipe/spell book, Abby bakes a cupcake that will make Brandon’s attraction to her disappear, so she will finally be able to move on and find herself a decent guy to marry.

What happens when the spell works and she regrets her rush decision? You will have a lot of fun finding out, trust me!

Just like in Batter Up, there are lots of fun-filled town events that will involve the hero and heroine, helping them achieve their happily-ever-after, and this is one of the things I loved the most. The side characters are great, and I enjoyed going back to Buttermilk Falls and being pulled into this quirky small town life. I particularly loved meeting Emma and Jason again, and seeing how things had worked out between them.

The banter between Abby and Brandon is hilarious, and the sweet, romantic moments they share are heart-warming. Both characters have strong personalities but deep down they also have insecurities and fears—faults and obstacles they seem to be able to overcome only when they are together. 

She looked down in horror at her green pajama bottoms with little red apples and wrapped her arms around her matching green night shirt. “What are you doing here?”
“I thought I’d come by and make sure that you’re not having cold feet.” He grinned down at her big, red, fuzzy slippers. “Doesn’t look like there’s a chance of that in those.”
“They’re extremely comfy, thank you very much.”

With the realistic descriptions provided by the author, I could perfectly envision the small bakery, the Lakeside Inn, the starry sky above the lake and all those little things that made me wish the town existed, so I could move there.

I am happy to say that this is a clean romance, and I’m glad the book proved me right, when I say, time and time again, that you don’t need steamy, graphic sex scenes to truly enjoy a story. I loved this book more than I enjoyed others I read which contained lots of unnecessary detailed steamy scenes that annoyed me more than they enticed me.

Even though Abby and Brandon start their “relationship” sharing Brandon’s bed but not their hearts or feelings, there isn’t a single sex scene in the book. They’re all behind locked doors, but there isn’t a single moment you can’t feel the chemistry, the heat and the strong attraction they have for each other. This is one of the most descriptive scenes you’ll find:

“You are very bad for me. I’m going to prove to you, and everyone in Buttermilk Falls, that, for once, my cousin was wrong.”

“Right.” He reached over to his nightstand for a foil before flipping her onto her back and pulling the comforter halfway up. “Care to let me show you how bad I am one last time before this never happens again?”

Abby sighed, running her hands down his rock hard abs. “This is the last time,” she insisted before his lips crushed hers.

This is one thing I love in an author: The ability to make a reader feel the attraction without resorting to graphic sex to convey the feeling. I will be labeled a prude, maybe, but I much rather prefer reading a story based on strong feelings where the characters’ love for each other jumps out from the pages at me, rather than reading how many times they tear each other’s clothes off and what happens afterward. After a while, it gets old, don’t you think?

But love and feelings, well, they never get old. I’ve read many romance novels since I discovered the genre, and when I started out they were all clean romances. They’re the ones that stuck, the ones I still remember and still want to read years after I first read them.

Tangled Up will go on that virtual shelf in my heart, the shelf where I keep my favorite books, those that brought a smile to my face, warmed my heart and made my eyes water a little when I reached the happy ending I’d been longing for. 
Now, I’m looking forward to the next book. Judging by the excerpt, it’s going to be another 5* read for me and I can’t wait!

I highly recommend this book to all fans of sweet romance and to those who believe there is always a little bit of magic in love—whether we are aware of it or not.

Tangled Up releases on September 1st, but you can preorder it now. What are you waiting for?

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