Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March TBR Challenge Review: First Date by Karen Kendall

Maybe it's the mood I'm in.  Or it might be because this week I didn't feel like I could take on the dark, stormy, history-drenched romance novels that I tend to gravitate towards, so I chose light and fluffy.  Or that's what I thought.  What I wound up getting was something that pleasantly surprised me and made me think that I'm missing out a lot by not reading a whole lot of straight contemporary romance.  What I'm talking about is First Dance by Karen Kendall, the 3rd book in the Bridesmaid Chronicles series.

Vivien Shelton, an Ivy League, ball-busting divorce attorney has earned the descriptor bitch with the number of cases she's won for her clients.  What she won't let many people see is her soft heart that's easily won over by dogs (particularly Greyhounds, but she'll take any puppy kisses) and her best friends, and she'll actively take on a battered woman's case to see that she's housed in a safe environment.  She's traveled to Texas to stop her best friend Julia's wedding (First Love by Julie Kenner, the 4th in the series) before it's too late and to hopefully talk some sense into her.  If she can't stop the wedding, then Viv will get Julia to sign a prenup if it's the last thing she does.  If all of that fails, she's still a bridesmaid and is prepared to hate the dress.   

The only problem with that is Julia's relationship with her fianc√©, Roman, is a bona fide true thing, the real deal (after all, it's the fourth book in the series, right?).  Viv knows that she's running a risk of getting on Julia's bad side by bringing up a prenup, and if that isn't enough, her chances of running into Roman's best friend and attorney, J.B. Anglin, is a threat all on its own.  That wouldn't be a problem if Viv hadn't slept with J.B. a few years ago while he was in Manhattan representing his own client against Viv's in a divorce that was more daytime soap opera than courtroom status quo.  J.B.'s hot, sexy Texan twang did a lot more than just work her libido, so before he got underneath her skin and started becoming more than the scratch to her itch, Viv kicked him out.  Of the hotel room.  In his underwear.

Yeah, she was not at the top of her game that night.  But here in Texas, Viv starts to melt all over again when she sees J.B.  The heat is definitely clouding her judgment and before she knows it, she's doing her own Texas two-step with him.  God may have blessed Texas, but He's given Viv and J.B. a challenge of their own that only they can work out for themselves.

Maybe it's the fact that the book is set in Texas, and for some reason that always brings out the warm fuzzies in me.  Well, yeah, sure it's hot out there, but I've always loved the laid-back vibe I always get when I read a book that takes place there.  It's definitely a Bucket List vacation for me one day.  But Texas isn't the only star in First Dance.  There's not a whole lot that I didn't love about the book.  Vivien may sound like a stereotypical modern day heroine (ballsy lawyer by day...), but she really shines here.  I know I've read the first two in the series (First Date by Kendall and First Kiss by Kylie Adams), but they've kind of faded in the background now.  Viv almost takes the entire stage with her secret big heart and her many layers -- lawyer, dog rescue nut, philanthropist working for battered woman AND dogs, best friend, and a gold spoon baby who made her own way, not her Mummy's.  Now she's finding out that she may have been missing that extra spark by denying herself love.  J.B. is just the Texan to teach her what that's all about.

There's definitely a theme in the Bridesmaid Chronicles series, and it took me half the book to figure out why this title for this book.  It's definitely a Moment when J.B. shares his First Dance with Viv, and it's one that not only makes this a hot one, but melts your heart a lil'.

There is a 4th book, First Love by Julie Kenner, is Julia's book and the final installment in the Bridesmaid Chronicles and I'm challenging myself to Finish the Series this spring.  Can you imagine?  I have it on the TBR...

First Dance = definitely a B+/A- read.                   

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