Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Review: Need You For Mine by Marina Adair

3.5 stars
Release Date: 29th of March 2016
I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion is my own. 

Okay, so the first thing I want to say about Need You For Mine is please ignore the cover. I don't know what's going on there. The guy looks like a KGB officer on holiday, and, while the woman is less objectionable, she doesn't really evoke our main character, Harper. 

Harper Owens is an art teacher and shop girl in the small town of St. Helena. She's cheerful, bright and a bit of an artistic soul, and because of this, she's been friend-zoned by just about every guy in town. Except Adam. The two have known each other forever, but sparks begin to fly when they have a late night encounter at The Boulder Holder, Harper's grandmother's lingerie shop. Adam realises there is more to Harper than everybody else sees, and he's interested to explore that. In a familiar trope, the two end up faking a relationship so each can achieve something: Adam needs to shed his playboy image if he's to become the lieutenant at his fire station, while Harper needs some man candy to convince a lingerie brand not to drop The Boulder Holder from their stockists. 

It's a pretty standard plot and setting for a contemporary romance, but the formula works here, thanks mostly to the depth of the main characters. At the outset of the book, I was concerned that Harper was going to be one of those Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbow heroines who communes with birds or whatever, but Adair did well in fleshing out her character. Similarly, Adam is more than the shallow guy the town believes him to be. Neither's backstory was flogged to death, but the reader was made aware that the past had a bearing on who they had become. It was a good balance that never interfered with the light-hearted tone of the story. 

Sometimes, though, it was a little over-the-top. Between the cadre of sex-positive old ladies, the intuitive alpacas and the subplot about the lingerie brand, everything occasionally became so larger-than-life I couldn't help but roll my eyes. However, this was window dressing to the central romance, which remained strong. I'm also willing to admit that maybe it's personal; for me, the Greek chorus element of small-town romances often grate.

But, overall, I enjoyed Need You For Mine, and when I want a warm and comfortable romance, I'll gladly go back and read the two previous instalments in the series.  

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