Friday, July 24, 2015

REVIEW: "Taking the Heat" by Victoria Dahl

Taking the Heat ( Jackson: Girls' Night Out, #3)
Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
(Jackson: Girls Night Out #3)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Contemporary Romance

Harlequin -- Published on July 28, 2015
eARC, 384 pages
Read in July 2015
Received from Netgalley


Librarian Hero, Writer Heroine, Small Town Setting

Passion this hot can't be faked…

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town's irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie's heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future's tied up in his family's Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there's just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

"Out of all the mistakes Veronica Chandler had made in her life, this was definitely the worst."

I received a free copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have been looking forward to this book ever since I read the blurb and saw that the hero was a librarian!  So I was excited to get an eARC from Harlequin and am happy to say that my expectations were definitely met by Taking the Heat.  This is the third book in Victoria Dahl's Jackson: Girls Night Out series and is (by far) my favorite.

Our heroine is Veronica Chandler, the small-town famous advice columnist who is really good at putting on a show.  The first impression most people get of Veronica is a put-together, super confident big city girl, but that is far from the truth.  She spent most of her childhood/teen years dreaming about moving to New York City and actually did that.  Then reality set in and she was devastated to learn that she didn't like New York.  Now she struggles to keep her "failure" a secret from everyone in town and just isn't sure what to do with her life now.

I loved Veronica's character and storyline.  The "leave your hometown and move to the big city" ideal is very popular and it was interesting to read about someone who learned that your dreams don't always turn out like you thought.  Her struggle with bullying in her high school years also leaves her with a self-confidence issue and it was wonderful to see her learn how awesome she really is.

Gabe is the librarian that had me so excited to try this book.  I am always happy to see librarians/archivists in fiction and it was even more interesting that it was the hero instead of the heroine.  And Gabe is far from a stereotypical librarian with his rugged sexiness and love of adventure.  He does love his books and information services which makes it clear that the author has done her research!

Gabe's character journey also involves him figuring out his future.  He is an adventurer who really loves his job and his new hometown.  But, he also has a devotion to his family and their restaurant business.  Gabe's biggest issue is that he is constantly striving to be someone's ideal whether that is their ideal best friend, ideal brother, etc.  He hates disappointing people and often doesn't say no to things that negatively effect him.

Gabe and Veronica were a very sexy couple who had a ton of fun banter.  Veronica is not very experienced in the bedroom which is unusual in modern-day romances and I thought it was handled well.  I loved reading about their interactions in and out of bed with their rock climbing and hiking adventures being particular favorites.  It was also fun to read how their relationship changed from purely physical to something much more.  Since both of them have journeys to take on an emotional level, it was important that they be very supportive of one another and that was true.  They make each other a better person which is one of the best parts of reading romance.

Besides the two protagonists, there are also some fun side characters.  I was happy to see the return of Lauren and Isabelle from Fanning the Flames and Flirting with Disaster respectfully.  Female friendship is wonderful to read and they also played a big part in helping Veronica with her issues.  And, of course, Gabe's family is important to the overall storyline with his personal struggles.  I loved getting to know his parents and especially his sister, Naomi, who I think has a story in future.

Taking the Heat was just a fun and thought-provoking romance that I think many readers would enjoy.  Victoria Dahl really pulled out the stops with the character development and love story which keeps things interesting.  Definitely recommend everyone check this one out and you don't even need to read the earlier books in the series to enjoy it!

0.5. Fanning the Flames
1. Looking for Trouble
2. Flirting with Disaster
3. Taking the Heat

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  1. one the main reasons I want to read this is that the hero is a librarian...I have never seen that unique aspect!!!

  2. Okay I NEED to read this book! I NEED TO, JENNIFER! I'm so excited about Gabe the librarian.

  3. That sounds like a lot of fun. I've still not managed to try her but I know I need to. Love some good banter.


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