AUTHOR: Tara Oakes
AGE GROUP: Adult
GENRE: Contemp. Romance
RELEASE DATE: January 7, 2014
PUBLISHER: Tara Oakes
PAGES: Approx. 235
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RATING: 3 Stars
*** This novel is intended for those over 18 years of age, due to mature content.
Life is full of choices... paths, if you will. Vincenza Lombardi's life has been carefully planned out and orchestrated by her wealthy and powerful family. Nothing but the best for their "Baby V". The best prep schools, the finest finishing schools, and the top girls-only university in the nation.
As the only daughter, she has been protected and shielded by her three older brothers from anything unsavory that could possibly compromise their pride and joy.
Every decision, every move, has been to prepare Baby V for the role she was born for.
But Vincenza, or "V", has other plans. Home for one last summer before she embarks on her secret life plans, she's determined to forge her own way, on her own, separate from her impressive but constricting family legacy. As if three older brothers aren't enough to stand in her way, V also has to deal with Dom DiBenedetto.
The Dibenedetto and Lombardi families had grown their fortunes together, raised their families closely and run one of the most successful importing business in the world. As CEO, Dom is used to running things his way and getting what he wants. As the head of his family, Dom takes his role seriously... ensuring the future and security of his employees and his loved ones. Unbeknownst to her, V plays a critical role in those plans, but will they fit in with the life she see's for herself?
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3.5 “Wanting More” Stars!
I have mixed feelings about this one. This is my first book by this author and I can tell she’s very talented, even though I didn’t connect with THIS story. In fact, I got 53% in and almost gave up but after reading some of the reviews already posted, I decided to persevere and I’m glad I did because the second half of the book picked up and told a great story.
I enjoyed the beautiful writing style and I enjoyed the plot for the most part and I even liked the main characters. I also thought the mystery surrounding ATH as well as the hint of a prearranged match was interesting but there were a lot of things in this story that I didn’t connect with.
First, it starts out kind of slow. Not much happens but there does seem to be something building. There seemed to be a lot of scene or character details that weren’t relevant and left me skimming certain parts to get to the story underneath. The banter between V and Dom... well all the dialogue in the first half of the book as well as some of the character actions... kind of felt weak and a bit immature given their age range and their “business”. I didn’t like how quickly V and Dom changed roles, going from V noticing him as more than a brother type figure, to sharing their first kiss and then they are immediately sexting, which was sometimes awkward to read. And it was awkward because I hadn’t connected with them yet.
V’s innocence was nicely written but there were times when I felt she was too innocent. It was hard to believe that a twenty three year old woman knew nothing about sex even if she had been extremely sheltered and sent to an all girls private school. However, I did like her tenacity. She knew herself well enough to have goals and she had a strong character presence, even when she came off as flippant at times.
Dom was sweet and caring and I really liked those qualities about him. But sometimes his alpha male got lost when he “blushed” or when he “paled” or when he “hesitated” and when he was “nervous”. These descriptive words left me feeling like his character wasn’t as strong as he needed to be, especially given what he’s CEO of and what's to come next for him in his story. I hope in the next book, we see a stronger, more dominant.. Dom :)
V and Dom were cute together but I had a hard time connecting with them as a couple. It wasn’t until halfway through that I started to “feel” them because I was definitely getting a bro/sis vibe in the beginning which might have been intentional since thats kind of how they were raised. I did like the idea of their love story even though I really wished we’d gotten more background story. Maybe some flashbacks or some narrated history because they fell into their role of couple a bit too easy for my tastes, given V saw him as family.
I’m all about the sexy, steamy, slow build in an angsty story. I love stories where there are huge obstacles in the way and the mains have to work their way through those obstacles to find their rewards at the end. But it felt like these two were already “there” and the obstacles were glossed over and never really caused much angsts.
The Wrap Up:
There was quite a bit of mystery revolving around the family business and though it was entirely predictable, I loved how it played out. However... I kept expecting there to be more, like something to happen with the antagonist or some unexpected reveal. But nothing really ever came from the setups we were given.
When I hit the ending, I was positive I wouldn’t be getting that “more” I wanted. But I was happy to see that this is just the beginning of V and Dom’s story. I’m excited by the setup on the last page for the next book. Baby V ends on a slight cliffy and there’s a snippet at the end letting us know there’s big trouble ahead. I liked this one well enough that I’ll be going into the next book when it’s available.
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About the Author...
Tara is a thirty something newbie author from Long Island, New York. She's a voracious reader, a passionate writer and obsessive junk T.V. aficionado. When she's not doing one of those three things she is attempting to garden, hanging with her hubby or partaking in some retail therapy. She enjoys connecting with her readers and is having a blast entering into this new world of publishing.
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