12405416So I took a completely unintended but rather worthwhile side trip between Lover Reborn and King’s Man, and I picked up a fluffy contemporary romance anthology entitled Kiss Me, I’m Irish.

Shut. Up.

Couple of reasons why I snagged this from work a few weeks ago, the biggest being I figured I could use it for a bit of research/inspiration, as I am in the middle of writing a romance story where the main character is Irish.  Secondly it was around St. Paddy’s day when I grabbed it so it seemed fitting, and thirdly I’m Irish meself and was kinda thinking what the hell.

We’ve got three stories here, The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire, Tangling with Ty by Jill Shavis, and Whatever Reilly Wants….by Maureen Child.

The Sins of His Past: This is the story of famous ball player Deuce Monroe, who wrecks his career and goes back home to Smalltown USA to take over the family bar, only to find the little sister of his best friend, Kendra Locke, owns half of it and is trying to turn it into her dream: a cyber cafe and artist space.

This also happens to be the little sister who had a crush on Deuce growing up, and who nine years before the story starts spent one night with the man she’s loved all her life where she gives him her virginity, becomes pregnant with his child, and then loses the babe seven months later, all without telling him a damned thing.

So Deuce comes home, hoping to take over the bar, sees it all changed around, and tries to change it back.  He and Kendra are left on their own for a month to work things out, and you can guess what happens.

I was a little disappointed with this one.  The main character is third generation American so there’s no hint of a brogue when he speaks, at least not that anyone notes, and the Irish heritage thing just kinda seemed tossed in there when we met his dad.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked it.  They took longer to get things rolling than I usually like, but it’s understandable.  You kinda can’t get over nine years of that stuff right quick and in a hurry.

Didn’t make me a fan of the writer either.  Good story, little slow, little disappointing, but not bad.

Tangling With Ty: Ahhhh….much better.  This is the kind of story I was expecting at first.  It also breaks the gender roles a bit which I quite liked.

Here we are introduced to Ty Patrick O’Grady, architect; and tough doctor chick Nicole Mann.  Ty had been called in to do an estimate to renovate the old building Nicole lives in, she when she first sees him he’s got his butt in the air taking measurements and ‘swearing the air blue’ because some piece of equipment isn’t working.

Now here we have multiple references to the man’s gorgeous accent, his ‘typical’ Irish looks, as well as we get to ‘read’ the accent.  Translation: the words are printed the way they sound.  Example: darling = darlin’

And while the gender deviation isn’t very large or noticeable, it’s there.  Generally speaking, women in contemporary romance tend to be rather proper, in least in terms of appearance.  No piercing, no tattoos, they don’t smoke, make the first move, drink, swear, etc.  But Miss Nicole Mann was a bit of a prodigy child growing up, and went into med school while still in her late teens.  To commemorate the blood, sweat, and tears she shed to get her medical degree while in the midst of navigating the world when she was just becoming legal, she has one silver hoop in her right ear for every year she spent in school.  A badge of honor and a rite of passage.  A rather touching deviation if you ask me, and apparently there are quite a few of them earrings too.

There’s a fair amount of humor here as well, as the tough, young, street savvy doctor gets completely flummoxed by the sexy Irish architect who’s renovating her building hits on her.  Rather sweet and charming really.  The thing that seems to help this relationship the most is the fact that he falls through her ceiling while inspecting the attic and she has to take care of him.   After panicking that there’s an unconscious man in her living room first of course.

So this one went much better than the first.  The Irish wasn’t just kinda slapped on, the pacing was better, and it actually made me interesting in looking up more of Jill Shavis’ works and seeing what else she had to offer.

Whatever Reilly Wants…: Little from column A, little from column B.  I liked it better than Sins of His Past, but not as much as Tangling With Ty.  There is the clear indication of the Irish background here, and gender deviation as well, but it didn’t catch me like I was expecting it to.

The leading lady Emma, then takes it upon herself to go after her best friend Connor Reilly, who has 3 brothers: Liam the priest who is the eldest of the four; and Brian and Aidan who are the same age as Connor, seeing how they’re triplets and all.

Now one thing about the Reilly brothers is that they’re real competitive, but in a good way.  See Liam has challenges his brothers that they can’t go ninety days without something that Liam has sworn off of for the rest of his life: Sex.  Now when we’re brought into the story, there’s about five weeks left to go, and Brian has already lost the bet seeing how he went and got married.  So Connor, being a red blooded male and all, is getting kinda antsy and goes to his best friend Emma to talk to, because despite her being a woman, she is also a mechanic, and as such Connor sees her as one of the guys, not a woman, and feels safe around her.

And the fidiot make the mistake of telling her this.  That he doesn’t see her as a woman.

Now any woman would be rightly pissed at this, and Emma is no exception.  So what does she do?  She sets out to deliberately seduce Connor and make him lose his bet, and of course they wind up falling in love in the process.

I liked it better than The Sins of His Past because of Emma.  She takes it upon herself to teach Mr. Reilly what for after that comment, and it is rather refreshing to see a woman make the first move.  I also just like the way her character is set up.  She’s rather tomboyish, being a mechanic and all, and she makes no apologies for it.

I like it less than Tangling With Ty because again it seems that the ‘Irish’ was just thrown in.  There’s no accent, no reference, the only thing that really defines them as being of Irish decent is their names and that’s no fun.

As for the writing and the author, while I won’t be hunting down her books, I won’t be completely ignoring her either.  I liked her writing style and her characters, but not enough to seek her out in the future.  But I will be open to reading more of her work if it ever catches my eye.

So all in all with this one folks, not bad.  I’d say this one was kinda 50/50.  All stories have their good points, all have their bad, none are really so bad that they make the book unreadable, and none are so awesome that they elevate it to “OMG MUST READ MORE” status. Didn’t really pick anything up for inspiration unfortunately, but I’m sure there’s something else out there I can find that will lend me that helping hand.

But for now I’m going to do what I should have done a while ago: Sit my butt down and read The King’s Man.

6877776Twelve-year-old Amunhotep III has ascended the throne, becoming king of the richest empire on earth. The boy’s mother acts as regent, but she has brought to court the renowned seer, Huy, son of a humble farmer, to be scribe and counsel to her royal son. It’s a position of power and responsibility—one fraught with intrigue and the lure of corruption. For it is Huy who controls the treasury, the military, all construction, and taxation—and perhaps most important, it’s his task to choose the young Pharaoh’s queen. His actions and premonitions, as well as his legendary past, make him very few friends and a great many enemies…

The King’s Man continues the story of Huy—first seen in The Twice Born and Seer of Egypt—and his rise to power and fame. With her meticulous research and compelling prose, Pauline Gedge immerses readers in the ancient and fascinating culture that was Egypt.