Bona Fide Reflections is proud to have Saskia
(a.k.a. _yay_) from Book That Thing do a guest review on:
The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
Alexa is the kind of daughter who’d do anything to help her parents, even if it meant making a deal with the devil. Not literally – duh, but Nicholas Ryan is no angel by any means. He needs a wife for a year to fulfil the terms of his late, meddling uncle’s will. The bastard tries to mess with him even from the grave! Nick is Alexa’s only option, and she happens to be in desperate need for some cash. Will she be able to handle this blast from the past for such a long period of time? He’s a non-believer for crying out loud. Love, marriage, family? These concepts simply don’t exist in his world. Business is Nick’s life. That is, until Alexa starts pushing his buttons.
It doesn’t happen often that one stumbles upon a book-mention on Facebook, decides to buy it on a whim, and ends up loving everything about the story. To me, it did! Sit down my fellow book lovers and prepare yourselves, I’m about to praise the heck out of this contemporary romance.
The cover is insanely beautiful, wouldn’t you agree?! In fact, I didn’t find anything to complain about the book as a whole. The writing was superb. Poignant, funny, charming, and most of all...easily digestible (yummm). Huh??? Enjoyable, smooth, genre-appropriate. Get it? :-) I plowed through the book in record time; turning page after page after page. Awesome! I laughed, sniffled (Dear Kleenex, I love you. Best wishes!), and glared at the hero for being an idiot more than once.
Alexa’s and Nick’s interaction - dialogue, gestures or just a meaning-laden look - was unbelievably hilarious at times, yet never lost its sense of seriousness. I haven’t giggled my way through a contemporary romance like this in quite a while. However, the author maintained a fair balance of humour and distress. She had to, because both hero and heroine had issues to deal with. Especially Nick, who needed to learn to take risks; be carefree at last. He had a very controlling personality. Now and then I glimpsed a bit of Christian Grey in him (Fifty Shades series by E L James). Needless to say I love these books. Nick’s upbringing left him void of any feelings. Even worse, he considered most emotions perturbing. Bothersome! There’d be no point in spontaneous expressions of love or happiness. I felt beyond bad for him. Why couldn’t I be the one to save him? I definitely got my bad boy fix. Nick was set in his ways and didn’t plan on changing anything about them. I shouldn’t have been so darn happy about an emotionally crippled hero *blushingscarlett*.
Thankfully, Alexa pulled the rug out from under his feet simply by being her bubbly, life-loving self. What a treat it was to sit back and watch Nick lose control for once. Let’s just say that she drove him batshit crazy. That feeling of helplessness was foreign to him, so it wasn’t really a surprise that he frequently lashed out at her in an attempt to regain his composure. He talked himself into believing the worst of her. My reaction to that was a condescending headshake. You poor, delusional guy – she’s the one for you, dummy! Don’t get me wrong, he might have acted like a petulant child, but considering his past, it was with good reason. I was attracted to him from the start and it didn’t take me long to connect with the character on a much deeper level. Not despite, but because of his dark outlook on....everything but work.
I really liked Alexa as well. A truly lovable person, one would be lucky to have as a friend. Don’t be fooled by your first impression of her. I thought her a bit pathetic in a cute way, but soon learned how strong of a person she really is. No pushover; a rather feisty one. She got right in Nick’s face about his too reasonable behaviour. Her personality and their shared past probably were the only reasons why Nick let himself get close to her in the first place. The author got the absolute most out of this genre and wrote a story that will be a permanent fixture on my shelf (okay, in my Kindle collection).
Along with her best friend Maggie (who reminded me an awful lot of my bestie), the secondary characters - Alexa’s big family - rocked my socks off. I didn’t want to say goodbye to them, that’s how much I came to loved them. They, of course, overwhelmed Nick. He was sooo uncomfortable around them at first. After a lifetime of disappointments I had to cut him some slack. Still, I couldn’t wait for that light bulb to go off in his head. A beautiful moment.
A contemporary romance you will love. Intense and sweet (a little corny in the end, but who cares – I was a junky in crack-heaven)! Glass of wine. Couch. Blanket. Ready? Happy reading! 5 stars to The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst.
A few of my favorite quotes for those of you who are interested:
° “Men get plenty out of marriage! – Like what? – Steady sex and companionship. – After six months the headaches start and you bore each other to tears.”
° “You’ll just have to get your kicks out of this proper business marriage and build your buildings. She paused. Get it?”
° “Maggie says you have a fish. – The remark rewarded her with a chilling look. Yes – What’s his name? – Fish.”
° “How many times had he craved an actual beating or a punishment from his father instead of neglect?”
° “Aggravated, he dragged his fingers over his face and wondered how she made him lose it over a Monopoly game that never happened.”