Review: A Simple Twist of Fate

simple twist

By Janell

This is the second novel in a series about the three Hanover brothers. Their father, Charlie, was a con man who died and left behind a trail of angry, cheated people. The grown brothers inherit a house from their grandmother, but the house is located in a small town where Charlie did a lot of damage. The first book, which I haven’t read, sets all this up and shows the brothers moving into the house and deciding to fix it up and stay.

A Simple Twist of Fate opens with Sophie, the housekeeper/ carrier of secrets, walking in on a naked Beck, the lawyer/hater of secrets, after his shower. And that’s when I noticed that my brain wasn’t meshing with this author’s style. The conversation was interspersed with so many little body movements that I lost track of who was speaking, and it didn’t flow for me. Then another brother walked up and joined the conversation, and they were talking about how many penises Sophie had seen in her life, and it was strange. After that, I figured out that Sophie has been pretending to clean the house for a month while she searches for something important. Her aunt requested the search so she can’t tell anyone. It’s a secret! During that month, she has been lusting after Beck because he wears t-shirts that barely cover his stomach. Beck has been lusting after Sophie, too, because she wears tight jeans and looks cute when she carries a mop.

The first quarter of the book consists of people telling Beck that he should hook up with Sophie because of his lust, but Beck says he won’t because of their employer/employee relationship. People also tell Sophie to hook up with Beck, but she won’t because she’s on a mission and doesn’t want to get sucked in, or something. That was a problem for me, because Sophie and Beck didn’t interact with each other at all. I was told repeatedly that they were hot for each other, but I didn’t get a sense that they had ever hung out, joked around, or said more than two words to each other, so it was purely physical. Maybe all that chit chat happened in the first book. Basically, I got no relationship building between them.

This book spent a lot of time with other characters. Too much time, in my opinion, because it was taking away from the primary relationship. The whole history of the first book was spelled out, plus Sophie got to go to lunch with some girls, plus the oldest brother drank water and glared a lot. There was also an FBI agent popping up now and then who kept getting yelled at. And there was a mystery woman who would show up and say, “I have to talk to you!” and they would shut her down and go away. Sidenote — Don’t you hate it when characters keep saying “I have to tell you something” but they never just blurt it out? They allow themselves to be sent away without ever saying the very important thing that they need to say.

Eventually, awkwardly, Sophie and Beck decide to set aside their hesitation and have sex. Remember Sophie and Beck? Then suddenly she’s his girlfriend, and things are hunky dory, and she even tells Beck her secret! But the other brothers have issues, and then their mom shows up, and things are tragic and they separate based upon the worst misunderstanding ever until Beck’s brother talks some sense into him (another ding for having third parties solve the problem) and so Beck says nice things to Sophie and then it ends. Several plot points are left hanging because there’s another book to be written about another brother.

For fun, let me share a few things I highlighted: “Somewhere along the line he’d turned into a pre-teen girl.” “He treated her to a dramatic women-are-so-difficult exhale.” “He didn’t plunk down a stack of cash on this place to listen to them bicker like little girls.” “Running to Mom to talk about his love life? They were acting like little girls.” That’s just me being picky, but enough of the manly men stereotyping negative actions as girl-like.

I see this book as part of a saga about brothers finding their identity and dealing with the past. The romance is part of it, but not a big enough part. Basically, I was annoyed and frustrated with this book.

Rating: C

*ARC Provided by Penguin

Click to purchase: Amazon

A Simple Twist of Fate
by HelenKay Dimon
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Penguin

Review: No Turning Back

Reviewed by Allison

Helenkay Dimon’s new romantic series, the Hanover Brothers, is going to be a huge hit. In this book, she weaves the story of Leah Baron, a woman who, for her entire childhood, was taught by her father that Charlie Hanover is the devil incarnate by way of conman and that his sons are no better. So, when she meets Declan Hanover, Charlie’s second son, sparks fly – but definitely not in the way she expected!

What I loved most about this story was 1) Declan and 2) the intrigue and town age old mystery with a twist. Declan has been haunted by his father’s terrible reputation his entire life. Threatening phone calls and misguided notions about he and his family are par for the course, unfortunately. However, he learns how to rise above it (with a little military help) and is ready to find a real home when he gets the opportunity to come back to Sweetwater, Oregon, after his grandmother passes away and leaves the house to him and his brothers.

The motivation in this story is Leah trying to keep her dad calm and attempt to buy the Hanover brothers out then chase them straight out of town. Things obviously don’t go as planned. The relationship between Leah and Declan was really interesting to see play out, especially with how hard she tried to fight it. (There may have been some scenes where I wanted to smack her) and the twist at the end – you got me, Ms. Dimon! I did NOT see that one coming!

Although I loved the complication, I think the biggest surprise to me in the end was definitely Callen Hanover. He didn’t surface until midway through but was a very strong and important character by the end. The brothers’ interactions were so much fun to read, I can’t wait to get to know the rest of them!

If you enjoy a well written story filled with a gossipy town, a trio of scorned but sexy brothers, and a heroine who does some honest to goodness growing up – you’ve found your next read! Enjoy!

Grade: B+

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon or Enter to Win
No Turning Back
by HelenKay Dimon
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Penguin

Guest Post & Giveaway: HelenKay Dimon

Thank you for having me here today to talk about my upcoming release, NO TURNING BACK, out March 19th. This book is the start of a new contemporary series from Berkley, the Hanover Brothers. I took the sons of a con man and put them all back in the town where their dad launched his first scam…and then put some strong women in their path.

The first hero, Declan, is a just out of the military and looking to find his place in the civilian world. For him, the idea of having a home is pretty compelling. The house he and his brothers inherited from their grandmother provides that opportunity, but nothing is ever that easy.

He’s been deployed and moving from place to place. He’s tough and used to getting his way. And, I have to admit, there’s something about that kind of alpha guy – tough on the outside but mushy on the inside when it comes to the people he loves – that totally appeals to me. One of my favorite parts of a romance novel is watching a hero like that transform. But the first few peeks when you see the hero start to make a move on the heroine are the best.

I thought I’d show you a snippet like this from the Leah’s perspective (the heroines). She’s planned a business meeting and thinks she’s in charge. Then Declan arrives…

The man had been in her house for less than five minutes and she’d already lost control. Technically, he hadn’t even taken the step necessary to enter her family room. He hung by the door, all broad-shouldered with damp hair and a T-shirt that stretched over him and highlighted the trim waist and what she guessed was a super-flat stomach. That tattoo on his biceps peeked out and she had to fight the urge to ask him about it.Yeah, time to put the brakes on anything but contract talk. She had the man’s entire family history spread out only a few feet away. There was no opportunity for anything but work, which was the right answer anyway. Her father would go from heart attack recovery to a grave if she so much as smiled at Declan too long.

She meant to rub her hands together but clapped instead. The sharp whack wiped out the room’s quiet.“Speaking of work—”

“Were we?” One of his eyebrows inched up, and he managed to make the condescending look seem sexy.

“First, I need to know if you speak for all of the Hanovers.”


She clamped down on a growl. Clearly it was going be one of those evenings. “Your brothers.”

“Consider me the spokesperson.” He rolled back his shoulders and managed to highlight every rippling muscle on his arms and chest. Impressive skills, but no way was she getting sidetracked by all that hotness. “Let’s set some ground rules.”

“Yeah, I would have bet money you’d have ground rules.”

Before he could say something else to tick her off, which she assumed was inevitable, she walked to the back of the house. She didn’t know he’d followed until his husky voice hit her in the back of the neck from only inches away. The shiver that ran through her had nothing to do with fear.

The kitchen sat right in front of them. Instead of hanging out in there she took a left and headed into the dining room where she’d already closed the curtains to the deck and set up some notebooks for them. She’d toyed with the idea of having a notary waiting nearby but figured that was a bit presumptuous. No need to spook Declan this soon.

She kept moving until a table separated them. With her hands resting on the back of the chair at the head of the table, she let her gaze wander over him. No wonder Mallory turned into a giggly schoolgirl around him. He had the Holy-Hell-Hot thing down.

He wasn’t pretty-boy handsome. He had a dark edge that went far past his near-black hair. Strength radiated off him. Control oozed until an invisible wall surrounded him and he silently dared her to break through.

Maybe he learned it through the discipline of the Army, or maybe dear old Charlie passed the trait on, though she was starting to doubt that, but Declan’s self-assurance showed in every line of his body. He walked into a room like he owned it and argued as passionately as if he’d sat in on those fancy lawyer classes with Beck.

To keep from getting thrown off by whatever sly thing was bopping around in his head, she grabbed onto the last thing he said. “You gamble?”


That’s what her investigation suggested, but the quick response had her attention. “Not even a lottery ticket?”

“I don’t believe in luck.” He glanced down at the yellow lined notebooks and pens. “What about those rules?”

Following his gaze, she noticed how she had lined up the edges of the paper with the pens. Man, it looked like she used a ruler. Yeah, nothing like a good case of nerves to bring out a woman’s buried compulsions. “The rules are simple.”

“I’m betting they’ll piss me off.”

She wasn’t sure what to say to that, so she launched into her prepared speech. “No straying off topic. No touching. No chit chat. We negotiate and hammer this out, so you can move on to whatever other state suits you. Preferably one on the East Coast.”

Straightforward and in a calm voice, she ticked them off on her fingers despite the circus act spinning and jumping in her stomach. When she finished, her heart thumped loud enough to drown out her voice. That had to be a good sign. A teacher once told her panic was just a sign of her body preparing her to do whatever she feared doing.

He just stood there. The longer the silence stretched, the more she cursed that teacher and her idiot theory.

For what felt like an hour, but probably barely amounted to minutes, he didn’t move. Didn’t show any reaction until his lower lip twitched. “Go back to the second one.”


“The second thing on your list.”

Touching. So much for thinking she’d handled everything well. She tightened her grip on the chair, letting the edge bite into her palm. “You know very well what I said.”

His head dropped to one side. “If this is a business meeting, why are you worried about touching?”

Well, damn. “Don’t read more into that than there is.”

“Is it the idea of me touching you or of you touching me that has you all prickly?”

Talk about a miscalculation. So much for trying to push his attention to business. “Neither.”

“Oh, I don’t think that’s true. You’re a grown woman. We keep running into each other, sparking off each other. Why can’t you admit you’d like to experiment with a little touching?”

If he smiled, she was going to punch him. She might anyway. “Declan.”

“It’s an honest question.” He shot her a you-started-this crooked smile. “A man needs to know these things in advance.”

Sound good to you? Share your comments below for a chance to win a copy! 

This contest is closed. The winner is JYL22075.

Review: Romancing the Holiday

Reviewed by Allison

“We’ll Be Home for Christmas” by HelenKay Dimon

Lila Payne has been trying to find her way after her marriage fell apart and she thinks that moving to Holloway to take care of the campground “resort” that her uncle gave her is as good a place as any to start over. Only she didn’t expect that when she went to Thomas Nurseries to pick up something her uncle ordered, she’d run into the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her head for three months… not since their hot and heavy 3-night stand. Once Spence spots her, he can’t help but be drawn back to her with memories of that weekend in the swank hotel, and he’s dying to know if it was just a one-time sizzle or if the fireworks are still there.

My trip back to Holloway was even better than the last! Spence was the perfect balance of smart and sexy with shake-your-head-he’s-such-a-man. This short story was so emotionally charged between the devastation of a marriage gone wrong that Lila was dealing with and the lifetime of women leaving (starting with his own mother) to complicate his commitment issues on Spence’s end of things.

All the smexy lovin’ happened behind closed doors but this story was SO good, it didn’t even matter. The emotions were intense, the tortured hero just right, and the “moment of truth” so satisfying that even though it wrapped up a bit quick, it was easily forgivable.

The growth that he showed in just a few chapters was truly a joy to read and made it hard to stay mad once he decided to finally make the dive into the unknown with the woman he found himself willing to risk being with – whether she stayed or left.

Grade: B+

“Ask Her at Christmas” by Chrisi Barth

This short was about best friends, Caitlin and Kyle. BFFs since high school, they take care of each other, lean on each other, talk each other to sleep every night… and hold back their true feelings in order to keep the friendship at a safe level. Unfortunately, when Kyle pops the question and reveals that Caitlin is his “practice run”, she might have lost him for good.

Kyle explains that he is proposing to his girlfriend of six months to make his father proud and to solidify a merger between the two families companies. He figures that even thought it’s essentially a business transaction, he’d put a little effort into it to try to at least base the marriage in respect and friendship.

Although the romantic in Caitlin is completely horrified (I’d feel the same way!) she has always supported Kyle and won’t stop now. She does everything she can to plan a romantic proposal, giving him plenty of Christmas-y ideas like the ice rink, a fairy tale ending in front of Macy’s Christmas windows, and a surprise Christmas gift. Nothing seems right to Kyle but as the days to Christmas tick down, the plan gets more real, and he doesn’t know if he can go through with it.

It was absolute torture watching Kyle try to please his dad by ruining not only his life, but Caitlin’s. These two are so perfect for each other that while rooting for them you go from wanting to beat him over the head with a blunt object one moment, to cheering like a crazy person the next!

This story will make you fall in love, get pissed, stand proud, and swoon in 24,000 words – in short, you’ll love it!

Grade: A

“The Best Thing” by Jaci Burton

Tori has worked for Kent Construction for a few years, but the past 10 months have been especially difficult – ever since Brody Kent kissed her at the company Christmas party and she bolted. She’s been in love with Brody for years, but can’t let her heart get involved because of Brody’s playboy reputation. She knows she wouldn’t be able to handle being used and tossed aside by this man. So when Brody’s brothers tell him to “fix it”, he starts a dialogue with her that eventually ends in a magical weekend for the both of them… but can Tori get past her trust issues and can Brody finally man up and settle down?

I really liked Tori and Brody, but I think some background from the previous stories (this is book 3 in the series) would’ve helped frame their struggles a bit better. I also think that Tori had good reasons to be wary of Brody and while he did prove himself, I think she forgave him a little too easily. That’s probably due to the nature of the short story though, because it’s still a great tale of love and family with a Christmas twist!

Grade: B-

All three of these stories are the absolute perfect Christmas read, they’re emotional without being overwhelming and will satisfy every hopeless romantic’s need to swoon this holiday season!

*ARC provided by Carina Press via Netgalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Romancing the Holiday
by HelenKay Dimon, Jaci Burton, & Christi Barth
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Guest Post & Giveaway: HelenKay Dimon

Thanks for having me here today to talk about my upcoming release, LEAN ON ME.

One of my favorite parts of this book is the hero, Mitch. Actually, I tend to concentrate on the heroes in romance novels when I’m reading. Yes, I know there are heroines in there, too, and plots and all that. I love it all, but there is something special about the romance hero – all flawed and attractive and delicious.

I thought I’d tell you about some of my favorite contemporary romance heroes. There are others, of course, but these stick out in my mind:

1. Johnny Harris from Karen Robards’ ONE SUMMER – He’s a bad boy, rides into town on a motorcycle and makes a play for the woman he had a crush on in high school. *swoon*

2. Alex Markov in Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ KISS AN ANGEL – He’s commanding and difficult and possibly Russian royalty…and I adore him.

3. Levi Warner in Lauren Dane’s SWAY – He’s older than the heroine and very naughty. I couldn’t resist this guy.

4. Lucky Doucet in Tami Hoag’s LUCKY’S LADY – This is an all-time favorite. Cajun hero. Bit of a player. Rough and tumble type. Irresistible.

Any heroes you would add to this list? 

Answer HelenKay’s question in the comments section below to enter to win your own copy of Lean On Me.  

This contest is closed. The winner is: JYL22075.

Review: Lean On Me

Reviewed by Allison

The formerly famous mountain climber, Cassidy Clarke is back in town. Her hometown, the one she accidentally “snubbed” in a newspaper article she had no idea she was being quoted for. In her first foray back into the area’s social society, she runs into an old classmate, Mitch Anders.

Mitch owns the nursery (think plants, not babies) that the event is being held at and sees Cassidy right away. He always liked her in high school and doesn’t believe all that he reads, so when he comes over to her, he isn’t coy. She doesn’t understand his interest, but can’t deny the attraction, so she agrees to one date. As they get to know each other, learn secrets, and find out what really happened in that fateful interview, they fall pretty hard and fast for one another.

I liked Mitch and how he always had faith in Cassidy (except for a stumble towards the end, but he was forgiven). He was a solid guy and even though I didn’t know the history of the other guys he owns the nursery with (since I missed the first book in the series,) I liked his friendly bromance chemistry with them.

Cassidy was a really interesting character, especially since professional mountain climbing isn’t a typical heroine job. I liked that Ms. Dimon did her research on the thrills and dangers of climbing high altitudes.

Although it wasn’t anything that knocked my socks off, it was still definitely enjoyable and a cute read.

Grade: B

Lean On Me
by HelenKay Dimon
Release Date: October 22, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press