Sunday, April 13, 2014


Her Best Laid PlansGenre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Cosmo Read Hot Reads from Harlequin
Publication Date: 4/15/14
Format: eARC
Pages: 85
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 stars

Experience Ireland—the dramatic beauty, the warm hospitality...and the smoking-hot local guys!

Imagine nursing a pint in a cozy, authentic country pub, far from Cork City’s busy pulse. Getting here took you a plane, bus, taxi, and...erm, bicycle. But just as you’re resigning yourself to drinking beside gray-haired farmers, you see him—a man with the looks and charm to soothe any heartbroken girl.

He’s your bartender. Your really, really gorgeous bartender.

For American Jamie Webb—recently dumped and housesitting for two weeks—Connor Kelleher is like a six-course feast after a 23-year starvation diet. But it’s gotta be casual. She’s just begun re-routing her life after an extended, man-related detour. Still, a sexy romp (or twenty!) with Sexy McBartender?

But what about when Jamie's best-laid plans for no future plans with any man begin to change?

Cara McKenna. I've been fairly shouty with praise for this author since I read Unbound last year.(How the hell that book hasn't won every award is beyond me) She creates strong, smart and sensitive heroines and the most interesting array of men. McKenna has made me fall ass-over-teakettle in love with an alcoholic, reclusive Scot with a wicked sexy rope fetish, an agoraphobic Parisian gigolo, a construction worker/boxer with a penchant for rough role-playing, an orderly in a psychiatric facility with a sexual intensity strong enough to melt, and most recently, a prison inmate with a dark gaze and a knack for filthy, romantic letters. So. How does a seemingly "normal" (whatever that means) Irish bartender fit in here? Connor Kelleher fits in quite nicely. It doesn't matter how simple or complex the character is, McKenna constructs men and women who are accessible and engaging.You know them completely. Brilliant.

My initial thoughts on Her Best Laid Plans: Vacation Fling. Ireland. Bartender. Forearms. Sexing. Guinness. By the way, if I came across a review that described a book with these words, my one-click trigger finger would be all over that.

I went into Her Best Laid Plans with a sense of excitement and anxiety. Excitement because... MCKENNA. IRELAND. GUINNESS. SEXING. Anxiety because: VACATION FLING. I mean, I just knew I was going to believe in this couple, despite the fact it's a whirlwind romance that's not meant to go beyond a short space in time. Jamie is from Boston, Connor's home is Ireland. They both are determined to get their lives in order, in their respective homes. So yeah, I believed in Jamie and Connor, that they should be together. And yet, I also believed that the both should go after their dreams, even if those dreams leave them on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Jamie's given up far too much for a man before, she needs to follow her own dreams. I didn't want her to compromise again, but I did want her to stay with Connor. So why can't Connor follow Jamie, right? Well, he can, but he also has a life in Ireland and plans of his own. Ugh. My heart ached for them. What will become of my the star-crossed couple? I'll never tell, but I will say that I believe things worked out exactly as they should.

Wow. I just packed a whole shed-load of feels into this review of a novella less than one hundred pages, more than many reviews I write for full-length novels. Another testament to the power of McKenna. Length doesn't matter, neither does the premise, the level of twistiness, or kink. Every time I open a Cara McKenna book, it's like opening a treasure box.

Favorite Quotes

  Jamie watched as the new guy poured someone’s pint a few feet to her left. Holy shit. Were forearms an accepted fetish object? Because his were perfect.

  "I love your voice," she murmured.
  "You want to hear me?” Even that question was doing the job, like liquor snaking through her.    
  "Sweet or dirty?” he asked.
  "Whatever you’re thinking.”
   He obeyed without hesitation. “I’m thinking I can’t remember ever wanting someone so badly. Being this hard. Wanting so badly to taste a woman. Taste you. Make you come. Make you ready—make you wet, and...what’s the word?” He bit her softly. “Lush,” he concluded.

  He was so many lovers in one—worshipping, needy, selfish, rough, tender, sensual, playful. A dozen flavors of male in a single body. Anything she could wish for...
  "Take me," she muttered.
  [...]She could almost detect some message in this sex, as though his body were telling her, Before you fly home, I’m going to be every last thing a man can be for a woman. And she’d remember each of those men with a fondness that broke her heart.

Purchase Links

About the author
Cara McKennaCara McKenna writes smart erotica—sexy stories with depth. A little dark, a little funny, always emotional. She also writes red-hot romance under the name Meg Maguire. Her wonderful publishers are Ellora's Cave, Harlequin Blaze, Loose-Id, Penguin / Intermix, and Samhain. She loves writing sexy, character-driven stories about strong-willed men and women who keep each other on their toes, and bring one another to their knees.

Cara was a 2010 Golden Heart finalist, a 2012 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award nominee, and a 2012 Golden Leaf finalist.

Cara is represented by Laura Bradford, of the Bradford Literary Agency.

Before becoming a purveyor of red-hot romance and smart erotica, Cara was a record store bitch, a lousy barista, a decent designer, and an overly enthusiastic penguin handler.

Cara now writes full-time and lives north of Boston with her bearded husband. When she's not trapped in her own head she can usually be found in the kitchen, the coffee shop, or jogging around the nearest duck-filled pond. She is a very proud member of the Romance Writers of America® and her local New England Chapter.



  1. You're jizzfest for this author made me curious and I just got approved got this book from NG. I can't wait because I love Guinness and Sexing!

  2. This was so much lighter than her other books but no less intense if you know what I mean. It was a lot to fun but still dealt with real issues and I LOVE how it ended.

  3. You had me a novella. I'm just in the mood for that. But the way you describe this couple makes me want to read it more. Great review.

  4. This sounds great. Can't wait to read it.

  5. Such a wonderful review -- I completely agree, I loved this quick novella, though of course I wished there had been more. It's my first time reading McKenna, but I am now anxious to try out her other books, especially after hearing you gush about her books in this review -- thanks, my debit card now hates me! :D LOL


  6. I was hooked at "Experience Ireland". :) I knew before I read your review it was a good read because of the length of your review for a NOVELLA. That and it's McKenna! I'm glad she did it for you once again. And even if I don't know how it all worked out, I'm happy it worked out as they should. AND.MY.GOD. Those quotes had me melting... *sigh*

  7. I wanted this one just on the pretty cover but now that I read this review I want it because of the book. Gonna go see if it's still on NetGalley or Amazon.
    Btw-I'm listening to the Twisted (Emma Chase) audiobook right now and now I now why you said you were curious to see what I thought of it. Babies...ugh...

  8. Well shit, I wish I had a fling on all those vacations that I took before and an Irish dude with tats won't help. I stopped smoking already but I won't mind a cold pint of GUiness after sex... curse you Andrea! You're giving me dirty thoughts on a Sunday!

  9. Uh ... wtf ... why haven't I read anything by this author?! Holy hell, I am making her a priority. I want to meet every one of those characters you mentioned.

  10. wow she does have an interesting array of characters! But a vacation fling in Ireland, oh that sounds hot!

  11. Wow, this novella sounds amazing! For you to have felt so deeply for a novella, speaks highly of the author! I love reading stories set in other countries, and Ireland makes for a great setting! Connor sounds pretty hot! I wouldn't want either character to give up their dreams, but I hope they end up with an HEA together! Great Review, you def. have my attention!!!


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