Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥
This is a cute little hate-becomes-love themed story about a couple of rival TV producers who manage competing daytime soaps. He's her nemesis because they're fierce competitors but otherwise we see that they would actually be great together - they're both fantastic at their jobs, both love what they do, they're both from large Greek families and have a similar sense of humor. Plus they're both attracted to each other, in a way that only people in Romancelandia can be - you know that intense groinal aching and swelling that seems to grip people in romance novels? Actually it makes it sound like they have Chlamydia when I say it like that... but you know what I mean, right? They're hot and heaving for it.
Anyway, the conflict is that he's attracted to her wants to go for it. In fact, he is ready to start a family and really wants to continue in the footsteps of his own happy My Big Fat Greek-style family. She, on the other hand grew up facing the dark side of what can sometimes happen in large, enmeshed families. She never wants to have kids because she's convinced she needs to break the cycle.
What I liked:
1) I liked how aggressive the heroine is. Not aggressive as in rude and bitchy - just aggressive in her attitudes towards sex, her relationships and her job - just going for it when she wants something. Fierce and awesome.
2) Ms. Mayberry painted the hero as totally alpha but not really in the King of His Job way. He likes his job and is good at it, but he's perfectly happy admitting that his job is just work and what really matters to him is family. I feel like in most romances, the hero comes to that conclusion right at the end after being "convinced" of this by his love for the heroine. In this case, the dude manages to come up with it all by himself.
3) The complications didn't all get solved after she finds her Big Love. My eyes always hurt from all the eye-rolling I do whenever I see writers just tie everything up with a pink ribbon at the end of the story. Give me some messiness, dang-it!
4) The Epilogue. I LOVE Sarah Mayberry's epilogues. She's so creative and awesome about them I wonder why EVERYONE doesn't just do epilogues like hers. I am so sick of the happily married couple + mini me (or bun in the oven) scene where everyone is laughing and its all gooey romantic looks and sunshine and no actual furthering of the plot at all. In Sarah Mayberry's books, the Epilogue actually finishes the story, helps further her characters and let's you create a whole vision of how you think the rest of the character's lives will go.
What I didn't like so much:
1) There was this somewhat contrived event that occurred that throws the H & h together - I see why the author wrote it that way - how else to get producers of rival tv shows together? But it was a bit over the top to me.
2) The way they conflict was resolved meant that one of the characters moved all the way over to where the other character was - instead of more of a case of BOTH characters being willing to change and then maybe one actually having to change their position. I guess it's ok for one person to change their opinion in a couple - that happens all the time in real life. But it's so much nicer when BOTH change a little bit.