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Saturday, March 29, 2008

One Love For Liv by Marianne Arkins

One Love for Liv by Marianne Arkins
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Black-Eyed Susan

Liv is out to prove her high society fiancé is cheating on her. Can she do it without breaking a nail—or falling in love with Mike the mechanic?

Olivia “Liv” Leigh, wealthy socialite and spa owner, suspects her fiancé of cheating on her. Drastic steps are required to discover whether appearances are deceiving. And if those steps require a bit of stalking, a change of appearance, a hippo-sized dog named Spike, and sacrificing her manicure to clean house for a sexy-but-sloppy man whose neighbor is determined to break several of the strangest Guinness world records, why should that be a problem?

Mike, a happily single auto mechanic, is more than content sharing his bachelor pad with piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and a sneaky ferret. But when a half-crazed woman in a bad wig shows up on his doorstep, what’s a nice guy to do?

Why, invite her in, unknowingly help her in her search for the truth and, in the process, fall head over heels for a woman who’s never been less his type.

First of all, let me assure you that I am a cheapskate. I do not buy books online unless they are absolutely necessary for our homeschool (I prefer free use of the public library!). I'm not crazy about the e-book format and I definitely don't obtain any of those unless they are free. However, I read this author's blog pretty much every day. I was happy for her when she finally published One Love For Liv, but I had no intention of buying the book. None whatsoever, thank you very much. Then I started reading the reviews and every single one was positive. I was intrigued enough to actually fork out some money and BUY the book so I could see what everyone was raving about. I am so glad I did!

One Love For Liv starts out with Liv going out in disguise to track down her fiancé and prove his suspected unfaithfulness to her. The action snowballs quickly and believably into a refined, cultured, formal, well-dressed owner of an exclusive spa being thrown into a world of beer and corner store pizza, scary pets and tiny apartments with thin walls, informality and quirkiness.

Ms. Arkins has done a wonderful job of using the story's circumstances to transform Liv from a tense people pleaser to a relaxed, confident woman who is comfortable being herself. The changes in Liv's persona are reasonable and satisfying.

The plot is a page-turning saga of doubt and love and disappointment and discovery. I truly did not want to stop reading. I couldn't wait to see what whacky chances Liv would take or what delightfully peculiar character might be introduced on the next page. There were plenty of odd characters in the story, but none were gratuitous; Each one played a part in Liv's transformation - even the terrifying ferret and the attentive, slobbery bull mastiff.

The author also keeps the tension high by throwing in some unexpected twists and revelations along the way. Was Geoff cheating on her or not? Could Mike ever forgive her for her blatant deception? Could Geoff forgive her for her own tryst with another man a week before their expected wedding? Could Liv's father deal with all the changes in his daughter? Could Liv forgive herself? Would Liv ever find the missing ferret? And who really was Liv's "one love"? I wasn't sure of any of the answers until close to the very end!

In fact, the only thing that kept me from giving One Love For Liv a full-fledged five book endorsement is that all these thrills and chills and changes take place in two weeks time, which seems a tad unrealistic to me. However, if you can lay aside your timeline and just read, you'll find One Love For Liv a very worthwhile book.