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Lantana Island Romantic Comedy Box Set*

Uneven Collection of Romance

This collection is the three books of the Lantana Island Romance series, Boss with Benefits, The Devil She Knew, and The Engagement Game. I’ll give you just a little information about each book:

Boss with Benefits: In this serious exploration of the relationship-with-the-boss and enemies-to-lovers tropes, Rosa is escaping a stalker and helping her best friend by agreeing to manage her resort on a small island. Her friend, Tiny, has recently had a stroke and cannot run her business. Tiny’s brother, Dalton, wants nothing more than to sell the place and use the money for better treatment for his sister in Sydney. Dalton and Rosa are at odds; Rosa firmly believes that Tiny should make decisions about her life and business for self. As you might imagine there is an attraction between Rosa and Dalton. What will happen to the resort? Will Tiny get to choose our own destiny? The book is told from alternating perspectives, and Rosa was often quite humorous in her thoughts and speech. She is an enjoyable character to watch. Dalton, especially at first, comes across as a bit of a jerk.

The Devil She Knew: In another enemies-to-lovers story, Suzie and Nate have a bad history going back to high school when he started a vicious rumor about her that she couldn’t get past for years and she gave him a nickname that he didn’t like. They meet again at Suzie’s sister’s wedding, and sparks fly. They both still have a lot of anger and resentment toward each other. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they get stuck on a yacht and are forced to confront their issues. I just couldn’t get into this book, and I definitely didn’t feel any chemistry between the two main characters. What Nate did to her back in high school was pretty awful, and he doesn’t treat her very well when they meet again at the wedding. I just don’t like it when the hero is such a jerk. When an author makes someone is icky as Nate, she needs to do a lot of work to rehabilitate him, and there is not enough rehabilitation in the world for me to like this character.

The Engagement Game: After being disappointed in the previous book, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one. It explores the tropes of friends to lovers and fake engagement as well as looking at personal insecurity issues due to body type. The couple had been friends for a long time before becoming a part of a reality TV show meant for engaged couples. The woman’s insecurities are unfortunately all too believable in our society that puts so much importance on looks. But her playboy-but-I-want-to-be-a-better-man best friend Jake sees all that she is and likes it. They come to a better understanding of themselves and each other in this book, and there is some fantastically witty banter between the two of them.

I think it is strange that the author calls this a romantic comedy collection. While the books do have elements of comedy in them—and some delicious comedy—the concept of a romantic comedy is broader to me than that; the story itself should be light and fun, a beach read. The first book’s background—of the sister/friend having had a stroke—is nothing that’s as light and airy as I would hope a romantic comedy would be. The second book had so much nastiness that I wouldn’t call it a romantic comedy at all. The third book would be the only one that I would call a true romantic comedy and a good beach read.