Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: Marriage to a Billionaire series–books #1-3 by Jennifer Probst


I’m reviewing all three books from Jennifer Probst's Marriage to a Billioniare series. The basic premise for the series is a magical book that allows you to list the 10 things you want in a person and then cast a love spell bringing you the love of your life. In this case they come in the form of gorgeous billionaire's. Aim high!! The characters pass the book down, hence the making of a series! The stories overlap, setting up the next book while revisiting past characters. All three are told in alternating POV’s.

So here we go!

13486122The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire #1)A marriage in name only...
To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend's older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans… ~ Goodreads | Amazon

Review: This is not a trope I usually enjoy. The whole arranged marriage with fake expressions of love to fool the family more often than not annoys me, but the premise was believable in this case. It helped that Nick and Alexa already knew each other from childhood and Alexa is best friends with Nick's sister. It at least established a level of trust and comfort heading in to this arrangement.

Nick is jaded and a bit sexist. All women always want babies….all women are emotional and always cry kind of thing but he's also a really nice guy. He didn't have a great childhood and he's just hiding behind his built in defense mechanisms.

Now Alexa. She's my kind of girl! She marries Nick to get enough money to save her childhood home and she knows the relationship isn't based on love but there is no way she's putting up with Nick's BS. He has a supermodel girlfriend he wants to continue to discretely date but thinks Alexa should be celibate for the year of their marriage so as not to embarrass him if she's caught. Alexa says HELL NO! Either they both get to have sex or they are both celibate! Ha! I loved, loved, loved her.

The story is fairly predictable but Alexa and Nick are such great characters with scorching hot chemistry that you just enjoy the sexy ride. The supporting characters were a great addition and give you a peek at potential future couples in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4 A quick, steamy read with lots of humor and great characters, particularly Alexa.


14165516The Marriage Trap  (Marriage to a Billionaire #2)

Italian billionaire seeks faux fiancée. Willing to agree to anything in return...
In order for his sister to marry, Italian billionaire Michael Conte has to find himself a bride – and fast! When he learns that photographer Maggie Ryan is going to be in Milan, Michael hatches a plan to introduce her to his family as his “fiancée.” Never mind that Maggie is confident, independent, and a control freak. Never mind that she’s everything he doesn’t want in a wife… and everything he wants in his bed!

Convinced that Michael is in love with her married gal pal, Maggie agrees to keep up the ruse if he’ll keep away from her friend. Besides, she’s not attracted to charming, ridiculously hot billionaires who drive her nuts. Once they’re in Italy, however, everything changes – and the sexual tension between Maggie and Michael goes from simmer to naked nuclear meltdown!

But have they found the perfect arrangement… or are they trapped in a make-believe marriage? ~ Goodreads | Amazon

Review: We were first introduced to Maggie (Alexa's BFF and Nick's sister) and Michael Conte in The Marriage Bargain. I adored spunky, independent Maggie in that book but in The Marriage Trap she comes off very abrasive and slightly crazed. Michael showed a very brief interest in Alexa in book #1 and Maggie has become obsessed with the notion that Michael is hell-bent on ruining Alexa and Nick's marriage.

Despite that it is her best friend, despite the fact that her brother is now friends and business partners with Michael, despite the fact that Michael repeatedly says he has no interest in Alexa that way. He sees her as a sister. So sure he could be playing everyone but seriously….do you think your sister-in-law is that easily swayed? Don't you at least trust her? Maggie would marry a guy she hates just to keep him away from Alexa? It seemed extreme. And crazy.

For the first half of this book Maggie drove me mad to the point of almost quitting but once the setting to changed to Michael's family home in Italy and away from Alexa, I enjoyed the story more.

Michael is a nice, loyal family man. The circumstances forcing he and Maggie's fake marriage were a little contrived but I just went with it. I enjoyed when they were alone and opening up emotionally to each other.

I read this right after finishing The Marriage Bargain and noticed striking similarities. I understand that this is a series with the same theme for all three books but some of the same sentences and scenes were repeated almost verbatim. I probably would have benefitted from waiting a few days before diving into book 2.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 Not my favorite of the series. Although I liked Maggie in The Marriage Bargain, it took me a while to warm up to her in this book but the story still ended on a high note.


15729261The Marriage Mistake (Marriage to a Billionaire #3)

Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.

Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed… ~ Goodreads | Amazon

Review: Carina has always crushed on her brother's best friend Max but he's older than her and saw her as a child/sister but now she's all grown up and her brother Michael (From The Marriage Trap) has her working side by side with Max who definitely sees her as an adult now.

As with the first book, The Marriage Bargain, I like how this couple already has a familiarity with each other. The "arranged marriage"  is different in this story. I wasn't sure I could buy into the same premise one more time but it works.

Despite everyone treating Carina like a child she steps up to the plate and blossoms into a really great woman who takes control of her future, not letting any of the men in her life push her around. Even the tempting Max.

Max is damaged and commitment phobic (aren't they all? lol) but Carina knows about his emotional scars and isn't afraid to prove him wrong or stand her ground.

This installment brought back more of the romance and sexiness from The Marriage Bargain although I noticed a few inconsistencies. For example: Max sees Carina in a dress and says it's the first time but then a flashback shows that he saw her "for the first time" in a dress years ago. Maybe I missed something or got confused but I noticed a few things like that. Nothing too distracting though.

One thing. Mama Conte (Michael & Carina's mom) needs to be stopped. She’s always been pushy in this series but good lord the way she manipulated these two really crossed some boundaries. I get what she was trying to do but you also deprived your daughter and family from what should have been a very special day and could have made two people very miserable for life.

Rating: 3 out of 4 Another fun, sexy installment.

I'm hoping Probst mixes it up a bit more in the future books from this series. The premise is a fun one but the similarities between the books are becoming a distraction for me. Maybe it's because I read the series all at once.

I would still recommend the Marriage to a Billionaire series but perhaps a little space between each book might be a better way to go.

Author: website | Twitter | Goodreads
Source: Thank you to Entangled Publishing (indulgence) for providing the series in exchange for my honest review

3 comments:

  1. Great reviews! I definitely want to read the first one. Thanks!

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  2. 3 review in one, nice :) Even if that middle book was troublesome

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  3. Wait. I had no idea there was "magic" in this series. How cool!
    I don't always like arranged marriages in contemporary books. But everyone says it works for these books. And boy, I HATE meddling mothers/mothers-in-law in stories. Maybe b/c it hits a little to close to home. ;-)
    I'm glad you liked the series, Karen. I think I'll space them out a big when I go for it.

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