Tuesday, September 10, 2013

ARC Review: Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Title: Lingerie Wars
Author: Janet Elizabeth Henderson
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: June 14, 2013

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Englishman Lake Benson loaned his life savings to his dippy sister so that she could buy a shop. It was a big mistake. His sister has been steadily flushing his money down the drain – and now he wants it back. Years in the special forces taught Lake that if you want a job done, do it yourself. So he steps in to make the shop profitable, sell it and get his money back. The only problem is, the business is an underwear shop. And all Lake knows about underwear can be summed up in how fast he can unsnap a bra. To make matters worse, the tiny highland town already has a lingerie shop. A successful one, run by an ex-lingerie model. A very gorgeous ex-lingerie model, who’s distracting him from his mission more than he’d like to admit. If Lake wants to get his savings back, and get out of Scotland, he only has one option – wipe out the competition.

Kirsty Campbell has spent years rebuilding her life after she woke up in hospital in Spain to find her body scarred, and her ex-fiance had run off with all her money. The last thing she needs is a cocky, English soldier-boy trying to ruin all she has left. Her home town is only too happy to help her fight the latest English invasion, although Lake is beginning to sway them with his sex appeal and cut price knickers. With the help of her mother, and the retired ladies of Knit or Die, Kirsty sets about making sure that her shop is the last one standing in Invertary.

It’s Scotland versus England as you’ve never seen it before. It’s lingerie war.

My Thoughts:

What a great book! This one made me laugh, a lot, while also being sweet with just enough steam to keep things interesting.

In Lingerie Wars, we meet Lake, who has come to the small town of Invertary, Scotland to bail his sister out. Again. Rainne borrowed Lake's money to buy a lingerie shop. But wasn't doing that great a job in making money. Or running it. Or competing with the other lingerie shop in town, which Rainne had failed to tell Lake about. So Lake come's to his sister's rescue and runs into Kirsty, the owner of the other shop. Kirsty is struggling, in both business and life. She's recovering from injuries she sustained in a very bad car accident as well as her ex-fiance having run off with all her money. See, Kirsty had been a lingerie model before hte accident. But now, the scars, emotional and phsycial, are keeping her closed off. She still has family and friends of course, but she isn't putting herself out there like she used to.

But all that changes when the competition between Kirsty's store and Lake/Rainne/Betty's store, heats up. The "war" has everyone in town taking sides and in some cases, joining in to bring down the other with often crazy, hair-brained antics. The break in while Lake and Kirsty were having dinner had to be one of the best comedic scenes I've ever read in fact. It had me laughing until my stomach hurt. But in addition to the shenanigans as they tried to out-do the other, there was also tension between Kirsty and Lake. A good and sexy kind of tension that caused its own problems, and some times detentes, in the war. But even though the two recognized their feelings for each other, there were still secrets. Lake was in Invertary for a reason and he wasn't staying long, after all. He had other plans; other things to do. And once the war was done and he came out on top, would take his leave.

Too bad Kirsty and Rainne were left in the dark about that.

I don't want to go too deep in the weeds about what happens in this book because I don't want to give anything away. But I do want to address an important part that was touching, sweet and had a personal impact on me. And that was when Lake helped Kirsty deal with her scar issues. Having several scars myself from childhood surgeries, I know all about the self-consciousness they can cause. Mine are barely visible anymore, but they're still there, or at least, I know they are there. And it bugs me to no end. In the back of mind I'm always thinking someone will see, or comment on them, or just even think something about them. I'm better with them now than when I was younger but still, dealing with scars, emotional and/or physical can be tough. And even if people can't see them, that doesn't mean they don't effect the person who has them in significant ways. In Lingerie Wars I thought that the author dealt with Kirsty's issues in a very realistic and respectful manner. The way Lake saw past all that, and the way he handled Kirsty with such great care (at least regarding those issues!) was fantastic. And because of that and the way he took things slow, for her, was beautiful. Lake waited patiently while she came to terms with the fact that yes, a man like Lake liked her and didn't care one lick about the scars. The scars didn't define her and they didn't make her less of a person. It was almost like he didn't like her in spite of her scars, but instead he liked her because of them (or at least in part) and how they showed she was strong and a survivor.

I knew that there would be a "bad guy" and I was waiting awhile for him to show up. I think the way this part of the story was handled worked well. The suspense didn't overpower the story this way nor did the author get too far in the weeds about any grand conspiracies or massive crime rings. Instead the author kept the focus on Kirsty and Lake, their lingerie war, with just a dash of a "baddie" to deal with. But again, I want to stress that this book isn't just about a war between two lingerie shops. Lake's presence and undeniable attraction to Kirsty, as well as their "war", helped Kirsty move on from a traumatic past. It not only helped her in her business, but it also gave Kirsty the courage to put herself out there again and not let her stupid ex and what he did keep her down. Lake opened her up to a whole new world, and life, and it was a great journey to be a part of.

I'm excited for the next book in this series and hopefully we see more of the Invertary residents we were introduced to. Betty was a hoot and I laughed so hard in some of those scenes. And the cardboard cut-out of Lake?! I was laughing so hard at one point I couldn't even speak. Oh, and we can't forget the Knit or Die group. When they had the t-shirts made that said "SOD OFF", I could not stop the tears of laughter streaking down my cheeks. Caroline also made me smile; she was sweet and nice and I really hope she gets an HEA at some point in the series. I hated Lake's parents though. They were awful and mean and I wanted to run them over with their bus. And isn't that the mark of a good author, making me want to commit violence against fictional characters?! :D

I do need to mention the side story of Alistair and Rainne. Dear god, that part broke my heart. Just shattered it. I even dreamt about them when I went to bed and I woke up with all these feels and angst, and just, I can't even explain it without giving too much away! (Gah! If anyone has read this, or when you do, we need to exchange notes on that!!) . That's how much of an impact their story had on me. I wonder if we'll see them again. I hope so.

This is a fun, sweet, romantic, and humorous read that I would recommend to anyone likes to both laugh and swoon while reading. The writing was well done and I saw zero, yeah, I said -zero- editing issues. All in all, a solid read and one which I will likely re-read again and again. Now what are you waiting for? Start reading!

Here are the purchase/info links:
Barnes and Noble

*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

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