Mar 162016

You Give Love a Bad NameMistaken First Impressions

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

In her latest contemporary romance series, talented and bestselling author, Marilyn Brant, takes readers to Mirabelle Harbor, a charming suburb near Chicago. All the books in this series take place in the same town, and readers are able to recognize the main characters of each book as the siblings or friends of other main characters in the series. Which really brings a lovely sense of community and familiarity with this town and the people in it! You Give Love a Bad Name is the third book in this series, and lucky for me, all these books are stand-alone.

In this story our hero and heroine couldn’t be more different from each other. Blake Michaelsen, is a way-too-charming-for-his-own-good radio DJ who likes to be a little bit reckless, irresponsible, and has a very negative view about love. Mademoiselle Vicky Bernier is a high-school French teacher who is kind, cultured, and even though she has had some bad relationships in the past – a faithful believer in romantic love. (Girlfriend loves her some JAFF!) While Blake and Vicky might feel some instant attraction and interest for each other, their interactions are more prickly and tense than friendly.

Besides having very different personalities and views on love, Blake and Vicky have made bad impressions on each other. Based on his outward persona and a public display of drunkenness, Vicky has formed the opinion that Blake is a self-destructive, unprincipled, and well-practiced seducer. And Blake, seeing nothing but disgust and distrust in Vicky’s eyes and manner, has formed the opinion that she isn’t worth his time and effort. But the two are thrown together to prepare for the upcoming homecoming dance and with their frequent meetings together, these misconstrued opinions start to change…

With our hero and heroine being so different and having inaccurate preconceived notions about each other, you might notice this story has a bit of Pride and Prejudice flavoring.

Totally pictured Blake as Damon Salvatore in my head - a bad boy, reckless and irresponsible, but also one who feels deeply and hides his true self from others. ;)

Totally pictured Blake as Damon Salvatore in my head – a bad boy, reckless and irresponsible, but also one who feels deeply and hides his true self from others. 😉

However, I wouldn’t label Vicky and Blake as a modern-day Elizabeth and Darcy, they are just a couple who made similar mistakes to Jane Austen’s beloved couple. Vicky was definitely wrong about Blake, and it was lovely to see his character slowly unfurl. His bad-boy veneer hides some insecurities and unknown depths. In addition, it was wonderful to see Blake, even though he tried so hard to fight it, feel some stirrings of love and be quite the romantic. (Loved his mode of declaration and his über romantic surprise at the end!)

Another part of the story I enjoyed was seeing Blake’s sweet relationship with his dog, Winston, and Winston’s immediate fondness for Vicky. In addition, I also liked how the point-of-view kept switching back and forth between Blake and Vicky, giving the reader a balanced understanding of both characters. And it was super fun to see the inclusion of and reference to so many 80’s songs. Turns out I don’t know as many 80’s songs as I thought I did! (Must listen to Marilyn’s playlist and educate myself!)

While I don’t read very many contemporary romances – like Vicky, I’m a devoted reader of historical romance and JAFF – I do love reading contemporary romances by Marilyn Brant. I love the complex romances Ms. Brant chooses to write about, I love the depth and substance she gives her characters, and I love the little details and touches she adds that make her stories so vivid and captivating. You can be sure I’ll be revisiting Mirabelle Harbor soon and checking out the rest of this enchanting series!

Note: Due to some use of profanity and intimate scenes, I’d recommend this book for Mature Audiences only.

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Marilyn has kindly offered 2 LOVELY ebooks (winner’s choice – mobi, epub, pdf) of Take a Chance on Me (Mirabelle Harbor Book 1) for me to randomly give away to TWO lucky readers this week in conjunction with her visit here Monday and today’s review!

Take a Chance on Me Take a Chance on Me

To enter this giveaway leave a comment on my review!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Marilyn!
  • This giveaway ends March 21st!
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  31 Responses to “You Give Love a Bad Name (Mirabelle Harbor #3) – Marilyn Brant”


    looks like a great story!



    As always, you have written an honest review. I, too, like to read Brandt’s books. Thank you for the giveaway


    Thank you so much for your thoughtful and delightful review of You Give Love a Bad Name! It was really fun for me to read your impressions of the story — I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you enjoyed it 😉 . And, ohhhh, that you thought Blake reminded you of Damon just made me smile!! (I happen to *love* that particular photo of Ian Somerhalder, btw…*swoon*…VERY smoldering!!) I hope you’ll like all of the songs on the playlist, too — ’80s & more recent releases! xo


      Hi Marilyn! Thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review You Give Love a Bad Name! I so enjoyed my time with your characters! LOL! Knowing of your affinity for TVD, I couldn’t help but go there myself! Glad you didn’t mind! Looking forward to meeting more of your characters in the rest of the Mirabelle Harbor series!


    Hi there ladies. I have mixed fortunes with contemporary romances, sometimes I find them a bit too light and superficial, but Marilyn is always a good bet for something that feels real. Please don’t enter me for the giveaway as I have this book already on my kindle, but I just wanted to join in the conversation!


      And thank you so much for not only getting the book but for your kind words, too — I truly appreciate it 😉 .


      I know what you mean, Ceri. Like you, I’m not a fan of anything too light or too perfect. And I’m usually not fond of insta-love either. You are absolutely correct, Marilyn’s books do have that feel of reality – she always creates premises that are plausible and characters that are realistic and relatable. Thanks for joining the conversation! I look forward to seeing what you think of this book when you read it!


    I have a Vampire Diaries/Ian Somerhalder Pinterest board – he is yummy! Love his eyes. Good choice. I enjoyed this book also.


      I didn’t know you were a Vampire Diaries fan, too!! I haven’t kept up with the more recent episodes, but I was an avid viewer of the first several seasons. And, YES, Ian’s eyes are incredible!!! 🙂 What a gorgeous blue… xox


        I watch it on HULU now that it conflicts with another show on Friday nights when I watch Grimm and Sleepy Hollow. I have very eclectic tastes. Vikings on History Channel and Game of Thrones and Shannara Chronicles are a few I watch. I don’t watch any daytime TV – that is when I am reading…and late at night.


          I’ve never watched Grimm but I’ve heard it’s wonderful! I’m going to have to give it a try… I love Sleepy Hollow, though. Tom Mison is fabulous! 😉


            Yes, he is ever so lovely on the eyes. I just wish that they would stop switching nights on which shows are aired. But thankfully I have HULU.


      Thank you, Sheila! I enjoyed your review! Have you read the other books in this series? 🙂


    They do sound like a pair of opposites and a misunderstanding like that can add some fireworks to a romance. I like that it is flavored like P&P, but still very much it’s own story. The pet characters can be such scene-stealers.


      Sophia Rose ~ thank you! I really hope you’ll like this story 😉 .
      And I think you’re so right about the way some pets can become scene-stealers… Winston just kept taking over the scenes he was in, and he felt very real to me by the time I’d finished writing the book 🙂 .


      Absolutely, Winston would win anyone’s heart! I’m sure of it!


    Great review Meredith! I loved Marilyn’s modern P&P stories and looking forward to reading this series! What’s not to love about a man who loves his dog! You know there is a softer side to him when he owns one!


      Thank you! I’m thrilled you loved those moderns 😉 . And I feel the same way about a man and his dog… He’s got to have a heart in there somewhere if he’s genuinely good to his pets!! xo


      Thank you, Carole! That is so true! It is definitely the first clue to Vicky that there might be more to Blake than she first thought. 🙂 It was very heartwarming to see how much he cared about Winston!


    Wonderful review. Thank you for the giveaway.


    From Regina:

    I’ve been thinking about giving this series a try (usually confine my reading to JAFF); your review has piqued my interest even further!


    I read the first two (loved them!) and am looking forward to picking up this book as well. Great review!!


    Yes, I did read the others and plan to read any more she adds to this series. I did post reviews.

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