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Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

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Baby It’s Cold Outside
Author:  Addison Fox 
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2011
Publisher:  Signet
Alaskan Nights #1
ISBN: #978-0451235213
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Format(s): Paperback (384 pages), e-book
Book Source:  Publisher
About the book:
After a frantic call from her best friend Grier, Sloan McKinley travels to the heart of the frozen Alaskan wilderness.  Grier’s at her wit’s end, sorting through an inheritance from her estranged father, and the residents of small-town Indigo haven’t exactly welcomed her with open arms.
The last thing she expects is to be won over by Indigo’s town matriarchs: three feisty grandmothers who’ve created an annual contest in an attempt to get their grandsons married off.  Although initially shocked by the Great Bachelor Competition, Sloan can’t deny the appeal of the rugged local men—particularly Walker Montgomery, a town lawyer and one of the eligible grandsons.
Before Sloan can help her friend and hightail it out of the clutches of the matchmaking matriarchs, she finds herself falling in love with the wild outdoors…and with one of the indigo’s most beloved residents.  There’s just one question that remains: is the town’s most confirmed bachelor ready to get caught?
What Nimas talking about:
Baby It’s Cold Outside is the first book in Addison Fox’s contemporary romance Alaskan Nights series.  It’s tough being the first book in any series because you have to spend a lot of time introducing characters, building and painting the sets of our minds’ stages, and somehow manage to tell a good story that sets us up for all the books to follow.  Sadly many times the first book is the best in the series, never quite capturing the same magic or charm in the books that come after it.  Even more frequent, however, the first book is a weak read, trying to be too many things all at the same time.  I am happy to report that Fox’s first foray into contemporary romance was not a disappointment.  Coming in at nearly 400 pages, there was plenty of description, but I never felt burdened by it.  In fact, I finished the book in only two days.  I just liked these characters enough to want to hang-out with them on a Saturday afternoon.
Set in the fictional town of Indigo, Alaska, city girls and best friends Sloan McKinley and Grier Thompson find themselves, at first, clearly as fish out of water.  While all of us have probably had that experience at least once in our lives and can completely relate to the feelings of disorientation and awkwardness, I have to note a personal connection here.  I grew up in California where it is sunny and warm, but have been living around the Midwest for the last twenty years, including two years in Minnesota, where I discovered that you can actually feel the difference between -20 and -30.  Cold isn’t just cold.  Minnesota was also one of the best places I’ve ever lived.  I was inclined to like the people of Indigo who chose to make their home in a place where you plug your car in at night so it will start in the morning, aren’t embarrassed to wear a hat no matter how unfashionable it may be in the name of preventing frostbite, and Mother Nature routinely puts on a breath-taking show of northern lights. Like me, it didn’t take long for these city girls to begin to see their snowy surroundings through different eyes.
The main focus of this book is the love story between Sloan and Grier’s attorney, Walker Montgomery.  Walker is one of “the grandsons.”  The grandsons have grown up together and are friends, but each, while ruggedly hunky, has carved out his own niche.  Mick O’Shaughnessy is a talented pilot, Roman Forsyth is a paparazzi-followed playboy, local legend and professional hockey player in New York, and Sloan’s Walker Montgomery is a successful attorney.  
Better than a trip down snowy memory lane for me was the cast of Indigo’s inhabitants.  I wanted to have breakfast at the diner, walk around the town’s monument to love inscribed with the words, “For those we’re not allowed to keep”, and fly above the mountain peaks in Mick’s plane.  The citizens of Indigo are genuine and snarky.  I love snarky.  

Walker scrubbed a hand over his jaw, the day’s stubble making a satisfying scratch.  “There really are no secrets in this town.  How’d you find out?”

“The note I got in study hall pretty much tipped me off.”

“Smart-ass.”

Even snarky with himself, when Walker first tries to summarize his irrational feelings about Sloan he thinks, “a bright, shiny Zamboni with a heartbreaking smile, warm blue eyes, and truly superior breasts.  And that, my friends, is the sign of a man completely losing it.”   Don’t you just love a man that can’t help himself from losing it when the right woman comes along?
The story is a relatively predictable one for regular romance readers.  There’s no surprise in boy meets girl, boy is attracted to girl against his better judgment, girl is attracted to boy against her better judgment, both give in and live happily-ever-after.  But this book is witty, clever, and wonderfully, humanly flawed characters grow.  It’s dependable.  It’s the one you want to read on the train, on the treadmill, waiting to pick a kid up from practice, or anywhere you are when you’d rather be somewhere else.
This is a romance and there are plenty of intimate moments.  Sloan notes, “The cold that had seeped into her bones from the moment she’d fled outside was rapidly replaced with a liquid heat that spread through her like a wild blaze and she knew—with absolute certainty—how the denizens of Alaska stayed warm.” I finished the story with a warm feeling about Indigo and its population of just over 700.  I’m looking forward to the next book.  Baby It’s Cold Outside sets us up for Mick and Grier’s story, Come Fly With Me, due out in November of 2012, and Roman’s story should follow the year after that.  I don’t think Fox is limited to just the grandsons.  If each book improves, there is a hearty stock of both quirky and charming bachelors in Indigo just waiting for their romance to find them.
Nimas Rating:
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)


Purchase Information:
Baby It’s Cold Outside: An Alaskan Nights Novel
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