AUTHOR:  Magan Vernon

GENRE:  Contemporary Romance

Available @ AMAZON

REVIEWER:  Pistol Annie

RATING:  3 Stars


I need a wife if I want to help save my family’s billion-dollar pub empire. There’s just one problem: I never plan on marrying. So, I need someone who understands that this is just another business deal. I don’t do commitments. And my brother’s executive assistant, Fallon Smith, fits that bill.

Fallon needs help with her grandmother’s expenses, and her pretending to be my fake wife is a way we can make that happen. She’s not my biggest fan, but we can help each other and then go our separate ways. That she’s beautiful and I enjoy spending time with her–doesn’t matter. When all of this is done, she’s heading home to America, and I’ve got a company to run.

A fake wedding and a whole lot of whiskey. What could go wrong?



From a new-to-me-author comes a little Irish tale just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  Straight Up Irish is the first book in Magan Vernon’s Murphy Brothers Series.  Readers will find an engaging, lighthearted and sizzling marriage of convenience trope with just enough blarney to charm the susceptible.  If I come across a romance set in Ireland, it’s usually not too difficult to wrangle its way into my heart and onto my Kindle reading list.

Our first stop is in Dublin where we’ll meet the Murphy brothers and learn about their family business.  Maybe later we’ll be invited along for a visit to one of the old-fashioned pubs and enjoy some excellent seafood in Galway, before moving on to an awe-inspiring trip to visit the Cliffs of Moher as well.

Don’t be surprised to find that the upstart is a little slow to this love story but finding insta-love missing from the scenario added a big plus for me, since I’m not a fan of slam, bam, thank you ma’am beginnings.  Those yummy romantic feelings were developed in a natural progression that I, as a reader, appreciate in a solid romance.  Readers will find just enough drama to keep things interesting with no over-the-top angst and enough laugh-out-loud moments to entertain and keep the amusement level high.

When the family’s billion-dollar pub empire is on the line after their father’s will is read carrying with it a marriage stipulation, it’s enough to put the heart crossways, and the three Murphy brothers realize they have no other choice but to wet the tea and get down to business.  And what ensues is just what you might imagine.

Stepping forward to make his match ahead of his two brothers, is middle brother Connor, a womanizing player and a guy with a huge commitment-phobia.  He’s also a bit of a pain in the rear – sometimes unpredictable and irresponsible.  Connor, who is the Chief Financial Officer for the Murphy Group operation in the United States, looks at their problem as he would any other business deal.  And Fallon, his brother’s executive assistant, fits his criteria.  Ah, but don’t be too hard on Connor because down deep he’s got a good and generous heart and personality plus. And even though he doesn’t realize it until a little later, he chooses well in a wife.

Fallon Smith is an American working as an executive assistant for the oldest Murphy brother, Jack.  At first, she comes off as a pitiful selfless soul.  She’s trying kindly to get rid of an ex that just won’t go – and she really needs to give him a swift kick to his backside.  The girl’s parents are worthless drunks.  Her grandmother is in poor health and living in an assisted living home and Fallon is the one paying the bills.  But Fallon is more – so much more.  Fallon’s no dummy.  I ended up respecting the heck out of her.  She’s worked hard to finish her master’s degree, but she’s still paying educational loans.  Even though she’s not thrilled with this marriage of convenience proposition from Connor, it might be the only way to seeing clear through the debt.

Secondary characters include the other two Murphy bros.  Besides Connor, there’s Jack, the oldest who is all business with a brooding personality and grouchy and grumpy mannerisms.  And then there’s the youngest, Sean, who is the sports enthusiast and a Rugby player.  All three boys are as different as night and day – adding a little spice and grit to the family circle.  In addition, there’s Fallon’s best friend, Leah.  She’s feisty, tattooed and a party girl.  I sure hope she knocks Jack off his feet and gives him a run for his money in the next installment.  I think she would do him a world of good and maybe put some spark in his life and a satisfied smile on his face.

Told in first person dual points of view by Connor and Fallon, our main characters with their flaws and strengths, were well portrayed and well-matched.  Their interaction was surprisingly sweet and meaningful.  They were both happier and enjoyed life more together.

After reading several fake marriage tropes lately, things are getting a little too predictable.  The one thing that’s always missing is COMMUNICATION and then most of the time the heroine is plagued with low self-esteem and lacking funds.   So, it wasn’t much of a surprise to find the same situation here.

When it’s time for the big revelation of love everlasting, it fell short and was somewhat of a letdown.  It came out of nowhere and carried no importance to their relationship or the Happily-Ever-After.  At this point, I was expecting a whole lot from the Epilogue.  Again, this was disappointing when there was no peek into the future.  I expect an epilogue to feature something new and exciting that has transpired between the present and their future – and that doesn’t mean an hour after they’re married.  Bummer!

To celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day and the Murphy brothers, let’s raise a glass of Irish whiskey or a pint of stout — ‘Sláinte’! It means Health and is the Irish equivalent to Cheers!

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