I write book reviews, I also write books, and occasionally I write about myself!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... Book #252

Say it with Diamonds - Lucy King
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263892895

My rating

From the back cover:

"All that sparkles . . . 
At thirty-five, Bella might be an expert on diamonds – but she’s still missing a big fat one on the third finger of her left hand. However, at least she has her successful jewellery business – with very interesting new client William Cameron, AKA the Duke of Hawksley, no less!
She’s expecting portly and chinless – but actually Will’s tall, dark and so distractingly good-looking it’s hard to concentrate on his jewels! More of a surprise: this weird chemistry between them is actually mutual. Urgent . . . . And it catches them completely unawares in a black London taxi . . . 
All that glitters is not gold. All that sparkles isn’t diamond. All men who turn you on aren’t the real thing. But being cynical gets boring…maybe it’s time for Bella to throw caution to the winds . . . ?"

The lovely Lucy King sent me this, her latest release, to read and review. Thank you so much, Lucy.

The hero Will has inherited his father's estate, including a very large and well know jewellery collection. He takes a few items to Bella, the heroine, for valuation and there is an immediate spark between them. But his interest in Bella is put on hold when Bella informs him that some of the items have been tampered with. Eventually though the attraction returns and when Bella admits it is mutual it results in a passionate, albeit brief, encounter. But however much Bella enjoyed it, she knows Will isn't looking for commitment and she is looking for Mr Right. Will knows he shouldn't pursue Bella but he can't ignore the fierce desire he feels for her, and asks for her help restoring some of the jewellery and it's not long before they begin an affair. Strictly temporary. Bella soon realises her mistake as her feelings for Will turn to love, something that he can never give her.

I was surprised by the darkness in the book. Dark in comparison to Lucy King's 'The Crown Affair', which I read recently, which had a more flirty and fun mood. But this is a brilliant book, and I really enjoyed it. Bella is a fabulous heroine; quirky, fun, and interesting. She is the perfect balm to Will's brooding and damaged personality. The sexual tension is so thick you could almost cut it, and *that* scene in the back on the limo is scorching! The story itself is deep, emotional and interesting, and very well written.

Full of sass as well as emotion, all in Lucy King's very unique and utterly compelling style. I loved it!


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #251

Win or Lose - Kay Thorpe
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon, 1986
ISBN: 9780263754117

My rating

From the back cover:

"Sara had a bright future ahead of her as the wife of kind, dependable Nigel. But first the past has to be tidied away. And that meant a meeting with Dave, the professional snooker player she had met and married after a whirlwind romance and from whom she had parted just six weeks later. She and Dave had nothing in common - except the sparks of attraction that flared between them and which had long since died. A legal parting would present no problems. But it turned out not to be quite as simple as Sara had imagined."

Oldie pile again...

The heroine Sara and the hero Dave have not seen each other in two years, ever since Sara walked out on their whirlwind marriage. She goes to see him in order to ask for a divorce, however she knows it will be difficult seeing him again and being reminded of their once shared passion as well as the hurts that had led to her walking away from him. Dave doesn't make it easy and only agrees to see about getting a divorce if she goes with him to America. Not surprisingly the passion between them hasn't disappeared and along with all their unfinished business Sara begins to realise that perhaps she didn't give their marriage enough of a chance. But Dave wants to move on as does Sara, in a way, so it's seems too late for second chances.

I didn't really know what to make of this book. It was good at moments, not so great at others and quite baffling on occasions! At one point in the books, the hero gave the heroine "a hiding", I know this is a twenty year old books but...! A massive chunk of this book was a flashback, I feel that it would have had a bigger effect if the details included were revealed gradually in snippets. It would have added more tension, in my opinion. I enjoyed the actual plot, but I do feel the execution was a little weak.

But, for an older book, it was quite enjoyable.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #250

The Mistress Deception - Susan Napier
Harlequin Presents
Harlequin, 2000
ISBN: 9780373121113

My rating

From the back cover:

"When Rachel offered to help Matthew Riordan undress after a party, her intentions were purely innocent. She'd been trying to avoid a scandal--instead she found herself being blackmailed!
Yet Matthew oozed sex appeal; he didn't need to blackmail Rachel into his bed! But they'd clashed over a business deal... Was Matthew planning to make Rachel his mistress simply out of revenge?"

This is another Susan Napier book that apparently pushed boundaries, so I thought I would give it a go. 

The hero Matt receives photograph's showing himself and the heroine Rachel in what looks like a compromising position. He initially thinks they are from Rachel in an attempt to blackmail him into giving her security company a contract. He sends them back to Rachel but she thinks that he is trying to blackmail her. She was only trying to help Matt when the turned up drunk at a party, then tried to hit on her, she has no idea where the photos came from. When she and Matt confront each other they realise that the photos came from a third party. To try and counteract any effect they may have, Matt announces their engagement and Rachel is livid about it. Matt admits that he has feelings for her and he helps Rachel through some difficult times, and they grow closer. When the desire between them finally erupts, Matt's revelations have a profound effect on Rachel. 

This book certainly does defy conventions, and is thoroughly enjoyable. The hero and heroine are so different from the usual romance types; from the hero wearing glasses to the heroine being taller than the hero. I know these are little things, but they make this book feel very fresh. Both the hero and heroine have backgrounds that are quite shocking and handled beautifully by the author. The hero has a little secret that is so brave of Susan Napier!
There is a lot of chemistry between the characters, a really juicy story, an amazing twist that makes this a fabulous read. 



365 books in 365 days challenge ... book #249

The Seduction Trap - Sara Wood
Harlequin Presents 
Harlequin, 1999
ISBN: 9780373187102
Reissue - Harlequin Treasury, 2011
eISBN: 9781459252400

My rating

From the back cover:

"An irresistible temptation!
Tessa came to France to visit her long-lost mother. Instead she found three cottages and Guy de Turaine, who clearly intended to charm her out of her mother's property! Well, his ploy wouldn't work, no matter how attractive he was—.
Guy wanted to return the cottages to his family estate, and if that meant seducing Tessa, then so be it! He was determined not to succumb to his desire for Tessa, however. He'd seen how his father's obsession with her mother had been the ruin of him, and he refused to make the same mistake!
Neither wanted to be trapped by seduction but, as anger turned to passion, they fell right in..."

This is a book from the Harlequin Treasure line, which is an ebook exclusive line.

The hero Guy has returned to the French village of his birth fro the first time in many years, as it's new seigneur after the death of his father. He is keen to rebuild the struggling community after the neglect of his selfish father, but first he wants to gain ownership of three properties his father's mistress owns and then drive her out of the village. However she flees and leaves her daughter Tessa, the heroine, to pick up the mess she left behind. Tessa only came to France to finally meet the mother that abandoned her as a baby, and is shocked to find her gone and to find out she is now the owner of three very rundown cottages. Guy makes it clear he will stop at nothing to get the properties, including what seem to be many attempts at sabotaging Tessa's efforts to improve things. Tessa is also upset to learn the truth about her mother's behaviour, and Guy realises that she is nothing like her avaricious mother. He also realises that the fierce desire he feels towards her is much more than lust, but Tessa can't trust his motives.

This is the first book I have read by Sara Wood, and I really enjoyed it. The story is interesting and well written. The interaction between the hero and heroine is nicely done; witty dialogue and nice chemistry. The heroine is very appealing, she is really down to earth and has some nice quirks (such as overeating when she is nervous!). The surrounds are described with richness and depth, and the whole story is really well executed.

A good, classic read.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #248

Rodeo Daddy _ Marin Thomas
Harlequin American Romance
Harlequin, 2011
ISBN: 9780373753567

N.B. This is a North American release.

My rating

From the back cover:

"The day Hallie Sutton dreaded has finally come. Drew Rawlins has found out the secret she's been keeping—and he's spitting mad! But the rodeo is Drew's whole world and Hallie needs a full-time dad for their boy. Still, how can she deny the injured bronc rider the chance to get to know his son?
All Drew wants is to carve out a place in his son's life. Sorting out his feelings for Hallie isn't as simple. The emotion simmering between them is just as strong—so's the red-hot desire that got them into trouble five years ago. Winning the world championship is still number one on Drew's list. But he figures he can have it all. The title and the chance to prove he's the man Hallie and Nick need."

I actually started reading this book back in the summer, but due to an invasion of bugs into our bedroom (urgh!) my copy of this book was a casualty of war and ended up in the bin! I have finally got round to buying a new copy.

The hero Drew, a pro bronc rider, is injured during a rodeo and taken to hospital where he is reminded of the last time he was in this town and spent one night with Hallie, the heroine. A night he has never forgotten. He manages to track Hallie down and is shocked and angry to discover that she has kept the fact that they made a child that night, a child that is now his four year old son Nick. Hallie has always feared that Drew would find out, and although she knows she was wrong keeping Nick from Drew she can't help but think that Drew will end up hurting Nick. Hallie's bad opinion of cowboys comes from being abandoned by her cowboy father as a child, but Drew tries to show her he is not like her father and is serious about being a father to Nick. However he is not willing to give up his world championship dream and doesn't see how much this hurts Hallie when he keeps leaving and coming back, which also confuses Nick. Despite the animosity between them, whenever Hallie and Drew are alone together they can't ignore the desire they feel for one another. Drew wants a future with Hallie and Nick, but not at the expense of his own dream.

I really enjoyed this book, it is both emotional and upbeat, and beautifully written. The hero and heroine are well developed, and their relationship feels very real, they go on a journey that is a pleasure to read. What I liked most about this book is it's honesty. The author doesn't sugarcoat issues such as the jealousy parents feel when their child sways towards one of them, or the fact that the child actually behaves badly on occasions  (so annoying when books include children that are written as perfectly behaved little angels, let's be realistic!).

This is a very enjoyable book with a nice love-story and is, above all, believable.


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A post in which I moan...

If you read this blog regularly and notice a few formatting changes, it is not me trying something new.

Blogger has a new layout and new way of posting and it is, quite frankly, baffling. I spent an hour this morning trying to insert a picture and move it to where I wanted in a post!! And now I can't seem to work out why my text is surrounded by a white box when the post is published... 

Bear with me while I work out what I'm doing, blog posts might be a little strange and sporadic for some time...

I don't like change!


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #247

In Bed with a Stranger - India Grey 
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263887136

My rating

From the back cover:

"The ticking time bomb of their marriage 
Sophie Greenham whirled into army officer Kit Fitzroy's life like a red-headed tornado, smashing through the walls surrounding his heart and changing his life for ever. Leaving his bubbly fiancĂ©e to return to the front line disposing of bombs was the hardest thing Kit had ever done . . . . 
When he returns home, their reunion is raw and intoxicating. But the man Sophie loves is now a virtual stranger. Tormented, and determined to keep his distance, he can only truly connect with her in the bedroom . . . . But they'll need more than passion to survive the challenges ahead unscathed . . . . 
THE FITZROY LEGACY -Wedlocked to the aristocratic Fitzroy family- where shocking secrets lead to scandalous seduction 
The unforgettable conclusion to this two-part story from award-winning author India Grey"

I loved the first part of this duet by India Grey (Craving the Forbidden), so I was expecting great things from this book...

The hero Kit returns home after active military duty full of pain and guilt after an incident that left a fellow soldier injured. It has also left Kit doubting himself. However he doesn't doubt his love for Sophie, the heroine, and when they reunite it's full of passion. Kit struggles to get over the traumatic events and after even more long buried family secrets are revealed, he finds himself pulling further and further away from Sophie. It hurts Sophie that Kit won't talk to her, she has also got a lot to tell him about events in her life while he was away on duty. The more time that passes they get more and more distant with each other, the only time  they truly connect is their very explosive and passionate moments, but Sophie soon realises that it is not enough. Kit's foundation is rocked even more when he fears that he may have a genetic disease and begins to think that he has nothing to offer Sophie. 

Another fantastic book, and a great second part to Kit and Sophie's journey. This book is jam packed with tension, with a capital T! And, it is enthralling all the way through. The fact that the hero and heroine are already in a relationship and this continues through the entire book is fabulous. It's original and very well executed. Romance novels are so often about the two characters meeting (or re-meeting) so having a couple already in a relatively secure relationship and actually getting to see what happens after they have their HEA is brilliant. I think India Grey has done a fantastic job.
This is very much a book about the hero, but it still has lots of input from a fantastic heroine. The issues raised over PTSD are handled well also. 
This is a beautiful romance; I really felt invested in these two characters lives and couldn't wait to find out how they would find their happiness. It is definitely worth it.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #246

Craving the Forbidden - India Grey 
Mills & Boon Modern 
Harlequin UK, 2011 
ISBN: 9780263886955

 My rating

From the back cover:

"The wrong Fitzroy brother? Ticket-dodging in a First Class train carriage is not how bubbly Sophie Greenham envisaged meeting Kit Fitzroy, fearless army hero and brother of her friend Jasper. The smouldering heat between her and Kit is an unwelcome shock – especially as Sophie’s masquerading as Jasper’s girlfriend all holiday! Although Kit’s bravery is legendary, he’s dreading the return to his bleak ancestral home. But Sophie’s vibrancy dispels the shadows in his tortured soul, consuming Kit with a potent desire for the one woman he’s forbidden to touch… 
The FITZROY LEGACY Wedlocked to the aristocratic Fitzroy family – where shocking secrets lead to scandalous seduction. An unforgettable two-part story from award-winning author India Grey."

I couldn't wait to read this one, I am a huge fan of India Grey's books. I held off reading this one until the second part of the duet arrived, which I will be reading straight after this.

The heroine Sophie and the hero Kit meet on a busy north bound train. Not only is Kit witness to Sophie's embarrassing state of dress and an awkward phone call but, unbeknownst to either of them, Kit is the brother of Sophie's best friend Jasper. Sophie has promised Jasper that she will pretend to be his girlfriend for the weekend as he has not told his rather traditional parents that he is gay.  But Kit's presence and obvious disdain for her makes Sophie feel very awkward. Kit sees Sophie as just another deceitful woman, but there is something about her that draws him to her and he can't deny the attraction between them. Kit has never had a close relationship with this family and finds being back home difficult, especially after his experiences while away on duty with the military. All his brooding erupts into a few snatched moments of passion with Sophie, and they soon realise they are both deeper involved with each other than they expected. But Kit thinks Sophie is cheating, and Sophie doesn't know how to reveal the truth or get Kit to open up to her.

What an amazing book, India Grey has done it again! This book has so many good things going for it; family secrets, sadness, blazing passion, misunderstandings, humour... well, you get the idea! I love the military hero, the majority of the recent Modern/Presents have had a variation on the businessman hero, so this was really refreshing to read. And let's face it, you can't get much more Alpha than a military hero! The hero and heroine are perfectly matched; the quirkiness and spirit of Sophie is the perfect balm for Kit's brooding and tortured temperament. Their snatched moments of 'forbidden passion' are scorching!
The journey these two go on throughout their love story is so evocative and wonderfully written, I couldn't put it down.

I can't wait to read the second part of Kit and Sophie's story, if it is half as emotion packed as this one then I'm going to need a seatbelt for the rollercoaster ride.



Friday, 16 December 2011

What have I been up to lately...

You may have noticed that I have been a little absent in my random blog posts recently. So here is a quick update of the things I have been doing recently -

1 - I fell down the stairs on Tuesday morning... Yes, I really did, go ahead, you can say I'm a klutz! I have been left with a sore ankle, a very painful sprain in my lower arm (makes typing difficult!) a bit of a sore bottom from impact and a little bit of bruised pride. You'd think after 27 years I would be used to being clumsy...

2 - I have been reading a lot, obviously, to try and catch up for my reading challenge.

3 - I have been furiously knitting a jumper for my husband that is going so slow I swear I'm knitting backwards. It was meant to be a christmas gift, but I started it in October and have only just finished the back, on that timescale my husband is going to be very warm in summer! I have come to the conclusion that I just can't knit!

4 - There have been various visits to family, including one very nice argument. But the less said about that the better!

5 - While panicking about what to get hubby for Christmas, I have been trying to ignore the pile of my presents in the spare room. But I really want to give them a feel!

6 - I have been my usual scrooge-esque. Alas, 'tis true, I am a bit of a Scrooge!

7 - Still plugging away at WIP (Upfront Centre Stage) and that is going well :-).

Er, I think that is it at the moment, hope you are all well.

What have you all been up to recently?


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #245

The Man Who Risked it All - Michelle Reid
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263890266

My rating

From the back cover:

"This fearless playboy has everything to lose...
For Franco Tolle, the golden boy of Europe’s jet-set society, life is just a playground – filled with racing speedboats on the azure Mediterranean Sea. When you’re rich and famous money is no object... and to hell with the consequences! But he once took a risk with a price bigger than he was willing to pay...
In a rush of red-hot infatuation he put a glittering diamond wedding ring on Lexi Hamilton’s finger, yet within months they were living separate lives. Now Franco’s daredevil life has caught up with him – but he’ll risk it all for the one thing he craves... his estranged wife!"

I love the title and cover of this one.

At the beginning of the story the hero Franco is injured in a crash during a power boat race after learning some devastating truths about his failed marriage. When the heroine Lexi learns about Franco's accident she is devastated and despite all the past animosity between them over their traumatic marriage she agrees to go to him when he asks for her. While she helps Franco convalesce she tries to ignore the still blazing passion between them, but Franco shocks her when he makes it clear he wants them to get back together. Lexi can't believe he wants them to get back together, as their marriage was a total disaster and she has never forgiven him for the ruthless way he seduced her and then treated her after they were married. It has taken Franco a long time to realise how wrong he was about Lexi after believing lies about her told by people that only wanted to drive them apart. He tries to make amends but Lexi stonewalls him, so he uses the passion between them to his advantage and hopes that will break down her emotional barriers.

The angst levels in this book are quite melodramatic, which for some reason I found highly entertaining. Michelle Reid's books are always fast paced as that is certainly the case here, I had read half the book before I even knew it! The hero and heroine's relationship is the definition of 'can't live with em, can't live without em' and it is rife with sexual tension. I think that it is done very well. Yes, the hero and heroine argue a lot and, at times, behave badly but it all adds to the overall mood of the book.
I do feel that there wasn't enough explanation behind the reasons for the two 'badies' wanting to them to split, it lacked depth and I wanted to know more...

This is full of angst, emotion, and above all hope. I really liked it.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #244

The End of Her Innocence - Sara Craven
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263890280

My rating

From the back cover:

"A dangerous yet irresistible temptation…
Before her heart became the latest one discarded in wild abandon by the even wilder Darius Maynard, housekeeper Chloe Benson fled her beloved village. Returning home years later, she finds the notorious rogue’s flashing green eyes and mocking comments still infuriate... and excite her!
Suddenly upgraded from spare to heir, Darius is enduring an onslaught of personal torment. However, he’s been the black sheep of the Maynard family for as long as the gossipmongers can remember. And there are some old habits – indulging in beautiful women for example – that Darius has no intention of breaking..."

I have been so looking forward to reading this latest offering from Sara Craven!

The heroine Chloe has been time working away and is now ready to go back home and marry her long term boyfriend. However when she gets back home, nothing seems to go as planned; her boyfriend is distant and preoccupied, her Aunt and Uncle are planning to move away, and the hero Darius is back, which makes Chloe feel awkward. Darius was once the village bad boy, whom left in disgrace seven years ago after apparently being found in bed with his brother's wife. That had also been the same night that he almost seduced Chloe and then rejected her, causing her hurt and humiliation that she has never quite forgotten. When Chloe and Darius meet again Chloe tries to ignore him lest he see her humiliation, especially from his sometimes salacious comments. But she can't forget the attraction she felt towards him, that has never really gone away. Despite her attempts to avoid him Darius manages to be around a lot, which unnerves her especially as her so-called boyfriend has told her they need to space and seems to be hiding something. Darius makes it clear that he still desires her, and Chloe can't deny her feelings towards him, but knows that she is likely to end up heartbroken.

This is a little different from the more recent Sara Craven books (there's no 'forced seduction' here!), and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I like the way the author gradually revealed the backstory and hidden truths, it created some delicious tension and a touch of mystery, and the whole thing is done like a true master. I really responded to the simplicity of both the love-story and the setting. So many Modern/Presents these days are set in such glamorous, international, and glitzy worlds, which don't get me wrong I love, but it was very refreshing to read this book set in a small rural English village. And it still managed to include all elements you would want (Alpha-hero, aspiration, etc).
The heroine really does go on a journey throughout this book, which I loved reading; she started off naive yet thinking she knew everything, and gradually grew up. This gives the book a wonderful flow. The interaction between the hero and heroine is fantastic, packed full of chemistry.
I have two complaints though! First, there is no POV from the hero, and I really wanted it, it would have added a bit more depth. Secondly, the writing is a little stiff and old fashioned, and if I read the phrase "on the contrary" one more time I may have screamed!

Nevertheless, I really liked this book.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #243

One-Night Stand - Sandra Field
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon, 1992
ISBN: 9780263778298

My rating

From the back cover:

"Reed didn't love her, He wanted to make love to her but with no promise of commitment. And he was painfully honest about his feelings.
Jodie wasn't the sort of woman who had casual affairs. She wanted a warm, caring relationship with a man she could learn to love. So why did she feel so tempted to go along with Reed's demands? It must mean that he was someone who mattered in her life ... But could she face the pain of loving a man who had no intention of loving her back?"

Another book from the oldie pile.

The hero Reed is enthralled by the heroine Jodie after seeing her dance at a recital. Even though he knows he can't give her commitment, Reed can't get her out of his mind, so after they meet coincidentally he asks her out. Jodie is also drawn to Reed, and this shocks her as he is the first man to attract her since her beloved husband died. When Reed admits to Jodie that all he wants is to sleep with her, she knows she can't do it, she wants and believes in love. Reed inexplicably knows he needs Jodie and continues to see her, hoping that eventually she will give in to the desire between them, and she does. However, instead of his need for her lessening, it only increases along with their feelings for one another. But Reed is scared of fully opening the darkness in his heart to her, fearing she will leave him. But his lack of trust only ends up hurting Jodie.

This is a bit hit and miss. The start of the book is really good, then it gets a little boring and I found my attention drifting. However, when the hero revealed his secrets it was quite shocking and really added another layer to the story. I ended up really enjoying it, it deals with some tough stuff and, for an older book, is both forward and shocking. Although the suspense style ending is rather bizarre and quite ridiculous!
The hero and heroine work well together and there is some great sexual tension along with the heavy conflict, which makes it very entertaining.

An enjoyable read.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #242

The Crown Affair - Lucy King
Mills & Boon RIVA
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263883909

My rating

From the back cover:

"Close encounters of the Royal kind!
After being made redundant and finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Laura's decided it's time to take charge of her life! However, the last thing she expects is the new Laura to end up having wild, naked fun with the gorgeous guy next door...
Okay, she virtually runs away afterwards in shame - but so what? She soon gets a new job - on the Mediterranean island of Sassania, no less! But the island has a new king - aka Laura's guy-next-door! Now they're both in trouble, for King Matt should be focussing on affairs of the state, not be intent on re-igniting a hot affair of his own..."

This is my first Lucy King book. I have heard good things though, so I have been looking forward to giving this one a go. And, let me just say I adore this cover!

The heroine Laura is desperate to get an invite into the hero Matt's house, not because he's drop dead gorgeous but because she is a restoration architect and interested in the house's features. Matt reluctantly lets Laura in after a slight clash led to him jumping to conclusions and presuming the worst about Laura. In his defence, he has been under some extreme pressure ever since learning that he is heir to the throne of the small Mediterranean county his family were exiled from many years ago, and the almost constant attention from the press since has caused even more stress. There is an immediate spark between Matt and Laura, and Laura tries to ignore it but, fed up with always being a push over, she decides to take something she wants and gives in the passion between them. A few weeks later and Laura's joy over landing a dream restoration job is hindered when she learns that it is in Matt's country. And that she had no idea of his royal status. Even though they both try to ignore the still simmering passion between them, they soon pick up where they left off. Strictly no-strings, as neither of them want more...

I'll be honest and tell you that I don't really go for royalty based stories, they just don't do it for me. So I started reading this with a little bit of trepidation. But I was completely absorbed by it, I really enjoyed it! Lucy King's writing style is fantastic, it is full of sass, witty dialogue, and very fresh. Totally her own and I, for one, love it.
Both characters are brilliantly portrayed and surprisingly down to earth. I especially liked that the heroine is a little older than your usual romance heroine, to me late 20's-mid 30's is the perfect age. It is certainly more relatable, bravo! I liked everything about the heroine; her humbleness, her attempts at being more assertive, she really is very entertaining.
The chemistry and passion is scorching, and the love-story has a wonderful pace that makes it a joy to read.

The whole book is very, very good; with genuine fun moments as well as a lot of touching ones.

I loved it!


Thursday, 8 December 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #241

One Night, Two Heirs - Maureen Child
Harlequin Desire
Harlequin, 2011
ISBN: 9780373731091

N.B. The above details relate to the North American release of this book.

My rating

From the back cover:

"Duty is his world. And upon seeing Sadie Price with twin girls, marine Rick Pruitt realizes he has some proposing to do. He never would have left Royal, Texas, if he'd known Sadie was carrying his babies.
Yet the feisty single mom has no intention of agreeing to a loveless marriage. True, she and Rick share a bond, as well as undeniable passion. But Sadie believes vows should last a lifetime, not be declared out of obligation. Making it Rick's new mission to change her mind..."

This cover makes me laugh, the model and the Stetson look so serious!

The hero Rick has just returned from active duty as a marine and is considering coming home for good. His experience while on duty and the death of a fellow marine have left him feeling a little raw. When he runs into Sadie, the heroine, he is pleased to see her again and reminded of the almost perfect night they spent together three years ago. However his pleasure turns to shock when Sadie reveals that their night together resulted in beautiful twin girls. Angry and hurt that Sadie kept this form him and that he has missed so much of his daughters lives, he tells Sadie that they will get married. Sadie has always known this day would come and wants Rick to be a part of the girls lives but she refuses to marry him. Sadie married for duty once before and had her heart crushed, and she only wants to marry for love. As Rick spends time with Sadie and their girls he tries many ways of getting Sadie to say yes, including them acting on the fierce passion between them, but he is honest about the fact that he can never love her. And love is the only thing Sadie will ever accept.

I really enjoyed this book, it has a well used plot but it is written and executed beautifully by the author. The interaction between the hero and heroine was particularly nice to read, and I especially liked the very gradual development of their relationship. It felt very real and believable. There is a nice blend of passion and tenderness in this book, that I feel really works to add depth.
I do have to admit that I found the hero's reluctance to love and his sudden turn around a little trivial and it made the HEA feel a little bit clunky.
But overall this is a solid and enjoyable read, a good example of what I like (and want) from the Desire line.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #240

Dark Enchantment - Helen Bianchin
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon, 1986
ISBN: 9780263755091

My rating

From the back cover:

"'There was never any question of whom you would marry, merely when!' Jared Chayse told Kris adamantly. And as Jared was rich, handsome and undeniably attractive, what was Kris worrying about? Merely the fact that, as they were both well aware, their forthcoming marriage would be nothing but a matter of expediency; they were co-heirs to an enormous business empire, so what more suitable than a merger? And the fact that Kris had loved Jared for years was small consolation - when she was only too well aware that he didn't care two straws for her!"

Another recommend Presents...

The heroine Kris arrives back home after spending a year in Europe at a finishing school. She has no idea what is next for her after having most of her life since her father's death dictated by her inheritance trustees; her rather social conscious stepmother and the son of her father's business partner Jared, the hero. Feeling a bit lost by her lack of direction she goes along with the endless stream of parties her stepmother takes her to, as well as the dinner invitations from Jared. Jared soon informs her that he plans for them to marry, and Kris knows that the marriage is only intended in order to merge their two families and thus make their combined business, of which Jared is CEO, even more powerful. Kris agrees as she feels there is little other course for her. She has always had a secret love for Jared but is realistic enough to know that he will never love her.

I'll be honest and tell you that I don't really like Helen Bianchin's books. Her writing style just doesn't work for me, but I have heard that her older books are much better than her more recent ones (which always seem to contain some psycho-stalker-esque plot) so I thought I would give this one a go... Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it. The story itself is interesting and had potential, but the devil is in the details and they were poorly done. I found it very difficult to sympathise with the characters, they were so snobbish and whiny. I don't mind books set in a wealthy world, but this book was just ridiculous. Readers need to be able to put themselves in the character's shoes, not be patronised by them - that is what this book did in my opinion. Let me give you an example -
"Her eyes assumed a shrewdness far beyond her years. 'It's just as much a pain being born rich as it is being born poor. Although the poor wouldn't agree with me!' She laughed..."

Yeah, somehow I don't think those who can't feel their children would agree with you. Why would the author write that?! And what is with all the designer's names chucked in, seriously there is tons, it's unnecessary and a little tacky.
The writing is so repetitive, every damn thing the heroine did was described and sometimes in mind numbing detail. I lost count of the amount of times the heroine did the following (all in the same order) - had a shower, "completed her toilette", put on underwear, chose clothing, put on make up, and brushed her hair. Very frustrating.
One last thing - in the HEA the hero admitted he had been in love with the heroine for over five years and waiting for her. The heroine only just turned 21 in this book and the hero 34, so that means he has been lusting after her since she was 14/15 and he 29... Make of that what you will.

The reason this got two stars not one, is that the actual plot was interesting.
Sadly disappointing.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #239

Whose Child? - Susan Gable
Silhouette Superromance
Silhouette Books, 2006
ISBN: 9780373712045

My rating

From the back cover:

"Lexie swore she would protect the child she carried - even though she wasn't really her mother.
To give her friend David the child he'd dreamed of, Lexie had agreed to be a surrogate mother, but that was before she learned the truth about his wife...
Four years ago, when Lexie was pregnant and on the run, she found safety in the little town of Mill Creek. Since then she's had a good life, raising Sarah and immersing herself in the community, but never quite forgetting what she's done. Then David finds them and announces he wants his daughter back..."

I have been wanting to read this book after I saw it on the author's website, I managed to track down a used copy.

The hero David has been searching for the heroine Lexie for four year and has finally found her. He goes to confront her and bring back the daughter he has never even met. Lexie is terrified to see David again, and knows that he is there to take her beloved Sarah away from her. Lexie had run away four years ago in desperation after David refused to believe her after she had found out some very worrying information about his wife. She managed to find a community that accepted her and stay hidden, and raised Sarah as her own. David is overwhelmed when he finally meets his daughter, and promises never to be away from her again. Although he has long since realised that Lexie was telling the truth all those years ago, he will never forgive her for depriving him of the first four years of his daughter's life. He and Lexie were once best friends and he can't help noticing the changes that the last four years have caused, and not all of it for the better. He also can't deny that she has been a wonderful mother to Sarah, and surprisingly that he finds the new Lexie very alluring. David asks Lexie to marry him, but even though she is desperate not to lose Sarah Lexie has always loved David and knows that he will never love her, so she says no.

I thought the author raised two very interesting and sensitive issues - the issues of surrogacy and whether it is DNA or love that really makes you a parent - and she did it brilliantly. The book manages to be sad and upbeat all at the same time, and is a very absorbing read. The hero and heroine are written with honesty, and feel three dimensional. There are also some great secondary characters that add depth to the story. I was really happy that the heroine decided to stay within the community that accepted her openly instead of giving it all up, that would have felt very shallow. The only thing I would change is taking away the random sections of POV from one of the secondary characters, I don't feel the book needed it.
This is a really touching book, that draws you in and has you really invested in the outcome, I know I was virtually holding my breath at times!

Very enjoyable.


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #238

Playing His Dangerous Game - Tina Duncan
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263887167

My rating

From the back cover:

"What happens when you break all the rules...?
Socialite Shara Atwood is used to playing the celebrity game. However, the buzz of vintage champagne is nothing compared to the heady gaze and indecently muscled physique of her new bodyguard, the enigmatic Royce...
Royce has his work cut out for him! Shara is no spoilt Daddy’s Girl, but a fiercely independent woman learning to stand on her own two feet. Shara knows she should do as Royce tells her – especially when his body is between hers and danger – but she can’t help but think she’ll have more fun not obeying his every command..."

Tina Duncan is a new-to-me author, and since this is a Modern I thought I would give it a go.

The hero Royce is hired by the heroine Shara's father to act as a bodyguard for her as she has been receiving some hassle from her ex-husband. Royce's first impression of Shara is that she is just like any other spoilt rich girl. But he soon realises that Shara is so much more, and that he is fiercely attracted to her. Shara is not happy to have Royce around, after spending the last year in an abusive marriage she doesn't want to be dependent on another man. But after her ex-husband's threats become more serious, she is forced to concede. As they grow closer, Royce and Shara begin to fall for one another. But Royce knows he needs to pull away and Shara only ends up hurt again.

I feel a little disappointed with his book. It sounded like it was going to be much more exciting that it turned out to be. The subject of the heroine's domestic abuse is handled well and with sensitivity by the author. But everything was revealed quite early on in the book and it felt a little too info dumpy. I think it would have created more tension throughout the book if things had been revealed in a more gradual way.
The hero is a bodyguard hired to protect the heroine from her abusive ex-husband - sounds good. His great suggestion to help her... get a restraining order. Come on, surely anyone can think of that themselves. A big let down in my opinion. I thought he was going to suggest he take her away to some secluded cottage and the sexual tension between them explodes or something. But no, the whole book is him staying with her and helping her fill out the paperwork and wait for a court date.
My last (I promise) moan about this book is the structure - every sentence is a new paragraph, and the change of POV, using scence breaks, is almost constant sometimes after only half a page. Both of these things disrupts the flow and pacing of the book and makes it quite difficult to read.

Not one for me, I'm afraid.