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

Thursday, 21 April 2011

What's going on at the moment...

Just a quick post to let you know what is going on in my world at the moment!

The main story is that I am going on holiday this weekend, NYC here I come, I'm quite excited. Anyway because going away on holiday always takes an age to prepare for (it's like a military operation) I haven't really had much time to do any writing or blogging. I have been absent on posting reviews for the last couple of days, and it's unlikely that that is going to be resolved until I get back!

The 365books challenge is still going well, I am still reading even if I'm not blogging reviews. I'm currently 4 reviews behind. I will do my best to try and post these before I leave but I'm not making any promises.

I have a nice big stack of books ready to put in my suitcase as well as a bunch of new ebooks loaded on my Kindle iPad app, so there will be plenty to review when I get back as well.

I will take lots of photos to blog when I get back as well!

What else is going on??

This weekend will final mean the end of my diet and I can go back to eating more carbs, hooray, no more carb inspired dreams! Last weekend I had lost a total of 2stone 2lb, which I am over the moon with, that's a lot more than I was hoping to loose before going away, I am so looking forward to having more wiggle room in the tourture devices that are economy airline seats!

So anyway, in case I don't find time before now and getting back from holiday I will just say that I hope you are all well and watch this space for reviews when I get back! I will most likely have access to my twitter account on holiday so keep a look out for any sporadic updates.

To all who it is relevent I hope your having a wonderful Pesach (passover).
And to those of you in the UK, enjoy your heatwave and, of course, the Royal Wedding!

See you all soon


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #40

Marriage Made on Paper - Maisey Yates
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263886504

My rating

From the back cover:

"Pretend marriage, real wedding night!
When ambitious public relations expert Lily Ford signs a contract with hot-shot property tycoon Gage Forrester, she inadvertently signs her life away! A tough taskmaster, he wants Lily at his beck and call 24/7. Gage expects employees to go above and beyond. So, when he needs to generate some positive PR, his solution is completely unexpected - he proposes to Lily!
All in the name of business, of course. This may be a deal struck on paper, but Gage is a stickler for tradition: his bride must wear white on their wedding night!
21st Century Bosses Impossible, infuriating and utterly irresistible!"

So, once again another great read, and another fantastic book from Maisey Yates! This is her most recent release here in the UK.

The story begins with the Hero Gage hiring Lily to be his PR rep even though he had initially turned her down for the job. Four months later and the working relationship between them is going great, both are just as dedicated to their career's as each other, and both as afraid of relationships. Gage and Lily both have unresolved issues from growing up that makes it hard to trust others. When a scandal hits Gage's family in order to deflect attention away from this he and Lily decide to pretend to be engaged. As they start to spend more personal time together, sparks fly and a brief affair begins. They both set their boundaries and know that it is only a short term affair, although when the time comes to end it both find it equally hard to let go.

I really enjoyed this book. Loved the female character of Lily, she was so spunky! I have spoken before about how I enjoy books that include female characters that independent and really modern, and Maisey Yates has captured this in Lily perfectly. Although, I did have a little trouble believing that she could get to 27 years old and still be a virgin, however Maisey went to great lengths to explain and give reasons why this is so. Lily's love of quirky shoes (teamed with sensible clothing) was a great little touch, I'm with you there Lily, I like crazy shoes too! Gage was also a well written character, he wasn't ever mean to Lily and respected her, as both a woman and an employee. The banter between the two was brilliant, some of the best I have read.

The back cover blurb is a little misleading, although to find out how you will just have to read it! So don't let it put you off.

If you like the Modern series then you simply MUST get your hands on one (at the very least) of Maisey Yates's books.


Monday, 18 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #39

Hired by Her Husband - Anne McAllister
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2010
ISBN: 9780263878486

My rating

From the back cover:

"Back in her husband's bed!
Once Sophy and George Savas were happily married...Then Sophy woke up and realised that her blissful marriage was a sham. She's never looked back - until the day she learns her husband has been critically injured and her world is shaken...
Now, though he's stubborn and proud, George wants Sophy's help. He knows she won't come willingly, so he hires her to be his wife for as long as he needs her! But playing happy families is dangerous, and soon George realises that his need for Sophy runs deep...and strong..."

I'm on a run of really enjoyable books at the moment, which is great for me and my challenge. This is another great book, I have read a few of Anne McAllister's books and always found them good reads.

This is the story of Sophy and George, who four years ago married when Sophy was pregnant. Sophy was pregnant by George's cousin, who died not long after Sophy found out she was pregnant, however he had not wanted anything to with the baby anyway. Four years later they were separated and living on opposite sides of the country. When George is seriously injured in a collision with a delivery truck he has no one to look after him so Sophy agrees to help him. As the get to know one another again they both realise they still have feelings for each other but have to get through the issues that caused them to part four years ago in order to find out if they can have a future together.

This is a really heartwarming story, and a great read. Although this is part of the Modern line, I really like that Anne has been brave enough to create a male character that isn't your usual 'banker/businessman' Alpha-male, instead George is a kind hearted academic and that is a refreshing change. The conflict of the story is relatively simple and it is a classic case of couples simply not communicating with each other. Both characters have the chance to grow with the story and tackle their problems.
In reading Anne's books I have always found that they contain a great level of humour and also normality, her books are relatable, and this book is no exception to this rule. Also, the books I have read have included a dog, which acts almost like another character and it is a fantastic element, as an animal lover I adore this part of her books!


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #38

Secrets of the Oasis - Abby Green
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263886405

My rating

From the back cover:

"Shocking secrets of the sands!
When she gave herself to Sheikh Salman in Paris five years ago, Jamilah Moreau fantasised about wedding dresses and happy endings. But Salman was driven by desire, not diamond solitaires.
Now, Sheikh of a desert kingdom, Salman can have anything he wants and, as Jamilah discovers when he spirits her off to a desert oasis, its still her! However, time has wrought changes, and their lovemaking is no longer enough Something happened back in Paris that had everlasting consequences for both of them"

I seem to have a thing for dark hearted Sheikh's at the moment, after reading this straight after 'The Inherited Bride'! But then who wouldn't have a thing for a tall, dark, powerful man as wild as the desert he rules!! I was looking forward to reading this latest offering by Abby Green, I love her books, and this one didn't let me down.

The story begins with the heroine Jamilah visiting the hero Salman's apartment and finding him kissing another woman. Salman then tells Jamilah (rather cruelly) their 3 week affair is over and that he never cared for her. Five years later Jamilah is working as stable manger for the high Sheikh, Salman's brother. When they meet again sparks fly, and Salman pursues Jamilah in order to have another affair, to which she gallantly refuses! Eventually though they both surrender to their mutual attraction and begin to have an affair, however as they both get more and more involved with each other secrets are revealed, which threaten to bring the affair crashing down once again.

Phew, the sexual tension and chemistry between the two characters is just, well, I can't think of words to eloquently describe it! But it was intense, and hot! Those of you who have read Abby's books in the past will know that her books are full of a myriad of different emotions and characters with deep, dark secrets that, when revealed, shock and add more layers of emotion to the story, and this book has this in spades!
I have to admit, when I first started reading the book I hated Salman, I thought he was a bit of a bastard, but as the story progressed I found myself warming to him! He is a true tortured soul and written beautifully by Abby. Jamilah was also a good character, she had real backbone by refusing Salman's attempts to seduce her, and even when she does succumb she still manages to keep hold of her independence, a great female character.
Add into this beautifully described surroundings and scenes and you have got a really good book!

As I found out when I started reading, this is a follow on from Abby's 'Breaking the Sheikh's Rules' (which just happens to be nominated for a RITA this year, congrats Abby!). I'll be honest and say that I have yet to read this one (*hangs head in shame*), but it's on my bookshelf waiting, so if like me you haven't read it never fear, this book stands alone fine!


Saturday, 16 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #37

The Inherited Bride - Maisey Yates
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263886344

My rating

From the back cover:

"Princess Isabella was certain of three things...
She desperately didn't want to marry the Sheikh to whom she was
There was more to the darkly handsome, dark-hearted desert stranger
escorting her back to the altar than met the eye...
And, having kissed the stranger once, she was never going to be the same
again... "

This is the second book of Maisey's that I have read, a couple of weeks back I read and reviewed 'A Mistake, A Prince and A Pregnancy' (if you missed it here's a handy link!). This is a follow on from that book, with the heroine of this story being the sister of the previous book's hero, but don't worry if you haven't read that book as this is perfectly stand alone(although I highly recommend reading it eventually!).

The story begins with Princess Isabella sitting in a hotel room in Paris, when Adham arrives to escort her back to her intended husband. Isabella had escaped from her security detail in order to spend a few days experience of life outside of expectations and duty before entering into her arranged marriage due to take place in 2 months. Adham, unbeknownst to Isabella, is the brother of her future husband, and the only person trusted enough to bring Isabella back safely (and protect her innocence). At first Adham thinks that Isabella is nothing but a spoilt 'poor little rich girl', and after he is asked by his brother he agrees to look after her whilst she does some of the things she wanted to.
Isabella knows that she must marry and fulfil her duty, and understands this. However as she and Adham begin to get to know one another they slowly realise their attraction for one another. Adham feels like he has betrayed his brothers honour and when they get even deeper into a relationship and the arranged marriage is threatened things get even more complicated.

I adored this book! It had me hooked almost from the start. Maisey has written two fantastic characters. Adham is a scarred tortured soul who doesn't let anyone close to him and Isabella is a dreamer yet also mature enough to know her responsibilities. I really loved how both characters taught each other something; Isabella teaching Adham to let people close and challenging his misconceptions about her and Adham showing Isabella how to be more worldly and of course how to be a woman, if you get my meaning ;)! Maisey really made me have empathy with Isabella with her desires to do things that so many of us take for granted, such as having you picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower, eating a hamburger, going to the movies, or buying your own underwear!
This was a beautifully written romance, the settings and surrounding were also amazingly written and very descriptive. Maisey, if you keep writing books at this level then you will have a fan for life in me!!

If reading this book is simply not enough for you then hop on over to Maisey's website where you can listen to a song inspired by 'The Inherited Bride' written and recorded by her husband (link).



365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #36

The Proud Wife - Kate Walker
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263886412

My rating

From the back cover:

"Her husband wants her back!
Marina thought her dreams had come true when her husband placed a wedding band on her finger. But their marriage was not the fairytale shed hoped for, and eventually Marina walked away, her heart broken.
But two years on Pietro D'Inzeo no longer haunts Marina's dreams. She knows the time has come to move on, and even a summons to join him in Sicily wont deter her However, with his wife standing before him, about to sign on the dotted line of their divorce papers, Pietro wonders why he ever let her go?"

So another really good book from the Modern series.

This is the story of Marina and Pietro, they have been separated for two years. Now Pietro feels its time to divorce and for them both to move on with their lives. He orders her to Sicily in order to lay out the terms of the divorce, thinking she would be more than happy with the settlement he has planned. Marina, however, goes to Sicily with the determination to finally put Pietro behind her and accept nothing from him. When they meet again it is clear they are both still very much attracted to one another, and after a heated argument in the lawyers office they decide to sort out the divorce between themselves. As the story progresses we find out that their marriage only lasted a few short months, and the reason for getting married was an unplanned pregnancy. When Marina miscarried they both closed themselves off from one another eventually leading to resentment and Marina walking away.

This was an intense romance, the characters were really well written and developed and the whole story was gripping. At first it seemed like just one long domestic dispute, but as the book progressed and more and more issues were brought up and tackled by the characters the more layers were added.
Basically this is a story misunderstanding and miscommunication between partners, and an example of a tragic event pulling people apart rather than bringing them together.

Kate Walker has written an emotional roller coaster of a romance, and I loved how the characters had to grow and deal with past issues before they can move on, whether together or not. A great read from start to finish!


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #35

The Rich Man's Love-Child - Maggie Cox
Mills and Boon Modern

Single title-
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2008
ISBN: 9780263864137

Claiming His Secret Love-Child By Request
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263884326

My rating

From the back cover:

"A passionate affair, a devastating betrayal – Caitlin Burns is the last person reclusive millionaire Flynn MacCormac wants to see again. But now she’s back, with an earth-shattering revelation. She was pregnant when she left him...
Flynn knows Caitlin has no idea of the demons that helped drive her away. But he can’t forgive her for keeping his young daughter from him. He’s not about to let Caitlin leave a second time, so demands she live with him in his imposing ancestral home! They’ll raise their child there – and Flynn will enjoy Caitlin’s body once more. He might not trust her, but he knows they share a passion nothing can destroy..."

I read this book in the By Request omnibus (details above), which I borrowed from the library. This is the third book in the omnibus, I found I had previously read the other two! On the back of reading two exceptionally good books I didn't enjoy this book as much.

The book begins with the female character Caitlin returning to her home town with her young daughter for her fathers funeral. She has been living in London for the last 5 years, raising her daughter as a single mother. Caitlin is nervous about her return as she also plans to tell her daughter's father about her existence. The father is the son of the town's aristocratic family, Flynn. They had a relationship five years ago however they faced opposition from their families. Caitlin's father disapproved of it as he was bitter against Flynn's wealth and Flynn's mother was deeply disapproving of Caitlin as she was deemed as not suitable due to her working class background. Upset by this Caitlin had fled to London never telling Flynn where she went and why.
Flynn was devastated when Caitlin left him, and has spent the last 5 years living as a recluse, he had past hurts from his ex-wife's betrayal. When they meet again Flynn demands that Caitlin tells him why she left him, and when he finds out about his daughter he is angry that she has been kept from him.

Usually I enjoy secret love child stories, however I found the story to be quite slow and at times a little boring. I struggled to warm to the characters as, in my opinion, they were not developed enough. I also found that the reasons for Caitlin fleeing to London were not substantial enough to justify her actions.
I did like the setting and the description of the small Irish town, also the inclusion of various bits of Celtic history/mythology I found very interesting.
The ending of the book, however, was really good.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #34

The Forbidden Innocent - Sharon Kendrick
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2010
ISBN: 9780263886221

My rating

From the back cover:

"Having spent her childhood in care, Ashley Jones has no one. She desperately needs her new live in job as an author's assistant. But she is filled with trepidation when she arrives at isolated Blackwood Manor and meets the formidable Jack Marchant. Ashley thinks she is just a drab nobody... but her heart goes out to anguished tortured Jack. She has no idea what troubles him. But one day a private kiss becomes a passionate affair...an affair that is as secret as it is forbidden."

Whoa, it's another 5 star rated book! No, don't worry I haven't taken a bunch of happy pills, I really have loved the last two books! I have to admit that this is a book I borrowed from the library ages ago and just kept renewing it but putting off reading it! If I had known how much I would have enjoyed it then I would have read it the moment I got it home!!

The story begins with the heroine Ashley arriving at her new live-in post as assistant to the writer Jack, the hero. Ashley is a quiet 18 year old who is has struggled through her life, first through the foster care system where she had some awful experiences, and then in adulthood with living expenses and debts. Over the course of her life she has learned to keep her feelings inside and not let anyone close. Jack is also harbouring issues from his life experiences such as the destruction he witnessed while at war in the army, he is also holding a disturbing secret.
Jack and Ashley slowly develop feelings for one another, which eventually leads to an affair and to them falling in love. However Jack asks that their relationship is kept secret and Ashley worries that he is ashamed of her and doesn't really love her.

This was a beautifully written book, and a true love-story. This was another case of the pace of the book being absolutely perfect to the development of the story. It takes place over a good few months and it really allows for depth. The secret that Jack was hiding was a stunner when it was revealed, I was not expecting anything like it at all! It really gave the story an edge, I honestly did not know how this was going to work out. The characters were well written, and I really loved that Sharon Kendrick created both characters to be flawed, they really had trouble trusting one another as a result of their pasts yet they could not fight against the chemistry between them.

This is a modern interpretation of 'Jane Eyre' by Sharon Kendrick and one that is done very well, the whole forbidden love aspect was wonderfully executed and it had just the right amount of passion and heartbreak, plus a great HEA!


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #33

Jess's Promise - Lynne Graham
Mills and Boon Modern
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263886443

My rating

From the back cover:

"Bedroom bargain...baby deal...
Cesario di Silvestri isn't just fast with women, he's supersonic. After mere minutes spent in his charismatic presence, many of Europe's most glamorous women tumble into his bed...
With the exception of one - shy vet Jessica Martin, who refuses to become his weekend plaything. But when Jess's feckless relatives steal from Halston Hall, Cesario's country retreat, he has all the ammunition he needs! For now he'll enjoy her creamy-skinned beauty, but in the future he'll need an heir..."

Well, here it is, my first ever 5 star rated book!! I loved this book. This is the third and final instalment of Lynne Graham's 'Secretly Pregnant, Conveniently Wed' mini-series. The first two books are titled 'Naive Bride, Defiant Wife' and 'Flora's Defiance' respectively, both of which I have previously read. I think this is the best of the three.

The story is of Jessica, a shy and quiet country vet who, after some trauma in early adulthood, is content to live her life alone. However relatives on her mother's side of the family steal a valuable painting from the local manor house, which is owned by gorgeous Italian billionaire Cesario. Cesario is very attracted to Jess, however she turned him down on a past date. Both Cesario and Jess are at an age where they want to have children, so Cesario proposes a marriage of convenience for the purpose of conceiving, after which they will both be free. Jess agrees both in order to save her family from the fallout of the theft and to fulfil her desire to have a baby.

This book was just, wow! It was full of surprises, and the development of Jess and Cesario's relationship was written beautifully, it really gave the story great depth. I liked how both the hero and heroine were a little older than usual (for this type of book). The heroine was a fantastic character, although she was shy and quiet she was by no means a doormat, as well as a very hard working woman, I love reading books where the female character is strong and embodies 21st century values! Cesario was also a great character, Lynne managed to make him a true Alpha-male, yet he wasn't cruel or unnecessarily arrogant. Also the settings and surroundings were described in fantastic detail. Another aspect I particularly liked was the inclusion of the 'other woman/former lover' character, but instead of being the typical jealous, bitchy woman out to destroy their relationship, she was a nice person and actually happy for the couple.

I really enjoy reading Lynne Graham's books, in my opinion she manages to write stories with a fantastic pace that really allows the characters and relationships to grow, and this book certainly has that! Also Lynne writes the best endings in the business!
Oh, the names of Jess's posse of disabled dogs were great; Hugs, Magic and many more!

Definitely recommend this book!


Monday, 11 April 2011

365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #32

Dream Weaver - Jenna Ryan
Mills and Boon Intrigue
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2007
ISBN: 9780263857320

My rating

From the back cover:

"Someone was watching Dr Meliana Maynard's every move...
First there were the single white roses. In her home, her office, her car. Then the notes came...and the nightmare began. Meliana was in trouble - and now the only man who could protect her was her estranged husband, ex-FBI agent Johnny Grand.But uncovering the identity of a shadowy stalker seemed less frightening than facing the feelings provoked by the one man she'd never stopped loving.
Meliana would stand strong against her pursuer, but with Johnny...she'd surely buckle the minute he held her in his arms."

Another low rating book I'm afraid. So once again, this is my opinion and if you liked this book then fantastic, unfortunately I didn't.

This is the story of Meliana and her husband Johnny, from whom she is currently separated. Johnny was undercover with the FBI for two years that messed up his mind, and afraid of his rage issues separated from Meliana. Meliana has recently started to find white roses in private places, she was also given a white dog, and some of her lingerie was stolen. She calls in her police friend to help her, and when Johnny finds out he comes back to help protect Meliana. The threats then turn nasty as Johnny and Meliana begin to reconnect, with the stalker threatening to kill both of them.

First of all, I guessed who the culprit was in the first 5 pages, and that's not an exaggeration! To me the Intrigue line should have lots of action, snatched moments of passion, and actual suspense, and when you can easily guess the culprit then it takes the suspense away. As for the other two things, well there wasn't really much in the way of action and the passion wasn't that great.
I thought that the whole stalker problem wasn't taken seriously, I mean if your being stalked would you really go to at least 2 parties and hold a party in your home? I don't think so! Yes, the characters in this book did these things. Meliana didn't think anything of random roses appearing or a dog with a note left outside of her house one evening, it was only when her lingerie was stolen that she thought about it, come one! Wouldn't you be freaked out by these things, I know I would. The characters were not developed enough and I just could not warm to them. I also found the story really dull.

I'll admit that I almost gave up reading this book, however I was eloquently informed by my husband that my challenge is to read 365books not like 365books, so I persevered and finished it!


365 books in 365 days Challenge ... book #31

The Greek's Convenient Mistress - Annie West
Mills and Boon Modern

Single title-
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2007
ISBN: 9780263852899

She Can't Say No to the Greek Tycoon By Request
Harlequin Mills and Boon, 2011
ISBN: 9780263884340

My rating

From the back cover:

"A handsome Greek millionaire, a little girl who needs
help...Sophie can't say no...!
Sophie Paterson is shocked when Costas Palamidis turns up on her Sydney
doorstep. Costas's wife is dead, and his precious little girl's life is in
grave danger - Sophie is the only person who can help...even if it means
returning to the long-lost family who turned their backs on her...
Costas wastes no time in moving Sophie into his luxurious Greek villa. She
struggles to fight the explosive attraction that fizzes between them while
they also battle to save Eleni's life. When their forced proximity leads to
a night of unforgettable passion, Sophie has to make a choice: aware that
Costas's priority will only ever be his daughter, she can leave the man she
has fallen in love with...or stay, knowing she will never be more than the
Greek's mistress!"

After not enjoying the last book I read I was really pleased to read this book, as I really enjoyed it. Annie West is one of my 'go-to' authors as I have not yet found a book of hers that I have not liked! And this book is certainly no exception.

The story begins with our hero Costas arriving at the heroine Sophie's home. He is looking for her mother, however he is unaware that Sophie's mother died only a couple of days before and Sophie buried her yesterday. We discover that Sophie's mother came from an influential Greek family, however she was estranged from them after she refused an arranged marriage and married instead for love. Costas asks for Sophie's help, his young daughter needs a bone marrow transplant and Sophie is the only person left to test for compatibility (Costas was married to Sophie's cousin). Sophie agrees to help and travels to Greece with Costas. During the time she is in Greece, Costas gets to know Sophie and is very attracted to her, yet he fights the attraction and warns Sophie that she will never mean anything special to him.

This was a really intense and emotional read. I really felt for Costas, he is really struggling to hold everything together through the stress of his daughters illness, yet he constantly tests your opinion of him; he goes from tender and kind to controlling and offensive. I thought this was a really great element by Annie West as it made the story have lots of depth. Sophie is also a great character, she is a genuinely kind-hearted person, and she knows that an affair with Costas would be bad for her yet she just can't help herself.
The settings of the book were beautifully written and really helped to intensify this deeply emotional story.

A fantastic read!