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

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Book Review... Spirit Willing, Flesh Weak - Julie Cohen

Spirit Willing, Flesh Weak - Julie Cohen
Little Black Dress, 2006
ISBN: 9780755334810

My rating

From the back cover:

"Rosie Fox is a liar. A really, really good liar. But when you’re a stage psychic who’s not actually psychic, you have to be. Then one night, while pretending to commune with the dead relatives and pets of her audience, Rosie makes a startling prediction – which tragically comes true. Suddenly she’s trapped in a media frenzy, spearheaded by the impossibly handsome journalist Harry Blake, a man intent on kick-starting his stalled career by exposing Rosie as a fraud. Yet when his interest in her goes from professional to personal, she thinks she can trust him not to blow her cover – but maybe she’s making a huge mistake."

I wasn't entirley sure I was going to enjoye this one. The blub hints at a bit of paranormal in the story, which is just not my thing. But I picked it up, mainly as it's by Julie Cohen!

At times I had to grit my teeth and get through the unexplained moments, such as the prediction, but I kept with the book and ended up enjoying it.

In my opinion it is not one of Julie Cohen's best, but it is well thought out, interesting, and superbly written. The heroines past is weaved in to the story perfectly, I really felt that I 'knew' her and understood exactly how (and why) she got to where she is.

The relationship between the hero and heroine builds nicely and the hero's betrayal was perfectly timed.

The scenes of the heroine on stage doing her psychic readings are really gripping; very evocative, thought provoking, and ever so slightly tongue-in-cheek. There is lots of depth here, you can tell the author has done very thorough research.

So yes, an enjoyable book despite my misgivings!


Monday, 23 July 2012

Book Review... All That Mullarkey - Sue Moorcroft

All That Mullarkey - Sue Moorcroft
Choc Lit, 2010
ISBN: 9781906931247

My rating

From the back cover:

"Revenge and love: it 's a thin line The writing 's on the wall for Cleo and Gav. The bedroom wall, to be precise. And it says This marriage is over. Wounded and furious, Cleo embarks on a night out with the girls, which turns into a glorious one night stand with Justin, centrefold material and irrepressibly irresponsible. He loves a little wildness in a woman and he 's in the right place at the right time to enjoy Cleo s.But it 's Cleo who has to pick up the pieces of a marriage based on a lie and the lasting repercussions of that night. Torn between laid-back Justin and control freak Gav, she 's a free spirit that life is trying to tie down. But the rewards are worth it"

I picked this one up on the strength that I really enjoyed the last book by Sue Moorcroft I read (Starting Over), and out of the three books I have read from Choc Lit publishing I haven't met one I didn't like!

The story starts with a bang - with the heroine being left by her unpredictable husband after a silly argument, she then goes out a meets a really nice guy and ends up having a one night stand with him.

A really unexpected, and brave, opening and it is played out wonderfully. The author neither condones nor makes light of her character's actions, and excuses aren't made either. Instead the journey the characters go on include coming to terms with the consequences, and there are many, of their actions.

The book is full of highs and lows, ups and downs, reconciliation and break-ups, and everything all over again! It really keeps you on your toes whilst reading.

This is almost, to me, like an 'anti-romance' and it feels raw and real. The characters just couldn't get it together, in the relationship sense and other, and, you know, that's life!

When the HEA does finally happen you really feel like it's deserved, that the hero and heroine have worked for it, and it isn't twee or contrived in any way.

Lovely. Highly entertaining.


Monday, 16 July 2012

Book Review... Starstruck - Jane Lovering

Star Struck - Jane Lovering
Choc Lit, 2011
ISBN: 9781906931689

My rating

From the back cover:

"Our memories define us don't they? And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It's left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence. Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious Sci-fi writer Jack Whitaker first. He's a handsome contradiction cool and intense, with a wild past. Jack has enough problems already. He isn t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors. Yet he's drawn to Skye. An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past ... Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?"

Not only does this book have a story centred around a Sci-fi TV show convention - something I am fascinated by - but it is also by Jane Lovering, who's last book I read I really enjoyed.

The story starts off very dark, and doesn't really change from there throughout, but the author still manages to inject some very honest and funny moments. There is something about her style that is very appealing - it flows naturally, is chock-full of dry humour, as well as very emotional.

Both the hero and heroine have stories that are deep and tragic, and their personalities are richly portrayed - I found myself equally frustrated and cheered by them. Their love-story weaved into an already full story feels real and beautiful.

Jane Lovering isn't afraid to write about some of the more unpleasant aspects of life, but does it all with wit and aplomb that makes this book sparkle.

Hard hitting but it will also make you laugh, definitely worth a read.


Friday, 6 July 2012

Book Review... Unsticky - Sarra Manning

Unsticky - Sarra Manning
Headline Review, 2009
ISBN: 9780755347353

My rating

From the back cover:

"High fashion, high art, high expectations – this is Pretty Woman for the twenty-first century 
Money makes the world go round – that's what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart... 
So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she's intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy? 
Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. She’s out of her depth. Where's the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money? And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?"

After reading 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' I knew I had to read this one - I adored that book, and loved the authors style...

And this is a brilliant book! I was hooked all the way through, literally - ask my husband, I barely spoke for the two days I spent reading it.

Sarra Manning has, in Grace, created a heroine who is both hard to like and easy to love. She seems shallow at first, but it's clear that she also some deep emotional scars that make her act that way. It makes you want to keep reading to find out why, and they are so worth it.

The premise of the relationship between Grace and Vaughan is interesting, I didn't know what to think about it at first but the author managers to draw you into a fascinating world that is oddly believable.

The book deals with a lot of issues too - abandonment, addiction, debt, etc - all of which are handled well and balanced out with some wonderful fun moments.

This is 'Chick-Lit' at it's finest, flirty and fun, as well as emotional and at times very dark.



Thursday, 5 July 2012

Book Review... Secrets of Castillo Del Arco - Trish Morey

Secrets of Castillo del Arco - Trish Morey
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2011
ISBN: 9780263890303

My rating

From the back cover:

"Fairytale palace or gilded cage? 
Reclusive billionaire Raoul del Arco’s deathbed promise to a friend haunts him. He swore to marry Gabriella D’Arenburg . . . but knows that taking her as his wife will only destroy her innocence. 
Gaby has no idea that Raoul has sworn such an oath. And when he storms back into her life he has a dark, dangerous edge she finds disturbingly alluring. 
Now, trapped in Raoul’s gothic castillo, Gaby is paying the price of his promise. The key to her lavish prison? Succumbing to her new husband’s touch . . . "

I like a good tortured hero story, and I was hoping for good things from this book.

While the story is played out well, keeping you interested with all the twists and turns and hints about what might be under the surface, I feel this book never really reached it full potential.

There are a lot of elements that are confusing and frustrating. I couldn't understand the hero, especially his whole I-can-never-love-again-because-I-married-a-cheating-bitch thing. Okay, I can understand how he wouldn't find it easy to trust women after that, but at times he treated the heroine appallingly and all because of his past marriage. Came across as a little shallow.

Interestingly enough, there seemed to be a lot more POV from the hero but so much of it was internal monologues and deep-POV, it was so self involved and not in a good way. A lot of the little things got missed out (I'm a stickler for details!), by the end of the book I still didn't know what the hero actually did., as in job-wise!

The bare-bones of the story is the hero lying, constantly, to the heroine to fulfil his purpose and that doesn't sit well with me. It makes the heroine come across as stupid (in my opinion) when she is far from it.

Overall, this isn't a bad book. It is well written and certainly draws you in, but the premise didn't quite work...


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Harts of the Rodeo... AIDAN: Loyal Cowboy - Cathy McDavid

AIDAN: Loyal Cowboy - Cathy McDavid
Harlequin American Romance
Harlequin, 2012
ISBN: 9780373754137

My rating

From the back cover:

"Aidan "Ace" Hart left Flynn McKinley heartbroken when he put family duty above her feelings. Then one night, the old passions were reignited and now Flynn is about to get something she's always wanted—a child to love. 
Ace takes his responsibilities very seriously. Running Thunder Ranch and his busy veterinary practice leaves little time for a personal life. That'll only get worse now that he's spending every spare minute with Midnight, the champion rodeo stallion he hopes will save the ranch from financial disaster. 
Flynn refuses to marry Ace and be yet one more "responsibility" to him. She wants Ace to want to marry her! And until he admits he loves her, she's determined to raise her baby alone…."

This is exactly the kind of American Romance book I like; real, down-to-earth characters with flaws that everyone can relate to all taking place in cowboy-land! A great start to this mini-series.

The author paints a vivid picture of the ranching setting, and the passion the characters feel for their world is wonderfully portrayed. The hero is wonderful, and his love for what he does, is very clear. I really enjoyed reading about all the interactions with the horses, it was very moving - even though I had to look up nearly every term as I know nothing about horses!

The love story between the hero and heroine plays out beautifully, and it is nicely uncomplicated in the sense that there was no other conflict apart from the characters own issues that they worked through as the story progressed.

'Lovely' is the word here, the whole book is very heart warming.

Overall, this is a very satisfying romance and, in my opinion, the very definition of books from this line. Cathy McDavid does a nice job of introducing characters and hinting at issues that we will discover in coming books in this series. Can't wait for the next.

This book is available now from all the usual Harlequin Books stockists, as well as direct from Harlequin, for readers in USA and Canada.
UK & International readers can buy the ebook from the Mills & Boon UK website.

*N.B. ARC provided by Harlequin, with thanks, in exchange for review.