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

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Book Review... Contract with Consequences - Miranda Lee

Contract with Consequences - Miranda Lee
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890969

My rating

From the back cover:

"He can give her everything she's ever wanted...
Last year Scarlet King was a blushing bride-to-be, but now she's alone and more than anything longs for a baby. This time she's determined to prove she doesn't need a man! 
Successful, spine-tinglingly gorgeous John Mitchell has desired Scarlet for years, so seizes the chance to claim her. But his proposal comes with a devilish price: if she wants a baby, they'll do it the old-fashioned way! John reminds Scarlet of the pleasures she's been missing, but when the affair is over will Scarlet gain her wish but lose her heart?"

I usually find Miranda Lee's books enjoyable, and this one is certainly that but it doesn't quite have the sparkle that her other books have.

The plot is relatively simple, and I'm all for non-bogged down romances, but this just came across as a little lacking,

The heroine feels a little immature, not at all like her 34 years. With her want to have a baby and her lack of success in relationships there was a chance to give the heroine a really emotional past and make the story a little more deep, but this was missed.

The hero was also a little disappointing, I could see what the author was trying to do with his 'emotional unavailability' as a result of his childhood, but it didn't quite work.

I really liked the shared history between the hero and heroine, especially that the hero had always harboured feelings for the heroine.

Overall this is a really sweet romance that is also full of sizzle. A nice read, not anything more.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Book Review... The Hawk and the Lamb - Susan Napier

The Hawk and the Lamb - Susan Napier
Mills & Boon Romance
Mills & Boon, 1993
ISBN: 9780263779660

My rating

From the back cover:

The allure of a dangerous liaison fired Elizabeth Lamb's passions and nearly made her forget the real reason behind her visit to the South Pacific island. She thought only of J. J. Hawkwood. His dark sex appeal made her hunger for a taste of ecstasy, a touch of the forbidden. For under the eye of the hawk, nothing was safe--not Elizabeth's emotions, not her secrets, not her body...."

No one writes books quite like Susan Napier; she has this very evocative, almost risqué, style that I simply love. This book is a great example of that.

Everything about this story feels sensuous and earthy, the interactions between the hero and heroine literally throb, and the surroundings are vividly painted with a richness that really adds to the overall mood of the book.

The story itself has a nice bit of complexity that really keeps you intrigued, plus a bit of suspense and excitement.

Nothing about this book is ordinary, especially not Susan Napier's characters, and as a result it shines. Where this book isn't overloaded with a lot of angst like many Harlequin Presents of this era, it is makes up for it by being packed full of emotion and positively screaming 'sex'!

Different, but really enjoyable.


Book Review... Honey Trap - Julie Cohen

Honey Trap - Julie Cohen
Little Black Dress, 2008
ISBN: 9780755341375

My rating

From the back cover:

"Sophie Tennant is used to sticky situations… because Sophie used to be a private investigator, setting honey traps for husbands and giving wives grounds for divorce. But these days she's an aromatherapist – an aromatherapist who's going on tour with a rock band, baby! Which is all good, until she recognises the band's bassist, Dominick Steele: her first honey trap, and the man who taught her she has a dangerous attraction to bad boys. But her attraction's not half as lethal as the vengeful spouse who suddenly seems to be following her!"

Once again, Julie Cohen has blown me away with an awesome story!

What a start to a story, with the heroine being slap-bang in the middle of one of her honey traps. A honey trap that goes slightly awry causing her to rethink her entire life. And then to have her reunited with one of her past honey traps - one that she has never been able to forget - is simply brilliant.

A change for other Julie Cohen books, this one actually included the hero's POV, which worked perfectly; he is such a complex character, I couldn't get enough of him.

I loved every second of the rock and roll background described - it was done with relish and a little touch of cliché that made it really stand out.

The heroine is a wonderful character, really well developed with real issues and emotions. She changed and grew as the story progressed. Very satisfying to read.

The story flows easily, and is sexy and fun with a little bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. I couldn't put it down.

Brilliant! Recommended.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Book Review... Enemies at the Altar - Melanie Milburne

Enemies at the Altar - Melanie Milburne
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890808

My rating

From the back cover:

"The last woman he would ever marry
The last time Andreas Ferrante saw Sienna Baker she was naively trying to seduce him. Whilst her provocative sensuality is emblazoned on Andreas's memory, the terrible consequences torment him. So the news that they must marry to secure his inheritance is unthinkable...
Once devastated by his heartless rejection, when she sees Andreas again it makes Sienna's humiliation burn brighter. And as for marrying him...? They'd be lucky to last the ceremony without killing each other! But there's a fine line between love and hate...Will the flames of anger turn to white-hot passion on their wedding night?"
After reading the blurb of the book I felt that it sounded remarkably similar to Melanie Milburne's 'The Wedding Charade', although this slightly disappointed me I do love this author's style so I knew I wanted to read it. And while the book had some of the same themes as 'The Wedding Charade', the overall story was different enough, which made me feel a lot better! I found this book thoroughly enjoyable, actually.

The relationship between the hero and heroine can only be described as stormy! There is so much fire between them and their interactions are full of heat and animosity; the pages virtually crackle. I loved the heroine's honesty; she is a really well drawn character and there are many understandable layers to her personality and not all of them are good. The hero is cruel to the heroine, unforgivably so at times, yet the heroine gives it all back and stands up for herself. Exactly the kind of heroine I like.

There isn't any downtime or dull moments in this story, it's chock full of passion, hate, greed, need, etc. right from the word go. This makes for some intense reading - something this author does brilliantly.

The story is very powerful and the love-story at the centre of it all really shines in it's simplicity. A great book from one of my favourite category romance authors!


Book Review... A Secret Disgrace - Penny Jordan

A Secret Disgrace - Penny Jordan
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890761

My rating

From the back cover:

"A shocking Sicilian secret... 
Louise Anderson s heart pounds as she approaches the imposing castello. Only the Duke of Falconari can grant her grandparents dying wish but this is the same man who said arrivederci without a backward glance after their night of unadulterated passion... 
Caesar can t believe the woman who almost ruined his precious reputation still fiercely fires his blood. Discovering that their union created more than just salacious memories, he agrees to grant Louise s request...in exchange for a demand of his own. That she wears his band of gold! 
Penny's final Mills & Boon is a classic. Intense, brooding and dramatic."

This is Penny Jordan's final book, such a legend of romantic fiction, she will be missed.

I had to work myself up to read this book. As much as I love Penny's classic books, I haven't really enjoyed some of her more recent ones, but I knew that I couldn't not-read it!

She proves, in this book, that she is truly a master at weaving a deep and fulfilling romance into a wonderfully deep story. When it comes to story flow and descriptive writing she really can't be beaten. Yes, she's overly fond of metaphors, but somehow she makes it work.

This book, for me, didn't get off to a great start. The hero and heroine spent a lot of time in their own heads, there was hardly any dialogue between them, and a lot of backstory was given with only alludes to what happened between the characters in the past. As a result the pace felt very stilted, and the story dragged as it waffled along. For the first thirty pages or so I had no idea what was going on!

But, the last half of this book is beautiful. The hero and heroine really deserved to find happiness together, but Penny made sure they, and we, worked for it. It wasn't an easy journey.

The story itself is a little old fashioned, especially with all the 'shame' parts, but that kind of adds another layer of charm to this book. Not many authors would be able to pull this off, but Penny Jordan did.

A great book, but a little melancholic to read.

RIP Penny.


Book Review... A World She Doesn't Belong To - Natasha Tate

A World She Doesn't Belong To - Natasha Tate
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890815

My rating

From the back cover:

"A sinful charade...
Laura Talbot can't believe she's even considering Kyros Spyridis's outrageous proposal- although he is her late twin sister's husband. Yet for reasons she daren't admit, the shy, innocent Laura is tempted by Kyros's dangerous proposition....
Kyros needs Laura to act as his wife and keep the lies about his disastrous marriage going-just for one more week.
Having lived all her life in her sister's shadow, will the "good" twin finally be able to step into her own light-even if it leads straight to Kyros's bed?"

A have enjoyed all of Natasha Tate's books so far, and this one sounded like it would be another good one. It is a good book, I enjoyed reading it, but in my opinion it isn't as good as previous ones.

The premise is different and a little complicated but it is played out well and kept me interested all the way through. There is a lot of tension between the hero and heroine, and not just the sexual kind, and the author writes a good mix of desire, tenderness, and suspicion to make the book dramatic.

But I felt that the hero and heroine's 'issues' were a little overdone. The hero's arrogance went to far and his complete refusal to believe anything the heroine said became incredibly frustrating to read. And the heroine's low self-confidence was the same,

However, it was a welcome change to have the hero falling for the heroine and admitting his love first and the heroine being the one to push away.

There is plenty of sizzle, and lots of emotion to the story. It's a good read.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Review... Girl From Mars - Julie Cohen

Girl From Mars - Julie Cohen
Little Black Dress, 2011
ISBN: 9780755341399

My rating

From the back cover:

"I, Philomena Desdemona Brown, do solemnly swear to forsake all romantic relationships...
It's not like the vow, made by Fil and her three nerdy male best friends, seemed much of a big deal at the time. Frankly, Fil wouldn't know romance if it hit her in the face, and with her real love being her artist job at Girl from Mars, the comic whose heroine has never had a love interest, she doesn't exactly mind being relationship-free anyway. Until her world is rocked to its core when one of her long-standing quartet and Girl from Mars herself both unexpectedly fall in love. Is it time to give in to temptation and finally fall in love?"

Oh, what a wonderful book! Just what I needed to distract myself on a day when I had the house full of builders making lots of noise!

Julie Cohen is a brilliant storyteller and she really shows it in this book. She captures the thoughts and feelings of her heroine perfectly, and takes her on a journey that had me absorbed right from the start.

The descriptions of the comic book art, and how the heroine creates it, are described with such rich and vividness, I could really visualise it.   

The characters are normal people, as well as slight oddballs, and very relatable in a story that is more than believable.

The love-story is, sigh, built up beautifully and full of ups and downs. The heroine is shy, awkward, and into things most people would find geeky and weird, which makes the book even more endearing, and the author seems to relish writing her.

So many different emotions are explored in the story and it ends up feeling magical. I simply adored it!


Review... You Don't Know Jack - Erin McCarthy

You Don't Know Jack - Erin McCarthy
Kensington, 2008
ISBN: 9780758214102

My rating

From the back cover:

"Jamie Peters no longer believes in true love. True idiots, true scumbags, true moochers - these she believes in wholeheartedly, and she's got the checkered dating history to prove it. So, she's more than a little skeptical when her cross-dressing psychic tells her she's about to meet her soul mate - during an accident. Yeah, sounds about right. And then it happens. A knight in shining armour steps between her and a mugger on a subway platform. Just a regular, honest, upright Jack. The kind they don't make anymore...
Jonathon Davidson doesn't believe in destiny - or lying to beautiful women as a rule. But now that Jamie thinks he's just an ordinary guy, how can he possibly tell her that he's really, her roommate's brother, a millionaire to boot, and the jerk who's investigating her application to his grandfather's charitable trust because she may be involved in something illegal? Yeah, rhetorical question. He can't. Not until he knows what's going on. Besides, it would require being able to resist Jamie's luscious curves long enough to say, "Hi, my name is Big Liar. Let's get naked." Sometimes, destiny sucks..."

I have tried quite a few Single-Title romances from a bunch of popular authors but I have never really warmed to the style of them, so I started reading this on with a bit of trepidation. While I can't say that I love it, I did find it relatively enjoyable.

My favourite thing at this book is that the hero falls head over heels in love with the heroine and isn't afraid to say it.

The heroine is quirky and endearing but she constantly pushed the hero away for what seemed like ridiculous reasons and this became incredibly frustrating after a while.

The premise of the book (hero is investigating heroine, falls in love but doesn't say who he really is or what he's doing) had great potential for both conflict and fun, but I think everything was revealed too early, it let the idea down in my opinion. After that it seemed liked all the book was about was the heroine's issues (and she had a lot) and the hero being a bit too-good-to-be-true.

It's an OK read.


Friday, 10 August 2012

Review... To Love, Honour, and Betray - Jennie Lucas

To Love, Honour and Betray - Jennie Lucas
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890877

My rating

From the back cover:

"Callie Woodville had imagined her wedding day since she was a little girl...
She thought she'd found the perfect man in her boss Eduardo Cruz - but,'Get out!' wasn't exactly the morning-after treatment she'd hoped for.
She'd never dreamed it would be like this!
Holding her writing bouquet, Callie waits for her groom - her best friend; a man she's never kissed - or has even wanted to kiss.
But once Eduardo knows about the bump concealed under Callie's oversized secondhand wedding dress, there's no way he's going to let her walk up the aisle with someone else..."

When it comes to dark, dramatic stories Jennie Lucas is one of the best, and this book is no exception.

This book has such a frantic pace, right from the word go, and is very exciting to read.

The hero is complex, very complex. He is damaged and confused, and his actions towards the heroine are a result of his background. No excuses are made for his, at times, appalling behaviour, it's not a case of 'he's an alpha-male so it's ok' Jennie Lucas makes it clear he has some serious issues and needs help, which is brilliant to read. Very gripping.

The heroine is the perfect match to the hero, she's so kind and caring but also tough. The sparks that fly between these two are immense!

This book has everything I like in a good Modern/Presents, plenty of drama and emotion plus an added layer of brutal reality that really kept me hooked all the way through.

Loved the ending! A very good read.


Review... Unnoticed and Untouched - Lynne Raye Harris

Unnoticed and Untouched - Lynne Raye Harris
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263890891

My rating

From the back cover:

"Putting the personal in PA!
The unwanted advances of gold-digging socialites are an occupational hazard for racing legend turned tycoon Lorenzo D'Angeli. So he extends his PA's job description to cover evening events.
Faith Black has risen to her boss's every challenge...But being seen on his arm means spotlights, scrutiny, figure-flaunting cocktail dresses - and leaving the safety of her staid grey suits!
Famous for his cool, Renzo's anything but when he sees his formerly frumpy PA dressed to kill! Faith knows this playboy well - she'll arm her heart with the same steel used on the D'Angeli motorbike!"

It's been a while since I have come across a Boss-PA trope in one of the more recent Modern/Presents. I was really interested to see what Lynn Raye Harris would do with such a classic theme, and I'm pleased to say that it came out brilliantly.

Lynn has really made the most out of her plot and tells a beautiful love-story. The motorcycle racing world that the book is set in is different and really well detailed, but not overly informative so.

The hero is, sigh, pretty perfect; so charming, perfectly alpha, a bit of a tart, as well as gentle and kind! The heroine has a bit of a hurtful past that makes her come across as a real, well rounded character, but my favourite thing about her is that she nice to the core.

The story benefits from not having the hero and heroine give-in-to-their-passion too early, instead there is a slow, torturous build up with sparks flying everywhere. A brilliant example of sexual tension done right!

The love-story feels natural and the whole book is beautifully written with a wonderful flow, without unnecessary over-dramatic moments.

Loved it!


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Review... Ten Years On - Alice Peterson

Ten Years On - Alice Peterson
Quercus, 2012
ISBN: 9780857383259

My rating

From the back cover:

"Rebecca is happily married to Olly and content with her job at a glamorous London art gallery. But when tragedy strikes, she decides to move back to her childhood home in the country, hoping time will help her to heal. Joe, born in the same country town as Rebecca, had a falling out with her a decade earlier. Now he's the successful owner of a wine bar, Maison Joe, and is breaking local hearts by dating a striking actress, Peta. Rebecca finds living with her parents again a challenge. Nor is it easy to discover that Joe lives and works too close for comfort. When she sees him once more, memories rush back to haunt her, along with unanswered questions about the past. Why did they lose touch? What was Olly hiding? Can Rebecca answer those questions and move on?"

I bought this book when it was on-sale for Kindle for only 20p. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much, just a quick easy read that wouldn't require a lot of attention.

I couldn't have been more wrong... This book is simply wonderful!

The story is beautiful and so full of emotion. I spent the majority of time reading it crying my eyes out, and that doesn't happen often!

The author really took us on a journey with her heroine. The glimpses into the past, as well as the passage of time through the present day story are weaved together perfectly and make the story feel really three-dimensional.

The grief and sadness the heroine goes through feels genuine and the author never makes light of it.

This is a very deep and moving story about love, life, loss, and second chances that had me hooked all the way through.

Highly recommended. Bring tissues!


Review... The Chalet Girl - Kate Lace

The Chalet Girl - Kate Lace
Little Black Dress, 2007
ISBN: 9780755338313

my rating

From the back cover:

"The ski season. A glamorous world of snowy pistes, gorgeous ski instructors and glittering après-ski nightlife. What's not to love?
Quite a lot, thinks Millie Braythorpe. Four months of endless bed-making and cooking for guests have taken their toll, and the only thing she really looks forward to is her nightly gig singing in a little French bar. Then handsome troublemaker Luke comes to stay at her chalet, and before she knows it Millie's head over heels in love. But is Luke to be trusted, or is her Alpine romance destined to end in heartbreak?"

I have wanted to read this book for a while, it comes with a lot of good reviews. And while I found it enjoyable, it wasn't what I was expecting.

The book starts off great; we learn a lot about the heroine, especially how she got to where she was at that point and what she has been through. The author weaves the backstory in well, makes it gripping and not too info-dumpy.

This is one of the first books I have read (in the general romance area) that deals with abortion. This was interesting to me, as it's something that brings a lot of issues/opinions with it. However I don't really think this was made the most out of, it was virtually forgotten about in the second half of the book.

The story was built up beautifully in the first half but after that everything seemed to become too 'easy'. Too twee and convenient. Some great conflict was developed then I felt like the book kind of lost its way.

I also feel that the heroine at 18-19 years old was too young. Everything would have been deeper and easier to relate to if more time had passed since the hurtful events in her life.

Nevertheless, this is a sweet read and certainly holds your attention.


Review... Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend - Sarra Manning

Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend - Sarra Manning
Corgi, 2012
ISBN: 9780552163286

My rating

From the back cover:

"Hope Delafield hasn't always had an easy life.
She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her. She can't wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn't exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table.
At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends. He's sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he's pretty (but in a manly way). Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they're still totally in love. Totally. They're even officially pre-engaged. And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie...
Does true love forgive and forget? Or does it get mad... and get even?"

I'm a little conflicted over this book, I'll be honest. Coming from my new-favourite-author, I knew it was going to be a) superbly written, b) deeply gripping, and c) brilliant... And it certainly was all of those three things.

I think it deserves a better title, and cover, but that of course that doesn't have any effect on my overall enjoyment.

The heroine of this story is really put through the ringer - she's chewed up, spit out, then put through it all over again. But she never loses herself totally, and eventually becomes stronger because of it.

The book captures everything, warts and all, that people go through after infidelity and when a relationship ends. Mistakes are made, even from the heroine, and the author holds nothing back. I was never sure where the author was going to take us next and the story has so many twists, turns, and unexpected happenings.

That's what makes this book so brilliant. I enjoyed every page, wanting to either cheer out load, sob, or scream in frustration! It is, at times, painful reading.

Then I got to the last few pages... The epilogue left me feeling sad. The heroine had been treated appallingly by some people and they were still a part of her life, I feel after everything she had gone through she deserved so much better.

Because it was the last thing I read, this sticks in my mind, but the rest of the book is simply wonderful so I can forgive these last few pages!

Gritty and real, and intensely moving. Read it!


Harts of the Rodeo... COLTON: Rodeo Cowboy - C.J. Carmichael + Author Interview

COLTON: Rodeo Cowboy - C.J. Carmichael 
Harlequin American Romance
Harlequin, 2012
ISBN: 9780373754175

My rating

From the back cover:

"After years of tearing up the rodeo circuit—and shirking his family duties—Colton Hart shouldn't be surprised that his return to Thunder Ranch has been a bit thorny. His plan to put the Harts' prize stallion, Midnight, back into dangerous rodeo competition doesn't help.Colt's stirring up trouble off the ranch as well, especially in Leah Stockton's heart. Recently divorced, Leah is determined to make a new life for her two kids. The last thing she needs is a man who acts like a child himself.
And Leah doesn't even know about the biggest mistake of Colt's life. When his shameful secret is revealed, she'll never look at him the same again. But Colt also realizes it's past time he acts like the man Leah deserves…whether she wants him or not."

The glimpses of Colt given in the first book of this series (AIDAN: Loyal Cowboy-Cathy McDavid) intrigued me as to what might be coming in this book, so I was looking forward to reading it.

I'm really pleased that this lived up to expectation. Colton is exactly the kind of hero I like; full of pain, yet self-assured, and willing to love wholeheartedly. I adored the heroine. She is trying to make a new life for herself and her children after being badly hurt, yet she is constantly coming up against obstacles - an inconvenient attraction to Colt being one of them!

The love-story between Cold and Leah develops beautifully and the pacing of the book is spot-on, it really made me want to keep reading.

Colt's pain is very emotional, and understandable after what he has been dealing with alone for so many years. The author handles this well and doesn't hold anything back, including Leah's shock and disappointment when he confides in her.

This is a beautiful read and a great second-instalment to this series... Next please!

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

Interview with C.J. Carmichael

About the book... 

Where did you get your inspiration from?

The story line for the Harts of the Rodeo series was developed by our Harlequin American editors…in particular Kathleen Scheibling. I loved the story Kathleen assigned to me. My hero, Colton, made a mistake in his past. That mistake has haunted him ever since and I loved writing about how he finally comes to terms with what he did and sets himself on the path of redemption.

Describe your heroine in 3 words...

Leah has spunk, humor…and she’s a good mom!

Describe your hero in 3 words...

Reckless, good-hearted…and hot!

What do you think comes next for your hero & heroine?

I see them building a house together on Thunder Ranch. I’m not sure if they’ll have more kids. Between them they already have three. I do think they’re going to add a bunch of pets to the mix, though!

What was the biggest challenge writing this book?

This was my first book set in Montana, my first book set on a ranch and my first hero who was a rodeo cowboy. So the learning curve was big. I spent a lot of time researching!

What was it like being involved in a multi author series?

Collaborating with 5 other authors isn’t easy. We all have our own ideas and developing a story arc that covers 6 books is a challenge. But as is often the case, what is the most challenging is also the most rewarding.
Cathy McDavid, Roz Denny Fox, Shelley Galloway, Marin Thomas and Linda Warren all have the three qualities that I love to see in people I work with: Talent, a good work ethic, and a terrific sense of humor!

What do you think of the whole series?

It’s a satisfying family saga with a bunch of really interesting characters. I love the fact that each hero and heroine is a unique individual. I think readers will really appreciate that. And I also love the story line that centers around the Hart’s prize stallion: Midnight of the Rodeo. Midnight is the real star of this series!

About you...

Being English I am naturally obsessed with all things American, especially cowboy's, that's why I love the American Romance line so much! But I have two questions... Where have all the cowboys gone?! And are they really like the ones in your books?

I live in Calgary where we have the tradition of the Calgary Stampede. This is a 10 year party/rodeo/exhibition/fair that sweeps over our city and fills our streets and bars with real cowboys. Yes, they exist!
But I think what women really hunger for are manly men with a sense of honor and a feeling of connection to the land and their family. And yes, those men do exist, but nowhere are they quite as ideal as in our books!

Much has been said on the topic and relevance of romance novels, what do you like most about the genre, and what is your response to the criticism about it?
I think, like all genre fiction, you find those authors who write what you like and you stick with them. Good romantic fiction delivers a story that sweeps you away. Dynamic characters, an engaging plot, and a warm, satisfying ending that leaves you believing in the good things in life.
I get frustrated with people who say they don’t read romance but enjoy watching films like Crazy, Stupid Love; The Proposal; When Harry Met Sally. Don’t they realize that these are romance stories in another form? Let’s support the books as well as the films!

Do you believe in the Happily Ever Afters we love to read about in romance novels?

I see them every day. And I’m working on my own Second-Chance Happily Ever After.

What's next for you?

My own cowboy series: Coffee Creek Montana! The Lamberts are a powerful ranching family with a controlling mother as the matriarch. Olive Lambert runs the ranch and tries to run her children’s lives as well. Readers will have to judge whether she succeeds…

What is your favourite and least favourite part about being a writer?

I love building new worlds. I’m very visual and like to visit the places I write about. I also collect pictures. I’ve just started using Pinterest to bring all these pictures together. I have a board for every book in my Coffee Creek Montana series. I invite you to take a look: http://pinterest.com/cjcarmichael/

Least favorite thing? When deadlines collide with visits from daughters or fun outings with friends…

Anything else you would like to say...

Readers…I’d love to have you visit my website. I have lots of background on my stories, research and writing process. As well as frequent contests. So come and stay a while! www.cjcarmichael.com.

Thank you Rebecca for inviting me to your blog. I love to hang out with people who love books!

Happy Reading!


Thanks CJ for visiting my blog, and for a great interview.

For a chance to win a copy of COLTON: Rodeo Cowboy, and read another fabulous interview with C.J. hop over to my wonderful friend Sara's (AKA Harlequin Junkie) Harts of the Rodeo site by the end of today - Link

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review... Love & Freedom - Sue Moorcroft

Love & Freedom - Sue Moorcroft
Choc Lit, 2011
ISBN: 9781906931667

My rating

From the back cover:

"New start, new love.
That's what Honor Sontag needs after her life falls apart, leaving her reputation in tatters and her head all over the place. So she flees her native America and heads for Brighton, England. Honor's hoping for a much-deserved break and the chance to find the mother who abandoned her as a baby. What she gets is an entanglement with a mysterious male whose family seems to have a finger in every pot in town. Martyn Mayfair has sworn off women with strings attached, but is irresistibly drawn to Honor, the American who keeps popping up in his life. All he wants is an uncomplicated relationship built on honesty, but Honor's past threatens to undermine everything. Then secrets about her mother start to spill out ... Honor has to make an agonising choice. Will she live up to her dutiful name and please others? Or will she choose freedom?
From the bestselling author of Starting Over, this novel has great charm and a cast of unforgettable characters."

Another really great book from Choc Lit and Sue Moorcroft.

The blurb and the beginning of the book really whets your appetite and makes you want to keep reading. From the word go I was desperate to find out what it was that the heroine was running from.

I loved reading all the interactions between the hero and heroine, there is plenty of spark and lots of great dialogue. I felt the hero and heroine clicked right from the start, they were both searching for something more in their lives and recognised this in each other. Oh, and a hero who is a male model? Yes please!

The only thing I found a little frustrating is that this book has a slightly unhinged/stalker-esque ex plot... as do the previous two books I have read by this author. While this part of the story is very well written and works well with the story I feel that I wanted something a little different in this book, but as I said it works.

The love story between the hero and heroine builds beautifully; it's sweet and deep and feels natural. One thing I like about this author is that her characters are normal people, with flaws and everything.

Superb writing, the story flows easily and had me absorbed all the way through, worth every minute spent reading it. Very enjoyable. 


Review... Pear Shaped - Stella Newman

Pear Shaped - Stella Newman
Avon Books, 2012
ISBN: 9781847562708

My rating

From the back cover:

"If you found yourself glued to David Nicholls’s One Day or belting out the lyrics to Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black then you’ll love this book. 
Girl meets boy. 
Girl loses boy. 
Girl loses mind. 
Sophie Klein walks into a bar one Friday night and her life changes. She meets James Stephens: charismatic, elusive, and with a hosiery model ex who casts a long, thin shadow over their burgeoning relationship. He’s clever, funny and shares her greatest pleasure in life – to eat and drink slightly too much and then have a little lie down. Sophie’s instinct tells her James is too good to be true – and he is. 
An exploration of love, heartbreak, self-image, self-deception and lots of food. Pear-Shaped is in turns smart, laugh-out-loud funny and above all, recognizable to women everywhere."

I'm finding it very difficult to work out what I want to say about this book. Part of me doesn't want to bother writing a review at all but the other part feels the need to explain the reasons why! Odd, I know.

I got this out of the library expecting good things as the blurb sounds really interesting. What I got was a book that around 90% of I hated. Yes hated! So many times I thought about DNF'ing it but I also found that it was strangely compelling. I HAD to keep reading.

The heroine, and I use that term lightly, is an idiot... She starts going out with a total bastard of a man who treats her appallingly, yet she keeps going back for more. Yes, I know it happens, there are women like this, but, you know, I don't want to read about them. This heroine is weak in my opinion.

But, I can ignore or forgive that to a certain degree because, like I said, it is a part of life. So, my main issue with this book is the it is obsessed, and I literally mean obsessed, with weight. Barely a single page goes by without a mention of it. And what gets me is that the writer has her heroine called fat almost constantly - the heroine fluctuates between a size 8 and a size 12 (UK sizes) throughout the story. That is not fat, and it is insulting to imply it is.

The issues with the heroine going slightly of the rails and her sinking into depression were handle like a joke, and not dealt with the sensitivity they deserved - this was a chance to make the book have more depth but sadly this wasn't taken.

Between the heroine's boyfriend, the constant mention of weight, and a weak heroine, etc, this book made me angry... Yet, I couldn't put it down.

Make of that what you will; of course this is just my opinion of the book. It's not for me, but YMMV.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Review... Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom - Julie Cohen

Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom - Julie Cohen
Little Black Dress, 2010
ISBN: 9780755341412

My rating

From the back cover:

"Get your teeth into this devilishly racy romantic adventure that's full of surprises!
All work and no play makes Nina a dull girl... But when you're PA to a celebrity chef who's even tastier than one of his delicious dishes you can't help loving your job. And what's wrong with fancying the pants off your boss? Erm, everything if he's married to someone else. So when Nina meets sexy Spaniard Juan, she's thrilled to escape to a new life abroad... until Juan does a runner with her hard-earned cash. Nina has no choice but to head home and brave 'The Temple of Gloom' - a gothic flat with some unusual inhabitants. Nina's had enough of bloodsuckers. But is her mysterious neighbour Viktor really a vampire? "

I just love the title of this book! 

Julie Cohen is truly a master when it comes to story telling, and this is another brilliant book from her.

Nina is everything I like in a heroine; she's confident, sometimes overly confident, full of chutzpah, a little bit of a control freak, prone to moments of impulsiveness, and always looking for something more in her life. Call me cruel, but I enjoyed reading about life kicking her about a bit! It made this book feel real, and Nina wallows, winges, and feels sorry for herself like any person would before attempting to rebuild her life.

The story has a wonderful pace and flows beautifully, it grips you right from the start.

The heroine goes on a journey, learns a few lessons and comes out the other end stronger and a better person. Exactly the kind of book I love to read.

Full of humour, darkness, and a little touch of love... Wonderful!


Book Review... Unlocking Her Innocence - Lynne Graham

Unlocking her Innocence - Lynne Graham
Mills & Boon Modern
Harlequin UK, 2012
ISBN: 9780263891065

My rating

From the back cover:

"An impossible attraction 
Three years ago Ava Fitzgerald stole what was most important to billionaire Vito Barbieri - his brother's life - leaving an insurmountable void in his once full and pleasurable existence. 
Since her release from prison Ava has agonised over her fragmented memories from that night - her misguided play for Vito, his humiliating rejection and then...nothing. 
Vito's latest business merger brings him face to face with his new employee - a troubled-eyed Ava. Haunted by the dark shadows of the past, Vito is intent on revenge. Yet despite his iron-will his plan gives way to an impossible desire..."

Reading the blurb made me feel excited about reading this one, and I needed that excitement to actually make me want to read this latest offering from Lynne Graham.

I love revenge stories, (I think this might be one of my favourite tropes, second only to secret babies!) and this on has the added surprise of a heroine whom has been in prison. Whilst reading I actually found that it isn't actually very revengey, but still an enjoyable book.

Where the last few Lynne Graham books have suffered from heroes that take the Alpha-Male idea a step too far, this book has a much gentler, more accepting hero whom is still as Alpha as you need and this certainly benefits the story.

There is a lot of shared emotion between the hero and heroine, and lots of well thought out conflict. The heroine is particularly well written; she had a lot to deal with but never caved under everything and didn't come across as a martyr.

I think a little more could have been made of with regards to the heroine's prison time, but the story didn't lack because of it. I'll be honest and say that I could have done without the 'discovery & resolution', it felt a little contrived in my opinion.

Overall, not a bad book at all. In fact a quite enjoyable one.