At First Sight: As her fourth, unsuccessful season draws to an end, Anabelle Payton's circumstances are desperate - she's almost 25, doesn't have prosAt First Sight: As her fourth, unsuccessful season draws to an end, Anabelle Payton's circumstances are desperate - she's almost 25, doesn't have prospects or a dowry, and her family is deep in debt. But then she takes notice of the girls seating next to her at a ball -realizing they have been seating together for most of the season -and they strike a friendship.
Soon American heiresses Lillian and Daisy Bowman, Evie Jenner and Anabelle make a plan to attack husband hunting as a team sport as they have been quite unsuccessful on their own. Since she's the oldest, it's decided that Annabelle should go first, and the girls hatch a plan to catch her a husband during Lord Westcliff's upcoming house party in Hampshire.
Following Annabelle's every move is Simon Hunt. Born into a middle class family, Simon made a fortune as a financial speculator and eventually struck a friendship with the powerful Lord Westcliff. He has gotten almost everything he has ever wanted, except for Annabelle.
Simon appreciates Annabelle's beauty and is amused by her antics - because the Wallflowers manage to get themselves in trouble quite often - and even though his feelings toward her are stronger than he would like, he can't stop himself because he knows Annabelle wants him more than what she would like, too.
Second Glance: I love the Wallflowers, I truly do. In general, I love this book and series because it's says a lot about friendship. These girls are very different - Annabelle is beautiful and old-fashioned; Evie is shy but sweet with a large supply of quiet strength; Lillian is bold and outspoken; and Daisy is a whimsical dreamer with a pragmatic streak a mile wide - but they come to love one another and truly want to help each other out. There is nothing remotely catty about their relationship, and for me that's one of the most wonderful things about this series.
As for the romance in the book, it was rather lovely. Annabelle has to struggle with her prejudices and old-fashioned notions, she's horrified that she finds Simon so appealing because she thinks she shouldn't like him. Simon has a reputation for being ruthless and not quite civilized for good society, but he's simply too rich to be ignored and he sort of finds it amusing how everyone has to put up with him, both because of his money and because he is Westcliff's best friend. Yet, as they actually spend time together, Simon and Anabelle reveal more of themselves. Annabelle shows that she does a lot of what she does because she thinks that's what's best for her family, and she adores her younger brother and her new friends. Simon is a lot more caring that anyone gives him credit for and when he realizes he loves Annabelle, he goes for it even if he's not ready to admit it to anyone, not even her.
Bottom Line: Secrets of a Summer night is a great launch of a lovely series and a really nice, comforting read on it's own. ...more
At First Sight: Ever since her husband was lost at sea, widower Silence Hollingbrook has devoted her life to the Orphan Home her family runs in St. GiAt First Sight: Ever since her husband was lost at sea, widower Silence Hollingbrook has devoted her life to the Orphan Home her family runs in St. Giles, and to a particular little girl she found at her doorstep, Mary Darling.
As far as both of them are concerned, Silence is Mary's mother, and she'll protect her with everything she has, even if that means striking a bargain with the notorious river pirate Mickey O'Connor. Mick claims to be Mary's father and that he left her in Silence's care to keep her safe, but now his enemies - and he has plenty of those - have found out and he has taken Mary to his palace so he can keep the baby girl safe.
Silence doesn't like or trust Mick - having tangled with him once before with disastrous results - but her love for Mary makes her follow her to Mick's lair, just as he planned. Ever since that night when they struck a bargain that shattered Silence's reputation, he has been fascinated by her and will not rest until she's truly and forever in his grasp.
Second Glance: Though Elizabeth Hoyt has written some of my most favorite books ever, I've been struggling with her Maiden Lane series. I thought the first book, Wicked Intentions, was okay, not nearly as good as I expected but OK enough. I could never get into the second book - Notorious Pleasures - because I just didn't connect with the characters. Still, I was so excited about Scandalous Desires since it featured a pirate.
And yeah, I liked Scandalous Desires more than I did Wicked Intentions but it was far off from the books I love the most from this author. Mick's past was a bit contrived and I'm not sure I believed it all the way - maybe believed it's not the word, I guess I just didn't care, and it's his past that's fueling the story.
Silence was likable and I enjoyed seeing her take care of Mary and how she starts to make a little place for herself at Mick's palace. But I don't care about her family - and from what I see many of the future books will be about her family - and she has a tendency to run after Mick a lot.
Also there is this thing that really annoyed me, it regards Mick and his pirating and the dumb reasons he has not to quit and what ends up happening in the end, it felt like a bit of a cope out.
Bottom Line: Scandalous Desires is an okay read, it's well written and the premise is interesting enough but it's not the best by this author and I actually don't think I'll be continuing with this series. ...more
The Plot: Seth's life has not been easy, living with his neglectful, drug-addict mother. The only good thing about his life is pretty much his GrandmoThe Plot: Seth's life has not been easy, living with his neglectful, drug-addict mother. The only good thing about his life is pretty much his Grandmother, with whom his mom leaves him when she disappears for weeks and months on end. Until the year he's 7 and 5-year old Summer Moore came to live with Mrs. Lewis, who fostered kids from time to time.
Orphaned but a few months before, Summer suffers from awful night terrors that have gotten her kicked out of at least 5 other foster homes already. But from the moment she and Seth look at each other, even as young as they were, they know that they are finally home again.
From the first time Seth wakes her from her nightmares and they realize she doesn't get them when he's around, they become inseparable. They do everything together whenever they can, and pin for each other when they are apart - a rare occurrence during the following six years, even though they are at different grades in school and Seth's mom tries to take him away sometimes.
But then they are separated and betrayed and many years pass before they can find their way back to each other. But even then, their battle to be together again, isn't over.
First Date: I'm sensing a bit of a fan-fictioney vibe here. It's not bad, just kind of how things are set up. I do believe the bond between Seth and Summer, even if it is a bit over the top.
Second Date: All right, I admit I got a little misty eyed sometimes. Now we are in the Big Missunderstanding Part of the Book and it's fun, a little frustrating but then I remember that they are sixteen and almost eighteen - even if they don't always sound that way - and it'a ok I can buy into it. Jessica and some of the other characters are a bit one dimensional.
Third Date: Well... was that a bit on the unrealistic side? yeah, kinda, but it was a fun romp none the less. Lots of drama and cray-cray stuff but it was fun to read. And I have to say I liked the ending.
Relationship Status: Going Steady.
Summer's Desire is not a perfect book, it's melodramatic and over the top and what have you, but Ms Lynde has a very engaging voice and she makes you care for and like her characters so much and so fast that you stick to them and watch them jump hoops (no matter how out there some of them are) and you root for them. She's a really good story teller.
Sometimes, however, I did feel like I was reading a fanfiction - one of those really good ones that you can't stop reading and check obsessively to see if there are any new entries - it just has that vibe, and I honestly don't mean it in a bad way, just a descriptive, and it doesn't have to do with the quality of the writing really, again, it's just a vibe I got.
On the other hand, I did love Seth and Summer, the nature of their relationship could have gotten out of hand and turned into a Twilight/Beautiful Disaster/That-Type-Of-Book Clone, but it doesn't. Seth is overprotective and what have you but Summer keeps him in check, doesn't want to just hang to his coat-tails and is adamant about taking care of him, just as much as he has about taking care of her.
And I honestly couldn't stop reading, I stayed up most of the nigh reading because Summer's Desire was just that compelling. And I already want to check out Olivia Lynde's next book. ...more
At First Sight: After a year and a half of hellish marriage, Theresa de Lucci has had enough. Even though she was completely in love with her husbandAt First Sight: After a year and a half of hellish marriage, Theresa de Lucci has had enough. Even though she was completely in love with her husband Alessandro when they first married, his treatment of her - and the constant pressure to give him a son - have finally gotten to her and she realizes she can't go on the same way.
Alessandro never actually pretended to be in love with Lucia, and he was under the impression that she knew this, but once she asks for a divorce he begins to wonder just how much she actually knows about the deal he struck with her father and which resulted in their marriage.
Just as Alessandro starts to mend his ways - even though Theresa keeps telling him it's too little too late - Theresa realizes that she's finally pregnant, which leaves her more unsure than ever.
Second Glance: Okay, confession time! Stories like The Unwanted Wife where the 'hero' acts like a big ol' jerk are a guilty pleasure to me so when I picked up this book, I couldn't stop. I had such a good time reading it, even though Alessandro was such a jerk and it took Theresa forever to find her spine.
In the end, they were both victims of her father's ploy to get a grandson - because he's the kind that thinks girls aren't good for much other than marrying them off at his convenience - but they weren't innocents in their situation, particularly Alessandro.
On one hand, Theresa justified his every hurtful-rude move for months - like never introducing her to his family or friends and his jealousy - while Alessandro treated her like crap because he thought she was a spoiled rich girl that got her daddy to buy her the husband she wanted.
Seeing them dig themselves out of the situation was interesting, there were some parts that were really well done, like when Theresa has the baby. Other parts were a bit melodramatic but I knew what kind of story this was so it didn't bother me.
There were three things that did bother me though: a) we got almost no background story as to why Alessandro acts the way he does, and then even less on why he decides to start acting like a decent human being, b) there were continuity issues and the timeline seemed to jump back and forth, c) there was an overuse of exclamation points at one point it seemed like every sentence was ended by a !!!
Bottom Line: All in all, though, I enjoyed The Unwanted Wife as a guilty-pleasure read. It wasn't perfect but it made for a good time. Oh, and by the way, the story takes place in South Africa, which I thought was rather cool even if it wasn't played up all that much. ...more
At First Sight: Adam Ellery - an entomology grad student - is not the type to hook up at the laundromat but when he meets Denver Rogers - after he chaAt First Sight: Adam Ellery - an entomology grad student - is not the type to hook up at the laundromat but when he meets Denver Rogers - after he chases away some drunken frat guys that were bullying Adam - thanking him turns into them having sex right there in the middle of the laundromat; an event that should be a once off for Adam, but he can't stop thinking about Denver afterward.
Working as a bouncer at Tucker Spring's local gay bar - Lights Out - Denver has his pick of guys to have sex with - He might not be the handsomest guy around, but his strong physique and commanding air about him make him stand out - but since their first encounter he can't get Adam out of his head.
Neither of them have a great experience with relationships, but after a few dates they start a tentative relationship even if on the surface they don't have anything in common.
Second Glance: Dirty Laundry is the third book in the Tucker Springs series and it actually spins off a short story that Heidi Cullinan published a few months ago.
Once more, we are in Tucker Springs exploring the lives of two gay men. This book had a lot going for it actually, in the past book I grew to like Denver (he's El Rozal's best friend from Second Hand, and he and Paul show up a couple of times) and reading more about him and seeing things from his perspective he won me over, he's not perfect but I liked him.
I liked Adam well enough too, he has severe OCD and other anxieties and it's hard for him to even be with someone - hanging out with friends, going to people's houses, using public restrooms - but he likes Denver, and he likes the person he is when he's with Denver.
They do have a Dom-Sub relationship, which was handled really well as boundaries were respected and the relationship was balanced; and in that aspect the sex in this book is a little more racy than in the previous ones in the series and it does jump at you more. I didn't have a problem with in particular but its also not something I particularly go out of my way to read in general.
Lastly, while I still like the community aspect of this series and I liked the characters in general, I don't really see me re-reading this in the future. I liked it but I think I still like Second Hand more.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed reading Dirty Laundry and I like the people involved, but it still was probably my least favorite of the series so far. Will I keep reading more about Tucker Springs? Probably yes - even with the bad covers and I'm curious about the next book which features a tattoo artist and a youth pastor (yeah, I know!). Fair warning though, the whole dom-sub thing is pretty explicit so it's not for the faint of heart. ...more
At First Sight: Three years after the events of Finnikin of the Rock, Froi has found a home next to the Queen Isaboe and Finnikin, with Trevanion, PerAt First Sight: Three years after the events of Finnikin of the Rock, Froi has found a home next to the Queen Isaboe and Finnikin, with Trevanion, Perri and the rest of the Queen's guard. They have given him a purpose in life, turning him in to a warrior and a weapon to avenge the people of Lumatere, to right all the wrongs that were done during the days of the curse and the exile.
So, when he's given the chance to do this one more, to infiltrate into Charyn -the neighboring kingdom, the one responsible for the atrocities that took place - and kill it's king, Froi goes, unaware that his life is about to change.
And so is the perception everyone has of Charyn. Known for it's savagery, Charyn has been facing it's own curse for the last 18 years and it's a curse that's about the come to a head, with potential to destroy everything. Which is why a lot of people from Charyn are leaving their country, and making a refugee camp in the valley between the two countries, asking to be admitted into Lumatere so they can start over.
In Charyn itself, Froi is finding a lot more about himself and the Princess Quintana, and Charyn as a whole, and the terrible heartbreak they have been living in for the past 18 years, and suddenly things aren't black and white anymore.
Second Glance: I've made a really poor job of summarizing Froi of the Exiles, I know this but I don't want to spoil too much and I know that if I go into more detail, I will, but let me tell you that the story is about so much more than just Froi and Charyn yet they are both are at the core of everything, as is Quintana.
There are at least other two strong sub plots going on, one revolving about Trevanion and Beatriss - their story was heartbreaking and made me cry but also filled me with hope, I LOVED it.
And the other is about the Queen's cousin Lucian of the Monts and his unwanted wife Phaedra of Alonso, and I have to say that Phaedra is my new favorite character, her story and her choices left me absolutely gutted, and it's in great part because of Lucian and her that I wish the third book of the Lumatere Chronicles - Quintana of Charyn - were here already.
Also, I want to point out that with Finnikin, I had a problem with the pace, I often felt like there were these lulls in the narrative where nothing happened and then everything seemed to happen at once. That pace problem is gone from Froi, it grabs you from page one and doesn't let go till the very end, flowing from one chapter to another, for one persepctive to another in such a way that there is no way to put down this book.
Bottom Line: I'm not a fantasy girl, but I loved Froi of the Exiles, cliffhanger ending at all. At the end of Finnikin of the Rock, I would have been okay if there wasn't another book of this series, but after Froi, I can't wait for Quintana, to be back in this work and to see how it all turns out. This is truly an amazing book....more
At First Sight: At 25, Phadra Abbott is tired of living in a boarding school waiting for her famous explorer father to return. So she runs away and seAt First Sight: At 25, Phadra Abbott is tired of living in a boarding school waiting for her famous explorer father to return. So she runs away and sets her own house in London, happily thinking one of her father's only worthy discoveries - a set of priceless emeralds, left in the care of the Bank of England - will back her up financially.
But once the bills start to pile up, one of the bank directors - Sir Cecil - calls her in and gives her some shocking news. The emeralds in the bank's vault are fakes left behind in place of the real gems, which Sir Cecil and her father pawned away to finance Abbott's latest expedition, the one from which he never returned.
Now, all Phadra wants is to find her missing father but Sir Cecil instead decides that Phadra must be married off to be kept out of trouble. Enter Grant Morgan. Grant works for Sir Cecil at the bank - more like he does all the work and Sir Cecil takes the credit - and he has been saving like crazy, trying to build a respectable fortune and hoping to eventually become one of the bank's directors - a post that comes with a knighthood -thinking his work is enough to get him them.
But Sir Cecil has other plans and unless Grant finds Phadra a suitable match, he'll block Grant's chances to move up in the bank. But if he succeeds, Sir Cecil will give him the hand of his daughter in marriage and help him get the post he wants.
Driven by ambition, Grant takes on the task, often clashing with the colorful, outgoing Phadra. Until one of her rash decisions results on their having to get married.
Second Glance: As I sad before, this is one of my favorite books ever. It's a story where polar opposites attract. Phadra is all outgoing, all her own person, and even if she's a bit reckless and headstrong at times, she means well and is smart. Also, she has a big heart and is always trying to help other people, even if she needs help herself.
Grant, on the other hand, is level headed. He's a banker and one of the most solid men I've ever read in a novel. He's remarkably handsome but ignores it the best he can. And he has an interesting past - his father was a renowned rake who nearly destroyed his family, and Grant was very much on the path to follow him, until his father died and he had to take her of his younger sisters.
One of the things I love the most about this story is that, while Grant learns to appreciate the unique, lovely spirit Phadra is, he's also in control. He's a guy who got your back and goes out of his way to make sure you're fine. That's how he loves Phadra. He's practical for the two of them, allowing her to be as whimsical as she wants.
Bottom Line: Treasured Vows is just a lovely, comforting story. I re-read it every couple of years and just let the warm fuzzies roll over me. ...more
At First Sight: Victor Argenau wasn't sure what to expect when he was sent to Port Henry to investigate an add in the single's column from a "Single VAt First Sight: Victor Argenau wasn't sure what to expect when he was sent to Port Henry to investigate an add in the single's column from a "Single Vampire Female". As an Enforcer for the Immortal Council, it's Victor's job to make sure other Immortals don't step out of line, and advertising one's being a vampire? definitely stepping out of line.
In Port Henry, he meets Elvi Black, a beautiful, single immortal who has gotten all her ideas on 'vampire behaivor' from movies and folk lore. At 62, she looks as if she were 25 and she really isn't sure how she came to be a vampire, only that it happened during a trip to Mexico and that without her best friend Mabel, and everyone in Port Henry, she would have died.
Sure, Elvi finds it a little tiresome to be the town's Vampire, sleeping in a coffin and avoiding sunlight, but she figures things could be worse. However, aware that she's not getting any younger, Mabel enlists the help of their friend Teddy to find Elvi some Vampire friends, so she's not left alone when nature takes it's course.
The situation is nothing like Victor expected, and he isn't sure what to do, specially after he, his friend D.J. and the other single, male Vampires invited along to meet Elvi - Alessandro, Edward and Harper - spend a week in town getting to know Elvi and realize what a nice person really she is.
Second Glance: The Accidental Vampire was such a fun, campy book!!! I think that with vampire novels, when one of the partners in the relationship needs to be 'turned', it can get a little repetitive, but I have to commend Lynsay Sands because so far her Argeneau Series isn't reading like that.
And this book is a great example of it! The situations weren't at all like the ones presented in previous books and I found this story really, really funny. I loved the secondary characters - the other vampire men were so much fun! - and it was just cute.
Bottom Line: If you're in the mood for a funny paranormal romance, with a lovely contemporary feel, The Accidental Vampire might just be what you're looking for! It'll make you laugh, I swear.Oh and even though its book 7 in the series, you can pretty much read it on it's own....more
At First Sight: It was a really bad day for Susanna Truitt when she first met Nate. She had just broken it off with her marine boyfriend whom she hadAt First Sight: It was a really bad day for Susanna Truitt when she first met Nate. She had just broken it off with her marine boyfriend whom she had dated for 12 years while they both went to school and he was deployed.
So, Susanna wasn't at her best, but meeting Nate felt like a good thing, as she tried to process what she really felt about the break up.
And then Nate just kept showing up, almost like a knight in shining armor, each time she needed rescuing, help or just a friend.
But Nate was more than just a tourist on St. Simon's island who liked to help out at Susanna's parents' restaurant. He's actually Prince Nathaniel, heir to the throne of a small european country and he has plenty on his plate.
But he likes Susanna, and he likes being with her and feeling useful, so he stays around, supporting her and helping her... until the facts of his life start to come to light, complicating all sorts of things.
Second Glance: Once Upon a Prince was sweet. I liked the characters and I liked the story. For a lot of it, it felt like there were real complications and impossibilities for Susanna and Nate to get together, no matter how perfect they sounded for each other - and they did, from the start but I'll get back to that - and that was good for tension.
The problem was that it went on for too long for how things ended, I don't wanna say more on it because I don't wanna spoil, but yeah, the book felt kind of long after a while. Like I kept hoping the pace would pick up but it's a slow-burn kind of book and it's not rushing for nobody.
Also, Nate and Susanna are kind of too perfect together, too in sync from the start, and I would have liked to see more spark between them. A bit more tension that was internal rather than external. I know not everyone might feel this way but I did.
Finally, the book is Christian Romance, I wasn't aware of it and it wasn't annoying-annoying in the way some Christian Romance books can be, but you could never forget it was CR and just enjoy the story.
Bottom Line: Once Upon A Prince was a really enjoyable read, all in all, sweet and cute, but it wasn't a home-run for me. Still, it was cute and fun. ...more
At First Sight: Jane Mathews is a spinster who once fell in love with the very handsome Michel Templeton, Viscount Fairfax. He never even knew she exiAt First Sight: Jane Mathews is a spinster who once fell in love with the very handsome Michel Templeton, Viscount Fairfax. He never even knew she existed and went on to marry the belle of the season, Susan.
Now, years later Jane gets invited along for her beautiful cousin Honor's season to act as both companion and chaperon. Just as Fairfax returns to Town to find a new wife.
After five years of unhappy married life, now a widower and with two small daughters Michael is determined not to make the same mistake again and quickly decides that Jane - unlike her cousin Honor - will make him a suitable wife and mother to his children.
He knows he's handsome and he knows Jane is firmly on the shelve, so he figures she'll be happy for his proposal of a marriage of convenience... but she isn't. Much as he might have loved him (from afar) once, Jane isn't ready to settle.
Instead, she does accept the proposal of Fairfax's best friend Sedge as she thinks they have enough things in common and will get along well. Her betrothal results on Jane spending some time at Michael's state, where she gets to know his two daughters - Amy and Claire and gets to see a whole new side of Michael's, revealing a man she could actually love, instead of just the idea of him.
Second Glance: An Unacceptable Offer is one of the few Mary Balogh books that I love - I usually have a love-hate relationship with them, and they are kind of guilty pleasures because of it - because it really shows two people getting to know each other and falling in love.
At the beginning, both Jane and Michael were seeing just what they wanted to see, but once they are out of each other's reach - because she's engaged to his best friend - they start to see each other from whom they are and realize how perfect they are for each other. Which brings us to Sedge, he really is a minor character but I really liked him, he sees clearly what Jane and Michael can't and when the time comes he lets them be happy.
Sedge also has a nice secondary story with Jane's cousin, Honor, who likes to pretend to be a pretty airhead because she thinks that's what men want, and only allows herself to be who she is around Sedge.
Bottom Line: An Unacceptable Offer is a really nice comfort read. It is story of it's time (first published in the late 80's) so don't expect it to be super steamy, but I still liked seeing how Jane and Michael got to know each other....more