Don't let the too hot to handle cover fool ya (and it is an awesomely hot one, I have to admit). There is a wonderful, warm story as yummy as sweet po...moreDon't let the too hot to handle cover fool ya (and it is an awesomely hot one, I have to admit). There is a wonderful, warm story as yummy as sweet potato pie between these covers that proves you can go home again.
Sara leaves her affluent lifestyle and her prestigious yet neglecting lawyer husband once she suspects his infidelity, with her best friend, no less. After a devastating miscarriage, she returns home to Chaumiere Isle where her Aunt Olivia (Liv) and Uncle brought her up after Sara's parents died when she was young. When Sara returns to the home she grew up, it is quite different and very full with an assortment of boarders who have become a sort of surrogate family. There's volatile Vietnam Vet Mr. Nash, Aria a hard working young girl who once lived on the streets and is struggling with low confidence in herself but has a big heart; and then there's Michael. The hot yet sweet confident New Englander who comes from a family whose big on money, but low on family and showing love amongst one another. Each and every one of these characters find something under the family that Aunt Liv has created within her home. At first Sara is shocked that her Aunt let strangers live in and is somewhat put off that they may have taken over her place in the home as family. But as time goes on, she learns to live with everyone and find strength to live and love again.
This book is FABULOUS. I loved this story so much because it was a romance and yet a book about a woman finding her strength again. This was an awesomely well written novel filled with interesting characters from all walks of life, a complex heroine and a sweet, strong hero you just wanna take home. Fabulous characterization, a great setting and a warm-hearted plot makes you feel like your favorite aunt has wrapped you up in a homemade quilt to tell you this timeless love story.
Do yourself a favor and check out this fabulous story of loss, regret, love, family and renewal which is definitely one for the keeper shelf.
Since this book came out in 2007 I can't exactly put it on my best reads of 2008 (since it's for '08 releases) but I can make it an honorary best of 2008. I can't wait to go back for seconds. ;-)(less)
Against the Odds is good ole fashioned romance wrapped in your favorite blanket. I really enjoyed the author's voice in this story and the way she pre...moreAgainst the Odds is good ole fashioned romance wrapped in your favorite blanket. I really enjoyed the author's voice in this story and the way she presented the story, although not traditionally romance, was a nice welcome addition to the genre.
As we open, our heroine Raine is getting a divorce from her cheating husband Jerome. She moves to New Mexico, leaving the comforts of her home and her high paying modeling job, to start anew on her friend Caroline and David's farm. As she settles in, she gets to know the farm hands, an easy going life and eventually David's brother Hayden. Although interest is there for both Raine and Hayden, they start out as friends and get to know each other before entering a romantic relationship. As they continue their relationship, they battle people and life as they try to find their own happily ever after.
The trials and tribulations the couple face aren't entirely complex more so than life itself getting in the way. People with a certain viewpoint for how they should live their lives and who they should be with try to deter the couple. And Hayden himself who has been burned and used to living by himself for so long has some trouble breaking down his walls. I loved that he was a complex characters who, although an easy going sweet-natured sexy country boy also had tendencies of a romantic Alpha hero when his family or those he loved were threatened. I haven't read many contemporaries featuring cowboys but if they're anything like Hayden, they may be my new favorites to look out for!
The story is written in first person and it reads like a close girlfriend writing you a letter as she gets on with her life. Raine is a character you can relate to with a good head on her shoulders and a good heart. You want to see her finally find the happiness with Hayden who quickly became one of my fave romance heroes as we got to know him. The first person narrative doesn't allow for getting to know him intimately as some romance heroes but Raine does give an idea for his personality and background through her descriptions. I have to say, I adored the ending which doesn't just end at the altar. We get to see Hayden and Raine's family and how Hayden dotes over his children (which is too cute).
If you're looking for a contemporary romance on the sweeter side and gives you a good feeling by the time you get to the end, I recommend picking up Against the Odds. Jewel Adams is another author I'm definitely going to keep an eye on. I'll also be checking out her other works available. (less)
Baby Under the Mistletoe is a SuperRomance with three stories: The "main" couple free spirit Soleil Freeman and military man W...more**spoiler alert** 2 1/2
Baby Under the Mistletoe is a SuperRomance with three stories: The "main" couple free spirit Soleil Freeman and military man West Morgan, who had a fling one summer and ended up with Soliel pregnant months later, West's mom Julia finding love again after a few decades long divorce with his father "The General" who consists of the final end of the story as he battles Alzheimer's disease.
The book seemed interesting because rarely does Harlequin deal with interracial romances and it was interesting seeing the couple featured in a Superromance of all places (if I see one on the cover of an Harlequin American Romance, I'll probably keel over on the spot). Unfortunately, the couple didn't live up to the interesting blurb. Soleil and and West barely know each other as we're introduced to them in the prologue and both delight in pushing the other's buttons. The chemistry is there and I was hoping it would continue on as the book pans out. Sadly, they grew tiring as they were reunited, Soliel more so in her insistence to keep her pregnancy from West since he didn't fit the ideal partner she had in mind. West, on the other hand, has wanted to settle down with Soleil and have a family with her from the get go but Miss Independence wouldn't have it and still wouldn't have all the way through the pregnancy. In an age of constant reports of men leaving their children behind once they found out they were going to be father's, I found it hard to believe Soleil would be so selfish and short sighted to push the father of the kid away especially when he wants to be apart of hers and the child's life. Even though she grew up with dire conditions, it would seem like she would want to give her child the best situation and one she never had a chance to have.
This is contrasted with the developing relationship of Julia Morgan and her love interest, Frank who she met on an internet dating site. If stories like this consisted of the now defunct Harlequin Next line, I have to wonder who was the boob that canned it. I loved reading about Julia's and Frank's sweet romance as they began to fall in love with each other. There were first date jitters, small talk as they got to know each other and developing chemistry that was sweet and identifiable to watch. There was one instance in the middle where Julia finds out that The General was sick and has to cancel a date with Frank because she still wants to make sure The General was okay. It was a selfless act still touched with a love they shared for so long. Even though The General was a harsh and rather ornery man who bossed any and everyone around (and apparently sexually harassed a few of his cartakers as well) Julia knew how to care for him and the moment he saw her again in his life, he calms down. It's a memorable moment that shows the maturity of life and love especially between two people who have known each other for so long and have gone through so much. Julia's story engaged me much more than the main couples which basically earned an extra star on its own.
Sometimes I wondered why West was into Soleil. In a few scenes he's attracted to the way she looks and he likes pushing her buttons because he knows she has a short temper but other than that, I couldn't see much attraction there even to the end. There were a few moments of chemistry but they were mainly tied into love scenes which quickly went cold until afterward. Soleil was insistent on having everything done her way or else. The reader is given a few instances of this as she never budged about compromising to suit her baby's and West's needs. Another instance is evidenced by one scene where she forces one of her young interns to swallow his fear of dogs by confronting hers. It was an interesting insight into the machinations of her character. At times I felt like Soleil's strength was at the expense of West's pushover weakness in trampling over everything he and everyone else wanted. Strangely enough she ends up giving Julia advice on leaving her husband which could have been a sweet scene for me but it felt like another one of Soleil's butting in moments. I did find that Soleil had a lot in common with The General which strangely enough mirrored West having shades of his mother in him. Perhaps the parallel was on purpose to show how opposites can attract and work through their differences but considering how West's parent's ended up a few years down the road (after staying together for the kids), I'm not sure that's such a good thing.
All in all, Baby Under the Mistletoe was interesting and definitely worth the read for the mature couple. I would love to see them get a spin-off book of their own.(less)
What a charming book! I really enjoyed this debut contemporary romance novel from author Nitanni Chionne. The story centers around Cassie James and Dr...moreWhat a charming book! I really enjoyed this debut contemporary romance novel from author Nitanni Chionne. The story centers around Cassie James and Dr. Ethan Quinn, both single parents who have been struck by loss, hardship, difficult times in life and love. Once they meet during one of the game Cassie coaches at they soon decide to be each other's activity partner to parent activities at school functions. Soon friendship turns to more as their attraction grows.
I really liked this book because it chronicles the progression of strangers turning into friends and the slow burn of romance blossoming. Most romances today go straight for the attraction, leaving only a little bit of time to built it as sexual tension corners each page. In Activity Partner, the focus is on the characters as they take time to dip back into romance. And when they finally do give in, it's a great reward for the characters and the reader after all they had fought for in their lives.
There's a side of suspense in that Cassie, our heroine, is being stalked at the club she sings at and although the reader may or may not have an idea who the culprit is early on, their commupance is rewarding in the climax of the book.
One teensy gripe I have is the action moves a bit fast in some of the descriptions. Sometimes events are described in a short sentence and I would have loved to have seen it play out a little more to build a sense of time passing. But it was just in a few instances and didn't deter my overall enjoyment of the story.
Nevertheless, I'll be adding Activity Partner to my virtual shelf and hope that a paperback comes available. In the mean time I'm definitely adding Ms. Chionne as an author to watch so I can check out more of her writing.
If you're looking for an uplifting fun beach read, definitely add this to your favorite eReader, sit back and enjoy! (less)
I was excited to see Harlequin releasing another bwwm IR novel. They seem to come out like Haley's comet over there so fellow fans like myself of this...moreI was excited to see Harlequin releasing another bwwm IR novel. They seem to come out like Haley's comet over there so fellow fans like myself of this subgenre have to grab em while they can.
I'm happy to say that S&SB does not disappoint in all aspects of telling a great story. If you're like me and haven't read all of the Braddock series, you won't be lost a bit as all the Braddock siblings are explained in detail.
I won't rehash the synopsis as it is available in the link below on the HQN book page, but I will say what I really enjoyed about the book.
First of all it's characters. Shondra is a strong female without being too close offish. Due to her father's death she's a bit vulnerable and although she is really attracted to the hero (who's seriously a babe, who can blame her?) she wants to tread lightly considering his status in their company. I gotta say much props for the intro of the story to Ms. Amos. I love how the hero and heroine first meet and how they interact right from the beginning. The hero is strong minded, driven and also sensitive and romantic: everything the perfect hero is made of (where can I get me one of him?). I love how they play off each other and the sexual tension is there right from the start. I had to fan myself off now and then!
The loves are hot without being too overly sexual, so if any readers out there are a fan of hot loves scenes without being in your face, you'd be happy here. The race situation is mentioned but doesn't get in the way, which I think is a good thing. During the rise of IRs many bwwm romance books used to place race as a major obstacle and I'm glad it's mentioned here but not the driving force of their problems. Shondra and Connor are mainly treated as a man and woman trying to find a way to each other's hearts despite the workplace and despite the recent death in Shondra's family.
Ms. Amos had me laughing at the interaction between Shondra and Connor, especially over music: he loves hip hop (she's not too familiar with it) and she loves country (he's not too familiar with it) and during a private jet ride to Monte Carlo they discuss this. One of the best lines of the book are in this scene and it's a cheeky one that comes from Connor after they realize the music difference:
"I think we both owe it to our people to fit our assigned stereotypes better."
LOL she had me rolling during this scene and I can could so imagine the facial expressions and voices as they verbally sparred back and forth. And just like good storytelling, a few moments later she nearly had me in tears right there with the hero and heroine as they relived their respective familial losses.
If I had to gripe about one thing I'd say I was kind of bummed about the ending being a happy for now rather than happily ever after. I guess I'm kind of traditional in that I like the couple to make it official with a wedding down the road or at least an engagement. And the two characters felt like they were happy just being physical with each other for now. (less)
4.5 - What an awesome book! I've been thirsting for more historical IRs and this definitely helped my craving. I really like the fact that Ms. Douglas...more4.5 - What an awesome book! I've been thirsting for more historical IRs and this definitely helped my craving. I really like the fact that Ms. Douglas flips the usual time travel trope and has the hero travel back in time to meet his strong willed heroine. Usually the spitfire heroine travels back and meets the hunky, hot historical hero. And it's IR to boot!
In Love Lasts Forever, Thor Magnusen has always known football as his life. When he suffers career altering injuries, he feels his life is over. His father and brother take him out to the family cabin to get his mind off things and there Thor learns a little about his family cabin and finds a timepiece from his great great great grandfather. The timepiece doesn't work but Thor, always interested in learning how things work, decides to fix it. The next day, on a walk while his brother and father go fishing, Thor takes a break in the woods and wakes up in 1860. His first visit is with the beautiful heroine, strong minded Willow Elkridge while she's out gathering water. His attraction is strong but he has to be mindful of the tumultuous time as he learns how to live in 1860.
I like how the author really pays attention to the time. The supporting characters are just as interesting as the main ones, including Eva and Anders Magnusen, Thor's ancestors, the Reverend Brown, an abolitionist who is also Willow's father figure after her parent's death along with his wife Olivia. I was also thankful that the author acknowledged that Thor's clothes and speech were different as some time travel books gloss it right on over.
There are some heavy themes in Love Lasts Forever. The story takes place during the time of slavery human trafficking in America and Thor gets into the thick of helping the abolitionists. There was also an instance where Willow helps an enslaved father reunite with his children but not before trying to sneak onto a plantation to find him. There's a character who reminds me too much of a certain Outlander character I detest (she appears in the third book 'Voyager') and I was glad when Thor told her off. I don't like to watch or read about harsh inhumanities in detail and Ms. Douglas gave enough of the reality of the times to paint a picture but not too much that it became hard to read (although the reality of the time frame and how enslaved families had to live and survive was heart-wrenching itself).
I recommend Love Lasts Forever to all time travel romance and historical romance fans. Thor was an awesome hero who was self aware and selfless in helping those in need and he even goes through a change of his own as he realizes what really matters in life besides football. Willow is a strong yet kind heroine who was willing to put her life in danger more than once to help those less fortunate that herself. Even if her decisions were foolhardy at times (especially after a near assault), she was determined to set things right, in what she believed was in her power. Thor and Willow's love story is one of true human devotion, morality, the human condition and fighting for what's right. Up until the epilogue I was invested in their love story and found myself gasping and holding my breath during perilous moments. I hope we see more offerings from Ms. Douglas if this is a sample of her wonderful work.
An African American career woman and a Scottish rocker? Wow! Sign me up!
The blurb sounded awesome, the cover was great and I've read and enjoyed the a...moreAn African American career woman and a Scottish rocker? Wow! Sign me up!
The blurb sounded awesome, the cover was great and I've read and enjoyed the author before so I was ready to dive into this one.
Unfortunately, this book is another case of prepackaging gone wrong.
Frost on My Window had the potential to be a wonderful love story. The first person narrative was a tip off along with the feedback that this was definitely not a romance and the second is the developing relationship mostly told in flashbacks and memories.
The narrative focuses on Leah explaining her day to day living . She still has the hots for her former best friend Lance and she is moving on with her life, trying to find her footing. In particularly engaging flashback, she tells about how she met the handsome Scottish rocker outside a villa for a big star studded party (for what, we're never really told other than its a music party). Sean is a memorable character as he talks about his mother and Scottish myths but after this scene he drops off as if he never existed. Leah doesn't talk about her feelings for him, aside from a short blip after this scene that says how she doesn't want to get involved with a rocker, until the book is halfway through.
The publisher knows it's audience I'm sure. Based on this particular line and the 'Contemporary Romance' tag on the side of the book, this was for IR readers so I'm not really sure why it's written as a chick lit or women's fiction book which is essentially what it is. The hero is pretty non-existent for most of the book as the heroine deals with her feelings for another guy and the first person narrative only gives us Leah's POV. I would have loved to know more about Sean and his life. The little bits of story he gave the reader were nice moments of down time between the Drama that was Leah.
As a romance, it's a string of happenings with no real cohesive storyline to tie it together. There are little moments that I enjoyed, like the first Sean flashback and the moments that Sean and Leah did share with each other, but overall this offering fell a bit flat. As a chicklit, it works. The story is about Leah and her life in trying to juggle everything from work, friends, family, a former crush marred by reality and a potential love interest who she keeps herself guarded. The little moments we got into Leah's emotions were interesting but the trope has worn its welcome. Most IRs today focus on a sassy Strong Black Woman who keeps fending off the hero's advances and the hero continues to fawn over the heroine as if she were the last woman on Earth. I would love to see this cliche die out which just feels gimmicky unless it's used a complex character growth. Leah had no real reason for denying Sean and if she were written more complex, it would have been believable to keep herself from exploring a relationship with Sean. As she is written, she seems to have too many hangups and if this were real life, I don't think Sean would have stuck around nipping at her heels.
I hope GP gets back on the ball. They had a nice, if not rough, run in the early 90s and they were the premiere go-to place for IR romance (at least, for me they were). It'd be great if they can get back in the game with more great books especially since their recent distribution deal allowed them to now reach more readers.
If you're looking for a light chick lit read with a stubborn heroine and a sweet romantic love interest, this book is for you. If you're looking for a sweet contemporary IR romance, you may want to pass this one up to avoid disappointment.(less)