After my last romance from the Barnes and Nobles Readouts serial reads program, I did not expect a lot from On A Night Like This. I was pleasantly surAfter my last romance from the Barnes and Nobles Readouts serial reads program, I did not expect a lot from On A Night Like This. I was pleasantly surprised by Freethy's writing style. All of her characters were well developed, the plot was both romantic and suspenseful, and the overall tone of the novel was just what any romance reader wants-- a feel good book with a happy ending.
In terms of the characters, the Callaway clan is a family that I wish I had grown up next to. I was interested in the entire family, and I loved the Yours, Mine, and Ours feel to them. I also appreciated that they were Catholic, a religion I do not see mentioned very much in romance novels.
Aiden Callaway and Sara belong together, and their long history, misunderstandings, and general adventures reaffirm the reader's belief of the "they were made for each other" mentality. They both have problems that they need to work through, including a surprisingly large amount of family secrets. Together, they work through some difficult times. Not all of the secrets are explained, and I imagine that you need to read more of the series to understand what Grandfather and Grandmother Callaway are hiding.
Aiden's job was especially interesting--a smoke jumper. Almost the entire family works as firefighters-- talk about HOT,-- but I was unfamiliar with the term smoke jumper until this novel. Aiden fights forest fires, and a lot of his demons surround the death of his best friend, Kyle, from a forest fire in Redding, California. Reading On A Night Like This made me want to research smoke jumpers and understand their line of work in more detail.
The setting was relatable as I lived in both the San Francisco and Redding areas. I appreciated reading about them in a fictional book, especially the lake where Aiden and Sara go skinny dipping.
Overall, all elements were here for an enjoyable contemporary romance read. The only reason I did not rate it a full 5 stars is that the ending felt rushed. I actually wanted the book to be a little longer. If the opportunity arises, I will read more of this series. The next book, So This Is Love, is about Emma Callaway, an arson investigator, who the reader learns a lot about in On A Night Like This. Her story is actually the perfect succession to this one.
I enthusiastically recommend On A Night Like This for anyone looking for a light, fun, and slightly suspenseful romantic summer read. ...more
I took a little bit to warm up to this read because it has been a long time since I read a Christian romance. All the characters were confusing, and II took a little bit to warm up to this read because it has been a long time since I read a Christian romance. All the characters were confusing, and I thought there were too many. Even the main characters infuriated me because I did not like how they acted to each other. However, about halfway through the book, the charm of the small town took over. I started enjoying the characters and the history of Haven Point. Once Mckenzie and Ben stopped being so judgemental of each other, I started to like them. The main aspect I did not appreciate about the book was the seemingly inconsequential racial elements of Mckenzie, whose real name is Xoitcil. I wanted to learn more about how race effected who she became outside of her high cheekbones and exotic Aztec features that caused Ben, a white man, to fall in love with her. In fact, there was so much more depth that I wanted added to Xoitcil's character because of the fact that she was half Mexican and half white. Untapped potential because the author was probably afraid too much emphasis on race, outside superficial looks, would ruin the romance....more
I didn't expect much from a book that cost me $0.99 at Borders; it was on the clearance rack. I was correct in my skepticism. Nothing Personal containI didn't expect much from a book that cost me $0.99 at Borders; it was on the clearance rack. I was correct in my skepticism. Nothing Personal contained a rather tepid romance with multiple editing errors, which I'm surprised at since I've read other titles from Cerridwen Press that don't contain such mundane errors. Plus, they've often been better stories. Maybe I just got a bad printing or noticed glaring errors that other readers glossed over.
The setting wasn't really important, and to be honest, I can't remember many of the details regarding it. I know that the main characters, Carla and Leo, live in the same apartment complex. Carla works in a beauty salon while Leo is a computer business man (neither of their careers are highlighted very much). There is one scene where Carla is invited to a family gathering, but overall the locations were as mundane as the romance. I really wanted to be drawn into the setting, but the vagueness made it difficult to get lost in the story. Perhaps the author tried to give Nothing Personal a generic and modern-day contemporary setting that any reader could relate to no matter where they lived. That or the setting really wasn't a concern since she wanted to focus on the romance. This was a poor choice, though, because the setting could have helped develop the plot and characters.
There are a few main characters. First, our heroine is a rather meek and annoyingly self-conscious female by the name of Carla. She is thirty-five, works at a dead-end salon job, and is constantly concerned about settling down and having a family. After all, her biological clock is ticking. Let's meet the amazing man of her dreams next. His name is Leo Mark Spencer; I admit that I love this name! He is ten years younger but has known Carla since he was seven years old. Alice, his older sister, is best friends with Carla. Heck, Carla even babysat him with Alice. Leo's family is rather large compared to Carla's, and Carla's been like one of the family for a long time. Little does she know that little Leo has been crushing on her since that tender age of seven. So, he's had a crush on an older woman for around eighteen years. When I consider that long of a crush, part of me thinks it's romantic while another part of me thinks it's a little excessive, especially considering how young he was when the crush first formed.
As for other important characters, there aren't really any worth mentioning. There are a few family members, Carla's and Leo's friends (I especially liked Cameron Murphy since he started to like Carla and presented a point of conflict other than Carla's own insecurities), and Leo's ex-floozies, all women he used to help him forget Carla.
The plot is simple enough-- Carla and Leo are "star-crossed lovers" that have always been destined for each other despite their ten-year age gap. Now that Leo is a mature adult, he's taken up the hunt. He's going to convince Carla to fall in love with him and isn't afraid to use every inch of his body to accomplish this feat. Meanwhile, there is a bit of family muddling, especially from the pregnant Alice and Carla's own self-sabotage that complicates their budding relationship.
One aspect I really enjoyed about Nothing Personal is that it jumps into the story and romance right away. The beginning laundry scene was one of my favorites, with the quote from Carla's mother causing me to crack a smile as I started to read:
If you had any kind of a life at all, you wouldn't be sitting in your apartment building's laundry room at nearly ten on Friday night. Alone (9).
I really wanted to like this story because it contained a novel concept. I'm not used to reading romances in which the female character is older than the male character, and especially not to the degree they are in this book. Plus, there were so many social implications I hoped would be tackled throughout the book-- the stigma attached to beauty and aging women, the immaturity of younger men, the fact that a woman choosing to not have kids right away, or at all, is a valid and important life choice. Unfortunately, all these issues fell flat purely because Elisa Adams was not interested in tackling such heavy concepts in her romance novel. She gave the reader what they typically expect-- pure and utter fluff. No substance. No purpose other than to entertain and provide housewives around the world escape from their dreary realities. Call me a romance snob, but I expect more heart, depth, and meaning to the romances I read. I especially expect more from the female characters than Carla gave.
Carla is just too weak, insecure, and depressingly mundane for me to admire or even like. She whined continuously, cared too much about what others thought, especially in regards to her age difference from Leo's, and is concerned with settling down and having a family, too stereotypical and predictable behavior. Another frustrating point is that Carla's last name is easily forgotten, being mentioned toward the very end of the novel. I completely forgot she had a last name or really any type of identity outside of her relationship with Leo. Carla's full name, Carla Michaels, is mentioned in exclamation by Leo's sister Sophie, who is surprised that the pair are in a relationship. Carla's a nobody loser working a dead-end job in a beauty salon waiting for prince charming to rescue her, situate her into a comfy home where she can stop working and raise their brood of children. Predictable. Boring. Typical. Blah.
Leo is a much more interesting character, and I did appreciate that Elisa Adams alternated chapters and sections from Carla's perspective to Leo's. It gave the reader a more balanced look at how their romance budded and developed. Leo was the main reason the romance didn't suck completely, him and his interesting and laughable family. As I already mentioned, I like his name. He is also a younger guy, which is a different type of a male protagonist from what I'm used to. I liked that he works with computers (a graphic arts designer) because my husband does too. I especially enjoyed how surprisingly mature he was for his age, and the care and fineness he pursues Carla with. He really loves her, more so than he even realizes. Of course, he has his own flaws. He's stubborn, which complicates things with Carla, and he's shielded himself from ever getting hurt by sleeping with every dumb tramp that comes across his path. Of course this turns out to be a good thing because he's developed into an excellent lover.
Being a "fluff" romance, there were no real themes nor motifs other than the usual "love conquers all" attitude. Also, that happy endings are always around the corner, no matter how ugly the situation looks. There are no literary elements utilized in this book because it is not that type of a read.
I've read much better romance novels, and it's books like this that give the entire romance genre a negative stigma in literary circles. There is nothing wrong with having a "fluff" piece to read, but at least have the audacity to write well! If you are looking for some intelligent romances, I highly recommend anything by Amanda Quick and Jo Beverly. My preferred romance setting is anything historical, which is the type of books those two authors write. If you are looking for a good contemporary romance, Jayne Ann Krentz, the same person as Amanda Quick, and Christina Dodd are very apt in that romance style. I've even written a review about one of Dodd's contemporary romances called Tongue in Chic.
There were just too many cons to make this book worth reading. Just look at the cover art. I usually don't put a lot of stock into cover art, but out of all the genres, the cover makes the biggest difference with romances. This one is just plain sloppy. It's computer generated, and it's the scene from the beginning of the book, when Carla and Leo are in the washing room of their apartment building. In my opinion, it doesn't look professional. The shading is all off, and the cover just turns me away from reading it. The only reason I wasted my time on it was because of the inexpensive price, and now I look forward to giving this one away to an interested reader. Any takers?
At least the cover art went with the novel. The title didn't make sense to me. Why Nothing Personal? Who was taking anything personal in the book? Was it the fact that Carla didn't want to date a younger man...you know, nothing personal? I just don't get it.
The entire book had an "I don't get it" feel to it. It was as if Elisa Adams slapped together a novel from a secret hidden fantasy of hers. I've never read anything else by Adams, so I can't compare this to her other writing. I've read, though, that she does have other romances that are better. Maybe this was her first exploration into the contemporary romance genre. Who knows? All I know is that it has weak presentation, writing, and storytelling, especially when compared to other romance giants that I've read.
As for the maturity rating, there are a few love scenes but nothing overly explicit, especially when compared to pieces by Laurell K. Hamilton and J.R. Ward. Because of the content and adult-themed elements, I would recommend this read to anyone that is eighteen years or older.
The book started with some promise, and it even had interesting supporting characters. However, the main female protagonist left me wanting something better and stronger. And you can't have a romance novel without a strong pair of lead lovers. I was disappointed by this tepid romance. I wouldn't read it again, and I would only recommend it to readers that are fans of Elisa Adams' writings. Otherwise, even if you saw this book for free, it's not worth the time it would take to read it....more
It had been a while since I read a short historical romance, so I decided to look through the large stack of books my mother gave me. I picked one atIt had been a while since I read a short historical romance, so I decided to look through the large stack of books my mother gave me. I picked one at random and was pleasantly surprised by the premise. Even if I had not read the summary on the back cover, I would have guessed parts of the book based on the Twelfth Night quotes that separated “Part I” from “Part II.”
There are two main characters, Valentine Ardsley, granddaughter of an earl, and Lord Richard Diccon Leyburn, an earl from Yorkshire. Valentine has recently lost her father in a military battle, and in an effort to remain independent, she disguises herself as a young stable boy. You can just imagine some of the mischievous adventures she has. The best part about her disguise is the ability to connect with the working class in the earl's household and the unexpected friendship between her and Diccon. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a cross-dressing heroine in a romance novel?
Although I like both Valentine and Diccon, I was disappointed by the lack of character development. The story is told through the first person perspective of Valentine, which limited my understanding of Diccon. “Part I” is too short, and Valentine doesn’t have enough antics while disguised as a boy. Additionally, the characters stay the same throughout the entire book because, as it turns out, they are perfectly suited for each other. The trials and tribulations that separate them are rather tame compared to most of the romances I read. Even though their character development is nonexistent, I still enjoyed the novel. There's something sweet about having such likable characters that remain the same.
Other supporting characters are rather superficial. There are various workers at Diccon's homestead, like Georgie and Mrs. Scone. Family relations include the earl's cousin, Ned, and Valentine's grandparents, who you meet in “Part II.” Finally, there are various suitors for Valentine's affections, many of who fall flat and are even less developed than Diccon. The only one I connected with was Lord Henry Sandcroft purely because he resembles Valentine's father. In the end, the story is about Valentine's and Diccon's relationship. Everyone else becomes part of the setting.
The setting was perfect for this type of a story. There are plenty of descriptions about the beauties of the countryside which contrast nicely with the stark city life. Valentine quickly learns that London is a place for change and fashion, emphasized with the Season, while the countryside is almost its own kingdom. Notable author Shakespeare is referenced a few times, mainly his misrepresentation of Richard III. Since England's Regency period is one of my favorites next to Medieval, I appreciated the setting.
There are no special themes or motifs in the book other than your usual "love conquers all" sentiment. "To thine own self be true," no matter how unpopular that makes you, is another sentiment expressed in the novel. Other interesting subplots include the discussions about change, especially with workers and factories in the city. One character, radically-minded Martin Wakefield, Valentine’s cousin, discusses England's government. I am rusty on the history of the Whigs and the Tories, so I glossed over these details. I wasn't compelled to research them either, which is a sign that the book is lacking. These ideas might have been explored in more depth, but then Fool's Masquerade would be too serious. In the end, it is typical escapist literature: light, fluffy, and delicious to read. It's a "feel-good" book and was what I needed after losing the diamond from my engagement/wedding ring.
This is the only book I've read by author Joan Wolf, but I was suitably impressed that I won't hesitate to read another novel by her. There are only two flaws 1) The lack of depth to characters and issues 2) The first person perspective. Of the two, the perspective is the most harmful. In terms of a romance novel, it’s uncommon to read from this point of view. In terms of Fool's Masquerade, it limits and isolates the reader even making the writing technique appear clumsy.
Despite this major flaw, the book was a refreshing break from more serious reads. I also appreciated the "teen" quality. There are no sex or explicit situations between the hero and heroine (extremely PG), which more mature readers might consider another fatal flaw to the first person point of view. I consider the characters' innocence, love, and affection for each other a refreshing change of pace. Plus, it's always sweet to have a genuine gentleman in a romance novel.
This book is a perfect read for those who enjoy historical romances and want a quick read. It's also suitable for a younger audience, like middle school or teenage readers....more
The Fairy Godmother was my first experience with author Mercedes Lackey, and I admit that I was a bit disappointed. In looking at the overall story, Lackey had many elements that fantasy and romance genre fans would really enjoy. However, the execution of her story left much lacking.
The world she creates for the Five Hundred Kingdoms series is extensively detailed. It's a place where magic and fairy tales rule. The people go about their daily lives reenacting the stories of old like "Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," or "Snow White," to name a few. Everything is controlled by this magical power known as "The Tradition." The people are pawns to the whims of The Tradition. However, not all fairy tales have happy endings, as the characters learn. The Tradition uses magic to put people into certain positions, but if extenuating circumstances prevent their lives from taking a certain path, they go down another (and probably one that is less unfavorable).
This is where the Fairy Godmothers come into play. Many of the godmothers are no longer pure fairies but instead are humans that have learned to use magic and the power of The Tradition. These women are important to the people of the Five Hundred Kingdoms because they are the harbingers of happy endings. They shape The Tradition to go the way of good rather than evil, constantly balancing the yin and yang of life.
This particular tale focuses on Elena Klovis' life. She is a stepdaughter, and her stepmother (Theresa Klovis) and stepsisters (Delphinium and Daphne) treat her like a servant girl. Does this sound like a familiar story yet? Other characters include her neighbors Blanche and Fleur, Madame Bella (her fairy godmother) and a cottage full of House-Elves. There are more characters and surprises in store for the readers, but the best-developed person is of course Elena. Since this is her story, over half of the book gives exquisite details about her life, her future, and the kingdom she lives in.
There are many themes and motifs in the story. The main one is that people can control their destinies despite the overarching powers of The Tradition. Other smaller themes include treating people humanely, wanting to do good rather than evil, and of course the ever popular belief that love conquers all. An example of a motif commonly found in fairy tales is the old hag turning into a witch or enchantress. Many of the themes and motifs in The Fairy Godmother are intertwined with morals. Having such a moral undertone to the piece, though, made parts of the book corny rather than fantastical.
Overall, the purpose of the entire story is to rewrite the traditional tale of Cinderella. Lackey melds the old with her unique vision of such a world. I can't really compare this to other fantasy writers or pieces except the fairy tale it represents. Even there, it can't compare because Elena's story is very different from all the versions of "Cinderella" that I've read. To some degree, I appreciate the original tales more because of the historical implications and comparisons that can be made to the time periods "Cinderella" was adapted for. On the other hand, I appreciate Lackey's vision because of how different it is, especially how it's suited for a modern audience. Editing the boring parts would have made this story more exciting. Growing up with these types of princess fairy tales, it's hard to replace those memories with this new one, mainly because the execution of the story was lacking.
Originally, I was going to rate this story a 3 or a 4, but it took too long to get exciting. The Fairy Godmother did not pick up until about Chapter 7, 100 pages in, which could cause some readers to lose interest. Because this is the first in Lackey's Five Hundred Kingdom series, there is an inordinate amount of details that slows the story. There were moments when I felt like I was reading a history of the Five Hundred Kingdoms instead of a fairy tale about Elena. Rather than point out all the intricacies of this world, Lackey should have left some points to be discovered in a later book. There were also parts about Elena's own story that were too detailed. Honestly, I wasn't excited about the book until 200 pages in, around Chapter 10 and Chapter 11 when the main hero, Prince Alexander, makes his appearance.
Despite these flaws, The Fairy Godmother is still a fun read that many will enjoy. I especially appreciated how female-centric the piece was, mainly showing the world through Elena's eyes. There are some points where the point of view shifts between Elena and Alexander, usually to emphasis how both characters are growing from their interactions with each other. In addition to the strong female lead of Elena, there are other female characters for women readers to identify with, especially in the roles of witches, sorceresses, and the ever powerful and present godmothers. Still, the book follows the tradition of fairy tales with many of the younger female characters pairing off with men to have "happy endings."
The best part about this edition of The Fairy Godmother was the Q & A with Mercedes Lackey. She explores fantasy, "moral fiction," and the reasons behind her writing this particular genre. It gives some important insights into the mind of the author that new readers and even long-time fans will find useful....more
I don't usually read contemporary romances other than Jennifer Cruise and Jayne Ann Krentz books. When I saw Tongue In Chic at the Friends of the LibrI don't usually read contemporary romances other than Jennifer Cruise and Jayne Ann Krentz books. When I saw Tongue In Chic at the Friends of the Library sale, I decided to give it a chance merely because Christina Dodd was the author. I've always enjoyed her historical romances, so I was curious as to what she would deliver in the contemporary realm. As I expected, Dodd wrote another fun read with memorable characters engaged in funny and romantic situations.
When reading the book, I didn't know it was part of a larger series. It wasn't until I started writing this review that I discovered that Tongue In Chic is the second book in the Fortune Hunters series. Since Dodd is tying these books together, I'm surprised that she skimped on some of the supporting character details. Seeing that I have not read the others, I can only presume that money, or fortune hunters, is the only detail that ties them together. However, there was a cameo appearance in this book by the main characters from Trouble in High Heels, Brandi Michaels and Roberto Bartolini, which was a nice touch. I wondered who they were, and now I know!
The hero of our story, Devlin Fitzwilliam, is your typical romantic interest: devilishly handsome, strong, intelligent, and arrogantly stubborn. At first, his possessive attitude and seemingly cold personality make him an unlikeable person. However, as his history is revealed, the reader gains an understanding and sympathetic attitude despite his guarded demeanor.
Next, bring in Natalie Meadow Szarvas, called Meadow throughout the entire book. She was atypical when compared to most romance heroines I am familiar with. Meadow reminded me of a hippie or a modern bohemian woman, qualities best portrayed in the garden scene. She is free-spirited, uninhibited, and extremely loving, all a result of her unusual upbringing. Of course, the heroine is the exact opposite of Devlin, who had an unhappy childhood and tough adult experiences. The only other quality I wanted Meadow to have was strength. She was independent and stubborn, just like Devlin. However, she kept getting hit on the head throughout the book. Devlin was reduced to coddling her at numerous points in the book, which I don't find romantic, especially when its redundant.
The interactions between the two characters is what makes the book exciting. From the very first moment they meet, it feels like love at first sight. The desire and passion is there, which is always a must for romance novels. What really makes the book endearing is the way the characters grow because of their friendships with each other.
The supporting characters were engaging and interesting as well. I especially liked Four, Bradley Benjamin the fourth. I found his unique relationship with Devlin believable despite the animosity between their families. Even Four's father, who you can't initially stand, turns out to have redeemable qualities. This is a romance, after all. The reader picks up the book hoping that most if not all the characters will have their own happy endings.
Everything can't be all happy-go-lucky, even in a romance novel, though. Dodd not only develops the conflicts between the protagonists of the book, Meadow and Devlin, but also brings in outside villains. The mystery behind them is revealed early on or easily guessed as the story unfolds. This doesn't bother me as a reader, though, because I didn't pick up Tongue In Chic expecting a great mystery. I chose Christina Dodd's book for the romance, and she delivered that along with humorous situations (and who couldn't use laughter in life?).
My main negative critique about the book is that Dodd didn't develop the back stories of the people enough, especially the supporting characters. She only hit the tip of the iceberg. She gave readers the bare minimum information and then left us hanging onto the edge of our seats craving even more. This was unfortunate because all of these characters were as important to the overall romance as the main protagonists. Perhaps she didn't want their stories to overshadow Meadow and Devlin's interactions, or she was afraid that the writing would transform into a soap opera rather than a romance novel. Another reviewer even guessed that Dodd had page limitations set by her publisher. Either way, this book could have surpassed the traditional confines of the romance plot structure if Dodd had just taken the story a little further than planned.
Even without the additional development of details, this book is a fun and easy read. It's light-hearted, quirky, and will make you laugh. Best of all, it has a happy ending. There's nothing to feel guilty about when reading a romance novel, especially one by Christina Dodd. We all need happy endings once in a while....more
This is Beverley's second book written when she first broke into the romance publishing frontier. It reminded me of a Jane Austen or gothic romance buThis is Beverley's second book written when she first broke into the romance publishing frontier. It reminded me of a Jane Austen or gothic romance but not written as well as some of the ones I have read under that genre. The best thing about this book is the mystery, which was hard to figure out. The setting, the dark house juxtaposed next to the sea, gave the perfect mysterious atmosphere. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the main characters, Chloe and Justin, was lacking. Part of this was attributed to their past, when Justin convinced Chloe to marry his cousin Stephen rather than himself (she was seventeen at the time). Life is too short to make such mistakes with love, and as the reader finds out, the marriage between Chloe and Stephen was a mistake. Another minor detail that irritated me was how Justin constantly doubted Chloe. Even though Justin thought Chloe was a spy, he needed to let go of his suspicions earlier in the book in order for their romance to develop faster. The two characters who interested me the most were Chloe and her cousin, Randal, who constantly flirted with her. What was the flirting about? Did he like her or was it all part of the time period? I want to read about Randal and his future romance. Did Beverley ever write a book about his story? Overall, it is my least favorite novel by this author and does not do the writer justice like her Rogue series does....more
This was a very boring book. The characters did not have complex personalities, and there was not a lot of interaction between Jacelyn and Claibourne,This was a very boring book. The characters did not have complex personalities, and there was not a lot of interaction between Jacelyn and Claibourne, who are the main characters and love interests. It was probably one of the worst romances I have ever read! The only positive thing about the novel was the author's attention to the time period and details of the clothes that the characters wore....more
This is my favorite novel written by Amanda Quick. Clare, the heroine, creates perfume. She marries Gareth, the Hellhound of Wyckmere, and the two getThis is my favorite novel written by Amanda Quick. Clare, the heroine, creates perfume. She marries Gareth, the Hellhound of Wyckmere, and the two get caught up in an evil plot to steal an alchemist's book. One aspect that brings this tale to life is the setting, the isle of desire. It's a beautiful place and the descriptions leave me wondering if Clare and Gareth live in the garden of Eden. My favorite part of the book, though, is Clare's strong, independent nature. Quick is able to create a heroine any woman can admire in a time period where women were valued for the number of male heirs they bore. Watching both Clare and Gareth develop as a couple is a truly magical experience....more