You think the life of a royal is all hunky dory? Money and a title can fix everything, right? Not so... This book serves to remind us--in an entertain...moreYou think the life of a royal is all hunky dory? Money and a title can fix everything, right? Not so... This book serves to remind us--in an entertaining, fun way--that even royals aren't immune to tragedy.
I expected this to be a piece of fluff, a Cinderella story. I didn't expect much of it, to be honest, but I was sucked in by the Audrey Hepburn-like cover. I'm so glad I gave this a chance. It made me laugh and cry and think deeply. This isn't your average romance.
It is a Cinderella story...girl struggling to put herself through college discovers she's a long-lost royal with an estate and millions to her name, and while it comes across as preposterous and somewhat cheesy at first, the story unfolds in a believable, realistic way. Samantha never loses sight of who she really is. That's something I think many people need to be reminded of--whether they're obtaining a supervisor position or just coming into some good fortune or whatever.
We have a heroine with a huge heart and an incredible inner strength. She also has a terrific sense of humor.
There wasn't a mystery or murder plot or anything major, but I found myself riveted just the same. There was never any doubt in my mind the hero and heroine would end up together either. This is simply a story about a spunky girl who discovers she's a duchess, travels to her "new" country, and while being overwhelmed and frightened, makes the most of it and tries her best to always do the right thing, even at a cost to herself.
First of all, I love that this is a REAL story. It's not a simple, boring case of man and woman meet, skirt around each other, and finally fall into b...moreFirst of all, I love that this is a REAL story. It's not a simple, boring case of man and woman meet, skirt around each other, and finally fall into bed together. I especially loved that the heroine is a lawyer who knows her own mind and isn't afraid to speak it.
"Judging me on my personal appearance, that's solid grounds for a discrimination case." *** Alan deserved honestly and somehow, unlike many employees who simply grovelled to the head of the company, she had the strength to tell it like it was--even if it meant she wouldn't be the CEO's favourite person. It was her duty, it was the right thing to do, and that was something she definitely understood.
I like this chick, very much. I was intrigued with the whole situation, the strange, oppressed country with corrupt officials, the oil contract and all the drama. I've never really thought about it what it means to travel to third-world countries and all of this--the women who cannot vote, the salads once cannot eat without fear of getting ill from the water that cleaned them, the camel slaughtering--made me appreciate all that I have.
I even felt my heart pound faster as Lara tried to make a plane out of there, felt fear when they took her passport for holding. I chuckled once or twice. I'll this again: I love that it's a real story with so much going on besides just romance, 'cause in a normal woman's life, there really IS more going on than "Does he love me? Does he want me? Do I look good?" Seriously, people. LOL
Anyway, that being said, infidelity and cheating is a sad fact in many a woman's life. I don't believe in wearing blinders and pretending these things do not happen, thus I appreciate that the author tackled the cheating issue. That takes guts nowadays, and I am not the least put off by that sideline. As I said, it happens. However, I must say I wish it had been kept a secret from us. Some suspense would have been nice. Instead, I felt as though I was being hit over and over with a 2 x 4 that said, "OMG, he's with another woman right now. He's cheating."
To be honest, I think the heroine came to the conclusion too quick. I mean, if my husband was in a business job and his secretary told me he was working from home, my first thought would NOT be, "He's cheating on me!" I'd have to find him in a compromising position or a lie. So this was weird to me and as I said above, we were constantly reminded that he was messing around, before he was even really caught. I'd have preferred more basis for this conclusion and more surprise, less pounding me over the head with it. And then it went from constant reminders of his possible infidelity to constant reminders that she could never trust men again and that Jack may just be like her ex. It was CONSTANT, sometimes only a paragraph between them.
She thought of Tim, of how much she'd wanted to believe in her marriage and look where that had got her. Well, she wasn't going down that track again...and just a few paragraphs later...Yes, she thought of Tim, her husband of ten years, the only man to whom she had ever truly given herself. Tim, the husband who'd cheated and lied, made her feel worthless. She sighed. She'd definitely steer clear of relationships for a long, long time...and then...She wasn't going to fall for his magnetism, though, wasn't going to find herself in a trap again, with another womaniser.
That was only an eighth of the 2 x 4s. You get the picture. Over and over. How many more times does the same thing need to be said?
"I, Claudia Davis, a single, thirty-five-year-old therapist who wanted noting more than than to marry Edouard Marceau and have my baby girl, had been...more"I, Claudia Davis, a single, thirty-five-year-old therapist who wanted noting more than than to marry Edouard Marceau and have my baby girl, had been a prostitute in my past life. The only comfort was in the fact that even though Ruby had been a full-blown prostitute in the past, she sure as hell wouldn't be one now that I was running this show."
And there you have it. Modern-day pregnant therapist is torn from the arms of the man she loves and time-travels back to 1959 Paris where she's a murder suspect, a dancer, a prostitute, and best friends with her future grandmother. And she has to change fate...or lose her life and baby girl forever. After all, she hasn't been born yet...and what if she isn't?
It's extremely exciting and fast paced. Everyone is just dropping dead around Ruby, the past-life heroine and she has to save herself, change what's to come without even knowing what's to come, and figure out who's killing people. I was wholly entertained and dying to know what happened next. It's more mystery than romance, I think, and I like that I wasn't able to figure out whodunit by page 50. Matter of fact, I thought I had a pretty good idea toward the end, but I was wrong.
The first-person narrative worked well, but I am disappointed that there wasn't more historical data. Traveling from 2012 to 1959 can't be peachy. A part of me couldn't help comparing it to another recent time-travel romance I read that jumped similar dates, Hindsight by Sarah Belle. While that author had details about trying to LIVE and perform what in 2012 are much easier tasks (Imagine not having a modern-day washing machine all of a sudden!), this book didn't even touch on that stuff.
It also tied up too quickly and too cheesily in the end. I was left with a lot of questions and it being such a long book, it's not like it didn't have the time to tie them up.
-"When I kill you, your soul won't ever be reborn."
Why not?? Huh? She was killed the first time around and still lived in another life.
-The wife following Ruby around...I seriously doubt she knew Ruby would be in that office and got there before her in time to plant that photo. No... The timing here was all off.
-How could you not notice you haven't had a period in four months? Get real.
-I was also slightly alarmed that the heroines always seem to go for taken men, in both lives, except for in the case of JP. I laughed when Claudia said this, "I'm not normally like this, running from one man to the next."
Errr. Married lover fathered your baby, and three months later the man you love is engaged and then you time travel and a mere three days after you have sex with a married politician in that life, you're having sex with another taken man.
I have never watched the TV show Survivor or Lost nor read a book called On the Island, (I saw the mentioned a lot in other reviews) so when I picked...moreI have never watched the TV show Survivor or Lost nor read a book called On the Island, (I saw the mentioned a lot in other reviews) so when I picked this book up, I wasn't set on comparing it to anything. I just wanted to get lost in a story...and holy moly, did I!
Frankly, I'm surprised I liked it as much as I did, because I don't normally dig male POV, but I really really liked this hero and in the end, it worked.
I devoured this in two days because I could not put it down. Once you get immersed in the story, you're not going to want to stop. It's just too exciting. It's not the kind of book you pick up occasionally and just read bit by bit.
It had a rough start. We meet a cast of really unlikable people on a plane...even the heroine isn't too likable. Then they crash...and from that point on...just OMG. Wow! The author doesn't gloss over the details of surviving in the wilderness. She gives us the perfect blend of MacGuyver-style surviving--turning airplane bathroom cubicles into bathtubs, making hammocks of parachutes, bras becoming slingshots; foraging for food and learning to hunt--crocodile eggs, caterpillars, frogs; and enough life-threatening, heart pounding moments--I really felt as though I was in the cave and panic was clutching at my throat as they each tried to find their way out. And the description--not too much, not too little.
The romance was really well done--slow, as it should be, considering what they've gone through and the losses they've faced. There was character growth (the heroine becoming a better person, the hero healing from his childhood), bonding, tears and humorous banter. The sex is excellent. I was slightly worried about how it would be as the characters aren't in a position to bathe regularly, but the author kept it short, sweet, and didn't have them doing anything that seemed disgusting in their situation.
I also really really appreciated the side story of the man's letters to his daughter. I loved that. Also of note is the moral about love--that love doesn't discriminate. Some fabulous words came from the hero about that. I wish now that I'd highlighted them, but I was so eager at all moments to find out what happened next... I confess I doubted they would make it.
I loved this story of adventure, surviving, and love. My only quibble (and I'm just being nit-picky) is I could have done without the heroine's bratty teenage daughter. I didn't feel she was relevant to the story and her attitude in the end...it didn't match what I was expecting from her. So since she WAS in the story, some more character development there was needed. I just didn't buy it--her easy acceptance of the twist of events, because she came across as just a pure demon spawn to me in the beginning and middle.
But this story was not only a wild ride; it also made me think about how we need to just forget what others think of us and just...live and be ourselves...cause you never know what could happen next.
I'm not that into erotica. Too much of it focuses on sex, sex, and more sex, and next to no story OR the story is something swiped and decimated from...moreI'm not that into erotica. Too much of it focuses on sex, sex, and more sex, and next to no story OR the story is something swiped and decimated from Nora Roberts--done 5,000 times before.
Shari Copell didn't do that. Oh, she has sex, but the story is so unique. I've never read anything like it.
It's like Tarzan and Jane, but Jane is this young girl with an incredible narrative voice who ends up on an island because her uncle wants her dead and the ship of his crony sinks instead...and she ends up on this island with this gorgeous, innocent Tarzan...Micah.
It's very unique and well done with a strong voice. I appreciated her decision to stay on the island, to not go back to a snot-faced society. Haven't we all imaged that at some time or another? I love Micah and it made me think of how wonderful people can be if they were tainted by TV, society, and taught to be...not the themselves.
There's adventure, sex, love, emotion, and intense moments--on the ship, on the island-- and lots of suspense. Will her uncle find her? Will she be kidnapped again?
"Please, don't swoon again, I beg of you. I thought you modern women were made of sterner stuff and you don't even have the excuse of a tight bodice."...more"Please, don't swoon again, I beg of you. I thought you modern women were made of sterner stuff and you don't even have the excuse of a tight bodice."
...Says the painting to the modern woman about to swoon.
Imagine that. A painting speaking to you!!!
There's two stories here, though the historical story is very, very minimal. I would call this a contemporary romance. In the past, Jago and Eliza had an affair. Now, don't judge. If you were in Eliza's shoes...
For reasons not divulged until the end--and therefore I won't divulge--Jago and Eliza's souls can only be reunited in the afterlife if their paintings are side by side. When the modern-day heroine falls in love with Jago's portrait at an auction, it changes her life in more ways than one. It sets her on an entirely different path. You see, Jago talks to her, and he sends her on a quest to find a missing painting--that of Eliza.
The quest sends her to an out-of-the-way estate where a Jago lookalike lives. A few little white lies--"I'm an art student seeking certain paintings..." leads to her being a temporary secretary and falling in love with her new boss, but gets her no closer to finding the painting...or does it?
The historical story, though minimal, presents some interesting parallels. The writing is great, as can be expected from a Courtenay novel. I liked the modern heroine in this, the way she grabs life, takes control, and despite what people say--especially her family--she does what is best for HER. I've said this before and I'll say it again: strength comes in many forms. A woman doesn't have to be wielding a sword or a gun or kicking butt and taking names to be strong.
The past heroine, Eliza, I had a harder time connecting with her. Perhaps because there is so little of her? I did like that she finds happiness, however forbidden and illicit, in a very miserable life though. You could say she makes the best of things. I did wonder many times though why she and Jago didn't run off together and questioned Jago's love for her. Surely some part of him wanted to rescue her? Take her away? I don't feel he tried very hard, to be honest. I loved him better when he was a talking painting.
While I'm on the subject, I want a talking painting. Though I probably wouldn't understand it, not unless the lips moved. LOL
But I digress.
The modern story kept me interested. There were little twists and turns and I could tell some characters were up to some shady stuff. The little girl is a show-stealer!! I don't normally like children in books but this one is a sweetie. But again, the hero didn't do it for me. Dude, someone has been in your house and slashed stuff. I expect more of a reaction than, "I'll ask around..."
Overall this is a very entertaining, light read. It was a pleasant diversion. The romance is sweet and takes just the right amount of time to develop. GREAT CHARACTER & RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT, MS. COURTENAY. I've noticed in many books nowadays, heroes and heroines are lip-locking mere seconds after meeting--by page three. Not so in this. Superbly done. I felt like I was growing and learning and feeling with the characters.
The problem with wowing your audience with an amazing book is your readers will expect that kind of writing and story from you all the time. Having lo...moreThe problem with wowing your audience with an amazing book is your readers will expect that kind of writing and story from you all the time. Having loved Fast Forward and liked I Dream of Johnny, I was a tad disappointed with this one. I liked it, but not near as much.
As Ms. Madison has been dubbed the "Queen of RoMagic Comedy"...I expected to laugh out loud more than once. I did with Fast Foward, numerous times. I didn't find anything funny about this one though. It's cute, don't get me wrong; just doesn't have a big impact on me. It won't stay with me.
In a nutshell: a small-time actress has a huge crush on a big-time co-star, but he's a bit of a lady's man... Is her star-crush blinding her to other possibilities? An angel comes down to try to fix things by tugging on her ear and chewing her fingernails.
The angel business was cute. She even has an aPhone. (Angel phone).
I appreciated the theme/moral. It's good food for thought. Especially here:
"...you will know you are with your soulmate when you can simply be yourself. Your soulmate will bring the best out in you. They will enhance the beauty and uniqueness already there."
I liked some, I didn't like some. I absolutely loved the subtle and surprising LOL moments. The banter between the hero and heroine was downright hila...moreI liked some, I didn't like some. I absolutely loved the subtle and surprising LOL moments. The banter between the hero and heroine was downright hilarious at times.
"Forced intimacy is very difficult. Your face is getting in the way of the ceiling--"
"--which is what I wish to look at..."
You know from the blurb that this woman needs an heir and stat. Seems her husband is dead in the cellar and she's going to be flat-broke and on the streets if it's known she doesn't have a bun in the oven. MIL's terms.
That's the second thing I loved: this entire premise. Woman with dead husband, needs to conceive an heir, a little black book to blackmail folks, and a man at her beck and call.
"Afterward--rule six--you will remove yourself in all respects and wait until, rule seven, you are summoned again."
And the rules: no touching, no kissing...because she feels that if she prevents herself from enjoying sex, she won't fall for him...again, cause it seems there's a history here.
And here is my quibble: The story kept referring to things in the past, a prior story. It was confusing at first, like a sequel attempting to tell us about book one, but not done well. I even went so far as to go look for book one, feeling as though I'd missed something. Perhaps a prequel should have been released. It would have knocked about 40k of this and would have set the scene. Cause too often I felt like I was reading a sequel--and it couldn't stand alone. The whole past story: her taking another woman's identity, getting ravished on a ship, falling in love, meeting and marrying someone--that's an entire novel.
Lastly, I couldn't make sense of some of the sentences. Sometimes--both dialogue and narrative, didn't matter which--I had to read passages over and over again and still couldn't figure out what they were talking about (if it was dialogue) or what the sentence was saying (narrative). Not sure what happened here. I THINK some of it could be cleaned up with different punctuation.
...just like the day he had flung that trunk on her on the quay, nipping his--if he'd had a heart, that trunk would be on the Calypso.
There were many more passages. I had to reread them and the paragraphs around them to figure out what the narrative was trying to tell me.
Just isn't for me. I was really put off from the get-go when this smart mechanic girl "dumbs herself down" and throws herself at her step-sister's ex-...moreJust isn't for me. I was really put off from the get-go when this smart mechanic girl "dumbs herself down" and throws herself at her step-sister's ex-boyfriend. I don't like women dumbing themselves down. I'm sure it gets better but the "insta-lust" alone put me off, so I decided to pass. And sisters sharing men--I don't care how many years have passed or if it's step or half or whatever--yuck. (less)
I see so many people complaining nowadays about stories being too short. But I must say...I fail to see what they're griping about when sometimes a sh...moreI see so many people complaining nowadays about stories being too short. But I must say...I fail to see what they're griping about when sometimes a short story has all that you need and then some.
Like this one.
It's one of those multi-time stories. There's a modern-day story and a story a hundred years before, both involving newly weds honeymooning in Paris. Each wife is confused and miserable due to some misunderstanding. Through a painting, their stories connect.
There's a moral here: too often we create problems that don't really exist and make things worse in the process. We must also be careful who we give the power to influence us and in turn, make us miserable.
This is truly a unique premise. Two teenagers, one Iraqi, one American...he believes his dad was killed by an Iraqi terrorist during the war. She saw...moreThis is truly a unique premise. Two teenagers, one Iraqi, one American...he believes his dad was killed by an Iraqi terrorist during the war. She saw her father gunned down by an American soldier...
Now imagine those two falling for each other despite their prejudices for each other's people...yea.
I applaud Beth Fred for a unique idea well done. Throughout the story, we're reminded in subtle ways how quick and how wrong we are to judge others based on where they come from, what they wear, how they look.
I also appreciated the theme about how just because we see it on TV, we are not experts on another group of people/culture.
Mirriam hates American soldiers. At first, Caleb hates Iraqis. He wants to enlist, head over there, and take revenge for his father's death, but he has to realize not all Iraqis are bad or terrorists.
Mirriam sort of comes across as a female dog. She's rude and abrasive, but at the same time I shook my head at her, my lips would also turn up at the corners. Caleb, I had a harder time coming to like. He's the typical jock in the beginning--a playboy who expects women to fall at his feet and a douche who agrees to play with girls' hearts for the sake of a bet...but then fate changes his life real fast and it was interesting watching him change his perspective and attitude as the carpet got pulled out from under him.
One of my quibbles is the car scene. It was weak. I'm purposely trying to be vague here as I'm not sure if this scene would be considered a spoiler or not. It comes perhaps halfway into the book. But the lack of details about the medical affliction....is something broken? Did they do any surgery? Did he just lay there in a bed for 35 minutes? What exactly is wrong here? The author obviously did her research about the military, so I wonder why so little was done for the medical aspect/hospital stuff. Throughout the novel, I kept wondering what exactly was wrong with the guy. I'm a stickler for details such as that.
My other quibble is...I was disappointed that in the end, it didn't feel like Mirriam had come to respect any American soldiers. She was still very anti-American and as a military wife, this bothered me. I respect that there is indeed some truth in this:
"...at the end of the day, they're both kids our age with weaponry supplied by some old rich fat man with a belief that what they're doing is right."
But Mirriam's total lack of sympathy for the American soldier...made her no better than the kids calling her a raghead. Not all Iraqis are bad and while there will be some bad apples in the military, not all soldiers are bad either. While Caleb's character evolved to show this, Mirriam's didn't.
I loved JM's Fast Forward so I was really looking forward to reading this. It's a really cute premise with a terrific moral. And I love when there's a...moreI loved JM's Fast Forward so I was really looking forward to reading this. It's a really cute premise with a terrific moral. And I love when there's a moral. You can pick up pointless entertainment anytime, but how often does it leave you sitting there after the last page going, hmmmm, I need to remember that myself...?
A young woman just getting over a breakup can have three wishes of her choice, thanks to a pink digital genie lamp.
And though the wishes come true...well...think about it. If you don't cook the meal, can you be proud of it? If you have it all, what's there left to strive to be?
And that's all I'm going to say about that. The humor in the story comes in the form of a man who just embarrasses the heroine like crazy, but also makes her the happiest she's been a while.
But...he's not Johnny. And I'm going to leave it at that. This was a short read and so I'm making it a short review. I'd hate to give too much away. Suffice it to say, it's a cute story with a strong moral and it will leave you smiling and feeling warm inside. You may even take a long look at your own life and be a bit more grateful.