No sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the b...moreNo sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the bone-melting, sex-on-a-stick Scottish hottie who loves her. This is a 4-star read compared to On Dublin Street but in the big scheme of things it is definitely a 5! I [image error] Samantha Young!!!(less)
I'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread...moreI'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread at Amazon to banish it to my "not in this lifetime" list. But with gloomy weather enhancing a melancholy mood, I decided to embrace depression completely.
Tessa & Nick Russo, it would seem, have a life together that many aspire for yet few achieve. In their mid-30's and married 7 years, they are already enjoying an affluent lifestyle. Nick is a world-renowned pediatric plastic surgeon and Tessa was a professor until recently when she quit working to devote herself full-time to raising their daughter Ruby,4 and son Frank, 2. Tessa & Nick's relationship isn't one of earth-shattering passion fueled by copious amounts of sex as it had been when they were first married, but long work days and small children will do that to any marriage, right? More importantly, with love and commitment they are developing a solid foundation for their children and for their future as a family. Success in their endeavors can be attributed to one important factor...Tessa and Nick love each other.
What's love got to do..got to do with it? What's love but a second-hand emotion?
Valerie Anderson is a part-time lawyer and full-time single mother raising a 6-yr-old son. Her relationship with Charlie's father was over before the guy even knew Valerie was pregnant, so her twin brother Justin is doing his best to provide Charlie with the male guidance and loving attention he would otherwise be without. Aside from Justin, Valerie isn't close to any other adult. She has serious trust issues with pseudo friends and family members, her track record for hooking up with a good man is non-existent and she refuses to associate with wealthy - and therefore - pretentious people. Suffice it to say Valerie is a loner...and very lonely.
So the hero rides in on his white stallion and rescues the damsel in distress.
Dining out on their anniversary, Tessa and Nick are interrupted by an emergency call from the hospital requiring Nick's area of expertise. Tessa understands, as she always does, and goes home. At the hospital, Nick treats the burn victim, little Charlie, while Valerie, wide-eyed and horrified, tries not to fall to pieces. Fortunately, as a pediatrician Nick has excellent consoling skills with children that apparently extend to distraught single mothers. Charlie is going to need plastic surgery and Nick officially becomes his doctor. Nick bonds with Charlie as a father-figure and with Valerie in a way that is anything but fatherly. Pretending to themselves more than anyone else, Nick and Valerie insist they are just good friends; however, the sexual tension between them is palpable and it becomes just a matter of time. When Tessa goes away one weekend to visit an old friend, Nick and Valerie succumb to their desires and f**k the night away.
What you don't know won't hurt you. (Really? What stupid-ass penned that nonsense?)
Tessa knows something is wrong. Oh sure, Nick has been working longer hours than ever before but Tessa attributes that to the crazy clock a doctor lives by. She hasn't been feeling like much more than a mommy since she quit teaching but it had been Nick's idea for her to quit. On the surface, he seems like the same wonderful man she fell in love with years ago, but knowing him so well she senses something is amiss...he's pulling away. She finds his cellphone lying unattended; and though normally she wouldn't give it a second thought, that nagging woman's intuition insists she check his messages...
Oh what would we do without our well-meaning friends?
"I miss you too and no, he doesn't hate you. How could anyone hate you?" Tessa comes up with a hundred plausible scenarios for someone to send Nick this message because she trusts her husband completely. Come on Tessa...you've got more than enough clues. Then, while away visiting her best friend, Cate, Tessa gets a text from one of her newer "society" friends who feels an obligation to the sisterhood to inform Tessa her husband was seen standing "unnaturally" close to Valerie Anderson. Tessa stands firm that her husband is faithful, yet she cuts her weekend stay short and is on the first flight home.
Shame, thy name is Nick.
I'll stop here but believe me I can't think of anything more heart-wrenching than what transpires in the last fourth of this story. In fact, the entire book was tough to listen to. Not only was my heart in my throat most of the time but I had to pull the earbuds out at one point because I couldn't handle what was transpiring. Did I like it? I LOVED it! This is my first book by Emily Giffin and I now intend to read (listen to) every book she has written.. She has the gift of bringing her characters to life...people you can't help but come to know extremely well and thereby care for immensely. I can't wait to become so involved like that again!
The story is told in alternating chapters by Tessa in 1st person and Valerie in 3rd person, with an emphasis on her personal thoughts. Valerie played the martyr well, strong enough to handle motherhood alone yet vulnerable and helpless without a man. Yes Nick was married and had 2 children, but Valerie decided that they were responsible for his unhappiness. As she sneakily cruised by his house (yeah, like a stalker) she decided Tessa was a society snob and probably had a lover herself. Surely, she was anxious to get rid of him. Besides, Nick was wonderful with Charlie and her son needed a father! With all the rationalizing Valerie did to convince herself she was entitled to Nick - along with a healthy dose of hero worship - she came off as helpless and needy, yet vindictive and manipulative. Gah! I hated the bitch! How much pleasure I would have found in rewriting the story to have Tessa beating the crap out of her!
On the other side of the coin, I loved Tessa. She was experiencing some depression when all this began, probably due to the fact that she missed teaching, which meant daily interaction with humans older than 4. I know it isn't hard to succumb to the feeling that you are nothing more than someone's mommy. With a husband at work 12 hours a day, by the time Tessa & Nick had some alone time, all she wanted to do was sleep. But she wasn't a bitch or whiny about what she was saddled with all day, and she was never too tired for sex. I felt bad for her when Nick initially told her she was the one who had changed and caused the rift in their marriage. But Tessa was not a shrinking violet, a doormat or TSTL. As much as she loved Nick, she held her marriage vows sacred and (hell, yeah) kicked his ass to the curb when the time came. There is a major confrontation between Tessa and Valerie, and Tessa's ability to remain gracious at the worst of times is tribute to the good person she is and the woman Nick realizes he can't live without.
And Nick? Well yeah, he betrayed his wife and family in the worst way possible. And what he saw in Valerie we can only speculate, but I think he got caught up in the hero worship thing...being the knight in shining armor to both Valerie and Charlie. Whatever, he crossed the line that can never be uncrossed and lost the complete trust his wife had in him...probably forever. Nevertheless, Nick seemed truely remorseful for what he had done and his grovel was Oscar-worthy. I completely forgave him.
Three years and 20 books later I'm still loving Jack Sheridan and the rest of the Virgin River gang as much as I did when the series first started. Ku...moreThree years and 20 books later I'm still loving Jack Sheridan and the rest of the Virgin River gang as much as I did when the series first started. Kudos to Robyn Carr for her amazing imagination and to the awesome narrator Therese Plummer for bringing the citizens of VR to life!
I don't know what I was expecting when I purchased this book but what I got was one helluva dramatic, suspenseful, heart-stopping journey into the see...moreI don't know what I was expecting when I purchased this book but what I got was one helluva dramatic, suspenseful, heart-stopping journey into the seedy underworld of hijackings and terrorists and the kickass men trained to thwart them. This is the book that defines the genre "romantic suspense" and anyone who enjoys a story that is one huge adrenalin rush from beginning to end will love Forged in Fire. Kudos to Trish McCallan for penning such a powerful debut novel. I'm not even a fan of the genre yet couldn't bring myself to rate it anything less than 5 stars!
Another great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gami...moreAnother great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gaming establishment known as the Tantalus Club.
Sophia White, the bastard daughter of a duke, has been forced to quit her employment at the Club because her father has surfaced for the first time in her life and demand she marry a country vicar he has chosen, thereby removing the blemish on his "good" name. Fortunately, Sophia has a short reprieve before her impending doom and has been invited to a Christmas house party being hosted by Adam, the Duke of Greaves. On her way to the party, a bridge leading to the estate collapses and Sophia's carriage plunges into an icy body of water. Sophia is rescued by the Duke and taken to his home; however, she is his only guest for 2 weeks, as the fallen bridge makes it impossible for the other partygoers to join them.
Adam has arranged this Christmas party for the sole purpose of finding a suitable wife - not that he wants a wife, mind you - but he will turn 30 in less than 3 months and it is stipulated in his father's will that he must marry before then or lose all of his holdings to his sister's 9yr old son. Sophia is far from a suitable wife but Adam invited her on a whim one night at the Club. She is a beauty, after all, with her brilliant red hair ...but it is her uninhibited, carefree nature that pique's Adam's interest. Deliberately ignoring Adam's attempt to adhere to social propriety, Sophia treats him as if he was her equal...shocking him when she shows up in a pair of borrowed trousers and - gasp! - pelting him with snowballs. Eventually, Adam relaxes and truly enjoys the fortnight he spends with Sophie...both in and out of bed.
Unfortunately for the new lovers, the bridge is repaired and their idyllic paradise is interrupted by 20 now-unwanted guests. Working at the Tantalus Club has saddled Sophia with the false reputation of being a woman of ill repute and she is given the cut direct by all of the attendees except for Cami & her husband Keating (H/h from book #2). Sophia tries to remain unaffected by all the snide remarks from the ladies and the lewd advances from the men, but watching Adam parading around with his potential brides-to-be...loving him yet knowing they both must marry others...the light in her eyes is soon distinguished. Making matters worse, Adam sets his cap on the most beautiful of the purebred ladies and then asks Sophia to be his mistress. Terribly hurt but resigned to her fate, Sophia slips away from the estate on Christmas Day and sets off for Cornwall where the unknown vicar resides.
As always, Suzanne Enoch breathes life into an interesting cast of characters with a worthwhile story to tell. Sophia is lighthearted and fun...one of the few heroines that I've truly enjoyed. She brings the best out of Adam when they are together, and for the first time in 30 years he is content and enjoying life. Therefore, when he realizes the horrible truth of what his actions have done to Sophie, he kicks all of his guests to the curb and tears up the countryside is his quest to find her, beg her forgiveness and bring her home.
Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke is historical romance at its finest. Highly recommended!
The Duke of Greaves - off to bring back the woman he loves(less)
This is Beautiful Disaster from Travis' POV and I loved it even more than its predecessor. Really...the book boyfriend mold was broken when Travis Mad...moreThis is Beautiful Disaster from Travis' POV and I loved it even more than its predecessor. Really...the book boyfriend mold was broken when Travis Maddox was created! They just don't get any better than him. *sigh*(less)
While this is definitely one of my top ten favorite ebooks, the audiobook version of On Dublin Street is nothing short of fucking spectacular, and is...moreWhile this is definitely one of my top ten favorite ebooks, the audiobook version of On Dublin Street is nothing short of fucking spectacular, and is easily my favorite of the 400+ audiobooks I have listened to thus far. It is the only book listed for the narrator, Paula Costello, so hopefully it is her debut narration and we'll be enjoying many more books read by her in the future.
10 stars - 5 for Samantha Young's amazing imagination & creativity and 5 for Paula Costello's talent for bringing to life the gang down On Dublin Street!
Goodreads needs a new rating system. Again I've been blown away by a book that is so frigging good a paltry 5 stars does not do it any justice.
On the...moreGoodreads needs a new rating system. Again I've been blown away by a book that is so frigging good a paltry 5 stars does not do it any justice.
On the Island is not your everyday romance novel and you will need to step out of the box for this one. The setting is an island...and I'm not talking the Bahamas. It is a small, deserted island with no food, no water and no shelter. What it does have is relentless heat and extreme humidity, rabid bats intent on sucking blood, and the human remains of a survivor who obviously did not live up to the moniker. And that's the lighter fare! The true "survivors" on the island are the protagonists of this story...a 16-year-old boy, TJ, and a 30-year-old woman, Annie. And, yes, it is a romance. But keep an open mind! It may breach your moral code but I can guarantee it will do so with your blessing.
TJ is a high school sophomore who has recently undergone treatment for cancer. He and Annie, the tutor his parents have hired for him to catch up on the schoolwork he has missed, are flying from Chicago to the Maldive Islands to join TJ's family on vacation. Bumped from their scheduled flight on the last leg of their trek, they charter a seaplane to take them the final few miles. Tragically, the pilot has a massive heart attack while en route and the plane crashes into the ocean. TJ and Annie both survive and wash ashore of the island.
What follows is a fantastic account of two people beating the odds and staying alive...day after day...month after month...and yes...year after year. TJ & Annie's "life story" is shocking and raw and brutal...and as a reader you become very connected with their ordeal as the story is told from their alternating points of view and supplemented with a great deal of dialog. TJ & Annie's "love story" is everything you could ask for in a true romance. They do not get together until TJ is nineteen and Annie is thirty-three, but when they do it feels natural and realistic and very, very right. You actually watch two people fall in love...and it really kicks ass over being "told" a couple is in love - which of course is standard fare for most romance novels. The author lets you into the very heart and soul of these characters; and when TJ & Annie return to real-life, you fervently pray they will find a way to beat the odds and make their extraordinary relationship work.
OK, I might sound like a drama queen but I can't help it...this is a dramatic story! I read a few reviews that described On the Island as a "light, easy read" and I was like WTF?? Maybe easy to read because it is written so well, but being in a plane crash and stranded on a deserted island for over three years with hardly anything more than coconuts to eat, a shark that is chomping at the bit for a good meal, no clothes, tainted water, feelings of panic, hopelessness and despair,as well as the grief that comes from knowing your family thinks you are dead and are mourning your passing...is NOT, in my opinion, "light" reading! And this story does not go away after you have read the last page and closed the book. How can it? This was your journey too!
Best of all, Tracey Garvis-Graves is undoubtedly one of us "die-hard romantics" because the epilogue she has given this story is absolutely fantastic - it is sweet and touching and pretty damn near perfect. It deserves 10 stars by itself!
Seriously, think of all the reasons you should treat yourself to this book - you will read something very different while still staying in the genre you love (and who knows, you might even learn how to start a fire with just your shoelace), you will successfully escape from real life (and if you're anything like me, you can never get enough of that), you will believe that anything is possible (even those of you with a strict moral compass), and best of all, it will make you happy. Without a doubt, you deserve that! [image error](less)
"If you think my truck is big..." (bumper sticker on Bubba's pickup)
Going Cowboy Crazy is Katie Lane's cheeky debut novel about life in a small Texas...more"If you think my truck is big..." (bumper sticker on Bubba's pickup)
Going Cowboy Crazy is Katie Lane's cheeky debut novel about life in a small Texas town...and she has hit the ground running. Her style is a mish-mash of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (quirky but loveable secondary characters), Rachel Gibson (believable romance between two polar opposites) and Vicki Lewis Thompson (sexy, swaggering, modern-day cowboys). This is one of the sweetest books I've read in a long time and was just what I needed to pull me up from the literary doldrums I've been wallowing in lately...having no one to blame but myself for the slew of angst-ridden books I've been reading.
Faith Aldridge is on a mission. The demure, introverted woman from Chicago received the most unsettling news from her mother on her death bed...she has a twin sister. So Faith makes the trek across country to the small town of Bramble, Texas to, hopefully, meet her sister, Hope. Upon her arrival, Faith stops at what looks to be the local watering hole, but before she can open her mouth to ask after Hope, the townsfolk swoop down on her with kisses, hugs and adoration for their favorite hometown girl who is back from making it big in Hollywood. And they are gonna make damn sure she does things right this time by getting hitched to her high school sweetheart, Slate Calhoun.
Faith is overwhelmed by everyone's reaction and Slate, who knows instantly that Faith is not Hope, comes to her rescue. That's right, darlin. The big, strapping hunk o' cowboy with the rock-hard abs and sexy bedroom eyes becomes her champion of sorts...and he two-steps her right into bed in almost no time flat! (Of course, this is after she has no choice but to go along with the farce and do what Hope would do...slam down a number of tequila shooters.)
When Faith learns she has slept with her sister's "boyfriend", she wants to hi-tail it out of Bramble but her damn car has been impounded and nobody will tell her where it is. Resigned to her fate, Faith "adopts" Hope's identity and is soon practicing her southern drawl as well as her line-dancing. And somewhere along the way, she falls in love with the man the good people of Bramble have earmarked for her...er... for her sister. Uh-oh...look who's really back in town!
I can't recommend this book enough to someone looking for a "pick-me-up" read that will actually have you laughing out loud one minute and sighing "awww, that is so sweet" the next. For maximum enjoyment, listen to the audio book if you can. The narrator, Nicole Poole, gives voice to an entire town of rednecks so well you will think you've been plucked out of your cozy reading cubby and dropped dead center into the town of Bramble, Texas...wearing your big hair, skin-tight jeans and shit-stompin' cowboy boots! Ride 'em, cowgirl!
Where She Went is the concluding story of Adam Wilde and Mia Hall, whose relationship was put on hold at the end of the first book, If I Stay, when Mi...moreWhere She Went is the concluding story of Adam Wilde and Mia Hall, whose relationship was put on hold at the end of the first book, If I Stay, when Mia, a gifted cellist, left Adam in Oregon to attend Julliard in New York. The story is told in first-person by Adam, and let me just say that if you do not listen to audio books but were thinking about doing so, this would be an excellent book to begin with. The narrator has a great voice and very smooth presentation.
When Adam kissed Mia goodbye and put her on the plane to New York, little did he know that she would be severing their long distance relationship within the first six months. Adam's grief was profound...he was not only hurt but was totally in the dark as to why Mia had shut down all methods of communication. During his self-imposed period of mourning and reflection, he wrote lyrics to more than 10 songs that were not only therapeutic in helping him deal with the breakup, but were kick-ass as well. The album Collateral Damage was recorded and Adam's small-time band, Shooting Star, became internationally famous almost overnight.
The story begins three years later, and Adam is living the typical life of a rock star...complete with renowned fame, luxury and a famous girlfriend. Unfortunately, fame for Adam also brings paranoia, reclusiveness and a penchant for violent outbursts. It is Friday the 13th, and Adam refuses to fly, on that particular day, with the rest of the band members to Europe where they will begin a 3-month tour. He will fly out the next day; thus, he finds himself alone in New York City for an entire day. After an unwelcome magazine interview that, as usual, ended badly, Adam donned his sunglasses & hit the streets. Totally blown away when he sees a marquee advertising a concert at Carnegie Hall featuring Mia, he buys a ticket.
What follows is a heart-wrenching story of two people who have just a few hours of time together to find some type of closure over an old relationship that had once been rock-solid & filled with love. The author seamlessly blends the past with the present, so you do not have to read the first book (as I did not) to be totally in tune with what is going on. And as a bonus, every other chapter begins with a verse from a song off Collateral Damage, the lyrics being so poignant that you will wonder if such an album actually exists! Also, telling the story from Adam's POV is the perfect touch as it isn't often us romance readers are allowed this intimacy.
This book is listed under the subgenre of "young adult" but please don't let that stop you from reading a truly wonderful story of two people who shared a "once-in-a-lifetime" love, lost each other in the confusion of life, yet never let go of the love. Have tissues handy.
This is a book with the most unusual and unlikely coupling of any story you have ever read or will ever read. The hero is Sir Mark Turner. At age 28,...moreThis is a book with the most unusual and unlikely coupling of any story you have ever read or will ever read. The hero is Sir Mark Turner. At age 28, he has become a celebrity of sorts due to a book he has written entitled, The Gentleman's Practical Guide to Chastity...the contents of which he embraces wholeheartedly. The heroine is Jessica Farleigh, a seasoned courtesan who wants nothing more than to free herself from the demeaning life that fate has bestowed upon her. Seeing a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, she accepts a wager that has been made by an enemy of Sir Mark...bring the man to ruin so he will be publicly denounced.
Jessica's first attempts to seduce Mark are easily thwarted, as he knows what she is trying to do but is uncertain as to why. When asked about her motives, she candidly replies, "because I hate you." Mark senses the truth behind those words and appreciates her honesty. As he is the "darling" of society and put on a pedestal by most everyone, he is thoroughly sick of the adoration himself and can wholeheartedly understand the resentment some people might harbor against him. He repeatedly tells admirers, "I'm not a holy man. I just wrote a book." And he tells Jessica, "I am just a man"; and as all men, he has sexual desires...he just doesn't act upon them. Beginning to like this woman and confident of his restraint, he tells Jessica "If you truly liked me enough to tempt me, I should not mind seeing you try."
From then on, a bond is forged between the virtuous man and his would-be seductress, and they become friends. However, perhaps it's the "when Harry met Molly" curse, but their friendship inevitably gives way to love. Mark has finally met the woman he has been waiting for all of his life and Jessica...well...personal feelings must be put aside - she still has to seduce him to collect on the wager.
Unclaimed is by far the best book Courtney Milan has written to date. I've read all of her books so I am used to her excellent characterization and her ability to transport her readers to whatever time and place she chooses. But with this story, she engages your heart; and in so doing makes you feel what you would otherwise just read. Mark and Jessica's love story is not easy, but it is real and powerful and emotional, and will touch you to your very soul.
5* plus for a wonderful book that any true reader of romance will not want to miss!(less)