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)
Three separate stories about siblings Ian, Paige and Sadie Long, owners of the coffeehouse Pulled Long, and their sexual adventures at the local sex c...moreThree separate stories about siblings Ian, Paige and Sadie Long, owners of the coffeehouse Pulled Long, and their sexual adventures at the local sex club, Mavericks. Paige, the uptight eldest sister, really needs to give control over to someone else...and finds the perfect Dom in a hunky fireman. Sadie, who has secretly been in love with her best friend, Paul, for 10 years, is finally able to hook up with him while at the same time fulfilling her fantasy of being with two men at the same time. Ian, the 27-yr-old little brother, is infatuated with a customer known only as "blue eyes", until he finds out his crush is in the midst of a divorce - from a woman!
All three stories were enjoyable...a nice blend of romance and sex between consenting protagonists that stayed true to a solid plot. If you like audiobooks, this would be a good choice as the 3 different narrators each do an excellent job.(less)
Books 1 and 2 in the Thoughtless series were two of my all-time favorite reads. Unfortunately, Reckless was a little bit of a letdown for me. The angs...moreBooks 1 and 2 in the Thoughtless series were two of my all-time favorite reads. Unfortunately, Reckless was a little bit of a letdown for me. The angst that rocked the first two books just wasn't there. I kept waiting for something to happen that would break my heart into a million pieces then slowly put it back together piece by piece, which is exactly what happened in both Thoughtless and Effortless. S.C. Stephens is the best at writing heartbreaking scenes, and I really missed that in Reckless. But overall, I'm just happy Kiera & Kellan, Denny & Abby, and Anna & Griffin all got the happy endings they deserved. Damn, but I'm going to miss Kellan Kyle! Waaaaaah!!!(less)
Short but sweet story about a guy who is guilt-ridden over the fact that he is in love with his dead best friend's wife. The narrator for this audiobo...moreShort but sweet story about a guy who is guilt-ridden over the fact that he is in love with his dead best friend's wife. The narrator for this audiobook, MacLeod Andrews, should be credited for giving this tired plot the oomph it needed to make this a worthwhile listen.(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!