Unmasking Juliet is a humorous and slightly steamy contemporary romance based loosely on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Unlike the play, therUnmasking Juliet is a humorous and slightly steamy contemporary romance based loosely on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Unlike the play, there is no tragedy so readers who like their happy endings will be pleased.
Juliet and Leo have sizzling chemistry and I enjoyed their career rivalry as well. It made for entertaining reading. In a departure from the source material, Juliet is not immediately won over by Leo. She may be very attracted to him but she still views him as the enemy while he is more open-minded and ignores the family feud.
In addition to the romance, I also enjoyed the humor and the descriptions of yummy chocolate desserts and the scenery. What I found a little disappointing were the over-the-top drama of Leo's uncle and Juliet's mother. They were both one-dimensional characters and I wouldn't have minded some more development or character growth for them. Otherwise I thought this was a satisfying romance. Leo and Juliet are appealing characters and they grow and overcome the obstacles in their path to happiness. ...more
I have really enjoyed the Whiskey Creek series (especially the most recent book, Take Me Home for Christmas) and I even purchased the series for the lI have really enjoyed the Whiskey Creek series (especially the most recent book, Take Me Home for Christmas) and I even purchased the series for the library's romance collection. I was very excited when I saw that there was a new book in the series but Come Home to Me ended up being a disappointment.
While it was great to see Presley turning her life around and rebuilding, it was hard to ignore the subplot involving Cheyenne. The duplicity of Cheyenne makes me question whether there will be a divorce further down the road. What a horrible thing to do! I think readers who previously liked When Snow Falls will be deeply disappointed as well.
Because of my extreme distaste for that story line, my overall opinion of the book took a nosedive. I still plan to read further books in the series but I will perhaps lower my expectations. Usually in romance, readers can expect a happy ever after for the protagonists but this book raises some doubts for the future of Cheyenne and Dylan even as there is a happy ending for Presley and Aaron....more
Macallan first meets Levi a year after her mother died. Things are still raw and she is tired of being treated differently by those around her so LeviMacallan first meets Levi a year after her mother died. Things are still raw and she is tired of being treated differently by those around her so Levi is like a breath of fresh air. They both share a love of the same BBC show, Buggy and Floyd which initially bonds them. Macallan also becomes close to Levi's mother and their families mesh well together, sharing weekly meals. As the two grow older, their friendship continues to deepen but they hit speed bumps like Levi's desire to be popular and Macallan's tendency to run away when facing difficulties.
Better Off Friends is a novel of friendship, love, and loyalty. The story is told through the perspectives of both Macallan and Levi which allows the reader to get to know both characters better. Macallan seems almost too good to be true but she does have some flaws. It is hard for her to acknowledge her feelings, something that could have been explored more in the novel. She is loyal to her family and friends and she isn't afraid to speak her mind except when it comes to her feelings for Levi. Levi is portrayed as a decent guy though he sometimes chooses popularity over doing what is right.
The novel has been touted as "When Harry Met Sally for teens" and the comparison is apt. Though it would be nice to see a book where the characters remain just friends without undercurrents of romance, it is a good exploration of friendship and growing up and falling in love. The romance is sweet. There isn't an instant attraction but instead it is a love that is based on friendship which makes it more satisfying when the characters get their happy ending.
Better Off Friends would be a good pick for readers of contemporary teen romance and it would be appropriate for younger teens as well. Fans of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen and teen contemporary romantic comedy should definitely consider picking this up....more
Lady Charlotte has not yet had her debut season but she is bored with the life she is expected to lead. She longs for adventure and wants to be an autLady Charlotte has not yet had her debut season but she is bored with the life she is expected to lead. She longs for adventure and wants to be an author. Unfortunately her mother has other plans and expects Charlotte to secure a marriage proposal from Lord Andrew Broadhurst before the season begins. Janie is a kitchen maid working for Charlotte's family along with her mother who is the cook. Janie knows her place but she has dreams too. Charlotte and Janie's paths cross when she catches Janie dipping her toes in the lake and Charlotte wishes she could have that kind of freedom. A friendship between a kitchen maid and a lady would be forbidden especially by Charlotte's strict mother, Lady Diane but that doesn't stop Charlotte. Then Charlotte's scandalous aunt arrives throwing everything into turmoil.
Manor of Secrets is a little different from the other teen historical fiction set during this time period. While there is that upstairs/downstairs divide, the focus of the novel is on the growing friendship between Charlotte and Janie. The characters seem more innocent and younger too.
Charlotte's naivete can be frustrating. She behaves like a much younger girl at times and she seems to live in a dreamworld. Charlotte is kind to Janie though she doesn't realize it when she puts Janie in a difficult place by asking her to come upstairs to help her though Janie is a kitchen maid. Charlotte also has unrealistic expectations of romance. Although Charlotte is initially annoying, she grows through her friendship with Janie as the story progresses. She is well meaning and she is lonely having never had her mother's love or pride.
Janie on the other hand is more of a realist. She has experienced hardship and is not keen to do anything that would cost her a job since she has only recently been reunited with her mother. Although Janie has the opportunity for romance she knows that she'd be fired if she pursued it. Janie is a more sympathetic character and even though Charlotte endangers her job, she is still willing to try to help her because she understands Charlotte's loneliness.
Manor of Secrets does not have quite the same gossipy feel as other Edwardian/Downton Abbey inspired fiction. It takes a look at family relationships, dreams, and the roles of women during that time period. Although the secret is easy to guess, it may not detract from the reading experience as the book is more about the characters' relationships and friendships than solving a mystery.
I have heard that this author's Tudor fiction is excellent which may be why Manor of Secrets did not quite meet my expectations. The novel has its flaws but it would be a good pick for those who enjoyed Leila Rasheed's Cinders and Sapphires or T.J. Brown's Summerset Abbey. Those readers looking for a little more soapiness or substance should check out The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen. ...more
Sleigh Bells in the Snow is the first book in a series featuring the O'Neil brothers. Jackson O'Neil is desperate to save his family's business and toSleigh Bells in the Snow is the first book in a series featuring the O'Neil brothers. Jackson O'Neil is desperate to save his family's business and to prove himself to his grandfather. He hires Kayla's PR firm to help and brings her to Snow Crystal to convince his family that things need to change if Snow Crystal is to survive. Kayla is eager to accept Jackson's invitation to spend Christmas at Snow Crystal because it means she can concentrate on work and avoid Christmas in her isolated cabin. Unfortunately for Kayla, Jackson means to involve her in the various Christmas and snow related activities on the resort to help her get a feel for the business. She also can't help her attraction to the man or her reaction to his loud and boisterous family.
As this is a Christmas story it is a little saccharine sweet at times but the characters are genuine and the romance is ultimately satisfying. Those who like some humor and a little steaminess in their romance novels will not be disappointed either. Both Kayla and Jackson have family issues to deal with on their path to happiness and while their relationship develops quickly because of the time constraints it still felt believable. The secondary characters also added to the charm of the story.
Fans of contemporary romance authors like Kristan Higgins and Jill Shalvis should add this book to their TBR list this holiday season. I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series when it is published....more
This is the fifth book in the Bloodlines series and after the shocking ending to The Fiery Heart, Sydney and Adrian face their hardest challenges yet.This is the fifth book in the Bloodlines series and after the shocking ending to The Fiery Heart, Sydney and Adrian face their hardest challenges yet. The book is told through both Sydney and Adrian's perspectives and it moves the action away from the school at Palm Springs and the drama that usually surrounds Jill, the dhampirs and her classmates. This allows the story to focus specifically on Sydney and Adrian with only occasional appearances by Jill, Eddie, and the others.
I've enjoyed seeing Sydney grow and gain confidence from the first book in this series. Here she takes a beating but she still has faith in herself and in Adrian. She may not have supernatural physical strength but she is very intelligent and caring even towards those that may not deserve it. It is not fun to read about her struggles in this book but I couldn't help but admire her.
Adrian still has some growing up to do as he temporarily slides back into bad habits but he still finds the strength to pull himself out of his downward spiral if only to help Sydney. Something I appreciate about this series is how flawed and real Adrian and Sydney are compared to Rose and Dimitri from Vampire Academy. Rose wasn't perfect but sometimes she (and Dimitri) seemed so badass and larger than life.
Silver Shadows is action packed but also thoughtful and romantic. There are some definitely happy moments which helped make up for the depressing stuff. The final twist at the end left me wishing that we didn't have to wait so long for The Ruby Circle, the last book in the series. Thankfully it is supposed to be out in February so I have something to look forward next winter! I love this series so in a way it will be sad when it is over. This is the only vampire series I still read and if you like paranormal romance with good world building, I'd recommend both the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. Ignore the movie and pretend it was never made......more
Christmas in Snowflake Canyon is the sixth book in the Hope's Crossing series. While the books can be read out of order, I suggest reading at least WiChristmas in Snowflake Canyon is the sixth book in the Hope's Crossing series. While the books can be read out of order, I suggest reading at least Willowleaf Lane before tackling this one since it introduces Dylan.
Genevieve is a character whose family is not exactly popular with the citizens of Hope's Crossing. Her family has always flaunted their wealth and status around town and Genevieve became a bridezilla in the earlier books. In this book however, we get to see a different and more palatable side of her. I like how she recognizes her past mistakes and wants to change even though the town is still so against her. It is hard to change people's minds about you once you get a negative reputation.
Dylan is portrayed as really angry in Willowleaf Lane which is understandable given what he has gone through. I was a little worried about his being the love interest in this book but I liked him and the way his character grows. In the previous book Dylan had no desire to help with the town's new rehabilitation program for wounded veterans but here he is forced to because of community service. He gradually realizes that the program actually can help and through his own involvement he heals as well.
The relationship between Dylan and Genevieve is sweet. I love how Dylan defends Genevieve and how she influences him to be a better person. I enjoyed seeing the couples from previous titles in the series as well. The setting and recurring characters are part of the charm of these books. Overall I thought this was a pleasant and heartwarming holiday romance. ...more
Book five in the Whiskey Creek series focuses on the story of Sophia DeBussi, a woman who seems to have it all until the death of her husband revealsBook five in the Whiskey Creek series focuses on the story of Sophia DeBussi, a woman who seems to have it all until the death of her husband reveals the truth about him and the nature of the town she lives in.
Sophia has a lot of personal demons. In high school she was a popular "mean girl" but she has changed since then. Unfortunately her former classmates don't seem to recognize that. Sophia has also been suffering abuse at the hands of her horrid husband and she is an alcoholic. In the earlier books in the series, I felt that Sophia was being treated poorly by Ted and his group of friends. It was sad to see her join them for Friday morning coffee and have her attempts at friendship be rebuffed. In this book I really felt bad for her because the whole town seems to turn on her and they kick her when she's down.
Ted as a romantic hero takes awhile to warm up to because he is still angry at Sophia. He was a jerk to her in the past but in this book he does take up her cause and help her out against his better judgment. He makes some missteps romantically but I guess that makes him a more realistic "hero" with flaws. Over the course of the book he evolves into a more likable person and it is good to see him stand up for Sophia and bond with her daughter.
The town of Whiskey Creek comes across as a very judgmental place to live. Usually when I read small town contemporary romances, the small town is written in an idealized way with friendly people all helping each other, etc. While reading this series, I have thought repeatedly that I would not want to live in Whiskey Creek! While it is good to show the negatives to small town life, it can be off putting to those who are expecting something different in a contemporary romance setting. Thankfully a creepy town character finally gets their comeuppance in this book and maybe Whiskey Creek will be a more friendly setting in future.
Overall I really liked this book maybe for Sophia's story more than anything else. She shows a lot of strength though she isn't perfect. She has a lot to overcome and it is rewarding to see her get that happy ending she deserves. Though this is the fifth book in the series it is possible to read it as a standalone. Take Me Home for Christmas is a little darker than the typical Christmas romance but I thought it was a good story with more depth than I'd expected and a very satisfying ending for the heroine. ...more
This is the fourth book in the Whiskey Creek series but it can be read as a standalone. The story starts out with Noah rescuing Addy from an abandonedThis is the fourth book in the Whiskey Creek series but it can be read as a standalone. The story starts out with Noah rescuing Addy from an abandoned mine. Someone kidnapped Addy from her bed and brought her there to the same place where horrible things happened 15 years before ending with the death of Noah's brother. Now someone is upset that Addy is back in town and they are doing their best to scare her into silence or get her to leave Whiskey Creek for good.
Adelaide is pretty strong for having gone through such trauma both in her current situation and in the past. It was frustrating though that she refused to say anything about what had happened to her even when the danger seemed to escalate. I could understand that she was afraid for her grandmother's safety but I also wished she'd come forward and put an end to it. I did admire her for facing her fears by coming home and the way she'd stand up to her attackers even if she didn't go public about it.
Noah is drawn to Addy and worried about her, unable to understand why she won't go to the police over her kidnapping. He is really kind to her though she tries to keep him at a distance. It takes her some time to realize that she can trust him and I liked the development of their friendship and relationship. She is able to be there for him too when he has a crisis with one of his friends. I didn't feel like I got to know Noah very much in the previous books in the series unlike some of the other characters so it was nice to see that there was more to his character than the image that was previously presented of a guy who was known for being a heartbreaker.
I think that this book felt like an issues book more than the others in the series. Rape, homosexuality, and family issues for both Noah and Addy made this a heavier story for a contemporary romance. Still it had the elements that I've enjoyed from the Whiskey Creek series, particularly the strong core friendships. The romance between Noah and Addy was really satisfactory too. She's been through so much and it was nice to see her get a happy ending.
This book made me think that I'd never want to live in a place like Whiskey Creek though. It is set in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business but the people aren't exactly friendly to outsiders and there is corruption. Some of the townspeople's negative attitude towards Addy when the truth emerged was hard to take. Thankfully Noah and his friends are there for Addy and there are some decent people in the town but Whiskey Creek is not like the idealized small town settings I've seen in other contemporary romances.
Overall I'd say that I liked this book because it showed characters overcoming serious adversity but it was hard to read at times and made me angry-not the usual emotional response you'd expect for a romance novel! I like this series though and I liked Noah and Addy. The secondary story line with Noah and Baxter was good too (is it too much to hope that Baxter will get his own book someday?). I also wanted to see the bad guys get their just desserts and the suspense kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen.
If you are looking for a lighthearted contemporary romance, this is not it but if you like a book that will pull deeper emotions from you then don't be afraid to give Home to Whiskey Creek a try. For those new to the series, you might want to start from the beginning even if this can be read out of order (or at least start with book 3, When Summer Comes, which is the first book I read and one of my favorites in the series and sets this one up a little.) While it did have some flaws I think this is one of my favorites in the series too....more