Love Remains is a bit of an unusual romance, it’s an alternative-reality/time-travel romance.
In the beginning we meet our heroine Olivia. She is a corporate high flyer, hard nosed and cold. Her focus in life is succeeding in her career, not really caring who she tramples on along the way, and men are just empty lays fulfilling an itch as she goes. Then she falls asleep on an airplane on the way home and wakes up in a very different world.
In this new world, Olivia is happily married, on maternity leave and the mother of two children Milo and baby Rose. It is an alien life to the one she has been living and at first she’s horrified. She calls the police on her husband, is cruel to her son and wants to return to her sterile life immediately. Her wardrobe is colourful and girly and she actually has friends, she can’t make sense of it!
I think that as soon as your read the summary of this book, you pretty much know how the story is going to develop. You expect Olivia to see the error of her was and realise how empty her life was before. But, regardless of the predictability the transformation was lovely to witness. From the humorous early struggles as she realises how hard it is to look after two children, to the acceptance that actually her new wardrobe is much nicer than her corporate one, to fully understanding what it means to be truly loved. Olivia stumbles through several stages of acceptance and realisation.
Tom her husband is just amazing, who wouldn’t want that man for her husband? He’s sexy, brilliant with kids, a lawyer that defends people others wouldn’t, he thinks she’s sexier with the weight she’s put on during pregnancy than before and he’s amazeballs in bed. Sign me up for that one please!
Woven into the story surrounding Olivia’s reality shift is also a murder mystery surrounding the client that Tom is defending. Which is quite intricately woven into Olivia’s old and new lives and adds a nice bit of mystery into the story it give it an extra bit of tension. It also helps to demonstrate just how much Olivia changes as the novel progresses. The story is also a bit of a gentle social commentary on how the corporate world treats its employees, including working parents. It was subtle, but it did also resonate and was well done.
The one part that didn’t quite work or wasn’t explained enough for my liking was the time travel/alternate reality part of it. Now, I completely enjoyed the shift in reality and watching corporate bad-ass Olivia become warm and loved up mummy Olivia. But I still didn’t understand even after I had finished the book what exactly had happened. Was it time travel, an alternative reality, divine intervention? Who the hell knows! It really wasn’t explained or defined very well.
At only 200 pages, this book won’t take you long to read and is really worth your time. A really engaging love story where good wins over evil and the poor over corporate might. But it’s worth reading alone to watch Olivia transform and understand the true meaning of life, family and love. Just don’t expect to completely understand how it all occurred.
I think Lick may very well find its way onto the my favourite books of 2013 list. If the next book had been already out, I would have bought it immediately. I loved it, I loved Ev and David and I loved Scott’s writing style. The story was sweet, romantic, endearing and sexy. Who wouldn’t want to fall in love with a rock star? I would highly recommend it. ...more
Outlaw read like a piece of Sons of Anarchy (SOA) fan fiction than a novel in its own right. I have googled it to seReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Outlaw read like a piece of Sons of Anarchy (SOA) fan fiction than a novel in its own right. I have googled it to see if is, but haven’t been able to find anything to confirm, but if Ms James isn’t a big fan of the series then I will eat my hat!
Let’s start with the main character Cole, described as:
"...blonde hair falling past his collar, golden facial hair growing along his jaw and mouth."
Sound familiar? Cole was in fact a ringer for Jax, the main hero in SOA, it even felt like James had tried to mirror Jax’s speech patterns in the dialogue with his regular use of the word ‘darlin” and in the general cadence. Then there’s Crash, who seemed to me to be very much like Opie, Jax’s best friend in SOA, then there was the ‘weasely’ looking policeman, hell there’s even a Scottish biker in the mix. I found it very hard to disassociate the characters of the book, with those of one of my favourite TV shows and not in a good way.
The story centres around Cole being at a meet, when a biker turns up with a bruised, battered and handcuffed woman with him. Cole is so disgusted with this behaviour that he manipulates things in order to rescue her. Angel, a twenty-one year old woman who has been kidnapped, awfully abused and raped finds herself in the terribly violent biker world, which is a million miles away from her life as a policeman’s daughter.
Angel has a lot to come to terms with and neither of them are able to trust one another, but they find themselves striking a deal in order that Angel doesn’t end up running to the cops. Inevitably both of them end up falling for one another, despite the large disparities between their lives. The romance itself was ok. I found it hard to believe that just two days after being violently raped, Angel is willing to have sex with Cole, never mind the psychological issues, and surely she’d be far too sore? So for that reason I found myself struggling to get into it and find it believable.
In the middle of the book it’s like the story totally switches gears and almost feels like it’s written in a totally different style. There’s a jump in time, I actually often quite like this as a narrative device, and thought that it did add to the overall story, but it was almost like they both became slightly different characters, not a total revolution, but not quite the same either.
It was at this point that I felt like the book became less influenced by SOA and more of a slight homage to Kristen Ashley. Mack, the group’s President, ended up reminding me of Tack, the hero in Ashley’s Motorcycle Man, and Natalie with attractive read hair, Tyra. The epilogue itself felt like something straight out of Ashley’s books with it’s use of the word ‘kick-ass’ and switch of narrative style to first person when the rest of the book had been in third. Overall the book was all a bit of a jumble.
Outlaw felt like a complete mish mash of other people’s styles and I couldn’t quite ascertain what was James’s own. I didn’t totally hate it, I did reach the end after all, but I felt like it lacked originality and read more like fan fiction than a unique novel in its own right. Perhaps if you haven’t watched SOA or read any of Ashley’s books (which are much, much better), then perhaps you wouldn’t have the same issues with this book as I did. But at the same time I’m not sure I’ll be picking up anything by James again.
Having read some of Jude Deveraux's books in the past, I knew her writing would be good and I wasn't disappointed inReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Having read some of Jude Deveraux's books in the past, I knew her writing would be good and I wasn't disappointed in the least. Set on the island of Nantucket, which I had to Google to see if it was real (it is), it tells a tale of love (of course), small town life, ghosts and reincarnation.
Finishing architect school, Alix finds out she is given the use of a beautiful house on Nantucket island for one year. Recovering from a relationship breakup and wishing to develop a design portfolio, and also having agreed to help with her best friend Izzy's wedding, she decides to make use of the opportunity and goes to Nantucket to take some time out.
When she arrives she discovers that legendary and rather handsome architect Jared Montgomery, who is not only a resident of the island but also the owner of the property where she is staying. Overcome with a touch fangirl-ness she is disappointed to discover that Jared is in fact a bit of a jerk.
True Love is a really rich story. Deveraux depicts a vivid and warm vision of Nantucket and its inhabitants. This is obviously the start of a new series, so there was a certain degree of scene and character setting, but it was written in a warm and engaging way. Actually, I wouldn't mind moving to Nantucket myself if it's as lovely as it's written in the book.
The love story between Alix and Jared was a surprisingly fast given their early feelings towards one another. But there's plenty of sparring between the pair. It was sexy, fun and grew into something real and lovely.
The paranormal element of the story comes in the form of Jared's great (insert lots of greats) grandfather, Caleb, who has been haunting his family since his death at sea many years ago. The guy is hilarious (and hot)! I think there were points in the story where he totally stole the show. He also added a rather unexpected and fabulous twist at the end of the book.
The opening of the book felt slightly odd. This was because Alix was left the use of the house in Nantucket in the Will of a woman she had only met once when she was four. The reasons behind this short inheritance came across as somewhat strange and convoluted. As the book progresses we do discover more back-story to explain why this was the case, but it also unearths quite a few secrets and lies. Again, I found it convoluted and well, rather odd that so many things were kept from her and for really quite manipulative and bizarre reasons. I also found that she forgave the deception rather too easily.
Another part of the story I didn't think quite worked was the wedding. I'm trying to explain here, whilst at the same time keeping this review spoiler free, but I am a bit baffled why either party involved would be happy with the eventual outcome? Let's just say there are quite a few major changes to the original wedding plan, and I do mean major, and if it was my wedding, I would feel a little bit robbed to be honest.
Alix's parents, Victoria and Ken, are also great characters. Her mother a complete force of nature, I both suspect and hope she's going to get her own story. Ken obviously adores Alix and is a great father, he also gets his own side story, which put a smile on my face. There is a vast and rich cast of side characters that makes this a multi-layered story.
Although I have read a few of Deveraux's historicals, I have not read her catalogue extensively, but think if you were a huge Deveraux fan, I suspect that a lot of the ancestral characters referred to here appear in her historicals. Which I imagine big fans would really enjoy.
Despite a couple of parts of the narrative that didn't quite work, this was a lovely, warm, and richly written book. I love the island setting, and the romance was funny, cosy and satisfying. Plus, I quite fancy running away with ghostly Caleb ;-) RATING: ...more
Having become a rather large fan of the TV series Sons of Anarchy, when I saw the Own the Wind was a biker romance, I quite simply couldn't resist. I've never read anything by Kristen Ashley before, and my oh my have I missed out! Her writing is completely and utterly addictive, the type of writing bookaholics dream of, when you need more hours in the day just to fit in more reading in, because you just can't get enough of it.
Own the Wind is the first book in a series following the members of the Chaos motorcycle club. While it is the first book in a series, it is actually a spin off from Motorcycle Man a book in Ashley's Dream Man series, I would highly recommend you read Motorcycle Man first. I went on to read afterwards, but wish I had read it first, as Motorcycle Man is the story of club president and father to Tabby the heroine of Own the Wind, Tack.
When she young, Tabby, the daughter of Chaos club president had a wild side and she got in trouble. Because she was family the members of the Chaos club took care of her, including Shy. But Shy wasn't afraid to give her a few harsh home truths, even if they cut deep. Then she grew up, she trained as a nurse and she found her feet. That is until tragedy struck, shattering her entire world, but once again Chaos and Shy are there for her as she struggles to recover.
This is such a sexy, addictive novel. I loved Tabby, she was feisty and had serious biker girl cool. This book spans an array of emotions, from the depths of grief, to lust and then ultimately love. You watch Tabby grow and grieve and completely admire her strength.
Shy completely has the alpha hero thing down. Totally bossy, I think he would drive me mad. I loved the fact they had a 3 day argument over whether their freezer should have an ice-maker! Although while he was totally sexy (I mean seriously), and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about him, I think if I was with him I might want to lock him in the aforementioned freezer on a regular basis. The thing about Ashley's biker heroes is that they seemed to cross over that mega control freak line. However, combined with the complete and focused love they offer, it's a seriously heady combination.
Interestingly, this story spans quite a large period of time. Jumping forward weeks, months and sometimes years at a time. It added realism to the story, it allowed Tabby to grow up from the young, wild girl, to become the woman she needed to be. But it also added credit to her grief, it wouldn't have felt right for her to jump right into another relationship. Additionally, I love the snatches of Shy's feelings towards her when she was younger in the prologue, it made their love story so much more intense. Actually, the prologue really set this book up, it was quite long, when I got to chapter one I was surprised that I hadn't read past it already. But it really added to the overall story.
As a Sons of Anarchy fan, I really felt its influence in this book, it was even referred to a couple of times in the book. Also with the regular reference to brothers and old ladies, I also liked the fact that Ashley made it clear that while this was biker group, it was a clean biker group, unlike SOA. Well, with the exception of their habit of threatening people who don't behave!
There was a side story in Own the Wind around Tabby's best friend Natalie who is a drug addict and gets herself into serious trouble. I'm not totally sure how I felt about how this part turned out. I felt said for both Tabby and Natalie. I'm not sure if Ashley is setting Natalie up as a future heroine in the series or a future bad apple, it could go either way at this stage. But there was a part of me that wasn't totally happy with how this part of the storyline fully concluded. But I shall hold my reservations and see how or if this develops later in the series.
On top of all the seductive sexiness this book also has some great relationships. There's Shy and his soldier brother, the biker brothers and sense of family between them all. I loved Tack and Ty-Ty (Tabby's father and stepfather) and the love they all shared. It made me want to join a biker group just to be part of it!
I am most definitely a Kristen Ashley convert, I went on to read two more of her books directly after this one. This book was so good I even forgave it the occasional use of the dreaded 'c' word, thankfully it was only occasional. I loved Own the Wind and could barely put it down, I would highly recommend Ashley to romance fans.
The Trouble With Being A Duke is a historical romance with a Cinderella-esque twist. Reformed rake and Duke, AnthonyReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The Trouble With Being A Duke is a historical romance with a Cinderella-esque twist. Reformed rake and Duke, Anthony has had to grow up and face his responsibilities following his father’s death. Convincing his mother to throw a ball for the first time in five years, he knows it’s time to find a bride.
Faced with marriage to a man she cannot abide in order to relieve her family’s financial troubles, Isabella wants one night of fabulousness. Sneaking into the Duke’s ball was meant to be one night just for herself before she enters into marriage with the immensely self centred and vain Mr. Roberts, but she didn’t expect to capture the attention of the Duke himself.
This is a lovely romance, I do like a rags to riches story and The Trouble With Being A Duke has every element of a rags to fairytale. It also has a sense of humour, the opening ball even has a Cinderella theme and as Isabella flees the scene of the ball I kind of half expected her to leave a shoe behind.
Anthony is immediately smitten, this is most definitely a love at first sight romance, and is determined to capture the heart and hand of his future bride. Isabella is a great heroine, but also kind of mad. Not a mad character, but completely determined to marry the rather hideous Mr. Roberts to save her parent’s reputation, it all gets a bit bonkers. I mean she has a Duke who wants to marry her. But it would seem her mother hates the gentry and is horrified by her daughter’s new suitor. And well it’s all a bit ridiculous really, with her parents refusing to let the Duke visit, Isabella determined not to fall for him and cue a rather silly plot, which is entertaining never the less and I couldn’t stop myself from turning the pages.
The romance itself is sweet, I loved that Anthony was so in love with Isabella from the first moment, what girl doesn’t want a fabulous rich man running after them and trying to woe them? He is dashing and courteous and rather irresistible. A true knight in shining armour.
There are some great additional characters that add to the story, from Isabella’s cheeky sister Jamie, Anthony’s rakish best friend and his rather sweet mother. As this is the beginning of a new series by Barnes this opens things up for plenty of further sub stories for different characters.
The ending is rather fab in true Cinderella style (are you sensing a theme? ) and of course the baddies get their due comeuppance. I ended up enjoying The Trouble With Being A Duke much more than I thought I would when I read the summary.
A great, fun read. There aren’t lots of twists and turns, it’s a simple romance about an ordinary girl capturing the heart of a Duke. Despite its simplicity and slight plot silliness I actually couldn’t put it down and finished the last page with a smile on my face.
A great novella to accompany On Dublin Street if you want to know a little but more about Ellie and Adam's romance. Really enjoyed it, particularly thA great novella to accompany On Dublin Street if you want to know a little but more about Ellie and Adam's romance. Really enjoyed it, particularly the flashbacks to Ellie's past :-) ...more
I read On Dublin Street on the insistence of fellow BCC reviewer Gemma who determinedly told me I would love it. In fact, she wanted me to read it soI read On Dublin Street on the insistence of fellow BCC reviewer Gemma who determinedly told me I would love it. In fact, she wanted me to read it so much she actually bought it for me, which was incredibly sweet and kind. So how could I refuse such an offer? I don't know what I was expecting really, I'm always slightly nervous about reading a book someone highly recommends what if you hate something they love so much? I opened On Dublin Street with obvious high expectations and the prologue was so far from what I was expecting, I immediately found myself sinking into the writing.
On Dublin Street is the story of Jocelyn (Joss) Butler, I was anticipating an erotic romance, but the book is so much more than that. It's a story about grief, it's a story about love and friendships, but I think most importantly it's a story about learning to live and love and not being afraid of the future no matter where it might take you.
The book opens with Joss as a teenage girl. We see a glimpse of one tragic day that changes her life forever and makes her into the woman she becomes. Fast forward eight years and Joss has relocated from Virginia to Scotland and has a new life and is in the process of looking for a new flatmate. Her first comment about Ellie her new roommate, is that Ellie is friendly and she doesn't normally associate with friendly people, because they ask questions. Because Joss hides behind a wall, she deflects personal questions and she doesn't talk about her past or her parents ... ever. She is cool, she is aloof and she is solitary and believes life is better this way.
Enter Braden, he's seriously hot, he's seriously cocky, he's rich and he's used to getting his own way. He also turns out to be her new flatmate's brother. The chemistry between Joss and Braden is off the scale. They start with Joss completely refusing to consider any sort of relationship between them, the build up and tension as they spark off one another as Joss refuses Braden burns a hole in the page. It's mega sexy and they haven't even had sex yet. Until you reach that pivotal moment and all parties involved, including the reader are about ready to combust!
It's a love / hate relationship, but it's a relationship that also makes Joss begin to reevaluate her whole life. But it's not just Braden who plays a part in this. Her friendship with the beautifully warm and bubbly Ellie is new and important too. We watch throughout the book as slowly Ellie and Braden break through Joss's veneer. Crumbling the walls she has worked so very hard to erect. But to open yourself up to love and deep friendship, also opens you up to risk of heartache and Joss is not sure she can comeback from that again. Young wrote these emotional aspects so well, as a reader you ended up both frustrated with Joss, but also feeling emotionally for her aswell
This is a fabulous book, it's compelling, it writes about the importance of family and friendships, it's about an individual's (Joss's) journey and an incredibly addictive and sexy romance. There is also a great sub-plot romance around Ellie. A highly recommended summer read and a big thanks to Gemma to introducing me to it :-) ...more
MY VERDICT: I did really enjoy Lover At Last, and managed to devour near 600 pages in 4 days, which at my rate of reading is some going. It’s certainly not the best book in the series, mainly because it just had far too much story crammed into one book, even a rather big book. But it was still a rollercoaster of a ride with some fantastic action, smouldering sex scenes and great character development. I wish we had seen a little more of Quinn and Blay and a little bit less of some of the other characters, but I still cannot wait for next book in the series and love that Ward is going back to the beginning with Wrath and Beth.
Warning: contains spoilers for earlier books in series
Lover Reborn is Tohr’s story and perhaps the book that takes place over the longest expanse of time – over three seasons. The story is as much as about grief as it is love as we watch Tohr come to terms with the death of his pregnant shellan and learn to live again.
Tohr is not the only one recovering. Our heroine of the piece is No’One, the Chosen servant who has never recovered from her abduction as a girl. Once again abduction and rape are themes of this series, I find that I don’t mind it all and I enjoy the grittiness.
This book was a bit of a yo-yo of grief and bitterness from Tohr’s point of view. We’ve seen his journey of despair take place through the series, from his suicidal mission of starvation through to his rescue by the angel Lassiter. You can’t help but feel for him as the Lessers have stolen everything from him. I found the relationship between him and John Matthew particularly heartbreaking as they try to rebuild it after the loss of trust between them.
The romance was quite slow-going but because of the nature of our hero and heroine’s past it needed to be. Initially I found Tohr’s treatment of No’One frustrating, as much as her complete lack of self worth that allowed her to be treated as such. But frustrations aside, both are great characters. I loved both of their ultimate transformations by the end of the book, and No’One’s lack of selfishness is a lovely thing, she is giving, caring and noble.
However, there is a big BUT to the Tohr and No’One relationship. As much as I enjoyed it, what I really, really wanted was for Ward to find a way to bring Wellsie back from the dead. She wouldn’t be the first character to have a creative return (as No’One herself is aware). I loved the scenes with Tohr and Wellsie in the earlier books in the series and if I’m really honest, I just wanted them to be reunited and find their happily ever after, rather than Tohr to move on and find someone else. It really wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy Tohr and No’One story, I just think Tohr and Wellsie would have been better.
John Matthew and Xhex’s relationship also takes up a huge part of the storyline as we explore what happens after happily ever after. And what appears to happen is John Matthew becomes a complete douche, well at least for a little while. Seemingly forgetting that he married an older woman who is a trained warrior and an ex-assassin and wanting to prevent her going out and fighting against our new super-baddies the Band of Bastards. Now I adore John Matthew as you know, but I wanted to give him a long-hard kick and felt that Xhex was quite justified in her fury. But of course, I wanted them to get back together and waited less than patiently for John Matthew to see that he was being a complete tool.
The Band of Bastards continue to be a really interesting group of foes for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There’s a great battle scene that kept me awake way longer than I intended to be one night! But they also continue to be baddies you quite like too. There are some really fantastic scenes containing Layla that just leave me wishing that there might be the potential for a very different love story there. I really, really hope so actually, because it’s definitely captured my imagination.
How can any of us forget the painful and unrequited love between Quinn and Blay? Poor old Quinn undergoes a transformation in Lover Reborn and my word do I feel for him. But I also feel for Layla and Saxton the other two people wrapped up in this nearly unbearable love square. I didn’t see the development between Quinn and Layla coming and it’s certainly made things much more complicated. But the ending of the book leaves me waiting with terrible impatience for how things are going to develop in Lover At Last.
Ten books in and this series is still going strong. I’ve had my issues with them, but they are addictive and the characters completely compelling. Yes, I perhaps would have favoured a different ending for Tohr, one with Wellsie in, but despite that I still enjoyed watching his road to recovery and new love. I always adore John Matthew even when he is being a fool, and every book should have plenty of scenes with him in as far as I’m concerned! I can’t wait to see what happens between Quinn and Blay next in Lover At Last, and also the Band of Bastards make for great reading.
I’ve been thinking about starting Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for a while and after a couple of prompReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I’ve been thinking about starting Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series for a while and after a couple of prompts from some book blogging friends, decided to buy one as an audiobook. I actually wasn’t quite sure what was the first book in the series and have since found out that The Warlord Wants Forever is not the first book, but a later written prequel novella.
The story follows Myst, a Valkyrie who sets herself up as a bait against an evil vampire and lands herself in the dungeons just as another legion of vampires are invading. As the castle becomes conquered by Vampire General Nikolai, Myst becomes his captive.
With the help of her sisters, Myst escapes but leaves Nikolai with a condition that leaves him in a permanent state of arousal which only she can slake. For five years Nikolai hunts for her, mad with lust, until his finally tracks her down and takes her as his captive. Taking possession of a magical waist chain Nikolai can now force Myst to do whatever he commands.
Here’s the thing, if it wasn’t for that damn waist chain, I probably would have enjoyed this book. But its presence made me very uncomfortable. The control and arrogance with which Nikolai dominates Myst completely detracts from the love story. I found it hard to believe anyone can fall in love with a man who takes away her freedom of choice. Nikolai justifies it because he’s frightened Myst is going to leave him again, but by doing so it appeared to take away any balance between them.
That’s without commenting on the layer it added to the sex scenes. Nikolai could command Myst to orgasm, to pleasure herself, he even commanded when she should sleep, ugh it was just all a bit grim if I’m honest. Ok, Myst enjoyed herself and the scenes themselves were actually very sexy. But, and for me it was a huge BUT, it wasn’t rape, but the fact of the matter is, if Nikolai didn’t have the chain commanding her behaviour Myst would not have had sex with him. She might have got into it as chemistry over took her, but Nikolai took away her free will and the whole business made me very icky. Who on earth wants that from their relationship?
Of course, as you would expect, Nikolai discovers the error of his ways by the end of the novel and they get their big happy ever after. But I honestly found it hard to believe that a two thousand year old Valkyrie would fall in love with a man who treated her with such disrespect.
On the positive side, what I did enjoy from the book was the setting and premise. The Valkyries themselves were entertaining, I found I was intrigued by many of the characters introduced and their different back stories. They were funny and tough and contrary. Myst herself was quite a kooky character, with her fascination of shiny things and with nail polish. I liked the concept of good and bad vampires and the combination of supernatural, quite old fashioned beings, mixed into the modern world. Nikolai would have been an awesome, sexy, alpha hero if it wasn’t for his control issues. An ex-general notorious for his conquests in the past, a handsome legendary warrior. There’s really not much not to get your heart racing. The audiobook was well produced and had two narrators a man and women reading Myst and Nikolai’s respective parts which worked really well.
This could have been a really great, sexy book if it wasn’t for that damn waist chain. It just spoiled much enjoyment of the story for me. I have spoken to friends that are fans of the Immortals After Dark series an they have urged me not to let The Warlord Wants Forever put me off the rest of the series and that he rest of the books are much better. So I will be giving A Hunger Like No Other a go, I did like the concept of the book and setting so I can only hope things improve!
Savour the Moment is book number three in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet. The story follows baker and wedding cake makiReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Savour the Moment is book number three in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet. The story follows baker and wedding cake making extraordinaire Laurel McBane. Laurel’s past has been coloured by her father’s behaviour in childhood, which plummeted the family into poverty following problems with the IRS and nearly shattered her dreams at the same time. With the help of her friends she made her way through culinary school, to become a superb baker and a partner in their joint wedding business Vows.
The series is about four women who jointly run a premium and well renowned wedding business. So far we have had the stories of Mac the photographer and Emma the florist. Roberts has obviously done a lot of research into each of the areas she’s writing about and Laurel’s vocation is no exception. The storytelling around Laurel’s cake making is rich and detailed, but I found it interesting and not overdone. As with previous book I did find her acronyms hard to keep up with, we had MOB (mother of the bride), BOB (brother of the bride), MOH (maid of honour), you can see where this is going and sometimes it got so confusing as I was mentally trying to keep track of what each meant.
Laurel’s love interest was Del, brother to Parker the wedding planner of the group, her best friend and subject of book number four Happy Ever After. Del is a lawyer with a very wealthy upbringing and very connected. But he’s not a lawyer in a slimy way, he’s caring, debonair and a gentleman. But his wealth and upbringing do make him leagues apart in some ways from Laurel. Which does end up being quite an issue for Laurel to overcome. With the emotions of her past and it’s poverty she’s desperate not to seem a money grabber and pay her own way.
I found the way they approached their relationship slightly oddly pragmatic. It was quite similar to the approach Jack and Emma took in Bed of Roses, they were both obviously trying not to damage the friendships the group shared but it was all so sensible. They kind of agreed to see how it goes and definitely no sex for a certain period of time. I was at least relived that Laurel caved in with some spontaneity. This is meant to be crazy, sexy true love after all, not a contractual agreement.
As with the previous two books in the series, I very much enjoyed reading about the friendships the group shared, but particularly the four women that form the quartet. Each book has made me want to sign up and join their business and be part of their group. Of the four, Laurel is a fun character all funky and prickly and while Parker is the tough cookie, Laurel is the spitfire.
I think this book suffered a little but from middle book syndrome, it was slightly slowing going in parts. It was still a good, solid story, but lacked just a teeny bit of sparkle, it did still deliver the lovely happy endings in a bottle that we all rely on Roberts for.
A good, solid contemporary romance. I have enjoyed this series, with its themes of sisterhood and friendship. Laurel herself was spunky and fun and Del made for a good hero. I still think Mac and Carter’s story in Vision in White was the best, but I did still enjoy submersing myself back in the Vows’ wedding world.
Bed of Roses is book two in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet, following four best friends who run a wedding planning busiReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Bed of Roses is book two in Nora Roberts’ Bride Quartet, following four best friends who run a wedding planning business. Book two is Emma’s story, the florist of the group. Emma’s a very different lead to Mac in the previous installment. She is light, fun, sexy and romantic and I found I liked her very much. She is my kind of girl, warm and kind-hearted. She likes to date, but she’s completely waiting for her knight in shining armour to woo her.
Our hero is Jack, one of the quartet’s best male friends and a love ‘em and leave ‘em kind of guy. Emma has also had a crush on him for as long as she can remember. Perhaps not such a great combination, but the couple agree to see where things take them. You can all predict where this story goes, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not an enjoyable ride.
Just as Vision in White, Bed of Roses is about female ties and strong friendships. All four women live in a giant house together that they use for their wedding business and I quite fancied packing up and moving in with them. And it’s these friendships and the community around the women that is my favourite part of the books. Their genuine love and warmth for one another and how each of their lives interconnect.
As always, Roberts delivers a cosy, traditional romance. As I thought with Vision in White, I still think her paranormal or suspense romances are more thrilling, I felt like I was waiting for an earth shattering moment that didn’t occur. I could of at least had a car crash or a pregnancy scare, but no, this is a gentle story, quite simply about love and friendships.
I enjoyed this book, I don’t know if I would say I loved it. In many ways I felt like it was a flip on Vision In White, instead of Mac, the girl being the commitment phobe, it was the man – Jack. It was less intense as Emma had a lovely family, rather than a b*tch mother. But there was also a scene where all of Emma’s friends intervened and banned Jack from the house, without even telling Emma that he had visited because they thought it was for the best, that got my back up a little. Friends are there to be there for you, not make decisions for you. But at the same time this intervention did very much stick with the theme of girlfriends doing anything for one another, even if it was a bit misguided.
I do however plan to continue with the series as I find I want to see each of the girls get their happily ever afters. I’m particularly looking forward to Parker’s story, the super-efficient, unruffable wedding planner. I hope there’s plenty of ruffling! Sadly I have to wait until book four!
If you’re looking for a warm, gentle romance this series is probably perfect for you. It’s not my favourite of Nora Roberts’ books, but it was well written, with strong themes of friendship, centred around four great women. Jack and Emma made for a lovely couple and it’s always good to see a man humbled and come to his senses!
When I'm not getting on with a book, I usually make myself persevere for 100 pages, to give it a chance and see if it gets better. I got as far as 57When I'm not getting on with a book, I usually make myself persevere for 100 pages, to give it a chance and see if it gets better. I got as far as 57 pages into Wedding Games and couldn't read anymore.
I think it's only fair for me to say that I don't usually read erotic romance. I read the Fifty Shades trilogy last year and loved it, perhaps I was naive to think I would like this book too.
I didn't connect with Emma, the heroine at all as I felt like she had no moral compass. Four chapters in and she's had sex with five people and pleasured herself twice. There seemed to be very little story at all, just well.... sex. I finally abandoned the book after a scene where she and her best friend end up with a random stranger on a train, where she comments that she doesn't care if he's married or not and didn't use any protection. I'm afraid if was the end for me.
Also don't get me started on the 'c' word, yes the one with a 't' at the end. I hate it.
And so it last it comes to John-Matthew’s (JM’s) book. If**spoiler alert** Reviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Warning: spoilers (highlighted) in review
And so it last it comes to John-Matthew’s (JM’s) book. If you’ve been following my reviews, you will know just how much of a soft spot I have developed for the troubled teenager who grew up it be a dark, cool and hot man. The book takes off after that dreadful cliffhanger we were left with in Lover Avenged, and Xhex’s shock kidnapping. And oh my what a beginning. As Xhex is so tough, it’s easy to think of her as invulnerable and most certainly never a victim. But Ward has cleverly turned the tables, laying opening Xhex’s vulnerabilities and terrifying past and amalgamating into the horrifying present.
Lover Mine is very pretty pain-filled. JM and Xhex have endured some pretty harsh and violent experiences in their life. Torture, rape and graphic violence are pretty abundant in this novel, not that this series really shies away from these topics normally, but they were even more so in this book.
When I heard that Xhex was going to be John-Matthew’s love interest a few books ago, I have go admit I wasn’t keen. I felt that she was a bit too butch, a bit too independent and ruthless for him. I am pleased to say I was wrong! The relationship between them was so raw, desperate, rough and beautiful in its own way. I just couldn’t get enough of the scenes between them. During Xhex’s capture, I was just desperate for JM to find her and I kept compulsively turning the pages waiting for that pivotal moment. Of course, Xhex being Xhex, does things her own way!
The love scenes between them were unbearably painful at times, they have both lived through so much at the hands of others. JM does some serious growing up too. I had thought that more would have been made of the implied Darius storyline and was surprised when I got to the end that it hadn’t. I wonder if this storyline will continue to grow as the series continues and we’ll get some answers. But this being JM’s book I had just assumed the answers would come in this novel.
JM and Xhex aside, there is a lot of plot development on the Blay / Quinn relationship and I find I can’t quite bear it! Blay embarks on a new relationship and I’m thinking (hoping) it’s just a blip, but I think the next few books will tell. Layla and Quinn however, that’s got me really worried! I know from reading the next book summaries that I’ve got to have some patience on this storyline. I hope I can find some somewhere!
The character of Payne also grows in Lover Mine. She’s another person I’m not quite sure about. I like that she’s a tough chic, but despite the sequences with her in during the last two book I find that I’m not totally connecting with her yet. As hers is the next book, I’m hoping this will quickly remedy itself.
As much as a I loved this book, I did have a slight problem with it. Look away now if you don’t want to read any spoilers…
This review was so close to 5 stars if it was not for the Lash part of the story. You see, here’s the thing, I thought the plot twist where Lash was the son of the Omega in Lover Enshrined, was a cracking storyline. He’s trained with the brothers, he knows their weaknesses and where the Glymera live, what a great plot.
And then…. He asks the Omega for a female Lesser, the Omega gets annoyed, leaves him to his own devices and creates a new forelesser. I mean.. seriously? Years of planning wasted, because he annoyed him? And the new forelesser is a teenage drug dealer? Why not use this request to manipulate him? Or even embrace it and create a new super Lesser race, but no. This didn’t really strike me as the actions of super-villain and creator of all things evil. It was, if I’m honest, it was dumb!
*End of Spoiler*
This doesn’t mean to say I don’t think that Lash didn’t make a great villain in this book, my word yes he did, and the physical changes to him, along with his mental depravity and the vile things he does to Xhex, only intensify this. But the above issue frustrated me as it lacked foresight.
How much I love John-Matthew and Lover Mine has only increased this! I really hope we continue to see as much of him in the rest of the series as we did before. I loved this book, I loved the love story between him and Xhex, loved their ending. Lots of loves for a brilliant book!
Technically, The Gilded Fan is the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono, but you really don’t have to have read the first toReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Technically, The Gilded Fan is the sequel to The Scarlet Kimono, but you really don’t have to have read the first to read it at all. Our heroine is Midori, a woman of half Japanese, half English heritage raised in Japan as a Samurai. However, the new Shogun with a fear of Christianity has declared that all foreigners must leave or face execution. For readers of The Scarlet Kimono, Midori is the daughter of Hannah and Taro.
Our hero is Nico, who has come to Nagasaki to trade and earn his fortune, but he ends up with an addition to his cargo he hadn’t expected. The addition of course is Midori and the last thing he wants to worry about is the safety of a woman on his ship.
Courtenay’s writing always makes me wish that I had studied History instead of Geography in secondary school (goodness knows why I didn’t!). It’s always rich is historical detail and culture. Beginning in Japan, we journey through to Amsterdam and then Plymouth in the time of the English Civil War. All parts of the narrative were fascinating, but I particularly enjoyed the parts set in England. Courtenay demonstrates through the lives of the characters the impact of the religious war on ordinary people and brings the events to life in your mind’s eye.
For the time, Midori is a very forward thinking woman and is also trained as a Samurai. Which makes her a tough lady, who can fight and defend herself during difficult times. I liked this about her, as well as her willingness to fight to defend her English family in the war. This difference also created inevitable culture clashes. Both between her and Nico, and her and her family. She faced each difficulty with such gracious dignity, and it also gave rise to some great verbal sparring between her and Nico.
I’ve read all of Courtenay’s books to date and in terms of writing flow, this is most definitely the best. But I did have some issues with the story. Two actually. The first was that it turns out that Nico and Midori are oddly related by marriage, I can understand the reason for this twist having read the story, but it felt just ever so slightly cumbersome.
The second is Nico’s reasons for going to fight as a soldier in the Civil War, a war his himself doesn’t believe in. Nico is not exactly a pacifist, but a man that follows life according to his own rules. So when after an argument with Midori, he on the spur of the moment decides to join the war, I had a bit of a whaaaaat moment. I didn’t feel like the actions were within character.
However, The Gilded Fan is a lovely historical novel. The relationship between Nico and Midori is one of those tense slow-growers with plenty of will they or won’t they moments. Nico did have me worried a good couple of times, particularly with his habit for running off and leaving! But it most certainly won’t leave you disappointed.
Issues aside and they were relatively minor, I definitely enjoyed The Gilded Fan. It has a great romance, with two strong characters and a very rich historical background. I would recommend Courtenay’s books to lovers of historical romance that like to seep themselves in culture and detail.
On paper, there is so much about Rhev that should make him a terrible hero for a book. His bio reads more like one oReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
On paper, there is so much about Rhev that should make him a terrible hero for a book. His bio reads more like one of a super-villain, than a man you would ever want to fall in love with. Let me see… he’s a half-sympath, drug lord and pimp, and a manipulative liar who murdered his own father. But in Ward’s world nothing is ever that clear-cut or simple. Despite all of his flaws, Rhev is a man you can very easily fall for, you feel his terrible anguish at where his life has led him and will him to escape the black corner he has found himself shut into.
When I first began to read his book, I wondered what kind of woman would Ward have created for him. I thought a tough, life-hardened person, perhaps slightly like Rhev, maybe even an ex-prostitute. Of course, I should have learnt by now to never try and predict where Ward’s storytelling will take me! I wasn’t wrong on the tough, even slightly life-hardened part. But where Rhev is as dark as the cane he walks with, Ehlena is innocent as her crisp, white, nurse’s uniform.
The story is bitter, romantic, violent and very sad at times, much as I’d come to expect from this fantastic series. I often wondered how Rhev was ever going to get his happy ending. The contrast between Rhev and Elena’s lives stark. From the honest, to the illegal, from extreme wealth, to poverty. But these stark difference only served to make the story more engaging and poignant.
Rhev was more than an excellent hero, he was a brilliant one. I don’t think he had one selfish action, his self-sacrifice for love both for his friends and Ehlena was unexpected and sad. I never quite understood why he didn’t kill his half-sister, but perhaps it was more down to the complexity of his life and relationships.
King Wrath has a strong thread in this story. As the war with the Lessers grows in intensity and the size of the task seems insurmountable and you feel Wrath’s fierce frustration with the war that he is in charge of. His actions lead to alienation from his shellan and the brothers, but I desperately felt for him and as always Lady Karma is a b*tch. I never saw the twist coming, but it adds an interesting new dimension to his character. And what can I say, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for George . Payne is a new arrival on the character front, I’m not quite sure what to make of her yet, time will tell I guess. But I like that she gave Wrath some sense of help and dignity.
By now you know he’s my favourite character and developments around John-Matthew in Lover Avenged are really heart-breaking. I was so sad to see his slight hint of vulnerability and innocence shattered. Gone is the boy, and an embittered man emerges. And the surprise ending with Xhex? What a cliffhanger!
Xhex is an interesting character, when she was first introduced I wasn’t sure I liked her. Too aloof, too cold, too masculine, just too. But as we begin to see more back story for her, I began to understand the love she has for Rhev and The Shadows, she’s suddenly become much more three dimensional and really complicated and character. The love story between her and John-Matthew at the moment is brutal to watch, I almost can’t bear it! I might have to read Lover Mine between my fingers!
I think I need to take a moment to talk about Lash, as I haven’t yet mentioned him in any of my reviews to date. The twist about who or perhaps the better word would be what he is completely took me by surprise in Lover Enshrined. His bullying of John-Matthew before that always left me incensed but when I hoped he would get what was coming to him, I didn’t quite envisage him becoming the leader of the Lessers. It has made the threat from the Lessers suddenly become much more gritty and real. I can only see things getting more bloody and violent.
There is very little I can fault about this series. Rhev is most definitely a better hero than Phury was, I loved the darkness in him and the slow blossoming story with Ehlena. The back story was, as always, as good as the main romance, and the war between vampire and Lessers has seriously began to escalate in intensity. I also enjoyed delving deeper into the slippery world of sympaths and wonder if they may add their own contribution to the world very soon.
It took me about 3 or 4 chapters to get into A Stitch In Time. I wasn’t even sure at first if I was going to like itReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
It took me about 3 or 4 chapters to get into A Stitch In Time. I wasn’t even sure at first if I was going to like it. But, as soon as the story got going and got used to the author’s writing style, I was whisked away and the story became a complete page-turner.
A Stitch In Time is a contemporary, time travel romance and I found the time travel concept refreshingly unique. Sarah our heroine discovers than she is a ‘stitch’, a person who is meant to travel back in time and correct glitches or problems in the timeline. Originating from the old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine‘, by correcting the fault and making sure history remains in-tact she will save at least nine lives. On the other side is John, John is a needle. Needles are responsible for caring for stitches and over seeing their different missions.
The concept of the book is the part I really enjoyed the most. James’ writing really came to life during the historical scenes when Sarah travelled back in time. The scenes vividly drawn and three dimensional and full of interesting historical detail. We get to see Sheffield in the time of the Blitz, parts of the suffragette movement and perhaps my favourite part of the novel was her time with the American homesteaders during the heartbreaking locust plagues. I have to say much to my discredit, I didn’t even know this had happened. So I found this scenes engaging, educational and captivating.
The love story between John and Sarah had its ups and downs. At the beginning of the book Sarah is badly betrayed, and she never really recovers from this. This did mean at time that I became quite frustrated with her. Her inability to trust while did create lots of edge of your seat story-telling, but did drive me a little bit around the twist! But, it is a great love story, with a forbidden love twist that I did really enjoy. John himself is such gentleman, caring and noble. Not perhaps an alpha male, but still a knight in shining armour.
I wasn’t sure if A Stitch In Time was James’ debut novel, but I have since discovered it’s her second. My only real criticism of the novel would be that I sometimes felt like the dialogue was a little bit stilted and didn’t always flow smoothly. This wasn’t throughout the novel, just on a couple of occasions and in scenes between John and Sarah in particular. I wouldn’t however, let this put you off because it really didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
I think there is still lots of the story itself yet to be explored. A greater understanding of stitches and needles and ‘the spindly ones’ as Sarah calls them or powers that be. How different stitches work and what fundamentally causes the glitches in time, this could be a whole series. Great news is that I’ve seen on James’ blog that she is currently writing book two, so I very much look forward to seeing where it all goes.
A really unique time travel romance, which I definitely enjoyed. I imagine James’ writing will improve as the series progresses and I most definitely look forward to book two. It was the time travelling scenes that stole the book for me, the little dips back in time so that you felt like you were submerged in the past yourself. I would definitely recommend this to both time travel and even historical fans.
Dream Lake is book number three in Lisa Kleypas’s contemporary romance series Friday Harbour. It follows three brothReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Dream Lake is book number three in Lisa Kleypas’s contemporary romance series Friday Harbour. It follows three brothers who have all suffered from a neglectful upbringing, so much so that none of them have believed in happily ever afters. The last book had a paranormal twist, as does Dream Lake, this time in the shape of a ghost.
The story centres around Alex the third brother of the family. Alex is arguably the most damaged of the three brothers, newly divorced and spiralling into alcoholism. A carpenter by trade, while helping he brother restore his house he meets chef Zoë Hoffman. He also acquires a permanent shadow in the form of a World War Two pilot ghost who cannot even remember his name.
Zoë is quite an innocent character, she herself is recovering from a marriage where her husband left her for another man, she is vulnerable and hurt. She’s an unusual mix, she’s described as incredibly beautiful, but also seems to lack confidence in herself. She is also a very sensitive and patient soul, which is why the relationship between her and Alex seemed to work, she just let him find himself in his own time.
As the book progresses, we watch Alex’s transition from an almost broken man to a man once again in charge of his life. On a slightly cynical note I do think that he seemed to get over his alcoholism rather too easily, but I guess this is a romance and not a gritty drama. I thought that on occasion Zoë was just a bit too patient, but it didn’t mean I didn’t buy into the love story or not want them to get together, I perhaps just wanted her to give him a bit of a kick up the butt on occasion.
I really enjoyed the mystery element of the ghost story as we try to discover who the ghost is, as well his humorous commentary on Alex’s life, it added another dimension to the overall story. It was of course slightly predictable as soon as you heard Zoë was going to take on the responsibility of caring for her sick grandmother, that you knew they were going to be interlinked somehow, but I found I didn’t care and enjoyed watching it all unravel.
What I also found interesting was how Kleypas decided to set the timing of the novel concurrently with Rainshadow Road, rather than after it. So that in the background you are being reminded of what happened between Sam and Lucy during the time Dream Lake is taking place. It was an interesting style, which is not something you come across often and as a fan of Rainshadow Road there were times when the flashbacks didn’t fail to make me smile just a little.
The romance between Alex and Zoë was lovely, but it was really quite a slow grower. Now I’m not one that believes romances need lots of sex scenes, but it honestly seemed to take forever for them to sleep together. I felt like it needed to be a little sooner. But I thoroughly enjoyed the sacrifices they made for one another and the interactions between them until that final declaration.
Kleypas’s writing style is easy and light, meaning this book is a quick read and ideal summer holiday material. You could easily read it out of sequence, but would probably enjoy it more reading it in order. I think I preferred the romances between Sam and Lucy or even Mark and Maggie (book one) to Alex and Zoë in terms of engagement, but the ghost element was definitely an added bonus which made Dream Lake richer.
An enjoyable contemporary romance, made all the better for its ghostly, paranormal twist. I love the cosy feeling of the small close knit community that Kleypas has drawn in these books, as well as watching the house at Rainshadow Road slowly become renovated. Alex and Zoë had their flaws as a couple, but this was still a lovely story. I suspect Justine’s story is next and I think she might be a bit of a spitfire!
Here’s the thing, I love Christmas, I love romance and I’m not adverse to a nice dose of cheese. NO MISTLETOE REQUIRReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Here’s the thing, I love Christmas, I love romance and I’m not adverse to a nice dose of cheese. NO MISTLETOE REQUIRED has all three in spades. It’s a light, quick Christmas read, but at the same time it does have a slightly sad undertone.
Our hero and heroine are in charge of setting up a grotto for sick children in hospital when they meet. But, Dan our hero suffered a terrible tragedy at Christmas when he was a boy and has never celebrated it since. And, Anna, a recovered cancer sufferer herself has her own demons, and is determined to make Christmas special for the children.
The chemistry between Dan and Anna is instantaneous, even if there is a strange interlude where Dan confuses her for a college girl. It’s hot, it’s sexy and it’s certainly fun, despite the sad backdrop.
I really enjoyed watching Dan transform from a Christmas grump, to embracing the season, and also the kindness he shows to the poorly children as the true meaning of what they are volunteering for sinks in.
Anna is feisty and determined not to fall in love for another year until she is given the all clear from her latest cancer scare. Naturally you crave for them both to get their happy ever after.
A problem I had with reading it, is there is a real cheesiness to the writing, which while most of the time it was fine, on occasion it tipped over into cringe territory.
“Please tell me you’re going to play “Hide The Candy Cane” with that fine specimen of man.”
Also, I didn’t really get the whole sexy Santa thing, which seemed to really appeal to Anna. This is her comment after watching Dan dress up and do fake belly-laughs for the children:
"And, she had to admit to herself, more than a little erotic. The laugh and the attitude that went with it were doing things to her. And, oh God, she was totally hot for Santa."
Hmm not sure it did anything for me!
In general, this is not my kind of thing and I found it broke the spell of the writing when it occurred, but I think this is probably more about personal taste than anything else.
Also, my other comment is that the ending ended up being tied up far too quickly. I felt like the big decision about their relationship was made when a big part of Anna’s life was revealed and then it was the end, without fleshing out and properly concluding the story. But this is often a problem in novellas for me. I think this is more a short story problem, than a big issue.
This is the third Christmas book I’ve read this month, and while it was probably my least favourite, I still enjoyed it. With good characters, a spirit of Christmas message and a sexy hero. There’s nothing like a bit of seasonal, feel-good fun. This book is ok if you don’t mind a side of order of cheese