Once Upon A Christmas is a deliciously cosy Christmas romance, which hits the spot perfectly if you want to sink intReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Once Upon A Christmas is a deliciously cosy Christmas romance, which hits the spot perfectly if you want to sink into an easy holiday romance. Split into two parts, you get two romances for the price of one, set in the pretty Lake District.
The first story follows single Mum and doctor, Bryony, whose daughter, Lizzie has written a letter to Santa asking for a Daddy for Christmas. The thing is, Bryony has been in love with best friend, and fellow doctor, Jack, who’s an all round ladies man since she was 5. Realising that nothing is going to happen between them, she decides to put him behind her and starts dating in earnest, only for Jack to start jeopardising her dates. She’s baffled, what is going on?
Jack most definitely has the sexy doctor thing going on, and I loved the banter between him and Bryony. The attraction between the couple was palpable, as was Jack’s denial of his feelings. Bryony’s daughter is as cute as a button and added an extra dimension to see how Jack, the self-confessed ladies man, interacted with her with such care and affection. Jack and Bryony also work on the search and rescue team which made for some interesting thrills in the storyline.
This is my first Sarah Morgan book and her writing style is great, it’s light, addictive, and the will they, won’t they plot completely kept me hooked. This was honestly a fab friends to lovers romance with a really adorable Christmas ending.
The second part of the story was about Bryony’s brother, GP Oliver. When Bryony’s best friend Helen’s life gets turned upside down when she’s jilted at the altar, she needs somewhere to go and lick her wounds. Off on her honeymoon, Bryony offers her her cottage and asks her brother to keep an eye on her friend.
Again Morgan has created another truly fabulous hero. As soon as he sees Helen it’s love at first sight for Oliver. He is so caring, down to earth and devastatingly sexy. Helen is like a broken little sparrow at the beginning and it’s lovely to watch her bloom and recover under Oliver’s gentle care. The couple do fall for one another remarkably fast. Oliver even faster, but this only made me like Oliver even more, his conviction in himself and his feelings.
Helen and Oliver’s story gives us a greater insight into village life in the Lake District, and the depictions and anecdotes of the lives of the people that visit Oliver’s surgery. From newborns, to the elderly, to amusing love life problems, it was warm and funny. You can’t help but fall for both Helen and Oliver and the people in their small village.
Honestly, if you want a heartwarming Christmas romance, you really shouldn’t look any further. I loved both parts of this book and devoured it quickly. I have seen that Bryony’s other brother Tom’s story is written about in Snowkissed, parts of the story have already hinted at, and I think I might purchase it to enjoy during Christmas week itself .
With Love At Christmas is perhaps not the normal type of book I would read. It sits really in the chick-lit genre whReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
With Love At Christmas is perhaps not the normal type of book I would read. It sits really in the chick-lit genre which I tend to avoid, I actually thought about abandoning it a little way in. I’m really glad to say I’m pleased that I didn’t. There were times I felt immense frustration with the characters, and there were some predictable elements, but all in all this was a really well written book about family, love and relationships.
Our main heroine is 45 year old Juliet, mum of two, grandmother, wife and daughter to two ageing parents. She loves Christmas, loves her family and works hard to pull everything together for everyone for the big day. The problem is her family are there to provide plenty of curve balls.
The story has highs, lows and even a couple of laugh-out-loud moments. But be prepared for a very sad beginning. This was the point I did nearly give up I have to admit, this is meant to be a Christmas book, it’s meant to be happy surely? But Matthews pulls to careful a well plotted story, that brings realism to her book. As the sadness ebbed its development also brought with it a new phase for some of the characters.
Juliet’s children, both in their 20s I’ll add, completely and utterly infuriated me – regularly. There was once scene in particular with her daughter Chloe that absolutely filled with with RAGE at her total selfishness. Chloe have moved back home with her toddler son after a relationship break-up and is currently pregnant with her second child. She seems to have no concept of responsibility or respect for her parents and moving back home seems to equate free childcare so she can go out and party until the second child is born. Then there’s Tom Juliet’s promiscuous son, who likes to bring home with him a collection of unsuitable partners for his parents to meet in uncompromising situations. I slammed the book down in disgust at them in more than one occasion.
There isn’t a love story as such, Juliet and Rick have been married for 27 years. But while there isn’t wild passion that you would see in a traditional romance, Juliet and Rick show us what forever love really means. Stability, supporting one another, loving one another through the thick and the thin. There was a very predictable twist in terms of Rick that I saw coming a mile off. I kind of wish it hadn’t been in there in a way and the situation was written in differently. But, it all came good in the end and I did really like the addition of the character involved.
I can’t write the review without mentioning Rick, we get the odd chapter from his point of view, which adds a nice different interpretation to parts of the story. I really couldn’t help but smile with his fascination with his shed, and how when things get too much he either escapes down there to his mini beer fridge or conveniently takes the dog for a walk.
Juliet herself is such a giving person, she holds little back for herself. She loves her family unreservedly even when they quite clearly do not always deserve it. This includes ending up with both her ageing parents coming to live with her, until they have to convert the dining room into a bedroom. There is very little to dislike about her and you end up routing for her as the events of Christmas Day unfold and she puts a smile on her face and just goes to peel some more potatoes!
A different book for me being a more traditional romance fan, but I’m really glad I stuck with it. With a Love At Christmas is a modern Christmas story about the changing dynamics of families, and how two people pull everything together through their love for all involved. There are some funny characters, some infuriating ones and some sad ones and Juliet has far more patience than I ever could have. But this is a book I would definitely recommend.
Beautiful Bad Man tells the story of two children, Cal and Norah, who shared an experience that stayed with them forever. Cal has never forgotten whatBeautiful Bad Man tells the story of two children, Cal and Norah, who shared an experience that stayed with them forever. Cal has never forgotten what Norah did for him, and will always be indebted to ‘the Girl‘. Norah has always dreamed of what became of ‘the Boy’ after that fateful night. Many years later, Cal is working as a gun for hire, when the group of men he is working with are asked to scare a widow off her lands so that his employer might force her to sell. At first he doesn’t recognise the beleaguered, grief stricken widow. But when it looks like things are going to get out of hand he knows he’s going to have to step in.
I’ve never read anything by Ellen O’Connell before, and decided to buy Beautiful Bad Man after it was recommended to me on Amazon. Her writing style appears to have a little more darkness in it than other historical westerns I have read, but it’s got an easy flow and the darker undertones adds depth to her characters.
Both Cal and Norah have been damaged by their life experiences. Cal abused in childhood until he is left believing his is a damaged, evil man, and Norah is wallowed so deep in grief, that she no longer has the drive in her to carry on living. Each have their own journey to travel, but seeing each other again after all the time that has passed is the trigger to their recovery.
The wider plot circles around the evil landowner Van Cleve who is intent on driving Norah and her neighbours off their lands in order to expand his empire. He sets about this with bullying, vandalism and murder. It soon becomes apparent to Norah, if she wishes to keep her lands she is needs a tougher person to help her, and it also become clear that Cal might be one of the few people who can stop him.
I did like Cal, there were occasions when he did make me smile with his liberal take on what was legal and what wasn’t. I also enjoyed how he shouted at Norah until she came back into herself and fought to live again. What I did miss with O’Connell’s writing style was a greater insight into the character’s emotions and feelings. While of course you do get some of this, I would have liked it to have been deeper as you didn’t always know what the characters feelings were at different junctures of the story. I think this element could have been expanded and made the overall love story richer.
The romance takes a while to get going and it was far from love at first sight, despite their curiosity of one another due to their past connection. Norah is a tough character, she is a survivor and knows how to work and endure. Cal believes himself to be evil and unworthy of love, and initially, only stays to help Norah out of a sense of duty. But the slow blossom of love and healing they each undertake made it a lovely read.
As I mentioned earlier, this definitely has darker undertones to this story, of rape, child abuse and neglect. But it also brought home some of the tougher realities of living in the West in the 19th century. Namely poverty, starvation and corruption. A time when not owning a gun could mean your death. I enjoyed this part of the book, I don’t mind a bit of darkness in the books that I read, and it added plenty of tension to the story.
A well written historical western. I would have liked to have seen more about the character’s feeling at different moments, but that aside this was an engaging, slow burner of a romance with a darker edge mixed in. I will be reading more by Ellen O’Connell in the future.
The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge begins slightly unusually after the hero and heroine have been married for five years. OveReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge begins slightly unusually after the hero and heroine have been married for five years. Overcoming a terrible tragedy, their marriage has hit the point of make of break. With them both struggling to overcome their grief in their own way, but in a way that is destroying their relationship. Ben has descended into gambling and drinking, and Evie can no longer tolerate the lies and heartbreak.
As the story begins, as the reader you wonder where it’s going to go. Can the hero and heroine come back from their painful situation and get a happy ever after, because despite the obvious heartbreak between them you can also still see the love. Of course fate (or creative author), never fails to deliver and in a twist we see Ben attacked and very badly injured and as a consequence he loses his memory. The last thing he remembers was over five years ago, he doesn’t remember Evie and he doesn’t remember being married. All of a sudden, Evie is faced with the man she originally fell in love with.
The loss of memory works really well as a twist in the plot, because not only does it allow for our hero and heroine to fall in love again. But, it also adds a sense of mystery to the plot. What did Ben get up to during his gambling and drinking times? Actions that also created lots of enemies for the couple.
The title itself is a bit misleading. Unless I missed something, I don’t really think that Ben is an ‘outlaw’. Yes, he’s done a lot of bad things, bad things that have quite a few repercussions. But I was kind of expecting him to be a bit of a wild, gun-slinging bad-ass cowboy and he really wasn’t that at all.
The story itself is about new beginnings and I did enjoy watching Ben and Evie’s relationship slowly change as the novel progressed. Ben was a completely different character after his amnesia and is a really sweet, kind man. Evie is quite sharp with Ben and has to overcome many obstacles to learn to trust him again. She did irritate me on occasion, but I guess if Ben was my husband I would feel the same way. The chemistry however, was lovely, I got a real sense that their love was the result of love at first sight and it was enjoyable to watch them fall for each other again.
The action in the plot comes in the form of some unsavoury characters from Ben’s past. And there is actually plenty of action to keep the plot moving and interesting. The story takes part over the course of a journey as Evie and Ben move towns in order to make a fresh start. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of journey stories and I was glad when they finally arrived and moved out of that wagon!
The part of the book that I felt let it down was the ending. I felt that it left far too many unanswered questions, particularly about Ben’s amnesia for my liking. I have seen that this book is part of a trilogy, so maybe the author will progress this in subsequent books, I’m not sure if other books will tackle different heroes? But, I did feel a bit like I wanted more from it than I was given.
A good book and certainly a good debut book from Lori Connelly. I enjoyed Evie and Ben’s story of new beginnings and watch them fall in love all over again. There were a few niggles with the story itself, in particular the ending, but I would still recommend it as a warm, romantic read. Plus, you know.. Sexy cowboys ;-)
From Dead to Worse is book number 8 in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, and it’s been a while since I have visitedReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
From Dead to Worse is book number 8 in Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, and it’s been a while since I have visited the little town of Bon Temps. Sookie is back in all her kookiness; she’s still kind of dating Quinn, although he’s missing; she’s still living with the witch Amelia who still hasn’t been able to reverse the spell on Bob the cat; Hurricane Katrina has completely changed the supernatural world; and there are plots afoot in both the vampire and werewolf worlds, which Sookie can’t seem to escape. Enter a Fae Prince who has taken an interest in Sookie and the fact that Sam turns into a lion, yes a lion, and you’ve got a pretty awesome book. Oh and I mustn’t forget Eric, because I’m kind of a little bit in love with him, and well he’s Eric, and he’s fabulous.
Ok, in all seriousness this book was great. But, I did I feel like it took me a while to get into it. I don’t know if it’s just because I haven’t read anything by Harris for a while and she does have a unique detailed style, which takes some getting used to, from her telling you when Sookie does her washing to shaving her legs etc. But, once I got into it, probably about a third of the way through, I was completely immersed.
I did feel like From Dead to Worse was setting a lot of things up for future books in the series. From the change in management on the vampire and werewolf fronts, to developments with the Fae and with Sookie’s brother Jason’s marriage. There were major changes, but the implications of those changes are yet to be realised.
Then there’s Sookie’s love life. I was kind of so over the Quinn thing before I had even started the book if I’m honest. He was never my favourite of love interests for Sookie. He was interesting for a while, don’t get me wrong, but he was kind of as interesting as a smelly fish in From Dead to Worse and it kind of went on for a bit too long too. Eric on the other hand, did I mention I love Eric? *Daydreams for a moment* Oh I have high hopes for Eric, the scene in her bedroom gives me serious hopes. I’m not going to spoil it for you if you haven’t read it, just leave you wondering . Sam was an interesting character in this book too, he was a steady, true friend to Sookie consistently and it made me really respect him. Plus you know the whole lion thing, as I said earlier… Awesome!
Amelia is great as Sookie’s housemate. Also look out for Octavia her mentor. Again, I felt like things were being set up here for the future. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Sookie continuing to have a housemate, but I found Amelia consistently entertaining.
I have mentioned a couple of times that this book feels a bit like a middle book, in that it seemed like it was setting up a lot of plots for future books. But it’s important I state that this didn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. There were some really great action scenes, some pivotal developments and Sookie carries on in her own way, which is such that you can’t help but like her. She’s definitely grown up too. The ending was kind of bitter sweet, but I liked the potential it could possibly create for Sookie and her family.
I just can’t help but like Sookie, her kooky manner, her sense of right and wrong and her Southern manners. There were so many big developments in From Dead to Worse and Harris used hurricane Katrina as a catalyst for change in the plot. It was also nice to have a book set back in Bon Temps, and see familiar characters again such as Sam. I hope that Sookie’s love life progresses more in the next book, because I wanted to see a little more on that front. The big changes should mean that book 9 is very exciting and we should hopefully get to see what they mean for the supernatural world. Another great book in this fab series.
A historical, western romance, To Have and To Hold tells the story of an entire town that chooses to uproots and relocate to the West. The book is theA historical, western romance, To Have and To Hold tells the story of an entire town that chooses to uproots and relocate to the West. The book is their journey as well as a love story between the hero and heroine. As the story unfolds, we realise there is more to the relocation than meets the eye as our heroine Naomi is plagued by dreadful nightmares.
As well as being a romance, the story focuses on the harsh realities of life in the West. I found the realities of this interesting as the journey, the pain and the often the tragedy is shown as the story progresses.
Our hero Colby, is a hero in every sense of the word. He comes across Naomi’s party as they are being attacked by Indians and comes to their rescue. A loner, hurt by a terrible past, but gallant and honourable, I fell for him immediately and loved discovering the layers beneath his exterior as they were revealed. Naomi is equally one tough cookie, a fighter and strong woman by any era’s standards. Not afraid of hard work, of grabbing a gun to save those she cares about, but there still is something refined and lady-like about her.
The romance is a slow grower, Colby is damaged and doesn’t ever want to love again. Naomi has issues with her past that she can’t remember but suspects it’s the reason the whole town is relocating. But I enjoyed watching the relationship grow between them as the journey progresses. Even if Colby needed a good shake by the end of it. They both had issues with trust in their own way, and the story was more about them over coming their own personal issues than physical barriers blocking the path of their love.
I really enjoyed the ending, it didn’t go how I expected it to go, but it was really lovely to see the characters get not only a happy ending, but a sense of closure. This is the first in a new series, so I’m sure Greenwood will go back to some of the featured characters at a later date too.
Since finishing the book, I have discovered that Leigh Greenwood is a man. I don’t know why, but this surprised me. I kind of thought that men would not be as good at writing romances, which is horribly and hideously sexist of me. And I’m glad to say, I really couldn’t tell.
A gentle and slow growing romance that shows the realities of life in the West for settlers. A great hero and heroine who deserved their happy ever after and a lovely ending to round it all off with a bow. A nice Sunday afternoon read.
Rock Chick is my seventh book by Kristen Ashley and as I only discovered her as an author in May this year, that’s quReviews for www.bookchickcity.com
Rock Chick is my seventh book by Kristen Ashley and as I only discovered her as an author in May this year, that’s quite some going. But in this time I have become a fast fan and intend to make my way through her back catalogue. Rock Chick is book number one in Ashley’s Rock Chick series and also the first series she wrote. Quite frankly, it is flipping hilarious!
Indy is a rock chick. She’s a cop’s daughter, she owns a used bookstore with a super cool coffee shop inside it, a wardrobe to die for and man does she love rock music. She’s also been in love with Lee Nightingale, her best friend Ally’s brother since she was five and he held her hand at her mother’s funeral. Lee put a firm end to her crush when she was in her teens, by telling her he saw her as nothing more than a sister and breaking her heart.
Move forward a few years, Indy’s wild, a free spirit and she’s also inadvertently got herself into a spot of bother. It seems her savant like Barista Rosie has got himself in deep with some bad guys and now they’re both being shot at. As luck would have it Lee is now a serious bad-ass and runs his own PI / security company. With a big push from Ally, Indy turns to Lee for help, but it seems that Lee is not quite so uninterested in her as she was led to believe.
Where to start? This book is laugh-out-loud funny, seriously sexy and actually kind of reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series in its style. Which isn’t a bad thing as I love that too. Indy is a truly awesome heroine, she loves her friends, she loves life and I really seriously want a job in her bookshop! But also what makes Indy is her friends, from her crazy bookshop workers, her best friend Ally who is wild, her extended family and her gay next door neighbours every aspect of her life was filled with fun and humour.
Then there’s Lee. Ladies, be still your beating hearts! I defy you not to faint at the sexiness that is Lee. He is sexy, lethally dangerous and a majorly cool bad-ass. He is the epitome of what an awesome romance hero should be. Also, he is surrounded by mega sexy, equally cool bad-asses that work for him. Hmm, maybe I should work for him and not in the bookshop? The chemistry between Indy and Lee, was off the scale, the banter hilarious and the romance will take you into that happy gooey place.
The plot was full of action and crazy thrills and spills. If you’ve not ready anything by Ashley before, expect car bombs, kidnaps, guns and more. Also look out for the drag queen night, too funny. Ashley has quite a slangy writing style, which makes the writing punchy and also incredibly addictive. There were times when I found it near impossible to put it down!
What also really makes this book work is the extended secondary characters within the story. As I mentioned earlier, Indy’s group of friends and fellow ‘rock chicks’ are part of what makes her as a character. Then you have Lee’s family, his Mum, Dad and brother and his co-workers, why they do make fabulous man candy, they are also interesting characters in their own right. I also have to give a special mention for Tex, the ex-con, Vietnam veteran, cat lover, with a love for grenades and tear gas… yes really and I loved him. Ashley has created a whole community of characters that set up this beginning of the series brilliantly.
This is a great start to a series and even better than her Dream Man series. I loved it so much I read books two and three straight after and was very tempted to go straight onto book four too. Indy and Lee were an awesome couple and the book so genuinely funny and sexy all at the same time, I totally loved it. I am now determined to read my way through Ashley’s back list! :-)
Celtic Moon is the first in a new series by Jan DeLima and I have to say it was a cracking start. Our heroine SophieReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Celtic Moon is the first in a new series by Jan DeLima and I have to say it was a cracking start. Our heroine Sophie has been on the run for fifteen years from the father of her son. Moving regularly as he continues to hunt her and their son Joshua down. When Sophie was pregnant Sophie discovered that Dylan was a shapeshifter and when he threatened to take her baby from her she knew she had to run, to protect both her and her unborn baby.
But now her son is fifteen, Sophie has been noticing unusual things with his behaviour and suspects that just like his father Joshua might be able to shift into a wolf too. Unable to help him herself and fuelled by a powerful mother’s love, Sophie does the unthinkable and calls Dylan. Dylan desperate to find his child and the only woman he has ever loved, immediately agrees to help even though there is a terrible war looming in his world and as the leader of his people Dylan knows there are seriously dangerous times ahead.
Celtic Moon was a surprisingly good read and a real page turner. When I read the premise I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the book, but DeLima has managed to write an urban fantasy novel that combines traditional werewolf legend with new and interesting mythology. She has crafted a new world of shapeshiters, guardians, magic and legend and it was fascinatingly enjoyable. The book only scratched the surface of the different powers that each of the wolves possessed, and there is still plenty to explored and explained, leaving some great threads open for future books in the series. Each of the werewolves appear to have different powers and limitations and are uniquely connected with nature. Dylan’s sister Elen is a particularly interesting character in this respect. The story itself sits on that bridge between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, giving it the grit and action I regularly enjoy with a rich romance at the centre.
Sophie herself is a great main character. She has evolved herself from an environmental pacifist and nature lover to a toughened warrior in her own right. Learning to fight, shoot guns and use knives in order to protect her son. There was something that very mildly reminded me of Sarah Connor from the Terminator films in this respect, although Sophie was slightly softer. There was very little she wouldn’t do for Joshua. The relationship she shares with her son is warm and well written.
Dylan is a tough man to read. A leader of waifs, strays and rejects. Not to be dismissed as insignificant. He is the protector of those the guardians would rather kill. Just as he is finding his long lost wife, and the son he has never met his world is on the brink of war. Of course everything coalesces into a fab finale.
If I had one criticism of the story, it was that after years of running from Dylan, doing everything in her power to hide and protect her son, and I mean years of continuously moving and running. I felt like Sophie went back into a relationship far too quickly. Two days after they’re reunited. It was all too fast, I wanted it to be more of a slow grower, giving them both time to love and trust again. It just annoyed me.
Both a great debut novel and start to a new urban fantasy series. Celtic Moon was one of those books when the pages keep on turning and you’re half way into the story already. DeLima has done some really interesting world building, which I look forward to reading more about. Despite my frustrations with the super fast reconciliation I did really enjoy Sophie and Dylan’s romance too.