The thing about Nora Roberts is that she knows how to write about happy endings. Delicious, chocolatey, gooey happinReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The thing about Nora Roberts is that she knows how to write about happy endings. Delicious, chocolatey, gooey happiness and contentment. I’ve read a lot of her books and sometimes they perfectly match my mood and give me a much needed moment of escapism.
VISION IN WHITE is the first book in her Bride Quartet series, following four best friends who have set up a wedding planning business. I’d seen many good reviews, so bought it as an audiobook.
The storytelling was immediately easy to sink into, even if the narrator’s accent took me a little while to adjust. Our heroine Mac, is a wedding photographer and a commitment phobe. With a wreck, serial monogamist and manipulative b*tch of a mother, the reason becomes quickly clear. Enter slightly geekish, English teacher Carter and you’ve got an unusual match and the beginnings of a lovely romance.
The banter between Mac and Carter is great. Carter is slightly bumbling, which just makes him cute. Alpha male lovers might want to look away here! Mac is direct, assertive and creative, with a rather marvelous shoe shopping skill. The backdrop of her photography work was interesting too. Giving a deeper insight into her character as you watched the way she treated her customers, and you could see the creative picture Roberts drew in these scenes.
The relationship between Mac and her three friends who run a wedding planning business together is refreshing, I loved the theme of sisterhood and friendship in the book, which was as important as the love story itself. Roberts has a real talent for writing characters, while she was obviously setting up stories for the remaining three books in the quartet, I felt as if I got to know the other three women and their journeys and look forward to picking up their books.
VISION IN WHITE is a simple story, there is no magic, no mystery, nothing but romance and wedding planning. And I have to admit I missed this, the second half of the story seemed a little slow and I felt like the story missed a climax, a pivotal life and death moment. I felt like I was waiting for it, only to be a little surprised to discover I’d reached the end. It’s not that every book I read has to have as supernatural element, but I felt like the story need a bit more of a kick to finish it.
A lovely, gentle romance with a gooey, warm, happy ending that is guaranteed to make you smile. While the ending added that extra something, I very much enjoyed Mac and Carter’s story and will be definitely be reading the rest of the quartet. There is a reason why Roberts remains such a phenomenally successful author, because she knows how to write books you love to read and characters you could imagine yourself being friends with.
The DEVIL OF THE HIGHLANDS is a fun, laugh-out-loud, historical romp. I’ve come across Lynsay Sands books before witReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
The DEVIL OF THE HIGHLANDS is a fun, laugh-out-loud, historical romp. I’ve come across Lynsay Sands books before with her paranormal romance Argeneau series. So decided to give this audiobook a whirl.
It’s a light read, perfect for by the pool or a sunny afternoon in the garden. Evelinde our heroine is a calamity, or very unlucky, or both. Cursed with an evil stepmother, who arranges her marriage to ‘The Devil of Donnachaidh’. The name says it all does it not? She is in despair over her upcoming nuptials. Of course we know this is a romance and we know all will end well, but the misunderstanding does give us a hilarious opening.
Throughout the book Evelinde seems to find herself in the most bizarre and funny situations. I chortled away at each one and eagerly awaited the next. Cullen has everything a tall, dark and brooding hero requires. Including a distinct inability to communicate. At first his bellows of ‘wife!’ whenever Evelinde did something wrong irritated me, but by the end this soon turned to amusement when she started responding with ‘husband!‘ in equal tones.
The romance is accompanied by a murder mystery, with the two previous lairds and Cullen’s previous wife having died during suspicious accidents. When Evelinde finds herself the victim of a few near accidents herself, she sets about to discover who the murderer is. I had my suspicions as the plot developed, but it kept us all on a merry dance right until the very end. I do like it when I can’t guess the culprit myself and the mystery had plenty of twists and turns.
The writing itself was a bit flawed. Yes it’s most definitely funny and the murder mystery was well written, but there were errors such as Evelinde responding to questions with ‘aye’, when she was English and not Scottish that niggled a little. The narrator also read the story in a Scottish accent although she was clearly not Scottish herself. I got used to it in the end, but each time I turned it on it bugged me for the first ten minutes or so. The accent wasn’t bad, but at the same time it wasn’t right either.
A funny historical romance perfect for those days when you want a story to cheer you up and give you something to escape in. This is the first in a trilogy and I am very tempted to pick up the next one, as the book has a funny ensemble of supporting characters and I would quite like to see some of the others get their happy ending too.
I’m not really a huge fan of the ‘chick-lit’ genre. Having fallen out of love with the ‘my life is a disaster, I weaReviewed for www.bookchickicty.com
I’m not really a huge fan of the ‘chick-lit’ genre. Having fallen out of love with the ‘my life is a disaster, I wear giant pants and have an awful love-life’ theme. I did however, used to really love them. And while I no longer read them, Sophie Kinsella has always been an exception to this rule. Because her books are just so immensely funny. TWENTIES GIRL has an added bonus for me, in that it also has a supernatural twist.
The book itself didn’t get off to a great start. It was slow going and took me a while to get into it. Lara, our heroine also looked to have all the facets that I find irritating. She’s lying, she’s crying over her ex, her job is a disaster, and then when the lying extends to a ridiculous situation with the police I started to cringe.
But, I hadn’t yet prepared myself for the effect of Lara’s 105 year old, great aunt Sadie. We first meet Sadie at her funeral. She returns in ghost form on the hunt for a beloved, missing necklace. Much to Lara’s dismay, who seems to be the only one that can see her. But she doesn’t return as a wrinkled, 105 year old woman. Oh no, she returns as a 23 year old, in all her twenties, flapper girl finest. And this is where the book takes off.
The banter between Lara and Sadie is absolutely hilarious. Quite frankly, Sadie is outrageous, from her ability to force people to do anything she wants them to, to her wild demands and whirlwind impact on Lara’s life. One scene where she gets Lara to go on a date wearing exactly what she wants, in full twenties costume, and repeating everything she says, is so funny I descended into full on, loud, belly-laughs.
I did struggle with Lara at times, but she had very much grown on me by the end of the novel. The plot with her ex-boyfriend however, was very irritating and needed wrapping up much more quickly than it did, and elicited more than a few sighs of frustration from me. But the eventual love story was delicious and well worth the wait.
I think that listening to this book as an audiobook enhanced my enjoyment of the story. The narrator really ‘got’ Sadie and the accent and intonation she created for her seemed to make things so much funnier.
The end of the book also delivers are rather lovely and unexpected mystery, which I really enjoyed. I knew the missing necklace would have some greater importance, but I would have no way guessed what. The setting was in London, which is always nice for me to sink into, as a woman who reads genres that are written by mainly American writers, I do love a fabulous British backdrop. The ending was just lovely… funny, romantic and heart warming all at once.
While TWENTIES GIRL does have a bit of a poor beginning, I would urge you to bear with it, it’s a hugely entertaining, laugh-out-loud, romantic comedy with a ghostly sidekick. Or perhaps a ghostly heroine, depending on how you want to look at it. Kinsella knows how to write comedy, and write it really well. The only books of hers I haven’t picked up are her Shopaholic books, and I’m thinking I really must as I love all of her other novels. This is a great, light, funny read I would definitely recommend.
Atticus and Oberon are back with aplomb. I do think that Oberon is one of the best urban fantasy sidekicks out thereReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Atticus and Oberon are back with aplomb. I do think that Oberon is one of the best urban fantasy sidekicks out there! I just love the relationship between him and Atticus and the way they can speak mind to mind. This time it's not Celtic Gods picking fights with Atticus, it's witches, and we all know how much Atticus likes witches! (if you haven't read the first book, a lot trust me! )
There are some super evil German witches for Atticus to contend with this time. Which requires him calling in some reinforcements in the shape of lawyer vampire Leif and Indian witch Lakasha.
Once again Hearne delivers some absolutely cracking one liners that will leave you chuckling away. If they're not from Atticus or the aforementioned superb Oberon, they are probably from Atticus's delightful old lady widow neighbour. And Atticus trying to modernise Leif's speech caused more than a few chortles.
Atticus now has Granuaille as his apprentice, which adds a new dynamic to the Atticus and Oberon mix. I do like Granuaille, but I wished Hearne had done some more with her in this book. I feel like she's become a bit of sex object, although there is perhaps potential for romance later on in the series, I think she could have been developed so much further.
Atticus just works for me as a hero, I love how genuinely clever he is and that it is often his intelligence that gets him out of trouble rather than sheer luck or brawn. Don't get me wrong he can wield a sword big time when he needs to, but he is a fast, strategic thinker. Although he does seem to have some rather strange sexual encounters.
This book is a fun romp that mixes humour, action and brilliant characters that are drawn so well they are almost living and breathing. The grand finale did not have the same pizzaz as it did in 'Hounded'. There is a good fight and plenty of drama, but it didn't seem to grab me as much. I think to a certain extent it is setting up elements of the story in preparation for the next book. But, that certainly doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, 'Hexed' still has the un-put-downable quality of 'Hounded' and at times I even think it was funnier.
This series works really well as an audiobook, helped by one of my favourite audiobook narrators Luke Daniels. It really is very well produced and executed, a good series to try if you've not given listened to an audiobook before.
'Hexed' does not have quite the same spark as 'Hounded', but it is still filled with Hearne's excellent and witty characters and is now on my auto-buy list. And I'm already excited about 'Hammered', Atticus versus Thor... Bring. It. On! ;-)
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, I love the cute and quirky cover, and the premise sounded fun. I also loveReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I’ve had my eye on this book for a while, I love the cute and quirky cover, and the premise sounded fun. I also love the sound of Alaska, I’ve never been, but I really would love to. I was a big fan of the Anne Heche TV series Men In Trees and was rather gutted when it got cancelled. HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF kind for reminded me of it actually, the small town Alaskan setting, the kooky members of the community and the local saloon where all the action seems to happen.
Mo is all kinds of fun, she moves to Grundy in Alaska to escape her crazy, interfering, hippy parents. When I say interfering, I mean interfering. Including sneaking into her apartment and replacing all of her junk food with healthy alternatives. Yikes!
When Mo moves to Grundiy she naturally piques the interest of the local male population. The first part of the book reads more like a contemporary romance, than a paranormal one. We see Mo adjusting to her new life and juggling numerous male advances. Then enter the one man who doesn’t want anything to do with her – Cooper, you know it’s going to be entertaining. When Cooper ends up butt naked on her doorstep with a bear trap on his leg, the fun really does begin.
I found HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF at times hilarious, punchy, witty and entertaining. That is until the latter part of the book, when it began to irritate me a teensy bit. Towards the end the wittiness started to wan and get a little irritating, like it needed to be keyed back just a notch and it was trying a little too hard. It was still funny, don’t get me wrong, just not quite as much so at the end.
The town of Grundy was vividly drawn and cosy, I quite fancied moving there! Cooper was surly and irritating, but the surliness kind of contributed to his sex appeal. Although he did seem to run a bit hot and cold throughout the book until I was glad to see Mo give him a bit of a butt-kicking! Mo seemed to accept the supernatural element of the guy she fancies turning into a werewolf rather too easily. I mean really easily, she didn’t even seem to be freaked out at all. But in some ways it kind of went with her laid-back character.
As well as a romance, the plot also includes a murder/killer wolf mystery as some of the local residents fall victim to a seemingly crazed wolf. Wild or of the ‘were’ variety, we don’t find out until the end. I always enjoy a bit of mystery included in my reading and part of the story was delivered well and had plenty of twists as to who the culprit was.
HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF is a cosy, funny, light-hearted, paranormal romance set in a fabulous Alaskan setting. I thoroughly enjoyed it, really liked the characters, and while the humour lost a little of its sparkle towards the end, I did still enjoy it and definitely fancy a trip to Alaska – maybe I’ll meet a pet werewolf to bring home with me?
I picked up ANGELS’ BLOOD as I knew Nalini Singh was one of Carolyn’s favourites books and had read her fab review oReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
I picked up ANGELS’ BLOOD as I knew Nalini Singh was one of Carolyn’s favourites books and had read her fab review of the book. I listened to it as an audiobook, and sometimes with an audiobook I don’t know if it’s the book I have issues with, or if it’s the narrator’s delivery of the story.
Singh has developed a really vivid and fascinating world ruled by beautiful and terrifying archangels. We have two great leads Elena the vampire hunter who can track vampires by smell and Raphael the Archangel of New York. Both of them strong, dark, and tough characters.
The backdrop to the story is the hunt for a mad and depraved supernatural killer. With her special tracking skills, Elena is recruited into help track the culprit down. The hunt is a gory, bloody one with plenty of tension and violence. There was no real mystery per-say, we’re well aware of who the murderer is from the onset, just a growing sense of foreboding as he grows in power and his acts become more depraved.
All good so far… My problem was that the book seemed to sink in the middle. The plot seemed to slow to a pace that I found myself getting bored and distracted. I felt like the investigation Elena was helping with didn’t pick up any real pace until the second half of the novel and because of this it fell slightly flat.
Then just when I wondered what all the fuss was about (I’ve seen so many reviews raving about this book), the climax began to build. Singh most definitely knows how to write a grand finale. The ending is thrilling, sad, romantic, violent and includes a great twist.
It took me a while to get into the potential relationship between Elena and Raphael, I thought they were both great characters in their own right, but it took me a while to buy into the chemistry. I didn’t like Raphael’s mind control abilities, and felt that this detracted from the relationship between them, making me irritated by him rather than finding him sexy at first. But, on the plus side, I thought his wings were fabulous and would so love to see them in real life, if only it wasn’t fiction!
I keep wondering if my frustration with the pace of the book was to do with the audiobook’s narrator, sometimes I do struggle with very American accents for example until I get used to their cadence. But if I think back to my review of Slave to Sensation, the first in Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, I had some of the same issues. Not really getting into the novel until the latter part of the story. So perhaps I struggle with Singh’s scene setting and writing style and it takes me until the second half of the story to really get used to it.
A mixed book for me, there were times when I struggled with the writing style and pace and the chemistry between the two main characters. But this was balanced by some great world building, strong rich characters and a really super finale. I have conflicting thoughts on Singh as an author, as I take a while to get into her writing. I do think I will pick up another of hers to try again, but I think this will be from her Psy-Changeling series which I preferred, although those sexy angel wings are tempting me!
Where to start?! I loved, loved, loved it! This book is a re-read for me, well I guess technically a re-listen. I reReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com
Where to start?! I loved, loved, loved it! This book is a re-read for me, well I guess technically a re-listen. I read it back in 2010 and I enjoyed it. In fact it was one of my Top Ten Reads of 2010. And when I was sent it and Fire (the second book in the series) as audiobooks to review, I decided to read/listen to it again. I gave it 3/5 the first time, but after my second run through I’m going to have to increase it (what was I thinking?!)!
This really is a fabulous book. Cashore’s world building is immense and she has drawn a vivid picture of the seven kingdom GRACELING resides in, but what has the clincher for me was her completely rich and complicated characters.
Let’s start with the concept. A world where a select amount of people are born with a special gift, these people are called ‘gracelings’, these people are easily identified by their unusual different coloured eyes. For most people this might be swimming, cooking, dancing or even fighting. Enter our main character Katsa who at the age of eight, killed a man with her bare hands. Her grace is killing.
Katsa is such a unique and fascinating character. She is moody, strong, determined, wilful and often rude, refuses to ever marry and horrified at the idea of falling in love. She is awesome! She made me laugh regularly, she is one of the toughest heroines I’ve come across, I don’t think any of my favourites could take her!
It’s strange because in my own personal life, a lot of Katsa’s personal ideals differ vastly from my own. For example, the idea that marriage somehow makes a woman weaker, the fact that she never wants to be a mother. And while I did strongly disagree with these opinions, I understand that these thoughts, fears, and yes for Katsa horrors, are what made Katsa… Katsa. The life that she has lived, her grace, her upbringing do not endear her to a life of marriage and motherhood. But the writing twists its way until we see Katsa having to protect the life of a young girl against an unimaginable evil with her own. I respected her, for what made her tick, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride the plot took both Katsa and me as the reader on.
As a counter balance to Katsa we have Prince Po. He is much more grounded and down to earth, warm, kind and gentle, but ruthless in his own way. His grace is so cleverly developed as the book progresses, opening up his skill and friendship in ways with Katsa that I hadn’t anticipated.
The love story was unexpected. It was so sweet and tender, there was something quite beautifully innocent about it. It was completely lovely and captivating. I think I read too many romances as I so wanted the fluffy white wedding and due to the nature of the book, I knew I was never going to get it. But I still absolutely (yes I’m going to use the word again) loved it!
The plot, again … where to start?! Well it both begins and ends with a kidnapping. The first an old man, the second a young girl. And the journey in between is an intrinsically woven plot, drawn together bit by bit, unraveling like a powerful, lethal and beautiful snake.
The story has everything, fight scenes, love, betrayal, blackmail, a pure evil villain – I challenge you find one more sinister, an epic, terrifying journey, pain, heartache and at its core survival. Katsa develops from a young, slightly naive woman manipulated by her King, to a strong woman who understands the need for sacrifice for the greater good, and that understands that even her deadly grace cannot protect her from some of the most terrifying things life has to throw at her. You watch Katsa evolve and grow through several revolutions into a more rounded, whole and strong woman.
As this was an audiobook, I must take a moment to comment on the narration. Read by Emma Powell, it was rather nice and quite rare for me to listen due to my reading tastes, to listen to a British narrator and she was great. Powell bought the story and characters to life with her voice.
A superb novel, Cashore’s writing is rich, detailed and captivating. Even if you’re not a fantasy fan I would urge you to pick GRACELING up. An amazing start to a new series, three-dimensional characters that breathe off the page, a beautiful love story, an epic journey and everyone’s favourite battle of good versus evil. Go buy it!