Only the second of the Bookshots books I've read but this one has put me off the whole series. A thirty-something professional woman, who has become aOnly the second of the Bookshots books I've read but this one has put me off the whole series. A thirty-something professional woman, who has become addicted to Netflix and Oreos since her divorce, decides its time for a change. She buys a little black dress that bolsters her confidence and opens herself up to having sex with men she picks up, uses, and drops. The back cover copy entices the reader with a lure of a fantasy taken too far. However, what we are treated to is mostly mundane sex, nothing too erotic, and certainly nothing that goes too far.
Our main character, Jane Avery, has conflicting thoughts and emotions and even her shrink doesn't seem able to help. The story really has no plot and could easily have been an episode of Seinfeld. In my humble opinion, not worth the money. Might work better as a longer story where the reader could delve into the psyche of the main character.
I hate to give negative reviews but this time there's no way around it. ...more
What an interesting concept, little books to tuck into a purse or backpack - that's what I thought when I first saw these little Bookshots. I decidedWhat an interesting concept, little books to tuck into a purse or backpack - that's what I thought when I first saw these little Bookshots. I decided to try a couple and chose The McCullagh Inn in Maine for my first Bookshots read. A second chance at love/romance is what is promised on the back cover copy. We first meet the main character, Chelsea O'Kane as she drives home to Maine. She is on the run from Miami and what we can surmise is a crime that she's committed. Chelsea has decided to hide out in the hometown she ran away from some years earlier and where her brother still lives. We can also easily deduce that her brother, like their father before them, lives on the edge of the law. Shortly after her arrival Chelsea runs into the man she once loved as a teenager. He wants to rekindle their passion but Chelsea wants none of it. What promises to be a hopeful reunion takes a wrong turn as bullets begin to fly.
I found the story line too predictable. Anyone who watches police drama on television could have written this story. The romance - or sex scenes - were not romantic in the least. Women readers like romantic language and want to be seduced through words and thoughts as well as physicality. Like most men, the romantic scenes were trite, fast, and over with before any woman would even realize what happened. The characters were shallow as well and I could almost mouth their lines before they did.
While I realize that these Bookshots are meant for fast and light reading, a bit more description would have gone a long way to keep this reader happy.
I have always been fascinated by the British Monarchy and this book drew me simply by its title. Written from the perspective of Charlotte Bill, alsoI have always been fascinated by the British Monarchy and this book drew me simply by its title. Written from the perspective of Charlotte Bill, also known as Mrs. Lala, it is the behind the scenes look at the British Royal Family from the years 1897 through 1959. Charlotte has been hired as under-nanny for the royal children - David, Bertie, and soon to be born Mary. Within a short time she witnesses an atrocity playing out with David at the receiving end of love/punishment from the head nanny Mrs. Peters. Sadly Mrs. Peters has 'an illness' and is sent to an asylum and Mrs. Lala is promoted. Over the years we witness the ever-expanding royal family and learn of the eccentricities of those in power as concerns their offspring. Sometimes laughable, sometimes sad, these eccentricities are what make the royal family who they are. Not until the last child of the Waleses is born does Mrs. Lala find the love of her life: John Charles Francis who would eventually be called the Lost Prince. Unlike any of his other siblings, Johnnie is prone to epileptic fits that worsen over time. And it is Mrs. Lala who stays by the boy, tends to him, nurses him through his fits, and becomes his lifelong companion. All this at the expense of a life of her own away from her royal duties. After witnessing one of the boy's fits that totally unnerves his siblings, Johnnie and Mrs. Lala are moved from the family homes to a small cottage at the far reaches of Sandringham where they stay until his demise at the age of fourteen.
I loved this story, mostly because it is based on true events and populated with historical characters who actually lived. It has given me a new perspective on how the upper class comports themselves and what their actual expectations may be. I also was eager to learn more about Prince John as I had never heard of him before. The story quickly grabs the reader and exposes them to the wonders of royal life via the descriptions of their residences - mostly Sandringham and environs. The on-again, off-again romance of Mrs. Lala and Chad Reaver is one of unrequited love that eventually gets straightened out although it takes a number of years to get to its completion. Attention to detail is excellent and I felt like an onlooker over Mrs. Lala's shoulder throughout the story.
With a wedding gown on the cover and the back cover tease talking about a an 'old-fashioned tailor', one would expect The Dressmaker to be a romance nWith a wedding gown on the cover and the back cover tease talking about a an 'old-fashioned tailor', one would expect The Dressmaker to be a romance novel. And it is, sort of.
What begins as an ordinary day in the life of Claude Reynard, tailor and dressmaker, in the small town of Senlis, France changes the moment he sets eyes on Valentine de Verlay. She has come to him to have a wedding gown designed. She, however, is unprepared for what follows. Claude designs her gown and it becomes the talk of the fashion world. He designs everything with Valentine in mind. However, she soon becomes an obsession for him. Although he's been estranged from his wife for eight years he now wants a divorce. He is convinced that Valentine will see the error of her ways and ditch her fiance in favor of him. Claude can't help himself or his yearning to simply see the object of his dreams and soon begins showing up at places where he knows she'll be. Things take strange turns as life most often does and what begins as a great love with Valentine being the muse for the rising couturier, soon takes on the aspects of a stalker - especially when Claude follows Valentine and her husband to America. As a secondary story we have Henri, Claude's fourteen year old nephew, and his first love Pascale. Like his uncle, Henri has shown a flair for designing women's clothes.
The writing here is very descriptive and I could easily imagine the swish of taffeta or the glide of silk as Claude pinned and sketched fascinating clothes. The sight of the decades old apple tree in his back yard made me feel the warmth and hope of spring. Yet there was an uneasiness about the story. A question of Claude walking the tightrope between inspiration and madness. The conclusion was not expected and rather sad.
For some reason I like my romances to end happily, this being fiction. I felt a bit deflated at the end of this one so if that is what the author intended, then she's done her job well. The rating is based on my reaction to the ending. ...more
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard takes the reader on a journey from its opening in 2012 back to the year of 1939 where the story actual starts. Violet is aStars Over Sunset Boulevard takes the reader on a journey from its opening in 2012 back to the year of 1939 where the story actual starts. Violet is a somewhat shy Southern girl who has decided to reconstruct her life in California after a life-altering medical problem. She accepts a secretarial position at Selznick Studios and meets Audrey who is looking for a roommate. Audrey is an almost-star who works in the secretary pool and knows everyone and everything. A good person to have as a friend. Add into the mix a shy man named Bert, Audrey's best friend. Bert has a crush on Audrey but her feelings are very different from his. Audrey still has hopes of being a star; Bert harbors a secret desire to be an ornithologist; Violet's dream of a husband, children, and a white picket fenced house seems just beyond her reach. Together the three form an odd sort of friendship. Add to this the fact that Gone With The Wind has just started filming and the three are kept busy at all hours of the day and night, and you have the sort of book that grabs your attention and won't let go. The story starts with the discovery by a young woman named Christine who owns a vintage-clothing store and receives by mistake the green and gold hat that Scarlett creates from the drapes at Tara. How did this hat come to Christine? And why does she remember seeing this exact hat as a child and trying it on? The story will have you turning the pages and burning the midnight oil.
I'm a huge fan of Gone With The Wind as well of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood. I love the glamour of it all. This story is rich in detail and it is obvious that Ms. Meissner has done her research on this one. I was captivated by the life of the two secretaries who lived on the fringe of the movie sets for months; and following their lives after Selznick Studios was just as captivating. By the third chapter I felt like these two were old friends of mine. The contrasts between Scarlett and Melanie from GWTW and Audrey and Violet were well drawn and it was easy to see how the bonds of friendship can form in the most unlikely ways.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it an easy five stars. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
Welcome to a world called Cerulean, a world unlike any other. The different groups who inhabit Cerulean all live in The Loft, the upper reaches of theWelcome to a world called Cerulean, a world unlike any other. The different groups who inhabit Cerulean all live in The Loft, the upper reaches of the great trees. We first meet Barra, a Listlespur, and her two friends Tory and Plicks. From the first page I was caught up in the high jinks of these three teen-aged Arboreals. Barra is somewhat fearless and loves to go off exploring. In this manner she is like her deceased father. When Barra finds her father's old journals, she is amazed to learn that his experiments and exploring have taken him far beyond the forbidden Middens; she is also amazed to read that he was on the trail of what caused the Creepervine that has taken over every living space and is slowly blocking out the natural light in the Loft. But before her father could finish his scientific investigations he met an untimely death. Now The Loft is growing increasingly darker and vegetation is no longer lush and plentiful. A life without light is now the destiny of the Arboreals. Assisted by Plicks and Tory, Barra heads off to search for the cause of the Creepervine. What follows is an adventure into the unknown that ends in a life and death confrontation with the evil that lurks just beneath the surface.
I loved this book in so many different ways that it's impossible to count them all. The story is vibrant and refreshing with characters that are endearing when they should be and deliciously evil when warranted. Who doesn't love a good villain? Along the way are plenty of characters that are easily identifiable yet unique. The story is easy to follow but because it is set in a fantasy world the author and publisher have provided the reader with beautifully illustrated layouts, many of them double page spread. These help the reader become immersed in the story in a special way. The plot is suitable for middle school readers who are looking for an escape and a super-hero in the same story. No off-color language although emphasis for emotion is portrayed through the characters' tone of voice. Younger children may find two or three of the character's scary but not terribly so. I was impressed with the design of the book as well. I like that each of the printed sections of the book were first bound by thread before being pressed together. Altogether, a quality book for the price. And I thought the twist at the end was terrific.
The author has a website where readers can become immersed in the Sunborn world with background, interactive games, and more; a great way to keep the story alive while we await the next book. I can easily see this series becoming an Avatar-like movie in the future. ...more
Romance readers beware! There's a new voice in this genre and you're going to fall in love with love all over again. Author Lenora Bell has created aRomance readers beware! There's a new voice in this genre and you're going to fall in love with love all over again. Author Lenora Bell has created a period love story that is unconventional while adhering to the rules of the genre. Erstwhile duke James Harland would rather be on his cocoa plantation in Trinidad where he is free to ignore the demons that haunt him and lose himself in his work. But when a tragic carriage accident claims the life of his father and older brother, James must take on the mantle of dukedom. And every romance reader knows that a duke is nothing without an heir and a spare. To that end James must have a duchess. And the easiest way to accomplish this is to treat it like a business proposition: find a suitable young woman, marry her, get her with child, and return to his Trinidad plantation. Of course he'll visit from time to time to procreate those spare heirs and check in on his duchy.
James invites four suitable candidates, and their mothers, to his country estate. However, Lady Dorothea is on a ship bound for England and is unavailable to attend. Her mother, however, bribes Dorothea's half sister Charlene (illegitimate, of course) to stand in for Dorothea as they highly resemble each other. Charlene must win the duke even if being compromised is necessary. The fun begins at Warbury Park when James dresses as a footman to assess each young woman before they are properly introduced. What follows is a most unconventional courtship, especially when Dorothea/Charlene makes up a story about taking up an interest in Roman wrestling!
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The characters were robust and wonderfully complex. The settings were richly detailed and the gaggle of young women vying for the title of duchess were unique in their own eccentric ways. How The Duke Was Won is the first of a series and this reviewer is looking forward to reading each title by this refreshing author. ...more
Are you looking for a well-written story that spans the ages? Look no further than The House by the Lake. Opening in San Francisco, we meet Anna who iAre you looking for a well-written story that spans the ages? Look no further than The House by the Lake. Opening in San Francisco, we meet Anna who is a successful business woman even though she is terrible at personal relationships. Anna adores her grandfather Max who raised her. When Max asks her to travel to Germany and retrieve something for him from his family's home, Anna is intrigued. He's never asked her to do anything for him before and when she learns that the item he seeks is something he buried under the floorboards of his old bedroom in 1940, she is even further intrigued. Off to Germany Anna goes and in a steady stream of reveals not only finds the family's old but also uncovers all of the secrets behind Max's old life and finds a family she never knew she had.
The story shifts between the story of Max and Isabelle (set in the 1930-1940 era) and the story of Anna and Wil (set in the year 2010). The reader is treated to a blend of history and romance that spans the ages set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany. Characters are rich and nuanced; the settings are drop-dead gorgeous even when they are bleak; the story itself will keep the reader turning pages. Personal note: I read this book in three days and was so engrossed in the story that I didn't see the final twist coming. I was thoroughly under the spell of this novel.
This is a perfect novel to take to the beach, on a plane, or to curl up with by the fire. A jewel of a story for historical fiction fans. ...more
When NYPD Detective JL O'Grady is invited to a gala at the Montgomery Winery as her brother's guest, she's ready for some downtime and a bit of vacatiWhen NYPD Detective JL O'Grady is invited to a gala at the Montgomery Winery as her brother's guest, she's ready for some downtime and a bit of vacation fun. What she finds instead is that she's been thrust into a murder scenario that may have ties to an organized crime case that she worked on a few years earlier. She's also unprepared to meet the sexiest man she's ever met but decides to have a 'vacation fling' with him not knowing that he will save her life and that they will become soul mates - all thanks to a broken brooch given to her by her mother. When the missing piece of that brooch is put in its place the magic, as only Katherine Lowry Logan can write it, begins.
From the first page of the first brooch book, I was hooked on this series. The Broken Brooch is a bit shorter than the others and no time travel takes place in this one. But that doesn't detract from a killer story (pun intended). The character development here is awesome and with each turn of the page something new is revealed; whether it’s about a character or their family, or clues about the murder investigation there is something new so don't skim the pages on this one. As an author myself, I like to read at least a couple of hours a day. But with The Broken Brooch I actually spent almost a full day with the book just to see how it ended. I was not disappointed.
The story also provides a great set up for the next book in the series, The Diamond Brooch. And with the next generation of MacKlennas, Montgomerys, McCabes, McBains, and Frasers coming into their own, it promises to be another spell-binding tale. NOTE: You need not have read any of the previous novels as this story stands alone but having a 'wee bit' of knowledge of the players will add to your reading enjoyment. ...more
When Shemaine O'Hearn is kidnapped at the behest of her fiance's grandmother and subsequently tried and convicted of thievery, she opts for indenturedWhen Shemaine O'Hearn is kidnapped at the behest of her fiance's grandmother and subsequently tried and convicted of thievery, she opts for indentured servitude rather than spend her life in Newgate Prison. She survives the cross-Atlantic trip aboard the London Pride but makes a few enemies along the way. When the ship reaches port, the captain has arranged to have Shemaine set up as his mistress and keep her for himself - her flaming red tresses having caught his eye. But when a hefty purchase price is forthcoming he must sell the convict to the dangerous-looking Gage Thornton. Thornton is looking for someone to help his raise his two year old son - to teach the book to read and write while also taking care of his home while the man is busy with his furniture and ship-building. Of course he's a brooding widower, with looks that could stop a train. He causes more than Shemaine's heart to flutter. It's not until some near-death experiences and a run-in with several of Shemaine's old enemies are behind them that the couple find their happily-ever-after.
I cut my literary teeth on historical romance back in the 1970s when the genre was in its infancy. In fact, it was this same author's Flame and Flower that got me hooked. Of course that was 40+ years ago. I followed Flame and Flower with every book of Ms. Woodiwiss that was published and couldn't wait for a new release. There had never been a genre quite like these ground-breaking books and I devoured them. Fast forward to today's world where innuendo and secret thoughts are no longer considered risque and this book seems somewhat bland. We spend a lot of time with our hero and heroine as they try to deny their growing attraction. It seemed to this reader that much of the internal dialogue was centered around this fact. The action that does occur is welcomed and moves the story along nicely. Of course, a veritable plethora of description could have been cut without losing any of the story but then, again, it is historical romance. ...more
The latest installment of the The Celtic Brooch Series does not disappoint. David McBain is a no-nonsense Scotsman who is more than a right-hand man tThe latest installment of the The Celtic Brooch Series does not disappoint. David McBain is a no-nonsense Scotsman who is more than a right-hand man to his employer Elliott Fraser. David is the go-to-guy when something needs to be done. There is very little, if anything that he can't accomplish. And this extends to going back in time via one of the previously found brooches to retrieve folks who may have trouble not changing history. When the call comes from a colleague that his sister is missing David is pressed into finding the young woman. But he soon discovers that another brooch has appeared and whisked Kenzie Wallis-Manning back in time to World War II London, just prior to D-Day. As readers are reminded, the brooches have historically transported the receiver back to a time period wherein she meets her soul-mate. It is then the united couple's choice to remain back in time or come forward to today's world. This time David knows he must go back to 1944 to retrieve Kenzie and whoever her mate is. But what will David do when he discovers just who Kenzie's mate is?
Full of action, adventure, and romance, the author sweeps the reader back into the midst of London during the nightly bombings and the watchful eyes of Central Intelligence as we follow an undocumented Kenzie into the heart of Bletchley Park. Rich details give evidence of in-depth research that lend historical credence to the story, the reader will find themselves unable to put down the book. Characters from previous books in the series play supporting roles in The Emerald Brooch and provide continuity and fluidity to the series.
I thoroughly enjoy this series and look forward to the next book. A robust five stars for The Emerald Brooch. ...more
In actuality, Calls Across The Pacific by Zoe S. Roy deserves four and half stars. This intriguing story of life under Chairman Mao is centered aroundIn actuality, Calls Across The Pacific by Zoe S. Roy deserves four and half stars. This intriguing story of life under Chairman Mao is centered around the young woman Nina Huang has spent the past several years in a military labor camp, working the land and being re-educated by the peasants there. As a one-time member of Mao's Red Guards, she was a support of the Cultural Revolution but when her father was arrested as an enemy of the state and her mother supported her husband and was placed on house arrest, Nina was sent-down for re-education. Nina has many questions about her country but cannot ask them for fear of her life. At last she plans her escape and after several close calls makes it to the free city of Hong Kong, going on eventually to the United States where she learns that not everyone is treated as are the Chinese under Mao. With the help of her sponsor family, Nina goes to University and pursues a career in freelance writing using the stories of her country as basis for her articles. As time passes, Nina is afforded the opportunity to return to China (after Nixon's visit opens the door with China) where she meets once more the mother she never thought to see again. Going about the country and visiting friends, Nina soon learns that all is not what was hoped for with the easing of relations between the countries. A few years later, on a second visit to China for her mother's re-marriage, Nina is 'detained' and it is her friends and family who contrive to keep her new American citizenship secret to protect her, as she is still considered a traitor to the Chinese government. Along the way we are given glimpses into the lives of the common Chinese family and especially those who suffered as sent-down youths. Interwoven in the story is the telling of how Nina finds her womanhood and pursues romance and hope for her future family.
The story here takes place in the 1960-1978 time frame, during the reign of Chairman Mao. This reviewer grew up during the same time period and would be the same age as Nina Huang, yet still I knew nothing of the depth of what life in China was like. I knew it was not good but had no idea how difficult life under the Mao regime was; falling asleep in a soft bed while clutching a teddy bear was a far cry from sleeping on a pallet of twigs in a hut with little to no food and arising at dawn to work in the fields.The descriptions and recounting of life stories by many of the characters is the perfect expose of life at that time.
Calls Across The Pacific is not a long book but is packed with so much information that you'll be hard pressed to put it down. Easy to read, narrated with a story-teller's voice, it is highly recommended by this reviewer. ...more