Rated 4.5 - Author Karina Halle writes a sexy romance that's partly a pre-college road-trip for four young adults, full of care-free adventure, lust aRated 4.5 - Author Karina Halle writes a sexy romance that's partly a pre-college road-trip for four young adults, full of care-free adventure, lust and emotional coming-of-age sensibilities, while growing into the roles they'll eventually play as responsible adults. Amongst the camaraderie is some serious heartfelt emotion that will touch your romantic soul.
Josh falls instantly in lust with Gemma the first time he sees her at a Halloween party in Vancouver, Canada. She's from New Zealand and has been traveling in North America for a few months, about to fly home the very next day. They have an amazing one-night-stand and then Gemma goes back to resume her life in Auckland.
Josh gets accepted into art school in Canada and decides he craves Gemma's traveling lifestyle too much to resist it, so he flies off to New Zealand. He hopes he runs into Gemma but Josh doesn't intend to find her intentionally, until he tells his story to three German guys he meets at a hostel. They insist that they all go find Gemma at the gym she works at, but Gemma isn't working there. Assuming he'll never see her again, Josh is floored when Gemma walks in the door as they're leaving.
Gemma's cousin Amber is arriving from America and they're off to explore New Zealand together before Gemma has to start work at the gym in February. Gemma invites Nick, her off-again-on-again boyfriend from Australia, to join them on their trip but he declines until he finds out that Gemma has invited Josh along. Not to be outdone, Nick decides they will become a foursome.
Gemma is insanely attracted to Josh and Josh is extremely attracted to Gemma, but she knows it will only be temporary with Josh until he goes home to Canada to attend art school. With Nick, even though he's never told Gemma he loves her and doesn't treat her as he should half the time, he's not as temporary, even if he is a bit of a jerk. Will Gemma give up what's semi-comfortable and predictable for something messy, unpredictable and long-distance?
These four twenty-something-year-old young adults set off on a trip of a lifetime in a VW bus, aka Mr. Orange, staying in backpacker hostels or camping in the camper-like bus. The sleeping arrangements are unusual to say the least and Nick can't keep his hands to himself very long, so Josh and Amber are subjected to listening to this couple's sexual escapades more often than they should. It's not long before Amber's attraction to Josh is initiated, but will Josh oblige her when he hasn't had a chance to see if this thing he has for Gemma will ever be reciprocated?
I have to honestly say that this type of story isn't the kind I'm normally interested in. I'm not big on love triangles but this one works by the end of the story. I will forewarn you that the language is raw and the sexual exploits are vivid and leave little to the imagination, sometimes bordering on TMI for my taste, but I still loved this book.
Josh is a very likeable hero and Nick is not, so that settles that from the get-go. Josh isn't perfect and he can be one-track minded when it comes to one of his body parts, but he does want more than sex with Gemma as he tries to help her get over her issues in a caring way. Amber is cute and sweet, so she's a great secondary character who helps move the story forward. Gemma is a puzzle most of the time. Half the time I didn't even like Gemma, but that's a testimony to how great her characterization is written because Gemma doesn't even like herself. By the end of the book, I was cheering for Gemma because she finally learns to love, including loving herself.
What is so well done in this story are the travel aspects of it. It's very reminiscent of the 70s, complete with Pink Floyd cassette tapes in the funky hippie-like VW. The places these four go and the things they do are amazingly detailed, adventurous and highly entertaining. WHERE SEA MEETS SKY is the perfect road-trip story.
I didn't expect to be mesmerized by the characters or to be so emotionally riveted that I cried three times. This book really touched me, especially because Josh and Gemma are both artistic and broken. I have a soft spot for artists because they remind me of my own youth and many of the friends I made in the art world. I can relate to the travel adventures because I experienced similar travels, staying wherever I could as cheaply as possible. That find-yourself trip of a lifetime before college is something never forgotten and it's really fun to relive those feelings with such an eclectic group of characters.
Promoted as New Adult fiction, this novel isn't as angsty as some I've read, even though there are some very powerful emotions explored. Most of the book was enjoyable and even though I'm not big on the frequency of raw language used at times and the high focus on sex, it was realistic and suited the characters.
The hardest part of the novel for me was getting used to a first person narrative switching back and forth between Josh and Gemma. Josh seemed a bit feminine at times and that's probably because I was still stuck in Gemma's head when I should be in Josh's. Josh is very much a guy with crude guy thoughts, but he doesn't pretend to be anyone else than who he really is and I liked his honesty.
I dithered on the rating for this book between four and five because there were some things that I felt were a bit over-accentuated for my taste, but the emotions and ongoing travel story were so amazing that I had a very hard time putting this book down, and I'm still sad that I've reached the end. I want the characters to meet on a reunion trip and maybe find out what happened to the three German guys who were in and out of the novel in a couple places. I'm also super curious about Amber's future travels, so I'm thrilled that her story is coming in July 2015 as RACING THE SUN.
WHERE SEA MEETS SKY takes the best attributes of travel memoirs and mixes it up with young love in an emotionally riveting story. Karina Halle has earned herself a spot on my favorite authors list and I'm looking forward to exploring more of her novels. If you love to travel and have always wanted to take a road-trip across country, then grab a copy of WHERE SEA MEETS SKY for a sexy New Adult romance that illumines a sunset in all its glorious hues.
THIS GUN FOR HIRE is western romantic fiction at its best. It's reminiscent of great westerns with its dynamic characters and unexpected plot that wilTHIS GUN FOR HIRE is western romantic fiction at its best. It's reminiscent of great westerns with its dynamic characters and unexpected plot that will entertain fans over and over, craving a re-read of this one just to be sure you didn't miss a good part in your hurry to finish the book the first time. Recommended Read!
THIS GUN FOR HIRE exemplifies one of the most unusual female characters of western fiction, who not only steals the show, but ensures that all the secondary characters stand out against her enigmatic personality. The one-liners of humor are well placed, often unexpected and laugh-out-loud funny, as well as sometimes epitomizing ribald humor that goes so well within a man's world. Katherine "Calico" Nash knows herself well but when she's tested with an all new role to play, anything can and will happen, including love.
Quill McKenna is many things but he's best at riling Calico to distraction. His good looks and sunshine smile blind Calico to what's happening between them until she can no longer resist. They both have jobs to do for Ramsey Stonechurch, the man that Stonechurch, Colorado, is named after and the benefactor of much that goes on in this small western town. Stonechurch's life is in danger and perhaps his daughter's too, so Quill and Calico are once again working together but this time it's because this family needs them.
I'm not going to describe the background of Quill or Calico because I think this novel will be a lot more fun for you if you just jump in and discover everything for yourself. I even advise that you skip reading the blurb, because I didn't, and I had such a great time figuring out who Calico is and then getting surprised by Quill as well. This couple is one of my all-time favorites of any romantic western I've ever read. They're feisty, charming, sexy, ornery, compassionate and heartrending, but never once will you doubt their perfection together.
Even though I enjoyed IN WANT OF A WIFE immensely and highly recommended it, I'm once again enamored by Jo Goodman's ability to tell a story in THIS GUN FOR HIRE that is fun, exciting, unpredictable, as well as predictably well-written, with characters who will win your heart with their intelligence, humility and sense of what's right without giving up their belief in justice well-served. I don't know how Jo Goodman creates the exact story I want to read but I'm sure it's takes plenty of blood, sweat and tears because I felt the emotion and enjoyed this novel as if I had been there in person.
Outlaws, lawmen, bounty hunters, jailbreaks, explosives, peril, injury, healing and sneaky villains fill up this adventure and you're never quite sure who is sabotaging Stonechurch's mine and putting the Stonechurches in danger, but there are enough duplicitous suspicions to encourage rapidly turning the pages. Completely entertaining and highly recommended, Jo Goodman sets the romantic western bar with THIS GUN FOR HIRE.
4.5 Stars - Author Jill Shalvis is masterful at taking flawed, damaged characters and making them loveable. Darcy is hard to love, or she tries to be,4.5 Stars - Author Jill Shalvis is masterful at taking flawed, damaged characters and making them loveable. Darcy is hard to love, or she tries to be, but AJ sees right through her gruff exterior and loves her anyway. This is their addictive story with a great catch-up on other characters in the series but it is easily read as a standalone.
Darcy Stone is recovering physically from an almost fatal car accident, but her mental status is yet to be determined. She believes she's not ready to love anyone, even if someone is brave enough to love her. Darcy saves her love for the service dogs she rescues and then gives them to whoever needs them most. She scrapes together the funds to buy these throw-away animals from the two jobs she works.
AJ Colten is the physical therapist who has pushed Darcy beyond reason in order to make her well and he's also now her boss at one of her jobs. It infuriates Darcy that she's so attracted to a man who hardly knows she's alive. Oh, he helps her with her physical recovery but her attitude keeps him far away emotionally, or so she thinks. AJ stays away from Darcy because it's the professional thing to do, not because he's not attracted to her. Quite the contrary, he can hardly keep his feelings to himself, but he'll never tell Darcy that because her brother Wyatt would kick him into tomorrow if AJ hurt his sister.
When AJ's patient, who was supposed to go with him to meet potential backers for his facility, cancels, he's pushed into asking Darcy to help him. Darcy feels obligated and intrigued when AJ offers to pay her money that she can use to buy more dogs, but when she finds out that AJ also did a lot of her therapy pro-bono, she's infuriated that she was never told about his gift. To get even with him, Darcy schmoozes the potential investors, a husband and wife team, into thinking that she and AJ are a couple.
Forced to pretend their love for one another, will they be able to convince themselves there is nothing between them when the sparks ignite?
Since the last book I read in this series was RESCUE MY HEART (book 3), I really didn't have any preconceived ideas about most of the characters when starting STILL THE ONE (book 6). I was also able to begin this book without the familiarity pretty easily. I did wonder about Wyatt and Emily quite a bit, but that's because I want to know their story, which was in the previous book, THEN CAME YOU (book 5).
I chose this book for review because I have an affinity for animal stories and I enjoyed RESCUE MY HEART so much that I wanted more. It met my expectations and amped up my craving to read more books in the series.
Darcy is one of the most interesting female characters I've read about in a long time. She's what made the book for me, but I wasn't impressed with her at first. Darcy has been through so much in her lifetime that she puts up barriers and pretends she doesn't care about anyone except her brother and sister. She's a hardass, plain and simple. Darcy has developed relationships so she's not a recluse and one of those relationships, which is thoroughly covered in this book, is with tattoo artist Xander, her best friend, but her hardened exterior seems off-putting at first.
By about chapter eight, I became acquainted with the crazy off-the-wall Darcy and that's when things really got interesting. Darcy is the kind of friend who can either sink or swim a relationship just with her antics. A lot of what she does is to protect her heart but she seems to damage it just as much by trying to protect it. She's one wild girl when she gets something in her mind and AJ is never quite sure what she'll do next. This proves to be very funny more than once. AJ loves Darcy and always has, but he doesn't intend to follow through on his feelings for her. She's off-the-wall wacky a lot, which he finds irresistible as much as she drives him crazy.
This book is worth reading just for the characterization of Darcy, even though so many of the other characters play a very important role in this novel. Xander and his brother are very intriguing so I hope we hear more about them in the future. Fans of the ANIMAL MAGNETISM series will enjoy cameo appearances of other characters from previous books with a lot of time devoted to Emily and Wyatt, especially Wyatt. Since the next book is about Zoe, Darcy's sister, she gets a lot of page time as well, setting up her upcoming story. We get to know these siblings' relationship with each other rather well in this book so I'm anxious to see it further explored in Zoe's book.
I've come to expect humor when reading Jill Shalvis' books and this novel is no exception. There are some laugh-out-loud funny moments in STILL THE ONE, the scene that made me laugh the hardest is the one with Darcy and a parrot. And let's not forget the cat who gets in on the humor. There's nothing super original about the scene itself but it's the magic of the characterization and Darcy's inner dialogue that makes the scene so funny. That's magic when an author can take something predictable and make it unpredictably funny. There is also heart-breaking sadness that is so worth reading. I sobbed like crazy toward the end of the book when emotions are running high and Darcy is faced with something she never expects. A truly beautiful chapter that will touch your heart and cement Darcy, as a character, forever into your memory.
For those who love animals, there are several scenarios with the service dogs Darcy rescues and then places with new owners. Those are great, emotional, loving moments that will tug at your heart.
AJ is the perfect hero for Darcy even though he has some issues to overcome as well. Their journey is sexy, funny and often heartrending, but that's what makes their relationship special.
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this book because I ended up loving it so much. I concluded with 4.5 because I felt Darcy's characterization was a bit off in the beginning, even though I can't put my finger on exactly why. She surprised me when she and AJ took off on their road trip, this made the book for me, so much so that by the last page I felt that overall I really loved this book. I think you need to read it yourself to see if we're in sync with our thoughts.
If you love quirky, damaged characters, laugh-out-loud moments, heart wrenching emotion plus family dynamics and friendships improved by hardship, then STILL THE ONE should be bought to read right away. While you're at it, you might want to pick up a few more books in the ANIMAL MAGNETISM series because you won't be able to read just one. Funny, crazy characters falling in love, what are you waiting for? Jill Shalvis writes keepers that you'll want to re-read.
Rated 4.5 - If you love Montana contemporary ranching stories with a killer suspense, put this novel on your TBR Mountain Range for sooner rather thRated 4.5 - If you love Montana contemporary ranching stories with a killer suspense, put this novel on your TBR Mountain Range for sooner rather than later. It's a fast read because you won't be able to stop to eat or breathe.
Olivia "Livie" Hamilton is engaged to Cooper Barnett, but during one irrational, emotional night, their lives will be changed forever. At their engagement party, Cooper sees his fiancée sitting alone, so he naturally wants to know what's wrong. When Livie explains what really happened that night three months ago, after their argument and her car went off the road in a snowstorm, Cooper gets a sinking feeling. When he realizes that she doesn't remember what happened because she may have been drugged, and that she's getting blackmailed by the man who helped her, as well as pregnant and not sure if it's Cooper's baby or not...well...can it get any worse?
Senator Buckmaster Hamilton spoiled his six daughters after his wife's death. The senator's second wife is more interested in the success of her husband's political career, hoping that he'll become the next president of the United States, rather than acting as mother to his children. Buckmaster is angry with his long-dead wife for not being here for her daughters for the past twenty-two years. It looks like he might just get to tell her how angry he is...when she turns up alive.
The story unfolding in WILD HORSES is like an accident waiting to happen. You're sure more trouble is coming as the circumstances build, escalating your expectations, but when the crap really hits the fan, you can't read fast enough to the end.
Author B.J. Daniels writes the best western suspense. I love her Montana setting, a state I fell madly in love with the moment I stepped onto its soil. Ms. Daniels' male characters are real men, strong and protective, with plenty of love to give the right woman. The women aren't cupcakes, either. They can stand up to these men, who could walk all over them if they didn't love them so much.
There were a few moments in this novel when I felt that one or two surprises were enough for this tortured family, and the reader, but the twists continued to build, layer upon layer. So many things I didn't expect. I was shocked when the book ended because I wasn't done reading yet! Great start as book one of the MONTANA HAMILTONS series.
WILD HORSES gallops through high-spirited suspense, exemplifying great characters, including the good, the bad and the despicable, with a hook so riveting that it will leave fans gasping for more.
Filled with dark history, ancient artifacts, artists' ambience, sensuality, suspense and a most compelling characterization, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORRFilled with dark history, ancient artifacts, artists' ambience, sensuality, suspense and a most compelling characterization, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS contains the perfect twist Gothic Romance lovers will find irresistible. Recommended Read!
THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS is very aptly named as you'll discover if you choose to read this spellbinding novel. This is the first book I've read by author M. J. Rose and I'm very impressed with her eloquence, the obvious extensive historical research, as well as her intricate understanding of an artist's viewpoint, which all culminate into an intriguing character transformation. It's precisely the type of dark historical romantic fiction that I love because it's different, exciting and makes me want to know more about this time period. I relished every word because there were so many beautiful passages, sometimes interspersed with French of which I have no proficiency but loved anyways because it gave the book a realism and passion for this time and place.
American heiress Sandrine Salome flees from New York to Paris, France, in the 1890s to escape her cruel husband. Their marriage was never a love match, but if her father had known Sandrine's husband's intent from the beginning, he would have never encouraged their union. When her father's death is listed as suicide, Sandrine knows that her husband orchestrated it, even if it wasn't his hands that ended her father's life. Hoping that her estranged grandmother, a famous French courtesan, will give her shelter in Paris, France, Sandrine escapes to the family ancestral home, arriving unexpected. But Grand-mère isn't home.
Sandrine's grandmother's neighbor finds her struggling outside their home and comes to her rescue, giving her shelter until her grandmother arrives. The neighbor explains that Grand-mère is renting an apartment while their family's home is renovated. Expecting to be welcomed by her grandmother when she arrives, Sandrine is confused when Grand-mère expresses fear, repeating her warning to Sandrine that she never should have come back to Paris, which is poison for her.
Paris is where Sandrine begins to discover who she truly is, so how can that be poison? We'll all soon find out as this suspenseful novel takes us through the darkest parts of Paris in search of the truth of her family's history.
Sandrine is a very light, timid woman who goes through a transformation as she discovers her talents and sensuality. The power and strength she has at the end of the novel is so subtly built that you'll barely remember that timid, simple but intelligent, creature we meet in the first chapters. Sandrine's intelligence is proven by her historical and art knowledge that was encouraged by her time spent collecting, archiving and perusing museums with her father, who was very much a philosopher by night in contrast to his banker by day persona. It's her father's curious nature that sets Sandrine on a path to follow her dreams.
This novel contains all the things I love about Gothic Romance as a sub-genre with enough distinction to make it fresh. The house is a predominate character, as to be expected, sometimes seeming like a living, breathing entity. Sandrine finds love with her grandmother's architect, somewhat inappropriate, but you'll continually wonder if their relationship will just be an affair, as it's not necessarily a healthy relationship, or one without obstacles that touch on some really unusual circumstances. The darkness is always looming—on the streets, in the house, sometimes in Sandrine's heart and within other people she meets.
There is a lot of darkness so if you don't enjoy occult history, this book may make you uncomfortable. It might be a book to avoid reading at night as well, because it can be intriguingly creepy. For me, the occult details were perfectly matched to carry the plot and I love creepy if it makes sense for the story. The author's research is exquisite and the facts presented are very appropriate for the beliefs of that time so even if you're not keen on the darkness, you'll still understand why it's there. It wouldn't be this story without it. Another warning, the sexuality is vivid and carries throughout much of the novel but it's not quite as explicit, or frequent, as it would be in an erotic romance, leaving some but not all to the imagination. This book is most definitely an adult novel, but that is not all it is because it's not overdone and the plot is so intricately appealing. Since this is a story that includes the history of a family of courtesans, you should expect some realistic historical content to that effect.
One element I absolutely loved was getting a glimpse at what it was like to be an artist in that era. To anyone who has studied art, you will relate philosophically with those characters and crave to paint after reading this novel. There is nothing I love more than to read about creative students in history, reminding me with their camaraderie and experiences why I've always been drawn to the arts myself.
Atria Books is becoming one of my go-to publishers for polished, unusual, as well as diverse books I anticipate. A thank you to the editors and advance readers who made my advanced review copy of this novel a joy to read. I can't wait to find another.
Filled with dark history, ancient artifacts, artists' ambience, sensuality, suspense and a most compelling characterization, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS contains the perfect twist Gothic Romance lovers will find irresistible. I highly recommend this novel as a most unusual piece of historical fiction, combined with the ancient dark arts that will spin their magic around you, and possibly make you gasp with surprise. It might even ruffle your feathers a bit, but it's oh so good to be haunted by such a good tale.
This is one of my favorite cookbooks that I've used for 30 years. I use it more for reference than to fix the recipes now, but every recipe I have triThis is one of my favorite cookbooks that I've used for 30 years. I use it more for reference than to fix the recipes now, but every recipe I have tried over the years has been used more than once. I really like the cooking tables. For example, for vegetables it explains each vegetable, then how to prepare it, how to cook it and the time it takes. I'm sure there are cookbooks that have the latest methods that might be better than this one, and I probably own them, but this small mass market paperback is a well-worn treasure that has a broken spine from all its use. It's the first book I go to when I need ideas or quick answers to my questions. Its index is the first place I look by food category but the substitution section is well used as well. For anyone looking for the recipes that their mother made, this is a great book to use to bring back those favorites....more
Enchanting aptly describes Mary Balogh's newest release iA Recommended Read! Will also be posted at TBRMountainRange.com with other Recommended Reads.
Enchanting aptly describes Mary Balogh's newest release in the SURVIVORS' CLUB series, ONLY ENCHANTING. It may be Flavian's, Viscount Ponsonby's, impression of Agnes Keeping when he first meets her, but I was just as enchanted with Flavian and his interaction with Agnes throughout this beautifully written novel. Author Mary Balogh made me laugh within the first few pages and I knew at that moment that this was a book to savor. What great characterization—so entertaining!
At twenty-six, Agnes Keeping had already been abandoned by her mother as a child, married and widowed, and now lives a quiet life with her elder sister, Dora Debbins, in a small cottage in Gloucestershire. Agnes' dearest friend is the newly married Sophia, wife of Viscount Darleigh, who has invited the sisters to a ball at their mansion, Middlebury Park. The ball was to be a rendition of a harvest ball years past but it is also a reception for the newly married couple who had done so quietly without much fuss. This first ball for Agnes is where she falls in love or lust; she's not really sure which emotion stands out more, but neither are what she envisioned for herself.
Viscount Ponsonby, known by his closest friends as Flavian "Flave" Arnott, has recovered as much as possible, or more so than expected, from his time at war. As one of the seven Survivors' Club members, he looks forward to their annual gathering at Penderris Hall. This year their meeting has been unanimously agreed upon to be moved to Middlebury Park rather than Penderris Hall, as his dear friend Viscount Darleigh, who is blind, doesn't want to leave his wife so soon after she gave birth to their son. Flavian still struggles with words and memory, so although he recognizes the woman he met at the ball months ago, when he encounters her again on the way to the Survivors' Club meeting, he can't for the life of him remember her name. He does remember he thought her to be enchanting but why that word, he can't imagine.
This is the first novel I've read by author Mary Balogh and it's easy to recognize why her books are so popular. I was completely mesmerized by chapter one and laughed immediately at the sisters' perception of the ball, the attendees and most especially, Viscount Ponsonby. Flavian's mocking eyebrow, hooded eyes and his rogue way of posturing, while his slight stutter seems to be his only fault, struck my funny bone from the very beginning.
Agnes Keeping has Flavian's measure right from the start, and her sense of humor, as well as her heart, is a joy to witness as these two soon-to-be-lovers banter their way to marriage. I laughed a lot but also there was such deep emotion locked away inside each of them that was evenly distributed throughout their story. It's not an easy journey but what they learn along the way makes the reader feel as if this couple will have a long lasting love.
It's rare to find an author who can pull me in within a few paragraphs and make me feel the ambiance of this era in history, but also make me laugh at the sensibility of those times as well. Mary Balogh has a keen eye for mannerisms which make her characters come alive, sometimes with imperfections that stand out in glorious hues.
As book four in the SURVIVORS' CLUB series, ONLY ENCHANTING easily reads as a standalone, but if you're anything like me, you'll want to repeat the experience by gathering up the rest of the series for a marathon. I wasn't confused while I read, I just felt left out by not having read what seems like a thoroughly enjoyable series about healing after being at war. Each of the Survivors' Club members were injured in some way so their camaraderie and care with each other is endearing. I can't wait to know the rest of their stories after reading this one.
ONLY ENCHANTING is captivating and delightful, full of humor, forgiveness and love, exactly what a great romance should be. A Recommended Read!
This book begs to be read and interpreted by the reader wA Recommended Read! Will also be posted at TBRMountainRange.com with other Recommended Reads.
This book begs to be read and interpreted by the reader without telling you why, other than you need to experience it, if not for its amazing journey, then maybe because it is so unusual and ingenious. It's that special.
Kate remembers that fateful day as if it was yesterday. The day her husband Patrick came home late without calling her and she realized he had met up with an ex-girlfriend. Of course she was jealous and hurt, even though Patrick claimed innocence and was extremely excited about something he wanted to share with her at dinner the next night. As tragic fate steps in, the very next morning, before they can have that dinner the next day, Patrick is killed by a drunk driver on his way to a client meeting.
Twelve years later, Kate is still grieving the loss of her husband and their life as it was intended to be. She's trying to move on, has a steady boyfriend who loves her and proposes marriage. Can she accept her life as it is now and marry the man who seems perfect in every way?
Kate is a music therapist who works with kids with special needs. She hopes to be a mother someday herself but finds out she's infertile from her doctor the day Dan proposes in front of her family and friends. Will this change her relationship with Dan, or will they work out their future around this major life obstacle?
As she's contemplating how her life has changed since she married Patrick and how it is about to change once again when she marries Dan, Kate begins to have vivid dreams of Patrick who died twelve years ago. If she thinks too hard about her reality, the dream fades away and she's once again in her real life and not in the dream life that feels so very precious. What do the dreams mean, and can she face real life without wishing she was living in her dream world, forever?
This is one of those very unusual plots that is hard to categorize. Some may think of it as spiritual, while others may think of it as having paranormal elements, and then some may think of it as intuitive. There may even be some who will stop reading too soon because they have doubts and can't extend their belief long enough to get to the point of the story. I hate to classify this book or even review it at all because I don't want to give you any preconceived notions, or keep you from reading this book with my effort at describing it. It's that special but also difficult to explain without you experiencing it in the order and the way it is written. It begs to be read and interpreted by the reader without telling you why, other than you need to experience it, if not for its amazing journey, then maybe because it is so unusual and ingenious.
There were some moments when I couldn't help but wonder where this plot was going, or how author Kristin Harmel was going to get us there, as well as if I'd find it believable and satisfying. I can't tell you why I had these feelings because I don't want to spoil the story for you. It's really better if you know nothing going in so you can feel it as it happens. The best part of this novel is trying to guess what you think will happen next and why the character is experiencing what she does, and whether you can even grasp her reasoning. Even though you think you know what's going to happen, there are some details that are surprising as well as emotionally gripping. This book delves into the numerous aspects of love and its many glorious renderings, from love to loss to loving again. Beautiful and poignant—the tears will flow in sadness and joy and the impact of this well-layered, multifaceted novel will stay with you for a very long time after reading the last page.
I cried like a baby for Kate. She's a hot mess and yet, she's trying so hard to figure out the meaning behind all the circumstances that seem to tie her to what could have been her future. So beautiful. I also sometimes wanted to shake her because I was so afraid she was about to give up on life. Kate is complex and yet, she has so much to say to each of us about dealing with loss in the most compassionate way without losing part of ourselves in the process. Also, even though there are some heart-breaking moments, this novel is joyful with a romantic element that makes so much sense when it's finally revealed.
THE LIFE INTENDED is an excellent and powerful portrayal of conflicted emotions. The plot is unexpected and very clever, as well as emotionally riveting. If you love to experience a moving, mystifying, effervescent story based on the diversity and intensity of love, then try THE LIFE INTENDED. I highly recommend it.
Foodies will love this funny story about a laid-off journalist who goes back to her roots of food blogging while working at a farmerRecommended Read!
Foodies will love this funny story about a laid-off journalist who goes back to her roots of food blogging while working at a farmers' market, hoping to land the food writing job of her dreams. How much trouble can a single girl get into while she's eking out a living amongst other eccentrics like herself? Plenty of trouble before she gets it right!
Sydney Strauss' dream has always been to become a food writer but she ends up directing a morning television show to pay the bills. When she unexpectedly gets laid off during a personal financial crisis, Sydney finds a job at a farmers' market and ekes out a living while reviving her food blog. Will she ever get her big break?
Sydney's love life has been non-existent since her boyfriend lied to her. Zach was her best friend since their freshman year in high school but they broke up after graduating from college when he crushed her with his dishonesty. Now, after five years of not dating, she's still not interested in a relationship of any kind but it doesn't stop her from feeling a bit jealous that her baby sister is about to get married. How can Sydney be a good maid-of-honor for her spoiled younger sister when her own love life is in ruins?
I chose this book to review since I fondly remember the year I worked at a farmers' market. There's something extra special about the fruits of your own labor providing a living, even if it's a meager one and extremely hard work. Facing the elements alongside others who are doing the same seems like being a part of what I like to call the "new frontier".
Author Dana Bate brings the farmers' market vibe alive with accuracy and humor through her main character's snarky commentary as Sydney starts off as skeptical of her newfound career to cheering on those who do their best to succeed at it. I was captivated by Sydney's journey, the eccentric and true-to-real-life people she met and interviewed, along with her struggle to survive while reaching for her dream. "Write what you know" seems to be exactly what author Dana Bate does in this captivating story.
There was one moment when I cringed at something Sydney does, fully aware that it's a colossal mistake while I dreaded her comeuppance, but it's her personal growth that won my heart. Her rocky start back into dating is often comical and haphazard, but her happy-for-now ending is fully satisfying and left me hoping that Ms. Bate will update us on Sydney someday soon in the future. I'm sure there are plenty of chances for Sydney to land in trouble once again before she finally gets her life sorted out.
I enjoyed this novel for several reasons but most of all because I could relate to the characters. The heroine, although flawed, eventually finds her way from her bad decisions to end up doing what is right. She makes mistakes but owns them which in the end pushes her to grow in the right direction. I found the theme of farmers' markets and food blogging/reporting intriguing and I learned a few things I didn't know. I never felt preached to or over-informed, all the topics explored seemed to fit right into the story and kept me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. It's almost as though this novel was written with me in mind because it's exactly the kind of story I can zip right through without stopping.
Food blogging is so current for the times that I think the heroine's career choices, as well as her friends', will be relatable to many readers, but especially to foodies. The main character faces hard times, along with her friends and acquaintances, but succeeds at finding her true self in the process.
A novel with great quirky characters and a realistic look at survival in today's world of social media, A SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE is fast-paced entertainment that I enthusiastically gobbled up from beginning to end. I laughed, and then yelled at Sydney when she messed up, worried about her, then laughed again at the crazy things that happen, and hoped she'd finally figure it out before she lost everything, including her self-respect. I recommend this delectable book to all those who love self-starters who reach for the stars while eating some humble pie along the way. Pass the plate—I'm ready for seconds!
A Recommended Read! An exciting 1920s ghost story featuring a psychic and a war veteran who try to outsmart a killer who seems to have a real dislikeA Recommended Read! An exciting 1920s ghost story featuring a psychic and a war veteran who try to outsmart a killer who seems to have a real dislike for psychics, including the one hunting him!
Ellie Winter is known as The Fantastique, finder of lost things, a psychic like her mother. When she catches a client misrepresenting why he's come to her, Ellie swears he's a journalist there to debunk her talent. Instead, he's the brother of her former best friend and psychic, Gloria Sutter, who was murdered and left behind a note to have Ellie find her. Ellie no longer talks to the dead, but she can't tell Gloria's brother no when he asks for her help.
Ellie has operated off the radar in London, living a quiet life as a finder of lost things for an income since her mother's death. She lives in her mother's home, wears her mother's dress when she meets with clients, but Ellie doesn't do séances any longer. Running into James Hawley, a war veteran who ran the tests on Ellie and her mother all those years ago to discredit them, brings up so many feelings of betrayal. The attraction she felt then is still there, but Ellie's distrust and anger at James for what he'd done hasn't gone away either. However, James won't stop dogging her and he seems sincere in his regrets for his actions with the New Society for the Furtherance of Psychical Research.
As James and Ellie investigate further into Gloria's death, the suspect list grows and so does the danger. Can they solve this murder without becoming victims themselves?
Simone St. James is one of the few authors whose books I snag as fast as possible. There isn't another author I've experienced, yet, who can bring out the atmosphere of the 1920s quite like this author. Ms. St. James so easily captures the mood and sets a scene for a ghost story with her words that it's like poetry in motion. If you have any doubt, go to the bookstore and turn to page 259 to read the second paragraph. There are many more examples but that one paragraph struck me because I was wondering at that very moment, what is it about this author's talent that fascinates me? I was answered by that beautiful, descriptive paragraph. Simone St. James' apt turn of phrase is always so very original.
Ellie Winter is an engaging heroine. She's smart and yet, has an innocence and curiosity that makes her likeable. Her life hasn't been easy since she worked alongside her mother as a child talking to the dead. When her mother gave up the séance business, it left Ellie in a position to find her own way but not completely, since this is all she knows. She also can't control when the dead contact her, even though she tries to block it. She made me laugh every time she hissed at them to "go away" like they are a petulant child.
The attraction between Ellie and James is so well honed. James has some issues as a war veteran and Ellie is one of the few people who can truly understand what he's been through. I really enjoyed Ellie and James working together and then finding their way into a relationship. James seems like the type of guy any woman would be proud of for his service to his country and his sense of right and wrong. He also has a dry wit that comes out in a few unexpected places in the book that made me chuckle. If you've read a lot of 1920s fiction or enjoy movies from this time period, then you'll be able to picture James as the brave warrior he is with a bit of the bad boy gene in the way that he moves or sulks in a doorway. I could picture him the whole way through because he is so well portrayed.
The villain in this book is unexpected. I was so surprised when I found out who he is because it's such a clever plot that I never suspected. It's so rare to be taken by complete surprise that I think most suspense lovers will appreciate this author's talent immensely.
THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT is exactly what fans of gothic romance will love. Many of us compare everything that Ms. St. James writes to her first book, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, as it's such an exquisite piece of gothic romantic fiction. Is this book as good? I think so, but for different reasons. I also feel that we'll never get another book like the first one because it was our first experience reading this talented author. There's no way to bring back that first experience, any more than we can outdo any other first in our lives.
The cadence of the sentence structure is perfect for building suspense in this novel. The sentences are rhythmic, creating suspense with their pace as much as the words and how the story is told. THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT exemplifies great storytelling. You will be enraptured, creeped out, fascinated and surprised—fully satisfied by the prose, the era, the nostalgia and the great characters who make you fret, laugh and cry. A Recommended Read!
This little book has become a staple in my kitchen just like carrots, zucchini and fresh ground pepper. There are so many simple ideas to keep these vThis little book has become a staple in my kitchen just like carrots, zucchini and fresh ground pepper. There are so many simple ideas to keep these vegetables on the table. A handwritten, lovely letter from one friend to another about sharing recipes came inserted inside this book when I found it in the library UBS in NC. It's now my bookmark and makes me smile. Thanks to "Debby" and "JoEllen" - you've added a nice bit of nostalgia to my kitchen.
I hope this book gets made into an eBook someday because I think it will become a treasured favorite for those who enjoy recipe books from the 1970s. It encompasses simple food with great flavor that reminds me of my grandfather who served me carrots until I fell in love with them....more
The island citizens rally around two outsiders who need sanctuary more than theWin the series at Romance Junkies' blog - hurry, limited time to enter.
The island citizens rally around two outsiders who need sanctuary more than they realize. Quirky fun awaits you in the third book of this entertaining series.
Sheriff Andie Shepard loves the law which doesn't leave much room in her life for personal relationships. This is why she is confused by her attraction to the lawless Sam Brennan. The way the man moves, the way he looks at her, everything about him shouts "danger" and yet, Andie can't resist the magnetic pull of their mutual attraction.
Sam Brennan knows it's a mistake to draw the attention of the law when he has so many secrets to hide, but he can't resist Sheriff Andie Shepard. It doesn't help that he recognizes his own childhood pain within eight-year-old Caitlin, so he easily connects with Andie's brother's child after a tragedy places Caitlin indefinitely within Andie's care.
Can two loners compromise their individual love and hate of the law?
I get such a kick out of visiting Sanctuary Island. It's the kind of place where it's acceptable for a quirky politician to dress up his bulldog in a sailor costume, as well as where the sheriff will search for that same bulldog when he's lost. The islanders take care of their own, and anyone else who wants sanctuary, including the wild horses that run free on the island.
Sam and Andie are cute together, especially when they're trying to deny their mutual attraction. Both being strong individuals, in stubbornness and physical strength, their sensual pull is easily predicted as being explosive. What I didn't expect was their sensitive side that came out whenever they were together and how they both handled Caitlin's issues. Horse rescue is also highlighted, as well as Jo Ellen's horse therapy stables, so animal lovers will enjoy the underlying theme.
If you haven't read any of the SANCTUARY ISLAND series yet, then you can certainly start with HEARTBREAK COVE as a standalone novel, but I think you'll enjoy it much more if you start with book one, SANCTUARY ISLAND, then continue on to book two, SHORELINE DRIVE, both recommended reads, which will get you in the mood for this third book, HEARTBREAK COVE, and increase your anticipation for book four coming in the fall of 2015. The SANCTUARY ISLAND series contains the type of reader magic that entices you to happily devour the books back-to-back, with that sappy smile on your face all the way through them. They're happy books layered with heartfelt emotion, but it's the quirks I love the most.
Author Lily Everett's talent shines when layering this series with interesting characters who make the reader feel heart wrenching emotion before granting everyone the happy-ever-after they deserve. My favorite part of HEARTBREAK COVE is the heart and soul that is Andie and Sam together. They burn so bright, collectively, because their personalities meld and they smoke up the pages with their passion for each other and for the horses they rescue. I am on pins and needles waiting for HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, coming out in the fall of 2015, after reading the epilogue. Talk about stoking the curiosity—can't wait!
Overall, the SANCTUARY ISLAND series is feel-good, contemporary fun that's like coming home to the quaint 1960s imaginary town of Mayberry RFD, with some modern day eccentricities to mix it up. Great, wholesome, laugh-out-loud entertainment that's sure to please small town or island contemporary fans. Grab the series and settle in for a pleasant weekend of reading pleasure. I highly recommend it as one of the best contemporary series available.
Jo Goodman creates a tale that easily compels western historical romance lovers' hearts.
It took me about a minute to fall in love with author Jo Goodman's talent. I love westerns and if they're historical westerns with romance, I love them even more, but finding one that mesmerizes is true gold. Jo Goodman understands how to create a setting and then slowly build upon it with three dimensional characters who demand your attention. Do you crave the unlawful Wild West and the men who manage on just this side of the law, along with their strong, supportive women? Look no further than IN WANT OF A WIFE.
In 1891, Jane Middlebourne is the poor relation to her cousin Francis who brought orphaned Jane into her home when her parents died, but not necessarily into her heart. Jane has been given many privileges as someone in a wealthy household but spent most of her time as the hired help. Jane and her cousin, Alexander, concoct a scheme to get Jane out of his mother's control, but not without consequences. Jane escapes with some money to become a mail-order bride in Wyoming but realizes she may have made a huge mistake once she arrives.
Rancher Morgan Longstreet believes his life is moving forward in the right direction the day he arrives at the train depot to pick up his sturdy, made for ranching, mail-order bride. Until he realizes the photograph he was sent is not the delicate woman who steps off the train. Dare he send her packing for a lie when his attraction is undeniable?
Sound like a familiar story? There's nothing new about mail-order bride stories and the many ways they can be told. What's new is when an author can layer a story piece by piece and snag your heart in the process. IN WANT OF A WIFE is exactly how I love a story to be told and if all historical western romances were written like this, they'd be all I'd read.
So, Jane and Morgan are opposites in many ways, then thrown together and dealt personal circumstances to overcome. They're not left alone to their own devices but surrounded and meddled with by Morgan's ranch hands as well as the folks in town. Mrs. Sterling lends her straightforward advice, without much care whether Morgan wants her say so or not. Or she tells Jane what she thinks without Morgan's permission. Then there's the young brothers Finn and Rabbit who annoy Morgan with their helpfulness, especially when Marshall Cobb Bridger deputizes the youngsters. And, the things they say are some of the best one-liners! Let's not forget the three brothers who work for Morgan at the ranch, when they're not fighting one another, who become quite fond of Jane and rile Morgan every chance they get. And that's just the beginning of the many secondary characters who add to the realism of this story.
Jo Goodman is a western historical romance master with her subtle layering that makes her characters spring to life, grabs our hearts and keeps us glued to the pages. Her fine attention to detail lands some of the funniest laugh-out-loud moments between the lead couple and the other characters. The laughter isn't continuous but unexpected and laugh-out-loud worthy, which is the best kind of funny, in my opinion. Plus, some of the conversations between Jane and Morgan are so endearing and wonderful and so memorable I will forever refer back to them. One such conversation happens in the middle of the book and it's such a great scene that sets the stage for what you hope for their future.
IN WANT OF A WIFE intrigues, is finely-laid out, molded and shaped, then allowed to blossom into well fleshed-out characters who can't help but love each other deeply once they realize neither one of them is giving up. Heartbreaking at times, made even more so by how invested the reader becomes in the lives of all the characters, IN WANT OF A WIFE is the kind of western historical romance I love to read and highly recommend.
If you want to read the rest of Jo Goodman's BITTER SPRINGS series, there are two more novels to read starting with THE LAST RENEGADE and followed by TRUE TO THE LAW, both published prior to IN WANT OF A WIFE. Also connected to the BITTER SPRINGS series is a novella in a multi-author anthology titled BOOTS UNDER HER BED. Enjoy! I know they're on my "to be read" list.
Review Revisited -- I'm adding reviews for some of my favorite books over the years, courtesy of Romance Junkies. This review will also be reposted atReview Revisited -- I'm adding reviews for some of my favorite books over the years, courtesy of Romance Junkies. This review will also be reposted at the TBR Mountain Range, along with more reviews and my photographs to go with them. THE FALCONS OF MONTABARD has been on my keeper shelf since 2004.
Sabin FitzSimon is a man of many talents - a lover, warrior and one who finds trouble wherever he travels. But this time he's gone too far for his family to overlook his misdeeds!
It all started when Sabin pursued King Henry's concubine. Not that she was any different from all the other women he went after - he enjoyed the chase and the challenge more than tallying up his conquests. This time his choices would change his life forever. The King's men find Sabin with his lover and beat him almost to death - his station in society is the only thing that saves him from them finishing the deed.
He awakens after the beating to find his lover has been put on King Henry's ship - the same ship that he and his younger brother were to travel on, but they were left behind. The ship foundered two miles from shore during the night and only one survivor can tell the tale. Now, Sabin's guilt for his hand in his lover's destiny will plague him for life. Ashamed, he travels homeward.
Annais, daughter of Edmund Strongfist, has spent years in a nunnery getting an education after the death of her mother, awaiting the time when she would be of a marriageable age. Not wishing to take her vows as a nun and no offers of marriage, Annais travels with her father to Prince David's Castle of Roxburgh in the Scottish borders, where Edmund serves as a knight. Strongfist has decided to offer his sword to serve King Baldwin of Jerusalem in the crusades and Annais will go to be at his side.
Facing his family after they assumed Sabin and his brother had died in the sunken ship was as it had always been - in their eyes everything was Sabin's fault. Angry and ready to be consoled, Sabin wanders to town, only to get into a drunken brawl where a man is killed.
Because of his irresponsible ways, Sabin's family insists that he take up the crusader's cross and join Edmund Strongfist on his journey. Strongfist makes it clear to Sabin that his daughter is off-limits to a man of his repute. Sabin swears to obey Edmund's wishes - not that Annais has any interest in Sabin anyways. Edmund will reward Sabin for his loyalty by training him as a warrior.
This is the beginning of friendship and betrayal - the future holds war, death, survival and ambition for these three strong characters, whose lives will go beyond what they could have imagined. Will the bond between them grow stronger, or break apart because of what they will face together? This will not be an easy journey and their choices today will effect more than their own safety.
THE FALCONS OF MONTABARD is a sweeping historical saga, immersed with amazing detail that enhances this story with Elizabeth Chadwick's descriptive clauses. Ms. Chadwick etches a vision with her words, creating a realistic time and place. THE FALCONS OF MONTABARD is not just a love story of two people, but a multitude of love stories intertwined with each other.
I found THE FALCONS OF MONTABARD fascinating because of the characters' growth through extreme adversity. This growth is portrayed in a journey of love, hate and forgiveness, evolving as the unforeseen events stake a claim on the characters' future - right up until the last few pages. Ms. Chadwick has convinced me to look for more books of hers to devour and I'm looking forward to many more hours of reading pleasure.
Rated 5 Blue Ribbons + Recommended Read.Also posted at TBRMountainRange.com with a discussion question.
When offered five thousand dollars to help intRated 5 Blue Ribbons + Recommended Read.Also posted at TBRMountainRange.com with a discussion question.
When offered five thousand dollars to help interpret the writings of an ancient civilization, can a young academic resist the pull of adventure? Especially when this job may prove the existence of the long sought after Amazons? Did this cult of women ever really exist and was her grandmother one of them? History, mythology and contemporary academia combine in an intriguing adventure.
A fascinating tale, THE LOST SISTERHOOD unites two stories running parallel between an ancient civilization and present day, both on an adventure that promises to solve the mythical mystery of the Amazons. Any strong woman will wonder...what if?
Dr. Diana Morgan, a twenty-eight-year-old philologist is settling in to enjoy academia at Oxford in present day England. Her latest lecture on the fate of the Amazon women warriors, which have always been rumored as myth, has yet to convince her male colleagues of any truth to her outlandish theories. But Diana is convinced, not only are they real, but her Granny was one of them.
After her unsuccessful lecture to her peers, where she is left to feel like a fool, Diana is approached by a mysterious stranger who tempts her with photos to prove that the Amazons really do exist. All she needs to do is get on a plane to Amsterdam and decipher some script on a wall at a secret archeological dig. Once she agrees to accept the job and the five thousand dollars they'll pay her to do it, she will be told more about the location. Dare she leave the safety of academia, a budding relationship and her students to fend for themselves, all for a promise from a man she barely knows?
As we're left to wonder what Diana will do, we're introduced to Myrina and Lilli, two sisters forced to cross a desert alone after a terrible illness kills their mother and fellow villagers in the late Bronze Age. Lilli is blinded by the illness during their journey which leaves Myrina not just concerned for herself but more than anything, anxious about her sister's future and safety wherever they settle. A fierce female hunter, Myrina is strong enough to survive, but what about her younger sister? Can they find the temple of the Moon Goddess where their mother has always told them they'll be safe? And if they arrive alive after forging through wasteland conditions, what will be their reception?
I love nothing better than an adventure evolving around an archaeological dig and the aura it illuminates. Add in the rumor of an ancient cult of woman warriors and those who wish to destroy them and I'm enthralled. Throw in artifacts for money and the danger that entails and I can't stop reading. Give me smart women doing what they love and I'm captivated. But that's only part of this novel and why it's so fascinating. The two stories that flow back and forth between the Bronze Age and present day kept me mesmerized and sometimes about to scream when I was left hanging by one scenario while presented with another. This back and forth tug of war was maddening and it is also what made the book deliciously addictive because I loved the pacing. The historical portion of the novel was magnetic, adding more depth and excitement to the contemporary story. Of all the places visited historically in this novel, I especially loved imagining Troy. Myrina and Paris were such a poignant couple.
This novel is exactly the type of book I love to read. There is nothing I can imagine being done to it that would have increased my enjoyment. I loved every word, every descriptive clause, the ebb and flow of the two worlds colliding, knowing that eventually I would know the truth. And wow — what a story! Of course, there is a romance, more than one, actually, and they're also part of the adventure. Not like a suspense type of romance but an inevitable outcome of being in danger together. You just know these couples will be explosive together but can they trust one another?
At over 580 pages, this book could have easily slogged on and become boring, but it never did. There weren't over-descriptive sections that slowed the story down at all. I appreciated every bit of it and relished the content. This epic novel is the type of book that beckons reading from cover to cover, in a reading marathon if at all possible, for the pure joy of it. I'm mourning the loss, having finished and left wanting more of this world. It entertained me for days, left me wondering about it when I wasn't reading it. It sort of consumed my every waking thought, made me talk about it with friends and family, enfolding me within its pages, imagining what will happen next.
Anne Fortier creates a distinctive, addictive narrative that makes this novel impossible to put down. THE LOST SISTERHOOD is such a fun book to read, which earns it Romance Junkies' 5 Blue Ribbons, plus, the honor of a Recommended Read status for its imaginative, well-balanced story. THE LOST SISTERHOOD is epic adventure romance that will become your next obsession.
From the depths of addiction rises a gripping historical love affair that will move you to tearsRecommended Read! Also posted at TBR Mountain Range.
From the depths of addiction rises a gripping historical love affair that will move you to tears before renewing your soul.
Having read LADY IN RED, book two in the MAD PASSIONS series by Máire Claremont, I was most anxious for Viscount Powers' story. THE DARK AFFAIR captivated beyond my expectations and to my surprise, Powers' heroine is a perfect, fearless Irishwoman who will face and then overcome his nightmares. She added to the appeal of this novel and increased my fascination with Powers.
After the death of his wife and daughter, Lord James Stanhope, Viscount Powers, began to use opium to ease his memories and his pain. Addiction eventually forces his father to commit James to an asylum in hope of curing his son of what will surely kill him. No one seems to be able to reach him until James meets the lady who will become his savior, if he's willing to let her.
Lady Margaret Cassidy makes a deal with a devil, or so it seems. In order to save her Irish people and her errant brother, Margaret promises to heal the son of the Earl of Carlyle. She has agreed to marry this earl's son and whatever else the earl demands, in exchange for the funds needed to save her brother from himself, as well as the people her family failed during the famine. At first the idea seems like a perfect plan, but will the deal be kept if she doesn't succeed?
Margaret tests James' patience at every turn, using her quick wit to tongue-tie the man who is so very used to getting his way. Her Irish stubbornness serves her well by not allowing James to bully her into submission. She's determined to save him from himself no matter how many times he tests her fortitude. Can she remember that he's her patient and avoid falling in love with the man she was forced to marry?
THE DARK AFFAIR appeals to the reader's hidden fears and emotions, touching on soul-deep sadness before renewing with hope. Author Máire Claremont is a wonder to behold in her technique, creating a beautiful, dark romance with such care for detail. Page after page while following James' addiction seems like only moments, yet, it's like you've known him for years as the depth of his sorrow and guilt is laid out before the reader to experience, right along with Margaret.
James is a powerful character who vividly portrays the madness of addiction. Margaret's empathy, due to her experience with her patients facing the same after the war, is both maddening and welcome for James. Eventually, he senses the deep-seated passion and pain within Margaret that she has denied. All her efforts have been focused on helping others, while rejecting her own needs. As this couple works through their individual vulnerabilities, their ultimate healing is well-earned and absorbing.
The highest compliment I can give an author is to buy their books after I've read them for free for review. Máire Claremont's books go everywhere with me on my kindle as well as reside on my keeper shelves as advanced copies. I've already reread a large portion of this book before writing my review. See if it speaks to you in the same way – I feel that its darkness is also its light – completely captivating.
Gut-wrenching, soul-stirring passion is THE DARK AFFAIR'S reign in glory. A Romance Junkies Recommended Read for all those who appreciate redeemable flawed characters.
A historical, fictional saga of epic proportions, THE SIGNATUReview also posted at TBR Mountain Range with one of my moss pictures. Recommended Read!
A historical, fictional saga of epic proportions, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS will fascinate those who have an interest in botanical or scientific exploration, featuring an imperfect heroine who discovers her life's passion.
This novel is an impressive creation, filled with adventure across the globe as we follow several characters in their travels for botanical research. Alma and her father are the main characters throughout the book but there are many significant secondary characters who add interest, drama, humor and sadness, including real historical figures you'll recognize.
In 1770, Henry Whittaker is ambitious and has no respect for his father who is honest, yet poor. Ashamed of his father's lack of ambition, Henry makes his own way by stealing. With his father working at Kew gardens for Sir Joseph Banks, a rare plant hoarder in Henry's estimation, he feels obliged to share with those whom Banks refuses. So, Henry works with his father during the day, then steals and propagates plants at night to export to numerous clients. Unbeknownst to Henry, his father discovers and reports his crimes to Banks, hoping to preserve his family's integrity. Banks confronts Henry and is completely enamored by his bold unrepentant nature, laughing (as did I) at Henry's audacity, which works in his favor. He decides to use Henry's "talents" by sending him off to sea with Captain Cook as an assistant to another botanist, essentially becoming Banks' informant. Henry's nickname for himself made me laugh because it describes him perfectly as a thorn of power in everyone's side. He eventually seeks a wife like he does everything else and marries Beatrix, an intelligent Dutch woman anxious to get away from her family.
Henry Whittaker becomes the richest man in Philadelphia, with Beatrix at his side, by the time Alma is born in 1800. We really can't truly understand Alma until we understand her father, who is instrumental in much of Alma's life. Alma isn't pretty but her mind is exceptional, just like her mother's. Beatrix teaches Alma several languages at a very young age, just as she was taught by her family. Both her parents believe in pushing Alma intellectually, encouraging her to use her mind to debate with their guests at dinner. Avoiding children because she prefers adult conversation, Alma never really learns how to socialize other than with her peers. She spends her childhood exploring their estate, eventually focusing on botany like her father.
When Alma's parents decide to adopt Prudence, Alma is well acclimated to being the center of attention. Accepting a sister, especially one who isn't as well educated as herself, isn't easy, but they learn to tolerate one another. What will become of these two women in an age when being an intelligent woman may not equal a happy life? Will their wealth be a hindrance or the common ground that binds them?
Alma is far from a perfect heroine. Some of her faults take her a lifetime to recognize. Above everything, Alma is a thinker and it is her self-evaluation throughout the novel that gives balance to her life. But will she be able to forgive herself for her worst moments?
Having a horticulture background, botany was the reason I chose this book for review. I thoroughly enjoyed how the story unfolded and couldn't read fast enough. Normally when I read a book this intricate with a high page count, I need to take breaks in-between and read other books. Not with this one. It held my attention and called me back to it when I was away. I can't tell you if it is all historically accurate or not, but it sure is believable in the way it is presented. The botanical descriptions are absorbing and the fact that the majority of the book is about a female botanist added to the intrigue. There were a few paragraphs where my eyes glazed over from the elaborate detail describing the variances of moss, but for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed every word. Having been enamored by moss enough myself over the years, enough to obsessively photograph it, I feel as if my inner geek has been vindicated.
But it is not all about botany as it's also about art, science, philosophy and religion. It's about assimilating research and proving theories while debating the entire process with colleagues. It's about human emotion and how singular devotion to the study of science can isolate any man or woman. I think anyone who loves research and knowledge will appreciate the volume included in this novel, as well as how it was organized to be such a beautiful, cohesive story. It might be overwhelming to someone who isn't interested in the thinkers of this era, but I think everyone should try it as it encompasses such a wide variety of historical topics.
This fascinating historical novel can be considered romantic, in part, as well as sensually explicit, but it won't meet your expectations if you're expecting a traditional romance. It's a fictional novel containing life's surprises, focusing on the life and survival of an intelligent, well-educated woman in a man's world. I did have moments where I wondered why some of Alma's personal habits were focused on, but by the end of the book it all became clear. Alma is a complicated character and by following her life, you also follow history in the making.
A rare historical exploration into the science of plants, filled with interesting characters and theories, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is brilliantly rendered. Historical enthusiasts will find Alma's story riveting as a woman before her time. Author Elizabeth Gilbert's talent is recognized in the enormity of the research involved to create a novel with such historical ambiance, but it was her deft hand at characterization that made me sob when all hope seems lost, then sigh with contentment when all is as it should be. An extraordinary historical journey, THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is riveting from beginning to end. Highly recommended!
Such hilarious real-to-life situations between a couple that are laugh-out-loud funny. An injured war veteran and a former high school cheerleader start a bar fight over Christmas songs. Things go from wrong to worse and they end up doing community service over the holidays. "Bah humbug" is a love-match in the small town of Hope's Crossing.
As a fan of the Hope's Crossing series, I have been anticipating Dylan Caine's story since getting to know him in WILLOWLEAF LANE. I had such a great time reading this heartrending and often hilarious romance about a wounded war veteran who finds himself jailed with his partner in crime, former head cheerleader Genevieve Beaumont. Destined to become a holiday favorite, CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON explores love between two people with a bad case of "bah humbug".
Dylan Caine moved back to his hometown of Hope's Crossing after spending time in rehab for his injuries sustained in an explosion in Afghanistan. He's been keeping to himself at his cabin, sulking about the loss of his arm and an eye, as well as dealing with the flashbacks of war and his sense of failure. In the meantime, he is making his family crazy enough to try anything to get him to socialize. While waiting for his brother to meet him at a local bar, Dylan gets into a bar fight when he tries to protect Genevieve "Gen" Beaumont, the mayor's daughter. Gen has been forced home from Paris by her parents who are tired of paying her way. Determined to get Gen to make something of herself, her father cuts off her money and gives her an ultimatum to fix up her grandmother's house in order to sell it, which will fund her future interior design business in Paris.
Gen isn't happy about being back in Hope's Crossing since her complete humiliation by a cheating fiancé who got another girl pregnant right before their wedding day is still the talk of the town. Listening to the same Christmas carols over and over in the bar, where she's drowning her sorrows about being without her friends during the holidays, sends her right over the edge. Confronting the woman responsible for Gen's music misery, Gen pops her one in the nose when she won't stay away from the jukebox. Dylan comes to Gen's aid when the woman's associate steps in and the altercation leads to a bar fight, then consequently, Gen and Dylan's arrest.
Apparently, punching a District Attorney in the nose, even one with a bad taste in music, isn't the smartest thing the mayor's daughter has done, but Dylan doesn't regret defending Gen. His brother finagles an agreement for one hundred hours of community service to keep them both from serving time and having a record. Neither of them is thrilled about the arrangement but they must spend the holiday season helping out at the newly formed program, A Warrior's Hope.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments between Gen and Dylan, not to mention their families who add in more comedic situations. For those who love the Hope's Crossing series, you'll be thrilled to read more about the many characters from previous books that we've come to love, plus some new ones at A Warrior's Hope. The program designed to help veterans adds to the emotional pull of this story.
After reading WILLOWLEAF LANE, I couldn't think of anyone I'd rather read more about than Dylan Caine. He's rough around the edges but you can't help but hope that there is a perfect woman for him. Believe it or not, Gen is exactly that. Gen is also hilariously funny in her own right. She says the darnedest things without thinking and gets herself and anyone else around her into one fix after another. Their growing affection for one another is endearing and once you know Gen for who she really is, instead of the bratty little rich girl we all think she was, then I think you'll agree that their romance is quite precious to witness.
I'm really going to miss this series when it ends. RaeAnne Thayne knows how to tie her readers to her characters with laughter and heartache before gifting them with another happy-ever-after. Just when I think I've read my favorite book by Ms. Thayne, I find another one that claims that spot. Although it's not necessary to read the prior books to this one in order to enjoy CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON, you'll have a better sense of what this couple has been through prior to coming together in this novel. That backstory makes the enjoyment all the sweeter.
Kaleidoscopic emotion, CHRISTMAS IN SNOWFLAKE CANYON is a guaranteed joyride through some uneven and unexpected holiday terrain, celebrating the season with heartwarming and heartrending moments where laughter, tears and love collide. A Romance Junkies Recommended Read!...more
Fall in love with a cranky veterinarian, right along with the woman and child who capture his heaRecommended Read! Also posted at TBR Mountain Range.
Fall in love with a cranky veterinarian, right along with the woman and child who capture his heart.
When Meredith "Merry" Preston names her baby Alexander, using Dr. Ben Fairfax's middle name, Ben is emotionally tied to her and her son. It is hard enough that as a vet he delivers a human baby, bringing back all the bad memories from his past. When there is no time to get Merry off the island, the vet does what's necessary which invariably attaches his heart to them against his will.
Pregnant Merry came to Sanctuary with her sister to get to know her estranged mother. She never expects to fall in love with the island enough to stay, but the chance to get to know her mother and raise her child on this harmonious island is too tempting to pass up. Merry eventually realizes that too much togetherness is cramping her own mothering style.
When Ben proposes a marriage of convenience to give Merry the freedom she craves, she can't deny it's a good idea. Except for one thing. How can she keep her distance from the man she's so very attracted to and not risk her heart while they're living life together?
I have been impatiently waiting for Ben and Merry's story since I finished book one, SANCTUARY ISLAND. The best part? It was even better than I anticipated.
Ben and Merry are both quirky characters which are my favorite kind. Ben is the cranky veterinarian who seems at odds with people, yet his kindness shines through when he's caring for animals. He hides behind his job so he won't have to care for anyone else, after a tragedy left him incapable of love. But Merry and her baby sneak through his defenses and turn his world upside down. Merry feels for Ben's need for an heir, so his reasoning for their marriage of convenience seems sensible, but is it the truth? Will she agree to this façade of a marriage or try to make it on her own alone?
In addition to Merry and Ben's story, there's a budding teen romance to enjoy, along with appearances of other favorite characters from book one. Second to this adorable couple, the animals steal the show. If you love country veterinary stories, this one won't disappoint.
Although SHORELINE DRIVE can be read as a standalone novel, don't cheat yourself out of the fun of reading book one and two together. Rarely do I rate two books in a series as recommended reads, let alone two in a row, so don't miss reading both of these engaging contemporary stories for a weekend of happy-ever-after book bliss!
Adorable chemistry with sarcastic laugh-out-loud wit threaded seamlessly throughout the novel, SHORELINE DRIVE is a perfect feel-good contemporary romance. This island's idiosyncratic characters and their bonded friendships once again come alive with the exquisite storytelling skills of Lily Everett. Highly recommended!
There is a lot to love about this compassionate novel concerning a scarred protector of wild hoAlso posted with covers at my blog, TBR Mountain Range.
There is a lot to love about this compassionate novel concerning a scarred protector of wild horses who falls in love with the city slicker who is determined to commercialize his quiet oasis. Can they both get what they want and heal their injured hearts in the process? Recommended Read!
Having grown up surrounded by horses, dreaming of them in the wild ever since reading MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE by Marguerite Henry as a child, it's easy to understand my immediate connection to a book partially about wild horses. The vivid imagery of this windswept oasis captivated me quickly. Add in that I was on my way to an island vacation, dreaming of riding horseback on the beach and there was no doubt that SANCTUARY ISLAND was one of the books coming with me. That it turned out to be such a superb beach read is a bonus!
I never expect a "new to me" author's novel to touch me deeply like one of my favorites, so it is always surprising when it happens, which is exactly why I highly recommend SANCTUARY ISLAND—it is full of surprises and great emotional moments in a brilliant story of perseverance.
Off the coast of Winter Harbor, Virginia lies Sanctuary Island, accessible only by ferry so it adds to the trepidation that sisters Ella and Merry feel on their way to meet their mother for the first time in fifteen years. Ella has always taken care of her baby sister, no matter what she dared to do, so when pregnant, husbandless Merry decides to finally accept one of their mother's many requests to spend time with her, Ella has to accept, too.
Even though Merry is pregnant and they're an hour by boat from the mainland, Ella feels that two weeks won't be a danger to a baby not due for several weeks. Just how much emotional damage can be done by their estranged mother to her sister during that time remains to be seen. That's why Ella is there to protect Merry, because Ella feels that she's immune to the woman who gave birth to them since Jo Ellen abandoned them in preference of her alcohol obsession. But Merry has other ideas and thinks that two weeks won't be enough. Can Ella convince Merry that their mother is a mom in name only and hasn't changed from the drunken irresponsible woman Ella remembers?
Grady Wilson loves Sanctuary Island and considers himself its protector, as well as the protector of his very good friend, Jo Ellen Hollister. Jo had saved Grady from himself, with the help of Sanctuary Island, after the injuries from his last rescue mission left him jobless and full of self doubt. Although he still hides his hands beneath the leather gloves he always wears and the clothing that keeps the rest of his scars hidden, Sanctuary Island has given Grady strength and purpose.
Grady is convinced that Jo's daughters are trouble that Jo doesn't need, especially Ella, who seems to have her sights set on Jo's inheritance for all the wrong reasons. That is, until Grady is forced to get close to Ella when she needs his rescue skills. No woman has ever made him feel as alive as Ella Preston did in those few short minutes.
Jo Ellen Hollister is about to lose her family's inheritance due to a bad business deal made by her aunt before she died. Jo has options, with the man who wants to marry her, but settling for marriage based on finances isn't what Hollister women do. Besides, adding another person into her relationship with her daughters right now may push them away forever. Can Jo find a way to keep her ancestral home and also reunite permanently with her daughters?
SANCTUARY ISLAND proves why the "Beauty and the Beast" story arc works so well in a romance novel when it's done with such emotional precision. Grady is broken and steadily healing physically, with scars, but he hasn't let his heart complete the cycle…yet. Ella seems so pulled together after years of therapy, but confidence doesn't always mean that you're emotionally fulfilled. An alcoholic, Jo Ellen Hollister damaged her relationship with her daughters fifteen years ago, and even though she's changed, as well as developed other important personal relationships, it's her daughters' approval she craves the most. Merry loves her sister and her unborn child, but is she willing to risk both to experience the love of her mother? The pain that all these characters have endured is palpable, yet when they take solid steps towards healing, you can't help but cheer them on. It's that tug of combined emotion that pulls you deeply into their lives.
A riveting tale of overcoming fear and emotional roadblocks, SANCTUARY ISLAND makes you fall in love with the island and its inhabitants. Author Lily Everett brings tears, laughter and a happy-ever-after smile to your face while you're experiencing her well-written, compassionate novel. I highly recommend SANCTUARY ISLAND as a "no excuses" emotional fight for a happy life in a book that hits home with real-to-life characters. Their struggles are emotional but cleansing at the same time, making the time spent within the pages of this novel completely mesmerizing. I can't wait for Merry and Ben's story in book two of the SANCTUARY ISLAND series, SHORELINE DRIVE, due out in January 2014. I think others will feel immediately connected to the quirky Merry, who is as full of light as her name, and the rough-around-the-edges veterinarian, who avoids human contact in preference of animals who don't talk back.
Sometimes you fall into a story and are captured by the characters who melt your heart, hRecommended Read! Also posted at my blog, TBR Mountain Range.
Sometimes you fall into a story and are captured by the characters who melt your heart, hoping that they'll find their way from tragedy to a happy-ever-after. THE SWEET SPOT is a journey from the overwhelming sadness of loss, its ability to destroy a family, then bit by bit, their recovery through the healing power of love. Heart-wrenching, funny and thought-provoking, this novel is an awesome beach read.
After firing her ex-husband and throwing him off her father's ranch, Charla Rae Denny is in control of her life for the first time since the accident that changed everything. In their divorce, the judge split their bull bucking business in half so that Charla could sustain herself without alimony. Her ex-husband, Jimmy, who hooks up with someone half Charla's age is just another jolt that she can't deal with. As if the death of their son isn't enough to rock her world, then her addiction to Valium in order to cope with what life has become, while living with her father's progressing Alzheimer's symptoms, just hurdles her faster into a tailspin out of control. Whoever thought that bull semen would be the avenue to her family's way of living, let alone her responsibility as the once-upon-a-time, stay-at-home mom?
In addition to raising bucking bulls, JB (Jimmy) Denton is an arena announcer for professional bull riding events. That's where he met his ex-girlfriend, Jess, when he was at the lowest point of his life. She made life bearable and hopeful for a short time, but that connection sure made a mess of his relationship with his ex-wife. He realizes what he really wants is the life he had with Charla that he left behind after their son died and Charla pushed him away along with everything else. Hoping it's not too late to repair their damaged relationship, JB wonders if he can ever get Charla to forgive him.
Whether Jimmy left Charla, or Charla pushed him away isn't important when they need each other now, more than ever. Will they realize that past mistakes don't have to last forever?
Charla meets Bella, a transplanted New Yorker who has recently moved to town with her husband. Working at the feed store, Bella is as different as night is to day from Charla, which makes their friendship just as hilarious as it is perfect for the both of them. City slicker meets farm girl is just part of what makes them so different, just like comparing a silk negligee to flannel pajamas. Bella adds some fashion sense to Charla's expanding bank of knowledge while Charla teaches Bella how to mold her swag into being a true cowgirl, without either of them passing judgment on the other for their differences. Besties couldn't be better suited.
Angry at the world, Charla has more than enough to contend with but she decides to run the family business on her own, even though she's terrified of horses, cows and everything it takes to manage a ranch on the outside. Her dad's medicine costs more than the business profits can handle, so she has no choice but to break her addiction to Valium and move on with living, hoping to make the business more prosperous than it is now.
THE SWEET SPOT plays with your emotions right away but some animal humor made me laugh by chapter four. Charla has her hands full with her dad going in and out of lucidity, but the cows, especially a wandering mother-to-be named Trixie are what will make her realize that she might just have the spunk needed to succeed at this ranching business without the help of her ex-husband.
Even though THE SWEET SPOT explores the stages of grief very realistically, often passing the characters' deep felt sorrow to the reader, it also concentrates on the humor surrounding this family and the love that they have deep inside for one another. Is living for what they have now and not for what they've lost in the past the answer?
The secondary characters, including the animals, add heart to this already endearing novel. I felt instantly connected, enjoying the humor and tearful by page 135. An emotional roller coaster, THE SWEET SPOT touches your soul with the joy of living, enfolding your emotions in the characters' love for life in the end. Author Laura Drake's storytelling skills are a gift to those of us who love to read an emotional story with an uplifting ending. If you want a novel that will call to you every time you step away, then THE SWEET SPOT is highly recommended. Nothing is sweeter than realizing that there's more to come in book two of the SWEET ON A COWBOY series—NOTHING SWEETER releases in December 2013.
A very funny adult rated contemporary romantic comedy, TANGLED is written from the male pAlso posted at my blog, TBR MOUNTAIN RANGE. Recommended Read!
A very funny adult rated contemporary romantic comedy, TANGLED is written from the male point of view and is just as crass and hilarious as you can imagine.
Book recommends from other readers are always a great way to find a "new to me" author and that's exactly how this one landed within my radar. Thanks to Jill at Goodreads for suggesting TANGLED because the cheeky humor is just what the doctor ordered.
There are so many things to love about TANGLED by Emma Chase. First, it's written from the male's point of view and not just any male, but from one who is a proven and self-proclaimed player. Drew Evans, an investment banker, is as nasty as they come in a "love ‘em and leave 'em" kind of way, but his one redeemable quality is that he doesn't pretend he's anything else so you get exactly what you should expect if you tangle with him. Don't worry though—the other thing that I love about this book is that the heroine, Katherine "Kate" Brooks, can outplay the player in more ways than one. She's smart, successful and engaged. Smart enough to outwit Drew's every move, if she wants to, and can give him exactly what he has coming to him when he decides to be a jerk.
If you love raunchy and funny movies like NO STRINGS ATTACHED, then you won't be offended by the words and naughtiness within this book. TANGLED is written with the adult reader in mind, taking full advantage of adult language and situations for your entertainment. Drew will probably appall some readers and you might want to smack him a time or two before you've read to the end of his story. But, if you love to laugh, Drew isn't the only character who is ridiculously funny, sometimes in a very irreverent way. He has friends who can be just as crass and sometimes worse, plus, family members who know him well and love him anyways but who aren't afraid to say exactly what they think of his antics when he deserves it. Truthfully, Drew is sort of afraid of his sister and with good reason. She's a viper just waiting for Drew to screw up so she can put him in his place. Of course, Drew is humanized by his interaction with his almost four-year-old niece who adores him. I'm sure she'll make you laugh and melt your heart!
In the end, I think that Emma Chase is one of my favorite "new to me" authors of 2013. Ms. Chase's ability to write a believable romantic comedy from the male POV is a sparkling addition to the romance genre. TANGLED will make you wish for more and hope that someone realizes that this book has great movie potential. I know it played out like a movie in my head, making me laugh while wanting to throw something at Drew, then diving in for more. After reading this book, you'll be pleased that TANGLED is now a series with more to come in 2014. Don't we all want to know if Drew can actually behave himself in the future? Sexy, smart, modern and hilariously funny, TANGLED is highly recommended to adults who love a naughty book with a sarcastic sense of humor.
Note: I read the eBook version of TANGLED that was published by Omnific Publishing in May 2013, which I purchased earlier in the year and just got a chance to read. TANGLED has since been published by Gallery Books, released August 2, 2013 in eBook and will publish in print in January 2014. Enjoy!...more
The magick begins with the first book in a new trilogy set in Ireland. IReview also posted at TBR Mountain Range with other books I've read this year.
The magick begins with the first book in a new trilogy set in Ireland. It's a pure joy to read and sets the bar high for the next two books that follow in 2014. Don't miss this very fun, engaging adventure when an evil entity fights against the power of three. Recommended Read!
DARK WITCH casts its spell at the beginning with Sorcha, the original Dark Witch, and her three children in the year 1263 when they face the malevolent Cabhan, a sorcerer. With her husband away at war, Sorcha tends her children by herself as well as fights the evil that wants her power. Her legacy reaches into the future, into the year of 2013, to those who are descended from her. Now is the time when three shall join as one against the sorcerer that Sorcha believed she banished but is still an evil entity to defeat...
Iona Sheehan has felt unsettled most of her life until she moves to Ireland. Her grandmother's stories of County Mayo and the gift of magick they all hold dear intrigues Iona. Barely trained in her craft, she knows that if her cousins in Ireland accept her, she can learn much from them. As a descendant of Teagan, one of Sorcha's children, Iona believes that her destiny in Ireland is much more than it would be in the U.S.
I have been anxiously waiting for this book since I first heard about it. In my early years of romance reading, I devoured as many of Nora Roberts' books as were available at that time. The most memorable and influential of these books, which opened my eyes to other genres, was the GALLAGHERS OF ARDMORE trilogy. That trilogy made me fall in love with Ireland and the magick of its folklore, often thinking of them as parallel. Now that I've experienced Ireland in person, I can't resist going back to that mystical setting, with an aura all its own, in my reading. Nora Roberts' ability to bring the mystique of Ireland alive is incomparable.
Many years have passed since I have read a Nora Roberts' novel and, at first, her writing style in this book made my internal editor go crazy. Her style of combining thoughts with commas, without using "and" at all, jarred me at first and I couldn't concentrate on the story unfolding. But, my fond memories of the GALLAGHERS OF ARDMORE trilogy kept pushing me forward and, eventually, the mechanics no longer mattered because I was having such a good time experiencing the storytelling.
At the core, DARK WITCH has a very specific rhythm, like the ebb and flow of a soft rippling wave along a shoreline. It takes a bit to roll with it and just let it be. It's almost singsong or poetic, the swaying rhythm soothes and mystifies until I felt wrapped up within the words, drawing pure joy from them. I laughed out loud, I cried for joy and sorrow and I couldn't read fast enough to satisfy the craving for more. I felt like a kid reading my first fairytale. Even now that I'm done with the book, I ache for more. It was just so darn much fun!
The characters are rich and well-drawn—a delectable lot, each with their own individuality and idiosyncrasies, making each character come alive as if you've always known them. Iona is the main character but she has a supporting cast who breathe life into her journey. There are Iona's cousins, Connor and Branna O'Dwyer, brother and sister as well as witches, who take Iona into their home and their lives with open arms. Connor and Branna are so very different from one another, yet they couldn't be closer. Then there's Boyle McGrath, the handsome and irresistible co-owner of the stables where Iona is employed. Boyle and Iona's passion for each other is immediate and transforming for both of them. Let's not forget Finbar "Fin," the other stable co-owner and Branna's long ago sweetheart. He's very intriguing. Then there's Meara, a dear friend and co-worker who adds to the laughs as she introduces Iona to Ireland and Irish ways. Combine these good friends with a few more characters, horses, a dog and some hawks, all with personalities of their own, and you have a well-rounded story full of comradeship, promising a trilogy filled with adventure.
Iona is often very funny in her bold as brass demeanor. She says exactly what she thinks, honest to the core, often throwing the steadfast and serious Boyle completely off-kilter. Several times I experienced sentimental tears for how sweet and passionate the love between Iona and Boyle becomes. Their journey is beautiful, sometimes uproariously funny, heartrending and unbearable, coming full circle to tenderness. Their love is honest and Iona needs it as much as Boyle, even if it takes him a while to realize he should risk everything to get it. Will it be enough to want their relationship to succeed when evil is determined to ruin their hope before they even begin?
Besides the writing and the story, the paperback packaging begs the reader to own this book in print. I love the artistic look of the cover front, as well as the scalloped edges of the inside flaps. It's a trade size paperback worth holding within your hands. I even love the jagged edges of the pages that make it feel like an ancient mystery about to unfold. So happy to have it reside on my keeper shelves.
DARK WITCH is evocative storytelling that comforts like a well worn quilt. The story, the place or the characters may seem familiar, but it's the characters' camaraderie that makes you so happy to go along for the adventure. If you love the magick of good against evil in an engaging novel—buy it, cherish it and then buy one for a friend. DARK WITCH begs to be shared, discussed and relished for the satisfying and joyful experience it is—highly recommended!
An absorbing historical love story by a “new to me” author that I highly recommeAlso posted at my blog, the TBR MOUNTAIN RANGE, as a Recommended Read!
An absorbing historical love story by a “new to me” author that I highly recommend, A PRINCE TO BE FEARED is my favorite discovery of the year so far.
There’s nothing more thrilling than to stumble upon a book that surprises me from the very first paragraph. Author Mary Lancaster has taken mid 1400s history and made it come alive through her exquisite characterization and storytelling skills. We’re given glimpses of Vlad Dracula as a man, a teenager, a prince of Wallachia, a warrior and an exiled prince jailed for twelve years, awaiting his chance to recover his throne and gain vengeance against those who have denied him his right by birth and accomplishment. Back and forth through history we follow his determination to gain what he feels is rightfully his, including the woman he loves. He’s cruel, he’s compassionate, he’s fearless and he loves with fervor only his future wife can understand.
Ilona Szilagyi is a complete mystery when the reader is first introduced to her. Her sadness is actuated by her dull grey attire and veiled headdress. We know she’s the king’s cousin and is to marry Vlad Dracula but we don’t know why she wants to hide from everyone, including the man she once loved. The setting is perfect; a mystery surrounds the couple who have been separated for years while Vlad has served his time. There have been plenty of atrocities against, as well as done by, Vlad Dracula but who has turned the vibrant Ilona into this sad soul who seems better suited to a convent?
This begins their tale and the reader is transported along with them, embraced by a love story as poignant as Romeo and Juliet. If you love a rich, vibrant historical novel that is a rare find, then I suggest that you run to your nearest eRetailer and grab yourself a copy of A PRINCE TO BE FEARED. I highly recommend this novel as a fabulous rendition of historical events so real that you’ll swear they happened exactly as Mary Lancaster portrayed it. So addictive and captivating that I didn’t want to read the end. More, please!...more
The first book in this romantic suspense trilogy is sure to grab readers' attention as itRecommended Read! Also posted at my blog, TBR MOUNTAIN RANGE.
The first book in this romantic suspense trilogy is sure to grab readers' attention as it did mine. Highly recommended to those who love gritty suspense with well-drawn characters, promising more to come in these intriguing stories about three runaways all grown up and struggling to survive their past.
Fifteen years ago three teenagers became friends while living on the streets as runaways. Their ability to survive depended on each other and one young man who watched out for them. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time and two murders force the three young women to run, hide the evidence and keep their identities secret. Until now.
Cold case detective Parker McCall is positive that the candid shot of the woman in Baltimore's newspaper's exposé is reclusive photographer B.K. Elliot, his brother's killer. Determined to prove that the teenaged girl in the photo with his brother taken fifteen years ago is the very same woman in the exposé, Parker has the older picture professionally aged. There's no doubt that they're one and the same. Now he must find her before she disappears again.
Brynn Elliot has remained out of the spotlight even though she is well-known for her photojournalist techniques in revealing the desperation of homeless youths. Depicting the cruelty and hopelessness of the runaway lifestyle is her specialty, a subject she knows well, having been one herself.
The newspaper photo exposé followed by a cop at her door forces Brynn to consider running once again. Having just bought a home under a fake name and enjoying a prosperous career, Brynn had thought she could finally settle down. But, the cop is persistent and too close to the truth with her enemies nipping at their heels. Will she ever feel safe again?
When Brynn finds her agent almost murdered, she knows her only chance is to partially confide in Parker McCall and convince him to help her. He seems sincere and when a child turns up dead, Brynn knows she has no choice but to expose the man from her past for what he is before more children are hurt. Can she face the demons from her past and get justice for the crimes, all while keeping her two best friends, Haley and Nadine, safe?
I haven't read a romantic suspense this good in years. FATAL EXPOSURE packs in the details in a small package of 288 pages with some of the best gritty police work, where every word and sentence counts toward unmistakable believability. An unusual background for a heroine makes this one as heroic as the detective she relies on. Brynn is smart and brave, as well as never helpless. She pushes just as hard as Parker and earns his respect. Street savvy in his own right, the pair of them form a team that works beautifully in love as much as in defense.
I love the concept of this trilogy—three runaways become friends as teenagers, witness a crime, then go into hiding, working hard to realize their dreams without discovery by an unknown killer. It's the perfect set-up for a trilogy and the characters are interesting, strong and sympathetic enough to make you want to take up their cause.
Superb characterization in a true-to-life story, FATAL EXPOSURE is a thrill to read. It's modern, edgy and convincing, ramping up expectations for what's to come. Author Gail Barrett has crime writing chops proven by her wordsmithing talent.
The layering of clues is exquisite. I was so surprised by the turn of events toward the end. THE BURIED SECRETS trilogy kicks off with a gripping and heartrending story of runaways in FATAL EXPOSURE, setting the stage for readers to crave the next two installments. We won't have too long to wait because A KISS TO DIE FOR (Haley's story) releases in August 2013 and SEDUCED BY HIS TARGET (Nadine's story) releases in December 2013. I can't wait to find out what happens next! FATAL EXPOSURE earns Romance Junkies' highest rating of 5 Blue Ribbons and a Recommended Read status for packing a punch in a small package.
This small town series continues with the best book so far! You don't want to missRecommended Read! Review also posted at my blog, TBR Mountain Range.
This small town series continues with the best book so far! You don't want to miss Alex and Sam's emotional journey to a well-deserved happy-ever-after. Grab books one through four and spend the weekend in a place of hope and happy endings.
Alexandra "Alex" McKnight has earned the head chef position when construction is finished at Brodie Thorne's exclusive new restaurant, Brazen. Having worked as a sous chef at another restaurant in town after culinary school in Europe, it has always been her dream to run her own restaurant. When the contractor has a family medical issue and can no longer work within the deadlines on the restaurant, Brodie hires Sam Delgado to finish the job so they can open on schedule.
It's up to Alex to work with Sam to bring her kitchen vision to life. It would help if Sam wasn't the most exasperating man she knows and if she wasn't so attracted to him.
Something is sizzling and the kitchen isn't done yet!
Alex and Sam drew me into their story immediately. Independent, smart, with a great future as a chef, surrounded by family and friends, Alex makes the best of every minute of her day. She works, spends time making freezer meals for those who need them, and spends time with family and friends, so there isn't much room left for anything else in her very full life. Then why does it seem like something is missing?
Sam Delgado needs this restaurant finishing job to work out so that he can start his carpentry business in Hope's Crossing. Since the death of his wife, Sam and his young son, Ethan, have been in need of a fresh start. If he can just convince the beautiful chef of Brazen to share that new start with him, everything would be perfect.
RaeAnne Thayne's books are addictive, pulling the reader in to read far further in one sitting than ever intended, making me late for whatever I was supposed to do! I get so lost within the first few pages that before I know it I've read half the book and rush with my tasks so I can get back to it! So soothing, lulling me into a sweet small town with characters who deserve the happiness they seek, CURRANT CREEK VALLEY continues the HOPE'S CROSSING series with a special couple, sparks flying within minutes of laying eyes on each other. This one really touched my heart in many places throughout the book.
I was enthralled with the characters from the beginning, but it was on page 236 when the emotions skyrocketed. I think you'll understand once you read the book, but it was as if I had been lulled by a slow build enhanced by a creative layering that made me free-fall at that moment, never quite sure how we'd land, from that page until the very satisfying ending. You'll feel like you've earned that happy-ever-after right along with this couple, after experiencing the black moment before the joy. So Good!
CURRANT CREEK VALLEY is my favorite HOPE'S CROSSING series book so far for several reasons, which easily earns it Romance Junkies' highest rating of five blue ribbons and a recommended read status!
First, from the moment they meet, Alex and Sam's relationship is fun and flirty. They both have secrets so when those are revealed, it's an emotional discovery. Ethan, Sam's son, is irresistible as a super smart child, saying what he thinks in the most appropriate moments. Many of the characters from previous books make an appearance, which ties in the series nicely and gives us updates on each couple. I especially loved seeing Claire, Alex's best friend and sister-in-law interact with her, as well as Alex's mother, Mary Ella. There's a secondary romance going on, a new baby, sorrow, rejoicing and let's not forget Leonidas "Leo" the dog, who makes himself right at home. A super emotional ending with a charming catch-up epilogue, what's not to love?
For realistic characters with heart-wrenching dilemmas that are buoyed by hope, author RaeAnne Thayne tugs at the heartstrings before giving us the happy-ever-after we crave. Like candy, the HOPE'S CROSSING series should be gobbled up back-to-back and re-read when you need a bolster of hope. CURRANT CREEK VALLEY is the perfect continuation of a fabulous series and highly recommended to anyone who loves a well-deserved and hard-earned happy-ever-after.
This is the best read and play interactive book for Nook. My granddaughters pick this one first off my Nook Tablet every time and giggle constantly atThis is the best read and play interactive book for Nook. My granddaughters pick this one first off my Nook Tablet every time and giggle constantly at the animation and sounds. There are several activities that they love doing over and over again.
If you have a Nook Tablet, Nook Color, or Nook HD, I highly recommend this for two to five-year-olds. You'll have as much fun reading it with them as they have listening and playing. ...more
Recommended Read! This review is also posted on my blog, the TBR MOUNTAIN RANGE. Come for a visit :)
Having the ability to write this good should be ilRecommended Read! This review is also posted on my blog, the TBR MOUNTAIN RANGE. Come for a visit :)
Having the ability to write this good should be illegal, or revered somehow. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen next in THE REASON IS YOU, author Sharla Lovelace made sure I knew that she was the one in control of my emotions!
I received THE REASON IS YOU for free through Goodreads First Reads. Had I known this book would be this good, I would have read it a long time ago. I should have suspected, given how much I loved Ms. Lovelace’s second book, BEFORE AND EVER SINCE. But, being skeptical, I always wonder if an author can hit one outside of the park over and over again. Not this time. I have proof that Sharla Lovelace’s talent is golden, and I’m forever grateful for being able to experience her gift. Both books will be part of my rare rereads in the future.
Dani Shane has experienced disappointments in her life but nothing is harder than going home at forty-years-old, feeling like the alien that everyone had always thought that she was, back to square one. It’s even harder when she has to bring her teenage daughter along for the ride. A single mother and having lost her job, Dani has no choice than to move them back to her hometown to live with her dad.
Being home with her dad feels good, if she could just say the same for the rest of the small-minded people who live in this town. Now she has to face them as a strong woman who doesn’t want her daughter to experience life under the same small-minded scrutiny. Especially when she realizes that her daughter is more like her than she ever imagined.
Dani has many secrets. The fact that she can see ghosts is just the beginning…
Although I sensed some of the surprises coming in this book, how they were revealed and the depth that they went into emotionally was breathtaking. I was completely mesmerized by the characters, taken in by their laughter and often sarcastic look at the world around them, a slow jaunt into their lives that soon becomes a whirlwind of feelings. Sometimes in awe, sometimes in shock, and sometimes in sorrow, the love found within these pages is an amazing journey.
Dani is quirky and her daughter suits her perfectly. Their banter is often laugh-out-loud funny and their relationship with Dani’s father is just as charming. Real-to-life in a way that makes the characters jump off the page and into your heart, as if they’re someone you know. None of them are perfect, which makes them great characters to connect with.
Following Dani’s journey to a happy-ever-after is gut-wrenching at times, but once you get started, you can’t bear to stop reading until you know how this book will end. Why do we read fiction? To be taken on a journey that we can’t quite imagine ourselves is my answer. There are many great books that do that, week after week I find them, but then I found “the one”. I can’t fathom for the life of me how anyone can write a book this good. It’s beyond conception when every layer is leading to a climax so completely unexpected and so good, that you just sit there stupefied, wondering how you were so sucked into it that the world you’re experiencing plays back like a movie in your head.
THE REASON IS YOU is the one book that everyone should read because it touches on the basic emotion within our lives. What is love, really? And, what risks would you take in the name of love?
After gasping through so many emotional pages, witness to a life that had always been leading to this very moment, I realized that I had just experienced a master storyteller. Bravo, Sharla Lovelace!
I’m not saying anything else. I want each reader to be just as surprised as I was—do yourself a favor and experience this romantic story for yourself. It’s beyond exceptional. ...more
For a feel-good story full of emotion, Jocelyn and Will's journey to a happy-ever-after is filled with secrets from their past waiting to be revealed. If you love a full cast of great friends supporting each other through a crisis with laughter and tears, then this novel is definitely for you.
Jocelyn Bloom, thirty-something girl-next-door, is all grown up and a life coach to the rich and famous in Los Angeles. Will Palmer, minor league baseball player, is working as a carpenter at an up-and-coming resort on Mimosa Key, while waiting on a second chance at his baseball career. Fifteen years ago, the night Will told Jocelyn that he loved her, seems like a lifetime ago, and yet, it seems like yesterday if the fresh pain of love lost is considered.
The man who caused their break-up, in more ways than Will knows, is also Jocelyn's father, now a helpless, aging man living next door, who remembers very little of his past. Plagued with Alzheimer's, Guy Bloom has earned Will's compassion and friendship.
Involved in a scandal with one of her famous clients, Jocelyn needs somewhere to hide from the media until the paparazzi forgets about her. Logically, Mimosa Key, where she grew up, is the destination, since Jocelyn's college roommate has a secluded place for her to stay. Jocelyn doesn't expect to find her love from the past acting like her estranged father's best buddy, nor a father who has lost all memory of her to Alzheimer's.
Of course, Tessa and Zoe have to join Lacey in supporting Jocelyn through a crisis. That's what friends do, but can Jocelyn keep her secrets contained, when so many people who know her best surround her?
BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN is exquisitely staged so that the reader falls for all the characters, sometimes in sorrow, sometimes in anger, but mostly in laughter. Even though you should hate Guy Bloom as much as Jocelyn does, you can't help but love the man he's become. He engages Jocelyn's friends too, so resistance may be futile for the woman who, at one time, was happy as daddy's little girl. Will has also discovered Guy's charm, but what he doesn't realize is that Jocelyn has secrets that may keep her forever from his grasp, as well as from her father's.
I couldn't find anything not to like about this book. It made me laugh like a romantic comedy movie does, and yet, it still covers some very serious subjects that many of us may experience in our lifetime. The best part? It's filled with realistic good friends, like the ones you've known for a lifetime, who can make you smile even when you're at your lowest.
If you're considering this book, you might want to read book one, BAREFOOT IN THE SAND, even though I wasn't confused by missing it. I'm anxious to read more about these charming characters, so I'll go backwards before the next book comes out. If you like to be teased, there's a snippet of book three in the back of BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN, as well as a letter from Roxanne St. Claire describing a part of her life that was the seed that germinated book two. Don't miss that tidbit because it's an endearing story.
BAREFOOT IN THE RAIN is a laugh-out-loud, gasp-at-the-heartache, rollercoaster of love. Author Roxanne St. Claire orchestrates a full cast of characters, amongst a complicated story, jam-packed with emotion, encased with seamless flow. It's brilliant, modern, sophisticated and yet, feels like coming home. I can't wait for Zoe's story in BAREFOOT IN THE SUN....more
5 Blue Ribbon Review + Recommended Read courtesy of Romance Junkies. Full review also available at my blog, TBR Mountain Range. For a light-hearted co5 Blue Ribbon Review + Recommended Read courtesy of Romance Junkies. Full review also available at my blog, TBR Mountain Range. For a light-hearted contemporary story that surprises you with its deep, emotional, black moments, you don't want to miss this one! From the first sentence, first paragraph and first page, I was enamored by this heroine's voice. And the hero? Scrumptious!
Sometimes I wonder if I can do a book justice by trying to describe how good it really is, and this novel is one of those indescribable-without-experiencing-it types of love stories. The book kicks off with a great first sentence, onto a fun paragraph, peaking with an engaging first page of the first chapter that drew me right in. I was immediately hooked on the heroine's comedic look at her lousy life that just gets worse as the day continues. If you've ever had one of those days, weeks or years, you'll completely relate to these characters and their methods of dealing with harbored lifetime heartache that will hopefully be forgiven. After all, doesn't everything always happen for a reason?
Emily Lockwood is a divorced single mom of a nearly twenty-one-year-old daughter. Her cheating husband became her ex-husband some time ago, but he still butts into her life for various reasons, usually concerning their daughter. Not today.
Today he decides to tell Emily that he wants to buy her mother's house. Except Emily knows her mom's house isn't for sale. After all, as a realtor herself, wouldn't she know that? Not today.
In Emily's life, surprises should be expected since her ex-husband surprised her enough with his multitude of indiscretions. Emily has moved beyond all that history, or at least, she thought she had, until the love of her life, before the ex-husband, returns to their hometown and rekindles more than their lust for each other.
Can Emily deal with her mother selling their family home and the emotion it renews from her childhood, plus a secret she's so desperate to keep that it seems to seep from every wall of the house? Ben Landry is back, taunting her memories just as much as the house she's trying to pack up, not to mention her sister who knows her secret, and her crazy aunt who is bound to discover it. Let's not forget Emily's free-spirited daughter and her boyfriend, who come to help Emily's mom, as well as the meddlesome ex-husband and his annoying realtor girlfriend. All of them descending upon one house and the memories it holds. What could possibly go wrong? Emily is about to find out in ways she never dreamed possible. Until today.
Light-hearted with situations so real that you can't help but laugh, while shaking your head in agreement ‒ BEFORE AND EVER SINCE resonates with entertaining characters that you can relate to because someone you know is just like them. It's so easy to get into the rhythm of a light-hearted story like this, so when the black moment comes, you feel like you've been thwacked over the head with a vacuum, which proceeds to suck the life right out of you in one huge unexpected sob. It didn't take long to realize that this book wasn't finished with putting this reader through the wringer yet, and I gladly rode the emotional roller coaster right to the end. Fantastic!
BEFORE AND EVER SINCE is an outstanding contemporary story with a mystical element that fuels the conflict. Never quite sure what their family home has in store for Emily, you can't help but hope that somehow she'll find the happiness she deserves. I highly recommend BEFORE AND EVER SINCE as a creative exploration through human emotions and the power of forgiveness. Author Sharla Lovelace has a style all her own ‒ a talent you don't want to miss!...more