I bought this because I was so drawn into the blurb. Lately, I've been attracted to books which in part deals witReviewed at Girls Without a Bookshelf
I bought this because I was so drawn into the blurb. Lately, I've been attracted to books which in part deals with difficult choices, and this one incorporates romance into that. Couldn't be bad right?
Love Bites is the book that got me back into reading. After Twilight I went into a total fan-girl (also known as bitchy) mode and closed my doors to any YA or paranormal romance books. Love Bites was so promising it just flung those closed doors open.
I absolutely fell for the really really cute humour that is the whole book. Rachel is such a funny character - she's strong and naive at the same time, whiny and independent and she's such a girl-next-door type that anyone can relate to. Etienne - and the rest of the Argeneaus for that matter - I found rather immature for their age, which is an element that I never would have thought I would like.
Technically, Etienne's decision is made pretty early in the book, so I was slightly disappointed by that. Most of the actions and the humour however, occur after that decision, and I hugely enjoyed it. The resolution was slight quick for my taste but that is ignorable, and besides, there are always those other characters that would help - cliche, yes, but in Love Bites, the way those other characters help was honestly funny.
As much as I love historical romances, there is only so much of the history I can take. Which explains why perhapReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
As much as I love historical romances, there is only so much of the history I can take. Which explains why perhaps, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.
If I'm not mistaken By Arrangement is my first Madeline Hunter read, and I chose this not lightly - because when I checked her website I loved almost all the blurbs of her books! They were exactly what I would want to read about. Surprisingly though, I seemed to find more than I bargained for, because this book at least just doesn't fit the blurb! I mean, it does in a sense, because fact of the matter is, it has what it says in the tin. But it isn't quite all that it has, and the heavier, more important element - that is the political intrigue and mystery - has not been mentioned in the blurb. As I was expecting something entirely, it was quite a bore reading all those parts. I'm open to a bit more content in any book, but when it overwhelms the plot ... it's not very nice. I think that sums what I did not like in it entirely - the political intrigue/mystery overshadowed the romance a lot and I was tempted to flick through the pages and just read through the parts where the romance play an integral part.
Having said that, I think the author did an excellent job with the characters. More than anything, the book shows a path to romance that is beyond the 'love-or-lust-at-first-sight'. Christina and David learn to grow accustomed to each other, then trust each other and finally love each other. Like any couple, they go through misunderstandings, but their coming together is handled very excellently. A little humour, misconceptions and tears made the book more interesting too! The incomplete ending aside, this is an entertaining read, particularly if you like romantic mysteries....more
There is something in the dysfuntional Argeneau family that is strongly magnetic, and I doubt it's solely due toReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
There is something in the dysfuntional Argeneau family that is strongly magnetic, and I doubt it's solely due to the fact that they are centuries-old vampires. They are so fun to read, so entertaining to spend a sunny afternoon with and so devastatingly hilarious I find it hard to part with them everytime I finish reading an Argeneau book. Single White Vampire (SWV), the third in the series, is my current favourite.
I have read and reviewed its predecessor, Love Bites, and that revived my thirst for reading and for more Argeneau moments. I have wanted to get my hands on SWV since I first read its prologue, which consists of the funniest correspondence I have ever come across!
This book is still to be beaten at the top of 'most hilarious book' list. Combine an independent, aggressive and slightly bossy twenty-first century editor with a grumpy, obnoxious, reclusive vampire writer, sprinkle them with the melodramatic Argeneau clan (spearheaded by the match-making matriarch) and dump them in a romance conference, and there is neverending hilarity. I love it.
The characters are so distinct and expertly perfected. Lucern Argeneau, our grumpy vampire, is the autobiographer of the family. A published writer loved by many women, he is reluctant to embrace his fame. He dislikes television, day dreams of sucking some juicy neck and dislikes his bossy editor, Kate Leever. The said Kate is forcing him to attend a romance conference, and he sure as hell isn't going to. Their tug of war romance is full of everything nice, of seduction and of stolen 'necessity-driven' moments. Fun.
It's hard to dislike a book this funny - but, there are some flaws that, if corrected, would give this book an edge over many. Lynsay Sands' vampire lore is already solid; it's the plot in each book that makes a difference. Firstly, though the romance in SWV was fun to read, it seemed a little abrupt to me. Nothing major, but there was no gradual change of heart (at least for Lucern, but really he's an oldie, so...), that slow transition from hate to love that I crave for in a romance novel. There was not much action sequences in this book, but heck, it totally failed when it did come up. Made the book a lot more hilarious.
Overall, the perfect paranormal romantic comedy. Of course, if you love the Argeneau family as much as I do, it's totally unmissable!
Read it when you're looking for a book that's funny as hell....more
Boys Next Door is exactly the way a summer books should feel. It's light -hearted, filled with bright spirited chReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
Boys Next Door is exactly the way a summer books should feel. It's light -hearted, filled with bright spirited characters and full of surprises. This is a perfect beach read, a complete summer in a book!
The narrative, in the first person by Lori, is one of the funniest I have read. Her humour is so natural it becomes virtually impossible for readers not to love her. Her personality underpins the whole plot and makes it so ridiculously loveable it is difficult to dislike her even in her worse. And Adam - Mr skull and crossbones Adam is very very cute. Jennifer's characters are always a delight and very distinct, and Adam is no exception - his ADHD helps build him to be a very adorable character. It's safe to say that his imperfections are what makes his actions perfect.
The Vader brothers are a colourful brothers that are as collectively endearing as Lori. Their antics, habits and crazy outlooks are so boy my inner teen could not help but giggle! Their brotherhood is real and hence imperfect. Although disastrous, I particularly like Adam and Sean's rivalry, because it's such a common and sometimes inevitable part of brotherhood. The Vaders even extend these ties to McGillicuddy (Lori's brother Bill's unfortunate nickname) and to Lori herself which really feels welcoming to the characters and readers alike. I found the shared history of both set of siblings establish the story fairly quickly, and it was all down to Jennifer's wonderful talent that really makes the reader feel like they know a lot about this history even without overwhelming amounts of flashbacks. Lori is so comfortable with Adam in particular she just blurts out crazy lines and questions at him without flinching. I loved it.
Now the romance - I would not say smooth, because it's honestly a tangled (very) web of lies, deceit and pretenses, but it was nonetheless good. There were some questionable actions from Lori in terms of her interactions with the Vader brothers, but it was part of the book's charm. I think at every turn Jennifer's characters had me all warm and sighing with satisfaction! There were some powerful, ohmygodsoromantic lines from Adam which I really giggled about too.
They were so many surprises in Boys Next Door, many mistakes, but I should not forget - many romantic and hilarious moments too. Such a fun combination, and I'm sure teenagers and adults alike would definitely enjoy this as their summer read!
I'm so glad the sequel is in my hands already, and in the same book! ...more
I read this book in two sittings - only because it was already midnight and hello, I needed some sleep - otherwisReviewed at Girls Without a Bookshelf
I read this book in two sittings - only because it was already midnight and hello, I needed some sleep - otherwise I would not have put it down! It was such a fun, light and enjoyable read. I can't resist pirates - can you?
The book started in medias res (Yes! I used a literary term. Finally, after two years of A level Lit) but it was well-explained that it really wasn't a bother. In fact, by starting it at such crucial point, that is, the meeting of Annalisa Townsend and James Sterling, Jade Parker has pushed forward the beginning of attraction that would unfold each of their hearts. Of course, the romance is well-written, well-founded, and witty. I must admit I got a terrible dose of butterflies in my tummies while reading.
Trust is one of the major motifs in the book. It entwines with the romance tightly and at times it highlights the undeniable connection of the two main characters. The question of who to trust, or whether trust anyone at all is firm on the plot, and combined with an adventure in midst of storms, real and emotional and a daring, dangerous pirate life makes To Catch a Pirate a worthy read.
The characters of Anna and James are well-crafted. I enjoyed Anna's determination, flexibility and strength. I admired James' cockiness and charms. I especially enjoyed their witty banters and interactions, most of which feature the arrogant James charming Anna, and the futile resistance of the two to the blossoming of love between them. Also, I liked the insights to James thoughts - like the narration that tells how he loves her laugh - it really shows the transition he undergoes.
And to make it a little more interesting, there's Nathaniel, the good-boy who bids Anna's heart too. Add the three together, complete with the pirate manly ego, and a beautiful woman... you get the point.
Not only do the primary characters given their own history, personality and background, but secondary characters are also well introduced. Ferret and Kelly Crimson are my personal favourites.
The ending could have been better, but I liked it nonetheless. I loved especially how James swallowed all his words in spite of himself. I suppose you can't blame a man in love :)
I shouldn not forget to mention that the pirate-y aspect of this book is intact and prominent. Really, it's a pirate themed romance, but it should also cater to pirate fans looking for adventures and action.
Calling all fairy tale lovers! Beastly is the classic fairy tale with a modern twist - and a good one at that! IReviewed at Girls Without a Bookshelf
Calling all fairy tale lovers! Beastly is the classic fairy tale with a modern twist - and a good one at that! I was firstly drawn to the blurb. It is exceptionally frank, and seems to give a solid perspective from 'the beast'. I really don't know how to feel about the modern twist this book promises, but in the end it all tied up pretty well. Like, really well.
Beastly is a quick, easy and reflective read. The pace isn't too fast or too slow, and the characters are humourous and very individualistic. I loved the little chatroom snippets all throughout the books - it opens up to new characters who were just hilarious! My favourite would be Froggie - who coudn't type well with webbed feet - how cute was that? :)
As for the romantic aspect, I found that the pace helped established the romantic connection between the girl (let's not say who) and Kyle Kingsbury (later Adrian). Unlike most books, this focuses on emotional connection, not physical, and I adore that. Plus, the romantic gestures that Adrian does, including the little 'cautions' that he reminds himself to do to not scare the girl was just sweet. And let's not forget, Adrian himself is a pretty funny beast boy.
The best thing about the whole book is the fact that you really see Kyle's transformation. Every single little change for the better is well depicted and highlighted, and very well founded.
Beastly is a book of humour, fairy-tale romance, with a pinch of sadness and pain, and ultimately of selflessness. I love it!...more
I'm not certain why I somehow still read books about someone infidelity when I know that all it ends up doing isReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I'm not certain why I somehow still read books about someone infidelity when I know that all it ends up doing is making me feel terribly agonised. It irks me to no end, but perhaps I keep looking for a book that gives an insight to both sides of the party. Well, Calling Romeo fits well, but it isn't the best read, I don't think.
I'm very torn about my response to this book. On the one hand, the trickling pace of the plot bored me. Too much narrative! I was tempted to skip through and just get to the ending. I disliked the ending; hated the message it could have easily given to the reader. On the other hand, I appreciated Juliet's hesitations because that is how it is. Unless one is unfeeling or morally apathetic, you would hesitate and reconsider to the nth degree your decision to begin an affair. I thought Juliet's thoughts and indecision - her consultations to friends even - were an accurate portrayal of that dilemma. But I'm not saying she justifies it - adultery for me is never justified, whatever the circumstance. Juliet does however, show that she isn't indifferent and has genuine reasons for her affair with Sykes. Admittedly, I believe part - a very small part - of the blame lies on Will, but as Juliet realises love is not always the happy side of the coin.
Calling Romeo is underscored by many subplots, and one can view the events from different points of view. And so when everything unravels, there is much, too much pain swivelling around the characters. I'm not exactly happy how Will handled Juliet's unfaithfulness, and how towards the end Juliet for me didn't feel as apologetic as she should be. Oh yes, there were many tears and pain but I didn't feel she was ultimately entitled to be angry at Will after her unfaithfulness, because whatever Will did or did not do, cheating surpasses that. I tell myself this though: she isn't me. She's a flawed character, and in that she is entitled to feel what she does. I don't think they resolved anything by the ending, and it was very vague, but there you go.
The plot is cliche. The characters are naive, sometimes foolish, sometimes selfish. It can be dragging. But ultimately, Calling Romeo is a book that builds on its imperfections. It made shed tears, it made me angry, it made me want to lash out at the ending, but at the end of it all it's a story of two people that isn't me. Therefore while I don't think it's the best book, plot or ending for me, it might just be for them....more
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's TheReviewed @ Girls Without a Bookshelf.
I used to shun Regency romance novels, preferring instead highland and medieval romances, but Karen Hawkin's The Abduction of Julia is a really good book that I think reading it might have led me to warm up to the sub-genre. It seems it only occured to me that the rigid etiquette of the ton and the double standards of their actions, not to mention the innumerable marriages of conveniences sets the scene for an endless array of hilarity and romance!
A marriage of convenience is exactly what ties Julia Frant and Viscount Alec Maclean to each other. Bound to a vow to his late grandfather, Alec finds himself eloping with and agreeing to marry Therese Frant, daughter of the Earl of Covington. To prevent his inheritance from going to the hands of his cousin Nick, he fulfills the demands in the will of his grandfather. Unfortunately, instead of Therese he finds his carriage carrying her cousin, the overprotective chaperone otherwise known as The Frant Dragon. Plain and spectacled, Julia does not catch his attention, until he finds that she was, once upon a time, the daughter of the other Earl of Covington. Hence begins the marriage and their attempts to engage with the ton and avoid scandals... not.
Not only have I warmed up to regency romances with this book, I appear to have also developed a penchant for regency romance revolving around marriage of conveniences! There is something absolutely delightful about regency wives and husbands fluttering about hiding their feelings for their loved ones, and I found that in The Abduction of Julia! I must say, the characters are every bit as loveable as the plot. Alec and Julia are both oblivious to each other's feelings, resulting in very comical but very romantic misunderstandings, which they make up for with some memorable scenes. I love Julia's transformation from plain to beautiful - it's highlighted, but not in a way which leads the readers to think that Alec's attraction it dependent on her beauty. It is clear from the start that it is her fiesty and compassionate attitude that pulled her to him. Alec can be insistent, insensitive and impulsive at times, but he carries the emotion in this book - quite a lovely character! The secondary characters deserve an applaud too, because they are a very entertaining bunch, from Edmund the excessive chatterbox to Burroughs, the old butler who never falters to bring Alex his warm glass of milk every night!
Despite the lovely characters and the fun plot, I found several loopholes in The Abduction of Julia. Firstly, there was a lack of detail surrounding the ton - I am fascinated by the ways of society and while I thought the book would focus a bit on it, it only passes over the detail very fleetingly. Secondly, the climax was not very thrilling, as it plays safe and stays on the romantic side. Finally, the ending is unsatisfactory and I did not feel that there was a resolution. Such a shame for a novel so fun!
Nevertheless, The Abduction of Julia is a wonderful indulgence in regency romance. Romance lovers would love this!...more