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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review: Only With Your Love by Lisa Kleypas

Only With Your Love (Vallerands, #2)Publisher: Avon
ISBN: 0380761513
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:  Vallerands-1
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Krazy Kleypas Reading Challenge, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Celia Vallerand fears for her life as she stares into the deep, arresting eyes of the dashing man who purchased her from the brigands who had abducted her. But it soon becomes clear that it's her virtue, not her life, that's in danger. The rugged, powerful renegade known only as "Griffin" arouses desires in Celia as dangerous as they are forbidden. And though she knows she must resist him, she fears she may be unable to do so.

But the magnificent adventurer is a man trapped in a perilous deception. And the shocking secrets he guards could deny him the love of the fair captive lady who has enslaved his reckless heart.

My Review:

I loved the first book (Only in Your Arms--and When Strangers Marry). Throughout that whole book, I was hoping and praying for a book about Justin, the naughty twin. I am so happy I got it because it was GOOOD. 

I am a bit surprised that I liked this book as much as I did because I kinda disliked the heroine. She had a tendency to get herself into trouble for no reason at all. And not a little bit of trouble--a lot of trouble. She was foolhardy and reckless. She also had a bit of the obnoxious. But, I do have to admit that she was the perfect match for Justin. I love pirate heroes and Justin may be one of my favorites. I loved seeing his character growth from the last book to this one. He was a tough nut to crack but his growth from the naughty boy in Only in Your Arms to the dashing yet rakish pirate hero in this one was amazing to watch.

I loved this book. Intensely. Justin was the perfect hero and Celia was tolerable. Usually, my dislike of a heroine (or hero--but mostly heroine) will taint my feelings about the main couple but it didn't this time.This one did have some elements of bodice ripper but not too much--some of the love scenes are a bit controversial. And seriously, if you're reading a romance from the 80s and early 90s, you really should expect some elements of the bodice ripper and please, for the love of all that is good, stop complaining about it. It's like drinking tequila and complaining about the buzz.   Only With Your Love is on my Lisa Kleypas Top Ten and Justin is on my Favorite Heroes list. It is that good. If you can find a copy, read it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: A Cowboy For Christmas by Lori Wilde

A Cowboy for ChristmasPublisher: Avon
ISBN: 0062047809
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Series:  Jubilee, Texas Series-1,2
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

It's Christmastime in Jubilee, Texas, but Lissette Moncrief is having a hard time celebrating . . .

Especially after she accidentally smashes her car into Rafferty Jones's pick-up truck. Yes, he's a whole lot of handsome—from the tips of his boots to the top of his Stetson. But he's no Christmas present. Lissy's not about to let herself get whisked away by his charming ways and words . . . only to watch him drive away in the end.

But what Lissy doesn't know is Rafferty's in town just to meet her—and to give her a share in a windfall that doesn't rightly belong to him. At first, he just wants to do his good deed and get out. But one look at this green-eyed beauty has him deciding to turn this into a Christmas to remember . . . making promises he's determined to keep—whether she believes in them or not.

My Review:

I don't think that Lori Wilde has ever let me down. All of her books that I have picked up have been an utter joy to read. This one is no different even though my tolerance of Christmas themed anything is extremely low all year round.

I loved Lissy from the moment we met her while she was in the supermarket having a minor meltdown in the baking aisle--I've been there. She was strong and smart although she did have a tendency towards being a pushover. But as the book went on, she got stronger and grew a backbone. I really liked her development in that respect. I absolutely adored Rafferty as well. He is one of the best cowboy heroes I have come across in a good long while. He was just a good guy and he may have landed himself a spot on my favorite heroes list. 

I loved this book. I really did. Lissy and Rafferty were perfect together and had such a sweet chemistry. I also loved Kyle and I am not even close to being a "kid" person at all. The presence of the obligatory "adorable child" has the tendency to turn me off to a book but I really enjoyed Kyle's presence and the sweet connection that formed between him and Rafferty. And I really appreciate that there was no "exhibit the child" type of showboating. He was important to the storyline and that's probably why I liked him so much. I really enjoyed this book. It was sweet and full of small town charm and just about everything that I like. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: A Royal Pain by Megan Mulry

A Royal PainPublisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402269978 
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Smart, ambitious, and career driven, Bronte Talbot started following British royalty in the gossip mags only to annoy her intellectual father. But her fascination has turned into a not-so-secret guilty pleasure. When she starts dating a charming British doctoral student, she teases him unmercifully about the latest scandals of his royal countrymen, only to find out—to her horror!!—that she's been having a fling with the nineteenth Duke of Northrop, and now he wants to make her...a duchess?

In spite of her frivolous passion for all things royal, Bronte isn't at all sure she wants the reality. Is becoming royalty every American woman's secret dream, or is it a nightmare of disapproving dowagers, paparazzi, stiff-upper-lip tea parties, and over-the-top hats?

My Review:

I did not know what to expect when I started this book. Chicklit is either a big huge fail or a big bunch of awesome for me. I do have to say that this may be one of my favorites that I've read in a very long time. It was the perfect combination of romance and humor. I loved it.

Bronte was a great heroine. First of all, her name was epic. But really, I loved her because she was lovable, smart and a bit of a potty mouth. I thought that Bronte was utterly charming. I don't think there was anything that I didn't like about Bronte and she didn't do anything to piss me off at all. Max was equally amazing. Has there ever been a bad hero named Max? He was a nice guy and not at all haughty or uppity. He also didn't talk to Bronte like she was three shades of imbecile like I was kind of expecting.

I have never been one of those girls in love with the idea of royalty or anything like that but I think I may be a little bit in love with this book. It was perfect in every possible way. The chemistry between Bronte and Max was perfect. They did have their brief and not so brief spats, breakups and misunderstandings but they were just so perfect for each other. All the other characters were equally delightful. This really was the perfect mix of romance and humor. I also appreciated that the humor never got embarrassing or slapstick. I just don't find that type of humor funny but I appreciated the delicate hand with the humor. It reminded me of a Jill Mansell book and that's a pretty big compliment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Author Interview: Jennifer Delamere, author of An Heiress At Heart


1. Welcome to Books Like Breathing! Please tell us about An Heiress at Heart.

Thank you for having me here today!

An Heiress at Heart (Love's Grace, #1)An Heiress at Heart is about Lizzie Poole, a woman with a dark past who masquerades as a missing heiress in order to discover the truth about her own identity. She is initially successful, but finds herself falling in love with the one man that her new identity prevents her from marrying: Geoffrey Somerville. Geoffrey has weighty problems of his own. He’s a clergyman who suddenly finds himself a peer of the realm. He is dealing with the heartbreak of losing two older brothers as well as the pressures of a position he never wanted. And then he finds himself attracted to Lizzie, the woman he thinks is his brother’s widow! It puts him in a terrible moral bind.

To make matters even worse, a man surfaces from Lizzie’s past who can expose her publicly for who she really is. Lizzie finds she must keep up her charade by any means possible in order to protect those who are dearest to her.

2. I am a history geek. A big one. Can you tell us about the research that went into the writing of Heiress At Heart?

My “research” really began years ago when I became fascinated by the Victorian era, the period from roughly 1840 to 1900. I’ve read history books about the Victorians for years, and I also love reading the novelists of the time, such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Elizabeth Gaskell. Whenever I read their books, I feel transported into their world, and especially into their world view. When I decided to write a novel, I decided I’d better add some reading about the everyday lives of Victorians in order to make sure I got the details right. Books such as Liza Picard’s Victorian London and Judith Flanders’ Inside the Victorian Home were perfect for that. The Internet has been endlessly helpful too—especially the Victorian experts I follow on Twitter who always post interesting and useful links.

3.Who would you cast as Lizzie and Geoffrey? And why?

If you’ve seen Richard Armitage as John Thornton in the BBC miniseries North and South, you’ve seen my idea of Geoffrey. If you haven’t seen North and South, you are welcome to put Hugh Jackman in that role, too!

For Lizzie, Kirsten Dunst has the right looks and at times a certain waifish quality that one sees in Lizzie. Someone else I could see in that role is Malin Akerman.

 4. Can you give us a hint about your next book? What are you working on now?

 I’m working on the next book in the Love’s Grace trilogy, A Lady Most Lovely, which will be out next year. Readers will recognize some characters from An Heiress at Heart. It has as its central plot a marriage of convenience, which is one of my favorite kinds of stories.

5. Lightning Round:
Jennifer Delamere 
Favorite Book:
Madame, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

Favorite TV Show:
Downton Abbey

Word I wish would disappear from the English language: 
English is too wonderful a language to wish any of the words gone! What I really wish is that some obsolete words would return to usage, especially the delightful words Shakespeare used. Take “facinorous” (evil), for example. Doesn’t that bring up a great mind picture of the villain twirling his mustache?

Favorite Word: 
“Elsewhere” – it sounds so lovely and English! Don’t you wish we could use this more often?

Favorite Movie: 
Singin’ in the Rain (yep, I’m a big fan of Hollywood musicals)

Place I would most like to visit: 
This changes almost daily! Today it’s Ireland....

If I was granted three wishes, I would wish for:  Hmmm. (1) The big picture? World peace, of course! (2) The smaller picture? More time to write! (3) My personal dream? The time and resources to travel as much as I wished. – I think that about covers it!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: An Heiress At Heart by Jennifer Delamere

An Heiress at Heart (Love's Grace, #1)Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 145551893X
Pages: 432 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Inspirational
Series: Love's Grace
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012,  Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

A New Beginning

A youthful indiscretion has cost Lizzie Poole more than just her honor. After five years living in exile, she’s finally returning home, but she’s still living a secret life. Her best friend, Ria’s dying wish was for Lizzie to assume her identity, return to London, and make amends that Ria herself would never live to make. Bearing a striking resemblance to her friend, and harboring more secrets than ever before, Lizzie embarks on a journey that tempts her reckless heart once again . . .

A committed clergyman, Geoffrey Somerville’s world is upended when he suddenly inherits the title of Lord Somerville. Now he’s invited to every ball and sought after by the matchmaking mothers of London society. Yet the only woman to capture his heart is the one he cannot have: his brother’s young widow, Ria. Duty demands he deny his feelings, but his heart longs for the mysterious beauty. With both their futures at stake, will Lizzie be able to keep up her fa├žade? Or will she find the strength to share her secret and put her faith in true love?

My Review:

I meant to have this review posted last week but sadly my computer died a sad and tragic death. I was unable to recover anything but I did get a snazzy new computer---with a fingerprint scanner. Call me crazy but I geeked out over it.

Before I begin, I must admit that I don't read much inspirational romance. I am not very religious and usually inspirational books trigger a not so positive response. I, however, couldn't resist this book. It just sounded so good and thankfully it was.

Lizzie was a great heroine. I really liked her and identified with her. She was in a nearly impossible situation but never lost her strength and, most importantly, she never had a dumb moment. I have come across clergyman heroes once or twice and it's never really worked for me but I really did like it with Geoffrey. He was stodgy and cynical--I'm weird because that appeals to me--but he gradually softened up. His transformation was one of the best parts of this book.

As I said, I am not the most religious person on the planet and inspirational literature tends not to work for me because of that. Either there are too many religious references or it becomes to preachy. This one didn't start out too well because there were a couple of religious references in the first chapter. I'm not against religious references but I did worry that I would be bombarded with them. Thankfully, once the story got into full swing, I didn't even notice them. The mistaken identity plot was interesting and there was a good bit of drama. I found this book to be extremely well-written, well plotted and historically detailed. I may not pick up another inspirational romance but I definitely will read every book Jennifer Delamere writes.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Heart of a Texan by Leigh Greenwood

Heart of a TexanPublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402263996
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Western
Series:  Night Riders-1,2,3,4,5,6
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: PublisherAmazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

In The Wrong Place...

Roberta didn't mean to hurt anyone. But the night the masked bandits raided her ranch, it was hard to tell friend from foe. She didn't know Nate Dolan was only trying to help when she shot him in the chest. And when he offers to help her catch the culprits, she only feels guiltier. The absolute least she can do is nurse the rugged cowboy back to health...

With All The Right Moves

Nate has been on the vengeance trail so long, he nearly forgot what a real home looked like. And Roberta is mighty fine incentive to stay put for a while — even if she has a stubborn streak as wide as the great state of Texas. She might be convinced she's healing the wound in his chest, but neither of them known she's also soothing the hurt in his heart.

My Review:

Leigh Greenwood has a special place in my heart because the first romance I ever picked up was a copy of Jake in his Cowboys series. I am always thrilled to read one of his books and this was no exception.

Roberta did have some of those classic overly foolhardy and reckless traits that tend to annoy me in some heroines. Not very badly at all and I really did like her for the most part. She was smart, brave and self-sufficient. I do wish she had told the nosy yet well-meaning spinster, Prudence, to bugger off. Nate was a nice guy. As much as I love bad boy heroes, it's always nice to come across a not obnoxious nice guy hero. Nate was honorable and kind. He helped Roberta even though she shot him and got him into a whole mess of trouble. Like I said, nice guy.

I really did like this book a lot. I love that the chemistry between Roberta and Nate was slow to develop. It really didn't come to fruition until the last part of the book. It was a slow boil and it really worked. I also loved the action. I was very happy to see Super Baddy Laveau get what was coming to him because I have been reading about him for a very long time and I have been waiting for him to get the what-for.  I do have one minor quibble and it is trivial. When Roberta was talking to Nate and, his cook, Benny  about herbs, Benny says "I come from Italy. We don't eat weeds" (page 170). I beg to differ. Italians have been using herbs and plants both in cooking and medicinally for many many many many years. Basil, parsley, dandelion, chicory, rosemary etc.  You should not need to educate a good Italian cook on herbs, a good Italian cook would never say that and you should fire any Italian cook who does say that because their food probably tastes like cardboard. It's just not accurate. But that quibble had no impact on my enjoyment of the book at all. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (November 9th)


Hi everyone! I missed last week because of an evil bitch named Sandy but I am back now :)

Reviews Posted This Week:

Q: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?
I am of two minds with this. On one hand, I believe that originality is a beautiful thing. I get so tired of reading the same thing over and over again.  I have read so many different versions of the same plot—clearly based on Twilight---that it bored me almost completely out of the YA genre. They can almost be considered fan fiction in and of themselves.  But on the other hand, I am a big fan of fan fiction especially Twific. I don’t like it when my favorite stories are pulled to publish but I recognize that some of these stories are so far from Twilight as to be unrecognizable. A famous fan fiction called The Office will soon be published by Gallery Books as Beautiful Bastard and you wouldn’t know it was a Twific unless you’d read it before. Also a good example, Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia is one of my absolute favorite novels that was once a Twific. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: Forward Passes by Jami Davenport

Forward Passes (Seattle Lumberjacks, #2)Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
ISBN: 9781938876080
Pages: 284 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Sports
Series:  Seattle Lumberjacks-1
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012,  Sports Romance Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012, E-book Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Quarterback Tyler Harris is about to find the woman who can get past his defensive line and reach his heart.

With two championships in as many years, superstar Tyler Harris is the best quarterback in the league. Gorgeous and rich, he’s at the top of his game. But everyone’s looking to take him down. There’s a building media frenzy around an unfortunate accident, and the only safe place seems a rundown mansion deep in the San Juans and owned by his late great uncle. There, Tyler gets sacked by the sassy redhead next door. It’s more alive than he’s felt in years.

Lavender Mead has a good reason to dislike jocks, namely an absentee father who deserted the family to coach college football. Maybe that explains her penchant for bad boys who play ball for a living and break hearts for a hobby. Her new neighbor seems just the type. Yet, something is different about Tyler, and sometimes love requires a Hail Mary. You draw back your arm, pray…and give it all up to fate. And sometimes you win your ring.

My Review:

I am a big sports fan. I am not a football fan at all but any romance about an athlete will likely appeal to me. I haven't read many but I was really excited about this one. I should probably note that I know next to nothing about football. 

I really like Lavender a lot. She was extremely likable and very easy to identify with. She was also a very well-rounded character with a very interesting backstory--and some very good reasons not to date jocks. I am not usually a very big fan of football players. At all. They usually come off as spoiled and egotistical to me. But I really liked Tyler. He wasn't at all like that. He did have alpha tendencies. But I like that. Alpha tendencies are a good thing. He also had some jerk tendencies. But again, I liked that. It's probably a flaw but I don't care.

I did not read the first book in this series so I entered kind of blind but I didn't find myself lost at all. It was a very easy story to get into. Mainly because of the chemistry between Tyler and Lavender. It was perfect. They bickered and bantered and I just love that. Neither was willing to give an inch. Their conflicts also weren't just for the drama factor. There was no needless angst which I really appreciated. I also really appreciated that the story wasn't really dependent on football knowledge at all--because I have none. 

I found this book to be an especially enjoyable read. It was fun and quick---like with many books, I breezed through it in an hour. I will be going back and reading the previous book in the series. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: A Wedding in Apple Grove by C.H. Admirand

A Wedding in Apple GrovePublisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402268998
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012Romance Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: PublisherAmazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Welcome to Apple Grove, Ohio (population 597), where everyone has your best interests at heart, even if they can't agree on the best way to meddle. When the townsfolk of Apple Grove need handiwork done, there's no job too small for the Mulcahy sisters: Megan, Caitlin, and Grace.

Specializing in hard work and family loyalty, tomboy Meg Mulcahy has left behind any girlhood dreams of romance. Enter newcomer Daniel Eagan, looking to bury his own broken heart and make a new start. He's surprised-and delighted-by the winsome girl with the mighty tool belt who shows up to fix his wiring.

But Dan's got a lot to learn about life in a small town, and when Meg's past collides with her future, it may take all 595 other residents of Apple Grove to keep this romance from short-circuiting.

My Review:

I kinda love C.H. Admirand's books. Nothing makes this city girl happier than a good ol' small town romance. Except for historical romances---but that's just me.

I cannot tell you how much I loved Meg. I cannot even tell you why really which is sad because this is a review--it's really the point of the whole operation. But she was so refreshingly normal. I felt like I could meet her in the supermarket. That's always a good thing. I liked Daniel, too. I definitely felt for him. His former best friend and fiance were cruel, evil sneaky snakes. I did have moments of wanting to smack him for how he treated Meg at times. He did tend to run very hot and cold. 

I love Apple Grove. Can I live there? The people seem so lovely and kind. I loved each and every one of those nosy, busybody people. I loved Daniel and Meg together. They frustrated me at times with the back and forth. But they just worked well together. The secondary romance was equally as amazing. Mitch and Honey B. were almost as intriguing as our lead couple. I want a book about them even though I know that's not possible. I can't wait for the next books in this series. Especially Grace's book. I am a weakling for namesake books. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Warrior Reborn by Melissa Mayhue

Warrior Reborn (Warrior, #2)Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN:1451640889
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Paranormal/Highlander
Series:  Warrior-1
Challenges- 100 Books In A Year 2012, Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2012, Romance Reading Challenge 2012, E-book Reading Challenge 2012
Buy this Book: PublisherAmazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Former special ops agent CHASE NOBLE has been searching his whole life for the place where he belongs. As a descendant of Fae, he senses fate has more in store for him. And he will not rest until he discovers what his true purpose is. When he travels back in time to medieval Scotland, he discovers his mission is to save a beautiful woman—the same woman he is destined to be with.

CHRISTIANA MACDOWYLT possesses the gift of foresight. Prisoner of her evil half brother, Christiana has visions that show her that only one warrior can rescue her—a man she is mysteriously drawn to. The only problem is, he’s in the future. Now she must rely on the magic of a fairy to transport him to the past. And when Christiana finally meets Chase, the sparks between them set off a smoldering desire. But will the magic that brought them together also tear them apart?

My Review:

Just a note, I read this book during the blackout after Hurricane Sandy hit the NYC tristate area. It was the one thing that kept me sane because it was terrible. 

I really liked Christiana a lot. First of all, her name is awesome but Christiana was also very strong, brave and smart. She also has premonitions. Usually premonitions in a heroine equals "Mary Sue" but not with Christiana. It was easy to like her. She was written in the way you want to see a heroine written. I also really liked that for once it was the hero who time traveled not the heroine. I liked him. He was not necessarily alpha but strong enough. I do prefer my alphas but I did like Chase.

I really did like this book quite a bit. Almost as much as I loved Warrior's Redemption. It wasn't as angsty but I did like it. I loved the way that the fae were brought into the story and thought it was very uniquely done. Christiana and Chase did have great chemistry but I did enjoy that the romance was not a huge focus of the storyline. That is very unusual for me. As is loving a time travel romance. Lately, I have been reading and liking more of them. I do, however, recommend reading the first book in the series first because I without you would be a bit lost.

 

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