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Monday, March 31, 2014

Review: The Last Time I Saw You by Eleanor Moran

The Last Time I Saw YouPublisher: Quercus
ISBN: 1623651336
Pages: 496 pages
Genre: Fiction
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

When Olivia Berrington gets the call to tell her that her best friend from college has been killed in a car crash in New York, her life is turned upside down. Her relationship with Sally was an exhilarating roller coaster, until a shocking betrayal drove them apart. But if Sally really had turned her back, why is her little girl named after Olivia?

As questions mount about the fatal accident, Olivia is forced to go back and unravel their tangled history. But as Sally’s secrets start to spill out, Olivia’s left asking herself if the past is best kept buried.

My Review:

It’s been a while since I have read a non-romance. Sometimes you need a break even from something you love so much. And this was the perfect choice for my romance novel break. It was so very good.

Olivia was a someone I liked almost immediately. She was unassuming and kind of quiet. At times, she did come across as a bit wishy-washy. But her voice was so strong and I couldn’t help but identify with her.  Sally, Olivia's deceased college friend, on the other hand, I had a more difficult time with. The type of person who hates when attention is focused on anyone but them and who can cut off a friendship with even the slightest reason. But Sally's story is told from  I found it particularly interesting that I was able to identify with both women.

I walked into this book not really knowing what to expect but I ended up really enjoying it. I really enjoyed the exploration of friendship—especially the friendships you form when you are young and just figuring yourself out and often those friendships just fall by the wayside as you mature. I loved the unraveling of the friendship between these women and the mystery behind Sally's fate. It was a mystery in a not-mystery way but still really quite a bit of a mystery and I really loved it.


About the Author:

Eleanor Moran is the author of three previous novels: Stick or TwistMr Almost Right and Breakfast in Bed, which is currently being developed for television. Eleanor also works as a television drama executive and her TV credits includeRome, MI5, SpooksBeing Human and a biopic of Enid Blyton, Enid, starring Helena Bonham Carter. Eleanor grew up in North London, where she still lives.

Twitter: @EleanorKMoran
Eleanor Moran’s Website: http://www.eleanormoran.co.uk/

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review and Giveaway: To Love a Highlander by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

To Love A Highlander (Scandalous Scots, #1)Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455526223
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander
Series: Scandalous Scots
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's, B&N, iTunes

Summary:

As one of the bastards born to the Stirling court, Sorley the Hawk has never known his mother or father. It's a burning quest he has devoted himself to uncovering at any cost. But as a roguish warrior who serves at the pleasure of the King, his prowess-both on the battlefield and in his bedchamber-is legendary. So when a flame-haired Highland lass sneaks into his quarters with a tantalizing proposition, he can't resist taking her up on her offer .

Lady Mirabelle MacLaren will do anything to keep from marrying her odious suitor, even sully her own good name. And who better to despoil her than his sworn enemy, the one they call "Hawk?" As they set about the enjoyable task of ruining her reputation, Hawk and Mirabelle soon learn that rebellion never tasted so sweet.

My Review:

Beginning Babble-I must confess something. I read this book while in hiding at a child’s birthday party. I know. I know. Not nice. But it was either read the party away or collapse in tears and exhaustion. This book was a great companion. It kept me distracted and was an excellent read at the same time.

Characters


Heroine: Mirabelle-Mirabelle was one of those heroines that I really liked and for the life of me I cannot tell you a reason why. I just liked her. She was kind, smart and brave. I loved how she was willing to take her fate into her own hands. She wasn't willing to blindly marry the first creeper who chased her. The girl has moxy and I love that.



Hero: Sorley-Oh boy was Sorely an amazing hero. He was such a good guy. So sweet and gentle. Don't get me wrong. He had his rough and tumble side to but overall he was honorable to the extreme. I liked Mirabelle a lot but this book was all about him. He goes on my list of Life Ruining Heroes with Mr. Darcy, Gilbert Blythe and Derek Craven.

Chemistry- Mirabelle and Sorley were just...perfect. They worked well together. Their personalities complemented each other. They had a bit of a past together and that added a nice aspect to the build-up of their relationship. They had a bit of angst to them and I definitely loved that.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble-I haven't had a clunker of a book for a while and, to tell you the truth, that has me worried. Because when it happens, I have a feeling it is going to be epic. I did love this one. The writing was excellent. I love how vivid and lifelike Welfonder's characters are. The secondary characters are just as amazing and Sorley and Mirabelle. I love that there is also a bit of humor to balance it out. I sometimes need that bit of a chuckle when reading a book. Especially when you are reading a book in the middle of a children's birthday party and someone—not me although it was a close call-- is throwing a fit in the middle of the ball pit.





About Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Sue-Ellen Welfonder is a Scotophile whose burning wish to make frequent trips to the land of her dreams led her to a twenty-year career with the airlines.
Now a full-time writer, she's quick to admit that she much prefers wielding a pen to pushing tea and coffee. She makes annual visits to Scotland, insisting they are a necessity, as each trip gives her inspiration for new books.
Proud of her own Hebridean ancestry, she belongs to two clan societies: the MacFie Clan Society and the Clan MacAlpine Society. In addition to Scotland, her greatest passions are medieval history, the paranormal, and dogs. She never watches television, loves haggis, and writes at a 450-year-old desk that once stood in a Bavarian castle.
Sue-Ellen is married and currently resides with her husband and Jack Russell terrier in Florida.

Learn more here: Website, Twitter, Facebook

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Review and Giveaway: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn

The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell (The MacGregors: Highland Heirs, #1)Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455519510
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander
Series: The MacGregors: Highland Heirs
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's, B&N

Summary:

A HIGHLAND ROGUE

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor's betrothed, she's the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can't resist stealing a kiss . . .

AN ADVENTUROUS LADY

Lady Amelia's duty is to marry well, but that hasn't stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she's beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she's furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he's ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

My Review:



Beginning Babble-I have been lacking in the Highlander romance category lately. They are some of my favorites but the mood had not struck me.  

Characters

Heroine: Amelia-She was quite an interesting heroine. She seemed to be very placid and calm but she was like a duck on the water. Calm on the surface but beneath is a flurry of activity. She was also very loyal to her family which is something I really love to see.

Hero: Edmund- I loved him too. And for the most part, I am not even sure why. He was dreamy. In the same way that a character like Mr. Darcy is dreamy. He has a few moment of “Why did you do that?” but for the most part, he is a genuinely good dude. His presence just leapt off the page.  

Chemistry-I loved that they were so dedicated to their own causes,Amelia to her family and Edmund to Scottish independence, and remained dedicated to them even while falling in love. I find that quite often in romances, the hero and heroine start out with these strong beliefs but let them fall by the wayside when a pretty shows up. It wasn't the case here. Not even a little bit and I really loved that.

Chemistry Rating:


Ending Babble: I really liked this one quite a bit. I found the romance to be perfectly paced, the characters to be engaging and the storyline entertaining. I also adore Paula Quinn’s writing style. It’s engaging yet authentic.  I did have some moments towards the middle of the book where I felt my interest waning but I was quickly drawn back in—and I think it was caused by my oncoming illness.





About Paula Quinn New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings. Learn more here: Website Twitter Facebook

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review and Giveaway: Butterfly by Elle Harper

ButterflyPublisher: Createspace
ISBN: 1494492377
Pages: 258 pages
Genre: New Adult/Romance
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon

Summary:

Grace Elliot is falling apart. Overwhelming tragedy has turned her world into a dark and lonely place. Facing the pain and the ghosts is impossible. Hiding her secret behind a mask of confidence and living a lie is the only thing she knows how to do. She’s alive…but not living.

Counsellor Ben Hardy is certain he can help Grace heal. Maybe it’s a way to rid himself of the demons haunting him from that one horrific night when his life shattered.

When they meet, everything changes, and their pasts offer them a remedy to save each other…until Ben's traumatic history threatens to destroy the trust they’ve built.

Will the truth tear them apart? Or will it force them to understand the healing power of forgiveness and love.

My Review:

Intro Babble-I am not going to lie. I did not know what to expect from this one. I glimpsed at the opening scene when I downloaded the book and I knew it was going to be a difficult one. Not in a bad read kind of way but in a 'oh boy...the angst" kind of way. And it lived up to every single one of my expectations but it was just...so good.

Characters

Heroine: Grace--Aside from the fact that this is a namesake book...which I greatly appreciate...I loved Grace. I did. She starts the book so very broken but she comes into her own gradually throughout the book. Her story was stomp on your heart sad but the strength in her journey was amazing and admirable.

Hero: Ben-I usually like the rakes, the bad boys...and Ben was so far from that. He was a sweetie-pie. A genuinely good dude who has had some not nice things happen to him but has maintained his kindness and goodguyitude. And oh boy did I love him. I've been liking quite a few nice guy heroes lately. Perhaps, I should rethink the rakes for a bit?

Chemistry-I just wanted to bottle up Ben and Grace and keep them with me forever. They were sweet and a bit angsty. They both had such tragic backstories that I thought their story together could potentially get muddled but it never did. Their pasts only helped to enhance their connection.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I think I was a bit in love with this book from the first page. The book opens with a rather visceral flashback and as scary as it is, it gripes you and drags you right into the story. I made an immediate connection to Grace and I kept reading because I wanted to see her end up happy. I wanted to see them both end up happy. I also very rarely enjoy alternating perspectives but I did in this case because Harper was able to capture both voices so well.
 
 
 
 
 
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elleharper About the Author

Elle Harper is the pen name of Bestselling author Sibel Hodge. She is the Amazon Top 100 Bestselling Author of Fourteen Days Later and Be Careful What You Wish For. She has 8 cats and 1 husband. In her spare time, she's Wonder Woman! When she's not out saving the world from dastardly demons she writes an eclectic mix of romantic comedies, mysteries, thrillers, children's books, and non fiction.

www.sibelhodge.com | @sibelhodge


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: Better Date Than Never Box Set by Susan Hatler

Susan Book Blast

Better Date than Never Boxed Set (Books 1-6) 
This book bundle includes six contemporary romance novellas from the bestselling series, Better Date than Never. Dating is so much easier when you have good friends to lean on. . . .

(Love at First Date, Book #1) 
Ellen may not believe in storybook love, but it’s about to rewrite her  life. . . .

(Truth or Date, Book #2)  BDtN Box Set
Truth or Dare is all fun and games until a spontaneous dare has Gina falling for the office playboy. 

(My Last Blind Date, Book #3) 
Should Rachel risk another dating disaster by trying yet again for love? 

Save the Date, Book #4 
Kristen swears off men, but temptation swoops in when her sexy friend Ethan starts flirting with her. 

(A Twist of Date, Book #5) 
Will Melanie have to follow her best friend’s narrow dating rules in order to find lasting love? 

(License to Date, Book #6) 
Kaitlin agrees to five dates in five days only to fall for the mysterious bartender who’s there to witness them all.

Buy the Box Set (on sale for .99¢ from March 24-30)-

Amazon,iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon UK

 

Susan Hatler Bio:

Susan Hatler Author Photo Susan Hatler is an international bestselling author who writes humorous and emotional contemporary romance and young adult novels. A natural optimist, she believes life is amazing, people are fascinating, and imagination is endless. She loves spending time with her characters and hopes you do, too. You can visit her website at www.susanhatler.com.

You can find Susan at: Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her site and blog

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Review: Much Ado About Jack by Christy English

Much Ado About Jack (Shakespeare in Love, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402270518
Pages: 312 pages 
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:  Shakespeare in Love-1,2
Challenges- TK 
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

How to Become London's Most Notorious Widow:
1. Vow to NEVER remarry
2. Own a ship and become fabulously wealthy
3. Wear the latest risqué fashions in your signature color
4. Do NOT have a liaison at the Prince Regent's palace with a naval captain whose broad shoulders and green eyes make you forget Rule #1


Angelique Beauchamp, the widowed Countess of Devonshire, has been twice burned by love, and she is certain that no man will ever touch her heart again. But that doesn't mean she can't indulge a little—and it would be hard to find a more perfect dalliance than one with the dashing Captain James Montgomery.

After a brief torrid affair, James tries to forget Angelique and his undeniable thirst for more. The luscious lady was quite clear that their liaison was temporary. But for the first time, the lure of the sea isn't powerful enough to keep him away...

 

My Review:

Intro Babble: I always feel awkward reading a book when I’ve missed a previous book in the series. This is one of those cases. The heroine in this one was the mistress in the first book of the series. I found this out before I started the book—because I am weird and I like spoilers—and I kind of regret it because I walked into this book with a negative impression of Angelique. It was a completely wrong impression because she was amazing and I loved her.

Characters

Heroine-Angelique-As I said, I walked into this book with a bad impression of Angelique. One that turned out to be completely wrong. And kind of judgy. I feel terrible about that. It took about a chapter for my opinion of Angelique to do a complete 180. She is one of the best heroines I have ever come across. She is mature, intelligent and possesses an inner strength rarely met in a heroine. She has her issues but she is rarely weakened by them and I absolutely loved her for that. I identified with her in a way that completely shocked me. 

Hero: Jack-I was quite surprised by how much I liked Jack. Not in the same way that I was surprised by how much I liked Angelique but more in the “I didn’t like you at first” way. He seemed sort of boring at first. I couldn’t make a connection to him and he seemed a bit stale. But I eventually started to like him. He had a nice depth to his character but it took me a bit to get there.

 Chemistry-I’m not sure how I thought this was going to work out but I thought this one would be angsty and one of those painful reads—not that I don’t love books like that. But I loved Jack and Angelique together. They just worked well together. I was actually a bit surprised at how well because I was expecting more conflict. They were the perfect mix of angst and sweet. 

Chemistry Rating:
  
Ending Babble: As I said in my review of Love on a Midsummer Night, I am not the biggest Shakespeare fans on the planet. I know. I know. It makes me a bad person. A bad reader. A bit of a dolt. But I have come to accept it. But I loved this book even with the Shakespeare connection. Just on the basis of Angelique alone. I have never made a connection to a heroine in a romance novel in that way before. Add to that the fact that the hero was also great, the story was well written and engaging---and there we have it, the first reading highlight of the year. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Once a Seal by Anne Elizabeth

Once a SEAL (West Coast Navy SEALs, #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402268939
Pages: 384 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Military
Series: West Coast Navy SEALs-1
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's


Summary:

A Hero of Her Own

What woman hasn't dreamed of what it would be like to marry a Navy SEAL? Dan McCullum is everything Aria has ever imagined—sweet, strong, and sexy as hell. She just never expected how tough the SEAL life would be. Dan could be gone at a moment's notice and not allowed to tell her where he's going or when he'll be back.

Dan has never backed down from a challenge in his life. But this one is his hardest yet. How does he balance his duty to his country with a soul-deep love for Aria? It's going to require patience, ingenuity, and some of the hottest homecomings he can dream up. Because for him, this isn't a fling: this is forever...

My Review:

Intro Babble: I find myself a little conflicted with this review because I still haven't quite been able to make my mind up about this one. So, I am going to type up this review and hope that I come to some conclusions by the end.

I was really looking forward to Once a SEAL. The first book in the series, A SEAL at Heart was excellent and I was expecting to love this one just as much. And in some ways, I did and, in others, it fell a bit short.

Characters:

Heroine: Aria-I wanted to like Aria. I really did. But she sent me into a rage state more than once. She is constantly bitching, moaning and whining about her husband...why he's not there, why he leaves...various things that she should have figured out when she married a SEAL. I know it's not easy on the wives. But Aria knew what she was signing up for when she married Dan and she kept giving him grief about it. I spent the book in near constant frustration with her. She did rebound towards the end but by then, my opinion of her was pretty much set in stone.

Hero: Dan-Dan was less of a problem for me. I really liked him. He was such a strong and steady character. He dealt with Aria's insecurities with ease and compassion. His lack of anger at her calmed my anger at times. There were some times, however, where I just wanted to jump into the story and tell him to move along and find someone who could better deal with his job and the lifestyle that comes along with it.

Chemistry: I loved how this book kind of started in the middle of Aria and Dan's story. We don't get to see their beginnings and their courtship. I found it interesting because the marriage is the part of a romance novel that is usually left to the imagination. We get the falling in love part but not the stuff that comes after that. So I found it so compelling that we see the “after the happy ending” stuff. The adjustments and conflicts that have to happen for a married couple to work was extremely interesting for this singleton. I do wish I liked Aria more because this would have been a cupcake read if I had liked her even a little bit more.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: So here is my conflict. I loved how the book was executed and written but the heroine made me want to pull my hair out and eat it like spaghetti. I loved everything else from the hero to the writing to the storyline. So I guess, my conclusion with this book is that you have to take the good with the bad. The stuff you like with the stuff you don't. I will still continue on with this series because I love Anne Elizabeth's writing style and I love SEALs.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: Must Love Dukes by Elizabeth Michels


Must Love Dukes (Tricks of the Ton, #1)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 140228599X
Pages: 344 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
Series:  Tricks of the Ton
Challenges- TK
Buy this Book: AmazonAmazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

The Mad Duke leaned in closer, his lips gently brushing her ear, and whispered, "I dare you."

She Can't Resist the Dare

Lillian Phillips could not imagine how her quiet, simple life had come to this. Blackmailed by the Mad Duke of Thornwood into accepting one wild dare after another...all because of a pocket watch. Desperate to recover her beloved father's pawned timepiece, Lily did something reckless and dangerous and delicious—something that led to a night she'd never forget.

He has a Reputation for Scandal

When Devon Grey, Duke of Thornwood, runs into a mesmerizing, intoxicating, thieving woman who literally stole from his bedchamber—with his new pocket watch—Devon plots his revenge. If the daring wench likes to play games, he's happy to oblige. After all, what's the ruse of being the Mad Duke if you can't have some fun? But the last laugh might just be on him...

My Review:

Beginning Babble-Elizabeth Michels is a new to me author but I was already predisposed to loving her books because the cover to this one is absolutely beautiful. The plot also sounded great but I am shallow and the cover is awesome. I was very happy to find that the book lived up to its cover in every way.  

Characters


Heroine: Lily-I really loved Lily. She wasn’t perfect. She had her moments of being judgmental and stubborn. But her imperfections only served to make her more human and realistic. It balanced her out.


Hero: Devon-I loved him as well. He was a bit naughty and had a little bit of sneaky snake tendencies but I really did loved him. Again, his faults were perfectly balanced out with his better qualities. In Devon’s case he had a kindness and sweetness about him that I really appreciated. 

Chemistry-I loved Lily and Devon together. Lily had some points where she annoyed the life out of me though. I mean, you don’t agree to marry a complete nodcock because the man you really want to marry, who also wants to marry you by the way, because he has some business dealing with your evilpants brother. Never mind that Devon was in near financial ruin but yeah hold that grudge.

Chemistry Rating:

Ending Babble: I just love it when I come across a new author that I just love and want to own every single book by her. I feel that way about Elizabeth Michels and this book. Everything about it worked perfectly. The writing was perfect, the characters were almost perfect and the storyline was better than perfect. I highly recommend this book. So very highly.





Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: R is For Rebel by Megan Mulry

R Is for Rebel (Unruly Royals, #4)Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402270038
Pages: 334 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Series: Unruly Royals-1,2,3
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

Summary:

Being royal isn't all it's cracked up to be...
Abigail Heyworth, youngest daughter of the 18th Duke of Northrop, is not your typical British royal—she'll take a recycling drive over a charity ball any day. She can't stand hats and heels. Abby's not getting much sympathy, of course, because everyone thinks the life of royalty is so charmed.
But to Abigail, keeping up appearances is unbearable, while running away doesn't seem to work either. Just when she feels like she's getting whiplash from swinging between flat-out rebellion to miserable capitulation, Abigail meets an all-American self-made millionaire who challenges her on every level.
It may turn out that what Abigail is searching for kind of resembles the American Dream...

My Review:

Ending Babble: I've been following this series.  The first book, A Royal Pain, was pretty epic for me. I loved it. The second book, If the Shoe Fits, was a bit “meh” for me. I was hoping that this series would rebound. And it did. In a big giant way.

Characters

Heroine: Abigail-She has been one of my favorite characters in this series since the start. The only issue when starting this book was in my mind, I knew her as a bisexual and I shipped her with Tully. It was a bit of an adjustment that I had to make to see her with anyone but Tully but once I did, it worked.

Hero: Eliot- He started off so well. He was sweet and a bit goofy and everything sweet and kind. But towards the middle of the book, I just ended up wanting to slap him really really hard—I won’t spoil. But thankfully, he rebounded from that. It was a rough go for a moment there though. Overall, he was probably my favorite hero in this series.

Chemistry-I was really surprised at how much I loved Abigail and Eliot.  Especially considering how much I loved her with Tully.  It's not easy divorcing yourself from a ship that you love.  But I did it.  Abigail and Eliot were also more angsty than I thought they would be.  They put me through some unexpected emotional trauma.  I may still be recovering. 

Chemistry Rating:   

Ending Babble: R is For Rebel has definitely rebounded the series for me.  I loved does about everything about it.  It's one of my favorite contemporary romance series. I love how lighthearted this series is but it can bring the drama at the right points. It’s perfectly balances. I can't wait to see where Megan Mulry goes with this series. This whole series is definitely highly recommended.




 

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