Tag Archives: 2012

Audio Review- Bargaining With A Rake by Julie Johnstone

Title: Bargaining with A Rake

Bargaining with a Rake

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julie Johnstone, Audible narration- Tristan Hunt

Publisher: Night shift Publishing, Nov. 2012

Source: Purchase Kindle $.99, Audible $1.99

Pages: 292

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

For eleven years, Gillian Rutherford has dreamed of escaping her family’s dark secret and living a normal life. Now, faced with an unwelcome marriage that will chain her to London and the secret slowly killing her, she’s desperate to save herself and the sister she adores. Salvation comes in the form of an American shipping tycoon, and all she must do is seduce him into marrying her. But Gillian’s scheme hits a snag when she makes a bargain with a notorious rake Alexander Trevelle, Lord Lionhurst. He’ll help her win the hand of his American friend, if she’ll assist him with exacting revenge against her unwanted fiancé. But the price of the pact may just be their hearts.

**

This was a good book with characters that were a bit annoying.  I enjoyed it but Gillian’s reluctance to follow her heart to protect her sister was grating on me.  Alex’s refusal to see what was in front of him was also irritating. That the Tycoon would even think to propose was unbelievable since he hardly had anything to do with Gillian but spent most of his time with Gillian’s sister. Still, it was a cute story.

Tristan Hunt, the narrator on the Audible recording, was excellent in rendering the voices of the various characters. I truly enjoyed his baritone delivery. I will look for more books with him as a narrator.

I will also look for more books by Julie Johnstone, this being book one in the series.

Julie Johnstone and Tristan Hunt

 

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One Thursday ‘Til Christmas Review- ‘Twas The Night After Christmas by Sabrina Jeffries

Title: ‘Twas The Night After Christmas (the Hellions of Halstead Hall, book #6)

Twas the night after Christmas

Genre: Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Sabrina Jeffries

Publisher: Pocketbooks, 2012

Source: Purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 4

Christmasy Feeling: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Pierce Waverly, the Earl of Devonmont, has never forgiven his parents for inexplicably abandoning him to distant relatives as a child. Nevertheless, when he receives word that the stranger he calls “Mother” is gravely ill, the unabashed rogue makes a rare return to Montcliff, his country estate. There he finds that the woman is perfectly healthy—and that he has fallen for a cunning ruse crafted by her lady’s companion, Mrs. Camilla Stuart. The lively vicar’s widow, too bright and beautiful not to arouse the scoundrel in Pierce, is determined to reconcile the Earl and Lady Devonmont. None of them can predict the secrets, both heartening and shocking, divulged between a mother and son, and between two lovers, each haunted by their pasts, that will make Christmas night at Montcliff one to remember—and the glorious night after, one to treasure for a lifetime.

**

Here we have a good book with a serious plot that Ms. Jeffries relieves with spots of humor, a story of true love between two damaged souls who heal each other and loved ones around them.

There is a strong feeling of winter and Christmas spirit. I found it hard to put this book down because I kept turning pages to find out what the scandalous family secret was all about. It was not as predictable as I thought while reading, although it explained the reluctance of the characters to reveal their secrets. All was tied up in a neat Christmas package at the end although I felt it could have been a bit shorter than its 392 pages.

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Review- The Theory of Attraction by Delphine Dryden

Title: The Theory of Attraction

The Theory of attraction

 Genre:  Erotic Romance Novella

Author: Delphine Dryden

Publisher: Carina Press, 2012

Source: Kindle purchase

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5+

Description from Amazon.com:

Camilla can set her watch by her hunky rocket-scientist neighbor who jogs past her window each day. She relishes each glimpse of his shirtless abs, and is dying to see more. But it’s hard to connect with a man who doesn’t seem to know she exists…

Ivan feels at home in the lab, not in social situations. When he finally approaches his attractive neighbor, it’s not for a date—he wants tutoring in how to behave at an important fundraiser. Ivan doesn’t expect the chemistry between them to be quite so explosive, and is surprised when Cami actually accepts his proposal to embark on a series of “lessons.”

Cami soon discovers Ivan’s schedule isn’t the only thing he likes to be strict about—he needs to be charge in the bedroom as well. She’s shocked at how much she comes to enjoy her submissive side, but wonders if a real relationship is in the equation…

**

I was surprised at the BDSM in this book. In the beginning I liked the intellectual atmosphere and I was hoping that Camilla and Ivan would find a mutual interest.  They found that interest in a Dom/Sub relationship that seemed to hold no emotional attachment for Ivan.  That Camilla went along with that scenario was a surprise since she did have an emotional attachment.  This is a short novella so the fact that it seemed to linger forever in the sex scenes was surprising to me.  The romantic ending felt forced.

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Review- When You Wish Upon A Duke by Isabella Bradford

Title: When You Wish Upon a Duke (The Wylder Sisters, Book #1)

When You Wish Upon A Duke

 Genre: Georgian Historical Romance

Author: Isabella Bradford

Publisher: Ballantine Books 2012

Source: Purchase, Kindle /$.99

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.

But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoat. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?

**

This was a well written story by an author known for her historical fiction written as Susan Holloway Scott.  I have long been a fan of her blog, co-authored with Loretta Chase, known as Two Nerdy History Girls.  With this background it is no wonder that the historical details in this novel are accurate and give us the feel of the 18th century.

The characters are well drawn and appear to this 21 st  century eye to exhibit ideas and character traits common to the period.  We feel immersed in the constraints of the day and it truly is a wonder that marriages were ever successful with so many dictums as to behavior.  We cheer when Charlotte finally gets through March’s steel veneer of responsible respectability.  The hero and heroine have sizzling chemistry but he fights it and she wants to indulge.  This is about an 18th century married couple finding true love.

A first book in the Wylder Sisters Trilogy, I will be reading the stories of Charlottes sisters in the already available series.

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4 Fridays ‘Til Christmas 2 Reviews of Debbie Macomber Christmas books

Title:  Starry Night

Starry Night

Genre:  Contemporary Holiday Romance

Author: Debbie Macomber

Publisher: Ballantine Books, Oct. 8, 2013

Source: Free for review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 3

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from amazon.com:
Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a megabestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

**

The book synopsis explains the premise quite well so I won’t repeat it here.  It did remind me of an old movie called “Continental Divide” with John Belushi.

This is the easy-read novel that you curl up with after a long day of Christmas shopping and gift wrapping.  It is sweet and totally predictable but ultimately quite satisfying.  It is not very long, only 226 pages, so it can easily fit into a busy holiday schedule.  Pour yourself some tea, grab a couple of Christmas sugar cookies and put your feet up and have your heart warmed.
*******************************

Title:  Angels At The Table

Angels At The Table

Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance

Author: Debbie Macomber

Publisher: Random House, Oct. 2012

Source: Free For Review from Amazon Vine Program

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.

A year later, Lucie is the chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

**

If you are looking for some divine intervention in your love life then you better hope the heavens don’t send you these four bumbling angels.  Well, sure, they redeem themselves but only after making some really idiotic mistakes.  A very lighthearted, easy holiday read,  Macomber fans will enjoy this one while taking a break from the cookie baking and gift wrapping busyness of the holidays.

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Coming next Friday

snowy night with a stranger

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Filed under Book review, Books, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Humor

Review- Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title:  Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster

Genre:  Contemporary Romance (New Adult)

Author: Jamie McGuire

Publisher: Atria Books, 2012

Source: Kindle purchase

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

**

I have to admit upfront that I did not like the characters in this book.  That said, the writing, plotting and characterization is top-notch.  The author does a terrific job of portraying two messed up college students trying to grow up and actually failing at it.  Travis is from a loving but violent background and Abby was running away from a dysfunctional parent.  They both need therapy, Travis more than Abby, although the fact that she stays with him may mean she needs therapy more than Travis.  The only characters that lean toward normal are a gay friend, Finch, and Travis’ roommate and cousin Shepley.  Even Shepley’s girlfriend, America, is a bit over the top in the “protective” department when it comes to Abby. This is a book to inspire many discussions of physical and psychological abuse.  This might have been a YA book except that it has quite a bit of sex, but even the sex did not read satisfying when the heroine is basically jumped on by her partner. Well done study of college age students with multiple problems and worth the read.

A note about the “New Adult” genre designation:  This designation is fairly new to the genres of published books.  It is generally given to books that contain content not appropriate for the “Young Adult” designation, such as graphic sex, drug use, violence, etc.  The protagonists are usually adults in their late teens (18-19) through twenties.

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Review-Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Title:  Me Before You

Me before you

Genre: Literary Fiction/love story

Author: JoJo Moyes

Publisher: Penguin, Dec 2012/Jul 2013

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 3

Description from amazon.com:

Before Louisa met Will, her plans didn’t reach beyond their tiny English town. Will, when he wasn’t closing multimillion-dollar deals, blew off steam scaling mountains, leaping from planes, and enjoying exquisite women–until an accident left him paralyzed and seriously depressed. When his mother hires Lou to keep his spirits up, he meets her awkward overtures with caustic contempt, but she’s tenacious and oddly endearing. Their fondness grows into something deeper, gaining urgency when she realizes his determination to end his life, and her efforts to convince him of its value throw her own bland ambitions into question. Plumbing morally complex depths with comedy and compassion, Jojo Moyes elevates the story of Lou and Will from what could have been a maudlin weepie into a tragic love story, with a catharsis that will wring out your heart and leave you feeling fearless. –

**

Do not start this book unless you intend to finish it in one day.  I could not put it down.  The romance is a long time unfolding which makes the actual confession of love so much more profound.  This book raises questions of euthanasia, and it does present the moral arguments for and against.  The characters presented are not always admirable but they are totally understandable even if at times we doubt them.  I thought the presentation of the trials of a quadriplegic was well done although I have limited personal knowledge with which to judge.  This book delivers laugh out loud moments as well as tears.  A wonderful book.

Note: This book, written by a British author, uses many British slang words and colloquialisms.  I did not find them difficult to understand although I had not heard many of them previously.

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