Friday, December 26, 2014

See Bride Run - Charlotte Hughes

See Bride Run! by Charlotte Hughes (Dec 21, 2014)

Book Description
 December 21, 2014From New York Times Bestselling Author Charlotte Hughes
Can a Small Town Lawyer Get Lucky?
Atlanta’s billionaire heiress Annie Hartford has no desire to marry a man she does not love; but her controlling father has been calling the shots for his 29 year-old daughter her entire life. This time he has pushed Annie too far.
With minutes to spare before she is to walk down the aisle in front of 600 guests, Annie is forced to make a decision. She hijacks the family limo, only to have it break down in small town Pinckney, Georgia. Annie, who has never wanted for anything, suddenly finds herself homeless, penniless, with only the clothes on her back, a designer wedding gown and diamond tiara.
Small town lawyer and restaurant owner Sam Ballard has been unlucky in love, and the last thing he needs is a red-hot blonde in a short waitress uniform who seems hell-bent on breaking every dish in his Dixieland Café. Still, he can’t very well fire her, she has won the hearts of everyone in town.
Can rich girl Annie find happiness living in a garage apartment, wearing second-hand clothes, and making her way around town on a borrowed bicycle? As for Sam, can he put his past behind him and trust that Annie won’t run home to daddy when her new life presents one obstacle after another? 

It is nice to see this author back in the saddle, so to speak! It has been a while since she has published a new book.

This book is a very cute and warm one. A fast read, almost a popcorn read. Exactly what you need when you want to perk yourself up.

The story line is a simple one - a billionaires daughter realizes just minutes from the alter, that she can't go through with the wedding, she makes her escape and land in a small town without a penny to her name - or even clothes for that matter. Within hours Annie becomes a town favorite and is helped by just about everyone. Including Sam who owns a fairly famous eatery.

The story includes a bit of a mystery, a lot of humorous shenanigans and at least one steamy love scene. It concludes with the requisite 'happily ever after'.

If there is any complaint I have about this book it is that some of the characters speak quite stiffly or formally (if you understand what I mean) -I can understand Annie doing it, since she is brought up so differently what with going to finishing school. However I caught some of the small town characters doing the same thing at times. I also wish that Annie had had time to make her position clear with her father.

But, all in all, a satisfying read.

Re-Print- A New Attitude by Charlotte Hughes

A New Attitude (Hqn Romance)
A New Attitude (Hqn Romance)
Price: $3.49

Book Description
 November 15, 2014Marilee Abernathy's life is a mess. Everyone in Chickpea, South Carolina, knows about her husband's affair with the town floozy. But when her dignified farewell—complete with pearls and impeccably applied Mary Kay cosmetics—turns into a spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to hang herself from a fake ceiling beam, Marilee figures there has to be a better way to cope.
Marilee needs a new attitude—at least, that's what her neighbor Sam Brewer thinks. Between his demanding mother and his crazy ex-wife, though, the last thing he wants is another woman whose life is out of control. But Marilee's learning on her own that a little attitude can go a long way—suddenly she's taking charge and taking chances she'd never imagined. And watching her blossom reminds Sam of some long-forgotten dreams of his own. Now he's just got to convince her to turn some of that attitude his way….

This book was as far from being the usual romance as you can get. For example - the eventual lovers meet when the 'heroine' tries to kill herself and the 'hero' runs in to save her. How is that for a kick in the head?

Yes some of the characters are stereotypical or cliched, but there is a good reason for that.

The meat of the story is enough to bring tears to your eyes at times and the humor can be a little morbid at times. It was a bit of a 'pop-corn' read but not as much as you would have thought.

The character growth of the main characters is slow and realistic - the romance takes a while to be developed and that makes sense, seeing as how the book starts off and what the story-line is all about.

Fun, fast read and satisfying at the end.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Bodyguard (The Bodyguard series Book 1)

The Bodyguard (The Bodyguard series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Leena Lehtolainen , Jenni Salmi

Kindle Price: $4.99
Kindle Unlimited: Free

Book Description

December 9, 2014
"As a professional bodyguard, Hilja Ilveskero rarely loses her cool. But one day, she and a client have an argument in a Moscow fur salon, and Hilja quits on the spot. When the client turns up dead, Hilja quickly discovers that she is a suspect. In an attempt to clear her name and find the killer, she uncovers ever-deeper layers of subterfuge. Amid all the covert treachery and intrigue, Hilja finds herself falling in love with a suspicious yet irresistibly sexy man—but is her heart clouding her judgment? In this tale of political romance populated by Russian oligarchs, Finnish politicians, and undercover cops, no one is what they seem and no one can be trusted. A fast-paced, tightly woven tale of love, murder, betrayal, and high-stakes deal-making, The Bodyguard—the first in a gripping trilogy by internationally acclaimed Nordic crime author Leena Lehtolainen—exposes the delicacy and dark underbelly of international relations on both a human and global scale."

I am not sure, if it is the translation from Finnish to English that is making this book so difficult for me to read and enjoy, or if it just not that well written in the first place.  I normally love books that are set (well at least to me) in exotic places, but this book is not doing it for me.

 This book is written in first person and for a mystery, that is normally a very good thing, but getting and staying inside of Hilja Ilveskero’s head is a creepy thing for me.  She has the personality of a 14-year-old sexual predator with an obsession for lynx’s. Yes, you heard me correctly – the part of the first chapter is spent on this; as are many other parts of many other chapters.  As I got to the 75% mark, I had still not understood what the importance of the lynx was and I am bored enough at this point to not care. 

The mystery aspect is interesting enough and the up to date background is quite interesting, politically speaking. Unfortunately, most of the book is not really spent with Hilja trying to solve the murder…it is spent on so many other things, thoughts, brooding moments and secondary characters.

The author seems obsessed with certain aspects of Hilja’s life and personality.  For example, most an entire chapter of us has to learn that Hilja had to undergo an internal exam when she was about six or seven due to a mistake on her teachers’ part.  Very detailed description I might add…and just in case you missed the description the first time, you get to experience it a second time too! In addition, it came to nothing.

  A lot of what is thrown into this book was repetitive (I wanted to scream if I had to hear about the New York Bodyguard school she went to, one more time and that is just one example).  Perhaps the repetitiveness will make further books in this new series make more sense, but I can say that it makes THIS book to be a difficult read.
The chapters that bring us to the conclusion and explanation of the crimes, is so unbelievable that I very nearly laughed at what I felt the absurdity of it all.

Again, all of this might be from the translation: stilted dialogue, cardboard characters, clichés…but I think not.  I think I just don’t get Scandinavian authors and that is unfortunate because I was so looking forward to something different.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Texas Holiday Miracle

Product Details

A Texas Holiday Miracle (Harlequin American Romance) by Linda Warren (Dec 1, 2014)

Book Description

 December 1, 2014

Moving to Horseshoe, Texas, to become guardian of her half sister has been rewarding for Lacey Carroll. But raising a six-year-old—especially one who has stopped believing in Santa Claus—has its challenges. Lacey's goal is to bring holiday wonder back into the child's life, which isn't going to be easy with a grinch like Gabe Garrison next door. The man is mean, rude…and hurting.
After losing his son, Gabe shut out the world. But his privacy is invaded by the quirky, dynamic blonde and her kid sister, who are single-handedly filling his solitary life with love. When Lacey enlists him in a holiday campaign for Emma's sake, he can't resist. Will Lacey's unique brand of healing magic make this a season of second chances—for all of them?

Take a pass unless you really love to suspend your disbelief to an extent that will amaze you!

I found this to be a difficult novel to get through. Not because of the subject matter; but because this was such a formulaic book. I realize that for books in this particular genre, published by this particular publisher formulaic is a critical issue. So readers of this author/publisher, this is a good thing. You will be relieved to find that this book sticks to the 'rules'. I couldn't deal with the stilted, cardboard characters - who for no reason at all would break out of character. It almost seemed as if this book was written in the 60's but modernized with a few words and actions, but not enough. For example: in one instance Lacey breaks out into 'twerking' in her kitchen and gets caught by the miserable hero Gabe who quips that he thought that Lacey was having a seizure. Hmmmm.

Take on ditzy, nearly clueless young woman, toss with a darkly brooding, tragic and hopelessly miserable yet very handsome man. Add a precocious child who at six, speaks and think like an adult. Unless it suits the author to do differently.

Blend in something that angers the child, something else that makes the man even more tragic and a huge dose of perky ditzyness and solemn advice from the heroine-shake well.

Now whisk in the Christmas holidays, the death of a beloved pet, a tiny bit of religion, optimism and some sexual heat (which seems quite inappropriate in this book).

Bake at 350 degrees - what you get is a nice toasty brown romance book.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

Christmas at Tiffany's: A Novel by Karen Swan (Nov 18, 2014)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
What do you do when the man you pledged your life to breaks your heart and shatters your dreams? You pack your bags and travel the big, wide world to find your destiny—and your true love . . .
Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn't giving up. She's going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.
Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she's meant to have . . . and the man she's meant to love.

With the way this novel starts out, I had an idea that it was going to be along the lines of “The Devil Wore Prada” somewhat crossed vaguely with “Sex in the City”, but set in three cities.  I obviously did not do enough research into this book.  I only knew that it had to do with a married woman (Cassie) being jilted by her husband and taking some time to recover in three major cities. 
I was very, very wrong.  This book was so much more than that. I thought that it would be a chick-lit, frothy; popcorn read suffused with fashion and sex…however, it was in turns - heartbreaking, funny, deep, shallow and very special. This book will forever be on my re-read shelf.

This book is a voyage of self-discovery, of making good and bad choices and finally coming to see that no matter what you do to the outside, it is of course, what is inside that defines you. This is something that currently too many people forget.
There is romance, several in fact, which are in turns frustrating and beautiful.  The author has a wonderful way with metaphor’s and descriptions that make you feel as if you are in the city yourself; that you are the one living  in Cassies shoes. Living her life.
This was a beautiful story of growth and will bring tears to your eyes as well as laughter to your lips and hope to your heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake)

Crouching Tiger, Forbidden Vampire (Love at Stake) by Kerrelyn Sparks (Dec 30, 2014)


Kindle Edition Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on December 30, 2014.  

Mass Market Paperback Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on December 30, 2014.

Book Description
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
New York Times bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks delivers the exciting conclusion in the Love at Stake series, where a Marine-turned-vampire finds love with the shifter princess forbidden to him . . .
Russell wakes from a coma to find he's become a vampire. Now he has a thirst for revenge. Determined to hunt down the master vampire who turned him, he's used to working alone . . . until he meets Jia. She is after the same vampire for murdering her parents and insists she can help Russell on this mission. Reluctantly, he agrees, and sets up some ground rules:
Rule #1: Their partnership is strictly business. If he holds her a little too close . . . if she looks at him with those exotic eyes . . . well, that has to stop.
Rule #2: He's in charge. Jia isn't used to taking orders and questions every move he makes. So he stops her the only way he knows how.
Rule #3: Don't fall in love. But the kiss that was supposed to quiet her awakens something else in him . . . something forbidden. Because Jia is engaged. To someone else.

After all these years, it is finally time to bid this series adieu. I have followed this series from the beginning although not religiously. I have a difficult time with series that start with one couple starring in several books and then each subsequent book stars a new couple.  I never really get the feel for the later romances and the main story line of seeing the end put to great evil, seems to fall to the wayside.

 Many fans of this series are going to be - either greatly upset at the way this book plays out or very happy with the ending and the fact that somewhere down the road there may be more written later about these characters.  My guess would be that there would be some novellas interspersed between books in the authors’ new series.

 This book follows the romance/speculative fiction formulas perfectly. We start with the foiled attempt at the enemy, followed by many self-recriminations on the part of the hero and heroine.  We then neatly segue into the building of the romance and the heroine Jia acting as if she were a small child. (I didn’t like the fact that the author made the heroine seem so utterly immature and naïve even though she is only 21).  However, we soon get to the meat of the story, although and of course, not without many setbacks and deaths and one very, very large and unpleasant surprise!

And true to the formula, Russell soon overcomes his 42 years (39 of them in a vampire coma and three on the hunt for Master Han) of pain and misery with the love (and hot sex) of a good woman!

The style of writing is not totally my cup of tea anymore, but it is a fun read nonetheless.