Tag Archives: Love stories

Midnight Rising, by Lara Adrian

17 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: December 1, 2010 (first published March 25, 2008)
Publisher: Robinson
Back cover blurb:
In a world of shadows and consuming passions, desire is the deadliest weapon…
Fuelled by pain and rage over a shattering betrayal, the warrior Rio has pledged his life to the war against the Rogues. He will let nothing stand in his way – least of all a mortal woman who carries a secret power. But now an ancient evil has been awakened and a new darkness is on the rise.
For journalist Dylan Alexander, it began in Prague, where suddenly she is at the centre of a gathering storm of violence and secrets. But nothing is as dangerous as the scarred, lethally seductive man who appears from the shadows to plunge her into his world of dark desire and endless night. Very soon Dylan will have to choose: leave Rio’s midnight realm, or risk everything for the man who has shown her infinite pleasures of the heart…
My review:
Another great offering from Ms Adrian. Very similar formula to the other books in the series, but this time we have the tortured Rio finding his proper soulmate after the betrayal of his first wife. I liked the idea of a second chance at love, and Dylan was a fabulous heroine. The introduction of a new villain was great, and of course I will be reading the next in the series.
My rating: 4/5

Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

6 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: April 14, 2011
Publisher: Orion
Back cover blurb:
It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.
At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail – and also, I think I love you’.
After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.
Heartwarming, witty and unforgettable, ATTACHMENTS is an irresistible romantic comedy that has it all.
My review:
Some of my favourite stories are those where people fall in love via letters, where their words mean everything and they gradually reveal their personalities and feelings without taking any notice of physical appearances. So when I saw the blurb for this book I knew it was for me, and add in the newsroom setting and I was hooked.

Firstly, I must say I have worked in newsrooms with plenty of skeevy IT guys before, so it sent a shudder down my spine to find out Lincoln’s job involved reading intraoffice e-mails. However, he turns out to be a lovely, geeky guy working lonely nightshifts who becomes somewhat addicted to the correspondence between movie reviewer Beth and copy editor Jennifer which gets flagged by the office software for containing inappropriate words. In fact they are just discussing their lives – their partners, Beth’s sister’s wedding, Jennifer’s suspected pregnancy – and Lincoln decides not to reprimand them. Instead he keeps reading, and over several months comes to fall in love with Beth. Without ever having seen her.

Meanwhile, she has seen him, although she doesn’t know his name or what he does at the newspaper. When she tells Jennifer about the cute guy, and Lincoln eventually realises she’s writing about him, he dares to hope… *sigh*

I loved the way Lincoln came out of his shell as the book progressed. He made friends on nightshift, joined a gym, and all the while I was rooting for him to pluck up the courage to talk to Beth. There is tragedy, many laugh-out-loud moments, lots of pop culture references, and journalism in-jokes. Rowell is a reporter, so she gets all the newsroom eccentricities spot on and I recognised many of the colourful secondary characters from my own experiences. I also laughed out loud reminiscing at the Y2K subplot; like many I know, the newspaper was reluctant to change to computers and allegedly only got rid of its electric typewriters in 1992. At the newsroom I worked in in 1992, we only just got electric typewriters that year!

I loved this book. It’s so me I wish I had written it.

My rating: 5/5

Fire Me Up, by Katie MacAlister

22 Aug

Format: Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published: May 3, 2005
Publisher: Penguin Group
Back cover blurb:
Being quite the novice Guardian/Keeper of the Gates to Hell, I decided to get in touch with my otherworldly self by attending a convention of supernatural beings in Budapest. For my other career as a courier (with a somewhat tarnished reputation), I have to deliver a priceless amulet to a hermit, much to the amusement of Jim, my wise-cracking fury Newfoundland demon. He should be happy that I was able to squeak through customs with a talking dog…

And guess who just happens to be staying at the same hotel as I am? Drake. You remember him. The Wyvern of the Green Dragons? My so-called “mate?” The man who literally fires me up, and makes me act like a love-struck schoolgirl? That Drake.

Meanwhile, mortal men are falling at my feet. I don’t know if it’s the Hungarian air or what, but it’s downright embarrassing. All I want to do is find a Guardian mentor to help me control my powers. Should be easy—except that every Guardian I meet with winds up dead. I’m starting to get a complex…

My review:
Such a fun read, and just as good as the first book in the series.

Aisling, her demon dog Jim and – oddly enough – Rene the French taxi driver are in Budapest for an Otherworld conference, where Ash hopes she will find a Guardian mentor. However, nothing is ever as simple as it could be, and along the way she runs into her dragon lover Drake and gets embroiled in the murder mystery involving an amulet, a hermit, a professional virgin and a whole heap of naked incubi.

Of course, the scenes with Drake were a highlight. They certainly lit each other’s fires! *fans self* I laughed, I squirmed, I gripped the edge of my Kindle, and by the end I felt a little bit sad, but I could not put it down! I think I’ll be reading the next one in the series sooner rather than later. Great stuff.

My rating: 5/5

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness

22 Aug

Format: Kindle Edition, 608 pages

Published: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Headline

 

Back cover blurb:

An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance. When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

 

My review:

Probably one of my favourite books of the year. Complex, smart, beautifully writen, full of UST and surprises, and Matthew Clairmont can climb in my window any night!

It has everything: witches, vampires, demons, time travel, Oxford, old manuscripts, historical figures, plots and violence, and quite a bit of humour. I mean, vampires doing yoga? And the fact one of the demons was Australian had me smiling, too. I love the red cover – probably more than the blue one of the hardback – and cannot wait until next year for the sequel. I have a sneaking suspicion who the third witch on the Congregation is and I need to find out if I’m right!

 

My rating: 5/5

Rock Hard, by Olivia Cunning

22 Aug

Format: Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published: February 14, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Back cover blurb:

Erotic romance is one of the bestselling subgenres in the romance category. Olivia Cunning delivers the perfect blend of steamy sex, heartwarming romance, and a wicked sense of humor.

This second in the Sinners on Tour series features lead singer Sedric Lionheart who became a playboy after his fiancee, Jessica, broke his heart. Forced on a summer tour together for two entire months, but stubbornly desperate to stay apart, they find a million steamy reasons why they had that lovin’ feeling in the first place.

 

My review:

About a third of the way through this book, I renamed Jessica Chase in my mind as Jessica Chafes. Surely no women could handle the amount of battering her bits received in this book!

Maybe it was because I read this too soon after the first book, or maybe it was just that I didn’t like Jessica very much, but I didn’t enjoy this as much as Backstage Pass. Yes, there was a bit more plot in this sequel, but I found the two main characters’ mood swings annoying and there wasn’t enough Brian or Eric for my liking. There was some Trey – my favourite band member – but I found myself more intrigued by his brother, Dare. I hope Cunning writes more for him in the future books.

I was also amazed that it took until Chapter 28 of the second book in the series before any mention was made of the band having a manager, some dude named Jerry. Shouldn’t he be on tour with them? He and their publicity person should certainly have made appearances when Brian in the first book and the boys in this sequel got injured and had to cancel concerts. Where were the press conferences? Nah, that just didn’t ring true.

However, I did enjoy the sweet ending, probably because of the hilarious bet, and I’ll be reading the other books in the series because I love Trey and Eric, and Jace is such an enigma. As long as they keep Jessica to a minimum.

 

My rating: 3/5

Backstage Pass, by Olivia Cunning

22 Aug

Format: Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Back cover blurb:
The first in a new erotic romance series, Backstage Pass is a sizzling mix of sex, love, and rock n’ roll It’s been months since Brian Sinclair, lead guitarist for the famous rock band, Sinners, composed anything. Unable to write the music that once flowed so naturally, Brian is lost without his musical mojo. But when sexy psychology professor Myrna Evans comes on tour to study groupie mentality, Brian may have found the spark he needs to reignite his musical genius. When lust turns to love, will Brian be able to convince Myrna that what they have is more than just a fling, and that now that he’s found his heart’s muse, he doesn’t want to live without her?
My review:
Crikey, that was hot! Although, half the time I wasn’t sure if I was turned on or squicked out by the questionable hygiene!

The whole subject matter of a big rock band on the road fascinates me, since it wasn’t anything I could get near when I was a teen fangirl (big bands never came to New Zealand and if they did, they only played Auckland – too far away). Having read this a couple of days after reading some hilarious tweets from a rock star, and knowing what I do now about the debauchery of some of my favourite bands growing up, I suspect this is more non-fiction than fiction! But, whew, it was steamy.

Note to self: Don’t read books which make me blush during school holidays.
Amendment to note to self: Ignore note to self until after I finish the next book in the series!

My rating: 4/5

Connected, by Kathryn Gayle

2 Aug

Format: Kindle Edition
Published: July 27, 2011
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Back cover blurb:
The last thing Delilah Preston wanted to do was be a hero, but her conscience wouldn’t let her walk away, and now she’s caught up in an FBI investigation and the media spotlight. The problem? She’s not who she claims to be. Special Agent Dominic Santiago discovers her true identity and realizes she’s his ticket to taking down major Underworld crime boss Cap Grimaldi. But Cap is not about to go quietly and devises a plan to not only get his revenge on the Agent, but also get back his errant wife…dead or alive.
My review:
This debut novel reads like a screenplay, and I could totally see it as a Hollywood blockbuster with someone really hunky playing Agent Nick Santiago. Rawr!

There’s action from the first page as Dee bumps into – almost literally – a hitman who used to work for her Mob boss husband. To prevent him from asassinating a senator, Dee must use her martial arts training, and in doing so becomes embroiled in more than she bargained for. She left Cap Grimaldi years before after witnessing the murder of her sister-in-law, and took some of his ill-gotten gains to set herself and her mother up in a new life. Appearing on the news as the senator’s good samaritan alerts Cap that she is still alive, and thus ensues a game of cat and mouse with Cap hunting for Dee and Agent Santiago as they run across the country. To complicate matters further, along the way Nick and Dee fall in love.

There are plenty of twists and turns to satisfy any thriller enthusiast, and the romances (there are more than one!) are nicely done. I was a little annoyed with Dee’s attitude near the end, but thankfully the HEA arrived as expected.

My rating: 4/5

Update: The Bronze Horseman film

2 Aug

So, things aren’t sounding too good about the likelihood of a movie version of The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons, as we reported here last year.

Ms. Simons has posted this on her blog:

Dear Friends,

And now for some news about the film option of The Bronze Horseman. Things have not worked out quite as I hoped, but that’s only because I can’t see the future and don’t know what’s still ahead. 

At the moment, though, the 18-month option with Andy Tennant’s production company has unfortunately come to an end. After months of no activity at all, we tried to extend the option at deadline time (plus 30 days grace), but we could not resolve the most important issue, and that is whose script to use, mine or Ross’s. I strongly felt and continue to feel that Ross’s vision for the story and adaptation of the book were diametrically opposed to my own. So reluctantly we parted ways, and the rights to the book have reverted back to me. The difference between 2009 and now is that now I have a finished script. Which means that we can now seek and find someone else who gets the story, loves the characters, and perhaps can put his/her passion behind the project to get the film off the ground, so to speak, and onto the big screen, but this time with my script as a condition of development.

I know you are disappointed by this and let down, as you can imagine I am, but don’t be disheartened. Because I remain hopeful and optimistic that great things are just around the corner for our two crazy kids. We have a couple of intriguing prospects we are working on and I will keep you posted as soon as I know something more concrete. In the meantime, you know that Tania and Shura live on inside my heart, especially these days, as I immerse myself in the young doomed life of the two people who once loved each other and who made Alexander.

IMDB still has it listed in the development stage and scheduled for release in 2012, but obviously that’s unlikely now. It had been an interesting proposal with Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama, Hitch, The Bounty Hunter) directing.

As we said before, Henry Cavill (The Tudors) has a lot of support for the role of Alexander Barrington Belov, but is busy at the moment being Superman. I’ve also seen people suggesting Joe Manganiello (True Blood) – he seems too old to me – and, of course, the Facebook page is still up in support of my pick, Robert Pattinson, here. 

Remember, whoever plays Alexander has to live up to this quote: “He was more beautiful than that morning sun.”

For my Tatiana, I’ve been thinking maybe Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland)?

And so we must wait and hope. Keep track of developments with me on IMDB and on Paullina Simons’ website.

Kiss of Crimson, by Lara Adrian

19 Jul

Format: Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published: December 1, 2010 (first published May 29, 2007)
Publisher: Robinson
Back cover blurb:
With one reckless, irresistible kiss, Dante binds Tess to himself for eternity.

He comes to her more dead than alive, a huge black-clad stranger mortally wounded and rapidly losing blood. As she struggles to save him, vet Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling himself Dante is no man at all but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle. But in a single erotically-charged moment Tess is plunged into his world – a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swathe of terror.Haunted by visions of a dark future, Dante lives and fights like there is no tomorrow. Tess is a complication he does not need – and yet his touch has awakened in her hidden gifts and desires and a hunger she never knew she possessed – and bonded by blood, Dante and Tess must work together to overcome the deadliest of enemies.

My review:
I loved this much more than Lucan’s story, so I’m gonna give it five cupcakes. Dante was just yummy, and I loved Tess and the dog… actually, I’m a bit worried about the dog. It wasn’t seen again after Tess ran into Rio in the infirmary, was it? LOL, I hope he didn’t eat him!

The plot involving Crimson and the drugged-up Darkhaven vampires was nicely done, with great suspense and likeable secondary characters in Chase and Elise. I see the next book features Elise and Tegan, who had a lovely moment in this book to set that all up. I’m really keen to see how she unfreezes the scary warrior ;)

I thought Lucan’s book was very like the BDB, and this had its moments too, but while Dante and Tess reminded me of Vishous and Jane (the visions/her medical occupation) they were sufficiently different for me to not keep thinking this was a JR Ward ripoff. I also love the cover – that colour is gorgeous. I’ll definitely be reading book 3 soon.

My rating: 5/5

The Darkness of Perfection, by Michael Schneider

19 Jul

Format: Kindle Edition
Published: June 28, 2011
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House
Back cover blurb:
He desired perfection. She already was perfect. Can two people build a love forged in the fires of hell?

Nicholas comes from a world of darkness where women are no better than slaves. He believes the secret to true happiness is for his wife to be molded to perfection. He had the promise of perfection in the bright eyes and innocent smile of a childhood friend long since lost to his world. He never gave up his dreams of their perfect life together. An accidental meeting brings him face to face with his dream.

Will he realize that true happiness can only be found in the beauty of imperfection before it’s too
late?

Jayden escaped from a life of terror and found security in her new home. Given a loving home
and raised with all the normal expectations of college, career, love and happiness her memories
of her earlier life fade into darkness.

An accident draws the attention of those who never gave up searching for her, determined to
fulfill a contract not of her making. Jayden is taken from her perfect life and thrust back into a
past she’d long forgotten. Broken of spirit, she is given to Nicholas to be his bride.

Jayden is desperate to find the light before she is lost to the darkness of perfection.

My review:
Loving the enemy has never felt as right as it does in Michael Schneider’s sophomore novel, The Darkness of Perfection, a gripping tale of one young woman’s struggle against a powerful criminal family who see her as nothing more than one of their chattels.

Jayden White has lived her life in fear – of the man who “bought” her from her father and of the possibility that one day he will find her again – but just when she thinks her future looks bright, she is violently drawn back into that world by the one person she thought was her friend.

Schneider writes from both Jayden and Nick’s points of view, giving the reader a greater insight into the true motivations of her characters. We see Nick as a boy, caring so tenderly for his five-year-old wife-to-be and feeling those same feelings as an adult, although his warped upbringing makes him conflicted about admitting them to her out loud.

It feels so wrong to be rooting for a bad guy who condones kidnapping and sexual enslavement, but by the end of this book you will undoubtedly be a little bit in love with Nicholas Harrison. I certainly was!

The last few chapters carry you along on an emotional rollercoaster to a truly surprising conclusion. Schneider has produced a complex, fast-paced, sexy thriller which will leave you begging for more. Definitely a five-star read.

My rating: 5/5
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