Tag Archives: Love stories

Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins

11 Feb

Format: Kindle edition, 229 pages
Published: December 2011 (first published December 2nd 2010)
Publisher: Penguin Group
Back cover blurb:
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she’s less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

My review:
I really loved it and couldn’t put it down… until maybe the last 20 percent and the business with Dave. By that stage I was just screaming (internally) at Anna to wake up and smell the croissants. Etienne was too swoonworthy for her to even contemplate anyone else. I mean, honestly, cute French-American boy with a British accent and amazing hair – ’nuff said.

He made the book for me (quelle surprise!) but a large part of the appeal was also the snappy, witty writing which felt very realistic. I loved the secondary characters, and felt very sorry for Meredith but was so glad with her ending. Paris is also a huge character in the story, and how I wish I could go there and do all the things Anna did with her friends.

A great debut novel, and I look forward to reading Lola and the Boy Next Door. I hope he’s as cute as St. Clair ;)

My rating: 4.5/5

“Guernsey” to be made into a movie, Branagh and Winslet onboard

3 Feb

One of my favourite books of all time, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is being made into a film directed by Kenneth Branagh!

I am soooo excited about this project, and became even more so when I read recently that Kate Winslet had signed on to play Juliet. Empireonline.com had this to say:

“Since deciding not to return for superhero sequel Thor 2, Kenneth Branagh has been mulling over at least two potential projects: novel adaptation The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society and romantic drama Italian Shoes. It looks like he’s pushing ahead first with Pie Society, grabbing Kate Winslet for the female lead.

Adapted by The Opposite Of Sex writer/director Don Roos from Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer’s book, the film will see Winslet play writer Juliet Ashton, who wrote magazine columns during World War II. In the aftermath of the conflict, she’s contacted by Channel Islander Dawsey Adams, who tells her the intriguing tale of the book society formed to help undercut the Nazi presence on Guernsey. Ashton decides to investigate, and romance blossoms…

It’ll be a reunion for the director and star, as Winslet played Ophelia in Branagh’s Hamlet, which he starred in and directed back in 1996. This time around, Branagh will most likely stick behind the camera. He’s in pre-production now and aims to kick off shooting in March.”

One of the most fabulous things about the book was that it was entirely made up of letters to and from Juliet. I’m hoping they keep them as a theme, but I guess the need for more visuals may push them into the background. I have confidence in Ken and Kate, though, to give us a beautiful film with amazing performances.

Who should be cast as Dawsey? I’ll be watching IMDB closely HERE for casting news.

The movie is due for release next year.

Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James

25 Jan

Format: ebook

Published: January 19, 2012

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present.

Just when it seems that together their love can conquer any obstacle, misfortune, malice and fate combine to make Ana’s worst nightmares come true. Alone and desperate, she must face down the poisoned legacy of Christian’s past.

Seductive, shocking, sad and funny, Fifty Shades Freed is the compelling final volume in the Fifty Shades trilogy.

My review:

I’m really going to miss Fifty and Ana. Especially Fifty. *sigh*

The third book in the trilogy is a rollercoaster ride, from the highs of a wedding and honeymoon, to the lows of jealousy, mistrust and betrayal. There is some serious heartfail when Christian believes Ana has done the unthinkable, but I don’t want to spoil anything here. Suffice to say there is a happy ending, and it’s amazing to see how much Ana and Christian have grown by the end.

James also treats readers to some added extras in this edition: the beginning of the story, when Ana first came to interview Christian and his subsequent meeting with her at the sporting goods store, told from Fifty’s point of view. Being in his head for just a few pages is wonderful and gives us a great insight into that first fateful meeting. I loved it!

This trilogy is sexy, smart and very addictive, and the third installment rounds it off nicely. I have found myself blushing in the supermarket when the sound system has played “Nothing Sweet About Me”, and it’s all E.L. James’s fault. She is certainly an author to watch, and if the rumoured movie deal ever comes to fruition, I know who would make a perfect Fifty. Anyone else would be a hard limit ;)

My rating: 5/5

24 Jan

mrsaubergine:

My casting choice: Michael Fassbender for Matthew – unf!

Originally posted on The Book Hookup:

One of our much-loved books here at The Book Hook-up,  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, was optioned last summer by Warner Bros and now it’s one step closer to the big screen. 

Playwright David Auburn has been tapped to penA Discovery of Witches, Warner Bros.’s adaptation of the supernatural fantasy novel by history professor Deborah Harkness.

Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan are producing.

Published by Viking Adult in February 2011, the book centered on a scholarly woman who is a direct descendant of the first woman executed at the Salem Witch Trials that accidentally discovers a long-lost manuscript that may contain the secret of immortality. She is thrust into a position where she and a 1,500 year old vampire must stop an inter-species war between witches and vampires.

Warners picked up the book, part of a planned trilogy, last July as it…

View original 111 more words

Nocturne, by Syrie James

18 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Back cover blurb:
When Nicole Walker runs off the road in a blinding snowstorm after attending a friend’s wedding at a Colorado ski resort, she wakes up to find herself stranded at the remote mountain house of a handsome, enigmatic stranger. She lives and works in a fast-paced, high tech world; he is cultured and modern yet lives a quiet life in self-imposed exile. They are both powerfully attracted to each other, but there are things about him that mystify her and fill her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he really doesn’t want her there.

She soon discovers that he’s a famous, reclusive author, renowned for his highly detailed and authentic historical fiction, and fiercely protective of his privacy. No wonder he was so reluctant to take her in, Nicole thinks. But he hides a far darker secret. As the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up.

When Nicole realizes that her host is an ages-old vampire who thirsts for her blood, there’s nowhere for her to run but the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life. By now there is no turning back; they have both fallen deeply in love, and share several passionate days together while waiting out the storm—a deep, meaningful, and dangerously seductive experience that will change them both forever.

My review:
A simple story beautifully told. With only two characters and one setting, James paints a vivid picture and one can’t help falling a little bit in love with tortured soul Michael, a reclusive historical fiction author, musicbox maker and horseman who just happens to also be a vampire. The ending was a surprise – I may have even welled up – but was a realistic conclusion to the story. Not that I believe that is the end of their tale.

The cover art is also as beautiful as the prose.

My rating: 4/5

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

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writer, Teacher, Pop Culture Nerd.

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