Tag Archives: Love stories

Lone Star, by Paullina Simons

3 Apr

lonestarFormat: e-book, 576 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

Published: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 9780732294908

Genre: Women’s fiction

Back cover blurb: From the author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman comes an epic new romantic saga – heart-wrenching and passionate, this compelling story of love lost and found will stay with you forever …

Falling in love was the easy part …
Chloe is weeks away from college when she embarks on a grand European adventure with her boyfriend and two best friends. Their destination is Barcelona, with its promise of romance and mystery, but first they must detour through the historic cities of Eastern Europe to settle an old family debt.

As they traverse the unfamiliar landscape of the post-Communist world, Chloe meets a boy on a train who is going off to war. Johnny carries a guitar, an easy smile – and a lifetime of secrets.
The trip becomes a treacherous journey into Europe’s and Johnny’s darkest past – a journey that threatens to shatter the bonds holding together four lifelong friends.

From Riga to Treblinka to Trieste, Chloe must face her deepest desires colliding with the future she thought she wanted.

For Chloe and Johnny only one thing is certain: whatever their destination, their lives will never be the same.

My review: The Bronze Horseman is one of my favourite books of all time, so it’s hard not to compare Ms Simons’ other works against it. This got off to a slow start for me – it’s 20 percent in before the teens go off on the European journey in the back cover blurb – but once they get to Latvia, and once Johnny Rainbow comes into the picture, the story really kicks up a notch and I became invested.

The story is set a decade ago, before every young person had a smartphone in their eyeline at all times, so when things start to go wrong in Europe, as backpacking holidays inevitably do, they have little alternative but to rely on their own limited resources to carry on. I enjoyed the switching POVs and the way Simons captured the self-absorption of youth. The twists were well telegraphed and came as no real surprise, but I applaud the way she showed us rather than told us. That’s how I fell in love with Blake.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, but there is a link to this story and that of Tatiana and Alexander. That link kept me reading even when the subject matter got heavier, and the finale is just lovely. The only thing missing for me is that I would have liked to have seen what Moody thought of their adventures once the teens returned to Maine.

While not as wonderful and epic as The Bronze Horseman, this is one of Paullina Simons’ best works and I would highly recommend it.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

4cupcakes

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Sea of Stars, by Amy A. Bartol (Kricket, book 2)

26 Mar

seaofstars

Format: Kindle Edition, 291 pages

Publisher: 47North

To be published: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 9781477828236

Genre: Fiction, science fiction/fantasy

Back cover blurb: Eighteen-year-old Kricket Hollowell was looking for her place in the world when she discovered that the universe was bigger—and more dangerous—than she had ever dreamed. Now, whisked across space to the planet Ethar, Kricket learns that her genetic ability to see the future makes her a sought-after commodity…and the catalyst for war between her star-crossed parents’ clans. According to Alameedan prophecy, one house will rise to power and the other will be completely wiped out, and Kricket’s precognition is believed to be the weapon that will tip the scales.

A target of both the Rafe and the Alameeda houses, Kricket finds protection—and a home—in the arms of Trey, her Etharian bodyguard-turned-boyfriend. But her visions of what’s to come disturb her deeply, especially since she must discover whether the gift of foresight will allow her to rewrite the future, or if her fate is as immovable as the stars.

My review: I practically inhaled this book! Sometimes second books in a series feel like placeholders, just marking time until the third and final installment, but not this one. Sea of Stars is just as gripping as Under Different Stars, with the action from the first book flowing straight into the second and never stopping for an instant.

Kricket comes into her own more as she finds herself separated from Trey and her other bodyguards and forced to contend not only with Kyon but also a new foe, Comantre baddie Giffen. Her ability to see the future comes in very handy, and there are some shocking revelations which have left me panting for the next book.

My favourite parts, though, were when Kricket and Trey were together. Their relationship develops considerably once they are reunited, and while the first book felt more like YA, this one is certainly more grown-up *fans self*. The secondary characters are again a joy, and there are some new ones I hope we see again.

Book 3, Darken the Stars, is due out later this year and I, for one, cannot wait! You must read this series!

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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Dirty Rowdy Thing, by Christina Lauren (Wild Seasons, book 2)

25 Mar

dirtyrowdy

Format: e-book, 352 pages

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: November 4, 2014

ISBN: 9781476777979

Back cover blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Bastard, Beautiful Stranger, and Beautiful Player, Book Two of the brand-new Wild Seasons series that started with Sweet Filthy Boy—a story of friends, love, and lust.

Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other…which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman—or just what he needs.

My review: This was so very good. Finn is just delicious, and Harlow is his perfect foil. I liked how strong she was, even in the face of some pretty awful circumstances, and their teasing banter was brilliant. Even the drama wasn’t too angsty and is over and done with pretty swiftly. There are a LOT of smexy times, and they are H.O.T. Finn might even beat out Max and Will for my favourite book boyfriend from these authors.

The secondary characters are a delight – I loved the addition of Not-Joe into their circle of friends, and even Ansel seemed much nicer this book than I remember him from his own book. I have a few issues with the way Lo and Christina are writing Australian Oliver, and I really hope they don’t make him a horrible caricature in his own book. I’m looking forward to reading it, but dread they’ll get the slang all wrong.

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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Hard To Come By, by Laura Kaye (Hard Ink, book 3)

19 Mar

hardtocomebyFormat: Kindle edition, 384 pages

Published: November 25, 2014

Publisher: Avon

ASIN: B00IRCO4G4

Back cover blurb: Caught between desire and loyalty…

Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.

When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he’s become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.

As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…

My review: Better than the last two books, but not quite as good as the first, in my opinion. I’ve always liked Marz’s easy humour, and Emilie is a great match for him. She’s not a victim, and I liked that there were no great histrionics in their relationship. The suspense plot continues to develop with some major events, and once again Jeremy is a star. I did miss Eileen the three-legged dog, though. Looking forward to Jeremy and Charlie’s book next – Hard to Be Good, due out on April 7.

My rating: 4/5

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(N.B: Amazon currently has this book on sale for 99c.)

Shades of Midnight, by Lara Adrian (Midnight Breed, book 7)

17 Mar

shades of midnightFormat: Kindle edition, 420 pages

Published: December 1, 2010

Publisher: Robinson Publishing

ISBN: 1849012822

Back cover blurb: Her sanctuary has become her blackest nightmare…

Life is tough in the Alaskan tundra but lately something wholly inhuman has let itself loose on the territory, leaving a wake of unspeakable carnage.

For bush pilot Alex MacGuire the wreckage is especially chilling – Alaska is the place she fled to after her mother and brother were brutally murdered in Florida.When the Midnight Breed is alerted to this slaughter, they send Kade to quell the danger and ensure Alex does not learn the truth behind the attacks.

And soon Alex will be tested by the threat of otherworldly evil, and by her unexpected desire for Kade, a man she should fear but who has become her seductive guide into an erotic realm of blood and darkness.

My review: Another great read from Ms Adrian. I really enjoyed the plot, which was fast-moving, and the new Alaskan location made a nice change. Kade and Alex were a good match — he was a typically hot warrior with a troubled family background and she was plucky and strong. I even felt a little sympathy for the Ancient! There’s an intriguing twist at the end to set up the next book, and I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

My rating: 4/5

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More Bronze Horseman movie news

15 Mar

Apologies to all for my prolonged absence. Life has been exceedingly busy, but I did manage to catch this on Paullina Simon’s website this week. So very exciting! I think Alex would be a great Shura, but who would play his Tatiana?

My devoted readers and friends,

I’m thrilled to tell you that our mutual dream of seeing The Bronze Horseman on the big screen is one step closer to reality.

ITA Productions, a British company, has optioned the rights to my book. The producer, Martyn Hall, and the director, Sash Andranikian, love Tatiana and Alexander, and want nothing more than to make it into an emotional visual spectacle of a film. Sash, from a long line of animators and movie-makers, is Russian-American like me. He has read all three TBH books, and tells me that he loves them all. Martyn says The Bronze Horseman is the only book that has made him cry. They are looking to go into pre-production by the end of 2013, and to begin shooting early in 2014. So perhaps by the end of 2014, with a healthy dose of luck, we might have our movie.

We are going to be working from a script I wrote, which is fantastic, though it does mean that I have to rewrite it, which inevitably means I have to cut it. As you all know from my books, brevity is hardly my strong suit. My editing process always results in my books becoming twenty percent longer, not thirty percent shorter, which is what Martyn would like.

The good news is, the producers are promising that I will be on set to revise and add scenes as needed during filming, so at least we are going to have participation and some small measure of control in the creation of this magical thing called The Bronze Horseman, a movie.

I welcome your comments, questions, concerns, and of course, casting suggestions.

No, the film will not be in Russian. (Like the book wasn’t!)

What do you think of Alex Pettyfer as Alexander?

My very best,

Paullina.

 

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, by Kresley Cole

7 Dec

Format: Paperback, 359 pages

Published: First published October 30, 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Back cover blurb: Her breathless kiss haunts him… Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed — until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

His slow, hot touch is irresistible…

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

No deed is too wicked for her seduction…

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul — or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

My review: Oh, Bowen! What a scrumptious beast you are! You may be my new favourite IAD man… it’s a tough choice between you and Bastian. This story had me frustrated and then hot, and frustrated some more, and then surprised – the whole gamut of emotions, which is great in a book. I couldn’t put it down, and that ending was quite a finale. Mariketa was another kickass heroine I loved, and I also enjoyed the introduction of the new demon characters who I see will get their own stories later in the series.

I’ve said before I love the new covers, but here is my only gripe: the dude on this one doesn’t look anything like a Lykae. In fact, the guy on the previous book did, so maybe they got them mixed up and this is meant to be Bastian? He looks more vamp than were to me. Not a big problem, though. This is still a winner.

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

A Political Affair, by Mary Whitney

19 Oct

 

Format: ebook, 284 pages

Published: October 18, 2012

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee House Publishing House

Back cover blurb: Stephen McEvoy never expected to fill his father’s U.S. Senate seat at such a young age—or to fight to keep it. When clever Anne Norwood interns in his office, Stephen dismisses her as another pretty face—until her independent streak catches his attention. They’re both too smart to fall for one another, yet they do. During a tough election, their relationship is an impossible political gamble. Campaigns—like love—are either won or lost.

My review: I have a soft spot for political love stories, so I was really excited to read this. Yes, it’s the old story of a politician falling for his intern, but the way Mary Whitney has told the tale means it comes across as far from cliched.

Stephen McEvoy, heir to his family’s political dynasty, has been a player in the past, but when Anne Norwood becomes an intern in his office he fights his attraction to her, not in the least because her family comes from the opposite side of the political spectrum to him. Once they can no longer deny their feelings, their relationship must be “managed”, and that’s where the excellent secondary characters come in. I loved Stephen and Anne, but his family and old friends were lots of fun, and the rival politicians were suitably villainous. The behaviour of Helen, in particular, made me wonder what really goes on up on Capitol Hill!

This is a great read, which I would highly recommend. I must also say it is a beautiful cover. I’m looking forward to more from Ms. Whitney :)

My rating: 5/5

1 Aug

Fantastic news for SR :)

Bookish Temptations

Hello peeps…this has been a couple of exciting days for all of us who love my favorite author, Sylvain Reynard.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Gabriel’s Inferno was #35 on the NYT e-book/fiction best sellers list. Today brought even more exciting news!

Below you’ll find a reprint of the press release from this morning…all I can keep saying over and over is WoW!

View original post 757 more words

Behind Closed Doors, by Sherri Hayes

30 May

Format: ebook
Published: January 19, 2012
Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop
Back cover blurb:
Elizabeth Marshall spent the last nine years doing all the things she was supposed to do. She went to a good college. Married a man with a promising future. Elizabeth even had a nice house in a respectable part of town. There was even the promise of 2.4 kids in her future. From the outside everything looked picture perfect.

Then one night, the world she lived in came crashing down. Six months later with her husband dead and her friends gone, Elizabeth moves to the small town of Springfield, Ohio to start a new life where no one knows who she is or about her past.

Christopher Daniels enjoys the simplicity of his bachelor life. After his divorce three years ago, he swore off women. He has no desire to change that philosophy.

When Elizabeth Marshall moves into the apartment below his in the small Victorian house, she makes him reconsider the motto he’s lived by for the last three years: women are trouble. She is everything his ex-wife is not, and it doesn’t help that she is his wet dream come to life.

He is determined to resist her charms; however, when someone sends threatening messages to Elizabeth, he finds himself in the role of protector. Can he protect Elizabeth and still resist the pull she has on his body and his heart?

My review:
I read this in about two sittings and really enjoyed it, even though it was obvious to me who the baddie was very early on. Hayes has a way of writing which makes her stories easy to read, despite a few errors, and I really loved all the characters, especially Chris and his brothers. I’m thrilled to see this is going to be a series about them, with Gage the football player next – yum!
My rating: 4/5
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writer, Teacher, Pop Culture Nerd.

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