Tag Archives: romance

If The Dress Fits, by Daisy James

13 Nov

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Format: e-ARC, 384 pages

Publisher: Carina UK

Published: 12 May 2016

ISBN: 9781474049580

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: She might be the most famous person in the country, but no one even knows her name…

Callie’s exquisite, glittering silk gown has been shortlisted for the celebrity wedding of the year. But just as all her dreams are coming true, disaster strikes!

Leaving behind the bright lights of London, Callie is forced to return home to sleepy Althorpe. And there’s one man she hopes to avoid – the childhood sweetheart who turned her life upside down. But now she’s back, is it finally time to stop running?

Yet, as Callie faces her past, a Cinderella-like hunt begins for that perfect, pearl-embroidered dress, mysteriously submitted without a name…

My review: The cover drew me in, and I was looking forward to a fun, easy read, especially since there was a wool shop involved, but I didn’t really connect with the characters – and there were so many of them! Callie was a true Mary Sue and her behaviour toward Theo was hugely over the top considering his supposed indiscretion. This is my second Daisy James book, and I was lukewarm about the other one also. Sadly, this may be the last I read of this author.

***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: 3/5

 

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A Lie for a Lie (All In, book 1), by Helena Hunting

15 Oct

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Format: e-ARC, 285 pages

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Published: 15 October 2019

ISBN: 9781542015356

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

Back cover blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series comes a romantic comedy about instant attraction, second chances, and not-so-little white lies.

My review: I didn’t think much of Rookie in the Pucked series, particularly in Lance’s book, but I immediately changed my view after only a few pages of Helena Hunting’s latest book and first in a new spinoff series. He was a wonderful hero and had obviously matured in the intervening period. Lainey was a good heroine but I couldn’t help feeling her lie was much bigger than his, tipping the balance in his favour for my sympathies. Thankfully, there was no contrived external conflict to break these two up in the latter part of the story. However, as other reviewers have stated, this book is not exactly what the blurb describes, and if you don’t like the trope – and I’m not a fan – you may feel blindsided. Still, I couldn’t put this down and will definitely be reading the rest of the 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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It Started With a Tweet, by Anna Bell

3 Sep

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Format: e-ARC, 416 pages

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Published: 28 December 2017

ISBN: 9781785763694

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: Could YOU survive a digital detox? 

My review: Started off hilariously and ended with quite a serious message about how we are all losing personal connections because of our smartphone addictions. It was easy to relate to Daisy as she made her massive faux pas and was then bustled off to the country by her sister for a digital detox. The characters were realistic, there was so much humour, and I absolutely loved the little letters shared between Daisy and Jack. I was also glad to see a certain character being taken down a peg in the end, too. Great story, and I will certainly be checking out Anna Bell’s other titles.

***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

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Summer Days and Summer Nights – Twelve Love Stories, edited by Stephanie Perkins

2 Sep

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Format: e-ARC, 320 pages

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: 17 May 2016

ISBN: 9781250079121

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom.

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

My review: This was not exactly the sweet summer anthology I was expecting. Many of the stories were bittersweet and packed quite a punch, and I was enthralled by most of them. Of course, I was most keen to read Stephanie Perkins’ story, a continuation of her winter tale from My True Love Gave To Me, but to be honest it disappointed. I found North rude and a bit of a jerk this time around. My favourite stories were by Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer E. Smith, and Veronica Roth. Others by new authors to me, such as Francesca Lia Block, intrigued me and made me want to hunt out their other work.

Individual Ratings:
Head, Scales, Tongue, Tale by Leigh Bardugo – ★★★★★
The End of Love by Nina Lacour – ★★
Last Night at the Cinegore by Libba Bray – ★★★★
Sick Pleasures: For A and U by Francesca Lia Block – ★★★
In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins – ★★★
Souvenirs by Tim Federle – ★★★
Inertia by Veronica Roth – ★★★★
Love Is The Last Resort by Jon Skovron – ★★★
Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert – ★★★
Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare – ★★★
A Thousand Ways This Could All Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith – ★★★★★
The Map of Tiny Perfect Things by Lev Grossman – ★★★

***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

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Serious Moonlight, by Jenn Bennett

25 Jun

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Format: e-ARC, 432 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children’s

Published: May 16, 2019

ISBN: 9781471180729

Genre: Romance, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Raised in isolation and home-schooled by her strict grandparents, the only experience Birdie has had of the outside world is through her favourite crime books.

But everything changes when she takes a summer job working the night shift at a historic Seattle hotel. There she meets Daniel Aoki, the hotel’s charismatic driver, and together they stumble upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—is secretly meeting someone at the hotel.

To uncover the writer’s puzzling identity, Birdie must come out of her shell, and in doing so, realize that the most confounding mystery of all may just be her growing feelings for Daniel.

My review: Jenn Bennett can write swoony boys. No doubt about that. This book was a little different in that the main couple had hooked up before the story even started and it had ended weirdly, so there was an awkwardness to their subsequent meeting which felt so real. I enjoyed the mystery they were trying to solve, even though all the elements were pretty obvious to me from quite early on, the live-action Cluedo game was THE BEST, and the adults were all fabulous human beings. There is diversity, important messages for teens, and some quite sad moments. But Daniel is definitely a keeper.

***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

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Consumed, by J.R. Ward

9 Nov

39293128Format: e-ARC, 416 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia, Piatkus

Published: October 2, 2018

ISBN: 9780349420622

Genre: Romance

Back cover blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed…

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn’t believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again–until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

My review: Ward’s new series starts out okay, but with such an unlikeable heroine at its centre it was a bit of a slog to get through this first book.

Had it not been for the fact I read the prequel novellas I would find it difficult to see what Danny saw in Anne. She was very unsympathetic, and I had a hard time with her choosing to take the word of an acquaintance over Danny. She was pretty tough on her mother, too. Anne’s brother was horrible, and I also had a big problem with the idea that a fire chief could be in his thirties. Only Danny was great, and his buddies seem good guys – so far, so like the BDB. It seems Ward can write heroes really well but the women she has trouble with.

In fact, the more Ward I read, the more I am convinced she’s not a great writer. Her style is full of clichés and “gangsta lite” – instead of saying Danny lit a cigarette, Ward writes that he “got his smoke on.” Ugh. Tighter editing and removal of some of the clichés could have made this a much pacier, more enjoyable read.

I’ll probably continue with the series, but only because I know the heroes will probably be worth 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: 3.5/5

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The Upside of Unrequited, by Becky Albertalli

4 Sep

31286202Format: e-ARC, 352 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s

Published: 11 April, 2017

ISBN: 9780141356112

Genre: LGBTQIA, Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: “I don’t entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back.”

What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.

My review: The author writes authentically about what it’s like being a teen, all self-centred and constantly with crushes on unobtainable boys, but I found myself seriously disliking Molly’s twin sister. She is just horrible! I didn’t really find anything to like about Mina or Will and Max either. There is a lot of diversity, and that’s great, but this didn’t grab my interest quite the way it seems to have many other readers. I haven’t read Albertalli’s earlier book, which is apparently much better, so I will give that a try.

***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

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The Office Christmas Party, by Aimee Duffy

13 Jul

30400216Format: e-ARC, 289 pages

Publisher: HarperImpulse

Published: 24 November 2017

ISBN: 9780008197254

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: Natalie Taylor and Dean Fletcher are serial Christmas party crashers. But when they start crashing the same parties, the mittens are off!

As much as she loves Christmas, after her mother’s death, events planner Nat can’t face the jolly season anymore. So to get her festive hit she crashes everyone else’s party. It’s a sweet gig, until she meets her competition, tech empire millionaire, Dean, under the mistletoe…!

When it comes to relationships, Dean doesn’t do serious—being left at the altar will do that to a guy. So when he meets feisty Nat, the first woman in ten years to pique his interest, he’s tempted to break his one-night rule…just for the holidays!

Nat and Dean might get more than they bargained for in their stockings this Christmas!

My review: Of course I could see what was going to happen a mile off, but I still enjoyed this light, funny romance about a pair of Christmas party crashers who go from enemies to lovers. I really liked Dean’s POV, especially his relationship with his brother, and his mother was absolutely vile. Natalie was harder to like because I didn’t get the whole aversion to Christmas thing, but her banter was witty and I could easily see this as a Bridget Jones type festive film.

***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

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Flame in the Mist, by Renee Ahdieh

16 Mar

36348675Format: e-ARC, 400 pages

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 16 May 2016

ISBN: 9781473657977

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn, comes a sweeping, action-packed YA adventure set against the backdrop of Feudal Japan.

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

My review: Firstly, I loved that this was set in feudal Japan. Ninjas! Throwing stars! Tea ceremonies! Add to that a kickass heroine, swoony boys, and magical powers, and you have a great read. I agree with other reviewers who found the names a bit tricky to keep track of, especially since some characters had multiple names, but other than that I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading the sequel. This was my first Renee Ahdieh book and I will certainly be reading her other works now.

***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

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Driving Miss Crazy, by D.J. Van Oss

22 Feb

30224056Format: e-ARC, 292 pages

Publisher: Blue Penny Press

Published: 16 May, 2016

ISBN: 9780692685730

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: He’s got a car. She’s got places to be. If only things were that simple.

Maggie MacNally always falls short, no matter what she does. Whether it’s her career or her love life, nothing ever ends up right, and even as she tries to put her work mishaps and dating missteps behind her to forge a new life in Washington DC, she wonders: is she really heading where she wants to go, or simply following in the family footsteps?

But just as she’s considering packing it all in, an out-of-the-blue proposal from her influential grandmother offers her one last chance at success — a chance which puts her in the path of beguiling and mysterious French diplomat, Valery.

Meanwhile, diplomatic driver and widowed father Adrian Adams isn’t looking to change anything about his life, he just wants to keep his seven-year-old daughter Charlie safe and happy. The last thing on his mind is finding love again – and the last thing he expects is to suddenly lose his job. Luckily, he’s soon got a new assignment, one which brings him face to face with an overworked, stressed-out, but oddly charming Irish girl with a penchant for talking to squirrels: Maggie. It’s not long before Adrian finds himself, unwittingly, falling in love again.

Will Maggie seize the life she’s always yearned for, or be left with the pieces of yet another broken dream? And will Adrian take a second, crazy chance at love, or just play it safe? And what’s with all the squirrels?

My review: I picked this up from Netgalley because of the cute graphics on the cover and the pun in the name, and then was intrigued to find it was a sweet romance debut by a male author. However, I wasn’t really bowled over by the plot. My favourite character was Adrian’s daughter, rather than the couple themselves, and the “intrigue” at the embassy was signposted so far out that nothing came as a surprise in the end. There was a love triangle, of course, and lots of people telling Maggie what to do so she came across as a bit of a child. So overall it was just okay.

Since it was first published the cover has been redone to show a photo of a couple, and I’d have to say that I wouldn’t have picked it up at all had that been the original cover. I much prefer the cute pink and blue graphics.

***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: 2.5/5

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