Month: March 2016

#BookReview Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

#BookReview Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis Title: Nobody But You

Author: Jill Shalvis

Series: Cedar Ridge #3

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Mar. 29, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 315

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.


Review:

This is Book #3 in the Cedar Ridge Series, but can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

This is the story of Jacob Kincaid, the brother who left cedar ridge, after harsh words, nine years ago and has finally decided to return.

This is a lighthearted, fun, easy read about two people who come together to find the true meaning of love and home. On top of the romance, and there is a lot of steamy romance, the story evolves around sibling relationships, guilt, trust, the importance of communication and family.

The characters are charming and quirky. The writing is witty and effortless. The plot flows nicely. And the ending makes you smile.

Jill Shalvis is a leader in this genre and this book doesn’t disappoint. This is definitely contemporary romance at it’s best.

If you missed the first two books in the series and would like to read about two of the other Kincaid brothers, pick up Second Chance Summer (Book #1) and My Kind of Wonderful (Book #2).

 

#BookReview The Winemakers by Jan Moran

#BookReview The Winemakers by Jan Moran Title: The Winemakers

Author: Jan Moran

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Apr. 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A young woman
A family secret
A devastating truth that could destroy the man she loves

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret—a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past—if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.


Review:

This book was very engrossing and I had trouble putting it down.

The story takes place in the picturesque vineyards of Napa, California and Tuscany, Italy. And the descriptions are so vivid that at times it almost felt like I was sitting amongst the grape vines savouring the bouquet of the most divine wine.

The plot revolves around secrets, lies, deception, familial relationships, wine-making, and romance. It is a wonderful love story with enough twists and turns and drama to keep you throughly engaged.

Overall, this is a well written, compelling novel with believable characterization and it is truly worth the read. In fact, I think this would be a great addition to any book club.

 

This book is due to be published on April 5, 2016.

Pick up a copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

Some Noteworthy Books Released March 29, 2016

25246755
Darkness

New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?


25110846
Brush of Wings

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes the third novel in the unforgettable Angels Walking series about divine intervention and the trials and triumphs of life for a group of friends.

Despite needing a heart transplant and against the advice of her doctor, Mary Catherine moves to Uganda to work at a brand new orphanage. Whatever time she has left, Mary Catherine wants to spend it helping children—especially since there will be no children of her own. The only problem is Major League Baseball player Marcus Dillinger, the man she never meant to fall in love with. Neither Marcus nor Mary Catherine’s other friends—Tyler Ames and Sami Dawson—know just how serious her heart condition is.

Still, Marcus is sure in the depths of his soul that something isn’t right. Ultimately his correspondence with Mary Catherine leads him on a desperate life-or-death mission to rescue her and get her to a US hospital before time runs out. Meanwhile, Sami and Tyler struggle with issues of their own. In a season when Tyler plans to ask Sami to marry him, the very core of their relationship is in jeopardy.

The team of angels walking is busier than ever in this epic battle between life and death. A Brush of Wings is a poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and the power of faith

 

#BookReview The Marriage Pact by M. J. Pullen

#BookReview The Marriage Pact by M. J. Pullen Title: The Marriage Pact

Author: M.J. Pullen

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books on Nov. 3, 2015

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7/10

Marci Thompson always knew what life would be like by her 30th birthday. A cozy suburban home, charming husband and two brilliant children. A celebrated career as an established writer, complete with wall-to-wall mahogany shelves and a summer book tour. A life full of adventure with her friends and family by her side. 

Instead, Marci lives alone in 480 square feet of converted motel space next to a punk rock band, hundreds of miles from her friends and family. She works in a temporary accounting assignment that has somehow stretched from two weeks into nine months. And the only bright spot in her life, not to mention the only sex she’s had in two years, is an illicit affair with her married boss, Doug. Thirty is not at all what it is cracked up to be.

Then the reappearance of a cocktail napkin she hasn’t seen in a decade opens a long-forgotten door, and Marci’s life gets complicated, fast. The lines between right and wrong, fantasy and reality, heartache and happiness are all about to get very blurry, as Marci faces the most difficult choices of her life.


Review:

This is a nice contemporary romance story.

The story revolves around a promise made between two friends that they will marry each other if they are not married by the time they are 30. It is written in a present-past style that gives you background into the friends-to-more relationship.

The characters are likeable and the story has enough drama, heartache, romance and humour to keep the story flowing nicely.

It is a sweet, easy read. Perfect for when you’re looking for something light and fluffy.

 

#BookReview Darkness by Karen Robards

#BookReview Darkness by Karen Robards Title: Darkness

Author: Karen Robards

Published by: Gallery Books on Mar. 29, 2016

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 377

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 7.5/10

New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards continues her penchant for “fantastic storytelling” (RT Book Reviews) with this next heart-pumping romantic suspense novel, the tale of a brilliant ornithologist trapped on the remote Attu Island in Alaska, fighting for her life—and that of a handsome stranger—before they’re swallowed up in darkness forever.

BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him.

Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?


Review:

This book has everything you look for in a romantic suspense novel. There’s a deserted, isolated setting. A woman in danger. And of course a tall, dark, and handsome stranger that comes to the rescue.

This story is well written, action-packed and sexy.

As most people know, Karen Robards is well known in this genre, and once again she has delivered.

 

#BookReview The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon

#BookReview The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon Title: The Confidant

Author: Hélène Grémillon

Published by: Penguin Books on Oct. 30, 2012

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 245

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

Paris, 1975. While sifting through condolence letters after her mother’s death, Camille finds a long, handwritten missive that she assumes came by mistake. But every Tuesday brings another installment from a stranger named Louis, a man separated from his first love, Annie, in the years before World War II. In his tale, Annie falls victim to the merciless plot of a wealthy, barren couple just as German troops arrive in Paris. But also awaiting Camille’s discovery is the other side of the story – one that calls into question Annie’s innocence and reveals the devastating consequences of revenge. As Camille reads on, she realizes that her own life may be the next chapter in this tragic story. 


Review:

This book intrigued me from the start.

The story is set in wartime Paris, and is a story within a story told from multiple characters’ points of view.  Each character is missing a piece of the story and what becomes clearly evident is the importance of perspective.

The writing is sophisticated. The characters are complex. And the plot takes us through twists and turns filled with betrayal, rejection, scorn and manipulation.

This is a quick but stimulating read. And I would recommend it, especially for book clubs, as I think it would be a good source for thoughtful discussion.

 

The Joy of Book Clubs!

So it always seems that at some point during the week I’m talking to someone about book clubs, whether it be family, friends or others.

There are several different types of book clubs.

There’s the Traditional Book Club, where everyone reads the same book chosen by the host and everyone discusses that specific book.

There’s the Themed Book Club, where the book is chosen based on a specific theme and everyone reads the same book and the meeting evolves around that theme. For example, if a book is chosen about India the host will make Indian food and the members will dress in Indian garb, etc.

Then there’s the Book-Exchange Book Club, where the host puts in four or five books they’ve recently read that they think the others will enjoy, discusses them, and then others who are interested in them borrow them for that month.

However, in the long run in doesn’t really matter what type of book club you participate in. They all have advantages and disadvantages. But in this time of busy lives and instant entertainment, any book club gives you the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life, read books that you may or may not usually read, expand you vocabulary and knowledge, have some good food, have a few drinks, and perhaps the best benefit of all, have the excuse to find some quiet time to sit down and read.

So the next time someone asks you to join a book club, don’t hesitate. As far I can see you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!   🙂

 

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran Title: Rebel Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Published by: Touchstone on Mar. 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 355

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.


Review:

I have to admit that when I picked up this book I knew very little about the Indian Rebellion against the British invasion in 1857, and I was not sure what to expect. Saying that, however, I was pleasantly surprised. 

This is the captivating and engaging story of Rani Lakshmibai, the Queen of Jhansi. And It is narrated by Sita, a young girl from a small village who grows up to become a Durgavasi, a select group of women who shield and protect the Queen.

It is a very interesting story about powerful women, independence, self identity, loyalty and sacrifice. The plot builds nicely. The characters are engaging. And the setting is vividly described.

It was a thoughtful, enjoyable read, and I hope that anyone who likes historical fiction will give it a try.

 

 

About Michelle Moran

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of seven historical novels. A native of southern California, she attended Pomona College, then earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher she used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction.

In 2012 Michelle was married in India, inspiring her seventh book, Rebel Queen, which is set in the East. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and archaeology. She is also fascinated by archaeogenetics, particularly since her children's heritages are so mixed. But above all these things Michelle is passionate about reading and can often be found with her nose in a good book. A frequent traveler, she currently resides with her husband, son, and daughter in the US. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

#BookReview Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes

#BookReview Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes Title: Nannyland

Author: Jane Elizabeth Hughes

Published by: Pocket Star on May 30, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pocket Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

This delightful, romantic debut follows a sophisticated Manhattanite who trades her fast-paced Wall Street life for the English countryside, and unexpectedly becomes a nanny to the children of a widowed British lord. Who is as infuriating as he is intriguing…

Jordy Greene has it all—the high-powered job, the high-octane New York lifestyle, the powerful lover—until she’s suddenly forced to flee the city. Running to avoid false charges of illegal trading and a destructive relationship, Jordy escapes to England. There she finds refuge in a cottage on the estate of the icy Lord John Grey—a descendant of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.

The four rambunctious Grey children are in desperate need of a nanny, and Jordy is in desperate need of a purpose—so they plunge into an investigation of the Tudor queen’s mysterious life and shocking death. Amid flying subpoenas, willful adolescents, outraged aristocrats, and an unexpected attraction to Lord Grey, Jordy struggles to regain control of her life. In the midst of the chaos, can she find the kind of happiness she’d never thought to have?

If The Sound of Music and The Wolf of Wall Street had a child, it would be the captivating Nannyland!


Review:

When I first received this story for review I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This book is not the average romance story. It is smart, witty, interesting, engaging, and, of course, it doesn’t hurt that it’s set in the idyllic English countryside.

Aside from the main plot of Jordy finding the key to her happiness, there are several subplots involving investigations into securities fraud and historical research that keep you enthralled to the last page.

It is very well written, and the characters are charming, flawed, and lovable.

This is an easy, heart-warming story that will definitely make you smile.

 

Thank you to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard

#BookReview Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard Title: Lake of Dreams

Author: Linda Howard

Published by: Pocket Star on May 2, 2016

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 96

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pocket Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 6/10

Dreams and reality collide—with potentially deadly consequences—in this stunning novella from New York Timesbestselling author Linda Howard, available for the first time as a standalone ebook at an unbeatable price!

House painter Thea Marlow hasn’t been sleeping very well. Her nights are plagued by dreams, the setting by the water and the mysterious man who appears in them always the same. But the outcome of the dream changes nightly: sometimes the man loves her…and sometimes he kills her. Desperate for some much needed relaxation, Thea travels to her family’s remote country lake house. Imagine her surprise when a knock at the door reveals the man from her dreams…who happens to have just rented the house next door.

So will he love her—or will he kill her?

Originally published in the anthology Everlasting Love by Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Linda Lael Miller, Kasey Michaels and Carla Neggers.


Review:

This is a short story novella that was previously released twenty years ago.

The story, itself, is a mix of romance, suspense, and the paranormal. And I would say it’s heavy on the romance and light on the suspense.

Unfortunately, for me, I found this story to be a little bit jumbled and a tad unrealistic. I also found the characterization to be quite flat.

I am a fan of Linda Howard, but this definitely wasn’t one of her best.

 

 

Thank you to Pocket Books and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

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