Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Here I sit in a boring staff meeting, supposedly listening to a presentation on the smart board. I decide to check my emails on my phone. I cannot waste my precious time...so I peruse through my inbox and there is an email from Goodreads titled "Upcoming Releases". My finger taps the icon....I leisurely scroll down with a gentle flick of the wrist....and there it is. The title leaps off the page and takes my breathe away....THE SCOTTISH PRISONER! OMG.....it's coming! My eyes scan the synopsis, drinking in the words I have waited long to hear again...."Jamie Fraser". I quickly tap on that little word "more"....I need more....I want more....right now! This link takes me to Diana Gabaldon's site. It is here that I let out a little cry of exhilaration, (in the middle of my meeting - thank goodness I am near the back of the room!) for what do I read on my wonderfully informative android phone? READ THE EXCERPT HERE! You mean here...now...I could be with the Scotsman who is unlike any man I have ever conjured in my deepest imagination?! Part of me wants to wait, to savor this little morsel of Jamie alone in my king-size bed, under the soft, feather duvet, where I can envision his brute manliness without any interruptions. Alone with my visions and Diana Gabaldon's magnificent prose. But I can't do it. I cannot wait. So I read...and I read....and I gasp and giggle in the very first sentence! She is a very smart woman, that Diana Gabaldon. She knows all of her Outlander fans are waiting for a piece, a morsel, a glimpse of her infamous Scottish hero Jamie Fraser. So she lets us in with an excerpt from "The Scottish Prisoner", the next book in her Lord John series. True fans know that this book will have a lot of Jamie in it. But it's like eating one of those mini chocolate bars when what you crave is the whole damn Kit Kat. A taste...but not enough to satisfy. Yet better than nothing. So here I sit, ignoring my colleagues and my boss, engrossed in this excerpt, reunited with a time and a place that has become so familiar to me. The release date for the novel is November 29th. The date is ingrained upon my memory, for it will be that night when I slip under the feather duvet and reunite with the red haired Scotsman from the 1700's we all know as Jamie.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
“He’d spent his life being a perfect gentleman. He’d never been a flirt. He’d never been a rogue. He hated being the center of attention, but by God, he wanted to be the center of her attention. He wanted to do the wrong thing, the bad thing. He wanted to pull her into his arms and carry her to her bed. He wanted to peel every last inch of her clothing from her body, and then he wanted to worship her. He wanted to show her all the things he wasn’t sure he knew how to say.”This is a sweet love story that will make you smile. Yes, there are scenes that will make you laugh out loud. Yes, you will delight in the wonderful characters. Yes, you will want to fall in love all over again. Sigh.....I am feeling content again.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
So.....have you ever kicked yourself in the ass because you didn't do something you should have done? Well, is my ass feeling really sore!! Those of you who know me understand my obsessional-type love with the Outlander series and it's extremely talented author, Diana Gabaldon. I devoured her seven gigantic novels, savouring, memorizing and recording many of her humourous and touching lines of prose. I fell madly in love with Jamie Fraser, her hero, a man no other author has been able to best, at least not in any of my subsequent readings. To my great joy, Diana Gabaldon made it to Canada. Yes, on August 14th, she came to a little town called FERGUS in Ontario, about 2 hours from my home in Hamilton. There is a HUGE Scottish festival in Fergus every summer, and Diana often frequents this venue, reading excerpts from her books and talking about Scottish genealogy. I had planned on going with one of my best friends, Heather, a girl I had introduced to the Outlander series who too became obsessed. However, the forecast called for heavy rain (and the festival is entirely outdoors) and I was in a funky, depressed kind of mood the night before and didn't feel like driving for two hours......I know......LAME EXCUSES! The bottom line is, I missed meeting my favourite author of all time, my hero, my idol!! I know, I am an idiot! Anyways, Heather went, the true fan that she is (that's her in the pic with Diana). Diana read excerpts from the next book....so very exciting!!! And she related that "The Scottish Prisoner" will be out THIS FALL! Jamie Fraser is in this book and you don't have to have read the Outlander series to enjoy this tale. Needless to say, I am waiting with bated breath. If I could do it all over, I would definitely make the road trip. All I can say is, maybe next summer!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
I truly believe that words are the gateway to a woman's heart and soul. I can only imagine the filling of a woman's heart as her true love whispers these words to her.
"Ye're so fine, Mairi MacGregor. Ye lay waste to my heart and restore my soul."Or these words as he trails wet kisses down her neck.
"Ye're mine, Mairi." He vowed, kissing her again. "Ye will always be mine."Or these words as he finally admits his regrets for having left her.
"I was a bloody fool fer leaving ye. Ye are my stars, my sun, my world. I love ye."And finally, how can any female not melt into a pool of love at hearing these words of true adoration.
"Mairi", he said more softly, closer to the door. "I have loved ye all my life. I see yer face at the dawning of each new sunrise and in the fiery stars at night. I hear yer laughter in the tinkling of cups, the crack of yer tongue in the thunder. I have thought of ye in battle and it kept me alive, determined to be with ye again. And now that I am, I am haunted by yer tears."
Connor Grant has a gift. His words wash over you like a cool breeze on a hot summer night, caressing you, captivating you. He had me at "hello". Once Connor decided to tell Mairi MacGregor what was in his heart, she was putty in his hands, his words melting her resolve on the spot. Her sharp tongue and fierce loyalty to her kin and King were traits Connor adored, along with her long dark locks and natural Scottish beauty. He wanted her back. He had never stopped loving her and he wasn't about to let anything keep her from him again. Not his service to the Catholic King, not a jealous man, not even the threat of war.
I loved this book. Having read the previous stories in the series, I was well acquainted with the other characters, and I was happy to embrace them like family members I hadn't seen in years. You could feel the sparks flying between the hero and heroine. There was humour, passion, deceit and betrayal, all of it encompassed in a tale of battles between England and her surrounding countries, between Catholics and Protestants and between Englishmen and Highlanders. I cannot wait for the next book in this series which focuses on Mairi's brother Colin, a fierce and cunning warrior himself. I am sure this brave Highlander will envelop me with his words as well.
I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
"Tamed by a Highlander" is book #6 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.
Monday, July 25, 2011
"How to Seduce a Scoundrel".
Our heroine, Julianne Gatewick, needs to seduce a scoundrel, and not just any-old-scoundrel. We are talking about her brother's best friend, Marc Darcett, the Earl of Hawkfield (aka Hawk). How do you seduce a man that you've known since you were a little girl, a man who is reputed to be a complete rogue, a man whom you have loved since you were 9 years old? Julianne is determined to make Hawk hers, but how does she convince him that she is no longer his innocent little Julie-girl, but a beautiful, engaging woman?
Hawk had no idea that being the guardian for his best friend's sister would be such a task! She has young bucks surrounding her at all times wherever she goes, and Hawk, being a man, knows EXACTLY what is on their minds, and it's not sharing a game of lawn bowling! Soon enough, Hawk realizes that Julianne isn't a little girl, but a exceptionally beautiful woman with curves he would like to stroke and eyes he could loose himself in and hair that he could sink his fingers through. Wait. This is his best friend's sister. He cannot have these desires for his Julie-girl. It's not right...or is it?
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I think I liked it more than the first book! I laughed at the banter between Hawk and Julianne and you could just feel the chemistry building between them. The scene where Julianne and her girlfriends get sloshed at an evening soiree is hilarious! The secondary characters are meaningful and memorable. I think Lady Rutledge stole the book. She is Hawk's aunt who is a no-nonsense, tell it like it is kind of gal. I loved her. She encourages Julianne to write a pamphlet to help the single girls catch a man, with many of the ideas coming from Lady Rutledge herself.
This is a great summer read where the characters learn and grow. With the help of Julianne's true love, Hawk learns to forgive himself for a grave mistake in his past. Julianne learns that there is more to love than just outward appearances. What's beautiful is on the inside of both a man and a woman.
I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Just imagine. It is the early 12th century in the Scottish Highlands and you've just had a row with your husband, your very new husband. He's taking off for an undefined amount of time and doesn't even bother to say goodbye. You whisper your adieu to him and you take your leave, heartbroken, feeling unwanted and alone. As you walk up the hill, you suddenly feel the ground shaking and others are rushing to get off the path in front of you. Before you can face the impending danger, you are plucked from the ground and swept up onto your husband's horse, his hand tight around your waist as you gallop at a breakneck speed. At the top of the incline, he stops his stallion, stares into your eyes and whispers his farewell. And then he kisses you, long and hard.....a kiss both you and he will never forget. Just imagine. Your new husband has just swept you off your feet.
This is but one of my favourite parts in this enjoyable tale. Julie Garwood has a talent for shaping unforgettable characters. She lets you think their thoughts and feel their emotions until you believe you are there with them.....a secondary character yourself....a member of the clan. I really delighted in the heroine's character, Brenna. She was a sweet romantic at heart, yet she was strong, determined and out-spoken when she needed to be. Her quirky flaw of forgetting her personal belongings all over the place made her more real and endearing to me. Brenna was going to make her marriage work, and that was one outstanding feat, for Connor MacAlister is one formidable, unemotional Highlander. And the fact that he stole her as she was making her way to her wedding to another Highlander is no easy fact to get over. Connor's past has shaped his actions and his need for revenge is no secret. But he is an honourable man. Yet his English bride Brenna manages to tap upon his heart, little by little breaking down his hard exterior, reaching into his soul and releasing the love he has for her. Brenna makes Connor realize that loving someone does make him vulnerable, yet it doesn't make him less of a man. A great story and perfect read for the summer.
"The Wedding" is book #5 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
When writing a review, I usually have a method to my madness. I start with some kind of hook to get the reader interested. Then I move into a brief synopsis of the plot. I then move on to some personal anecdotes outlining why I loved the book. Finally, I wrap it all up with some sweet thought that leaves the reader contemplating the values of humankind. Voila, my review! However, this time, I am doing things a little different. I'm just going to tell it like it is....I'm going to lay it on the line and just say WHY I liked this book. Somehow, I need to let you know what made me say, "Sorry, son, I can't make dinner right now. Mommy's reading. Go ask Daddy." or even "I can't help with your homework right now, can't you see I'm trying to finish this book? Go ask your dad." Wow....it's shameful, but it's the truth. Now why???
Reason 1: The setting. I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it again, there is something about the Scottish Highlands that sweeps me away. I don't want to leave that magical, romantic place. Yes, it's cold and blustery, but it is also serene and epically beautiful with rolling mountains and heather-covered fields. Simply breath-taking.
Reason 2: The humour. I couldn't help but laugh out loud many times in this tale. The banter between the lovers had me giggling and I especially enjoyed the "talking to" that Brodick and Ramsey had to endure from dear old Uncle Morgan. Gillian's dear uncle was old and crotchety and very dear to Gillian. He had to endure the hysterics of both Gillian and Bridgid when the two women believed their men were not going to pledge their forever love. Uncle Morgan took his frustrations out on the two warriors, letting them know that they better be good to these women because he couldn't take their whining any more!
Reason 3: Hunky men. God....this book is filled with them! Iain Maitland is back. I fell in love with him in book 1 (The Secret). His dark, imposing figure sent me swooning then and now. And then there's the breathtakingly beautiful Ramsey Sinclair, described even by other men in the book as an "Adonis". Women flock to him in hordes, and I am sure that I would have been one of those fair maiden's chasing after this beautiful beast. And of course, our main hunk, Brodick Buchanan. His sheer size blocks out the sun and his long, flaxen hair and tanned skin take your breathe away. What more could a women want....beautiful, strong men and all of them wearing kilts, riding on horseback and carrying dirks!
Reason 4: Great female leads. I loved Gillian. She was a formidable woman, with a will to survive and a genuine love for others. She protected the young Alec Maitland from the evil Baron Alford with nothing other than courage and strength. She's my kind of gal....tough enough, yet gentle and knowing. The second strong female character that I enjoyed was Bridgid KirkConnell. She was a fiesty young beauty who was in love with Ramsey, but of course, kept her feelings a secret, until she befriended Gillian. I loved the way she would mutter how stubborn and arrogant Ramsey was one minute, and then suck in her breathe when she looked into his eyes. She sees his flaws, and still loves him. I know where she's coming from!
Reason 5: Action and mystery. This was a fast-paced book full of action and a bit of mystery that keeps the reader thinking. Who has that jeweled box and what is in it? I enjoyed the plot and the immediate adventure one takes from the very turn of the first page.
Reason 6: Love. Yes, I am a sucker for a good love story. Gillian finds herself unwittingly falling for a brute of a man, and even questions how she could fall so quickly. Love isn't supposed to happen so suddenly. Is it? The following quote is a question I have even asked myself. Can love grab you by the throat and leave you breathless.....or is it only a feeling that is nurtured with time? What do you believe?
Love wasn't supposed to happen this suddenly. Gillian spent most of the ride to Ramsey's holding thinking about Brodick and wondering how in heaven's name he had managed to capture her heart so completely in so little time. The man had all but robbed her of her senses. She was well aware of his flaws, most of them anyway, but she still loved him all the same, and how was such a thing possible? Love was supposed to be nourished. It was a slow realization that occurred afer months and months of courting, and sometimes that awareness took years. Love certainly didn't strike like lightning.
"Ransom" is book #4 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
THE ANGEL IN MY ARMS by Stefanie Sloane
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publish Date: July 2011
To Young Corinthian agent Marcus MacInnes, the Earl of Weston, his latest mission involving a smuggling ring with ties to Napoleon seems ridiculous at first, but becomes all too threatening as pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. And the most troubling piece of all? Miss Sarah Tisdale, an unconventional beauty whose lust for life is rivaled only by her ability to drive Marcus to distraction. When her family comes under suspicion, Marcus must watch her very closely—even if her touch ignites the fiery desire burning beneath his cool façade. When it comes to suitors, Sarah’s lush curves and kissable lips aren’t enough to compensate for her willful nature. She’s tasted disappointment before, but flirting with the sinfully handsome Marcus is a pastime worth savoring—even when it leads to wicked pleasures. When Sarah’s life is in jeopardy, Marcus discovers that the passion between them can no longer be denied—and he’ll do anything to keep her in his arms.
A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS by Amelia Grey
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Date: July 2011
A stolen kiss from a stranger... As if from a dream, Lady Gabrielle walked from the mist and into Viscount Brentwood's arms. Within moments, he's embroiled in more scandal than he ever thought possible...
Can sink even a perfect gentleman...
Beautiful, clever, and courageous, Lady Gabrielle needs Brent's help to get out of a seriously bad situation. But the more she gets to know him, the worse she feels about ruining his life...
Enter the unforgettable world of Amelia Grey's sparkling Regency London, where a single encounter may have devastating consequences for a gentleman and a lady...
NOTORIOUS by Nicola Cornick
Publish Date: July 2011
When the ton’s most notorious heartbreaker…
Dangerously seductive and sinfully beautiful, Susanna Burney is society’s most sought after matchbreaker. Paid by wealthy parents to part unsuitable couples, she’s never yet failed to accomplish her mission of diverting a groom-to-be. Until her final assignment brings her face-to-face with the man who’d once taught her an intimate lesson in heartache....
Meets London's most disreputable rake...
James Devlin has everything he's always wanted: a title, a rich fiancée and a place in society. But the woman who's just met his eyes across a crowded ballroom threatens it all. Not because she'd once claimed his heart, or that every sinuous swirl of her ball gown takes his breath away. But because the secrets she carries could cost him everything. To put the past to rest once and for all, Dev just might have to play Susanna at her own wicked game...
Publish Date: July 2011
Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. But arriving in London to take his seat in the House of Lords, he is derailed by Angeline, an exquisite bird of paradise seemingly devoted to sending his predictable life into chaos.
From the brilliant hues of her fashion to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.
Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. But denying something so provocative and passionate is easier said than done. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publish Date: July 2011
It was the moment she had been dreaming of: a stolen kiss at a masquerade ball with the dashing Camden St. Giles. He may not have known who she was, but Christel would never forget . . . Nine years have passed since that magical evening. Now Camden, the seventh earl of Carrick, is widowed with a young daughter, a man with a heart in need of healing. And Christel has just stolen onboard his ship bound for Scotland. Neither has forgotten the kiss that had set their hearts ablaze. The longer she remains with him, the hotter his desire burns. But as they grasp their second chance at love, will the secrets from his past threaten to destroy the one love true enough to free his tormented heart? TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER by Paula Quinn Publisher: Hachette Book Group Publish Date: July 1, 2011 Desire knows no bounds...
A LOVER'S PROMISE
Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king's army. Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary-both in the battlefield and in the bedroom. Yet he's never forgotten his bonnie lass. And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.
A LADY'S DESTINY
The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever. Now her heart belongs only to Scotland. As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information . . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she'd never trust again. Though Mairi's body still craves Connor's touch, she can't forgive his betrayal. But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor-even if it means losing her heart to him again.
Nine years have passed since that magical evening. Now Camden, the seventh earl of Carrick, is widowed with a young daughter, a man with a heart in need of healing. And Christel has just stolen onboard his ship bound for Scotland. Neither has forgotten the kiss that had set their hearts ablaze. The longer she remains with him, the hotter his desire burns. But as they grasp their second chance at love, will the secrets from his past threaten to destroy the one love true enough to free his tormented heart?
TAMED BY A HIGHLANDER by Paula Quinn
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Publish Date: July 1, 2011
Desire knows no bounds...
Monday, June 13, 2011
"She didn't think she'd ever seen such a magnificent sight in all her life. The man fascinated her. He was certainly the biggest of the lot. His broad shoulders fairly blocked out the sun shining down behind him, and only the rays of light surrounded him, giving him an invincible, magical appearance. He was only a man, a ruggedly handsome man at that, and surely the most muscular warrior in the group. The plaid he wore had opened on the side of his left thigh. The bulge of sleek muscle there looked as hard as roped steel. Lord, she thought, she could be content to stare at the warlord for the rest of the day. His hair was a dark, rich brown in colour, with just a little hint of curl to it. His bare arms were as bronzed as his face. He had a striking profile. Oh yes, he was a fit one all right, but in truth it was the colour of his eyes that held her interest the longest. They were a beautiful, brilliant shade of gray."Mmmmmm......oh, I'm just visualizing. (You know visualizing is a comprehension strategy used by good readers and I consider myself a very good reader!) The plot of this novel is a different one for me. Judith Hampton had promised her best childhood friend that she would be at her side for the birth of her child. Judith's journey from England to the vast Highlands of Scotland becomes an adventure, not only for herself, but also for her escort, Laird Iain, and his loyal warriors. An Englishwoman welcomed on Scottish land was unheard of at the time. But Judith is not your typical lass. She is fiercely loyal to her friend, independent, outspoken(my favourite trait!), and very beautiful. This is a mixture that even the strong-willed Iain cannot ignore. He is captivated by her, but of coarse, he denies any feeling he has for Judith other than a physical longing. Yet, he finds himself wanting to be her protector. And after one kiss, he cannot think of anything but this feisty Englishwoman. Little does he know that Judith is holding on to a secret that could shatter his world and that of his clan's.
I really enjoyed this tale. There are many layers to these characters that the author unfolds throughout the telling. The hero and heroine's attraction to one another is palpable and their playful bantering had me laughing out loud. I loved how Judith could show her vulnerabilities to Iain, but she always mustered the courage and strength to do what she believed was right, even in the face of fear. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the fight for women's rights was woven into the story, but was not preached to the reader at any point. This is a story where prejudices are overcome and love, loyalty and security are found. It is a story filled with inspiration and life-long lessons, such as the one Iain shares with Judith, and she with he at the end of the book.
"I was railing against all of the injustices in this world, and I specifically remember your suggestion to me. You said that if I didn't like something, I should work to change it. One whisper, added to a thousand others, becomes a roar of discontent."
If you don't like something, change it. And she does. And so should we all.
"The Secret" is book #3 in the 2011 Highlander Reading Challenge.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Zachary always gets what he wants, and what he wants is Lady Holly Taylor. As Holly is leaving a ball, the first real outing she has attempted after having been in mourning for three years since the death of her beloved husband, she is swept up in a kiss by Zachary Bronson. Neither knows the identity of the other on the darkened conservatory, but each feels the passion and the allure of the kiss. It is at this point that Zachary decides he is going to make Lady Holly his. It is too, at this point, that something is ignited deep within this young, beautiful widow.
Zachary is a very wealthy, self-made man, something unheard of in the ton. Blue-blood is the only blood that matters, the only blood that makes you a true gentleman. Zachary is the first to admit that he is not a gentleman. It is this knowledge that he uses as a premise to lure Holly and her daughter onto his estate. Lessons. Lessons in manners, lessons in deportment, lessons in chivalry.....lessons in everything gentlemanly. Zachary is willing to pay Holly a huge sum of money, not only to turn him into a gentleman respected by the peerage, but also to give his beautiful sister, Lizzie, etiquette lessons as well so that she may make a productive match for herself. But once the prim and proper Lady Holly embarks on this mission, she is shocked to find herself falling for this brute of a man, a man, she discovers, who is more than the breadth of his shoulders and the fortune he amasses. But how could she fall for someone so different than her first love, George. George would never approve of her finding love with someone so beneath her status, someone so feral. But how can Holly resist Zachary when he is so vulnerable, yearning to be accepted and loved for who he truly is.
I truly enjoyed this book. I loved the hero....striking, big and brawny, devoted, intelligent, loyal and passionate. Something about a man fighting his way out of poverty using his physicality and his intelligence is very attractive! I loved how he was able to admit to himself that he was falling in love with a woman. And I loved that he told her so, even at the risk of being rejected for the "commoner" he was. I was happy to see that Zachary wouldn't change for anyone. He knew his flaws, but wasn't willing to change for anyone....he stayed true to his self. The sexual chemistry between the hero and heroine is hot. I loved how Zachary ignited a passion in Holly that was beneath the surface of her lady-like composure. But I did get tired of her holding on to the ghost of her first husband for so long throughout the tale. Having read so many of Lisa Kleypas' novels, my expectations were high and I was not disappointed. Kleypas has once again created characters that come to life on the page, characters that make you yell in frustration...characters that make you laugh uncontrollably.....characters that make you weep with sorrow....characters that make you cry out in anguish. Rose, Holly's four year old daughter, is one such character that touches the reader with her innocent charm and childish honesty. Tears slipped down my cheeks as she was saying goodbye to Zachary, a scene that reveals his inner anguish.
"Will I ever see you and Lizzie again?" Rose asked woefully. Zachary couldn't bring himself to lie to her. "Not very often, I'm afraid". "You'll miss me awfully," she said, heaving a sigh, and she began to fumble for something in the pocket of her pinafore. Something went wrong with Zachary's eyes, some odd blurring and stinging that he couldn't seem to blink away. "Every day princess." "Are you going to cry, Mr. Bronson?" the child asked in concern, coming to stand beside his knees, staring into his downturned face. He managed to smile at her. "Just a little on the inside," he said raspily. He felt her little hand on his cheek, and he held utterly still as she kissed him on the nose. "Good-bye, Mr. Bronson," she whispered, and she left with her button string trailing dolefully behind her.This book is a hidden gem that I think romance addicts will adore. It brings with it a wonderful message that is applicable throughout the ages. Even if we lose a love, the world can bring us another. Love comes in different forms.....it can be soft and romantic, tender and loyal, or passionately sensual and zealous. All are different, but the same.....the end result is happiness.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Having successfully reached the South Pole, Seamus has become a famed explorer. He has all he needs....a family that loves him, peers seeking his company on future explorations, a passion that he has fulfilled. But yet....the fire in his eyes is missing.....his soul is void without its other half. He can never feel complete without Willa. But Willa made it clear...she walked away from him. She left him. She blamed him for the loss of her leg. She blamed him for the loss of her dreams.
Willa is living in Tibet, forever bound to the marvelous mountains that stole her leg. She lives with constant pain and overwhelming regret, both of which she tries to drown with pills, drugs and reckless risk-taking. She shouldn't have left Seamus. He is the other half of herself. She realizes this too late. She wants to go to him, to travel back to London and tell him she loves him, but too many years have passed and he would never forgive her. So, she continues on her isolated journey. Until.....word comes to Willa that her father is dying. She must get to him. She must travel back to London. It is at her father's funeral that Willa sees Seamus, and the pull between them is undeniable. And so is the fact that Seamus is now married to another woman, someone he thought would make him happy, someone he thought would make him forget Willa.
Opening this book was like visiting with old friends....no matter how long you've been apart, you settle right back into each other...familiar and true. It was exactly a year ago that I began this journey with these amazing characters. I met Fiona and Joe in the "Tea Rose" and instantly I was hooked. Right away I reached for the second book and not only found myself reunited with familiar characters, but I was rooting for Fiona's long lost brother and notorious crime boss, Sid, in "The Winter Rose". The adventure continues in this third and final installment, "The Wild Rose", where the story centers upon Seamus and Willa. But this book is not just a love story. It is so much more. Through these unforgettable characters, the author realistically and historically explores a time period filled with spies, villains, political struggles, and war heroes, including the legendary Lawrence of Arabia. The plot is complex, with twists and turns that had me at the edge of my seat, my finger hovering to turn the page and continue the exciting pace of the book. How Jennifer Donnelly manages to connect all threads of this vast story is unbelievable and yet, very believable. She is a true talent. She gives her readers an emotional ride. She strips her characters bare, all flaws there for the viewing, and yet the reader urges them on, willing them to get up and move on...to fight....to live.....to love. So often I wanted to reach out and slap Willa, knock some sense into her, make her stop her self-destruction. There is no fluffy happily ever after. The love story is hard-fought, with fate pushing the lovers together, only to be lost to one another again.
Jennifer Donnelly has written an epic tale filled with strife, love, war and destruction, both physical and emotional. Yet she manages to end her story with a sense of hope...a light at the end of the tunnel, not only for Seamus and Willa, but for the world itself:
They had torn themselves apart, she and Seamie. Years ago. Here in Africa. And then in 1914, the world had torn itself apart. Now they, and the world, would put themselves back together. Slowly, with pain, regret, and with hope, they would find the way forward. She didn't know how, exactly. She had no map. No answers. No guarantees. All she had was this day. This impossible mountain rising before her. This sun and this sky. This man and this child. This terrible, wonderful love.
I am sad to say goodbye to these amazing characters. It has been wonderful crying, laughing and loving with the Finnegan family. Perhaps we'll meet again, amidst the costermongers and the hard-working poor of London, where this trilogy began. Perhaps a new, younger member of the Finnegan family will continue the fight for the poor...perhaps a figure like the fiesty Katie. A reader can only hope.
I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.
"The Wild Rose" is book #12 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Karen has a wonderfully happy life. In the winter, she is a ski instructor in Wyoming and in the summer she works at the bookstore she co-owns on Long Island, New York. She is content to live in a small trailer in the summer and in a tiny attic room in the winter. These small spaces make her feel safe and secure. Karen loves the outdoors, her face glowing at the sight of a sunset and her heart content with the breath-taking view from the mountains. Then along comes John and Karen's world is shaken. There is a definite mutual attraction between the two that scares her. How can her life stay the same if she lets this man into her world? How could she possibly maintain her carefree lifestyle with a man whose world is so different than hers? But soon, Karen realizes "how empty a place can be when just one person is missing".
Although this was a very short read, it was a good one. It is a story told entirely through a set of emails written between Karen and her best friend Leslie. These emails not only reveal the story, but they are the means by which Karen muddles through her emotions and tries to make sense of her feelings for John. At first, I thought this style would distract me, but I quickly got used to the format and began to sink into the storyline. Some of the emails written by Leslie were quite short, leaving me wanting to know more about her character and her relationship with Karen. I also wanted more of John and Karen together. Karen's feelings for John are revealed in her correspondences but I wanted to hear more from John himself, and simply not what Karen relayed through her emails. The author does a great job of relaying some vivid descriptions of the landscape, making me feel that I was right there on the mountaintop, feeling the wind in my face or the sunshine on my skin. I wanted Karen to take a chance on love, and was happy to see her taking some risks midway through the book. But at times, I was frustrated with her when she retreated back into that space within her self. Yet, I was touched when she revealed her mistakes to Ben, the young boy who visited her often at the bookstore. I think what touched me even more was his innocent, yet so enlightening reply:
He wrinkled his freckled and spotted nose like some benighted guru and said, "You know how I know? You look like Granny when my granddad died.""A Little Bit of Passion" is about characters who are passionate about life and who learn how to make room in their lives for the oldest of all passions....that which we call love.
"It's because I was stupid," I explained. "I love somebody very much, but I didn't believe in it, and that's why I destroyed it. And it's all my own fault."
He nodded. "Like when I washed my crocodile, and all the stuffing came out, and Mom said I shouldn't have done it, only I thought it would be all right because a crocodile lives in the water, doesn't it?" That was when I smiled. "Yeah. Just like that," I said. "I washed the stuffing out of John."
I was asked by the author to review this book. I was not compensated for my opinions.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
What if the man of your life lives in one of the muddiest, rainiest towns of the US (and you don't want to live there)? What if he isn't even the man of your life but just . . . an infatuation? A quick spiral of hormones, whipped up by dimples, gray eyes and an irresistible way of looking at you? What if you fall in love so much that going back (in one piece) isn't an option? Is he worth giving up the job you love? Do you dare to leave your home town, your friends, your life for someone you barely know?Brief Bio:
Karen's well-organized life is thrown into disorder when she gets to know John and realizes that she has to make some choices, changing her life for ever. If only she wasn't so happy with her life as a skiing teacher in winter and a book-store owner in summer; if only she hadn't learned the hard way that for her, independence equals happiness. She pours out her heart to her best friend Leslie in long e-mails. They take you straight to the core of Karen's soul - without restraint, ironic and illogical, furious and funny, sensitive and sad - just like her.
I hope that this novel will grip you as it gripped me when I wrote it. It's my third contemporary romance, published by Avalon Books New York. I'm so pleased that they accepted this novel with its unusual format (it is entirely written in the form of e-mails). But then, Avalon Books already proved with my very first novel that they are willing to take some chances - after all, it's more than a bit unusual to accept a manuscript from a German, who isn't even a native speaker.
„But why don't you write in German?“ you'll ask yourselves (and trust me, my mother asks me that very same question every week). The answer is simple – I didn't find any support as a beginning writer in Germany. The Germans have a very clear approach when it comes to jobs: Study it in depth, then work in that line of business until you die (or retire, whatever comes first). When I searched the Internet, however, I realized that things are different at the other side of the big pond. Here, they say: „If you want it, you can do it. Never mind that you're a gardener, a nurse, a lawyer – you can become a writer, and we'll teach you all you need to learn.“
So I decided to write in English, feeling a bit like a desert mouse that has decided it wants to learn skiing. But as the months went by, I found friends like Margaret Elam, who taught me how to make words sing; I found online writing courses; I found the Romance Writers of America; I found writers magazines, and I found the „book doctor“ Elizabeth Lyon . . . so that bit by bit, my know-how increased; I learned the tools of the trade, and finally, my first manuscript became a published novel.
So if there's a message to my blog today, it is this: Whatever the odds – fight for your dreams – dare to do what you love to do and where your heart takes you– and you will succeed eventually.
Beate Boeker is a product manager by day and a writer by night. She's also married and the mother of an energetic kid who loves snow as much as she does. If you mix Latin and German, Beate Boeker literally translates as Happy Books . . . and with a name like that, what else could she do but write romances? Beate would love to hear from you. You can get in touch via her website, www.happybooks.de
A Little Bit of Passion is Beate Boeker's third book for Avalon. Wings to Fly and Take My Place are also available.
About the Book:
Karen calls herself a modern gypsy because she has split her life into two perfect halves: In winter, she's a skiing teacher in the Teton Mountain Range, and in summer, she works at her book store on Long Island. But one Easter holiday, John and his son Gerry join her skiing group, and her perfect universe is shaken. Can she overcome her need for independence and find a compromise between her free life and the man who might be the love of her life?
Friday, April 15, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
As with the previous books in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, the last in Lisa Kleypas' Wallflower series. I got lost in her easy, free-flowing style and her witty sense of humour had me chuckling throughout the story. The banter between the hero and heroine was so enjoyable and hilarious that I was laughing out loud, especially during the heated "lawn bowling" game. Of course, neither character would admit defeat, something I can totally relate to. There is hope for we five foot lasses in this tale. I, only being an inch (or 2????) over five feet, could easily connect to the petite Daisy. She was a different kind of beauty, not the striking, regal vision of refinement. She was an every-day beauty....romantic and fiesty, my kind of gal. I loved how Daisy fell for Matthew, someone she never fathomed could possess all of the qualities she had sought for so long. In Matthew Swift she found someone whose presence she reveled in, even more than her precious books, someone who made her senses come alive with the brush of a fingertip, someone who accepted her for who she was, quirks and all.
Daisy rushed at him and whacked his chest with the book. She hated it that she felt so alive with him. She hated the way her senses drank in his presence like dry earth absorbing rain. She hated his handsome face and virile body, and the mouth that was more tempting than any man's mouth had a right to be.Matthew was a wonderful hero, a man with a duality of character that even women today seek. He could be a cold-hearted, aggressive businessman, very smart with a strong work ethic and a tenacious and unyielding drive to succeed. As we learn Matthew's secrets, we learn why this tenacity exists within him. Yet Matthew also possessed a gentle and playful side, easily apparent in the "goose" incident as well as his many debates with Daisy about her romantic notions of men. What I adored the most was his devotion to Daisy. He loved her for so long, secretly keeping his feelings to himself as he reveled in every glimpse of her face, every movement of her hands, every breath that she took. When a man keeps a lock of your hair in his pocket for years, knowing he could never possibly have you, I call that love and devotion. Thus, when Matthew finds himself alone with Daisy and she innocently proclaims her desire for him, he couldn't help but question this unfathomable reality.
"Do you know what I want from you?" she heard him ask hoarsely. "Do you understand what's going to happen if we don't stop?"Wow! Eternity! Sigh.....I would spend an eternity with Matthew Swift myself. And you can spend a few hours with him as well if you read this historical romance, another success by the very talented Lisa Kleypas.
Matthew lifted his head and gave her a doubtful glance. "I'm not as innocent as you might think," Daisy said earnestly. "I'm very well read."
He turned his face away, and she had the impression he was fighting a smile. Then he looked back at her with piercing tenderness. "Daisy Bowman," he said unevenly, "I'd spend eternity in hell for one hour with you."
"Scandal in Spring" is book #11 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
They say that opposites attract. I'm not sure. Are these individuals truly opposites, or do they see in the other what lies beneath the surface of their own selves? Is the brazenly out-spoken female just saying what we all wish we had the guts to say? Is it this bravery that makes her so endearing and desirable to a man who plays by the rules? I believe this is the case when Marcus, Lord Westcliffe, finds himself desiring the unfathomable Lillian Bowman.
Marcus is a serene, straight-laced, proper English gentleman, not to mention the most eligible and wealthy man of the peerage. A true blue-blood. Along comes Lillian Bowman, an American girl, the daughter of a self-made millionaire. Having already read book one in this series, I knew that there was a tension growing between Marcus and Lillian. They made it quite clear to one another that each did not like the other. The verbal battles between the two were numerous. Yet these arguments masked a mountain of sexual tension between the two. The reader knows it is just a matter of time before one breaks down and gives in to these desires. But who will it be? How can this distinguished man align himself for life with such a boisterous woman when he is expected to marry a truly elegant, proper English lady in order to carry on the bloodline? These opposites do attract....but can it last a lifetime? Can they ignore their obligations and follow their hearts?
I loved the heroine in this book. She was no lady....at least not a properly behaved lady of the 1800's. Lillian didn't wait for a man to ask her opinion....she gave her thoughts freely at every turn. She didn't accept what everyone told her was best....she questioned all of the rules of propriety. She was brazen, bold, stubborn, sharp-tongued, and very, very funny. A wonderfully head-strong woman. A gal I would love to hang out with. As for Marcus, he was a hero that I came to love. In book one, I thought he was a pompous a__! But this talented author reveals Marcus' history and the torment he went through as a child, and soon enough, I too was falling for this straight-laced gentleman who is really crying for a reason to let loose.... to reveal some of the rebellious boy within. I couldn't help but melt when he finally uttered what lay in his heart for Lillian:
"Rest. You'll need to regain your strength.....because once we're married, I won't be able to leave you alone. I'll want to love you every hour, every minute of the day." He nestled her more closely against him. "There is nothing on earth more beautiful to me than your smile....no sound sweeter than your laughter....no pleasure greater than holding you in my arms. I realized today that I could never live without you, stubborn little hellion that you are. In this life and the next, you're my only hope of happiness. Tell me, Lillian, dearest love....how can you have reached so far inside my heart?"Lisa Kleypas has an uncanny ability to create believable characters. They are humourous, lifelike, even human! They become people you want to have tea with....chat with....gossip with. The reader connects with them easily. They make us laugh and cry; we feel empathy for them and we identify with them. We fall in love with them and cheer for them when they reach their happily ever after. I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment of the Wallflowers series, so much so that number three is already awaiting me on my E-Reader. With the click of a button, I will be once again immersed into history and immersed into a romance that will sweep me away with a sigh.
"It Happened One Autumn" is book #10 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Gregory is the youngest male in the Bridgerton clan and he is the most genuine when it comes to his feelings...a true romantic at heart. While attending a party at his eldest brother's house, Gregory is struck down by the sight of the most beautiful blonde he has ever laid eyes upon. He must have her....this must be love, for he cannot breathe, cannot fathom life without the awe-inspiring Hermione. He lavishes her with attention, only to receive nothing in response, for Hermione's heart has been given to another. But there is hope for Gregory in the form of Hermione's best friend, Lady Lucinda. Lucy thinks that the youngest Bridgerton male is a very suitable match for her best friend and thus sets out to help Gregory woo Hermione. But of course, Lucy soon falls for the witty young Bridgerton herself. But she cannot......for she is to be married soon, an arrangement made long ago. But what will happen when Gregory realizes that he is falling for Hermione's best friend? How can he marry a woman who is about to marry someone else?
Once again, Julia Quinn does not let her readers down in this final book in a wonderful series. Reading about the heroine was like looking in the mirror at a young version of myself. Lucy is eager to please, always reliable....expected to do the right thing, always wanting things to be in order, for everyone to be happy, even at the cost of her own desires. Things are supposed to be a certain way and that gives our Lucy peace and comfort. But then along comes chaos in the form of a dark-haired, blue-eyed man with a sparkle in his gaze and the ability to make her laugh...make her feel safe...make her feel like herself. I rejoiced when Lucy decided that she was going to satisfy her own wants, her own desires....put herself first, even if it was for one night. A night she would cherish for the rest of her life, even if she was married to another man, a man she could never love like she loves Gregory. Our hero is a lover of love. He wants to be in love, to find his soul mate, and he fights to the bitter end for her, even after being rejected in the most public way. One's own heart cannot help but soar when Gregory professes his love for Lucy in front of hundreds. I melted. I encourage you to read this book. Join this cast of characters on their journey of discovery into the true meaning of love. You will laugh, you will cry, you will sigh, and you too will want what everyone wants.....an everlasting love."On the Way to the Wedding" is book #9 in the 2011 Historical Romance Challenge.