Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

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This book is hard to classify into a genre, and in fact it’s very different to the sort of book I generally go for. Here is the synopsis:

This is the story of Peter, a Cambridge geography don who crashes his car into a tree stump when swerving to avoid a cat, and Mina, the girl at the Sheffield call centre who deals with his insurance claim. It tracks their parallel lives, as well those of their families – because both Peter and Mina are single parents.

An old-fashioned fairy tale of love across the class divide, it is also a book about the small joys and tribulations of parenthood; about one-ness and two-ness; about symmetry and coincidence; about the things which separate us and the things which bring us together.

It is a story, in fact, of the accidents of geography.

Of course, regular blog readers will know that I generally go for the very romantic books out there.  Rosy Thornton’s book is perhaps not obviously romantic, but it is a gentle love story of two people who are meant to be together right from the start. The idea is a really good one. How do two people who are meant to be together, yet live so far apart and have only ever spoken on the phone get it together?

Well, as always, I never give away story or plot details but it was interesting to see how it all happened. In the meantime, the sub-characters (as well as the main ones) were brilliantly drawn. We get a full picture of their life and the ups and downs of a “not obvious” romantic “coming together”. Many books nowdays can be overly melodramatic, but this is a lovely book that leads two people with very modern problems to find love.

The authors writing flows effortly in describing the characters and their everyday circumstances and as I was reading it, I got the feeling that in years to come, her book could become a good reference of how we lived now. A bit like how Elizabeth Gaskell’s work gives modern readers an insight into the everyday living of Victorians.

So, overall, a great refreshing read and I look forward to more from Rosy Thornton.

Rating: 9/10

Add a comment May 17, 2009

It Should Have Been Me By Phillipa Ashley

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I bought this book the same time as Nell Dixon’s new Little Black Dress book and thought it sounded good. I sat down to flick through it, intending to read Nell’s book first.  However, I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading it in two days. Here is the synopsis:

When Carrie’s fiancé Huw suddenly calls off their wedding, and she finds out he’s marrying another woman, she’s devastated. Desperate to get away, Carrie jumps at her best friend Rowena’s suggestion of a road trip in her VW camper van. But when Rowena has to pull out and Matt Landor, an old friend of Huw’s, ends up filling the breach, she’s not so sure. Will fate take the pair on an altogether different journey?

I have to say, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this book. The characters were great, the plot hung together perfectly and it had a great ending.  The hero and heroine had great chemistry and the sub-characters were funny and real and interesting. It was perfect.

I’m not really one of those people who is good at writing reams of stuff in a review (unless it was a poor book). So all I’d say is go out and get a copy of this book NOW! You won’t regret it. It was a pleasure to read. Thank you Phillipa Ashley.

Rating: 10/10

3 comments April 12, 2009
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The Twilight Saga/Series by Stephanie Meyers

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Wow what a week and a half! I’ve devoured the entire Twilight saga (4 books in all) in that time.

My husband was starting to get a bit annoyed with me reading all my spare time….bless him.

Ok, where to start: The Twilight saga or series is taking over bookshops everywhere (and cinema’s). It’s a vampire love story between Edward, a 17 year old vampire and Bella a human. Now, I know what you are thinking “But I don’t like vampires.” all blood and biting etc. However, this is different. Edward is different, in fact he’s every girl dream man (even though he’s not a man!)….

When I was reading the first book (Twilight) I had to keep checking I wasn’t reading a Mills and Boon. What I’m trying to get across is don’t be prejudiced against reading it. If you love a love story – you’ll love this.

They are books that you will want to re-read (esp the first one) and while there are a few things that didn’t make sense or didn’t feel right, they are exceptionally good. I do have one major gripe – the second book : New Moon was pretty awful. There is a long period of the book where Bella and Edward are apart, and whilst I can see in the grand scheme of things it was part of the overall story – it was a bit of a betrayal on the reader who wants to get as much of Edward on the page as possible….

However, the third book (Eclipse) was brilliant and the last book (Breaking Dawn) was very good too (though the last quarter dragged a bit).

One of my friends said to me “Stephanie Meyer can’t spin a story like JK Rowling”. I agree. Whilst these are definitly worth reading and had me enthralled and unable to put them down – they are not quite on par with dear old JKR.

So go find yourself a copy of Twilight and then say like me “Move aside Mr Darcy, Edward Cullen is taking your place!”

Ratings:

Twilight: 10/10

New Moon 4/10

Eclipse 10/10

Breaking Dawn 8/10

2 comments February 19, 2009
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The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer

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 As some of you regular readers know, I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I’ve read quite a few modern versions of her work (Melissa Nathan, Kate Fenton spring to mind, as well as Bridget Jones).

What I have found in reading these books is that they are usually only very loosely based around the original story. This has been a little frustrating for me as I often wondered why they had been changed so much when the original was so good.

But lo and behold, at last, a modern version of a Jane Austen book that sticks to the original story, and  is a fantastic read.

Here is the synopsis:

Mark Knightley – handsome, clever, rich – is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who’s like part of the family – and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning?

Emma’s grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It’s just like the old days, except that now he’s seeing her through totally new eyes.

While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She’s never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He’s still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill – the man of her dreams – turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else?

With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.

I loved the way this novel took all the characters you love in the original Emma and planted them into the modern world – it worked really well.

Emma herself is still both lovely and extremely irritating at times (just like the original). Mark Knightley is every woman’s dream, and Juliet did a great job of giving both of them a history (and no, Emma isn’t a virgin).

This book also has a lot of humour in it, which will always get bonus points from me.

So overall, if you love Jane Austen and want to read something fresh and new, then this is the book for you. If you don’t like Jane Austen because it’s a historical novel or some other strange reason like you have no taste, then this is the book for you too. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

Juliet has her version of Persuasion coming out next, which I’m very excited about.

Rating 10/10

2 comments January 18, 2009
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The Tales of Beedle The Bard by JK Rowling

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Those who know me, know that I am a big Harry Potter fan. Despite this, there have been two occasions when I have been really annoyed with JK Rowling.

1) When she wrote The Tales of Beedle the Bard and wasn’t going to release it to the Potter fans like me

2) When she donated £1 million to the Labour party.

Regarding number 1) all is forgiven ;0).

As for number 2……well if she wants to help keep a bunch of muppets running the country who are are slowly taking away people’s civil liberties and reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator, well she’ll have to live with that! Personally, I think she’s crazy!

 Anyway, politics aside, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was warmly welcomed by me. The book contains 5 different fairy tales, one of which is already in the final and 7th Harry Potter Book. The fairy tales are written for the magical world, rather than muggles (non-magical people) and are great stories in themselves.

However, the really great thing about the book is that JKR has written after each Fairy Tale a commentry by Dumbledore. This is what makes the book really special and are very funny and endearing.

So, overall, this will please Potter fans just like me. Those who haven’t read the Potter books will like the Fairy Tales but the commentry bit may be confusing.

Also, if you haven’t read the 7th and final Potter book, I’d leave reading this until after. It may give some of the story away….kinda.

Rating 10/10

Add a comment December 7, 2008

Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi

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I have a stack of Pamela Morsi books and I thought it was time I read another one.

Here is the synopsis:

The last thing widow Althea Winsloe wanted to do was remarry.  Unfortunately, her meddlesome mountain neighbors had other plans.   So, one autumn night they banded together and gave Althea a shocking ultimatum:   She was to find herself a husband by Christmas…or the town would do it for her!   Althea knew she had her choice of any single man in Marrying Stone, Arkansas.   Yet the only one she felt truly comfortable with was Simple Jess.  Sweet and gentle, Jess wasn’t as smart as your average man.  But his tender manner stirred Althea’s heart in ways she had never dreamed possible.

It would take a miracle to find a husband in Marrying Stone.  But sometimes miracles are right under your nose…
This book was certainly different. Different in the fact that the hero has what we would term today as having
Learning difficulties. Jess, though he is called “Simple” by the other folk around him, is still a man and one who does work things out in his head often enough to make sure he does the right thing.

This book does have quite a lot of time filling. But just like the last Pamela Morsi book I read, the sub-characters are excellent and almost take over the book again.

I was particularly interested in one male character who was gay. Obviously this being 1906, it’t not something he admits to, but he does tell his sister, who doesn’t fully understand it. Watching his struggle as his family urge him to marry was a refreshing story. He knows he is different to others, they know he’s different, but they never say it in the open.

There is a little boy in the story who is 3 years old, I felt he spoke a bit too adult-like – maybe like a 7 or 8 year old.

The heroine is very likeable, she owns a farm and wants to stay single now she’s widowed.

Overall, I felt that while this was quite a good book, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. I think the chemistry between the two leads wasn’t great. There is a good insight into community life in the mountains in the USA – everyone interfering in everyone elses life, family feuds etc…

So overall, not bad, but not great either.

Rating: 7/10

Add a comment November 23, 2008

Mr Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

 

Oh dear. There comes a time when I want to weep, and now is that time. I love Julia Quinn as an author, and I was really happy when this book came out. I eagerly downloaded it (it was an ebook). However, I want my money back. This book is a total waste of time and money.

This is the second in a series – the first being “The Lost Duke of Wyndham.” However, it appears that rather than having 2 different books with the same characters appearing in both books and with different stories – this has the same scenes as the first book but told with different point of views. There are some new scenes, (scenes that were alluded to in the first one) but not enough to warrant an entirely new book.

Once I had realised this, I skim read through and lost all sympathy and interest in the characters. I really didn’t care.

Surfice to say, I am disgusted that a) Julia Quinn agreed to release this book and b) that her publishers seem to have total disregard for her readers by trying to fobb off the same story with the same scenes in two separate books. It’s such a shame because the first book in the series was brilliant.

I want my money back. I think it may take me some time to forgive Julia Quinn for this. All I can hope is that it was her publishers idea and that she was forced to do it….

Rating: 0/10

(I don’t normally rate books I didn’t finish, but this is an exception)

Add a comment October 12, 2008
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Moonshadows by Melinda Hammond

I was eager to read this book as soon as it was released. Here is the synopsis:

Right man, wrong century?

Feeling trapped between an attraction to her rich, handsome boss and loyalty to her penniless boyfriend, Jessica “Jez” Skelton hopes a visit to her aunt’s house will clear her head. Instead, a box of inherited letters raises the dust of the past—and clouds her present even more.

The eighteenth century letters resurrect the tragic love story of Sarah, a woman who was mysteriously erased from the family history. A woman whose love for a rich and powerful lord forms a disturbing parallel to Jez’s life. Is it a warning not to succumb to her boss—or risk suffering the same unhappy fate?

Piers Cordeaux knows his advances are forcing Jez into a corner, but he can’t seem to help himself. Something about her reaches deep inside him, awakening needs that all his money can’t satisfy. He can’t shake the conviction that they are meant for each other.

As Jez tries to ignore her growing attraction to Piers, she is drawn deeper into her ancestor’s desperate story. And she begins to wonder if her connection to Piers is an accident…or the work of a ghost whose determination to claim his lady reaches across two centuries of time.

Well what can I say? Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Why can’t mainstream publishers release more stuff like this? It was such a nice change, well-written, page turning (or the ebook equivalent of page turning). It had everything, a simple yet enthralling storyline, great characters you really cared about and a lovely ending.

I love historical fiction (it had that), I love modern fiction (it had that too)…On the publishers website here, it categorisies it as a paranormal romance. I wouldn’t call it *that* paranormal (not that I’m an expert). Anyway, if you a reader who isn’t sure about paranormal books – don’t be put off by that label.

I loved the way Piers chased Jez, and the historical paralelled story worked really well along side it and was very moving. There were eerie bits that were enthralling. It was a bit like Cinderella meets the ghost of christmas past.

I would say more, but I would have to be more specific and I don’t want to give the story away – you’ll have to discover it yourself by reading it!

Well done Melinda, a great book. Hope you do more like this.

Rating 9.5/10

2 comments September 5, 2008
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An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell

 

I got this out of the library because I wanted to see what all the fuss about Jill Mansell was. I picked up the book the other night to have a flick through it just to see what it was like. 2 Hours later I was still reading and realising that I was loving the book.

Here is the synopsis:

Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend Dougie’s snobbish mother offers her £10,000 to break up with him. Then she discovers a secret that makes her think again. Dougie would probably have broken up with her in the long run, and this way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world.Ten years later, though, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. But she broke Dougie’s heart and he’s about to discover that she was paid to do it. She can never tell him the truth, so can she get him back? Well, Lola’s very attractive and very persuasive. But even she’s got her work cut out this time…

I thought I would never read another “Click-lit” book (not bec I’m snobby) but after the Freya North debacle, (see earlier review) I decided not to waste my time with “that sort of stuff” again. However, what I didn’t count on was Jill Mansell being a terrific writer!

Her writing is very modern and funny and witty and readable and….I could go on, but I think you get the drift!

The main character (Lola) is refreshing in that she is self-assured, she knowswhat she wants and she goes out to get it. She tries to get her ex-boyfriend (Dougie) back (asking him some outrageous things) and along the way many things happen in her life. Ordinarily I would of got bored reading the non-romantic bits, but Jill Mansell has a way of making the other stuff really interesting and page-turning.

What the synopsis doesn’t tell you is that there are other characters in the book who are given quite a lot of coverage in the book. Gabe and Sally are the sub characters who have a great story too and they made the book for me.

Couple of minor gripes – at the end when Dougie finally gives into Lola and takes her back, I kinda felt it was not quite beleiveable that he had an about face. But maybe thats just because the man’s point of view was never written. Also, I thought about 4/5ths through it was dragging a little.

Anyway, if you’ve not read a Jill Mansell book before, give it a try. It was really very very good. And you all know what a fussy reader I am!

Rating 8/10

Add a comment August 31, 2008
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Jack of Clubs by Barbara Metzger

This is a new author for me, recommended by one of the girls from Bookishly Attentive.

 

Here is the synopsis:

Year’s ago, Captain Jack Endicott’s young half sister vanished after a carriage accident. Now, hardened by fighting in the Peninsular wars, Jack sets out to honour his father’s dying wish that he find the missing girl. Disdainful of “proper” gentlemanly pursuits and refusing to live off his noble brother, Jack makes a bold play. He’ll open a lavish gaming parlour in London – and, by hiring only beautiful ladies to deal cards, possibly find his sister. All he needs is a little luck.

Schoolteacher Allison Silver is at her wits end. After an arduous journey escorting a precocious pupil to her grandparents in London, the old folks are not even home to take delivery! And the only possible alternative guardian is a known womanizer who runs a gabmling house, of all things.

Yet when the proud Jack meets the prim Alllie, the odds are surprisingly even – and all bets are off in the wild game of romance….

This is the second in a series of 3 books, and I haven’t read the first. There was no problem with getting into the book becasue it was the second and the author gives a well dispersed overview of the series storyline (that of the missing girl) so you know whats going on.

I did feel howwever, that the plotline of the missing girl was a bit of a misnomer and a little contrived. It wasn’t mentioned all that much, and instead of information about her being dispersed through the book, suddenly near the end, the bow street runners who were looking into the case found loads of information.

That aside, I did enjoy reading this book very much. All the characters were wonderfully written, and the author has a great and vivid way of drawing them. Certainly one of the most appealing things about this story was how different it was to other Regencies. Set in a gaming house, it was very refreshing from the usual country houses or town houses. The setting also meant that the secondary characters were more colourful (if you know what I mean)…

The story revolves around prim Allie and handsome Jack who are the perfect match if only Allie can get over her worry about losing her reputation and Jack can…well it’s just the usual man who is wealthy, has a mistress, why would he want to marry?

However, Jack is lovable and sweet and Allie can be a bit annoying at times. But this was a page-turner albeit more of a soap opera than an epic drama. Near the end I was expecting something major to happen but it never did. When I closed the book having finsihed it I was also surprised that there was no love scene. I don’t mind either way if a book has a love scene as long as it fits in with the story. In this book there was a lot of pent-up sexual tension and I was expecting it several times but it didn’t happen.

So overall, while I was reading this book I loved it. When I finished it and reflected back there were many plot points and issues with characters that just didn’t add up…and I feel a bit disappointed with it.

I will probably give Barbara Metzger another go maybe the 3rd book in the series.

Rating 7.5/10

Add a comment August 28, 2008
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Blue Remembered Heels by Nell Dixon

Nell Dixon has a new book out with Little Black Dress, here is the synopsis:

Life is sweet for con-woman Abbey Gifford until, one ordinary Wednesday afternoon, she’s struck by lightning. They told her she might have some bizarre side effects, but nothing could have prepared Abbey for the fact that, since that fateful day, she can never tell lies again! Truthfulness is a big drawback for a con-woman, especially when suddenly she’s being followed by the suspiciously gorgeous detective Mike Flynn. If only Abbey could stop blurting out secrets every time he asks her a question! And if only Mike knew the real reason Abbey spends her life tricking other people out of their money!

I must admit, I’m not exactly the target reader for Little Black Dress, and I have tried a few before but not been overly impressed. However, they have struck gold with Nell Dixon. Having read most of her previously published work, I was sure whatever she had written for Little Black Dress would be good. I was correct.

This book has a brilliantly thought-out plot, and characters. The relationships between everyone (be it siblings, aunts, and others) are realistic, as are the characters themselves. In fact, as I read it, I thought perhaps that this book could have been longer and more in depth, but I realised that Little Black Dress don’t do long books. It keeps the reader wanting to turn the page, and I read it very quickly (always a good sign).

Couple of things: I loved the fact that Abbey was in the shadow of her sister – who is more attractive than her. I thought the scenes where Abbey had to answer Mike thruthfully were hilarious (I didn’t want them to end) and I almost (just almost) wanted Abby and Phillipe to get together…..

I was slightly disappointed that the romantic element of the book between Mike and Abbey wasn’t persued more. I’d have liked to have seen more interaction between them, especially when Abby had to answer his questions (as I’ve mentioned before), but this doesn’t take away from the fact that this was a great read, and I’d highly recommend it.

Rating: 9/10

2 comments August 8, 2008
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Slight interruption…

I know I normally post about the books I read (next review coming soon…) but I felt I must post about the Borders “Spookily Accurate” book suggester…

Here is the link.

You type in the author of a book you recently read and enjoyed and the book suggestor will list similar authors to try.

Ok, lets see, thought I.

I tried: Elizabeth Hanbury.

Book Suggestor: No results

I tried: Pamela Morsi

Book Suggestor: No results

I tried: Nell Dixon

Book Suggestor: No results.(Even though Nell is now a Little Black Dress author with a new book out)

In fact, unless it was a well known author in the UK, the book suggestor didn’t come back with anything. It did work for Meg Cabot, JKR, BUT not for Eleanor Updale and Montmorency!!! This piece of software needs serious work and is typical of large companies. They only go for the mainstream.

Whilst I do try and support my local indie bookshop wherever possible, I do like Borders for certain books because they often have US imported titles not available even from orders by indies. They also have a lovely big romance section! So, sort it Borders please!

1 comment July 25, 2008
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Here Comes the Bride by Pamela Morsi

More Pamela Morsi….here is the synopsis:

When well-to-do businesswoman Gussie Mudd turns thirty-one she decides it’s time to wed her reluctant beau Amos Dewey but he is still grieving his late wife. So Gussie enlists the help of her friend and business associate Rome Akers to make Amos jealous. When Gussie and Rome get to know each other they start to fall in love, though she won’t give up on her plan to marry Amos.

This book wasn’t as good as the other two Morsi books I’ve read. I did finish it, and did enjoy it, but I came away thinking it could have been better.

I think the main problem was that I didn’t feel like I got a good or thorough picture of the main characters, or get inside their heads. Also there were two sub-characters whose story I felt was more interesting and believeable.

There was a lot of page space dedicated to these two sub-characters and I thought that the book would have been better with these two as the main characters instead.

So, overall, not bad, but not great either.

Rating: 6.5/10

Add a comment June 15, 2008
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The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Hurrah! Julia Quinn has a new book out!

Oh No! It’s only out in the USA and I live in the UK….

Ahh But I wouldn’t let a trifling thing like the Atlantic Ocean get in the way of me reading the latest book from one of my favourite authors!

I bought it as an ebook of course (I used ebooks.com). It was approximately £4.50 and I would have paid double that (don’t tell Julia’s publisher!)

Anyway, here is the synopsis:

Will the real Duke of Wyndham please stand up?

Jack Audley has been a highwayman. A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine… until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she’s not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have…

I loved it, loved it, loved it! I could rave all day how much I loved this book. It was classic Julia Quinn, and after being slightly disppointed with her last book (The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheevers) I was glad to see that Julia is back to her usual form. I won’t tell you what actually happens in the book, but Julia has created a wonderful story and she slowly reveals things about the main characters that makes it entralling and a real page turner. Jack the main character has a “problem” that is revealed later on in the book and though I have read another book where the hero has this same “problem”, she did a great job.

I suspect she created her Dowager Duchess (the old dragon) based on Lady Catherine De Burgh. But I won’t speculate!

So overall, I couldn’t put it down (read it in 24 hours). The ending was a surprise – it felt like it was leading up to a different twist, but I wasn’t disappointed.

A lovely heroine and hero, great love story, great secondary characters and another book out in September that’s kinda tied to this one….can’t wait!

Rating 10/10

2 comments May 31, 2008
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Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

 

Nicola and the Viscount is a regency teen book (who’d have thought it!), written by the same author who wrote The Princess Diaries. I saw this in the library and was intrigued what it would be like. Having enjoyed the Princess Diaries (films) I thought it might be worth a go.

Here is the synopsis:

Nicola is in love! And not just with an ordinary man. Her heart has been captured by Lord Sebastian, better known as The God – the most handsome and dashing man who ever lived. But are gods always as perfect as they are meant to be?

The heroine in this story is just 16, (no surprise there since its a teen book) and she can get a little irritating at times. But she is a strong girl, and with a good heart. She calls the hero of the book “the god” throughout and it is quite funny. She also calls her annoying cousin “the milksop”. This is a bright, quirky book but with a predicable plot (nothing new about it) but it does hold a certain charm and I’d definitly recommend this book to teenage girls (esp those daughters of women who love regencies and want to get their daughters into them). The romance is not very strong in the book, but when it’s there, it’s nicely done.

I got the impression that Meg Cabot was a Heyer fan and had always wanted to write a regency. (Nothing wrong with that – if it helps along the next generation into the regency world, I’m all for it.) In fact Meg Cabot has a writing style very similar to Julia Quinn. Again, nothing wrong with that!

Rating 7/10

Comments Off on Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot May 7, 2008
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The Paradise Will by Elizabeth Hanbury

I’ve been hoping to find another author as good as one of my favourites Wendy Soliman, and I can safely say, that Elizabeth Hanbury has made the mark.

I saw this book mentioned on another blog, and decided to give it a try – from the synopsis it sounded great:

When spirited Alyssa Paradise unexpectedly inherits her uncle’s property in Dorset, she is determined meet the challenge of running a grand estate. However, there is a surprising condition: every week for six months she must dine tête-à-tête with the enigmatic Sir Giles Maxton, who owns the adjoining land. Alyssa wonders how she will endure this arrangement – Sir Giles cuts a dashing figure but he is positively insufferable!

Although Alyssa soon discovers the warm, generous man beneath his laconic exterior and Giles in turn finds Alyssa beguiling, they fight their growing attraction, knowing they are both promised elsewhere. But when Alyssa is unwittingly caught up in a web of intrigue and revenge, Giles must race against time to rescue the woman he loves…

The author draws a rich picture of the regency period – the language in the dialogue is spot on (just like reading a Georgette Heyer) and the detail draws you in.

The story was charming, the heroine sensible and likeable and the hero – thud! (You have to read it – he’s just hits the spot!) The sexual chemistry is brilliant and the minor characters charming too. All that plus the humour – I can’t fault it! I’ve always thought that it’s the minor characters that turn a good book into a great book, and this is a great book. I’ll definitly be re-reading it. Highly recommended.

This is the authors first book and I’m looking forward to some more of her work asap! (hint hint)

Rating 10/10

2 comments May 2, 2008
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Garters by Pamela Morsi

 

Following on from loving Pamela’s Morsi book “Courting Miss Hattie” I was eager to try another of her books. I wasn’t disappointed. 

Here is the synopsis:

When Esme Crabb steps into the Vader general store one day in 1888, she wants just one thing – the storekeeper – and she has only one way to ensnare him: with the longest legs in all Tennessee. Esme is determined to wed a rich man to save her featherbrained sisters and worthless pa from a life of poverty.

And Cleavis Rhys fits the bill perfectly….

This book was delightful, and I thoroughly recommend it. It’s not quite as re-readable as Courting Miss Hattie, but it’s a page turner and I read it in 2 days. There are some great comic moments and it was hilarious watching Esme chase after Cleavis – something you just expect a woman to do in a historical book. She was determined to get her man! Esme was a lovely heroine. Not well educated, but sharp and determined to get her and her family out of poverty.

The minor characters were great – Esme’s sisters, Armon Hightower (no relation to the tall cop in Police Academy!), Cleav’s mother, Esme’s father. They all had their little quirks and were really lovable. I think the best minor character was Sophrona who was annoying by her constant ability to quote the bible to answer everything! She turned out ok in the end though.

The hero – Cleav was very lovable, and poor man didn’t quite know what to do when he was ruthlessly persued. This book didn’t go on too long by the way – it was just about right.

The love scenes were well written and the sexual tension between the two main characters was great.

So overall a great read….will definitly be reading more Pamela Morsi….

Rating 8/10

Add a comment April 23, 2008
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The Cinderella Substitute by Nell Dixon

After the disaster that was Pillow Talk, I needed something I knew would be a good read in order to restore my faith in modern fiction. So of course, I read a Nell Dixon!

The Cinderella Substitute is the first published of the Mayer family siblings (like the other’s I’ve reviewed). Here is the synopsis.

In the two years since the tragic car crash that killed his fiancée, Nathanial (Nate) Mayer has successfully avoided another relationship. His family and especially his twin sister Nathalie are worried.

Jennifer (Jenni) Blake is Nate’s personal assistant. Hired after the accident, she has had her own problems to deal with, including the deaths of her adoptive parents and the debts incurred by their nursing care. But those difficulties pale into insignificance when Jenni finally traces her birth mother…

This was another page turner from Nell. Each of the stories are very individual to the characters and this one was just as good as the others. I really liked Jenni, and the embarassments she felt at being poor. I also loved her slow “make over” she gave herself.

The picture painted of Nate was good too – a workaholic but with a big heart. He really swept Jenni off his feet. Really sweet the way he did little things for her. (And it’s the little things that make all the difference!)

Definitly recommended again!

Any criticisms? Well I’m a great hater of people who own second homes in rural area’s – and Nate had a holiday home in Devon that was at empty most of the time….ok ok I know it’s fiction!!! (Reality check!!) But I’m sure Jenni will get a lot more use out of it when they are married….won’t they Nell??

Rating: 8.5/10

1 comment April 21, 2008
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Pillow Talk by Freya North

 

This book won Romantic Novel of the Year 2008. All I can say is this: if this book won, the rest in the competition must have been dire.

The book started off well, and the synopsis looks really interesting (I love a love lost but re-gained story):

By day, Petra Flint is a talented jeweller working in a lively London studio. By night, she sleepwalks. She has 40 carats of the world’s rarest gemstone under her mattress but it’s the skeletons in her closet that make it difficult for her to rest. The insomniac. At one time a promising song-writer, Arlo Savidge now teaches music at a boys’ boarding school in North Yorkshire. He assumes he’s happy with his isolated lifestyle. But, like Petra, ghosts from his past disturb his sleep. Putting the past to bed. Petra and Arlo loved each other from afar during their schooldays. Now, seventeen years later, in a tiny sweetshop one rainy day, they stand before each other once more. Could this be their second chance?

So, this is a book about two people meeting again….well not quite – not until a third of the way into the book, and after you have to read about Petra’s oh so good sex that quite frankly, as you read it doesn’t sound great at all. Then you have to put up with really boring scenes as she visits her parents and such. Several yawns later and I was starting to wonder what was going on – where was this award winning romance?

So, in the end I skim read the boring bits and finally got to the bit where they meet. – almost half way through the book! What a let down…esp as they meet then one runs off and they don’t meet again for about 5 chapters later!

Oh dear – by this time I’m really wondering why I’m reading this at all….so I flicked through the rest of the book and have given up on it. No point in wasting time on boring books where I lost any interest in the characters long ago…

It seems with chick-lit these days, the first half of the book you have to put up with the heroines dodgy boyfriend and guess how they will break up (usually it’s because he cheats – no exception in this book). I did keep wondering whether it was me – not the book…this book has some great reviews on Amazon…and of course it won that award I mentioned earlier…who knows, but this book wasn’t for me.

Rating: No rating because I didn’t finish this book

 


1 comment April 11, 2008
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My name….

I chose the online name “Clorinda” because of this excerpt from “Regency Buck” by Georgette Heyer:

“What is your name?”

“Again sir, that is no concern of yours.”

“A mystery,” he said. “I shall have to call you Clorinda.”

 

1 comment April 10, 2008

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