December 21, 2008

The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh

Ideal WifeFearing the imminent arrival of his mother and managing sisters, Miles Ripley, earl of Svern, says that if a plain, dull, forgettable woman just showed up he would marry her on the spot to avoid being married to the prospect his mother has in mind, some girl named Frances.

The next day, a girl just like he described shows up at his doorstep, claiming to be his cousin and asking if he would give her a letter of reference so she can find a new job, instead Miles decides she'll make a good enough bride and marries her two days later.

Abigail is not at all like she presented herself that first day and quickly her true personality starts to come out, like the fact she's impulsive and talks a lot, Miles should hate that but instead he finds it endearing.

Well, Mrs. Balogh knows her craft better than most and it is a good book - even though it reads perilously close to A Temporary Wife in the beginning as the story develops so do the characters and the smilarities end for the most part.

Not much to say about the book, other than it was an enjoyable read.

Grade :


December 20, 2008

At The Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker

Bride Hunt
At the Bride Hunt Ball it's the first novel by Olivia Parker and features two interesting characters, one is Gabriel - a duke who, rather than getting married and begetting the proverbial heir, wants his brother to marry and carry on the line - and our heroine, Carolyn who doesn't think very highly of the duke for hosting the title's Bride Hunt Ball at which is brother is expected to select his bride.

Carolyn couldn't care less about Lord Tristan, Gabriel's brother, but she tags along to the ball because she won one of the much coveted invitations and her best friend is half in love with Lord Tristan already and Carolyn wants to protect her. Gabriel is very attracted to Caroline right from the start though he has his reasons not to want a wife (a bit exaggerated I thought but acceptable).

In true historical romance fashion, they can't help to be drawn to each other.

Like I said before Olivia Parker is a first time author and she does a good job of it, the book is engaging, the characters endearing and the plot, if a little predictable, flows nicely.



December 15, 2008

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Welcome to Temptation
Sophie Dempsey did not want to go to Temptation, Ohio with her sister Amy to make a video of a has-been actress; but she follows her little sister and finds Temptation's Mayor Phineas Tucker whom all he wants is to run the town with as little fuss as possible and raise his daughter, but one look at Sophie and he finds himself going at all hours to the house were Sophie's staying, fixing various items around the house and imagining life with her. Sophie doesn't particularly like town boys like Phin, but she can't help to be drawn closer by his steady presence and by the amazing chemistry they have together.

Alright, so, generally I'm a fan of Jenny Crusie (and I had high hopes for this book since it's my friend Maddy's favorite); but this book is not my favorite, it's not a bad book it just didn't draw me in as quickly as most her other books have done. I liked Sophie and I liked Phin but, at the beginning, I felt kind of annoyed at the little interaction between them. I didn't like Sophie's sister, though I did like her brother - which is weird since they both are kind of screw ups. I disliked Clea - the washed off actress before mentioned - and most of the other town's people.

I really liked Rachel and Leo, though, I think their developing relationship helped to keep the book interesting. And, by the second part, when Sophie and Phin were 'really' together, I began to enjoy the book quite a lot. Also, kudos to Ms Crusie for writing a kid that wasn't snotty or capricious, Phin's daughter really wants her dad to be happy and she really wants a Mom.



Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd

Tongue In Chic
Meadow's grandmother, the famous painter Isabel Benjamin, once told her of a priceless painting she hid at her ex-husband's home, Valdemar; she said it was Meadow's legacy and when Meadow's mother Sharon gets sick with cancer, Meadow thinks it's high time she went to retrieve her legacy so she breaks into Valdemar and is caught red handed by Devlin Fitzwilliam the ruthless hotel developer who bought Valdemar to turn it into an exclusive boutique-hotel which is opening in less than a month.

After an accidental hit on the head, Meadow quickly and desperately pretends she has amnesia and that she doesn't remember why she's there, recognizing her as Isabel's daughter (though unsure of her real name) he decides he's going to use her to upset Bradley Benjamin's, former owner of Valdemar and all around pain in Devlin's butt, and follows Meadow's proclamation of amnesia with the declaration that she's his lost wife.

It sounds promising, doesn't it? Sadly, it wasn't as good as I expected and I didn't have THAT high expectations about it after Trouble in High Heels, the characters felt flat and way too two dimensional, all of them; they were likable but, again, very cartoon-y. And the romance felt way rushed. Also, the background plot with Mr. Manly and his sons (Devlin being one of them) seems to be going WAY to slow and coming out of the blue in each individual story.



November 24, 2008

Trouble with High Heels by Christina Dodd

Brandi Michaels just moved to Chicago from Nashville, she has everything planned out: she's going to start a great job at one of Chicago's finest law firms, and she will marry her doctor boyfriend soon. Things don't go quite as she expected when her boyfriend calls her from Vegas where he just married his pregnant girlfriend.

Brandi decides she's going to pawn her engagement ring and buy herself a fabulous dress and some fuck-me shoes and go to a great party and find herself a man to have a sex with and never see again. Said man is Roberto Bartollini, an Italian count.

Since this book is supposed to be suspenseful and mysterious I won't say more beyond that.

Trouble with High Heels is not Christina Dodd's first foray into contemporar romance (She's better known for her historical romance books) but at times it feels like it is. The book has a bit of a personality crisis, and the 'suspence' feels thin. I liked Brandi and her mother and I liked Roberto and his grandfather; but I didn't like the book as much as I liked the characters.

And toward the end, well, the end pretty much was ridiculous. It that gesture had been more meassured I would have thought in very romantic but it was just kind of silly.



November 15, 2008

To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

SinnerTo Seduce a Sinner is the second book in the Legend of the Four Soldiers Series by Elizabeth Hoyt.

Melisande knows she's not exactly the Belle of the Ball, and she knows that, though she comes from a good family, at 28 she isn't much of a catch. But she has been in love with Japer Renshaw, Lord Vale; since she first saw him years ago and when his fiancée leaves him at the altar she decides that is now or never, so she proposes to Lord Vale.

Vale, for his part, was not having the best of days, actually, he has had lots of bad days since he returned from the colonies where he was in the military, after most of his company was killed in an ambush, especially when one the few surviors tells him that he knows for a fact they were betrayed (see To Taste Temptation). His body might be unharmed, but his mind has deep scars. When she asks, and even though he's not even sure of Melisande's name, he decides its not the worse thing in the world and agrees to marry her.

I would say more but I'll leave it at saying that Melisande has her secrets (though, arguably, there was more Mrs. Hoyt could have done with that bit of the plot); and so does Lord Vale (it feels funy calling him Jasper, somehow); the both have a past and things they regreat. However, and I this is very important to me, I was so glad when Lord Vale didn't react like a Judith McNaught hero (as in completely stupid and blowing things out of proportion) when he discovered some of Melisande's secrets, that was so refreshing and just great.

I was also very intreaged by Mrs. Firstwilliam and Sir Alistair (who, yes, are set to be the main couple in Book 3 To Beguile a Beast, out early-ish 2009), and I want to hear more from them.

As for Melisande and Lord Vale, I'm happy with their story. and Sir Mouse, Melisande's dog, was such a nice touch.

Oh, and by the way, we keep going through the stories of the four soldiers (which started with Iron Heart in To Taste Temptation, and continues here with Laughing Jack) and the way the stories changed hands was quite nice, it had me smiling.

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WIlla by Heart by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Willa by HeartOh, it's Willa-Time Again.

After successfully saving her beloved Bramble Library, Willa is back for more. Change has fallen upon Bramble and Willa is not quite sure where all that leaves her. Sure, her mother is happily married and she's planning on finally stop calling her stepfather 'Sam' and actually calling him Dad; Joey Kennelly is her boyfriend (why, they are the most compatible couple in Bramble Academy!) and summer will arrive soon.

But then, everything begins to change slowly, mostly when Mariel, a new girl, shows up to wreck Willa's word. The town's theater company is putting on "Our Town" and Willa thinks she and Joey are perfect for the lead roles, until Mariel gets the part of Emily and now she is going to kiss Willa's boyfriend on stage! It doesn't help that Joey and Mariel are friends, which sends Willa into a couple of jealous fits. Stella, Willa's Mom, has big news of her own, Sulamina Mum (one of Willa's friends and the minister at Bramble United Church) has news too.

Oh, and the Blazers are back (along with 16 bridesmaids).

Bramble is changing, and so is Willa.

It's such a joy when you start to read a book and you know immediately, right from the first page, that you're going to love it. That's exactly what happened to me with this book. Of course, I'm guilty of being a Willa fan, but it doesn't matter, trust me. It just takes a few sentences, where Willa is describing sunrise on the Cape and you're instantly in love.

I'm glad to see Willa grow up, and make mistakes. She's still true to character, a nice, lovable girl, but that doesn't mean she's perfect or that she doesn't feel the less savory feelings - like jealousy or anger - but, Willa is Willa, and she ends up doing the right thing even when, as she learns in Willa by Heart, it's not always easy. In fact, sometimes, doing the right thing is right down hard.


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October 30, 2008

The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Cupid ChroniclesWhen we last saw Willa Havisham, things were going quite well for her: she was back in Bramble, the town she loved and where she belonged; her mother had married Sam Gracemore; and she was happy.

In Cupid Chronicles we meet Willa again, now a high school freshman, she has been elected as Community Service leader of her class and she needs a cause to support. Luckily, a cause close to her heart arises when she finds that the Bramble Library is about to close due to budget cuts. Willa will see no such thing happen and begins to rally on behalf of her beloved Library.

Things won't be easy though, we are talking serious money, so Willa and her friends try to come up with ideas to gather money for it, the main event being a Valentine's Day party. Lots of things will happen in between, some good, some bad and some right down sad; but through it all, Willa's spirit shines through, her love for her town, for her books and for the people in her life give her strength to do what's right.

Again, one of the things I love the most about Willa is the fact that she loves books the way I love books, so whenever I read about her it's like I'm catching up with a dear old friend. Mrs. Paratore's descriptions of the town and the people are to die for, it feels like I'm seeing it right in front of my eyes.

Cupid Chronicles is a great second installment of Willa's adventures, I loved reading it and I couldn't wait to read more.

Go read it, you'll love Willa and Bramble too.


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