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An Offer You Can’t Refuse by Jill Mansell

Title: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Author: Jill Mansell

Publisher: Sourcebooks 2008

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 416

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mixing it Up – Romance; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading

How I Got It: I own it!

Nothing could tear Lola and Dougie apart, except his mother…

Seventeen-year-old Lola has no intention of accepting when her boyfriend’s snobbish mother offers her a huge bribe to break up with him. Then Lola discovers a secret that makes her think again, and the only way she can help one of the people she loves most in the world is to take the money and break Dougie’s heart.

Ten years later, when Lola meets Dougie again, her feelings for him are as strong as ever. She’ll do almost anything to get him back, but she can never tell him the truth. Can she overcome his bitterness and win his heart? She’s attractive, persuasive, and endlessly optimistic, but even Lola’s got her work cut out for her this time.

This is my fifth (fifth!) Mansell books I’ve read.  And I’ve loved every single one of them.  This one wasn’t any different.  Sure, they’re predictable.  But sometimes that’s what I need: a good fluffy happily-ever-after romance.  It’s like curling up with your favorite movie or making an ages-old dish for dinner.  It’s all about comfort.  Jill Mansell’s books are my comfort.  Every once in a while I need that comfort.   This book was absolutely perfect for this week.  I dove head first into a great fun romance.  I called the pair ups within the first 50 pages.  But that was okay.  I wanted to see how they got to the endings I predicted.  It was great fun.  And if I see another Mansell book sitting in the used book store, it’s mine!

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Posted by on November 14, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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At the Queen’s Summons by Susan Wiggs

Title: At the Queen’s Summons (Tudor Rose Trilogy #3)

Author: Susn Wiggs

Publisher: Mira 2009

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 384

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Romance; Mount TBR

How I Got It: I own it!

Feisty orphan Pippa de Lacey lives by wit and skill as a London street performer. But when her sharp tongue gets her into serious trouble, she throws herself upon the mercy of Irish chieftain Aidan O’Donoghue.Pippa provides a welcome diversion for Aidan as he awaits an audience with the queen, who holds his people’s fate in her hands. Amused at first, he becomes obsessed with the audacious waif who claims his patronage.Rash and impetuous, their unlikely alliance reverberates with desire and the tantalizing promise of a life each has always wanted—but never dreamed of attaining.
After reading The Maid’s Hand, I wasn’t sure about the third book.  I didn’t really like Lark and this time I wanted a good female character.  I got one!  Pippa is fun and feisty.  She’s naive but adventurous.  I loved her interactions with every single one of the other characters.  Wiggs set up a great dynamic between Pippa and Aidan.  Of course I guessed her family connections within the first chapter.  Thankfully the romantic relationship between Pippa and Aidan and the struggle between Aidan the English kept me engaged throughout.  And I love how this one brought the trilogy full circle with the prophecy from Zara and the continuation of the Tudor lineage.  Great historical romance!

Tudor Rose Trilogy:

  1. At the King’s Command (or Circle in the Water)
  2. The Maiden’s Hand (or Vows Made in Wine)
  3. At the Queen’s Summons (Dancing on Air)

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Maiden’s Hand by Susan Wiggs

Title: The Maiden’s Hand (Tudor Rose Trilogy #2)

Author: Susn Wiggs

Publisher: Mira 2009

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 352

Rating:  4  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Romance

How I Got It: I own it!

Roguishly handsome Oliver de Lacey has always lived lustily: wine, weapons and women are his bywords. Even salvation from the noose by a shadowy society provides no epiphany to mend his debauched ways.Mistress Lark’s sole passion is her secret work with a group of Protestant dissidents thwarting the queen’s executions. She needs no other excitement—until Oliver de Lacey drops through the hangman’s door and into her life.

As their fates become inextricably bound together in a struggle against royal persecution, both Oliver and Lark discover a love worth saving…even dying for.

A good light and fluffy romance to cleanse my palate after a ton of Shakespeare and some nonfiction.  I enjoy these romances from time to time, especially the historical romances.  While this one isn’t set in my favorite time period, Regency England, it is set in an interesting time period, Queen Mary’s reign.  I love the Protestant vs. Catholic subplot that ran throughout the novel.  It gave the book a bit more than just a romance.  We see Lark at work with the Samaritans.  It’s easy to imagine the unease in England during that time period.  Actually I love how the entire trilogy traces the Tudor House from Henry VIII to Mary to Elizabeth.  A nice touch.  As to the romance itself, It was good.  It wasn’t excellent in my mind because of the character of Lark.  While Oliver doesn’t much change throughout the novel, Lark does a 180 in personality.  I had a bit trouble believing the change or even rooting for you.  She just seemed so jaded yet naive.  Why would Oliver even fall for her?  For my disbelief, I knocked off a star.  But I really did enjoy it.  Since I am now in the mood for romance, I am going to finish off the series with At the Queen’s Summons.

Tudor Rose Trilogy:

  1. At the King’s Command (or Circle in the Water)
  2. The Maiden’s Hand (or Vows Made in Wine)
  3. At the Queen’s Summons (Dancing on Air)

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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12th Night and Carole’s Christmas by Anne Glynn (mini reviews)

Title: 12th Night and Carole’s Christmas

Author: Anthology and Anne Glynn

Genre: Erotica

Pages: 227; 42

Rating:  2/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Romance; Mount TBR

How I Got It: free iBook download

Two short reviews for two short reads.  The first, 12th Night, was an anthology of 12 holiday themed erotic stories.  Some were okay, but a few were truly horrid.  And the other novella, Carole’s Christmas, was a pretty tepid retelling of A Christmas Story.  But in this time the ghosts are sexual encounters of Carole’s past, present, and future boyfriends.  It felt very use and throw away to me.  And none of the guys were attractive in any sense.  I grabbed these two free iBook downloads as quick bedtime reads.  I’ve found that short stories or novellas are the way to go before bed.  However, both of my picks were dull.  I wasn’t turned on by either of them.  The submission was too much.  The graphic sex with no set-up was too much.  The lackluster men were too much.  The weak, sex-focused women were too much.  I really need to get back to reading historical romances.  At least with those I get a story, however contrived and silly.  It’s still a story.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Intentions of the Earl by Rose Gordon

Title: Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters #1)

Author: Rose Gordon

Publisher: Second Wind 2012

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 270

Rating:  3 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Romance; Mount TBR; A to Z — I

How I Got It: Own it in ebook form

Will he secure his future by ruining hers, or will she ruin his plans by securing him? A new twist on the old fortune hunter plot puts an impoverished earl in a position to gain his fortune only by ruining an innocent’s reputation without offering marriage. The innocent he’s selected, however, has no plans to settle for anything less than marriage and will go to almost any length to secure him. With no other means for an income, the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, makes an agreement that will put a definite end his eight year poverty streak. But, in order to gain his fortune he must do only one simple thing: ruin an innocent young lady’s reputation enough to make her flee to America. Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep. Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

Light and fluffy romance.  I do love those types of books.  Brooke, while impestuous, is  great heroine.  She’s full of spunk and confidence, even when things aren’t going her way.  Andrew is a great hero and Gateway is the stereotypical villain.  The storyline is great fun.  Then I got to the last 20 pages and the story seemed to get way too complicated and convenient at the same time.  The pacing was great until those last 20 pages.  Everything seemed to get out of control and wrapped up quickly without much discussion.  I just couldn’t get behind those last 20 pages.  I wished the ending had been a bit more drawn out.  We get more of an explanation for the conclusion and not a rushed happily ever after.  This if the first book in a trilogy.  I’m still trying to decided whether or not to read the other two.  Overall I enjoyed the book, just disappointed at the ending.
Scandalous Sisters
1. Intentions of the Earl
2. Liberty for Paul
3. To Win His Wayward Wife
  
 
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Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

Title: Something Borrowed (Darcy #1)

Author: Emily Giffin

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin 2005

Genre: Romance

Pages: 322

Rating:  2 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Semi-Charmed Challenge — Bad Review; Mixing It Up — Modern Fiction; Mount TBR; Book2Movie

How I Got It: I own it!

Rachel White is the consummate good girl. A hard-working attorney at a large Manhattan law firm and a diligent maid of honor to her charmed best friend Darcy, Rachel has always played by all the rules. Since grade school, she has watched Darcy shine, quietly accepting the sidekick role in their lopsided friendship.But that suddenly changes the night of her thirtieth birthday when Rachel finally confesses her feelings to Darcy’s fiance, and is both horrified and thrilled to discover that he feels the same way. As the wedding date draws near, events spiral out of control, and Rachel knows she must make a choice between her heart and conscience. In so doing, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk everything to be true to yourself.

I picked this book up for $1.  It had been on my list for a while, but I had read a few bad reviews for it…  So I was unsure of whether or not read it.  Then some friends and I saw the movie version.  Now I had to read the book.  The reviews were right.  The entire time reading this book, I couldn’t decided if I liked any of the main characters.  At the end I came away with the idea that cheating is okay if you do it with your “soulmate” or if the other woman is a narcissist.  I just didn’t see it as an truthful exploration of relationships.  To me, it was a gimmick.  Plus, I didn’t find Dex attractive at all.  He’s just the lying, toying scumbag.  I thought every relationship in the book was unhealthy.  In the end, I read this as a cautionary tale.  Don’t be friends with people like Darcy, Rachel, or Dex.

Movie: Hmmmm….  This wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either. The addition of John Krasinski’s Ethan was an improvement.  But adding in the love quadrangle didn’t work at all.  I’ve decided that I don’t like Kate Hudson in anything except for Almost Famous.  Overall I came out of it feeling very blah and wanting some action or zombie fun to cleanse my palate.  Definitely not a movie that I need to see again.

Darcy:

  1. Something Borrowed
  2. Something Blue

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos

Title: Definitely Not Mr. Darcy

Author: Karen Doornebos

Publisher: Berkley Trade 2011

Genre: Romance

Pages: 384

Rating:   4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Romance; Support Your Local Library

How I Got It: Library loan

 Chloe Parker was born two centuries too late. A thirty-nine-year- old divorced mother, she runs her own antique letterpress business, is a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, and gushes over everything Regency. But her business is failing, threatening her daughter’s future. What’s a lady to do?Why, audition for a Jane Austen-inspired TV show set in England, of course.

What Chloe thinks is a documentary turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Eight women are competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a gorgeous estate, along with a $100,000 prize. So Chloe tosses her bonnet into the ring, hoping to transform from stressed-out Midwest mom to genteel American heiress and win the money. With no cell phones, indoor plumbing, or deodorant to be found, she must tighten her corset and flash some ankle to beat out women younger, more cutthroat, and less clumsy than herself. But the witty and dashing Mr. Wrightman proves to be a prize worth winning, even if it means the gloves are off…

 This was a fun, albeit fairly predictable read.  A retelling of Pride and Prejudice, of sorts.  Chloe was thoroughly likeable.  A few times her density got the better of me, but I was still rooting for her throughout.  Grace was a standard villain.  Of course, I loved Henry and couldn’t wait for Chloe to wake up and see him.  The writing was clear and engaging.  I swept through this novel fairly quickly.  A good few days in reality tv Regency Era.
 
 
 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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