Romance Books

This Heart of Mine – Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips books but the Chicago stars series is a strong MEH on my side. The same formulaic approach that was found to sell books.

Not-so-hot but smart good looking chick has sex once with one of the Chicago stars players – who just happens to be either between girlfriends or single – and they are so outraged at the boldness that they get together. Side story involves a mature woman having sex with an elderly gentlemen and finding love in her golden years.

Book Reviews Romance Books

Forever a Hero – Linda Lael Miller

Mace Carson is no hero. Back in college, he came upon a woman in trouble and intervened—but he was just one irate Wyoming cowboy with his boots planted firmly on the side of right. Now a successful vintner, Mace is shocked to be reunited with the woman he saved. But it turns out she’s in Wyoming on business…a corporate executive representing the company that wants to buy his winery. Only, he’s not selling. 

Kelly Wright has never forgotten that horrible night ten years ago when Mace came to her rescue, has never forgotten him. The surprising success of a winery in the middle of ranch country has brought her to Mustang Creek, and she’s secretly thrilled to discover Mace at the helm. Reluctant to mix business with pleasure, Kelly vows to keep things professional, until her attacker is released from prison and comes for vengeance…against both of them.

Romance Books

The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

Romance Books

40 Obsession In Death * J.D.Rob

I’m so happy I haven’t been caught out by Nora Roberts again. I started off reading knowing full well this is part of a larger series of books written about Eve Dallas – sexy and sultry detective.

Eve Dallas is used to unwanted attention. Famous for her high-profile cases and her marriage to billionaire businessman Roarke, she has learned to deal with intense public scrutiny and media gossip. But now Eve has become the object of a singular and deadly obsession. She has an ‘admirer’, who just can’t stop thinking about her. Who is convinced they have a special bond. Who is planning to kill for her – again and again…

With time against her, Eve is forced to play a delicate – and dangerous – psychological dance. Because the killer is desperate for something Eve can never provide – approval. And once that becomes clear, Eve knows her own life will be at risk – along with those she cares about the most.

Romance Books

Can you keep a secret? * Sophie Kinsella

Meet Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets:

Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.

Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.

Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger. . . .

But come Monday morning, Emma’s office is abuzz about the arrival of Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO.  Suddenly Emma is face-to-face with the stranger from the plane, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Or could they?

Romance Books

An offer you can’t refuse * Jill Mansell

I picked this book up as part of a three book print-out for Reader’s Digest (you know when you want to read a book from a collection and you end up buying the dregs too)?

I wasn’t sure if this was a terrible book or not, but the synopsis was predicting a B- experience.

Romance Books

Bound Together – Christine Feehan

“Not happening,” he said, his voice low, terse. He was angry, but not at any of his brothers. At himself. He’d chosen a path and one by one they had followed him. His path had led straight to hell. “We don’t have time to argue. We knew walking into this it was a trap. Nothing has changed.”

Well, this book is not happening for me. I accidentally stumbled upon the last book in a series (again) and I tried, I really tried to like it.

Viktor, comes to the village of Sea Haven, and his arrival heralds a huge change – and imminent danger – for Blythe Daniels as well as the other residents of the community, including the Drake sisters.

Blythe met Victor while he was uncover tracking her step-father, a pedophile. They enjoyed a brief but happy courtship and were soon married. After killing her stepfather, Viktor had to disappear, however he left detailed instructions on how to get in touch with him. Unfortunately Blythe never receives his letter and thinks she has been forsaken.

After a five year separation with no contract, they meet again while Viktor is undercover. Viktor is ready to reclaim his wife. Blythe after being deserted and spending so much time alone is not ready to fall back into Viktor’s arms especially when she realizes he returned for a job, not her, plus he expects her to accept not only him, but his adopted family.

The book didn’t do anything for me except for some *cough* interesting *cough* scenes.



Good bits: the novels seem to have quite a following and some people really liked them

Bad bits: cast of characters is huge. Almost half the book is spent describing horrific child abuse and rape.  The author in the past has said that she is trying to bring “These issues” and women’s issues to light but this is over the top. A romantic suspense novel is not the appropriate place for her to explore these issues.

And I really don’t know what women get off on men calling them Babe and Baby all the time.


About the author:

New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has had over thirty novels published and has thrilled legions of fans with her seductive Dark Carpathian tales. She has received numerous honours throughout her career, including being a nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA and receiving a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times , and has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including audio book, ebook and large print.v

Romance Books

If Not For You – Debbie Macomber Book Review

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth might never have taken charge of her life. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney – a tattooed mechanic who is her conservative parents’ worst nightmare. And if not for Sam – who witnessed a terrible accident and rushed to her aid – Beth might have never survived and fallen in love. Yet there are skeletons in Sam’s closet that prevent him from ever trusting a woman again. Will he be able to overcome his past and fight for love?

Romance Books

Lost and Found by Danielle Steel

I really don’t understand the high ratings this book has gotten. Utterly dreary soap opera that sucked a bit of my soul out before it finished.

Romance Books

One Day – David Nicholls Book Review

oneday.jpg“You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.”

David Nicholls’s acclaimed novel, tracking the 20-year friendship of Dexter and Emma, has sold more than a million copies and the film version has been released a few years back. I’ve accidentally found my copy of the book in one of the charity shops nearby and I decided to give it a go the other day.
I loved it! It’s a bit mushy and very romantic but the twists and turns will keep you wondering what’s going to happen next. The story follows Emma and Dexter – two uni friends who had a one-night hook-up of sorts after the last day of school.

Emma and Dexter

Dexter kinda likes Emma, Emma kinda likes Dexter, but they don’t continue the night as a relationship and girlfriend and boyfriend and split ways. He goes to China, Italy, India while Emma decides to work in a Mexican restaurant to support her writer aspirations.

“He wanted to live life in such a way that if a photograph were taken at random, it would be a cool photograph.”

Dexter is more middle – upper class and enjoys his life as a handsome, privileged, rich white man. His parents are well off and can support his lifestyle and odd career choices. The thing is, Dexter lacks direction and purpose even though he has the money to back him up. He thinks about becoming something that sounds good when spoken in a bar, like a professional photographer as he mildly impressed a teacher with a structure called “Texture”. Then he goes into the TV business and finds it easy at first as the money is good and he goes from minor help to minor celebrity as he hosts his own show – a gig with a Cockney accent whose interesting subject was voting Britain’s ugliest girlfriend. Basically trash TV.

They go on a holiday together just as friends and even though the chemistry is off the charts, they don’t do anything they would regret except some heavy flirting.

Emma is struggling in the meantime with holding down a measly job, going on crappy dates, seeing no end at the tunnel. When she gets offered the manager position in the restaurant she was working, she starts crying – not because that’s what she was hoping, but because she can’t see a way out. She continues messaging Dexter and their lives come together every now and then.

“Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.”

What I really didn’t like was how fame and fortune changed lovely old Dexter for the worse. Alcoholism, parties, new friends (50 new for each old one discarded) and a sense that he could tip money to people he knew (like Emma) instead of just being a friend for her when she needed it.

“Dexter, I love you so much. So, so much, and I probably always will. I just don’t like you anymore. I’m sorry.”

Emma drifts away from Dexter, goes into a relationship with a former co-worker called Ian and even though they weren’t compatible, she tries to make it work. Ian adores her and is even thinking about proposing but Emma deep down knows he’s not the one for her and refuses and then breaks up with him.

She starts working at a school as a teacher, has a short fling with the married headmaster and then starts focusing on her real desire: how to write. She is rejected by several editors and mistakenly invited to apply as a nanny to one of them. She does not let rejection pull her down and she fights forward until she manages to get a teen book published and then land a serialisation deal.

“I’m not the consolation prize, Dex. I’m not something you resort to. I happen to think I’m worth more than that.”

She meets Dexter every now and then – when their common friends get married – and she finds out that he is also looking to marry a beauty – Sophie – who is classy and does not smile a lot as it makes her face look ugly. I think Sophie exhibited the emotional range of a cracker but hey, if some people like that, why not?

Dexter and Sophie have a beautiful baby girl together and all of a sudden, Dexter, the playboy, drives a family van and changes diapers.

“I had always been led to believe that ageing was a slow and gradual process, the creep of a glacier. Now I realise that it happens in a rush, like snow falling off a roof.”

This change in lifestyle is hard to adapt to so he resorts to an old crutch of his: drinking a bit of alcohol and loitering around the house. Sophie starts despising him (for his crappy career, for his lack of motivation, for his lack of direction  but never for his parenting) and soon starts an affair with one of her husband’s bosses and former friend. They get divorced soon after, sharing custody.

Dexter is a broken man when he meets up with Emma again in Paris. His tail is tucked neatly between his legs when he asks her whether she would consider being together with him now, that he’s single. Emma shows some spine, tells him about her literary success, about her flat in Paris, about her new beau and invites him to join them at a local restaurant. Dexter breaks down and this is when everything comes up to the surface. Years of love, of yearning, of missing out on stuff they could have done together. Emma meets him half way, breaks it off with the current boyfriend (of a mere month) and she and Dexter are finally together!

Woop woop you would say until two years after Emma dies (it happens in the movie too so it’s not a massive spoiler). Gets hit by a truck on the way to see a house with her new husband. I cried a bit, I admit, as David Nicholl is very good at portraying strong emotions like despair and solitude.

The book ends on a bitter-sweet note as Dexter remembers the first day he spent with Emma when they went to the top of Seat Arthur, an old volcano plateau in Edinburgh, and shows his now teen daughter the places were they lived and loved.

I enjoyed the format. It gives the reader snapshots of Dex and Em’s life, like flipping through a stack of polaroids, just a flash of what was going on at a particular time. Picking the same day established a sequence and highlighted that life and circumstances can change so quickly at times, or not change at all as was in Em’s case when two days start exactly the same. I think this was an intelligent way to approach a story that spans 20 years. We don’t really need a full depiction of every single event in their lives to have a sense of what they are going through.

Book was pretty well written, with loads of twists, accurately depicting the consequences of life choices and the unpredictable nature of fate. The characters are well defined and the dialogue is funny and witty and it captures some of the Britishness perfectly.

“You’re gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle”

The stuff I liked best was the meditation upon a life with purpose or without and what hard work and money can take a person to.

“What are you going to do with your life?” In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever; teachers, her parents, friends at three in the morning, but the question had never seemed this pressing and still she was no nearer an answer… “Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”

“You feel a little bit lost right now about what to do with your life, a bit rudderless and oarless and aimless but that’s okay… That’s alright because we’re all meant to be like that at twenty-four.”

“Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard at…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.”