29 January 2015

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

Hello everyone,

Julia Quinn was the first romance author I ever read and since then she has been an auto-buy for me. I own all her published books and have re-read them multiple times; for this reason I had to review her new book The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy.

The book:

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. . . 

He knows he can't be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family's infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She's the type of girl you don't notice until the second-or third-look, but there's something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she's the one.

Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. And when his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something... even as her heart tells her to say yes.

My thoughts:

This is a hard review for me to write, partly because I don't want to say what I feel I should say. Okay I'll just get it over with by saying it up front, this book was alright. It was a light-hearted regency romp, but until about the half-way mark I honestly didn't care what happened to the two main-characters. Therefore for me this was a book in two parts. The London period and the Yorkshire period; because of this reason I'm going to talk about them separately.

26 January 2015

The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm

Hey everyone,

If any of you read my recent post about the difference between Canadian and British bookshops then you will also know I was recently in a bookshop and as such I brought some books. More particularly a book called The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm. I'll admit this book as been out for roughly two years now and is therefore not current, however, the reason I want to review it for you guys is purely personal. This is potentially the first book I have brought in nearly year were I haven't read lots of reviews before hand, I didn't look it up on Goodreads or Amazon to see the average star rating. I brought purely based on the blurb and the cover. Therefore, to me at least, this felt like doing the lucky dip of romance books. I had no re-conceived ideas about it and for that reason I've chosen to review it for you lot today. Enjoy!

The book:

The Stakes have never been higher...

An avid gamer, Jamie Marten loves to escape into online adventure. But when she falls through an antique mirror into a lavish bedchamber - 200 years in the past! - she realizes she may have escaped a little too far.

Micah Axelby, Earl of Dunnington, has just kicked one mistress out of his bed and isn't looking to fill it with another - least of all this sassy, nearly naked woman who claims to be from the future. Yet something about her is undeniably enticing...

Jamie and Micah are worlds apart. He's a peer of the realm. She can barely make rent. He's horse-drawn. She's Wi-Fi. But in the game of love, these two will risk everything to win.

My thoughts:

To me this book promised so much and the combination of a historcal setting and a geeky heroine was one I couldn't resist. I love geeky-nerdy heroines and heroes and the idea of someone with that personality being set back to a time pre-technology was too intriguing to resist. Also the cover is pretty nice so when I sure it in the shop I just had to buy it.

In many ways the book delivered. Jamie was a great heroine (although a little naive/stupid at times), honestly it like she had never even heard of the regency period. Of course they are more conservative and more strict about social morals. Surely that is just common knowledge... don't people get taught that in schools? I know I did, then again I've been reading historical romances since the age of thirteen and a natural love of history so I might have a higher than average knowledge of the regency  period.

23 January 2015

Art Criticism by Celeste Spettro

Hey everyone,

I thought it had been a while since I'd read and reviewed an male/male romance and when I stumbled across the description for Art Criticism I knew I wanted to both read and review it! The blurb just intrigued me on so many levels; the book revolved around the art world (art history student here) and one of the main characters promised to be snarky and sarcastic. It sounded perfect.

The book:

James has no idea what he's going to do with his art history degree, but for the moment he's managing as a lowly gallery assistant... 

Until he has to deal with an aggravating photographer. Turkish is a lot like his photographs: vapid, popular, and over the top - the perfect target for James’ snarky criticism, but somehow James is unable to reject the man as easily as he rejects his art.

My Thoughts:

From the first sentence of this book I was hooked. James's feelings of loneliness, uncertainy and general what the hell am I suppose to do now are something I can completely relate too; and I'd like to think I'm not the only one out there who does? Having just finished a degree in History of Art he's working away as a gallery assistant, not actually a dream graduate job something he is only too well aware off. I suppose it was his vulnerability that spoke to me. For me it made his character extremely real, and like most of us his vulnerability, and perhaps feelings of inadvacy extended into the more personal aspects of his life.

21 January 2015

Bookshops: Canada vs Britain!

Hello everyone,

So i'm currently on a five month trip around Canada and America. So after spending a week in Toronto without visiting a single bookstore, on my first full day in Ottawa I stumbled into something amazing... The Canadian bookstore (Chapter's on Rideau Street to be specific). Now I'll be honest I mainly wandered in due to the cold rather than any real need to buy books, of course being a self-confessed bookoholic I always want them but rarely need them.

Also just for complete disclosure that picture isn't mine and is actually of the Chapters in Dublin not Ottawa but it was the best I could do. Anyway back to the main reason I'm writing this post despite planning on writing a completely different one today. When I went into this bookstore I was expecting it too be fairly similar to a large Waterstones back home. A large selection of general fiction, a whole floor for non-fiction in varying sub-genres, a children's section etc etc. If I was lucky this store might even have a reasonable sized romance section. Potentially even a whole shelf. I was not prepared for what I saw once I went up the stairs.

17 January 2015

Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

Hey everyone,

I know I know this book has been out for ages and has probably been reviewed to death but I thought I throw my two pence worth into the ring. I have loved this series since I randomly brought Dark Needs at Night's Edge from Waterstones one day; that story is still one of my favourite Romance books ever. Normally I auto-buy Kresley Cole books and devour them the day they are released, however, due to a postal mix-up it took me quite a while to buy Dark Skye. After reading it though I couldn't not review it even if everything that could be said about it has already been said so without further ado I give you the book and my thoughts.

The book:


As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.


Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.


With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

My thoughts:

This is Thronos and Lanthe a couple whose story I had been waiting to read for what felt like forever. Since Kresley Cole first introduced these two characters and a limited version of their backstory I have wanted their story. This was a Romeo and Juliet style love that had been sent seriously off the rails when Lanthe and Thronos were still children. To say expectations were high with this book would be an understandment. For the most part Kresley Cole delivered in my opinion the perfect book.

I loved the early scenes between Thronos and Lanthe; the conflict as they struggled to overcome their collective past, the pain and betrayal that had shaped them into the people they are today. Thronos in particular had a lot of, issues, shall to overcome. He didn't trust Lanthe but he couldn't not be with her. He didn't want to want her but at the same time he couldn't deny himself. He wants to change Lanthe and make her into the 'perfect' Vrekner wife but as he spends more time with her he realises that by changing her he'll break her.

This is a couple who have been kept apart through multiple misunderstandings on both sides but are still draw to each other. I understand these issues take time to be resolved and that obviously centuries of believing one thing about a person are not going to be changed over night, however, for me personally I felt like the middle section of the book dragged a little bit. I found the time Lanthe and Thronos spent in Pandemonia fascinating and it contained some of my favourite scenes from the book. The following two portal jumps a little less so in my opinion. If I'm being honest I would loved to have spent more time in Skye Hall and have learnt more about the Vrekner's as I felt Kresley Cole implied a lot of things but didn't really follow through. Like the nerd I am I wanted to know more about the origins and evolution of the Vrekners because it will now bug me for all eternity. Okay that might be slightly dramatic.

It did big up again towards the end and I feel like the key word for this couple is COMPROMISE. They come from two different species who cultures are almost polar-opposites (I mean they've been at war for god knows how long) so of course the ride isn't going to be easy. As always I loved Kresley Cole's world building, the heat and chemistry she created between the hero and heroine I just wish they had had more time to be happy as a couple. Still this is far-away one of the best books I've read this read and easily a four and a half or five star book just not my favourite in this fantastic series.

My rating:
Happy reading everyone and see you next time!

14 January 2015

Party Lines by Emma Barry

Hello everyone,

How are you on this beautiful day? I myself am feeling pretty fantastic as I'm currently in the city of Toronto in Canada! On a completely coincidental but slightly strange note the book I chose to review this week was actually produced/edited in Toronto, Canada by Carina press. This is something I only learned once I reached the end of Party Lines by Emma Barry so you can imagine how strange it was to discover! Anyway enough of my rambles about my life lets get on with the book review.

The book:

It’s not personal—it’s politics.
Michael Picetti: a cynical Democrat who has seen too many failed campaigns. It’s not his first primary, and it’s been a while since he’s truly believed policy and public good trump all.

Lydia Reales: young, hard-working, optimistic…Republican. Getting her candidate in office means everything to her, and leaves zero time for a love life.

Both are determined that opposites don’t attract—at least when it comes to crossing party lines. As aides for opposing presidential candidates, Michael and Lydia are competing in an industry that requires total loyalty to their side. It doesn’t matter that with each teasing encounter they’re more and more attracted to each other. It doesn’t matter that casual flirting escalates to a powerful physical connection. It doesn’t matter that they might not be able to step away from each other without consequences.

As the campaign rages on and a reckless affair becomes a relationship, the inevitable reality sets in. In the end, loyalty to the campaign has to win. It doesn’t matter at what cost.

My thoughts:

I found this book absolutely fascinating to read. Being born and raised in the UK I know next to nothing about American politics apart from the fact that they have two main parties (the democratcs and the republicans) and that they vote for an individual, rather than a party like in the UK. Therefore for me part of the reason I loved this book was because of all the informations I learnt about American politics. I found it fascinating to read about primaries, caucuses and just generally how people would align themselves to a person as well as a party.

11 January 2015

Texas Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday

Hey everyone,

This week I wanted to read something different from my usual romance sub-genres. I felt like I was in a reading rut, as I kept starting books only to end up disappointed. So after searching around the internet I stumbled across a new to me author, Linda Broday and decided to try the first book in her new Bachelor’s of Battle Creek series.

The book:

Rancher Cooper Thorne thinks his life is finally on an even keel-until Delta Dandridge steps off the stagecoach and claims she's his mail order bride. Brash and quick-witted, the meddling Southern Belle is everything Cooper thought he never wanted...and everything his heart is telling him he needs. 
But Cooper swore long ago that he'd never marry, and he aims to keep his word, especially now that the demons from his past have returned to threaten everything-and everyone-he holds dear...
My Thoughts:
Texas Mail Order Bride was such a breath of fresh air for me. Although I love historical romances and religiously return to them again and again I rarely read any Westerns; I loved to say this wasn’t an active choice but I’m ashamed to say it is. If you’ve been following my reviews for a while you will know I have a ‘dislike’ of small town romances. To me they always come across as too tweed, too ‘happy’ and just completely unbelievable (especially the contemporary small town romances). I assumed that all Westerns would be small town romances, due to the nature of the historical Mid-West, and therefore avoided them.

8 January 2015

Gender and the Romance Community

Hey everyone,

Since starting this blog I have become more aware, shall we say, of the trends and pattern in romance books. Why I have no idea because honestly I'm not reading anymore than usual! Perhaps I'm just more aware/involved with the romance community as a whole? Your guess is as good as mine. Anyway I transgress as what I really want to talk to you about to day is the increasingly male present in our traditionally female dominated community.

For decades the Romance genre has been classified as the 'female' genre. When the genre first started to gain popularity in the 1980s and 1990s it was seen as the trashy and intellectually lacking book genre that was only for women. It was the books nobody admitted to reading. The books you hid from prying neighbours. If we're being honest with ourselves a lot of people are still dismissive of the romance community today.

I myself have been known to highlight the less romantic parts of the book I'm reading in favour of the sub-plot. For example when asked by my mum what book I was reading on holiday (A Gentleman's Madness) I described it as a book that showed the distreatment of gay men in the Victorian period. Conveniently missing out the love story between one of the patients at the mental asslyum and his ward attendant. I know my own brother refuses to read my blog because he doesn't want hear about 'heaving chests' and men in kilts (I may have left a scottish romance book with a bare-chested man in his room by accident when he was ten and apparently the incident scarred him for life).

5 January 2015

Daierwolves of Paris - Lou by Roxane Dambre

Hey everyone,

Its been a while since I've updated due to New Year's Eve and then my own failings, however, the posts will now be back on track and return to my normal every third day schedule! This week I'm reviewing Daierwolves of Paris - Lou by Roxane Dambre, a paranormal romance that I believe was originally written in French. I obviously read the English translation as a) my French is not that good and b) that is what was available in my country. Although this book came out on ebook late in December 2014 it will be released in paperback format on the 6th January (i.e tomorrow).

The book:

Lou is an offbeat, sexy young woman who just happens to be a Daïerwolf, able to transform into any animal she likes—though she prefers to be a panther. Steeped in Daïerwolf tradition and adept at living undetected among humans, Lou infiltrates the French secret service in order to track down a rogue Daïerwolf who threatens to end the peaceful balance all other Daïerwolves strive to maintain. As she tries to restore order in her community, as well as in the whole of Paris, she meets the man she didn’t think existed: her perfect mate.

With an inimitable perspective on life, the constant threat of danger looming, and love in the air, Lou demonstrates time and again why humans should be thankful for animal instincts.

My thoughts:

I'll be honest with you all I struggled with this book, and that is partly why this review is up a day later than I originally planned. I had high expectations for Daierwolves of Paris due to the positive reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads, which praised the detailed world building, humour and character development. Perhaps it was these high expectations (always dangerous) led to my dissatisfaction with this book or perhaps it was translation from French to English, which left something to be desired.