Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz

The Saint (2014) (Harlequin MIRA)
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: A
Genre: erotica
Sex scenes: hot / BDSM / not for the faint-of-heart
The Original Sinners: (prequel) Seven Day Loan, (The Red Years): (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress, (The White Years): (5) The Saint
Romance Reading Book Challenge 2014: A book without a happy ever after 

Once upon a time, Nora Sutherlin was just Eleanor Schreiber, daughter of a wannabe-nun and crook with mob ties. At fifteen years old, all her mother wants is a daughter who loves God, goes to Church, respects her priest and even her mother a little. Instead, she gets Eleanor whose quick brain and fast-talking often gets her into trouble – as much trouble as the clever hands that know how to hotwire luxury cars before you can say five Hail Mary’s. It is these illegal activities that get Eleanor arrested. With the help of her priest, she escapes juvie by the skin of her teeth and instead lands community service under the supervision of Father Stearns – or to Eleanor, Søren.

The first time Eleanor lands her eyes on Søren, she firstly can’t believe that such beauty is wasted on a lifetime of celibacy and secondly, she falls irrevocably in love. This enchanting love story between a fifteen-year-old delinquent and a twenty-nine-year-old celibate priest is Wakefield, Connecticut’s biggest secret, with The Saint spanning the first five years of their unusual relationship.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Once Upon a Tower by Eloisa James

Once Upon a Tower (2013) (Piatkus)
Eloisa James
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance / fairytale re-tellings
Sex scenes: a hot mild
Source: library
Happily Ever After: (1) A Kiss at Midnight, (2) When Beauty Tamed the Beast, (3) The Duke is Mine, (4) The Ugly Duchess, (5) Once Upon a Tower
Romance Reading Challenge 2014: A book based on a fairytale

At her debut ball, Lady Edith Gilchrist became the debutante of the season, despite having a fever so high she had no recollection of any detail – let alone her future husband-to-be. A talent cellist, Edie could be a true star had she been born a male. Nevertheless, her father has indulged her talents, delaying her entry into society so that she can spend hours each day practising. Now, Edie has effectively been sold to the highest bidder and to her dismay, she can’t even remember what her fiancée looks like!

Gowan Stoughton of Craigievar, Duke of Kinross and Chief of Clan MacAulay is a stalwart Scot, fond of efficiency. When he attends the Gilchrist ball to speak to Edie’s father, he decides that he might as well kill two birds with one stone and find himself a wife. His Scottish heritage demands that his wife be just like his ancestors and prioritise order and control above all else; when he meets the calm and beautiful Edie, Gowan has to have her. He soon discovers that Edie isn’t at all as docile and obedient as he believed, and their marriage explodes with the fusion of the pair’s passionate natures …

Friday, 1 August 2014

Harder by Robin York

Harder (2014) (Bantam Dell)
Robin York a.k.a. Ruthie Knox
Grade: A+
Genre: New Adult
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
Caroline & West: (1) Deeper, (2) Harder
YA Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A book that made you cry 

A year ago, Caroline Piasecki’s life was turned upside down when she became a victim of revenge porn. Thanks to her ex-boyfriend, everyone at college suddenly knew who she was, what she looked like naked, and she was receiving daily explicit messages from strangers taking advantage of her plight. A less-than-conventional relationship with campus bad-boy West Leavitt makes her happier than she’s ever been, giving her the confidence to overcome this hurdle in her life – until family circumstances force West to give up his scholarship and return home to Oregon.

When West calls Caroline in the middle of a family crisis, she’s on the first plane out of Iowa. Caro is willing to do whatever she needs for West – just as he helped her in her time of need – however much he tries to push her away. As they move back to Iowa with his younger sister Frankie in tow, they’re together again, but nothing will ever be the same again. West is angry at the world and with his classes to catch up on, grades to keep up, his sister to look after and a job to keep on the go, it’s a wonder he hasn’t buckled under the pressure. Caro is there for him when he’s ready to give voice to his feelings, but he’s loath to share. Meanwhile, Caro’s impending civil suit against her ex- is looming and she’s got to make up her mind whether she wants to exact revenge, or use her victimhood to do good …

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts

The Perfect Hope (2013) (Piatkus)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B+
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
Inn Boonsboro: (1) The Next Always, (2) The Last Boyfriend, (3) The Perfect Hope

Hope Beaumont is the innkeeper of the new Inn at Boonsboro, having escaped the city-life that she had believed was perfect. Manager at a big city-hotel chain and in what she believed was a long-term, committed relationship with the son and heir of the company, Hope’s life crumbled when she discovered that Jonathan was actually engaged to someone else all along, and that the whole family had been in on the secret. Hope relocates to Boonsboro on the advice of Avery Montgomery, a friend from college, and falls right into small-town life.

The Montgomery brothers are renowned for their first-class construction work and the new inn is their pride and joy. The oldest building in town, it became derelict before Justine Montgomery, matriarch of the clan, hatched plans with her three sons to restore the inn to its former glory. Business is booming and two of Justine’s sons have already found love. Last is Ryder Montgomery, proud bachelor, who has been resistant to Hope all along. Ryder doesn’t like the idea of an outsider running the family business, but he can’t deny that she’s fantastic at her job. Hope and Ryder also can’t deny the electric sparks that fly between them …

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune Hunter (2014) (Headline)
Daisy Goodwin
Grade: A
Genre: historical, fiction
Source: bookbridgr, NetGalley
Fiction RBC 2014: A book based on a true story

Charlotte Lennox, debuntante and amateur photographer is one of the Town’s biggest catches, known colloquially as the ‘Lennox heiress’. Her reckless mother and the original Lennox heiress died in a hunting accident when Charlotte was a child and her fortune is currently managed by her half-brother, Fred, until she marries with his approval. Despite being the most eligible girl on the market, Charlotte isn’t known for her striking looks or scintillating conversational skills; rather, Charlotte has a passion for photography and a mere mention of her hobby is usually enough to frighten off any potential suitors, much to Fred’s dismay.

Captain Bay Middleton is smitten. A friend of Fred’s, he’s well known for his superior riding and dancing abilities, as well as being a known womaniser – especially of married women. Bay is thrown by the fact that Charlotte isn’t like any woman he has ever met before and he’s determined to win her over. Charlotte is equally infatuated: Bay is genuinely interested in her photography and hearing her opinion. Despite Fred’s reservations, the pair are well on their path to engagement … And then the most beautiful woman in the world comes along …

Sisi, Empress of Austria, is the (un)lucky woman known by that moniker. Wife of the Emperor of Austria, Sisi is deeply unhappy in her marriage and has come to England to ride and hunt. Since the age of thirty-two, she has refused to sit for portraits and photographs, so that her public image can remain forever young. Appointed her pilot to guide her through the unfamiliar land, Bay Middleton quickly finds himself dazzled by the Empress and embarking on a relationship that every man desires …

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Do or Die by Suzanne Brockmann

I will not neglect my blog. I will not neglect my blog. I will not neglect my blog ... Degree is over and I've landed myself my first job - let's see how well I do keeping the blogging up, now that there's little in my way ...

Do or Die (2014) (Ballantine Books)
Suzanne Brockmann
Grade: B
Genre: adventure / romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley
Reluctant Heroes: (1) Do or Die
Romance Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: The first book in a series 

Ian Dunn, former Navy SEAL and renowned jewel thief (or so he leads the world to believe) is notorious for his team’s ability to carry out high-risk jobs using less-than-official means. When two young children are kidnapped by their own father and held captive in a heavily guarded embassy as an act of revenge against their mother, Ian is deemed the only man for the job. Ian is currently serving time in prison as part of a long-con that has just been blown to pieces by the FBI’s insistence that he take this job and save the kids from danger. But for reasons that he won’t reveal, nothing is going to make Ian change his mind.

Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s lawyer, isn’t going to take no for an answer. It’s her first week with this new firm and for the sake of her professional reputation as well as for the lives of the kids, she’s going to make Ian accept the job, whether he likes it or not. What Phoebe doesn’t expect is for Ian to make her another member of his team – and for her to actually start enjoying it. It quickly becomes clear that Phoebe has a knack for thinking on her feet and getting them out of sticky situations – a skill that becomes very handy if they’re going to face their cold-blooded kidnappers, a mob boss who has Ian at the top of his hit list and a sociopathic killer who they need to get on their side to rescue the kids. Not to mention the ridiculously complex sexual politics of Ian’s team that makes the fierce attraction between Ian and Phoebe even more forbidden and tempting …

Thursday, 8 May 2014

A Dark and Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton

These past three-and-a-half weeks have been a crazy haze of essay writing, editing, reading and revision. I have pretty much lost all sense of dates and days of the week, but there remains a ticking countdown in my head checking off the days and hours until my degree is finally over. I'm handing in four essays totalling 15,000 words in four days, my first exam starts in five days and the last exam of my academic career is in twelve. As much as I can't wait for the freedom, I also wouldn't mind if another couple of weeks materialised somewhere so I can revise some more!

Anyway, that's the reason why the blog has been dead for a month. A Dark and Twisted Tide was one of my most anticipated books for 2014 and is published today (8 May) and so here's my review. Now, back to the edits and revision ...


A Dark and Twisted Tide (2014) (Bantam Press)
Sharon Bolton
Grade: A-
Genre: gothic thriller crime
Sex scenes: MORE sexual tension
Source: NetGalley
Lacey Flint: (1) Now You See Me, (1.5) If Snow Hadn't Fallen, (2) Dead Scared, (3) Like This, For Ever, (4) A Dark and Twisted Tide
Fiction Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A book by a female author 

Crime keeps coming to find former detective Lacey Flint. After her last big case, Lacey took the difficult decision of going back into uniform and taking life easy – or so she’d hoped. She’s now part of the Thames Marine Unit, getting used to living on a houseboat and her new peaceful lifestyle, but murder has other ideas. Swimming in the Thames one morning, Lacey comes across a body laboriously wrapped and preserved in some sort of burial ritual that the police are unable to identify. Lacey can’t help but get involved and her former team are more than willing to have her back.


As the bodies of more young girls surface from the depths of the river, all killed and wrapped in the same way, there’s no question that these deaths are linked to a much bigger ring of criminal activity. As if Lacey didn’t have enough to worry about, small innocuous gifts start appearing on her boat and the man she loves, undercover detective Mark Joesbury has landed himself in a sticky situation in his latest case. It doesn’t take Lacey long to realise that someone intended for her to find the first body; it’s up to her to discover the connection between all the dead women and whether her secret admirer is a friend or foe …

Monday, 7 April 2014

Etsy shop for Miyala Jewellery


www.etsy.com/shop/MiyalaJewellery

This is a shameless, shameless plug but I'm so excited that I couldn't care less.

I've been involved in Miyala since I've been at uni and have run the project for almost two years. Today, we launched our online shop and if you've got a few minutes, then please take a look!

Miyala is a jewellery enterprise that makes and sells jewellery using recycled materials. High-street retailers often send broken and unsold jewellery to landfill and we wanted to do something to stop this. To date, we've saved over 300kg of jewellery from this fate. Our members break everything apart and use their creativity to produce beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery. All our profits go towards our sister social enterprises at Enactus Sussex.

Find out more information at:
www.enactussussex.org
www.facebook.com/EnactusSussex

Follow us at:
www.facebook.com/MiyalaJewellery
www.pinterest.com/Miyala Jewellery

Some of our items currently on sale:















Please get it touch if you have any questions! Email: miyala (at) enactussussex (dot) org

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James

The Ugly Duchess (2012) (Piatkus)
Eloisa James
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance / fairytale re-telling
Sex scenes: short of hot
Source: library
Happily Ever After: (1) A Kiss at Midnight, (2) When Beauty Tamed the Beast, (3) The Duke is Mine, (4) The Ugly Duchess 

Lady Theodora Saxby (Daisy to her best friend James) might be one of the richest heiresses in England, but she’s not a beauty. Her guardian, the Duke of Ryburn is a reckless spender who has not only got the Dukedom into debt, but also spent a lot of Theo’s inheritance too. His son and Theo’s best friend, James is horrified when he discovers his father’s extravagance but grudgingly accepts that there is no other choice if they’re to avoid scandal and recoup Theo’s money: James is going to have to marry his best friend.


Monday, 31 March 2014

Loving Lord Ash by Sally MacKenzie

Loving Lord Ash (2014) (Kensington Books)
Sally MacKenzie
Grade: C
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley
Duchess of Love: (1) Bedding Lord Ned, (2) Surprising Lord Jack, (3) Loving Lord Ash
Romance Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A book with a 'class differences' relationship 

Estranged for the eight years of their marriage, nothing about Kit and Jess’s relationship has ever been normal. They had been childhood friends, but when circumstances force the future Duke of Greycliffe to marry the family groom’s daughter in order to save Jess’s reputation, their relationship has never been the same. As a result of society’s poisonous gossip, Kit thinks that Jess has slept with every male in the county; while Jess believes Kit to have had his fair share of discreet affairs. Kit has finally faced up to the reality that he needs an heir - which requires reuniting and reconciling with his wife who has every reason to hate him for abandoning her. To top it off, his mother is the infamous matchmaker, the Duchess of Love, who considers her eldest son’s unhappy marriage her one failure.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

Missing You by Meg Cabot

Missing You (2006) (HarperTempest)
Meg Cabot
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult
Source: own 
Missing: (1) When Lightning Strikes, (2) Code Name Cassandra, (3) Safe House, (4) Sanctuary, (5) Missing You 

Jessica Mastriani is trying to live a normal life. After being hit by lightning when she was sixteen, she developed a power to find missing people that changed her life forever. All Jess wanted to do was find the kids who appeared in the ‘Missing’ ads on the back of milk cartons, but the FBI had other ideas. When she was asked to go to Afghanistan and join the war effort, she couldn’t say no and the experience has left scars that have yet to heal.


Monday, 24 March 2014

Once in a Lifetime by Jill Shalvis

Once in a Lifetime (2014) (Forever, Grand Central)
Jill Shalvis
Grade: C+
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
Lucky Harbour: (1) Simply Irresistible … (4) Lucky in Love, (5) At Last, (6) Forever and a Day, (7) It Had to be You, (8) Always on my Mind, (9) Once in a Lifetime
Romance Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A contemporary romance

Ben McDaniel is Lucky Harbour’s favourite son. Until five years ago, he was married to Lucky Harbour’s favourite daughter until Hannah was killed in a car crash. After her death, Ben left to tour developing countries, designing and building water systems with the Army Corps of Engineers. He’s now back in Lucky Harbour, surrounded by the people who love him the most, but reluctant to embark on this new stage of his life.


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Perfect by Judith McNaught

Perfect (1993) (Pocket Books)
Judith McNaught
Grade: B+
Genre: 'contemporary' romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Second Opportunities: (1) Paradise, (2) Perfect 

Actor Zach Benedict’s childhood wasn’t as exciting or torrid as the media makes it out to be, but he doesn’t bother to correct them. Aged seventeen, Zachary Benedict Stanhope III was cut off from the family fortune and thrown onto the streets by his formidable grandmother. Unable to return to school, he hitches a ride to Los Angeles and when he lands his first role as an extra, he doesn’t look back.

Now an award-winning actor and director, Zach’s latest film Destiny is expected to land him yet another trophy. On top of the stress about the film being over-budget and overtime, Zach walks into his hotel room on the penultimate day of shooting to find his two main characters in bed together – that is, his wife in bed with another man. The air on set the next day is electric. Their last scene is a steamy standoff between the lovers and a gun filled with blanks. At the last minute, Zach uses his director’s prerogative to have Tony shoot at Rachel. The blanks aren’t blanks.


Monday, 17 March 2014

Daughter of Camelot by Glynis Cooney

Daughter of Camelot (2013) (Mabon Publishing)
Glynis Cooney
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult / Arthurian legend / fantasy
Source: NetGalley 
YA Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A book based on a myth

About to celebrate their fourteenth birthdays, twins Deirdre and Rhys are inseparable. In their superstitious community, twins are a sign of bad luck, but they have learnt to ignore the stares and whispers. Her father has always turned a blind eye at Deirdre’s boyish exploits with her brother and best friend Reece, but that’s about to change. Rhys is to embark on the last stage of his training to become a Knight while Deirdre is to accompany her older sister Nia to learn the finer points of etiquette in being a lady.

Court life is much different to what Deirdre had expected. With news of Lancelot and Guinevere’s betrayal fresh on everybody’s lips, kingdoms are quickly taking sides and it is up to Deirdre and Nia to learn all they can in their family’s pledge to support the High King. Court politics are complicated and for Deirdre, dangerous when she overhears a traitorous conversation that wasn’t intended for her ears. She suddenly finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that she’s determined to topple as part of her bid to thwart Arthur’s destiny …

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The MacGregor Grooms by Nora Roberts

The MacGregor Grooms (1998) (Silhouette)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B--
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own 
The MacGregors: (1) Playing the Odds ... (10) The MacGregor Grooms 

Daniel MacGregor is no stranger to match-making at his ripe old age. After all, rattling around in his castle in Port Hyannis with his wife Anna, sitting on the fortune he has amassed through the years, what else is a man to do? Not that he would ever admit it out loud, but he’s had a hand in seeing his three children fall in love with and marry the partners he’s chosen and give him scores of grandchildren. Five grandchildren have already married (with his cunning input) but why stop when there’s still more to go?

D.C., the son of a former President of the United States and an equally politically blue-blooded sculptor, has followed his mother’s footsteps and become an accomplished artist in his own right. Layna Drake of Drake department stores is back in Washington, working in the family’s flagship store. When the pair are coerced into attending a formal function together as if it were a favour to the other, they quickly discover that they’re complete opposites – but that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying.

Duncan Blade has inherited his talent for gambling from both his parents who met (at Daniel’s manoeuvring) on a cruise ship where Serena worked as a blackjack dealer. Duncan runs the Comanche Princess, the floating arm of the Blade-MacGregor casino empire. His new headliner is one Cat Farrell, a twenty-five year old with a voice to stir the soul and who eventually stirs Duncan’s heart.

Lastly, there’s Ian MacGregor who has followed the footsteps of his parents into the law. He’s blown away by Naomi Brightstone, his firm’s client who has just taken over the running of the family bookstore. Her innocence is tempting and terrifying in equal measures and Ian is hooked. Equally, Naomi finds herself charmed by Ian’s confidence and experience but her own insecurities have her putting up a barrier between them that Ian is determined to break down.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Deeper by Robin York

Deeper (2014) (Bantam Dell)
Robin York a.k.a. Ruthie Knox
Grade: A+
Genre: New Adult
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley 
Caroline & West: (1) Deeper, (2) Harder
YA Reading Bingo Challenge 2014: A book that made you cry

Warning: intentionally crude language ahead. 

Caroline Piasecki was always the good girl: a good daughter to her widower father, a good student planning to follow her father into the law and a good girlfriend of three years to her high-school boyfriend. That is, until she broke up with Nate the summer before she returned to Putnam for her sophomore year in what she thought was an amicable break-up. When her naked pictures are suddenly all over the Internet attached with her name, home town and college, Caroline’s knows her good girl status is lost forever. Instead, she’s a slut, a whore, a dirty bitch who deserves what’s coming to her. That’s what the anonymous messages all echo and what the refrain in her head drums repeatedly like a broken record: she deserved it.

Knowing that her best friend Bridget has her back, Caroline begins a one-woman campaign to erase her name and image from the Internet – to little avail. Overnight, she’s become scared to look any guy in the eye in case he’s seen her sucking Nate’s dick, scared over the now-monumental decision of what shirt to wear in the morning in case she looks like a slut asking for it, but most of all, terrified of the day that her father finds out about the pictures and the inevitable disappointment that will follow. The last person Caroline expects support from is bad-boy West Leavitt. Her neighbour in freshman year, Caroline has been under strict instructions from her father to stay well away from West, despite her fierce attraction to him. He has a reputation as a dealer and when he punches Nate allegedly over derogatory comments made against her, Caroline is horrified: she doesn’t need any more bad-press.

West makes Caro realise that she can’t try to undo what’s already been done – only accept it and work to overcome her fears. He makes her confront her true feelings and as they spend sleepless nights at the bakery where he works night shifts, time with their mutual friends Bridget and Krishna and constantly texting wishing they were in each other’s company, all the while being firmly not-friends, Caro is slowly able to come to terms with the harm that has been done to her. Against their will, both Caro and West find themselves sinking deeper into each other’s skin until ‘just friends’ is a mockery of what their relationship has become and they’re both forced to re-evaluate their feelings for each other and figure out exactly what they want – and need.