Monday, 15 September 2014

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Black Hills (2009) (Piatkus)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B+
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Romance RBC 2014: A book with more than 500 pages 

When Cooper is packed off to his grandparents’ farm in South Dakota for the summer, aged 11, while his parents ‘work’ on their marriage, he’s convinced that this will be the worst summer of his life. No baseball camp, no live games at Yankee Stadium and no friends to help alleviate his boredom. Instead, he’s got weeks of collecting eggs, mucking out stalls and chores to look forward to. Similarly, he’s resigned to dislike neighbour Lil Chance on sight simply for the reason that she’s a girl, but what he doesn’t expect is for this unlikely friendship to be the most important and meaningful of his entire life.

Fast forward 20 years and Coop has packed up his life as a PI in New York to move back to the farm when his grandfather breaks his leg. Lil has returned from her latest research stint in the Andes and cannot wait to return to her baby: the Chance Wildlife Refuge, a safe haven for wild cats and the culmination of her childhood dreams. On learning that Coop is back for good, she’s naturally wary – after all, he broke her heart ten years ago – but Lil is determined to put it behind her and rekindle their former friendship. When it becomes clear that someone is targeting Lil and her refuge with devastating acts of violence, Coop isn’t going to leave Lil’s side until he’s caught and the pair are going to have to get over any residual animosity from their past – fast.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Last Good Knight by Tiffany Reisz

The Last Good Knight (2014) (serial) (Harlequin MIRA)
I: Scars and Stripes, II: Sore Spots, III: The Games Destiny Plays, IV: Fit to be Tied, V: The Last Good Knight
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary / erotica
Sex scenes: HOT
Source: NetGalley
Romance RBC 2014: A book published in 2014 

New York’s top dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is bored. When she stumbles upon sexy submissive Lance in Kingsley’s club, she can’t resist. On discovering that Nora is in danger, the ex-SEAL is appointed as Nora’s personal bodyguard and Kingsley stipulates no sex on the job, much to Nora’s disappointment. But however good Lance is in bed, he is loathe to hurt Nora the way that she needs and she soon discovers that he has secrets of his own …

Monday, 8 September 2014

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma (1815) (Penguin Classics)
Jane Austen
Grade: A+
Genre: fiction
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A book with a one-word title

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich” is the belle of Highbury. Mistress of her father’s house, Hartfield, since her sister Isabella married, Miss Woodhouse is not in want of company. Nevertheless, when her governess and closest friend Miss Taylor becomes Mrs Weston and leaves Hartfield, Emma finds herself in need of a companion and project. The young Miss Harriet Smith becomes her new protégée, much to the despair of long-time family friend Mr Knightley who always professes to know best for Miss Woodhouse.

Emma follows the life of Emma Woodhouse and her adventures in Highbury as she tries to marry Miss Smith to the new vicar, Mr Elton, handles her father’s hypochondriac nature with expertise, as Mr Weston’s vivacious son Mr Frank Churchill visits his newly married father and step-mother, when the accomplished Miss Jane Fairfax who returns to Highbury to live with her lively aunt Miss Bates and her grandmother, and Mr Knightley who oversees all of Emma’s meddlesome comings and goings with a watchful eye.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

My Beautiful Enemy by Sherry Thomas

My Beautiful Enemy (2014) (Headline Eternal)
Sherry Thomas
Grade: A
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: bookbridgr
The Heart of Blade: (prequel) The Hidden Blade, (1) My Beautiful Enemy
Romance RBC 2014: A non-Regency historical

The beautiful and deadly Catherine Blade has arrived in London with a mission to complete. The illegitimate daughter of a Chinese courtesan and English adventurer who died before she was born, there had been a tub of water ready to drown her at birth if she were a girl. When it came down to it, neither her mother or her amah could go through with it and it was the latter who was responsible for her secret training in the martial arts. Her task in London is to retrieve a pair of jade tablets for Da-ren, the man who has been more like a father figure to Catherine than any man has ever been. What Catherine doesn’t expect is to bump straight into the man she loved and thought she left for dead eight years ago …

Captain Leighton Atwood has long given up his career of espionage, but he has never been able to forget the girl who concealed her identity, stole his heart and almost killed him. Back in Chinese Turkestan, they had been a pair of travellers on the road, weary of their own company yet willing to drop the other like a hot rock if it came down to it. As they travel together, they plan of the life they could have together, free of their familial obligations, until circumstances force them apart.

It is now 1891 and fate has dictated that Leighton and Catherine meet once more. Catherine’s deadliest foe has followed her to England and she will have revenge for past wrongs, even if that means she dies in the process. Leighton is determined to discover Catherine’s plans as the pair are forced to keep up a friendly façade in public whilst sparring in private. It is only when they begin to trust each other and finally learn the whole truth of their parting that they are able to forgive and open up their hearts once more …

Monday, 1 September 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl (2013) (Macmillan Children's Books)
Rainbow Rowell
Grade: A
Genre: young adult
Source: own
YA Reading Book Challenge 2014: A book with a break-up 

Identical twins Cath and Wren are off to college and to date, have been inseparable. The pair now possess very different ideas about how they want to approach this next chapter in their lives. Wren is looking to use her newfound freedom to meet boys, party and basically let loose. Cath is the shy twin and wants everything to stay the same; she’s more than content to sit in her room writing fanfiction and doing homework, eating cereal bars and ignoring her roommate Reagan and Reagan’s boyfriend Levi. 

Wren is loving college life but Cath isn’t nearly as popular, outgoing or sociable. Like the rest of the world, Cath is a huge Simon Snow fan, eagerly awaiting the release of Simon Snow and the Eight Dance which will finally bring Gemma T. Leslie’s epic magical world to a close. Unlike other fans, Cath is able to boast that she’s one of the most popular Simon Snow fanfiction writers on the internet. Carry On, Simon is receiving tens of thousands of hits per day with her fans hanging onto her every word with religious fervour as the release date of Simon Snow and the Eighth Dance looms nearer and Cath races to bring Carry On, Simon to a simultaneous close.

Despite her hermit-like state, Cath soon has three guys vying for her attention: her old high-school boyfriend Abel, her writing partner Nick and forbidden-fruit Levi. Regardless, Cath only has eyes for Simon and his enemy/sometimes ally Baz as she fights to finish her life’s work. What Cath doesn’t realise is that while she’s been spending hours in her fictional world, she’s been missing a wealth of opportunities to learn more about love and friendship than she could have ever imagined …

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

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:

Follow us at: 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.