Thursday, October 27, 2016

THEMES & TROPES: Childhood Friends

I love finding commonalities between my favorite books and how that helps define me as a reader.  So I decided to do a random feature where I focus on a specific theme/trope and provide a few examples of it. 


These are romances where the couple has known each other since childhood.  Sometimes they are childhood sweethearts that were separated and have finally reunited.  Other times they suddenly discover that the person they desperately need has been around all along.  One main reason I love this trope is that it often goes along with my all-time favorite trope, unrequited love!

Historical Romance

As You Desire (Braxton, #1) Last Night's Scandal (Carsington Brothers #5) A Raven's Heart Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5) The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, #1) Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #1) A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3) You're the Earl That I Want (The Lords of Worth, #3) When the Duke Was Wicked (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James, #1)

  • As You Desire by Connie Brockway
  • Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase
  • A Raven's Heart by K.C. Bateman
  • Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
  • The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne (REVIEW)
  • Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn (REVIEW)
  • A Lady By Midnight by Tessa Dare (REVIEW)
  • You're the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen (REVIEW)
  • When the Duke Was Wicked by Lorraine Heath (REVIEW)

Contemporary Romance

In the Clear (Winter Rescue #1) Hot Head (Head #1) The Bollywood Bride (Bollywood) Him (Him #1)

  • In the Clear by Tamara Morgan (REVIEW)
  • Hot Head by Damon Suede
  • The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev (REVIEW)
  • Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy (REVIEW)

Paranormal Romance

Mine to Possess (Psy-Changeling, #4) Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11) Forevermore

  • Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
  • Lover at Last by JR Ward (REVIEW)
  • Forevermore by Kristen Callihan (REVIEW)


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MINI-REVIEWS: October 2016

Miss Goodhue Lives for a Night (Winner Takes All, #2.5)
Miss Goodhue Lives For a Night (Winner Takes All #2.5) by Kate Noble
Historical Romance
Pocket Star -- September 19, 2016

Cecilia Goodhue is a schoolteacher with a past, living with her sister and her husband in a tiny English village. Resigned to a quiet life, Cecilia is surprised when she finds out that her young cousin has run off with a man of no means.

Cecilia had once been a teenaged girl who also fell for a young man’s charms—only to be devastated by his betrayal. Determined to not let her cousin meet the same fate, she heads off to London to but is shocked when her investigation leads her right to the front door of the very man who broke her heart: Theo Hudson.

Together, they reluctantly embark on finding her cousin and returning her to her family. During their searching in London, it soon becomes clear that they both remember their short-lived romance differently and perhaps now, years later, they have a fresh chance at love.
This is a cute, entertaining novella featuring a village schoolteacher and the man who broke her heart years ago.  I really enjoyed both the hero and heroine.  They are well-developed (especially for a shorter story) and I felt like I understood the motives behind their actions.  I especially liked Cecilia who found herself in a tough situation and made the best of it.  I also admired her determination to keep her cousin from making the same type of mistake she thought she did.  I think it was a good choice for the plot to be focused on a reunited couple so that the romance was able to develop quickly, but organically.  I do wish that there wasn't so much of an information dump towards end when Cecilia and Theo learned the truth about that fateful night all those years ago.  Also, things could have easily been solved earlier if they had just talked to one another!


Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9) by Ilona Andrews
Urban Fantasy
Ace --September 20, 2016

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…
What a fabulous series!  I feel like I say it every time I review an installment, but it really is the truth.  Kate is a fantastic heroine who is strong, vulnerable, and so real.  I really liked how Magic Binds focused on her dreams for the future and she had to deal with the consequences of some of her actions in earlier books.  Curran is as sexy and hilarious as ever.  He is truly one of my favorite paranormal heroes.  The secondary cast continues to and provide knowledge and comedy at key moments.  A lot happens (plotwise) in this book so all I will say is that it is obvious that the end of the series is coming and stuff is about to go down between Kate and Roland.


What Happens in Scotland (Second Sons, #1)
What Happens in Scotland (Second Sons #1) by Jennifer McQuiston
Historical Romance
Avon -- February 26, 2013

Lady Georgette Thorold has always been wary of marriage, so when she wakes up next to an attractive Scotsman with a wedding ring on her finger, it’s easy to understand why she panics and flees. Convinced that Georgette is a thief, her may-be husband, James McKenzie, searches for her. As both try to recall what happened that fateful night, they begin to realize that their attraction and desire for each other is undeniable. But is it enough?
I have been enjoying Jennifer McQuiston's historical romances this year so I was excited to try her debut.  The premise was interesting and was obviously inspired by the movie, The Hangover.  Both Georgette and James were decent characters and I found myself caring about their happiness. The biggest issue I had was that the first half of the book focused on the two protagonists trying to figure out what happened the night before...without each other!  I was going to have enough trouble believing in a romance where the couple only knew each other a night before marrying, but, when most of the book kept them separated, I could tell this wasn't a book for me.  McQuiston's impeccable writing and beautiful descriptions are very present in this book.  I'm just sorry the plot and the choices made regarding it weren't my cup of tea.