quotes Jennifer likes


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."— Jane Austen

Thursday, August 21, 2014

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (40)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

The Windflower The Windflower

THE WINDFLOWER by Laura London (Sharon and Tom Curtis)
Originally Published in May 1984

Merry Wilding is a lady of breeding, of innocence, and of breathtaking beauty. With high hopes for a holiday in England, she sets sail from New York-but the tide of her life is destined to turn. Mistakenly swept aboard an infamous pirate ship, Merry finds herself at the mercy of a wicked crew . . . and one sinfully handsome pirate. Soon she's spending her days yearning for escape, and her nights learning the pleasures of captivity.

Devon Crandall believes Merry is in league with his greatest enemy. He's determined to slowly urge her secrets from her. But along the way, he discovers her beautifully unbreakable spirit . . . and a desire unlike any he's ever known. She is hiding something from him, and yet, each day that passes brings her deeper into his heart. When fierce arguments give way to fiercer passion, can a pirate learn to love a woman? Or will true love be lost at sea?

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This is a classic historical romances and, thankfully, it was re-published this year.  I'm not usually into romances from this era or even ones involving pirates, but I knew I had to get a copy and give it a try.  Have you read this oldie, but possibly goodie?  What did you think?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

REVIEW: "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" by Sarra Manning

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
For Ages 18+ (Language and Sensuality)
Contemporary Romance

Corgi -- Published in February 2011
Ebook, 560 pages
Read in August 2011
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Brainy Heroines, Romantic Comedy

SUMMARY
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she's not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he's such a man-slut, and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him. Because William is the man for her... right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart - but to whom?


FIRST LINE
"Neve could feel her knickers and tights make a bid for freedom as soon as she sat down."

MY THOUGHTS
One of my favorite movies (and books) is Bridget Jones's Diary with the quirky, but relatable heroine and her mostly unsuccessful attempts to find love and self-confidence.  The blurb for You Don't Have To Say You Love Me is very reminiscent of BJD and that is why I knew I had to read it.  Overall, I found this book to be entertaining and surprisingly romantic if a bit on the long side.

The narrator is archivist (!) Neve Slater who is on the home stretch of her grand plan to lose weight and be ready for the return of her long-time crush William from Los Angeles.  Neve has been corresponding faithfully with William over the past three years and she is determined to make him see that she is perfect for him in every way.  The weight loss has been going great, but Neve feels extremely naive in the ways that relationships works and she wants to make sure she doesn't screw anything up.  A random (and embarrassing) encounter with her sister's co-worker persuades Neve to start a "pancake relationship" with said co-worker in an effort to gain more experience.

I absolutely adored both of the main characters in this book, Neve and Max.  Neve is relatable with her self-confidence issues, but rarely ventures into the annoying category.  I completely admired her strength of character to lose all the weight through perseverance, healthy diet, and supervised exercise.  I also loved her job and how passionate she was about it even if her boss was a bit of a douche.  Max is an interesting guy in that he claims to be a party animal who loves women, but, early on in his interactions with Neve, shows his more sensitive side.  The development of his character is almost as intriguing as Neve's journey and is often a mystery due to the fact that readers are only seeing her point of view.

Besides Neve's relationship with Max, readers also get to see how she interacts with her family and co-workers.  I loved the realistic way that Sarra Manning portrayed the bond between Neve and Celia.  These two sisters couldn't be more different and they do get on one another nerves, but they adore each other and support them in anyway possible.  Neve's issues with her father are subtly described and, for me, one of the more powerful aspects of the book.  I also enjoyed the evolution of Neve's ability to stand up for herself when dealing with her sister-in-law who used to torture her in school.

The main reason that I did not give this book five stars like I thought I would based on my enjoyment of the characters and the romance was the sheer length of it.  At 560 pages (in paperback form), this was a very thick story and I'm not sure it needed to be.  Neve's character development is the main focus and it felt like things kept dragging on at points.  I know I am an impatient reader especially when it comes to romance when I want them to "just admit their feelings, damn it!", but I kept feeling like that in the latter third of the book.

Despite the page length issue, I really did enjoy You Don't Have To Say You Love Me.  It is has a nice balance of comedy, drama, and romance.  The WAG wedding was one of particularly favorite scenes both with humor and drama.  I am definitely going to look for more of Sarra Manning's romances in the future and recommend this one for fans of smart, hilarious contemporary romance.

4 STARS



STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

FAVORITE QUOTE
"It wasn't a perfect body but it was the body she deserved. Not just from every bar of chocolate or bag of crisps or laden plate of food that she'd eaten. This body was also testament to all the hours in the gym and cycling up hills on her bike and glugging down two litres of water a day and learning to love vegetables and fruits that didn't come as optional extra with a pastry crust. She'd earned this body.  This was her body and she had to stop giving it such a hard time."
 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books People Say I MUST Read


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~Top Ten Books People Say I MUST Read~

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)The WindflowerBitter Spirits (Roaring Twenties, #1)The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce, #1)


1. Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
I love urban fantasy and have been told by many other UF fans that I must read the Kate Daniels series.

2. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
I adore Kagawa's Iron Fey series and am also a fan of YA vampire series.  So I have been recommended this book for quite a few years.

3. The Windflower by Laura London
A classic historical romance that I have seen romance fans recommending for years.  It was recently re-released and I finally have a copy to try sometime.

4. Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett
A ghost story that takes place in 1920s San Francisco?  Sounds unique and right up my alley!

5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Quirky with a fabulous heroine?  Why haven't I read this yet?

The Perks of Being a WallflowerWonderWinger (Winger, #1)The Scorpio RacesCode Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I know...I'm not sure why I haven't read this yet.  I adore the movie and it is on my TBR list, I promise!

7. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Middle grade is a genre that I'm getting more and more into and this seems to be the one book I'm recommended within it the most.

8. Winger by Andrew Smith
I am always on the hunt for good YA fiction written by guys and Winger just sounds like so much fun.  Plus the cover makes me giggle for some reason.

9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
I couldn't get into Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but I've heard many good things about this one.  I will probably try the audio version sometime.

10. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Probably the number one book on my "need to own and read soon" list.  I love good historical fiction and the fact that this has a kick-ass heroine tells me I need to start it sooner rather than later.

Monday, August 18, 2014

REVIEW: "When the Rogue Returns" by Sabrina Jeffries


When the Rogue Returns (The Duke's Men, #2)
When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries
For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance

Pocket Books -- Published in January 2014
Ebook, 400 pages
Read in August 2014
Received from Edelweiss

THEMES
Reunited Couples, Secret Baby, Spies/PIs

SUMMARY
Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talents for creating exquisite imitation jewels criminally. But there's no denying that her handiwork was used in the theft of the Dutch royal diamonds-- right after Isa disappeared into the night.

Ten years later, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron's mysterious bride-to-be... who turns out to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring widow. No longer the meek girl he once knew, Isa boldly asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her, after he helped steal the royal diamonds!

Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passions, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other to bring the real thieves to justice-- without getting burned themselves.


FIRST LINE
"Darkness had fallen a while ago."

MY THOUGHTS
When the Rogue Returns is the second book in the Duke's Men series which focuses on a group of private investigators (Manton Investigations) run by a disinherited lord's son.  The first book (What the Duke Desires) introduces readers to Victor Cale, a relative of the Duke of Lyons, who becomes the hero of this book when he is reunited with his long-lost wife, Isa.

Spies and investigators are not my favorite themes for historical romance, but I usually enjoy Sabrina Jeffries and was happy to check this one out.  I liked parts of it and found it a pretty easy read.  Victor and Isa were interesting characters and pretty likable.  They were both screwed over when it came to the end of their happy marriage and I really felt for them.

The main issue I had with When the Rogue Returns was that I had a hard time believing Victor and Isa as a happy, lasting couple.  I just felt like so much of the plot was spent on what they were hiding from one another that I didn't get to see them interact enough to make me think they were better together than apart.  I am not a huge fan of the "secret baby" theme and, while I could understand Isa's hesitancy at the beginning, I just kept getting irritated with her inability to trust Victor after he had proved himself.

Besides the reunion between the main couple, there is a subplot involving Isa's jewelry imitation skills and how her family continues to pop up at inconvenient times.  I thought the jewelry element was really interesting and I kept looking forward to those scenes.  It is always fun to see a historical heroine with an actual profession and what problems she faces on a regular basis.

Overall, I did like When the Rogue Returns with its historical details and likable main characters.  I just wish the plot wasn't so reliant on multiple Big Misunderstandings that just got irritating to me.  I do continue to like the cameos from the other Manton investigators and am interested in reading more of the series in the future.

I received a free copy of this book from Pocket Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

3 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. What the Duke Desires
2. When the Rogue Returns
2.5. Dorinda and the Doctor
3. How the Scoundrel Seduces (Coming 2014)
4. If the Viscount Falls (Coming 2015)

CHALLENGES READ FOR



Saturday, August 16, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (45)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
I've been waiting for this book for years and am pumped to read it!

 Breakable (Contours of the Heart, #2)
Breakable by Tammara Webber
I read and loved the prequel a few years ago and was recently reminded (by Quinn) that there was a version from Lucas's POV.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
 Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss #1)
Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh (from Netgalley)
Obviously, I adore Singh's paranormals and I'm interested to see her contemporary voice.

Evernight (Darkest London, #5)
Evernight by Kristen Callihan (from Netgalley)
I'm still one behind in this series, but I love the mix of historical and paranormal romance.

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WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning
Survivor in Death by JD Robb