Tag: 10 Years of Book Binge

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori WildeReviewer: Holly
Once Smitten, Twice Shy by Lori Wilde
Series: Wedding Veil Wishes #2
Also in this series: Addicted to Love
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: December 14th 2008
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Legend claims this antigue Irish wedding veil can grant your heart's deepest desire. But be careful what you wish for...
Wedding videographer Tish Gallagher is at the end of her rope. Her business is about to go bust. She's just spent her last buck on nonreturnable (but oh so fabulous) shoes. And her most sustainable relationship is with a pint of Haagen Dazs. So she makes a wish on the lucky wedding veil to get out of debt...and sees the man she never stopped loving, her ex-husband, secret service agent Shane Tremont. Sure, their chemistry was off-the-charts sizzling hot, but their clashes were legendary, and no amount of longing will change that.
When her dream job of recording the first daughter's wedding appears out of the blue, Tish knows it's her only shot to get out of the red. Just one teensy glitch: Shane is the groom. From the moment they see each other, she knows nothing's changed--the same old black magic is still between them, as irresistible and potent as ever. But he's promised to another and Tish has been burned before. Will she always be...ONCE SMITTEN, TWICE SHY?

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I still have very fond memories of this series. I stopped reading Wilde some time back, but I often think back fondly on these books.

This review was originally published February 02, 2008

This is the second book in Lori Wilde’s Wedding Veil Wishes series. I didn’t read the first book, and don’t feel I missed anything by having skipped it. I think at some point I’ll pick it up, just because I like to read all the books in a series, but I never felt like I missed something while reading this book.

Shane has no idea what he was thinking to propose to the President’s daughter. But she’d caught him in a weak moment, staring at him like he was ten feet tall and bullet proof after he’d put his life on the line for hers. And now she’s concocted some scheme involving his ex-wife – the ex he still cares about more than he should.

Elysee knows Shane needs to make peace with the past if their marriage is going to work, so she hires Tish thinking they’ll be able to heal old wounds if they spend enough time together. But even she couldn’t have predicted just how much history there was between Tish and Shane, and just what they’d need to move past old hurts. And now she’s wondering if she made a grave mistake, because not only has she seen the looks the former couple pass between them, but she’s been getting some looks of her own, from her #1 bodyguard, Cal Ackerman.

I must confess, normally a story where one of the main protagonists is engaged to someone else would immediately turn me off. But in this case, it didn’t bother me a bit. I think the author did a fabulous job of writing an unconventional story that really worked.

This story is a somewhat predictable piece of fluff, but it was engaging and I really enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it until close the the end, that is.

You see, Wilde did a fabulous job of keeping the focus on the main trio of characters. Elysee, Tish and Shane were shown in equal light, each with their own demons to battle and insecurities to overcome. I empathized with all three, understanding perfectly their personal issues. Shane, the wounded hero who just needed to be needed. Tish, the independent free spirit who needed someone to lean on. Elysee, the hopeless romantic who wanted nothing more than a knight in shining armor to sweep her away.

But then, more than 3/4 of the way through the book, a new element was introduced…that of a terrorist group who wanted to assassinate a woman who was trying to escape India. The thing is, there was nothing leading up to the sudden twist in the story. For almost the entire book, the focus remained on the three main characters and then BAM, all of a sudden Tish is being attacked and Shane needs to save her and Elysee is involved in an international rescue plot and there’s a murderer out to get them all. But..uh..I must have missed a memo, because that seriously came out of nowhere.

Despite that, however, I liked the book. I loved Tish and Shane together and I’m hopeful that Elysee will get a story of her own someday. Basically, buy this book for the romance, but don’t be surprised if it goes in a strange direction unexpectedly.

Even though I had a major issue with the latter half of the book, I’m still giving this:

4.5 out of 5

Because I really, really liked the rest of it.

The series:

There Goes the Bride
Once Smitten Twice Shy
Addicted to Love
All of Me

You can buy it here in paperback or here or here.

four-half-stars

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Retro Post: Does Size Really Matter?

Posted February 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 15 Comments

This week I’m bringing it back around to the good stuff…because this is still a relevant question today.

This was originally posted May 4, 2007.
A few years ago I read a book by Susan Andersen called Hot & Bothered. The hero of H&B is none other than John “the Rocket” Miglionni. He’s a former Marine turned P.I. and his claim to fame is the size of his Johnson. No, I mean it. You see, The Rocket had a pretty hard childhood, and he kind of figured he wasn’t as good as all the other guys out there. Until the first time he had to take a shower in the locker room, that is. Then, much to his surprise (and mine, if I’m being honest here) the other men started going on about how well hung he was. Now, it’s been awhile, so I can’t remember for sure if SA actually told us just how big The Rocket was, but I do know his nickname stemmed from his rather..ehem…large size (If you know what I mean and I think you do).

Now, SA certainly isn’t the first romance author to talk about her darling hero’s size, and I know she most certainly won’t be the last. And if we’re being honest here, ladies, we can admit (if only to ourselves and each other) that size does matter. Now, now, don’t look at me like that. We all know it’s true. Men, if your lady is telling you it’s not an issue, she’s lying.

Side Note: Regardless of the size, however (whether it be large or small), knowing what to do with it does make a difference. Right ladies? :End Side Note

But I think it’s important for women everywhere to qualify the statement “Size Matters!”. Why? Well, while it’s true that size is important to us, there has to be a cut off point there. Because, I have to tell you, there have been times when reading about a particularly large member and my only thought is, “Ouch! That’s gotta hurt.”

That’s right, I think it’s time we draw the line. Sure, size matters, but that statement goes both ways. Because I have to tell you, the thought of a full foot of manroot anywhere near my love well just makes me queasy. Come on, that shit would hurt! As Jaine Bright from LH’s Mr. Perfect once said, “Anything over 8 inches is strictly for show and tell.”

Rowena here and I’ve got to totally agree with Holly there, and I’ll tell you why just as soon as I can stop laughing from her mention of man roots and love wells.

LMAO LMAO LMAO!

I’ve been reading romance novels for a few years now and I’ve read my fair share of descriptions on just how well endowed most of the heroes are and lately, it’s been making me roll my eyes down the street at how absurd it’s getting. And not even just in books that I’m reading but also in reviews of books that other people are reading.

Like Karen S for example. She just read a book called Ben’s Wildflower by Carol Lynne and the hero, Ben has an overgrown cock. His overgrown manroot is giving him problems and he’s ashamed of it because it’s the total bane of his existence.

Are you frickin’ kidding me?

Yeah the eff right. If you’ve got a 10 inch boinker, you’re not ashamed of it, you’re not being a whiny baby about it, you’re screaming from the rooftops like you’re Dirk Diggler.

You’re screaming, “I am a star. I’m a star, I’m a star, I’m a big bright shiny star. Yeah, thats right!”

Really.

But does the size of a man’s johnson really factor into how well we like our heroes? Say Derek Craven had a little willy, would we all still love him as much as we do? I mean, that’s not what we’re all gushing about when we discuss his book, right? It’s not what we most remember about Derek, so is it really necessary to go on and on about the size of the hero’s ding-a-ling? I’m not saying that Lisa Kleypas did that or anything I’m just well, saying…yeah we know the hero is a big mothereffer down there, we expect it…but would it matter what size the hero is in order for him to be macho and lovable?

I don’t think so. We love them for who they are, not what they have in their pants…don’t we?

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Retro Review: Miracle by Deborah Smith

Posted February 1, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 12 Comments

Retro Review: Miracle by Deborah SmithReviewer: Holly
Miracle by Deborah Smith
Published by Bantam, Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: October 1st 1991
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 464
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Haunted by a past filled with poverty and abuse, Amy Miracle finds escape and release in the vineyards of Georgia--and in Sebastian de Savin, a brilliant and arrogant surgeon whose own past has hardened his heart. Amy finally breaks through de Savin's shell and teaches him to love and laugh again, and Sebastian helps Amy blossom into a magnificent woman.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I remember loving this book so much, but the idea of re-reading it now makes me cringe. I can’t imagine diving back into this epic mess.

This review was originally published June 11, 2007

Many thanks to Wendy for turning me on to this author. I found this novel to be very reminiscent of Danielle Steele, without the constant repetitiveness in the writing style.

Amy and Sebastian meet at his father’s Vineyard, where Amy is working. Sebastian is a brilliant surgeon and finds himself drawn to the vineyard after losing a patient. For some reason he’s drawn to Amy and finds himself returning there to see her again and again.

After a brutal fight with her father, Amy searches Sebastian out to help her with a medical problem and he offers her sanctuary at his house until she can find something new. After spending several weeks together, Sebastian has to leave for Africa and offers to pay Amy’s way through school. Though reluctant, she finally accepts and they’re separated. Sebastian is convinced Amy will be better off without him – he has major emotional baggage from a tragedy in his past – and says goodbye to her, never planning to see her again.

But over the next two years, he can’t stop thinking about her. Amy dedicates her time to her studies and fantasizing about seeing Sebastian again. But Sebastian’s family – French aristocrats – step in and drive a wedge between them – one that forces them to move on from each other physically.

Ten years later, after a major journey for each of them, Amy and Sebastian are reunited, but they’re both different people and they struggle to make the wrongs of their past right.

I truly enjoyed this story. Watching their separate journeys through life was wonderful. Amy was so shy and lacking in self-confidence in the beginning, watching her mature and grow confident in herself was wonderful. She was a strong heroine, and once she found herself, she didn’t compromise herself, not for the hero or anyone else.

Sebastian was a great hero, and a wonderful counterpart for Amy. He was extremely tortured, and desperately needed Amy’s lightness to bring him out of the darkness of his past. He suffered a lot, starting from an accident in his childhood, to a loveless marriage.

Although there was a lot of drama and the H/H were apart for most of the book, the story really worked for me. There were a few times when I was rolling my eyes, or thinking GET ON WITH IT ALREADY, but for the most part, I was just wrapped up in it, hurting for the characters and cheering them on.

I definitely recommend it.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Bantam. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars

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Retro Post: So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

Posted January 26, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 24 Comments

This week, I’m posting an old post that Holly, Casee and I wrote back in 2009 together. I’m sad to say that we still don’t have answers for some of these. Still, it was a fun post to write and for me, still completely relevant today, Ha.

This post was originally posted on July 22, 2009

Rowena: A long time ago, I came across a review for All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann over at Jill D.’s blog, Romance Rookie, and I commented on her review about something that I really want Suz Brockmann to write about. That was where my thoughts about starting this post came from. So because of course I had to blog about my comment on Jill’s blog, I emailed my blogging buddies and we started laughing, throwing thoughts out there and then we got to work.

Yeah, we obviously stopped working on this post but because I want to post this up, I resurrected it and finished it off because it’s still something that I’m mighty curious about and would like to discuss with each of you readers out there.

So, we all have read many books and wondered what happened with certain characters, wished for other characters to get their happy endings and wanted the authors to write certain things to satisfy you. This post will be all about what we want, what we really, really want from our romance authors, books and whatever else we can think of.

I really wish that Suz Brockmann would write a book where Team 10 had to team up with Team 16 to save the world. I’d like to see Joe Cat and Blue kickin’ their feet up with Stan and Cosmo and the rest of Team 16, while Crash and Wildcard make a beer run and Christian, Harvard beat up Gillman and Lopez and Zanella trade football stats with Frisco and you know, I’d like to see something like that…bringin’ everyone together. That would be so frickin’ cool to have both teams working together to fight the bad guys and then afterward, shootin’ the breeze with each other.

I also want to know what the heck Judith McNaught’s hero Noah Maitland from Night Whispers does for a living.

I want to know if Faith ever wandered off Church grounds and if Quinlan ever caught her in Julie Garwood’s The Wedding?

It’d be cool to find out whatever happened to Thurston and little Ulric. Did Justin ever get to tell Thurston off for abandoning him on the battlefield? Whatever became of baby Ulric? Did Nicholaa ever get to see them again? This is all from Julie Garwood’s The Prize.

Holly’s Turn:

I think Julie Garwood left us with a lot of unanswered questions.

I also want to know:

Whatever happened to Maggie Shayne’s romantic suspense series? The last book came out in 2005 and I’ve heard nothing about it continuing. She really left us hanging though and I want her to finish it out.

Casee:

I am totally w/ Rowena about Julie Garwood. I want to know what happened to Faith. Did she get her happily ever after w/ Quinlain? I also wouldn’t mind finding out what happened with Crispin. To me, those are the two most memorable secondary characters Julie Garwood has written.

Way back in 2003, Katherine Sutcliffe wrote a romantic suspense titled Bad Moon Rising. J.D. and Holly were some hellsa tortured characters. The way the book was written, it seemed as if Sutcliffe was planning to continue there story. Then she dropped off the face of the earth.

Suzanne Brockmann–I want her to write Jazz’s story. I’ve read she intends to do it in the future, but I really wish she would bump it up.

Judith McNaught–I really want that time travel story. You know, the excerpt in the back of Remember When?

Those are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

So what about you? If given the chance, what would you ask your favorite authors to write? What are you curious about in any of your favorite authors worlds? Anything at all, sound off!

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Retro Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James.

Posted January 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 18 Comments

Retro Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James.Reviewer: Rowena
Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James
Published by Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 296
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

No woman could resist him—except the one he wanted most...
Cool, Calm, Collected...

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her—not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she's assigned to coach People's "Sexiest Man Alive" for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob's charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

Confident, Famous, Irresistible...

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he's thrown for a loop. She's unlike any other woman he's ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She's the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize she may just be his perfect match.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This week, we’re featuring the review of the book that started my love of all things Julie James. Just the Sexiest Man Alive completely rocked my socks the first (and every) time that I read it and I thought it was super cool that Julie James came and commented on my review. If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s great.*****

This review was originally posted on October 17, 2008
I’m a sucker for those flirty heroes that are cocky and arrogant. You know, the kind of heroes that are bewildered when the heroine’s don’t fall into a puddle of lust at the sight of them. I love seeing them humbled. I loved seeing them so full of themselves in the beginning and then watching as they slowly come to realize that they’re not as great as they think they are. I love seeing them come full circle and wooing their heroines into loving them anyway.

This book was great. It was a fast and funny read and I’m seriously wanting to read another Julie James book. It took me no time at all to read this book and I was sad to finish the story and say goodbye to the characters. They became real to me and I enjoyed getting to know them.

This book is about Jason Andrews and Taylor Donovan. Jason is this big hot shot celebrity actor, think Brad Pitt, a Multiple People’s Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and he pretty much got everything that he ever wanted. Women dropped their panties for him at the snap of a finger and people jumped to do his bidding every time he so much as glanced at them. He had that kind of power over people, the celebrity kind of power and he was so used to it that he didn’t bother to think about what other people thought, it simply was and he enjoyed the power he had over people.

Taylor Donovan, on the other hand is a rising star in the law world. She was one of the top lawyers from her firm and she was sent to L.A. from Chicago to help with a big sexual harassment case and she takes her job very seriously. Even if she’s forced to take a job she doesn’t want, no matter who the job is for.

She doesn’t give two flits about Jason Andrews and even though she thinks he’s insanely attractive, she doesn’t see what the big deal about him is, she vows to treat him as anyone else. She was going to treat him like she treats all of her other clients, only he stands her up at their first appointment and then stands her up again for their second appointment. She had cleared her schedule for him and he didn’t even have the decency to call her and let her know he couldn’t make it. He just left her hanging and so she did what any other woman would do.

She got good and pissed. She was so livid with him that when he finally did decide to come in and see her, she didn’t care who the hell he was or anything, she was too busy for him.

That first meeting between Jason and Taylor was the best frickin’ meeting ever. I thought it was hilarious and I loved the way that Taylor handled it. She totally had me crackin’ up and then grinning like a fool, she was frickin’ awesome. The way that she kept putting him in his place always had me laughing my ass off.

The characters were great, the dialogue was easy to follow along with and the plot all made for a really fast and a really fun read. I really enjoyed reading this book, I would really recommend this book to those of you who are looking for a light and entertaining read. This book delivers the laughs, the emotions and a romance that had you cheering the main characters on.

Jason was hawt stuff and I seriously fell in love with him even through each and every one of his boneheaded moves. All of the plans that he came up with to win Taylor over made me want to beat him over the head with something sharp but I never stopped loving the heck out of him. He was such a normal and good guy that with each page that I turned, I fell a little more in love with him until my heart was near to bursting with him. I really enjoyed his character and I really enjoyed his friendship with Jeremy. I hope Jeremy gets his own book, Jeremy seriously rocked my socks!

Taylor was another fantastic character. I don’t really care much for heroines as much as I’m always focused on the heroes and how hot stuff they are but this heroine was strong and she was confident and yet still a little vulnerable. She was everything that I wish I was and she made me want to be a lawyer again. She made practicing the law and researching every little detail of her cases seem so cool and the way that she would not let Jason get away with anything made me love her all the more. She was memorable, not a lot of heroines are like that for me but Taylor was. I’ll remember who she is and I’ll remember how funny, confident and smart she was and I’ll want to read her book again because she was great.

This book is a good one, it’s not a pull your heart strings kind of book but it’s enjoyable anyway. It’s a solid read and I’m so glad that I read it. You guys should definitely put this on your list of books to buy soon and read because I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well.

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars

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