Tag: Olivia Gates

Guest Review: Conveniently His Princess by Olivia Gates

Posted September 3, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

17570293Judith’s review of Conveniently His Princess (Married by Royal Decree #2) by Olivia Gates

Only one thing stands between Aram Nazaryan and the high-powered position he craves: the proper wife. Although this billionaire would do anything to return to Zohayd, the desert kingdom he considers home, marrying Princess Kanza Aal Ajmaan is too high a price to pay. Or so he thinks—until he meets Kanza…and she turns his world upside down. 

After claiming Kanza as his princess, everything falls into place. But then she learns the truth. She may have married for love, but his vows are tainted by ambition. Will doubt, betrayal and mistrust end this too-convenient union?

We all like romances of people who meet that soul mate and are emotional goners.  This story stands in marked contrast to those.  Ms Gates has again written a tale set in the Middle East  that involves some serious political ramifications for the hero, but Aram doesn’t take the bait because he has a perception of Princess Kanza that he ultimately finds out is seriously wrong.  He is also a man who has vowed not to marry, believing that somehow he couldn’t offer the kind of emotional stability to a woman or find one who would be willing to live abroad with him.  Even though he begins his friendship with Kanza knowing that to marry her is to gain his goal of a high position in the government of the country he thinks of as “home,”  he quickly comes to realize that she means far more to him than just a convenient marriage prospect.  Kanza, on the other hand, is a woman who knows her own mind, has no place in her life for men who want to court her to feed their ambition, and who loves her profession.  Yet when she slowly gets to know Aram, she begins to see him in a different light and comes to value their friendship above all else.

This is a story that holds up the value of friendship as the foundation for a solid marriage relationship, for a love that is based on full knowledge of one’s partner, of a vision for the future that see one’s partner as a life-long companion and not just a romantic interest for the moment.  Yes, there are surprises and all is not necessarily smooth while the bond between Aram and Kanza is tested.  The trust in a marriage is a very fragile thing and this story emphasizes that fact as well.

This is a wonderful romance and one that I enjoyed completely.  It is not overly long and won’t take up a huge chunk of time.  But it is well worth reading and I found it to be one of those books that ended with me feeling a deep sense of satisfaction I always get when I read a really, really good book.

I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.

The Series:

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You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

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Guest Review: Temporarily His Princess by Olivia Gates

Posted July 25, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

16160127Judith’s review of Temporarily His Princess  by  Olivia Gates

When his king says Prince Vincenzo D’Agostino must marry, the confirmed bachelor knows only one woman will do: Glory Monaghan, the lover who betrayed him six years ago. By forcing her hand, he’ll appease his ruler—and get the woman he can’t forget out of his system forever.

But Vincenzo’s proposal is the last thing Glory expects. His long-ago rejection nearly destroyed her—how can she say yes now, even for show? Yet she has no choice. Becoming Vincenzo’s temporary bride will save her family—even if giving in to the prince of Castaldini’s passion will surely leave her yearning for more….

I had read other Olivia Gates stories in this series before this one, but it was fun to go back to book one in the series and enjoy another story that may really be just a aristocratic fantasy of “how the other half lives.”  Yet it is that very quality that has most of us reading romance fiction in the first place–taking us into lives and situations that we could never hope to experience in real life.  Ms Gates has a way about telling these almost fairy tale kinds of stories that catches the reader’s interest and holds that interest from start to finish.

Obviously most of us have never been in this kind of circumstance–one where marriage to a royal prince is the only hope for one’s family prosperity.  Most of us have not been given the choice of poverty or marrying a royal personage.  Yet that is the premise of this story and one that, curiously, Ms Gates makes work.  I have to admit to expecting this and the other stories in this series to be a bit on the unbelievable side, but that is not how it all turned out.  It is also a reminder that in the world’s social order, there are scads of minor royals floating around and some of them take their responsibilities very seriously, even though their kingdoms or fiefdoms are miniscule.  In this case, Glory really doesn’t want to be caught between a “rock or a hard place.”  But as so often the case in fiction, she is left little choice.  Yet for all its somewhat fantastical aristocratic trappings, this romance and this story work.  It’s enjoyable and another one of those novels that is just simply fun to read and proof positive that no matter how old we may be, we still love a good fairy tale.

Perhaps what gives this story its realistic bent is the fact that there is a lot of hurt here.  Glory is a woman who has had to find a way to endure a woman’s greatest nightmare–rejection by the man she thought loved her.  Now she is being forced back into his life for the sake of her family’s wellbeing, and she knows that when it is all over, she is going to have to find a way to endure once more.  It is also a story that sort of proves to us that men with this kind of status, power, and wealth are basically cads and I know that I was not prepared to like the hero AT ALL.  Yet the story does move forward in surprising ways and perhaps the lesson here is that all of us change–some of the better and some for the worst.  In the same way that Glory had to grow past her pain and the old wounds to her life and her heart, so Vincenzo has the same opportunities to mature and look beyond his self-absorbed way of life toward something of greater value:  a life-long relationship with a woman of grace and beauty and the fulfillment of his dream to be important to that special someone.

Ms Gates does not back away from the sexual tension and strong attraction that continues to exist between these star-crossed lovers.  Readers who love very romantic stories will not be disappointed.  It’s a very entertaining read and will be a good expenditure of time and effort.  Good novels always are.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

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

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Guest Review: The Sheikh’s Redemption by Olivia Gates

Posted July 26, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Sheikh’s Redemption by Olivia Gates.

“He would claim the throne. And her… “For Prince Haidar Aal Shalaan, taking the reins of a kingdom in chaos is a matter of honor. Not that his rivals to the throne would be defeated easily. And then there is Roxanne Gleeson, the one woman whose memory he cannot erase, the lover who once rejected him. Now she pretends a cold disdain for their once-and still-desperate passion. But he will not be denied either the throne of his motherland or Roxanne back in his bed. One is his birthright, the other his heart’s desire. And together they are…his redemption.

This is a story of intricate and complicated novel built around a Middle Eastern family whose family loyalties are stressed and split and where friendship has turned to disdain and in a case or two, hatred. Brother is pitted against brother and both feel the anger of their once best friend, all seeking to regain power and position in order to save an ancient kingdom. In the center of the fray is a beautiful American who was once lover of one of the contenders and who has now returned to the area as a diplomat of sorts.

This is a book that could be confusing unless the reader puts one’s mind to the task of keeping the characters straight, sorting out the context of the struggle for power, and keeping straight the emotions and tensions that make Roxanne and the Prince’s affair the hot and sexy relationship it is. It is a story that highlights the fact that passion can live quietly for a very long time but once it is re-kindled, it will burn just as bright as previously. Yet in spite of the renewal of their passionate affair, there are still issues that keep them on tenterhooks with each other. The political confusion and intrigue is also a critical factor in whether or not there is any future for them together.

I have not read any of Ms Gate’s previous work but am impressed that she has developed a story that takes a strong mind and deft touch to produce successfully. And it would be my recommendation to potential readers that it would be difficult to enjoy unless one goes into the book prepared to keep lots of story strands straight from the beginning. There are strong feelings here; no half-way measures given by those who are involved in the hidden intrigue. From beginning to end this was a reading experience that demanded I give all my attention, and as a result, it turned out to be immensely satisfying reading experience.

I like the light-hearted stuff and there is a place for the fun and fluffy in romance fiction. But once in a while a novel comes along that is demanding and complicated and I look forward to those kinds of books. They are the ones I go back and re-read because I don’t think anyone ever comprehends everything about such a book the first go around. So I will be re-visiting this novel and am quite confident that it will be just as fascinating the second time through.

I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

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