Tag: Retro-Review

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
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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 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
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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 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
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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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Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Posted January 11, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 44 Comments

Retro Review: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.Reviewer: Rowena
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught
Series: Westmorelands #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 1st 2003
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 438
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four-half-stars

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as "The Wolf"; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will . . . until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web . . . a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

***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 going back to the author that started my love of romance novels, Judith McNaught. I remember this review and all of the fighting commenting we did in the comments. What a lively bunch we are…ha! Oh man, the memories…***

This review was originally posted on May 29, 2007.

Okay so this weekend, while I was in the midst of reading all these books while waiting to read my book book, I did a reread of this book, A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught.

Now in our little circle of friends, this is the book that brings out the claws. I kid you not, we have gotten into some serious fight emails (in ALL CAPS y’all) about this book and the heroine. While some of us think that Jenny was a stupid beeyatch who deserved all the crap that she got, we still think she was redeemable in the end, there are others who think otherwise. They’re the ones that think Jenny should have died a slow death where she was tortured, hanging over a fire pit, being slow roasted.

LOL.

And as I was reading this book, this past weekend I found myself being just as absorbed in this story as I was the many other times I’ve read this book.

I found myself falling deeper and deeper under the Royce Westmoreland spell and I thought this book was fantastically written. The emotions Judith McNaught envoked in the readers toward the characters, pulled them deep into the story and made them apart of it, made them hate the bad guys (and the good guys) and made them hungry with the thirst of justice (for poor Thor and William) and I’ve got to say that Judith McNaught sure knows what she’s doing when she writes these books.

She’s a master at weaving a world that sparks such interesting topics and discussions. I mean, I’ve never fought with anyone like I did with Izzy and Holly over the whole Jenny thing and I admit to poking fun at them, deliberately provoking them into getting all huffy and puffy about Jenny and her actions.

It’s really fun, to read this book and roll my eyes and get that nervous twitch in my stomach when I knew Jenny was going to do something stupid, like sew the soldiers clothes shut or carve Royce’s face with his own knife, then you know, THE scene where she did what she did to Thor? And then when she hesitated over Royce’s lance when he approached her for her ribbon?

sigh

These are the things that made me so angry at Jenny but I didn’t wish Royce ended up with anyone else. I mean, she was stupid but she was very repentant at the end. Yeah, Royce was nearly dead before she got her wits around her to go and put a stop to the slaughtering of her husband, but she DID do it and she truly showed that she did in fact love him with all that she was…

Royce’s speech when he brought Jenny back to his home and introduced him to the servants, sigh I just love it…so much so that I’m going to type it out for you.

Behold your new mistress, my wife. And know that when she bids you, I have bidden you; what service you render her, you are rendering me, what loyalty you give or withhold from her, you give or withhold from me.

swoon

Man but this was a good book, a fantastic book and even though Jenny was a stupid ass, I still loved this book and I will continue to read it over and over again because it’s just that great.

Go on, bring on the vicious words for Jenny, I know you’re just dying to say them…LOL.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Books. You can purchase it here.

four-half-stars

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Retro Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas.

Posted January 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Retro Review: Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas.Reviewer: Rowena
Midnight Angel by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Stokehursts #1
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: January 1st 1995
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 373
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four-half-stars

A noblewoman of frail beauty and exotic mystery fakes her own death to escape the gallows. And now she must flee. In disguise and under a false identity, she finds unexpected sanctuary in the arms of a handsome and arrogant yet gallant British lord—who must defy society to keep her safe . . . and overcome a tragic past to claim her as his own.

***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 checking out an old Lisa Kleypas review that I wrote so long ago. I haven’t re-read this book in so long so I don’t even know if I’d give it the same grade today and gah, I sound like…nothing good. sigh.***

This review was originally posted on March 17, 2008

I’m reading about 3 different books right now and this is the book that I kept going back each and everytime I picked up a book to read. There was just something about this book that had me coming back for me. I’ve said this before in my reviews that when a story has fantastic characters, I fall right into the story and characters can make me love the most basic of storylines and even the most cheesiest of storylines…and though this wasn’t a basic or cheesy storyline, I did end up really enjoying this book.

Lord Lucas Stokehurst is a widower who loved his first wife very much. He’s got a young daughter who acts beastly all the time and needs a woman’s influence in her life to teach her how to act like a true lady. Luke doesn’t ever want to get married again because he will feel guilty about forgetting his first wife, Mary.

All of that changes when “Miss Karen Billings” with many deep, dark secrets comes into his life. He is drawn to the mystery surrounding Miss Billings and as she’s his daughter’s new governess, he vows to stay away from her.

But like a moth to a flame, Miss Karen Billings carves her way into his life and into the hearts of those most close to him.

Most especially his daughter.

Emma was a young woman of 12 who needed a woman’s influence to teach her the ways of life. She needed someone to teach her the basic truths of what she was going through and she needed someone to love her the way a mother would love her. Tasia filled that role to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the scenes between Tasia and Emma. The way they grew close warmed my heart because they both needed each other, it wasn’t just Emma needing Tasia. Tasia needed Emma just as much and I loved that. They bonded together and formed the sort of friendship that Emma needed to help her get through that awkward stage in her life.

Oh and “Miss Karen Billings” real name was Lady Anastasia from Russia. She was on the run for murder and she was never to return to Russia because that would be her death sentence. She couldn’t trust anyone and it took her a whole lot to finally trust in the love Lucas was offering her and the protection he promised to give her if she would only but trust him.

This book was a wonderful read. It was a fast paced story, sometimes it was a good thing and sometimes it was a not so good thing.

It was a not so good thing because I felt like with the snap of a finger Lucas just changed his mind and was in love with Tasia. He found out about her secret and then humiliated her in front of everyone and then felt bad so he fell in love with her and tried to go and make things better for her. It just wasn’t believable to me. It would have been nice to see him gradually fall in love with her, but that bugged a little, it didn’t ruin the story for me.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters in this one. Emma was a fantastic addition, she was young, lively and just so real…I enjoyed her a lot. She truly did love her Dad and wanted what was best for him and that horrid Lady Harcourt just wasn’t it. I’m glad she got tossed to the corner, it just would have been nice if Tasia got a chance to shove her snobbiness up her throat or something because I hated the way she treated Tasia, like she was insignificant.

The age difference between Luke and Tasia didn’t bother me in the least but I guess it was because Lisa Kleypas did an exceptional job of not dwelling on it, that it made me forget all about their age but in the back of my mind, I was always thinking, “Age aint nothing but a number” just like Aaliyah sang in her song. =)

Man, Lucas Stokehurst was a stud! I hella loved him. He was everything that I love in a hero. He was strong, handsome and had an inperfection. The inperfection made him all the more sexier to me because who wouldn’t think a hook is sexy? Loved it. I loved the way he was with Tasia, even when he was jerk to her, I liked it…and the way he was with Emma was another plus with me. He loved that little girl and just the manly man that he was…the man that Charles admired and the man who was so popular with the other men was exactly Lucas and I hecka loved him, he took up someone spot in my Top 5 favorite LK men. I LOVE HIM!

I enjoyed Tasia as well, I thought she was a good heroine. When she bullheadedly told Luke that she couldn’t stay and she told him the real reason why she couldn’t stay instead of using that whole “lie to save his life” bull crap was a real plus with me. She didn’t feel the need to lie to him when he finally knew the whole truth of why she had to leave…so that he and Emma would be safe because as long as she was there with them, they would be a target and she couldn’t bear it if anything happened to the both of them.

Overall, this book was beautifully written and I thought the story was very engaging and the characters were exceptional. I fell in love with the Stokehursts and with Tasia…they made a beautiful pair and I loved how true love healed all the wounds this family had going for them, it was just a nice story to get lost in for the few hours that it took me to read this. I highly recommend this book to any of you out there, wanting to read a great historical!

four-half-stars

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