Tag: Simon and Schuster

Throwback Thursday Review: A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

Posted March 15, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 12 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude DeverauxReviewer: Holly and Rowena
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
Series: Montgomery/Taggert #15
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 27th 2012
Genres: Historical Romance, Time Travel
Pages: 416
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Once upon a time . . . as a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress. . . .
A Knight in Shining Armor
Hailed worldwide as one of the most romantic novels of all time, Jude Deveraux’s dazzling bestseller “will capture your heart—and hold it” (Daily Herald, Chicago) with its breathtaking tale of lovely Dougless Montgomery; her savior knight, Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck; and the timeless adventure of passion and memory, danger and desire that sweeps them into each other’s arms.

Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

Holly: Rowena and I got into a discussion about this book on Twitter (caution, thread contains spoilers for this book and others) this week along with some other long-time romance readers. We all agree this is one of the few books that can still fill us with rage even all these years later. I’ll never be over that ending. Never.

This review was originally published on June 7, 2008.

I saw a review for this one online a couple of days ago and got mad all over again so I’m going to resurrect this review Holly and I did over at our old blog, Sanctuary’s Finest.

Enjoy!

Rowena says:

Jude Deveraux did such a wonderful job sucking me in with Dougless Montgomery and Nicholas Stafford. I mean, Dougless wanted nothing more than a man, a good man to love and care for her enough to marry her, she strived to have a family of her own with a man who wouldn’t make her look like the insipid younger sister to her family, she didn’t want to be the laughingstock of her family which is understandable and I thought it was so sweet that she asked for a Knight in Shining Armor and got it…in the form of Elizabethan Knight, Nicholas Stafford.

Nicholas Stafford was a rascal of a hero who died long ago and WAS the laughingstock of not only his family but of England. He wanted so much to be remembered for his learning and for his architecture, but instead was remembered as a traitor to his Queen and a sexual exploit of his youth on a table. What a way to be remembered and back in the day, well in Nicholas’ day, all you had to live for was your honor.

Honor made men out of boys and Nicholas’ wanted to be remembered by his mind. He wasn’t perfect by any means (I mean come on now, you slept with a married woman for goodness sakes but still) but he did work hard to supply for his family and he did have a heart, a very big one.

I really loved Nicholas Stafford and I loved the whole story between him and Dougless, they were perfect for eachother, so bloody perfect. The ice cream scene in the kitchen? YUM! I mean, there wasn’t much to love about Dougless and Nicholas because they were both just so loveable. You wanted someone like Dougless as your friend because she cared a whole lot about those around her and she was loyal and just an all around good hearted young woman. Nicholas on the other hand, you wanted Nicholas in your bed, he was hot, he was funny and he was caring. He really was though, just a regular guy with the same goofiness as all of those guys that you can’t help but love.

I can’t tell you guys how great Jude Deveraux did with the telling of this story. The entire time you were rootin’ these two on because you wanted them to have their happy ending. Dougless was a good strong heroine who was soft hearted but worked hard for those around her and then Nicholas, you couldn’t help but fall in love with him, he was just too cute. He too, worked so hard to right the wrongs that were done to him and you really wanted him to find his happy ending…..with Dougless.

Now, JD did a wonderful job with the secondary characters too, you either loved them or you hated them. I mean, with Kit and Lady Margaret, you fell in absolute love with their characters because there was a wealth of love between these two and Nicholas. It was more than aparent that Kit had Nicholas’ back and that he loved his brother with everything, same thing with Lady Margaret, she was a great mother to the two men and she showed that love by fighting for the truth about Nicholas to save him, she was a smart cookie and the bad guys seriously underestimated her abilities to dig out the truth, she was an amazing mother and she was gracious to Dougless for saving both of her sons, I thought that was great.

Now on the flip side of the coin, we have characters like Arabella Sydney who I hated just because she was a little slut that cheated on her husband with Nicholas, stupid chit needed to keep her damn legs closed and work on her marriage to her husband, since that man was one evil ass man. Then you have Robert and Gloria, Dougless’ insufferable boyfriend and his evil spawn of a daughter. Never in my life have I wanted to hurt people more than I wanted to hurt these two, I’m serious because I wanted to stab Robert and keep stabbing him until he had more holes in him than a piece of Swiss Cheese and then I wanted to hang him by his balls and let him bleed out, ever so slowly. You don’t want to know what I wanted to do to his good for nothing little shit of a daughter.

Grrr…

So as you can see, JD did a great job with this book because she got this kind of reaction out of me, always looking on the bright side Rowena, that’s me. If a book is bad, I’ll overlook it if I enjoyed the story as a whole, oh but not this time around. Not with this book, this book infuriated me so much that I am going to burn this shit in the Burn Book pile, oh wait…I already did that, but this time I’m going to keep it in the burn pile.

You see, as much as I loved the story, I hated the ending, the ending is what burned the book, ruined it for me, but aside from that horrendous ending, the book was FABULOUS!

Holly says:

I couldn’t agree with Rowena more. When we first meet Douglass she’s on her way to England for a vacation with her stupid cad boyfriend and his stupid, spoiled daughter, and as a reader, you want so much for her to find true love and happiness, because she’s the type that deserves it.

As a member of the overachieving Montgomery clan, Douglass has always felt inferior to the rest of her family and she truly just wants to be loved and accepted for who she is, and not reminded of the mistakes she’s made. As a woman, a sister and a mother, I totally identified with her.

When she was weeping on the steps of the church because her jerkass boyfriend had abandoned her in a foreign country, I wept with her. And when Nicholas Stafford was brought forward through time as her Knight in Shining Armor, I cried harder and wanted so much for them to be together. I cried again when Nicholas was sent back home and I prayed Douglass would find a way to be with him again.

I cheered when Douglass went back to Nicholas’ time and I was on the edge of my seat with anticipation, waiting to see how the story would unfold. Would Nicholas remember Douglass from when he was in the future? Would his family come to accuse her of being a witch? Would Nicholas fall in love with the Douglass in his time, or remember he loved her in her time? Would he still marry the psycho that got him into trouble before?

The scenes Rowena mentioned, like the ice cream scene, were amazingly told. I was completely wrapped up in this story, breathless with anticipation and almost sick to my stomach wondering how JD was going to keep these two amazing characters together. I just wanted them to have their HEA….together.

Conclusion: With Spoilers…you were warned!

View Spoiler »

Dammit. And Double Dammit. There’s no redeeming this book at all. No matter how I look at it, it sucked ass, plain and simple.

Stupid ass book!

Story: 4 Ending: 1

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


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Guest Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Posted September 14, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen HooverReviewer: Tracy
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Format: eARC
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four-stars

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

When Lily Bloom was fifteen years old she met Atlas. He was a senior in high school to her sophomore.  She’s wondering what he was doing living in the abandoned house behind her own.  She makes a point to talk to him and they soon strike up a friendship. It turns out that Atlas’s mother kicked him out because her new husband didn’t like him and since he was 18 she was under no obligation to let him live with her. Lily helps Atlas take showers, as well as get clothes, food and blankets to survive. Their friendship soon becomes love but then Atlas contacts his uncle in Boston and moves there so that he can have a real home.

Lilly’s own home life wasn’t fabulous either.  Her father abused her mother on a regular basis and she couldn’t understand why her mom didn’t take Lily and leave.  She thought of her as weak.

Fast forward to Lily at the age of 22 when she is just back in Boston – her new home – from attending her father’s funeral.  She decides to watch some stars and finds an apartment building near her own that has a great roof deck.  While there she unexpectedly meets Ryle.  Ryle is a neurosurgeon competing his residency.  They tell each other some hard truths – they call them naked truths – but when Ryle gets called away they don’t plan on seeing each other ever again.  Lily wants a husband and family and Ryle thinks marriage is repulsive and wants nothing to do with children.

Six months later and Lily is opening her own flower shop like she’s always wanted.  She hires Alyssa who wanders in off the street and she ends up being Ryle’s sister.  Neither Ryle nor Lily can get the other off their mind.  They end up together but it turns out that Ryle has some issues that cause Lily to really look at him, their relationship and their future together.  When she meets Atlas again after seven years apart Lily has to face her thoughts about him and how their relationship ended.

Let me tell you it’s so very hard to write this review without giving you HUGE spoilers but I’m gonna give it a whirl.

This story was incredibly hard to read at times.  The subject matter is about something that you hope, in your life, you never have to face, but Lily did.  Looking at things about herself and Ryle from the inside of their relationship made her see that nothing is black and white.  She assumed that if she saw the same issues in another couple that her decision would be non-negotiable but seeing things from the inside was different for her.  The way that Hoover made us look at matters from a different point of view was quite heart-wrenching.  While she had me smiling at different points in the book she had me crying at others.

The characters in the story are really amazingly written.  I really loved them all – yes, ALL.  Alyssa with her wonderful personality as well as her husband, Marshall who cracked me up whenever he was on page.  Atlas had an incredible soul – even at 18 years of age and that didn’t change when he was older, either. Lily was an incredible strong girl and woman.  I didn’t ever see her as weak and truly admired her.  Ryle, as much as I wanted to hate him I just really couldn’t.  Despite his issues I still liked him at the end of the book which is saying something, let me tell you.

I want to say that though the blurb alludes to a love triangle there isn’t really one in the book.  I truly hate love triangles.  I try to avoid them at all costs so went in to this book with a sense of trepidation.  I was thrilled with the way that Hoover dealt with Lily, Ryle and Atlas – it was so well done! (I did hate his name, however.  It threw me out of the book so many times it got a bit frustrating, I must say.)

The book was fun and funny at times. It was also painful and sad to read for a whole slew of reasons. A lot of people would stay away from it because of those reasons but you shouldn’t.  It’s not a typical Hoover book but it was definitely worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

Posted July 27, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Have and to Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: Wedding Belles #1
Also in this series: From This Day Forward (Wedding Belles #0.5), For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2), To Love and to Cherish (Wedding Belles #3)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help.

But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. Lauren Layne has fast become one of my favorite go to author for fabulous contemporary romances and she didn’t disappoint with the first book in her new Wedding Belles series. I was wrapped up tight in this story from beginning to end and I enjoyed the entire ride.

Seth Tyler’s sister is getting married to a guy that she just met and Seth doesn’t trust his soon to be brother in law. Seth and his sister Maya are the heir and heiress to the Tyler hotel riches and it’s not a surprise that Seth thinks Neil, Maya’s new out of nowhere fiancé is after the family riches. He’s got no proof of anything shady, just his gut feeling and after meeting Neil, his spidey senses are on high alert.

After a disastrous wedding that didn’t happen, Brooke left the West Coast for the chilly winters of New York City. Her disastrous wedding that didn’t happen wrecked her wedding planning career in Los Angeles so she’s hoping to take her services to New York City and start up the process of building her work reputation up again. Her first wedding in New York is Maya Tyler’s wedding to Neil Garrett and things would be going fine if it weren’t for Maya’s meddling and grumpy older brother, holder of the family purse strings, Seth. He’s not a fan of the idea that his little sister is marrying someone after knowing them for such a short time. He’s controlling and he quite frankly, gets on Brooke’s nerves. The more time that he spends hovering over Maya’s shoulder, the more fun he’s taking out of Maya’s pre-wedding experiences and Brooke is not having that. If that means she’ll have to meet with him weekly to keep him apprised of everything going on so that he won’t be there and then do a little snooping for him, she’ll do it. She’ll do it for Maya because Maya deserves to be happy during the happy times.

These meetings between Seth and Brooke are fraught with sexual chemistry and the heat between them singed my iPad with each passing page. I loved the way that their romance built up until they were both consumed with each other and their feelings. Their romance wasn’t perfect but it was interesting and entertaining and I was right there with the both of them as they tried and tried again to get things right.

There were times when they both got on my nerves with their bullheadedness over every little thing but in the end, they both won me over and I closed this book with a smile on my face.

I loved Seth. Even when he was being a complete dickhead and messing things up for everyone in his personal life, I loved him. I loved the controlling dumbass because at the root of everything, his intentions were good and even though I wish he had listened to both Brooke and Grant, he came around in the end and I truly felt like he learned from his mistakes. That was some grand gesture too. Total swoon-worthy move that only a freaking billionaire could make. Took me right to my happy place. I loved it.

Brooke was a great heroine as well. She was strong and she was independent and even though I thought it was a little soon for her to be moving on after her disrupted wedding, I came around to the idea because had it been me? I would have jumped Seth’s bone after two weeks instead of three months. LOL.

Overall, this was fun and it was flirty and it was everything that I love about reading a Lauren Layne book. Seth and Brooke were a great main couple and the lead up to Heather’s book was great too. I can’t wait to dig into Heather’s book and meet her noisy hot neighbor. This series started off on a great note with From this Day Forward and it continued to entertain me with this one so I’m on board for it all. Bring on Heather and Alexis. I want them!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah Martin

Posted July 1, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah MartinReviewer: Tracy
Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries, Deborah Martin
Series: Wales Series #1
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Format: eARC
Genres: Historical Romance
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four-stars

The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.

The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

Juliana St. Albans is considered a blue-stocking.  Her and her family reside in Wales but are English.  She hears about a meeting of the Sons of Wales which was a group of men who were opposing the English and the loss of the Welsh language among many other things.  The speaker of the group that night was Rhys Vaughan who is the son of a local squire.  Rhys’s father had gambled against Juliana’s father and had lost their family estate because of it.  Dressed as a lady’s maid she attends the Sons of Wales meeting and can’t help but become completely infatuated with Rhys Vaughan.  He is compelling and a wonderful speaker as well as a gorgeous man.

Rhys stops Juliana after the meeting as he’s intrigued by her as well.  When he finds out who she really is he heads to her house to speak with her father as he’s just positive the father sent her to be a spy.  He’s very wrong and Juliana gets into some serious trouble.  As she’s confined to her room for a two-week period Rhys climbs a tree and visits her.  Juliana should hate him for getting her into trouble but she just can’t.  They become friends and Rhys ends up visiting every night.  They talk about books and poetry and soon find themselves in love.  They plan to elope, which they do, but instead of fleeing afterward as they had planned they get separated and Rhys is impressed into the English Navy.

Now it’s six years later and Juliana believes Rhys is dead.  He still has her heart but she also wants a family.  At her betrothal dinner Rhys shows up and Juliana is thrilled but completely shocked.  Of course when he starts flinging accusations at her that she knows aren’t true she finds she must clear the air.  While she’s incredibly mad at her husband she’s so happy he’s home.  If only he could trust that what she tells him is the truth they could be happy once again.  But Rhys had a very long time in the Navy to think about Juliana’s involvement in his impressment and he’s positive that it was all her idea.  Will they ever work through the lies and find the love they once shared for each other?

This was a really good story.  I liked so many things about it.  First and foremost were Rhys and Juliana.  While I was pissed at Rhys’s attitude for a lot of the book I was still impressed with how he survived all the years in the Navy and then in America.  Even as mad as he was at Juliana all those years he truly never stopped loving her and of course Juliana waited for him for years and years, hoping he would return to her.

The person behind it all made me incredibly angry.  He might have told himself that he was doing what he did for his sister but it was all purely selfish and I disliked him intensely.  The fact that he kept lying and lying straight to Juliana’s face made me want to slap him on numerous occasions.  Then there was his involvement with her lady’s maid and wow – what a bastard.

Anyway, the story was a really good one that I enjoyed reading.  This is a reissue of the original that was published in 1995 so you might have read it way back when.  If you haven’t read it you should and if you have, you should read it again.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Posted May 19, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill SmolinskiReviewer: Tina
Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Women's Fiction
Pages: 320
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five-stars

In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung on to for decades.

Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Found this little gem in the library the other day and was in the mood to take a break from the psychological thriller binge that I’ve been on lately. So glad I picked this one up! Objects of My Affection is a perfect book to have when spending a relaxing day reading. l really admire the fact that the author, Jill Smolinski, was able to bring some heavy topics such as mental illness (hoarding, depression, etc..) and substance abuse to the table, but still make the story enjoyable and even humorous at times. The book had just the right balance so that the story didn’t get “heavy”. (for lack of a better word..)

The book is about a woman who is facing her own share of life challenges after achieving her “5 minutes of fame” for writing a book about organizing. Her love life has gone down the tubes, she has just sent her son to rehab, and she is newly homeless when she is contacted by a man who is the son of the infamous Marva Meier Rios – a reclusive painter with a secret hoarding problem. He approaches her with an opportunity that couldn’t have come at a better time….organize his mother’s home while maintaining absolute secrecy about her “problem”. She is given a deadline, a couple guys to help haul things off, and a HUGE assignment. With not much of a choice and the thought of “how bad can this be?” she accepts. What she finds is a eccentric woman who is very used to having her way, and who has a very hard time letting go -of everything!

That being said, I do want to say that this book is SO much more than my little blurb above. Like I mentioned, it does deal with some serious issues as well. The way the author presents them and makes them readable is what I think I enjoyed most about the book. The characters are so real and easy to relate to, and I really enjoyed the various personalities. Just wanting to know what was going to happen next made this a hard book to put down.

At first I thought this book was going to be a fluffy beach read, but I found that it wasn’t that at all. It was a book about people. About people trying to let go but yet hold on at the same time. It was a book that I will remember and bring up in conversation. It would make a fantastic book club read as well. This was my first book by Jill Smolinski, but it won’t be my last. I would definitely recommend it to my “bookie” friends.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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