Tag: Lynda’s Reviews

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Lynda the Guppy

Posted March 1, 2015 by Holly in Features | 2 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

5 Books

I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how to approach this. Five books everyone should read, huh? But are we talking EVERYONE everyone? Or just readers? Or just romance readers? It was too much. It made my brain explode. So I’ve narrowed it down to five romance books (and authors) that have been pivotal in my “reading career” in one way or another.

Saving GraceSaving Grace, Julie Garwood

In this splendid New York Times bestseller, Julie Garwood brilliantly crafts the majestic story of a young Englishwoman determined to fight for her freedom…a woman whose life would be transformed by the rare, unexpected gift of love.

When Lady Johanna learned that she was a widow, she vowed she would never marry again. Only sixteen, already she possessed a strength of will that impressed all who looked past her golden-haired beauty. Yet when King John demanded that she remarry — and selected a bridegroom for her — it seemed she must acquiesce, until her beloved foster brother suggested she wed his friend, the handsome Scottish warrior Gabriel MacBain.

At first Johanna was shy, but as Gabriel tenderly revealed the splendid pleasures they would share, she came to suspect that she was falling in love with her gruff new husband. And it was soon apparent to the entire Highlands clan that their brusque, gallant laird had surrendered his heart completely. But now a desperate royal intrigue threatened to tear her from his side — and to destroy the man whose love meant more to her than she had ever dreamed!FishWithSticks_JulieGarwood (1)

Really, ANY Julie Garwood historical should go on this list. I don’t read historicals, as a rule, but a friend of mine many years ago gave me The Bride and The Wedding and told me I’d love them. It took me over a year to read them, and when I finally did I wished I hadn’t waited so long. Saving Grace, though, that one’s my favorite. The hero is so strong and protective and a little grumbly, which is just the way I like my heroes. One of the final scenes with all the men with the bows and arrows has to be one of my favorite scenes in any book ever. And when he lends her his strength? Pardon me. Need to go reread now.


once and alwaysOnce and Always, Judith McNaught

Across the vast ocean sailed Victoria Seaton, a free-spirited American beauty left suddenly orphaned and alone. Eager to claim her long-lost heritage, she was amazed at the formal elegance of Wakefield, the sumptuous English estate of her distant cousin…the notorious Lord Jason Fielding. Sought after at plays, operas, and balls by London’s most fashionable ladies, Jason remained a mystery to Victoria. Bewildered by his arrogant demeanor, yet drawn to his panther-like grace, she came to sense the searingly painful memories that smoldered in the depths of his jade-green eyes.

Unable to resist her spitfire charm, Jason gathered her at last into his powerful arms, ravishing her lips with his kisses, arousing in her a sweet, insistent hunger. Wed in desire, they were enfolded in a fierce, consuming joy, free at last from the past’s cruel grasp. Then, in a moment of blinding anguish, Victoria discovered the shocking treachery that lay at the heart of their love…a love she had dreamed would triumph…Once And Always.

Lynda with Judith McNaught

This wasn’t the first romance I snuck out of my mom’s closet. Not even close. But it was the first book I remember reading because of the story, and not just because I was looking for the sex scenes. (What? Like you all didn’t do that, too.) This one was tricky, because she was reading it at the same time, and I had to sneak my time in when she was out of the house. Which, since she was a SAHM, wasn’t often. Jason and Victoria still give me a happy sigh. And when he comes home and sees her wet cloak? When she comes home and he’s petting the onyx jaguar she had given him? I still get all teary.

Huh. Five books on this list, I’ve told you I don’t read historicals, and the first two are historicals. Whoops.

carolina moonCarolina Moon, Nora Roberts

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts—an utterly spellbinding tale about a woman who, though battered in both body and spirit, can never lose Hope…
Tory Bodeen grew up in South Carolina, in a small run-down house, where her father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt—and where her dreams and talents had no room to flourish. But she had Hope, who lived in the big house just a short skip away and whose friendship allowed Tory to be something she wasn’t allowed to be at home: a child.

After young Hope’s brutal murder, unsolved to this day, Tory’s life began to fall apart. And now, as she returns to her hometown, with plans to settle in and open a stylish home-design shop, she is determined to find a measure of peace and free herself from the haunting visions of the past. As she forges a new bond with Cade Lavelle—Hope’s older brother and the heir to the family fortune—she isn’t sure whether the tragic loss they share will unite them or drive them apart. But she is willing to open her heart, just a little, and try.

Living so close to those unhappy memories will be more difficult and frightening than Tory could ever have expected, however. Because Hope’s murderer is nearby as well…
Lynda with Nora RobertsOnce again, I’m picking one out of a huge collection seemingly at random when really it’s a placeholder for all of Nora’s books. It is one of my favorite Nora books, and has one of my favorite opening lines: “She woke in the body of a dead friend.” In fact, I’m listening to the audiobook right now.

When I say Nora has changed my life, I’m not kidding. When I first got online, she was one of the first authors whose message board I visited. On the AOL boards, if that tells you anything. I became online friends with a bunch of women who were all Nora’s “Board Broads.” Over time the AOL board went on to become the Adwoff board, and a few years later I became a moderator there. A large portion of my life has been spent spending time with the women (and men) I got to know on Adwoff, and I’m still friends with a lot of them today both online and in real life.

all through the nightAll Through the Night, Suzanne Brockmann

It’s Christmastime in Boston, and this year the silver bells will be wedding bells as FBI agent Jules Cassidy ties the knot with the man of his dreams, Hollywood heartthrob Robin Chadwick.

The pair plan a quiet, intimate ceremony, to be witnessed by family and close friends from the FBI, SEAL Team Sixteen, and Troubleshooters, Incorporated, including Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. But the holiday season brings more to the happy couple than they expect.

A waterfall coming through their kitchen ceiling, a bat colony in the attic, old family tensions . . . even an international incident can’t dampen their spirits. But add to that a parade of unexpected guests, including a reporter looking for a scoop, an ex-lover hell-bent on causing trouble, and a dangerous stalker, and suddenly the wedding is poised to unravel in chaos.

But nothing will stop Jules and Robin from getting their happy ending, because along with a guest list featuring the most elite counterterrorism force in the world, they have their own secret weapon–true love.

Lynda with Suzanne BrockmannI had been a big fan of Suz Brockmann’s since way back when she was writing her SEALs for Silhouette, so when she started writing the Troubleshooter books (back before they were called Troubleshooters) it was a no-brainer for me to read them. I had some issues with the early books, but nothing that kept me from auto-buying the next book and the next and…well, you get the picture. All through the series she had multiple romances in each book, and I kept waiting for Jules to get his Happy Ever After, but she just kept letting him get his heart stomped on. Then Robin appeared, and maybe? Nope. More heart stomping. And then the YouTube video. CRUSHED! But then, wait…maaaaaybe???? YES! The Kiss Seen ‘Round the World! And finally…FINALLY she wrote a romance just for Jules and Robin. They had already had their HEA, but this was still a great book about how they were making it work, rough spots and all.

It was the first time I’d ever deliberately picked up a M/M book and I loved it. It’s still one of my favorite Suz Brockmann books and I listen to it on audio fairly frequently. In fact, when I went to RT this past year and heard she was going to be there I was crushed because I couldn’t get at my hardcover copy to get it signed! Thankfully she had brought paperback copies for people to buy at the Book Fair and I grabbed one so fast my hand was a blur. Jules and his book opened up an entirely new genre for me, and now I’m hooked.

wolf signsWolf Signs, Vivian Arend

Talk about getting your signals crossed …

Granite Lake Wolves, Book 1

Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week–and his bed–is suddenly full. 

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind…

I’m going to cheat a bit here. A few weeks ago at WickedLilPixie I hosted a giveaway for the entire Granite Wolves series, and I posted there about why these books are so important to me. So I’m going to send you OVER THERE (http://wickedlilpixie.com/2015/02/05/a-vivian-arend-giveaway/) to read the whole story, but here’s the abridged version:

After my mom died I was in a pretty deep depression and reading and being able to talk to people on Twitter day or night was helping me get through. Vivian Arend had been (and still is) one of those people I was talking to regularly, and she heard I didn’t read shifters. Viv has an interesting personality quirk. You tell her you don’t like something and she’ll find a way to get you to try it her way and like it. Which was totally the case here. She kept teasing and taunting me with quotes from an upcoming shifter book, so I caved and tried Wolf Signs. I haven’t looked back since. I now no longer skim past conversations about shifter books, and I have a select few authors whose shifter books are autobuys (Viv’s are at the top of that list) and I’m enjoying a whole new book world which has opened up for me.

There are more authors and books which are near and dear to my heart, but I was given the task of naming 5 and while I did, for the most part, there are so many more I wish I could share with you. Maybe one day I’ll come back and do a “Five more books” post.

Thanks to the ladies of Book Binge for asking me to be a part of this. It was fun and challenging and I apologize for the pictures. They go back a few years.

Now I’m off to try and reread all five of these books simultaneously, because do you seriously think I can pick which one to reread first?

Lynda (@FishWithSticks)Lynda the Guppy

Lynda can be found reading and/or knitting in the Los Angeles area and obsessively checking her Twitter feed (@fishwithsticks) and taking photos of her cat.

She’s a proofreader by day, but is often frantically writing her reviews for WickedLilPixie.com in the wee hours of the morning because she’s late. Again.

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Guest Review: Perfect Timing by Catherine Anderson

Posted March 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lynda’s review of Perfect Timing (Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan #11) by Catherine Anderson

Catherine Anderson is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. All her heroines are strong and resilient, but they usually need saving in some way (blind, paraplegic, abused and on the run, etc.) I’m one of those readers who likes that sort of thing, so it totally works for me. Are they OMG THE BEST THING I’VE READ ALL YEAR? No. Am I going to keep an eye out for more of her stuff because they’re enjoyable reads? Yes.

Perfect Timing surprised me. It’s a time-travel book. I KNOW! Can you believe that?! Don’t worry. No real spoilers. In fact, we find out about this in the first 15 pages or so. I have to admit I almost put the book down in the first chapter. I’m not a fan of Time Travel story lines. Usually they spend too much time “teaching” the traveler the ways of the time period, and it becomes more about the silliness of learning a new culture and less about the relationship between the characters. That and I’m too literal minded. I have too many questions about the consequences of time travel to really believe. And if I’m not totally invested in a book and completely believe THIS CAN HAPPEN, then I get bored or too distracted and I won’t enjoy the book. Interestingly, I had fewer reservations about Ceara’s “skills” than with the time travel.

Luckily, Quincy believes her story pretty quickly, so we get past the whole “Yeah, sure you’re from another time. Uh-huh” debate early on. Now he believes her, so now he trusts her. We have the beginning of a relationship. Next, she adapts fairly quickly. There are a few moments of silliness (the madrigals trapped in the car for example), but on the whole, she jumps into this century pretty eagerly. There is enough family that they can take her in hand and get her up to speed, so to speak, without too much trouble.

Our feisty, time-traveling heroine Ceara has come forward from 1574 in order to break a curse. This is the part that really rang false for me. This sudden and inexplicable “curse” that kills the first wives of all the family’s men. Really? You would think at some point between 1574 and 2013 SOMEONE would have noticed this trend. It seemed to me Ms. Anderson was looking for a reason to do a time travel book, and came up with this because she could force it to fit the story. I understand the urgency in why Ceara and Quincy get married, and why Quincy needs to hurry up, but the family also needed to cut him a little slack. They were sacrificing one girl’s future as well as Quincy’s in order to save Loni. I thought there should have been more fallout from that whole situation, instead of just a quick apology significantly later in the book.

I was happy to see the religious aspect of things toned down a little. It’s still there, but not quite as heavy handed as it was in Morning Light and a few other more recent books by Ms. Anderson. There were a few mentions, but it felt more natural to the story and less like the author proselytizing.

On the whole, this book was less about the time travel aspect than it was about Ceara and Quincy finding their way together through their marriage, and the various land mines they have to navigate. Everything from getting Ceara an identity and the legalities of their marriage, to her homesickness and her loss of certain skills she needs to learn to live without. It made the book far more interesting and romantic than if the focus had been on time travel. At the end of the day I liked Ceara and Quincy quite a bit, and I’m glad I didn’t put it down.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You can read more from Lynda at Fish With Sticks and Wicked Lil Pixie

This book is available from Signet. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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