1 Sep 2014

Review: Wife Number Seven by Melisa Brown

Title: Wife Number Seven
Author: Melissa Brown
Date of publication: 19 July 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Religious community

Author links:
Website / FacebookGoodreads

My rating: 3 stars



Blurb

Lipstick. Bright, red lipstick. Nothing but lipstick.
Even though it’s against our faith to wear a color that screams of sexual promiscuity and deviant behavior, I’m not allowed to protest.
But, I want to.
So badly.

You see, there’s more to me than the braid that spills down my back.
More to me than the layers of heavy fabric that maintain my modesty.
And so much more than the oppressive wedding band that adorns my finger--the same band that each of my sister wives wear.
So much more.
To protest would be sinful.
I must keep sweet, that is my duty.

So I’ll wear the lipstick. I’ll do as I’m told.
And I’ll do my best to silence the resistance within me, to push him from my mind.
If only my heart would do the same.

Review

This is not your typical NA and even contemporary romance story. It's a story that gives us a peak  into the life behind the closed door of a religious community supporting polygamy.

I openly admit that it was this rather unusual set up and the mysterious blurb that drew me into this book. Having never had direct contact with a religious community like the one described in the book I was curious how it would be presented in a romantic work of fiction. It was an entertaining read that kept my interest and the romance was nice but I had some issues with the story which made it a 3-star read for me.

I particularly liked the complexity of the relationship within this particular religious community which the author shows us - between the sister wives in one household, the role of the Prophet in the life of the community, the interaction among all the people in their secluded world. I can't tell how authentic the presentation was but it was engaging and kept my attention though out the story.

Brin and Porter were interesting characters though I had some issues with both of them. I felt their romance was  very insta - they knew each other as children (but were not friends), then he was cast away from their community and she was married at 19 as the seventh wife of a much older man. Their chance encounter in the city brought them together. It didn't feel very true to me. Especially, considering he was battling with drug addiction and had difficult time adjusting to the life outside. The way the drug issue was handled was my biggest disappointment with this book. His meth use was treated poorly and presented as something minor, easy to overcome, while in reality it's a very serious problem.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the heroine but I sympathize with her situation. Her struggles and fears and hopes sounded very real. She was naive and immature about some things due to her secluded lifestyle, yet she was quite savvy about others. Her hesitance to leave the only life she knew was very convincing and her difficult and dangerous road to freedom was compellingly presented.

While I feel for Brin and her terrible situation at home, the lie she chose to avoid intimacy with her husband was unacceptable for me personally. I understand that extreme situations call for extreme measures, but still I think she could have taken another approach (she could have just waited to be with Porter after she actually left her husband and he community).

Overall, it was a nice NA romance with an unusual premise which I enjoyed. The story was well developed, with attention to detail and with a great set of supporting characters. The rest of the sister wives, the Prophet's mother, Brin's friend at the free clinic, they all added depth and substance to the plot and made it a story about the choices we make in life and in love. 

Despite some issues I had with it I can recommend it to anyone who is looking for a NA romance outside the box. 

Purchase link; Amazon / B&N

31 Aug 2014

Recommended Reads: August 2014



So, I've decided to try starting a monthly meme sharing the best books I've read in the past month. It's called Recommended Reads and it will replace the Monthly Blog Recap I've been doing so far. 

I'm inviting all my blogger friends and readers to join in by writing a short blog post, or just on FB/Twitter or any other social media, at the end of each month highlighting the books that they read and recommend in the past month. You can leave a link to your post in the Linky sign-up form. You can also choose to write a post of recommendations based on different criteria - genre, topic, type of hero, type of reader, etc. Feel free to base your recommended reads on any principle you like. 

It was a short notice for this month, but the linky sign-up will be open till the last week of September, so you can join at any time during this period. 

Recommended Reads - August

August was a month of great reads for me, so I can recommend two books and list a few more as honourable mentions. 

Recommendations:

Genre: Romantic suspense, bikers
Read my review - 5 stars
Buy on Amazon

I've read a couple of Cara McKenna's books and I really enjoy her style and the sexy story she tells. Lay It Down was no exception. It's an intense romantic suspense (not as MC romance, though the characters ride bikes and stick together as a group). The mystery kept me on the edge till the end the romance was both deep and passionate. Both the hero and heroine are complex, real characters that you can't help but get involved in their fate. 



Genre: Contemporary romance
Read my review - 5 stars
Buy on Amazon

Beauty and the Mustache is book 4 in the Knitting in the City series by Penny Reid. This one is not as funny and carefree as the previous ones but it is just as good. The unique characters of the hero (rough-looking poet and game warden) and the heroine (a nurse, a knitter and a sister to 6 brothers) fall into an all-encompassing, life-changing, epic-kind of love under the worst possible circumstances. It's a wonderful story full of poetry and philosophical musings, balanced out by geeky humour and some crazy antics of the Knitting club ladies and the 6 bearded Winston brothers. 

Honourable mentions:

Small town romance
My review - 4 stars
Buy on Amazon
 Small Town Romance
My Review - 4 Stars
Buy on Amazon
 Contemporary Romance
My Review - 4 Stars
Buy on Amazon
 Romantic Suspense
Review is forthcoming
Buy on Amazon


Leave a link to your post in the sign-up below. I will be happy see what were your favourite books this August.

29 Aug 2014

Review: Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

Title: Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling # 6)
Author: Nalini Singh
Date of publication: 7 July 2009
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters
Author's links:
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

My rating: 4.5 Stars





Synopsis

Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire

Mini Review

Note: I've already finished the series and I've posted my review of the latest book, Shield of Winter, on the blog. I've decided to post spoiler-free mini-reviews of all the books over time.

I loved the romance between Riley and Mercy. The two changeling were not afraid of their emotions and they acted in their desires right from the start, unlike the Psy in previous books who need time to embrace their sensuality. Still, Mercy and Riley had their own problems to deal with - on the one hand both of them were dominants and on the other, they were members of different packs - wolves and leopards, so this made mating a challenge on many levels and ultimately their actions affected not just them and their families but also both changeling packs as a whole.

I liked the intensity of their relationship, it was perfect reflection of their changeling nature and the need for touch. The story opens with some very hot love making which both of them try to play off as a casual thing, a physical contact to satisfy  their needs.

We see how different members of both pacts react to the new couple and I have to say that Mercy's family were just wonderful and Riley's brother and sister, together with Hawke were just as fun to read.

I didn't particularly like the suspense plot line. We see a new player coming to the scene, the Human alliance, yet the whole issue with the kidnappings and assassination attempts took a back seat to the turbulent relationship between Riley and Mercy. He is he typical dominant changeling - powerful, possessive, protective. The thing is that Mercy was just the same - the road to their mating it was true clash of wills. 

It was another intense installment of this series. Mercy and Riley are of my favourite couples, though I was not particularly invested in the criminal aspect of the story and loved the romance with it complexity and passion.

Purchase links: iBooks, AmazonKobo, B&N 

28 Aug 2014

Release Day Launch and Review of Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid

RDL Banner 

Blitz and Tour: Beauty and the Mustache by Penny ReidTitle: Beauty and the Mustache
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: August 28, 2014

Purchase from: AmazonNookKoboiBooks
Add to Goodreads




Synopsis

There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.

Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.

This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the 'Knitting in the City' series.

   
About Penny Reid


Author-Photo-Penny-Reid-300x300
SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.


Review

This is book 4 in the Knitting in the City series and while the previous books are more of contemporary romantic comedies, this is definitely not a comedy though it has its funny moments. It much more serious, sadder and more melancholic than the previous ones. This is not a bad thing, on the contrary, I enjoyed reading every word of it, even in the moments when it made me cry.

The heroine here is Ashley and she meets the love of her life in the worst possible moment for her. She is a reader, a knitter and has six brothers and I liked her from the start. The story, as in the other books in the series, is told mostly from her POV (except the Epilogue, where we hear Drew's voice). She was real and easy to relate. There was some vulnerability and delicateness about her which I really liked and they didn't come just from the fact that she was facing a very painful moment in her life. At the same time, she showed strength and resilience which just made me like her even more and ultimately all these qualities mixed together made it impossible for Dr. Drew Runous to resist falling for her. 

Now, Drew was unlike any romance hero I've read - he was both apha male, possessive and protective and the same time he was a poet and a philosopher (and a game warden). He was just amazing. I might even love him more than Alex (Love Hacked) who is my favourite male characters in this series.  At the least, he shares the first place of my affections with him. There is something irresistible about a big, rough-looking guy who writes poems, plays music and loves you with all his heart. He was a man of few words but when he spoke, everybody listened. 

The romance between Ashley and Drew was slow, interlaced with Ashley's suffering and pain and Drew's desire to offer comfort and consolation. In the end, it was an epic kind of love that brought them together despite the circumstances. 

I wish there were more funny moments, but the plot doesn't really allow it. The knitting club ladies and their husbands were great, amusing and supportive as we have come to expect of them. 

One of the best things in the story were Ashley's brothers. Ms Reid has created six unique character, so different and unusual, yet perfectly fitting in the story. I can't pick a favourite of them and I'm excited that each one will be getting his story told in upcoming books (the first one is expected to be released next summer).

Overall, despite having a different feel than the other books in the series, this story is definitely one of my favourite. It's a deeply emotional tale  of love and loss, of family and friendship and it's told in a witty and engaging manner. A recommended read to anyone (it can be read as a standalone, though reading the previous books will only make your enjoyment of this one even better).

I will leave you with three teaser pictures made by Penny herself. Enjoy!





26 Aug 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #15: Echoes of Scotland Yard by Samantha Young


Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it features books that we are eagerly awaiting to be released.

Title: Echoes of Scotland Street (On Dublin Street #5)
Author: Samantha Young
Genre: Romance
Add on Goodreads

Release Date: 7 Oct 2014
Pre-order: Amazon





Synopsis

Shannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wakeup call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good

Why am I waiting for this? I really enjoy this contemporary romance series and I've read all the books but one. I had some issues with the last one, Fall From India Place, but Cole (the hero in this one) made a nice impression on me and I'm curious about his story. I like Ms Young's writing style and hope this book will ne another winner for me.
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