23 Apr 2014

Review: Roman Holiday by Ruthie Knox

Title: Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure
Author: Ruthie Knox
Date of publication: 25 March 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Kobo

My rating: 4 stars


Synopsis

Ashley Bowman has always been impetuous, but even she is a little shocked when she chains herself to a palm tree in the Florida Keys hours before a hurricane is due to blow in. It’s all with the hope of saving her childhood home from a heartless Miami developer. But the moment she meets Roman Díaz she realizes he does have a heart—it’s just encased in ice. Ashley’s determined to get Roman to crack . . . even if she has to drag him all over the eastern seaboard to do it.

Roman can hardly believe he’s been talked into driving across the country with this brazen wild child in a skimpy bikini. He tells himself he had no choice—Ashley insists he meets the elderly snowbirds whose community will be displaced by his career-making development deal. But in truth he knows that there’s something about Ashley that makes him want to get a little wild himself . . . and the closer they get, the more tempted he becomes.

Review

I'm a big fan of Ms Knox contemporary romances and this one didn't disappoint. Her Camelot series is one the my favourite reads of the past year.

This is a standalone book which was initially released as a serial with 10 parts. This review covers the complete story. Ms Knox tells an amazing roller-coaster romance between two very interesting and unusual characters. One the main strengths of Ms Knox's writing is her character depiction - she creates these complex, unique people who feel very real and easy to relate to.

It's enemies-to-lovers story between Ashley, who grieving the loss of her grandmother and the hotel which she had sold to Roman, the hero, who is this mysterious Cuban entrepreneur. They are complete opposites, at least so it seems, but as the story unfolds and they open up more and more with each other, we see that they are rather similar - both are lost, both strive to gain other people's love and appreciation. They just reacted to the pain in their lives in completely opposite ways - she had thrown herself into anything, desperately trying fit in and to please everyone, to be what they needed her to be. He, on the other hand, had chosen to lock himself tight and not to care about anybody but himself.

Ms Knox told their journey to one another with compassion and understanding. The gradual change of the characters was cnvincingly presented. Their relationship grew slowly despite Ashley's reluctance to give in to her desire for Roman, and even more, Roman's strong, almost painful resistance to allow himself to feel anything for her.

The road-trip as a journey of self-discovery and true love is an often used trope and I can say it worked well here. Being on the road, dealing with more than one stressful situation and unexpected obstacle, meeting friends and strangers, it all help Roman and Ashley re-evaluate their lives. 

There is a secondary romantic plot - between Noah, Roman's best friend and Carmen, Roman's ex-girlfriend. It was not very well developed and though it was nice and I was not really engaged in it and I found it distracting me from the main story. 

There is a cameo appearance of characters from the Camelot series, Nana with her grand-daughter Carly, her husband Jamie and baby Dora from Along Came Trouble joined Ashley and Roman on their road trip and I really enjoyed their short but sweet visit. 

My main complaint is that the book was too long, some details were unnecessary, at times the inner monologues of the main characters, Ashley in particular became repetitive and boring. The last 15 % despite the action of them and the resolutions of some of the conflicts in the story, seemed to focus too much on the same inner musings of Ashley and Roman. Their hopes and dreams, their fear and insecurities were presented in detail over and over again. In a way this reflects who pre-occupied they were wit this issues, but still it was overdone at times, and I found it annoying. 

The story has the expeted happy-end and a lovely epilogue. If you have read more of my reviews, you've probably noticed how much I love a good epilogue and this one made me a very, very happy reader.

This is definitely a recommended read for fans of Ms Knox' writing and to all the fans of contemporary romance who love a good story with interesting characters told with a touch of humour and. Did I mentioned  that it also was hot? :)

22 Apr 2014

Teaser Tuesday 56


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:
• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

My teaser this week comes from Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) by Tammara Webber. It's a companion novel to Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) and it releases on May 6. I was lucky to get an ARC and just finished it. It's an emotional NA story which complements book 1 in the best possible way. 

But I wasn't fine. I was anything but fine. That night had shattered me. I'd walled myself in to keep from breaking further, but no defense will protect you from every possible pain. I was just as breakable as everyone else - the girl in my arms included. But I could hope. I could love. And maybe, I could heal. 

Synopsis

He was lost and alone. Then he found her.
And the future seemed more fragile than ever.

As a child, Landon Lucas Maxfield believed his life was perfect and looked forward to a future filled with promise — until tragedy tore his family apart and made him doubt everything he ever believed.

All he wanted was to leave the past behind. When he met Jacqueline Wallace, his desire to be everything she needed came so easy…

As easy as it could be for a man who learned that the soul is breakable and that everything you hoped for could be ripped away in a heartbeat.


20 Apr 2014

Book Blitz for Love, in English by Karina Halle


Title: Love, In English
Author: Karina Halle
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 20, 2014

Add to: Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes / Kobo / Smashwords

   




Synopsis

He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English. 

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada. 

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos. 

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. 

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything. 

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth. 

*** 

To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more. 

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time. 

Something that can never, ever be. 

Or so she thinks.

   

Excerpt

Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”

“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”

“What?”

“You are sleeping with Mateo, no?”

“WHAT?!”

“No?”

“No!” I exclaimed, appalled. “Why does everyone keep thinking that?”

“Because you are always together,” she said simply. She took a sip of wine. “The attraction is very obvious. So, I figured you must be sleeping together.”

“He’s married!”

“Yes, but you are not.”

I shook my head adamantly. “It’s wrong. I don’t want to be the other woman. I’ve seen my dad go for the other woman, and I can’t put Mateo’s daughter through that,” I said. “Or his wife,” I quickly added.

“That doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings for anyone else.”

“Yes, it does mean that.”

“Maybe you are meant to be together.”

“We’re not! There isn’t even a together. We’re just friends. I haven’t done anything about it, and so far my feelings are totally one-sided.”

Claudia got up off the couch and brought a pack of cigarettes out of her front jean pocket. “If you think it is on the one side, you have not seen the way he looks at you.”

She walked over to her small patio table and pulled out a chair. I got up and stormed after her, my nerves dancing excitedly.

“What do you mean, the way he looks at me?” I asked, lowering my voice in case there were people around listening. I felt like bouncing off the walls.

She slid the ashtray toward her as I sat down. “You do not see it. But I do. I think everyone does. He looks at you like…like you’re his favorite food.”

“Favorite food?”

She lit her cigarette. “Yes. You’re like his favorite food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about you all the time, craves you. But he cannot have you for one reason or another. Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste, but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

I sat there, stunned, as some of her smoke blew in my face. That’s how Mateo looked at me? Like he wanted to eat me? I was pretty sure that’s how I looked at him. Just last night I was contemplating nibbling on his earlobes.

“And yes,” she said, leaning closer to me, a small smile on her lips, “that is also how you look at him.” Great, a mind reader. “But you are more subtle about it. You try not to let everyone know. But, we know.”

“There is nothing to know,” I reminded her, poking the table with my finger for emphasis. “We are not sleeping together. He is married. I have a crush. That is it. The end of the story.”

“A crush?” she questioned. “Vera, I think you’re in love with him.”

No fucking way. Not love. That did not happen with me, not ever and not now.

“You can’t fall in love in a week,” I told her heatedly.

“You can fall in love in a second,” she said with a snap of her fingers. “The heart has no regard for time.”

With that sobering thought, Claudia told me about her ex-boyfriend and how they fell in love at first sight then took the conversation back to Ricardo and their exploits. I envied her so badly right then and there. She could fawn over Ricardo, kiss him, fuck him, and no one would ever bat an eye. It was okay for them to be together. It wasn’t forbidden.

I gulped the rest of the wine and left her apartment, heading back to reception to meet Cristina for my next one-on-one, my mind and heart and hormones all over the place. Lo and behold, Mateo was walking up the path toward me.

He was on the phone, smiling.

His shirt was off and slung over his shoulder, exposing his bare chest, abs, and arms.

Holy fuck.

For a moment, I was sure that time had stopped. Or maybe ever single nerve, cell, vein, bone, muscle in my body just slowed as I took him all in.

From his thick-veined forearms to his sculpted shoulders and broad chest peppered with neatly-trimmed chest hair, to his six-pack abs, he had, by far, the best body I’d ever seen on a man. He kept himself in fine-ass shape, looking more like a young athlete than anything else. He and David Beckham had more in common than I thought, although David’s skin tone wasn’t as mesmerizing. Mateo’s color was amazing, just beautiful, this dark, golden bronze that covered him everywhere. I wanted so badly to just touch him, to lick the sheen of sweat off his skin. I bet he tasted like victory.

And to think this was the man that Claudia said wanted to taste me.

I really, really wanted to believe her.

Meanwhile, I was just standing there like I was melting into a puddle of myself. I clamped my mouth shut as he walked past and I heard him say into the phone, “No, mi tesorito, it was easy, I didn’t injure myself.” He was beaming, talking about the game, to his wife. To his tesorito. And he called their relationship complicated? This was complicated.

He winked at me in acknowledgement, his smile becoming broader. I tried to smile back but it wouldn’t come. I just stared at him, feeling stupid, foolish, and strangely rejected. In a perfect world I may have been his favorite food, but it still wasn’t what he got served every day. I turned around and walked down the hill, my heart feeling like a pincushion.

“Vera!” I heard him call out from behind. I stopped and nervously glanced over my shoulder. He was holding the phone’s receiver to his chest, grinning at me. “I need to ask you your question.”

“What?” I asked, hoping it was quick.

“Who is your favorite Spaniard here?”

Seriously?

And yet I couldn’t lie to him.

“You,” I said, more to myself than to him. Then I turned around and walked away as quickly as I could.



   
About the Author

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With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.


Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup.




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I've read some of Karina Halle's other books and I can say I'm a big fan of her writing. I'm excited to read and review this new standalone title and in the meantime you can check my reviews of the Artist Trilogy and the Devils by Ms Halle.




16 Apr 2014

Review: Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner

Title: Tall, Tatted and Tempting (The Reed Brothers #1)
Author: Tammy Falkner
Date of publication: 17 June 2013
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Disabilities
Author's links: Website / Facebook / Goodreads
Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / Smashwords
Free at the time of publication, except at B&N

My rating: 3 Stars


Synopsis

She’s locked up tight. But he might be the key.

Logan Reed is tall, tatted and tempting.
Kit’s a woman with a mean right hook and a secret.

Kit wants a tattoo, but Logan sees more than she intends to share in the drawing of the tat she wants. He sees her in ways no one ever has.

Logan’s not disabled; but he hasn’t spoken in eight years. He hasn’t needed to.
Until he meets Kit.

Logan doesn’t know everything about Kit. Kit doesn’t know anything about herself, until she has to sacrifice all she ever wanted to save what’s most important to him.

Review

This book features a hero which disability (he can't hear and hasn't spoken for 8 years), and I'm always curious about such stories. Furthermore, the book was free on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try.  

I expected more focus on hero's disability and how he copes with life and love despite it, but what I got is a nice, albeit fairly typical NA romantic story.

I enjoyed the writing and all the characters were quite likable as well. Still, I felt the story lacked depth. Early on we learn that the heroine, Kit (Emily) also has learning issues - she is dyslexic and it's a big impediment for her. It seems a bit unrealistic to me how her parents being, so rich and successful, just thought she was stupid and didn't really help her deal better with her learning disability.

The hero, Logan, was just swoony - a tortured and sexy tattoo artist. He is deaf but he is not speaking by his own choice. Soon after he meets Kit, though, he opens up to her and starts talking but only to her. Part of the reason was how difficult it was for her to read his notes, yet he kept his silence around everybody else, including his four brothers and it didn't feel right to me. They all had learned sign language for him, yet he didn't make the slightest effort to talk with them.

The story follows the romance between Logan and Kit while the disabilities of the characters were played down. This said, I really enjoyed the interaction between them, how they communicated with one another. Logan's brothers were great supporting characters. Their own stories and their active role in Logan and Kit's lives added richness to the story. 

Matt's illness and the decision of Kit to help him was admirable and an act only a strong, compassion person could do. It set in motion the events leading to the resolution of the main conflict in the story.

The ending was a bit rushed and the conflict between Kit and her parents was far too easily resolved. The book has a happy end, though the story of Logan and Kit continues in the next book of the series, Smart, Sexy and Secretive.

Overall, it's a nice, NA romance - with some angst, some sexy times and a generally feel-good vibe.

15 Apr 2014

Teaser Tuesday 55


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Here are the rules:


• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) or a few more “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page


I'm currently reading the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh, trying to catch up with the action before the release of book 12, Shield of Winter on June 3. This paranormal romance series is quickly becoming one of my favourites. I am on book 5, Hostage to Pleasure, now and here is my teaser from it:

...With him, she spoke only the truth. But, as she had learned in the twenty-six years of her life, truth was a tool. It should never simply be said. No, it had to be bent, twisted, colored, until it became a weapon.

Synopsis

Separated from her son and forced to create a neural implant that will mean the effective enslavement of her psychically gifted race, Ashaya Aleine is the perfect Psy--cool, calm, emotionless...at least on the surface. Inside, she's fighting a desperate battle to save her son and escape the vicious cold of the PsyNet. Yet when escape comes, it leads not to safety, but to the lethal danger of a sniper's embrace.

DarkRiver sniper Dorian Christensen lost his sister to a Psy killer. Though he lacks the changeling ability to shift into animal form, his leopard lives within. And that leopard's rage at the brutal loss is a clawing darkness that hungers for vengeance. Falling for a Psy has never been on Dorian's agenda. But charged with protecting Ashaya and her son, he discovers that passion has a way of changing the rules...





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