Friday, May 21, 2010

Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Rating: 5 ♥ ♥ ♥

Review: Gracie Snow is supposed to escort ex-football star Bobby Tom Denton to the set of the movie that he is very very late to film. Bobby Tom is bound and determined to drag his feet and take his time getting there, but he didn't count on a tenacious wallflower like Gracie. She will do whatever she needs to do to get his gorgeous butt there and save her job. And she will fall in love with her charge along the way....

There are so many things about this book I loved, I just don't know where to start. It's a little odd I loved it so much. What kind of name is Bobby Tom? What is WITH his fashion sense?? Yuck! Why does Gracie need to be plain to start?? And yet, I loved Bobby Tom so much I graciously overlooked his atrocious name and flashy apparel because how could you NOT love him? He's just so outrageous in the most adorable way. And Gracie! Poor dear! You really feel for her. She feels so boring and plain, but with the help of a makeover she starts to feel pretty for the first time ever! This book just had so much heart and emotion and it was just plain old fashioned FUN!! And I just adored the secondary romance between his mom and the town "bad guy". It was almost sweeter than the romance between Bobby Tom and Gracie. But not quite. I could just go on and on, but I'll stop now. Clearly I am keeping this one around!

Stranger in my Arms by Lisa Kleypas

Rating: 5 ♥

Back cover:

"Lady Hawksworth, your husband is not dead."

With those words, Lara's life turned upside down. Hunter, Earl of Hawksworth, had been lost at sea. Or so she'd been told. Their unhappy marriage—with its cold caresses and passionless kisses—was over. But now a powerful, virile man stood before her, telling secrets only a husband could know, and vowing she would once again be his wife in every way. While Lara couldn't deny that this man with smoldering dark eyes resembled Hunter, he was attentive and loving in ways he never was before. Soon she desperately wanted to believe, with every beat of her heart, that this stranger was truly her husband. But had this rake reformed—or was Lara being seduced by a cunning stranger?

Review: I LOOOVED this book. It was not quite like anything I have read before. I thought it was wonderful and romantic and I enjoyed seeing Lara grow her backbone back and learn to love her husband. But not her husband. How confusing. hahaha! I thought Hunter (but not Hunter) was really sweet and endearing. This is one of those books where as you're reading you think 'how sweet', but in the back of your mind you know that in real life it would actually be a little creepy that this guy who is clearly NOT her dead husband comes to take his place. Still, it's not hard to love this story. I do sort of wish we got to know more about the new Hunter, but the author just decided that we should only know him by his new identity. We learn just enough about who he was, but clearly we are meant to look forward and not behind. I do so love a Kleypas novel!

Wind Rider by Connie Mason

Rating: 4 ♥

Review: Hannah, an indentured servant from Ireland, escapes her abusive master running into the wilderness, and gets herself captured by Wind Rider, a white man raised by the Cheyenne. When she saves his life after he is injured, he decides to take her back to his camp. But this is a turbulent time for the indian nation, and the "white eyes" are looking to extinguish them all. Hannah falls in love with Wind Rider (aka Ryder, his birth name) and agrees to marry him, while also trying to convince him that he needs to return to the white world and try to help his Cheyenne people from that side.

I enjoyed this romp. It was a fun 90's style romance, which is really my favorite era for both books and music. It moved along at a good clip and kept my attention.

The Legend by Kathleen Givens

Rating: 4

From the author's site:

It's a time of portents, when a tree split by the fiery crack of lightning foretells the history of a land. And two lovers have been chosen by destiny to make the legend come true. She is Ellen Graham, a highborn lass who swears never to marry except for passion. He is James MacCurrie, the mysterious Highlander with dark blue eyes who rescues her from the point of a sword. But the very fate that has brought them together also contrives to keep them apart. For this is also an age of brother fighting brother, when a warrior's cold will can still the warmth of his own loving heart....

Review: I enjoyed this story and look forward to The Destiny. I expected a little more, but I found it pleasant, if not entirely exciting. The characters were enjoyable and endearing. I felt like the tree prophesy plot line needed to be fleshed out a bit more, but I would reccomend this book to anyone who enjoys a good Scottish romance!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It Had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Rating: 5 ♥

The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville -- the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Celebow is everything Phoebe abhors.

Review: I thought I didn't like SEP, having tried one of her oldies once up a time and hating it and never finishing it, so I read this book kicking and screaming. I stopped screaming soon into starting it. Wow!!!!! Lets just say that I wasn't half way through before I made a mad dash for my local UBS and bought out everything they had of hers. Talk about a turn around! I nearly got whiplash! Utterly fabulous. I found it funny, sexy (wowser), and it had a lot of heart. I have never read anything quite like it before. Phoebe was a wonderful heroine -- one of my favorite types. The type who has a public face that is so unlike who she really is, and the hero catches a glimpse of the real woman and stops at nothing to 'unmask' her and find out what makes her tick. I LOVED Dan. He's a wonderful hero and also one of my favs -- uncivilized. I do love me an uncivilized and rough around the edges hero. Yum.

The Prize by Brenda Joyce

Rating: 3

An infamous sea captain of the British Royal Navy, Devlin O'Neill is consumed with the need to destroy the man who brutally murdered his father. Having nearly ruined the Earl of Eastleigh financially, he is waiting to strike the final blow. And his opportunity comes in the form of a spirited young American woman, the earl's niece, who is about to set his cold, calculating world on fire.…

Born and raised on a tobacco plantation, orphan Virginia Hughes is determined to rebuild her beloved Sweet Briar. Daringly, she sails to England alone, hoping to convince her uncle to lend her the funds. Instead, she finds herself ruthlessly kidnapped by the notorious Devlin O'Neill, and will soon find her best-laid plans thwarted by a passion that could seal their fates forever.…

Review: I read the back cover and thought it might be like her book "The Game" which was just fabulous, but alas, it was sooooo not. I found it crushingly disappointing. It's one saving grace was the fact that the heroine liked sex. With a Joyce book you just never know if you're getting a heroine who thinks it's icky or not. *snicker* Seriously, I wound up skimming half of the book, never really caring about the characters or what happened to them. The hero was just too bitter and mean. Oh well. The cover is pretty.

Beast by Judith Ivory

Rating: 4

Synopsis: An exquisite American heiress, Louise Vandermeer is beautiful, brilliant. . . and bored-which is why she has agreed to a daring adventure: to travel across the ocean to marry an aristocrat abroad. Rumor has it her intended is a hideous cad-a grim prospect that propels her into a passionate, reckless affair with a compelling stranger she never sees in the light of day.

Though scarred by a childhood illness, Charles d'Harcourt has successfully wooed Europe's most sophisticated beauties. For a lark, he contrived to travel incognito on his own fiancee's ship-and seduce the young chit in utter darkness. But the rake's prank backfired. It was he who was smitten-while the hot-tempered Lulu, now his wife, loves only her shipboard lover, unaware it was d'Harcourt all the time! And Charles will never have her heart-unless he can open her eyes to the prince who hides within.

Review: This is one of those books that i have mixed feelings about. Love the writing, love the love scenes, love the hero, love the setting and beauty and the beast theme. It was very much like Woodiwiss's A Rose in Winter, which I just adored. The only thing that kept this book from being a 5 and favorite was that silly twit of a heroine. She's 18, and it shows. I felt her immaturity in every scene, and it just really detracted from the story for me. But I must say that I was really pleasantly surprised with this author. I have never read Judith Ivory before, and this will certainly not be my last, because she really is a fabulous writer! She is both easy to read and intelligent, which is harder to achieve than you might think. Over all I would definitely recommend this book -- the heroine wasn't bad enough for me to dislike it.