maandag 5 oktober 2015

Guestreview: Annie West - Seducing his enemy's daughter

Guestreview by Freya
A stand alone, published September 15, 2015.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: fits the genre

 photo 51ST3nCgFWL.SX316_zpsuclr8lop.jpg

Just A Pawn In Salazar's Game?
Donato Salazar can't forget his tragic past and he has no intention of forgiving the man responsible. Jilting his enemy's daughter will be the icing on the cake of his revenge, and beautiful Ella Sanderson is certainly sweet enough.
Except Ella isn't the vacuous socialite he expected, and she refuses to marry him! Her rebelliousness only makes Donato want her more, so he'll have to persuade her... touch by breathtaking touch. But soon Donato finds himself enthralled by their magnetic connection...
As their fake wedding day approaches one question weighs heavily on Donato's mind: will he love, honour... and betray?

I’ve been talking about my love of Annie West books several times on this blog. I like the way she gave me back the pleasure of reading short stories from Harlequin. These books were the first romances I’ve read. But the use of too standard storylines, too much a-hole ‘heroes’, heroines I couldn’t identify with and other reasons made me stop reading these little books. But reading Annie West books is remembering the tropes and seeing them turned around and spun into a lovely story.

So when Annie offered her latest books for review, I jumped at it. Imagine my surprise when she send me a paper book, all the way from Australia, instead of an digital copy, what I expected.

This is a “Big Secret” book and a “I punish the woman for the crimes her father/brother/distant cousin did” book. I used to hate those books. The Big Mis and Big Secret books are frustrating and the Punishment trope is also cringeworthy, mostly.
But once again Annie turned the tropes upside down. The crime the father did is very real. Also the way the relationship developed is beautifully done. They both have their secrets and know this of each other. I don’t want to spoiler how it develops, but it doesn’t go as I would expect, having read too many of these kinds of stories. No accidental, dramatic reveal of secrets, but reason, communication and love. It gave me a nice warm feeling. That’s why I will keep on buying and reading Annie’s books.

Freya photo Freya 2_zpseia5fuhr.jpg

© 2015 Reviews by Freya

zaterdag 3 oktober 2015

Delores Fossen – Truly, Madly, Briefly / Katie Gallagher – Tried and True

A stand alone novel, published June 1, 2003.
Genre: romantic comedy
Cover: fun

Truly Madly Briefly / Tried and True photo c11278_zpsmszf2lkl.jpg

Delores Fossen – Truly, Madly, Briefly

Are your undies safe?
Bobbie Callahan can ID a briefs man from a boxers kind of guy from fifty paces - managing the family's men's lingerie factory will do that to a girl. When a case of superlarge men's thongs disappears not once, but twice, she calls in the sheriff. Aidan O'Shea is thrilled to be called. Not just because the tiny Texas town had all but put the Boston cop to sleep, but because Bobbie's the sexiest gal around!

O this book was hilarious. Every chapter starts with the catalogue description of one of the pieces of male underwear Bobbie is selling, and it had me in stitches. And then those descriptions were used by her trying to explain things to the new sheriff.
Aidan is in some kind of exchange program, having a new post every six months. This little village is driving him crazy though. All the women seem to be after him, making up excuses to have him visit their homes, or come into his office and proposition him. So when Bobbie gives him a real case to investigate, he jumps on it. Bobbie has some other problems as well, her ex-fiancĂ©e won’t take no for an answer, even though he stood her up at the altar twice now, but Bobbie is really though with him this time.
So perhaps they can help each other out with their relationship problems by pretending to be together?

I had such fun reading this book, I just hope someday I will find the other book by Harlequin Duets with her fun story: The deputy gets her man. As far as I can see, she has written piles of cowboy and Harlequin intrigue books, but nothing else this funny.

9 stars.

Katie Gallagher – Tried and True

The sheriff has met his match!

Socialite Clementine Spencer is looking for a change. She's always been a good girl and listened to her mother, but no longer! So a month before her wedding she jumps into her car and takes a secret road trip. When she ends up in Tried and True, Kansas, she knows she has to make a decision and figure out what she wants. And what she wants is Callum McCutcheon, the town's sexy sheriff! If only he weren't so stubborn and would admit he wants her, too!

This was such a fun story! Clementine Spencer is a rich heiress, and a really nice girl, not a rich spoiled bitch. She has finally told her fiancĂ© she doesn’t want to marry him, she told her mother she was going on a roadtrip for a month to figure out what she wants for herself, and now she is stranded in Tried and True, Kansas. Her overbearing mother doesn’t take kindly to this though, and she has had Clementine’s bank accounts frozen, and her credit cards cancelled. And so she has to live on the money she has in her pocked, and the gas in the tank of her vintage car. But now she has come to this tiny village, and it appeals to her. She gets a job as a waitress, even though she doesn’t know anything about being on, but she is a quick learner, and the locals like her a lot.
What she doesn’t know, is that the local women are really fanatic about matchmaking, they need to keep the young people in their town and not have them go looking for more in the big city. And they have their eyes on her with the local doctor, or with the local sheriff. And yes, the sheriff is certainly attracted to her, but he is not interested in a woman who will move away in a few weeks. But still, he can’t stay away from her either …

I liked Clementine a lot, she is a nice person, and now she is finally growing a backbone against her mother, and standing up for what she wants. Making her own decisions, living her own life, and not what her mother wants for her.
Of course Callum is droolworthy, and he wants to protect her from danger, and prevent her from leaving his town, but I still think he could have explained things to her. She is not stupid after all. A sweet and very fun romance, thanks to the matchmaking ladies and their pie’s.

8 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 1 oktober 2015

New books to look forward to for October 2015

This is the list of new releases for the month of October 2015 I am looking forward to:

Heather Blake – Ghost of a potion – Magic Potion mystery 3
Jennifer Estep – Dark Heart of Magic – Black Blade 2
Karen Hawkins – Sabrina Jeffries – What happens under the mistletoe – anthology
Kate Collins – Florist Grump – Flower Shop Mystery 17
Laura Childs – Parchment and Old Lace – Scrapbooking Mystery 13 HC
Laura Childs – Gossamer Ghost – Scrapbooking Mystery 12 PB
Lisa Kleypas – Cold-Hearted Rake
Nora Roberts - Christmas with you
Suzanne Enoch – Some like it Scot – Scandalous Highlander 4
Yasmine Galenorn – Autumn Thorns – Whisper Hollow 1

I have read a total of 19 books this month, and I am very happy with that, as I also spend a lot of time watching Masterchef Australia 2015. That was a great season, lots of nice people in it. But my favourite one became second.

Did I match my reading solutions for last month? Again, almost! I need to read some review books soon.

I have read 2 cozy mysteries:
- Susan Wittig Albert - The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush
- Jenn McKinlay - Sprinkle with murder

lots of books longer than 1 year on my shelf:
- Cecy Robson - A cursed embrace
- Louis L'Amour - End of the Drive
- Anne Bishop 5 books (and Shalador's Lady twice)
- Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris - Dawn's Early Light
- Jennifer Ashley - Perils of the Heart
- Jenn McKinlay - Sprinkle with murder
- Nora Roberts - Dance to the Piper

no books I have won / been gifted / given for review:

and for my Kindle freebie/Nora Roberts challenge:
- Nora Roberts - Dance to the Piper

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 30 september 2015

Recommendations from Karin for September 2015.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.


The last month had one definite highlight for me. I read

Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Enigma photo 51e8GuCwxAL.SX316_zpsyg7hgnmt.jpg

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required - those more common to predatory animals than to man.
Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets, is fascinated by his nature - at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the sleeping archangel before it's too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows...and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare.

This book has everything that I could wish for as far as paranormal romance is concerned. The worldbuilding continues flawlessly, the villain is as black as one could wish for, the hero is not only enigmatic but also an enigma, the heroine is strong and loveable and the supporting characters are interesting, compelling and you wish to read more in this series – like yesterday.
Rarely have I read a book where I loved the hero as much as I loved Naasir. He is not only a warrior, he has a wicked sense of humour and when he decides on his mate he doesn’t start pampering her (“Here, here little woman, let me take care of you”! – oh, how I hate that!!!) but he shows her the respect she deserves. He doesn’t steamroll over her, he honours her vow and he finds the perfect solution for them to come together.
I don’t like to repeat myself but again I have to say that rarely have I read a book where I liked the heroine as much as I liked Andromeda. She is still quite young – in Angelic turns of course – but she has shown from an early age that she knows how to carry through with what she wants. She is a clever scholar but also a great fighter. And most of all she accepts Naasir the way he is – she doesn’t try to make him into something better, more civilized or whatever society might think is necessary.
We also get glimpses into the lives of Dmitri and Honor, Jason and of course Illium. (I’m still waiting hard for his book). And of course there is the Archangel himself. Raphael and Elena make such an interesting couple that I wouldn’t mind to read another book with them as the leading persons.

And now to something completely different. I read three books in a series that is the exact opposite of what I’ve been talking about so far.
The first book in the series “A Neighbor from Hell” by R.L. Matthewson is

Playing for Keeps

 photo 11381643_zpsu5on6dgv.jpg

As the series title implies the books are always about a young woman and her disgusting neighbour. It doesn’t take much to realize that the two will fall in love and end up as a happy couple. This book and especially the second in the series


 photo 12351649_zps2nfmiffi.jpg

are laugh - out funny. One can’t take them seriously, they are just plain entertainment with lots of sex, and situations which make the reader laugh out loud.
Unfortunately I didn’t like the third book in the series as much.


 photo 13624367_zps2ljgsoty.jpg

It drifted too much into slapstick (not the good kind) and I thought it was ridiculous for two adults to behave as they did. Still, I will continue reading this series as there are six books out now.

I hope you like these recommendations and perhaps I have lured one or the other to read one of the books. Take care and happy reading.

Karin photo Karin 2_zps9oybhsee.png

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I also loved Archangel's Enigma very much, I am happy the series is still going strong.

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 29 september 2015

Nora Roberts – Hot Ice

A stand alone novel, published August 1, 1987.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: this one is much prettier than my purple one

 photo n65653_zpszrub9hvv.jpg

Whitney MacAllister. Reckless and beautiful, she possesses all the wealth and beauty every woman dreams of. Douglas Lord. His good looks and street smarts have made him a success at his chosen profession – larceny.
She has the cash and the connections.
He has the stolen documents leading to a fabulous hidden fortune.
It is a business proposition, pure and simple.
But the race to find the treasure, from Manhattan to Madagascar, is only part of the game. For their fierce and dangerous attraction to each other soon threatens to overwhelm them – unless their merciless and shadowy rivals kill them first.

Another old Nora Roberts novel, but I really enjoyed this one. No overbearing alpha male who lays down the rules, this was fun seeing them both try to outwit the other. When Whitney MacAllister is almost car jacked, she is thrown in an adventure. And as she was totally bored with her socialite life style, hanging out at all the in-places with the same in-crowd or rich people, this was just what she needed.
Being chased by gun toting criminals who are actually shooting at her expensive Mercedes, an attractive but bleeding man in the car with her, and trying to out drive their followers is just fun for her. But when they follow them to her apartment, and the danger gets heavier, that was perhaps not what she had in mind when she gave Douglas her business proposal. She would not just lend him some money, she would go with him on this treasure hunt, to keep her eye on him.

And if was so great to see him trying to get her money so he could leave her behind, and her preventing it time and again, and especially writing down every little expense they made so he could repay her for it. She is a very smart girl, and I liked her. She is certainly not used to roughing it, but she doesn’t complain about that, and she keeps going.
The mobsters on their trail are relentless as well, killing the people they have met, trying to get back the maps that Douglas stole.
And then there is the history of the treasure they are after themselves, hidden gems from Marie Antoinette, and the French Revolution. That was a bit heartbreaking to read about.

The ending was great, and I just wish this was part of a series instead of a stand alone novel. I would not mind reading more adventures with these two.

It was the right mix of romance, adventure, danger and fun, and I enjoyed every page of it. If you are young, you might think it is a bit outdated as there is no use of today’s technology. I don’t mind that a bit, as I am from that time period, and remember things without all of today’s luxuries and gadgets.

9 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 27 september 2015

Anthology – Seduction by Chocolate

An omnibus of novels by Nina Bangs, Lisa Cach, Thea Devine and Penelope Neri, published August 29, 2008.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: delicious. The real book colors are very warm. Who could resist this title and this cover if you are a chocoholic?

Seduction by Chocolate photo c11280_zpsrmh82drg.jpg

More alluring than Aphrodite, more irresistible than Romeo, the power of this sensuous seductress is renowned. It teases the senses, tempting even the most staid; it inspires wantonness, demanding surrender. Whether savored or devoured, one languishes under its tantalizing spell. To sample is to crave it. To taste it is to yearn for it. Habit-forming, mouth-watering, sinfully decadent, whet their appetites to discover that seduction by chocolate feeds a growing desire and leads to only one conclusion: Nothing is more delectable than love.

Nina Bangs – Sweet Sin

A fun story where Ann has to make a life size chocolate naked men for a bachelorette party. Her partner Matt manipulated her into it, but she will have her revenge by using him as her model.
When they were 17, they had a short fling and sex in the backseat of his car, and that was a disaster. Ann has not forgotten that moment, and neither has Matt, and he wants another go at it. But she won’t give him a chance at all, even now they are working together in the bakery shop.

Yes, I enjoyed this one, it was really sizzling hot attraction between them. And some fun secondary characters as well.

8 stars.

Lisa Cach – Eliza’s Gateau

A story about a young American woman on vacation in Belgium, Europe, by herself. I did not really enjoy this one. She is a dietician, and eats only the healthy stuff because it is good for her. She dresses horribly as well, as she was raised by nuns.
So when a handsome man takes an interest in her, and tries to teach her to enjoy life, and especially the (naughty) chocolate his family’s bakery produces, she doesn’t know how to react.

I did not really like this one, as I could not connect with Eliza on any level, and I could not figure out what the hero saw in her. Neither did he for most of the story, but he felt drawn to her time and again, and showed her around for the few days she was in Bruges.

6 stars.

Thea Devine - Meltdown

This was a great story. Donna and her Jessica are event planners, and they have a reputation for getting things done, and in an amazing way as well. Jessica is really into their new client, but he has only eyes for Donna, and how she enjoys sensuous food stuffs if it has chocolate in it. But Donna doesn’t want to get involved at all, especially not with a client, so he will has to bide his time.

This story really had sparks, and great characters. I liked both Jessica and Donna. They were great friends, and worked really well together. They have build up their own business, and with this new client, a potential politician, they will be even more sought after. It was interested to read about as well, so that was a nice bonus.

8 stars.

Penelope Neri – Seducing Sydnee

Sydnee is a biotechnician send to Costa Rica to help save the cacao trees. She is a very private girl, and not into anything that hints of pleasure. She thinks chocolate is just frivoulous, and not worth her time, she should be creating new vegetables or something like that.
But her professor and her best friend are plotting behind her back, and Ella has even managed to switch her clothes with only sexy and pretty stuff instead of the staid and boring things she is used to buying herself.
Add to that her fear of flying, and she is not of to a good start. Unless you count her encounter at the hotel swimming pool at night with the hot man and their one night stand, so totally not her.

The man in question can’t forget her, and is determined to find her. So when he finally finds out, it is his new employee, he won’t rest until she is back in his arms. For good this time!

This was another fun story, and I was glad that Sydnee finally learned to shed her mother’s stern upbringing and warnings of men and learned about fun and passion and the joys of chocolate.

7 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
I don’t think it is available in print anymore, perhaps you can find it secondhand.

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 25 september 2015

Recommendations from Peggy for September 2015.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.


I have read 5 novels in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin – Mariana Zapata

 photo 26148083_zpsxgycjk3g.jpg

2. Devious minds – KF Germain

 photo 25411167_zps2guaja4w.jpg

3. Pulled under – Sarah Darlington

 photo 23257390_zpsmv6edkl1.jpg

I haven’t read much this last month but the books that I have read were really good. One of my favorite writers, Mariana Zapata had a new book coming out in August and she has kept it a secret from us until the last moment! But that did mean that I didn’t have to wait a long time for the book to be released and that made me very, very happy!

‘Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin’ is a sweet and funny read.

Gaby Barreto her life sucks! Her boyfriend broke up with her, she had to move back home to live with her parents and she still hasn’t found a job yet. So when her twin brother Eli invites her to go on tour with him and his band the ‘Ghost Orchid’ Gaby is easily convinced. It’s not the first time that she went on tour with them, being their merch girl. So she knows what to expect from her idiot brother and his two best friends Mason and Gordo but maybe that’s just what she needs at the moment.

But her brother forgot to mention that they’re not the only band on tour and on that bus. There’s another band (The Cloud Collision) that’s touring with them and their singer Sacha Malykhin is something special! He doesn’t only have a great voice but he also has a fantastic body, tattoos and a friendly personality. A very dangerous combination!

So now Gaby not only has to deal with her crazy brother and his two crazy friends but also with another band on the bus. But that can’t be a problem for her, Gaby’s used to being surrounded by guys her whole life but the question is, is she okay with just being friends with Sacha or does she want more than friendship with him? And what does he want from her? Only friendship? Or does he also feel more for her?

Just like in her other books, Mariana Zapata really takes her time to build the story, the relationship. First, they become friends and then lovers. And I, personally, love that! But if you’re one of those readers who wants to read about sex from the very first page, then I don’t think this is the book for you. Because that’s not the writer her style. She always takes her time to build the relationship and thus the sex scenes.
I really loved the way that Gaby and Sacha went from strangers, to friends, to lovers. And I totally loved the three crazy idiots in this story. Wat more can you ask for in life then 3 loyal friends? Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin is a very sweet story.

For readers who read this story and like it, then you really have to try her first book ‘Lingus’ also. It has the same funny and sweet read about it! And you can find Tristan POV on Mariana Zapata her website.

Till next month.

 photo Peggy 4_zpsc7itlsls.jpg

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Peggy! Has anyone read these books yet? Or anything else by these authors?

© 2015 Reviews by Aurian