Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Romance. Show all posts

Monday, January 8, 2018

Borrowed Dreams by Susanne O'Leary

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Borrowed Dreams There’s nothing like a romance set in Saint-Tropez, one of the most famous resorts in Europe, where the well-heeled escape from it all to their shiny yachts in the glorious sunshine.

Daisy Hennessy isn’t exactly well-heeled, though. She’s rather desperate, in fact, to find a job after splitting up with her rather unscrupulous on-off boyfriend. House-sitting a luxury villa amongst the mega-rich and looking after a couple of pooches is the perfect distraction…she hopes. But when she borrows some designer clothes from the absent owner’s wardrobe to attend invite-only parties, she finds herself caught up in an ever-decreasing circle of lies. Famous Irish author Liam complicates her situation. Not only does she have to extricate herself out of her web of deceit…which seemed a harmless bit of fun to start with…if she’s going to get anywhere with the handsome writer, she suddenly finds herself rather close to home, when there's a series of robberies from the glitteratis' luxury villas.

Susanne has a wonderfully uncluttered and refreshing style and never fails to provide characters who are easy to like; she lures you into their lives and into the beautiful setting—you can feel the warm sun on your skin, see the sparkling azure-blue sea and almost taste the fine French cuisine in the topnotch restaurants.



This book follows Selling Dreams, but stands alone, which is one of the things I love about Susanne’s books. Each book is complete but she leaves the door slightly ajar so that anyone of her characters can squeeze through and tiptoe into another book; it’s rather fun trying to guess who will slip into another adventure.

As always, highly recommended.


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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Love Hurts by Carol E. Wyer

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Love Hurts by Carol E. Wyer

I love it when an author jumps out of a cake and surprises you. Well, not literally, of course. Metaphorically speaking. 

Carol is a wonderful writer of light-hearted, funny, witty and entertaining novels and non-fiction books. Her books are like pick-me-ups, and you know you are going to end up smiling and uplifted at the final click.

So, Love Hurts comes along—a selection of five short stories—and not only are you entertained, but you’re pleasantly—very, very pleasantly—amazed by a range of stories you just didn’t expect: a delicious mix of dark, sad, playful and cheering.

Love Hurts looks at how the very many facets of love make people react and the consequences of those reactions: sometimes joyful, sometimes…not. Each story is very different but equally delightful, and I defy anyone to not enjoy this quintet.

Love Hurts by Carol E. Wyer

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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I had no idea this existed until I realised there was a movie with the same title. I have a golden rule of never watching a movie until I’ve read the book, so decided to get that out of the way. With a host of good reviews on Amazon, I really wanted to see for myself if it lived up to its popularity.



I’m sure it’s fairly widely known that the story features two terminally ill teenagers (Hazel and Augustus), who meet at a cancer support group. It’s an instant attraction, both mental and physical, and the encounter impacts their (short) lives.

Despite the fact that it’s a little hard to believe the dialogue is coming out of the mouths of sixteen/seventeen-year-olds, the rather excessive use of Capitalized Phrases To Make a Point, and the plot stretching the imagination just a little too far, I really loved this book.

It’s easy to get into and easy to love the characters without feeling pity for them. It’s a love story, sprinkled with deep sadness and poignancy, but the writing is razor-sharp, witty, humorous, and engaging. I found it hard to put down, hard to accept that it had finished (note to self: read more John Green!) and can’t wait to see the movie.


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Kiss of Night by K. S. Brooks

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Kathrin Night is a special agent. Or rather…she was. She is reluctantly…and a little resentfully…forced to relinquish her special-agent duties by an injury. But a gutsy, no-nonsense, rather complex character isn’t the type of person to settle easily into a more relaxed lifestyle. With no choice in the matter, she is landed with a Russian bodyguard. A rather handsome, hunky, chunky, hockey-playing one, at that. How is he going to help her adapt to her new life?

I devoured this book rather quickly. It’s short, yes, but it’s so, so easy to get sucked into Kathrin’s life. It was my first encounter with her, and I like her a lot. The book is a sort of prequel and scene-setter for Night Undone, which follows. We learn how she acquired her injury, how she became a special agent, why she had to give it up and all neatly done in just over a hundred and twenty pages. Brooks writes very engagingly with wit and humour, and it was with no difficulty at all that I rushed eagerly over to Night Undone. I wasn’t going to let her go easily.

An excellent and compelling read.


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Round Robin by Joseph Flynn AudioBook


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Delightful book. Thoroughly enjoyed it. This is a romance, but not your full-on, gushy, hearts-and-flowers-type romance. It’s meaty, solid and robust. And how refreshing not to have a perfect female protagonist with gorgeous long blond/brunette/red hair, perfect eyes, bust measurement and legs up to her armpits. Equally non-perfect is the male protagonist: again, not the sort of hunk you’ve come to expect. Hunky, though, in quite a different way…

Robin is a bitter, overweight, mouthy woman with bad man-history, who works in a deli delivering as good as she gets, free of charge, along with the sandwiches she serves. She lives alone in a two-storey apartment, the ground floor of which she’s transformed into an indoor ‘park’. Somewhere to sit and reflect and forget. But her ambition to buy the deli from its soon-to-retire owner is becoming financially prohibitive, as it leaves her little cash for money for repairs to her haven. She reluctantly agrees to a live-in handyman: he does the d-i-y in return for lodgings. Enter Manfred. A German ex-powerlifter who’s been in prison for spying.

Two people both with ‘baggage’, both with demons. But how differently they each deal with it.

This was very well written (albeit a little rough around the edges editorially). There’s some cracking dialogue, some superb characters, all in a neat well-structured plot. Not a lot of male romance authors around, as far as I know, and I don’t think I’ve read many. But this author certainly nailed it.

A wonderful read.


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A Very English Affair by Faith Mortimer ebook epub download

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A Very English Affair by Faith Mortimer


Summertime, for some reason, seems to be a great time for romances…reading them, that is…and one to include has to be A Very English Affair. Faith has a few very enjoyable romances tucked under her belt, and this one is no exception.


Danielle, in her mid-thirties, seems to have done well: a successful travel agency and owns her own home. Then, the icing on the cake comes in the form of handsome Christian, who sweeps her off her feet and a passionate love affair leads to an undying love for each other they know will last forever. How long, though, is forever?

A Very English Affair by Faith Mortimer


A bit of a tearjerker, this one, but without being sloppy, cliched or oversentimental. As always, the story is perfectly balanced, and the characters likeable, credible and well portrayed. You’re always in good hands with Faith and you know what you’re going to get, whether it’s a romance or one of Diana Rivers’ adventures: a good, clean, structured plot with characters you can identify with, written with sincerity and feeling.
We’ve had A Very French Affair, now an English one…where next, I wonder…Italy, Spain?


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Monday, November 13, 2017

Hot Pursuit by Susanne O'Leary

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A third ‘Hottie’ by Susanne. (Hot Property, Hot Gossip). And it is a hottie! This time, we’re in the company of Rita, who made an appearance in Hot Gossip.


Lovelorn thirty-something Rita grabs an opportunity to start a new life in Dublin, working for a topnotch hairdressing salon. New life, new job, new friends: will this help her forget the object of her unrequited love? Will it help her forget the memory of a mistake she made as a naive sixteen-year-old?  A mistake she feels compelled to right if she is enjoy her new future.  She tries her best with the help of the dishy Ricardo, her hairdressing co-worker and Josh, the intrepid war correspondent. One is her lover, the other her best friend. But has she got them the right way round?

Once again, Susanne hits the spot with this romance. Colourful, interesting and funny characters against the backdrop of the gorgeous Irish countryside are the perfect ingredients for this story. It’s well balanced, the characters natural, the dialogue fluid and fun, and it’s all presented in Susanne’s usual, mellow, warm style.

Easy to read, easy to enjoy and very easy to recommend! Will we be Hotting up again, I wonder?


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Hot Gossip by Susanne O'Leary

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Hot Gossip is the sequel to Hot Property. Susanne has done an outstanding job of enabling it to stand alone, with well-thought-out references to its prequel.

Also set in the beautiful Irish countryside, Hot Gossip features Janine Marchand, a rather enigmatic (and charismatic) young and beautiful Frenchwoman, with an intriguing and colourful past. She seeks to escape the more unsavoury aspects of that past in a small, quaint village in Ireland, backdropped by austere and stunning landscape. Her endeavours to stay incognito are not helped by two men in the village, who are captivated by her, and the daughter of one of them, twelve-year-old Nelia, whose impressionability and somewhat hasty immature actions lead to near tragedy.

The story weaves expertly back and forth from a heady time in Egypt, back to the sleepy Irish village, the times and events a sharp contrast to each other. As with Hot Property, it’s obvious the fondness O’Leary has for her adopted Ireland: she sells it better than any Lonely Planet guide!

Janine, Nelia, Jake (the significant other from her time in Egypt), and Mick (Nelia’s father) are all strong, know-their-own-minds characters. Makes for some delightful ‘fireworks’, and it’s wonderful to see Polish Beata and her big-bear husband, Boris, (from Hot Property) making a reappearance.

Wonderfully written, as always by this author, this is a ‘fine romance’.


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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Sliding Past Vertical by Laurie Boris

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Sliding Past Vertical by Laurie Boris


And another winner by Laurie Boris.

Who, out of Sarah, Emerson, and Rashid, will surface unscathed from their pools of unfortunate choices, wrong decisions, and tragedy?



If you’re thinking, goodness, am I going to enjoy a book which seems to be tinged with doom and gloom, let me assure you right now, yes, you will.

When Sarah finally fleas the evils of her latest unsuitable partner, she heads for the only place she knows she will find solace. Her dear friend, Emerson, whom she met at college, years before. They fell in love. She fell out of love. Or did she? Emerson, however, never stopped loving her and could only stand by while she made endless disastrous choices of subsequent partners. Good old Emerson. Always there for her, always supporting her, always Emerson. His mundane job in an old people’s home is supplemented by his writing of ‘those’ sorts of stories for a men’s magazine, which in turn supplements his aspirations to become a serious writer. If only Sarah could always be around.

Rashid is his housemate. A brilliant researcher from India, constrained by the rigours of his culture. A constraint which ultimately threatens to break the tenable link between the three.

Once again, Laurie throws every last drop of emotion and credibility into her characters. What emerge are people, not characters. They’re real. You want to reach out to them and say ‘No! Please! Don’t do that!’ You feel you know them, you care about them, and want to help them.

It’s an intense novel that sucks you in from the start and doesn’t let you go until the final word. Excellent.



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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Your Soul Was Meant For Mine by C L Hunter

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Not overly fond of this one, regrettably…it’s never easy to say you didn’t enjoy a book. It never really found its way. An erotic romance with a bit of paranormal thrown in, but it didn’t really sit comfortably in the story, the erotica lacked real steam…it was rather perfunctory...the romance was a bit forced, and the dialogue was rather clunky and unnatural.


After a tragic accident, forces beyond the grave decree that lawyer Thomas’s wife, Emmalyn, should be get together with his work colleague, Nolan, a very rich and successful businessman. Along the way, some chunks from Nolan’s past rear their ugly heads. And that’s about it…along with many scenes of bodice-ripping and throbbing organs. Emmalyn and Nolan’s acquaintance begins with a transatlantic exchange of letters. These were rather odd…they were a cross between Jane Austen and Essex girl. For a successful businessman with an idea for some very out-there technology, he seemed a bit dim…he hadn't heard of online translating (Babelfish, Google Translate???) and flustered over postage times. Email, anyone?

I can’t speak for the text in Irish, but the French was slightly off kilter…relying perhaps too much on high-school French, and I was increasingly irritated by the couple calling each ‘wife’ and ‘husband’ all the time. The plot didn’t just stroll, it dawdled painfully along. Bits and pieces came out of the woodwork rather suddenly and incongruously, and it just didn’t hang together.

The premise for this book was promising, and I think the author has writing ability, but this needs some substantial developmental editing to give the characters, well, character and the plot some body and cohesion.








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Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Blow-In by Susanne O'Leary

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I’ve read a number of this author’s books. Whilst there’s no question that I obviously love her books, I’d be hard put to say which is my favourite because they’re all good, and The Blow-In is no exception. It’s another five-star read.


In this, we have the sassy, no-nonsense (my favourite female character!) Finola stepping down from edgy journalism to revive a local newspaper in a little Irish town. Not a bad place to start a calmer, less stressful life, away from failed relationships and controversial reporting. But we all know what happens to well-laid plans…conspiracy, good-looking men and way-too-adorable puppies upset the rural-bliss applecart.

O’Leary’s romances are mature, wholesome and robust. The plot is never predictable; there are surprises and twists. The Blow-In ticks all those boxes, along with some snappy, witty dialogue, characters who are colourful, interesting, funny, annoying, arrogant, all contributing to a cracking read.

See Also:
A Woman’s Place
Borrowed Dreams
Finding Margo
Hot Gossip
Hot Property
Hot Pursuit
Selling Dreams 
Sonja's Place



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