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Italian Stolen Bride review

The Italian’s Stolen Bride (Harlequin Presents)

Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

The story begins with a deathbed confession from Luc’s brother revealing secret family sins. Being from the old country, Maurizio thought his son Luc was better off without Skye and needed to marry someone who was better suited. He used his money and power, while enlisting the help of his other son Roberto, to effectively separate Luc and Skye.

Now that Luc knows the truth, he is not going to let his second chance at happiness elude him. As for Skye, the victim and pawn in the disfunctional wealthy family’s manipulation, she wants nothing to do with Luc or his family. If it were not for her son, she could have probably made that happen. Since Luc has rights to Matteo as his father, she had to weigh what was best for her son, even if it means trying to fight the feelings of love for the man that hurt her 6 years ago.

I liked this story because it was about true love fighting against all odds to be together. The conflict in Luc’s family was so real. He was determined to be with the woman that he loved. Skye was not going to let her man give up his family for her without first trying to make peace.

The characters are working to resolve feelings of bitterness and mistrust in order to find true happiness.

To sum up Italian’s Stolen Bride, it is about family, acceptance, redemption, and love. Have I said how much I liked this story? Sigh…

Click The Italian’s Stolen Bride (Harlequin Presents) buy on Amazon

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Gone Girl left me feeling annoyed

Gone Girl: A Novel

Gone Girl: A Novel is about Nick and Amy, two writers living in New York City who moved to Nick’s home town in Missouri after they both lose their jobs. On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy is missing without a trace. The story is about the search for her while delving into the personalities of each person.

While there are several positive raving reviews about this book, I can only rate it as okay. I think this is one of those books that you will probably love or hate. The main reason for my lackluster rating is the fact that the ending was unsatisfying. I knew going in that it would not have a happy ever after ending (this is a thriller not romance), but I would have liked some closure.

As I plow through the first half of the book, I wondered when things were going to get interesting. Several times I checked my Kindle to see my progress. After an hour and a half reading, I was only 15% through. Two hours later, only 30% through. I usually read faster than that. I was afraid to skip ahead because I do not want to miss some important clue that will be crucial to the plot. Thankfully, the second half of the book moves along faster.

This book is told from the point of view from both sides: He said, she said.

Nick did not endear himself to me, because he seemed not to know how to handle difficult situations. I know part of that had to do with his upbringing, living with a misogynistic, borderline abusive father. He was spoiled by his mom in her own way probably to overcompensate for his father. It was a sad individual for whom at times I felt sorry. Then he would say or do say something that maybe wonder how much involvement he had with his wife’s disappearance.

Amy is in a sick, twisted category all by herself. Since she is missing, the reader learns about her through her journal entries. There is no doubt that her upbringing molded her views of what marriage life was supposed to be. Her husband continues to fail because he is not meeting the standards she has mentally set for him (without telling him of course). Her father and mother have this wonderful perfect relationship where they revolve around each other and nothing else matters. From her journal, the reader can see how determined Amy is, in a distorted fashion, to have the same type of relationship, only Nick is not like her father.

Marriage can be torture when one or both people wear mask to conceal their true nature. A sad truth that Nick has to face even though his character previously was able to deflect conflict and controversy.

There can be a thin line between love and hate, sane and crazy.

The author achieved her aim if it was her goal to write a novel to invoke strong reactions from her readers. I was angry annoyed at the lack of closure and frustrated by the injustice of it all.

Rating Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥

Click Gone Girl: A Novel to buy on Amazon and let me know what you think.

Player “Steele” giving it up for love

A Steele for Christmas (Kimani Romance)

I must be a glutton for punishment because I read another one of these “Bad News” Steele character books. As the follow up to Hidden Pleasures, brother Eli is the next Phoenix Arizona Steele to leave his player ways and settle down for one woman.

There was not much of a plot, but at least it was better than Hidden Pleasures (with its trumped up fancily packaged prostitution). In A Steele for Christmas (Kimani Romance), Eli is attracted to Stacey, a commitment-phobe woman who left Memphis after her fiancé broke off their engagement to marry her friend. She begins a relationship with Eli knowing he is known as a player. The rules of the game change when Eli needs a wife (read the story to understand). Playacting turns to the real thing for both of them, ending with happy-ever-after.

I figured out what irks me about these male characters (i.e. Steele men). They are all unabashedly doggish. They are players who see nothing wrong with sleeping with as many women as they can. I find their supposed “respect for women” a little disingenuous considering the fact that they are pretty much objectifying women for their own gratification.

The other problem I have is that the only way the guy realizes he is in love is the fact that he slept with her but the lust and desire has not abated but intensified.

Since I am sucker for romance novels, I will probably read the rest of the Steele stories, but with lower expectations. I was confused why I did not have the level of satisfaction with these books as with the Westmoreland series by Ms Jackson. I realize that I prefer a strong silent brooder to a smooth talking player looking for more notches in his belt.

Rating Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥

Click here to purchase A Steele for Christmas (Kimani Romance)

Hidden Pleasures – not so satisfying for me


Hidden Pleasures (Kimani Romance)
by Brenda Jackson

I was disappointed with the storyline of hidden pleasures. Usually every book that I read by Mrs. Jackson is awesome, great, wonderful romance. But with this book I feel as if she might have fell a little short of her target.

Galen bought a house that Britney wanted (it belonged to her birth mother who died). Then he told her, he would give the house to her in exchange for one week living with him. I did not like this premise at all because it was plainly obvious she was sleeping with him to get her house. It seemed to me that she was prostituting herself.

Not romantic.

Granted there was a lot of attraction between the two of them, but the storyline did not sit well with me.

Galen and his brothers were players going through women like water. The house was the only game he had to use to get Brittany into his bed. Considering how he was supposed to have such a way with the ladies, there should have been another way to convince her to sleep with him.

That being said, the story was too lackluster for me. After the finishing the book, I felt blasé. Usually after reading a Brenda Jackson book, I am energized. I did not feel the heat from this book. It can be tough coming up with plots that work. Some people might find this book extremely entertaining. But as for me, sorry Mrs. B, not the home run I thought it would be.

Rating Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥

You can buy Hidden Pleasures (Kimani Romance) on Amazon by clicking here

Speed dating works sometimes


Speed Dating (Harlequin NASCAR) – Nancy Warren

Main characters Dylan Hargreave and Kendall meet under crazy circumstances. Dylan is a NASCAR driver with an ex-wife who thinks they are destined to be together. So when Dylan goes to her wedding, he knows that he had to bring a date and appear to be in love to prove to Ashlee the ex that he has moved on relationship wise.

Kendall is an actuary (sidenote: before reading this book I had no idea what an actuary was) having a pretty good life until her fiancé tells her that he cheated on her with a co-worker, the woman is pregnant, and they are breaking up. To make it worse, he tells her this on the night when she is supposed to be getting a prestigious Actuary of the Year award. Her life went from good to bad to worse in a matter of minutes. Since analyzing risk and weighing options is something that Kendall does for a living, she kind of flips out and decides not to play it safe. Making conservative choices seems to have brought misery to her life. It was during this mini breakdown that she met Dylan and decided to be his date to his ex-wife’s wedding. Throwing caution to the wind means her life will never be the same.

I can empathize with Kendall. I am not an extreme risk taker. That being said, I don’t know how I would react if everything that I thought to be true came crashing down around me in one swoop. I probably would have went cray cray too. The chemistry between Dylan and Kendall created a believable story. There are many different layers to the playboy Dylan that he keeps hidden from the public in order to market his image. And the more that Dylan and Kendall learn about each other, it brings them closer together.

I guess he can thank his crazy ex-wife for helping him find his true love.

Overall: Nice story!

Rating Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥♥

Click Speed Dating (Harlequin NASCAR) to buy from Amazon