Paradise – Judith Mcnaught (Second Opportunities #1)

I should probably put a disclaimer that if you’re never read a Judith Mcnaught book and you are planning to there is going to be angst, pain, most like a second chance romance and the story will stay on your mind for a long time after you’ve read the final chapter. I’ve noticed in the books I’ve read there is a routine which goes like background story, misunderstanding/breakup and then years later a chance at reconciliation. I love her books and even though I know this, I love reading them as she has a way with words. For me it’s all about the happy ending and I know Judith Mcnaught delivers this, well she has in the books i’ve read so far. 

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Synopsis:

Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana’s steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that sill haunted his memory… Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.

A cool, poised executive in her family’s legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell — and their brief, ill fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other — and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

For me the sign that I love the book that I’m reading is when I get emotionally involved with the characters and story. I was so emotionally invested in this story that when Matt and Meredith talked about their misunderstanding at the farm I bawled my eyes out.  I’m not talking about one or two tears, I mean a proper cry with red rimmed eyes and snot running (lovely image right?). This book was just so good, it was emotional at parts but it was also well paced, well written, didn’t drag and a really good story.

“Some people feel love in their hearts, Julie. Some of us feel it all way into our souls. We’re the ones who can’t forget.”

Both the main characters deserved their happy ending and second chance. I liked both Matt and Meredith, their characters developed throughout the book. The secondary characters weren’t focused on so much but they also were well written and what I liked most is that Lisa stuck by Meredith throughout it all as her friend and Meredith did the same. Usually you find that in books this does not happen for drama, so it made a nice change.

I love the writing in this book Judith Mcnaught is such a great writer in my opinion, the synopsis draws you in but it’s the writing and story that makes you want to what what happens without putting the book down to take a break. This book was just so amazing, I cannot say that enough.

“You can’t outwit fate by trying to stand on the sidelines and place little side bets about the outcome of life. Either you wade in and risk everything to play the game, or you don’t play at all. And if you don’t play, you can’t win.”

The only drawback for me with this book though is how Meredith felt about her father, I don’t understand why she could never stop trying to make him happy. This sounds horrible but she forgave her father so much after all he done and I just do not think he deserved it. I think Judith tried to explain that her father loved her in his own gruff way but that just did not wash with me. In that way I think Meredith was too perfect in that sense, I don’t know if I’m being too unforgivable but I feel if a father or mother lets say put someone through what Meredith went through then there would be a grudge or atleast a distance in the relationship.  I was glad when Meredith stood up to her father, she needed to do that.

I won’t say too much about the story because I want you to discover it yourself but I can say it will stay with you after you’ve read the last page and put the book down.

Happy Reading!!

P.s. Has one read this book and have an recommendations of books like this?

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Binding Arbitration – Elizabeth Marx (Chicago Series #1)

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, it’s not excuse but I have been busy. The busy season at work is starting and i’m looking for a new job, so between work, looking for work, sleeping and eating (and a little reading) I am not finding much time to blog. I will get my life sorted and blog more consistently I promise! I read this book quite a while ago and have been meaning to put my review but like I mentioned before my life is getting in the way.

I’d recommend reading Cutters vs Jocks before this title as it is a great introduction and prologue it sets the scene and entices you into this story. It gives an insight into how Libby and Aiden’s story started. 

This book does contain some swearing and sex scenes so recommended for 18+. This is not a quick easy read, the story gets you gripped and makes you laugh and cry. 

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Synopsis:

Through the corridors of the Windy City’s criminal courts, single mother Libby Tucker knows exactly how far she’ll go to save her cancer-stricken son’s life. The undefeated defense attorney is prepared to take her fight all the way to the majors.

Circumstances force Libby to plead her case at the cleats of celebrity baseball player Banford Aidan Palowski, the man who discarded her at their college graduation. Libby has worked her backside bare for everything she’s attained, while Aidan has been indulged since he slid through the birth canal and landed in a pile of Gold Coast money. But helping Libby and living up to his biological duty could jeopardize the only thing the jock worships: his baseball career.

If baseball imitates life, Aidan admits his appears to be silver-plated peanuts, until an unexpected confrontation with the most spectacular prize that’s ever poured from a caramel corn box blindsides him. When he learns about his son’s desperate need, it pricks open the wound he’s carried since he abandoned Libby and the child.

All Libby wants is a little anonymous DNA, but Aidan has a magical umpire in his head who knows Libby’s a fateball right to the heart. When a six-year-old sage and a hippy priestess step onto the field, there’s more to settle between Libby and Aidan than heartache, redemption, and forgiveness.

Rating: 5 Stars (I would give it more!)

Review:

Some books are those that stay with you for days after you’ve finished reading them and you end up with a book hangover. This is one of those books. It has become one of my favourites. I will be reading this again.

This book was so good. The writing is the best part, it engrosses you into the story and takes your emotions through a roller coaster ride. This book is beautifully written, I will be looking into the other books Elizabeth Marks has written too.

If you are looking for a light read this is not it. This book is a gripping read, it makes you cry and then be happy and makes you want  to cry again, I was all over the place when reading this book. In this book the people are not prefect and not everything is happy either, but that makes it more relatable and realistic. I cannot say too much about this book because i’m still so speechless after finishing it, other than this is a must read.

I loved Aiden in this, at the start of the book I totally blamed him for abandoning Libby and Cass but he was redeemed. His redemption was not done in one paragraph or 2 pages at the end but all throughout the book, which was great. You could see Aiden realising his mistake and trying to right it, and he did beg for forgiveness. This is because he had grown up and maturing as a character too since we read about him in cutters vs jocks. I was won over to Aiden side again within the first 20% of the book. You could see he was maturing as the book went on.

I loved Libby, she made something of herself no matter what the circumstances and was not bitter about life or felt like she was owed anything for what she went though. Sure she had hardened herself to how she felt about certain things but she did not spend her time moaning or living in the past. She really was an independent, hard working, self made woman. She is someone to look up to. Her friends were all so supportive of her which was nice to read, they not only helped her put herself through Law school but also look after and love Cass. The other side characters in this book were great too, i would be interested in seeing if they have their own stories.

Libby’s son Cass was just Cass. He was lovely and sweet and mature for his age, but that fit well with the story because he had gone through so much because he had cancer. That would make you grow up quicker. He was so amazing and he made me cry. I won’t say what happened to him but I couldn’t believe the author did what she did, I mean why? Elizabeth didn’t actually push Cass to the side for the sake of romance, he was included in it all and he was a main character which was good because he is the reason Libby and Aiden come back into contact.

My personally favourite thing in the book is the relationship between Aiden and Libby. It is not perfect and it is a second chance romance but they actually communicate with each other and they respect each other. Love doesn’t fall into their laps but they both work towards it. They have mutual respect of each other. This is the kind of relationship I like reading about in romance books.

So I will finish this review with these 2 quotes:

“… forgiveness is a four letter word: Love.”

“I circle your hands, I circle your heart. I mark with my brand, while we’re apart. I sparkle in both your joy and laughter, because I’m part of you ever after.” 

Read this book!! Happy Reading!

Cutters vs. Jocks – Elizabeth Marx (Binding Arbitration/Chicago Series 0.5)

This review includes spoilers

I picked this book up as it is a essentially a prologue to Binding Arbitration, a book I wanted to read. I purchased both this and Binding Arbitration a couple of months ago when I was in my reading funk and they have bee sitting in my TBR pile. I am so glad I picked this book up. It was definitely worth a read and it did set the scene for the actual book. If you are going to read Binding Arbitration then pick this up or pick it up just as a stand alone as the book is worth it.

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Synopsis:

Love at first sight versus lust you can’t fight.

Libby Tucker is a cutter—a nobody waitress in a college town—at least that’s what everyone believes. But admission to law school is Libby’s ticket out of Indiana and her escape from small town life forever.

During a night on the town, Libby beats the most competitive athlete on campus at pool and draws more attention from him than she’s prepared for.

Aidan Palowski is one of those jocks your friends warned you about—the kind that never loose—the kind that put notches in their baseball bats. As the closing pitcher on the best baseball team in the Big Ten, he’s on his way to the major leagues. Aidan always gets what he wants and Libby is the final home run he wants to hit out of the park.

The last thing Libby needs is to get sidetracked by a superstar jock. Afraid that she might be on a collision course with love at first sight Libby keeps her distance, but the longer she holds out the more Aidan realizes it’s a case of lust he can’t fight.

What happens when worthy opponents refuse to play their hearts out?

Rating: 5 Stars (I would give it more)

Review:

I am won over by Elizabeth Marx’s writing, this book is only a couple of chapters but I was so engrossed in it. It made me feel a range of emotions is is amazing since this is a novella. It made me want to cry i was so involved with the characters

The chemistry between the two main characters was great and so well written. You could literally feel the sparks of the pages.

“From the moment I laid eyes on her she was trouble to my concentration, my libido, and my mental health. After six weeks of pursuit, I’d trapped her between my upraised arms against a book case, somewhere betwixt Shakespeare and Voltaire. “I want the witchcraft in your lips,” I’d whispered. Instead of arguing, she grabbed me by the ears. She’d been soft lips, liberal tongue and nipping teeth. I’d contributed a willing body and a vulgar groan. She’d drawn away, licked her lips and ducked underneath my arms. When she was about three yards from me, she’s tilted her head up like a siren on the bow of a ship and pursed a devil-may-care smile at me before she bowed. She’d challenged me to pursue her, and I’d intended to, but when I pushed off, the bookcase fell backwards. I tumbled into a heap of literary tombs. I could still hear her laughing when the library’s elevator door chimed closed.”

What I love more is that the relationship between Libby and Aidan was just not lust. This novella takes place over a year and a half and they are friends. There is obviously lust involved but it is not the main factor.

I just adore Libby’s character, she is a strong independent woman who knows what she wants. Even when she has to give up her dreams she does not moan about it and becomes bitter but accepts it and try to make the best of the situation at hand. We do need more heroines like this in books and films.

Aidan a great character too, he was a jock and cocky but so sweet I was totally won over and bowled over by him. However he also broke my heart at the end of this book. He ‘courts’ Libby for a year and a half and once he got what he wanted which was sex he kind of backed off a bit. I know Libby is also at fault here as she started the distance but if you want someone would you not do anything to be with them? Especially when he found out Libby was pregnant I don’t think he was supportive or sensitive at all to it. He just saw the baby as a problem, which is why I feel Libby is less at fault for the problems between them. I mean you wouldn’t give up on the person who you wanted for a year and a half or love  if they started to avoid you?

I could not believe when he drove away from Libby when she waited for him at the end, both were at fault for the problems but I really blame Aiden the most. His reaction to her news was not what it should have been. You would think it would have been different but no. I can see why this needed to happen as there is the actual story but it was so nice to read this back story it helps to make the characters more relatable and real. Honestly read this!! I shall be reading it again sometime!

Happy Reading 😀

A Negotiated Marriage – Noelle Adams (Negotiated Marriage #1)

I really am enjoying books written by Noelle Adams, this is the 3rd book I have read by her and so far I have liked them all. I’d recommend checking out her books and I enjoy her writing style. I believe I downloaded this book for free a while ago but literally have just got round to reading it. In my opinion I enjoyed this as much as I liked The Unwanted Wife but this has so much less angst in.

Synopsis:

Sex wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal.

Three years into a marriage of convenience, Molly’s high-powered CEO husband wants to add a new term to their marriage agreement. Sex—without any messy emotional entanglements. But weekly sex with Luke, despite their carefully negotiated terms, is likely to get messy eventually.

Content in a mutually beneficial arrangement, Molly isn’t going to fall for Luke the way she fell for an old lover, only to be crushed in the end. She vows to stay strong, no matter how much intimacy develops between them in bed. When her old lover returns, finally wanting a real relationship, Molly has the chance to give her heart to a man who will accept it.

It’s too bad she now wants to give it to her husband, who has never admitted her heart is what he wants.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

This book is a bit different, rather than starting from how Molly and Luke met, the negotiation of the marriage and the marriage. This book starts 3 years into their marriage of convenience, it shows how comfortable Molly and Luke are with each other and gives an idea of how their marriage has been for the last 3 years. At the start of this book, Molly and Luke are more friends than anything else. One day Luke says he wants to negotiate terms and add sex into the contract. Before this point in the 3 years Molly and Luke have been married at some point used ‘discreet’ services to cater to their ‘needs’. This was  a stipulation in their marriage contract which worked fine for both of them.

You may remember I get really hung up about people cheating/having affairs when in relationships. In this case I personally did not consider it cheating as this was a stipulation in their marriage contract and like I said for me they were more friends at that time and neither had done this in a while or once the ‘relationship’ started in truth in my mind.

I like the way the relationship went further for Molly and Luke because they had the friendship basis to start of from and so it was nice to see how their relationship changed and evolved. There was some sexual tension going on between then the two characters, but you’ll have to read it to find out why. I would say there is some sex in the book but it is not just about that, there is a relationship too and it’s interesting to see how both the character’s ended up to the point of being in this marriage.

One thing I liked about the writing style of this book is Noelle started off with the sentence Molly was running late and this was repeated a couple of times in the book which gave me a chuckle each time I read it for some reason. It was consistent which I liked. The story is well paced and if you like the marriage of convenience books then give this one a read.

Happy Reading!

Slave to Sensation – Nalini Singh (Psy-Changeling #1)

One more book down from my TBR! Maybe I should buy a book for each one I finish….haha no I won’t do that, it would not solve my problem about lack of space.

This book has been sitting on my kindle for a long time now. I purchased it about a year or so ago as I really love Nailini’s Guild Hunter series. That series is one of my favourites and I love how she writes her characters. In essence usually the female characters are strong willed and a match for their partners which I like to read because there is nothing wrong with a damsel in distress story but sometimes you want a change.

I think I say this a lot but Nalini Singh is one of my favourite authors, I would highly recommend her guild hunter series and after reading this book her other work aswell as long as you are not opposed to sex scenes. I find the story’s that she writes also shows the development and the progression of romance rather than being multiple sex scenes and a happy ending.

Synopsis:

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation” – the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was…

Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy coexistence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion – and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities – or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

First Lucas so did not look like the cover of this book in my mind, his scars on his face were so much sexier, well Nalini made it sound so anyway. I adored this book, I could not put it down and literally wanted to finish it in one sitting, which did not happen.

In 1979 to try and end violence and crimes the psy race implemented a protocol called the silence, this would condition the mind and body to stop feeling human or animalistic emotions and therefore be the end of serial killers and violence. Sounds like a perfect plan right? I mean if there are no emotions then there no cause for people to do things like that.

The story kicks off with Sasha being told that she is incharge of overseeing a housing development for the changelings and so she will be working with Lucas Hunter who is a panther alpha of the DarkRiver pack. Sasha is a ‘broken’ psy as she does feel but she is trying to hide it behind a stotic and emotionless facade. The psy do not show affection or casually touch and then we have the changelings who constantly touch and show affection. You can tell the pairing of these two is going to be volatile. Not in a bad way but sparks are going to full and they do.

What to say about Lucas, I loved him from the first page. He was smart, he knew what he wanted, he had determination and he was sweet, which makes a lethal combination and who could resist that?

“She was his and he was hers. They had under-the-skin privileges.” 

“An hour of your life is worth more than a thousand people to me.”

Sasha is such strong willed and doesn’t let Lucas walk all over her but also understands when it’s best to let it go as Lucas is an alpha. Sasha is such a brave character, as just imagine growing up and hiding the fact that you are different from everyone else. One slip up and she would have be rehabilitated.

“She wished he’d stop touching her. Not because she didn’t like it but because she liked it far too much. It made her hunger for things that could never be hers. And if someone went hungry for too long, they started to starve. Started to hurt.” 

What starts of as a business relationship develops first into friendship, respect, trust, passion and the love. It was so nice to see the evolvement of the relationship between these two. Lucas handled Sasha tenderly at times to introduce her to her and his own emotions and what he wanted. He does not let Sasha stay behind her mask of silence and indifference because he understands her and knows that that is not true, that’s not her nature. Ofcourse Psy and changelings are not suppose to be together, but what’s a good romance without some forbidden love.

The writing of this book is amazing, Nalini is an amazing story teller, it the way the story is written. Even though the psy world is different it was explained is such a way that I understood it and I did not have to go back to reread certain chapters to remind myself of anything which sometimes happens in fantasy books. The style of the writing flows really well, it is engaging, interesting and unique. It is the right balance of romance and action.

All I can say is I really loved this is and will be continuing with the others in this series. Honestly give Nalini Singh’s books a try and you will not regret it.

Happy Reading! p.s. Has anyone else read this book or anything by Nalini Singh?

Hired Bride – Noelle Adams (Beaufort Brides #1)

Noelle Adams is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I know I have not reviewed her books on my blog before but I have read 2 of her books now and I enjoyed both so much. Both books are based on the marriage of convenience idea which is one of my favourite types of books. If you have not read one of her books and like a good marriage of convenience books then give her books a try.

One less book on my TBR pile! Woohoo!

Synopsis:

For years, Deanna’s eccentric grandmother has been trying to marry her off to a rich man, and she’s finally managed to do it. Deanna has spent her life trying to take care of those she loves, and a six-month marriage should be a simple enough way to keep their historic Savannah house from falling down around their heads.

Sexy, obnoxious Mitchell Graves needs a wife to finalize a business deal, and he snaps up Deanna as the most expedient option. Because she’s quiet, he thinks she’ll be easy enough to manage as a wife.

He couldn’t be more wrong.

Rating: 4.5 Stars 

Review:

Ok I will be the first to admit that the marriage of convenience idea is not a original idea and has been done before but i love these types of books. As this books sounds from the synopsis to close a business deal Mitchell needs a wife to stop his potential business partner’s daughter from coming on to him without letting her know he’s not interested incase it affects the business deal adversely. What better way than to enter a fake marriage for 6 months? I know, but this book really is one of the better stories I read. The writing of this book is really well done, it is a short book but it doesn’t feel rushed. Nor did I feel at any point that the characters lacked depth or that they were not full fledged characters. The romance developed over time, sure the lust and attraction was there but it was nice read the romance developing between these two different people.

I liked Mitchell as a character, you could see him evolve as the story progresses, he is character is the one that develops the most, he goes from being the ‘typical’ guy who does not believe in relationships to why relationships are important and what they provide. He’s  a nice guy to start with but he gets better as the book goes on. I will admit both Mitchell and Deanna are bull-headed they do the normal, lets not communicate and talk about what we feel and what matters as the other should know how I feel. I’m sorry to say but from my experience of reading this never works out lol, and I would be correct. They end up communicating to make it a lovely happy ending but you do go through the I want to shake some sense into the both of you phase in the middle of this book.

Deanna was a good character but I think she was a bit too up tight at points. I understood her point of view but I think at points she slightly grated on my nerves. I did love how she would do anything for her family, that was so sweet.

I enjoyed the epilogue of this book so much, for some reason it was so nice to read both Mitchell and Deanna relaxing and having fun.

I look forward to reading the next book in the series, which I will buy when I am able to end my book buying ban.

Happy Reading!!

He loves Lucy – Susan Donovan

Synopsis:

Delighted when her firm lands the Palm Club account, marketing executive Lucy Cunningham is less than happy when she becomes the guinea pig in her own campaign concept–to put a fitness-challenged woman in front of the TV cameras and into the hands of the club’s top personal trainer, gorgeous Theo

Rating: 5 Stars

Review: 

Have you ever read a book that touches your heart? This book does it for me. It’s not heart breaking or sad or anything like that but it is about the struggle with weight and having the will power to succeed. It one of those sort of motivating books that you read and want to achieve something yourself.

I really enjoyed this book because Lucy was loveable and so relatable, I for one can admit doing the same as her and turning to comfort eating at times. She had a sense of humour which was nice to read. The book that have witty characters are my favourite because it’s nice to have a laugh.

“According to the receptionist, he was a hard to miss man with short light brown hair, blue eyes, and a little gold hoop in his left ear. Yet so far, she’s managed to miss him and his hoop just fine”

“I’m sorry, but I just have to ask. Are you gay? You’re single and attractive and you wear an earring and have a cat. This is Miami Beach, right?”

Lucy also had her faults. She admitted that even she judges someone by there looks, she think Theo at first is an airhead as he’s good looking and in shape but then realises there more to a person than their looks. It was different to see Lucy struggle aswell succeeding in her weight loss goal.

I did like Theo, what I liked the most was that he clearly cared about his brother and tried to put him first. Theo was hard working and I really like the banter and relationship development between him and Lucy.

What I loved that Theo saw something in her even when she was overweight, the relationship but did not suddenly develop when Lucy was losing loads of weight and getting near her target. It was so nice to see the relationship develop from friendship as these are my favourite love stories, they are in my opinion so much better than the love at first sight stories for me.

The book itself it well written and I really do like the way that the author tells the story, it is due to the author that the book has such wit and great characters.

I will not say too much more about the book because you should read it. It’s one I would recommend!

Happy Reading!