Review: The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras

Christos ToulourasReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Leo decides to take a trip to Lima, Peru after his marriage has failed. In leaving for a far off place he has left behind all his pain, loss and depression, yet Leo does not expect to find a new love interest there in Marisol.

Review: The Love of Marisol is separated into four chapters; One Night in Bahia, The Smell of Lima, Nena and The House on White Beach. As Leo had been separated from his wife for nine months ad feels the pain of being apart from her for so long. You get to feel the extent of his depression and differs from the first few pages as he feels how his life has taken a wrong turn he does not feel he can escape from. You share his pain, the loss of his wife he spent ten years with who was his first love. We have all had our first love; the one we want to spend our whole lives with, his other regret is his son who he knows he will miss even though they are getting a divorce. Though he had three affairs with other women, he still misses his ex-wife. He tortures himself for having not been a positive person, believing if he had been, he might not have lost Rafaela. For most of the novel, he spends time with new and old friends in Lima, it is only by the third chapter that we get to meet Marisol, so Christos spends a lot of time keeping us waiting for the moment where he might become happier.

Good Bits:

  • Leo’s puffs of marijuana – naughty boy!
  • The love he has for his son and the fact he misses him so much. The sentiment is truly touching.
  • Marisol is a captivating woman he falls for almost instantly.

Summary: The Love of Marisol is a slow moving story of a man who has lost love, gone through the depression stage of a divorce and decided to change his life by going on holiday only to meet a woman he feels he has fallen for. You can sense how relieved Leo is to have another woman he can relate to and we all hope that we can find the same in our lives.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Love of Marisol

Review: The Ever After of Ella and Micha (The Secret, Book 4) by Jessica Sorensen

Jessica SorensenReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Ella has dreamed of the day when she will marry Micha, her dear beloved. It’s due to be the best Christmas she’s to have, but Ella receives a package that becomes a reminder of her past. This makes her wonder if she will ever be able to settle down with Micha when her life keeps on delivering such awful problems. Problems don’t just come from Ella’s side of the romance, Micha has an offer of touring with his famous band for a stretch of three months, but how can he expect her to drop everything and come with him?

Review: From the writer of Breaking Nova, The Secret of Ella and Micha, The Forever of Ella and Micha, and the Ever After of Ella and Micha. Build as being perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook, Jessica Sorenson’s new novel in the Ella and Micha series has the two of them finally becoming a couple, if only the past did not keep coming back to haunt her. Chapter one sees Micha wondering why Ella had not come to the wedding, finding out when he gets back home she has left. The chapters are written from Ella and Micha’s own viewpoints and the build up to the time they were expected to get married. Lots of angst ensues with the both of them expressing their worries and feelings as if through diary entries. At first Micha thinks Ella handles the arrival of the package well, but the reality is Ella is keeping all her troubles inside as she does not want to cause even more problems. Finding who wrote the journal is quite a shock as it is the reason Ella decides it isn’t a good idea getting married.

Good Bits:

  • The arrival of the package from Gary!
  • Further reading of the journal prove interesting, and harrowing at the same time.
  • Reading about the both of them and their views on life is intriguing.

Summary: All that Micha wants is to make Ella happy and he sees it as his goal to do that. They have deep feelings for each other but Ella doesn’t want to disappoint him with her choices and what her mother felt if she opens up to him. This is a story that has gone from strength to strength with every novel.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Ever After of Ella and Micha (The Secret Book 4)

Review: An Affair Downstairs by (Thornbrook Park, Book 2) by Sherri Browning

an affair downstairsHero: Logan Winthrop is an estate manager with a past. He was once gentry but was linked with the murder of his lover’s husband. To keep his brother’s family free of gossip he hid from polite society. But he can’t keep hiding around Alice.

Heroine: Lady Alice Emerson has no intention of ever marrying. She has a bucket list and she plans to pursue the completion of every adventure on it and a husband would get in the way. Alice wants to see India, shoot a pistol, and have an affair to name a few things on her list.

Review: Logan is a hero who will do what it takes to protect those around him, even if it is from himself. He has desired Alice for a while but saw the differences in their circumstances as insurmountable. He’s relatively easy to seduce when Alice chooses him as her first sexual experience. Don’t let Alice fool you, she thinks he’s a good choice for all the wrong reasons. Another man enters the picture and he says all the right things, pays all the right attention to Alice, and yet there’s something off about him. Will Logan step aside to give Alice a chance at the perfect match or will he claim her as his own? One nice thing about this book is that the sister isn’t evil (and there will be a time when you wonder, but she’s mostly shallow and clueless which are forgivable because she loves Alice).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: An Affair Downstairs (A Thornbrook Park Romance Book 2)

Audio Review: Sylvester by Georgette Heyer

sylvesterHeroine: Phoebe Marlow has a good head on her shoulders and sees the ton’s foibles for what they are. She’s also an aspiring writer who just finished penning a marvelous Gothic romance with cameos of different persons in the ton. She makes her bad guy the insufferable Duke of Salford and unwittingly creates his fictional character with a background very close to the real Sylvester. When Sylvester makes a good impression on her after the book is sent to the publishers, she’s desperate to change it but it’s too late!

Hero: Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, doesn’t remember meeting Phoebe the first time. He’s always prided himself on upholding the title with pride and dignity. To treat anyone ill is beneath him and his station. He decides the best way to get back at Phoebe for her slander is to marry the girl, but he goes about it all wrong and botches everything.

Review: In some respects you could say Sylvester is like Mr. Darcy, but they are not exact copies. Loved Sylvester’s nickname for Phoebe, “sparrow.” Super cute. I love a great nickname. I also liked the dynamics of the story. You have several side characters who add to the story’s tapestry and orchestrate all kinds of shenanigans from an ill-behaved nephew, a spoiled woman who wants the attention from being a pitiable mother without having to mother, a man as pompous as he is wealthy, and a platonic male friend who tries to do right but ends up making a mess of things because he lacks the savvy Sylvester was born with. Overall very enjoyable.

Narrator: Nicholas Rowe has a nice smooth voice. The recording is a little soft and I had to listen to it at higher volume than I normally would, but Rowe himself was great. He had a good cadence with the book and made Heyer’s novel entertaining and engaging.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle, Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle (audio book)

Review: The Reluctant Elf by Michele Gorman

reluctant elfHeroine: Lottie and her daughter, Mabel, are planning to visit Aunt Kate this Christmas because Aunt Kate is starting a bed and breakfast (B&B) business. When Kate is hospitalized, Lottie and Mabel leave a day early for their Christmas vacation. The B&B is in dire straights, so are Aunt Kate’s finances, and the help just absconded for a break to recuperate. Everything hinges on getting a good rating from the reviewer. But Lottie hasn’t the foggiest clue what to do to run a successful B&B.

Hero: Danny, the taxi driver, is an unlikely but most definitely needed hero. When Lottie offers him enough money to fund a trip to see his young daughter in America, he agrees to aid her in anyway he can. He helps paint, fix, repair, clean, and cook. And along the way the two find they have an affinity for each other.

Review: The B&B reviewer and his family are seriously dysfunctional. I am very glad that the creepy brother/in-law doesn’t barge in on Lottie in the bath. He was a very ignorant self-absorbed cad. His wife was a hypochondriac and couldn’t stand her children. The two kids were terrors. I’d be afraid for Mabel to hang out with them. The only one sane was the reviewer. Are you up for some crazy hijinks involving scolding plumbing, falling down ceilings, holes patched with toothpaste? Then you’re in for a treat with this wifi-less Victorian-themed holiday chick-lit. Happy ending for all. There’s definitely room for continuation.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: The Reluctant Elf

Review: Owned (The Billionaire Banker, Book 1) by Georgia Le Carre

ownedReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Millionaire Banker Blake Law Barrington sets his eyes on the incredibly gorgeous Lana Bloom and cannot help what he thinks about her. He wants to have her, bed her and own her as she is young and innocent, unlike him. He is a man who knows what he wants, and how to ensnare those who don’t understand the type of man he is, but Lana has her own agenda, as her mother runs the risk of dying from her illness, she decides in that despair to offer herself to a rich man so she can pay for her mother’s expensive treatment. Blake however sees her as an attractive proposition and wants her, thwarting the other man who also had desires on her.

Review: The concept is a really sound one; it shows Lana’s desperation to help save her mother even though it means her being owned by a man who sees most women as sex objects. Though it isn’t the sort of story a feminist would read as it makes out every woman has a price on their bodies if misfortune heads their way at some point in their lives, Lana handles the situation as best she can, even going so far as being ready to leave him once she gets what she wants. Lana does start out with only her mother’s welfare in mind, but sooner than later she develops an affection for the rich man who has brought her into the very strange world of power and riches – wealth for him comes as part of his life whether she likes it or not, but there is something she doesn’t know about Blake she might not ever want to find out.

Lana grows inevitably to like him beyond all the glitz and glamour, wealth and position, but as she has only money in mind, she wishes she could actually form a real relationship with him outside of that. This for her is nothing more than a pipe-dream, though as she also doesn’t want to get involved with a man who has secrets.

Good Bits:

  • Written in first person POV.
  • This is full of throbbing passion and sensuality.
  • They do say that opposites attract, and this is pretty much what this novel is about.

Summary: As it makes some women look like money-grabbers, this novel isn’t for everyone. I liked how the story started and what it hoped to achieve. It’s a sizzler that is full of passion and has a lot to say of what some women think love really is. I found myself looking forward to book 2.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Owned (Billionaire Banker Series Book 1)

Review: Fired by Her Fling by Christy McKellen

fired by her flingHero: Tristan Bamfield arrives in London to settle a personnel dispute at his father’s radio station. Cleaning up messes for his dad is something Tristan is used to, having taken over the family kitchen cabinet business years ago. He has a fabulous evening with a sexy woman only to find out the next day that she’s one half of the dispute he has to resolve. He’s been played a fool — again!

Heroine: Tallulah (Lula) Lazenby gets tongue-tied around people which may sound odd as her job is as a radio DJ. Sleeping with her boss at the station was a huge mistake. Jez is a major sleazeball; and the promotion he promised her? Nowhere in sight. Imagine her surprise when her one night stand ends up firing her and calls her on the carpet for unethical behavior and manipulation.

Review: Lula’s celebrity personality (the confident side of herself) I felt had better chemistry with Tristan than her “real” timid personality. Tristan has some serious family issues with his brother stealing his fiancée and his dad serially marrying women. My favorite sequences in this story included the night these two hooked up the first time, when they realized who the other one was and the subsequent firing, and Tristan’s later groveling where he wins her back to the studio with gifts (not all appropriate, but all right, cute anyway).

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Fired by Her Fling

Review: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregors, Book 4) by Grace Burrowes

what a lady needs for christmasHeroine: Lady Joan Flynn flees her family’s estate ill prepared to join her extended family for the holidays. Her maid deserts her halfway there and she’s stuck at a train station with no help in sight. She’s not so much worried about getting to the party as she’s worried about not having a husband by the end of the holidays.

Hero: Dante Hartwell needs to drum up investors for his mills. He’s going to a house party of a wealthy Scottish gentlemen in order to do just that. But he doesn’t really like nobbing with these folks. If it wasn’t for his secretary he might not go at all. When his daughter requests he assist a woman at the train station he’s more than happy to oblige.

Review: Lady Joan was compromised by an unrepentant rake. He wanted her talent, but not her, and when Joan finds him engaged the next day it is no wonder she’s all in a panic. This fashion designer spinster needs a man willing to take her on. When Dante proposes marriage he’s the blessing she was looking for. He gives her plenty of outs – she can wait to decide or change her mind if she finds she isn’t pregnant. Their romance is a sweet one. I particularly enjoyed their wedding nights as they worked to figure out their husband and wife routine.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: What a Lady Needs for Christmas (MacGregor Series)