Review: Cinderella and the Sheikh by Teresa Morgan

cinderella sheikHero: Sheikh Rasyn (Ra-sin) Al Jabar has no interest in becoming the next ruler of his homeland, Abbas in North Africa. He decides a Western wife will surely raise the country’s hackles and get him out of the line for succession. When he spies Libby, he thinks he can fulfill his desire to leave the throne and get pleasure out of the arrangement too. He puts on his most charming face and goes in for the kill.

Heroine: Libby Fay is working as a waitress at Hotel Scheherazade in very posh upscale Manhattan. She earns big tips from the wealthy clientele. Waitressing for Libby allows her to wait on people who need a little tender loving care (TLC). She feels that she makes people’s days easier. Growing up, she and her mom would play restaurant, and that’s when she found her calling. This job is the best job she’s ever had and she’s not about to mess it up for a playboy sheikh… even if he’s devilishly handsome and charming to boot.

Review: Libby is no fool. She doesn’t feel Rasyn’s attentions are genuine. He’s only just met her – how can he be in love with her? When he proposes marriage on the first “date” she’s floored. She doesn’t love him, why would she marry him? She says “yes” to help him save face, but an inch given is a mile taken with Rasyn. Twice in the novel, Libby’s mom provides the push to allow Libby to open up to Rasyn. First, he looks at Libby like her father looked at her mother… and then later when her mom asks if she ever gave her heart a chance to love Rasyn. I liked Rasyn’s line about not marrying a man you love, but marrying a man who loves you. I thought that was great! I also like how his plan to bring in an uncultured Western woman backfires. She’s genuine and kind which draws people to her. So while she makes social gaffs like he expected, their results are anything but catastrophic. Poor Rasyn.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Cinderella and the Sheikh (Hot Contemporary Romance)

Review: Cynders and Ashe by Elizabeth Boyle

cynders and asheHeroine: Ella Cynders is a companion for a young lady in love with a gentleman, whom her family doesn’t approve. Ella agrees to switch places with her charge during a masked ball to allow the young couple to elope. That night she dances in the arms of her fairytale prince… the Viscount Ashe. It’s true love… but midnight comes too soon and all fake princesses turn back into pumpkins.

Hero: Lord Julian Ashe is supposed to meet his true love at the family gala – it happens to the lot of them. When he loses the girl with whom he spent an enchanting evening, Julian is uncertain what to do. He tried and couldn’t track her down and she hasn’t appeared at four other balls… this is his last chance to find her again and make her his forever.

Review: This is a perfect story to read on a rainy day or while soaking in a tub covered in bubbles. It’s short, but decadent and contains all you could want in a Regency fairytale. It’s lighthearted, quick, and scrumptious! And don’t you just love the cover? :)

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Cynders & Ashe (A Short Story)

Review: The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh

temporary wifeHero: To say that the Marquess of Staunton does not have a good relationship with his father is an understatement. When summoned to return home after eight years of separation, he decides to thwart his father’s matrimonial plans by finding his own wife first. He wants to embarrass and wound and decides the lowest he is willing to go – a plain biddable working gentlewoman – and advertises to find her. But of course, advertising for a wife is out of the question so he advertises for a governess. After she has served her purpose, Anthony will pension her off and go back to his usual routine.

Heroine: Miss Charity Duncan saw her future spin out before her as a dull and bleak thing. She would be an aunt and a sister, but never a wife or mother. She would always need to support her family in one role or another. Too beautiful to gain work as a governess, she disguises her beauty and answers an ad that will change her life. Mr. Anthony Earheart’s proposal is outrageous and yet… it could be the answer to her family’s debt. She does not expect him to be a Marquess anymore than he expects her to beautiful and vivacious. They’re both in for a surprise.

Review: I hugged this book a couple of times while reading it because it was so good. This is definitely staying on my favorite’s shelf. I can’t believe I picked up The Temporary Wife from a community table at my condo. Mary Balogh’s writing pulled at my heart and reminded me why I loved to read romances. I’d rate six stars, if my rating system went up that high. What I liked best: Staunton discovering that his heart can be touched and transforming into a better man, their first time together at a hotel on the way to his father’s estate, and Charity’s ability to win over everyone determined to look down on her – including Anthony’s ducal father.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Temporary Wife/A Promise of Spring

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Review: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, Book 3) by Julia Quinn

offer from a gentlemanHeroine: Sophie Beckett might be the daughter of an earl, but she’s not legitimate. She’s lived as an unpaid maid to her stepmother and stepsisters since her father passed away. One evening, she dared to sneak into Lady Bridgerton′s masquerade ball and found “Prince Charming.” As charming as he may be, Sophie know not even a second son would never marry her… or would he?

Hero: Benedict Bridgerton’s society nickname ‘Second’ relegated him to a nonentity from a young age. It’s a state of being he’s determined to break even if society would rather keep him there. At a family ball he spies a gorgeous creature dressed in silver, but before the evening’s end she vanished. Years later, his mother gets a new housemaid who stirs him. But he’s still determined to find his silver beauty and wed her… even if his heart might be leaning elsewhere.

Review: Fancy a sweet Cinderella romance? Then you’ll want to pick this book up! We start at the ball almost immediately and boy is it an adorable sequence with a splash of sexy. Their story is part magic and part harsh reality. In the magic of the ball all seems possible. In the light of day, he’s a nobleman and she’s a maid. How could it ever work? In reality, it couldn’t, but lucky for Benedict he’s falling for the same woman twice. Sensual, charming, and full of life.

Fav Quote: “I can live with you hating me,” he said to the closed door. “I just can’t live without you” — Benedict to Sophie

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons)

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The Cinderella Trope

me cinderellaGuest blog by Aubrey Rose, author of Me, Cinderella?

Hi everyone, my name is Aubrey Rose and I just finished my first new adult novel, Me, Cinderella?. The story is about a young woman who longs to visit her mother’s grave in Hungary and ends up finding love along the way. Both of the main characters in the book are troubled by the violent deaths in their past, and at its heart the story is a fairytale about two broken people trying to find a way to let themselves become vulnerable again.

The Cinderella trope is very common in romance, and the first part of my book starts out the same way – girl meets boy, boy doesn’t know her name, girl runs away, leaving only a single clue to her identity… but from there, things take a different turn.

“Fate told me I wasn’t a Disney princess, and I agreed. When the other girls at school wanted to play in imaginary royal palaces built out of cardboard and imagination, I went along. But I was never the princess. I was the funny sidekick lobster that helped the princess get the prince. What I never saw in myself—what nobody ever saw in me—was the slim grace of the hand that rests the tiara on her brow.

Instead, I looked to the older legends, to the stories my mother told me about the goddesses: their vengeances, their fury.

Me, Cinderella? A dainty, feminine orchid, destined to be plucked? No. I was Artemis, strong and intelligent and cunning.”

This book is very personal to me – my father died when I was eight years old, and I’ve never been able to visit his grave. When I was younger, my mother would take me and my sister to the beach on his birthday, and we would attach notes to a balloon to send off into the sky. Later, whenever I visited a chapel, I would light a candle for him in remembrance. I have pictures of him, and my mom tells me stories about how much he loved us. But I’ve never been able to visit his grave.

Fairytales are meant to comfort us. I still miss my dad more than anything, and I still long to see the place where he is buried. But writing this book has given me some measure of comfort, and I hope that sharing my story with my readers will help anyone who has lost someone and has a hard time sharing their grief. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, and it’s what keeps us going through all kinds of tragedy. And love is what lets us know that—eventually—we will live happily ever after.

***

How has love helped you cope with the twists of life? I’ll be giving away a copy of Me, Cinderella? to one of the commenters below, so please check back in later. Thanks so much to Love Romance Passion for hosting me!

Aubrey Rose is part of Insatiable Reads Book Tours, where the hottest authors in romance debut their sizzling new reads! Check it out at InsatiableReads.com.

Website: http://aubreyrosewrites.wordpress.com/

Blurb:

One kind deed can change your life forever…

Brynn Tomlin could never afford to follow her heart. But when she sees a stranger shivering in the snow outside of the college library, an inexplicable urge leads her to buy him a hot cup of coffee. It’s just a small act of kindness, a few words of conversation. Brynn should be focusing on her finals, after all, not on the man who looked up at her gratefully with piercing blue eyes.

He could have been anyone – a janitor on break, a graduate student, a bum. But the man standing outside in the cold turns out to be Dr. Eliot Herceg, one of the most brilliant minds in mathematics and heir to a fortune. After years of reclusive isolation, he now finds his heart awakening to the kind girl whose name he does not know.

Brynn has spent her life trying to forget her desires, and Eliot’s deep wounds have taken nearly a decade to heal. After so much hurt, will either of them be able to open their hearts again?

Buy: Me, Cinderella?

Review: Operation Cinderella by Hope Tarr

operation cinderellaReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Manhattan is the setting for this urban fairytale, and let’s face it, we’ve seen plenty of these novels on the bookshelves recently, as much as there are TV series and movies. Fairy tales seem to be the bread and butter of fiction these days. Macie Graham, a magazine editor is one for always getting her story, yet she is annoyed at Ross Mannon for slating her article on his radio show. His doing this to her costs her position at the magazine and her hating him forever.

Review: Throughout the story she sets out to get her own back on him, but things don’t go the way she wants them to. Ross doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, as many radio personalities are at their best when they are as scathing as he is, but he will live to regret ever having a run in with Macie. Ross only wants a woman who is a good home maker, and the perfect wife to him, but Macie doesn’t sound like she fits the bill in this story. She has her own mind and doesn’t like chauvinist men in general.

Macie thinks Operation Cinderella will be a breeze as it’s her way of getting her own back on a man who has done her wrong, but she gets more than she bargained for with Ross, and having to answer difficult questions isn’t something she expected with him or his friends.

Best bits: Macie starting out Operation Cinderella and pretending to be Martha Jane Gray to get back at him. Ross’s Rants, yeah the things that get him into bother with certain women, Macie’s letter to Ross as Martha for becoming his housekeeper,

Last comments on the novel: The cover image is a little less original than it could have been. It is romantic, but at the same time run of the mill.

Rating: ★★★½☆

Buy: Operation Cinderella

Review: The Cinderella Blues by Obren Bokich

Cinderella Blues Obren BokichReviewed by Sandra Scholes

We all daydream in varying degrees, but Kat Young daydreams her life away, remembering the most enchanting story of all, Cinderella. It is the most wonderful story a little girl ever hears, but not everyone dreams to become the heroine of the fairy tale – Kat however, does and she might be alone in her thoughts. Most women in their thirties know that Cinderella is a fairy tale, not supposed to happen in real life, but try telling that to her – she has a definite Cinderella complex where she thinks she needs to be rescued by a handsome prince/pirate/Bond type character, and she lies in wait, so to speak. Poor her.

One minute she will be thinking about swashbuckling pirates, the next a James Bond style scenario, and the next minute she is driving her car, and having an accident not concentrating on what she is doing. She doesn’t realize her daydreams get her into so much trouble, but they do. Her story begins with her daydreaming about being dangerously corseted and hung from a yardarm, Captain Jack, a ruthless, yet handsome pirate rescues her from her living hell, yet it isn’t him she wants to rescue her – there is someone else she wouldn’t mind being close to.

I found it comical, and strange that an otherwise intelligent woman could act so childish at her age – but here she is – our lovely heroine who has enough daydreams to fill a novel of her own. I got the impression that it was her imagination that got her through the bad times either in her private or work life. She wasn’t the sort that would daydream for no reason and there is no better way than escapism. Her tendency for getting into trouble while doing everyday activities is funny enough, but the general outcome of them is funnier when she still daydreams through the most dangerous things.

I thought it would be obvious that Kat would eventually need to find a man who could cope with her daydreaming nature, but the one she finds is even more interesting than I imagined. She believes that one day she will meet her Prince Charming, but along the way she will have to make do with men who aren’t trustworthy, safe to be with or faithful in any way. This for her is the ultimate hell on Earth, and she does wonder when the day will finally come when she will meet her prince.

I enjoyed the story, found it endearing in many places, and laughed out loud at the funny bits. Kat gets into so many problems from her daydreaming it makes her into a different kind of heroine – one everyone would like.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Cinderella Blues

Movie Review: Ever After starring Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, and Anjelica Huston

Ever After has been one of my all time favorite romantic comedies. Drew Barrymore is at her best in this Cinderella spinoff (the first of a long string that soon followed.) Her prince is played by Dougray Scott, a very handsome devil that captures the sulky spoiled regent character very well.

This movie is one of those movies takes place in France but everyone speaks English. Good thing too or you’d miss out on a lot of the subtle and fun expressions this cast of characters do on a regular basis throughout the movie. My favorite one is the sly glance Jacqueline gives near the very end. She’s a wonderful supporting character that you’ll love to watch.

Danielle, Drew Barrymore, losses her father at the tender age of eight. The very day following his first night with his new wife, the Baroness, played by Anjelica Huston. You would expect poison or some other form of trickery, but this is never revealed. From that moment forward Danielle’s life is changed irrevocably from the life of a wealthy merchant’s daughter to the unloved and unwelcomed position of an unpaid servant in her stepmother’s home.

Meanwhile, Prince Henry has lived a relatively easy life until his father has made the unpardonable declaration that he is to wed some Spanish princess he has never met. Horrified by this backward thinking, Henry runs away (and this is not the first time he’s run off either). He encounters Danielle during this mad escape when she knocks him off his stolen horse. Paying her for her silence of his passing, Henry takes off again as if the very devil were after him.

everafter

The money paid for her silence heavy in her pocket, Danielle runs back to the manor excited and bubbly at the prospect at being able to save a man who has been servant, friend, and father figure in her life. A daring plan to dress above her station and a sharp-tongued speech directed at his royal highness insure the release of her old friend but starts a delightfully enchanting tale of cat and mouse between Henry and Danielle as he pursues and she flees until finally she is caught.

If you’re looking for a Cinderella tale that features a headstrong, book-read, saucy female lead this is the movie for you.

Rating: ★★★★★

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