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: The Pretender to the Throne (Call of Duty, Book 3) by Maisey Yates

pretender to the throneHero: Xander Drakos is the rebel wastrel prince of Kyrnos. He left the country after his mother’s death. He blamed himself for her death as much as his father and brother did. He pushed his feelings away and drowned his sorrows in all the wrong places, never healing. Now he’s back in the country to finally do his duty as heir-apparent and take over the throne from his ailing father. Just one problem… nobody particularly wants him back.

Heroine: Layna Xenakos was permanently disfigured by acid in the unrest that occurred when Xander left the country. She’s hid herself in a nunnery, believing the lack of vanity makes her a better humanitarian. But, she does care deeply about her appearances—she just buries her feelings and locks them away. That is, until Xander walks back into her quiet life asking her to pick up their relationship as if he never left… to help him win the people over again. Well good luck, he’s going to have to win her over first.

Review: This was a different romance than your usual fare, because it is the heroine that is scarred and not the hero. Layna in a nunnery reminded me of Sound of Music (or maybe I’ve been looking for Sound of Music ever since I got the Blu-Ray and went to Salzburg.) I also thought it was interesting that both of the main characters had spent the time apart hiding from the world. Yes, I know Xander was out in it and living the wild life, but he wasn’t really active in it. He used the club scenes and gambling scenes to hide from himself. Overall, I liked it, but wanted to like the characters a little more than I did. I didn’t really connect with them.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Pretender to the Throne (The Call of Duty)

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Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

city of dark magicReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Sarah Weston is a music grad student who has been offered the job of a lifetime. Nicolas Pertusato is the man that is taking her to her dream job. He’s also something of a tour guide. There are several other characters that lead us on a tour through Prague and Lobkowicz Palace.

While at the Palace, Sarah meets Prince Max. He is a man of mystery even though he is her boss. We have a story here that has suspense, mystery, and the paranormal. Then I’m sorry to say that this book just drew me in and I couldn’t stop reading it. Everywhere I went, this book came with me. I just could not put it down.

I work at an Academic library and could relate to the fact that Sarah’s love is music. I work with a woman who is our liaison with the music department. One thing I missed was having music to listen to while reading this. Had I had some, it was have enhanced my reading enjoyment even more.

So, for you, I could do no less than go to the librarian and ask her what music you should be listening to as you read this book. Below is a list of her suggestions:

  • Haydn, Symphony no. 104
  • Haydn, Cello Concerto no. 1 in C Major
  • Mozart, Symphony no. 40 in g minor
  • Mozart, Requiem
  • Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata
  • Beethoven, Fur Elise
  • Carl Maria von Weber, Der Freischutz, the Huntsmen’s Chorus
  • Paganini, Violin Concerto no. 1

If you are not into classical music, she also suggests that you might like to listen to some Czech or Slovak folk songs. I was very disappointed that I wasn’t listening to any of these suggestions as I was reading this book but I’m hoping that you will try some of her suggestions.

If you love to travel and you ever plan on going to Prague, I’m hoping you will take this book with you. I thought it would make a pretty good travel guide as you enjoy your vacation. I’m sure that it wasn’t Magnus’ original intention but it has me wanting to take the time and go explore Prague with my book with me when I go.

Personally, I feel that this is a book that would be best in paper form instead of e-book. I just loved turning the pages and seeing what Sarah, and all the other characters, had in store for me. I’m hoping you will feel the same way. I just loved Magnus’ words drawing me in and enjoying the feel of the paper as I turned the page. I went to M. Flyte’s web site but could not find that there are any other books in the works but I’m hoping to see more adventures with Prince Max and Sarah.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: City of Dark Magic

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GIVEAWAY: Lynn is giving away her print copy of this book! Enter by leaving a comment. Open to US readers. Last day to enter: May 19, 2013.

Review: Velvet by Xavier Axelson

Velvet by Xavier AxelsonReviewed by Sandra Scholes

Synopsis: Medieval times are the setting for this novel. It is Axelson’s first full length one, and it isn’t about to disappoint. Young Virago is a royal tailor and works at court, taking over the previous tailor, his father, who was killed in an accident. He knows he has to keep up the family trade as a lot of folk are relying on him for court fashions. He has a deep longing for Prince Duir even though he played with him as a child, he loves him, but as it is a forbidden love, he has to keep it a secret. When Virago gets a new cloth sent to him from outside of the kingdom, he is amazed at its beauty and feel. He finds it is called velvet, and it takes his breath away, just as Seton, the court lute player fuels his deep passion for another man to be alone with.

Review: As Virago is around court, his new position allows him to converse with royalty just as his father had, and in one way it is good as he gets to be around Prince Duir, his one true love, but he doesn’t see him as he should – Duir isn’t the sort of prince to be trusted as once his father gives him the position of king, he becomes cruel and unworthy of the title. The velvet Virago gets sent to him seems to have a life of its own. It is an entity that invites the fulfillment of urges, both good and bad, and even those never before known.

There is a sense of foreboding, and duality about this story as Virago lives and works around great privilege, but also gets to see the horror of what his true love, the now King Duir is capable of – murder and slaughter are seen as nothing to him, yet Virago still has a rose-tinted view of him. The king soon has an interest in Seton even though Virago has also fallen for him, so that could inspire a menage situation. There are so many opposites in this story, it is what makes it wonderful to read. Virago is prepared to take the rough with the smooth when dealing with the king, while he likes the smooth love he has found from being with Seton. Love is at the root of all this, and it is a true, honest love, but it is questionable whether it is a lingering one.

It is interesting that Xavier chose the name Virago as it is taken from the Latin words Vir for virile man, and ago to apply to a woman, which means a woman who displays male qualities. Virago in this is a virile man once he is exposed to the velvet, but also with the help of Seton, he can come to realize not everyone is as nice as he imagines.

Naughty Bits: They are nice and steamy! As I mainly read LGBT novels written by women, I found this an interesting diversion from the norm. The idea of opposites attracting, and also showing two sides of a series of people made it easy to identify to the characters. The writer is able to take the reader to his chosen world and let them enjoy it while shocking them too.

What’s the verdict? There are things that aren’t explained much, like Virago’s past, but that doesn’t make you like the story any less. This is a sensual and erotic page turner for those rainy days off.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Velvet

Review: Bound by Night (Bound, Book 1) by Amanda Ashley

Heroine: Elena Knightsbridge lives in the 21st century and until the age of 12 grew up in America before the tragic deaths of her family. Despite that she refuses to leave creeper uncle until the start of the novel even though he wants to marry her so he can have lots of rough painful (on her end) sex with her all because she has no money and he’s a police chief in their hometown of Romania/Transylvania/some vampire country? Say what?! Excuse me. No. Hell No.

Hero: Drake Sherrad is a vampire prince in line for a throne he doesn’t want because the coven lives by rules he can’t abide. His oasis is the crumbling Wolfram estate and even though it’s forbidden when he discovers Elena in his lair he wants to claim her as his own… forever (cue scary/but happy music… and a ton of vicious vampires, including one that would love to and does neck/blood/bite “rape” Elena because he likes getting his blood in the most violent way possible)

Review: Why oh why did Elena and her cousin, Jenica, stay with the sick twisted uncle when his own daughter says he’s raped her repeatedly and violently? I have a big BIG issue with that. Major WTF. I struggled to get past the first several chapters because there was all sort of crazy going on… ridiculously cheesy lines, setup, etc. I just didn’t buy it. I read on because I wanted to get to the part in the story that I had read about a kiss. Needless to say it wasn’t worth reading the book for.

Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

Buy: Bound by Night

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Review: Of Two Minds by Carol Matas and Perry Nodelman

bookreview

Of Two Minds is a very deep book for kids. As an adult how it ends leads to quite an interesting train of thought I’m not sure young children will catch. This is my second time reading it. I remembered enjoying it thoroughly when I read it back in middle school. I can’t honestly say one way or another if I caught the concept revealed at the end of the book back then. I enjoyed it just as much this time around as an adult.

Lenora is a young teenage princess from a people who all have the power to create whatever they want. To imagine it is to make it be. She doesn’t understand why it’s law not to create worlds and change things to suit your will. Why were people afraid to change the color of their hair or imagine bright pink puppies?

After one incident too many her parents decide to marry her off to Prince Coren. They feel it will ground her, get her head out of her fantasies and make her a sensible woman. To that end they even plan to set a full brigade (4K-11K men) to think her solidly on the island she and Coren will make their future home, thus making escape impossible.

Angry, frightened, and confused Lenora escapes into somebody else’s world when making one of her own is impossible. Unfortunately, she also dragged the object of her distress with her. Coren, gangly redheaded and freckled, can’t even stand up without tripping over his feet. Could he be any more useless? It turns out he can – where’s his sense of adventure?

Rating: 4 Stars

Makes me want to check out the sequel More Minds!

Buy: Of Two Minds

Spoilers:
Pg193

“I’m not dreaming?” Lenora said. “How do I know that for sure?”
“Well,” Lufa smiled, “I suppose none of us really knows that. Perhaps this is all a dream, a fantasy we will wake out of.”

“And if all her imaginings could be real, then who was to say that her reality wasn’t somebody else’s dream?”

Surely something this real couldn’t be just somebody’s imagination. Could it?

Ah, but couldn’t it? Especially in light of her adventure with Coren. Is her story her own or the very imaginings of others?

Review: Someday My Prince Will Come by Jerramy Fine

by Mandy Dougherty, guest reviewer

What little girl doesn’t secretly dream of becoming a Princess? For Jerramy those dreams are more real than reality itself and from a very young age she has become acutely aware that she is poised for a royal position.  Feeling as if her ‘average’ upbringing in the suburbs is all a mistake, Jerramy finds herself constantly drawn to the Royal Family of England and one handsome young man in particular, Peter Phillips.

For Jerramy her destiny is mapped as clear as the picture of Peter taped to her bedroom wall. As the years go by the picture remains and the feelings that she has for the ‘Prince’ intensify. As she graduates from high school Jerramy is faced with the decision of a lifetime.  Will she take fate into her own hands and find ‘Prince’ Peter Phillips on her own or will she let the cards fall where they will and continue to wait for her Prince to come?

A whirlwind adventure ensues when Jerramy decides fate has not been kind to her, after all it left her with this perfectly mundane existence for over eighteen years and she is not content with waiting for it to play in her favor. Europe is the ticket and royal love is the final destination as Jerramy jaunts throughout England in an attempt to catch the eye of Peter so that her future as a royal and his wife can begin.

Readers will love the fancy-free tale of author Jerramy Fine’s memoir Someday My Prince Will Come.  Jerramy’s tale of missed encounters and tempting the fates is humorous and at times leaves the reader shaking their hand in disbelief at the extent one would go.

While I enjoyed the book, I did find it difficult to muster through at times as the story, though based on the outlandish adventures of this ‘wanna be princess’, tended to drag.  I have to say I never expected the book to end the way that it did and the epilogue was an added dose of humor.  Jerramy Fine determination in nabbing her Prince plays into every woman’s dream of the castle, the Prince Charming, and the fairytale.  It takes you back to your childhood teaparties and may even have you looking in the mirror at your own crooked crown.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Someday My Prince Will Come: True Adventures of a Wannabe Princess

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Review: The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square By Rosina Lippi

guestreview

By: Marcia, guest reviewer

Have you ever had an experience so disheartening that you want to go to bed and pull the covers over your head? That is what Julia Darrow is doing with her life, although she may not see it that way. She lives and works in Lambert Square, a renovated factory space that has turned boutique. Located in South Carolina, it is inhabited by colorful small town characters each possessing qualities necessary for the success of this supportive, caring community. Julia owns high-end linens boutique named Cocoon where she and her employees wear pajamas. Where is Prince Charming to kiss this Sleeping Beauty?

Enter John Dodge, a successful entrepreneur, who travels around the country buying failing businesses, moving on once he has turned them around. He has just come to Lambert Square after purchasing a collectible fountain pen store sight unseen. Julia intrigues him and the feeling is mutual. As the story unfolds, their emotional baggage is exposed and we learn their secrets.

Although not from the south, Rosina Lippi uses her love for language to weave a rich, tightly woven tapestry of words that accurately describes southern speech patterns, values, habits and expectations. Lambert Square is charming place and the characters that live there have depth and integrity. You will want to visit often.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

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