Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Royal We Book Review

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

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American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it's Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain's future king. And when Bex can't resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick's sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he's fated to become.

Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she's sacrificed for love - her career, her home, her family, maybe ever herself - will have been for nothing.

Review by Brittany:

I received a free copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, and I'm so happy that I did. This book was laugh-out-loud funny all the way through, often heart-warming, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My favorite thing about this book is that Nick and Box's relationship feels real. A book about royalty would be easy to turn into a perfect, adorable little fairy tale, but these authors didn't do that. instead, they built an actual relationship between two people, with the added complication of Nick being headed for the throne. The relationship often got rocky, and both Bex and Nick made some bad choices throughout. Their relationship is the core of the book, and it was done beautifully.

I also loved the banter throughout the book. The way Nick and Bex interact is just one way in which the relationship feels real, but it was my favorite part. They are snarky and tease each other, and they are both often kind of goofy. They interact in the same way with their friends, sharing easy banter and quips between each other.

Overall, I loved this book. This is one of my favorite examples of a book that builds a relationship. I thought it was very well done.

Notable quotes:

There's no denying it, no revisiting it, no editing my behavior into something more innocent.

That he'd realized this, months beyond the point where it could have saved us, was something I'd rather not have known.

I saw a childlike yearning to have his mother back juxtaposed with the achingly adult knowledge that this wish would never come true.

I don't know why it takes something monumentally destructive to remind you what you want to save.

"I don't care who started it, or who slept with what, or whatever went on with you kids, but shit happens and when it's people who matter, we deal with it."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Something Dangerous Book Review

Something Dangerous by Penny Vincenzi

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The dazzling Lytton twins, Adele and Venetia, are born into the great Lytton publishing empire. In 1928, on their eighteenth birthday, they are rich and admired, with a confidence verging on arrogance. But the specter of Nazi Germany is growing...Gradually their privileged world darkens in unimaginable ways - but it is not just the twins whose lives have been irrevocably changed. Barty Miller, rescued from the London slums in babyhood by Celia Lytton, is clever, ambitious, and a complete contrast to the twins - and she faces temptation of the most unexpected kind...

Review by Brittany:

This is the second book in the Spoils of Time trilogy by Vincenzi, and I loved it as much as the first. Vincenzi is just a fabulous example of an author who knows what she's doing.

This book had the backdrop of World War II, most of which didn't feel much different to me from the backdrop of World War I in the first novel. One thing that does stand out is that Vincenzi used Celia as an example of how Hitler charmed people and led them to believe his ideas were good, before the tragedy of the War truly began. I thought it was interesting that the author used Celia in this way, particularly as she is the backbone of the Lytton books. There were also more characters involved in the war effort in this book.

The twins were the characters who had the most focus in this book, which I think did a lot to stress the effects of the War, but Celia's story remains my favorite. She's the character who interests me the most, so I still enjoyed her parts of the story best. That being said, Adele in particular had some major events that were products of the War and also developed her character dramatically.

Lawrence Elliot, a character who was much despised in the first book, makes a bit of a surprise reappearance in this installment, adding a little bit of tension to the book. Relationships between Barty and the New York Lyttons become strained, and this is one of the first times when the reader realizes that Barty actually is human and not perfect. Her relationship with Lawrence added depth to her character and set the scene for her to move forward into the third installment.

Overall, I loved the first one just that little bit more, but I loved this one too. The writing is beautiful, the story is fantastic, the characters are all real, and I want the trilogy to never end. Read No Angel first, but definitely pick this one up as well.

Notable quotes:

She had watched it hurt, had felt the hurt herself, and had known there was nothing whatever she could do about it.

And the worst thing of all was not the fear that it would go on for ever, not that there was no one he could talk to about it: but that the one thing which had been his panacea, the drug in which he could take refuge for his grief, all his loneliness, was suddenly quite useless and there was no escape from anything to be found anywhere.

She was dreadfully afraid that she was doing the wrong thing; but she lacked the strength any longer to do the right one.

"Contrary to popular opinion, I find that the passing of time and the dulling of grief have very little to do with one another."

Happy memories; was that what happiness actually was, never now, only then, in the past where you could pick your time, say then, yes, that was it, that was safe.

And she loved him too much to refuse it; but it was making her very unhappy.

And every day, she wondered why and how she could love him so much; and what on earth could become of the pair of them.

"How does it happen, Venetia, how do people get that way? Do we all have that potential for evil? Is it some kind of ghastly disease that runs through a people...?"

"Marriages don't stay in neat, tidy shapes you know; they sprawl about, very messily sometimes."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Last Kiss Goodnight Book Review

Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter


Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner's daughter, is tasked with Solo's care and feeding. The monster inside him years to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems - she's his.

Vika endures the captives' taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can't free them. Only, Solo is different - he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be  used against him...and he'll be put to a killer test.

Review by Brittany:

Showalter is a bestselling author, but this is the first book by her that I've read. And despite the great saying, I picked up because the cover is just gorgeous!

I think I have a bit of a thing for circus stories. I've only read a few, but any time I see a blurb about a circus book, it intrigues me. This one deals with a supernatural circus, one that holds otherworlders in cages instead of animals. There is also an element of black magic that keeps the circus moving locations and keeps the fear in the otherworlders.

I enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, largely because this is where more of the action happens. Solo is actually a participant in the circus, and he then gets his opportunity to bust out, take Vika, and make an escape. It is also in the last half of the book that some of the otherworlders get an opportunity to shine and show what their skill sets are.

The romance that blossoms between Solo and Vika is typical of a romance - nearly instantaneous and a slow burn. But what I loved about it was that there was no gratuitous sex or overly graphic sex. This is an author who understands the value of romance and of keeping it behind closed doors, a breath of fresh air from so many other books that are on the market.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would have liked more circus time and I myself didn't fall in love with Solo - falling in love with the hero is always a big plus - but I liked it all the same. This is the first in a series by Showalter, and I do plan to read the next one (which has an even more gorgeous cover!). If you're a romance reader and like a little paranormal thrown in, this one is a good one to pick up. If nothing else, the cover is droolworthy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tempting Fate Book Review

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

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Gabby and Elliott have been happily married for eighteen years. They have two teenaged daughters. They have built a life together. Forty-three year old Gabby is the last person to have an affair. She can't relate to the way her friends desperately try to cling to the beauty and allure of their younger years...And yet she too knows her youth is quickly slipping away. She could never imagine how good it would feel to have a handsome younger man show interest in her - until the night it happens. Matt makes Gabby feel sparkling, fascinating, alive - something she hasn't felt in years. What begins as a long-distance friendship soon develops into an emotional affair as Gabby discovers her limits and boundaries are not where she expects them to be. Intoxicated, she has no choice but to step ever deeper into the allure of attraction and attention, never foreseeing the life-changing consequences that lie ahead. If she makes one wrong move she could lose everything - and find out what really matters most.

Review by Brittany:

As a long-standing fan of Jane Green, it's no surprise that I picked this one up. This is one of her most recent novels and definitely the newest one of hers that I have read.

I loved this book. When thinking about this review, I was trying to pinpoint exactly what it was that I loved so much about this one that made it stand out from her others. All I could come up with was maturity. There is a certain level of emotional maturity that Green reaches in this novel that really stood out from her earlier novels. This maturity shows that, over her years of writing, she has really grown as an author. During the entire book, Gabby goes through so much, has so many experiences, and Green really captured an emotional realism for each situation.

I had thought this book was going to lead up to the climax of Gabby and Matt's affair, but a lot of the book focused on the lead up and the aftermath, with little emphasis placed on the actual affair. I was surprised by this take on the story, but I appreciated it. I think the exploration of what can come from such a big decision is worth spending more time on than the action of the affair. I also thought that Green did a fantastic job of making Matt appealing, without making Elliott seem less so. Throughout the book, it was hard to root for any one person to be with Gabby because they were both so wonderful and human. I also thought Green did well with the reactions of friends of Gabby and Elliott, and the two daughters. Everyone had their role to play, and Green did well giving them all that role.

Overall, I really just adored this book. I loved the emotional aspects of it and the fact that the focus was mostly on the aftermath of an affair and the process of trying to recover from making such a choice. This is a great example of Jane Green's work.

Notable quotes:

The biggest mistake any of us can make is to keep secrets. They always come out in the end, and it is the unspoken that causes the most problems.

...she may be going through the motions, but she is not present in her life.

There really was no greater hurt that could occur, nothing that could happen that would make things worse than they already were.

He missed being heard, being thought of as interesting, rather than being taken for granted.

She closes her eyes for a second as she stands by the fridge, so tired, so desperately wanting her life to be something, anything, other than the life she has.