Hold Me (Fool’s Gold)
This latest Fool’s Gold title, unfortunately, fails to live up to the series. Destiny is in town only to get the new Fool’s Gold search and rescue system in place. She firmly believes in keeping others at a distance and passion out of her relationships. Kipling is the new head of the search and rescue team and could not be any more different. He firmly believes in living life to the fullest and enjoying all the passion that comes with it. And now he is determined to show Destiny the error of her ways.
Typically Mallery’s Fool’s Gold books are a hit and can do no wrong. Unfortunately, this one just did not quite hit the right note. Destiny is so shut off to emotions and human relationships that she was hard to empathize with and made many questionable choices. Kipling’s character also fell a little flat, and he also made certain choices that made him more reminiscent of a teenage boy rather than a hero. Combined, it is hard to feel invested in the romantic development between Destiny and Kipling. Appearances by past favorite characters helped redeem the story, but could not make this into a hit.
A Palace in Peking
A Palace in Peking by Margaret Zee is a story of friendship and love set against the rich background of old China. Daria Krasnova is sent away from home after an interlude with a boy in the back of a car. Her mother’s upcoming remarriage makes Daria too much for her to handle, so she sends Daria to Peking, where she lives with a family distantly connected to her step-family and attends school. One of the young men of the house, David Clierce, befriends her, but their friendship deepens unexpectedly, and this young man becomes someone she will follow to the ends of the earth.
This underappreciated novel is written with a framework that gives it a very classical feel. That, combined with the depictions of characters, who feel almost Dickensian in their idiosyncrasies, though with a definite Chinese bent, also lends it a strong feeling of having descended from literary works. But Daria is no Miss Havisham, for all that Peking has a crumbling feel of old traditions preparing to split apart. All of this works strongly in the book’s favor, creating an intriguing read that will likely appeal to readers who appreciate literary novels.
The greatest strength of this novel is the author’s great passion for the place, the great detail she weaves seamlessly into the storyline, and yet her restraint at not letting her passion for place overshadow the characters. First and foremost, she tells an interesting, character-driven story, and, secondly, she works in Peking and China. With Zee’s obvious interest in Chinese history, Peking in particular, it would have been easy for a less capable author to wander off into the weeds and dump a bunch of information on the reader. Instead, Zee imparts information subtly, giving readers brief, relevant glimpses into Chinese society, carefully layering her story in such a way so that over-informing never becomes an issue. She keeps her story about people, with Peking working a rich backdrop, giving the characters a fully imagined and capably drawn stage to perform their drama.
A Palace in Peking is best described as a sleeper novel, one that is easy to overlook, but one that shouldn’t be, because it is rich and full of many things for readers to enjoy. With its themes of love, loss, belonging, and the experience of the foreigner set against the striking time and place of Peking in the 1930s, this book is surprisingly readable, well-told, and nicely put together, making it a book readers should not ignore.
Ride Hard: A Raven Riders Novel
“I need you to try to judge me on my actions and my words, not on the actions and words of people who came before me in your life.”
Obsessed! Laura Kaye has me loving Ride Hard, the first installment in her new series The Raven Riders. I practically devoured this book in one sitting. It was gritty, beautiful, sexy, raw and emotional. This book hits you hard as readers are submersed with layers of romance, suspense, and second chances.
Right off the opening pages, I was lost in the world of bikers and a young heroine discovering and finding her second chance at life. Haven Randall and her best friend, Cora ran away to escape from Haven’s monster of a father and found temporary shelter with the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club.
Haven has lived a very sheltered life never experiencing anything in her 23 years. Her father has kept her prisoner and has plans for her to be in arranged marriage to further his crime dealings. Haven has been nothing but just a pawn until she finally decided to run away. But her freedom comes at a cost since there is a big reward for her return and so every gang is in hot pursuits in finding Haven and Cora.
Dare Kenyon has three things he loves and cherish. His club. His brothers. His family. As president of the Raven Riders MC, Dare makes its his mission to make his club different from other MCs. His club protects people who are in need of help. And so when his club takes in Haven and Cora, Dare never expected to fall for Haven. And soon, he is seeking safety, comfort and love with Haven.
“Haven Randall was maddening. Sweet yet sexy. Innocent yet provocative. Beautiful yet seemingly unaware of what she was doing to him.”
When Haven makes a list of things that she wishes to experiences, she never expected Dare to help her. As Dare and Haven begin to spend more time together, Dare finds it hard to resist Haven. Her beauty, innocence, and caring nature attracts Dare in more ways that he could imagine. And when they finally began to embark on a deep and meaningful relationship, how far will Dare go to protect Haven? Is he willing to kill for her? Can Haven finally live the life that she wants with Dare by her side or will her father destroy that dream?
This book had it all to keep any MC romance fans entertained. It had grit, steam, suspense, raw characters and one beautiful love story that unfolded. Dare and Haven were written in such a raw manner that Ms. Kaye allowed readers to feel the hurt, the loss, the love, the hope and the strong gravitational pull they have for one another. So if you are looking for a book that was layered with everything you could want in an MC book, then this book is for you. I seriously can’t wait for the next book and future books of this series as we were introduced to one exceptional cast of characters.
Rising from the Ashes
Rising from the Ashes tells a story of trauma and triumph with characters that will touch your heart and stay with you long after the last page. At age 17, Christina McIntyre suffers an unimaginable traumatic event that she physically survives but scars her deeply. After years spent healing and being guarded with the help of her parents, she suffers yet another tragedy. Blessed with a kind, caring, and understanding boss, Tina (the name she adopts after her first trauma) finds safety, friendship, and solace at work. At home, she finds these same things in a secure apartment with a full-time housekeeper and bodyguard who have become her family. Focused on her career and advancing in her company, Tina is thrown for a loop when her boss introduces her to Cliff, a contractor. As Tina learns more about Cliff’s character and strong belief in faith and family, she begins to let her guard down. After keeping men and personal relationships at a distance for so long, does Cliff hold the key to unlocking Tina’s heart and help her learn to love laugh and trust again?
Powerful and moving are the best words to describe Rising from the Ashes. Through her detailed and deliberate writing, she brings to life the horrific, healing, and ultimately wonderful events that Tina experiences throughout the book. While some scenes are graphic in nature and may make some feel uncomfortable, they have a purpose and are not simply gratuitous. It is clear that these scenes are necessary for readers to truly experience Tina’s journey. These scenes also give the book a tangible quality that will touch readers in many different ways. From anger and heartbreak, to compassion, faith and rejoicing, it is clear that Wells’ intention was not only to tell a story about a girl, but to invite her readers into the story so that they can experience and take this journey first with just Tina and then with both Tina and Cliff. This book is definitely one that should not be missed.
Property of a Noblewoman: A Novel
Property of a Noblewoman by Danielle Steel is a fascinating novel with a bit of historical intrigue. The property of what one woman left behind is now up for the heirs to take or else to be auctioned off… and that is where readers will find themselves buried deep within…two unlikely characters will be brought together in finding the answers. What they find is a whole load of people who may or may not be the one to inherit the property of a noblewoman.
Danielle Steele masterfully brings a lot to her audience. First, there’s an air of mystery surrounding very valuable belongings, a bit of intrigue as the plot moves forward and romance that sparks as the clues are uncovered. I felt like a grown Nancy Drew with her boyfriend Ned and their friends as the case kept getting closer to being solved. I loved the realistic portrayal of family life and how complicated families can be. Demanding and frustrating sometimes…but, in the end, there may just be some hope to rescue a family when they need it most. Property of a Noblewoman creates suspense and a spark of excitement that never ends even when they reach the last page. Love, affairs, heartbreak, and a rush, to find, who inherits the property of a noblewoman, will leave readers begging for more by this talented writer.
This was my first novel read that was written by Danielle Steele. Her characters are realistic and highly entertaining. Readers will never be bored in this stunning read. Overall, I highly recommend this title to readers worldwide.
Beauty and the Feast
Beauty and the Feast is a very hot romance novel, featuring Eva Raines and Gabriel Abbott. Eva is a chef who left the restaurant business, moved to Napa and now is working for a small company, called All Things to All People. ATAP provides cleaning services, as well as upscale cooking and catering. Gabriel is a self-made rich man, and owner of a vineyard. Eva and Gabriel meet when ATAP was contracted to cater a dinner for Gabriel and his current girlfriend. The moment Gabriel heard Eva’s voice over the phone, he was smitten, but when he tasted her food he was in so deep that he could not get her out of his mind. So, when they finally met, sparks fly and clothes come off. But because of a very jealous lady, Eva and Gabriel might not reach their happily ever after.
Beauty and the Feast was a great read. One thing that made the book so great was Eva. Eva was a farm girl, a bit shy, and not very experienced with men. I was a bit surprised that she fell into bad with Gabriel immediately. I was even more surprised how strong, intelligent and resourceful she turned out to be. Eva was a great character who cooked amazing meals. Each meal was depicted in such amazing detail that one might become hungry while reading the story.
Unfortunately there were two things that diminished the story. First was the dialogue. In general, I found them to be too open. It was difficult to believe that people who work together talk so openly about their intimate life. Also very often I found the conversations between Eva and Jason, the eighteen-year-old son of Eva’s client, improper. There were a few times when Jason crossed the line of improper behavior. The second thing was the description of Eva’s tasks. Several times, the author decided to describe what Eva was doing in the kitchen, down to the smallest details, from cooking to cleaning the counter. It slowed down the pace of the story.
Despite some flaws, Beauty and the Feast is a fun read, spiced with very explicit love scenes. It is a fast-paced story with a great heroine and an interesting plot. As a bonus, the last chapter contains recipes of the food Eva prepared in the story. This story is the right choice for romance novel lovers who like hot sex and good food.