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Review: What Matters Most by Linda Winfree

Saturday, October 22
My rating:

4 Stars…

Synopsis:

A man in the worst place he can be between two women and forced to choose which one lives or dies. Houston homicide detective, John OReilly, is torn between two women. One is the woman hes loved without hope for years. The other carries his unborn child. Now, a man bent on revenge wants OReilly to choose, and any choice he makes could cost him everything.Gutsy sheriffs deputy, Lanie Falconetti, is determined not to repeat her mothers mistakes in love. Her no-strings attached affair with John OReilly leads to an unexpected, but joyfully welcomed pregnancy. However, the shadow from Johns past threatens not only her chance at happiness, but her life and that of her unborn baby as well.

****

Originally I was hovering around 3 stars, but I've read it twice this month and I really enjoyed it the second time around.

What I loved:
- I love how John had to grovel after he messed everything up. The way he realised what he lost, and worked to get it back was excellent.
- Oh my God, he was the cutest dad!
Quote…The tall, blonde nurse smiled. "You can touch him, you know."
He nodded, making no move to do so. The fear was unbelievable. Before him was the smallest person he'd ever seen, and he was responsible for him, for his safety. The future stretched before him, fraught with unseen dangers John had never considered.

God, one day he'd have to hand this kid the keys to a car.

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- And I loved how Ms Winfree painted John's relationship with his little one. I could practically feel this as she wrote it...
Quote…He brushed his mouth against the wispy hair on the tiny head.

- I really liked Beth. For all that she went through, she was a wonderful friend to John. Honest, brash, blunt, and doing everything she can to help him.
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What I didn’t love:
- So, I think the synopsis is way off. The story is triggered by this stuff, but it isn't the story. I think it's kind of sad for the book, because the actual synopsis put me off a bit. I'm not a fan of love triangles or romantic suspense normally, and the synopsis made it look like it had both of those. Maybe a more accurate synopsis would have attracted readers? I don't know... I just feel like it could have been simpler. And right-er. How about:
Quote…When a shadow from the past descends upon John OReilly's life, his secrets are exposed and his life is thrown into chaos.
When the dust settles, his life is barely recognizable, but John is hell bent on making things right for the people he loves.
But what if the life he's dreaming of is now out of his reach?
And what if the woman he wants has finally decided he isn't worth it anymore?


- The other thing I didn't like was Lanie. The way she clung to her anger, the push and pull, the borderline psycho rage, the way she blames him for things he had no control over. I just felt like dude, give the guy a break. I don't think she ever thanks him for the good things he does.

Overall…
Awesome hero, awesome writing, lots of grovelling (which I love) and angst, but the heroine was a bit of a dickhead.

Review: Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward

Friday, October 21
My rating:
3 Stars…

So close! This was so, so close to being 5 stars...

Synopsis:

Money or love? Which would you choose?

You probably just answered the question in your head thinking it's an easy decision.

For me, it's not. Did I mention it's a lot of money? A hell of a lot.

I needed to go far away to think it through.

As I embarked on an impulsive trip, I hit a detour when I met sexy Carter in the airport lounge. We struck up a heated conversation.

Then, he left.

I thought I'd never see him again.

But fate had other plans.

Surprise! He was the pilot of my flight.

The bigger surprise was the adventure that followed after the plane landed.

Carter was dangerous and always on the move.

Even though our connection was magnetic, I knew it was only temporary.

He would give me tickets, and I would follow him around the world to exotic places.

A bevy of flight attendant exes and rumors about Carter's reputation were never far behind.

I didn't know what to believe.

But I was addicted. Nothing else mattered anymore. And I was going to get hurt. Because a part of me wanted to be the one to finally ground the playboy pilot.

At the very least, he was taking me on a thrilling ride.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn't see coming.

You and me both, kiddo.

What I loved:

- ♥♥Carter!♥♥ Oh, sweet baby Jebus, I was obsessed with this character!
Honestly. I think he's the best contemporary hero I've ever read. I can see why he was such a whore - who wouldn't want him???
- The old people ♥ Everything about all of them.
- The travel aspect of the story was very cool. I loved all the adventures Carter took Kendall on.
- I liked the quirky little things like the Carter's baby ad, and the Kardashians magazine cover... those little things made me smile.

What I didn’t love:

- Everything about Kendall, really. Characters like her are the reason I DNF. Had Carter not been such a phenomenal character, I would have DNF'd this one. She was just a jealous, gloomy, angsty character that I couldn't relate to at all. The jealousy aspect of the book was so painfully obvious I couldn't believe that Ms Ward would allow her heroine to walk into it, but walk into it she did. Repeatedly. And then when Carter needed her support the most (after all the shit he does for her) she has a bitch fit and abandons him. Man, fuck her.
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- The separation was uneccessary. Like, it made me wonder if it would even be possible to be that clueless about the thing that happens to make Kendall lose her shit.

- When they reunited, I just had to suspend all reality for the rest of the book. Everything about the last 20% was so un-buy-able. And the part that sucked the most was that all Carter's pain was for nothing.

- Also, the God stuff... it's not my thing. Neither is the pyschic stuff. I could have done without those.

Overall…

100 stars for Carter. -100 stars for Kendall. 3 stars because if it wasn't for Kendall & Carter cancelling each other out, I liked the story.

Review: Just Good Friends (Escape to New Zealand #2) by Rosalind James

Tuesday, October 18
My Rating: No rating

It would be unfair for me to give this one a rating, when I couldn't even make it to the 30% mark.

What I loved:
- Koti was sexy, charming, playful and entertaining.
- All Blacks. This has All Blacks in it.
- The first chapter was intriguing. Not in-your-face-threatening, it had the anticipation of a threat down to a fine art.

What I didn’t love:
- That heroine is a dickhead. I get she has backstory, but I prefer a character who has some joy and... spark! This one is negative, forces her opinions onto others (including her friends) vocally and openly when she has no idea what she's talking about, and puts her own toxic spin on everything around her. I couldn't stand her. The scene where she rips Koti a new one because he's on 'her beach'? Get this heroine out of my book!
And anyway, it is not her beach. We don't give our foreshore & seabed to tourists, lady... our government already took it off us, thankyouverymuch.

Overall…
This book is not happening for me. Whatever happens in the next 180 pages, I hope it involves Koti finding a delightful, free spirited woman and having cute Koti babies because in my head, he looks like this, and thus - the world needs to carry on his genetic perfection.
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Review: An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) by Julia Quinn

Friday, October 14
My rating:
1 Stars…

Just 1 sad little star.

Synopsis:

Will she accept the offer before the clock strikes midnight?

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball. Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, waltzing in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other— except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. If he offers her his heart, will he sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?

What I loved:
Quote…Benedict thought that his argument was most reasonable, if a little overbearing, but Sophie obviously did not agree, because, much to his surprise, he found himself lying faceup on the ground, having been felled by a remarkably quick right hook.
"Don't you ever call me stupid," she hissed.

Julia Quinn writes fantastically well. Even in a book that I disliked as much as this one, there were words that made my heart melt.
Quote…...she was, he thought, born to rest in the shelter of his arms. And he was born to hold her.

- Also, the Bridgerton family were lovely. The most exciting part of this book, for me, was the scene between Colin & Penelope. If they have a book, Imma be reading that immediately.

What I didn’t love:

- Sophie's lying ass drove me insane. I get that she didn't tell him anything at the masquerade ball - she wasn't meant to be there anyway. But when she was an actual maid? Why did she have to hide anything then? I don't like dishonest characters, and I definitely don't cheer for them, so I should have tapped out at 30%. I just really thought it was going to get better. Instead, getting her to be honest was still like pulling teeth at the 90% mark.
- And all the push/pull drama! I love him but I'm going to run away now. I don't want to be your mistress and get pregnant out of wedlock! so I'll just randomly bang you on your sofa.
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- And mostly - the lack of spark. Sophie acts like she's not into him, and lies through her teeth about who she is. Benedict is pining over another woman whilst trying to make Sophie his side chick. Even when they do confess to themselves that they are in love with the other, she still doesn't want to tell him the truth, and he still doesn't want to marry her.

Overall…

The writing was good but the story itself was horrible. At least it was a very quick read.

Review: Just for Now (Escape to New Zealand #3) by Rosalind James

Tuesday, October 11
My rating:
4 Stars…

It's like All Black fan-fic! Of course I'm in!
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What I loved:

For teacher Jenna McKnight, nothing spells “heartbreak” like finding her husband with somebody else--in her bed. It’s clearly time to reinvent herself. A new body, a new city, and a new job later, she’s done just that. The beautiful Auckland villa isn’t really her home, though. Finn Douglas and his kids aren’t really her family, however much she wishes they were. And playing house can be a dangerous game.


Rugby star Finn Douglas is just looking for a temporary nanny and housekeeper. Not a girlfriend, and definitely not a wife. He can’t resist Jenna’s cooking, it’s true. Who knew he’d have so much trouble resisting her? He wants to do what’s right for his kids. But waiting is so hard ...


What I loved:

- There was a lot to love in this book. The cute kids (especially Harry with his wombat bottom line), Jenna embracing her domestic-goddess-ness, the twist in the cheating husband plot device, and the way Jenna is rebuilding a life of her own.
- Having said that, I have been in the mood for homegrown romance stories lately, so the fact that this was based right here in NZ, and had the world's greatest ever rugby team as a focal point.
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Well.

Of course I had to get this book in my hot little hands ASAP.
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- The writing was good, and considering that Ms James isn't a kiwi, I think her use of kiwi terminology, geography (I read that she lived in NZ for a while) and rugby knowledge was enjoyable.

What I didn’t love:

- There were parts that moved quite slow for me, but the story would pick up in a few pages so it wasn't like I had to resort to skimming. It was a really minor point.
- The wheels really fell off at around 80%. With a fairly obvious romance plot device, the heroine went from being a nice, nurturing lady into a deceitful, laughably naive idiot. Asking the hero's sister to lie to her own brother was a dick move. Expecting him not to notice a certain something because she turned the lights off? Dumb. Dumbdumbdumbdumbdumb. I couldn't get on board with her after that. Also, I think with the aforementioned plot device, you never get to see if a romance could have held up on it's own. Considering how much care was taken in building a steady foundation, I think the ending was crazy rushed.
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Overall…

An enjoyable read that gave me butterflies and made me laugh early on, but went a bit pear shaped in the end. I'd still really like to read more from this series, while I'm riding high on my kiwi romance wave.

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