Top Ten Tuesday: All About Romance

Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly meme created by The Broke And The Bookish

Topic:  All About Romance

Being Valentine’s Day there wouldn’t be any other Top Ten Topic. I feel at a slight disadvantage though because I haven’t read many romance books or books with romance in them that I feel worthy of the list. I’m cheating a bit by putting four from the same series because I loved them all, I am also not putting these in any particular order because that would be super hard to determine.

 

Lyra and Will – The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Seeing these two go from uncertain friends in The Subtle Knife to practically soul mates is fantastic and seeing the love for one another in The Amber Spyglass will break your heart! Lyra and Will are both so important but so young, and their naivety and their wisdom is a beautiful blend. This is an innocent romance but it so less important.

Dash and Lily – Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

These two are just adorable, and they bring out the best in each other. Their sense of adventure and unique personalities is an ideal match and seeing them fall for one another is excellent reading. It gets even better in The 12 Days of Dash and Lily when they support one another and become even better friends and partners.

Cate and Dave – Wish List by Belinda Williams

This was a romance I loved seeing develop. So many obstacles and will they/won’t they moments. It has the attraction at first then the denial of feelings, then a selection of dramas and ups and downs that keep this scintillating. You want them to get together and while they won’t admit it, they want to get together as well.

Madeline and Paul – The Pitch by Belinda Williams

The romance in this book changed my opinion on the romance specific genre and made me start to fall in love with them. This is the perfect slow burn romance, enough to strike a spark but nothing is rushed into and Williams paces it brilliantly. There are obstacles and dramas but seeing these two together is worth it.

Scarlett and John – Modern Love by Belinda Williams

Technically this could be seen as a chase romance, being pursued and fighting that pursuit, but Williams balances it all so well that it becomes much more than that. The pursuit of Scarlett by John isn’t overbearing, it’s natural, normal, and it’s obvious that there’s affection just waiting to be uncovered.

Christa and Max – The Boyfriend Sessions by Belinda Williams

Sometimes good romances come out of nowhere and I think this is one example where romance can sneak up on you when you least suspect. A classic case of when you aren’t looking for love it finds you, Christa and Max’s romance is slow to develop because neither of them are expecting it.

Jule and Luke – Siren’s Song by Heather McCollum

Granted there is a supernatural side to this romance, but still, McCollum brings the love and affection between these two to life so well it’s wonderful to read. Jule’s and Luke’s attraction is compelling and when they have to fight against it it makes for exquisite reading.

Lily and Jack – The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster

Naturally when one swears off men in a book the perfect guys comes along a minute later. But I loved the relationship between Lily and Jack. It starts off as dislike, moves to friendship and actually stays longer as friends than anything else. But I loved how they get on, how they both don’t know they like each other and how it’s obvious to almost everyone else.

Ellie and Lee – The Tomorrow Series by John Marsden

Seeing this romance blossom was wonderful. It was the perfect teenage relationship; it had the uncertainty, the lust, and the awkwardness. Marsden played it out so well and the confusion on Ellie’s behalf and her conflict made it very compelling about what she was going to do.

Copper Veins (#3) by Jennifer Allis Provost

Published: 26th July 2016
Goodreads badgePublisher: Spence City
Pages: 264
Format: ebook via Netgalley
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Sara’s pretty sure her life is perfect.

Not only are she and Micah finally married, her father, who’d been missing since the Magic Wars, has been found. Actually, he just strode up to the manor’s front door, but whatever. Sara knows better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.

But Baudoin Corbeau isn’t content to return to family life. He’s decided that he will be the force of change in the Mundane world, and lead the Elemental resistance to victory with his children at his side. What’s worse, Baudoin doesn’t approve of Sara’s marriage, and makes every attempt to separate her from Micah.

After a visit to the Mundane realm leaves Sara, Max and Sadie imprisoned by the Peacekeepers, Sara’s doubts creep to the surface. Is her father right? Does she belong in the Mundane realm, not the Otherworld? Is Micah really the right man—make that elf—for her?
Was marrying him a mistake?

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book for review.

 This is the third book in the Copper Legacy series and it’s still such a delight to read about Sara and Micah and this fascinating world with Elementals and Mundanes.

Though only a few months have passed since the first story, a lot has happened. Micah and Sara’s relationship have gotten more serious and there are consequences and aftermaths of the previous book to deal with. Provost draws on past events and brings together existing ones wonderfully and previous books aren’t treated as separate things entirely. Conversations, situations, and scenes of past novels are still referred to and are important; they are treated like living memories rather than events of a different book. Provost does a wonderful job of filling in the previous book events without making it clunky or tedious, and aside from the Prologue that brings you up to speed, there are still numerous references blended throughout to fill in additional details.

Not all the story is tied up with past books, with the return of Sara’s father there is a new direction taken and a whole new set of things to explore. There is a different kind of drama this time. Not that there isn’t excitement or suspense, but it has a family focus that ties in with bigger things. Provost threads these all together naturally and the seamless transition of events really feels like real life, interruptions and best laid plans falling to the wayside, family drama and serious problems colliding and tangled together.

I have to admit it was slightly predictable at times, but also with a few surprises. We learn even more about the Elementals and their abilities and seeing Sara and Micah settle into their new life was great. Their relationship isn’t overdone, nor is it bland. Provost balances their affection and love for one another without making it cheesy or unbelievable. Both Sara and Micah have responsibilities and the contrast and conflict between their love and their duty makes for great reading.

Whether this is your first read of the Legacy series or you’ve been in it from the start, this is still a good read. From the beginning I was engaged and knowing the stories already I was instantly back in the world of Elementals and Mundanes with the magic, politics, and war. If I didn’t know the story I think Provost does an excellent job of introducing it while still moving the story forward. You could easily pick up this book and start reading without having read the previous two. The writing is descriptive and draws you in, and though the story isn’t action filled or intense all the time, you still find yourself eager to see what happens. Provost brings drama without making it seem dramatic.

With another book yet to come, Provost directs us towards the next one well, without making it too obvious in the lead up. The story is allowed to conclude naturally while still feeling like there is somewhere to go. I think book four is going to bring even more excitement and surprises and I can’t wait to read it. I’ve enjoyed this series and loved these characters from the start and I’m eager to see where it goes.

You can purchase Copper Veins via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

Angus and Robertson | Booktopia

Wish List (#4) by Belinda Williams

Published: 26th May 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Momentum
Pages: 280
Format: ebook via the publisher and NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Could the wrong man on paper be the perfect man in real life?

Cate Harmon likes lists. While this may serve her well as a financial planner, her girlfriends think that creating a checklist for her ideal man is going a step too far. But she has one, and she’s sticking to it.

Cate has always dreamed of starting a family and settling down and yet she’s the only one of her close-knit friendship group still unattached. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to lower her standards.

Enter Dave, a reformed bad boy with gorgeous hair and eyes the wrong colour. Dave doesn’t tick any of the boxes on Cate’s list. It’s unthinkable that she would develop feelings for him, and yet … Cate finds herself being drawn to Dave in a way she’s never felt before.

Will Cate confront the reasons behind her list? Or will she risk losing a man who could be better than any list she could ever dream up?

I legit had a massive smile on my while reading this book, even in the rocky parts. I think I said something corny when I started reading it saying it was like coming back home but it was true; I love these women so much and I love Williams’ stories about their lives and as soon as I started reading Cate’s story I was back in their world with Maddy and Scarlett and Christa. It was like I hadn’t left.

It’s not all big smiles and excitement though, Williams did bring a few tears to the surface in some part, but just for a moment. I’m not saying the book is 90% happiness and frivolity, but it was just so wonderful to read that every little thing made me happy, the conflict, drama, Cate’s frustration and denial, the SURPRISES! It was the perfect package and balance.

I’ve realised through this series that there’s a little bit of me in each of these women, possibly all the wrong bits to identify with but all the same there’s something in each of them I adore. I adore because despite them feeling insecure, having a duty of care, a desire to do the right thing, and having hidden secrets, they still get up and have a great life with beautiful friends. They don’t let themselves or their past stop them (well, eventually anyway).

Wish List is the final in the City Love series and after seeing Christa’s, Maddy’s, and Scarlett’s stories we finally get to explore Cate’s. Williams has been great at dropping snippets of information through all her books about each woman, and with Scarlett’s story Cate was given a closer look, just enough to tease you and build anticipation. Justified too because the Cate we discover is totally unexpected from the Cate we’ve gotten to know. Delving into her mind and life is wonderful and finding out more about her secretive past and seeing that she isn’t always the cautious and structured girl she seems to be is fantastic, like all the girls we see her grow.

Williams’ starts off the story slowly, almost as you’d expect, meeting a guy who isn’t the guy you expect to fall for, but even if you think you know what may happen, that it will follow some clear set of events, it won’t. Williams brings a whole new story to the table and brings complexity and depth and drama that doesn’t feel over the top or too messy, it feels real and justified and intense.

That isn’t even the biggest twist as Williams has five or six more up her sleeve that continually surprise you when you least expect it. She lulls you into feeling safe before pouncing and makes you remember all the little details you’d forgotten about because you were caught up and recovering from the last surprise. It’s easy to think this story is one big issue but it’s a bigger, deeper, more complicated situation that twists and turns and shocks and delights you. By the end you can’t believe you ever thought it was just going to be that simple. It’s not even close to being that simple.

For me this is the best and most wonderful ending to a series and a book I’ve read. Williams has always treated these women well and given them stories that suit them and that they deserve, this is no exception, and being the final book it also manages to be a farewell and big finale for the four of them. The continual surprises and little bits of joy and intensity are an emotional ride but I wouldn’t change a thing. As I read my heart was pounding, I had knots in my stomach, a smile on my face, continually holding in gasps and squeals as my eyes fled across the page trying to read faster and possibly physically immerse myself in the story.

One thing I admire about William’s writing is she makes wonderful romantic stories that are heart-warming, heartbreaking, and satisfying without making them overly sweet and mushy, or too innocent or risqué either. Getting inside the heads of these women helps balance that out because you see their reservations, their developing feelings and their reasoning behind what they do. You also fall in love with new characters and reacquaint yourself with the old ones. Dave is my favourite of all the boys in this series, even for his faults. With Cate’s narration we can see how he causes her so must frustration and angst, how his few words annoy her and confuse her. But through Dave’s actions we see a bit more of Cate as well, they balance each other out.

I could go on forever and talk about every little thing in this book but I won’t, I’ve gone on enough already, but I will say that there’s 101 things to adore in this story, it’s got everything, love, drama, friendship, excitement, the works. William’s has done a truly marvellous job and had wrapped up the City Love series spectacularly.

You can pre-order Wish List via the following

Amazon | Amazon Aust

Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

Google Play | iBooks Store

Kobo

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Love Under Construction (#2) by Danyelle Ferguson + Giveaway

Today I get to share with you my review for Love Under Construction as part of Danyelle Ferguson’s blog tour. There is also a giveaway that is open internationally if you’re interested, details are below.

Published: 19th April 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Wonderstruck Books
Pages: 260
Format: ebook
Genre: Romance
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Charlee was angry . . . 

What do you do when your boss makes someone else the lead on a big renovation project that should rightfully be yours? You quit. On second thought, that might not be the best idea, but Charlee Jackson has never been one for second thoughts. Instead, she lands a big contract of her own. She’s jumping into her new life—work boots, tool belt and all. Now she just needs to form a company and hire contractors and buy supplies and get an office . . . and not fall in love with her former boss’s son. Yeah. Definitely not that last one.

Peter was torn . . . 

You can’t date someone who works for you, but now that his dad let Charlee walk out the door, Peter Elliot is considering his options. Charlee was their top renovation expert, his best friend’s sister, and the only thing that made the drudgery of running a large construction business bearable. But how do you date a competitor, especially one your father is trying to drive out of business? It would be stupid to make your dad angry right before he retires and hands the company over to you. Right?

When Charlee and Peter are scheduled to work on the same Indulgence Row house, their feelings and priorities are put to the test. They need to make a choice, and they better be quick about it, because the whole mixture is curing fast and threatening to crumble to pieces. 

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

I have mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed the story, I thought it was clever and creative; Charlee is a wonderful and intelligent woman who is confident in her skills and capabilities. The plot was interesting it was a nice romance with complications and conflict that balanced the love side with other things.

What kept catching my attention and annoying me a little was the very slight yet ongoing sexist remarks in the beginning. That is a strong word but I dunno there were just comments that got under my skin, not only that Charlee makes it clear she’s not “one of those women”, but  her reference to wearing “girly things”, even things like clothes. And Peter was no better, making claim basically of Charlee, saying she’s “his woman” and acting jealous after one kiss and basically fighting other men because she dances with them.

I know it’s nitpicking, and it shows Peter’s affection for her in a weird way but it was a common thing I noticed. Whether Ferguson was going for a portrayal of the “man’s world” of construction and “that’s just how men are”, as well as making us notice Charlee was different I’m not sure. And it is the smallest thing, but it did bug me.

Aside from that, I did enjoy this novel. Charlee is a great character, she stands up for herself in the male dominated workplace and knows her worth but she also has her doubts and insecurities. Seeing her take charge and follow her dreams is wonderful and it really makes you root for her and will her to succeed. Charlee herself doesn’t go on too much about being a woman in a male dominated profession; she just gets the job done and shows off her talent. She knows she is great at what she does and she is willing to do what she has to to get what she wants. What Ferguson also did well is not make too much of a big deal about why Charlee is in construction, she enjoys it, she’s great at it, that is reason enough.

I liked that that there is a myriad of conflicts working all at once, it keeps you interested and gives you something different to think about. The ‘will they, won’t they’ side of the romance is solved early on, but the intrigue is whether or not they will remain that way the entire time. This is balanced well with drama from other avenues like the Charlee’s workplace and her family problems. Having numerous conflicts makes the story feel real and adds to the overall drama without going overboard. These little conflicts provide the story with multiple storylines that connect together and overlap nicely. There are also lots of mini-conclusions where you think the story may end but it doesn’t. There are no quick solutions or resolutions and Ferguson wraps up loose ends skilfully while not making it feel rushed or unrealistic.

I quite liked the construction side of the story actually. Ferguson describes the day to day processes knowledgeably and realistically, but we aren’t bogged down by jargon and step by step processes or exact details. Ferguson includes enough to explain it within the story and make it feel real but doesn’t go over the top to try and include everything. It flows naturally into the story which helps us understand how construction works and the steps involved while progressing the story and not feeling out of place.

I recently learnt the term sweet romance and I think that’s a great description of Peter and Charlee’s relationship, it’s new and committed but also with the troubles of self-doubt and circumstance. Ferguson makes it clear these guys really like each other which makes the sweet parts sweeter and the conflicts more interesting.

This is the second in the Indulgence Row series but you really can’t tell. Ferguson explains enough to make you work out what book one may have been about but it really doesn’t affect the story. Knowing it is in a series though you can see references to a previous book, and there are hints about what will follow in book three which Ferguson leads into seamlessly but intentionally.

Overall I think I enjoyed the construction storyline more than the romance, it was just so interesting and Charlee was a great character to get to know, but the way Ferguson has woven it all together made the romance sweet and filled the story with the right amount of drama. There are no perfect endings but there is hard work and determination surrounded by likeable characters that are all unique and complicated in their own right, and with a nice teaser to pique your interest not only in book one but also book three there is an incentive to keep reading.

You can purchase Love Under Construction via the following

AmazonKobo

iTunes | Barnes & Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Danyelle Ferguson discovered her love for the written word in elementary school. Her first article was published when she was in 6th grade. Since then, she’s won several awards and her work has been published world-wide in newspapers, magazines and books.

She grew up surrounded by Pennsylvania’s beautiful Allegheny Mountains, then lived for ten years among the majestic Wasatch Mountains. She is currently experiencing mountain-withdrawal while living in Kansas with her husband and family. She enjoys reading, writing, dancing and singing in the kitchen, and the occasional long bubble bath to relax from the everyday stress of being “Mommy.”

Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter

 

KINDLE AND SWEET ROMANCE EBOOK BUNDLE GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a Kindle Fire and this fabulous bundle of sweet romances! The giveaway is open internationally. If the winner lives outside the Amazon Prime free shipping area, the winner will receive the sweet romance ebook bundle and the choice of either a $40 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.

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The Reluctant Jillaroo by Kaz Delaney

Published: 4th January 2016Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Allen & Unwin
Pages: 348
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance/ Mystery
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Harper Gage has won the opportunity of a lifetime – ten days at Winmaroo Jillaroo and Jackaroo school. The camp could give her the recommendation she needs to go to the exclusive Agricoll for years 11 and 12. But when an accident leaves Harper hospitalised, her twin sister, Heidi, goes in her place. The only problem is that Heidi is not much of a country girl – not like her sister. And to make life even more complicated, her sister’s biggest rival Trent is going to be there. Will she be able to fool him?

And then the reality of the school hits Heidi hard. It’s all dust, snakes and heat – a million miles away from the surf she loves. When she meets the fun and handsome Chaz, life at the school suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, although with Trent acting up and trouble brewing with the other students, Heidi’s not sure how long she can keep her identity secret. And if her secret is revealed, will Chaz ever be able to trust her again?

Once again Kaz Delaney had me awake until 3am finishing one of her books. Read, finished, and loved the same day I got it and it was wonderful from start to finish!

Kaz gets your attention early on by starting in the middle of a moment, we are thrown into the story with no idea what has happened, and only Heidi’s thoughts to fill us in. I love stories that drop you straight in the action; it makes your curious and engaged right away. The idea that Heidi and Harper have concocted is well within the realm of believability, and Kaz writes so well that the story flows seamlessly and you get caught up in the story naturally.

Of course Heidi’s experience isn’t going to go smoothly, having to act like her sister and hiding her inexperience is drama enough without also dealing with a budding romance and the unexpected arrival of someone who actually knows her sister. Watching Heidi deal with everything that comes her way is fun and commendable. She never gives in and covers her tracks as best she can, not without the pang of guilt and the sadness she feels at lying to people she’s become good friends with.

Heidi is a great and admirable character. She’s a Batman lover (a great start), but she is also friendly and welcoming, even when she is out of her depth, and her loyalty and determination outweigh her fears and trepidations. She’s uncertain in her surroundings but she is strong and determined, not willing to let her sister down. Her commitment to her sister drives her to succeed and sees her doing things she wouldn’t normally do. What I also adored about her is that she has a great moral sense and good nature that makes her want to help people and make them feel included. Looking after other camp attendees and noticing what others are doing or feeling, making sure they are happy, is what makes her a wonderful person.

But this is not just a simple story where Heidi mustn’t be found out, there are mysterious things happening at the camp as well. The gradual introduction of the mystery is subtle and at the same time doesn’t deter from Heidi’s fish out of water experiences. Kaz connects everything brilliantly and there are twists and turns offering up a different thrill away from watching Heidi try to drench sheep or milk cows.

The best part about reading this though is how it feels like you are right alongside these characters, riding along trails, whispering at night in bunks, and having everyday experiences. That’s what makes Kaz’s writing so wonderful, it feels so realistic. Everything happens all at once, everything overlaps, and there can be fun and drama and love alongside one another.

It’s clear Kaz has done some amazing research and gone to a lot of effort to make this story feel authentic, not just in the camp activities, but also in making sure every character feels like a complete person, full, developed, and with experiences of their own behind them. You can’t help but love them all for their quirks and their different personalities; the comradery and friendships are evident, even after such a short time.

There really is so much to love about this story, it’s fun, suspenseful, and filled with mystery and madness that keeps you hooked from the start, not to mention an ending that will amaze!

You can purchase The Reluctant Jillaroo via the following

Dymocks | Kindle | Booktopia

iTunes | Publisher

Amazon Aust | QBD

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