The Sweetest Seduction by Crista McHugh

The Sweetest Seduction (Kelly Brothers, #1)Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I am so excited that I’ve found another series to fall in love with.

Perfect set-up: numerous sexy rich brothers who are all high-achievers with interesting careers and an interfering Mum.

This was a fantastic start to the series. Whilst Adam/Lia caught my attention in their own right, what I thought the author did fabulously was give you sneak peeks of some of the other brothers who will all get their own book. They weren’t all rolled out during a family gathering whether they become lost in an onslaught of names and ‘defining’ characteristics. Instead they appear naturally here and there and given enough of a mention to get you invested in them as characters but not so much it distracts from the fact that this is very much Adam’s story.

From the minute Adam and Lia are thrown together by their manipulative mothers (and loveable dog Jasper) they are attracted to each other. The difficulty comes when they try and keep business and pleasure separate. *Spoiler alert* After a fire and a trip to Italy, yes they do achieve their HEA!

I am going to start on the second book in the series ASAP and hope that the rest of the series will be forthcoming!

Book: 4*

Cover: 4*

Resisting the Hero by Cindi Madsen

Resisting the Hero (Accidentally in Love, #3)Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

2.5*

I really loved the first two books in the series so I was eagerly awaiting this latest addition.

Unfortunately, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between Connor and Faith no matter how much I really, really wanted to.

As a heroine, Faith just didn’t appeal to me.  She has Daddy issues and is obsessed with her Dad’s death.  I can understand if it happened recently but the fact it happened years ago, I didn’t think it should be taking up as much of the plot as it did.   And there is just too much flip-flopping on the issue of whether she will be able to cope with Connor also being a cop.

I liked Connor more, even if he also had Daddy issues.  Overall the story just plodded along and nothing happened to make me change my mind about the characters.  (Also Faith’s niece was kind of annoying).

Love the author but unfortunately this wasn’t for me.

Book: 2.5*

Cover: 4*

Once in a Lifetime by @JillShalvis

Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor #9)Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Jill Shalvis is at the top of my ‘Must Read’ authors list so the greatest Christmas present Father Christmas brought me in 2013 was an ARC of Jill Shalvis’s latest book in her fabulous ‘Lucky Harbor’ series.

The whole series is great but the last two books (Luke/Ali and Jack/Leah’s stories) have been especially exceptional so Ben/Aubrey’s story had a lot to live up to – and boy did it!

The thing that I loved the most about this book, and the thing that makes it a bit different from other contemporary romances nowadays, is that Aubrey was a very real, flawed character.  There are too many too-perfect heroines in romances nowadays.  Yes, Aubrey is ridiculously gorgeous but she made some pretty poor decisions in the past which she has come to regret and this book is as much about her journey to right those wrongs and talk herself into believing she deserves happiness as it is about Ben moving on from his wife’s death and his feelings for Aubrey.

I loved the idea of Aubrey and her list.  Each name on the list had a mini-story behind it through which we got to discover more about Aubrey has a child.

Connected to Aubrey’s list is the tension stemming from what wrong Aubrey did to Ben in the past and wondering when he finds out, will they ever be able to move past it.  You’ll just have to read the book to find out what ~it~ is but what isn’t a surprise is that Ben/Aubrey do end up getting their Happy Ever After and the resolution is very satisfying.

Only thing to tie up is does Pastor Mike ever find out that Aubrey’s isn’t an alcoholic?  This reader wants to know!

Also I’m curious, are we going to get Cara’s story?

Book: 5*

Cover: 5*

Love a Little Sideways by Shannon Stacey

Love a Little Sideways (Kowalski Family, #7)Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This was a really big disappointment for me.

It started so promising …… two people who have grown up together fall into bed together one day during a wedding expecting it to be a one-time thing but then being forced to confront their attraction when they end up living in the same small town again.  However, two major things stopped this story from being enjoyable:

1. He’s the best friend of her brother

This is a theme dealt with in many romance novels and I have nothing against this trope … UNTIL IT IS DONE TO DEATH.  Honestly, the amount of times both Liz and Drew mentioned the problem that is Mitch (her brother, his best friend) ….. just get over it already.  I don’t know whether it’s because I am an only child but I am perfectly capable of understanding the friction there BUT NOT TO THE EXTENT IT IS PLAYED OUT IN THIS BOOK.  These are 30-something characters.  Mitch should have more important things to worry about like Paige.  Why would he be so obsessed with his sister’s sex life?!?!  Shouldn’t he be happy that his best friend, and all around good guy and town cop, is taking care of his sister?!

Weirdly enough whilst I didn’t like the whole He-Man nature of it, Mitch dealt with the whole thing better than I though.  It’s definitely weird when he ends up being the one to come out best of the whole mess.

2. He wants children, she doesn’t

Having watched Owen/Cristina dance around this for far too many seasons on Grey’s Anatomy I have some experience of watching writers deal with this topic and nothing will make me believe that a woman can change her mind about this at all, or definitely not in a blink of an eye.  There are exceptions to this (in fandom at least) say if she suddenly finds herself pregnant, having a child suddenly in her custody due to unexpected family death or a near-death experience.

None of these apply to Liz.

Okay, I admit Liz doesn’t ever say she doesn’t want children full stop but she does repeatedly say she doesn’t want them yet.  How does one conversation with Rosie (who does admittedly make good points and I can see how that would have helped Liz change her mind eventually) suddenly make her go “yup, actually I am happy with my life as a waitress and let’s start having children now” after spending the previous 200 pages claiming she doesn’t want children in the near future.  At least give her time to mull things over and come to this conclusion, some distance, perhaps sending her off to explore her educational options before she suddenly comes to the realisation that where she would be happiest is having a family with Drew.  Give me something to make me believe that her change of heart is believable!

Rant over.  This book wasn’t actually that bad.

Book: 2*

Cover: 5*

The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug {A Love Story}

Peter Jackson likes creating love triangles where they don’t exist.  Arwen/Aragorn/Eowyn in Lord Of The Rings?  Eowyn’s supposed love for Aragorn gets about 2 sentences in the book.

And now the Legolas/Tauriel/Kili angle in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

I can’t deny that the film needed a female presence for it to sell, especially when dealing with the expansion of a thin book into 3 major epic blockbusters, but I was as dubious as the rest of the fandom when I heard that TPTB were creating a new female elf to star.  It didn’t even cross my mind until I was in the cinema watching it, that this new female character would have such a prominent role to play and star in her own love triangle.

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So Tauriel herself, big thumbs up.  She was kickass and although I never watched Lost, I am instinctively a big fan of Evangeline Lilly.  But who to ship her with?

Ah Legolas.  As a teenage fangirl when LOTR came out, I was a huge Legolas/Orlando Bloom fan and I’ve got to say that this film took me right back there and now finally with someone I can ship him with (my first ever ship before I even knew what shipping was, was Legolas/Arwen but that is a tale for another time ….)

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I have a penchant for friends who grow up together and then end up seeing each other in another light … <3 <3 and Thranduil’s warning to Tauriel “Legolas has grown quite fond of you” and the whole forbidden love aspect make my heart beat.

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Legolas/Tauriel are totally compatible and if Legolas ever gets over Tauriel staying with Kili and not having his back in Laketown, they could get their HEA and have very hot Elf children …..

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On the other hand, opposites attract and all that:

Kili is a hot dwarf.  Probably like the hottest dwarf that ever existed and there is something to be said about fulfilling the unresolved Elf/Dwarf shipping that Legolas/Gimli failed to deliver in LOTR.

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It’s just I found the dialogue between Kili/Tauriel, both when he is in jail and they talk about the rune/starlight and when he is feverish in Laketown after she saves him, extremely cheesy.

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Also, the height difference?  Freaks me out.

The almost hand touch though totally redeems them …… <3 <3 <3.

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So my question to you all is now are you Team Kili or Team Legolas?

(This is not a rhetorical question, I really am dying to know!)

(And now for some non-shipping moments:)

  • Absolutely loved the throw-back to LOTR, TTT where Gimli talks about how dwarf-women look like blokes
  • I couldn’t stop thinking about how Bard looks like a hotter Keith Urban
  • Stephen Fry = LOL
  • Beorn’s bit was surprisingly short and he is not nearly as sexy as I imagine him to be
  • Spiders – ewww.
  • Tops the first film

2013 in Films

Films Watched in 2013:

  1. The Impossible (Cinema) [8/10]
  2. Flight [6/10]
  3. Undercover Bridesmaid [6/10]
  4. Argo [6/10]
  5. One For The Money [7/10]
  6. The Avengers [8.5/10]
  7. Bachelorette [3/10]
  8. Zero Dark Thirty [7/10]
  9. Chronicle [7.5/10]
  10. The Pianist [9/10]
  11. Safe Haven [7/10]
  12. The First Time [9/10]
  13. Jack Reacher [6/10]
  14. That Darn Cat [7/10]
  15. Olympus Has Fallen [7/10]
  16. The Inbetweeners [7/10]
  17. Forgetting Sarah Marshall [6/10]
  18. You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger [6/10]
  19. The Heat [9.5/10]
  20. Man Of Steel [7.5/10]
  21. Captain Phillips (Cinema) [10/10]
  22. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (Cinema) [9/10]

Films To Watch in 2014:

  • Admission
  • Catching Fire
  • Divergent
  • Lincoln
  • Monsters University
  • Non-Stop
  • Now You See Me
  • Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
  • Playing For Keeps
  • Pompeii
  • Quartet
  • Rock of Ages
  • Saving Mr Banks
  • Shanghai Calling
  • Star Trek – Into Darkness
  • That Awkward Moment
  • The Book Thief
  • The Butler
  • The Hobbit: There and Back Again
  • The Internship
  • The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
  • White House Down
  • Your Sister’s Sister