Devil’s Daughter (The Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel. Avon, 2019

Book Review:

The witty repartee, steamy sex scenes and a man reluctant to marry, continue in the 5th installment of The Ravenels series.   This time around West Ravenel is reluctant to marry because his scandalous past transgressions could socially ruin the widow, Lady Phoebe St.Clare.  Had any of those transgressions,  a confrontation by a husband who’s wife West had slept with, or a barring from a  soiree because of his past disgraceful behavior, it would have added some real stakes and some rationality to West’s fears.  The lack of reciprocation just made West’s ‘woe is me’ act a tad tedious and drawn out.

Other than Kleypas’ formulaic chemistry, you root for the couple because Phoebe would probably loose her son’s inheritance without West’s guidance. Well not every heroine can be Pandora Ravenel.  –(High) Borrow.

The Sting by Sandra Brown

29203612When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her. 
As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive. –Grand Central Publishing; 2016

Book Review:

The tension drains the longer the story goes on and the clearer it becomes that Jordie Bennet should indeed be shot, or at the least be arrested.  Not only for withholding information from a federal investigation, but for being an insufferable damsel in distress without a single good comeback line for any of Shaw Kinnard’s insults.  In addition to having the nerve to fall for him despite having no discernible positive qualities, other than being the male lead in a romance novel.

But don’t worry if that recap put you to sleep.  Every scene is repeated at least twice from another character’s point of view,  without adding a drop of new information, so you won’t miss a beat!

All of Brown’s characters do have well defined personalities and there are a few plot twists that just barely keep this book from being thrown into the fire.  –-(Low) Borrow it 

The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman

In The Third Angel, Hoffman weaves a magical and stunningly original story that charts the lives of three women in love with the wrong men. – Crown, 2008

Book Review:

The novel that follows the lives of three women of different ages and time period, ends on the theme of, ‘Find something to believe in’.  I don’t know how you could.  In the world Hoffman has created children are motherless, love is either pointless, forced and/or unrequited. Men will leave you for death or another women and all the women are beautiful, but mean and selfish. Despite the title referring to the angels of life, death and the one that walks amongst us, this story is far from angelic.–Borrow It

I Loved Her in the Movies by Robert Wagner

Film and television actor and New York Times bestselling author Robert Wagner’s memoir of the great women movie stars he has known. —Viking;2016

Book Review:

I Love Her in the Movies is Wagner’s tribute to Hollywood’s leading ladies of the 30’s to the 80’s. He tells of his personal and professional interactions with actress such as Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and more, as casually as if talking about Karen in accounting.  He confirms and dispels rumors of affairs, diva behavior, who was manic and who was an alcoholic.

Other than a brief mention of the casting couch, pay gaps and ageism that put actresses at a disadvantage, Wagner does not comment on the long standing abusive behavior that would lead to the 2018 #metoo movement.  Nor does he acknowledge the lack of diversity, making the book a lighthearted love letter to the women of Hollywood.  –Borrow it.

 

Touch and Go (Tessa Leoni book 2) by Lisa Gardner

Justin and Libby Denbe have the kind of life that looks good in the pages of a glossy magazine. A beautiful fifteen-year old daughter, Ashlyn. A gorgeous brownstone on a tree-lined street in Boston’s elite Back Bay neighborhood. A great marriage, admired by friends and family.  A perfect life.

When investigator Tessa Leoni arrives at the crime scene in the Denbes’ home, she finds scuff marks on the floor and Taser confetti in the foyer.  The family appears to have been abducted, with only a pile of their most personal possessions remaining behind.  No witnesses, no ransom demands, no motive.  Just an entire family, vanished without a trace.

Tessa knows better than anyone that even the most perfect façades can hide the darkest secrets.  Now she must race against the clock to uncover the Denbes’ innermost dealings, a complex tangle of friendships and betrayal, big business and small sacrifices. Who would want to kidnap such a perfect little family?  And how far would such a person be willing to go? This is the truth:  Love, safety, family…it is all touch and go. —
February 5th 2013 by Dutton

Review:

Why a whole family? Who knew how to grab them all so easily?  Where is the ransom demand?  What the hell do the kidnappers want?! When did this family fall so utterly apart? Are some of the great questions that swirl throughout the entire novel. 

The investigation of the Denbes’ disappearance, told in 3rd person, is juxtaposed perfectly by the human drama of the Denbe family. Told by Libby Denbe in first person.  Who while in captivity is forced to deal with the secrets that made her family strangers in their own home. Well before it was violated by kidnappers. 

The final conclusion is so convoluted that it will be hard for most to guess the answers till it nearly slaps you in the face.  In my case, I wanted to slap it back for its absurdity.  — Borrow it

Pirate (Sam and Remi Fargo Adventures Book 8) by Clive Clusser and Robin Burcell

An 800-year-old treasure… an ancient cypher wheel… a brutal murder… and a man who will stop at nothing to claim what he considers rightfully his. Husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team Sam and Remi Fargo have gone on impossible missions before and faced many perils, but never have they faced an adversary as determined as the one before them now. The battle will take them halfway around the world, and at its end will be either one of the most glorious finds in history — or certain death.

–G.P. Putnam’s Sons; 2016

Pirate follows the further adventures of millionaire treasure hunters Sam and Remi Fargo, as they race to find a lost medieval treasure.  The light banter and quiet moments of reflection and appreciation between the couple helps solidify the husband and wife’s relationship outside of their titles and their assumptive meanings.  The same could not be said for Remi’s vague relationship with Brie Marshall, who caused the whole adventure by sending the couple to her uncle’s bookstore for a rare first edition book.

Read more

The Mistress by Danielle Steel

Natasha Leonova’s  job is to keep Vladimir Stanislas happy, ask no questions, and be discreet. She knows her place, and the rules. She feels fortunate to be spoiled and protected, and is careful not to dwell on Vladimir’s ruthlessness or the deadly circles he moves in. 

Theo Luca is the son of a brilliant, world famous, and difficult artist, Lorenzo Luca, who left his wife and son with a fortune in artwork they refuse to sell. Lorenzo’s widow, Maylis, has transformed their home in St. Paul de Vence into a celebrated restaurant decorated with her late husband’s paintings, and treats it as a museum. There, on a warm June evening, Theo first encounters Natasha, the most exquisite woman he has ever seen. And there, Vladimir lays eyes on Luca’s artwork. Two dangerous obsessions begin.

— Delacorte Press, 2017

Book Review: 

The entire story is all tell, no show, no inferring, no voice.  Even the limited stilted dialogue adds nothing, but a reverberation of what the narration already said. And the narration can’t even keep it’s story straigt.  Vladmir is this grand master of business, known around the world, but he needs a referral to get a table for dinner?  Vladmir never cheats on Natasha…oh except when out with business associates. Huh?!

Read more

Brazen (Brazen #1) by Maya Banks

One woman’s campaign to win the hearts of the two men she loves. Jasmine left the Sweetwater Ranch and the Morgan brothers, no longer able to bear the painful dilemma of loving them both. After a year away, she gains a new perspective and returns home with one goal. To make Seth and Zane Morgan hers. For her, it’s all or nothing. Jaz may have left an innocent girl, but she’s returned a beautiful, sensual woman. Seth and Zane aren’t prepared for the full-on assault she launches and each battle an attraction they’ve fought for years. 

–Samhain;2008  

Book Review: 

Jaz returns home to Texas after a year in Paris. What she was doing there and how she could afford it, no one knows.  The only discernible skill she seems to possess is playing a horny damsel in distress and that won’t pay for a one-way ticket to Austin let alone France.

Her goal of a polyamorous relationship with the Morgan brothers; Seth and Zane, seemed far-fetched at best.  I know of some kissing cousins, but kissing siblings, brothers…eh I don’t know. Read more

A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay

Does a fruit taste its sweetest when it is forbidden? Is that which is prohibited always the most pleasurable? In this passionate and perceptive collection, Tatiana de Rosnay paints a portrait of the most forbidden of loves, in many different shades—sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, sometimes heartfelt, always with a dry wit and an unflinching authenticity. A PARIS AFFAIR is an enjoyable “undressing” of intimate delights, where laughter mingles with compassion and the heartbeats of illicit desire.–St. Martin’s Press;2015

Review:

A Paris Affair are a collection of short essays about married Parisians, in their early thirty, who have at least two small children and have or are a cheating spouse.   The essays do not go into the reasoning for the affairs, nor follow the couples in the aftermath their discovery.

The theme or overall lesson of the novel seems to be; ‘hey your husband will cheat, eh’.  The stories are well written and each have an interesting storytelling style, but with no real conclusion or point, they all left me with a feeling of hopelessness towards romance and marriage. –Borrow it