Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge – Liz Fielding



Line:
Harlequin Romance
Release month: North America/UK April 2010
The S-Factor:
Sweet and Sexy

Back Blurb:

Events planner Josie Fowler has scooped the wildest celebrity wedding of the year in a luxury lodge hotel in Botswana! She's surrounded by prowling leopards and crocodile-filled rivers, but more dangerous to her sanity is the resort owner—enigmatic entrepreneur Gideon McGrath.

As Josie wrestles with taffeta and table plans, Gideon's take-charge approach is getting in her way—and his sexy smile is getting under her skin….

Review
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I wasn’t prepared for A Wedding at Leopard Tree Lodge because I was expecting the storyline to revolve around the celebrities who were getting married at the African high end destination. However, they were the secondary characters. The two main characters were the owner of the Lodge, Gideon McGrath and the event planner Josie Fowler who was sent at the last minute to oversee the event. Josie stole my heart with her purple streaked hair and her wild outfits. As for Gideon, not too much to say about him, he was just plain sexy and gorgeous. Their journey was so tender, so very romantic as this couple was destined to be together.

Josie Fowler was rescued by her new business partner Sylvie and that was a story which was revealed later in the book. She ha been given the opportunity to oversee the event of the year which if she pulled it off, would put her at the top of her field. She was to oversee the wedding of two celebrities, one being a famous football player and the bride a beautiful blond in a very remote African setting. Their wedding would be featured in Celebrity magazine. There were all sorts of challenges because of the lodges remoteness. Communication was very limited and on her very first day she found out that the bridal suite was occupied by a very charismatic man who was actually the owner of the lodge. He was recouping in the room below hers due to a bad back. Or should I say tree house, because each of the rooms were actually built in a “tree house fashion.

From the moment they met one could actually feel the sparks fly. Both Josie and Gideon liked to be in control of all situations. At times is was a real challenge to their friendship. However, it was very obvious they were both intrigued. Even though Gideon's back problem was stress related, Josie needed him gone because the bride and groom were to arrive soon and his room was planned to be the bridal suite.

Gideon came from a travel background and traveled the world to find new eco-friendly destinations. Leopard Tree Lodge was his first property and he hadn’t been back in years. In fact, he was honestly thinking of selling it. And now he finds himself stuck at the lodge and in serious pain. Then Josie Fowler storms into his life which actually made his life more enjoyable. He’s intrigued by this interesting woman, he actually likes her and wanted to do everything in his power to help her with her wedding event. In fact, he helped her too much at times and she didn't like the feeling of not being in control. Josie was so attracted to Gideon, she looked for him everywhere but she was also so driven to succeed because if she could pull this event off, especially with all of the media coverage, she would be at the top of her field and in demand. Josie also had a secret past and she felt indebted to her business partner Sylvie to make this wedding a success.

There were all sorts of challenges Josie faced. First and foremost was the place where the event took place was so primitive, no cell phone service, the only way in was by small aircraft, the chef didn’t work on Sundays, a riverboat would be used for the overflow of guests and then the maid of honor and best man break up and are each bringing new partners which increased the guest list. However, at the top of Josie’s list was Gideon and getting him out of the bridal suite. And then there was Gideon who was used to issuing commands and moved Josie into his suite to make room for the bride and groom. Talk about stressful and then add to the mix when they share with each other their pasts….get the Kleenex out, you’ll need it!

Gideon and Josie’s story was amazing to read. Their attraction was immediate, they were so opposite from each other yet so meant to be together. When they each revealed their pasts and hurtful revelations you’ll be overwhelmed yet you’ll be cheering for them because they both sincerely cared for each other, they both really listened to each other, they helped each other and they loved each other. Liz Fielding did an amazing job making this such a romantic and sweet love story set in exotic Africa and one I shall long remember.

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Reviewed by: Marilyn

The Book:
Author’s
website:

About Leopard Tree Lodge

Sunday, April 25, 2010

THE BLACKMAIL BABY – Natalie Rivers



Author:
Natalie Rivers
Line: Harlequin Presents / Mills and Boon Modern
Release month: North America: Apr 2010 UK: Dec 2009
The S-Factor:
Sexy


Back Blurb:

Once Lorenzo Valente sets his sights on something—or someone—he will not be deterred! His estranged wife, Chloe, might profess to hate him now, yet only weeks earlier she was claiming adoration…proving Lorenzo's belief that love is fickle.

But now the stakes have gotten higher…. Chloe has become guardian to her friend's baby and wants a fresh start—plus a marriage annulment. Seeing Chloe as a mother, Lorenzo is more determined than ever to keep her…and claim the wedding night from which she fled!

Review:♥♥♥♥

Chloe had been Lorenzo Valente’s personal PA until they began dating and then lovers and months later when it should have been their wedding night, his bride walked out of his life shortly after their wedding reception. Why one might ask? Because she told him she loved him, he rejected her declaration and told her under no circumstance would he ever love her. However, he would be a good husband, father and provider.

They were complete opposites, Lorenzo from nobility and she just a plain and curvy young English woman who had run away from her groom and moved in with her best friend and her baby. However, what Chloe didn't know until she arrived back in England was that her dear friend was terminally ill and wanted Chloe to raise her baby Emma when she passed. And then on top of loosing her friend, who should show up on her doorstep but her husband demanding she return to their marriage so he takes her to a lovely English country estate, the very one he had purchased for her as a wedding gift.

As one read more of their story you learned that Chloe had no father and that her mother and sister moved to Australia. As for Lorenzo, his mother adbandoned him as a child and his father went through many wives. Both of them came from loveless homes. However it seemed to me Chloe understood her past better than Lorenzo.

Lorenzo had originally wanted a wife to provide him with an heir and he had no faith in marriages based on emotion. He had wanted a stable, non-materialistic wife who would stand by commitment and motherhood and not abandoned her child. He believed most marriages fell apart and Chloe believed happy marriages existed but how could she prove it to him?

The Blackmailed Baby by Natalie Rivers was an excellent read, especially the last chapters when one learned Lorenzo felt emotions for his wife and also for baby Emma. The entire time he was trying to make Chloe happy and didn’t realize it was his love for her driving him on, plus his love for the baby. It was a very emotional read, but a wonderful one. Their journey to happiness was one roller coaster romance!

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Reviewed by: Marilyn

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

BILLIONAIRE M.D. - Olivia Gates



Author: Olivia Gates
Line:
Silhouette Desire
Release month: North America/UK: April 2010
The S-Factor: Sensual

Back Blurb:

Mr. April: Rodrigo Valderrama, billionaire Spanish surgeon.

His Patient: The woman he's always wanted.

His Problem: An explosive pregnancy secret.

He'd rushed to her side the moment he'd learned of her accident. Whisking the recovering Cybele away to his palatial seafront estate, the wealthy doctor vowed to care for and protect the pregnant young widow…and never let her know his true feelings. But he feared that even with all his brilliant skills, he might not be able to keep Cybele if she learned the truth about his role in her pregnancy

Review:♥♥♥♥

Sincerely, Billionaire M.D. was certainly one of the most intense romances I’ve read with so many twists and turns plus the emotions running wild between the very sexy Spanish Dr. Rodrigo Valderrama and the very lovely surgeon and patient Cybele Wilkinson. Author Olivia Gates knowledge of the medical field was quite evident during this entire story and will certainly appeal to fans of medical romance. As she said in “Dear Reader”, Ms. Gates wanted to “demonstrate in full measure, why a surgeon can be such an irresistibly romantic hero” and Rodrigo was certainly that and more as he was a self made billionaire, soft hearted, loyal to his family and Cybele’s protector.

Conflicting emotions leap off of the pages because of the emotions Rodrigo Valderramna feels for the woman who has survived an airplane crash and is now in a comma. Those feelings are revealed towards the end of the book, shocking revelations which will have the reader shaking their heads in disbelief. Cybele survives the airplane crash and her husband dies. When she awakes she’s sure knows the attending physician, and then parts of her memory return and she realizes he was her husband’s best friend, or so she thinks. On top of that, she learns she’s pregnant.

And then the day of his funeral she insists on going along with Rodrigo because her in-laws will be claiming her husband’s body. What she doesn’t count on if finding out from her mother-in-law, that her husband Mel and Rodrigo were brothers not best friends. Mel and Rodrigo’s story was quite fascinating, more than fascinating is all that can be revealed or it would ruin this story.

Trust me, that’s not the end of the secrets and when Rodrigo insists she stay with him at his Spanish villa to recuperate and rest she agrees because she cannot fight the feelings she has for him. Several times she tries to show him but he makes it clear by ignoring her and she’s confused because she can see in his eyes that he desires her. However, they finally fall into each others arms and in the end marry.

Family, love and the sense of belonging have always been important to Cybele because she didn’t have it when she was a child. When her mother remarried and had children, she felt left out and felt she was a reminder of her mother’s first marriage. So now that she and Rodrigo have declared their love and he has told her he wants to marry her and love her child she is beyond happy. And then the secrets just keep on coming along with Cybele’s memories returning and everything blogs up.

In the end, Olivia Gates ties this romance into a perfect package even though they both had to suffer misfortune and unhappiness, they’re able to work everything out and get their perfect happy ending. Some of the very last chapters had me wishing for more as the passion was so incredibly intense and deeply emotional as Rodrigo’s love is so pure,sincere and has always been since he first set eyes on Cybele.

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Reviewed by: Marilyn

Olivia Gates website

More About the Book

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After - Fiona Harper


Title: Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After

Author: Fiona Harper

Line: Harlequin Romance

Release Month: April 2010

The S-Factor: Sweet


Back-Blurb:


Ellie Bond's heart has ached ever since she lost her beloved husband and little girl. Now her head is telling her it's time to get her life back on track. Her first small step: answering big-shot music executive Mark Wilder's Housekeeper Wanted advertisement!


Outwardly Mark is supercool, ├╝berpowerful and can make or break careers, but it's the compassion beneath his public exterior that's reawakening Ellie's zest for life.


Review:


Award-winning author Fiona Harper is back with another enchanting novel for Harlequin Romance that will tug at your heartstrings: Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After!


Ellie Bond's life changes in a split second when a tragic accident kills her beloved husband and her beautiful daughter. Shocked, hurt, upset and alone, Ellie's sadness spirals out of control and she ends up losing some of her memory. However, Ellie is tired of being a victim; she's sick of the pity and the compassion and wants to move on with her life. Although, time has not healed all of her wounds, Ellie is determined to start afresh and asks her good friend, who owns an employment agency, to help her find a job.


Record producer Mark Wilder is looking for a housekeeper to look after his beautiful mansion in the English countryside while he jets off all around the world finding new musical talent and bedding vapid and vacuous blondes with their eye on the main chance - and with her exceptional culinary skills and no desire whatsoever to indulge in a no-strings affair, Ellie proves to be an ideal candidate for the position.


Mark had tried relationships and commitment once, but he soon learnt that happy ever afters do not exist outside of fairy tales. Yet, something about his new housekeeper attracts his interest and Mark soon begins to see his new employee in a whole new light...


Ellie still feels bound to the man she had lost, but Mark has stirred feelings in her which she had thought long buried. Is she willing to take a second chance at happy ever after? Or will she continue to be held captive by the past?


Poignant, moving and wonderfully uplifting, Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After is a must read for readers of romantic fiction who are looking for an intelligently-written, highly sensitive and wholly emotional story. Believable, tender and deliciously feel-good, Housekeeper's Happy-Ever-After is another Fiona Harper novel that has winner written all over it!


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Saturday, April 10, 2010

THE ITALIAN'S RUTHLESS BABY BARGAIN - Margaret Mayo


Author: Margaret Mayo
Line: Harlequin Presents Extra / Mills and Boon Modern
Release month: North America/AU: March 2010 UK: Feb 2010
The S-Factor: Sexy

Back Blurb:

Pregnant with the boss’s baby!

Nanny Penny Keeling knows working for the strong-but-silent Santo De Luca will be a challenge, but she’s determined to do it for his little girl’s sake. And she’s equally determined not to fall for her dangerously attractive boss – she’s been burnt before…

Penny is pretty, charming and utterly beddable – and under the fiery Italian sun Santo seduces her…

It was only meant to be an affair. Now Penny has announced she’s pregnant...

Review: ♥♥♥♥

Santo De Luca was one charming, handsome and very rich man and he had a small daughter who needed a nanny. Santo didn’t even know he had a daughter, until he was notified that his ex-wife had died. She was deceitful and knew when divorcing him that she was pregnant but she never told Santo. He missed out on so much and wasn’t quiet sure of how to raise a five year old.

Penny Keeling came highly recommended as a nanny and when she was offered a salary beyond belief she took the position. As she wasn’t dating nor in a relationship living and working at the De Luca mansion suited her just fine. However, what Penny didn’t count on was how handsome and sexy her boss was and how attracted she was to him. She didn’t like the feeling because her past boyfriend who she thought she would end up marrying her, cheated on her, broke her heart so she certainly was interested in having an affair.

Immediately they were both attracted to each other, their feelings and emotions on high alert. He definitely was interested and she was determined not to get involved. Penny adored his little girl Chloe and was constantly berating Santo for working long hours, not being home when she went to bed or in the morning. And then Chloe tells her nanny “the secret” that she didn’t know she had a daddy until her mommy died.

Well from then on, they banter back and forth, they act on their passion and then at every turn, Penny tells him no more. It’s always there, the passion for both of them, circling them, taunting them. So when it’s Chloe’s school holiday, he takes them to Italy and they stay at his family’s mansion. The family that Santos doesn’t talk about. And they become more involved and there’s more drama because Santo’s decides to take them all to Rome so that Chloe can meet her grandfather. And then the bomb drops, Penny’s pregnant!

Will there ever be a chance for this couple? Could they all find happiness and become a family? The last few chapters were difficult to read because I felt so sorry for this sexy Italian because of his reasons for leaving Rome in the first place, for him not trusting, for his lost childhood, for his time lost and the missing five years of his daughter’s life. But in the end, Penny, Chloe and Santo got their happy ending and Santo made peace with his family.

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Reviewed by: Marilyn

Mayo’s website

WEDLOCKED: BANISHED SHEIKH, UNTOUCHED QUEEN - Carol Marinelli (Dark Hearted Desert Men)



Author: Carol Marinelli
Line: Harlequin Presents / Mills and Boon Modern
Release month: North America: April 2010 /UK:
The S-Factor: Sensual and Sizzling

Back Blurb:

About to lose his kingdom, Xavian is marrying for power—his wedding night will be purely for duty. As he unveils his new queen, nervous and naked, bathed in fragrant oils, he's stunned that she's as beautiful as the desert stars….

This queen deserves a royal bedding worthy of the Arabian Nights…and in her arms Xavian discovers that, though he may not have a kingdom, he has the strength and power of a thousand kings.

But this untouched queen could be his undoing….

Review: ♥♥♥♥♥

Author Carol Marinelli has again charmed me as well as answering my wish for this particular story to be written with Wedlocked: Banished Sheikh, Untouched Queen. It’s an absolutely magnificent love story and the first book in the Dark Hearted Desert Men series.

If you read The Royal House of Karedes in the very last book there was a stranger at the Queen of Aristo’s wedding who noticed a man with eyes so like her new husbands that she was shaken. For she new that her husband and brothers as children had been kidnapped and that the youngest Al’Farisi brother, Zakari was swept out to sea and never found. The brothers never got over their loss nor did the country of Calista.

This incredible story is about that lost brother, now known as Xavian, the ruler of Qusay, the sheikh playboy who has been promised to Layla, the Queen of Haydar. A very strong Queen, a beautiful woman who rules alone and is a virgin. A woman not to be kept waiting, a proud woman who gives as good as she gets and who almost faints at her wedding because her future husband is so handsome and powerfully built, who oozes sensuality and takes her breath away.

Throughout reading this story one is made aware that Xavian takes his duties seriously and puts his country first. However, he is trouble by the scars on his wrists, he has bad dreams at night, and since the wedding of the Queen of Aristo, he’s troubled because they keep contacting him all of a sudden and it makes him unsettled. Now he is about to marry a woman who is queen of another country and he’s expected to produce an heir and possibly assist her in ruling her country, uniting both lands.

Queen Layla was nervous, it was her wedding day to a man she had been betrothed to since childhood. A man with a reputation of a playboy, a man who would take her on their wedding night. This sheikh, her future husband kept her waiting and she was furious. She just wants the honeymoon over and wants to get back to what makes her comfortable, ruling her country. Let’s just say, you won’t want to miss their time in the desert because it’s just as hot as the desert sun, it’s a complex, beautiful and extremely passionate love story with lots of conflict.

However, it’s a rollercoaster love story because one just knows that it’s going to explode in both of their faces when the King of Qusay finds out he’s been living a lie and the wrong life! When the truth is revealed, it’s devastating for this couple, not just for Xavian but for Layla because she loves her husband and she’s torn on what to do because she also loves her country. You’re happy for him because he’s found his lost family but you also cry for him because he now must step down from being the ruler of his beloved country. He feels cheated for what his so called parents did to him and the son who died, the son and heir to the Qusay throne.

Wedlocked: Banished Sheikh, Untouched Queen was as I’ve said a stunning love story and how author Carol Marinelli tied The Royal House of Karedes and this new series together was incredible. A personal thanks to the author as I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Reviewed by: Marilyn

Carol Marinelli's website:

Carol talks about her first sheikh and the last book in the Royal House of Karedes which let to this sheikh's story.

Carol's Dear Reader

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