Archive for the ‘romance’ Category

Twin boys grow up in the same family, in the same town. Dramatically different, they become bitter enemies, even as children: one good, one bad. One leaves his peaceful hometown, but when the prodigal son returns twenty years later, the brothers’ reunion will expose shocking revelations…

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House

Reviewed by Jan

Peter loses his Wall Street job as a result of the financial market collapse. His wife moves back home to LA with his sons and suddenly he’s paying alimony and child support and looking for work.  He has a strained relationship with his twin brother, who was the golden child growing up, and heads back home to regroup and mend fences.

Michael is a small town doctor with a disabled wife, Maggie, he’s devoted too and a hoarde of elderly patients who adore him.   Eventually Peter and Michael make amends and regret the hatred they had shared for so many years.  Then Peter meets Michael’s son, Bill, in London and it turns out things are not as they seem.

Which brother is the prodigal son?

I usually rely on Danielle Steel’s book formula for a comforting HEA story but I did not enjoy his book at all.  I loathed the heroine for being a gutless wimp with no backbone and felt she played the victim.  Living in a 2 story house confined to a bed because your husband loves his family home?!  Missing out on your kids growing up because you’re confined to bed?!  Only going downstairs to join in family meals when your husband allows?!   Did she not see the big red flags waving about her husband?

I didn’t enjoy this book because I kept screaming at her to wake up; and think for yourself.

 

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pegasu

Nicolas and Alex are best friends, aristocratic German widowers raising children in 1930s Europe, both enjoy horses and Alex breeds Lippanzers.  When war breaks out neither are too worried as their prestigious ancestry protects them somewhat.  Then Nick finds out a devastating family secret that means death for him and his sons.  Forced to flee, they head to America with eight purebred horses – two of them Lippanzers – a gift from Alex.

The beautiful Lippanzer stallion Pegasus enables Nick to gain a new job with the famous Ringling Brothers circus, where he instantly becomes besotted with a graceful high-wire performer half his age. Terrified she performs without a net, he plain to move to California to breed horses but Christianna won’t leave the only life she’s known – the circus.

Back in Austria Alex his daughter face escalating danger and he smuggles her to the safety of England by bribing a Nazi official with a Lippanzer.  Alex then starts helping Jews escape to Switzerland and after a few years is caught blowing up a munitions train and shot.

The families lose contact and the circus stories become made-up legends, until a horse auction in England featuring a Lippanzer stallion named Pegasus causes Nick’s grandson – Alex – and Alex’s great-granddaughter – Nicola – to cross paths.

Another easy read following the Danielle Steel formula and with the mandatory HEA.  If you’re a Danielle Steel fan you’ll enjoy this book,a

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

blackpeak storms

Glencarin Station is in dire need of a housekeeper to run it and city girl Cally Jones leaps at the chance. Set just below Blackpeak Station in the rugged high country of the South Island, Glencarin is the home of the gruff Carr Fergusson and his son Ash, who has recently returned from Argentina. After a few disasters Cally settles in rapidly to high station life and even learns to ride. Then Ash’s girlfriend turns up…….

Ella is loving her new job as a job as a photography assistant and is constantly jetting around the world on assignments for weeks at a time. This makes it difficult to find time to enjoy her relationship with Luke, who has a life firmly embedded in New Zealand. Then Ella is offered the opportunity of a lifetime- in New York.

Another charming read by Holly Ford that continues the Blackpeak story and lets us see how favourite characters are doing (was amused to find out Richard’s latest project). The action is from one character’s POV then the next chapter rewinds the time period to show another’s POV, which takes a bit to get used to but quickly makes sense.  A great read, Holly Ford is on my must-read list and I look forward to her next book.

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Review of Blackpeak Vines here

shards of hope

ADEN’S STORY!!!

Aden and Zaira wake up in a dark cell, with their psychic abilities gone and, in Zaira’s case, seriously wounded. Breaking free from the prison where their gaolers are both human and psy, they find themselves at the mercy of the elements and far from civilisation. To survive they must make it to the hidden lair of a predatory changeling pack that doesn’t welcome outsiders.

A target has been put on the back of the Arrow squad and the leader, Aden, abducted to give up information, while Zaira was taken to show the world the squad isn’t invincible. Aden will cross any line to keep his people safe for this new future, where even an assassin might have hope of a life beyond blood and death and pain. Zaira has no such hope as she’s too damaged to return from the abyss. Her driving goal is to protect Aden, protect the only person who has ever come back for her no matter what.

This time, even Aden’s passionate determination may not be enough – because the emotionless chill of Silence existed for a reason. For the violent, and the insane, and the irreparably broken . . . like Zaira.
The plot was very complex, full of twists and turns and kept me enthralled till the very end. It set the scene for upcoming challenges in the post-Silence world. I really liked seeing seeing so many of the characters from the previous books and finding out more about them, like Miane and the water changelings, as well as totally new characters, like Remy and the RainFire pack.

It was so cute when Aden is figuring out how to alpha and watching clueless Arrows trying to figure out kids – changeling and psy – is sweet. The Arrows finally have a chance at life and Aden is determined they will become a family.

Can’t wait for #15!

Gollancz

Supplied by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

blackpek vines

Lizzie Harrington is a former television executive in England who, longing for a new life in the country of her homeland, settles on the vineyard below Blackpeak Station, a farm in the rugged high country of the South Island.

Enjoying her new career as a vintner, Lizzie has settled in and gets on with all the locals – except for her neighbour, the brooding Carr Fergusson. A visit from Lizzie’s glamorous friends including the aging heartthrob actor Richard Bourne, who she has had a secret love affair with for years, and her beautiful daughter Ella, bring changes to the valley.

Up at Blackpeak Station Charlotte Black is busy with sheep, a fashion shoot featuring Italian models, and planning a wedding with Rob. Ella lands a job as a photography assistant on the shoot though and is in danger of falling for an extremely unsuitable man and disrupting life at Black Peak.

Another charming read by Holly Ford that continues the Blackpeak story and lets us revisit characters we know and love, as well as introducing new ones. The setting is stunning and the plot is well thought out, with a few unexpected twists. A fun, contemporary romance.

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

Review of Blackpeak Station here

blackpeak station

Charlotte Black is the fourth generation of the Black family to farm Blackpeak Station, a farm in the rugged high country of the South Island. Wanting to own the station Charlotte runs into a few problems, she has an older brother and a father who believes that daughters run families, not farms.

After her father dies Charlotte faces many struggles to keep her dream alive, including ending things with her first love Rob. She resigns herself to never having romance in her life, as the station came first.   Then the handsome, suave Luke turned up on her doorstep.

This was a good read, well written and an interesting story with plenty of twists and turns to keep things moving forward at a rapid pace. The setting was beautifully described and the challenge of living in a remote part of New Zealand laid out well.

The description of the Christchurch earthquake made me cry, as it brought back the same feelings the characters had watching it on tv, waiting for news, and hoping loved ones were safe, and finding out someone you knew was a casualty.

A must read for modern romance fans.

Bantam

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

winners

Lily Thomas is a talented competitive skier aiming for the Olympics. A horrific accident on the slopes leaves the 17—year-old paralysed and forces her to let go of that dream. Trying to learn to live again, Lily meets Teddy, a young man even more badly injured than she is. Teddy teaches her about hope and encourages her to find a new dream.

Dr Jessie Matthews lost her beloved husband in an accident the night Lily was injured. A top neurosurgeon, she operated on Lily and was blamed by her father for causing his daughter to be paralysed. Bill Thomas is a wealthy widower and his daughter is his life. He is devastated as she loses all she dreamed of and starts on the road to recovery.   He grows close to Jessie and together they survive their tragedies and begin to heal.

The story is of a father and daughter overcoming life’s curveballs and creating new lives for themselves, providing hope for others along the way.

A typically sweet Danielle Steel story where everyone ends up happy. I’m in a wheelchair myself and it irritated me how people carried on like it was the most horrible thing ever to be confined to one. I’m not an Olympic hopeful skier with the future suddenly being snatched away from me though. A good book for when you want to have warm fuzzie feelings about triumphing against all odds.

Transworld Publishers

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan