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review 2020-09-10 08:02
Book Review - Tempted by Love by Melissa Foster
Tempted by Love: Jack "Jock" Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island Book 1) - Melissa Foster

Theirs was such a beautiful story to be told, their love felt so right and so real that it really moved me, and still does. Jock is in a heartbreaking dilemma of needing to let go of the past demons to enjoy the feelings he is learning to have for Daphne. When something feels really right you throw caution to the wind and go further than you every thought you could, to do whatever it takes to make it happen and that's exactly what happens with Jock. Daphne, a devoted single mom, doesn't believe she can possibly be beautiful in anyone's eyes but Jock is determined to make her believe she is the most precious person on earth. Swoon!

 
absolutely loved the banter between them, full of innuendos, and how they both felt so nervous not knowing how far to stray from friendly banter to something far more real. Melissa had me feeling every part of their emotion, the happy and the sad, they were so perfect together that it flew off the pages and embraced me as I read.
 
A great introduction to the new series and a new bunch of loveable characters to enjoy who amplified the cool, fun, welcoming vibe that the Bayside gang bring to a story. There's no forgetting the star of the show, adorable little Hadley, oh my, oh my, oh my, this little three year old completely stole my heart, she melted me everytime she called Jock 'Dock' and when she spent time with our Bayside canine Cosmos! 
 
I honestly found myself smiling and laughing throughout the book, it was such an uplifting read. But then there was 'that' tension in the story ;-), which I actually found myself feeling really excited about, knowing that it would only be overcome by hitting the problem head on.
 
The impact from part of this story (I'm not putting in a spoiler sorry!!) was immense, it threw me off guard and took me a few moments to get back on track. This was such a moving romance with hard edges of life's problems to tackle, but once they were removed the full softness and beauty shone through and the glow actually stays with you even after you've finished.
Source: beckvalleybooks.blogspot.com
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review 2020-09-09 23:36
Instant
Must Love Dogs...and Hockey - Kelly Jamieson

Lilly feels like her life is falling apart.  She has lost another job, and it has her feeling low about herself.  Then she gets an additional dog walking client.  He intrigues her, and she finds him incredibly attractive.

 

Easton is totally enamored with Lilly.  Right from the moment they meet he cannot help but think she is so beautiful.  She seems to love dogs, and is great with them.  Since he finds himself unexpectedly the caregiver of a puppy he needs her help.

 

This story has such a great balance.  I felt like it had a great base story. Was full of humor, angst, heat, and more.  I had to read it all in one sitting, since I did not want to put it down.  The characters are meant to be and it shows. I give it a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

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review 2020-09-05 18:45
White Mughals by William Dalrymple
White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India - William Dalrymple

I have a lot of admiration for this author’s Nine Lives, and The Anarchy is highly informative. But this book is supposedly a love story, which isn't actually all that well-documented and for which the author puts on heavily rose-tinted glasses to ignore the fact that the participants were aged 35 and 13 and that we know almost nothing about her life, thoughts, or feelings. In reality, the book is in part a biography of East India Company official James Achilles Kirkpatrick, and in part a very detailed and heavily footnoted account of the British presence in India from about 1798-1806.

So. Kirkpatrick was a Resident of the East India Company in Hyderabad, essentially an ambassador to the princely court there, a position from which he built himself a monumental residence and negotiated treaties that strengthened the British and weakened the Hyderabadis (at times he felt bad about this but not bad enough to resign). He wrote a bunch of letters which from a modern point-of-view look awfully patronizing (referring to the Nizam, or local ruler, as “old Nizzy,” or giving himself credit for “convincing” the Indian authorities to do any useful thing they did); it’s hard to parse this stuff because the author never addresses it.

Kirkpatrick also, at the age of 35, slept with a 13-year-old girl from an aristocratic Muslim family, whom he got pregnant and then married. Now, I know that conventions about age and sex were different in many historical time periods, but rather than talking about that at all, Dalrymple seems to hope readers won't notice. In fact his description of the early years of this “romance” entirely obscures the age issue by stating vaguely that Khair un-Nissa was “probably in her early teens” and then quickly moving on. That uncertainty was apparently cleared up in Dalrymple’s own mind by the later chapters, at which point he states without ambiguity that she was 19 when their oldest child was 5. Dalrymple further tries to paper over the consent issue by emphasizing the fact that Khair un-Nissa’s male relatives, and Kirkpatrick himself—when accused of rape by a third party for what Dalrymple insists were purely specious and political reasons, to drive a wedge between her male relatives and the British—portrayed her as the initiator. Which in my mind just makes it worse (most of us would be pretty disgusted by a 35-year-old man excusing himself with “but the 13-year-old totally initiated!” regardless of whether it was true, in part because this is such a common line in the sex offender playbook), especially since Khair un-Nissa’s own voice is entirely absent from the book. None of her letters survived, and she’s viewed almost entirely through male eyes.

The couple go on to get married and have a couple of kids whom he insists on shipping off to his relatives in England at the tender ages of 5 and 3, at which point they’re forbidden from corresponding with their mother or her relatives. We don’t actually know much about their marriage because Kirkpatrick didn’t write much about it, but the author infers a lot. Both parties then die young. Dalrymple insists on viewing Khair un-Nissa as a tragic heroine throughout, based on what seems to be pretty scanty evidence. In a place and time when medical knowledge was still quite basic and a doctor even feeling a woman’s pulse was reserved for serious circumstances, I wouldn’t infer that she died of a broken heart from the simple fact that the doctor couldn’t pinpoint the cause.

At any rate, Dalrymple never reckons with the fact that his supposedly beautiful true love story involves a middle-aged man and an adolescent girl, and has little to say about the fact that we don’t hear her voice at all. But then, the relationship is only a focal point of a book that is largely comprised of the author squeezing in whatever bits of history seem to have caught his fancy. Someone goes to a festival, and we get a 6-page history of the festival and description of relevant buildings. Someone visits Calcutta, and we get 6 pages describing its society. Someone remodels a building and we get endless discussion of architecture and the hiring of workmen. It can be pretty interesting, but it also makes the book quite dense, especially with all the tiny footnotes, which I think are overkill for a non-academic work. The publishers could have made the book much more readable by actually naming the chapters and sections (and making sure to space out section breaks more evenly) to make it easier for readers to find what interests them. Instead it’s a wall of text full of tangents and extraneous details; no wonder many readers were frustrated. I nearly gave up on it myself.

Despite all its flaws, though, I did find the book interesting, and in the end did read it all. I do appreciate details and specifics and this book has them in abundance. It seems well-researched and the author’s basic thesis, that in the 18th century the British in India did far more to assimilate than their hoity-toity 19th century successors, is also quite interesting. Those looking for a detailed picture of an era would be well-advised to pick this up, though those expecting a love story might do better to avoid it.

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review 2020-07-30 15:30
From Venice With Love
From Venice With Love - Rosanna Ley

by Rosanna Ley

 

The story starts out with the death of a marriage. I usually don't like that sort of scenario, but it's an obvious one to provide the catalyst for a foreign adventure. Only this one starts out with the wife going home to her family's farm, which has problems of its own. Joanna is a journalist and her job, along with some letters found in the attic of the old farmhouse, lead her to several European cities, starting with Venice.

 

I have to admit, what I had hoped for from this story was a far more vivid experience of Venice than I got. The story focused more on relationship issues of both Joanna and her sister Harriet and the problems with a mother going senile, plus financial difficulties on the farm. It isn't the sort of story I would normally pick up and at one point I seriously considered skipping to the end.

 

However, as things developed I got involved in the sisters' separate journeys to find direction. The story became multi-layered with Harriet's adventures in online dating and a stalker who keeps turning up on the farm, plus Joanna's dilemma about whether her marriage should be saved or chucked and some weird shared hallucinations of the people in her letters in the places she visits for her travel article. Then of course there's the mother who keeps calling out workmen to do things they can't afford and the neighbour who is always helpful and coming around to help out. I figured I had him worked out early in the story and it turned out I was right, but the stalker did surprise me.

 

The travel descriptions were better for Lisbon and Prague, two places I've never been but could go to when travel is functional again. The story balanced somewhere between Romance and Mystery and trying to work out who Emmy was kept me guessing through to the end. Overall I enjoyed the story, though I felt the reveals were being spoon-fed to me. The writing was good but lacked the artistry of a real seat-of-your-pants novel. It might appeal to someone looking for an easy read or beach read.

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review 2020-07-14 20:20
A Duke by Default
Reluctant Royals, Book 2

I Picked Up This Book Because: I’ve been wanting to read this series for a while and finally just jumped in. Didn’t realize I was starting with book 2 though #doh

The Characters:

Portia Hobbs:
Tavish McKenzie:


The Story:

I have to say it first thing, this was a great story ruined by a terrible narrator for me. I’m not saying the narrator didn’t do what she could to the best of her ability but her Scottish accent was Jamacian. It was really distracting throughout the story as there were quite few different accents in this multicultural cast and she just couldn’t do them all. That said the story is definitely the only thing that kept me listening and if I would have been able to get my hands on a print copy quickly I would have ditched the audiobook. Okay now that I’ve let off that steam let's talk about this story.

Portia comes into Tavish’s life as his apprentice, hired by his brother to not only learn to make swords but to boost the armory’s business through social media and other outputs. There is an instant attraction between Portia and Tavish and who could blame Portia. I mean a Scottish hottie with hard earned muscles that knows how to expertly wield and hone an ancient weapon? I’m in love too. Portia resists because she is trying to turn over a new leaf, Tavish resists because it’s professional however neither is able to resist for long. During Portia’s tenure at the armory it is discovered that Tavish’s absent father is actually a Duke and Tavish must decide first if he wants to take up the mantle and then learn to navigate this new world of hidden hostility and scheming.

This story was in part fun, sexy, emotional, and somewhat addictive.

The Random Thoughts:

#LibraryLoveChallenge


4 Stars
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