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review 2017-12-01 13:01
Blog Tour w/Review - Lips Close To Mine

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Lips Close to Mine, an all-new sexy STANDALONE romance from Robin Bielman is available now!

 

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Lips Close to Mine

by Robin Bielman

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 20th

 

 

Synopsis:

 

I wasn’t supposed to see Levi Pierce ever again. A few months ago, he charmed the pants off me and we spent one incredible night together.

 

End of story.

 

Only it wasn’t. Pretty soon everywhere I turn, I see him. Our best friends are dating. My mother mistakenly—and happily—thinks he’s my plus-one to my cousin’s wedding. And he’s the guy I have to work with on the most important job opportunity of my life.

Here’s my problem: I like Levi. I like his killer smile and his dreamboat eyes and definitely the way he makes me feel in bed. But I’ve sworn off relationships. So when the sexual tension reaches epic proportions and we fall back into bed together, I tell myself it’s temporary. When I start to feel more, I tell myself it’s over.

 

Only Levi isn’t a forget-it kind of guy. When his lips are close to mine and he swears he’s always wanted me, my defenses disappear. But some things in life just aren’t meant to be.

 

 

Or are they?

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

 

      “What do you say we open that champagne then skinny-dip in the fountain?” I ask, releasing my seat belt. That I’m dying to Harper her naked again might have something to do with my suggestion, too.        

 

She searches my eyes for clues I’m serious. I help her out. “Unless you’re chicken.”

 

        With a straight face, she unclicks her seat belt, picks up the bottle of champagne and proceeds to pop the cork like a champ. She takes a swig, her full lips wrapped around the bottle, her eyes never leaving mine. My dick twitches as I imagine her gorgeous mouth sucking me deep. Full disclosure: I’ve been picturing this every damn night for the past two months.        

 

“Your turn.” She hands me the bottle as her tongue licks across her full bottom lip. If she’s trying to torture me, it’s working.        

 

Our fingers brush when I accept the Dom Perignon, and once again, the small, effortless touch isn’t enough. I take a small gulp of the sparkling drink, mindful I’m driving. When finished, I pass it back. “So, your cousin said something interesting to me tonight.”        

 

“Shit.”         .

 

I laugh. The harder Harper tries to keep me at arm’s length, the more her family tries to draw me in. “Since you’re sitting at the head table during the wedding reception, she wanted me to know I’ll be sitting with your brothers.”        

 

She chokes on the champagne. “What the hell? I never RSVP’d you were my plus-one.”        

 

“Your mom did.”        

 

Harper’s head falls back against the seat, chin up, eyes closed. “That woman is impossible. I’ll tell them you’re not coming to the wedding.”        

 

“I don’t mind.”        

 

“I do.”        

 

All right. Whatever you want.”        

 

“That’s it? Just like that, you’re not coming now?” She shifts positions, drawing her legs up so she’s sitting on them and facing me. I hadn’t noticed that she’d slipped off her shoes.        

 

“I don’t want to make you uncomfortable around your family.”        

 

“You don’t do that.”        

 

“You sure? I think I do.”        

 

“No. You don’t. Not even a little. But…”        

 

“But what?”        

 

“I did tell my mom I had a date so she wouldn’t bug me about it. I was planning to find a random guy to go with me, so I guess since she thinks it’s you…” She takes a drink, extends me the bottle.        

 

I put my palm over my heart. “How magnanimous of you.”        

 

“I know,” she teases. “Don’t you forget it.”        

 

“So I am going to the wedding?”        

 

“Yes.”

 

 

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Read Today!

 

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2hrUZ2W

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2gScl8u

Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/2zJbKQZ

iBooks: http://apple.co/2yZIcfA

Nook:http://bit.ly/2zkgT2n

Kobo:http://bit.ly/2yMdc1N

 

Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2gnmlWT

 

 

 

 

 

Lips Close to Mine (Wherever You Go, #2)Lips Close to Mine by Robin Bielman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #2, in the Wherever You Go series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

Harper and Levi have both sweet and hot history. All she knows now, is she cannot stop thinking about him. How he sets her on fire. The chemistry between them is unreal.

Levi wants another chance with Harper and she seems wary of that. He is consumed with thoughts about her and their time together. Thanks to mutual friends, they see one another often.

This is such a fun series! These characters have remarkable heat. The banter is fun, the pace solid and consistent. Was an easy and delightful read.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publisher.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Robin:

 

 

When not attached to her laptop, USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Finalist, Robin Bielman can almost always be found with her nose in a book. A California girl, the beach is her favorite place for fun and inspiration. Her fondness for swoon-worthy heroes who flirt and stumble upon the girl they can’t live without jumpstarts most of her story ideas. She loves to go on adventures, and has skydived, scuba dived, parasailed, gotten lost in the wilderness (and only suffered a gazillion bug bites for it) hiked to waterfalls, and swam with dolphins. In her spare time she also likes to put her treadmill to good use while watching her favorite TV shows, take hikes with her hubby, indulge her sweet tooth, and play sock tug of war with her cute, but sometimes naughty dog, Harry. She dreams of traveling to faraway places and loves to connect with readers. Keep in touch at all of her social media spots! 

 

Connect With Robin:

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobinBielmanWriter

Twitter: @RobinBielman

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/robin-bielman

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5825070.Robin_Bielman

 

Stay up to date with Robin by signing up for her newsletter:

https://goo.gl/HTtAzl

http://robinbielman.com

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-11-26 10:27
Modern charades....is it a book? Is it a film?
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Deborah Moggach

I generally get a sense of foreboding when I read on a book's cover, "NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE", even more so when I have seen said movie. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a good example, in that it is a glorious 'feel good' film, with a host of wonderful actors, setting the bar high for the preceding novel, which I notice was previously entitled, "These Foolish Things". But, notwithstanding this book has apparently inspired a successful cinema formulation, would it be any good?

 

The answer is 'yes', Deborah Moggach's original novel is really well conceived and the interplay between the cast of characters is comical, poignant and even touching at times. However, the downside to seeing the movie first is a sense of disappointment that the book has not been faithfully reproduced on the screen. Some parts that have been 'bigged up' for the cinema-going public proved to be relatively modest on reading the book. Unsurprising perhaps, when the talents of Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith et al are at hand, but the young charismatic Indian entrepreneur (played by Dev Patel) shown on the book's cover with his beautiful girlfriend, doesn't actually exist in the intervening pages. Instead, Sonny is middle-aged, rather dull and a 'bit part', compared to his central role in the screen version.

 

In contrast to the Hollywood meets Bollywood makeover, the book is earthier and the characters' back-stories more authentic, in turn making the plot lines more plausible. At a time when the UK's National Health Service is creaking under the pressures of an ageing population and traditional family loyalties are equally stressed, the advantages of shipping out to a new retired life in a strange land is a tantalising prospect   The comparing and contrasting of cultures within the book was also arguably more nuanced and the author holds up an interesting mirror on what it is to grow old in modern societies. East and West both have their 'hidden' populations of the 'uncared for'. But, perhaps the message of the book is that for those with an adventurous or courageous spirit and a willingness to share and create new social circles, life retains a wealth of possibilities.

 

The title is an interesting aside, but for me the book is much more explicitly about the characters and the dilapidated hotel merely a backdrop, albeit a useful metaphor, for which the original title may have better preserved the distinction. Still, despite the apparent temptation to ride the coat-tails of a successful movie, this book is, of itself, worth a read and perhaps for people of a certain age provides important fuel for thought.

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review 2017-11-21 23:53
ARC Review: The Secret Of The Sheikh's Betrothed by Felicitas Ivey
The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed (Dreamspun Desires Book 46) - Felicitas Ivey

First off, I had no issues whatsoever with the writing style of this author, or the writing itself. The story flowed along well, and I wasn't bored at all while reading. That is one of the two reasons this book got two stars instead of just one.

The other one is that I was super enraged for most of the book at the treatment Ikraam had to endure at the hands of her sister.

Moving on.... 

After I mulled it over for a while, I realized I had massive issues with some of the characters, the plot, and the setting, as well as the social aspects of this book. The messages within are really problematic for me. 

I mentioned in my status update when I finished the book that "this was different". It sure is. The book is set in a country in the Middle East, where sheikhs and Bedouin tribes are still aplenty. Goat herding is mentioned. Grazing grounds. Filthy rich sheikhs. Camels. Donkeys. Lots of goats. Women are second class, at best, required to hide their faces and their bodies in hijabs, niqabs and veils. 

The basic premise is that rich billionaire sheikh Fathi, who's secretly gay, has been told by his grandfather that he's been betrothed to a Bedouin girl named Ikraam, sight unseen, before the girl was even born, due to some debt the grandfather owed to the girl's father many many years ago.

That's basically believable, right? 

The rest of this? Not so much. 

Ikraam is actually not a girl. Ikraam is a young man who was born to the 2nd wife of a Bedouin tribe chief/leader who thus far only fathered girls. He's been raised as a girl in a large harem because his oldest sister didn't want him to be the heir and remove her from her position of power after their father died. She basically forced Ikraam's mother, and then Ikraam as he grew up, to keep his gender a secret and raise him as female. This was continued after the mother died. The oldest sister married a weak man who became the new tribe leader, but it's really been her in charge. She then set out to marry off all her sisters to other tribes so she could be HBIC. 

I had some issues right there. Not only is this plot point unrealistic, but even if it were believable, the psychological repercussions of Ikraam being raised as a female, and eventually realizing he's not female, are never even addressed. Can you imagine being raised this way? And noticing at some point that, hey, I have a penis, and, hey, the others girls do not? And, hey, I could be killed at any time if someone finds out? And, hey, my oldest sister abuses me daily and I have absolutely no way out of this situation other than death? Wouldn't YOU have some serious psychological issues? Can you imagine how fucked up that is? The suffering? The constant fear? Knowing you will die on your wedding night? Feeling that you have to go along with this plan so you can possibly save your niece from a fate worse than death? 

Additionally, Ikraam has been raised without ever learning to read, without knowing anything about the modern world (which I guess is expected when one grows up in a tent in the desert, weaving cloth and hiding underneath a niqab). And yet, this is never addressed even when Ikraam marries Fathi. The difference between Fathi, who was raised with money and educated in the US, and the poor Bedouin woman/man, who's never even been to a city, who's never read a book, who has no idea how the world works outside of goat farming and weaving cloth and hiding behind a veil - how could they possibly be compatible? And to top this off, when the secret does come out, Ikraam suggests living as a female in public, and as a male in the privacy of their bedroom, and NO ONE questions the feasibility of this and its possible repercussions. Fathi thinks it's a great idea. Is Ikraam identifying as gender-queer, made so by how he was raised? Are we supposed to believe that gender identity is thus nurture instead of nature? What message is the author sending here? 

We are introduced to Fathi and his twin brother early on. Fathi has a secretary whose only apparent purpose was to be a contrast to Ikraam as this secretary is educated and modernized, but then used only to be shamed and ridiculed for her aspirations. There's a scene at the very end that had me cringe in second-hand embarrassment that the way this particular scene played out made it past the editor. What was that, even? This is a young, modern, educated woman, someone who did a good job in the position for which she was hired, and yet, she's shamed for being interested in her boss, and the uneducated, unworldly, MALE-pretending-to-be-female Ikraam is held up as a "better" example of being female than this young woman, going so far as showing up on the arm of his new husband, dressed in traditional FEMALE finery and given an opportunity to announce to the secretary that her boss is now married and she needs to take a hike. How did this make it past the editor? What message is this sending to the reader? Readers who are primarily women? 

Don't get me started on Ikraam's oldest sister and the mother of his niece. The woman was pure evil but basically gets away with it. Not only is she perfectly willing to let Ikraam die for her subterfuge, which his husband would then obviously discover, but she's also willing to get rid of her own daughter by attempting to marry her off to a disgusting and violent man at least twice her age, who will likely break not only her spirit but also her body. Evil sister/mother don't care. And even when all of these things come out, she's not punished for her behavior. Ikraam is safe, and so is his niece, but the evil sister never gets a real punishment for not only the deception but also the cruelty and suffering she inflicted. 

Fathi is secretly gay, as I mentioned. His grandfather, described as a very traditional and old-fashioned man set in his ways, then doesn't even really blink when a) Fathi admits to being gay, and b) Ikraam's secret is revealed, and c) they want to get married anyway. Say WHAT? You're trying to tell me that an old man from the Middle East doesn't care that his heir is gay? Embraces it? Is fine with the Bedouin girl being really a man? And you explain it away by stating that he's not super religious and THAT'S IT?? I'm sorry, but I didn't buy what the author was trying to sell here. 

The secondary men in this book, namely the tribe leader and the niece's potential groom, are either weak or evil. Both were one-dimensional characters and used to provide a specific plot point or two, then discarded. 

I usually like the titles in this very tropey series, but this was a complete miss for me. The gender identity issue could have been handled in a much healthier way here, and I would have expected more conflict and pushback from the grandfather based on his portrayal. I would have liked to see some psychological help for Ikraam, and some education as well. 

This book didn't work for me. YMMV.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A review was not promised in return. **

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