Crystal Cove

 Justine Hoffman yearns to feel real love, the kind her friends have recently found. In desperation she does the one thing she was told never to do – she looks at page 13 of the family spell book and learns she was cursed to never find her soul mate.  Justine is desperate to change her fate but in doing so she unleashes a series of complications that she could never have foreseen. Jason Black is mysterious, sexy and secretive and is strangely drawn to Justine – he is hiding his own secrets however, and when their hearts collide he learns loving a witch is more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.

I loved this book, this is the continuing story of Friday Harbour and takes up pretty much where the last one finished. Justine was one of my favourite characters from the previous books with a hint of mystery that is all explained fully in this one.  Jason seemed a bit of a jerk and control freak when his assistant was describing him but all it took was the right woman to break down his reserve.

The romance was pretty much a case of love at first sight and oh so intense from the get go. Some people might find this irritating and far fetched but if you believe in magic, anything is possible. “This happens once in a lifetime. You meet someone and have this crazy reaction…and you know you could never be bored with her because she’s interesting even when she’s doing nothing. Even without knowing everything about her, you get her.” Jason says this to justify why he knows Justine is the one, despite only knowing her a couple of days. It’s so romantic it made me sigh.

There is a lot more sexual content in this book than the rest of the series, and it’s very well written, so keep your fans close at hand!

While I knew there would be a happy ending -not a spoiler, after all this is Lisa Kleypas, as the story progressed I was finding it harder and harder to see how! Right up to the last few pages I was still trying to work out how the HEA would come. This is a magical highly romantic story where anything can happen if you want it badly enough and are prepared to do anything to achieve it.

I love Ms Kleypas’ writing and this book is no exception – it will definitely be on my shelf to re-read, after all as Zoe says at the beginning of this book “a good happily ever after is worth reading more than once”

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: Friday Harbour (4)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Dream Lake

 ”Zoe Hoffman is as gentle and romantic as they come, and when she meets the startlingly handsome Alex Nolan, all her instincts tell her to run… Alex Nolan is as bitter and cynical as they come, battling his demons with the help of a whiskey bottle, until he is visited by a mysterious ghost. Has Alex finally crossed the threshold to insanity?

The Ghost doesn’t know who he is, or why he is stuck in the Nolan’s Victorian house.  All he knows is that he loved a girl once. And Alex and Zoe hold the key to unlocking the mystery that keeps him trapped there.”

This is the third book in the Friday Harbour series and in my opinion much better than the previous one, Rainshadow Road. I was a bit confused at first because this book starts before either of the other two, and for a minute I thought I was reading it out of order. In reality the novels run in parallel with each other to some extent. Things that were mentioned and not followed up from the previous book make perfect sense here, when written from Alex’s point of view.

All the characters in this book are superbly written, not just the two protagonists. It is so easy when Ms Kleypas is writing, to forget it is just a fantasy world. The characters leap off the page and I am always emotionally invested in them. The Ghost (as he is known for most of the book) is a fantastic character and the banter between him and Alex was excellent, I was rooting for him and his happy ending as much as I was for Alex’s.

Ms Kleypas comes up with some truly romantic passages – my favourite few words here have to be “I will love you. No force of heaven or hell could stop me, and damn anyone who tries. I will love you forever.” The circumstances in which this was being said made it even more special.

There were some very bitter-sweet moments and towards the end I was sobbing – never fear, I had tears, I had smiles but ultimately was left with the absolute sense of satisfaction that comes from Ms Kleypas’ writing and am glad I persevered with this series after the disappointment of the previous book.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: Friday Harbor (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

A Wallflower Christmas

 ”It’s Christmas time and Rafe Bowman, an uncivilised American rake, has come to London for an arranged marriage with the perfect aristocratic bride, the very proper and beautiful Natalie Blandford. But before the courtship can begin, Rafe needs to learn the rules of London society. When four former wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen.”

Yet another great story from Lisa Kleypas involving the former wallflowers, it left me with a satisfyingly warm feeling that had nothing to do with the central heating. If I had one criticism it would be that it was too short, if it was longer, some aspects of the story could have been fleshed out a bit. As an example the single page epilogue had lots of updates about everyone, some of which could be incorporated into the story.  Having said that, this is a pure romance novella with no great mystery to solve and some people may get fed up with it if it was longer (not me though!).

I loved Rafe as I love all of Ms Kleypas’ male leads, the glimpses we were given into his past were good, the story about the toy soldier made me want to cry, and that letter – hot! It is clear early on that it is not Natalie Blandford who captures Rafe’s interest, but her companion and cousin Hannah Appleton and we then have the problem with head and heart – what should be and what could be. Hannah is feisty and loyal while Natalie comes across as spoilt and a tease but both of them have each others best interests at heart.

If you have read the wallflower series you definitely need to read this to catch up with our favourite heroines, I am disappointed we did not get to see a bit more of their husbands too – mind you all that hotness together might have caused more than a slight rise in my temperature and this is primarily Rafe and Natalie’s story after all. If you have not read the Wallflower Series you may not appreciate this as much, but if you are a fan of romance you will enjoy it. Read it curled up beneath the Christmas tree and get lost in a world of romance and happy ever afters.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: Wallflowers (4.5)
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

The Wallflower Series

 The Wallflowers is a romance series set in Victorian England by Lisa Kleypas. The books in order are :

  • Secrets of a Summer Night- Annabelle
  • It happened one Autumn – Lillian
  • The Devil in Winter – Evie
  • Scandal in Spring – Daisy

I loved this series so much I read the books back to back in 3 days, so figured a review of the series as a whole was in order.

 In 1843 four young ladies who have been wallflowers on the edge of the ballrooms for the season start talking and become firm friends. they agree to help each other find suitable husbands using devious means if necessary. As I read the books one after another, similarities in format between the books were obvious but you often find that with books by the same author and it was not a problem for me as the format worked very well.

The young ladies are from different backgrounds and have very different personalities but I loved all of them I was drawn to them immediately and looked forward to everyone’s story. My favourite has to be Evie who was the quietest of them all but hides a secret she cannot even tell her friends, and it is no coincidence her book – The Devil in Winter – is also my favourite.  The heroes were also very different and from very different backgrounds; a self made millionaire who was a butchers son, a staid and  supposedly emotionless Earl, England’s most notorious rake and an American with a secret. They all had one thing in common though, bucket loads of sexiness and when they fall, they fall hard. The great thing about this series is that the four women remain firm friends throughout so we continue to get updates on the couples throughout the series.

It was good not just having English aristocrats as the heroes and heroines (two of the ladies are American), although it was set in aristocratic circles in England. While there is always great pleasure in having a sexy English aristocrat (and in the story too!) it is also nice to see how other people fit in to those tight circles.

 These books were extremely romantic but definitely not full of sap, there is always something else going on besides the romance and there are some dramatic scenes leading up to the declarations of love. Ms Kleypas has the ability to turn a villain from one book into a hero in the next and do so believably leading me from detesting someone to rooting for him.

I wont go into individual books otherwise this would be far too lengthy, suffice to say these are some of the best historical romances I have read and at the end of each one I was left with the warm fuzzies and a deep sense of satisfaction.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Lisa Kleypas
  • Series: Wallflowers
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

 

 

 

Again The Magic

 McKenna is a stable boy, Lady Aline Marsden is the eldest daughter of the Earl of Westcliffe. They grew up on the estate together and Aline, ignored by her parents, ran wild with him during childhood. They fell in love knowing nothing could ever come of it and on being discovered by the Earl of Westcliffe, McKenna was sent away. Aline knew he would never stay away unless she made him believe she never cared for him at all.

Twelve years later her father is dead and McKenna returns to the estate as a wealthy American businessman with one thing on his mind – revenge against the woman who discarded him as if he was a piece of dirt beneath her feet. Aline has her own secrets however, and knows she can never allow McKenna close to her again.

What a great story this is, I absolutely loved it. As you know from my reviews I am very into romance and that is what this is, a fantastic romance with everything you could wish for.  There are actually two stories for the price of one here as Aline’s sister Olivia has her own romance with Gideon Shaw, the American who accompanies McKenna back to the estate.  Of course they have their own baggage and problems. There is no doubt though, that this is primarily about Aline and McKenna and I think Gideon and Olivia could have had their own book, as I was not so invested in their romance which all seemed a bit rushed.

McKenna is so sexy and I love the fact he comes back to the estate where he was first a stable boy and then a footman but this time as a wealthy man. At the beginning of the story when Aline says those cruel words to him I wanted to cry – in fact I did a little bit! It was a good thing though because nothing would ever have come of a servant and a Lady, no matter how much they loved each other nor how progressive a thinker her brother, the new Earl was.

Aline was a bit annoying at times, particularly when she would not trust McKenna with her secrets despite the fact he clearly loved her, but if she had, the story would have been much shorter and nowhere near as emotional.

One thing I love from the few books I have read by Ms Kleypas is her ability to put such emotion into the story. I really feel emotionally attached to the characters and as a result when the happy ending comes (as they always do of course!) I feel extremely satisfied rather than just happy, as can be the case with many other authors.

There is sex of course and the author writes this very well without going over the top.  I do wonder, do people really go at it four or five times in one go as some authors seem to think?

In summary if you like a historical romance which will leave you feeling very satisfied and happy without being too sappy I cannot recommend this book enough, and based on the few Lisa Kleypas books I have read, she is definitely now one of my favourite historical authors.