#T5W – Favourites I’d like to revisit

Just five?  Seriously?  I don’t know how to narrow it down to just five!  Argh!

Idle Bloom

Vivian is gorgeous, sexy and confident, but hides emotional and physical scars.
Oliver was a successful lawyer until his whole world disintegrated. Now he’s a broken man, intrigued by the sexy chick on his morning train commute. Man, the things she can do to a doughnut! But can she save him?
The characters are strong, funny and endearing. The plot is well written so that we cry with the characters, but also enjoy the funny, happy moments and the book isn’t too dark. The characters stay ‘in character’, reacting as we come to expect them to, and the twists and turns of the plots are believable.
I haven’t read other reviews, but I can imagine that some might feel that Oliver was ‘healed’ too swiftly, but if you look back over the story, it is a slow healing that reveals itself in lots of little small advances and moments – I can’t be too specific or I’d spoil it for others. I did find it to be believable though.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it kept me hooked from start to finish. The supporting characters were well written and added support, laughter and drama. Overall, a fantastic read.  Five stars.

Let It Go

Every time Eli and Creed come near each other, they end up in a brawl. Finally a judge sentences them both to house arrest…in the same house. He figures they’ll either kill each other or they’ll learn to get along, Either way, they’ll stop wreaking havoc in bars.
Eli is hiding secrets, and Creed is the last person he would share his secrets with.
Creed is hiding secrets, and Eli is the last person he would share his secrets with.
What happens when they find out each other’s secrets…and realise they were both hiding the same secrets all along?
The characterisation was well done. Creed has endured so much that he has learned to lock away his pain and feelings and be emotionless, but now he struggles to break out of that and open his heart to anyone. Eli has also endured a lot, but he has coped by becoming angry and violent. There was enough humour to break up the darker parts, and the quiet times helped the reader to fall in love with the characters and want them to find their happily ever after. There was just enough sexual tension for the overall romance to be believable, although the focus was more on emotion than sex.
I struggled to accept the sheer amount of abuse that Creed in particular had endured. I don’t think it was unrealistic necessarily – the world can be a terrible place – but perhaps there was more than the reader needed..or that Creed needed in order to become who he was in the story.
A few aspects of the plot were predictable near the end of the story, but I didn’t feel that the two main characters were, and on the whole I couldn’t predict what how things were going to turn out. I found it hard to put the book down. Five stars.
Note for those with triggers: Both of the main characters suffered from abusive childhoods, and there are flashbacks to these. There is also violence and abuse in the current storyline.

A Taste for Scandal (Sealed With a Kiss, #2)
I loved this book.  The novel is set in the late eighteenth century in London, England and stars a young English lord and a common girl who runs her own bakery.  The author uses food very creatively and a lot of the action happens in the kitchen.  One of my favourite moments is when the spoiled English lord is given a baking lesson and discovers it is not as easy as it looks.

Getting into the spirit of the challenge, his sister snapped up her bowl, and together they began to whisk.  The uneven scrape of metal on metal gave testament to the fact that he had no idea what he was doing, but, by Jove, he would do it with gusto.
The egg went from clear to frothy fairly quickly, but seemed to linger in that state no matter how fast he moved. In less than two minutes, his arm began to ache from the unfamiliar motion, and Bea had already switched hands twice. Finally, she gave up, plunking the bowl down on the table with a thud.
“I can’t possibly go on,” she panted, dropping onto one of the kitchen stools.  The sunny curls framing her face were looking decidedly droopy.  “Miss Bunting, I do believe you are my hero.  I honestly don’t know how you do it.”
“Nothing more than practice, my lady.”  Kindness warmed Jane’s tone as she reached across the table for the abandoned bowl.  “Only half my work takes any amount of skill.  The rest is nothing more than endurance.”
Richard paused to brush his forearm over his brow.  Truer words, and all that.  His shoulder burned like the fires of Hades. He boxed regularly – he should at least be able to outlast his baby sister.
“Giving up as well, Lord Raleigh?”
Did she know how husky her voice could get when she teased him? He did his best to look as though his arm were not about to fall off. “Of course not.”
She grinned, effortlessly swishing the whisk all the while.

Yeah, an excellent portrayal of a young nobleman falling in love with a tradeswoman. Very well done. It not only made me want to read more of the author’s work, it made me want to write, and it made me want to bake! *Laugh*

Morganna (The Brocade, #4)

The screams faded away by midday, leaving the groans of the dying.

Now does that sound like the beginning of a romance novel to you?  Not so much.  But this is an historical novel that really captured my attention.  I first read it a long time ago.  I read science fiction in my teens, particularly the works of Anne McCaffrey.  Then I moved on to Mills & Boon books, which I read for a few years.  Finally I started reading longer romance novels, and this was one of them.  So I probably first read it in my late teens.
When I was reading actual physical books, I used to run out of room and periodically I’d have to ‘downsize’ my book collection.  We just didn’t have the room for a library or even a large bookcase.  But further back then that, back when I was single, I was ‘flatting’ with some friends.  Flatting means we lived in the same house, paying a portion of the rent each for use of a bedroom and the communal areas.  Like housemates.  I don’t know what they call it overseas.  Anyway, I had a tiny little bedroom, the smallest in the house.  And I simply didn’t have room for a large book collection.  So I downsized, getting rid of a lot of the books I’d read.
Afterwards, one of the books played on my mind.  ‘Lady of the Knight’ by Jackie Ivie.  I wished I hadn’t given it away.  *Sad*  After that, I started writing on the covers of the books I particularly liked – ‘Return to Elle’, so that a) people I lent the books to would return them to me and b) so I wouldn’t accidentally give them away or sell them.  I’ve never been particularly precious about books – I fold corners to mark my page, I place the book down open which cracks the spine…  But I don’t usually write in them or on them, but this book played on my mind a lot.  I don’t do it anymore though, the writing on the covers thing.
Some years later, I was taking my kids to a book sale.  A local charity runs a book sale once a month where they sell books from the local library that are either in a condition that means they can’t be lent out anymore, or they aren’t popular enough to warrant shelf space.  All books are $1 each, which makes it easy for people of lower means to stock up on books for themselves and their kids.  I used to give the kids $10 or $20 and let them choose a bunch of books to take home.  One day I was browsing through the books and I found a tired copy of ‘Lady of the Knight’.  I was ecstatic.  My husband didn’t understand.  *Laugh*
Now it’s been released as an ebook under the title Morganna.  So I’ll never lose it again.
It’s the classic ‘girl dresses as a boy’ trope, but in this case, the hero starts falling for her while he thinks she’s still a guy.  He even kisses her, thinking she’s a guy.  He’s so adorably confused. There was only one part of the book that I really didn’t like, and that’s the trigger for Morganna to reveal her true identity to him.  It didn’t ring true.  But it’s a fantastic book.  I’ve read it so many times, and I think I must be due to read it again.

Whispers in the Dark (KGI, #4)

Nathan was captured in Afghanistan and at the start of the book, he is suffering – from captivity, from torture and from the loss of his comrades. Suddenly, he hears a voice in his mind. He thinks he is going mad, but even so, the voice and her ability to take his pain away, helps. He thinks maybe it’s a coping mechanism his tortured mind has created.
She talks to him, and asks him how she can let his family know where to find him. He gives her the information (in his mind) and after escaping, finds out that his family really did receive an anonymous tip. She must have been real. But how is that possible?
Time passes and Nathan struggles to recover from his ordeal. One day, the voice returns, begging for his help. He throws disbelief (and possibly sanity) to the wind and goes to help her. His family aren’t far behind him. Can he save her? Does she really exist? And if she is, can they have a happily ever after?
A lot of this story (and the whole series) is told from the male point of view. Generally mainstream novels are told from an entirely female point or view, or 50/50. I loved the masculine tone of this book (even though I’m a woman) and I simply couldn’t put it down. I read this book in one sitting. Then I went and found the rest of the series!  This isn’t the first in the series, but each can be read as a stand-alone book. There’s no real disadvantage to reading them out of order except that you might see a character living their happily ever after before reading their story, but that wasn’t an issue for me.  When I finished, I really wanted to know what happened to Grace and waited VERY impatiently for Grace’s story to come out (lucky you, it’s out now!). There were other characters whose stories I wanted too.
It’s emotional, it’s dramatic, it’s satisfying, it’s action-packed, it’s strong and you won’t be able to put it down.  Don’t pick this up until you have time to read the whole book, cover to cover. Get comfortable.
Having said that, if you can’t suspend your disbelief that there are paranormal abilities in this world (our world), then this isn’t the book for you. Some of the other books in the series have no paranormal aspect to this, but this one does, as does the next in the series.

What are your favourite books to re-read?

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