The Week: 2nd – 8th June

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Canberra

Winter? What is this winter thing? Here we’ve had beautiful sunny days. I keep thinking I should put the heater on, but it’s not cold enough. The ski season is supposed to have started in the Snowy Mountains – but there’s no snow!

My favourite story of the week: Britain will be hosting gay marriages in Russia. I get a giggle every time I think about Putin’s reaction to that.

I read a truly excellent book this week: The Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter. She must write the most historical historical romances around. She actually transports you to the time period; she doesn’t just use it as window dressing. This is probably why she isn’t as popular with the fluffy wallpaper romance readers.

It’s hard to move on after you read a great book. I have one that’s looking promising: a contemporary romance by Julia London about a woman whose life has shattered around her, and her ex has taken away her (sort of) step children and got a restraining order against her even though she didn’t really do anything much to warrant it.

I also have my hands on a review copy of Robyn Carr’s next book, but I’m saving it for next week.

My review of Small-Town Redemption by Beth Andrews

Small-Town Redemption by Beth Andrews

My review of Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

Noble Destiny by Katie MacAlister

My review of The Texan’s Baby by Donna Alward

The Texan's Baby by Donna Alward

My review of Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs

My review of Season of Change by Melinda Curtis

Season of Change by Melinda Curtis

The Texan’s Baby by Donna Alward

The Texan's Baby by Donna Alward

Unexpected Consequences

As a powerful Dallas oil executive, planning is what Lizzie Baron does best. But she certainly didn’t plan on getting pregnant following one memorable night after a rodeo in Fort Worth. Now she needs to figure out how she’s going to raise a baby with a man she barely knows.

Aspiring bronc rider Chris Miller always hoped he’d see Lizzie again, though not quite like this. The pregnancy is a surprise—and so is finding out she’s a member of the powerful Baron clan—but the more Chris gets to know Lizzie, the more he realizes he wants to be with her. When Lizzie learns Chris works for a rival company, she feels betrayed. Can two perfect strangers trust each other enough to become the perfect family?

The Texan’s Baby by Donna Alward

For once I actually managed to pick up a review book that is the first in a series!

On that note, this is very obviously the first in a series, with lots of future storylines introduced. However, with most of the focus of the book on the two main characters, this isn’t an issue that is going to annoy you.

I’m not usually a big fan of any of the three main features of this story: cowboys, pregnancy and rich Texans. Yet in this book I quite liked reading about all three. What made this one work for me was that the characters were genuinely nice, good people.

“Why are you so nice to me?”

“Maybe because I don’t see a reason not to be.”

Mature, responsible, decent characters! I liked it, and it illustrated what a rarity it is to have people like this in these books! Yes, at the end there’s a big misunderstanding of sorts, but it was resolved quickly and it didn’t annoy me as it usually would.

The Texan’s Baby is more or less what you would expect from a story in this line. And yet it is different. I’ve read a few books by Donna Alward, but I think this is the best one I’ve read by her so far.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 10th – 16th February

Gracie Gold USA Figure Skating Team Free Skate Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

Gracie Gold

It was a bit of an odd week as far as reading went. I finished a couple of Regency romances, read an excellent upcoming Sarah Mayberry book. I’m feeling a little restless – I keep browsing the review books on NetGalley, looking for whatever it is I’m in the mood for, but I haven’t figured it out yet!

Is this the first time the Winter Olympics turned into the Summer Olympics?

Sochi has been 18°C (64.4°F) for a few days now! What a strange mess of an Olympics this has been.

Here is a great series of images outlining why the Opening Ceremony was so incredibly offensive – particularly to Ukrainians. Even if The Huffington Post does call Kyiv by the Russian name, Kiev! I was also hugely annoyed that Sochi used so many Ukrainians past and present to represent “Russia”…

Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony 2014

My review of Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

My review of The Bear by Claire Cameron

The Bear by Claire Cameron

My review of Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

Sinful in Satin by Madeline Hunter

My review of A 1950s Housewife by Sheila Hardy

A 1950s Housewife by Sheila Hardy

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

 

 

Small-town girl, big-time crush…

 

Amy Wilson longs to escape the pointed barbs and knowing looks that come with having a certain reputation in a small town. A temp job with CEO Jack Shepard seems to offer a way out, if only she can stay focused on her goal.

 

Former world-class athlete Jack is as relationship-phobic as they come, so he’s not worried that the soul-shattering kiss he and Amy shared will affect their working partnership. She’s a girl who’s going places, but Jack starts to wish that maybe he could tag along for the ride…

Her Rancher Rescuer by Donna Alward

This is the final book in the Cadence Creek series, which I am vaguely familiar with. However, I am not familiar enough to remember the main characters, so I had to go on what we learnt about them at the start of this book.

I like books where the heroine is thought to be a certain type of person, while underneath it all she’s a very different person indeed. In this case, Amy Wilson is someone everyone assumes to be flighty, a serial dater who is incapable of settling down. This attitude is deeply hurtful to her, but nobody much seems to realise it.

I have to admit I was totally on board with this – but then we were told Amy was twenty-four. It seemed pretty young to me to be depressed that all of her friends and acquaintances were settling down. Perhaps if she was thirty-four I might have had a bit more sympathy for her situation!

Even so, the book opens on a wedding, where Jack Shepard overhears a conversation about her, a conversation where she is deeply insulted by the man she has just helped to set up with the woman he likes. Her altruistic actions have backfired, leaving her hiding in the toilets, in tears.

Of course it’s our dashing hero who sees what happens and comes to her rescue. Before we know it, Amy has offered Jack her time, helping him out of a sticky situation with his business across the border in the United States.

Donna Alward is one of this Harlequin line’s better authors, with a very readable style of writing. I raced through this little book, and enjoyed it quite a lot. I also liked that once we stepped away from characters of past books in the series, this became a book newcomers to the series could easily get into.

Not a bad read.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Recommended Christmas Reads: Sleigh Ride with the Rancher by Donna Alward

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Sleigh Ride with the Rancher by Donna Alward

Stetsons and Snowflakes…

 

A week before Christmas, city girl Hope McKinnon finds herself snowbound with rugged rancher and all round do-gooder Blake Nelson. What is it about this handsome, generous man that has her blood boiling and her pulse racing?

 

Blake knows his ranch is the last place Hope wants to be, but somehow her presence feels so right! Hope is the first woman guarded Blake has wanted to be around in a long time. Her visit may be temporary, but he has one more night to convince her to stay…