Friday, May 24, 2013

Hidden Paradise by Janet Mullany

  • Name: Hidden Paradise
  • Author: Janet Mullany
  • ISBN: 9780373777198
  • Genre: Romance/Erotica
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication/Expected Publication: August 28, 2012

After her husband (Julian) dies, Jane Austen expert/student Lou (aka Loulou) travels to England to consult with Peter and Chris, a gay couple who are remodeling a Regency-era house.  There Lou meets two men who appeal to her in different ways - Mac and Rob.

Peter and Chris want their guests to have the full Regency experience, complete with costumes and lack of most modern amenities (cell phones, modern undergarments, etc.)  As Lou helps her friends get their house in order, she also finds time to participate in both traditional and untraditional activities.

Lou is attracted to Mac, but a misunderstanding leaves them at odds with each other.  During this time, Lou begins associating with the "help."  Although distinctly in the "downstairs" category of the "upstairs/downstairs" dynamic, Rob provides Lou with the support she needs at a trying time.

By the end of the book, Lou has had a terrible shock and both men want to ease her pain.  She faces a difficult decision between Mac and Rob and discovers there's really only one choice she can make.

**Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book via Netgalley.**

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sweet Land of Bigamy by Miah Arnold

  • Name: Sweet Land of Bigamy
  • Author: Miah Arnold
  • ISBN: 9781440541612
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publisher: Smith Publicity - Tyrus Books
  • Publication/Expected Publication: July 1, 2012

Helen Motes had been married to Larry for nearly ten years when he decided to take a job as a translator in Iraq.  Feeling betrayed and abandoned, Helen becomes increasingly infatuated with Chakor, who doesn't know she's married (and Helen never tries to disabuse him of that notion).  Helen and Chakor begin a relationship that ultimately leads to marriage, which makes Helen a bigamist.

Through a series of strange circumstances, including a painful disaster that entirely redefines Helen's relationship with Larry, Helen is somehow able to keep her secret.  Although initially not a very sympathetic character, Helen's decisions throughout the book give readers an insight into her psyche which soften her images somewhat.

The structure of the book is such that each chapter is divided into sections headed by dates ranging from the 1990s to 2000s.  The "flashback" sections are helpful in setting the scene and providing backstory; however, this might be confusing to readers at first.

Overall, this book has an original storyline that keeps readers guessing until the very end.  I would highly recommend it!

**Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book via Netgalley.**

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

  • Name: Beautiful Disaster
  • Author: Jamie McGuire
  • ISBN: 9781476712055
  • Genre: Romance
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Inc.
  • Publication/Expected Publication: August 14, 2012


Abby Abernathy (aka "Pigeon") decided to leave her troubled past behind her when she went off to college.  During her freshman year, she meets Travis, who reminds her of everything she wants to forget.  This book tells the strange and twisted tale of their relationship.

Abby and Travis meet through Abby's friend America and her boyfriend (and Travis's cousin) Shepley.  Almost from the beginning, their relationship is incredibly volatile.  Although only friends, Travis exhibits a jealous possessiveness toward Abby that sabotages any relationship she decides to pursue.  He obviously has anger issues and generally focuses that anger in "Fight Club"-esque matches held in the basements of campus buildings.

Travis's anger and Abby's naiveté make for some interesting misunderstandings and miscommunications.  Although they seem like an unlikely pair, it appears their personalities ultimately suit one another.  Their relationship is a veritable roller coaster with a not-quite-predictable ending.  This is definitely one of the more unique and less formulaic romance novels I have read, and I would recommend it (see caveat below).

*There is no physical violence between the two main characters (Abby and Travis) with the exception of him narrowly missing her when he punched someone else.  Travis fights A LOT in this book (both in matches and personally) and sometimes takes that out on people he perceives as flirting with "his girl." If this type of violence is something that triggers you, you may want to pass on this book.

**Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book via Netgalley.**