Monday, 28 July 2014

Review ~ Wife Number Seven by Melissa Brown

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 Stars

“Instead, I’m wife number seven. My husband shares my bed one night a week. And although I don’t love him, not in the way I’d always hoped I’d love the man I’m bound to for eternity, I find myself dreading the moment he walks out my bedroom door every seven days. My existence is a lonely one. Lehi relieves that loneliness for the twenty-four hours when I pretend I’m the only one he lays with. And I do pretend. Every waking hour.”

We have all seen it on the news, read about it and even seen it on reality TV shows but have you ever truly wondered what really goes on in these polygamist cults/compounds, well wonder no more as Melissa Brown goes there. This is a compound whereby the husbands can have as many wives as “The Prophet” deems and The Prophet receives all his instructions/visions from The Lord. Yes this does have some religion in it, but is by no means the crux of the story; please do not be deterred from reading because of the religion aspect, because this story is so much more than that.

Brinley was 19 years old when The Prophet assigned her to one of the Elders, they were soon married and she became “Wife Number Seven,” the seventh wife of the Elder Lehi. Every girl really wants to be the first wife but beggars cannot be choosers and you have to abide by what The Prophet dictates. Brinley’s home is managed by the Elders first wife and each wife has to conform to what the Elder and The Prophet expects, keep the Elder happy, the home running smoothly and birth the Elders children. Seven wives equate to a lot of children in the house, a lot of mouths to feed, a lot of laundry to do and the money has to stretch. Each wife has their chores to do, their roles to play and they each have an allocated night to “service” their Elder. When the Elder you are married too is 50 years old you can understand Brinley’s reticence and the fact that she doesn’t love her husband and that she will do whatever she can to avoid getting pregnant. Contraception is not tolerated at all in the compound and it takes a savvy Brinley to be able to obtain what she needs. Her cousin left the compound years ago and works in a health centre so when Brinley is sent on her errands she diverts to the centre, gets her months’ supply and has to hide them away. Three years later, not having conceived, the wives feel sorry for her but only Brinley knows the truth. She wants more from life, she wants a proper husband, a proper relationship, she wants to love and be loved, but can she get it?

“I, however, was not. As far as anyone could see, I was an obedient, even-tempered, and loyal wife. I helped with the cooking, the cleaning, and the child-rearing. I’d never tried to secretly cut my hair or wear the color red. But I had my secrets. A voice inside told me I didn’t belong here, that there was another life waiting for me. And with each passing year, that voice became louder.”
It is on one of her errand runs that she literally runs into Porter Hammond, he was exiled from his family and the compound years back for being a “bad boy,” most people would have just seen him as a normal teenager but because so many of his “crimes” went against the rules set by The Prophet his family was ordered to remove him. Now high on drugs and struggling to survive, he steals Brinley’s purse, causing her no end of problems. Brinley recognises him and after doing a bit of detective work she finds out where he is living, determined to get her purse back and its contents she goes to Porter’s house. Will she get more than she bargained for when she gets there? They had this connection as children and it seems that connection has not disappeared. Can Porter be the reason and the man that Brinley needs to make the hardest decision she will ever have to make? Leave the only life she has known, go against her beliefs and actually break free and obtain what she has always wanted? The journey will not be easy…

I must admit I was wary to begin with as to whether this could be something I could read, but after reading the first few pages I was totally sucked in. Whether it is curiosity, I cannot say, but my interest was piqued. While reading you do get angry with what the wives have to do and are expected to do, but you also have to tell yourself that this is all they have ever known, they know no different. To them this is what life is all about and you just get on and deal. It becomes apparent early on that Brinley is no lamb, she is her own person, she has her own beliefs all she needs now is the backbone to go out and desperately grasp what she has always wanted.

I also want to point out that this is by no means a love triangle, yes Brinley is “married” but even in a polygamist culture only the first wife is legally wed to the Elder, the other wives are assigned and have a ceremony to “celebrate” their union. The wives have no say at all as to who they will be assigned to, and for a 19 year old girl to be assigned to a 50 year old man, is just wrong. She has never ever loved her “husband.” Therefore her relationship with Porter is what in my mind I have deemed her one and only proper relationship.

This is definitely a thought provoking book, one that will leave you thinking about it for days after. Yes it is a tough read, but it is also a beautiful love story. Sacrifices made in the name of love, going against all your beliefs, extracting yourself from a sheltered life and upbringing and taking yourself to the outside. Learning to live a whole new life, with freedom that you have never had, an opinion that you could never voice, and aspirations that were always snuffed out before they could even take flight. It is tough, but it is a compelling read, one that kept me page turning until I had read The End. 

I am no expert by any means so whether this is a true representation, I don’t know, but I can honestly say, it is believable. I can see this happening as much as it pains me to say it and I feel that Melissa Brown has done a brilliant job in conveying this story.

Give it a try, even if it is outside of your comfort zone, this is a story that deserves to read, I did and I don’t regret it at all.

“I would be the first.
I would be the only.
And I would never share.”

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Review ~ Promised (The One Night Trilogy 1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Reviewed by Donna ~ 3.5 “I concur” stars!!

“I believe that you’re the master of your own destiny – your own decisions and actions are what influence your life course. But unfortunately, the decisions and actions of others impact this course, too, and sometimes you’re powerless to prevent it.”

It pains me to write this as I am a huge Jodi Ellen Malpas fan but this book just didn’t do it for me. It was an OK read but not a fantastic read. I know that I will probably be in the minority but I have to be honest. For me, I feel that this is a backbone book, the foundations have been laid, the back stories told (to a certain extent) and the characters have been introduced. Don’t get me wrong, the writing as always was flawless but I just struggled to read it, it didn’t grip me like the This Man trilogy, I took 3 days to read this and that is just unheard of.

Olivia/Livy was a great character, she had her weaknesses but she kept them all hidden, but on the outside she was all sass and bravado. She was strong, she had hit rock bottom before and was determined never to repeat. She had lost herself for a while and now seven years later she was determined to be more than her mother. She still had that sense of rejection, her mother hadn’t loved her enough to stay, she felt abandoned, and after all, her mother had left her in preference for a life of being a high class prostitute. Her mother would have rather had the money and the life rather than care for the daughter she had, instead she left that to her mother. It seems though that the life had caught up to her as she mysteriously disappeared when Livy was young.

Livy had searched for her mother when she was seventeen, this lead her into the depraved world that her mother was a part of. Her real identity was soon discovered and she was sent home but not before plenty of meaningless sex and a permanent alcohol induced stupor to get her through it. She went back to her Nan who needed her more, she cleaned up her act, has been tee-total since and has not had sex…that was seven years ago. Now working in a coffee shop will her life be turned upside down again?

M…mmmmm what can I say about M…

M is mysterious. M is masterful. M is meticulous. M is masculine. M is memorable. M is mind-blowing. I wanted to know more about him, there is still a lot to learn, he has impeccable manners, he is obviously rich, but where does this wealth come from? He had his own charm and swagger about him but at times he could be domineering. He was suave, he was sophisticated and he was yummy! He had his little quirks, he was OCD, he liked eye contact when being spoken to but he was courteous and polite, he was just a gentleman, but was there more than met the eye?

“I’ll never be a drunken fumble, Olivia. Every time I take you, you’ll remember it. Each and every moment will be etched on that beautiful mind of yours for ever.’ He gently taps my temple. ‘Every kiss. Every touch. Every word.”

Livy and M’s paths cross in the coffee shop when M comes in for some coffee, Livy’s jaw is left on the counter, she becomes a bumbling mess and totally messes up his coffee, M lets her know of course, but it seems that they are both as taken with each other. Is this the start of something beautiful or is just One Night Promised? One Night is all that M is willing to offer in the first instance, it soon becomes twenty-four hours and then he realises that actually, maybe, he doesn’t want this to end? Have M and Livy finally met their match?

“After disposing of the cup, the saucer, and the offending napkin, then locking up with Sylvie, I finally reach the conclusion that M stands for Moron.”

As I said above the writing was impeccable, flawless in fact, I can always appreciate fantastic writing, but for some reason I wasn’t captivated and the most annoying thing is I can’t even really explain why. I loved the characters, I loved the premise and at the end I was left wanting more. For me personally I felt that the pace of the book was a bit off, especially in the middle, Jodi normally has that fast paced, impact style and this was the complete opposite. I did find it a bit slow in places and this is what I think made it drag for me. But please let me remind you that 3.5 stars is still “I liked this book” and as I said I want more, the last 20% really picked up in pace and drama and the ending was a real OMG moment. I will admit I had kind of guessed it but it still had that shock factor when it was delivered. In true Jodi style the book is littered with humour and none more so than from “Nan” who was my favourite of all the side characters, everyone will want her for themselves. All the side characters had their place and added to story. I loved her gay BBF Greg he was hilarious and was always there for Livy. In short, the foundations have been laid and now I am expecting the castle that I know that Jodi will deliver, bring on November!!

Nan ~ “Before you know it, you’re being measured for false teeth and you won’t dare cough or sneeze through fear of pissing yourself.”

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Review ~ Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain 3) by Kristen Ashley

Reviewed by Willow ~ 4 Stars

I'm going to start off by saying this was my least favourite Colorado Mountain book, but that's not a negative, I just found The Gamble & Sweet Dreams had an edge to them that I felt this one didn't.

I found the beginning really interesting. Initially told from Lexie's POV, she is sent to pick up a guy from prison and take him where he needs to go. You see this is a favour for an acquaintance who just doesn't say no, so she agrees to this favour get him off her back for a while. The guy she has to pick up? Ty Walker - a man with little words.

I really struggled with Ty at first, he really doesn't say a lot, a few one word answers or commands here and there. I guess I just didn't get him. I was worried that I would feel like this for the duration of the book, but the mystery of why Ty was in prison and why Lexie was caught up doing her acquaintance's bidding kept me reading on.  

What I loved about this book was that, unlike the previous two Colorado Mountain books I'd read, this one is told in alternative POV, which you really need so you can understand Ty much better. I found his parts made it a lot easier for me to connect to him and soon I was loving every part of this book.

Lexie's acquaintance owes Ty and Ty is cashing in, He needs a woman to marry and go back with him to his home whilst he works on his revenge plan for the people who were responsible for getting him sent to prison. The woman he's sent is Lexie. It becomes clear to Ty that Lexie isn't aware of the whole story of why she has been sent to him. Ty lays a deal on the table for Lexie, marry him whilst he gets his shit done, then she can go on her merry way. In return, she gets cash, jewellery but most importantly protection from her acquaintance and a way to escape a life that she's been trying to get away from.

We get to see Ty and Lexie's relationship develop and they start to become a "real" couple. Lexie's back story is revealed and we get to meet some of her family/friends. Back in Ty's home in Carnal, he is intent on getting revenge, but he's up against not only criminals but dirty cops and we start to learn why and by who Ty was set up.

I have to say that whilst the first part of the book was interesting and engaging, I kind of lost my way half way through, it didn't feel like a lot was happening and I ended up putting it down to go off and read other books, though I kept dipping in and out of it.  Eventually it picked up for me again and towards the end, it felt like everything was happening and I couldn't put it down.

Ty and Lexie do have a bumpy road, there are highs and lows. My heart broke for Lexie on more than one occasion. I totally loved Lexie, she's probably my favourite Mountain lady. She was so understanding and open and was willing to put herself out there, she seemed sweet and unsure at times, but other times, she was "throwing sass" and being super "goofy"

You have the added bonus of this being mainly set in Carnal so all the favourites were there, with Tate & Laurie, Krystal, Maggie, Deke, Jim Billy and more plus mentions of Max and Nina and Shambles cakes! (which the descriptions always make me so hungry!)

Although I lost my way half way through, this was still another good read from Kristen, and I know that for some people Ty is their favourite so this book is definitely worth a read!   

Friday, 25 July 2014

Friday Frights ~ PNR ~ Tempted by a Rogue Prince (Eternal Mates 3) by Felicity Heaton

Reviewed by Shirley ~ 4.5 Stars

This is third book in this really good series. Ms Felicity Heaton has done it again. In this book you read about two exceptional people who have got to overcome terrible conditions.

Vail who is from royalty but has been estranged from his realm for millenniums due to coming under the thrall of an evil black witch called Kordula, but on her death during the war between the Third and Fifth realms he finds himself wandering the realms of Hell in torment, fighting battles raging inside him that only he knows about. During his wandering he stumbles into the Fifth Realm. Totally exhausted he his confronted by demon warriors who finally overcome him and takes him to their prison. Because of the injuries he sustained during their fight the demon king, King Bruan, sends a white witch whom he had imprisoned earlier, to heal him as she had healing abilities.

The witch in question is Rosalind. A good person being a lover of nature which in her world she uses for the well-being of the people she treated and helped. Because of Vails total hatred of witches brought on by his treatment he sustained under Kordula, this meeting between Rosalind and Vail did not go well, as Rosalind found out when she entered his cell.

This book tells you how these two people face unbelievable trials of hardship which they have to overcome while being in each other’s company. Vails total distrust and hatred of witches was not easy on Rosalind, but Rosalind being the good person she was, was understanding that there was more going with Vail than meets the eye and also she had her own tortured thoughts to contend with.

The relationship between these two does get better as you will find out as you read along, even to the extent that when in Vails more lucid moments being near Rosalind all he could think of was the name Little Wild Rose. Rosalind was at a loss with this being she was asked to treat, she felt the blackness that resided in Vail but she also saw the handsome man under all his injuries and weakened state and couldn't help being drawn to him even though he totally confused her with his treatment of blowing hot and cold when being with her.

Escape was all that was going through Vails mind and he knew in his heart that he had to take his Little Wild Rose with him.

During this great story there did come a time that desire did flare up between these two and you could say it blew pretty hot

“He snarled and tore at his trousers, freeing his steel-hard length, grasped it tightly in his fist and entered her in one stroke. She cried out as he drove himself to the hilt, her wet heat gloving him as tightly as his fist had. He withdrew and thrust back in, her whimper of pleasure encouraging him to do it again and again.”

So this brilliant story evolves with blistering heat between these two developing as they face the hard trials that was laid before them.

I really loved this book. I have read the whole series up to this point, and you would not be disappointed in reading it to. The characters are written superbly and the story enthralling as only the world of the paranormal can be.

Hats off to you Felicity Heaton on an excellent series.