book reviews

All posts in the book reviews category

Rewrite Your Life book review

Published May 8, 2017 by francesothomas

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We’ve all heard the dictum “write what you know.” And most if not all writers use incidents from their own lives in their books. Yet how well do we know ourselves on an emotional level? I read an awful lot of “self-help” books but rarely do the suggested exercises. All that introspection is hard work and brings up too many things I don’t want to examine or re-live.


In Rewrite Your Life,
Jessica Lourey bravely exposes her own experiences and relates how she has freed herself by incorporating what she learned about herself. I am trying to deepen my own fiction writing, so I am actually working my way through her prompts.

Along the way, Lourey also gives good info on choosing a genre, concept, characters, plot, and setting.

I highly recommend this book to both authors and those who want to overcome the painful parts of their lives through journaling.

The Runaway Queen book review

Published March 14, 2017 by francesothomas

 

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This book took me back to the days when I devoured Harlequin romances. The components are all there: brooding hero; spunky blonde who just happens to be a future queen, Greek scenery. If you are having one of those days when you wish a dark, handsome man on a horse would whisk you away from it all, this one’s for you. Short and “sweet.”

 

Romancing Dr. Love book review

Published March 7, 2017 by francesothomas

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What an interesting premise this book has. Dr. Samantha Love has been subjected her whole life to the conjectures that come with being the daughter of renowned sex therapists. To prove she’s not loose, she has gone too far in the opposite direction. Her one experience at romance has solidified her disbelief in the whole concept.

Dr. Ethan Quinn has been burned before too, but he had the benefit of parents who truly loved each other. He can tell Samantha is the one for him even before he takes her compatibility blood test.

I liked the setting of a small. southern college, where everyone knows everyone’s business. It’s a perfect place for Samantha to connect with what is really important in life. She’s a believable character, but I found Ethan too good to be true.

About the book:

Dr. Samantha Love says it’s all about the chemistry. A brainy psychology professor and researcher, Sam has based her entire academic career on the theory that what we call love is simply a chemical reaction. She is currently running a study to prove that her compatibility blood test reveals perfect matches—sort of like an organ donor, but for relationships. No romance required.

Along comes sexy literature professor, Dr. Ethan Quinn, who says it’s all about the romance. He thinks the pretty psychology professor has taken love and all its mysteries and reduced it to something as romantic as a cholesterol test, and he sets out to prove her theory wrong.

When Ethan signs up for her study, Sam discovers to her horror, that according to her compatibility test, they are a perfect match. Sam faces an existential crisis over her career and her research. If she believes in her science, shouldn’t it follow that she believes Ethan is her perfect mate? And if she doesn’t believe he’s her perfect mate, doesn’t that bring into question her research? Her compatibility test? Her reputation? And her very career?

As Sam struggles with her dilemma, Ethan pursues her with all the romantic tactics in his arsenal. Will Sam’s theories succumb to his challenge? Or will Ethan lose the battle for Sam’s heart?

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Rebecca Heflin is an award-winning author who has dreamed of writing romantic fiction since she was fifteen and her older sister snuck a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna to her and told her to read it. Rebecca writes women’s fiction and contemporary romance. When not passionately pursuing her dream, Rebecca is busy with her day-job as a practicing attorney.

Rebecca is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Florida Romance Writers, RWA Contemporary Romance, and Florida Writers Association. She and her mountain-climbing husband live at sea level in sunny Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving Vivienne book review

Published February 26, 2017 by francesothomas

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This book is Book Six of Christina George’s Publicist Series. While she included enough explanatory material to make it viable on a stand alone basis, I was left wishing I’d read the earlier books. The plot revolved around a lot of past history and  resultant grudges, and that required a bit of reading between the lines to fill in the blanks.

Vivienne has written a hugely successful book that has just been turned into a movie (we authors should all be so lucky). On a vacation to Costa Rica, she meets Daniel, a very heroic hero indeed. He’s there helping out at a local orphanage although he is an intern back in New York City. That part struck me as far-fetched. I don’t believe interns can just pick up and fly off to Costa Rica no matter how noble their mission.

The book really demonstrates how family dynamics can get in the way of love if you let them. Don’t you let them.

Lady Claire Is All That review

Published December 27, 2016 by francesothomas

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Lady Claire Is All That  is the third book in Maya Rodale’s Keeping Up with the Cavendishes series. Both titles, while catchy, are rather modern for the time period in which they are set. Come to think of it, the heroines are also too modern for their own good, so I suppose the titles do fit.

This book belongs to eldest sister Claire who is going around the ton boring people to tears because she only wants to talk about mathematics. Lord Fox is as brawny as Claire is brainy. He’s just been jilted and enters into a bet that he can turn Claire into the belle of the season just to show he’s still got it. The more time he spends with her, of course, the more he discovers he likes her just fine as she is, equations and all.

I’m a sucker for heroines who are very smart and heroes who are smart enough to see the beauty beyond their spectacles. Rodale paints a recognizable portrait of a family too. The Cavendishes may squabble among themselves on occasion, but they always have each other’s backs.

Not deep, but lots of fun to read.

 

One for the Rogue book review

Published December 6, 2016 by francesothomas

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One for the Rogue is the third in Charis Michaels’ The Bachelor Lords of London series. In this one, Beau, the lord, is fighting the title for all he’s worth. As the younger son, he was never groomed to take on the role.. Then it turned out his elder brother is not the legitimate heir after all.

Half in jest, the elder brother asks Emmaline, Dowager Duchess of Ticking, to school the new viscount in the ways of nobility. She herself was schooled on nothing else until her parents married her off at age 19 to a duke some 40 years her senior. He died son after, and now poor Emma is at the mercy of his odious heir.

To complicate matters, Emma has lost both parents and is now caring for her brother who, though a man, has the mentality of a child. She plots an elaborate scheme to escape, but the current Duke throws up roadblocks that only a fellow noble can counter.

Several of the characters from the other two books play prominent roles in this one, particularly the indomitable Lady Frinfrock, a soul sister of the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey if ever there was one.

While I love to read about this era, I am really glad I don’t have to live with the same constraints they had based on class and gender.

 

 

 

The Viscount and the Vixen book review

Published November 29, 2016 by francesothomas

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The last of the Hellions of Havisham is the hero of The Viscount and the Vixen by Lorraine Heath.

Actually, I wouldn’t exactly call Portia, the heroine, a vixen. When I think of that term, I think of an overly flirtatious young miss. Portia is way too knowledgeable and overtly provocative to qualify as merely a vixen.

She also is hiding a whopper of a secret. She arrives to marry Locke’s father, some decades her senior. Locke decides to protect his father and marries her himself. After all, he does need an heir, but he has no intention of loving anyone as much as his father loved his late mother. Her loss only led his father to madness. There’s no chance Locke will fall in love with this little gold digger.

But apparently dear old dad wasn’t so crazy after all. He engineered the whole thing, somehow knowing the two would be ideal for each other.

This book is rather racy for me, but the pair are hard-working, kind, and most importantly forgiving.