A modern Cinderella story, LORD BACHELOR examines our fascination with reality TV. Abby Forester is a down on her luck business major struggling to keep her dead father's record store afloat. This is particularly difficult as her father's common law spouse uses the fact that she owns half the business as an excuse to empty the till. Abby first meets Lord Edmund Rushwood while she fills in as a waitress at the bar her friend Tommy works at. He rescues her from some drunks and ends up following her home. Edmund, because of his father's will, must marry someone from a noble bloodline before his birthday. His friend Will is a reality TV show host and convinces him to star in Lord Bachelor to find his bride. Abby comes in because she has recently created a genealogy of Portland's finest families as a school project. Abby ends up on the show by accident when she goes to the studio to return Edmund's phone and is mistaken for a late contestant. Edmund struggles with his feelings for Abby as he knows he will lose everything if he marries her. Abby struggles with the way Edmund blows hot and cold. When Abby learns about Edmund's situation, will love conquer all? Ms. Bailey takes time crafting her main characters. The reader is allowed into their thoughts and follows their struggles. The more minor characters such as the contestants of the show tend to blur together a bit. It would help if they had more to identify them. Yet Bailey does give them ID markers. One is interested in charity work, another in fashion, etc. The reality show becomes background as Abby and Edmund mainly escape it to pursue each other. It would be nice to see more commentary on the shallowness and fakery of so-called reality TV, but what the author does insert is subtle and pointed. Love happens off camera. While Cinderella is a common fairy tale in romance, this version is well done and a good addition to the twisted fairy tale oeuvre. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=21500#sthash.9YF2kFIW.dpuf
retelling of Arthurian myth, MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE resurrects the knights of the round table. Morgan ab Myrddin is the son of Merlin and a half-breed immortal. He sees it as his sacred mission to free his father Merlin. Merlin has been trapped by Nimue in a cave. After being wounded, Morgan seeks shelter and meets Annora of Amberton. She is the rightful mistress of Amberton, but has been displaced by her devious uncle, Sir Roger. As they journey together, both Morgan and Annora must learn to look beyond the preconceptions of society. Only with open minds can they find love. Sir Roger has disposed Annora by convincing all but her most loyal retainers that she is mad. Morgan offers to escort her to the king and gain a physician's writ proving her sanity. They are joined on this journey by Morgan's friend Ninian, another immortal. Morgan struggles against his growing feeling for Annora as he feels her strong Christian upbringing will lead her to dismiss his magical life. Can Morgan find a way to free his father, save Annora from Sir Roger, and build a life with his love? Ms. Kaufman's novel is an engaging and fast paced read. However, at times the characters come across as melodramatic. Morgan's explanation of his powers to Annora is very poorly thought out. He gives no proof, but expects her to take a new worldview on faith. This seems silly, as Morgan can control the weather, and can easily offer Annora the proof she desires. Instead, he drags her to Ninian and plays out an overly dramatic death scene. Once Annora has seen this, there is no real reason for her to reject it. She either trusts her senses or she doesn't. The author is trying to show how difficult it is to accept a new worldview, but it comes across as forced. Morgan's immortality seems like a greater barrier to the couple's happiness. Many authors create ways to transform soulmates into immortals, fey, vampires, etc. Morgan, on the other hand, accepts that he will never meet his true mate. The reader is left wondering where this places Annora. Surely there is nothing to stop her from being Morgan's mate? While the plot has a few loopholes, MY ONCE AND FUTURE LOVE is a good addition to the Arthurian romance genre and well worth a look. It is a quick, simple read for a rainy day. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=21727#sthash.GCt8ULOC.dpuf
A quick, light read. Hayley Dawn O'Malley left her hometown, of Marietta, Montana, for the bright lights of Los Angeles and never looked back. Since leaving town, she has become a major star with several motion pictures to her credit. She is back in Marietta in the wake of her Grandma Marie's death to pack up her Grandma's house. Cody (Code) Matthews left town soon after Hayley to join the army. After two successful tours, he got out and opened a private security firm with an army buddy in Texas. Code is back home on his Uncle Brand's farm, after a tough case went south. He just wants to forget. The arrival of his old friend and high school crush Hayley makes forgetting impossible because she needs his help. After a previous stalker scare, Hayley is afraid that she has another. Code refuses to help her and sends her to the police. The bachelor auction gives Hayley a second chance to get the help she wants. Charlene Sands writes in an engaging voice that catches the reader from the first sentence and does not let them go until the final page. Her plot hangs together well, as she neatly ties up all the loose ends. It is a novella and could benefit from the depth that a novel would allow. As it stands, the length keeps it a quick paced and superficial read. This is not bad in a Romance story. If you're looking for something fun to read, I recommend BACHELOR FOR HIRE. I just would like to see the character development that a longer form would allow. The stalker's perspective, and motivation would be a nice touch as well, though honestly, nothing is lost by leaving that part of the story out. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=21589#sthash.MRGLe7lo.dpuf
A refreshing take on grief and living with mental illness, IT ISN'T CHEATING IF HE'S DEAD deals with one woman's struggle to come to terms with her fiancé's death. Jemima Stone's fiancé Gerald has been missing for four years. Before his disappearance, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and went off his meds. The novel opens with Detective Finn Wight telling Jem that Gerald has been found murdered in a Montreal dumpster. Jem is a defense lawyer in Calgary, and before he got sick Gerald was researching a cure for cancer. Jem is now left alone to try to piece together why Gerald left and how life goes on without him. She takes his leaving as abandonment and a sign that he didn't love her. Jem struggles with feelings of worthlessness because of Gerald's loss. As the novel progresses, Finn helps Jem learn about Gerald's life, medical history, and the missing four years before his death. By the novel's end, Jem is able to rediscover her sense of self-worth and lay Gerald to rest. IT ISN'T CHEATING IF HE'S DEAD tells the story of Jem's grief over her fiancé Gerald's death and her search for answers. Julie Frayn's novel is a compelling study of mental illness. It asks some hard questions about how we treat the mentally ill. Althea's (Gerald's mother) denial of mental illness destroyed her husband and her son. Yet Jem's acceptance and support weren't enough to hold Gerald. Ms. Frayn rightly points out that we still have no good way to treat illnesses of the mind. She has Gerald tell Jem that the meds are killing him slowly and the disease is killing him quickly and ask how can he live with either? Still, Ms. Frayn does not create a suicidal character. Gerald leaves to continue the fight on his own. This leaves the reader with a sense of hope for the future in spite of Gerald's fate. The use of a third person limited narrator causes the reader's viewpoint to be filtered through Jem's thoughts and feelings. It is an interesting choice to write a book about mental illness from the point of view of those left behind. The only problem is that this is not a romance novel; it is general fiction. While Jem does end up with Finn, that is not the real story being told in this novel. It is instead a brilliant and insightful exploration of grief, loss and living with the mentally ill. - See more at: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=21781#sthash.ZuFzUuGK.dpuf
Elizabeth Ramsay is English tutor and ESL Teacher.