Review: The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookthesecretwife
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Constantine Voulos
Heroine: Rosalie Waring
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 28, 1997
Started On: June 16, 2011
Finished On: June 17, 2011

The Secret Wife by Lynne Graham is a novel that I seemed to have missed out on previously. It tells the story of how Rosalie Waring’s world collides by a twist of fate with that of the ultra rich Greek tycoon Constantine Voulos brought about by the conditions set aside on the will of Anton Estrada, adoptive father of Constantine.

Rosie is stunned when after a period of blissful happiness of 4 months with Anton, he dies suddenly leaving her bereft and alone once again. When Constantine jumps to the worst of conclusions about her relationship with Anton, Rosie’s bitterness towards Constantine who has had a lifetime of moments with her own father lets her keep the explanations under wraps until Anton’s will forces Constantine to ask for her hand in marriage.

It is a blazingly resentful Constantine who calls Rosie a gold digger and much worse that turns up for the wedding along with our prickly as a hedgehog heroine whose instinctive reactions of self protection is the tendency to lash out and give as good as she gets, an aftereffect of being in state ward care since the tender age of nine, that makes the joining of holy matrimony of these two a volatile one at best.

Though Rosie tries to come clean with who she is, Constantine is not one to believe a word that comes out of her mouth and this charade continues throughout the book, each of them insulting one another blinded by the fury at the inconvenient desire that they feel for each other.

For me, The Secret Wife didn’t make for such a great read. The premise of the story which promised to deliver an angsty read failed to do that when Constantine refused to listen to whatever Rosie had to say and Rosie refused to try and make Constantine see the light afted his initial rejection. For me, I would gladly take Rosie’s side because Constantine just grated on my nerves with his inability to see beyond what he wants to see, and even when eventually the truth does come out, he is quick to lay the blame at Rosie’s feet rather than accept his own doing in complicating matters.

This story is told from Rosie’s viewpoint and I for the world of me cannot understand how it is that Constantine falls in love with Rosie. For someone who loves finding the hero’s feelings via his reactions towards the heroine; I just didn’t feel the love in this one.

Recommended for those who love the marriage of convenience theme and fans of Lynne Graham.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Harlequin

satisfactoryread

Review: Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookindecentdeception
Read with: Kindle for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #1740
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Blaze Kenyon
Heroine: Christabel Hamilton
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 1, 1995
Started On: June 14, 2011
Finished On: June 14, 2011

This I think must be the third time that I am reading Indecent Deception by Lynne Graham. And that alone should be enough to tell everyone who wants to know that this is a favorite re-read of mine from the Harlequin line.

Christable (Chrissy) Hamilton is just twenty years of age and shoulders the responsibility of caring singlelhandedly for her half sister Rosie who is about two and a half years old. Barely making ends meet, Chrissy is fired from her only job that is responsible for keeping a roof over her and Rosie’s head; all because she lets her pride and anger at Blaze Kenyon’s sheer arrogance take the best of her.

Blaze is a man who has no intention of ever settling down and one whose sensational life as the rich playboy keeps the tabloids in a tailspin. Surprisingly it is Blaze who offers Chrissy a job which she grabs with both hands never knowing the twisted web she would weave in the coming days.

When her sister Elaine turns up claiming that she wants to get back together with Blaze, Chrissy does the stupidest thing she has ever done in her life which ends up with Blaze and herself walking down the aisle. However, once the truth comes out, Chrissy has hell to pay, making her fear that her burgoening love for a man who has become so vibrantly important in her life would never be reciprocated by the man in question, who only feels loathing for her misleading lies.

I just flat-out adore this story which is proven by the number of times I have read it to-date. And I love Blaze Kenyon for everything he is from his sardonic humor to the blazingly sexual side of him that just makes my heart go predictably aflutter each and every single time. Chrissy was a tough one to like because of the deceiving role that she plays in the novel, no matter how martyr-like she wanted her actions to be. For me, its Blaze who makes this novel come alive, who makes this book worth a revisit time and time again.

Recommended for fans of Lynne Graham and fans of Harlequin romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble 

greatread

Review: The Boss’s Valentine by Lynne Graham

Format: E-bookthebosssvalentine
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Santino Aragone
Heroine: Poppy Hyacinth Bishop
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: February 15, 2008
Started On: November 19, 2010
Finished On: November 20, 2010

I stumbled upon this title whilst trolling for books on Goodreads. I have always been a fan of Lynne Graham as she is one of the authors who instilled in me the love for Harlequin romances, no matter how predictable most of them are. I have always loved heroes in Ms. Graham’s titles in the 90’s and always check out her new books to see whether she would deliver one of those angst-filled romances that used to be the highlight of my day back when I first started foraying into the world of Harlequin romances.

Santino Aragone, Italian and a hugely successful enterpreneur is the head of Aragone Systems where 21 year old Poppy Hyacinth Bishop lands her first job as a marketing assistant. Santino had been surprised when his late father had hired Poppy six months back against the advise of HR personnel just because he had felt sorry for her. Poppy with her explosive Titan corkscrew curls and her comical penchant for floral prints and insane diets with her shy and sunny smiles couldn’t be anymore different from Santino with his spectacular sleek Italian looks and never ending string of gorgeous women in his life. However that doesn’t stop the enthusiastic and bubbly Poppy from giving her heart to the one man she knows is far above her league and not even in her wildest dreams would she have imagined that Santino was even aware that she existed.

The Valentine’s day when it comes has never been a favorite time of celebration for Santino. And when he receives an outrageous Valentine’s day card with pink flowers on its cover with an elusive jasmine scent wafting from it, Santino knows that none other than Poppy could have sent it to him. A man who is used to being the one to bestow expensive gifts on his women is surprisingly touched deep inside his cynical heart by her loving gesture though Santino has no intention of following up on her gift because it has never been his style to mix business with pleasure.

But all these rigid rules come tumbling down when during a moment of weakness Santino finds himself at the receiving end of Poppy’s loving nature and before the night is through Santino has earth moving sex with a woman who has been saving herself for the right man to come along and sweep her off her feet.

A string of misunderstandings, mostly on Poppy’s part because she doesn’t feel deserving of Santino’s affections when her own parents found her rather lacking ends up in a period of separation during which Poppy finds out she is pregnant and gives birth to a beautiful baby daughter. When Santino comes across Poppy and his daughter, it is up to him to convince his beautiful blue eyed Poppy to give their relationship a chance as Santino knows deep inside that Poppy is his happily ever after.

Likes:

  1. I liked Santino Aragone. Of course who wouldn’t love a sleek good looking Italian who is not afraid to show his emotions unlike lots of heroes in Harlequin romances. I loved how a man who is so used to his black and white world suddenly finds himself arguing with his marketing manager on using pink of all colors in their sales charts and what not. Cracked me up a lot, this hero.
  2. Poppy. Her sunny nature makes it hard not to love her. I always love it when heroines bubbly and sunny in their nature manage to get under the skin of rigid multimillionaires or playboys who love their women fast and without external baggage along for the ride. I certainly felt for Poppy with her family issues when she had been growing up and rooted for her all the way.
  3. Thank God this didn’t turn out to be one of those romances where the heroine takes it into her mind to keep the consequences of their one night together to herself so that she can feel victimized in the end. I seriously do not like those kinds of romances because no matter what, the father deserves to know that he has fathered a child, unless of course he is of the serial killer/molester variety.
  4. Loved the humorous style of this story. Reminded me of my favorite Graham book, The Spanish Groom which cracks me up whenever I think about it.

Dislikes: None.

Favorite Quotes

“You’re good at this.” Poppy muttered, trembling with the most wicked amount of anticipation.
“Ought to be …” Santino treated her to a slashing irreverent grin that acknowledged his own experience and her eyes clung to his lean powerful face, her heart hammering. “But I’ve never got this close to a woman in the office before.”
“No?”
“Feels forbidden and .. fantastic.” Santino growled in a throaty purr of hunger.
Poppy quivered, every skin cell leaping, and when he brought his mouth down on hers, when he hauled her close, fantastic was in her opinion a serious understatement. She fell into that explosive kiss as though she had been waiting all her life for it.

Recommended for:

  1. Fans of Lynne Graham.
  2. Fans of Harlequin romances.

Purchase Links: Amazon 

greatread

 

Review: Bond of Hatred by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book~Cover01
Read with: Amazon Kindle
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents #1758
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Alexis Terzakis
Heroine: Sarah Hartwell
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: July 1, 1995
Started On: September 18, 2010
Finished On: September 18, 2010

It is rare to come across a Harlequin romance that has received 5 star rating for the story it presents, mostly because the stories almost always revolve around the same theme, and the character development and story just doesn’t seem to make the cut. But this story from Lynne Graham, one of my favorite Harlequin authors I have to add, has surprisingly made the mark and received 5 star rating, and I just had to get myself a copy and find out whether this book could deliver that “high” that I usually get with a good Harlequin romance.

The story kicks off when Sarah Hartwell is grieving the death of her younger sister Carrie who had died of a massive coronary. Since Sarah’s parents had been killed in a car crash when Sarah had been seventeen and Callie had just been eleven years old, Sarah had assumed responsibility for her younger sister and given up the hope of ever attaining any further education and focused all her energies in providing Callie with a stable and loving home. Callie had been a beautiful girl with the natural golden looks of a Californian blond, and had seemed to thrive under the nurturing care that Sarah worked through double jobs at a time to provide for her. Callie had made her way through Alevels and had started university to study languages when she had met Damon Terzakis and then on everything had changed.

Sarah had been quite apprehensive of the fact when Callie who had never really been in a serious relationship had started gushing about the new Greek guy who she was seeing. And when Sarah had met Damon and understood that they planned on getting married, Sarah had been dismayed to think that Callie would give up her education and everything Sarah had worked for to give her a better life. And when Damon had stated rather nervously that marriage would have to wait until he manages to convince his elder brother Alexis Terzakis of his intention to make Carrie his wife, Sarah had been a little relieved and then a trifle bit alarmed to think that such barbarity existed in this age and time.

And then Callie had turned up pregnant, refused to return to classes and Damon had returned to Greece on a business trip from which he had returned quite shaken and stated that his brother had been immovable about his decision to marry Callie. Things had gone downhill from there onwards when Damon had abruptly returned back to Greece, and a fortnight later, Callie had been served an eviction notice from Damon’s apartment in Oxford where she had been living. Sarah had been furious at the turn of events that had taken place, and the final straw had been when she and Callie had gone to meet Alex, to convince him that Callie deserved to be married to his brother Damon, only to be met with derisive hostility on his part as he had been convinced that Callie was just a gold digger and Sarah was helping her along.

Alex had realized that Callie had in fact been pregnant with Damon’s child when she had requested that Sarah call Damon upon her deathbed. Sarah is furious to say the least with the Terzakis family and is appalled that Alex approaches her to claim that his nephew Nikos belonged with them rather than with Sarah. Clouded in her grief, pain and anger, Sarah had flat out refused to let Alex claim Nikos and had been seething with anger when Alex had tried to buy Nikos from her for any price she had been willing to name. Ultimately, Sarah had thrown the challenge at Alex’s face that she would be willing to share Nikos with Alex if he would marry her and make her his wife.

Sarah’s only intention had been to shock Alex and drive him away, which she is happy that she has done so when she doesn’t hear from Alex for a week afterwards. But then, Alex returns and in a whirlwind of activities that follow, marries her and makes her his legally wedded wife whilst Sarah is still reeling from the shock of it all. Somehow, through the course of events that come about, Sarah’s perception of Alex changes and she realizes that she hasn’t entirely been fair in judging Alex and his actions.

A bond which was forged between two opposites on nothing more than hatred and resentment suddenly changes into something else the minute Alex takes Sarah in his arms and shows her what she has been missing in her life until now. It is a reluctant Alex that seeks out his wife, as he is determined that the marriage he has been forced into would only play out on his  terms.

The verbal sparring matches between Sarah and Alex are invigorating to read, and the undeniable passion that is unleashed from the moment Alex and Sarah sets eyes on one another obliterates everything else. This story is as good as a Harlequin romance can get with two forceful characters who in the end find their happily ever afters with each other.

Recommended for all Harlequin romance lovers and those who love books by Lynne Graham. This book is a treat from start to finish, one not be missed.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Abe Books

greatread

 

Review: The Spanish Groom by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book
Read with: Mobipocket Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Harlequin Presents, #2037
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Cesar Valverde
Heroine: Dixie Robinson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 5, 1999
Started On: June 30, 2010
Finished On: June 30, 2010

This book is a testament to why Lynne Graham remains a favorite Harlequin romance author of mine though her recent works leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. After starting off with the book I realized that I had actually read this book sometime back and reading it the second time round didn’t diminish the effects of the roller coaster ride this book seemed to take me on.

My interest was piqued enough to read this book while I was browsing through a discussion thread on Amazon about Harlequin romances that readers actually liked. One reader had pretty much summed up the story which portrays Cesar, a man who keeps a tight rein on his emotions, but who dotes on his god father Jasper, the only person in his life who had ever shown him unconditional love. Dixie is the total opposite of Cesar in every way. Emotional where he is not, talkative and friendly to a fault, Dixie doesn’t know why the Jasper’s godson had taken such an intense dislike to her and seemed to be finding fault in everything she did around the office. It certainly doesn’t help matters when the routine financial checks done on employees turn up the information that Dixie is knee deep in debt, a condition her step sister Petra has left her in and run off to New York to find work as an actress.

Cesar doesn’t want to believe a word that comes out of Dixie’s mouth. Forever suspicious of people and their intentions, Cesar can’t fathom why Jasper seemed to like Dixie so intensely. The financial check that reveals Dixie’s spending habits give Cesar the chance he has been waiting for. But because of the news that his godfather has not been feeling well because of problems with his heart, Cesar decides that the one thing he could do for the single ray of sunshine in his life was to make his last days on Earth happy ones and decides to do that by entering into a charade where he would present Dixie as his fiance’ to Jasper.

It is Cesar’s intention to transform Dixie into a woman of polished veneer. It was quite amusing to see Dixie forced into a diet and rigorous workout sessions because Cesar thinks Dixie is overweight from over indulgence in food. It was riveting to read how Cesar realizes that beneath all the frumpy layer of clothes Dixie hides a body to die for, and unwillingly Cesar becomes slave to the undeniable fizz between the two.

Before long, Cesar and Dixie are on their way to Spain, and Jasper walks in on them in moments of heated passion which turns the tables around so fast that it leaves Dixie’s head whirling. Dixie finds herself married to Cesar in just a week’s time and finally admits to herself that she has fallen in love with the cold and aloof man that her husband portrays himself to be. It was heartwarming, endearing and at moments heart thumping when Cesar and Dixie try to make a relationship out of their circumstances and in the end find true love with one another.

I loved every bit of this novel and would highly recommend this to lovers of Harlequin romances and fans of Lynne Graham.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble

outstandingread

 

Review: The Unfaithful Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book
Read with: Microsoft Reader
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Nik Andreakis
Heroine: Leah
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: November 1, 1995
Started On: May 6, 2010
Finished On: May 10, 2010

Lynne’s Graham older romances contributed a lot towards me becoming the avid romance book reader that I am today. Likewise, this book published more than a decade back has the element that is missing from most of the Harlequin novels that are published today, even by my most favorite authors such as Ms. Graham. Thus it was a rare treat to read this romance by Ms. Graham which I didn’t want to put down once I started.

Leah and Nik have been married for five years during which they have lived apart from one another. Leah doesn’t know the reason why Nik acts so coldly towards her once they are married. Nik has his own group of beautiful women with whom he spends his nights with and this propels Leah finally towards forming a relationship of her own, fed up with a life of utter loneliness and unhappiness.

The death of Leah’s father brings about the actual truth as to why Nik has been treating Leah so abhorrently. And it is this pivotal moment that brings these two together, Nik with his tendency to be distrustful of love and companionship that goes along with it and Leah afraid to hope for anything permanent with Nik with whom she fell in love with on the very first sight.

Filled with highly sensual moments which is trademark Graham, this novel stands to be the reason why I always look forward to reading a novel by the author, no matter how disappointing her recent novels have turned out to be.

Purchase Links: Amazon

favorableread

 

Review: Ruthless Magnate, Convenient Wife by Lynne Graham

Format: E-book
Read with: MS Word
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Pregnant Brides, Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin
Hero: Sergei Antonovich
Heroine: Alissa
Date of Publication: November 2009
Started On: January 11, 2010
Finished On: January 11, 2010

Apart from the cringe worthy title, this story is okay for a light read. Packed with the essential ingredients of a Harlequin romance, Lynne Graham has spun a mildly interesting and yet the usually predictable type of story that the Harlequin line is famous for.

Russian billionaire Sergei Antonovich, complete with a football team under his name (which sort of reminds me of Chelsea’s owner) is the typical Harlequin romance hero, with billions to his name, complete with the adoring set of blonde bimbo’s who form an adoring circle around him with a hard childhood, rotten parents and a badly ended marriage which has left him with a cynical outlook of all women in general. However the one person that he holds dear to his heart is his grandma who turned his life around when both his parents died when Sergei was a sullen teenager looking for all sorts of trouble. Sergei’s grandmother, who refuses to bask in the countless wealth at her grandson’s fingertips yearns to see the day her grandson settles down and gives her a great grand child to dote on.

With a bitter first marriage that still leaves a bad taste in his mouth, Sergei decides to approach the task of  finding a wife who would bear him a child with the well intentioned plan of leaving the wife by gaining the sole custody of the child borne. One person who applies for the placement is Alissa’s twin Alexa. As typical in most Harlequin romances, Alexa is the ‘evil’ twin per se who takes advantage of Alissa, the sweet and angelic twin for whom the only thing missing is just a halo on her head. That being said, Alexa tricks Alissa into going ahead with the marriage, and Alissa finds herself of course captivated by the mesmerizing man Sergei is.

The desire and passion is scorching hot, and amidst the fragile relationship that forms between Sergei and Alissa, the actual story behind how Alissa got ‘tricked’ into this contractual marriage rears its ugly head and threatens to drive a wedge between both of them. However, as usual, Sergei finds himself unable to let her go until Alissa has appeased all the hunger he has for her, which in an anti-climatic ending turns out to be that Sergei falls in love with Alissa from the moment that he lays his eyes on her. So typical!

Anyhow, this was an okay read. Disappointed though that Lynne Graham doesn’t weave the magic she used to. With her previous short novels like Angel of Darkness that had the power to leave a gut wrenching ache in your heart and make you cry happy tears at the sappy endings, the novels that come out now tend to be total letdowns in terms of those stories.

Purchase Links: BooksOnBoard | Amazon | Barnes&Noble

fairread