I originally discovered Julie Garwood more than a decade ago when I read her book "Saving Grace" which remains one of my all-time favorite novels. I've since devoured all but one of her historical romances and can honestly say I just love her style. This was my second time reading PRINCE CHARMING, with the first time being more than ten years ago. And while it is a pretty long story, never once did it fail to keep and hold my attention like most books I read anymore do. Also, if I thought for even one second that it couldn't be as good as I remembered, I would be wrong. It was actually even better...
The story starts off in England, then moves to Boston and then west on toward Montana Territory. With a marriage, all the traveling, finding missing children, and dealing with the unpredictable wilds of America, there was always something interesting going on. Lucas and Taylor as well as Hunter and Victoria and the three children were all absolutely wonderful. None are perfect but each were exceptionally endearing individuals and their flaws only made them all the more real to me. Lucas and Hunter were both handsome, strong, and honorable men and Taylor was absolutely adorable. The banter between she and Lucas was just delightfully funny and charming too.
From the very first chapter When Taylor and and Lucas meet in an England ballroom I was captivated. I honestly think I must have smiled and laughed throughout the majority of this tale. It's simply a sweet and enchanting romance between two kind and entirely lovable souls. Lucas finds a love he never expected, wanted, nor knew existed and Taylor finds the prince charming she's always dreamed about. And although it does contain some serious subject matter, Garwood keeps it on the lighter side with her humor and wit. In the end it was a wonderfully written and touching story that was a true joy to read. A beautiful and unforgettable historical romance and a definite keeper =)
Pages & Kindle Locations: The story itself contained 533 pages and ended at 94% and location 7304.
The Slow Burn Turns Tender When A Teenage Boy Named Jordan Enters The Mix. It Is A Story About Family And Grouchy Billionaires With Golden Hearts.
Magnus Heron, thirty-one, is the cranky billionaire owner, president, and CEO of Heron Communications. He is the master of his emotions and gives nothing away. Stubborn is his key characteristic, and his arrogance is earned. Known as the Magnum of Advertising, he took over the stagnant company from his father while in his twenties and turned it into a powerhouse. He had a vision, and created attention to use to his and the company’s advantage. That included hiring a model and influencer to be his fake fiancé a few years back in order to increase the company’s visibility. Mariska had trashed him after the break-up but the publicity had served its purpose. Today the driven CEO lords over his company and his employees, who rightfully fear his wrath. His four years in the Marines following high school reinforced his natural disposition towards discipline and hard work. He expects the same from his employees, whom he treats like doormats. Magnus works seventy hours each week or more – often sixteen hour days, with no days off. He is so busy that he can hardly remember the last time he was with a woman, sometime over a year ago. The closest thing he has to friends and confidants are Ruby Hunting, his HR Director, and Armstrong, his driver. Both have known him long enough to know that underneath the grumpy exterior is a kind an generous man very much shaped by the past.
Sabrina Bristol, twenty-three, is a little superstitious. The recent University of Chicago grad hadn’t much luck after graduation, losing two jobs in a row due to circumstance and bad luck. She got her BFA in Graphic Arts and loves her current design job at a cat furniture store, Purry Furniture and More’s downtown Chicago headquarters. But Friday the thirteenth gives her a bad feeling, and her fears are soon realized when she finds herself jobless once again with rent due soon. She cannot turn to her parents, who are barely scraping by on her father’s retirement and her mother’s lackluster romance book sales. In fact, her mother’s sales primarily come from Sabrina’s anonymous purchases. She thus has no savings. She had already turned to her semi-rich best friend and roommate Paige for help during a past job emergency and cannot continue on that route. Brina is too stubborn and independent to make that a habit. Taking consolation in her favorite cinnamon latte, she heads to the park to clear her head and enjoy the beautiful fall day.
When Magnus oversees the production of a new fashion ad that promises to open doors for HeronComm into the coveted fashion world, he finds himself in a crunch for time. The weather had been bad and there are minutes left to get in the shots they still need in the park. Something comes over him when the beauty on the bench refuses to leave her seat for his shot, and as much as his blood is boiling, he knows he has to have her. Her expressive face gives away every emotion – and he loves it. With her sassy mouth and bold attitude, she is the perfect candidate for his vacant executive assistant position, a job with a revolving door. He cannot seem to keep his EA’s very long and he is drowning without the help. Instinct tells him she is the one, and he always gets what he wants. He wants her in other ways, too, but this is better. His strict no fraternization rules will no doubt keep him in check.
Magnus and Brina’s enemies to lovers romance will have you in stitches! It is a somewhat long read, and the first third is hilarious. By my count there are fourteen laugh out loud moments in the book, eleven of which are in the first third. The couple’s banter is outlandish. This is a slow burn, and the relationship really builds during the heated banter phase. This part of the book is an office romance. Brina settles in to her new job and catches wind of a mysterious company scandal that nobody wants to be caught talking about. Something to do with fraternization. She is also puzzled by Magnus’s driver, Armstrong, who thinks rather highly of the unbearable man. Magnus is hot and cold with her, but she desperately needs her job and puts up with his ridiculous demands.
Midway through the story shifts, taking a sharp domestic turn. Magnus is faced with a personal challenge just as he and Sabrina begin to recognize their feelings for one another. The past that haunts him has become a crisis, and a teenage boy named Jordan enters his life rather unexpectedly. This story is not just about Magnus and Sabrina. It is also a tender story about Magnus and Jordan. Their story adds depth to Magnus’s character. Sabrina’s story is riddled with bad luck and omens as black cats, broken clocks, lucky pennies, and Friday the thirteenth make their appearances in her life. She is a stubborn soul but loyal and selfless for those she loves, as evidenced by her sacrifice for her parents. Here she must learn to balance selflessness with self-respect. The last quarter of the book has a few teary moments. The story drags a bit as it wraps up, but the happy ending is more thorough than many, ending with a touching peak at Magnus’s family four years into the future. The couple earns their happy ending.
Fans will appreciate references to other series by the author, including Heart’s Edge. In my ARC version, there is an issue with the timeline and Jordan’s age for those that pay attention to detail, but it is easily overlooked. Additionally, some of Sabrina’s behavior at the end felt a little overdramatic. Nevertheless, this is a very worthwhile story. Magnus’s character in particular is deep and layered in mystery, and the chemistry he shares with Brina sizzles off the pages.
Magnus and Sabrina’s enemies to lovers romance will have you in stitches. The slow burn turns tender when a teenage boy named Jordan enters the mix. It is a story about family and grouchy billionaires with golden hearts. It is well-written. The plot is complex, with layers of mystery. The characters are carefully crafted and three-dimensional. The story is written in first person. The POV alternates between Magnus and Sabina. I rate this book 4.5 stars.
I received an advance copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Max Monroe never disappoints!! I was barely into Best Friends Don’t Kiss and I was literally laughing out loud. It's just what I needed!!
Ava and Luke have been Best friends since their first day at Colombia University, fifteen years ago. I love these two, they are one of my top favorite Max Monroe couples. They are the perfect balance to each other. She's a little bit crazy and he's level headed. They have been through everything together. They even live across the hall from each. It isn't until Ava needs a boyfriend do they realize what everyone else has know through the years. They are more then best friends.
There is much to love about this book. The character development, the slow burn, the seriously hot chemistry, and the appearance of the billionaires (especially Thatcher!!).
With the holidays fast approaching, and increased stress levels especially this year, do yourself a favor ONE-CLICK THIS BOOK!!!!
In this time of great confusion and chaos with the Covid19 interrupting our lives, comes this book by author, Julia Alvarez, to give us hope and meaning. This is a book that will draw you into the lives of desperate people, depressed people, immigrants and their fight for a peaceful life, and most of all finding oneself after the normal has gone.
Antonia Vega lost her husband to a sudden aortic aneurysm As he was on his way to meet her for a celebration of her retirement. They live in Vermont, she a Dominican immigrant from years ago who became a Professor of English. Her husband a much beloved physician who took care of everyone and everything. Now, she is picking up the pieces of her life, and all sorts of happenings begin. Antonia has 3 sisters, all with minds of their own. Lizzie was always the problem child, and she still is. She has gone missing, and this requires intensive time. In the meantime a young undocumented Mexican lad working at the farm next to Antonia needs assistance in bringing his girlfriend to Vermont. what a tale to tell with this issue. Antonia, of course, becomes the middle man in all of this.
What a loving novel. It appears at the time of my need for some hope, and in these pages we find the kind of characters that we want to know. Nothing will ever be the same again, but we know it is okay, we will rebound as Antonia and her people prove. Kindness, attention, helpfulness, love, caring all become a necessity. As Antonia would tell us, in this country we need the oxygen first, then we give it to others.
I wasn’t especially interested in the subject matter of this book to begin with; I read it because I had been impressed by one of Tim Butcher’s earlier books, Blood River, an exciting and well-written account of a long and dangerous journey through Central Africa. Like Blood River, The Trigger is a mixture of history, travelogue and journalism – a format Butcher does very well. It is just as good as Blood River, and I ended up being very interested in its subject indeed.
The outline of the book is thus: In the early 1990s Butcher is a young correspondent in the Balkans, covering the conflict for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper. In Sarajevo he finds people using a small building as a toilet, and is bemused to find that it is the mausoleum of Gavrilo Princip, whose assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the city led to the First World War. Butcher moves on but does not forget this odd sight, and in 2012 he resolves to walk across Bosnia and Serbia in Princip’s footsteps. Butcher wants to see if the journey to see if doing so would illuminate the chain of events that had led not only to that war but to the one he covered 80 years later.
In 1907 the 13-year-old Princip walked most of the way from his home in Western Bosnia to Sarajevo to get an education. Later, as a radicalised, political young adult, he went to Serbia and there hatched the plot to kill the Archduke; then, armed, he walked back. It is these journeys Butcher wants to recreate. He starts by enlisting Arnie, his former fixer from Bosnia, as a companion. Arnie, a Bosnian Muslim, is now living in London but, after some thought, he agrees. Meanwhile Butcher tries to track down Princip’s birthplace, Obljaj. This is hard, as it is an obscure hamlet deep in what Bosnians call the vukojebina (literally, “where the wolves f**k”). He eventually finds it on an old map in the bowels of the Royal Geographical Society. He and Arnie make for Obljaj.
It’s when they get there that this narrative, a little slow to start, really takes off. The Princip home is a ruin but, quite unexpectedly, they find the Princip clan still living next door. No-one can remember Gavrilo, who died in 1918. But at least one man remembers his parents in their old age, and the folk-memories of Princip are strong. The next day Butcher and Arnie start a long walk to Sarajevo. The memories of the Princips, and Butcher’s own diligent research in Sarajevo, uncover a great deal new about the assassin. His killing of the Archduke is part of history but the man himself, locked up at 19, dead at 23, has always been a footnote. Butcher brings him very alive. He also conjures up a vivid picture of Sarajevo as Princip would have found it in 1907, and it reminds me very much of Aleppo, where I lived for several years in the 1990s.
Moreover Butcher finds that Princip’s story does provide keys to the region’s history, and to the conflict of the 1990s. One or two themes emerge strongly from the book. In Butcher’s view, Austria-Hungary, which had only occupied Bosnia in 1878, was a colonial power there, extracting resources – chiefly timber – and giving a little back, but not much. Princip’s fanaticism was rooted in a hatred of what he saw as an oppressive colonial regime that has kept his people miserably poor. (He was himself the seventh of nine children; the previous six had all died in infancy.) Moreover the people Princip saw as his were all the South Slavs, not just Serbs. He was not a Serbian nationalist as such (and in Butcher’s view, Serbia did not support the assassination). Princip was an anti-colonial freedom fighter.
But perhaps the most interesting perspective in this book is Arnie’s. At the time people outside Yugoslavia blamed the 1990s war on ancient primitive hatreds, rather as they spoke of Northern Ireland when I was growing up, and see Syria now. Arnie doesn’t buy it. “Those people who said, ‘These people have always hated each other’ were just being lazy,” he tells Butcher. “In my own life I saw people from different communities work together, live together, get married even. There was nothing inevitable about what happened in the 1990s. It was just that a few – the extremists, the elite, the greedy – saw nationalism as a way to grab what they wanted.”
Like Blood River, this is a thoughtful, well-written book, an absorbing read but also full of insights. Butcher’s knack of combining several roles – the historian, the travel writer and the journalist – serves him well. I look forward to seeing where he does it next. Meanwhile The Trigger is excellent, and could well be my non-fiction read of the year.
I love Chinese food! Many years ago I was invited to be part of a medical delegation to China (I was a nurse) an I learned authentic Chinese food is NOTHING like what Americans expect. It's bright, flavorful, light, made with fresh ingredients, and is balanced in color, texture, and presentation. Authentic Chinese food isn't smothered in heavy brown gravy or the taste muted with salt and I decided to learn how to cook Asian food the right way.
After hours of research I found Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge and it's quickly become my favorite and most helpful and used book. It's more than a cookbook; it's a journey through the art of stir-frying. Grace makes learning how to correctly stir fry interesting and fun with stories of the role woks play in the culture of Asian cooking and background information about why technique is important to get the best results from my wok. The book is loaded with color pictures that demonstrate everything from what the bottles of her suggested seasoning brands look like to cutting and cooking techniques to what the prepared meals look like.
I had become overwhelmed with all the contradictory information about which woks are the best without spending a lot of money along with other accessories that are needed. After reading Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge I realized Grace has simplified the whole process for me from first detailed information about the different kinds of woks: what sizes and materials are best, methods to correctly season one, how to properly clean and maintain one, how to cook with one, and so much more. I decided to follow all her step-by-step suggestions exactly. For example, she outlines different ways to season a wok and stated even a preseasoned wok with a factory coating needs proper seasoning to ensure it will be nonstick. I decided to try her favorite way, scrubbing the wok with a Brillo pad (the only time a scrubbing pad should be used!) then stir-fry scallions and fresh ginger in peanut oil. I'd read reviews people have written about their woks discoloring but because of Grace's information I knew this was a good thing and didn't worry.
Like her instructions for seasoning and cleaning my wok all information is explained and precise. What pantry items are part of a Chinese kitchen include suggested brand names she has found have the most authentic taste. What cooking utensils are helpful, including brand names. Sauce and seasonings are explained and again she includes suggested brands. There is so much information in the book's ~300 pages! Also, a really helpful thing is the majority if seasonings and utensils can be found on Amazon although the spices are sometimes less expensive at my local store.
I finally decided to try a meal. I followed Grace's instructions on pages 54-55, Basic Steps for Stir-Frying, and made my first meal, Hot Pepper Beef on page 85. I don't tolerate spicy foods so I adjusted the amount of red pepper flakes, and it was delicious! The beef was tender and the vegetables bright and slightly crisp, and the juice enhanced the flavors rather than coating the food. I then decided to try making fajitas. They weren't as good but I realized that after making a fresh meal of the pepper beef the packaged fajita seasoning tasted thick, muddy, and not as appetizing. The next time I'm going to make my own from scratch.
I could go on but there's so much information that I believe would be helpful for anyone from a novice to seasoned cook that I think before buying a wok a person should read Grace Young's Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge! In her introduction she stated an old expression is "One wok runs to the sky's edge" which means "One who uses the wok becomes master of the cooking world." I doubt I'll become a master but I've realized wok cooking needn't be restricted to Asian cooking and I'll definitely be using my wok in preparing as many meals as possible. I'm seeing a nutritionist and I'm following a DASH/Mediterranean diet and I'm discovering my wok is perfect for stir-frying without the use of oils or butter.
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