More Lynne Graham love coming your way!

I am back on my Lynne Graham kick. I finished reading her latest about 2 weeks ago but work commitments have kept me from writing about it. The Billionaire’s Bridal Bargain (I do love an alliterative title) blurb:

The Billionaire's Bridal Bargain by Lynne GrahamTo love, honour…

Cesare Sabatino never intended to marry. But if his thoughts did ever stray in that direction, the lucky woman’s answer would have been a resounding ‘yes’. Imagine his surprise when Lizzie Whitaker turns him down on the spot!

…and possess?

To get his hands on her Mediterranean island inheritance, Cesare must wed innocent Lizzie…and ensure she’s carrying his heir! Luckily the formidable Italian is legendary for his powers of persuasion. With Lizzie desperate to save her family’s farm, it’s only a matter of time before she gives in…and discovers the many pleasurable benefits of wearing this tycoon’s ring.

Cesare “Not Caesar. We’re not in ancient Rome. It’s Chay-sar-ray” Sabatino (oh Ms Graham you made me giggle when you gave me instructions on how to pronounce your hero’s name) is a bit of a silly buffoon however he is a rich silly buffoon with a manservant called Primo to boot. Though he was betrayed by his first love, Serafina, and despite swearing off love and marriage (the hurt runs deep in this one), Chay-sar-ray loves his paternal Greek grandmother, Athene (I am annoyed that he calls her Nonna and not Yiayia, seriously – nonna in Greek is Godmother and I don’t care that the woman was married to an Italian – we need more culturally correct names in romance fiction) who has given up hope in ever visiting her birthplace because of a watertight will (yep – a top notch inheritance lawyer said so) stipulates that her family cannot visit the island unless there is a marriage that joins her family and the island’s owners. His grandmother, who brought him up after his mother died and his father remarried, is also giving up her will to live. Chay-sar-ray decides to be the sacrificial lamb for his beloved nonna/yiayia and says he will marry one of the two women who stand to inherit the island. He chooses the frumpier, older daughter as the younger, prettier girl is still at university and our hero is from the 21st century and not from the 1970s. Aside: I am not being rude about the 15-20 year age difference in many M&Bs of that time. It was also a reality – see Chuck and Di and their 13 year difference when they were betrothed when she was just 19. Continue reading

Book 4: Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Any person who has met me and asked for a picture book recommendation will know that my first suggestion is Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny. I adore all of Willems’ books but my deepest love is for Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. So I surprised even myself when I took so long to finally read the third Knuffle Bunny book. And it is fabulous! Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny, Too and Knuffle Bunny Free all manage to capture expressions and feeling of not only the child in the story but of the bemused, frustrated and perplexed adults in the stories too. By the end of Knuffle Bunny Free I had sweet tears come to my eyes. Such a heartfelt story.

Highly recommended! Buy or borrow all three!

If clothes maketh the man then the character should be well shod too

Practice Makes Perfect

by Julie James

a shallow reader review

Always assume there are *spoilers*

Now here is an author who consistently delivers well written, contemporary romance novels which are full of scrummy narkiness, scrummy characters and the obligatory HEA. To add to the well written stories Julie James also delivers in the well dressed, well heeled character stakes. And in Practice Makes Perfect the clothing is described is an important part of the image that the protagonists choose to show to others.

Julie James’s Practice Makes Perfect is about two law associates in the last months before they find out if they make partner at one of Chicago’s top law firms. Both Payton (tha chick) and J.D. (da man) partake in snarky one-upmanship and all-round competition against each other.  Their constant bantering makes for fun reading though at times both overstep their boundaries which is where their vulnerability towards each other starts to emerge. Throughout the book they wear corporate clothing that is hand tailored, professional and conforming to the expectations of legal counsel. I felt that their clothes are part of what sets the scene as to the style and tension that is over-riding in this book. The alphamale is capitalised to ALPHA with his Zegna suits, or when going a little casual

“… he wore an open-necked black pin-striped shirt and perfectly tailored charcoal gray pants”.

Yep, I’m one of those women that can sit in the corporate end of town feasting her eyes on those immaculately cut suits. J.D. is hot hot hot.

Julie James slowly builds the tension between the main protagonists until you are on the edge of your seat two-thirds of the way into the book wanting to scream “Will you just get it on!”. I enjoyed the slow weaving of why each protagonist chose their career path and I liked that the majority of the action in the book was in the corporate office setting.

The book did have a few unresolved storylines at the end. But they did not particularly worry me. The unresolved tension between J.D. and his domineering judge father – did not worry me. That Payton never explores J.D’s work motivations – did not worry me. And the sabotaged shoe scene – did not worry me. What did worry me was that throughout the book Payton’s complete outfit is described. Her dresses, shirts, skirts, suits all the way down to the heels of her Jimmy Choos and other stiletto numbers that she wears at work (this goes totally against the grain for me as a librarian who happily dons her flat, stylish yet sensible, Camper shoes). Yet, when J.D. is described, he has hotness trousers, great shirts, growl man ties and suits to die for but his shoes are not mentioned. I reread the book a second time in search for a reference to his shoes and I could not find one. Does he not wear any? Is he shoeless? Where are his Oxfords, Legates, monkstraps or wingtip Bluchers? Where are his John Lobb or Berluti shoes? This omission seems incongruous in light of the meticulously attired J.D.

So please, when you read this fab romance, please, if you catch a mention J.D’s shoes – drop me a line.


Picture Book Historical Romantic Comedy

Sir LaughalotSir Laughalot

Written by Tony Mitton

Illustrated by Sarah Warburton

a shallow review


I snorted in the library when I was reading this book. Sarah Warburton’s illustrations are brilliant. They are quirky & childlike yet with a nod to illuminated manuscripts and heraldy. This  suited the medieval setting of the book. Tony Mitton, once again, delights with narrrative that is rhythmic and funny and with absurd concepts such as twirly nose hair, that will have you laughing out aloud alongside Laughalot himself. The challenge he must face is whether he can save the cheerful damsel in distress….which of course brings us to a picture book historical romantic comedy.

Sir Laughalot has so many wonderful qualities. It’s funny, it’s romantic, it’s heroic and it’s lots of fun 🙂