Bookit Review: Blue-Eyed Devil

Title: Blue-Eyed Devil (Travis series #2)
Bookit #8
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2008
Medium: Kindle E-book

WARNING:  This novel covers topics that may cause triggering effects on those who suffered from physical or mental abuse.

Blue-eyed Devil is the second novel in the Travis Series by Liza Kleypas.  I was looking forward to this book, because Hardy had been one of my favorite characters in the first book I read, Brown-Eyed Girl, and he is the hero in this novel after being the one who lost in book 1, Sugar Daddy.

The main character in this novel is Haven Travis, the youngest sibling of the Travis Clan.  It starts soon after the closing of Sugar Daddy in that they are attending Liberty and Gage (the couple from book 1)’s wedding.  It is there she meets Hardy, and it leaves a lasting impression on her.

This book is a little different from romance novels that I have seen in the past, because it involves a couple who faced domestic abuse.  It also deals with the problems children who have faced domestic abuse might have as adults.  I was glad to see that for the most part Haven ends up saving herself, rather than her love interest.  Often times I have seen this written as a ploy to get the two main characters together, and in this novel it’s not.  She is also allowed to get help when she needs it, and not having it forced on her or denied her like some narratives are prone to do.

In fact, their romance, baring the moment at the wedding, doesn’t even start till after Haven removes herself from the abusive relationship.  It also doesn’t look down on therapy, and has really good sibling relationships.  One of the stronger themes in this series is the relationships between the main character (always female) and her siblings.  Book one was about Liberty and her sister Carrington.  This is about Haven and her relationship with her brothers.  Brown-Eyed Girl (book 4) is about Avery and her half-sister Sophia.

This series also has a good record in showing mixed families.  Not everyone’s family is perfect, and not every perfect family is a bad family.  There are single parents, distant parents, parents who were both there, and parents who realised they couldn’t care for their children so they gave them up for adoption.

I also found this relatable because I have dealt with people who are narcissistic in nature, and I have seen the problems they cause for the people around them. I’m not sure I believe the therapist in this story who says abusers are always narcissistic.

Overall, I give this a A, because it had good pacing, the main character manages to save herself half the time, and people deal with their issues instead of having instant cures. However, this book has references to domestic abuse, both physical and mental, as well as rape.  Therefore I suggest you avoid this one if any of those subjects might be triggering for you.

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Bookit Review: Sugar Daddy

​​Title: Sugar Daddy (Travis Series #1)
Bookit #7
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2007
Medium: Kindle E-book

A few weeks ago I reviewed a book called Brown Eyed Girl.  I found out later that the novel was in fact the last book in a four book series about the Travis Siblings.  The first book in the series was Sugar Daddy and was focused on Liberty Jones, a woman who grew up poor and ended up having to raise her baby sister.  She gets torn between her first love – Hardy Cates, and the man she has started falling for – Gage Travis.

I like this book better than Brown-Eyed Girl because it seems to have more details and more consistent pacing. Liberty’s story has a strong backstory.  I had to admit I found the fact that Gage didn’t show up till about 2/3 thorugh the story odd for a romance, but it put more emphasis on it being Liberty’s story.  She’s the narrator (and its in first person) and the story is more about her moving on.  Given the information in the ‘description’ I thought both Gage and Hardy would have showed up more then they did.

Reading this novel was helpful in improving my thoughts on Brown-Eyed Girl simply because some of the information I found lacking in that novel gets explained in this one (and the two others).  So while each book can stand its own, its a good idea to read the series in order to get the full story.

Final Grade:  B+

Bookit Review: Brown-Eyed Girl

Title: Brown Eyed-Girl
Bookit #6
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date:  2015
Medium: Large Print Hardback

My grade: B

I found this book on a stroll through Ollies, a discount surplus store with a huge book section. I thought the summary on the back looked interesting and got it.  My first reaction was surprise at just how huge the large print was.  It seemed bigger than the usual large format I’ve seen in the past, but its been awhile so I could have been wrong.  I found it actually takes a bit to get used to the different size when you aren’t used to it.

This book apparently is the fourth book in a series about the Travis family.  I wasn’t aware of that before I read it, so that might have affected how I read the book.  There seemed to be bits that seemed rather shallow and under developed and that might just have been because the assumption was you’ve read the previous three books.   The book overall was not bad.  The story focuses on Avery, a fashion designer turned event planner who focuses on Weddings.  She is a bit guarded due to a really bad break-up and the memory of her father’s tendency to never stay committed.  Joe Travis wants to change her mind on relationships, but he can only do so much.  With Joe and Sophie (her sister)’s help she ends up finding more confidence in herself and allowing herself to open up and trust others.  It does have its clichéd moments, but then what romance novel doesn’t?

I think I may try to read the earlier books and see if it changes my mind on the book.   Till then its a good light read.

Bookit Review: My Hero

Title: My Hero
Bookit #5
Author: Debbie Macomber
Release Date: 2018 (current copy, originally printed by itself in 1992)
Medium: Paperback

My grade: D

In the second novel published together in Looking for a Hero,  we have novice novel writer Bailey who decides to essentially stalk someone to get inspiration for her main character.  Somehow the main guy, Parker, finds this intriguing rather than not and decides to go along with it and ends up taking her on dates disguised as ‘research’.   I found the main character paradoxically likeable and not.  She had many similarities with me, at least writer wise, and we even share a cat with the same name.  But other than that I find the whole thing just odd.

Who goes from “Why are you following me?”  to “Will you marry me?”  in just a few months? We learn so much about Bailey, whose the point of view character, but Parker remains hardly there except to fall in love with Bailey.  Like with its partner novel, Marriage Wanted, I feel like we are getting the first draft, with missing bits.  I feel this story misses a lot by doing a single point of view, and I find myself just not getting the characters or the situation.

Both novels were alright – I could finish them without throwing the book.  They helped me get through a very boring day of waiting in an office.  However, I was disappointed that this came from an author I have seen do better in the past.

Bookit Review: Marriage Wanted

Title:  Marriage Wanted
Bookit #4
Author: Debbie Macomber
Release Date: 2018
Medium: Paperback

My grade: D

I was actually fairly disappointed in this book.  I usually like Debbie Macomber, finding her books light and easy reads for days when I really could use light and fluffy.  This book however was not up to her usual fair, and has the signs of being a “well, I need to write something” type of story.

The premise of Marriage Wanted (part one of the duo in the paperback I bought) was that Savannah was a wedding planner who felt that Marriage was the thing to achieve, while Nash (a divorce) lawyer thought it was simply an outdated institution and nothing good came out of it.  He challenges her to marry him and test the theory out.

Or at least that is what the back of the book states.  It feels like a rough draft of a longer novel.  The pacing is awkward.  It’s slow at first, building up the characters (except at the same time taking jumps of time to not really understand their inter-character relationships at all). The second half of the book rushes everything, from the wedding, to the falling in love bit.  Issues that develop to give drama to the story are brushed over towards the end as if she was in a rush to get this story over with.

This is not the worst thing I have read, but as a story it needed more.

Bookit Review: The Wedding Dress

Title:  The Wedding Dress
Bookit #3
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date: 2012
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A-

I really enjoyed this book, which is actually the first in the series.  However, none of the books appear to be interconnected other than a few minor things.  The third book, which I’m not reading at this time might have some more connections, however.  Basically, you can read this book and The Wedding Chapel in any order and not be out-of-place. Continue reading

Bookit Review: The Wedding Chapel

Title: The Wedding Chapel (book 2 of the Wedding series)
Bookit #2
Author: Rachel Hauck
Release Date:
Medium: Paperback

My grade: A

I picked this book up at a discount item store the other day, not realising it was the second book in a series.  However it seems that the books are connected by theme rather than storyline so I think I’ve done alright.

This book has four point of views (done third person) including Collette, Taylor, Jimmy and Jack.  It is about a family and finding out some hard truths.  At the start of the book, we are introduced to Jimmy, who is an 83-year-old football coach who built a wedding chapel for his girlfriend back in the 50s.  It ended up not working out and he’s finally deciding to sell after interest spikes in the property.

Taylor is a photographer sent by a magazine that heard about the chapel and wanted to photograph it.  She happened to grow up in the same home town as Couch Jimmy, and is amazed by the chapel.  She later finds out the chapel was made for her Great-Aunt Collette.  So Taylor stays around to find out what is going to happen to the chapel as well as deal with her grandmother’s belongings.  It brings out a lot of secrets the family has kept for decades.

In the end, the two couples in the story – Jimmy & Collette;  Jack & Taylor – have to figure out how to get over what has happened to them in the past and make new beginnings.

I enjoyed the story, although sometimes the timeline was hard to follow.  It took place mainly in 2015, with flashbacks to when Jimmy & Collette were younger.  I do admit I wish that Peg had been a point of view, but that might have given away the ending too soon.    I also liked the references to other novels that Rachel Hauck has written, although I only knew they were references because I saw a list of her books one day when searching for the publishing info on this novel.

I’m reading the first book in the series now, called The Wedding Dress.  Its most likely going to be the next book in my book reviews.