3.5* I read a few reviews and decided this was right up my alley! I love Friends-to -Lovers books (also love Enemy-to-Lover books!), and this sounded3.5* I read a few reviews and decided this was right up my alley! I love Friends-to -Lovers books (also love Enemy-to-Lover books!), and this sounded so cute, so I splurged and clicked to buy. I was smiling as I read the beginning - the notes sent between Carter and Arizona were so much fun! They hated each other when they first met in 4th grade, said nasty things to one another, but then became the very best of friends. I honestly have never had a best friend like this - I have had (and have) best friends, but the way they spoke to one another, some of the things they shared, how they knew each other to a T - it was really quite wonderful, if not a bit unrealistic. Now grown up and about to graduate college, Arizona and Carter are still bffs, and their lives are intertwined to the point they see or talk daily, share all their thoughts and feelings, and Carter's few girlfriends have all been jealous of Arizona, even though the two of them insist it'll never happen! Until one day Arizona notices that Carter is drop-dead gorgeous - amazing face, hot bod, etc. Now I'm sorry - if she'd noticed but thought "nope, not for me, he's just my friend"I would have believed that but for her to never even realize how sexy he was? And about the same time (the same day?) Carter all of a sudden notices that Ari is smokin' - beautiful eyes, hot bod, etc. And again - ditto. So now these two friends have really seen one another and they don't know what to do about it. There is a bit of internal awkwardness until one night Ari gets drunk and Carter kisses her. The next day she tries to pretend it didn't happen - but then it happens again, and that leads to sex, which they again try to pretend didn't happen until more sex happens and next thing they know, they are in a secret hidden sexual relationship. Amazing to me that they were able to keep it hidden from her roomies and his friend Josh, but they do. Until Ari gets a great offer to go to culinary school in France and before she leaves, she confesses her love to Carter. Carter, knowing his friend would give up the chance of a lifetime if he admits to having the same feelings, says that he loves her but not "in that way" and it was just sex. Devastated, Ari gets on the plane and leaves. And for me, this is when the story fell apart.
So Ari is in France nursing a broken heart - she's devastated, she's not functioning well - and she's completely blowing off Carter. He texts, he calls, he writes letters by hand - and she ignores him or sends back 2 sentence replies or flat out lies to him. And I really kind of hated her for it. She was being selfish and unfair and not even giving their friendship a chance to smooth out. Carter had no idea what was going on with her, but he never gave up. He tried and he tried and he even wrote on the outside of the envelopes "URGENT: Please Open Me, Ari" but unbeknownst to him, she's not opening any of his letters and proving herself to be a lousy, crappy friend. She's also clueless, because a fellow student, who is a hottie too, asks her out and she doesn't get that he's interested in her. She doesn't see how gorgeous he is, she thinks that hours-long nightly phone calls and all night hang outs could not possibly mean anything. So she decides to give Sean a chance. Next thing we know she is on her way home - w/o telling Carter she is coming. Her mom asks Carter is Ari can stay at his place as her place is having work done - he says of course, figuring he'd finally get to see his best friend and they could talk - and she shows up at his house w/Sean, her boyfriend, in tow. At this point I wanted to slap her and scream You Bitch! But it's a book so I just thought it and kept reading. While home, she is complete bitch to Carter who keeps trying to talk to her. Finally he forces her attention and announces to the crowd at large that he loves her "in that way." This occurs of course about two minutes after nice guy Sean announces to Ari's friends and family that he lost all of his family and friends (a bit of explanation, please!) and wants to live in the moment and gives Ari a promise ring which she accepts. So not only is she a bitch to Carter but she's kind of awful to Sean. Side note...I don't quite understand how they are dating, he spent $ to fly to the US w/her, plans to stay w/her (and share a bedroom), gives her a promise ring - but they're not sleeping together? Sorry, hard to believe. Anyway, Carter and Ari finally talk after she reads some of his letters, and he explains why he did what he did (very noble). And they end up together. Except IMO, she does not deserve him.
Like I said, I wanted to love this - and I did, until I didn't. I have read a lot of Friends-to-Lovers books and I always go in with such high hopes. And usually it's the girl who blows it. She either develops strong feelings and is pissed when her best friend does not reciprocate, or she has strong feelings and she runs because she's scared, etc. I also would have probably enjoyed this more if Ari wasn't gorgeous. That may sound weird, but would Carter have loved her, have noticed his feelings, if she were heavy or plain or ordinary? That would have been a more magical book for me, vs two super gorgeous creatures who are friends and never notice how gorgeous each other are all of a sudden see the gorgeousness that's been in front of them this whole time. I also would have liked to see Josh find out the truth! And one last nit-pick...every time someone touched Ari they were "tunneling their hands (or fingers) in her hair. It was an oft repeated phrase that got on my nerves after a while.
So there you go. Others here loved it, and it is cute, and worth reading for Carter alone, but me...I was just disappointed. ...more
I was lukewarm about the first book in this series – Midnight Secrets. It just did not hold up to previous Christy Reece books (the author's other namI was lukewarm about the first book in this series – Midnight Secrets. It just did not hold up to previous Christy Reece books (the author's other name). The teaser for Midnight Lies was good enough that I was looking forward to reading this one. We start with Quinn and Samantha (one of the triplet sisters of Savannah, heroine of the first book) in a relationship. Sam is falling in love with Quinn, but Quinn, a doctor who had been in a lousy marriage, keeps his feelings closed off and enjoys the sex and the companionship but is not looking for something permanent. His awful ex wife is murdered just before Quinn shows up at her house, and he’s arrested for the murder. Samantha wants to believe in him, but since her supposedly wonderful father murdered her mother (which she later finds out is not true – he was set up) she wonders about Quinn. She hates herself for her doubts, but there they are. She works behind the scenes to try and prove Quinn is innocent (and disprove her own doubts). Quinn is set free, but there are still doubts. Sam goes to see Quinn dressed for seduction – he’s drunk, they have sex, but the next day he kicks her to the curb, still hurt by her doubting him (he feels badly about treating her “like a prostitute”, but she did come over dressed for seduction and jumped on him w/o even trying to talk). Sam is devastated and leaves for home. FF a couple of months – suspicion still lingers about Quinn, but all he can do is think about Sam and how much he misses her. He goes to find her in her home town and the wooing commences.
The bulk of this book is about Quinn trying to win back Sam and Sam trying her hardest to resist the magnetic pull of Quinn and their amazing chemistry. She’s not as wishy-washy as Savannah was, but she’s not exactly a strong woman either (even though she was a cop). She laments that Quinn never shared his history (pretty messed up family) but neither did she ever tell him about her own family tragedy. I don’t blame Quinn for being hurt by her doubts about him – and not knowing her backstory, why would he understand? As usual, some communication and honestly would have gone a long way to help. I have a hard time believing the new security agency the sisters have opened together requires them to have a receptionist – they have one case, are doing no advertising, and are working with Logan and Brody (who seem to have left their own agency and working for free w/the somewhat clueless women – I do like them and would like to read more about them!). Bri (the 3rd sister) has disappeared to infiltrate the den of a super bad guy – that whole story line made no sense – I can only hope it’s explained in Bri’s book. While not exactly as bumbling as Keystone Cops, the sisters really don’t seem to know what they are doing, and it’s made even harder since they want to “protect” pregnant Savannah by not telling her what is going on w/the one case they are working. Speaking of the case…Bri says to Lauren, the woman who has hired them for security and protection “You’d better hope to hell you’re right, because if you’ve brought that scum to my town and endangered my family, Armando Cruz will be the least of your problems.” Um…isn’t that their business? To help secure and protect people in trouble? Lauren is in trouble, and has come to them for help. If she’s in danger, what else should she do but hire someone to help her? What kind of cases did they think they would get?! And when Sam thinks “…now that Savvy was pregnant, she wasn’t sure taking this case was the right thing to do. Protecting her sister and her baby was priority number one” all I could think was “then why did you go into the security business in the first place, if you can’t put your clients’ needs first??” The whole idea that these three could “take down” a master criminal and drug lord who the various government agencies have been trying to take down for years…just really dumb!
I didn’t understand Quinn’s complete 180 about his feelings for Sam. He was adamant he was not interested in a long term relationship, even though he was thinking about asking Sam to move in before his ex was murdered, but still – there was no real commitment between them but he gives up everything to come after her so they could be together. Seemed to come out of left field. Like in Savannah’s book, there was a lot of Quinn noticing how beautiful Sam was, a lot of soft kisses, etc. The sisters all look out for one another, but when Bri says to Quinn “You fix it with Sammie or I’ll bring a friend over next time I come…my favorite little Smith and Wesson. She’s convinced plenty of people to think my way” I wanted to laugh – such ridiculous dialogue. I half expected her to say “go ahead, punk, make my day!” Like in MS, the author focuses on a mystery for the beginning, it toddles along behind the rest of the story for the bulk of the book, and then the last 20% or so the mystery kicks up into high gear and once again the heroine finds herself in danger. Definitely more of a contemporary romance w/a bit of suspense thrown in for good measure vs a Romantic Suspense novel.
The romance was ok, Quinn was a likable yet bland character, and Samantha was nothing special. No teaser for Bri’s book, but I will find it and read it sooner or later, just to finish the trilogy. ...more
(Apr) 3.5* Former child star Dylan stops to help stranded single mom Katie who is stuck in the rain with a flat tire. They meet up again at Jack's bar(Apr) 3.5* Former child star Dylan stops to help stranded single mom Katie who is stuck in the rain with a flat tire. They meet up again at Jack's bar in Virgin River. Katie is the wodowed mother to twin boys and is trying to figure out what to do with her life. Dylan is trying to figure out what to do with his failing charter plane company. They have feelings, they have sex, but all along he's very clear and honest that he is leaving. So he leaves and she's devastated because she loves him. She finds herself pregnant (do condoms really fail that often?!) and actually contemplates not telling him-selfish, never ok. Dylan comes back, they talk, she gets pissy again over unfair things (gotta say she's not my favorite heroine) but they work things out.
This was not the best book in the series...it was sweet, but for some reason RC likes to write a) unexpected pregnancies; b) single moms and men who are willing to marry them and take on a ready made family; c) men who are honest about not wanting a commitment and women who say "ok" but then get shitty when it turns out he really meant it, etc. I also would like to see the big biker guy again-he was fun!
It's always a pleasure to spend time with Jack and crew. I can't believe I've only got two books left to finish the series. ...more
(Apr) 4.5* Well, 3 books in and I'm loving this series! We learned in previous books that Nick and Shaya are fated mates, but for various reasons, Nic(Apr) 4.5* Well, 3 books in and I'm loving this series! We learned in previous books that Nick and Shaya are fated mates, but for various reasons, Nick has refused to claim Shaya, a half wolf-half human. His reasons are valid, but still end up hurting Shaya enough that she can't stand to stay with her own pack and see him around, wanting him but knowing that he does not want her. This book picks up when Shaya has left the Phoenix Pack for parts unknown. When Nick discovers that his mate is gone, he freaks and swears he will find her. FF a few months...Shaya is living in a human town, working as a hair dresser, and feeling sad and lonely but doing her best to make a life for herself w/o her mate. Imagine her surprise when she comes home and discovers Nick sitting in her apartment! A battle ensues, with Shaya beating the shit out of Nick. He finally subdues her and tries to talk to her. He's keeping a secret from her - he didn't not claim her because he's an Alpha Dominant and she's a submissive (and therefore he worries that she'd never manage as the Alpha female of a pack), but more because he suffers from severe headaches that often occur in dominants whose wolves appear too early - and these often lead to cognitive brain issues, which can leave him in a condition similar to Alzheimers. He hopes that he's been cured by his pack healer (a total bitch who has the hots for Nick, although he does not seem to notice). He vows to fight for Shaya's love so they can claim one another and be together. Raised by a shitty mom and abandoned by her first lover, who lied to her and took advantage of her, Shaya has doubts and insecurities about herself and anyone who gets too close. As Nick tries to ingratiate himself into her life, there is also the background goings-on of a war brewing between human extremists who believe all shifters should be tagged and locked away and the shifter community around them. Nick and Shaya grow closer, but her doubts linger, which causes issues between them.
I was really surprised to read a review here that said this book was lukewarm and not sexy at all. I beg to differ - I didn't realize there were only 3 sex scenes in this because what we got was so burnin' hot that it seemed like there was more! I think Suzanne Wright does a great job with sex in all her books. Perhaps because the first book featured an amazingly scorching orgy scene (which was edited out of later editions - I suggest you find it on her website and read it -it's worth it!), any future book is going to be seen as not as hot. I think Shaya and Nick burn up the pages, and while Shaya definitely got on my nerves at times because she was being so unreasonable, the two of them definitely worked together. As usual, the supporting cast was terrific and there were definitely a few LOL moments (any scene w/Dominic is always a joy - can't wait for that boy to get his story!). Meanwhile, I hope to start the next book, starring Marcus (is he still bi? Not sure!) and Nick's sister. ...more
When I discovered this was written by Christy Reece, I knew I had to read it. I read her Last Chance Rescue Series (although I discovered there were mWhen I discovered this was written by Christy Reece, I knew I had to read it. I read her Last Chance Rescue Series (although I discovered there were more after the initial 9) and loved it. Sure, the villains were over the top, but the characters were great, the action compelling, and the sex ranged from really good to off the charts! I figured this would be different - otherwise, why write under a pseudonym? I was right - it was different, but not really in a good way. This just was not well written. It was overwritten - overwrought, over-wordy, over-emotive. Sentences like this "Too bad she couldn't blame it on the hot temperature outside, but since the thermostat was set at a cool seventy-two degree and she'd yet to step outside, she knew the weather wasn't the issue." Too many words to convey a thought. "Opening up the gnawing chasm of darkness after all these years of suppressing it was going to be bloody hard." Do Americans really say or even think "bloody?"
The book opens well - a man comes home after a fight w/his wife, surprises an intruder who has killed his wife, and he ends up hung from a tree - set up to look like a murder-suicide. Jump a few years later and the orphan triplet girls of the doomed couple are in high school, living w/their grandfather. One girl, Savannah, is attacked outside a school dance and is saved by the town black sheep (once again, I wonder - how small does a town have to be for everyone to know everyone? Never experienced anything like it - but it can't be that small a town since Zach was able to have Sav's car detailed in a matter of a few hours - do small towns really have enough people to support a detailing shop? Or a need for a brand new security agency run by women who don't know anything about security?). Savannah is intrigued by Zach, and he by her. A romance develops, intimacy is shared, and he leaves for the army after giving Savannah a promise of "forever."
Jump ahead 10 years and we learn that Zach disappeared the morning he was leaving for the army, Sav never saw him again, something mysterious happened to him, she's keeping a secret, etc. She is a tough lawyer who after a difficult case, comes home to finally clear out the family mansion. She sees Zach, who is now the town sheriff. Both still have feelings for one another. Fair enough. Second chances are a mainstay in contemporary romance. But the majority of the book is yearning glances, internal dialogue, "should I, shouldn't I", etc. Zach is trying to figure out who is doing damage to local businesses and Sav decides she's going to, w/o telling him, "help" by being his "invisible" backup - I hate that. I hate when untrained women decide they are going to protect their man, when they truly have no idea what they are doing or walking into. I'm just glad she didn't end up getting kidnapped or whatever, because that is usually what happens - that, or the untrained woman goes all Wonder Woman and saves the day. Both equally stupid scenarios. The love scenes were fine, although to me they were one step below Purple..."Heat flooded through her, drenching her entire being. Long-dormant thoughts and feelings she'd once believed dead sprouted and unfurled as need, wan, desire, and a million other emotions overwhelmed her senses." I expected to read about rainbows and explosions and stars next! "That long-ago time had been sweet, delicious but wonderfully awkward." Sorry, no idea what "wonderfully awkward” means. I got really tired of Sav dithering over whether or not she was strong enough to handle telling Zach her secret. Yes, it's sad, but why does it take courage to share w/him what happened? Not sure I get that reasoning at all. I also got tired reading how often Zach mused how beautiful Sav was, how much he loved - and missed - her beautiful laugh, how silky (or satiny) her skin was, how he trembled just to be near her and placed "soft kisses" on her mouth. I don't trust the relationship when the man is so besotted w/the woman that he puts her on a pedestal where she is the most beautiful, most amazing, most perfect woman ever, how can a woman live up to those standards?
There were times I was annoyed at Zach for his annoyance that Sav wasn't sharing her every thought and emotion and secret w/him - they'd only reconnected a few days before! But I did like how he was not a vengeful man. He said what I always think - basically revenge is stupid and isn't going to get you anywhere, and a grown up does not spend their lives worrying about revenge: "Who wins...Henson, for making me lower my standards? What's the point? To make myself feel better? ...hurting a man who is nothing to me would mean absolutely nothing." Bravo, Zach! The fire at the end was incredibly drawn out and overdramatic, and Zach, really, rush into a burning building and later up a ladder w/the firefighters? Again, less is more!
I know what you are thinking - Booklover, w/a review like that, how can you give this a 3* rating? Because, even though it was more of a contemporary vs a romantic suspense (there is a suspense element, but that really does not kick in until about 70% through the book - and it was a stupid suspense w/a stupid villain and a stupid reason behind the mystery and a stupid ending to the suspense), it wasn't awful. It was readable. It was not bad - kinda good, but just kinda. The teaser for the next book definitely hooked me and I will give it a shot - hopefully it'll wow me more than this did. ...more
(Apr) I loved Snow Flower And The Secret Fan - a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about. Shanghai Girls was good. This was only ordinary. The story(Apr) I loved Snow Flower And The Secret Fan - a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about. Shanghai Girls was good. This was only ordinary. The story of 3 Chinese girls who meet by chance when Grace, who has run away from an abusive home, lands in San Francisco in the late 1930s and decides to try and become an entertainer. Helen, from a prosperous local family, joins her during tryouts, as does Ruby. The book, told in alternating first person chapters, follows the 3 girls as they grow and learn and try and fulfill their destinies.
I believed in their friendship at first, but as the years went by, there was less and less friendship and more of a sense of "we're friends because we've known each other for a long time." None really seemed to like one another very much, and there was betrayal, heartache, and of course, a boy.
Overall, I think this just fell flat. They could have been 3 black girls, or 3 Jewish girls, or 3 Irish girls - any group of girls who were fighting to make something of themselves w/o loosing their ethnic heritage and while dealing with the prejudices of the times. I feel like Lisa See has told this story over and over, and done a better job than she did in this book. It was ok, but nothing special. ...more
(Mar)3.5* Reading about a LMR "Midnight" hero is like reading about Chuck Norris..."Chuck Norris lead a horse to water and made it drink...Chuck Norri(Mar)3.5* Reading about a LMR "Midnight" hero is like reading about Chuck Norris..."Chuck Norris lead a horse to water and made it drink...Chuck Norris once drowned a fish underwater" etc. They are larger than life, they love their women with a single mindedness that renders them helpless when around said women, and they are so much fun to spend time with!
I was looking forward to reading about Metal and "the mystery computer girl" who showed up at the end of Jacko's book. The story was fine, interesting KGB mystery, but these books are starting to become monotonous in their similarities. All the men (except John) are ugly and scary but sexy and sweet and the women are all sexually attracted to these guys the minute they meet (and vice versa). Jacko's and Metal's books are pretty interchangeable, although I think I liked Felicity more than Lauren.
One thing someone who read this might be able to help me with...can anyone explain to me how exactly Felicity and Metal escape (and kill - sorry, spoiler, but come on - like you didn't know that was coming?) the Big Bad? She does something with her phone, there is a flash of light, burned faces, heads exploding...what? Huh? So confused!! That's another LMR problem - she just does stuff, no explanation.
So overall, this was fine, very short, not a lot of detail - and, IMO, nothing comes close to my favorite LMR...Midnight Angel. Douglas and Allegra and OMG I loved that book sooo much!! ...more
(Mar) When I first stared this book, I was not expecting much. I know it got a lot of raves in 2014, but the description just did not appeal - and whe(Mar) When I first stared this book, I was not expecting much. I know it got a lot of raves in 2014, but the description just did not appeal - and when I read a quote that said "you don't read this for the plot, but instead for the lyrical prose" I though - ugh! I read for plot, characters, dialogue - beautiful writing is a plus, but not mandatory! The first several pages didn't bode well - there were a lot of words, a lot of description and I just slogged along, skimming more than reading, not really getting what was happening. The book is split into sections - each one starts in the "here and now" - Werner is in some sort of hotel basement that is being bombed and Marie-Laure is in a house of some sort, alone, facing some sort of danger. We then go back 10 years, and segue to very brief alternating chapters which follow Werner, a German orphan living in an orphanage w/his sister and Marie-Laure, a young French girl who goes blind in the first few chapters. As the book progresses, each new section brings us back to the "here and now" and the subsequent chapters show us what happens to Werner and Marie-Laure as they grow up. Werner is a techo-head before there is such a thing - he discovers he is quite adept at fixing radios and this skill leads him to train with other boys who will ultimately go to war for Hitler and Germany. Meanwhile, Marie-Laure and her father, who works as a master locksmith at a museum, leave their home and end up living in a small town w/her father's agoraphobic reclusive uncle.
It took me about 20% before I finally felt like I was vested enough in the characters and the story to follow what was going on and by about 40% I was into it enough that it was hard to put it down at night. I kept reading, wanting to know where the story was going and if/when/how Marie-Laure and Werner would finally cross paths. There is a sub story about a mythical diamond that actually plays a more imporant role as the story goes on, and we follow a 3rd character, von Rumpel, in his search for the diamond. There is beauty, violence, innocence lost and courage found within the pages. There is, however, no real plot in a traditional sense - but Doerr makes it work.
I didn't love the way the book was written - I would have skipped the "here and now" and told the story in a normal timeline, as I found it really confusing jumping back and forth at first. I was, however, satisfied with the ending - I do love a book that ties up all (well, almost all) loose ends in a relatively neat little bow. While I didn't 5* love it, I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Vacillating between a 3* and 4*, I'm going with 3.75* which for a very (too?) long non-romance historical fiction, is a really good vote from me!
One last thing...I read a 1* review here that complained about the lack of authenticity in the book - for instance, this reviewer said that home "canned" fruit and veg would be in glass jars, not in cans, and when M-L and her father leave Paris, the trek they make is not realistic. She went on and on about the mistakes made by Doerr. Now, I have no idea about canning in Europe in the 30s, or air conditioning (did France have a/c in the 40s? don't know, don't care), or the the geographical layout of France, or even real specifics about how the war in France was fought - but I don't care. It read true enough for me (if there had been comptuers or cell phones, sure, I'd have been bothered!). If you are that specific in your knowledge and things like this will hinder your enjoyment of a book, don't read historical fiction (it's fiction - certain liberties will always be taken by the author). ...more
(Mar) Jodi works with Mark in his security company, and they date but it is a "just for fun, let's not get too committed" type of relationship. Howeve(Mar) Jodi works with Mark in his security company, and they date but it is a "just for fun, let's not get too committed" type of relationship. However, Jodi has fallen in love with Mark and is afraid he is getting ready to kick her to the curb. On her bday, which she thinks Mark forgot about, she is working a surveillance case. She sneaks in the house, and just as she's about to crack the safe, she's busted by the home owner. She then discovers that the home owner is actually Mark's old college buddy Sam, and Mark has shared Jodi's Sexual Wish List w/Sam, which includes a threesome. After a bit of convincing, Jodi agrees to the ménage. Mark is kinda shocked to find himself seething with anger every time Sam touches Jodi - which allows him to realize that he too has fallen in love - but not before a whole bunch of sexual high jinx take place!
If a bit of spanking and nipple clamps, a ménage that includes anal, and a HEA is what you are looking for, wrapped up in a quick and easy story, then this is for you! Not sure I have a burning desire to continue with the series, as I just envision it being more of the same. ...more
(Feb) This was a down and dirty quick Anne Stuart story. Constantine is an unapologetic hit man, who is forced to do a favor for a friend - sit down,(Feb) This was a down and dirty quick Anne Stuart story. Constantine is an unapologetic hit man, who is forced to do a favor for a friend - sit down, in a dark room, with a reporter who will ask questions about his job. During the interview, he gets...I don't know, a sense, maybe...of the woman reporter, and somehow a sexual spark is lit, sight unseen, anonymous though the interview is. Constantine might be able to forget her, but later that night, in the guise of a indolent playboy at a high end party, he sees a woman and knows it is his mystery reporter. Maddy, our reporter, has a boyfriend, but she too felt the sexual frisson between her and her secret interviewee, but does not make the connection when a sexy playboy with an accent approaches her at the embassy party. He gives her a lift home, and she goes home, feeling out of sorts, thinking about her boyfriend, and feeling uncomfortably aroused. She is unprepared yet not really surprised when the playboy shows up at her place, sexes her up all night - until she somehow (women's intuition?!) realizes that sexy playboy = dangerous sexy mystery hitman. As with most vintage AS gamma hero books, you don't really see the love, yet you don't really doubt it, and you believe that they will ride off into their HEA - assuming the hero does not kill her along the way!...more
(Feb) Whew...what a long haul to finish this serial. I've been complaining about these since I started them - but I got sucked in by the first freebie(Feb) Whew...what a long haul to finish this serial. I've been complaining about these since I started them - but I got sucked in by the first freebie in the series and really wanted to know how LStG was going to kill off the evil Gypsy brothers. While not well written, the first at least sort of hooked me, or at least piqued my interest enough that I was willing to spend almost $20 to buy the sequels, even though I really resented having to do so. The entire serial was about 750 pages, give or take - if you take out the unnecessary parts that were somewhat recaps, you could have easiy made this a trilogy, or even a part 1 and a part 2.
So by this point, Julz has killed most of the brothers, has been gruesomely tortured, has lost a baby, and has now been kidnapped. It's really an awful lot for a 21 year old! She and Jase manage to escape, with some help, and finally, after a lot of boring running around and some gross stuff w/Donny, the last remaining brother, she is face-to-face with Dornan, the instigator of all her problems. If you haven't figured out yet that, in the end, she lives and Dornan dies,sorry to ruin it for you but come on - what did you think would happen at the end of 700+ pages?!!
LStC says this book is really about Julz's journey and her story with Dornan. Fair enough. But readers supposedly are crying out for more of Julz and Jase's story. Not sure why - they are left alive and presumably will have some sort of a HEA - they will figure out what to do and where to do it, although it sounds like they will always be looking over their shoulders. She is psychotic - I hope they never have children, as she should never be allowed to be around normal sane people. Because, let's face it - she's crazy. I mean fucked up, bat shit, padded room crazy. The best revenge she could have had would have been to go and live a normal life, with the hidden money. Instead, she sought out blood thirsty revenge, reveling in each and every death she caused. In a way, she is no better than the Gypsy Brothers - she took such sadistic pleasure in watching Donny get raped "by a guy with a huge dick." Really, Julz? Really LStC? I have never been a fan of revenge stories - so many people in the world have lived through physical and emotional pain, loss of family, etc., yet they manage to go on and live full lives. Revenge does not strike me as badass or whatever - it comes across, more often than not, as pathetic. The bad guy essentially wins, since he's forced you to spend your life in pursuit of something that will never bring back what you lost. The only revenge that has never bothered me wsa Inigo Montoya because - well, that was noble and, as far as I'm concerned, The Princess Bride can do no wrong. But even when the 6-fingered man is finally dead, Inigo is bewildered - he's spent 20 years pursuing revenge - and now that it's over - well, his father is still dead, a large portion of his life is wasted, and he has no idea what to do now.
I see that LStC has written a prequel, following Dornan and Mariana - why? He's disgusting, and we know even if their love is one for the ages, they end up parting since she runs off (or tries to) with Julz's dad, and ends up dead at the hands of Dornan - so why on earth would anyone want to read about them?!!
So Julz and Jase - I wish you luck, because you are young and you will need it. Maybe one day you will both find a modicum of sanity and normality. Or maybe you'll end up like Bonnie and Clyde and go down in a blaze of glory. Whatever, I'm just glad I'm done with you....more
There is a sense of satisfaction when you read the last book in a series, even if it is tinged with a feeling of sadness – time to say goodbye to frieThere is a sense of satisfaction when you read the last book in a series, even if it is tinged with a feeling of sadness – time to say goodbye to friends you’ve met throughout the books. Lucky Harbor is a quaint town, filled with typical small town characters and an overabundance of incredibly hot men! Not sure I have a favorite, but that is only because Jill Shalvis does a great job of writing really amazing heros (although some of the heroines – especially from the first few – I could live without). Each of them has an issue, usually pertaining to fear of commitment and a sprinkling of other odds and ends. This is not a series like Virgin River, where there are several story arcs that carry throughout many books. Each one is essentially a stand alone - or really, 4 sets of trilogies which can be read w/o reading any of the others. And, honestly, they are really the same book over and over, with a similar plot, characters w/similar problems/issues, etc. To me they all blend together, some are better than others, but I'd have to reread the synopisis of each one to remember which is which. All that said, reading these is like watching reruns of a show you like - they're simple, they're easy, they're comfortable.
Here we have Tanner, best friends with Sam and Cole, a reluctant teenage dad whose now teenage son is living with him after many years apart (I really enjoyed Troy). He’s leery about love and happy to have a casual relationship with Callie, someone he knew in high school. I still think it would have been better if he’d been paired with Cole’s troubled sister, but oh well. Callie was raised by distant parents and left at the altar and she does not trust that people will be there for her, so she tries to maintain a distance. She also happens to be the granddaughter of the town busybody, Lucille.
Tanner and Callie have a pretty steamy relationship, but feelings start to grow before either realizes what is happening and they both have a hard time dealing with this. Of course, they manage to work it all out and Lucky Harbor has its 12th and final HEA.
A few criticisms…first of all, I had a hard time believing that Callie was in a bakery with the world’s best yummies – and she opts for a powdered donut? Really? Not even something chocolate covered and custard filled? But essentially a plain donut?! And who even buys a donut from a bakery vs a real donut shop!!
Callie’s ex lives in Lucky Harbor. In the one scene where they bump into each other, he never apologies for leaving her at the altar. He’s happily married now. We never see him again. Lost chance for some resolution, or to show Callie has gotten over him, or to show what a dick he is – but nope, one chance encounter and we never see him again – I notice that is one thing JS does – introduces a character, some conflict, and then no resolution.
We hear about how Callie grew up introverted – her parents loved her but never really paid attention to her, she was a loner, geeky kid in school who was super smart. And somehow Becca (from previous book, now one of Callie’s bffs, and who is together with Sam, one of Tanner’s bffs) decides that Tanner Done Her Wrong because he didn’t pay enough attention to her in high school – when he was a senior and she was a freshman. She goes on and on about how smart Callie is – but we never see any glimmer of Callie being especially smart. Also, Callie is new to Becca- how on earth does Becca know all of this about her?! She’s not dumb, but she’s not gifted in a way that is shown to us. So Becca lays into Tanner for not noticing her – sorry, if some hot jock senior showed interest in my freshman daughter, no way in hell would I allow it – not even sure I’d allow it if she was a sophomore. So Becca – shut up and back off and you are being so annoying! And somehow, because Tanner and the other jocks didn’t pay attention to the nerdy girl tutoring them in school, she was vulnerable to the right guy (Eric) who broke her heart.
Tanner and Callie agreed to the rules – carefree dating, friends w/benefits, no emotion, whatever. Both had their feelings change, grow, strengthen – but somehow only Tanner is the bad guy because a) he didn’t tell her and b) he didn’t realize it himself. I didn’t see her exposing her feelings to him – but Becca is super pissed because Tanner is not a mind reader. How on earth was he supposed to know Callie’s feelings towards him had changed, that she now wanted a relationship, that she loved him? At least Grandma Lucille, who is less annoying in this book (possibly because she has a charming beau of her own!), pointed all these things out to Callie – but for some reason, I still feel like Tanner is set up to be the bad guy!
And finally – there is a small scene at the end where Becca discovers she is pregnant – unexpectedly, the day of her bachelorette party – and I just roll my eyes because really, are couples really that excited to get knocked up unexpectedly? But she was so happy – yet we don’t get to see her tell Sam or Sam tell his friends. Another small opportunity lost, IMO.
So goodbye, Lucky Harbor…for all my criticisms and 3* reviews for many of the books, I really will miss you! ...more
(Feb) The Lucky Harbor series has been hit and miss with me throughout the 11 books I’ve read (one more to go!). I find it odd that no one in LH seems(Feb) The Lucky Harbor series has been hit and miss with me throughout the 11 books I’ve read (one more to go!). I find it odd that no one in LH seems to notice that every few years in high school 3 guys are BFFs and gorgeous – and then they grow up and one by one they fall for 3 girls who are all BFFs (even if they did not start out that way). I have found most of the series interchangeable – most of the Heros are hunky and slightly damaged and sigh-worthy. The heroines are so-so, some good, a lot suck, the rest somewhere in between. I did not have particularly high hopes for He’s So Fine, figuring it’d be another readable, sexy (JS does do good sex scenes!) LH book. However, from the beginning I just really enjoyed this one. I liked Cole and Olivia, I liked the way they met and how their relationship unfolded…until a few things happened that pissed me off enough that I almost lowered my rating.
Olivia is a former child tv star, one who when her Nickelodeon show ended imploded ala Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan. She’s now reinvented herself as Olivia, a keep-to-herself antique shop owner in the picturesque town of Lucky Harbor. Cole is one of 3 men (Tanner and Sam) who own a local boating/fishing/scuba shop. Cole is fine w/his life, even if he’s not dated in two years, since the death of their 4th Musketeer when he discovered his girlfriend and Gil (their 4th) were secretly in love. Bitter about love, but seemingly happy with the rest of his life, Cole meets Olivia one night when she jumps in the frigid waters to “save” him from what she perceives as him drowning. Shockingly, they end up naked at his place as he attempts to warm her up – and soon after they begin dating. Olivia is scared to death someone might find out her secrets and Cole is rigidly unable to forgive someone close to him keeping secrets. And that, kids, is where my troubles with the book begin.
First of all, a few nit-picky things. They never say how old Cole is, or his sisters. He’s got twin sisters that are never mentioned to be twins except once at a costume party where Cole thinks he can’t tell his two sisters apart. His mom is a gorgeous 51 year old – whose one daughter is 32. I don’t know if she is the oldest (maybe she’s 32 and the twins are 30 and Cole is 28?) – but to never once mention that his mom was married at 18 and had her first baby at 19 is just weird to me. Most people I know who are 50 still have kids in middle or high school, or are just becoming empty nesters – this woman is a grandma several times over! There’s also a tiny sub story about Cole’s sister and her lying to her family about some serious shit that seems to go nowhere – not sure what the point was other than to show that Cole can be understanding about lying? I thought she’d make a perfect heroine for the last book, pair her w/Tanner, but I guess not. Lost chance, Jill Shalvis! Overall, more info/background about Cole’s family, how Sam was his foster brother for years, etc., was needed to make me feel like I knew him better. Not sure I get what Olivia’s stress is about – it’s been 10 years since her epic freak out – but she was all of 16, now she’s 26, who cares? She acts like it’s this huge deal, and maybe it was – if we knew did she drink and drive and destroy property and get slutty (like Miley) and do horrible things I’d better understand why she was so scared to have anyone find out she was who she was. On the other hand, when Lucille (town busybody who I truly cannot stand) finds out who Olivia really was, she says “are you sorry for lying to us?” Excuse me…who is us, what did Olivia owe you all and how did she lie?! The storyline w/her grasping mother and sister – again, potential fizzled, not sure what was the point, really.
Finally, though, I’m mostly annoyed at how Cole’s story took a turn. So the woman he was in love with was in love w/Gil – the “love of her life.” Yet when Cole goes to see her 2 years later she’s been married to another guy for a year and has a baby – meaning she managed to get over the LOHL, meet a new guy, get engaged and get married – all in a year? She also says “some people have to learn how to love by gong through it multiple times.” What does that even mean? So she wasn’t really in love w/Gil? Whatever. She says Cole left her at the funeral and refused to listen to her – so that absolves her of her lying feelings? She couldn’t have sent an email? A letter? A singing telegram? Something over the past two years to explain what happened (and what didn’t happen). And she says he should have forgiven her – and does not seem to have any lingering guilt about what she did to him, to his feelings about Gil…and that pisses me off. She should be groveling, not holding herself as some sort of moral “if you would just grow up and get over it…” Ahhh! And then to say “everyone knew, everyone saw it except you…” Are you kidding me? All these guys on an oil rig saw that for months Gil and Susan were in love and no one said “hey, Cole, we’re super perceptive and can tell your homeboy and your girl are totes in love, thought you should know!” I don’t think so. If they all “saw” then someone should have said something. I was super duper pissed at Cole and Tanner for not telling him that they too had known, but honestly, once they fessed up as to the whys and hows, it makes sense so they are absolved of my righteous anger (if their explanation had not been what it was – they only found out a week before Gil died, for significant reasons they could not tell Cole that moment – and afterwards, they didn’t know that he knew about Gil and Susan – they would have been, far as I’m concerned, bff-who-suck-and-can-never-really-be-trusted-again). Susan just pissed me off – some I’m truly sorry about what happened groveling would have made me (and poor Cole) feel so much better. Instead words from this woman made Cole second guess his entire persona and decide he needed to change. So at the end he is the one forced to bare his soul in front of the entire town (something else I hate – private feelings should stay private, I hate public displays of emotion!) and apologize for everything he did wrong, and I’m sorry, but IMO, he did nothing wrong. Ok, he should have listened to Olivia, but her lying to him was just stupid. But, they got their HEA, so I guess all is fine.
Maybe this rant is a bit much, but what bothered me really bothered me and turned what should have been a great book into a good book w/issues. ...more
(Feb) I'm not a big fan of non fiction, and while history can be interesting, I can't say I love reading about wars. But, we chose this for bookclub a(Feb) I'm not a big fan of non fiction, and while history can be interesting, I can't say I love reading about wars. But, we chose this for bookclub and I figured I'd give it a try. Spies are cool, right? Well, not so much here. This book could have easily been called "A really super brief overview of the Revolutionary War and I'll throw in a few spies and a bunch about Benedict Arnold." I was at 17% of the book and there were still no spies! (reminds me of when I tried - twice - to read Captain Corelli's Mandolin and made it to page 100 and there was still no Corelli, no mandolin, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on!) We finally get introduced to the spies, after a bunch of boring blather about Washington and how the war was not going well for the patriots. We get a snippet about each man's life before becoming a spy, and then some stuff about how the spy ring worked. They were nervous, and one guy dropped out and another guy dropped in. There was a woman but to this day no one knows who she was or exactly what happened to her other than historians believe she was captured and held in prison - did she die there or escape or was she let go? We'll never know. I still don't quite understand how we have figured out who the spies were - after all, GW himself didn't know the identities of most of them. Found family papers, along w/GW's papers and saved letters and a lot of what sounded to me supposition leads us to learn the names of the spies. But...the way the book was written was so boring. They don't ever really do anything other than listen to conversations and write GW in special invisible ink about what they hear. There is no excitement in this book, no "OMG they were almost captured, how will they escape?!" The most interesting part of the book for me was about Benedict Arnold - his background, how he became a traitor - and that took up almost as much of the book as did the tedious parts mentioning the spies. And the brief mention of Nathan Hale - sounds like he was a spy for about two mintues before he was caught and hung. Who knew? I don't know - for me reading this was about as interesting as watching paint dry - the only good thing is the "book" ends at about 68% - the rest are notes, bibliography, acknowledgments, etc. I was thinking, going in, perhaps I'd see if my son wanted to read this, as he's a history buff - but I would not recommend this to anyone. ...more
(Feb)Ok, so it's a brother incest story. Who am I to judge what two consenting adults choose to do. The sex was plentiful and hot, but the writing was(Feb)Ok, so it's a brother incest story. Who am I to judge what two consenting adults choose to do. The sex was plentiful and hot, but the writing was just not good. Sorry, but it was so filled with descriptions of everything - an abundance of adjectives and adverbs, a very overwrought style of writing that got on my nerves. And maybe even one discussion about how they'll manage in Seattle - not unheard of for lovers to have the same last name, and since no one seems to know each man has a brother - nor do either of them seem to have friends - I guess we just assume they ride off into the Seattle sunset, flying under the radar to their HEA. Ech, fine with me!...more