These two stories were quick, nice stories featuring strong heroines and Marine heroes. The only slightly annoying thing was the heroes both were too...moreThese two stories were quick, nice stories featuring strong heroines and Marine heroes. The only slightly annoying thing was the heroes both were too reluctant about relationships, but then again I don't think they needed to fall in love and get married in a few weeks, how about dating for a few months then getting married. But the insta-marriage is a Harlequin staple so I just went with it.
I did like the author's writing enough to check out more of her books.(less)
Super cute wonderful Christmas story but it needed to be longer, the ending felt rushed. The characters were very likable and well...more*** 4 1/2 stars ***
Super cute wonderful Christmas story but it needed to be longer, the ending felt rushed. The characters were very likable and well drawn. I am glad LK will be writing third person contemporary stories now, she does a great job with it.(less)
ETA: I will only recommend this book as a stand alone because the author completely ruins the story in her follow up book Shadowfla...more*** 4 1/2 stars ***
ETA: I will only recommend this book as a stand alone because the author completely ruins the story in her follow up book Shadowflame. It's a shame that the author decided to completely ruin good characters but I guess this book is still okay as a stand alone.
Queen of Shadows was a very good urban fantasy/paranormal romance featuring a heroine, Miranda Gray, who starts out the story almost broken by her newly found ability to sense other people's emotions. The ability has almost crippled her ability to function except for the few times a week she plays music at a local club where she can manipulate the crowd's feelings and feel alive for a few hours. Miranda keeps her head down and lives alone until one night she notices a man whose feelings she can't read. A few nights later she is attacked and raped by thugs but when they are about to kill her, she manages to use her empathetic abilities to kill them first. As she is lying broken in the alley, her life changes when David Solomon finds her and takes her to his home to heal.
David Solomon is the Prime of the Southwestern United States vampires. Basically he is the leader of all the vampires in his territory, which he became by killing the former leader and being accepted by the Signet, a magic necklace that chooses who becomes Prime. David saw Miranda in a grocery store and recognized her empathetic abilities and how much she was struggling to cope in the human world without mental sheilds. He had been at her concert because she intrigued him but was called away on business right before she was attacked. He takes her to Haven, his conclave of vampires where she is allowed to stay and heal. He is fascinated by Miranda but knows that she needs to heal mentally and physically more than anything.
Miranda starts to heal physically but especially mentally because David is able to sheild her from the constant barage of people's thoughts that had almost driven her crazy. As she gets stronger, David starts to teach Miranda how to sheild on her own so she can rejoin the human world. He knows she will not be safe in his world, as an unseen enemy is stratigically attacking his rule over the vampires in his territory by killing humans and then starting to attack his Elite vampires who police the territory for him. Miranda had a lot to deal with but over the weeks she is at Haven she slowly starts to get stronger. She and David definitely have a spark but he is unwilling to take that step because he is afraid for her safety and knows she needs to go back to her world. After an attack on her life at his compound by a traitor, he finally sends her away to a paid apartment.
The time Miranda and David spend apart is actually good for her because she gets stronger and learns to stand on her own feet. She also learns how to fight and use her mental abilities to attack during battle from another vampire. I was glad to see her get stronger because when she and David finally get together she was more his equal than before. Eventually David can't help himself and goes to claim Miranda, which was great to finally see. However, his enemies are very tricky and are coming after both of them. Miranda has a lot to go through but in the end she comes out knowing her own strengths and a match for her vampire lord.
I really enjoyed this book! It was a bit dark but very engrossing. Miranda was a very likable heroine, I was rooting for her to rebuild her life after going through so much. David was a great hero, he was a tough leader but he had a vulnerable side and a soft side for wounded women. He was wonderful with Miranda and really helped her reclaim her life. This book was interesting because the heroine we see at the beginning is very different from the one at the end. She goes through a wonderful change as she learns to accept who she is and use her gifts. The background story was very interesting, there were some really good characters like the Primes second-in-charge vampire Faith who becomes a good friend to Miranda.
This book was a mix of urban fantasy in that the focus of the story was more on the heroine and her transformation, but it's also a paranormal romance because she and David fall in love and have an HEA by the end of the book. I hope this is the beginning of a series because I want to see more of David and Miranda together. For those worried about the rape scene, it was not detailed and the heroine was pretty out of it during the incident so I felt it was handled well for the subject matter. I would definitely recommend Queen of Shadows to those who enjoy paranormal romance and urban fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this exciting story.
ETA: Here is a link to a deleted scene that would happen right after the end of this book:
So if you found out your brother who is the legal guardian of your younger sister had stolen her inheritance and left her home alone and hungry do you...moreSo if you found out your brother who is the legal guardian of your younger sister had stolen her inheritance and left her home alone and hungry do you:
A. Contact the authorities and turn his ass in for theft and child abuse.
B. Agree to some hairbrained scheme to marry some old rich Sheikh who may have killed his ex-wife with the promise that afterwards he would allow the sister to live with her.
In non-bizzaro world, hopefully the answer is A. But in crazy Harlequin Presents Romanclandia, we go with option B of course.
So to add to the WTFery, the heroine is kidnapped by our revenge-driven Spanish hero who is going to use her to get revenge against her brother. He takes her to his home in Madrid where he is overcome with the lust for her sexy bod but he knows she is a slut because he saw her pictured in the tabloids with men (we all know how reliable tabloids are - they were even her reasoning for why the courts wouldn't give her custody since I am sure judges read Star magazine a lot).
So the first night she is at his house, she is desperate to escape to "save" her sister. Somehow she and the hero get down to some sexing. He finds out she is a VIRGIN so OMG she is like totally innocent of everything! Because having a hymen keeps you from ever lying, stealing or doing wrong. Oh Dios Mio does he feel bad (the Dios Mio is added for your pleasure since I had to read it multiple times).
Then she tries to escape to meet her abusive nasty Sheiky prospective husband but the hero catches her and she goes back to his hacienda. The next day she starts to worry about the most important thing in this situation - she might fall in love! I know if I had been kidnapped after almost being forced to marry some nasty old dude and my sister was god-knows-where I would totally be worried about falling in love with the sexy ass Spanish guy I gave my treasured V-card to the day we met when he kidnapped me. Totally makes sense here in bizzaro world.
Then next we have the hero propose a good ol' HP standby - a marriage of convenience. They will act in love, the paparazzi will take pictures then they will marry and get custody of the young sister! Because again - the courts really read the gossip rags so they will know the couple is in love.
The story merrily chugs along toward the marriage of convenience but comes to an abrupt halt when the heroine dared to say the big bad "I love you" the three most important words in HP Romancelandia. Then the hero pushes her away for her own good of course because he is not a good person.
Then we get to another hilarious part when we finally learn what the revenge was about - her brother stole something from his father years ago. No not money or a wife or something - the formula for an anti aging creme!!! Seriously?
Of course there is the requisite happy ending where the hero learns the error of his revenge-seeking ways and goes to the heroine. I was bothered with the fact her brother got away with stealing the young sister's money and child neglect, almost forcing the heroine to marry someone, slapping the heroine and stealing the formula - then the heroine says she forgives him so it's okay since he won't head the company anymore. No, the guy should have been in jail. Also the young sister is merely a plot device since we never even meet her.
Sooo, as you can tell this book did not work for me. The writing was stilted, it's full of short sentences that come off as amateur writing. The plot is full of WTFery which I can handle in a good HP but this one was not written well enough for me to buy into the craziness.(less)
This book was much better than The Perfect Christmas which I just read and didn't like. The story is fiction not romance but I liked the Christmasy fe...moreThis book was much better than The Perfect Christmas which I just read and didn't like. The story is fiction not romance but I liked the Christmasy feel and small town setting. The characters were nice to read about and unlike her other book I was actually drawn in emotionally. I am not going to run out and get more of her books but this one wasn't bad.(less)
I really enjoyed this medieval romance with a Christmas-time theme. The lead characters were both likable, good people who find love together when the...moreI really enjoyed this medieval romance with a Christmas-time theme. The lead characters were both likable, good people who find love together when they meet after the hero is sent to be the lord of the keep where the heroine lives. The hero lost an eye in an accident when he was younger, so he is a bit tortured about how people react to his physical appearance. The heroine does not care about his eye, she knows from personal experience that it's what inside a person that counts. I enjoyed the writing style of the author, the characters and story came to life for me. I also liked learning about the Christmas traditions used during the middle ages which were detailed at the beginning of each chapter.
So overall, I recommend this book if you enjoy medieval romance and/or Christmas romance. The lead characters were very well drawn and the story was enjoyable to read.(less)
Oh my this book was NOT for me. It reads like a cheesy Hallmark movie without any of the good emotional part of a romance novel. There was also no sex...moreOh my this book was NOT for me. It reads like a cheesy Hallmark movie without any of the good emotional part of a romance novel. There was also no sexual tension or love scenes - just lukewarm kisses. The characters were cardboardy and seemed fakely wholesome - I couldn't relate to any of them. Blah Blah Blah - that's what I was thinking as I read it. No more Debbie Macomber for me, this is the poor man's non-romancy romance. (less)
This Christmas Harlequin didn't work for me for a couple of reasons. First the hero was really mean to the heroine for the first part when she got stu...moreThis Christmas Harlequin didn't work for me for a couple of reasons. First the hero was really mean to the heroine for the first part when she got stuck at his house in a snowstorm. He had no reason to be such a jerk to her. Then the rest of the book focuses mostly on the heroine's f-ed up family dynamics when they go visit her parents for Christmas. Seriously, there was barely any romance while the story concentrates on how screwed up her mother and sister are plus there is baby-momma drama. Then suddenly the hero and heroine are in luv despite spending most of the time either fighting or with her screwed up family (which also was miraculously fixed and lovey dovey by the end). No love scenes either so I felt jipped by both the lack of romance and the lack of loving. There were a few okay moments but not enough to overcome the bad parts.(less)
Christmas with Her Boss was a cute little Christmas romance set in rural Austrailia. The hero is a wealthy businessman who has closed himself off from...moreChristmas with Her Boss was a cute little Christmas romance set in rural Austrailia. The hero is a wealthy businessman who has closed himself off from all emotions until he is forced by circumstances to spend Christmas with his personal assistant at her family farm. The heroine is a really nice, intelligent and hard working woman who is very realistic about the hero's place in her life. She starts to care for him but doesn't see how they could make it work since he is so closed off to feelings and he is a super weathly businessman who lives in a different world than her. He learns how to slow down and enjoy life for once and realizes that the heroine is worth risking his heart.
I really enjoyed the story, it was well-written and a cute, sweet holiday story. The heroine's family was a nice close knit group, I enjoyed seeing how they loved each other. The hero wasn't some jerk, he was pretty funny sometimes and could be really kind hearted when he let himself feel emotions. There are no love scenes in this book, just a warning. Only kisses. I would have liked an epilogue but it was still a cute ending.(less)
I couldn't torture myself anymore so I am calling it quits. The writing was so strange and stilted that it was hard to follow and kind of painful. I q...moreI couldn't torture myself anymore so I am calling it quits. The writing was so strange and stilted that it was hard to follow and kind of painful. I quit.(less)
Wow, this author writes very flowery descriptions about how this couple knows they are intensely in love after one glance and exist on a higher plane...moreWow, this author writes very flowery descriptions about how this couple knows they are intensely in love after one glance and exist on a higher plane where they just "know" what the other one feels. The love scenes were kind of strange, they were sort of non-descriptive but sounded a bit painful instead of pleasureful (he "slams" into her - ouch).
The romance wasn't all that exciting because of the supposed instant love for him and she supposedly loved him since she was 6 (squicky). That doesn't make for a lot of tension especially with all of the "our love is on a higher plane" talk they have. There are some side issues thrown in that were supposed to add tension. His older brother came off as an annoying immature bastard and I think the author was going for "tortured soul".
So this book was okay but the flowery writing and lack of tension between the leads reduced my liking of the story.(less)
I don't ask for much out of a hot Christmas romance anthology. I want a decent story, a little Christmas theme and some hot loving. Well, only one of...moreI don't ask for much out of a hot Christmas romance anthology. I want a decent story, a little Christmas theme and some hot loving. Well, only one of these stories actually delivered while the other two were pretty bad.
Hot Whisper by Luanne McLane - 2.5 stars
This book had very cheesy dialogue that wasn't realistic and the love scenes were unimpressive. I did not enjoy this one.
Hot for the Holidays by Susanna Carr - 1.5 stars
The heroine in this story was one of the most annoying I have ever read. She was crazy in the head. She thought she either had to be completely crazy in her life or completely straight laced. She convinced herself that Christmas decorations turned her on so much she had to literally jump the hero anytime she saw them, even in public. They have wild monkey loving behind a Christmas tree in their office where someone could have found them because the nutty heroine decided to jump him. This story was just dumb and seriously annoying.
Hot Artic Nights by Janice Maynard - 4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this one! It was a sweet, sexy story about a woman who travels to North Pole Alaska to help out a friend by running a Bed and Breakfast for two weeks. She meets a sexy local guy who falls for her right away and basically charms his way into her life. The hero was very sweet, he took her on this really romantic date and to see the northern lights. I really enjoyed the romance, the Christmas feel and the hot sexual tension that eventually led to some hot love scenes. This one is a winner!
So I guess you will have to decide whether this book is worth buying for the one good book, which is sad because if the story was sold as a stand alone it would be an easy decision. Which is why I don't like anthologies.
I can't do it. I just can't endure any more of this bad, stilted writing. I would swear this author is not a native English speaker if I didn't know b...moreI can't do it. I just can't endure any more of this bad, stilted writing. I would swear this author is not a native English speaker if I didn't know better, the writing and dialogue sound like they were translated or something. The conversations did not sound like any person I know talks, people don't say things the way she was writing. I skipped to the end where the hero was showing his new daughter to his guy friends who were gushing that she was the prettiest baby they had ever seen. Dude - guys don't say things like that! So I quit another one. Sadly, I have enjoyed Native American historicals written by this author in the 1990's, so I have no clue why this was so bad for the four chapters I managed to try to read.(less)