I didn’t like it. The hero and heroine kept ‘yelling’, she shrieked, I didn’t ‘feel’ the attraction, it was too sudden, too rushed, too out-of-charactI didn’t like it. The hero and heroine kept ‘yelling’, she shrieked, I didn’t ‘feel’ the attraction, it was too sudden, too rushed, too out-of-character with that first scene they had together.
The only thing that kept me going was the suspense. That one was pretty good...People kept getting their throats slit, a patient died on the operating table during a routine surgery – it screamed of malpractice, but it was indeed murder...As I said, the suspense was pretty good...Until the end, when the real reason behind the killing spree was revealed and it all fizzled. Blah....more
Not many books leave me speechless, especially not books by authors I've never read before, but Susan Wiggs succeeded with this first book in her ChicNot many books leave me speechless, especially not books by authors I've never read before, but Susan Wiggs succeeded with this first book in her Chicago Fire Trilogy.
It started so slow I was convinced I'd be bored to tears only a few chapters in, but that's when things picked up pace and I was riveted until the very end. As a fellow reader mentioned in her review, this is a story you cannot help but call sweeping and majestic. Sure, it spanned only a few months, but it read more like a saga, due to so much going on.
It started with a chilling description of the Great Chicago Fire, the embers carried on the wind, the flames slowly licking at straw and wooden buildings, the fire slowly, inexorably picking up speed, the wind howling, carrying the golden devastation across the river into "rich" territory...The big fire made no exceptions, it didn't care about rank, wealth, family, it ate everything that crossed its path, gobbled up houses, mansions, earthly possessions of both rich and the poor, wiping out everything, creating a clean slate. Tabula rasa.
In the middle of the carnage we get to meet a pampered "Princess", a sheltered, naive, silly heiress with not much on her mind, besides trying to convince her father not to let her marry her fiancé. Apparently something happened between them the night before, something that shattered Deborah's (skewered) view of the world, though we don't exactly know what that was. Of course, her father doesn't listen, what does a girl know of what is best for her. She would marry Philip Ascot and that's that.
Then, the fire intrudes on them, bringing with it a huge, wild man determined to kill Deborah's father, but who ends up taking Deborah hostage instead. Even though she escapes him in the melee of fleeing bodies, he manages to find her, snatches her from her fiancé's arms and carries her aboard his boat, heading for north...
Tom Silver wants revenge on the man whose mining enterprise resulted in fifteen dead, his foster son among them. When he fails to kill the man responsible, he decides to take his daughter hostage, holding her for ransom as retribution for all the grief the man has caused their community. Unfortunately, Tom's haphazard scheme doesn't go according to plan and...
That's as much as I'm going to say for fear of venturing too much into spoiler territory. Let me just say this book is comprised of four parts. Part one recounts the initial fire, Deborah's kidnapping, and the journey north to Isle Royale, Tom Silver's home. Part two tell the story of Deborah's sojourn on Isle Royale, her slow change from the sheltered, silly and pampered heiress, the slow change of her view on her life and one life and world in general. Part three is the best part, IMO, because in those few chapters the book takes a turn from historical fiction into historical romance, starting with a wild, gruff man crossing an iced-over lake in a blizzard to go rescue the damsel in distress (whom, according to him, he doesn't even like). And part four brings the story to full circle with Deborah's "rescue" and small rebellion against the "norms".
This book truly was a sweeping and majestic tale of a natural disaster creating a blank slate for people to create a new life or get a new and different view of the world and life. In the beginning of the story, as Deborah stands on the shore of the lake with Chicago burning behind her, she's thinking right along those lines. What would it feel like to disappear and be reborn someone else, to experience life as it was meant to be experienced...And her wish comes true in the form of a captivity that slowly, but surely reshapes her into a woman she could be proud of being. She went slightly on my nerves in the beginning, due to her selfish, spoiled way of thinking, but she wasn't annoying as other heroines tend to be, because the author made it clear it was all due to Deborah's upbringing and Deborah herself admitted it repeatedly throughout the story and was determined to change. And change she did, but not so much as to seem out of character. She still retained some of her posh behavior, admitted to being a coward, tried her best to survive while admitting she had no idea what to do. The author didn't change her overnight into a fearless, capable Amazon, so thus retaining that much-needed sense of realism. Deborah was still Deborah, just a stronger, wiser, more capable version of the pampered heiress from the beginning of the story.
I was a bit sad not to get more glimpses into Tom Silver, though, but since this was mostly Deborah's story that was to be expected. He didn't need to change, he was perfect as he was (crossing the ice in a blizzard, hello!), but it was Deborah's view of him that needed to change for her (and for the reader) to see under his gruff, wild man facade.
Well, I veered pretty off course with my rant, so I'll just keep it short and simple. This was by far one of the best historical romances I've read in a while. Intelligent, deep, and insightful, it built its momentum slowly, but surely, brining the reader closer to the characters as their stories and psyches unfolded before us, as they get to know themselves and one another...
A beautiful, poignant story with wonderful imagery and characters. Unforgettable....more
The villain was revealed too soon, the heroine was an idiot, the "hero" was a bastard, the timeline was rather short...The only good thing in this booThe villain was revealed too soon, the heroine was an idiot, the "hero" was a bastard, the timeline was rather short...The only good thing in this book was the kid, Sophie....more
Twenty years ago Jade’s mother went to live with the People of Joy and took her four-year-old daughter with her. When Jade was six her mother died andTwenty years ago Jade’s mother went to live with the People of Joy and took her four-year-old daughter with her. When Jade was six her mother died and the cult leader quickly integrated the little girl into his pedophile-pimping business. After six years she managed to escape with her best friend and they never stopped running, while Jade’s artistic talent kept them fed.
One day, the portrait of a woman that called herself Ivy catches the eye of a passerby that immediately recognizes her friend’s wife, the woman who twenty years ago ran away from her husband, taking their infant daughter with them.
The portrait helps her reunite with her father, but the reunion draws the attention of someone who is determined to keep the past buried forever.
The premise of this book was great, though maybe a little tough to read for some. The problem was in the execution. At the beginning the pacing was incredibly slow, it finally picked up toward the end, but it was already too late. Adding to the problems were some redundant POVs, and the heroine. Because of what Jade went through she should’ve been a character the reader could empathize and sympathize with, but her erratic behavior and mercurial disposition were a bit over the top (despite her past) turning her into an obnoxiously annoying heroine. I know where the character came from, I know what she’s been through, but some of her decisions and behavior was simply too much to grasp. Still, the story improved in the second half, along with Jade, but again, it was a little too late.
A (little) peeve (***spoiler alert***): Jade’s best friend had full-blown AIDS thanks to what has been done to him in the past and Jade talked about being tested for STDs as well, but before it came to that (though it was never explained whether she actually went through the testing or not), she and Luke had sex without protection. Hmm. I could excuse her, she had no experience, but Luke, a worldly man (and thirteen years her senior) should’ve known better....more
The Embran, dark creatures from deep beneath the ground, are back. And apparently they've targeted Willow Millet, the "normal" one in the Millet familThe Embran, dark creatures from deep beneath the ground, are back. And apparently they've targeted Willow Millet, the "normal" one in the Millet family. The girl who claims not to have supernatural powers, the girl who is so insecure it took very little to convince her to push the man she loved, the man preordained to be her Bonded, out of her life two years ago.
Well, Ben Fortune is back and this time he won't be deterred. He's ready to protect Willow with his own life (also because of a Fortune family hush hush secret), and he's also determined to finally make her his, bound them together for eternity.
That eternity might be short-lived, though, since the Embran appear to have a well-thought plan to exterminate N'Awlins, starting with the Millet family, and the "weakest" link of them all.
This books wasn't even close to Out of Body, the first book in the Court of Angels series. Why? Because while the bad guys (the creatures called Embran) were intriguing in the first story, in this they turned into some sort of comic book (or Japanese anime/manga) characters. Instead of creepy and twisted they came across as laughable and not very bright (I wonder how they managed to survive this long). The strange shrinking ability was too comical to be interesting and the whole plethora of forms is just too much.
The second problem was the heroine. As I explained in the commentary above (while I was somewhere in the middle of the book), Willow annoyed me to no end with her head-in-the-sand routine. And she descended into TSTL territory as she refused to listen to reason and embrace her powers when she was actually in danger. We all have only one person to thank for her (too) slow transformation in the second part of the book. And that person is her hunky Bonded mate Ben Fortune. If it wasn't for him I would've thrown my eReader against the wall (which would've been a shame) and Willow would've ended up dead in the first hundred pages (the jury is still in on whether that would've been a shame or not).
With the help of Ben Fortune and the secondary cast (the Millet family, Sykes in particular, Gray Fisher, and Nat Archer) this book wasn't a total loss, but it could've been so much better. I especially missed the resolution to the initial Willow-Ben problem, but his sister Poppy decided to skip town instead. But since she's Sykes heroine in the book coming out next month, I guess there will be time to explain and make amends....more
Ugh. And to think this series started off great. What the heck happened?!
The reader is yet again treated to a mess of paranormal and suspense elementsUgh. And to think this series started off great. What the heck happened?!
The reader is yet again treated to a mess of paranormal and suspense elements that simply refuse to stick together, making this book appear rather twitchy. The plot is all over the place, the characters from the previous books have somehow lost their sparkle (Marley and Nat respectively), and the effort of introducing Wazoo, Nat’s “best friend” felt forced. And don’t even get me started on the issue of Poppy and Sykes. I’ve never read of a more mismatched (and not in a good way) and “cold” pair of leading characters.
Usually such books have at least an upside in the paranormal/suspense department. Sadly, this story wasn’t one of those. The glimpses of what was going on around Poppy and Sykes were sporadic and dull, those baddies of the Embran have lost their flair from the first book, and, though started as integral part of the series arc, were relegated into the backdrop, revisited only as an afterthought.
Really disappointing. And since two “bad” books in a row already start to make a pattern I won’t visit the Court of Angels anymore. ...more
Her mother went missing twenty-five years ago, she grew up pretty much on her own, she threw her inheritance back into her grandfather's face and embrHer mother went missing twenty-five years ago, she grew up pretty much on her own, she threw her inheritance back into her grandfather's face and embraced the flamboyant half of her family as hers...Now, the mystery of her mother's disappearance just might be revealed, but there is someone who doesn't want it to and will do anything to prevent it from happening. But is that someone the same man she's falling for?
I complained about the first chapter being boring and slow...Well, the next chapters didn't improve the initial impression. This was a very slow book, hindered by a boatload of characters each with their own story (and apparently their own agenda), a lot of flashbacks that seemed unimportant at first but soon clicked into the bigger picture (I still found them bothersome, though), and the constant jumping from character to character and their inner thoughts and psyche.
The romance was pushed way back into the background in this one, but it didn't bother me, since the hero and heroine had very little to none chemistry. In fact, he was a dash too laconic for my taste, she was just plain annoying with her "feminism", and there just was no spark. It just happened. Hmmm.
Despite a good suspense subplot, full of intrigue and perils, reading this book was rather tiring, since it only picked up pace toward the end. The resolution was a little mind-boggling, though I have to give kudos to the author, because I sure didn't see that one coming.