This is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it t...moreThis is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end.
I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not want to know and fall in love with a hero who is so tortured?
Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written (other than Jane Eyre). She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made by Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous.
The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all descriptive in this book. But they are incredibly effective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably.
The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitimate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time (or at least tied with Jane Eyre for favorite, which is nothing to sneeze at). If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life.(less)
This is in my top ten books of all time. I love Wolf and Mary. They are one of my romance supercouples. This is a book to read when you are feeling ja...moreThis is in my top ten books of all time. I love Wolf and Mary. They are one of my romance supercouples. This is a book to read when you are feeling jaded about romance novels. When I read it the first time, I immediately turned around and reread it. I still have my first copy but I bought another copy since the first one is a little worn.(less)
Although even mediocre Loretta Chase is better than most authors, I found myself disappointed after reading this, for there had been a very long break...moreAlthough even mediocre Loretta Chase is better than most authors, I found myself disappointed after reading this, for there had been a very long break in which Ms. Chase wasn't gracing her world with excellently written romances. It was just on the dry side. I had to try really hard to get involved with Carsington and Mirabel, although they both were perfectly nice people and I didn't dislike them. I guess I just have very high standards for the author who wrote my favorite book of all time. So I'd give it three stars. If anything, it was a sign that Ms. Chase had not retired from writing romances forever. As Chase is a favorite, it's still a keeper for me.(less)
I love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She i...moreI love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She is principled and kind, and can see past the surface to the man that Samuel is. It's a very touching book and my only complaint is I would love an epilogue about two of my favorite characters and their life together.(less)
I loved this book from page one. Butch resonated with me because he was so tortured. He was just as tortured as Zsadist but in different way. He got a...moreI loved this book from page one. Butch resonated with me because he was so tortured. He was just as tortured as Zsadist but in different way. He got abused by his father and his mother ignored him. And his siblings pretty much followed their example and disowned Butch when his sister died. He felt like he was worth nothing and had nothing to live for. He was abusing himself and slowly killing himself day by day because his family had basically rejected him. That's why I love that he found The Brotherhood. He found a sense of family and belonging, although he still felt different because he wasn't a vampire. I love the relationship between Butch and Vishous. I haven't read many romances between men, and this one isn't per se. But the bond between Butch and Vishous has different layers and elements, and one of them is a romantic/sexual one. Their relationship remained unconsummated, but they definitely have strong feelings for each other that will remain, the sexual moreso on Vishous' side. I was so glad that Butch had Vishous to love him and take care of him, and vice versa. More than anything, I am so glad that Butch has Marissa. I think they are a wonderful couple, my second favorite in this series. Butch never thought he deserved anything, but he got his princess in Marissa. Marissa is not perfect, but to Butch she is perfect. And the great thing is that Marissa needed to be loved and adored. She felt rejected by her people (the glymera) since Wrath did not love her and did not want her as his Shellan, and she felt she could not live up to their and her brother's expectations. She was slowly dying inside, until Butch came and his adoration gave her the acceptance she needed. I also loved how Marissa came into her own and became the strong woman she was meant to be so she believe in herself, and she could stand at Butch's side, not behind him or in front of him. I really could not put this book down and was on the emotional rollercoaster ride along with the characters. There are more moments of interaction between the Brothers and their Shellans that are touching, and you get to see how everyone is doing. There is also trouble brewing with the Lessers and things heat up, and Butch is intricately involved with this change in the War with the Lessers. We also get to see more of the intriguing and seductive Rhev. He is so yummy to me. I love how tender and solicitious he is to Marissa. If there was no Butch, I'd probably like Rhev and Marissa to be together. But since there is a Butch (Thank God), Marissa is his. There are so many scenes that I love, but one of my favorites is when Butch goes to be inducted into the Brotherhood and all the shellans are lined up in their dresses that represent their Hellrens, and there is Marissa waiting for him. I almost started crying. I am tearing up writing this right now. In the end, I cannot even put into words how deeply this book affected me. Although I love Lover Awakened the most, this is definitely my second favorite.
It's hard to really say what I think about this story. It starts out so beautiful, showing Milla with her beautiful new baby, and then her life become...moreIt's hard to really say what I think about this story. It starts out so beautiful, showing Milla with her beautiful new baby, and then her life becomes a living hell. Milla is a character that evolves so much over the course of this book. She really is a person who has to rebuild herself from the ground up. You see this evolution occur painstakingly, and then you see her have to go through it again near the end of the book. It's one of those books that I got to the point where I wanted no distractions while I read. I turned the tv off, pulled the covers up over me and immersed myself to see how the conclusion would unfold. And when I finished this book, it was past my bedtime, but I was too keyed up to go to sleep right away. I had to start another lighter book to wind down.
This is definitely a five star book. The power of the story, the utterly believeable and intense nature of its protagonist, Milla, and her counterpart in Diaz really made this book a winner for me. There is some suspense, but really it's a book about a inner journey with an external crusade. Most of the violence is off-screen. I wonder if this was a deliberate move on Howard's part. Would this have been written differently if this was about a man's search for his lost child? I can't say I wanted more violence. I think it was great the way it was written. This is Milla's story, and she owns it. Yet, Diaz has a way of stealing the show without overshadowing Milla.
There was a part of the book where I was asking, why is she showing Milla doing housework, and going through her beauty regimen in such excruciating detail? Then it occurred to me. This woman lost everything. She has to have some sort of normalcy in a life utterly bereft of normalcy. She has dropped everything so that she could find her baby, and that was all she focused on. So she needed the few moments of normalcy in her life to stay sane.
Most people who have read this book talk about how it made them cry. We'll talk about the crying part later. First let's talk about how angry this book made me. I didn't get a headache, but I felt a smoldering rage inside at what Milla (and other women who went unavenged and unresolved in this novel) went through, and why. How could people be so devoid of humanity to do some things that people in this book did? Let's talk about who did it. If I had one wish that this book had shown, it was to see Milla confront the people who were the masterminds behind her son's kidnapping. The actual identities were such that my anger flourished as I read this book. Betrayal of that kind could not be easily, if ever forgiven. Yet we never see her confront anyone involved except the man who stole her baby from her arms, and a lady who took care of the baby for a short time. We never see Milla confront her betrayers. I wonder if Ms. Howard wanted to focus on the most important aspect for Milla, closure.
And then let's talk about Milla's family. I wanted to be angry at her ex-husband, David, but in the end, I felt sorry for him. He didn't have it in him to be with the 'Amazon' as he called Milla. He wasn't a warrior in the sense that Diaz was. He couldn't walk at her side, as Diaz does. But he does support her in the best way he can. Not so for her brother and sister. There is a scene where I wanted to slap the living tar out of Milla's sister, Julia. She comes to pick a fight with Milla when it's clear Milla doesn't have the time or inclination to be around either her brother or sister, when they toss out callous directives like, "Forget him. He's gone." As if that's so easy a thing to do. We don't see how this is resolved either. Again, I felt that Howard wanted to keep a sharp focus on what really mattered, Milla and her resolution of losing her baby.
Diaz is one of the things that kept me reading. I'm sorry if that sounds shallow of me. He was so fascinating to me. He was like the opposite of what many heroes are, and so appealing. He is a social misfit, but in the most intimidating of ways. People are scared to death of the man. He does some questionable things. But deep down, he has a lot of honor. I cannot even call him an antihero. He's a hero that willingly gets his hands dirty instead. If there was a man that was made for Milla, it's him. It was interesting to see Milla deal with her feelings for Diaz. She doesn't understand how she could connect with him on such a deep level, with him being so cold, so remote, so deadly. Well the old Milla certainly could not have. But she wasn't that person anymore. The new Milla needed a man like Diaz, in my opinion.
I didn't think that Diaz was blameless when he betrays Milla. He does something that he shouldn't have. It was wrong. He knew it. But he did it for the right reasons in his mind. He didn't know what Milla would do, and he did what was characteristic of him: dirty to keep things clean in the end. I was very glad that Milla was able to forgive him, because he really did need and want her forgiveness. He needed the connection with her to be human and to have a chance at a normal life.
I think that he showed his love for her unreservedly when he stood by her side when she had to do one of the hardest things any parent could have to do (there are worst things, not too many, though). I loved his caring, consideration, and patience with Milla towards the end of the book, how he watched out for in ways that few people could or would have, without ever being asked. I loved how he knew she was what he wanted and needed, and stayed the course. He was the soulmate for the new Milla. Ah, the man just fascinated me terribly.
I didn't cry until the part that was very hard for Milla occurred. I started crying when she went to see her ex-husband with the news. The interaction between them was brilliantly written because it showed that they would still be happily married and a cohesive whole if their baby hadn't been kidnapped. Yet at the same time, you see that they have gone in different directions and they will never be one whole again. David was the soulmate for the old Milla, who would never exist again. Yet they would always have a bond through their mutual son and their love for him. That was one of the best scenes in this book, in my opinion.
I was glad that we got a great epilogue that showed that Milla would have a good life in the future. I really needed to see that after so many years of her sacrificing, and the cost of what she gave up. It was great to see.
This is one of those books it took forever for me to get around to reading. Honestly, I avoid stories with children being hurt and kidnapped and loved ones suffering. Too real life for me. But Linda Howard managed to make me love this story so much, because Milla is the kind of woman that you cannot help but admire and root for. And Diaz is the kind of hero that is needed in this dark world. One of my all time favorite kinds of heroes, dark with hidden depths of light. Cry No More is without a doubt a wonderful book.
Sebastian is one of the sexiest heroes ever written. Gosh the man just makes me melt. Out of all the Wallflowers, Evie is my favorite, hands-down. I t...moreSebastian is one of the sexiest heroes ever written. Gosh the man just makes me melt. Out of all the Wallflowers, Evie is my favorite, hands-down. I thought she was an interesting character and I wanted to know more about her, although she didn't seem to say much. But what she did and didn't say sparked my curiosity about her. I knew I was eager to read her book. I was overjoyed that Ms. Kleypas paired her with Sebastian. I saw a possibility there between them, don't ask me why. Literally, I said, "Yes!" when I read the excerpt for this book and saw that they would be paired together. I loved how at first Sebastian kind of didn't see Evangeline, but when he saw her, he really saw her. He is the most considerate, divine husband for such a former rake. He is crazy about Evie and can't seem to keep his hands off of her. He sees to her every need and is very honest about his shortcomings. I was glad that Evangeline didn't just give herself away lightly to Sebastian. She treated herself with worth and that was what Sebastian needed from a woman, for a rake who could have any women he wanted (except for Lillian, a lesson he learned well in Autumn).
This book has a very wonderful transition in character. Sebastian doesn't all of a sudden become a golden boy. He'll always be acerbic, and devious. But he puts those traits to excellent use. I believe that he had the ability to be a decent person deep inside, but he just needed purpose. St. Vincent found that purpose in marrying Evie and taking over her father's gambling establishment. And it was great to see that incredible mind of his, and his energy, and creativeness go to work. His keen eye sees the opportunities in things, and good comes of it. One of the reason that Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors is the way that she can write such wonderful heroes. They are not just dukes and earls, and even if they are peers, they still have an industrious core and the desire to be about something. They have depth and integrity and a core of strength that I find very attractive. Another reason is her divine touch with romance. This woman understands the power of a love story. Both traits of hers are clearly evident in this story. We also see Evie grow and become more self-confident. She went from being the shy type with a stutter (although she had to have a lion-heart to approach the worst rake in London and proposition him into marriage. Go Evie). We see how she has supported her friends and been there when they needed her. It's great to see her get something for herself and be cared for in return. Evie sees something in St. Vincent, and isn't afraid to work toward bringing that out. Watching this relationship unfold between these two very unlikely people was a divine pleasure for me. If there was any shortcoming with this book, I wish it had more love scenes (the passion is fiery between Evie and St. Vincent, I wanted more of those scenes), but otherwise this is a wonderful book and my favorite in the series.
This book is a beautiful love story. Derek Craven is a self-made man who is not interested in love, and certainly not with a sheltered provincial spin...moreThis book is a beautiful love story. Derek Craven is a self-made man who is not interested in love, and certainly not with a sheltered provincial spinster like Sara. But when he falls for her, he falls hard. The beauty of this story is how deeply Derek comes to love Sara. Some of the things he says to her, and the way he shows his love move d me intensely when I read it, and still do, though it has been years since I read this book. And Sara is worthy of his love. She might be rather plain and certainly unfashionable, but she has a great mind and a beautiful heart. Derek is not a perfect guy. He's not smooth or urbane. He doesn't speak well because he grew up in the stews of London, but he's one of my all time favorite heroes, and certainly my favorite Lisa Kleypas hero. He earned this because of the fact that this man was so utterly affected by love for Sara, and how he cherishes her. And also due to the fact that he pulled himself up from the gutter and made something of himself. I love those kinds of heroes/heroines. This book is in my top 10 of romances easily.
Ross Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspire...moreRoss Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspires respect in others. He reminds me of how I think King Arthur must have been. He was mostly celibate for eight years after his wife dies. That's why the way he falls for Sophia is so wonderful. She becomes his obsession and sets his heart on fire. And he does everything to keep her happy and to show his love for her. Sigh. I liked Sophia, and I thought she was a good heroine, but this book is mainly a favorite because of Ross. What a man! I also liked Nick Gentry, who is sort of the villain of this book, but turns out to be a very interesting character that we will see much more of (wink). If you like an older, mature, but intense hero who will steal your heart along with his heroine, you have to read this book.(less)
Lily Lawson is such a great heroine. This is one of the books I love more for the heroine than the hero, although I really loved Alex Raiford. This is...moreLily Lawson is such a great heroine. This is one of the books I love more for the heroine than the hero, although I really loved Alex Raiford. This is Lily's story. She is not perfect and she is considered a fallen woman. But the grit, and the determination she has makes you love her for who she is. Alex cannot resist her, and falls hard for her. I thought this book was so passionate and intense. The words just jump off the page and into your heart.
I'm not feeling very literate today, so I am going to compose this review around a list of reasons why I loved this book.
Reasons Why I Loved The Brid...moreI'm not feeling very literate today, so I am going to compose this review around a list of reasons why I loved this book.
Reasons Why I Loved The Bride by Julie Garwood
1. Jamie is a great heroine. Okay, she might have some Mary Sue-ness going on, although I hate using that term. She is really gorgeous, very nice, oh-so sweet, great at pretty much everything, giving, and self-sacrificing. However, she's totally loveable. For me, that's the opposite of a Mary Sue, because Mary Sues are characters that the writer tells you that you should love, but you don't. Julie Garwood has a way of writing heroines that it is impossible to dislike. Jamie is self-deprecating, and she has enough quirks that I wanted to give her a hug. I love her quick temper, because it usually ends up causing me to laugh instead of annoying me. I thought it was hilarious how she was always giving Father Murdock shillings to pay for indulgences when Alec got on her nerves (because he was sinning in her mind). She was very good at making lemonade out of lemons, and had a way of dealing with people that was fair but also had the people wondering what hit them. When Alec hurt her feelings, I wanted to hurt him. I was like, "Why are you being mean to this sweetheart?" Her heart is so big, that you just want to be friends with her, which is always a plus when it comes to characters in the books I read and enjoy.
2. This was a fun medieval didn't seem terribly inaccurate. Julie Garwood and I both know that she was playing some things for laughs. She's not trying to get me to buy this book, hook, line and sinker as 100% historically accurate, and that's fine. I found the setting to be believeable, and I was able to plausibly accept that Jamie could have lived back in the medieval times and married Laird Alec Kincaid. Good enough for me. Normally, I prefer books that are more historically accurate, but Julie Garwood is an author who gets the "Get out of jail free card" because her books satisfy in so many ways even if they aren't necessarily spot on in that way.
3. Alec might be the big, arrogant, "I know everything, and I will have things exactly the way I want them", but he was a really good guy. He learned pretty quickly that he loved his wife, and wanted to see her happy. He wasn't bossy and obnoxious. I found his arrogance endearing, in fact. He was tough and dangerous, as a Highland laird should be, but also warm and loving. Great combination!
4. Jamie and Alec were a great couple. The passion was sexy and hot, but also sweet. I liked that they both grew as people and grew together. As usual for a Julie Garwood hero, Alec thinks he is in charge, and that has his marriage all figured out, and Jamie will adjust to doing things his way. Ha-ha! Nope. Alec came to realize that his life was better for the chaos that Jamie brought into it. He was willing to give on things to keep his wife happy, although he was no pushover. That is not to say that Jamie wasn't willing to meet him halfway and adjust her life to his. She did plenty of that.
4. I love the fact that this book made me laugh, had its poignant moments, and had a little suspense. The suspense wasn't a huge part of the story, which is just how I like it. I'm not real fond of historical romances that are mainly suspense anyway.
5. Scottish Highlander books are just awesome to me. Yes, I realize that the Scottish Highlands aren't really like this. But, I enjoy my happy time with hot men in kilts with Scottish burrs, and claymores, and I'm a happy girl.
6. Like most of the Julie Garwood books, The Bride took me to that happy, warm and fuzzy place. There were plenty of 'sighworthy/happy joy-joy' moments, which made for an uplifting read. It was so lovely to read this book, and enjoy the zany results when Jamie and Alec met. It was like two storm fronts colliding head on, but the results were fruitful and delightful.
I've run out of steam here. But, I'm cool with that. Somehow, I thought I had read this book, because my memory is kinda bad at times, and I read every historical romance my library carried growing up. So, I assumed I read this one. But, I'm pretty sure I didn't now. So, I'm glad this was the January read for the Lisa Kleypas group. This was such a fun, loveable read, and it's yet another Julie Garwood book that's going on my keeper shelf.(less)
This was a very well-written book with layers. Kit seems like a carefree scapegrace who goes through life not caring for much, but he's very tortured...moreThis was a very well-written book with layers. Kit seems like a carefree scapegrace who goes through life not caring for much, but he's very tortured inside. He cares very deeply, and blames himself for the death of his brother, who was originally the heir. His family blames him too. Lauren has had to pretend that she is not devastated about her broken engagement and the embarrassment it caused her when he fiance leaves her at the altar when his long lost wife returns (One Night For Love). Kit sees her suffering and convinces her to pretend that he is romancing her for the summer. It allows him to put off marrying Freyja Bedwyn, who has been chosen as his fiance. He actually stole her away from his brother because he thought he was in love with her. But when he returns, he realizes he didn't love her, he just wanted her because she was his brother's fiance. Their relationship unfolds to the mutual benefit of both of them. In some ways, this is the lightest book I've read by Balogh, but then there is the pain that Kit is experiencing, and how he's sort of looked down upon by his family because they don't think he's very serious and because of his brother. Lauren is misconceived by society as a boring girl with nothing to offer, but Kit seems to really see her and likes her. It does help her to feel much better about herself. He helps her to learn to have fun and to feel happy. And she helps Kit to feel special and worthwhile. There's not a major conflict in this book. It's really a relationship book at its heart. I think that's why I liked it so much. (less)
Boy, I am so glad that I had read one of Nalini Singh's Silhouette Desire novels, and was searching for some more paranormal romances to read and fina...moreBoy, I am so glad that I had read one of Nalini Singh's Silhouette Desire novels, and was searching for some more paranormal romances to read and finally picked this one up by her. I kicked myself for having waited so long. I loved this book. Lucas is to die for. He's totally yum. I loved the combination of paranormal with science fiction. I typically find science fiction a little bit dry at times, since I am more of a fantasy person. But there is a perfect mix of science fiction and paranormal fantasy in this book. I love how Singh created this future world where there are three types of people: Psy (completely cerebral with enhanced psychic abilities, reject emotions), Changeling (part human/part animal, embrace emotion), and Humans. This story focuses mainly on the Psy and Changeling dynamic. In Singh's Psy/Changeling world, race is not an issue. Most of the characters are of various ethnic backgrounds and interracial relationships have no stigma. I found this very refreshing. Singh's worldbuilding is so plausible that you don't doubt that in the future humans can reject emotions and build their psychic abilities to the penultimate. It takes a leap of faith to believe in changelings (shapeshifters), but if you don't have that, then you shouldn't be reading this book. If you do, then hang on.
Lucas doesn't care for the Psy. To him, they are soul-less, conscienceless beings. But for the sake of business, he deals with the Psy. When he meets Sasha, he is drawn to her. She doesn't have the stink of Psy (they have a cold, deadly metallic smell to the Changeling breed). The Psy are hated because they have ruthlessly gained control of society and are not above killing those who stand in their way. So at first, Lucas is off-put by his attraction to Sasha. Not for long though. It doesn't take this very confident cat to recognizes she is his mate, and he doesn't wait much longer to claim her as his. Their relationship was blistering hot. I was fanning myself during the love scenes. Sasha has had issues with her powers, having blackouts and feeling scary losses of control of her emotions that she has been hiding from her parental units, because Psy who lose control and break Silence (the lack of emotion) are sent for rehabilitation, eventually becoming mindless vegetables. Lucas inspires violent passion in her which is unheard of in a Psy. She has no idea how to deal with this, yet she is required to work with him. Lucas seems to enjoy teasing her and inspiring sensual feelings in her. I loved their interactions.
I am a big fan of shapeshifter stories, and I loved the descriptions of the pack of big cats of which Lucas is the alpha. I also enjoyed reading about their new allies, the pack of wolf shapeshifters, who is alphaed by the enigmatic Hawke (can't wait for his story). Really, I cannot recommend this series enough. If you are like me and typically get a little bored with hard science fiction, but want to expand your horizons, I would suggest this book and the Psy/Changeling series. The romance is the focus, and the science fiction elements teamed with paranormal is like marshmallow sauce on chocolate, just the right touch. Singh is a gifted author who has won my devotion as a fan.(less)