This book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Le...moreThis book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Lesser narrative. Otherwise I love it! It is full of passages that wrench at your heart as you read Zsadist's sad but ultimately triumphant story. You really root for Zsadist to accept the unconditional love that Bella has for him, as you see him give all of himself to her because he cannot help but love her, even believing he is far from good enough for her. And the relationship is not one-sided as Zsadist helps Bella to heal from her captivity with the Lesser. He is the only one that can help her through this ordeal. But long before she was kidnapped, she was drawn to Zsadist. You see the seeds of their connection start in Lover Eternal, and to be honest, that's what made me keep reading Lover Eternal. I was so fascinated by the interaction between essentially The Beauty and the Beast played out in this sophistocated, urban vampire universe. I knew that their relationship would be explosive and captivating, and I was right. The scenes of Bella and Zsadist during her needing are enthralling and sexual, but also tender and poignant. I don't think any man could love a woman more than Zsadist loves Bella. The ending will make the sternest, most cold-hearted person tear up as Zsadist very clearly shows just how much Bella means to him. And the gift that Bella gives Zsadist is just the icing on the cake. This is a wonderful love story.(less)
This is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point...moreThis is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point on, you cannot put the book down. This book has wounded, anguished characters who are brought together out of hatred, but find love and fulfillment together. I am a sucker for romances where a person is wounded and damaged, but manage to find a love that heals and fulfills them. Nicholas is definitely a rake, but he is a three-dimensional character who compels you to understand and appreciate him. Gilly is also flawed, but her struggles have made her a stronger person. The passion is sizzling, and yet the core of it is a true love. This book is a must read if you want a romance that will touch you on many levels and want a meaty read that will captivate you so much you can't put it down.(less)
In Blue Sage, Anne Stuart poses the question, "Could you fall in love with the son of the man who murdered your parents and several other people, and...moreIn Blue Sage, Anne Stuart poses the question, "Could you fall in love with the son of the man who murdered your parents and several other people, and maimed you for life?" And she answers it beautifully.
This is a very tough situation, and you would think that it would be way too dark to tackle in a series romance, but Ms. Stuart really does a great job with this plot. From the beginning you can see the struggle that Charles Tanner, Jr. (who goes by Tanner) has had, trying to deal with the fact that his father was a mass-murderer. He has faced prejudice because of it, even though he did nothing to earn it. This story reminds me a little of the Paul Newman movie "The Long Hot Summer" in how Ben Quick has to deal with his father's reputation as a despicable barn burner.
Ellie is an interesting character. She has been made into a living martyr by the town because she was the only survivor of the massacre. She basically has no identity outside of that, and is living a half-life but is afraid to have any goals or aspirations outside of this. When Tanner comes back to town, she is actually nicer to him than pretty much everyone else, even though she has the most reason to hate him. I believe that Ellie just wanted to get past what happen and move on, but the town wouldn't let her.
Tanner has an outcast personality, with good reason. He doesn't take crap from anyone, and says exactly what he thinks. He doesn't treat Ellie like a plaster saint. He says things that are designed to provoke her, in fact. Tanner succeeds very well in waking Ellie up out of the coma she's living in. His fearlessness inspires Ellie to become her own person and take what she wants out of life. Their relationship is a passionate and eventually loving one, but not smooth-sailing. But seeing these two characters who have so many reasons not to be together find solace, acceptance, and love, is a message that touches me. This is definitely one of her more serious category romances, but well worth the read.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper...more**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper. It was written during the "I like, I take" era when heroes did rape heroines. I am not defending that, I am just saying that is what was done. I was twelve when I read it, and I didn't understand the mechanics of sex at all. I couldn't figure out what went where (yes I was that ignorant about sex).
I loved the adventure in this book. Although Brenna does annoy some friends who have read this book, I liked her. She was a warrior heroine, and I've always liked warrior women. She did what she could to protect her people. If she sometimes acted irrationally, she was only eighteen years old, and saw some pretty traumatic events (like her nurse getting an ax to the head). The Vikings were pretty violent in their raids.
I think this book awakened my interest in the Dark Ages and the Vikings. I went on to read way too many Viking books until I got sick of the genre, and I rarely read them now. But I do like to watch the programs that come on The History Channel about Vikings. All thanks to this book. I do believe that Johanna Lindsey did careful research. In the years since, I have educated myself about the Vikings, and she was spot on about their practices in a lot of ways. I can attribute my love of historical romance to this book. I love historical romance because I love learning about days gone by, and one of the best ways to learn is with an interesting story to lead you down the path of learning.
Garrick is a beautiful man physically, and he was a decent person, but I can't say I thought he was the best hero. He was a bit of a golden boy type, very spoiled, although fairly good-natured. He forced himself on Brenna and then expected Brenna to declare undying loyalty to a man who had enslaved her and taken away her innocence by force. Get a clue, dude. Brenna did end up falling in love with him, and made a promise she had every intention of keeping, but was stolen away by men hired by Garrick's bitter ex-mistress. Of course, instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, he believes she's run away again. She treks halfway across Norway to get back to him, after surviving a violent near rape, half-frozen, poorly clothed, half-starved, and being pregnant the whole time, and he drops her like a hot pancake. I was so glad when Brenna washed her hands of him. And I was glad that Garrick had to earn her trust. I do like a grovelling (because he deserves it), repentant hero.
This book has a really good secondary cast whose stories you care about. The interesting thing is you get both sides of the story, from the invaders and the enslaved. I thought it was really well-done of Lindsey to present that balanced perspective.
I haven't read this book in years, but I have forgotten very little about it. Although Lindsey newer books don't move me the same way they used to, she will always be one of my all-time favorites because fundamentally, she really is a great storyteller. This book is proof of that.
So if you want to read a non-PC, fairly accurate romantic tale of Vikings and the women they love, I suggest this book to you. Hearts Aflame is about Garrick and Brenna's daughter Kristen, and Surrender My Love is about the super-baby Selig (who survived about every insult an unborn child can survive in his mother's womb and lived to tell about it). They are both good, but my favorite is Fires of Winter.
**spoiler alert** I really believe that Jared Burkett is the Antichrist. No, really. He is a lousy human being. I never warmed up to him. the reason w...more**spoiler alert** I really believe that Jared Burkett is the Antichrist. No, really. He is a lousy human being. I never warmed up to him. the reason why I somewhat like this book is the way Corinne sticks it too him with her revenge plot. Although she ruins her own reputation in the process. But it's not like she cares. She has no plans to stay in Hawaii, the land of the Jerky Husband, anyway.
I probably wouldn't like this book at all if it weren't for the scene where Corinne wants to reject her baby, but hears it crying and falls in love with her son. Okay I know that sounds cheesy, but I've read this book more than once, and this scene gets me everytime.
Jared is a hero that I wouldn't throw water on if he was on fire. He is just a nasty piece of work. He's near the top of my hated heroes of all time list. I still don't know why Corrine stayed with this man and fell back in love with him. I know a lot of readers hated Corrine. I didn't. She had some growing up to do, and started out this book a spoiled girl. But she matured very much over the course of the book, and even at her worse, she did not deserve Jared Burkett. She turns out to be a very good, loving mother, despite going through a period where she hated the fact that she was pregnant by the man who betrayed her. Is she my favorite JL heroine? No. But I thought she was an decent heroine and I did like her. I think she did grow as a person, so I respected her for that.
So I keep this book moreso to see how Corrine makes Jared look like the putz he is and for the poignant baby scene. Also because it's one of my favorite author's vintage books. I am a book collector, after all.(less)
It was wonderful and engrossing. Diana Palmer just gets better and better. I love her ability to make us fall in love with her characters, flaws and a...moreIt was wonderful and engrossing. Diana Palmer just gets better and better. I love her ability to make us fall in love with her characters, flaws and all. I enjoyed Christabel and Judd, but I especially love Cash Grier. He's such an amazing character. He's got a seductive, enigmatic air. He also had a tenderness about him that was appealing. I must admit for a little while, I was more enamored of Chrissy and Cash as a couple then Judd and Chrissy, but eventually Judd proved his worthiness. Thanks to the little tidbits about Cash, I am doing something I rarely do. I'm going to buy a hardcover book, Renegade. This is Cash Grier's story and I must have it. I know it's expensive, but Cash is worth it, and I'm dying to read his story and see him get his happy ending with Tippy, who was briefly introduced in Lawless. Lawless had wonderful exposition, storytelling, and sensuality. There's definitely something about Diana Palmer's ability to write love scenes. They are never explicit but they always involve the reader. This book is definitely of hers that has some great love scenes. Even the mystery plot was more developed then usual. Normally Diana's books are light on this but I can see that she's feeling more comfortable with these types of storylines. Overall, I have to give Lawless an A+. It goes on the list as one of my all-time faves by a favorite author of mine. The hours that I spent reading it were pure, wondrous enjoyment. And thankfully, I have Renegade to look forward to...(less)
This is one of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. What can I say, I love a hero that has scars or has lost an arm or something. Simon lost his arm...moreThis is one of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. What can I say, I love a hero that has scars or has lost an arm or something. Simon lost his arm. He's also a bit grumpy and withdrawn. He is helplessly drawn to socialite Tira who is bright and beautiful, but he doesn't want to be. And Tira has been in love with Simon for years. She is hanging out with Charles for companionship, but Simon mistakes this as a sexual relationship and perceives Tira in a negative light because of. Nevertheless he wants her desperately. I loved all the longing and unfulfilled passions between them. I also love the way that they come together as they realize that a future without each other is not a future worth living, and thus work together resolve their issues. As I have said many times, Diana Palmer knows how to tell a love story. FYI this is part of the series of books about the Callaghan brothers. All are must reads.(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.
This book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Wel...moreThis book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Well I fell, flat on my face. This guy is amazing. He is extremely attractive, imagine big, tall, ice blue eyes, black hair (I'm a sucker for blue eyes and black hair), and extremely intelligent also.
The way that JR Ward wrote this book did it. She put so much love and effort into telling this man's story that you couldn't help but love him. I love his selfless love for Butch. I love how he looked at Jane and saw his soulmate. I love that he fights for the Brothers and helps them out in manifold ways.
Also I cry for the torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of his so-called father. And what amounts to neglect from his mother. And then she wants him to step up as Primale and leave behind all that he loves.... Man. And not to mention having to give up Butch but always be there for him.
This book really ripped away at my heart. I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Jane. She was very down to earth and likable. But tough at the same time. Most people would have flipped out when they were exposed to a world that was so different from what they knew. She took it like a champ. And she never even blinked at the fact that Vishous was in love with another man and was seriously into bondage and stuff. She accepted him for who he was. Jane fits into the Brotherhood's life like a long-lost puzzle. She is the half to Vishous' whole that he was missing. She doesn't replace Butch but she still gives Vishous the love and acceptance he deserved for so long.
If I had one complaint, then it was how things were resolved with Jane. Don't worry. They end up together. I can't give it away because it will spoil it. I am still feeling a little uncertain about that. Otherwise, I loved this story. Even writing about it makes me get an ache in my chest.(less)
I loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I have...moreI loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I have a real understanding of Phury now. His torment is very much internal and revolves around his sense of failure, his not being able to "get there on time", as my mother so wisely said as we discussed the book last night at dinner. He failed in helping his parents, he failed in getting his brother back faster. Boy does he have a whopping case of Survivor's Guilt.
I went through the whole gamut of emotions as I read this book: anger, sadness, joy, rage, helplessness, you name it. I was right there next to Phury every step of the way. And most of all, I felt his isolation. I firmly believe that he is the least understood of the brothers, and in some ways has been given less understanding. I would never justify drug abuse, but pretty much all the Brothers, possibly excepting Wrath, have had some pretty destructive habits.
I hurt for him when he was kicked out of the Brotherhood, but at the same time, I knew it was for the best. He could not grow if he didn't leave that safety net behind. And in my understanding of addiction, you cannot enable the addicted person. Zsadist said some harsh things to Phury, and maybe they needed to be said, and at the same time, I am so glad that Phury confronted him on never saying thanks. It needed to be said. Phury has been in a vicious cycle, as my sister said. He always feels the need to play the Knight in Shining Armor, yet continually goes without having his own needs met. It has taken a toll on him and I believe, lead to him seeking solace in drugs.
These Brothers are very highly sexed individuals, so I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to spend many, many years celibate, and Phury did not have Zsadist's issues with sex to lessen his sex drive. The red smoke was a coping mechanism that started to consume him. But what is most telling is that when Phury gets the chance to have all the sex he wants, as the Primale, he is tormented about it, and hedges at doing his duty. I interpreted this as Phury being a romantic, pure and simple. Also it tied into his Savior complex issues. He was just burned out, and the last thing he wanted was to be responsible for forty more people, and their offspring. Plus, he wanted one woman, Cormia.
Once again, I am utterly impressed with JR Ward's ability to tell a story. This book shone from the first sentence. I love how she starts the book from the Omega's perspective, showing a little of his side of things, and showing some vulnerabilities, and what seems like 'humanity' in him. It leads so well into a major shift in the storyline. And what a shift it is.
I read this book late compared to other reads. I did that on purpose. I wanted to stagger my reading of the wonderful series because I did not want to go a long time before a new installment came out. Since I am very active in the romance novel fan community, I have heard many comments about this book, a lot of them less positive. Another area of major complaints was with Cormia. I don't understand why. I adored Cormia. I think she is PERFECT for Phury. They are both innocents in some ways, and their coming together could be nothing but destiny. I was quite annoyed that Phury wouldn't yield to this destiny, but understanding his Savior/Failure complex, he felt his was not worthy of her, and would only destroy her if he gave into his love for her.
Cormia was not a doormat, as has been implied. She is a soft, sweet woman, with a backbone of TITANIUM. This is made clear in how she steps up and is not afraid to tell off the Primale. I can't blame her for being intimidated by a houseful of enormous, formidable warriors. Going from a world of white and blandness to a world full of color, textures, emotions, and sensations. In fact, I loved seeing her immerse herself in this world. I enjoyed her innocent childlike enjoyment of simply running around on the lawn, and swimming naked, smelling roses, and watching movies for the first time. If anything, I wish that Phury had spent more time with her enjoying these moments. Whenever Phury was off "lighting up" I was telling him, go "play" with Cormia. However I did like that we got to see John Matthew interact with and be attracted to Cormia and to realize that his destiny lay in another direction as far as mates, a tough, strong woman that makes his heart beat faster. That person being Xhex.
It was nice to see Cormia and Bella interact and become friends. Cormia picks up right away, that Phury is mooning over Bella. She feels that Bella is a rival for his affections, because right away, Cormia feels possessive of Phury. He is her man, and she does not want to share him with anyone, much less her Chosen sisters, or Bella. But soon, she realizes that Bella is a true friend, and that Bella wants Cormia to win Phury. I loved their girl-bonding moments.
Cormia did help Phury in ways that the other characters could not. Her love and peaceful nature helped him to deal with his demons as he detoxed from two hundred years of drug abuse. That was a grand moment for me. I love Phury and I hated seeing him on that awful downward spiral. The scene in the bathroom was one of the most painful scenes in a book I've ever read (and since we are talking about the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, that's saying something.) It made the final triumph of Phury so much sweeter. That is not to say that Phury doesn't have a hard struggle ahead, but he is not alone in it, as he soon finds out.
It was painful to see Phury and Zsadist so at odds in this book, but I realize that this had to happen for their relationship to evolve and to heal. I was so glad at the scene near the end where Zsadist comes and sings again for his brother, accompanied by the other Brothers. I was practically crying, but also smiling at this. In fact, had this not been in the book, I would have been severely disappointed. And we also find out that although it seemed that Zsadist washed his hands of Phury, he never did abandon him. That was also great to experience.
I loved seeing Cormia and Phury interact. There was chemistry and fate in their interactions, although neither really seemed to grasp it. I think their relationship is one of the sweetest, most innocent in this series, and for that, it earns a special place in my heart.
Now for the other character's in the book. It was so great to see more of the triad: John Matthew, Qhuinn, and Blaylock. I wish there was more of Blay's viewpoint, but maybe that will be in the next few books. I just love John Matthew so much. I am happy that he is healing, slowly but surely. Not there yet, but he's going in that direction. His sense of shame for what happens to him, should not be a burden he has to bear, but I was so glad that he knows that there are people there to love and support him. His heartbreak about the loss of Tohr is readily apparent. And his joy at his return was sweet.
Qhuinn is such a complex character that we are just getting to know. He is a tortured guy just as much as the other brothers. I don't like his habit of picking up any person who's interested, but it makes sense in light of his self-worth issues. I cannot believe how callous his family was. It hurts to see "a male of worth" treated in such a way. And it shows the deep decay and rot in the society of the Glymera that a terrible person like Lash is lauded, whereas a really good, worthwhile person like Qhuinn is disparaged because he happens to have odd-colored eyes. Come on now. His relationship with Blay is so moving to me. I wish I could wave a magic wand and work things out for them, but that's not meant to be. Time will tell how things resolve in their case.
Now onto Rhev. Goodness I am fascinated and attracted to his character. He is complex with a capital "C." I loved how Ward seemed to put Phury and Rhev forward as contrasts to each other. The interesting thing is that they are like different sides of the same coin. The interesting thing is that Rhev is the "dark knight," whereas Phury is the "white knight," yet in some ways Phury might be more tarnished. I don't like that Rhev is a drug-dealer and pimp. Basically he is a smooth criminal. But he is also a really good person with valid motivations. This book only made my appetite for him grow. There are so many questions about him I want answers to. I can't wait to see him find his shellan to love him. His loneliness is heartbreaking, although he does have his good friend Xhex. But even with Xhex, he has to maintain a distance that leaves him in the solitary wasteland of his own inner sorrow.
Xhex has just a small part in this book, but it makes me hunger for more. She is a really cool, interesting character. I am dying to see her and John Matthew get together. They are made for each other, although one might shake her or his head at the thought of it. The bathroom scene with them was short, but WOW! Chemistry!
Other great moments: Qhuinn finding his place in the world of the Brothers. That was so cool. Go Wrath! Also loved the advent of the oh-so intriguing Lassiter. I can't say the evolution of Lash was a great moment, but it made for good reading.
I feel I could write ten pages about this book, but I won't belabor the point. I love this book. My life has been enriched in the reading of it. And although not all the moments I experienced in the reading were fun, I have no regrets in following these characters on their dark journey, with the hope of light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, it was some of the most enjoyable hours I've spent in the past several days.
**spoiler alert** This was the first book I read where the heroine cheated on the hero. I read this book as a challenge to myself. I don't like adulte...more**spoiler alert** This was the first book I read where the heroine cheated on the hero. I read this book as a challenge to myself. I don't like adultery as a theme, and the sex of the offender is immaterial. I will occasionally find a romance with this theme that I like regardless, and this is one of them. But it takes a powerful storyline to get past my bias. It wasn't a comfortable book for me to read at all, but I was glad I did tackle this book.
Jehanne really messed up bad. She knew it. And she got caught. She got pregnant. When her husband comes back from the crusades, having been gone long enough that there is no question that the child she had was not his, everyone expects him to take her to task. The thing I thought was great about this book is that Galeran shows her a lot of grace. He does hit her, but he has to because if he didn't do it, the punishment would be a lot worse for his 'wayward wife.' I am no way advocating a man beating his wife. Fortunately he doesn't hurt her at all. The fact that this is necessary is what bothered me. How many times does a man cheat on his wife and not face repercussions, but when a wife does the same thing, the punishment is severe. I do realize that the stakes are higher because of inheritance issues, but that is not an issue since Jehanne has a little girl.
I really liked Galeran. He's a beta hero. Very kind and loving, but possessing an inner strength. The adultery issue was like a piece of sand in my shell, and I spent most of this book wishing that Jehanne hadn't done it. Hadn't succumbed to her loneliness and fear of believing her husband was dead. Not having given in to her need for comfort from the knight who loved/was infatuated with her. But that was not the case. I suppose Ms. Beverley wanted to write a story showing how a marriage can/must overcome this sort of issue. She did a good job with it.
She didn't cop out and have the heroine be raped by the father of the baby. It was consensual. And Jehanne didn't try to lie and say it was rape. She did face the consequences like a grown up, which I respected her for. I liked that Galeran was determined to handle the issue his way, and not according to what outside parties thought of the situation. He loved his wife, had yearned for his family and home for the hard years at war. He wasn't going to throw that away because she had made this mistake. I had to admire him for that. I liked that he accepted and loved Jehanne's daughter, even though some husbands would have forced her to give up the baby and would have resented the 'cuckoo in his nest.' He didn't do that. To him, this was his daughter.
I don't know that I want to read too many more stories with this kind of plot, but this was a good story and it was handled well. I have come to notice that Ms. Beverley doesn't shy away from having difficult situations and characters in her books. I always know when I am reading her writing because of the depth of the story and the humanity of her characters.
This is a challenging romance to read. If you decide to read it, be prepared to deal with a difficult situation that might cause some angst, especialy if this is out of your comfort zone.(less)
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.
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.
**spoiler alert** This really should be a five star book, but it had a few issues that make it hard to give it a five star rating. Fundamentally, the...more**spoiler alert** This really should be a five star book, but it had a few issues that make it hard to give it a five star rating. Fundamentally, the secondary love story takes up way too much of this book. I believe that McKenna and Aline's beautiful love story deserves more time than was spent on it in this story. I have nothing against Gideon and Olivia, but seeing their relationship unfold at the expense of McKenna and Aline was frustrating to me. It was almost like LK was finding it too painful to delve into the angst of their story and switched the camera away to focus on Gideon and Olivia. If I had my way, I would have introduced G and O in this story, and continued their relationship in a short story. Instead, we see them go from strangers to lovers to in love (in my opinion in a manner that is much more convincing than the main couple's story).
But what about the characters that I read this book for? Well, there is the beginning of their starcrossed love: John McKenna as a 'lowly' stable groom, and Aline as a shy, quiet teen who was in love with McKenna from the get go. They were close friends who were on the cusp of being lovers and more. Unfortunately, Aline's awful dad finds out and kicks McKenna off the estate, and he's forced to make his way in the cold, cruel world. He thinks that Aline didn't love him and easily forgot about him, so he has driven himself to get revenge against her by making himself into a very rich, powerful man, no matter what the cost is. Little did he know that his leaving broke Aline's heart, and she is badly injured in a kitchen fire, which makes her unmarriageble in her mind. So life has not been great for Aline after all.
When they reunite, Aline is determined to enjoy her summer (in every way she can) with McKenna and watch him leave with no regrets. All McKenna's thoughts of revenge fade as he is reconfronted with the woman he never stopped loving. Powerful stuff. McKenna is an incredible hero. He is strong and driven. I loved him. Aline was convincing and sympathetic as a heroine. You can understand why she tries to keep secrets from McKenna. She doesn't want him to be burdened with an invalid wife. So she gives herself only sexually to him. How could I not love this story? If there was enough time spent on it. It was so frustrating to see this book barely scratch the surface of all the longing and anguish between them. Not to mention that they go off to America to start their happy marriage and we never hear from them again.
So I can't help feeling down about the way this story unfolded. Normally I love an angsty romance. So long as the end is fulfilling and I am fully convinced that the couple has made it past the pain and will have a happy, loving future together. In this case, there wasn't enough payoff. Deep down I still feel this uncertainty about McKenna and Aline. Are they truly happy? Is all well?
This book about forbidden love has a poignancy that is almost painful. It stays on your mind and you hope that Aline and Mckenna are having a very happy life together. They earned it. But I needed more of their story to be content with this book.(less)
Miss Kleypas, are you reading my mind? How do you get me where I live emotionally so easily? I felt as though reading this book you had delved deeply...moreMiss Kleypas, are you reading my mind? How do you get me where I live emotionally so easily? I felt as though reading this book you had delved deeply inside my psyche, laying my issues out for me to examine in the context of a character with whom I found myself identifying very deeply. You see, I too have control issues. I too am afraid to love deeply and to care, because when you do, you lose something, and you can't get it back. It seems so much easier to hide behind your fortress of heart.
Reading your book was therapy for me. Because it helped me to look at things and to realize that holding oneself in won't save you from hurt. It just makes you feel more alone and hurting than if you did open yourself to loving others.
You made me cry with Ella's feelings for Luke. I could feel from the beginning, that tender thread of love that blossomed in Ella's wary heart for that helpless bundle of humanity. Babies are the secret weapon, and I think you know that. How can you not love a baby, who looks up at you and knows only how to love and trust you? They sink beneath your skin and find your tender areas of the heart that you have no defense or protection for. And that love builds a bridge between them to you, and from there, to the rest of the world. Luke felt like the way to open Ella up so that she could love Jack. I also think that Jack fell for Ella because he saw who she truly was in the way she cared for Luke, because she forgot to keep up her armor up then. I totally, totally got that.
You also made me laugh with this story. I loved the dialogue and the conversations. They feel very genuine to me. Like people I know talk, like conversations I might have. Texas is my stomping ground, although not Houston so much. But this book felt just like the Texas I know, the folks I see and live with every day, even if I don't really know the richer echelons. But people are people, no matter what how much money they have. You captured that beautifully.
And the romance. Ma'am you have a gift for writing romance that blesses your readers. You capture that deep, irresistible powerful intensity of a love story--the steam, the emotional connection, the powerful bond between a man and a woman. This book is one of your more steamy ones, and you definitely had me fanning myself as I read.
As for Jack Travis--yeah, he's irresistible. He's a mix of charm, determination, and realness that a woman can't overlook. Ella stood no chance. I'm glad she didn't, because they were made for each other. I don't go for that slick ladies man type, but you crafted Jack with a substance that goes beyond the charm and the playboy exterior to make him a fully realized character. I liked his confidence, and I liked that he also had vulnerabilities. Even though he'd been hurt in the past, he didn't hold back from Ella. He gave of himself deeply, and that's what I love in a man. He's not just saying what you want to hear. He's there to back up his words. His actions show where his heart is. Yeah, he played around in the past. In theory, that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. But, on a realistic level, you take the good and the bad, the experiences that make a person who they are, and you love them for the unique creation that they have been made into by the experiences that have shaped them, along with their intrinsic core. That was my long, drawn-out way of saying that I loved Jack for who he was in this story, and that was a complex mix that worked very well for this story. He needed to be that man to be the right man for Ella. Yes, I can see why Jack is a favorite of many of your fans. I still love Hardy the best out of this series. I just do. Hardy....that man makes me sigh. But Jack....he ain't the slightest bit shabby!
I was surprised at the fact that I think I love Ella even more than Jack. It helps that I walked around in her skin in this book. I told you earlier that I felt a lot of identification with her, not on a superficial level. But on a deeper level, in the arena of the psyche. It was cathartic to see her work through her issues, and gave me something to think about. I loved the way she loved Luke, and I loved the way she loved Jack. I loved that she was a loyal sister and a patient daughter to a very difficult mother who needed that kind of love from her daughter. I liked that she picked herself from the ashes of a troubled childhood, and made a good life for herself, and sought mental and emotional wholeness. If she hadn't started that before she ever met Jack and Luke, then those relationships wouldn't have had the same hopeful resolution. I'm glad that's not the case.
Once again, you've given me a great read, and hours of pleasure, but also a read that engaged me fully. Thanks again, Ms. Kleypas!
Okay Richard Armitage is so Sebastian Reyne in this book. I am like Hope. Sebastian is giving me the shivers. He is dark and brooding, and totally yum...moreOkay Richard Armitage is so Sebastian Reyne in this book. I am like Hope. Sebastian is giving me the shivers. He is dark and brooding, and totally yummalicious. Why are so many of my favorite heroes named Sebastian? What a coinkidink!
This was a touching book. There are multiple scenes that made me tear up, and I don't typically do that while I'm reading. I just loved Sebastian. He was this big, brawny guy who was as soft as a marshmallow inside. His heart is so full of love, but he felt that he was condemned to loneliness because of the tragedy in his past. Hope was absolutely the right woman for him. She is full of light and joy, yet at the same time, she knew about the darker side of life, from the horrible abuse she endured from her evil, cruel grandfather. Although she is wary of large, powerful men, she instantly feels a connection to Sebastian and is unable to be afraid of him. Sebastian sees Hope and feels like he has seen his heart's desire. But he knows that he had to seek a wife who can be a good mother to his sister, and he thinks he's found her in older, plain, and practical Lady Elinore.
There is a social consciousness aspect of this book that I enjoyed. Sebastian in a mill-owner, but a conscientious one, since he had to work in the mills as a child to support his family. The book touches on child labor and abuse in the Regency England times, as well as the plight of orphaned children. But it is not done on a heavy-handed manner. Instead it is an integral part of the storyline, as Sebastian seeks a peaceful home for his sisters, and thus a wife, and we learn of their pasts as orphans. The woman he is courting, Lady Elinore, is a child crusader, so it plays heavily into the plot of the book.
It was nice to revisit the Merridew sisters and to see how life has progressed since Prudence's story The Perfect Rake. We also get to meet Sebastian's troubled younger sisters Cassie and Dorie, who have vivid and unique personalities of their own. My heart goes out to Sebastian and his sisters at the situation they faced, and Sebastian's anguish at his perceived inability to reach and to help his sisters. It's great that Hope is able to help them to grow closer together and to heal from their pasts. I really enjoyed the unlikely secondary romance between Lady Elinore, and Sebastian's outgoing, carefree friend Giles. I was rooting for them to end up together.
Once again, Anne Gracie has captivated me and touched me with another of her emotional, deeply-layered romances.
The Wedding managed to make its way up into the ranks of Garwood books that earned a five star rating. Why? Because this book took me from laughing hy...moreThe Wedding managed to make its way up into the ranks of Garwood books that earned a five star rating. Why? Because this book took me from laughing hysterically, to being angry enough for my blood pressure to shoot up (or so my throbbing temples testified to), to being so sad I wanted to cry. Also, it's just darn entertaining.
I've read many, many romance novels in my thirty-some years, and Julie Garwood has a way of writing singular heroines, like no other author. On first glance, they seem too sweet to be believed. But, their sweetness is completely genuine. Her heroines are so kind and loving, that you'd have to be a big jerk to hate them. As for me, I love them. Brenna certainly was no different. The poor girl. She really went through the wringer in this book, and Connor contributed significantly to her suffering. At times, I did want to take a frying pan to his thick skull. Of course, I realize that he's emotionally stunted from the tragedy of his father's betrayal and death, and the murder of most of his clan. His deathbed promise to his father was what drove him, and marriage was only a secondary concern. He's a hard man, and it took him sometime to realize that his husband skills needed improvement. You cannot put wives away on shelves to gather dust until you want to play with them, man! Thankfully, love conquers all.
This was a very good book, and I didn't want to put it down. Brenna won my heart, and I was very glad that Connor got a clue. I loved the secondary cast of characters, such as Connor's men Quinlan and Crispin, and his people, Father Sinclair, her family, and of course, Laird Alec and Lady Jamie. I'm not sure if medieval Scotland in any way resembles this book, but I almost want to go there just to enjoy the ambience (despite the lack of indoor plumbing).
I don't have it in me to write a long review right now, so this will have to suffice. How does Ms. Garwood do it? Write such brilliant comedy, but scenes that are ripe with emotional anguish? Those diametrically opposed tones shouldn't go together, but she manages it. Although some parts wrenched at my heart at what poor Brenna went through, I felt that things worked out very well. I know that Connor will never, ever take her for granted again. He'll realize just how precious the love he has with Brenna, and how that was more important than the vengeance his father swore him to. She snuck her way into his heart, just like she did mine.
Darn! I wish I had time to go back and read all her historicals again!(less)
This is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian was...moreThis is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian was treated by her family. I was pretty curious to see how Ms. Kurland would handle a blind hero in a medieval romance. Think about it. How difficult that would be for a blinded knight? How could he run his keep, and keep what he earned by blood and sweat, in a world where might means right? I think she did a great job of dealing with the blindness issue. There's a part that is very realistic, although those who dislike heroes who are not 100% physically capable probably won't like it. But it made sense the way things happen.
I thought the emotion and love between Gillian and Christopher was so touching and poignant. The power of it transcended the words on the paper and went right to my heart. There are no love scenes in this book. And to be honest, they are not necessary. Yes, I love a good love scene, but a book that has a powerful love story doesn't need one.
This book was also good for the way you see scared, shy Gillian grow into a strong, beautiful woman. She was described as being unattractive, but part of it was because of her lack of self-esteem and belief that she was unworthy. There is no magical makeover. You see Gillian's inner beauty bloom as she is carefully tended and loved by Christopher. It brought tears to my eyes.
Christopher is a wonderful hero, thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and strong. He's been in a funk because of his loss of vision, but you don't hold that against him. It's perfectly understandable.
The humor was the perfect balance to the often dark subject matter. Colin, who has his own story in From This Moment On, is Christopher's best friend and companion. Christopher always knows when Colin is around because he can smell him. Colin's not too fond of bathing, so he has a characteristic odor. Despite my being a stickler for good personal hygiene, Colin won me over for his kind heart behind a gruff exterior. I loved his back-handed matchmaking for Gillian and Christopher.
This was a great medieval romance. Highly recommended.
When I read this book, I felt like the author took his (surprisingly the author is a man for such a female story) hand, clawed through my ribcage and...moreWhen I read this book, I felt like the author took his (surprisingly the author is a man for such a female story) hand, clawed through my ribcage and tore my heart out. This is one of the few books that makes me cry. I may feel sorrow when I read an angsty book, but normally I don't cry. Well this one turned on the waterworks for me.
Dolores had a crappy life. Her father who she loved walks out on Dolores and her mother. Mom has to work for the first time in her life and Dolores becomes a latchkey kid. She took solace in eating after she was horribly raped by a neighbor. She ate until she got really big. She ate to fill the hole inside of herself and to take away the pain. It didn't work. It wasn't so bad until her mother died, and it really went downhill.
So she spends the majority of this book as an outcast in the world. I thought Lamb did a great job of showing how the obese feel and are treated. As if they are monstrosities not worthy of human kindness. Even when you are plump, you are often treated unkindly, but being obese is like having a sign on you that says, "I know you think I'm disgusting, so kick me."
Even a person who should understand her pain and what she faces as an obese person, really turns out to be a user, and that part was very hard to read.
Dolores ends up attempting suicide and ends up in a mental institution, getting her mind together and losing weight. When she gets out, she is pleasingly plump. She has a decent job and is faring well. She cannot believe that she is actually getting attention from men. I wish she waited for the right one. Unfortunately she doesn't. That's when she meets the worst piece of garbage on earth, becomes involved with him, and eventually marries him. It's like he picks up on her low self esteem and zeroes in on her. And this relationship takes another very large piece of her heart away in ways that I cannot go into without spoiling the book.
This is one of those journeys where you feel like the end is a cliff overlooking sharp, jagged rocks. Thankfully it's not. If you can continue along on Dolores' heartbreaking voyage of discovery, there is a place of hope at the end. Life won't be a perfect fairy tale ending, but we all know that life isn't like that. But her perseverance and the strength inside her gentle soul allows her to make it to a place of self-discovery and peace, where contentment and joy can enter into her life at the end of this heartbreaking novel.
I read this book the first time, and I listened to it on tape the second time, and both times left me sobbing. Imagine driving your car and crying at the same time. I can't say it's for everyone, but I have no regrets in reading this book. It is one of the few Oprah books that I read and did enjoy, tears and all.(less)