Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background....more Synopsis
Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background. Tredway Lorent is not exactly a seasoned cowboy. Instead, he is a town-bred fellow with an eye for detail and organization, but he's interested in exploring his possible career options, including working on a horse ranch. She brings him back to Wells Double Bar, her brother and sister-in-law's ranch, and convinces her brother to give him a job, because she feels drawn to him and doesn't want him to walk out of her life just like he walked into it.
Tredway brings Laurel out of her shell, encouraging her art, and supporting her efforts to help others. In return, Laurel sparks this too-serious, too-thoughtful young man to enjoy life and accept that everything doesn't have to be so meticulously controlled, as well as going after his dreams. She finds her way into this heart, but fears of past failure still haunt him. Laurel knows that Tredway is the only man in her heart, but will she and her Perfect Tenderfoot ever make the move towards happily ever after as man and wife?
Perfect Tenderfoot is a sweet love story with two leads that are admirable and kind-hearted. Their interactions speak of deep friendship and admiration, with love growing slowly but surely. Beggs evokes images that take the reader back to life in in late 19th Century New Mexico. A strong sense of community is a highlight of this novel, as Laurel and Tredway continually help others in need, and expand their growing circle of friends and acquaintances.
I appreciated their good-heartedness, and their desire to live meaningful lives, as well as Laurel and Tredway's determination to conquer past fears and insecurities. However, the story was slow-moving at times, lacking sufficient romantic tension. While I could see that the love developing between Laurel and Tredway was genuine, I felt like it seemed to take a backseat to their continual efforts to help others and their personal emotional turmoil. Because of that lack of prominent romantic development, I didn't enjoy this novel quite as much as the first two in the series. However, the likable characters, the sense of community and the historical feel still make it more than an average read.
Perfect Tenderfoot is a novel for aficionados of sweet historical westerns who don't mind a lack of strong romantic tension. Laurel and Tredway are distinctive characters rendered with heartfelt sincerity by Beggs. That and the sense of strong community ties and a motivation to help others do make this book a worthwhile read, although not as successful on the romantic front.
Loving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I f...moreLoving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I found thoroughly likable. Lighter historical romance, but the tone and the storyline are very engaging.
Wow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Ador...moreWow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Adored Lara and the psychic storyline too.
Let me be transparent in advising readers to think twice about experiencing this book as an audiobook. I'm not sure it works that well. It could be me...moreLet me be transparent in advising readers to think twice about experiencing this book as an audiobook. I'm not sure it works that well. It could be me. I am a very visual person when it comes to higher level concepts, especially mechanistic disciplines, such as geometry, architecture, and engineering. The geometrical descriptions were hard to visualize and my mind started to wander at the beginning of each chapter when Sanderson uses the metafiction device of reading from a textbook of rithmatics. Honestly, that was the major reason I didn't rate this book highly. Secondly, I didn't care for the narrator. His voice was too bland, almost monotone or robotic. I feel that if you are going to narrate a book, you need to give it a vitality, and this book lacked that.
On the positive end, I can see why Sanderson is a lauded author, and I can certainly see why he is qualified to teach writing. I think that his craft is evident. The characterization is sound, and instead of settling for thinly veiled archetype, he endows characters with added depth. You know the ones that feel very familiar like the boy who grows up to be the hero, the spunky female sidekick, the mentor, and the dark lord? Thus he gives each one a distinctive life that works very well to make this more than just the typical coming of age fantasy novel. Additionally, the idea of this story is intriguing. A look at wizardry and coming of age school story becomes something different when the concept is built around a magical art of endowing chalk figure-drawing with life.
His view of the United States as an archipelago was interesting. He doesn't describe why it's that way. It just is. The story has a steampunk-light feel. Enough to give the vibe, but it doesn't take over or define the story. Instead, the focus is on the school and the low-level magic at work.
I liked Joel a lot as the main character. He is the kind of hero you end up rooting for. He's normal and the underdog, and you want him to buck the system. Sanderson does something pretty clever here, in that the hero doesn't get his dreams come true. Instead, he's going to have to work for what he wants. That felt more realistic, and also strayed away from the expected archetypes of fantasy where the lead is the one who has the unexpected greatest power of all time. Melody is a fun character. She won me over with her love of unicorns and pegasi. Her feelings of being a failure and feeling forced into a mold she doesn't fit resonated with me. Yeah, she felt like someone I know, maybe myself, and I could feel her youthful angst to a nearly uncomfortable level. It was such a cute touch how her abilities end up being strengths that were taken for granted. I also loved Professor Fitch. His nervousness was rather endearing, and I do have a fondness for nerdy professors.
The chalkings were fairly unnerving and the accompanying villainous element was quite effectively sinister. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but as I listened, I was drawn into this world and it became very real. The end has a very good twist, well, I should say two piled on each other. Sanderson surely got me!
I feel bad because I am likely underrating this book. But I have to say that the choice of medium was a big factor in affecting my reading experience, so I have go with what I know for now. I will probably continue this series because it was an interesting read. I think I'll go with the print version of the next book.
I picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of R...moreI picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of Recluce a little more, this was a very good book.
Mr. Modesitt's style is fairly distinctive. He writes what I would call 'grounded fantasy'. He is detail-oriented, and spends a lot of time building his world and setting the scenes. He is clearly a 'foodie', because he describes food in great detail, and it sounds very scrumptious to me. I obtained a very comprehensive visual of this world in which Rhennthyl lives, rather like Renaissance era Europe, although with some later historical touches.
The concept of people who are able to visualize things into being, and how they become part of a Collegium was interesting. I felt that the process could have been a little more dynamic when described (the scenes were a bit one-dimensional at times), but it definitely had me listening.
Although I liked the spy novel-esque vibe, this book is probably a bit more political than I like my reading to be, with a focus on the tangled situations between various governments, the one in which this book is set, and nations that they danced around conflicts with. However, I can't say that it was extraneous to the plot of this story. In fact, The Imager Collegium plays an integral war in keeping the political situation balanced by protecting the Council (who runs the country), and resolving situations in a discreet fashion that allows the status quo to continue. At times, I did feel my mind wander a little bit when the discussions in this book delved too deeply into waters of political intrigue, because this reader is just not wired to be very interested in such subject matter. I liked seeing Rhennthyl think on his feet to navigate these shark-infested waters, though.
Rhennthyl is a protagonist that I appreciated reading about. He doesn't have an easy road, despite his formidable abilities (hard-earned and honed) as an imager. I liked that he does have to struggle a little bit, work hard, and think hard, even though he advances very quickly in the hierarchy of Imagers from a primary. He felt like an everyday sort of guy, not excessively intelligent, nice, or charismatic. Just normal. Enough of all those things for me to like him, though. The guy was in a tough situation, as the Collegium was basically dangling him out as bait for the assassins who were plotting to kill young imagers. I have to say that he held his own, and managed to extricate himself from many a bad situation.
I found the romance between Rhennthyl and Celiora (spelling might not be right since I listened on audio) to be well-written and very important to this storyline. She is a good match for him. She is wise, insightful, loving, and independent and strong. He's the kind of guy who wouldn't do well with a softer, malleable woman, and Celiora is the opposite of that in all the best ways. If things progress the way I believe they will, Celiora will be a great mate for Rhennthyl.
This was a fairly long audiobook, but I was happy to keep listening. Although Modesitt's writing might be a bit too detail-oriented for some readers, I like how he builds the foundation of how his magic system works, using quite a bit of proven science that makes sense, and a concept that I found interesting. I also loved the artistic aspects, as Rhennthyl starts his training as an artist, and continues to maintain that artistic sensibility.
I mentioned above, the only shortcomings with this novel were the sometimes dry political aspects, and the less than dynamic action sequences (I'm a bit of a tough customer when it comes to that). Otherwise, I think this is a very good fantasy book, that I would recommend to those who might be interested in this sort of storyline. I'm adding the next book to my wish list.(less)
I read this book by an author I had become a fan of after reading The Wicked Truth, and I was struck by the uniqueness and the beauty of this romance....moreI read this book by an author I had become a fan of after reading The Wicked Truth, and I was struck by the uniqueness and the beauty of this romance. Jonathan is considered an idiot savant because of his incredible abilities as a composer but his lack of social skills. Knowing this initially, I wasn't sure how things would go before I met him, but I fell in love with him. I really like books with unusual heroes and heroines. Jonathan is that. He's perfectly intelligent, he just has a different way of looking at things. He doesn't care much for what's going on in the world, and has a tendency to be wrapped up in his music. I would use the phase, "He needs a keeper," to describe him. He bonds almost immediately with Kathryn and in a very sensual way. It involves a piano bench. Definitely a wow moment for me. I knew I'd like this book at this point. Another truly enjoyable thing about this book was how capable and practical Kathryn is. If you are a fan of Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels, I think you would like Kathryn. She is slightly older than Jonathan, and has taken care of herself for many years. She is the perfect match for Jonathan, tempering his passion with reason, although he brings out the latent passions in her. He gives her what she needs, the desire to nuture and love him and his children. Kathryn gently encourages Jonathan, supporting him in his music, but giving him nudges to remember that there is a world outside there beyond his music. There are poignant moments that involve how he was farmed out to women to father their children so they could have children who were musical geniuses. Kathryn helps Jonathan find all his children, and they bring them to live with them, and start a ready made family. I enjoyed seeing their family moments and the marital intimacy between Jonathan and Kathryn. I found it very touching. I really love this book, although most people have never heard of it. If you want to read a wonderful love story with a different kind of hero who will endear himself to you very quickly, I think you'd like this book.(less)
It's hard to say exactly what I felt for this book without rambling. First of all, let me say, I think this book has one of the most tormented heroine...moreIt's hard to say exactly what I felt for this book without rambling. First of all, let me say, I think this book has one of the most tormented heroines I've ever read about, both in adult and young adult literature! How much crap can one girl go through? As I listened, I kept thinking how morose this story was. But I had to keep listening. Hoping that Plain Kate would find joy and a place to call home.
This is a novel that shows the destructive effects of prejudice in an interesting way. In this book, anyone who is different or odd has to be a 'witch.' Everyone is so busy blaming everything that goes wrong around them on witches (who are more than anything just anyone who sticks out), they don't even have the sense to go after the real cause of the problem. Even those who are outsiders don't show nearly the amount of tolerance that they should. That makes for a very bitter pill to swallow.
What I loved about this story, what kept me reading was Kate. It was not easy to walk alone, and to keep walking after all she had lost. But she does. And I admire her for that. Also her cat, Taggle. Talking about a scene stealer. I loved him. The author knows cat behavior very well. I would laugh at Taggle's antics and what he would say. He's charmed so that he can talk, but he expresses himself in very much the way I can imagine my cats talking. I definitely give the author brownie points for that.
Although it's never stated, the setting is very Russian. Even the folkore gives this story an indisputible Russian stamp. Russian elements always work for me!
The tone of this story was hard to handle at times. It's very grim in a way. There are spots of brightness and joy like a ray of sunlight shining through a cloudbank. But for the most part, this story has a very downcast feel to it. That sadness that permeated this story grabbed at me. I was glad that Taggle was there for needed comic relief. As an optimist, I looked for evidence of hope for Kate, another thing that kept me reading, even when one event had me sobbing out loud. I mean really crying. I was thinking how much can this one person suffer?
Although definitely the most depressing young adult book I've read in a long time, Plain Kate was a very good book. It's not one of those books that you put down with a smile, though. Instead, you feel a sense of moody reflection. If only to convey how ugly prejudice is, this book succeeds on that point. Substitute any class of people for the 'witches' as the persecuted group and you have a powerful story told in an imaginative way, and the lesson will get transmitted to an audience who I hope will take this lesson very seriously. I think that one should think hard about these issues. Thinking clearly might help a person to see that hatred of others because of their differences is just wrong. And a world that condones that kind of injustice makes for a cold, cruel world for all of us. If I have to read a book that's not so sunny and happy to get that message, I guess that's a good thing in the end.(less)
A good end to this trilogy about three half-sisters who have a philandering, no-good father in common. Tawny is the youngest sister. She has a fairly...moreA good end to this trilogy about three half-sisters who have a philandering, no-good father in common. Tawny is the youngest sister. She has a fairly good head on her shoulders, although I thought she was very naive in believing Julie's sob-story about Navarre having naughty pictures on his laptop of them. I think she wanted to believe the best of people, and I can't fault her for that.
Was not liking Navarre initially. I loved the twist Lynne Graham embedded in this story. As I read, the layers peeled back from Navarre's character, and I had the opportunity to get to like him the hard way. He was more cold and emotionally detached than I would have liked. Not really very demonstrative with Tawny, although it was clear how attracted/compelled by Tawny he was. I think that I could see his love for Tawny by the end of the book, and the reveal made me feel much better about the situation between him and Tia. I can't say why though, 'cause it's a spoiler. I don't think Navarre is quite as romantic as Bee and Zara's husbands, but in the end, he comes through.
I liked that all the sisters had some moments together as a family. I was missing that from the first two books.
This was a light, entertaining read. Perfect wind-down material from a long week. Makes me want to do a Lynne Graham binge!(less)
Although I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way t...moreAlthough I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way that Nikki could see there were two aspects of Harper that were fighting each other. The part of him that was a protector, sweet, and loving; and the predatory, domineering, take no prisoner part of him. She saw that he was in conflict, feeling like he needed to supress one over the other, and that this would be an issue in him accepting his love for her, instead of pushing her away altruistically. Nikki was young, about 23, but she was pretty mature and insightful. I loved that she was an artist. She reminded me of my mother, in fact. She was a pretty layered character. Harper was also deep and rich in characterization. I liked him from the beginning. He has that tough, strong, intense nature that I love in a hero, but also the warm, sweet, loving, caring personality that is equally irresistible. And he was a British hero. We need more Brits in the HP books! Another thing I liked about this book was that Harper was a family man. He was raising his nephew since his parents died when he was a baby. He was also close to his mother. I think Ms. Carpenter wrote this book with some elements that enriched it in a way that I wish I saw more in this category of books. This was a good book, and I wish I had read it fast, but I kept picking it up near bedtime when I was too sleepy to enjoy it as much as I could.
If you want to sample a Harlequin Presents that veers away from the whole Mediterrean/Latin billionaire playboy with the arm-candy heroine, you should check this out. I hope to find more of Amanda Carpenter's books since I enjoyed this one and The Great Escape.
This was a very competent book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt that too much time was spent on Brodie's internal dialogue, so I couldn't rate it...moreThis was a very competent book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt that too much time was spent on Brodie's internal dialogue, so I couldn't rate it quite as highly as I would like to, since I think Leigh Michaels is a very good writer, and I liked the story idea.
What I liked:
*I really liked Drew's character. He's everything that I admire in a man: hardworking, honorable, steadfast, loving, caring, not a pushover. He was 33-years-old, and he had a mature attractiveness that appealed to me. You could look at him and say, "Now here's a man." Compared to Brodie's ex, there was no question of who was the better man, although it took a while for Brodie to see that. I liked how he didn't ever try to force or push Brodie into anything. He had loved her for a long time, but he was willing to let her go if that was how she could be happy. I think he was very patient with her, considering her earlier immaturity and some potentially bad decisions she was going to make.
*I liked how Ms. Michaels showed Brodie's transition from spoiled girl to mature woman. At first, I was worried that I wouldn't like her. She made some assumptions that she could have her cake and eat it: get married young, drop out of school, live with Drew, have him pay for her and her husband's support. Really? However, she grew up, and I really liked her from that point on.
*For some reason, I love that guardian falls in love with his ward storyline. I admit that it could be creepy, unless the author has a mature hero like Drew that you can respect and trust to do the right thing.
*What can I say? I am a sucker for unrequited love. It was very clear from the beginning that Drew loved Brodie, but he never was selfish in his love. That's true love to me.
*I have to give Ms. Michael's kudos for touching on domestic violence so well. Brodie's ex was about to hit her when he found out she didn't have money of her own. She broke up with him, and he found himself a sweet (and shy and browbeaten by her rich father) young thing who was very rich. He started hitting on her, and beat her up so badly after they got married, she had bruises on her face and all over when she comes to Brodie for help. This was pretty dark subject matter, but it's very real life. I was glad that Brodie wasn't the kind of girl to stand for that, and Drew wasn't going to let anyone hurt her like that. And I liked that she helped out the girl her ex married to get out of that ugly situation.
*Small town life: the good and the bad. It was well-presented here. Brodie was in a weird situation. She was living with Drew because his father was best friends with her father. They were really penniless, but people thought of her as a rich girl. When her fortunes change, it was interesting to see how the town treated her.
What I didn't like:
*The over-dependence on Brodie's internal monologue drug down this story for me. I would have liked to see more interaction and dialogue between Brodie and Drew because they had good chemistry together. I realize the older HPs didn't really show the hero's VP very much, but I think Drew was much too interesting to spend so much time focused on Brodie's thoughts. More of Drew could have been conveyed through action, although the glimpses of his psyche were very tantalizing.
*That it took Brodie most of the book to figure out she wasn't in love with her ex, and that she loved Drew. I realize only a short time had passed, but I would have liked it better if there was a more gradual realization of how much Drew meant to Brodie.
Overall conclusion: After analyzing this book as I reviewed it, I think I will go ahead and bump this up to 4 stars. I think readers who enjoy the guardian/ward relationship theme will like this book.
His Christmas Virgin sort of has that 'A Christmas Carol' vibe. That's a good thing because I love 'A Christmas Carol.' Jonas is sort of a modern-day,...moreHis Christmas Virgin sort of has that 'A Christmas Carol' vibe. That's a good thing because I love 'A Christmas Carol.' Jonas is sort of a modern-day, toned down Scrooge. He has divorced himself from emotional relationships because of his parents' horrible marriage, and how it affected him. While Mac is an artists, she shatters the stereotype that all artists are bohemian in their morals. In fact, hers are rather old-fashioned. She doesn't believe in sex without love. She is close to her family and embraces the commitments of family. While Jonas tells himself he needs to stay away from Mac and doesn't want to be bothered with her, he continually finds himself in her sphere, falling deeper and deeper for him. Mac doesn't like Jonas' attitude towards relationships, and finds him rather brisk and hard to like, but he is an intensely attractive, appealing man who 'does' it for her. Love breaks through all their barriers and causes both to risk their hearts to each other.
Mortimer wrote a story that is passionate and romantic, and with a modern feel. Never is there a doubt that Mac is a modern woman. She is just a modern woman who doesn't believe in casual sex, and had good reasons for her virginity. She finds it nothing to be ashamed of. While Jonas is quite uncharitable to her in that regard, I felt that he was making a last ditch effort to wiggle out of the trap of his feelings for her, and using that for an excuse, knowing she won't settle for just his physical body and not all of him. He falls in love while he doesn't believe in such a thing. I liked that each person stayed true to who they were, but also realized that being locked into a certain mindset can limit ones' possibilities. When they come together at the end, it feels right and felt very romantic.
His Christmas Virgin was a pleasant and fairly quick read. Definitely what I needed for this time of year when things are so hectic. (less)
There is something very distinct and elegant about Caitlin Crews' writing that appeals to me. I noticed that in her first book for HP, Pure Princess,...moreThere is something very distinct and elegant about Caitlin Crews' writing that appeals to me. I noticed that in her first book for HP, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride, and it was evident here as well. I liked the strength of her heroine in Tristanne. She was afraid, she was wounded emotionally, but she was strong! She approached a very dangerous man and offered to be his mistress, for the sake of her mother. And that's not the end of her troubles, because she's gone from the frying pan to the fire. Nikos Katrakis is not easy to manipulate into a fake arrangement as she planned. He's the kind of man who gets exactly what he wants, and he has plans for her and for revenge on her family. Nevertheless, she ends up falling into his bed and in love with him.
Although I feel that this story could have had more dialogue (it's almost entirely introspective thoughts and description), it was still exciting and intriguing, what a good Harlequin Presents should be. Crews has a great way of writing the exquisite tension between her characters where I was holding my breath in anticipation. Also expectantly waiting to see what will happen next. I didn't believe that Nikos would go through with his ruthless, cold-blooded plan for revenge. When he does, my heart sank. I sorted through my own emotions and wondered if Tristanne could forgive him. I have to say that the scene in which they reunite really threw me. Tristanne shows what love truly is. Instead of plunging the knife that Nikos hands her into his black heart and twisting it, she forgives him. Because she loves him. Because she sees that this man didn't know what love was. And it was her job to teach him.
This story is quite different from Caitlin Crews' first HP novel, and I really liked it for its difference, although the first is still my favorite. I liked the intense emotions and the very admirable, mature, self-sacrificing, but painfully self-aware heroine. I liked the blazing hot passion between Tristanne and Nikos. And I loved how Ms. Crews took the standard self-made, ruthless HP tycoon, and gave me a tortured, hurting man who had been used and hated by everyone who should have loved him. She took this character and put him into the hands of the perfect heroine to show him what it meant to love and to be loved in return. It makes me think of Nature Boy by David Bowie
What do you do when you feel like a stranger in your own land? That’s the question that Zora and Nicky face. They both grew up in the church, children...moreWhat do you do when you feel like a stranger in your own land? That’s the question that Zora and Nicky face. They both grew up in the church, children of ministers. Their whole lives were about living and walking in the footsteps of Jesus. But when did it become a matter of trying to please their fathers more than Jesus? When did this require the sacrifice of their entire identities?
Both Zora and Nicky are adrift. Nicky is the prodigal son, returned to the fold to try to rebuild his troubled relationship with a father who never showed him the loving embrace that a dad should show his son, like Jesus loves His church. Nicky wants to be a writer, but the words won’t come. He feels so alone and trapped. His girlfriend is the perfect girl for the life that his parents want for him. But not for Nicky. And Nicky is dealing with three years of celibacy and sobriety, after wild teenage years of leading church maidens astray when he was asking for help from a family who left his cries unheard. When he goes to a bible study held by his boss, he encounters the beautiful, dark-skinned Zora, and feels a mix of emotions that do not strike him as healthy with everything else on his plate. Is it just lust or he could he be in love?
Zora is the daughter of a minister who preaches prosperity to those who can proclaim God’s word with faith. He has no tolerance for poor Christians or those who just want to get by. Although he gives her everything material she could wish for, designer furniture, clothes, and a Lexus, he controls every aspect of her life, and seems blind to the true unrest in his church. Zora walks out of church one day, praying that God would show her how to be poor in spirit. She goes to a bible study full of white people and feels that intense emotional connection with God that she feels like has been absent, but she’s embarrassed by the way she breaks down in front of the other bible study members. And then there is the gorgeous blue-eyed, blond rogue that she’s been warned about although they truly love Nicky. How can she be drawn to a troubled and rascally white man when she doesn’t even love the perfect black man hand-picked by her father, and groomed to be the future minister of his church? What does she do when her father takes everything away because he feels she’s in rebellion just by trying to be herself? And to her surprise, the white folks from her bible study, and the roguish Nicky, come to her aid when her family and most of her church turns a blind eye.
Zora and Nicky is a very moving romantic story, but it also strikes at the heart of a reader who grew up in the Christian faith, but is trying to find out where she or he fits into the flock of God’s church. I loved how Ms. Burney wasn’t afraid to get real. She showed how church is full of people who do one thing and say another, but it’s also clear that there are many who love God so much, but they just don’t know how they are supposed to go about doing that. I just loved both Nicky and Zora’s characters. Not because they were perfect, but because they were real and hurting and damaged. They both had a genuine love for Jesus, and they wanted to be wrapped in His arms in all their wounded, flawed selves. Not only that, they wanted to have fathers who knew how to love them, and accept them for who they were. Their troubled relationships with their fathers clearly affected their relationships with God, because they didn’t know that unconditional love that Jesus has for us, unused to feeling that in the model for His love that one’s father and minister should show.
The racial issues in this story are pertinent and handled well. Ms. Burney addressed the ugly things that normal people think and do on both sides of the racial issue. Although the way Nicky’s grandfather and father act about Zora was absolutely chilling, Ms. Burney also shows that black folks can be just as racist in their thinking as white folks. And neither is okay. Because humans are just human. And no person should be seen as the stand-in or representative for their race. It isn’t fair, because you can only be you. And Christians of all people should know better than to judge someone for the outside, the mere difference in melanin that means nothing to God. Although it was clear how powerful the bond was between Zora and Nicky, they had to work out their own issues about race so that they could see each other with the love that God put in their souls for each other.
Even with the sometimes mean things they said to each other, I loved how they seemed to get who each other was deep down, and supported that, even when people who should have loved, supported and understood each other didn’t. I loved that their relationship was passionate even with no sex taking place (just very passionate kisses), how they talked to each other, fought for each other, and dreamed together. I loved that they both shared a powerful love for Christ that was another thing that bound them together. They had the makings of a relationship I could truly see flourishing fifty years in the future.
Zora and Nicky was a book that made me cry. It made me angry in some scenes. It affected me deeply, and probed into the hurting places that I have regarding my own walk in the Christian faith; dealing with that feeling that you don’t fit into the body of Christ the way you should. That even though Jesus loves you the way you are and wants the best for you, others don’t think you measure up. Also seeing the superficial Christianity that seems okay for most, and how you want something deep and true and it feels like you can’t find it. I could identify so well with those aspects of this book. And the romantic in me loved the beautiful story of love found between Zora and Nicky. I felt that God did bring them together, and He was working in both of them for their good and for their emotional wholeness and healing.
I didn’t much care for either Nicky or Zora’s father. Actually, I think they failed in very profound ways. I did feel that at the end of the day, their mothers did show the love that both Zora and Nicky needed, even though it wasn’t enough to balance out the pain that each father caused them. I also liked Zora’s relationship with her friend MacKenzie. They stood by each other through tough times, encouraging each other to reach for their dreams.
I really appreciated the characters of Linda, Rick, and Billie, who are members of the bible study. Also Ms. Pamela, one of the members of Zora’s congregation. Who all represent Christians who are filled with the love of Jesus, and have made it their mission to show it, even though some Christians wouldn’t find them fitting or good enough to represent the faith. However, they represent Jesus in the purest way. Jesus was the despised, rejected man who owned nothing but the robe on his back, was born in a manger, and died on a cross. And He is the one who is able to save and love everyone. So that’s alright with me if a shabby person shows me Jesus in my everyday life. And they were there to show that love when Nicky and Zora needed it. Just writing this review is making me cry. I just loved this book. It was so meaningful to me. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (less)
I put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was bo...moreI put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was bored with his inactivity and seclusion while his broken leg was healing, and he needed a distraction. I started it once, because it's about the sister of the heroine from The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride (Surrender to the Sheikh), a book I loved. But I put it down because I wasn't in the mood for that kind of hero. As I embarked on my Weekend Harlequin Presents Marathon, a tradition I have that I truly enjoy, I picked it up and started reading it again. I am glad I finally did read this book.
How could I have doubted you, Annie West? You know how to write a great, intense romance. The process of showing the courtship and the seduction of Arik by Rosalie (note I didn't say the opposite) was so beautifully executed by you. Arik thought he knew all the moves, had women figured out, and knew how to get his pleasure out of a woman and move on. He saw Rosalie and wanted her body. But when he spent time with her, saw the mix of vulnerability and beauty that was her, not just her body, he wanted more from her. I have trouble with playboy heroes that think all women are the same, just warm bodies for pleasure. So I was predisposed to dislike Arik. He had to work very hard for me to like him. But he succeeded. He succeeded by showing he was a sensitive man. The way he gave Rosalie time, and let her come to him, made allowances for her skittishness, and didn't force the issue, that really helped me to like him. Also how he became obsessed with her, completely drawn in, so that by the time they were actually lovers, it was more than just that. For the short time period that this happened in, I have to give Ms. West some credit. I've read books where the couples have a love affair that spans much longer time periods, and the love aspect, the connection was missing. Not with this book.
Like the other books that I've read by Annie West, the intensity that turns a HP from an enjoyable read to a real pleasure and a favorite, was there in spades with this book. I liked how the struggle within Rosalie to claim back her life, to open her heart to love and a physical relationship with man after she was raped was shown. Even though Arik didn't know she was raped until near the end, he was very caring and considerate to her, and that helped Rosalie get past her fears and her issues. And Arik went from being kind of shallow, a rich playboy (even if he did have a heart for his people and worked hard, his attitude towards women was very shallow) to a deep, caring, loving man who fell truly in love, completely captivated by a woman before my eyes. I think this was done so well.
This was a great book. I'm a big fan of sheikh romances, but I liked that this was one was more intimate. There were hints about Arik's wealthy and powerful identity, but that was in the background. The focus was on the relationship between Rosalie and Arik. How a wary heart found a once shallow man and turned him into a man who was so lovestruck, he wanted nothing more than the one woman he had initially decided to seduce out of boredom. That's the most awesome kind of book that takes a story you're kind of 'meh' about, and completely draws you in.
The Tracker was an excellent western historical romance that delivers a great story, a passionate romance with intensity and emotional connection betw...moreThe Tracker was an excellent western historical romance that delivers a great story, a passionate romance with intensity and emotional connection between its characters, and exciting adventure. This is my fourth book by Jenna Kernan, and she hasn't let me down yet. She takes me back to the 19th century, when the American West was still young, and where a man or a woman proves his or her mettle against the unforgiving wilderness, and the dark heart of humanity of all colors and creeds.
What stands out in this romance was its hero, Troy. Troy Price is a man of mixed blood. His mother was of the proud Cherokee people, one of the five civilized tribes. They lived next to whites and held similar beliefs, but when gold is found in the ground beneath their land, they were uprooted and forced on the Trail of Tears. Even though Troy's father was a white man (Irish), he was deemed not good enough for his young lover, Rachel. Since the tragic end of their love affair, Troy has sworn to stay away from white women. He couldn't bear being rejected again, or causing the despair that loving an Indian would bring to her. I loved Troy, for the man he was. He was a mover and a shaker, and a man of deep integrity. I loved his ability to survive in the wild, and his way of looking deep inside a person and seeing not who they seemed to be, but who they were at their heart. Many times, I told Eleanor if she thought she wasn't good enough for Troy, I'd be happy to take him off her hands! Troy was definitely my kind of hero!
When he shows up at the docks to pick up his latest group of scientists for a tour up the Yellowstone, he sees a beautiful, elegant white lady who is the only one of the group to survive a Cholera outbreak. He refuses to take her, until she questions his honor. No man likes having his honor questioned. And for a half-breed with little to his name, his honor is his prized possession. He reluctantly takes on the redheaded greenhorn, who knows about as much about surviving in the wilderness as he does of navigating the ballrooms and parlors of Boston. Troy is convinced that Eleanor Hart will come to her senses when she gets a small taste of frontier life, but she proves to have more mettle than he expected.
Eleanor comes off as being very ignorant and closed-minded. She has lived in a smaller world than she realized, raised by bigots and social snobs who know only about power and status. Her parents' loveless marriage and procession of lovers is the model for what she can expect for the marriage she agreed to contract in exchange for this trip out West to paint wildlife. She really doesn't want that future, but how can she go back on her word? I never disliked Eleanor, who Troy calls Lena, even though she makes some very thoughtless, prejudiced comments to Troy, pouring salt into his wounds about being treated like less than a man because of his Cherokee blood. I could see she wasn't a bad person, just a person who had no real understanding of what makes a man or woman honorable or worthwhile. It's not race or heritage, or about money or status. It's about integrity and grit. This trip shows her exactly what she needs to learn. She did frustrate me as she continued to hold on to her ideas about the rightness of the society she was raised in. However, I could see that Troy and this trip out West had awakened the woman she was meant to be, and I cheered her on.
This novel touched me on an emotional level, and I also loved the action and adventure as Troy and Lena face life in the wilderness. The ending had me on the edge of my seat, and I hoped that Troy and Lena would fight for each other, and the life they could have together. I knew that being together on their own terms (not society's) was the right choice for both, but they had to come to that conclusion for themselves. And Kernan doesn't take it easy on the reader as you see just how painful that choice will be for Lena (and in ways I didn't imagine initially).
Because this book gave me pretty much what I wanted in a book when I read it, I am rating it 4.5/5.0 stars.
This was a lovely little contemporary western romance with a prominent Gothic feel. Stormy Jones has not seen her father since she was five years old....moreThis was a lovely little contemporary western romance with a prominent Gothic feel. Stormy Jones has not seen her father since she was five years old. In fact, she was told he died. She has spent the majority of her life in her mother's women-centered commune, with little to no contact with men. Yet she feels something missing from her life. When Jonathan McBride enters her life, she is blown away by his rugged male appeal, and has a sinking feeling he is just what he was waiting for. He's like the proverbial forbidden fruit, a virile male, and the epitome of what scares her mother and her followers about men.
Jonathan came to Los Angeles to meet his employer's daughter and deliver important news. Her father is sick and wants to see her before he dies. One look at her tells her she's trouble. He saves her life and ends up in her bed. He is sidetracked by an unfortunate attraction to Stormy that leads to a night of passion. He wakes up the next day, determined to put Stormy at a distance. His experience with love in the past taught him that women could only destroy a man. He feels enormous guilt at sleeping with Hugh's daughter, and just wants to forget about it. Unfortunately, Stormy is a hard woman to forget or to push away. Plus, Stormy still needs to see her father, and when she blurts out a confession of her involvement with Jonathan, the conniving old man changes his will to require a marriage between the two at his death. Jonathan doesn't want another wife, but he does want his inheritance from her father, and marriage is the only way to get it now. Stormy feels deep inside that Jonathan is a man capable of love, no matter how hard he pushes her away. And she's carrying his child, so she doesn't want to walk away. The problem is, someone keeps trying to kill her. Stormy refuses to believe it's Jonathan, despite the cloud of rumors about his last wife's death hanging around him.
I really liked this book. It had a lot of emotion and intensity. I liked the Gothic vibe, and I enjoyed the push/pull between Jonathan and Stormy. I love when the hero is hard and rough and wants to push the heroine away, but needs her and the love she shows him. Jonathan was really quite tortured. He'd had a very rough life and it had taught him that loving and trusting others was a dicey proposition. Stormy's innocent hope and vital passion was just what he needed in his life. While he fights his love for her throughout the book, it was enjoyable to see him fall for her.
The western atmosphere was very well done as well. I felt like I was on a cattle ranch in Southwest Texas, where the land is closer to desert than anything else. This book had a lot more suspenseful vibe than I associate with the typical Silhouette Desires, with someone trying to kill Stormy, and Jonathan's dark past. I miss these old vintage Harlequins which are full of lots of drama and intensity. The newer books just don't have that zing.
I am glad I was able to read this book. Definitely worth looking up if you want a good vintage modern western contemporary romance.
This book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and h...moreThis book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and her father are black. I have had trouble reading on the Kindle right now, and this book made me want to brave the migraine just to finish it. This book series has its hooks in me! Highly recommended.
Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!...moreDefinitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!
I loved this story. It was a great pleasure to listen to it on audio, narrated by the author himself. He seems like a very interesting person to know and to talk with. All the heart of him, his soul, pain, laughter, confusion, and fire that he had in him when he wrote this story emanates from him as he narrates this novel, and I was along for the ride. I actually didn't want to get out of my car when I got home this afternoon, because I wanted to finish this novel. Fortunately, it was near the end when I got home. Even though I was happy to finish it, I wanted it to go on forever. I could easily listen to further adventures of Arnold Spirit.
On an intellectual level, I was aware of the disheartening conditions that Native Americans (or Indians as Arnold calls his people) face on many reservations in the United States, but hearing it first-hand, it struck home to me how hard that life is. It was hurtful to see that Arnold was raised not to reach for any goals, to believe that as an Indian, his future was a big, black void. That he was less than anything. I screamed, "No. No. No!" But I could understand why Arnold had to change his whole mindset and learn to hope and to believe. I think it brings home how blessed many of us Americans are. Sadly, we forget that not all Americans have even the simplest of things we take for granted, such as food to eat every day, more than one pair of clothes, a decent education (Arnold's Geometry textbook at the reservation school is thirty years old) and the ability to get to school without having to walk twenty miles. Not to mention the very short average life-span of a Spokane Indian due to the ravages of alcohol. I know what it's like to be a 'minority' in this country, and everything that comes with it, but I didn't know what it was like to be an Indian, and that was an excellent learning opportunity for me.
This book is very angsty, and it's also very funny. I felt like I was there with Arnold when he goes through his milestones and horrible tragedies. I cheered him on at his successes, and cried with him when he cried. I loved him. I still do. Arnold's a part of me now. He'll stay in my mind forever, even though I will move onto reading other books, and I'm glad for that.(less)