This is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it t...moreThis is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end.
I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not want to know and fall in love with a hero who is so tortured?
Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written (other than Jane Eyre). She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made by Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous.
The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all descriptive in this book. But they are incredibly effective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably.
The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitimate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time (or at least tied with Jane Eyre for favorite, which is nothing to sneeze at). If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life.(less)
Maverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eag...moreMaverick Wild gave me many hours of entertainment this weekend. It is the second story in the Morgan brothers duo by Stacey Kayne.
Chance Morgan is eager to continue his carefree bachelor existence and not at all eager to get married. However, meeting Cora Mae Tindale again puts a wrench in those plans. Cora is the daughter of his hated stepmother. When they were kids, she was a boon companion who Chance and his brother enjoyed corrupting. Many times they got the young girl in trouble with her mean, overbearing mother, but she never complained about the abuse that she suffered at her mother's hands.
When Chance and Tucker ran away to join the Confederate Army, they knew that they couldn't take little Cora Mae with them. But Chance promised to return for her. However, when they were able to come back, Cora was gone, and their stepmonster had sold their father's farm. Bitter about women and how marrying them destroyed a man's life, Chance vowed never to get married.
Twenty-one years later, they are reunited when Cora Mae arrives in Wyoming to visit her stepbrothers for a short time. When she arrives, she finds that Chance has become a hard, dangerous stranger who only sees a hated Tindale when he looks at her. Little does she know that he sees a beautiful red-head with bewitching curves that make it very difficult to be resistant to her.
He needn't worry that she wants to trap him into marriage. After a painful and harrowing experience with a man that her mother tries to force her to marry, Cora Mae has sworn never to marry. She just wants to feel a sense of family and home that she felt when she tagged along with Chance and Tucker as a girl.
Maverick Wild was an excellent book. It helped to cement my appreciation for Stacey Kayne as a western writer. It's not a copycat of her first book, Maverick Wild. The heroine and hero are different people with different motivations. Yet the elements that made her first novel appeal to me are there in spades: emotion, vivid descriptions of western life, good storytelling, and likable, appealing characters.
Cora Mae is not a rough and ready cowgirl like Skylar. She's more of a homemaker who is very happy knitting and crocheting, and baking goodies. She is a sturdy, curvaceous woman, who has been made to feel that she is unattractive. Although she is self-conscious after years of being put down by her mother, she has an inner strength and spunk that makes her a worthy opponent for Chance. She also has a sweetness and a kindness that makes everyone around her love her. Chance sees this in her, but is determined to resist the pull she has on him, at times showing a suspicious attitude towards her that is hurtful to Cora Mae.
Chance is definitely a western hero. He's very attractive in a hard, sexy way. He's tough and independent, but clearly loves his family and wants to protect them. Although he fights his attraction for Cora Mae fiercely, when he realizes how dangerous her plight is, he steps up to the plate to take measures to keep her safe, even if it means losing his freedom. Of course, deep down, the real reason is that he wants her to stay.
The chemistry between the characters is just as heady and appealing as it was in Mustang Wild, but there is also a poignancy as Cora Mae heals from her fears of men and opens her heart and mind to being loved by Chance.
If you would like to read a western that reinforces the joy of hearth and home, and features characters who are struggling to get over painful pasts to find a happy future, you will love this book. (less)
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.
This is a guardian/ward romance, and it's a little twisted, I suppose. I must confess that I always feel a little kinky for liking this book. Oh, well...moreThis is a guardian/ward romance, and it's a little twisted, I suppose. I must confess that I always feel a little kinky for liking this book. Oh, well. So this is how the story goes, Dinah came to live with Jason Devrel when her parents die. He sees her grow up, and plans to marry her when she gets old enough. In his mind, she is his. It doesn't even occur to him that she might want to move away and have her own life separate from him. I don't think Jason really realized that he fell in love with her as a child and the natural progression is to marry her as a woman. Dinah has feelings of hero worship and awe for her guardian, and it never occurs to her that he has marriage plans for him. In her mind, he's too far above her. When she has her coming of age party, she overhears women putting her down, and decides she doesn't want to live in the high class world that she doesn't fit in with her bookish nature, awkward looks, and her owl-eyed, glasses-wearing self. Jason comes in when she is packing and is livid that she is going to try to run away. For the first time in their relationship, he loses that cool, withdrawn demeanor that is typical for him. In his mind, she belongs to him. He shows her that physically. And Dinah is pretty traumatized. Afterwards, he feels remorse, but Dinah runs off.
The book actually starts a few months after this incident on Halloween night. Jason finds Dinah working in a department store. It turns out he got her pregnant. He convinces her to come back home, and to marry him so that his heir can be legitimate. He promises he will let her go when the baby is born.
This romance may not work for everyone. For one thing, it's a little kinky to seduce your guardian. And this book has rape, or forced seduction. It's not horribly done or wince-worthy to read. You really don't see anything, just that vague description that the older books give when there is a sensual moment.
Winspear doesn't write like modern writers. There is an old fashioned feel to her writing. The sensuality is very mild, and more suggestive than anything. The relationship develops slowly, and there's that whole paternalistic vibe in Jason's treatment of Dinah.
The reason why I like this book is because of the fact that Jason is a cold, withdrawn man who doesn't care about much of anything, but Dinah somehow comes into his lonely life and gives him life and inspires love in him. I really like romances where the hero is the one who's more in love than the heroine. He's not expecting to fall and love, but it hits him like a semi. And I must admit, there is something about the older Harlequin Presents that always gets to me. They are so dramatic and out there. I mean in real life, who has a rich guardian who's going to marry you when you come of age? Who gets a painter to come make a portrait of his wife? Only in the pages of a Harlequin Presents book.
It's one of those books where the heroine doesn't fall head over heels first. It takes her a while to realize that she does love Jason, and that love had been hidden in her heart because of their relationship, and also because of the very cold, standoffish demeanor that Jason has. Plus she's holding a grudge that he got her pregnant and now she has to be married to him until the baby is born. At first she isn't too keen on being pregnant, but then she realizes when has a fall that she really does want the baby. In a way, it's kind of refreshing to have a heroine who is reluctant to be a wife and mother. Not all women are instantly maternal and have dreams of happy wifedom.
While I don't defend what Jason did, and I thought Dinah was pretty immature and withdrawn, I like reading this book. The thing about fiction is that you don't always agree with what is done or what you read about, but at the same time, you can enjoy a book and get something out of reading it. This is one of those books. For that reason, it is a keeper for me.(less)
I quite enjoyed this book. Andrew is the type of hero I wish I saw more in romances. He's a complete nerd and a bit of a mad-scientist inventor thrown...moreI quite enjoyed this book. Andrew is the type of hero I wish I saw more in romances. He's a complete nerd and a bit of a mad-scientist inventor thrown in. He's a hot nerd, though, with a very sexy body and beautiful reddish hair. He sounded very very yummy to me, anyway. I loved the fiery chemistry between Andrew and Celsie. At first they thought it was mutual dislike but it turned out to be the beginning of a deep love. Although superficially they are different, there was a meeting of the minds, and a mutual respect that I believe a couple should have. I like that they were both misfits and felt like they would never be understood or accepted by society, although for different reasons.
Celsie is a tall, slender woman who feels like she's not very attractive, but Andrew definitely found her attractive from the beginning. Celsie supported Andrew's desire to invent, and Andrew supported Celsie's crusade to protect animals that few care about, such as cart horses, and dogs used to turn the spits that meat is roasted on. I could see some of myself in both of them. I am a bleeding heart and I love animals, and hate their unnecessary suffering. I am also a bit of a nerd who can get lost in the things running around my brain, like Andrew. Andrew's deep dark secret was a bit odd. I felt like more time could have been spent on wrapping that up. I don't want to spoil anyone so I won't go into detail about that.
Loved the aphrodesiac storyline. Imagine jumping someone's bones like Celsie did Andrew. That was funny and steamy. I loved glimpses of Lucian, the Duke of Blackheath, who schemes and connives to get his younger siblings married and settled. He's a great character, and I fell in love with him when I read The Wicked One, which is his book and the last in the series. It's interesting to see how things work out in this to start his relationship with Eva. They are definitely a match made in Heaven, or perhaps a place south of there.
I loved the Georgian setting, which is like Regency but a lot more wild and free-wheeling. Part of me wishes this book was about fifty pages longer so we could delve deeper into Andrew's abilities/curse, whatever you want to call it, and have a more leisurely climax. But overall, I am very happy with book and enjoyed it because it reminds me of the great historical romances I used to devour several years ago, and seem less in the offering recently. (less)