Now normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rakNow normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rake who gets hoisted by his petard by the man-hater. Silver feels like she is resistant to passions for a man. She tried love and it didn't work for her. She's all about being a good movie critic like her somewhat spiteful, Truman Capotesque mentor. He is teaching her to write acerbic, cruel reviews. Unfortunately she reviews Rafe's production and he's not happy. He decides to teach her a lesson, and ends up kidnapping her to his cabin in the mountains. It has a bit of the captive theme I like. And it has hot passion and hotter romance. The end is great because they both show sacrifice (sort of like Gift of the Magi). This is a great book to read if you can find it, a real treasure. As a matter of fact, I need to pull out my copy....more
This book was pretty romantic and had my favorite theme: The marriage of convenience combined with baby theme. Sterling is a movie star who doesn't beThis book was pretty romantic and had my favorite theme: The marriage of convenience combined with baby theme. Sterling is a movie star who doesn't believe in love and ever after. But he does want a baby. He convinces Colby to have his baby, but Colby is an old-fashioned girl, so she says she'll have to be married first. Her family commitments make this a deal she can't say no to. They don't plan on falling in love but they do anyway. Even though Sterling didn't believe in love, he was a really nice, sweet guy. Colby was pretty sweet and kind of sheltered. They were a cute couple. It's probably old-fashioned compared to some of the more racy books coming out, but I really enjoyed this story about two people learning to open their hearts to love....more
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 armThis 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 He's also a bit grumpy and withdrawn.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....more
I loved this book because the hero Draker wasn't a rake, and he was socially awkward, in fact, having the disposition of a big bear with a thorn in hiI loved this book because the hero Draker wasn't a rake, and he was socially awkward, in fact, having the disposition of a big bear with a thorn in his paw. He thought he was unlovable by women, but he couldn't stay away from Regina. Regina was fascinated and drawn to him despite her determination not to marry. And honestly, so was I. For some reason I like heroes who are a little grumpy and unapproachable. I found him very sexy in fact. Regina looked and acted like a perfect princess and was very mannerly, but she had a dark secret that has tormented her. I was really glad to see them come together and find happiness. This is my favorite in The Royal Brotherhood Trilogy....more
Great way to spend a Saturday evening reading about Simon's determined pursuit of Louisa, and how the pursuer really was the pursued all the time. SimGreat way to spend a Saturday evening reading about Simon's determined pursuit of Louisa, and how the pursuer really was the pursued all the time. Simon has some issues from his cruel grandfather that take things to the next emotional level. I'm glad to see that things worked out for Simon and Louisa, and it's so refreshing to read a book with a hero who isn't sleeping with every woman he can prior to the heroine....more
This book has all the good ingredients to start a five alarm fire. But some reason, it was just a good, warm fire to heat smores on instead. I'm not qThis book has all the good ingredients to start a five alarm fire. But some reason, it was just a good, warm fire to heat smores on instead. I'm not quite sure why this book only ended up a good read for me. The story is intense in its own way. Two people who met when they were younger, connected in a magical time under the desert sky, but things ended badly. When they meet again, the spark was there. So why didn't I feel the fire? I'm not sure.
I felt like I was watching a news report of the whirlwind romance between this couple, instead of being front and center. I admit this: I love Harlequin Presents because I love the drama and the passion in these books. These books should be larger than life. When you read them, you don't want to be thinking about your grocery list or things you should be doing instead of reading that book. If I read one that can do this, that makes me feel the fire, than the book has succeeded. When I read it and think, "That was pretty good, but not great. I wasn't moved," then I feel something was lost in the translation. In all honesty, didn't feel that these characters quite came to life for me, which is a bit disappointing.
I think that Sabrina Phillips has a good future ahead in this line, but I hope that she is able to do more showing and painting a vivid picture that a reader cannot resist. As it stands, this is powerful stuff: a love that never died, even if there is anger and bitterness left behind. But things never seemed to ignite for me. If I wasn't the type to want to be pulled into the book, face-fowards, I would probably have given this five stars. As it is, this one's a 3.5/5.0 book....more
I enjoyed this first book by Gena Showalter, with its fresh theme of a warrior imprisioned in stone. As characteristic of her writing, it shows a sweeI enjoyed this first book by Gena Showalter, with its fresh theme of a warrior imprisioned in stone. As characteristic of her writing, it shows a sweet, goodhearted approach to paranormal romance. The sensuality is well-developed but doesn't overwhelm the romantic aspects of the book. It has many laugh out loud moments, while balancing the heart-tugging moments equally well. Jorlan comes off as being a male chauvinist pig at first, who turns out to be just what self-sufficient tomboy Kate needs. Although he seems just like her macho brothers and father initially, she comes to see that he does respect her strengths and wants a woman who will walk at his side, and not behind him. The villian Percen is actually quite compelling and tortured and scarred in his own right, and you feel sorry for him and hope that there is a way for the book to end where he gets a happy ending too, which does happen. He ends up falling in love with a young woman who can equally meet him on the tortured playing field. I love reading Gena Showalter's books because they have a feel-good appeal to them, which is definitely why I read romances....more
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I think Claudia Dain is a great writer, but the plot of a woman who had been married four times priorI was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I think Claudia Dain is a great writer, but the plot of a woman who had been married four times prior was not to my taste. I ended being pleasantly surprised. I felt deeply for Nicolaa, having been wedded, bedded, and rejected four times over by men who wanted to marry up. How scarring that must be to a person's self-esteem. And the King just keeps giving her to loyal knights or subjects as is his so-called right. When he gives her to Roland, she expects things to be little different. Except Roland has decided he wants to woo his emotionally-distant wife into loving him as she should love her husband.
Initially his motives are selfish. He doesn't even plan to stay around (although he will stay married to her). I thought that was asking a lot for him to want a loving, devoted wife that he wasn't even going to commit to living with. But he gets entrapped by his own plan. He begins to fall for the strong, yet inwardly vulnerable woman who he has been wed to. When she relies on her priest and confidant (who happens to be in love with her and doesn't want her married again) to get an annulment since their marriage hadn't been consummated, Roland forcibly consummates the marriage, determined that she won't be able to find a way to end it. I didn't like that. I suppose I could understand why he did it, but it wasn't a very nice thing to do.
However, Nicolaa doesn't let it faze her. She has dealt with four other husbands of varying temperaments and has trained herself to endure and give them what they want (or lip service) until they go away. Except Roland doesn't seem to fall into the usual pattern. He refuses to be ignored and tries to be everything that he feels she needs in a husband. His efforts start to chip away at the frozen wall around her heart. She finds herself falling deeply for the serious, godly knight who spent the several years prior to their marriage celibate after the loss of his dearly-loved wife who begged him to take her on the Crusades with him. He had determined he would not love again, but he falls deeply for his reluctant wife.
As is typical for a Claudia Dain book, the characters are complex, yet the writing style is poised yet simple. You feel immersed in the medieval period, and get to experience the everyday trials and tribulations of people who lived in that time. But fundamentally, she tells a good love story about people who have suffered in their lives, yet manage to find true love where they did not expect it to be found. ...more
If you like Diana Palmer, but also love interracial romances, you'd like this book. It has the hero running as hard as he can, but trying to seduce thIf you like Diana Palmer, but also love interracial romances, you'd like this book. It has the hero running as hard as he can, but trying to seduce the heroine on the other hand thing that Diana Palmer does so well. Having said that, I believe that Rochelle has her own unique style that shines through. She seems like a real romantic at heart to me. A reason why I like her books.
I would have rated it higher, but Rally is such a knucklehead about Sage not being Native-American. It was kind of silly, since she grew up with him in his household. He was attracted, and deep down loved Sage, but he had real issues about preserving the Native American heritage. He even had a Native American woman picked out to marry but he clearly didn't love. At the same time, he felt jealous and possessive toward Sage, and was livid when he thought she had slept with another man.
Also ***spoiler warning**** I don't think that Sage should have slept with Rally and then went off with the intent to marry his friend. That felt dishonest to me. I didn't think it was fair to her fiance. I think she was trying to move on with her life, but her fiance didn't deserve to be snuck around on, and with his best friend.
It was my first book by Rochelle and I enjoyed reading it. The chemistry was pretty hot but it had an old-fashioned love story in it's way (hence the Diana Palmer comparison). I like the combination because I am pretty vanilla when it comes to sex, but I like steamy vanilla sex in my romances. It was refreshing because I ran into issues where there were ebooks that were way too erotic for my tastes. So I am glad that they also have sweeter ebooks out there.
Like a lot of the smaller-press ebooks, it did have some editing issues, but they weren't so bad that it made it hard to read. I look forward to reading more of her books....more
**spoiler alert** Having read The Sheikh's Bartered Bride by Lucy Monroe, I was eager to read another sheikh book by her. I started this book and it k**spoiler alert** Having read The Sheikh's Bartered Bride by Lucy Monroe, I was eager to read another sheikh book by her. I started this book and it kept mentioning an older brother who lived with his wife prior to marriage, and so I was thinking he must have a book also. So my gaze focused on the short story collection Hot Deserts Nights with a Lucy Monroe story, and sure enough, it was about Khalil and Jade called Mistress to a Sheikh. So I took a break and read this story first to get a frame of reference. Then I jumped back into Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress. I enjoyed this book, but I had a couple of issues with it. For one, I thought the heroine Grace was a little too self-deprecating. Yes, I know she was slender and shy and didn't think much of her looks, but I didn't like how high she put the hero Amir on a pedestal above her. I wish she had a little more self-worth. Don't get me wrong, I love the shy, unassuming, plain Jane heroines, but I like the ones with a little more spark and self-love. It is clear that she has always been shy and in the background, so I guess it makes sense that she would be so down on herself. But it bothered me. She was a very capable person and she wasn't ugly. But she had this opinion like she was worthless other than her skills as a PA. Even as a shy sibling in a large family, I am sure that Grace's parents showed her enough love to know that wasn't true. I was about to get disgusted when she goes to get a makeover to get Amir to see that she was a worthwhile bride candidate, when he had propositioned her in a prior scene. Obviously he liked her already. For some reason, makeovers in romances rub me the wrong way. I don't mind if the heroine never got to spend time on herself and does go and do that, but when she feels like she needs to change herself to make herself more acceptable, that bugs me. The only thing that saved it for me was that a) the hero said she looked great before and didn't all of a sudden notice her just because she got her hair fixed and wore more revealing clothes. I know men are that shallow in real life, but I don't like shallow heroes in the books I read. b) It was made clear that she had possessed inner beauty before and was just bringing out the real her. Okay, if you insist. The other thing that bugged me about this book was the hero's insistence on not allowing himself to care for Grace in a meaningful way. He had loads of girlfriends, and paraded them in front of Grace, getting her to shop for gifts for them. That was rather unfeeling of him, as he knew that she was attracted to him, if not in love with him. I think he should have tried to be more discreet in this case. And to compound matters, he asks Grace to make a list of suitable bride candidates for him. How callous is that? In his mind, he thought he was doing the right thing because he cared for Grace and loved her as a friend, but knew he couldn't allow himself to love his wife since he had loved and lost his first fiancee when she did. Okay, I understand your fiancee died, but you were eighteen years old. Get over it. And then he decides he's going to have a sexual relationship with Grace but still not marry her, knowing that she's a virgin, but not marry her. That's really lowdown. I admit that I am old fashioned. I like heroes who do care for the heroine and do have honorable intentions. I don't mind if they seduce the heroine into marriage, or seduce her with the intention of marrying her for certain. But I hate when the hero seduces a heroine just for a sexual relationship and has no intention of a permanent relationship (marriage). That's my issue and so I was annoyed at Amir's behavior. He confides his intentions to his older brother, Zahir, who is a confidant for him. Zahir seems to see that he has feelings for Grace that he isn't owning up to, and doesn't tell him that he's being a selfish jerk, probably because he thinks it will lead to him marrying Grace. And Grace just falls in with his plans, because she loves him. It bothers me in some of these romances that the heroine loves the hero so much she'll throw away her self-respect and negate her own self-love. Personally I don't want anyone to love me to this degree. You should love others as you love yourself, so obviously caring about yourself and having self-esteem is important. I guess I'm a masochist. I read these books because they inspire strong emotions in me. Well this one definitely did inspire strong emotions. So I will keep this book and possibly reread it, because it was well-written, but I can't help feeling aggravated with the heroine and the hero for their attitudes. Frankly I wish that Grace had told Amir to kiss her anatomy where the sun doesn't shine. Maybe he would have got a clue earlier. Hopefully Zahir will be a lot more gallant than his brothers and not act so dishonorably towards his woman like his brothers did....more
I love the cover for this book. It was beautifully written and delightfully melodramatic. A good book to read to escape from the mundane cares of yourI love the cover for this book. It was beautifully written and delightfully melodramatic. A good book to read to escape from the mundane cares of your everyday life. I liked that the heroine was socially awkward and tended to say things that shouldn't be said. ...more
Another old favorite HP of mine. Okay, maybe the heroine is a bit doormat-y, but it's still really good. Luke thinks Sara is no good and is trying toAnother old favorite HP of mine. Okay, maybe the heroine is a bit doormat-y, but it's still really good. Luke thinks Sara is no good and is trying to manipulate the old lady that turns out to be a long-lost relative of hers, and is also his great-aunt. Sara is probably one of the nicest people on earth, however. The great-aunt convinces Sara and her young brother to live with her, and of course, Luke moves in to keep an eye on things. He treats Sara contemptuously because of his bad experiences with an ex (he doesn't want to believe that she's as good as she seems). Circumstances happen where Sara goes to his room to talk to him and falls asleep on his bed. The great-aunt discovers her in there, and Luke convinces Sara they should get married so that the great-aunt won't think bad of either of them. Sara thinks it's a marriage of convenience because there's no way Luke could be attracted to a plain Jane like her, but he is so they end up having a real marriage. Of course, Luke is still dealing with his trust issues, and Sara's no good younger sister is no help, trying to make a play for Luke. This is one I've reread more times than I can count. I love this kind of storyline for some odd reason (probably because they are both crazy about each other but doesn't think the other returns their feelings)....more
At first I was just reading this because I got it for Tell Harlequin. I was somewhat interested because of the dynamic between Axel and Tara. Then itAt first I was just reading this because I got it for Tell Harlequin. I was somewhat interested because of the dynamic between Axel and Tara. Then it became very interesting to me. I tend to enjoy book set in small towns, and books that show the interactions of people in those towns. I also liked the way Axel's very large, extended family spend time together, watching out for one another, teasing and loving each other. I really like books with big families interacting. Maybe because my family bickers so much I don't want to be around them. The tension between Axel and Tara builds slowly. This is no Harlequin Blaze, but I did feel there was good romantic tension and pretty good sensual interactions for a Silhouette Special Edition, not one of the hotter series in HQN/Silhouette.
Axel really grew on me. He was a good guy, and had conflicting loyalties, all intersecting at the same time. Should he have called? Yes. Did he have a good reason for not calling? Yes. He was pretty yummy I thought.
I liked Tara a lot. She had good reason to be wary and hold herself back. She had been subjected to endless moves throughout her young life, and then her life imploaded when her brother went undercover in a gang and became a wanted man through testifying against them. She finally established herself in a new place, although she was still trying to keep her distance out of fear of losing those connections again. Then she has the weekend with Axel and he doesn't contact her again for four months, that's after her brother stood her up when they were supposed to meet on her birthday. I could definitely understand her cold feet. Was she wrong about keeping her and Axel's baby secret? Yes. Did she have a good reason in her mind? Maybe. But I was glad she finally told him before the baby got here. I can deal with a secret pregnancy and a secret infant. Secret child and teenager really annoy me. That's just plain wrong unless the baby's father is the antichrist. Maybe then, I might take that into consideration.
Although this book about small town life and a wary heart learning to trust probably wouldn't be for everyone, I have to say I really enjoyed it, although it got off to a bit of a slow start. But then, I like the small town slice of life and family books a lot....more
This is an excellent book. For those of us who love exotic settings check this one out. It takes place in India in 1841. The hero has lost an eye andThis is an excellent book. For those of us who love exotic settings check this one out. It takes place in India in 1841. The hero has lost an eye and spends part of the book impotent. It's so cool to have a hero who is far from perfect but just scrumptious. I really loved Ian and I think I might be adding him to my list of scarred/imperfect hero favorites. The heroine is also admirable. She's of Russian birth but raised as an Englishwoman and has issues with passion because of her wild and crazy parents. She is the kind of woman a man like Ian needs. She's a true helpmate and a strong woman. They meet when she's trying to protect the camp from a maneating tiger. She almost shoots him in the process. Their relationship develops beautifully as they meet each other's needs. Ian was imprisoned for years and was terribly abused, kept in the dark and starved. His cellmate was Laura's uncle and he asks him to bring his diary which he wrote in his bible. Laura helps Ian to heal from his trauma and Ian helps her to come to terms with her passionate nature. They actually marry because both thinks that they can have a passionless marriage since Ian is incapable and Laura doesn't want passion (although she has a sensual nature that she tries to suppress.) The magic and seduction of India helps Laura to come to terms with who she is. There is a lot about the cultures and religions of India in this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am definitely very Christian in my beliefs but it is always interesting to learn about other's beliefs. And India is such a diverse nation with people of so many cultures and beliefs. This is definitely dealt with in this book. This book also gives a different view of the British imperialism that takes place in India. I had a negative view of it overall, but in the book you can see that it had some good aspects. The British rule or Sirkhar actually brought about reforms in areas such as banning child sacrifice and sutee (the ritual burning of widows). They also reformed the tax system that was beggaring the poor because tax barons were taking all their money away. And I also learned that the army was largely composed of native soldiers who were lead by British commanders who were educated in the beliefs and language of their troops. Initially the apartheid system (for lack of a better word) didn't exist. Briton and native blended together and often intermarried and bred freely. But as more British who held prejudiced ideas entered the country, that changed. Never say you cannot learn from romance.
This is a great romance but also has plenty of action. Ian is a serious bad-ass. He's a sharpshooter (you might say how does he do it. Well it's explained. Most marksmen shoot with one eye closed). He's a man after my own heart. I love heroes who can get the job done. And he's a Scot. Sigh!!! They actually have to save India from becoming war-torn when a swell of anti-British sentiment from Afghanistan threatens to push over the border. There are reasons that go into this but too indepth for this blog, and you should read the book to find out. It does involve Laura's uncle. I'll tell you that much. There's even a cool secondary romance between Ian's army sargeant, a Pathan warrior, and a young Indian woman who is saved from sutee when her older husband dies. Ooh there's just too much to go into. You need to read it.
I can't give everything away but if you love exotic books full of action with awesome characters and a deep, wonderful romance, you should definitely check this one out....more
I must admit that I loved the Ghostwalkers books much more than this one. I think it was because I am not enamored with fictional subjects about celebI must admit that I loved the Ghostwalkers books much more than this one. I think it was because I am not enamored with fictional subjects about celebrity. The elements pertaining to Joley's world-wide stardom as a rock singer seemed to overshadow the narrative in this book. I wonder if Ms. Feehan has a favorite female singer who inspired her to write this story and to model Joley after. I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is yes.
It was a very good story. If I hadn't read and fell for the Ghostwalkers books first, I would probably have loved it more. But since they were my first exposure to Feehan's writing, I can't help but like this one less. I know it's wrong to judge this book based on another set of books, but the bar has been set very high.
Things I loved about this book: 1)Ilya. Ilya. Ilya. I am so in love with Russian heroes and he's a yummy one, the poster child for Hot Russian Hero. He is dangerous with a capital D. Very enigmatic and mysterious, and devastatingly gorgeous. I loved the fact that he saw Joley and had to have her. I thought it was so cool that he heard her singing at a really dark moment in his life, and bonded with her. He bought all her records, but then he had to see her in real life. It was over for him at this point. I know he kills without remorse, but he kills really bad people. Morally speaking, murder is wrong, but I think that there are circumstances where killing is justifiable. And the people he killed were the scum of the earth. I got glimpses into his past, but I wanted to know more about his training as a child. I hope that this is revealed in the next book. Anyway, I loved the hero so much in this book.
2)The close bond that Joley has with her sisters. I have a sister that I would die for. She is my best friend and we are very close. So I identified very closely with this.
3)Joley's warm, generous heart. She is a very kind, caring person. She went out of her way to help and to be there for others.
4)Joley's love of music and all of the musical motifs and themes in this book. I love music very much. I sing out loud and hear music in my head. I have very limited musical ability although I learned how to play the clarinet and the guitar. But all the same, I feel that music is in my soul. I really identified with that about Joley. It was so cool that people had different songs to Joley depending on their emotional state. Ilya was her soulmate in the sense that he also saw this in people.
5)The interaction between the characters. I feel that this is a strength of Ms. Feehan as a writer. In the seven books I have read by her, she is dead on in the portrayal interpersonal relationships. She has the intimacy that is present between good friends and loved ones. That is one of the things I loved about the Ghostwalker books and it is present in this one. I loved the connection between Ilya and Joley and the mark he put on her and how it was used.
6)I loved the seventh son/seventh daughter destiny thread. It was pretty cool and funny when Joley found out the implications of it. Let me say I wouldn't mind being Joley if I could have Ilya. Although I have no desire to be a world-renowed singer. I like my privacy way too much.
7)Brian's situation. It was pretty neat to have that storyline. I enjoyed it a lot. I am sorry that things didn't go better, but in a way the tragedy of it was beautifully done.
8)The fact that the Drake sisters' abilities weren't played as a heavily pagan sort of thing. I don't know what religion they are, but it was more portrayed in this book as their legacy and not based on pagan beliefs. I don't have anyting against pagan beliefs, but I don't really enjoy when it is shoved down the readers' throats. In my opinion, this is just as preachy as Christianity being shoved down the throat of a reader who is non-religious.
What I didn't like: As I said earlier, I found the celebrity stuff tedious. I have been known to watch E Network and scan the tabloids, but I just don't care for it in a romance novel. It was an integral part of the plot, and it had to be since Joley is famous. But I'd rather see a more personal story or a story with the couples on the run and spending lots more private time together. Joley did have private time with Ilya, but not as much as I wanted. I also didn't like the depictions of the dark side of fame: the drugs, the illicit and improper sexual situations, the stalkers. Practically each band member had to deal with issues along these lines or suffered the consequences of it. I still didn't get what Logan's deal was. He didn't have to do what he did to his wife Tish. Something good came out of it, but I don't know if I am good enough like Tish was to forgive him. I'd love the baby though. I'd kick Logan to the curb and just keep Lissa. Good thing I'm not Tish.
All and all, this was an enjoyable book. I would like to read the other books, and I am looking foward to Elle's book in particular. This Jackson guy sounds way up my alley. ...more
If reading a book is like eating a meal, then reading Mr. Fix It is like eating a gourmet meal. This is the first book that I have read by Ms. HubbardIf reading a book is like eating a meal, then reading Mr. Fix It is like eating a gourmet meal. This is the first book that I have read by Ms. Hubbard, and I can tell you honestly, I was blown away at the skill of her writing. I have read few other books that gave me the impression that the author was a wordsmith. One example is Judith Ivory, who is not prolific, but beautifully writes historical romances. Language can be sparing and economical, or it can be flowery and showy. Mr. Fix It manages to be a happy composite of both. There is no overblown, florid prose in this book. But sentences tease the mind like the sweet smell of pink roses, or the explosion of flavor on the tongue when tasting a really good cheesecake. I am a visual person, and each scene played vividly in my mind. Although Mr. Fix It is not written to intently describe every feature of the character's looks, you are given the details to form your own image of the characters in your mind. You know that Khela is pretty and has dimples that come out when she smiles. She is brown-skinned with peach undertones, and her body is toned from boxing practice. And we know that Carter is so beautiful that he could float by through life merely on his looks. Food is described with sensuous detail that tells me that Ms. Hubbard is definitely a foodie. And she writes of the best things in life with a knowledge that makes me think that either she has exquisite taste or is an expert researcher. I certainly learned a lot about many subjects as varied as the romance writing industry, architecture, gourmet food, and high fashion. Even though I felt very unsophisticated compared to Khela, it was refreshing and wonderfully destructive against stereotypes to have a Black female character in a book with such culture. And thankfully, Khela still manages to be a genuine, nice, and good person that you would love and admire, at the same time. Khela is a romance author, who would spend hours signing books or talking to fans. She also works very hard to write high quality romance books that are excellently researched, dispelling the stereotypes that romance novels are just trash. She understands how much they mean to people (and as someone who can firmly state that reading romance has gotten me through some awful times, this hits home personally with me). I can safely assure you that will definitely like Khela, if not love her as the heroine of this book. Carter is also likeable, but I would say that he turns out to be the more troubled counterpart in this romance. This is a twist because you go into the book expecting Khela to be more weighted down with issues and afraid to love. I must tell you honestly as a writer, I felt mixed emotions as I read this book. I felt awe at Ms. Hubbard's writing skill and beauty. Also I felt despair at the thought that I could never write a book this delicious and written with such consummate skill. As an aspiring writer, I know that I am also encouraged to develop my craft and to be the best writer that I can to make minutes pass like seconds and hours like minutes like this book did when I read it. As far as the interracial romance, by nature that is what this book entails. However, race is so not the issue in this book. I found it decidedly refreshing. Khela is a character whose insecurities in romance stem from being used in the past, not for fear of loving a White man. For Carter, being with Khela is the culmination of years of desire. It was love at first sight for him, even if he couldn't use the words in his mind. She is the woman he wants, for all that she is. If she happens to be Black, that is just part of who she is. His angst stems from the fear that he is not enough for her, or good enough for her. There is the conflict of loving someone who is famous, and all the drama that goes along with this. Also the fear of being wanted and used because of your success and material wealth. The first fear is Carter's, and the second is Khela's. They both have to overcome these fears to find happiness together. And race, simply does not matter. If you are the interracial romance fan who is mortally sick of the "I can't date a White man" song and dance that is far too common in this genre, I encourage you to read this book. It is like a breeze of fresh air tinged with newly blossomed flowers. I guarantee that this book will cleanse a jaded palate. I thank you, Ms. Hubbard, for writing such a splendid book....more
Reading this book this week turned out to be a serendipitous thing. I needed a book like this in my life right now. I'm kind of homesick, overworked,Reading this book this week turned out to be a serendipitous thing. I needed a book like this in my life right now. I'm kind of homesick, overworked, stressed, and tired. And a great book really helps to lighten my load. There are things about this book that I loved that I could go hoarse trying to explain to someone who doesn't 'get' why people enjoy Diana Palmer's writing.
Every writer has a formula. Find me one who doesn't if you want to dispute this statement. Sometimes the formula is disguised as anti-formula, but it's still there, all right. I think some authors get lambasted much more than others for their formula. Heck, I've been reading Diana Palmer for about 20 years, maybe more. I will freely admit that she does have a formula. And my retort to a mean-spirited anti-Diana Palmer reader is, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Why do I say that? Because she can write a book that can make me laugh, stir my emotions, turn on the heat, without being overly descriptive, blatantly sexual, or outside of pretty much any reader's sexual comfort zone, and make me cry or feel like I might cry, and I end the book happy that the couple found their happy ending together. Do I love all the elements in her books? No. But I can't say there is a writer in my list of favorites where I can say that I don't dislike some aspect of what they have included in a story. That's including my absolute faves (including Diana Palmer): Anne Stuart, Kresley Cole, JR Ward, Christina Dodd, Nalini Singh, Lisa Kleypas, Laura Kinsale, Sherrilyn Kenyon/Kinley MacGregor, Simon R. Green, Jim Butcher, Manly Wade Wellman, and many more.
If I were to weigh the things I don't like about Diana Palmer's writing against what I love, she'd still and does make my list.
What I don't love/like: --excessively hairy men --cigarette-smoking men --minimum of ten year age difference between hero and heroine --tendency for hero to be verbally abusive (but I can see why most of them are that way. She writes very tortured heroes who have a history of being betrayed by a woman in some way. The most verbally abusive ones had a bad experience with a mother, and that can really mess a person up. She does the 'I am mean because I don't want to be in love' hero very well, in my opinion. There are a couple that I felt were worthy of being brained to death with my titanium shovel that I keep handy for jerky heroes, but most of them, I can end the book feeling like they've made up for their bad behaviors.)
What I do love about her writing: --she can make laugh like crazy. She is such a funny writer. I love to laugh. You do the math. --she has wholesome characters (and is not afraid for them to have old-fashioned morals) --she tries to introduce information about different cultures (and peoples of different cultures) into her stories (although I wish she would have some Black characters move to Jacobsville). --she writes extremely poignant, emotional stories with characters I feel for and care about --even though her heroes can be mean at times, they do repent and show their remorse and go on to be very loving and caring to their heroines, and they are not physically abusive or sexually cruel --personally, her gentle heroines (often disparagingly called doormats) don't bother me. I like them. Some are more tolerant than others, but she has some pretty smart alecky heroines who can give tit for tat, and score some verbal darts to keep them neck for neck with the hero. Her heroines are usually very kind, and are often very tormented. I love a tortured hero (a lot), but I also appreciate a tormented heroine. I like to see her get the happiness she deserves at the end of the story. I like her heroines. They are really good women who don't always get the best shots in their life. They make lemonade out of lemons, and that's to be admired. --she's not afraid to write a virginal, less-experienced, or celibate hero, or a hero who might have a sexual dysfunction, for that matter. --personally I think she has tried to do different things with her writing. Yeah, the rare Diana Palmer hater out there who reads this review might disagree with that, but how many Diana Palmer books have you read to dispute this? I've lost count of how many of her books I've read.
Argh!! Why do I always have to go into Diana Palmer defense mode? I love her, and that's good enough for me. I think it's because I think she's a dear, sweet lady, and I just want to hug her. Her books have brought so much joy into my life for more than half of my time on this earth. Even when I cast my most critical eye on her books, I still love what she does, because she's such a good storyteller. It says something when an author can have similar storylines, but still engage a reader's interest and enjoyment. I can't say I love all her stories to the same degree (only one story got a C rating from me by this author), but I always enjoy reading them, and the time spent on them. And they stay on my keeper shelf.
Well, Woman Hater is an older book that somehow got past my Diana Palmer radar. Thank you, HMS, for bringing this one to my attention. I was lucky enough to find it on Amazon used for a decent price, and I bought it. I'm so glad I did. This story does have a hero who has a grudge against women. Yet surprisingly, although he blew hot and cold, he wasn't cruel to Nicole. At the most, he kept her at a safe distance, until his passion seemed to get out of control (which happened frequently). You could tell that he genuinely liked and respected her from the beginning. He was very sweet to her, and really wooed her very gently and showed her the adoration a hero should show to his heroine. When she needed him, he was there for her.
I enjoyed hearing about life on the ranch in Montana, the interactions between Winthrop and Nicole (great chemistry from the beginning), and the secondary characters. I wanted to be in Montana in the fall, during a bad blizzard, stuck in the ranch house with Winthrop, Nicole, his brother Gerald, and various other cast and characters. I was sitting at the car dealership this morning, laughing out loud, and not minding the long wait for my car. In fact, I was happy to wait because I had some actual reading time for this book. I admire how Ms. Palmer can write romances that are very genteel in their love scenes, but very sensuous at the same time. I don't know how she does it, but I do find her love scenes stirring (did I say that out loud?)
Nicole has some very troubling issues with her family. I felt really bad for her because of what happened with her mother and father. I had to give her props for walking away from what she did, gaining her independence, and her own life, and sticking to what was right. I don't know how you can call a woman who could do what she did a doormat or weak. I certainly don't. I liked how she came to terms with her father, who had a 'Peter Pan' syndrome like you wouldn't believe. She had to open her mind and heart to seeing that he wasn't the villain that she always thought he was.
I liked Winthrop. I think he was flawed in a very human, relatable manner. Like him, when I am hurt by people, I tend to withdraw into myself. I am not one to put myself out there to get hurt again and again, so I don't blame him for keeping women at a distance, when his love turned her back on him because of a potentially crippling injury. That would really destroy a person's pride and ability to trust. He saw Nicole working for his brother, and part of him fell in love with her then and there, although he couldn't admit it to himself. She never left his mind, and he was afraid to love her. But for all that, he did what needed to be done, and showed his love in a way that brought tears to my eyes.
Ah, this sap loves the romance of that kind of story. I had to give this to be a five star read because it was really enjoyable. I laughed, almost cried, felt for the characters, and I was so interested, I didn't want to put it down. If you can find this one, definitely give it a read. If you haven't read Diana Palmer, but you've heard really ugly things about her, don't let that dissuade you if you want to give her a try for yourself. No, she might not be everyone's cup of tea. And that's okay. However, I assert that Ms. Palmer has earned her fans' loyalty in her many years of writing. I'll speak for myself. She's definitely a woman who has my steadfast loyalty....more
This reads like an interracial romance for Diana Palmer fans (which I am). This book is a keeper for me because of the sheer pathos and angst within iThis reads like an interracial romance for Diana Palmer fans (which I am). This book is a keeper for me because of the sheer pathos and angst within its pages.
This book is a merry-go-round emotionally. Years of two people fighting their feelings for each other. Again, I say if you like the Diana Palmer-type "I Don't Want to Fall in Love" hero, Storm Hyde is your kind of hero. He does have motivation, having been raised by a seriously mysoginistic father who filled his head with junk about all women being whores and out for money. This dialogue keeps playing in Storm's head when he meets the woman he falls in love with, Syleena Webster,who is the roommate of his considerably younger sister. Storm is an affluent businessman/cowboy whose average relationship lasts about six months. He's definitely not the ideal man for inexperienced Syleena to fall in love with, but she falls hard and never recovers, even though Storm doesn't treat her well from the beginning (again, think Diana Palmer hero pushing away the woman he loves).
One of the cool things about this story is, race is so not the issue. Storm is a White guy, and Syleena is a Black woman, which we know, but that's as far as the racial issues go. Instead the issue in this book is both characters' fear of trusting someone enough to give their hearts to them.
Syleena does her best to overcome her past of having a mother who was a heartless, uncaring, promiscuous sometime-prostitute who treated her father like crap and goaded him into suicide. She has spent years paying off her mother to leave her alone, and her mother is a big secret that she tries to keep. This secret blows up in her face, when Storm realizes that she lied about both parents being dead. The diatribe against women echoes in his head, and conquers his determination to give his heart to Syleena.
The way that he gets back at her is a scene that will linger in the reader's mind. I found it exceptionally well-written, and I must say that it is one of the cruellest things a hero has ever done to a heroine. (Nothing physical but very emotionally-wounding). So why did I keep reading the book? I wanted to find out how this couple could find happiness together. And Rochelle doesn't cheat the reader, as is done way too often. Storm has to work very hard to win back Syleena's love (thankfully). And Syleena ends up in a very bad place that really shows you how desolated and heartbroken she is by Storm's betrayal. Thankfully Storm is there to act as her self-appointed knight in shining armor, even though Syleena is far from ready to forgive and forget.
There are some editing errors and a few areas where the writing was awkward, but they don't detract from this story. All you can do is keep reading to find out how things turn out. I probably would have finished this book sooner, but I am pretty lazy about reading ebooks. Had this been in paperback, I am sure I wouldn't have been able to put this book down until it is done.
I definitely recommend this to the interracial reader who is tired of the race issue being the prominent conflict in the interracial romance they are reading. It's so not the case with this one. Also it's a breath of fresh air from the often oversexed interracial ebooks that an avid IR fan cannot help but come across. Yes there is sensuality and lovemaking scenes, but they are not overused, but definitely add to the romantic story unfolding.
You should check this one out for a back to basics love story....more
Caitlin Crews is a new writer on the Harlequin Presents scene that has gotten my attention. I picked this book up based on the blurb. I love arrangedCaitlin Crews is a new writer on the Harlequin Presents scene that has gotten my attention. I picked this book up based on the blurb. I love arranged marriage/marriage of convenience as a theme in a romance novel. I think there is so much inherent tension with this storyline. A lot more is at stake when the hero and heroine are married and getting to know each other. They can't just walk away like an unmarried couple could. But can they make a marriage work, between strangers? Will their hearts be put at risk in a marriage that started out of obligation? In the right hands, this can be a very intense read. I'm happy to say that Ms. Crews succeeded in taking a well-loved premise and giving it life.
Luc is one of those heroes that is literally seething with emotions. He has been taught by his parent's rocky marriage, lived out in front of the tabloids, to keep very close control over his emotions. But still waters run deep. I knew he'd keep me reading. The man is like a volcano in the quiet hours before it erupts suddenly and with deadly force.
Gabrielle also wears a calm mask of composure. She has been conditioned since an early age to be the perfect, pretty princess. Her father's love was denied to her, and her goal in life was to do everything she could to earn it. The next thing she knows, she's bartered off to a billionaire businessman of aristocratic heritage, without being consulted or asked if she wants the marriage first. Gabrielle sucks it up like a good future Queen and walks down the aisle...to a man that scares the life out of her. He's tall, dark, handsome, and full of intense masculinity. And he's her husband. She never balks at duty, but this is more than she can take. There's not question that this man wants to be in charge and run things, has plans to control his new bride within an inch of her life. She feels as though she's merely traded one prison for another. After her husband claims his kiss of possession on their wedding night, she flees the scene, leaving him to be exposed to mockery in the tabloids (his worst nightmare, thanks to his parents). Well, we know Gabrielle won't stay hidden for long from a ruthless, unstoppable man like her husband. He tracks her down to her friend's bungalow in California, and he's determined to claim his bride as is his right. Yes, this is one of those 'mine' heroes. Works for me!
This book has the right ingredients for a very good, entertaining Harlequin Presents. The powerful attraction between Gabrielle and Luc radiated off the pages when I was reading. Luc is one of those heroes that you don't exactly love initially, but you can't resist, at the same time. He's so strict and arrogant about what he wants in a biddable wife, and he's sure he's going to get it. But he gets more than he bargains for. He doesn't seem to know what he wants. With Gabrielle he gets the perfect, decorous wife in the public eye, but in bed, she's wild for him. But he hates when she retreats behind the facade she's used to protect herself from the derision she's come to expect from the one man she couldn't make happy, her father. How does she know her husband will be any different?
Ms. Crews uses the sensual moments to fantastic effect in this book. They are the lens through which we see the walls break down between these two people who are controlled and afraid of emotions for different reasons. We see Luc go from being a man who hates emotions to one who wants nothing but emotional honesty from his wife. The way she tries to hide herself drives him crazy. Gabrielle tries very hard to keep herself from loving Luc, but she fails in the attempt. It's simply heartbreaking when Luc throws her love back in her face because he believes she betrays him.
The climax of this book had me hanging on the edge of my seat. I couldn't put it down as I kept reading to see how things would resolve. I really admire how Ms. Crews pulled it all together. Both Gabrielle and Luc had to reach an epiphany where they realized that their love was more important than any shallow thing like public image or looking bad to others, even their pride. They had to take leaps of faith, to come to trust their hearts in each other's hands.
This book is heavy on internal dialogue and description. But it was used to excellent effect. The emotions came off the pages at me, which is what I look for in a good book. As I said above, I really enjoyed the love scenes, because they showed so much about the feelings between Gabrielle and Luc. My favorite was the limo scene. Well done!
If you're looking for a new Harlequin Presents author, you should definitely give Ms. Crews a try. I look forward to reading further books by her....more
It turns out this was an accidental reread for me. But I was drawn into the story enough to keep reading, despite the familiarity of the events.
Lucy MIt turns out this was an accidental reread for me. But I was drawn into the story enough to keep reading, despite the familiarity of the events.
Lucy Monroe is one of those authors that draws you into her stories. She doesn't go for some fantastic, world-changing writing style. She just tells a story about two people in love. I like that she has a down-to-earth approach as an author. There is something wholesome about her stories, that also appeals to me. I like that the love relationship is the heart of the story, and it's not contrived in the execution.
Sebastian starts out as a bit of a jerk. But he definitely redeems himself in spades, with a little help from his wise and kind-hearted mother. And when he realizes what he lets slip through his fingers, Sebastian moves mountains to get Rachel back. One of the things that appeals to me, is that Rachel is one of those heroines who acts like an intelligent woman. I think that she thought through her decision to be involved in an affair with Sebastian very carefully. She gave her heart to him fully, only to have it broken. And she moves on to go back to her life, wiser for the experience. When Sebastian comes calling, she doesn't fall back into this arms immediately. In my opinion, her reticience to trust him again was wise, and I respected her for it. He treated her abominably, and he had to make up for that before she could give her heart again. Which he does exceedingly well, I must say.
The Greek's Innocent Virgin is one of those modern romances that has enough old-fashioned touches that make it enjoyable for those of us readers who don't really go for the Sex and the City-type romance novel. Yes, ordinary heroines with old-fashioned values can still have their happy ending without abandoning too many of their values in the process. If a reader is of the ordinary/wholesome type, you can get a little bit of identification with your romance read in this story. It's not heavy-handed, but I get the feeling that this story would appeal, if you're looking for this kind of book. If you're not, I think you can still enjoy this story if you want a quick, enjoyable, and romantic read....more
I really liked the style of this book, with the French cultural aspects. That restaurant that they went to was such a great idea...and a great steamyI really liked the style of this book, with the French cultural aspects. That restaurant that they went to was such a great idea...and a great steamy moment there. It really added to the passionate atmosphere in this book. Speaking of steam, this book has quite a bit of it. Ms. Green's writing showed how powerful the attraction between this couple was, even if it was totally unexpected. Pascal was a very sexy hero. Both Pascal and Alana carried a lot of baggage. Surprisingly, Alana's load is heavier than Pascal's. If you like a commitment shy heroine, look no further. She almost jumped the shark with me, but when Alana 'woman-ed up,' I couldn't stay mad at her. It was very nice how she proposed to Pascal at the end of this book.
It's all a matter of personal tastes, but I just don't tend to go for books where the couple are having a short fling or affair. I liked that Pascal clearly wanted something more from Alana very early into their affair. Alana did have valid reasons for her fear of getting involved, so it made her relateable.
Despite the title, this story is not in the semi-traditional HP mode. Alana isn't really falling into the mistress role, and Pascal is not expecting that of her. I like that some of the dialogue seems to flaunt the conventions of this line of novels. Well done with that, Ms. Green.
Pascal is a standout hero for me. I liked him a lot. Yes, he's a playboy businessman, but he had some depth that appealed to me. I liked how he really wanted to show that Alana meant a lot to him. And that he was there for her when she became aware of her pregnancy. Despite his parental issues, he was committed to being there for his child. And he was very droolworthy! I hope that we see more French heroes, because they really have an appeal, especially in a good writer's hands. There's just something about Frenchmen.
Abby Green is clearly a very talented author. Her books go to a deeper emotional level, and in this book, it's not always comfortable for the reader. I think that was why this wasn't a five star book, because I don't really go for the relationship angst all the time. It felt more like a painful chore to read about that, than enjoyment for pleasure reading, although it was very well-done on the part of the author. Having said that, There is a maturity to the inter-personal relationships that impressed me.
I can't complain about anything in this book. Other than personal reading tastes, this was a very good book. If I was more into the affair, traumatic relationship-angst books, I think this would be a five star read for me. For the atmosphere, sizzling sexual tension and love scenes, and the sexy, French hero, not to mention good quality writing, this is easily a four star book....more
I could not put this book down. It really drew me in and kept me on the hook--watching the sizzling interactions between this couple. Not only that--II could not put this book down. It really drew me in and kept me on the hook--watching the sizzling interactions between this couple. Not only that--I was drawn in by the well-written dialogue between Lindsay and Alessio. Lindsay and Alessio actually talked most of this book, having very meaningful discussions. Although they were polar opposites when it came to their worldviews and outlooks on relationships, they came to realize that they had the same trust and relationship issues, deep down.
Alessio is one of those heroes that seem tailor-made for the shovel to head treatment. But, he wasn't. His arrogance and hard-hearted personality actually hid a man who had been hurt deeply through the actions of his mother against his father. He is a rake, through and through, but he discovers that he has a heart. In the process of trying to break down Lindsay's defenses and beliefs about true love and relationships, be comes to realize that he likes and appreciates who she is. That she is a good woman who has her reasons for why she behaves the way she does.
I really appreciated how Miss Morgan presented this couple, and how we see them grow. Lindsay learns to let go and to be less of a control freak. To open her heart to experiences and to love. Even though she does give in to Alessio's seduction, it's on her terms and with her eyes open. She's not whiny or weak. She's a strong woman who's rational and in control of her emotions. She's not a soft touch. But, she comes to realize that desire is something that she can feel, because that's part of who we are as humans, and because she's fallen in love with Alessio. Even though Alessio is hard at first, I could see why Lindsay fell for him. That he was a good guy deep down. He learns that he can give his heart to a woman and feel intimacy with her that is not about sex, but about an emotional connection. And I loved the end, how Alessio does make a gesture and show how he loved Lindsay.
I would recommend this book to the Harlequin Presents reader who wants a more modern kind of story that shows a relationship developing between two people who probably shouldn't be attracted to each other and fall in love--because they do have that connection that brings soulmates together. In the end, I did believe that Lindsay and Alessio were two halves of the same heart, helping each other to realize that they don't have to be slaves to their pasts, but that their past shapes them to be people who can love and find freedom to love in their lives.
Once again, I've loved and enjoyed one of Sarah Morgan's books. Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars....more