Imprisoned by a Vow has Annie West's characteristic intense writing and a compelling story. Readers who enjoy a romance between two troubled souls wil...moreImprisoned by a Vow has Annie West's characteristic intense writing and a compelling story. Readers who enjoy a romance between two troubled souls will probably enjoy it.
While I liked this story and I gave it four stars, it doesn't quite appeal to me the way some of this author's other books have. I think part of it was I didn't quite care for Joss for most of the book. While I love a rugged, tough hero, I liked them to have more accessibility than Joss had, especially in this kind of book. I can understand a cold as ice, impenetrable spy, but a businessman with that much ice around his heart was a little harder to reconcile.
I think that Leila makes this story. Her struggles to regain the sense of self destroyed by her cruel stepfather and her strong spirit in the face of very crushing emotional and mental abuse spoke to me. Honestly, I think she was much too good for Joss. I was hoping he would realize that a lot sooner than he did. It took him a bit too long. The ending was nice, but I would have preferred a more drawn out redemption process.
Joss goes from being Man of Ice to I Might Have a Heart way too quickly at the end. Yes, he does show some caring touches for Leila, but she was always about to explain them away as acts he did for his own convenience. As a reader who strongly appreciates "the gesture" as showing love, even as much as the words, his gestures didn't speak loudly enough for me in this book.
The passion is well written, as always. And Leila's journey of coming back into herself was inspiring. Annie West doesn't tend to disappoint this reader. While she didn't disappoint me with Imprisoned by a Vow, per se, I just wanted a little more out of her hero than I got.
But overall, a very good marriage of convenience turns to love story.(less)
I'm not a big reader of mainstream fiction, so I am probably not the target audience, but Hart is a good writer. The emotional landscape is complex an...moreI'm not a big reader of mainstream fiction, so I am probably not the target audience, but Hart is a good writer. The emotional landscape is complex and gritty in this novel. Not light reading at all.
The Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of na...moreThe Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of nature. Her personality is hard to pin down, even if you know her very well, which few people do. And she makes a very bad enemy. While some characters might go to Africa to run away from their past or to define a new life for themselves, Monroe is the opposite. She was born in Africa and raised there. Although she is Caucasian American descent, Africa flows in her veins and helped to make her who she was, and not all in good ways.
Monroe doesn't let fear define her, instead she walks in defiance of it. Being afraid is not her problem. It's the rage and anger she keeps under lock and key. She struggles against demons from her past that simmer in her blood and make her heart beat fast with the tribal beat of war. Control is a way of life when she knows just what she's capable of. Yet, she is unafraid to go into dangerous places when others would shirk such a responsibility. When Emily Burbank's adoptive father contacts her to find out what happened to his daughter in Africa four years ago, she is going to have to go back to the place she was born and face her ugly past.
I love to read about heroines who are tough and resourceful. Who can kick butt just like the action heroes. Monroe is definitely one of those kinds of heroines. I like that she is very adaptable and clever about thinking through situations. While she has other weapons, she uses the one between her ears very well. Her personality is really abrasive and she's not what I would consider a typical "likable" heroine. And yet, there is something about her that resonates with me. I like that she is such a survivor. I mean, who could go through what she did and still be 100% sane and free of scars? She actually is quite sane, although I think deep down, she fears what lurks in the abyss she keeps locked away inside. She's sort of the opposite of Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness. She's been there and she walked away. It holds no appeal for her.
I liked the complex relationship that Monroe has with Francisco. I didn't expect it, yet when it happened, I thought, "Of course." I knew that Monroe would have to come full circle and get closure about Africa in order to heal. That process was ugly and painful, but necessary. I also liked her relationship with Miles. Each encounter helped to shape her in different ways, as relationship with others should do.
While I didn't like everything about the narrative, I did like how the author builds tension and unfolds the story, and keeps me guessing what's going to happen next. While one could easily draw conclusions about what happened in Equatorial Guinea, it's different from what I thought, and complicated. I think this is a book that lends itself well to audio, because some of the written facts about Emily's disappearance and the various places she went/the stonewalling she encounters, and Monroe's search in those places might be a bit dry on paper. I also think that some of the action scenes could have been more suspenseful and intensely written. There was a sense of risk, but it was a bit muted at times. As far as the narrator, I liked her voice a lot. She captures who Michael aka Monroe very well.
This is one of those books that doesn't build up one's faith in humanity. Corruption runs so deep and twisted in this world, and some places are built on this foundation. And while some of us who are lucky to live in a more lawful country, those same individuals go to other places in the world and make things worse in their conquest for power and money because they can get away with that in some places in the world, where life is cheap. Like some of my other thriller/suspense/action hero favorites, Monroe is there to teach them a lesson, but in her case, that lesson is a costly one for her as well.
I couldn't imagine living the life that Vanessa Michael Monroe has lived. One of the things I love about fiction is that I can go on a journey with a distinctive heroine like Monroe and see life through her lenses. I can feel her pain and her anger and experience the victories and defeats she has, and it helps me to understand that life is a complicated thing, but we can make it through things we never imagined possible.
This book might not work for everyone, but I found it interesting and thought-provoking. It felt unique and Monroe is an unforgettable heroine. She's kind of lawless in some ways, but deep down, she has a code that she won't stray from. She's a complicated women. Readers who enjoy this kind of heroine or a reader looking for something different might enjoy The Informationist.(less)
This book is another excellent addition to Clare's excellent romantic suspense series. Very timely, with a balanced view of the current situation rega...moreThis book is another excellent addition to Clare's excellent romantic suspense series. Very timely, with a balanced view of the current situation regarding Jihadist terrorism going on in the world today. Spicy and emotional.
This book turns out to be deliriously romantic by the end. I definitely didn't expect that, although some of my trusted HP Buddies have raved about it...moreThis book turns out to be deliriously romantic by the end. I definitely didn't expect that, although some of my trusted HP Buddies have raved about it, so I should have thought there would be some winning element here. It's ground that has been covered before: the boss and his secretary. In this case, Helen is a single mother who is is also the bread-winner for her small family of a three-year-old daughter and a sister who is just about to go to college. She has no time or inclination for romance, especially after her disastrous marriage to an abusive jerk her sister Tina refers to only as 'Pig.' She wants to keep her head down and have her safe, well-organized life.
When Ross Maclean, the owner's son, takes over the position as the head of the London office of their company, that dream bites the dust. Ross needs a secretary who can work the hours that suit his own needs. At first he plays along, but he's intrigued why she must leave precisely at 5 pm everyday. When she explains her situation, he seems angry. Helen thinks it's because she allows him to think she's an unwed mother. How wrong she is.
The tension in this story builds slowly. There are a few misunderstandings (not annoyingly so, but because both characters aren't anxious to unshield well-guarded hearts). The fact that we don't have much of a hero POV assists in us feeling like Helen, on a precipice, completely unsure about Ross' intentions. What his endgame is. Ross has a cold, calculating demeanor that makes him feel unpredictable. He plays his cards very close to his chest. While I love a demonstrative hero, I think this layout worked well for the book, leading to a beautifully surprisingly conclusion.
At the end, you realize just how desperately in love Ross is, and the reveal is rapturously romantic. Although I do have to say he showed his love in many other ways. I for one, loved how he bonded almost instantly with Tansy. It's because I am a sucker for men who love children. I also liked how he gets along so well with Helen's sister, after she realizes he's not a jerk like her sister's ex.
There is a little bit of "Other Woman" drama, but it's not overdone. Just enough to prick Helen into realizing that she does love Ross and doesn't want to share him or allow his love to go elsewhere.
Overall, this was a lovely surprise for me. A book with some very effective romantic elements, and one that takes the often overused boss/employee relationship theme and creates a distinctive and satisfying romance story. A vulnerable heroine and a tough hero, but done in a way that doesn't seem like gross mismatch, but a meant to be love story. As such, I'd give this one: 4.25/5.0 stars.(less)
This was a very enjoyable read. I honestly adored Zara. She has a sweetness, a genuineness, but also a inner strength that appeals. Her parents treate...moreThis was a very enjoyable read. I honestly adored Zara. She has a sweetness, a genuineness, but also a inner strength that appeals. Her parents treated her terribly, and her self-esteem as a result wasn't great. But despite that, she still stood up for herself and didn't let Vitale control her. More than anything, he became like putty in her hands because he fell in love with her for the unique, good person she was. That's always sighworthy to this reader.
I liked the descriptions and imagery in this book. I could see the characters and the settings very clearly. I also liked the dialogue. I think Ms. Graham did a great job of showing how Roccanti and Zara went from enemies to lovers. Roccanti had some serious emotional issues from a childhood filled with pain and insecurity. Not easy to overcome, but Zara provides him a place of safety, security and love and opens him up to trusting and loving others. I liked seeing how Roccanti realized how wrong he had been about Zara and how fruitless revenge can be. Except in this case, his revenge bore unexpected, bountiful fruit because he met the love of his life and started a family with her.
I read Zara's sister Bee's story first, A Deal at the Altar, and I was insatiably curious about how Zara ends up with Vitale instead of Sergios, and I have to say I liked this one just as much. The only thing I wish is that I had gotten to see the sisters interact more, although I understand why they don't, considering the tumultuous relationships with their connected family and the failure to marry Sergios (since Bee marries him instead). I hope I do see more sister interactions in Tawny's book, A Vow of Obligation.
Lynne Graham delivers on her sexy, passionate, entertaining and emotional romance yet again with this book. I recommend it.(less)
Really good, angsty, passionate western with a very tormented heroine, and an extremely sighworthy hero. The Indian/white conflict causes pangs within...moreReally good, angsty, passionate western with a very tormented heroine, and an extremely sighworthy hero. The Indian/white conflict causes pangs within me that remind me why I avoid NA romance. Not because I don't care, but because I care too much. I have found a new western author in Elaine Levine. I will be reading her other books.
A little different from what I expected. I thought Jacob would be more approachable based on his appearances in the other books. However, it makes sen...moreA little different from what I expected. I thought Jacob would be more approachable based on his appearances in the other books. However, it makes sense to see him so cold, so disconnected from life. Especially with his fears of hurting others and doing violence as a legacy of his father's abuse and substance abuse.
The metaphor of a gardener painstakingly and lovingly transforming and rehabilitating a neglected garden to its former glory reflects how Mollie helps Jacob to come to terms with this fears and his isolation and open himself up to her love. With her gentle, loving care, she coaxes him back to an emotional life. Jacob always was a family man, no question. He loved his brothers and sister deeply, and the only reason he left and abandoned them was to save them. This sets the pattern for twenty years of running away and isolating himself. He was out in the cold and while it was for his survival and protection of others, it was to his detriment. When he returns to Wolfestone Manor and becomes involved with Mollie, he is able to put his demons to rest.
For a short book, Hewitt creates a believable emotional journey. The fact that she does have all the siblings come together at the end as a family is the absolutely crucial element I needed. It was the resolution of this eight book journey that left me ultimately satisfied, even though I am not 100% sure that Kate Hewitt's writing style reached me as much on an emotional level as I wished.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would have preferred a deeper connection, since I have wanted to read Jacob's book from the very beginning. I am sad to see this series end. I grew very attached to the Wolfe family. I can at least be satisfied that they are all happily married and beloved by their spouses and others, with a hopeful future. When I finished this book, this desire was fulfilled, and that is a good thing!(less)
Grave Mercy is a fantasy novel that feels like historical fiction. Our heroine is a young woman in 15th Century Brittany who has always been cast in t...moreGrave Mercy is a fantasy novel that feels like historical fiction. Our heroine is a young woman in 15th Century Brittany who has always been cast in the role of victim, until she is delivered to the Convent of St. Mortain, the God of Death who masquerades as a saint to appease the newer Christian church. Now she is the wolf instead of the prey. Ismae is believed to be the daughter of this god, since she even survived being poisoned in her mother's womb, although she is forever physically scarred by that poison. She seems to be resistant to poisons and heals faster. While Ismae never felt special so much as rejected, when the choice is a life away from an abusive husband, and some agency in her life, she chooses to become a novice in the convent, learning all the many skills of bringing death to those marked by her god.
Not long after her first mission, Ismae is sent to masquerade as the mistress of Gavriel Duval, the bastard brother of the young Duchess of Brittany. Her Mother Superior has tasked her with spying on Duval to see if he is faithful to the Duchy. If Mortain marks him for death, she is free to kill him. Instead of growing sure that Duval needs to die, she falls in love with him, one of the few men she has met who is decent and caring to women, when her own father hated and abused her. But love won't be easy when Ismae is surrounded by intrigue and treachery in the young Duchess's court. Will her father guide her aim true in these tortuous waters?
I enjoyed this book a lot. While the author doesn't describe every detail of the setting and appearance of the characters, I obtained a very clear picture of what was going on. Better yet, the story simmers with atmosphere, quite Gothic. While this book establishes itself as a historical fiction novel, the paranormal/supernatural vibe teases at the senses. The manner in which Ismae knows that her god has selected a target is quite eerie but doesn't stick out like a sore thumb, because the story fits so naturally in both categories, paranormal and historical fiction.
As far as Ismae's character, she is quite admirable. She's incredibly lethal, and I think a large part of her lethality is her quick mind and her observant nature. She makes a very good spy but also a bodyguard because of those skills. I liked seeing the mystery unfold through her eyes. You see that she isn't always unbiased, especially when it comes to men, considering her past painful experiences with men. I did like that her view changes as she comes to realize that not all men are bad and women aren't the superior sex, because they are just as flawed. She also comes to realize that people can use religion of any kind as a tool for power and control, but that doesn't invalidate one's personal faith in their god. While Ismae is very skilled at killing, she's not a killing machine. She has a respect for life and no desire to torture or cause suffering in others. This was necessary for the story to feel right. This reader is fascinated with assassins in literature, but she hates cruel, sadistic acts, and a good assassin should always show self control (or so this fictional assassin connoisseur believes).
Grave Mercy is a successful book, in my opinion. While this is slated as a young adult novel, it doesn't feel as though it's trying to talk down or dumb down the story. If anything, it aims for a clean feel, meaning no graphic sexuality or depictions of violence. But this book doesn't need that. The storytelling gives the reader what they would want for a story of this type. The author writes about themes that affect women, especially women in the past. How their lives and choices are restricted due to their sex, and how that impacts nearly every decision they make, even if they are allowed to have that much control over their lives.
Ismae is a heroine that a reader can cheer for. A lethal assassin with a supernatural ability who realizes the world is a lot bigger, less cut and dried place than she first assumed. And that love is definitely a possibility for the daughter of death, but her life and her choices are ultimately her own.(less)
Blood in Electric Blue is a well-written novel, a journey that is steeped in surrealism. This is one of those books where you don't quite know what is...moreBlood in Electric Blue is a well-written novel, a journey that is steeped in surrealism. This is one of those books where you don't quite know what is real and what isn't. Is Dignon really being preyed upon by a siren, or has years of physical and psychological abuse, and a hopeless, lonely adulthood broken his sanity? You don't really know. As I read this story, I came to my own conclusion, and it made me sad. I would like for lost and lonely Dignon and his brother Wilma (who is a transsexual) to have an optimistic future... Alas, it doesn't seem likely.
I thought that the writing was evocative, highly visual, and emotive. I found myself being pulled into the narrative, and cared about Dignon, feeling deeply for him. The sadness that enveloped him in his normal life, also infected me. I felt his sense of disconnection and loneliness deeply. He was like a person looking inside through the glass, trapped outside in the cold. As a cat lover, I appreciated his close bond with Mr. Tibbs, his beloved feline companion.
This struck me as a very sad story. It was also effective as a dark fiction/horror novel, even though the horror elements are somewhat ambiguous. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy dark fiction with horror elements, written in a fashion that feels 'literary.' As a person who dislikes genre snobbery, I rather dislike using that term. However, I do feel that readers who enjoy character-based stories that plumb the depths of speculative fiction and horror would view this book as a more literary-oriented novel. As such, I'd put this forth as a recommendation to reader with these tastes. If you are like me and prefer upbeat stories, you won't find that here. However, it was worth a read for its exploration of the emotional and psychological effects of abuse and isolation on a person. Essentially showcasing characters that are definitely of the walking wounded variety.
Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars
Thanks to Jeannie for loaning me her copy and recommending Greg Gifune as a writer to me.(less)
Thoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance between two people who never thought they'd end up being instant parents to the orphaned children of their r...moreThoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance between two people who never thought they'd end up being instant parents to the orphaned children of their respective best friends. Very sweet and surprisingly sexy at the same time. I need to read some of Jo Goodman's other books, many of which I have on my to read shelf at home.
I wasn't that keen on reading this book. I am not into sportspeople as a rule, particularly race-car drivers (Sorry, they do nothing for me!). I mainl...moreI wasn't that keen on reading this book. I am not into sportspeople as a rule, particularly race-car drivers (Sorry, they do nothing for me!). I mainly read this because it's part of the Notorious Wolfes series and I didn't want to read the series out of order.
I ended up liking it more than I thought. Alex had more depth than I expected, and I really liked Libby. Alex as a race-car driver is a metaphor for trying to outrun the pain in his past. Eventually he comes to realize that he has to slow down and face the ugly emotions from his past. Ms. Grady got the anatomy and physiology facts right, and kudos to her for that. It added credibility to Libby's being a physiotherapist. There is a nice twist with Libby that adds impact to this story. Overall, this was good but not great.
I liked Libby's backstory a lot. (view spoiler)[The fact that she used to be a champion surfer until a shark attack. I wasn't expecting Libby to have lost a lower leg in an accident. I felt that this made her more identifiable than the typical Harlequin Presents heroine, who seems to be so perfect that the identification factor is blown to smithereens. Honestly I didn't think the fact that she was an amputee who wore a prosthesis was handled to the degree that I wanted. She didn't describe it or dwell on the day to day of having a prosthesis. I was looking forward to that part. Since I have recently had mobility issues, this was in my mind as I read the book. I wasn't sure that she would have that degree of freedom of movement to be completely unnoticeable as a prosthesis-wearer, but I will give a benefit of the doubt on that. Overall I was disappointed about the overall handing of this part of the story. But still, kudos to having a heroine who has an obvious and permanent physical 'imperfection' in this line but has taken measures to move on with her life. (hide spoiler)]
I would have liked to see more of the Wolfes in this installment, because that's why I enjoy this series, the family dynamics. On the other hand, I appreciated a closer glimpse at the family through the eyes of Alex and to see how that terrible night that changed the whole family impacted him in particular, especially as Annabelle's twin.
All in all, this was a good book. The romance was well-written and I felt the chemistry and feelings between Alex and Libby. Both had character depth and their emotional angst had an impact on me. Fundamentally, I just didn't like this as much as the other books, and I don't feel that for me it's a four star book. Pretty close though. After all, I liked it more than I thought I would, and Libby's character kicked this one up a notch more for me. I am excited to read Annabelle and Jacob's stories.
This was a pretty good romantic suspense. I liked that the hero wasn't all uber-alpha (I can break things with my teeth and kill all the bad guys with...moreThis was a pretty good romantic suspense. I liked that the hero wasn't all uber-alpha (I can break things with my teeth and kill all the bad guys without breaking a sweat). Dav was a normal guy (although a billionaire) who did the best he could in the dangerous situation that he and Carrie found themselves in. They were both nice people. It could have been a little more exciting as far as the suspense, but it kept me reading. And I liked the secondary characters.
This book really ripped me up inside, with its depiction of child abuse. It made me cry. The writing was very good, and I liked the way she showed cha...moreThis book really ripped me up inside, with its depiction of child abuse. It made me cry. The writing was very good, and I liked the way she showed characters who were Christians and trying to live their lives and deal with some very dark aspects in their job and around them. I will definitely read more by this author.
This was a very thrilling read that I didn't want to put down. I was gnashing my teeth and shaking my fists at the cliffhanger ending, and I will be e...moreThis was a very thrilling read that I didn't want to put down. I was gnashing my teeth and shaking my fists at the cliffhanger ending, and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment.
**spoiler alert** ***Bigtime Spoiler Warning. I can’t write this review without them. Sorry! ****Super-duper Long Review Disclaimer! I have so much to...more**spoiler alert** ***Bigtime Spoiler Warning. I can’t write this review without them. Sorry! ****Super-duper Long Review Disclaimer! I have so much to say!
When I started reading this series back around 2005 or 2006, I was drawn into the dark, seductive, dangerous world of JR Ward’s vampires, and something took root in me. I knew I would come back for more when I finished Dark Lover, and so I did. Again and again. Every year, I look forward to a new book in this series, and rightfully so. I believed the culmination of my love for this series would be Lover Mine, since John Matthew and Xhex are two of my favorite characters. While that book will always have a special place in my heart, I am happy to say that I still believe this series has more to offer me with every book.
I knew I would enjoy Lover Reborn, but I had some anxieties about it because it’s a pivotal entry, and a difficult storyline to read about (and to write about, from Ward’s perspective). So many expectations! I am happy to say I believe that Ward has stayed true to who she is as a writer with this book.
Tohrment always seemed like the most grounded, stable, mature member of the Brotherhood. When this series began, he was a family man, happily mated to Wellesandra. He was the voice of reason in the Brotherhood, and many looked to him for advice, leadership, and moderation. All that disappeared in a single act of violence, one that tore his beloved shellan and their unborn son away from Tohr, leaving a broken wreck of a male behind.
The opinions are varied. Many feel that it was too soon for Tohr to find another mate. Some believe he never should be mated again. Some want Wellsie to come back. As much as I love Wellsie, the realist in me didn’t expect her to be brought back. I feel that this would be way too fairy tale a resolution for this quite dark series. Personally, I would rather someone who had lost their wife/husband to move on and find love again. If I died, I would want my husband to be happy in this life. I believe Wellsie definitely felt the same way. Although I’m not a widow and I haven’t lost my soulmate, I have lost people that I loved, and grief is a part of life. It hurts like nothing else, and the loss makes a void in one’s life that cannot easily (nor should it be) be filled with anything else. Yet, over time, you feel those horrible claws of loss easing their way out of your soul and psyche, and you feel the healing begin. I for one feel that Ms. Ward did a very good job at portraying this with Tohr’s journey in this book.
There is no question whatsoever that Tohr loved Wellsie. But I loved the message that part of loving her was letting her go, and allowing her to go to her eternal resting place, and moving on and living his life. It felt right to me how the storyline showed that Tohr was actually keeping Wellsie from going to the Fade by his horrible, wrenching, unchanging grief. Although this is fiction, I do believe in the message about healing from grief being so integral to the process. And that felt so real to me.
My other concern was how Tohr and No’One’s relationship would develop. I didn’t want the whole book to be about how No’One would never measure up in his eyes, and that she was just a consolation prize, since Wellsie was gone. On the other hand, I didn’t want Wellsie to be forgotten about like being gone meant she didn’t matter anymore. That makes a very hard path to walk for a writer. For me, there was a lot of symmetry in how Tohr and No’One came together. It was naturalistic to the story, and I was satisfied with the outcome. Like most of the courtships in these books, there was a rocky road; but both Tohr and No’One both learn and grow from the experience.
No’One Many readers have speculated on her, and how she could end up being Tohr’s mated shellan. In Lover Mine, I learned enough about her to think that there could be a foundation between her and Tohr.
Although Tohr spent many years with Wellsie, and their love was the cornerstone of his life, he also had a very crucial relationship with No’One in his formative years. As a young vampire, he helped to save No’One when she was kidnapped and abused by a sympath male. He nursed and cared for her through her pregnancy, and he buried her when she killed herself, with his dagger. From a spiritual perspective, an unbreakable bond formed between them that is pivotal to the healing that is necessary for both. So it made sense for them to come together for me. She wasn’t just a random female that dropped out of nowhere.
Regardless, Tohr doesn’t make it easy for No’One to claim his heart. He is truly mean to her a couple of times in this book, and I wanted to slap him upside the head. And she hates herself so much, that she doesn’t feel she has the right to be loved. So No’One has to go through a sea change to claim her happiness in this world, this time around. It was painful to see how she hurt herself emotionally, how she denied her right to happiness, but that too was realistic. How often do we blame ourselves for the mistakes we make and the bad things that happen to us in this life, which aren’t our faults? We feel that we have to claim that misfortune and assume that we deserved it. No’One had an elephant’s weight of guilt sitting on her back, and until she divested herself of it, she could be no freer to love than Tohr was. There was balance in that.
Tohr and No’One Tohr is a really good guy. Despite all the horrible grief he suffered, he still tried to be courteous and to make sure that No’One had what she needed, as far as he could give it. Other than his two freakouts, which were pretty nasty, I think he treated her well. He didn’t make any false promises. I loved how he gave her a new name that he felt was worthy of her because she refused to go by her name when she was a young member of the Glymera. Autumn is a very fitting name, and I loved it. I liked how it tied into the cover so well. And it also ties into the whole storyline. People think of Autumn as the harbinger to the darkest part of the year. Autumn is a time of transition. It has a beauty all its own. It’s the season when the bright beauty of summer edges into the crisp purity of winter. Autumn is like a time of rest for the earth. To me, that is representative of what Tohr is going through. He is learning to live without Wellsie and to find joy and beauty in what had promised to be a very dark future.
The love scenes between Tohr and No’One/Autumn were very good. It showed that although Tohr’s first shellan had died, his heart didn’t have to die with her, nor his body and his capacity to feel desire for another woman. I liked that they eased into it over several months. I also liked how Autumn was able to see that she could have joy in a physical relationship with male. Being kidnapped and assaulted by the sympath male had made her feel disgust for males. With a gentle, loving male like Tohr, she was able to embrace the physical side of being a female. It felt right to me.
No’One and Xhex I loved the bonding moments between No'One and Xhex. They were able to meet as adults and to see each other outside of the fact that Xhex was conceived in a horrible way for No’One, and she had given up Xhex. Xhex realized how much her mother valued and felt pride in her, even though she didn’t meet the Glymera’s standards for beauty and success for a woman. These bonding moments made me happy because Xhex didn’t have a lot of people in her life to open up with and feel acceptance from, and she was going through a rough time with JM and how the Brothers tended to have a sexist viewpoint of her abilities in the field. They could meet on equal ground as women in love, and be there for each other. Those parts warmed my heart. I’m glad they found each other again.
Tohr and John Matthew Since Tohr views JM as his son, and vice versa, this was a crucial part of the novel to see them come together again. JM was able to help Tohr with his grief, and Tohr was able to give JM advice on his relationship with Xhex. Together, they faced the unresolved pain of Wellsie’s loss, and those moments affected me deeply. Their relationship is so important to this series, so I’m glad Ward came through in this manner.
Xhex and John Matthew I was kind of frustrated with the issues in their relationship. They had been through so much, I wanted them to have smooth sailing. Regardless of my discomfort with their relationship troubles in this book, I have to say it made sense. JM had to learn to deal with his issues with his mate going out in the field and risking her life, and how that affected his bonded male emotions. I like that he did get past those issues and respect the fact that the female he’d fallen in love with wasn’t the stay at home type. She was a warrior in her own right (actually for many years before JM). That was why he loved her, because she was a tough, strong, independent woman. Who was he force her to turn her back on that? From Xhex’s standpoint, I don’t think she was being unreasonable. She had the right to be herself, even if she was JM’s mate. And it was annoying how the Brothers and even Rehv weren’t taking her seriously because JM wasn’t dealing well with the idea of her being in danger. I felt bad for her, because she really does love JM, and wants to be with him, but doesn’t want to deny who she is, and she’s been through too much to let go of her sense of identity just because she was in love. I could also understand JM’s fears, especially seeing how Tohr losing Wellsie destroyed him. He didn’t want to go through that by losing Xhex, because she is his life. I’m glad that they were able to get past this. Since they are my favorite couple in this series, I loved seeing a lot more of them, even if there were some troubled times in their relationship.
Band of Bastards I wasn’t sure how things would go with the new storyline of the BoB. I have to say it was very interesting. I don’t view them as villains. I think that things will turn around for them to be allies with the Brotherhood, but it will be hard going. Xcor is a right b*stard, but he has grown on me. I hurt for him. I hope that he does find a female who finds him worthy, and hopefully that will be Layla. We’ll see. I was glad to get to know the other BoB, who now have names! Throe is still my favorite. He reminds me of Phury, in that he is a courtly male. That ain’t a bad thing at all, since I love me some Phury.
Qhuinn and Blay Honestly, Qhuinn has gotten on my nerves a time or two, but overall he is a worthy male and I do believe that. In this book, I really liked him. He has matured beautifully. I felt bad for him that he had to see Blay with Saxton, but in some way, the eating his heart out has been good for him. I think now he will fight for what he could have with Blay, and I’m looking forward to that.
Lassiter He cracks me up! I want to see more of him. I liked how he was a huge influence in getting Tohr and Autumn together and in helping them get past their issues. I want to see what this guy will be up to in the future, so I’m glad he’s sticking around.
Assail I have a feeling I will like this character. More please!
Where is Murhder???? I need some Murhder!
Now…..If there was one thing I hated about this book….. Why did Layla and Qhuinn have to sex because she went into her needing? It just felt all kinds of wrong to me. I am really unhappy about this outcome. If Qhuinn is going to be with Blay and Layla might end up with Xcor, what is the point of them having a child together? I just don’t see the blended family scenario working well in this series. I could be wrong. Maybe the WARDen will work it out. As for now, I am very unhappy about this! Sob! (Danielle admits that she thought about this all night‼)
Overall Thoughts Unlike some fans (and former fans) of the series, I wasn’t worried that this book would suck. I knew I’d enjoy it because I truly love JR Ward’s writing. I feel that she truly wanted to give Tohr a good story, and the end results show it. I’m sure it was a hard book to write, with many emotional struggles for Ms. Ward in the process of putting it on paper. Even though I don’t always like some twists in the stories, the whole package works for me.
This book touched me in so many ways. It had me laughing outrageously. It had me so sad that I couldn’t even cry. It made me happy. It was smoking hot as far as the plentiful love scenes, but it was also romantic. I felt she had given me resolution on some issues that were hanging out there in the air for me. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters who don’t get enough page time, like,….Phury. Too bad I didn’t get to see much of Cormia or Mary. I ain’t gonna lie, I would love more Rehv, but at least he was around in this book. It was great seeing Marissa again. I always feel great when I get to revisit my favorites, but part of me wants more! Heck, I think Ward tries. If she had pages of each of the characters, these books would be 1000 pages long, so I am not hating on her about it. I loved seeing all the Brothers stand up in support of Tohr in his difficult time. That was so necessary to this book. It warmed my heart big time.
So, for this reader, the magic is still there. I am afraid of the book slump I see coming since I have finished this latest BDB book, and the countdown begins for the next book. Next year. I can make it! I know I can!
This was an odd book. Some aspects struck me as cheesy (listening on audiobook), but man it was intense, and the bad guy is a piece of work. Actually,...moreThis was an odd book. Some aspects struck me as cheesy (listening on audiobook), but man it was intense, and the bad guy is a piece of work. Actually, there were other bad guys, which were a complete surprise (and they were complete jack*sses that made me want to jump into the story and do some b****slapping).
The genre of this book seems to vary as I listened. At first, was it adventure? Then it was mystery. Then, horror...but supernatural or human monster variety?
The violent parts come suddenly and are somewhat brutal. Nothing I couldn't handle, but I was gasping in horror and talking to myself as I listened on my commute. I'm working on my language, and I had to restrain myself from cursing at the bad guys.
The characters didn't immediately strike me as memorable. But Mr. Balenger, well he earned my respect. Goodness gracious, what this man has gone through. But I have to say it really prepared him to be the hero in the ordeal that their little urban exploration jaunt into a long-abandoned hotel on the Jersey Shore will bring them to face. At first, he's a man who seems mysteriously knowledgeable and capable in emergency situations for a mere, mild-mannered reporter. And strangely bossy. But then, you know why. He comes through big time, and I definitely wanted to give him a high five. But he's also very human. The everyman sort of hero, kind of like John McClane from Die Hard, in a way. I also liked Amanda and Vinny. I felt bad for a few other characters who had some messed up crap happen to them.
And the main villain. What a sicko lowlife scumbag, for sure! I mean, seriously???
What did I learn from this book?
*Creepers, the nickname for urban explorers, are crazy as heck! *Every experience you go through in your life will come in handy, so pay attention!! *Minutiae and trivial facts might buy time if you can spout them off when you are dealing with bad guy losers who want to end your life. *Stay my butt out of abandoned old buildings. *People can be seriously messed up in the head! *There is a such thing as poetic justice.
I didn't love this book (some parts just seemed cheesy to me), but it was an interesting read on audiobook. At any rate, I was sucked in big time.(less)
Sarah Morgan has written a book that is both very funny and quite sad and poignant at the same time. She used the overlying theme of Nathaniel being a...moreSarah Morgan has written a book that is both very funny and quite sad and poignant at the same time. She used the overlying theme of Nathaniel being an actor and built a whole story around it, including a lot of symbolism and motifs related to acting/playing roles to enrich this novel.
You see, Nathaniel is not an accoladed, successful actor for no reason. Playing roles was a way to escape from his terrible childhood, in which he was treated in a way no child should have to experience by his parents. He took the opportunity to become a Hollywood actor at the age of 16 and didn't look back. Since then, he has gone from one role to another, hiding himself in the characters he enthusiastically and vibrantly plays.
Katie is a clothing designer who prefers to hide behind the scenes. She is self-conscious about her voluptuous curves and the fact that she feels her looks pale in comparison to her glamorous model sister. She prefers being unnoticed, watching the actors play their roles and dressing them, and she is a very talented clothing designer with aspirations to make clothing for movie productions. When she meets Nathaniel, she is in awe of him, since he is one of her favorite actors, and a beautiful man. Never could she imagine that she would be embarking on an exotic interlude with him.
Despite their obvious differences, it's clear that Katie and Nathaniel have a connection that will lead them down the rocky but ultimately rewarding path to love. Katie being a determinedly bright, cheerful, communicative person, and Nathaniel always in control with his 'actor' facade on, unless he's lost in a role, giving as little as possible outside of his characters. I loved how Katie became a formidable opponent to that self-control, destroying that cold wall that the real Nathaniel hid behind (and she got revealing glimpses of the more time she spent with him). He couldn't resist her, because her spark and her joy, and her veracity hit him deep where he couldn't run away. Before long, Nathaniel is giving more to Katie than he ever shared with anyone. And Katie is in love with the real Nathaniel. But can she keep the real man from retreating behind the actor role he plays 24/7?
There were some very funny moments, and I loved those. Yet I was deeply affected at the pain and anguish that Nathaniel (and his numerous siblings) suffered and held deep in his heart. His family life was truly horrible. I felt for him and his siblings, and Ms. Morgan did such a good job of conveying this intense angst without beating the reader over the head with it. Like Katie, I could see the subtle signs that all was not as smooth and casual as Nathaniel tried to convey. Beneath his Hollywood persona was a wounded, troubled young boy that I wanted to hug. I was glad that Katie was there to love him, and that she met him head on and wasn't afraid to challenge Nathaniel to be real.
I have been a fan of Sarah Morgan for years, because she writes such rich, emotional, and hopeful stories with heroines I love a lot. They don't have to be sophisticated and gorgeous, or perfect to be wonderful heroines. Instead they have determination, emotional fortitude, and good hearts, and they make you cheer them on to get their men, and without settling for less than they deserve. I also like that her heroes are three-dimensional, and even though they might start out with undesirable traits, love causes them to grow into men that make worthy mates for their women.
This book is five stars because it had so much to offer to me. For a short read, it took me on a very comprehensive emotional journey, and it has me totally psyched to read the Notorious Wolfes series. This is one family that I need to read more about, and to see these eight siblings overcome a very sad family past to be successful people who find true love.