This was a rather dark story about humans who willfully exterminate legendary creatures, evil or otherwise. I enjoyed the change of heart that the you...moreThis was a rather dark story about humans who willfully exterminate legendary creatures, evil or otherwise. I enjoyed the change of heart that the young Slayer developed through an unlikely friendship with a young female Sphinx. I would like to continue this series.
It is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a re...moreIt is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a redhead and who has a strangely similar family history (with a few differences). Honest to goodness, I didn't do that deliberately. It was just one of those serendipity things.
I know some readers might be annoyed by the fact that the plot is slightly recycled. I wasn't. I think that in a long writing career, that's bound to happen to a prolific writer. I know that in my own writing I work out issues I see in life and that affect me on a deep level. So I'm not dismayed to see this in writers I follow.
Ava doesn't have an abrasive personality, and she probably would be entitled to it, considering her past. She carries a burden of guilt that has stripped that away from her, if she ever had it. It's heartbreaking what she suffered, and when it's revealed what truly happened, it makes it even worse. I think that Vito could have been a more sympathetic hero. I didn't love him, although neither did I hate him. He was kind of 'meh' for me. He was a bit too cold and unemotional (detached) to me. I felt that he loved Ava by the end of the book, but I didn't feel like he deeply needed her the way I like to feel from a hero. I think his attitude about sexuality was a turnoff. He was too much of a womanizer for my tastes. I think that his actions were initially motivated by a desire to get Ava in bed, even if he didn't want to acknowledge it on a deeper level. I'm not saying he didn't grow in his feelings for her, but I don't like when the heroes' feelings start merely as sexual (and his felt a bit lecherous to me).
Also, Vito didn't seem to want to believe the best of Ava. All along, he was willing to think she was everything that the past seemed to dictate, but he didn't consider how much his brother Olly loved and respected Ava and take that seriously enough. Let me put it this way, if my sister has a high opinion of someone, I take it very seriously. I guess that's why I was not 100% satisfied with this book. When it is revealed how badly Ava was wronged, I wanted to feel more remorse and regret for what she went through from Vito.
This story is pretty heavy and dark for a Lynne Graham book, surprisingly so. It really shows a profound degree of familial dysfunction. I kind of liked that, but I think things were wrapped up a bit too smoothly with a bow to balance out the really dark nature of this storyline. While I see love between Vito and Ava, I didn't get enough of a love payoff in this book. It's still a four star read because it was captivating and kept my interest. I was deeply enthralled with Ava's story and I wanted the best for her. I think she's a happy woman as far as the book ended, but I wasn't 100% satisfied. So it's a weak four stars.(less)
This is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh...moreThis is a very good start to a male-lead urban fantasy series. The concepts were familiar, but the author gives them all his own distinct spin. McHugh touches on some very recognizable figures in fantasy and folk legends and mythology and in a way that made me go "Hmm!". It's pretty gritty and quite violent. I'm not sure I was in love with the sexuality expressed in the story though. However, this book definitely keeps your eyes glued to the pages, and the magic was fascinating and darkly alluring and repulsive in parts. I am thrilled I am able to read and review this series, since I do love my urban fantasy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an excellent selection for audiobook. The narrator does a great job of immersing the listener in the world. She...moreI thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an excellent selection for audiobook. The narrator does a great job of immersing the listener in the world. She brings Myfanwy to life and makes her thoroughly lovable. I loved experiencing how Myfanwy processes her world as a newly born personality, a complete amnesiac who relies on the extensive note-taking and letters that her prior personality had prepared. Myfanwy is a closet bad*ss, and it was awesome that she kept everyone guessing at her hidden depths. She more than proves the adage, "It's always the quiet ones."
This is an excellent whodonnit as the reader goes through the list of suspects of who would want to kill Myfanwy Thomas and why. The cast of characters (and their various powers) is wacky and out there enough to make the introduction of each character an adventure in itself. And the mix of espionage with the weird and strange is excellently done. I found myself laughing like crazy as I listened. Not only did I laugh, but I also had some vocal 'ugh' and 'wow' moments, seeing as how the Chequy deals with some very strange threats to the British Citizenry, and the Chequy itself is pretty darn strange.
This book also reminded me of one of my favorite shows of all time, The Venture Bros., with its cast of quite bizarrely-talented folks and the odd humor. I eat that show up and so I did with this book!
I hope I can get a copy of this when it comes out in paper to enjoy again in a different format. I think this will definitely go on my favorites list for its mix of quirky humor, bizarre characters, and even more bizarre and dangerous situations that our newly intrepid heroine has to handle.
I would definitely love this to be an ongoing series, and I hope that BBC snaps this up for a potential mini-series. The British humor is excellent, sometimes wry, sometimes laugh out loud, but always funny.
Highly recommended for readers who like a weird twist on the secret spy agency theme.(less)
Walking the Edge is a book tailor-made for readers who love spy fare like "The Bourne Identity" and "La Femme Nikita," with a little "Hitman" thrown i...moreWalking the Edge is a book tailor-made for readers who love spy fare like "The Bourne Identity" and "La Femme Nikita," with a little "Hitman" thrown in. And the bonus is the heroine is equally if not more lethal than the hero. The atmosphere is spot on, with a sophisticated European vibe that is almost obligatory with this sort of espionage storyline. This is my first read by Zee Monodee, and definitely not my last. I have met her on Goodreads and shared friendly discussions about our mutual love of dangerous heroes and romantic suspense. She definitely brings all that knowledge and appreciation for these genres to vivid life in this book. The romantic elements are authentically hot and sensual, and they fit well into this edgy, noirish suspense tale of a woman who truly doesn't know who she is and goes on a journey to find the answer to this million dollar question. There are plenty of storyline twists that kept me reading, and I found myself pleasantly surprised at how well and intricately plotted this story was. Normally, you read these sort of books and criticize the decisions the characters make. Not here. These people act like the pros in the field that they are. I liked that she gets that cold, hard edge that needs to be present in this kind of story. Spies don't live sunny, fluffy lives. They walk in the dark, and that darkness always tries to encroach on their heart and minds. But love can vanish away that darkness, and the time comes when tough choices have to be made to reach out for that light in the darkness. It takes one heck of a heroine to deal with this, and this book has that kind of heroine.
For readers who enjoy a tough, sophisticated, edgy heroine, this book will definitely make for a good read. Especially with an equally tough, sexy, but loving hero at her side, and lots of suspense and adventure to round out an appealing romance.
I recommend this book.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Thanks to Zee Monodee for the opportunity to read Walking the Edge.(less)
This was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me....moreThis was a solid four star book until the last hundred or so pages, when it really turned around, and I knew it would get the highest rating from me. I must say I think the storyline is very imaginative, artistic and surreal. Ms. Douglas isn't an overly expansive writer, but she somehow paints a very vivid picture of the sights and surroundings, emotions and actions of her characters. Dark City is a nightmarish place, and the imagery rang loud and clear as I read. Sheol has an otherworldly beauty and feeling of peace, and the images of the Fallen appeal greatly to this angel-lover, even in the dark aspects.
I don't love the theology here. Earlier on, I choose to view this book merely as fiction and divorce it from my Christian beliefs, which is the wisest choice for me. Otherwise, I think the portrayal of God would be problematic for me. As a believer in the God of the Old and New Testament, I don't think there is a disconnect between the God of the New and Old Testament, as portrayed in this book, although I know many feel this way. God is shown as a vengeful, angry, unfeeling character, which is not what I believe. I believe in a God that is equally loving and equally just. If I view this merely as characters who have their own way of processing their relationships with God and their subsequent choices and actions, I can still enjoy this book very much, and I did. Outside of my disagreeing with some of the theology, I find the storyline very interesting, and the portrayal of angels is majestic and hypnotically appealing and arresting. I feel that Ms. Douglas writes this books in a very visual and cinematic way.
Azazel is not a nice hero by any stretch of the word, for most of this book. He is almost cruel to Rachel in some ways, although his reluctant feelings (and the fact that he is not a woman-hater) holds him back from hurting her physically. He made a choice that led to something very bad happening to Rachel, and I know some readers won't be able to get past that. Although I don't condone his actions, I understand the turmoil that was behind them. I do like his sea change later in the book, and I think he proved he was worthy of her love. I like how I was able to see how he evolves in his perceptions of Rachel, and as he changes in his feelings towards her, this difference is very apparent in his physical expressions of lust and later passion/love towards Rachel. I could understand that he was angry and hurting over the loss of his latest and best loved wife, and how he wanted to blame Rachel for that because of the prophecy.
As far as Rachel, I liked her from the beginning. She starts as something of a blank canvas, and as the story continues, more and more depth and definition is evident with her character. Her latent identity is slowly and deftly revealed, and it was interesting to process this. The myth of Lilith is interesting, although I have never put much emphasis on it. It ties into that pervasive belief that Judaism and Christianity is inherently misogynistic, which I have never agreed with. More than anything this is a manifestation of the way that these beliefs have been used as a tool for control over others, and through human and societal cruelty, and not due to God disvaluing women (take religion out of the picture and people would find another tool to use against others). Having said that, Rachel is a very sympathetic character, and I liked how Douglas gives the Lilith myth a human and emotional (and relatable) feel instead of dwelling on the horrific aspects of that legend.
As I alluded to earlier in the review, the romantic aspects of the story bloom later, because initially, it's very apparent that Azazel mainly has hatred in his heart for Rachel. It was hard to see that possibility of love initially, but by the end of the book, I did see it. I think that took some skill on Ms. Douglas' part. I went from thinking Azazel was a total loss, and hoping he'd just leave Rachel alone and in peace and safety, to wanting him to prove he was worthy of her and for them to be together. I feel that this ultimately was a successful romance because I was able to arrive at the conviction that they should be together. The love scenes were well-written, showing not just the act of sex, but the emotions, good and bad that went along with it. They were integral to the story, because they revealed crucial aspects of both Azazel and Rachel's psyche, and also their healing processes from damaged emotions and hearts from their journeys in life.
Ultimately, I was very impressed with this novel. This is not just from the viewpoint of a lifelong (and therefore biased) admirer of this writer (Anne Stuart). It is because of her obvious and proven skill as a writer. To take a story that somehow shouldn't appeal and make into something that intrigues me and gets under my skin, leaving me thinking about the story long after I finish it. This book won't work for everyone. Although clearly paranormal romance, there is something very atypical about it. The writing has this flavor that puts it into a different and not always comfortable category. However, I found this to be a feast for the reader's senses. This kind of book takes me on a journey and fully rewards me for the time spent reading it. I definitely loved it.
I found myself really clicking with Ms. Mikels' writing style. She has a way of an interesting story. I was drawn into this book, and I felt a connect...moreI found myself really clicking with Ms. Mikels' writing style. She has a way of an interesting story. I was drawn into this book, and I felt a connection with the characters. I was intrigued with what made Max Henderson such a cold, unapproachable man. When I found out, it totally made sense. I could see why he had withdrawn from others. His emotional pain made him unexpectedly tortured. Although he was a businessman-type, he also had a rugged, manly appeal that I liked. I could see why Sam fell for him. I thought that Sam was a good counterpart for him. Determinedly cheerful, yet strong and independent, but not without her own baggage.
Their love story was straightforward, but it had its bumps along the way, as they dealt with their emotional issues, moreso on the part of Max. There was a nice, strong vibe of attraction and an appeal to this story. But it wasn't a dramafest in the bad way. It was nice to see their love grow as they spent time together and realized that there was more between them than patient and caregiver.
Since this is part of a series written by different authors that all ties together, there is a bit of vagueness in the description and the characterization of the supporting characters, and loose ends with the mystery of who killed Max's sister Christina, with little resolution on that front. This didn't bother me, because I knew that going into it, and I was more interested in seeing the relationship between Sam and Max unfold. In the end, I was glad I pulled this one off the shelf for my Clean Off My Category Romance Challenge. It turned out to be a very good read.
Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read this book, because it just annoyed me. Sandra Marton is a good writer, but something about her couple dynamic ca...moreMaybe I was in a bad mood when I read this book, because it just annoyed me. Sandra Marton is a good writer, but something about her couple dynamic can grate on me. The hard hero who is a bully towards the sexually and emotionally susceptible heroine. It's a particular issue in this book. First of all, I think I'm bored with the rich, sexy billionaire who has countless beautiful women at his disposal. If I hear the term mistress again, I might stroke out.
I didn't like Salim, even though he finally got a clue. It took a little too long for him to turn around. If you believe someone you cared about and loved, and respected (Even if your small brain is too sexist to admit you like and respect a woman. Even if you're too scared to admit it) could embezzle money from you, then I feel sorry for you. His arrogance, and sense of ownership and entitlement really bugged me. It didn't get him off the hook with me to know he had been in dire straits while his father was fighting to win back his throne. That should have made him more sensitive, but strangely it did not. This is one of those books where I wonder why the heroine was attracted to and fell in love with the hero. Sure he's a sexy billionaire who's good in bed. But he's a sexist jerk. Not really an attractive trait to me.
Although Grace was supposed to be strong and independent, she seemed like a complete pushover who was a slave to her hormones when it came to Salim. Boy, that makes me roll my eyes. She did not come off as strong or capable. She barely could deal with her sleazy boss who was trying to get her into bed. Yes, he would have several broken metacarpals, and I am not the fighting type, if I was her. Her emotional vulnerability made me want to slap her. Crying, crying, crying. Always crying.
I know, this may seem like somewhat standard Harlequin Presents fare, but there are some really good, emotional, well-written books in this line. Unfortunately, this one did not work for me.
Maybe I wasn't in the mood for this book, and I should have waited until I was in a more tolerant frame of mind. I hope this review doesn't sound mean. Nevertheless, I wouldn't recommend this as a sheikh romance. I still like Sandra Marton, but I might take a break from her for a while.
It took me so long to read this book, and my frame of mind was an issue, in part. But also, the fact that the heroine started to get on my nerves fair...moreIt took me so long to read this book, and my frame of mind was an issue, in part. But also, the fact that the heroine started to get on my nerves fairly early into the book really hurt this book in my estimation. I could understand her situation, not knowing who she was or remembering her past. However, her instincts told her the truth about her relationship with Tristan and her daughter, Sabina. She was stubbornly persistent on supporting her parents, even to the point of throwing her life and happiness away. I definitely understand loving your parents and wanting to support and take care of them, but that didn’t mean she had to marry a man who was clearly bad.
I really did like Tristan. He was a good man, loving, understanding, supportive. He was so good with Sabina, and he cared about people. Lily was lucky to have him. I also ended up falling in love with Benedict, Tristan’s older brother. I liked how he supported Tristan and wanted him to be happy, even if it was with a woman whose parents were allied with their family’s enemies.
I am intrigued with Tristan's brothers and Genevieve, the woman he was betrothed to, who practically grew up with he and his brothers, so I have already made notes to get the other books in this series. Although I wasn’t that impressed with this book, I would like to continue to read this series. I think I will like the other books more, especially if the heroines aren’t as illogical and frustrating as Lily.
Finally, I've started this series. I am smacking my head and asking what took me so long. Navy SEALs, interracial. Am I crazy? Well, I have rectified...moreFinally, I've started this series. I am smacking my head and asking what took me so long. Navy SEALs, interracial. Am I crazy? Well, I have rectified my mistake, and I am a happy camper.
This was a really good book. Aliyah Burke is an excellent writer. Her voice is authentic and polished to the eyes, making for an enjoyable reading experience. Her characters are real life and likable, flaws and all. I loved Dezarae. She was unique and interesting. Her ethnicity was a part of who she was, but she was in no way a stereotype. I liked that she was normal-sized with muscles from the physical work she did, and she was sexy with it. I loved her independence and the fact that she was good at doing something she loved--restoring cars. I've never been into cars, but movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, XXX, and the Fast and the Furious movies have pricked my interest. I recognized the Shelby from Gone in 60 Seconds, which was awesome. I seriously love a heroine who has her own life going on, but at the same time, she's open and warm. Dezarae opened her heart and her life to Ross in two huge ways: she saved his life, and she gave his daughter a safe, warm home. How could you not love her? Another thing I loved about this book was how many male friends she had (and no, not in dirty-minded way). I like to see women having male friends and being able to fit into that world easily because of their mutual interests. They respected her for her personality and her car savvy. They accepted her for who she was and she was happy in her own skin. People do want to be around you when you are confident and outgoing, so it makes total sense. It makes me wonder if I need to get into this kind of hobby so I meet more guys (I'm kidding, mostly)! Too bad I don't have a bit of mechanical car sense other than how not to get ripped off by car mechanics! Anyway, Dezarae had wonderful texture and I loved her as a heroine. I would have loved to understand why she had trouble believing Ross really loved her. I'm guessing it had something to do with her failed relationship with Jack, but this isn't explained. Maybe the fear of loss from her father dying...
Ross was not only deliciously hot, he was a genuinely nice guy. He cracked me up with his possessive jealousy. I like that in a hero, and I like that he wasn't too irrational about it. He had to deal with the fact that his woman was the kind of woman that men liked being around, even on a platonic basis. For all of that, he didn't try to change her or mold her to fit his preconceived notions. He really found her sexy for who she was. I think he was a very good dad, and I liked seeing him with his daughter Charmane (and I feel her part added significantly to the book, and she wasn't just a plot point), and how natural it felt for them as a family with Dezarae. He did have some insecurities about being low on the totem pole in his Team, but he wasn't aggravating about it. Towards the end, he was tripping out some, but I forgive him!
As far as romance rating, I rate this high. It's very steamy and that was great. Burke writes great love scenes: hot and sensual without being a turnoff because of the raunch factor. The steam shows the feelings and the growing love between Dezarae and Ross. You could see although there was intense chemistry between them from the beginning, they don't jump right into bed, which was great. They give their feelings time to be real and not just about sex. And when they do get intimate, it's so much better!
I can tell that Burke does have some real-life understanding of the military. She writes a sexy, credible Navy SEAL hottie hero, but it feels realistic and deals with the hard realities of that life. I loved the friendship between Ross and his Team, and how they open up ranks around his new-found love. Although I haven't read the first two books, seeing the couples from those makes me eager to read them very soon. Of course, I will make sure I get all the books in this series (I think I have most of them already), because I definitely want to read more of SEAL Team Megalodon and the women they love.
I guess I'll have to give this five stars, 'cause I really liked it a lot!(less)
This book had the promise to be very dramatic and exciting, but it didn't quite get to that level. It was a bit dry, in fact. I was hoping I wouldn't...moreThis book had the promise to be very dramatic and exciting, but it didn't quite get to that level. It was a bit dry, in fact. I was hoping I wouldn't have to put it aside, and perservered; when finally things did start to pick up. I do have to say that the love scenes were good. I think that I would have liked it more, if we had seen the angst that Luc hid in his heart a little sooner. The focus was on the anmesia angle more than the hidden intensities of Luc's feelings for Belinda. You got the feeling he was a ruthless, possessive, determined man, but you don't quite know why he feels that way about Belinda soon enough. Towards the end, it got pretty good. I could see why Belinda reacted the way she did, and Luc did exactly what I hoped he would do. That part almost made the book four stars. But, since it was so draggy at first (and being bored is the kiss of death to me as a reader), I'd have to give this one 3.5 stars. Ms. Lindsey has some good ideas, and she does a great job with the sexual tension. And, she writes a very good hero. So, I'll definitely read more of her books.