I loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two bo...moreI loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two books in this series yet. Alexander is a scoundrel, but you definitely want him to catch Sophie. Great chemistry, and wonderful romance. A five star read!
I'm officially in love with this book! It was a great way to break a rather long interracial romance fast. JJ Murray has managed to take an book about...moreI'm officially in love with this book! It was a great way to break a rather long interracial romance fast. JJ Murray has managed to take an book about ordinary people and make it an extraordinarily romantic and delectable read. It has a Lad Lit feel that I rather liked, despite the fact I'm not a fan of either Lad Lit or Chick Lit. Highly recommend it.
While I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypes...moreWhile I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypes about the typical romance novel hero. The food descriptions were mouth-watering.
This was kinda different. The heroine gets fooled into a bogus marriage by a sociopathic Sicilian, and finds out from his brother that he was already...moreThis was kinda different. The heroine gets fooled into a bogus marriage by a sociopathic Sicilian, and finds out from his brother that he was already married since he was nineteen. It turns out his wife has been sabotaging Debbie and her mom's sandwich business to get revenge. Debbie finds all this out from a coincidence when Luciano buys the bank where she delivers sandwiches through a service contract.
I liked that Debbie really was a working class girl. I can imagine her with an East Enders accent. It was a matter of suspending belief that she truly had gotten fooled into a bogus marriage and it didn't come up. I don't know how easy it is for a foreigner to get married in England when he's already married. I'm guessing you couldn't do that very easily in the United States using your real name. I'll allow that this was possible for the purposes of the story. I feel that Debbie got over being betrayed and made into an involuntary bigamist/adulteress too easily.
I didn't quite get why Debbie was determined to go to the funeral in Sicily when she already knew her so-called husband was a lying sack of you know what, and she took her son. I felt that was extremely naive of her, despite being warned by Luciano. She said she wanted to pay her respects. I think that was just a plot device to get the story moved to Sicily. The rest of the story is Debbie and Luciano owning up to their feelings, and that was sweet. Luciano is such a lovely guy. Considerate and caring, despite the great wrongs perpetrated against him.
I think the best part of this book is that both leads are very likable and kind people who were taken advantage of by the dead bigamist husband and his family. Their characters appealed to me. I think the melodrama about Luciano's Sicilian family is to be expected for a Harlequin Presents book, but I think that the resolution on their threat towards Debbie and her son Stefano was anticlimatic. I would have liked a more dramatic on-screen confrontation, but maybe that's just the dramahound in me.
This was a very good book. From the first page, I was sucked in. There was so much emotional intensity and sizzle in every interaction between Colette...moreThis was a very good book. From the first page, I was sucked in. There was so much emotional intensity and sizzle in every interaction between Colette and Stephen. Tension in all the good ways when it comes to a romance book. I liked how I continued to discover more about Colette and Stephen. I was not able to hold onto judgments about their behaviors or their personalities.
Stephen captivated me. I don't like player heroes, and he challenged my perceptions of him. I admit that I liked him intensely. I could see that he felt so much for Colette, even if he didn't want to, and he didn't understand how. I loved that he never got over her. He pursued her out of love from the beginning, even if he didn't think he was capable of love. I love that he was tough and strong, an alpha hero (and in a vital way that I don't always feel with the Harlequin Presents businessmen heroes). He has that air that draws me to a hero like superglue. I think he's a great dad, and I loved his interactions with Emma. Stephen doesn't think much of himself, but I do, and I can totally see what Colette fell in love with him. He was sexy and utterly appealing in a way that I don't always feel with the average Harlequin Presents hero. He had a 'dangerous to a woman's heart' air that really spoke to me as I read, and I imagine that he would be irresistible to a woman, even a woman so wary of involvement as Colette. Colette was a good person. She had some self-esteem issues that turn out to be perfectly understandable. I felt I couldn't judge her for running away, and I really respected her for apologizing and facing the music for not telling Stephen about their child together. She was a good mix of tough yet vulnerable. She was a realistic woman with a depth that made me feel for her. I think for what she experienced as a child, she should be proud of herself and what she's accomplished in life, building a career for herself and raising a healthy, happy daughter despite events that could have damaged her completely as a person.
With both Colette and Stephen, Natasha Tate did such a great job of crafting their characters. I could see why they had their commitment/fears of love issues because of their childhoods. That kind of emotional trauma can undermine a child's sense of self and their ability to bond and form relationships. I'm not a big fan of the secret baby theme, but this book serves as an example of a theme that you don't like being used to good effect in a skilled author's hands. I believe that the reason why Colette got pregnant with Emma, despite their using contraception, was that they were meant to be together, because they truly were soul-mates with love for each other that was capable of healing them, and together they are stronger. It wasn't an easy journey, but the results were so worthwhile in the end.
Something drew me to reading this book, even with the blurb having aspects that would normally turn me off a book. I have to say that I am impressed with Natasha Tate's writing. She created a compelling, sexy, intense, emotional book that I thoroughly enjoyed. That makes for a 4.5/5.0 star rating, a place on my keeper's shelf, and makes her an author to watch out for. I look forward to reading more of her books.
This book was a middle of the road read. I didn't hate or love it. I ended up giving it 3.5/5.0 stars because of its good and not-so-good points.
What...moreThis book was a middle of the road read. I didn't hate or love it. I ended up giving it 3.5/5.0 stars because of its good and not-so-good points.
What I liked:
*I love a good hero in pursuit. I have an issue with player heroes, so I was feeling tough towards Alessandro at first, thinking he might view Lily as another conquest. However, he proved himself that his intentions were sincere towards her. There were several moments where he could have pushed her into sexual intimacy and he refrained, knowing she wasn't ready for that. I ended up liking and respecting him a lot for that. I also liked that he was steadfast in his regard for Lily, despite her cold shoulder. I could feel that he truly loved her. Also, I liked that he was self-made with a tough life behind him. He had turned his life around with the guidance of Lily's aunt and her deceased husband. *I loved that Lily was a fully-qualified chef and actually had a job that she put a lot of time and energy in. I also liked that she was a woman of independent means. I think Bianchin managed to show that Alessandro could afford to shower her with material things (because that's just obligatory for an HP hero, isn't it?), even though she didn't need them. (view spoiler)[ It was a bit sneaky how it turns out that he owns the restaurant where she gets hired as an assistant chef and her apartment building. I had to laugh, because his tendency to own everything reminded me of Roarke from the In Death series by JD Robb! (hide spoiler)] *I loved all the food descriptions. What can I say, I'm a foodie?
What I didn't like:
*The fashion descriptions bored me to tears. It's not that I don't like fashion, but getting a list of what Lily wore every time got really old. *Normally I like how HPs will have details about the different locales, but this one didn't do much for me as far as describing Milan. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. *I just didn't get very excited about this book. It wasn't badly written. I just think she needed a little more zing in the story, and I don't mean sex. Just more tension and hop in the storyline. The annoyance factor of the continual post-mortems on Lily's failed relationship and her using that to keep Alessandro at bay was an execution issue, not so much that I don't like having the reluctant heroine who is afraid to love again. I liked that she didn't fall into bed with him immediately, so I'm not sure that insta-sex would have solved the lack of sizzle problem for me.
Overall, a decent read. Not one that I will find especially memorable, but I did like the fact that Alessandro is a solid hero who definitely shows he's worthy of love. When you have a heroine who has gone through what Lily did with her ex, you need that kind of hero. So it was a success on that front.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
While I enjoyed reading this book, it didn't really set me on fire. However, it was a pretty good Christmas-themed romance. I sort of got the feeling...moreWhile I enjoyed reading this book, it didn't really set me on fire. However, it was a pretty good Christmas-themed romance. I sort of got the feeling that I was marking time while I read it. I'm not sure why this was the case.
This book is set in England, and both the hero and heroine are British, but it didn't feel British to me. It was weird, because they talked about British things, such as the M6, London, Harrods, Boxing day, but it felt American to me. It's very weird, I guess.
What I liked about the book:
*The heroine was a trained-chef and caterer. I liked seeing her do her magic. *Callum was a pretty nice guy, although he admitted that he initially just felt lust for Miranda. He did come around very quickly, and I respected that he broke off his relationship with the woman he was going to marry for business when he realized he was lusting after Miranda. *Miranda had qualities I admire: hard-working, devoted to her family, resourceful, pragmatic. *I liked that both the hero and heroine were close to their families. *The idea of Miranda and Callum essentially being star-crossed in that Callum had Miranda's father arrested from embezzling money from him, which led to his suicide was an interesting direction. Callum initially re-connected with Miranda to make amends for his part in her father's suicide, although her father was culpable. *I liked the scenes of Christmas celebration in both their families.
What I was not happy with:
*I don't like how their relationship started with a hookup in the kitchen. There didn't seem like there was more between them but strong sexual attraction. I would have liked to see more of a connection before they got physical. Miranda essentially thought of their encounter as a one-night stand. That's not my personal preference when it comes to romance stories. *Miranda's brother and mother got on my nerves. They were way too dependent on Miranda. Her brother was constantly hitting her up for money, and instead of taking responsiblitiy for himself, he depended on her to bail him out when he got in trouble. Miranda's mother was running up bills she couldn't pay for, and relying on Callum's generosity. This just put more pressure on Miranda. I did like that Callum really was supportive to Miranda, and helped her to foster independence in her mother and brother. *Miranda called Callum a liar a few times, when he insisted that her father was guilty. It offended me because I think it's wrong to call someone a liar unless you know they are truly an untruthful person. Callum never gave off that vibe. She even persisted in this after they were emotionally involved. I could understand why she didn't want to believe badly of her father, but she was in love with Callum, and he had no reason to lie about it.
Ultimately, I never got deeply involved with this story. I like to be sucked into a book and forget about everything else. This book didn't do that for me. But there was not an issue with the writing, we just didn't form a love connection. However, if a reader wants a quick, well-written Christmas romance that has some modern, sophisticated elements, I think she would like this book.(less)
Very good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar...moreVery good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar for death, you get dead very quickly. I found her character very credible. I won't deny that I sort of have a fascination with fiction stories about assassins. This is a good one. Estep builds a three-dimensional character here with Gin. She's not evil, but she's not a a saintly person either. How can you be when you kill people for a living?
That's where the grays come in. If you knew what some of the folks she's killed have done, then you might not count it as such a loss. Ashland is a place full of dark souls, you see. The whole place is corrupt to varying degrees, except for Donovan Caine. He truly is the only honest man in this place. So imagine the dilemma when they discover an attraction between them. Between the cold-hearted (but warm-pantsed) assassin and the straight arrow cop. Yeah, that makes for quite a conflict.
If you like magic noir, definitely check this book out. If you like bad*ss women who know how to get the dirty jobs done, definitely check this out. If you have a problem with women who are a bit callous about sex, you might have a problem with Gin. I'm not big on that trait in a heroine (or a hero for that matter). I did like how she does the pursuing when it comes to Donovan. That was kind of cute. And she can be a bit of a bully when she wants to. I can understand why her character is that way, having lost her family and lived on the streets. It's made her into a hard woman, one who doesn't let anyone make a victim out of her. For all that, she does have a sense of honor. At least someone does in this place. As for Caine, he was a bit self-righteous at times. I totally respect his sense of honor, but I think he needs to open his mind a little and ask the whys instead of just blindly following. I find it hard to believe he was completely oblivious to the corruption in his police department. I think he was just willfully ignoring it. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and vice versa. If his partner was doing that horrible stuff, why didn't he have a clue? I like that Gin didn't try to defend herself to him. Why should she? She was true to herself, and he had to accept her or leave her. Either way. I like that he can't put her into a box and forget about her either. Too bad Gin can't get this cop out of her mind either. That relationship is fraught with issues.
The magic was cool. I liked the concept of elementals, and how many folks in Ashland had elemental magic. I liked the use of runes to identify people, and how it was used to seal magic, if you will. The vampires felt sort of extraneous, but maybe that's because I'm jaded with vampires being in every single urban fantasy series!
Overall, this was a very good book. Gin is a very lethal, fascinating character. I didn't like everything about her, but I liked a lot. I loved that she was so bad*ss and capable. She does a lot of the saving, but she also works together with others, so there was balance in that. Donovan is an interesting love interest. It should be entertaining to see where things go with that angel. I also liked the foodie aspects (being a big foodie myself), and the glimpses of Southern life and society. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy enjoy dark, gritty urban fantasy, and tough female leads. I will definitely continue this series!
Thanks for recommending this book off my tbr pile, Suzi!(less)
I started a review and my computer decided it wanted to restart before I could save it! Oh well. Here we go again!I've had this ebook for years! Bett...more I started a review and my computer decided it wanted to restart before I could save it! Oh well. Here we go again!I've had this ebook for years! Better late than never.I enjoyed this book. It was a good read. Why not four or more stars?Let me tell you.I am a curious person. I can't help it. I have been known to ask far too many questions. It's wired in me to have a curious mind about the world and about the way it works, why people do the things they do. That tends to be an important part of my analytical process when it comes to books. So when I finished this book, I had big huge question marks in my mind about Chance. I didn't understand the way his mind worked, why he was keeping himself so isolated and separate. I didn't know, even when the book was over. It was like people knew this about him and didn't go there. I think that although this was a major issue for Zora, nothing really seemed to change this. Yes, he declared his love, decided to let her into his insular life, but I didn't get closure on why he was like that. Was it from a past hurt? Was it ever going to change? Would he open up a little more for Zora? I think if I had this understanding, I might have liked this book more than I did.Also, I didn't like the casual nature of their relationship. Tthey hooked up for sex and mainly had separate lives. Not romantic to me. Yes, I know, that's how some modern relationships are. It doesn't work for me. If there's going to be a sexual relationship first, I need it to feel like something more. There was a push/pull here where Zora was slowly pushing at Chance's barriers, but at the same time trying to maintain her autonomy and accept the relationship for what it was, although she wanted more. That was the main tension in this book. It's probably realistic for the development of many relationships, but not what I look for in a romance. I guess I'm still the fairy tale kind of relationship gal. I don't apologize for that. I think it's important for all women to feel that they are worth the wooing and the seeking and that they are a princess to the man they love. I don't want to be a princess, don't get me wrong, but it's good for you to know that you're a princess to the man you love and are in a relationship with!I loved that Zora was a chef and liked to bake. As a foodie, that resonates with me. I also tend to bake when I'm restless, and I should be less shy and take my extras (of which there are often a lot) over to my neighbors. No, I don't have a hunky ex-Marine neighbor, but still. Yes, this is a good love story although a bit nebulous for my tastes. Nicely steamy, with a hero who is quite appealing. I do like the buttoned up hero, but I could have used more unbuttoning besides sexually. I loved the proposal though. This is one of Aliyah Burke's earlier novels, and I can see that she's come into her own and developed a smoother voice and more confident writing. Even so, for being one of her first books, it's evident that she is a talented writer.Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.(less)
Daisy was just an okay read for me out of this series. I expected to see more sparks between Daisy and Tyler. Tyler mainly just came off as grumpy and...moreDaisy was just an okay read for me out of this series. I expected to see more sparks between Daisy and Tyler. Tyler mainly just came off as grumpy and antisocial. He didn't really develop any depths. Although I did enjoy that he liked to cook. I can see why he's so withdrawn being in this family. They are loud, brash men who tend to fight with each other and don't seem to know how to get along. Tyler is the quiet brother out of the bunch, and decided to get away from his brothers as soon as he could. He goes so far as to live up in the mountains away from people, who he doesn't care much for in general. To be honest, I don't remember much about Daisy. I love the theme of the woman dressed as a man, and I think she was a tomboy who came out of her shell. She was hiding from some people who had it in for her. Tyler's a Randolph, so he can take care of himself and her just fine. This bunch of brothers are pretty tough customers, even the quiet one (Tyler) and the easygoing jokester (Zac).
The romance was kind of lukewarm (especially in comparison to how fiery Violet was in that sense). I guess I was hoping for too much with this story. It wasn't bad. It was actually a fairly good western romance, but this is probably my least favorite in the series, even though the bickering in Iris between Iris and Monty just about drove me up the wall. I should reread this and see if I feel differently about it now compared to when I read it several years ago. It's probably a 2 3/4 star read, but we'll knock it up to 3 stars.(less)