Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far asReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.
This is my first contemporary read by Ms. Thomas, and I really enjoyed it. Feel good, small town contemporary romance populated with a host of interesThis is my first contemporary read by Ms. Thomas, and I really enjoyed it. Feel good, small town contemporary romance populated with a host of interesting characters. Works for me!
I want to thank Shawna for recommending this book to me. In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Nora Roberts' romance novels, although I do like her JI want to thank Shawna for recommending this book to me. In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Nora Roberts' romance novels, although I do like her JD Robb In Death series. While this book didn't change my opinion of her on convert her to a must-read author for me, I enjoyed this book, and I can see she is a very good writer. Having said that, I don't find her romance style very moving personally. As far as suspense, she definitely works better for me.
This novel feels like an odyssey. It starts with a very young, innocent teenage girl whose rigidly structured, emotionally vacant life is completely destroyed by one bad decision she makes out of rebellion. Nora Roberts invests us in the emotional and intellectual journey of this young woman, and I completely felt for and loved young Elizabeth. This was highly crucial to go back to when things went pear-shaped so that we could relate to the older version of this character, who is now living as Abigail Lowery.
What didn't work quite as well as the diversion that the storyline takes with the Blake family and their out-of-control son. While this was more germane to Brooks Gleason's (Abigail's love interest) narrative, I don't think it really tied very well into the main plot of Abigail, what and who she was running from, and I'm not sure it was that important to Brooks' characterization. Even at the end, I wasn't convinced that it was necessary to the story. More than anything, it was just added local color.
The romance part mostly worked for me, but it didn't set the page on fire. Roberts idea of romance just isn't dramatic enough for me. Even the sensual scenes didn't have much spark for me. I could see the love between Abigail and Brooks, and I really liked how Brooks was willing to be there for her and to be whatever she needed him to be. Although at the same time, Brooks could be quite obstinate and set in his ways kind of guy and forceful (in an aww-shucks, disarming but I'm a brickwall manner) about getting his way in situations. He was like a immovable mountain about some things, and Abigail had to be the one who changed her viewpoint in those areas. It was funny and kind of cute how he pushed Abigail out of her unemotional/controlled, Fortress of Solitude mien and left her completely discombobulated. I can see their marriage being very interesting, considering the way their personalities are so different. Where Abigail is the analytical, rule-oriented person, Brooks is very instinctive, and emotional. At the same time, he's a very steady guy who you know you can trust. That's highly appealing. I do feel like they were able to meet each other halfway and didn't steamroll each other, which was good. So I could believe they were a perfect match.
Ultimately, what I loved most of all is how Brooks was perfectly fine with earning his way in Abigail's insular life by letting his actions show he was trustworthy and that deserved her love. He also didn't try to take away Abigail's need to make decisions and autonomy in her life, because he knew how important that was. Sometimes, I imagine it was hard for him not to take it personally, but he looked past his own feelings to the whys and was willing to give her that and support her on things she really needed.
As for Abigail, I think loving Brooks helped her to grow in crucial ways. For her to know it was okay not to understand the rules for everything, and to just go with the flow emotionally in relationships that were based on mutual trust. I think the O'Hara/Gleason clan will be good for Abigail, but I think I would find them overwhelming at times. They are quite pushy! I can't imagine Abigail not feeling that way based on her previous familial frame of reference.
The Volkov storyline was very intriguing, but I was left feeling a little disappointed at the conclusion. The resolution made sense, but I was hoping for a more face to face confrontation. I guess that's the action/drama hound in me. I guess that was the best way to handle it, but man I would have loved some buttkicking and a show off. Abigail was kind of a bad@$$, but she never got to show it. Oh well.
Overall, this was a good read.
Things I loved:
*Such a brilliant, analytical, heroine *Brooks' laid back, but Bulldoggedly stubborn personality and his southern charm. *The descriptions and imagery built by Roberts writing. *Russian mafia storyline and how Abigail continually gets one over on them *Crazy O'Hara/Gleason family dynamics--like watching reality tv *Abigail's dog Bert *Small town slice of life
Serial Games is a gripping romantic suspense thriller. Maggie and Brandon are an FBI profiler and a Fugitive Retrieval Specialist US Marshal who teamSerial Games is a gripping romantic suspense thriller. Maggie and Brandon are an FBI profiler and a Fugitive Retrieval Specialist US Marshal who team up to recapture a notorious serial killer who escapes custody.
What I liked about this story:
*Maggie is an appealing heroine. She is a black woman who doesn't pander to stereotypes that are all too prevalent. Not only is she reserved, cerebral, and very good at her job, she is a woman of faith who shows dedication and drive to catch a very cunning serial killer--one that she had been highly instrumental in putting away the first time. I liked how she carries herself--she's not focused on being sexy or catching a man. She's focused on doing a good job in her field, putting her intelligence and training to use to better the world, and is a bit of a workaholic--not very good at the life/work balance. Even though she has feelings for Brandon, she doesn't allow herself to be his punching bag or let him to take advantage of their attraction to each other. She juggles a family dynamic in which she feels competition with her older sister, who is a successful attorney who is also happily married with a child. Her mom constantly reminds her of her need to get married, but Maggie isn't worried about that, when her job keeps her so busy.
*Brandon is magnetic and scrumptious. He's a bit tortured after losing his fiancee' and he is nursing an anger with God as a result. He was definitely blowing hot and cold, and he knew it, but I liked the way he interacted with Maggie.
*The chemistry was great in this book. It's clean romance, but the author conveys the attraction and the developing relationship between Maggie and Brandon in an engaging way. It's good romance for Christians who have certain beliefs about how to conduct a relationship and a courtship. It's kind of hard to find books that show this well. It's usually one extreme or the other: no chemistry, and too 1950s or way too erotic with behaviors that don't fit what is expected of single Christians in a dating relationship. I liked how Chase uses kisses, dialogue, and physical interactions and body language to build the chemistry between Maggie and Brandon. I found it very believable.
*The suspense part was well done. I felt like I watching an episode of Breakout Kings or Criminal Minds. Chase doesn't make things gruesome, but she portrays the pathology and the darkness of the serial killer very realistically.
*Chase's writing style is active and her voice is confident and sophisticated. She did a good job of balancing the varied themes of this book, without sacrificing any in the end result. It's only fair to say that I am not a big fan of serial killer fiction. While I didn't think she was heavy-handed, Ms. Chase doesn't skimp or go lightweight on this aspect of the novel. On the other hand, I didn't yearn for more focus on the romance because she was spending too much time on the suspense angle. I think that while she does convey a spiritual message, she does it naturally, so I don't feel like this book was at all preachy. Instead, it's a good choice for a reader who wants a good romantic suspense novel that is on the clean side and with characters who have personal relationships with God that they are working through. A person who is open to reading a novel with a Christian message, one that isn't focused exclusively on that message, or a reader is not necessarily a Christian, might enjoy this book.
My thanks to K. Victoria Chase for the opportunity to read Serial Games. I was happy to be able to explore some interracial romantic suspense that is clean, and not focused on eroticism. These are quite hard to find in this genre. I liked that this storyline is unique for the majority of the interracial content available. Maggie is a heroine that I could respect as a person and admire for her work ethic and her personal ethics. Brandon is definitely appealing as a hero, with a touch of the tortured aspect to his character, and also very good at his job. I felt the chemistry between them, and I can definitely see them building a life together. I would recommend this book.
As my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. ThAs my second book in the Jack Reacher series (although #16 in publication and a prequel in sequence), The Affair wasn't a shabby audio read at all. The narrator Dick Hill has a terse, noirish delivery that adds to the story. He sounds a bit older than I would associate with Reacher, but he definitely has Reacher's 'you ain't the boss of me' attitude and conveys his ruthless, efficient approach to solving injustices. I think he is a good choice to narrate for the Jack Reacher books. I do have to admit that I was giggling like a schoolgirl on the love scenes. I can't help it. Audiobook love scenes always strike me that way, and especially with an older male narrator who sort of gave them a 'dirty old man' vibe!
It's interesting. This seems like a simplistic storyline, but when everything came together, it wasn't. The Affair is the story of small town secrets tied in with the bigger and murkier waters of powerful people who feel the impunity to do whatever they want. Child kept me guessing. I went back and forth about what was going on and who was behind it. He really had me going and thinking that the killer was someone I really didn't want it to be. In the end, I was like, "So that's not the killer?" That was well done.
Child has an interesting way of being very brisk about describing some aspects of his narrative, but descriptive in a vivid, emotive way about others. I felt immersed in this small town with its racial divisions, brutal poverty and a seething sense of injustice that comes from the eternal 'haves versus the have nots'. As it does to Reacher, injustice sits heavy on my stomach, so even though Reacher can be highly ruthless, in a way it's a rewarding thing to know that there is an avenging angel out there at least in the fictional world to fight for those who have been disenfranchised and denied of their rights and their voices. I suppose that's why Reacher is around. When you have these kinds of situations with so much brutality and casual discarding of lives, it makes you want a meaty fist of vengeance like Reacher who is there to clean up the mess. His descriptions of Army/military life also grabbed my interest. I don't know if he got all that right, but it sounded plausible to me. At least some of the governmental parts struck a familiar note.
Reacher is an interesting character. He's really kind of a basic sort. His view of life is so simple and without the extra qualifiers that most characters seem to have. He understands authority, but he also has a habit of doing what he thinks is right even if that's against the dictates of authority.
Sheriff Elizabeth Deveraux was an intriguing character. Ex-marine and sheriff of Carter's Crossing, the daughter of the long-term sheriff. She's a bit of a study in contrasts. The romance between Reacher and Deveraux was fairly basic, although Child effectively conveys the attraction and mutual respect between them. Neither is a good bet for a long-term relationship, but I still wished that things might work out in that direction (view spoiler)[(even knowing this is a prequel so that wasn't in the cards) (hide spoiler)].
The Affair was a good book, but I felt an emptiness when it ended. I don't know if it was just the stripped down nature of the overall plot or that I felt unsatisfied with the overall nature of things that went down. It bothered me to see those people die like that and how it was handled. And while Reacher did what he could to make things right, it doesn't bring those people back, or prevent it from happening again. And Reacher pays a heavy price in the end to do what he did, or maybe for being the kind of man he is. Was that a deliberate thing on Child's part? Maybe. Overall, a pretty good book that I'd recommend to fans of thriller/suspense and kickbutt heroes.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The five star rating is for "Sultry" by Anne Stuart. I reread this one over the weekend. It was as wonderful as the other two times I read it. Ms. StuThe five star rating is for "Sultry" by Anne Stuart. I reread this one over the weekend. It was as wonderful as the other two times I read it. Ms. Stuart does the western so well. I feel like I'm there in that poorly-named, dusty, rambshackle, titular town in Wyoming, in the saloon with painted ladies, tired and horny cowboys, gamblers, and gunslingers, and our couple: Mrs. Carolina Cunningham and James Patrick de Cordoba O'Malley. I can't answer the question you're wanting to ask about Carolina's marital status. You'll have to read it to find out. But, knowing that I don't like adultery in romances, you should be fine. O'Malley is a gunslinger turned lawman on the trail of Billy Gaither, who is returning to Sultry to see his grandmother before she dies. He's the worst of the worst, yet, his younger brother is rapidly following in his footsteps. When Carolina kills the younger brother for cutting up a prostitute, she unleashes Hell's vengeance on her and the town in the form of the elder Gaither. Her "husband" is dying of consumption, and he's in no shape to protect her. But, O'Malley is ready and willing to do so, and to claim this wary, independent, transplanted Southern belle's heart. I am not at all impartial about Anne Stuart. I love pretty much all of her books (there's a few I merely like and fewer that I think are just okay.) But, this short story claims a place in my heart because of the fantastic mood she had captured. It's like a snap shot of the Old West, with a stellar love story. A hero to die for, and a strong, feisty heroine. Watching them fall and fight their mutual enemy was one of the best ways to spend a little time (and I know I look forward to doing so again, many times in the future). Once again, Bravo Ms. Stuart!...more
Jodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the WifeJodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the Wife Lottery Series, but I have to say I will probably have to eat my words. There is only one Carter McKoy for me, but Travis, now he certainly earns a place on my hero shelf. I enjoyed the complexity to Rainey's character. She wasn't unrealistically goody-goody or innocent. She made some decisions that weren't always highly ethical or selfless, although she is definitely a person of both strong morals and generosity. She led Travis a merry chase, however I can see why. I loved that Travis understood Rainey's issues and gave her what she needed to feel safe as a wife. While I was shouting, "Marry him already!", I could also understand why she was afraid/reluctant to do so. I think that even to this day, women do have to think long and hard about who they choose to marry, and moreso back in this time period where women had little rights or independence in a world that seemed to be wired for men. I like the way Ms. Thomas deals with these issues, not in a preachy way, but very matter of fact. She writes about several women who are in different situations, but all have to operate in a world that is dominated and controlled by men. With Rainey, the reader is able to examine that dynamic of a woman juggling the love of a man with a need for her own independence and control over her life, and I was able to empathize with and respect Rainey and root for her to gain both things in her life.
Equally complex was Travis. He's that tough, capable western hero that I love to bits, but he also has vulnerabilities, not in the least as a man of mixed heritage, with an Apache heritage that is written on his features in a society where Indians are the enemy and hated and feared equally. Also, he faces a life-changing injury, which requires him to look seriously at what his identity is as a person. Will he be happy and productive if he can no longer work as a Ranger? What's left for him if that is gone? I liked that Travis fell hard for Rainey and he had to deal with his sense of awkwardness in how to pursue her and romance her as a man who never thought he'd marry and start a family. Would he be happy with a friendship with his 'fairy woman' or would he be satisfied with nothing less than her as his wife? He couldn't have been more appealing to me.
I also liked how Ms. Thomas handled the issue of slavery. When I saw that this was set in 1854, I sighed. I really, really hate dealing with the slavery issue in historical romances. I'm black, so when I read these books, I think about how it must have been for black people to be slaves in this part of American history, and when I think about this, it makes it harder to enjoy the romance part of the book. In this case, Ms. Thomas managed to keep my conscience happy with those aspects of the book, and was able to keep that from detracting from the story, and it was realistic how she dealt with Mamie's situation.
Can I say how much I adored little Duck? What a sweet little boy. I just wanted to hug him. And Travis was such a good adoptive father to the orphaned, traumatized little boy. Nothing more sigh-worthy to this reader than a tough hero who is good with kids! Travis' relationship with Duck brought another layer of fantastic to this book, which was already pretty darn fantastic to begin with.
What can I say? Jodi Thomas has it when it comes to writing romance. She doesn't rely on a lot of bells and whistles. She brings simple to an art form. She just has what's needed: intriguing, lovable, relatable characters, an interesting storyline, great dialogue, and excellent western world-building and action that makes this Western-lover a happy camper.
I can't give this book less than five stars. That just wouldn't be right! Highly recommended! ...more
For some reason, I found this one to be a bit dry and hard to finish. I was excited that Hen was a virgin hero, and I liked him and Laurel and her sonFor some reason, I found this one to be a bit dry and hard to finish. I was excited that Hen was a virgin hero, and I liked him and Laurel and her son, Cody. But it just wasn't that enthralling to me. I didn't feel that much chemistry between Hen and Laurel to be honest. Even though Iris and Monty drove me crazy, I thought their book was more interesting, although they aren't anywhere near as nice as Hen and Laurel were....more