This was a book my sister shoved at me and told me to read. Boy am I glad she did. This was a really awesome book. Grace is not just a little plump. S...moreThis was a book my sister shoved at me and told me to read. Boy am I glad she did. This was a really awesome book. Grace is not just a little plump. She's a big girl, and once Noah actually starts looking at her, he likes everything he sees. The love scenes were very hot, the hottest I think I had read at that time. I don't tend to find too many of the very erotic type romances as romantic, but this one was. More on the modern romance side, where it's not so much "We're married" at the end of the book, but "I think I want to marry you. Here's a ring." Although there is a good epilogue that put me at ease.
Noah was quite the forceful, demanding-type lover, but Grace seemed to enjoy that aspect of him. She was a virgin, but was definitely going to educate her in the joys of making love. It was funny that he really let himself go after he had gotten betrayed and closed the door of his life on his ex-fiance. At first I was worried that he was just using Grace as a solace from his heart, but it was very clear how fast he came to fall in love with her. Grace had loved him so long, that she really had no resistance to him. It was fortunate that at heart, Noah was a good guy and wouldn't take her heart and step on it.
This book is a good reminder to the larger women out there that there is a man for you, who will find you as irresistible as an hot fudge sundae. Just don't give up on him.(less)
Larissa Ione hit the ground running with this one, and I was along for the ride. What can I say? I loved Lore. I felt so bad for him. Ms. Ione brought...moreLarissa Ione hit the ground running with this one, and I was along for the ride. What can I say? I loved Lore. I felt so bad for him. Ms. Ione brought him to full, vibrant life for me. I do love my assassin characters, so Lore was already in there for me. However, it was his vulnerability and his sense of loneliness which opened the door of my heart fully. I wanted to beat up Shade and Wraith for being mean to him. He needed their support, and they could hardly judge him, considering that they had some pretty unsavory pasts themselves. In fact, Lore was a bit more 'clean-cut' than both of them. Don't get me wrong. Lore is definitely a killer, but he does have a conscience. He'd rather take punishment then harm women or children. He feels a serious sense of remorse over the people he accidentally killed with his hand, which can take (or give) life with contact. It makes satiating his need for sex very difficult. Fortunately, Lore is a cambion (half-human/half-demon), so he can resort to self-gratification (which is something that the full-blooded Seminus demons cannot do). I have to admit those scenes were very sexy! I liked that he was somewhat innocent in some ways about sex (his experience was very furtive, not that satisfying encounters). He never experienced the tenderness of a true sensual encounter with someone he could touch fully and spend time enjoying.
Just when Lore is hoping that he can get himself and his sister out of the Assassin contract he has with the head of the demonic Assassin's Guild, he's given the worst job he ever imagined: He has to kill a man who he only recently restored life to. This kill will cause a serious rift in his new-found family. But, he can't refuse, or his sister will be killed instead. So, Lore is sure to make enemies out of his brothers and their family and friends. He's between a rock and a hard place.
But, he gets an unexpected ally in an Angel-in-Waiting, Idess. Idess has lived two millenia, and she's hoping she will soon gain her wings and Ascend to heaven. She must protect Primori, which are people who will have an important role to play out in the world. If she does this successfully, and lives a pure life, she can become a full-fledged angel. Her primori happens to be the man that Lore has to kill, only things shift, and she soon realizes that she has to protect Lore as well. As she keeps Lore captive and under her protection, she falls in love with the deadly assassin with a lonely heart. Things heat up between this unlikely couple, and that was nice reading. But, more importantly, I loved the bond between them. How they gave each other solace as each of them had led lives of denial. Ms. Ione did such a great job of pairing Lore and Idess. I loved them both. Idess was a tough, kickbutt woman, but also had a very warm, sweet nature. She truly believed in doing the right thing and was very dedicated to it, even with the tremendous self-sacrifices she made.
Another thing I loved about this book was the complexity of the storylines. There's not just a romance here. You see the progression of the storyline at Underworld General Hospital (UGH), which is still having problems, due to some rowdy ghosts causing damage, and an outbreak that is killing werewolves. And the real culprits behind a lot of the happenings in this book were pure evil. They made me shudder.
It was great catching up with the brothers and their mates. I really liked Eidolon in this book. Actually, I love him more and more with each book. He has a lot of qualities I admire: discipline, intelligence, honor, the ability to make peace. He is a great guy to head up this family and UGH. I do have to admit, I wanted to punch Shade a few times. He was being a jerk in this book. Although I eventually found out there was a good reason for why he was being so contrary. Lore's sister Sin is an interesting character. She's just as tortured as Lore, as the only female Seminus demon in existence (that's not as fun as it sounds). She's as hard as they come (a really tough life does that to a person), but I felt so much sympathy for her. I have a feeling her book is going to get me in the gut. Yet, I imagine I will do some laughing as she keeps her brothers (and her future mate) on their toes.
I couldn't put this book down. I know I say that often, but it's really true with this book! Larissa Ione knows how to write a very involving story. She writes very sexy stories, and the steaminess is so seemlessly integrated into the story (and not too raunchy or borderline gross). I love that she is able to have this sexy world, but have so much else going on. Her world-building is incredible, and the emotional complexity of her characters make these books fantastic reads. I find myself wanting to shake a character in one scene, and in the next, wanting to give him or her a big hug. She gives this world of demons and angels some heartiness. This is paranormal romance that I think a horror or dark fantasy fan would eat up if they took the plunge. The settings and places in these books are so vivid, I feel like I'm there (which isn't always a good thing). She's not afraid to add some blood and guts when it's warranted, but it's done tastefully. There are a lot of layers here, with demons who are good and angels who are bad, and the other way around. Yet, she hasn't abandoned classic ideas of the supernatural world that have a lot of power for me; but managed to tell her unique stories and integrate those into it very well. I am so glad that I read Pleasure Unbound and found this world she's created. They make for some hours of true reading enjoyment. Thanks for the awesome reading experience, Ms. Ione!(less)
I was so jazzed when I saw this book. A romance with an Asian hero, and Kentaro is some kind of yum. He's a baseball player from Japan who needs a cra...moreI was so jazzed when I saw this book. A romance with an Asian hero, and Kentaro is some kind of yum. He's a baseball player from Japan who needs a crash course in English. His tutor is bookish, scholarly Claire. Their attraction is immediate, and Kentaro does some chasing although he knows he probably can't marry her. Poor Claire doesn't know what hit her. Never fear, all turns out well. I don't typically care for playboys, but it was so neat to see the aspect of a ballplayer who is famous in Japan that he has all kinds of groupies, and various glimpses into the cultural phenomenom of baseball in Japan. Do read this if you like Asian heroes.(less)
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)
I've been excited to read this book for over a year, since I read Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge. It was clear that Fancy and Maxwell had some exciting...moreI've been excited to read this book for over a year, since I read Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge. It was clear that Fancy and Maxwell had some exciting chemistry and wonderful tension building up between them in that book.
Finally, I did read this book, and I wasn't disappointed. Marie Rochelle writes scintillating interactions between her couples very well. The dialogue really furthers the storytelling, showing the fiery chemistry between Fancy and Maxwell. This book is the quintessential battle between the sexes. Fancy and Maxwell play a game of chaser versus chasee. Their dynamic reminded me of a game of chess. Each player tries to make a move that will win them the game, but protect their queen (their hearts).
Initially, Fancy was doing the pursuing, until Maxwell decided that he wanted to be caught, and he thought Fancy had moved on. Fancy has been in love with Maxwell for a while now. He came into the Tycoon Club (where she worked) with his friends Troy and Cole pretty regularly, and she tried to ask him out a couple of times, only to be rebuffed. She gave up on there being something more between them. However, she needs the position he's advertising for, as his assistant and cook. Fancy's determined to keep things professional between them, and to hide her feelings for Maxwell. However, Maxwell sees Fancy and considers all the possibilities. She's completely sexy, and he likes her--she's spunky and intelligent, and a great employee. He's not sure what he wants from her--he just wants her. But, his past makes him believe a wife and a family are not in the cards for him. At the same time, his attraction to Fancy makes it impossible not to pursue her and claim her as his own. For those who enjoy a jealous hero, it was kind of cute how Maxwell was jealous of his friend Cole's relationship with Fancy, who was very good friends with Cole.
This was a light (but not in a bad way), fun, and sexy read. I loved the back and forth between Fancy and Maxwell. They were both strong people, and neither wants to let the other win, although their feelings betray themselves into each others' arms. Additionally, it was great to catch up with Headley and Troy from Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge, who are very happily married, with a baby on the way, and more than willing to do some matchmaking between Fancy and Maxwell.
I do feel that the editing could be better. I hate to harp on that, because I've noticed that can be an issue with smaller presses. It didn't really hurt my enjoyment of this book, but I feel I should mention that there were issues here, for full disclosure. Editing problems aside, this was a great story. I enjoyed spending a Saturday watching Fancy and Maxwell's courtship unfold. For those readers who like the Diana Palmer-esque heroes and that kind of dynamic in a story (albeit with a pretty fiesty, independent heroine), you'd probably like Maxwell. He does have some of those traits.
I truly enjoyed this book. Thus the five star rating!
PS. I emailed Ms. Rochelle about Cole's story, and she kindly emailed me back almost immediately to tell me that his story came out in July. It's called Cole's Surrender, currently available through Red Rose Publishing. I'm looking forward to seeing Cole surrender to young, sweet Lauren. :)(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)
I deliberately took a long hiatus on this series. Not because I didn’t love it, or that I was bored. No! Quite the contrary. I did it because it was d...moreI deliberately took a long hiatus on this series. Not because I didn’t love it, or that I was bored. No! Quite the contrary. I did it because it was doggone heartbreaking to run out of books after Kiss of a Demon King. Now, I have accumulated a nicely sizable stock of IAD stories, and I am good to go, if having to avoid spoilers like the plague doesn’t put a bit of a crimp in my style.
The Story: It was quite fun to see besotted Lykae, Garreth MacRieve chasing after his reluctant (for the most part) Valkyrie mate, Lucia. You see, Lucia totally has the hots for Garreth, but she has some really good reasons to give him the cold shoulder. For the most part, this didn’t bother me. I like to see the hero doing the chasing. And Lucia did show that she had feelings for Garreth. There were a couple of things she did to discourage Garreth that I wasn’t fond of. And I didn’t like the way she treated them the day after the night in the temple. (view spoiler)[ Thankfully, she saved his life from the anaconda and apologized nicely, so I forgave her (hide spoiler)].
(view spoiler)[I do have to say that I was dismayed that Lucia was married. I hate cheating. I just do. I convinced myself that emotionally she was divorced or annulled from her horrid, disgusting, awful husband, and he didn’t deserve her. But I just wish authors didn’t go there. Yes, this is a series about pagan immortals and my set of values clearly don’t apply, but I feel much better when I read a romance with a pair who is not married to someone else. Having said that, it was an interesting idea, Lucia being married to a being of legend, a horrible thing who made her wedding night unspeakable. I also liked that Lucia saved herself and Garreth. And I loved that Garreth’s love for Lucia kept him from killing her, able to fight off her husband’s magic just long enough to keep him from hurting Lucia. (hide spoiler)]
As usual, Kresley Cole writes a blisteringly hot romance story. Here I am reading this book at the gym on the elliptical, with my eyes glued to the pages, which were singeing my fingers. Oh, my! Ms. Cole writes so many good foreplay scenes, you are eagerly awaiting the big moment, and of course, you are not disappointed.
I loved the adventure aspects. The trek into the Amazon, and the natural, strange but natural creatures, and of course, the Loreans that Garreth and Lucia encountered made for an exciting read. She didn’t let the tension wane in any way, sexual or storyline-wise. And there are so crazy, over the top action scenes that I loved. I didn’t know what to expect, and I wasn’t bored for one second. Lucia holds her own against enormous caimans, crazed assassins, shapeshifters, vile, cannibalistic gods, and crazy humans. Garreth ain’t shabby either. My werewolf fixation was very much appeased with him! A girl could do no better than to have a devoted Lykae mate out to protect her and to meet her every need! Hot and sultry, this book was, in many ways. The treasure hunt was a nice addition, giving this book that Indiana Jones vibe that I love. I have a feeling that some of the happenings in this book will have repercussions in the next, and I am eagerly awaiting to see how those chips fall.
The Characters: Ms. Cole was able to distinguish Lucia from her Valkyrie sisters by giving Lucia a more serious bent than her other sisters. She had a lot of emotions simmering underneath that she had to keep leashed. While most of her Valkyrie sisters are party animals, she has to stay in control and honor her vows. Her situation was a tough one, with her obligations that kept her from living a full life. She was punishing herself for childish choice she made when she was a very young girl. That’s one thousand years of guilt. Way too many! I liked her rationality, and I loved her archery skills. She was freaking awesome! I liked that she had a soft spot for Garreth, and it wasn’t just lust. She really liked the guy and cared for him. And she really, truly showed how much he meant to her, going after him in his time of need. If I didn’t like her before, she definitely won me over at this point.
Like pretty much all of KC’s heroes, I adored Garreth. Sexy, sweet, tough, funny, intelligent, and devoted, very devoted. It’s safe to say that when he makes a commitment, he keeps it. And when he loves, he loves, to the bottom of his soul. He just about broke my heart near the end of this story. But this story has a happy ending, so fear not.
The secondary characters are always entertaining and well-drawn. Ms. Cole has a great imagination, creating characters that populate her ever-expanding Lore, and making me even more of a devoted reader. I love the romance, but the world-building was an equally powerful factor in making me a fan of this series. It’s very distinct and fascinating, full of legend and myth that makes this paranormal romance into fantasy adventure, and keeps me coming back for more. When I meet new characters, I hope that Ms. Cole will bring them back so I can see what their story is, and where this series will lead them. I have to say that Lothaire is one character that I have my eye on. What is his deal??? Inquiring minds! And the epilogue….Evil. She’s evil! I am so glad that I have the next book waiting in the queue.
Some Questions to Finish This Review: Did I love this story? Yes‼‼ Sexy romance, humor, adventure, fascinating storylines. They are all there for the intrepid reader. Was I satisfied? Oh, yes‼! Am I excited for the next book? Absolutely‼! Would I recommend this series? You aren’t reading it? Do you like paranormal romance? If the answer is yes, hop to it! ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Okay, Jake's parents did everything they could to make him into a serial killer. Thank God he was too strong for that. Jake was an intense guy who had...moreOkay, Jake's parents did everything they could to make him into a serial killer. Thank God he was too strong for that. Jake was an intense guy who had a facade of not caring about anything and being out for himself. But truly that wasn't who he was. He was a dangerous and ruthless man, but he had the capacity for devotion and love. Thankfully he met Emma and she brought that out in him.
This was a really intense book. I truly enjoyed it and had trouble putting it down. I was reading it every chance I could. Like all of the Feehan books I've read, this one packs a wallop. The love scenes were fiery. I was holding my breath out of fear that they would be more than I could handle, but they were not. Some sensitive readers might have a few moments of breath holding, but as a reader who does not like erotica in her romances, I was fine.
Jake and Emma really are a great match. At first glance, it might seem that Emma is too gentle for a hard-edged man like Jake, but she really complements him. And she has inner steel behind the sweet, homemaking facade. Jake is one of my favorite kinds of heroes, ones on the edge that find their salvation in being loved and in loving. He was very dominant but he didn't go over the top with it, like some characters can do. I think it's because despite his dominance and his rough-edges, he knew how to protect and care for those that were in his care and who mattered to him. I loved how he tended to collect stray people who had been hurt and damaged by life. Aww! How could I not love him?
The violence is inherent in this storyline about a man/leopard who was raised by evil, cruel parents, and lives in a world where betrayal is always lurking. But it was tasteful and not over the top. The climax is electrifying and keeps you on the edge of the seat. You feel like you are right there in the midst of the action.
As usual, Feehan introduces you to secondary characters that you want to read more about, such as Drake, Conner, Joshua, Evan, and Susan. I hope that we get to see them find their happy ending.
As a lover of shapeshifter books, I am glad I have another really good one to add to my keeper list. Unusual and intriguing, and thoroughly enjoyable, I found this book irresistible and worth the time and energy I spent reading it.(less)
I'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairly...moreI'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairly solid four stars.
First of all, lets talk about how awesome "Untouchable" was. I liked Murdoch before I read this story, because the Wroth brother are four times hot! But, I didn't love him as much as Nikolai (swoon), Conrad (thud), and Sebastian (sigh). I'm not fond of womanizers. But somehow, I fell in love with Murdoch. I could see that his fear of giving himself away and losing himself in love with a woman was the reason why he was so love 'em and leave 'em. Truth be told, I don't think he really broke any hearts. He found woman who just wanted sex and he made sure he gave them what they wanted very well. I don't know that he held any more fondness for them than they did for him. As always, Kresley Cole does the devoted male very well. This Wroth courtship was very different in that Murdoch didn't want to be Blooded. He was rather unhappy with the fact that Daniela was his Bride, and she had brought his body back to life. This story is a good metaphor for the relationships that some women face with the reluctant bachelor, who doesn't want to give up his freedom, out of fear that he's going to miss out on something. Murdoch had to go through the process of realizing that he might no longer be fancy free, but he had found the love of his life, and he would have been miserable without her--she made his life better, just by being in it. Daniela also had her issues. Because of her Icere heritage, she couldn't be touched by anyone. She'd spent two thousand years of celibacy, as a chaste (other than self-pleasure) virgin, seeing her Valkyrie sisters have their love affairs and live a full life, while she felt she was on the shelf. When she meets Murdoch and realizes she is his Bride, she's willing to give him a chance. At times, I felt bad for Daniela. She really put herself out there to be hurt by Murdooch, and he did hurt her more than a few times. Yet, at the same time, he did care about her and tried to do right by her. He is probably the most like a real guy out of the heroes I've read about in paranormal romance. Not to pigeonhole men, but he had a lot of the fears and insecurities of a modern guy in relationships, instead of the slavish devotion and adoration that I've seen (and I freely admit I like) in a lot of paranormal romances. He fought the bond between him and Daniela. But, when he gave into it, boy did he! The love scenes were tres steamy! I was curious how Ms. Cole would pull off having lots of sexy encounters with a couple who couldn't touch each other, but I must say she did it well.
I love this world of the Lore. It's funny, fascinating, exciting, interesting, and very entertaining. The Immortals After Dark series is tied for my favorite paranormal series (with the Black Dagger Brotherhood) for a good reason--it's awesome. I was happy to see that this was a fairly long short story, just under 300 pages. And Ms. Cole used the time she had to excellent advantage. I totally ended up loving this story, and it more than earned its five star rating. I loved how well Ms. Cole wrapped up the Wroth brothers' stories. I think that she found the perfect mates with them, and I was very happy with how she resolved Daniela and Murdoch's prickly situation. And can I just say that I think I might be part Icere? I sure do love the cold, and I truly enjoyed the scenes in which Daniela gets settled into Murdoch's icy hunting lodge in Sibera, and the couple frolicking in the snow and ice. This story was fantastic!
"Tempt Me Eternally" by Gena Showalter had a tough job to accomplish, following an Immortals After Dark story. I have to say that it did it fairly well. I will always choose supernatural over science fiction. It's just the way I'm wired. However, I thought the concept behind this story was pretty interesting. The Rakans have come to Earth to settle down and rebuild after their world and peoples are devastated by an invasion by the Schon, a race of beings who have sex with and infect other races with a virus that causes the the females to turn into cannibals. All the females were killed, and they decimated many of the males of the Rakan world. The lone survivors have found Earth, and intend to live here peacefully. However, they encounter a force of AIR, an agency that protects Earth from hostile aliens. Things don't go well, and some of the AIR agents are killed by a rogue Rakan, and their leader Breean sees and kidnaps AIR agent Macy (who is actually Aleaha-a shapeshifting woman who has assumed the identity of Macy). Breean can actually see the real Aleaha under the mask of Macy. He sees and decides he has to have her. He takes her and some of the other AIR agents back to his hideout, biding his time to try to make an exchange with AIR and bargain for the right to live on Earth peacefully, but he's already determined that he will keep Aleaha. Aleaha is a pretty tormented heroine. She has an ability that has caused her a lot of trouble, because she morphs in moments of extreme emotion (including sex). She's tired of pretending to be someone else. When Breean seems to see and like the real her, as well as accepting her morphing abilities, she feels a real bond, not to mention he's sex on legs, and she's incredibly attracted to this tall, well-built, sweet-tasting, golden man. She doesn't want to be his captive, but he makes captivity very enticing as he seduces her body and soul into loving him and wanting forever with him. But, Aleaha has her loyalty to AIR to deal with before she can jump off the deep end into passion with Breean.
This was a good story. It was also very steamy. I ended up enjoying the science fiction elements very much. Ms. Showalter focuses more of the sensuality, but she does that very well. I knew the characters enough to care about them, and root for their happy ending, and I was pretty engaged. As I said, I was so blown away by the IAD story, it was hard to love this one quite as much. But it was good and entertaining. It easily earns a four star rating. And it was nice to revisit the Alien Huntress storyline, in which I am way behind.
I don't tend to buy very many hardcovers, because I'm cheap and they are harder to store, but this was way worth my money, even if just for the Immortals After Dark story. I think of the Alien Huntress story as a nice bonus, since I've been more interested in reading science fiction lately, and I really do like Gena Showalter's writing. This was a great read for the holidays. Although the stories weren't heavily focused on Christmas, I thought that the authors used the holiday theme to good effect. I especially loved the frosty moments in IAD. Oh to have a sexy guy to play in the snow with!(less)
I put off reading this book for years. Let's just say, when I thought the heroine was the Lilith (of Biblical infamy), I wasn't sure I could wrap my m...moreI put off reading this book for years. Let's just say, when I thought the heroine was the Lilith (of Biblical infamy), I wasn't sure I could wrap my mind around her being a heroine in a romance novel. Well, I'm glad that I finally did read this book. It was a very good story. And, by the way, she isn't that Lilith.
I think Ms. Brook did a great job of writing this story about a love affair over eight hundred years in the making. Two people who should have been mortal enemies, who ended up falling in love and finding their soulmates in each other. The die-hard romantic in me couldn't help but be enthralled with this concept. And that pull between Lilith and Hugh kept me reading, although this is a story that requires the ability to wait for delayed gratification. That, in itself is not a bad thing. Instead, it was appealing to see the back and forth between Hugh and Lilith through the years. Watching their verbal foreplay, and the fact that although they often went head to head as opponents on opposite sides of a war, but didn't treat each other as the mortal adversaries that they were.
This is a very character-driven book. The good thing about it, is the character are very interesting. Although Lilith is correctly thought of as a 'bad girl,' she has aspects that show that she really isn't all bad. In contrast, Hugh is definitely the white knight type of character. But he has some gray areas too. I loved that they were each other's weaknesses. Hugh was a very chaste, righteous man, but Lilith was the one woman who had the power to utterly seduce him, and he had to work hard not to show it. Hugh made Lilith want to defy her father, Lucifer, even though it was a great personal cost to her. Ms. Brook did such a great job at laying the groundwork for this great love story, and the execution was very good.
Now, this is one of those books that I had trouble rating. The reason why is, well it's a very good book. However, it had a tendency to be quite slow-moving. It was character-driven, which is good, but I think the action sequences needed to be more vivid. There was great potential for rip-roaring, intense battle sequences, and that didn't come to fruition. I think there needed to be more showing and not telling in that arena. Since this is the first full book in the series, I suspect that the further books have expanded in this area, because this story has all kinds of potential. Another issue I had, was sometimes I got lost with some of the aspects of the worldbuilding. I didn't always get what the objective was of everything, with the nosferatu, and the inscribing of symbols, and the drinking of blood with the murders of Hugh's students. I will probably need to reread this book to gain a better understanding of all that.
On the positive, I was really impressed with this story: the guardians versus the demons. The eternal struggle between the forces of light and dark. The worldbuilding had a uniqueness that spoke to me. The scenes describing Hell sent shivers down my spine. I loved Sir Pup, Lilith's pet hellhound. I thought it was awesome how the guardians, nosferatu, and demons could store weapons and other items (even bodies and evidence) in what's called a 'cache,' which I interpreted to be a psychic storage area. That was very cool. What made me uneasy was the parts where Lilith called Lucifer father, and talked about obeying and serving him. I'm a devout Christian, which means he's the bad guy to me, so it was just really odd to have the main character in allegiance to him. But, I liked the interesting dynamic of it all; after all, Lilith knew she was playing for the wrong team.
The best thing about this story was the love story. Hugh and Lilith were made for each other. They had sizzling chemistry that made the slow-moving story worthwhile for staying tuned into. I really wanted things to work out for them. I loved all the love scenes, because they were sizzling hot, and the passion between them really burned. You definitely got the feeling that this was a fire that had been stoking for almost a millenium. Hugh is a sigh-worthy hero. I loved that he was such a good guy, a virgin, with strong principles. Yet, he was not a supercilious, self-righteous plaster saint. He was very much a man, with a man's flaws. He was determined to save Lilith, even when she didn't seem to want saving. He was even willing to sacrifice himself to do so. And Lilith was a great character. I love a complex heroine. She's dark, but has a strong sense of doing what is right to her. She put herself in jeopardy several times, out of love for Hugh, and didn't take the many opportunities she had to destroy him, and make a mockery of his principles. I liked her, and I wanted her to get her man, and for things to work out for her. Because of their strong bond, that made them both stronger and complete as people, and a powerful unit together, I was seriously rooting for their happy ending. And I liked how Ms. Brook pulled it off.
Demon Angel is a book that I was pleasantly surprised with. It has a fresh spin on the ancient battle between heaven and hell. It gave me something to ponder, but I didn't feel like I was compromising my personal beliefs in reading this book. The love story was rich and involving. I definitely want to continue this series, and see how this war between the Guardians, the nosferatu, and the demons unfolds.(less)
Well, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with Ashes of Midnight. Because I have had a crush on Andreas for a while, I've been looking forward...moreWell, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with Ashes of Midnight. Because I have had a crush on Andreas for a while, I've been looking forward to this book, although this seems to be a least favorite of a lot of fans of this series. Veil of Midnight ended with things in an abysmal place for Andreas. His whole family was wiped out through an act of his enemy, Wilhelm Roth, who is highly placed in the Enforcement Agency. This book begins in medias res of Andreas' brutal quest for vengeance. Andreas has the gift of summoning fire, and he uses it to devastating effect against his enemies. It's only a matter of time when his former love, Claire, ends up in his path. She's the breedmate (term for a wife/life-partner in the vampire world) to his enemy, and has been for thirty years. He left her because of his problem with the uncontrollable fire that wells from deep within him, and when he returned, she was married to Roth. Since then, he's stayed away, and lived the life of a playboy and leader of his Darkhaven in Berlin. But all that was taken away from him by Roth.
Andreas is a man driven by vengeance. The only thing that penetrates this thirst is the love he felt for Claire, which never faded. It puts him in an impossible position, because he won't give up his determination to kill Roth, even if Claire begs him to. Although I didn't always agree with the choices that Andreas made, I could see why he made them. That gave me a level of understanding for his actions. He was truly in a bad place. His gift of firestarting had unwittingly caused him to do something that haunted him with guilt, and he knew that every time he summoned fire, his ability to control this devastating force lessened, and his bloodlust got stronger. Even though he was murdering his enemies in a very brutal fashion, at heart, I could see that he was a good man. He'd just been driven over the edge by his enemy's actions. And he harbored no illusions that his own choices would lead to his own demise. His goal was to destroy Roth, even at the cost of his own life.
I actually ended up liking Claire quite a bit. Marrying Roth was a bad decision on her part, but with Andreas gone and her all alone in the world, she clung to Roth as her only security. She paid dearly for that, trapped in an loveless marriage for thirty years. When Andreas turns up again, she is faced with the horrible conflict of being between the man she loves and the man she owes her loyalty to. Although I thought she was a bit too trusting of Roth initially, I could see why. Claire was a very honorable, loyal person. She made vows and she wanted to keep them. Too bad she made them to the wrong man. That was clear, because she felt the same intense love for Andreas she had felt so many years before, even though he comes back into her life as a violent, enraged, and dangerous man. She's a gentle, but strong person. Her loyalty and steadfast love is the only thing that has the power to save Andreas.
The adventure in this story was really good. I loved the concept of Andreas having the gift of fire. It was very cool and cinematic. And kind of intimidating. He was literally so hot, he could incinerate anything that came near him. He could summon fireballs and make things explode. Very cool. I also liked that his gift had a cost to him. It was getting out of control, and it summoned an insatiable lust for blood. The conflict built to a very good climax, and I was very satisfied with the resolution (which has not been the case with most of the other books).
I thought the love between Andreas and Claire was very apparent. This book was also pretty steamy. Although I don't like adultery in books (to me Claire was married in every sense of the word, even though vampire marriage is different), I felt that they were in a tough situation, and Roth had manipulated both of them, giving them little choices in the matter. I didn't like the idea of Claire being blood-bonded to another man when I heard about this book, but I think Ms. Adrian handled it pretty well. It was clear that Andreas and Claire belonged together, and their bond was a much more powerful one than the bond with Roth.
Ashes of Midnight turned out to be my favorite in this series so far. I think that everything was pretty well done, and Ms. Adrian took one of my least favorite concepts (reunited lovers) and made a very good read with it. She has a good feel for mood and tone. Her writing is clear and strong, telling a fast-moving, interesting story in this book. I felt the urgency of the situation that the Order faces. The threat of the crooked politicians in the Enforcement Agency and the nefarious plans of Dragos. Things are culminating to a very dangerous confrontation with each book. I realized that I don't like all the foul language in this series, but I try to overlook it. I think that it ties into the dark, gritty vibe that Ms. Adrian is going for (even if it causes me more than a few winces when I read). This series just gets better and better in its execution. She tied everything together from the past books very well. It was good to see all the Breed warriors and their mates. I love how Renata fights with the men. She rocks! I think Ms. Adrian does a good job of integrating and involving the breedmates into the work of the Order, making them more than just chess pieces after their book is over. I respect her for that. I am excited to see where things go with the storyline. I look forward to reading Kade, Brock, Chase, and Hunter's stories.
This is one of those reviews where I have to admit I'm wrong. I didn't like Wraith at all before I read this book. I thought my feelings would be unli...moreThis is one of those reviews where I have to admit I'm wrong. I didn't like Wraith at all before I read this book. I thought my feelings would be unlikely to change, even though I love this series, and Larissa Ione's writing. Well, I was dead wrong. There. I said it. I ended up loving Wraith. And I have no regrets.
Wraith is one of those heroes who snuck up on me. I think it was the sign of the high caliber of Ms. Ione's writing. Wraith is very in-your-face with his often unlikeable, selfish nature. But Ms. Ione employed a careful subtlety in crafting his story. I went into it thinking that he was callous and uncaring. But I came to realize that he had a massive defense mechanism going on. There are few people that have the power to make or break another person. And parents are at the top of the list. If someone goes bad, the first instinct is to say that he wasn't raised right. Well, that's not always true. But, I think it's very true in Wraith's case. His mother treated him like he was an abomination. I'm not saying that she doesn't have a reason to feel some bitterness about Wraith being forced on her by his Seminus demon father. But to treat a child the way she did was just plain wrong. It's no wonder that Wraith was lacking in moral character. He cared about his brothers, and killing vampires. Not much else, after that. Sex was important because a Seminus demon will die without it. But I don't even think that sex was all that important to him. It was something that he did to stay alive. To him, seducing females was a biological imperative. When he found out he had to seduce a virgin human woman in order to survive the toxin he had been poisoned with, that's when things got complicated. Because of the tortures his mother afflicted on him, Wraith stays far away from human females. But, he has no choice. And he's almost ready to say no to doing it, until he finds out that the hospital that his brothers and he built will fail if he dies, there's no getting out of this particular seduction.
When Wraith and Serena meet, I could feel the chemistry, but Wraith is still in callous mode. I was still unconvinced of him as hero I could fall for. But slowly that starts to change as I saw how Wraith ended up loving Serena for who she was, how he protected her, and how he continually passed up on opportunities to do 'the deed'. And as I saw how tender his heart was, buried under many layers of scar tissue, I was seduced into softening my own heart to him. How he suffered as his body shut down, but wouldn't take Serena, knowing he'd cause her own demise. How he gave her pleasure without consummation, which contributed to his own agony. That was the mark of selfless love. By the end of this book, I was deeply in love with Wraith. In fact, he's my favorite brother up to this point.
Serena's character was well-drawn as well. She had lived her life knowing she can never be fully intimate with a man, or she'll die. But she's managed to live a full, adventurous life, regardless of that. I liked her passion and her spirit. And her good heart. She was just the woman for Wraith.
Another 'character' that took center stage was the awesome world-building and storytelling. Ms. Ione has this reader impressed. Her world is so rich and fascinating. The way she took this concept to the next level by incorporating fallen angels, one who longs to return to Heaven, and another who strives to bring Hell to Heaven and to rule over earth as a god. What a marked, fascinating conrast. The complexity of the demon species, and their interactions with each other. How very different they all are. In my mind, a demon is a demon. Not so in this series. In some ways this series has an intense, horrific vibe to it. Not that I'm complaining. I am a fan or horror, after all. She gets serious props with the way she's able to make me feel uneasy with some of the aspects of this story. And the action sequences were excellent, with smaller skirmishes and smack-downs, and full on epic battles. The characters get hurt, and sometimes mortally. The cost is higher than you can even imagine.
The tension in this book is sustained, as you wonder how things will work out. In this dicey situation, success can only occur at the expense of someone else. Who will live? Who will die? You don't find out until almost the very end of the book. And things aren't wrapped up in a neat package. A sacrifice has to be made. But at the same time, I came out of this book very satisfied.
It's hard to get everything into words, but I was thoroughly satisfied with this book. I was kept guessing what would happen, in a state of delightful suspense, as this book unfolds. I was completely entertained with the beautiful romance, fiery passion, the family dynamics, the incredibly interesting world-building and lore-spinning, and the grand adventure of it all. This was just a great book all-around.
I can't wait to read Lore's story. I'm already in love with him!
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie established to me that it would be a great read from the first page. Ian is such an unusual hero, and he is thorough...moreThe Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie established to me that it would be a great read from the first page. Ian is such an unusual hero, and he is thoroughly lovable. And Beth is one of those rare heroines who really does deserve a hero like Ian. Their relationship felt right and it felt meant to be. Watching them grow closer, to acknowledge their unique, rich relationship, was very gratifying. Their bond was emotional, sensual, spiritual, and intellectual. Although there were parts of each other that they didn’t fully grasp, they kept their hearts open to coming to accept and understand each other. There were no judgments against each other given. Romance stories like this are my favorite kind: where two people can find love with each other, without judgments or the fear that they have to let go of who they are or lose who they are to be in a fulfilling relationship with each other.
Ms. Ashley did a wonderful job of showing me who Ian was. That what others considered a ‘madness’, a defect, a shortcoming, was merely a different way of processing things, and very beautiful and worthwhile in its uniqueness. The depiction of Ian’s condition reminded me of Water Bound by Christine Feehan, another book that looks at a main character with a form of autism. It was not exactly the same as Ian’s, but I saw some commonalities in Ian and Rikki. They looked at the world in a profoundly different way, saw beauty with an enhanced detail that few of us are able to appreciate. Although that makes it hard to filter out sensations, the artist, the lover of beauty in me wonders how this can be a bad thing, if the person has the love and understanding, the space to breathe when things get too intense for them. Apparently Ian has Asperger's Syndrome. Back in the 19th century, no one would have known what this was, or understood it, and so for Ian to be able to function and to be productive, wonderfully so, was so lovely to read about. To see how his shame became a triumph. It was just beautiful to see. It really was. I loved the hope that Ms. Ashley gave me as I read. I know that she never tried to deny that Ian’s life wouldn’t be easy, but he had the love of his family, their acceptance, and the love of Beth to help him through it. So his affliction was really a gift. That is so true to life for us. Those of us who are different look at ourselves as flawed. However,I believe that our differences are God-given, and they are given to us for a reason. We may not see it that way, but as we walk through life, we come to realize that because of who we are we can give something special to the world that no one else can. That’s how I perceived Ian’s madness. Definitely a gift in disguise.
I loved seeing Ian’s family. All big, tough, larger-than-life men, none of them perfect. They reminded me of my father’s family of brothers. A room full of big, loud-talking men. It made me smile. I am very much looking forward to reading stories about each and every one of them, and hopefully Ian’s nephew Daniel will get a book when he’s older too.
This book was rich and fulfilling. I read it pretty quickly, because it fed my soul. I want to thank Ms. Ashley for giving us Ian and Beth’s beautiful love story. (less)
Wow! That was one heck of a read. Talking about drama, this book is full on drama. Once the ride starts, it does not stop. To be honest, I could not h...moreWow! That was one heck of a read. Talking about drama, this book is full on drama. Once the ride starts, it does not stop. To be honest, I could not handle being around any of the people in this book. Talking about stress....
Let me say, I loved Michael. He is in some ways diabolical, and crazy as a fox. He is a needy, heartbroken boy. He is a powerful, dangerous man. Gosh, he was one of a kind. I think he might up there with my favorite heroes of all time (okay I like the dark, scary heroes ala Anne Stuart, Kresley Cole, JR Ward, and Christine Feehan). Even at his most evil, he did not annoy me for some reason. I was just sitting there with my mouth open, asking for more. He's the kind of hero I really love reading about. The ones that you cannot forget because he's no cookie-cutter, samey-samey, run of the mill Ken (as in Barbie and Ken) type. I also gravitated to him because he was so in love with Seine. He needed her so much and couldn't imagine his life without her. He had the world, but he really just wanted her, and was willing to walk away from everything more than once for her. He needed to be loved like life needs water. How could I resist him?
Now Seine. She was a little more complicated to like at times. She teased this tiger's tail. She pressed the red button. And she got the runaway train that was Michael O'Neal. He even warned her more than a few times. She told him that she would never leave him or stop loving him or give up on him, but her actions didn't back that up in a very crucial moment. We all break promises in life, but you cannot break that kind of promise to an all or nothing man like Michael O'Neal. I knew that in my heart. I felt, this is wrong. I wanted to yell at her when she threw his love back in her face. "Are you crazy?" I wanted to yell at her: "Okay I know he's kind of evil and unstable, but the man loves you liked crazy. Choose him like you said you would." She really disappointed me in that scene because she didn't make the right decision in my opinion. So I kind of felt that Seine was a bit of a spoiled brat. She had the silver spoon and was the Little Girl Lost in some ways (with her father not being there for her). She wanted her Prince Charming not realizing he was the Dark Prince.
Now that is the interesting thing about this book. None of these characters are perfect, sweet, kind, and adorable. Probably the most likable (other than my absolute love for the diabolical Michael O'Neal) is Lynda, Seine's lifelong friend. She was the voice of reason for these two crazy people who were crazy in love with each other but didn't know how to love each other. I really liked the part where she gave the knowledge to Michael, and the numerous times she gave counsel to the headstrong and not very forward thinking Seine.
To be honest, the bedroom scenes verged on being a little too erotic for me. It would probably pass by a seasoned erotic romance novel fan without even eliciting a blink. Let's just say there are certain things I don't like associated with sex and there's a wee bit of that in this book. But it was not enough to make me throw the book away. I would say that you should read this book even if you aren't into the erotic stuff. Because it's too good to resist. How could you pass up reading about a guy like Michael? Have I said I love this guy?
Let me reiterate, this book is intense. There are a lot of yelling scenes. Again, DRAMA. How exhausting. I found the dialog and the narrative very memorable, showing that Pat does have a command of language and a realism to her writing; it has a life and a precision that is memorable. The language is raw and earthy in a way that is kind of new for what I've read so far. However, it wasn't jarring because it fits the emotional climate of this book. The people therein are passionate and very in-your face. If they didn't talk like that, I suppose it would have been peculiar. I'd probably avoid them like the plague (maybe stare at Michael a little first before slinking away in fear).
I definitely would read this book when you are in the mood for a very fiery, passionate, not always comfortable read. I doubt you'll be disappointed if you read it prepared to have the earth shake under your feet with all the violent emotions in this book. It was a great love story that really challenged me in some ways, and very unique from what I've read in a long time. Bravo, Ms. Cromwell.(less)
I knew I was going to love Graham’s story when I was introduced to him in his brother’s book, The Cobra and the Concubine. He was angry and isolated,...moreI knew I was going to love Graham’s story when I was introduced to him in his brother’s book, The Cobra and the Concubine. He was angry and isolated, but he had an inner sadness that called to me. I have been excited to read this book for a while, but I put it off. I’m so glad I finally read it. It was a wonderful book, and it made me cry.
Graham was everything I hoped for, and more. I love him dearly! He’s fierce and deadly, tough and masculine, but sweet and gentle. His loneliness and anguish called out to me, and made me want to soothe him. His inner battle with despair and rage at his past, and the progression to peace and contentment was not an easy thing to read about. Like Jillian, I suffered, longing to see this man gain some inner tranquility. However, his journey was realistic. The wounds that a man like Graham carried would not be easily lanced and healed. It was a struggle for him, and for Jillian, and Ms. Vanak illustrated this process beautifully. I liked how she wrote Graham going full circle, back to the desert that had created the man he was. The Khamsin men say that the desert will strip a man bare of all pretense, leaving only the essential man, and some are driven crazy in the process. Jillian watched as the civilized English duke that she knew and married became a fierce, cold desert warrior. She railed at the gulf that separated them, and as Graham's friend Ramses had told her, she would need all her strength to save Graham and to bring him back across that void and into her loving embrace.
The passion and love between Jillian and Graham was thrilling. I loved their tender moments together just as much if not more, the way their hearts reached out to each other. They were like two lost souls who found each other, even though their circumstances and the fate that binds them were not ideal. In a way, it felt like their destinies were to love each other, so that their wounds (caused by the same man) could be healed. I loved how Graham encouraged Jillian to emerge from the gray cocoon her father had imprisoned her in. He admired her intelligence, finding it attractive. He coaxed her to be free and to embrace her wild inner spirit. Jillian had to tame the wild animal within Graham that had been terribly abused, teach him to open up and to love and to trust. I loved that they were both virgins, and had the rare privilege to explore passion for the first time together. Both of them were nervous their first time, but felt a connection, a powerful attraction that drew them together. The love scenes were enthralling, enticing and fiery—-the way good love scenes should be.
This book was a success on so many levels. The courtship of Jillian and Graham, the resolution of Graham and Jillian’s pasts, the beautiful and sometimes harsh depiction of life for the Bedouin in Arabia. The majestic and treacherous nature of the desert. This is what I long for in historical romance. Ms. Vanak wrote a fantastic book here. It has definitely earned its five star rating and a spot on my keeper shelf. I treasure the time I spent reading Graham and Jillian’s deep, emotional, beautiful love story.
Here are the actors I pictured as Graham and Jillian:
Despite a slow start, I ended up loving this book. There was much to love in it, after all. If you read this book, hang in the past the helicopter sce...moreDespite a slow start, I ended up loving this book. There was much to love in it, after all. If you read this book, hang in the past the helicopter scene, which was filled with a bit too much technical information. You might like it, but I found it was a little dry for me. Shortly thereafter, things really take off.
Ty Derrick isn't your typical hero. He is extremely intelligent. So intelligent that he isn't very good at doing the normal life kinds of things. He has poor social skills, and will say exactly what he thinks. Ty is a nerd. He's a delicious nerd. I am so happy that Ms. Feehan was brave enough to write a hero who was without any doubt a big nerd. Now Ty is also gorgeous and built from his extreme sports. But the cool thing is Libby has loved him from afar in large part because of his brilliance. Although most things of normal life cannot keep his interest, Ty was always interested in Libby, but hadn't worked up the nerve to pursue her until this book starts. It's good that he finally decided that she was the woman he wanted. Ty is not an easy man to love or to live with. So it's great that Libby understands and accepts him for who he is (in ways that no one ever did, including his cousin, whom he is very close with). He's so abstract in his thinking, so absent-minded, in the ways that truly brilliant people are. However, as the book unfolds, it is clear to see the change that Libby's love makes on him, and it is realistic. Ty will always be the absent-minded professor, but Libby has become one of his major fixations, and she'll always take number one spot in his life. Ty might be a braniac, but he makes a formidable hero in pursuit, and definitely makes my possessive/jealous heroes list.
I loved seeing Libby's story. She's truly a gentle, loving person. Her gift for healing is incredible, and she uses it with profound cost to herself in this book. I am a big fan of heroines who are educated and have careers in the scientific and technical fields. I loved how she was able to meet Ty on his level, although he is more on the analytic side of science, and she is on the applied, humanistic side. Their discussions on science and medicine were interesting to me (since I am in the medical science field), and it was an excellent way to show that this couple were made for each other.
Ty and Libby is one of those couples I root for. They are very good together. They seemed to complement each other. Ty finds it hard to feel, and Libby feels maybe too much. Instead of it being the case of Ty walking all over Libby's feelings (although he seemed to say cutting things to her in school that hurt her, he didn't mean it from a cruel way, but didn't know how to talk to this girl he was in awe of), he finds the ability to open up to her and love her in ways that he never could love anyone. Ty did frustrate me how he was determined to believe that the Drake family was a bunch of shysters, but it made sense for a man so rational and used to applying the principles of science to everything, and breaking everything down to its fundamental level, would have trouble reconciling the powerful magic of the Drake family. When Ty begins to pursue Libby, he is determined to save her from her family. I am really glad that this was not dragged out too long. I like how Ms. Feehan resolved Ty's doubts about the magical abilities of Libby and her sisters. I like how Ty came to find himself the family he always felt he was denied with the Drake sisters. He becomes part of their circle of love and protection.
Ty and Libby had excellent chemistry, but also a love for each other was gentle and strong in equal measures. They cared for each other and wanted each others' happiness. The love scenes are pretty sizzling, and show that their bond is deeper than just physical. I really love how Ms. Feehan wrote the perfect hero for each sister, intensely compatible and right for these wonderful women.
I never realized how much I would come to enjoy the theme of this series. I don't want to belabor a point about my usually avoidance of witch stories. But these books really show the elemental nature of these incredible young women, how good they are, and how natural what they can do is. I truly love the scenes in which the sisters are spending time together, how deep their love and support for each other is. How much they are willing to sacrifice for each other. They really show how strong family can and should be. I liked that Jackson and Jonas were in this book a lot. They are great characters, and I can't get enough of them. You can see how important they are to the Drake sisters, although they haven't found their happy endings with their respective Drake sisters quite yet. Only brief appearances by Damon and Matt, alas.
Again, I was laughing out loud with this story. Christine Feehan is really funny. I love the humor in her books. It's just as good as all the intense passion, steamy love scenes, and tortured angst, and it's a great counterbalance to the darker, more serious and emotionally-wrenching moments.
This book had less of the supernatural darkness aspects than some of the books. It was more of a crime/mystery type plot underlying the love story. The resolution of this story was rather heartbreaking in some ways. There is a happy ending, but the betrayal that Ty faces is astounding.
I am so glad that I picked this book up again after laying it down a couple of months ago, because this time I could barely put it down. It just goes to prove what a mood reader I am. It was a bittersweet read for me, since this is the last Drake sisters book that I can read for the first time (I ended up reading this series out of order). But I have a feeling I will be rereading this series sometime in the future. And there's always Ilya's brothers' books to look forward to. Thanks for writing another excellent book, Ms. Feehan. (less)
Okay. How to write this review without the whole thing turning into a Hardy Cates droolfest. It's going to be very hard, because I love the man!
One Up...moreOkay. How to write this review without the whole thing turning into a Hardy Cates droolfest. It's going to be very hard, because I love the man!
One Upon a Time, There was a Guy Named Hardy Cates...: I met Hardy Cates in Sugar Daddy, and I have to say that I sure did fall hard for him. Big time! Hard as a young Liberty Jones did. I could see that beneath that mind-numbingly sexy bad boy veneer was a sensitive, loving, good-hearted person. My feelings never changed for him. (view spoiler)[ As much as I loved Sugar Daddy, I truly did take exception with the fact that my beloved author Lisa Kleypas was taking a shortcut to her happy ending by making Hardy seem like a bad guy so Liberty would have a reason to choose Gage. I don't think Hardy deserved that. Am I putting him on a pedestal? Nope. But Hardy could have been the guy who didn't win Liberty simply because the older Liberty knew that Gage was the man she wanted. Not because of the dirty trick he pulled. I was so disappointed with that! Naturally, I was exceedingly thrilled to see Hardy get his day in the sun in this book. And boy does he shine. (hide spoiler)]
Oh, No! Danielle's Reading a Chick Lit Book! Not Again! : Although this book is still a lot more chick lit-oriented than I normally would prefer, I found myself taking it in with an effervescent fervor that I found surprising. Although maybe that's not surprising at all in the sense that I never doubted Lisa Kleypas' ability to write a beautiful, enjoyable book. I am familiar with LK's experimental spirit that causes her to try different elements in her stories, and I admire her for that. And for this chick-lit non-fan, she did a bang up job. This is a nicely-done hybrid of chick lit and romance and it's successful on both counts.
There is much time spent on Haven's life apart from Hardy. Not too much, thankfully, but necessary all the same. Page time is spent on a marriage that turns out to be nightmare for Haven. As I read about Haven's marriage, I felt this strange kinship with her. I've never been married, nor have I been in a bad relationship like her. But I have been in situations where I felt like the intrinsic person I was didn't seem valued, like I was being absorbed and eaten away until nothing remained. I loved how visually this is illustrated with Haven's dream about being a Barbie doll whose body parts slowly fall off until nothing is left. That feeling is so real for people who have been in those toxic relationships where your identity is nothing but a reflection of that other person's. A sounding board for their brilliance, glamor, perfection. For what I call 'go with the flow' people who don't need to be the center of attention, and who often sacrifice their own needs for others', because they attract the emotional energy suckers like a vacuum. I wanted to cry bitter tears for Haven. And I did cry. I cannot get over how traumatic it was to read about the abuse that she suffered at the hands of her husband. How he took everything of value from her, and it wasn't enough. I yelled at Haven to get out, to say no. I wished that she had ran off with Hardy that night of Liberty and Gage's wedding. Unfortunately, she didn't. On the other hand, how can we skip through the bad parts of life that help us to be who we were meant to become, that make us strong, so we can get to the good parts? Life doesn't work that way. Would Hardy and Haven have lasted (as the people they were then) if they started their happy ending that night, or is their love stronger for what they experienced in the two years apart? I think the latter. Unlike my so savvy romance reviewing sisters on here, I didn't mark quotes, but I loved what Haven thinks about herself and Hardy together. That their respective broken areas make them fit together so much better. I truly believed that to be the case.
Haven was a beautifully layered character. She might have come off as the spoiled little rich girl, if not done so well. I didn't get that from her. I did see her insecurities and her desire to be loved, feel worthy, and special. I hurt for her that this led her into such a terrible situation with her husband. I hurt for her that she didn't get the love that she needed from her mother or father. Their version of love worked okay for her brothers, but it didn't really satisfy the little girl who had never felt valued by her parents. I could identify with Haven's tendency to want to make others happy, often at her own expense. I loved seeing her grow as a person. I loved her for her having the courage to confront some truly scary situations and take control of her life from the fear that held her back and caged her. She was a wonderful heroine. Liberty is a hard act to follow, but I think Haven did a really great job of claiming her own place in my heart as a heroine.
Back to Hardy:
Oh, what a man. Once again, Ms. Kleypas hits the mark in crafting her characteristic self-made hero. There is something so enduring, so distinct about Hardy's essence. He shows up the oh-so prevalent stereotypes about trailer park/small town/good ol' boy guys (I won't use the less nice terms). What others might consider unworthy, I can't help but love about him. He's down to earth, honest, real, vital, and not afraid to be a rough, real guy. That appeals to me big time, even if I didn't think I would necessarily go for that type of guy. A man who came from nothing, and pulled himself up painfully. A man with an inner drive and ambition that actually embarassed him. Like Haven, I totally didn't think he needed to feel shame about that. A person cannot choose where they come from, but they can choose what kind of person they will be in the future. Hardy chose to be about something. He had a reputation for being twisted, (view spoiler)[ and what he did to Gage in Sugar Daddy was wrong, (hide spoiler)] but I felt that Hardy had honor. He was a man that would fight and work for what he valued. And he treats women with respect and consideration. That's really important to me as a person. Although I think Hardy is one of the most physically sexiest heroes ever written, I also love his capacity for gentleness, how he loves all of Haven and values everything that she is. Haven thought that Hardy just wanted to use her to get back at her family. But I never saw it that way. Hardy wanted Haven for the unique person she was, that drew him to her like a moth to a flame, and he showed how much she meant to him through his actions. Deep down I think she believed that about him. (view spoiler)[ The fact that she calls him when she's stuck in the elevator when she could only call one person is very telling. (hide spoiler)] Even when he didn't always do things the right way or say all the fancy words, he showed it. And I was glad that Haven could see that there was something of value to Hardy even though everyone warned her away from him. I have to tell you, I am not saying this lightly. Hardy is one of my favorite heroes of all time. He's definitely going in my top ten list, and near the top five, I think. And that's an honor. I don't know how you did it, Ms. Kleypas, but you hit solid gold here.
Blue-Eyed Devil is a book that came to mean so much to me, despite its brevity. There is so much in this book that calls to my book-loving soul. Lisa Kleypas writes so beautifully. She's a very funny, and insightful person when it comes to human nature. The way in which she shows the interactions between people is very true to life. Although I love her historicals, I do feel that she has convinced me of her skill as a contemporary writer. She shows me what there is to be appreciated about the present, when I tend to be more captivated by the past and the fantasy worlds, which seem so much more tantalizing. The conversations and the confrontations that the characters have in this book are real to me. I often felt like I had been there, both in situations with my family, friends, and with co-workers or bosses. That as much as the soul-stirring, heart-melting romance won me over in this book. I loved Sugar Daddy, but I have to say that I loved Blue-Eyed Devil even more. I give this book the highest recommendation. You might not like it, and that's okay. But I love it enough that I wish you'd give it a try.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This reads like an interracial romance for Diana Palmer fans (which I am). This book is a keeper for me because of the sheer pathos and angst within i...moreThis reads like an interracial romance for Diana Palmer fans (which I am). This book is a keeper for me because of the sheer pathos and angst within its pages.
This book is a merry-go-round emotionally. Years of two people fighting their feelings for each other. Again, I say if you like the Diana Palmer-type "I Don't Want to Fall in Love" hero, Storm Hyde is your kind of hero. He does have motivation, having been raised by a seriously mysoginistic father who filled his head with junk about all women being whores and out for money. This dialogue keeps playing in Storm's head when he meets the woman he falls in love with, Syleena Webster,who is the roommate of his considerably younger sister. Storm is an affluent businessman/cowboy whose average relationship lasts about six months. He's definitely not the ideal man for inexperienced Syleena to fall in love with, but she falls hard and never recovers, even though Storm doesn't treat her well from the beginning (again, think Diana Palmer hero pushing away the woman he loves).
One of the cool things about this story is, race is so not the issue. Storm is a White guy, and Syleena is a Black woman, which we know, but that's as far as the racial issues go. Instead the issue in this book is both characters' fear of trusting someone enough to give their hearts to them.
Syleena does her best to overcome her past of having a mother who was a heartless, uncaring, promiscuous sometime-prostitute who treated her father like crap and goaded him into suicide. She has spent years paying off her mother to leave her alone, and her mother is a big secret that she tries to keep. This secret blows up in her face, when Storm realizes that she lied about both parents being dead. The diatribe against women echoes in his head, and conquers his determination to give his heart to Syleena.
The way that he gets back at her is a scene that will linger in the reader's mind. I found it exceptionally well-written, and I must say that it is one of the cruellest things a hero has ever done to a heroine. (Nothing physical but very emotionally-wounding). So why did I keep reading the book? I wanted to find out how this couple could find happiness together. And Rochelle doesn't cheat the reader, as is done way too often. Storm has to work very hard to win back Syleena's love (thankfully). And Syleena ends up in a very bad place that really shows you how desolated and heartbroken she is by Storm's betrayal. Thankfully Storm is there to act as her self-appointed knight in shining armor, even though Syleena is far from ready to forgive and forget.
There are some editing errors and a few areas where the writing was awkward, but they don't detract from this story. All you can do is keep reading to find out how things turn out. I probably would have finished this book sooner, but I am pretty lazy about reading ebooks. Had this been in paperback, I am sure I wouldn't have been able to put this book down until it is done.
I definitely recommend this to the interracial reader who is tired of the race issue being the prominent conflict in the interracial romance they are reading. It's so not the case with this one. Also it's a breath of fresh air from the often oversexed interracial ebooks that an avid IR fan cannot help but come across. Yes there is sensuality and lovemaking scenes, but they are not overused, but definitely add to the romantic story unfolding.
You should check this one out for a back to basics love story.(less)
Although this seemed to drag at times, I quite enjoyed this installment of the Carpathians series. There is something very compelling and irresistible...moreAlthough this seemed to drag at times, I quite enjoyed this installment of the Carpathians series. There is something very compelling and irresistible about the Carpathians. It's very romantic but in a dark and gothic manner.
I liked Byron a lot. He made me laugh at some of his antics, how he would let Antonietta's annoying cousing Tasha see his red eyes and fangs when she was being a pain. He was a bit of a rascal, but in a good way. I think that he was quite romantic and courted Antonietta beautifully. She was the more aggressive personality for the most part, although Byron was plenty manly. I think they were a good balance for each other, since she was pretty Type A and Byron is Type B, don't worry about it, just fix the problem so we can move on personality.
There were a lot of steamy love scenes in this book. I did like how Antonietta was very sexually free, since she was a woman in her thirties and knew what she liked, and was very attracted to Byron. (who could blame her).
Josef's (he is Byron's sister Eleanor's adopted son) antics kept me laughing like crazy, especially hearing about his rap phase, how he rapped for the big guy, Prince Mikhail, and how horrified Mikhail was. Josef really got on Byron's nerves, but you could tell he loved the kid.
Sometimes I got a little sick of Antonietta's family, except Don Giovanni. However, I did like how close her family was, dysfunctional and all. She was the glue in that family, and they would be in trouble without her. It was cool that Byron understood that and didn't try to separate her from her family. He embraced Antonietta for everything that she was, which is great in a hero. The jaguar aspect was interesting, and I liked how that was a bigger part of this story than the fight against the vampires (Carpathians who become evil and vicious murderers).
Although there are similar elements present in every Carpathian books, Ms. Feehan manages to keep it fresh, because each couple's courtship is different. I like how the heroine is the one who's commitment avoidant in this series. The hero is usually like, let's get married right now (in the Carpathian fashion and otherwise). Antonietta is more aggressive and worldly than the typical Carpathian lifemate (and I think she has a passion and an energy that feels very Italian to me), and I think it suited Byron. I liked the fact that she was very laid back about the whole Carpathian deal. But, I guess as crazy as her family was, she was kind of used to a high weird quotient.
I ended up giving this a 4.5 star rating because it made me laugh so hard, and I just really liked Byron a lot. There was a lot to like about this one, and I adored the Borzoi dog, Celt. I want one!! Antonietta isn't my favorite lifemate, but she ain't bad. I like that she's a strong woman and doesn't let her blindness hinder her. Oh, and it was neat to see Jacques acting sane after the hot mess he was in Dark Desire.
Casting options: I pictured Monica Belluci as Antonietta. I didn't really picture anyone as Byron.
I had a feeling I would like Darius' story when I read about him in Dark Challenge, and I did. He is a powerful, charismatic hero. Seeing who he ends...moreI had a feeling I would like Darius' story when I read about him in Dark Challenge, and I did. He is a powerful, charismatic hero. Seeing who he ends up with was a particular pleasure, and I must say that Ms. Feehan chose the perfect heroine for him. This book was good from beginning to end. Tempest and Darius had the magic chemistry that makes romance novels so delicious. Also, I just plain liked Tempest. For the hard life she had lived, she was a bright person, with a great sense of humor. She didn't let people get too close to her, but it was clear that she was going to be part of the family when she takes the job as mechanic for Desari's musical troupe. Darius sees her and it's love at first sight. Sigh. Okay, I'm a sap. The thing I like about these Carpathian books is how the switch is flipped. The Carpathian males are the ones wanting the bond, and the heroines are usually running away. I like that so much better than the pining heroine who is throwing herself at the hero (with a few exceptions). If you like action and adventure, this is a great book for that, because Tempest cannot seem to stay out of trouble, and then she'd have to get out of fixes or get rescued. It didn't bother me although I am sure some readers would be annoyed. It was just impossible not to like her. I loved the back and forth between Tempest and Darius, adding a light-hearted element to a story that easily could have been dreary due to the fact that Carpathians live a very desperate, edgy existence, staying one step ahead of their enemies, and hunting the vampires who were their kin who turned to the dark side. I liked that Tempest wasn't a pushover, and would tell Darius where to stick it in a second. I also liked how she made a very tough decision to help save Darius' life. This couple really showed what love is supposed to be (IMHO). I also enjoyed seeing Julian and Desari again, as well as Barack, Syndil, and Dayan. Although it was nice to see Barack and Syndil get together, I wish I could have had a little more resolution. The way this story ends, you know they will be together, but they haven't exactly worked out how. I would have to say that this is my favorite Carpathian book so far, but there are more to go.(less)