This book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Le...moreThis book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Lesser narrative. Otherwise I love it! It is full of passages that wrench at your heart as you read Zsadist's sad but ultimately triumphant story. You really root for Zsadist to accept the unconditional love that Bella has for him, as you see him give all of himself to her because he cannot help but love her, even believing he is far from good enough for her. And the relationship is not one-sided as Zsadist helps Bella to heal from her captivity with the Lesser. He is the only one that can help her through this ordeal. But long before she was kidnapped, she was drawn to Zsadist. You see the seeds of their connection start in Lover Eternal, and to be honest, that's what made me keep reading Lover Eternal. I was so fascinated by the interaction between essentially The Beauty and the Beast played out in this sophistocated, urban vampire universe. I knew that their relationship would be explosive and captivating, and I was right. The scenes of Bella and Zsadist during her needing are enthralling and sexual, but also tender and poignant. I don't think any man could love a woman more than Zsadist loves Bella. The ending will make the sternest, most cold-hearted person tear up as Zsadist very clearly shows just how much Bella means to him. And the gift that Bella gives Zsadist is just the icing on the cake. This is a wonderful love story.(less)
There is something to be said for rereads. I read this one more slowly this time, savoring the language and the scenes. I love dessert. It's my favori...moreThere is something to be said for rereads. I read this one more slowly this time, savoring the language and the scenes. I love dessert. It's my favorite meal. And I always eat my dessert very slowly. Sadly, I read this so fast the first time, since Ms. Stuart hadn't put out a book a while before this one, too fast to truly take in and appreciate all the nuances. This time, I tried to treat Black Ice as if it was a dessert to be savored. And indeed, it was like the most seductive, decadent kind of desserts. And, I love it even more this time around.
Can you fall in love with a ruthless killer? A man who cares nothing for life and has absolutely no sense of right or wrong? A man who will use violence, sex, or lies, in whatever way is necessary to get the job done? In real life, I hope never to find that out. But, in this book, I could totally believe that Chloe would fall in love with the covert operative who goes by the name of Bastien, among many.
Can love change the bleakest, darkest heart? I do believe it can. As she often does, Ms. Stuart did a great job of showing me exactly that.
Black Ice won't be for everyone. Not every reader will fall in love with a hero who is as ruthless as Bastien. I couldn't help but fall for him. Ms. Stuart knows how to write this kind of hero--like no other author that I've read. There are so many layers to the man who goes by Bastien Toussaint. I love how each layer is peeled away to reveal the man that Chloe (and I could love). He's a physically beautiful man, one of sinuous grace. He's completely elegant, even when he's doing unspeakable things. He's absolute, complete seduction. And then there's the way he risks life and limb, and wreaks all sort of havoc to protect Chloe. Like the woman in his past, and Chloe, I could not resist him. Funny to think I felt he was a bit too hard the first time I read this. Silly me. Now I realize that he's just what this Doctor ordered. Maybe I've come to appreciate this kind of hero more as I've aged. I'm glad for that.
Dark romance it might be, but Anne Stuart writes luscious, sensual romance like no other author for me. The love scenes--fantastic. Worth rereading again and again. So much to savor here.
The suspense and action elements were awesome. Nothing like a little danger with my romance to get my heart pumping. I am a sucker for a sophisticated setting-something about European locales for spy/suspense stories for me. I felt as though I was there in Paris on a wintery night. Seeing the dark, twisted deeds that the Committee did to keep the world safe, even if they had to sacrifice a few innocents along the way, looking so stylish and elegant in their black designer wear all the while. Watching the shadowy games and the more shadowy players. I could see this as a movie, and a great one, in the right hands. Maybe Luc Besson?
At the beginning of this story, Bastien seemed like he could very well watch a defenseless woman like Chloe, in the wrong place at the wrong time, die, and not shed a tear. But, something changes in him after he meets Chloe. By the end of the story, it's clear that he'd do just about anything to keep her alive and safe, even if he can't be with her. How could I not see his love for her? I found I didn't need the words. He's not a man to wear his heart on his sleeve, and by his own words, he normally feels nothing for no one; so when he tells her he loves her, it is that much more poignant. I could feel the ice break, and my heart with it.
I could go on. I get like that about Anne Stuart. But I won't this time. I'll end by saying this:
I think this book is going to be like fine wine. It will get even better with age; it will go down so smooth and then hit you with the fiery reminder of its potency after the fact--better and better each time I read it.
In my later reviews of this series, I used edged weapons analogies. I think of Bastien as a Bowie Knife. Brutal, deadly, beautiful.
The third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eli...moreThe third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eliminate a young woman who knows how to lead a group of doomsday terrorists to a shrine where they plan to start Armageddon. But the man who never fails to carry through on his orders ends up falling in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill.
Honestly, I didn’t like the whole doomsday cult aspect. The bad guy was a loser, and I don’t like lazy, ineffectual bad guys. I can’t stand a villain who gets others to do all his dirty work and mainly stands around posturing. That’s definitely Shirosama. However, I loved the Japanese aspects, and this is the book where I meet my delicious bad boy Reno, who is Taka’s cousin. Taka takes a while to get a handle on. He’s all business, and he seems almost robotic at first. However, it becomes apparent that he can’t maintain that demeanor around Summer. For some reason, she just finds the chinks in his armor. And the more I read, the more I wanted to lick Taka, beautiful scoundrel that he was.
Anne Stuart doesn’t always write the most likable heroines. I don’t hate them, but sometimes I just kind of overlook them and focus on the heroes. Maybe she does that on purpose. I do like that she writes flawed, ordinary girls, because you can relate more to them, then the perfect angel heroines (if any author can get away with those, it’s Julie Garwood). I admit I liked Summer the most out of the heroines in the first three books. She was a reasonable girl, and her reactions and decisions make sense, considering. I think that she’s more mature than Chloe and more logical than Genevieve, but honestly, all the heroines fit their heroes in different ways. I couldn’t see Taka falling for any other heroine the way he does Summer.
If I continue my analogies from the first two Ice books reviews, I’d have to say that Taka is the katana. No, don’t think I’m just saying that because Taka is Japanese. When I think of deadly edged weapons, the most beautiful to be found is the katana. So, if Bastien is the Bowie knife, and Peter is the stiletto, then Taka is the katana.
See and admire:
I searched my heart and asked myself if I could give this book five stars if I didn’t really like the whole bad guy scenario, and if I felt a distance from Taka initially. Ultimately, I feel that this one is a five star book for me. I guess I just go there into ‘the zone’ when I read these books, and even if I have levels of five star-ness in comparison to other books, I can’t give it less. Let’s be honest. If I could imagine being trapped in a scenario with a guy who initially was going to kill me, and still might if the mission requires it (although he’d feel bad about) and still find it hot, I guess I have to say I bought this story, so that’s five stars for me.
This is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point...moreThis is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point on, you cannot put the book down. This book has wounded, anguished characters who are brought together out of hatred, but find love and fulfillment together. I am a sucker for romances where a person is wounded and damaged, but manage to find a love that heals and fulfills them. Nicholas is definitely a rake, but he is a three-dimensional character who compels you to understand and appreciate him. Gilly is also flawed, but her struggles have made her a stronger person. The passion is sizzling, and yet the core of it is a true love. This book is a must read if you want a romance that will touch you on many levels and want a meaty read that will captivate you so much you can't put it down.(less)
I must confess that I never read the Cates and Martin stories. But I absolutely love the Anne Stuart and Christina Dodd stories. I often reread them....moreI must confess that I never read the Cates and Martin stories. But I absolutely love the Anne Stuart and Christina Dodd stories. I often reread them. Talking about dangerous heroes? Oh, yes.
Dangerous Touch by Anne Stuart:
If you like gunslingers, look no further. Billy Maddox is a fallen angel in looks and in his behavior. He's a gun for hire that comes to town to deal with a situation in which small-time farmers refuse to give over their land to a big cattle rancher. He has no problem with killing for money. He's done it before, will do it again. But, he takes one look at the target's young, innocent wife, Sara, and his priorities change. Talking about sexual tension, danger, violence, love, passion, all in a perfect package,....That's this story. I love it!!!! I would so run off with Billy Maddox (and there is no real adultery involved, so worry not). If you like Anne Stuart and you haven't read this story, you need to find it now! Gosh, I wish she wrote more Westerns!
The Lady and The Tiger by Christina Dodd:
This story really shows why Christina Dodd is a favorite of mine. Her heroes are scrumptious. Oh, my goodness. And the sexual tension? Off the charts. Laura Haver is a proper, yet impoverished steamstress who is determined to find out what happened to her deceased brother, who died while doing some undercover work in a smuggling ring. She goes to an inn to ferret out if Keefe Leighton, Earl of Hamilton, and the spyleader, was involved with her brother's death, and ends up having to seduce him to keep a special book away that might reveal some important information about what her brother uncovered in his work. That was a hot scene. Would you like a possessive, sexy hero who is set on getting his woman, and getting the job done? Look no further. I love this line:
My name is Keefe Leighton. And you're my woman. Let me show again.. What a line!
Writing this review makes me want to pull this one out for a reread. I think I just might do that!(less)
This book excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because I...moreThis book excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because I read A Hunger Like No Other first. I remember reading A Hunger and being like, "Who are Myst and Nikolai?" When I realized that there was a prequel short story, I was on the hunt to get it. Finally I found it at a Half Price Books in San Antonio. I bought it and read it when I was in Denver for training. I actually read it about 2 and 1/2 times. I love this story so much. It's short but it's very hot and sweet. So well written, with characters that jump off the page at you. I thought I loved Lachlain, until I met Nikolai. The man is so delicious to me, and like Myst, I can't resist his scars and his warrior essence. It has a captive theme, so that might not work for some. As the saying goes, I would not kick Nikolai out of bed for eating crackers. Yet honestly, Nikolai is not a gentle lover, but Myst doesn't exactly play fair either. In the IAD universe vampires are unable to have sex until they meet their Bride who 'bloods' them. And then, watch out. Well, Myst is Nikolai's bride, despite the fact that as a valkyrie she hates vampires and kills their kind. She actually exploits the fact that she can 'blood' vampires and has killed them by almost seducing them. Well she feels an attraction to Nikolai despite her hatred of vamps. When she 'bloods' him, she leaves him hanging, in desperate need that only she can assuage for five years. Talk about frustration. This story has excellent chemistry, and the skill of Cole's writing shines in this short story. She is so good at combining humor, action, and writing characters that burn for each other.
Although I do love Sherrilyn Kenyon, I have not been enthralled by her BAD stories. They are just too ordinary for me. I really like what she does with paranormal in contemporaries, and I miss it when it's not there.
The Jaid Black story was pretty unique with the modern vikings who steal women to take underground. This is one is also a captive/kidnapped story with a bit of forced seduction if that is not a person's cup of tea. It was good, and I enjoyed it. However, I would say read this collection for the Kresley Cole story!(less)
When I heard about Marriage Most Scandalous was about I was intrigued. The hero was described as a mercenary which made my ears perk up. I love danger...moreWhen I heard about Marriage Most Scandalous was about I was intrigued. The hero was described as a mercenary which made my ears perk up. I love dangerous romance heroes. What can I say? I was tempted, despite my limited financial funds to buy the book when it came out (from Walmart at a considerable discount), but since money wasn't good I elected to wait. And lo and behold, my patience was rewarded when I found it at the library. I finished the book in 2 days (because I saw three movies also in that time period), and I was totally satisfied. Sebastian Townshend is in a word, a fantastic hero, despite his flaws: broody, rude, short-tempered. But also principled, vulnerable, and heroic. I pictured Christian Bale with a ponytail: tall, brawny, beautiful, brownish eyes, brooding. Perfection. Although I could not find an actress who fit Maggie's description, I had a very good picture of her in my head. This book definitely had elements that I love in my romance novels: dark, brooding hero, with an air of danger, who is disgraced for a past event that isn't totally his fault. A strong-willed, intelligent heroine who can handle him. And loads of chemistry. Sebastian's sexuality fairly erupted off the page. He makes such a very determined assault on Maggie's virtue that I know if I were in her shoes I would find very hard to resist, especially since their pretend marriage puts them in very close quarters. I felt the need to fan myself as I read the book. Lovely in a word. The secondary characters were also quite interesting and well-drawn. Of course there's never enough time to delve too deeply but JL tantalized the reader enough to wish that the book was 300 pages longer. As I finished this book I knew that my Johanna Lindsey slump was broken(less)
This was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhood...moreThis was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhood of emotional neglect. He does some pretty bad things because he is exacting revenge for his brother's suicide. However, he does have a turnaround and truly does repent as his love for Larissa changes his heart and melts the layer of ice that encloses the little-used member. It's a very good Christmas read that captures the elements of A Christmas Carol but also gives them a romantic aspect missing from the famous and well-loved Dickens tale. There is no magic here, well, other than the magic of love transforming a heart. Larissa is way too sweet, at least until her heart is broken. But even then, she manages to find the way to forgive Vincent, with a little help from her father. A good read to get you in the mood for Christmas.(less)
The Dream Hunter was a book that I got completely sucked into by page one. It takes the Dark Hunter series in a different direction, and shines the sp...moreThe Dream Hunter was a book that I got completely sucked into by page one. It takes the Dark Hunter series in a different direction, and shines the spotlight on yet another group of gods in the pantheon of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter universe. I loved how SK integrated the dream world into this book. Dreams are so complex and so fantastical, how could they not be an excellent backdrop for an epic war between good and evil? SK gets that the Greek myths have characters that are not always completely good or evil, that the gods' motivations are often selfish and petty. We see that Arikos is not a bad guy. He's merely a person who has tired of being abused as used as a pawn by the higher gods. He wants happiness and joy just like all us humans want. The closest he has come is through the dreams of the human Megeara. When he is denied the closeness he craves with her through the dreams, he desperately makes a deal with Hades to be human for two weeks to spend time with this human he has become so captivated with. Unfortunately the deal involves giving her up to Hades after the two weeks ends. However, those of us who have studied the myths know that the gods don't make fair deals. Arik says yes before he realizes what the caveat is. The Dream Hunter introduces new intriguing characters and allows us to reconnect with some old favorites. The time line is about 10 years in the past, which is interesting, as we get to see the time before some pretty big events unfold. I love this world, and even if there's not much going on, I'd read SK's books just to experience her incredible imagination, and her fantastic writing ability. However, this book does have a lot going on, passion, pathos, vengeance, adventure, fun, and excitement. Also for those of you like me who has a thing for Atlantis, there is a quest to find the lost city that many don't want found, as well. You don't want to put it down because you want to know what happens next. I loved the direction that SK went with this book because it gives me some in depth on some of the Greek myths that always intrigued me. She brings these gods and heroes of the myths to life for me, but also adds her own unique spin that makes me laugh at some times, and cry at others. This is not a Dark Hunter book in the traditional sense, but it is definitely a great addition to the mythos, and if you are a fan of SK's books, I have trouble believing you won't love this book as well. Let me close by saying I hope that Solin gets his own book.(less)
I loved this book from page one. Butch resonated with me because he was so tortured. He was just as tortured as Zsadist but in different way. He got a...moreI loved this book from page one. Butch resonated with me because he was so tortured. He was just as tortured as Zsadist but in different way. He got abused by his father and his mother ignored him. And his siblings pretty much followed their example and disowned Butch when his sister died. He felt like he was worth nothing and had nothing to live for. He was abusing himself and slowly killing himself day by day because his family had basically rejected him. That's why I love that he found The Brotherhood. He found a sense of family and belonging, although he still felt different because he wasn't a vampire. I love the relationship between Butch and Vishous. I haven't read many romances between men, and this one isn't per se. But the bond between Butch and Vishous has different layers and elements, and one of them is a romantic/sexual one. Their relationship remained unconsummated, but they definitely have strong feelings for each other that will remain, the sexual moreso on Vishous' side. I was so glad that Butch had Vishous to love him and take care of him, and vice versa. More than anything, I am so glad that Butch has Marissa. I think they are a wonderful couple, my second favorite in this series. Butch never thought he deserved anything, but he got his princess in Marissa. Marissa is not perfect, but to Butch she is perfect. And the great thing is that Marissa needed to be loved and adored. She felt rejected by her people (the glymera) since Wrath did not love her and did not want her as his Shellan, and she felt she could not live up to their and her brother's expectations. She was slowly dying inside, until Butch came and his adoration gave her the acceptance she needed. I also loved how Marissa came into her own and became the strong woman she was meant to be so she believe in herself, and she could stand at Butch's side, not behind him or in front of him. I really could not put this book down and was on the emotional rollercoaster ride along with the characters. There are more moments of interaction between the Brothers and their Shellans that are touching, and you get to see how everyone is doing. There is also trouble brewing with the Lessers and things heat up, and Butch is intricately involved with this change in the War with the Lessers. We also get to see more of the intriguing and seductive Rhev. He is so yummy to me. I love how tender and solicitious he is to Marissa. If there was no Butch, I'd probably like Rhev and Marissa to be together. But since there is a Butch (Thank God), Marissa is his. There are so many scenes that I love, but one of my favorites is when Butch goes to be inducted into the Brotherhood and all the shellans are lined up in their dresses that represent their Hellrens, and there is Marissa waiting for him. I almost started crying. I am tearing up writing this right now. In the end, I cannot even put into words how deeply this book affected me. Although I love Lover Awakened the most, this is definitely my second favorite.
This book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Wel...moreThis book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Well I fell, flat on my face. This guy is amazing. He is extremely attractive, imagine big, tall, ice blue eyes, black hair (I'm a sucker for blue eyes and black hair), and extremely intelligent also.
The way that JR Ward wrote this book did it. She put so much love and effort into telling this man's story that you couldn't help but love him. I love his selfless love for Butch. I love how he looked at Jane and saw his soulmate. I love that he fights for the Brothers and helps them out in manifold ways.
Also I cry for the torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of his so-called father. And what amounts to neglect from his mother. And then she wants him to step up as Primale and leave behind all that he loves.... Man. And not to mention having to give up Butch but always be there for him.
This book really ripped away at my heart. I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Jane. She was very down to earth and likable. But tough at the same time. Most people would have flipped out when they were exposed to a world that was so different from what they knew. She took it like a champ. And she never even blinked at the fact that Vishous was in love with another man and was seriously into bondage and stuff. She accepted him for who he was. Jane fits into the Brotherhood's life like a long-lost puzzle. She is the half to Vishous' whole that he was missing. She doesn't replace Butch but she still gives Vishous the love and acceptance he deserved for so long.
If I had one complaint, then it was how things were resolved with Jane. Don't worry. They end up together. I can't give it away because it will spoil it. I am still feeling a little uncertain about that. Otherwise, I loved this story. Even writing about it makes me get an ache in my chest.(less)
Want to meet the guy who's smart enough to take over the world? Well he's twelve years old. And his name is Artemis Fowl. I have two words for this bo...moreWant to meet the guy who's smart enough to take over the world? Well he's twelve years old. And his name is Artemis Fowl. I have two words for this book: GREAT FUN. If you are at all young at heart or you just want to read something different from your usual fare, then check out this book. Artemis will keep you entertained with his hijinks. At the age of 12, Artemis is keeping his family afloat as they suffer from grief at the disappearance of Artemis Fowl, Sr, his father. His mother has retreated into delusions and barely leaves her room. The family is on the brink of bankruptcy, but not for long, if Artemis has anything to do with it. Assisted by his faithful bodyguard, a very large, deadly, intimidating man would do anything for him, Artemis decides to steal his very own fairy to hold for ransom: his very own pot of gold. He doesn't realize that Holly is just as dangerous as he is.
When LEPrecon (Lower Elements Police reconnaisance), the covert Fairy organization policing the faery creatures that have retreated underground to get away from humans, comes looking for Holly, he has to fight off a siege on his house of supernatural creatures such as a troll (don't want to be in their way), a dwarf with flatulence from ingesting rocks and soil when he burrows his way through the earth, and a centaur genius who is LEPrecon's equivalent to MI6's Q, and a whole slew of highly-trained deadly fairies.
I picked this book up on a lark, looking for something different to read. And boy was I rewarded. This book will make you laugh and keep you enthralled for hours. Although this is perfectly suitable for a young teen or a pre-teen, it's also sophisticated for an adult to enjoy, and a must read for lovers of Faery.(less)
Eoin Colfer has done it again. I loved the sequel to Artemis Fowl. How could I not, being a combinations of things that fascinate me: Russia, antihero...moreEoin Colfer has done it again. I loved the sequel to Artemis Fowl. How could I not, being a combinations of things that fascinate me: Russia, antiheroes, faery, and cold environments (arctic/North Pole). Yes I was very much enjoying this book.
The action is great, tempered with the laugh out loud humor. Artemis is up to his usual machinations, and exhibiting his snarky sense of humor, often at the expense of elder authority figures. I don't normally like precocious, know-it-all kids, but something about Artemis that I just love. He's got a weary soul and a sadness for his young age, but it's no wonder since he is pretty much supporting his family since the disappearance of Artemis Fowl, Sr.
In this installment, Artemis gets to rescue dear old dad from the Russian Mafiya (okay I probably shouldn't be such a Russian Mafia fiction fangirl but I am). It's a kid's book, no question. But it's so well-written that an adult can fully enjoy it. The menace of the Russian Mafiya is apparent although not too intense for young readers. Artemis has to deal with these bad guys, possible exposure to nuclear waste, harsh cold, and formulate a plan to get his dad back.
He calls in a favor with his old acquaintance Captain Holly Short of LEPrecon for assistance on this caper, so she's along for the ride on some death-defying adventures. She might even come home a few digits lighter. And we know that Artemis goes nowhere without his bodyguard and sidekick, the gargantuan Domovoi Butler.
This was a great second installment in the Artemis Fowl series. If you want to know how this one ends, read the book. 'Cause I'm not telling.(less)
This book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some s...moreThis book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some serious guilt over an infraction he committed against his brother many years ago, and was horribly abused by his uncle guardian. Fundamentally, he has a lot of self-hatred which drives his cycle of drinking, carousing, and not taking care of himself. One thing I liked is that although it appears that he is saving Camille, she is actually saving him. He never even rethought his lifestyle until she came into his life and gave him something to live for. He carries on the act (minus the carousing) into the marriage, but Camille's backbone and determination are the factors which help him to turn his life around. Carlyle is an exquisite writer. I do enjoy reading her books. Her love scenes are pretty hot but tasteful. I didn't like the first love scene because it felt tawdry, but then maybe that was the point. This is rather early on into their relationship, and Kieran hasn't faced that his feelings for Camille are deeper than sexual. The other love scenes have more of the emotions that were missing from the first one. It was nice to see Kemble in this one. He's a fixture in the Carlyle books. This is actually the third in the trio after Never Decieve a Duke and Never Lie to a Lady, so we meet the two prior couples after the fact. However this doesn't spoil the book. This works well as a standalone, although you will probably be tempted to go back and read the other books, as you will probably find the supporting characters interesting and engaging enough to read more of their stories. I would say that this book shines because of its heroine. She is strong and a survivor. She's very intelligent and pragmatic. She's not a whiny, insipid, stupid heroine that makes you want to throw the book down out of frustration. In fact, her balanced, mature personality is a saving grace for Kieran, and ultimately it is why I did like this book so much. She's had a rough life, but she is determined to succeed in having a better future. Her grit is irresistible. I also like that she is so very French, but not in a stereotypical way (at least not to me). I also liked that Carlyle uses the slavery culture of Barbados as a major plot point, as Kieran grew up there. It plays a role in shaping why Kieran has the issues he does, and becomes part of his mission for the future once he turns his life around. While this was not my favorite book by Carlyle, it was engaging and a keeper. I have an issue with prolonged self-pity (everyone is allowed five minutes and then you need to move on), so I think that is why this wasn't five stars.(less)
If you like your urban fantasy/occult detective novel with a touch of the horrific, then The Nightside books are up your alley. John Taylor is very en...moreIf you like your urban fantasy/occult detective novel with a touch of the horrific, then The Nightside books are up your alley. John Taylor is very enigmatic. He has abilities. He can find things, usually things that don't want to be found. There are things that go bump in the night. And most of them live in The Nightside. It's a dark, scary place that is somewhere near London.
John Taylor is a wanted man in the Nightside, and has sworn not to go back. You know about good intentions. When a girl goes missing, he is asked to go there to help find her. Strapped for cash, he can hardly turn down the exorbitant fee he is offered And John feels the need to help people (although he'd hardly own up to it).
I became a fan of Simon R. Green when I read this book. He has a great sense of humor, on the wry side, often dark, but funny all the same. Yet there is a core of goodness even in the muck and yuck of what happens in this place where it's always 3 am. It's John Taylor. He's all hard-bitten exterior, but inside there is a hero hiding.
Taylor is an interesting protagonist. He has quite a legacy that he is running from, and doesn't fully understand. He doesn't know that much about his parents, except that his mother was/is a heavy hitter in the Nightside, and his father was fairly normal. As the books unfold we find out just how powerful his mom is. There is a prophecy that Taylor might bring about the end of the world if he succeeds in finding his long-lost mother. Taylor goes to the future long enough to see that it's not what any of us want, especially me (read the book and you'll find out why. Poor Razor Eddie).
This book is full of interesting and rather dark and scary, but often humorous at the same time secondary characters like Razor Eddie, Shotgun Suzie, the gun-happy, rather butch female friend and sometimes enemy of Taylor, and The Harrowing, very scary beings with no faces wearing suits and with hypodermic needles for hands, who are out for Taylor's blood, just to name a few. There are some strange and unsettling things happening in the Nightside, and for that reason I would warn a reader. Green tends to describe the violence in a very horrific way, but I feel the humor keeps the subject more light. I am a bit squeamish, and I love these books, so I think most interested readers could handle them. So if you are willing to take a walk on the darkside, come on down to the Nightside. John Taylor can tell you more than he cares to remember about this place. (less)
What lessons did I learn from this book? Angels are as scary as they are majestic. Whew. I really don't want the angel apocalypse hitting anywhere I l...moreWhat lessons did I learn from this book? Angels are as scary as they are majestic. Whew. I really don't want the angel apocalypse hitting anywhere I live like it does in the Nightside. Also don't get in the way of an angel with a mission. You will not survive the encounter. In this case, the angels are after someone who has the Judas Cup, not the Holy Grail. Yeah, you can guess this cup is probably not going to be used for benevolent purposes.
The action is fierce, the horror is very evident, the humor is crisp, and the glimpses of humanity in the characters make it go down nicely when it could have been over the top. There are folklore bits nicely woven into this story that I really appreciated, such as Black Annis, one scary lady for kids and grownups alike. Although I had my shuddery moments, I loved this book, and am eager to read more in the series.(less)
Ever heard the phrase, "Killer Voice?" Well, Rossignol (translates to Nightingale in French) is a girl in the Nightside who literally does. Her voice...moreEver heard the phrase, "Killer Voice?" Well, Rossignol (translates to Nightingale in French) is a girl in the Nightside who literally does. Her voice has the power to drive people to kill themselves. It didn't used to be that way, but something changed, made her sad, so all she can do is sing dreary songs (think Depeche Mode at their most downer moments). John Taylor has been asked to find her since she disappeared. That's where this journey begins. This is a dark journey, even for Taylor. There are horrific moments, funny moments, and even poignant moments. Why do they always leave Taylor?? This is probably the goriest of the Nightside books so far. Yet I am still hooked. I think Simon R. Green is an incredible writer with a great imagination. Can't wait to read more Nightside books.(less)
This was a fantastic book. I read it because my sister raved about it. She was right. Never thought I'd think of a Nazi guy as a hero. But, Koontz man...moreThis was a fantastic book. I read it because my sister raved about it. She was right. Never thought I'd think of a Nazi guy as a hero. But, Koontz managed to get me to feel sympathetic towards a Nazi, of all things. Loved the concept of time-travel and the romantic element. My second favorite Koontz book.(less)
This book reminds me of how much I love westerns. All of the authors in this volume are dependable writers of good romance, and they don't fail you. C...moreThis book reminds me of how much I love westerns. All of the authors in this volume are dependable writers of good romance, and they don't fail you. Cheryl has the wonderful beta hero in Seth that she is so good at writing. You will fall for him, just as Marvel does. I also like the Marvel is not immune to issues of vanity or insecurity. She fears aging poorly because of having much older parents she had to take care of in their ill health. She is also about seven years older than Seth. But they are the perfect couple in many ways. Seth is such a sweetie and he deserves to have a woman he loves and truly wants to be with.
Jenna also writes a powerful romance. Ford is a bounty hunter who specializes in bring back violent killers dead (not alive) after his family was savagely killed by a criminal. He accidentally shoots single mother Abby and takes personal responsiblity for nursing her back to health and caring for her son in the meantime. He falls deeply in love with them both, and has to choose between opening his heart to love and possible loss or living on the edge and waiting for his death.
And lastly, Pam's story involves Sonja, who has a bad reputation in the small town because people don't understand why she keeps pigeons and often meets with the army. She is a good woman who is doing a dangerous job, but has been unjustly judged. She helps Beau by nursing a found fox kit back to health, and thus gets intertwined into the lives of Beau and his father Chet, whom she is deeply in love with. This story reminds me that the unsung heroes will be rewarded, even if the world doesn't recognize the sacrifices they make for the welfare of others. Poor, misunderstood, lonely Sonja is justly rewarded with a real family who love her as much as she loves them. I am very glad I read this, because it's a nice, warm book to read for the holidays. It has a winning combination of family and children, the warmth of Christmas, but also the uncertainties and dangers of western life with a promise of a happy future. This is a great book to read at Christmastime for a genuine lover of western romance.(less)
I loved this book. It was very different and kept my interest in a way that a great urban fantasy should. I really fell in love with Cal and his broth...moreI loved this book. It was very different and kept my interest in a way that a great urban fantasy should. I really fell in love with Cal and his brother Niko. I love books that show a positive view of siblings since I love my sister and get along so well with her. If you enjoy the relationship between Sam and Dean on Supernatural, you'd probably like this book for that reason. Some of the elements of their relationship bring to mind the Winchester brothers. Niko is a man that I could marry. His love for his brother was so intense and so all-consuming the way a sibling should love. I love his dedication to being the best warrior that he can so that he can protect Cal when his "other relatives" try to take him back. When he cut his hair off in grief, I just about lost it.
I enjoyed the new twist on elves, and I found the action sequences so vivid they jumped off the page at me. There were some genuinely scary moments that sent a chill down my spine (I love a good scare). I liked the noir-esque narrative, peppered with wry humor and in a voice that really sounded like a young man (I was surprised the author is a woman) who has seen more bad than good in the world. In fact, I think Cal is a great character and a real trooper considering what he has gone through and the heritage he has to face.
I love that Cal's sweet on a young woman who is biracial and can see the future (you know me and my love for interracial romance). Fans of shows like Buffy and Angel would like this book because it has the feel of these shows, but delves deeper than an hour long show can. I liked the very interesting secondary cast of characters and beasties (as a lifelong fan of folklore, I am always happy to see some of the beasties in fiction books). I loved that I actually had to look up a few like the boggle who lived in the pond in Central Park. Fans of Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher novels and John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside novels will probably like this book and consider it a book that might show what Harry and John might have been like as a young man. In the end, I just can't say enough good things about this book. I will buy every book Rob Thurman writes and particularly the Cal Leandros series. If you are an old fan of urban fantasy, a new fan, or wanting to branch out to this wonderful genre, please read this book.(less)
I loved this book. Lucien was absolutely sigh-worthy to me. So sad and lonely. And, he got his very own heroine who wouldn't give up on him. I think i...moreI loved this book. Lucien was absolutely sigh-worthy to me. So sad and lonely. And, he got his very own heroine who wouldn't give up on him. I think it took some major confidence to go after her man full throttle the way Anya did. From the beginning, I knew I would like Anya. She was the kind of heroine who knows what she wants, and is willing to work for it. Yes, she's a prankster, rather silly, in her own words, and not much for telling the truth, and she can be a pain in the butt at times. But I loved her, warts and all. I think she was just the kind of woman--the very woman--that sad, too-serious Lucien needed.
I loved how she would get him out of his funks with her flirtatious dialogue, and naughty clothing. She drove him crazy with her strawberries and cream scent. It was only fair, since Lucien managed to snare a girl who was unsnareable.
I felt bad for Anya. Being the daughter of the most promiscuous goddess on Olympus, Dysnomia, couldn't have been easy. Everyone was just waiting for her to follow in her mother's footsteps. And, as the (Minor) Goddess of Anarchy, her nature did dictate that she cause chaos, although she learned to express that in lesser ways. To top off the unfortunates for Anya, she was cursed by the wife of her father, because of the fact that she is a very obvious sign of that affair with her mother, being the spitting image of him. She got a lot of bad breaks in life. But she didn't sit and mope, she kept on trucking. So, I have to say that Anya turned out to be a favorite for me in this series (after reading the first three books). She was funny, and turned out to be quite a good asset and companion to them, despite her wise-cracks. And she's one heck of a warrior. Lucien could do worse than have a woman who completely adored him, even to the point of being willing to give up her freedom in more than one crucial way.
Now, Lucien. He's my favorite Lord so far. I doubt that will change. He's the strong, silent type, and wonderfully broody. He's actually pretty honorable, considering the murky past that the Lords have. To think he scarred himself horribly to keep women away from him after his love died when he couldn't save her. But his scars ending up being a draw to Anya, among other things. Many times, he was insecure, thinking she was just making fun of him, or using him, because of his lack of looks. His insecurity endeared him to me. I like that a hero can be the insecure one in a book. I get so tired of the men having all the power in romance novels. It was nice to see that he was the vulnerable one in some ways. Although I was glad that Anya didn't take advantage of it.
The Darkest Night was a little bit flawed as a start to the series, (definitely not as strong as this book), so I was very pleasantly surprised (although I think Gena Showalter is a very good author) how much I enjoyed this book. I had heard bad things about Anya, and I was wary, because I don't care for hardened, obnoxious heroines. However, she didn't come off to me that way. Despite her wise-cracks and her seeming self-absorption, I saw the little girl who was treated so poorly by the others on Olympus, and her yearning to feel special, and to never be under another person's thumb. I think that made her very identifiable to me. And the fact that she was so crazy about Lucien definitely endeared her to me.
This book was chock-full of sexy romance that tugged at my heart, crazy action, great world-building, and interesting characters. It totally invested me in this series. I can see myself rereading this book sooner rather than later, because I really loved Lucien and Anya as a couple. Also the secondary story with Paris really had me sympathizing with him, when I was rather turned off by him in the first book. I have to say that Ms. Showalter is really coming through with this interesting concept. This was definitely a five star read for me. And to those who have been put off by the bad impression that some readers have of Anya, I'd say give her a chance. She's actually a fun, likeable heroine, in my opinion. (less)
Another required read that took me by surprise at how much I enjoyed it. This is a book that delves into the consequences of guilt on a person's psych...moreAnother required read that took me by surprise at how much I enjoyed it. This is a book that delves into the consequences of guilt on a person's psyche. It is very layered in that there are times where you are not sure that what happens is exactly what is perceived. No exactly surreal but written so that there is a little bit of question about supernatural things happening. Such as did Dimmesdale really have that scarlet A branded on his chest from the power of the overwhelming guilt he carried? Is Pearl really a normal little girl or is she a devil child? Is Roger Chillingsworth just a cuckolded husband or is he the true evil in this village? I loved all the unanswered questions and the power of this story. I admired Hester that she didn't break down and was strong in the face of the censure she received because she was a woman and she got pregnant from an adulterous liaison, and therefore couldn't hide her actions. I don't even think the town cared about who the father was. They had their sinner and they tried to make Hester pay for both of their sins. Yes, this story does delve into the puritanical roots of the United States and our love/hate affair with sex, but I think it was timely but lessons can still be learned, even though sexual attitudes have mellowed. Unresolved guilt does have the power to undermine a person. It can be a burden too heavy to bear. This book resonated with me because I believe this message to be true. I also think it criticizes the tendency of groups to be judgmental against an individual who might have deviated from societal norms, or more likely, just got caught doing it. Hands down, this is one of my favorites of the books I had to read in school.(less)
This is a wonderful book, with the following caveat: Gabriel is a very cruel hero. He is a bitter man. So full of anger at his father that he often us...moreThis is a wonderful book, with the following caveat: Gabriel is a very cruel hero. He is a bitter man. So full of anger at his father that he often uses Cassie as a verbal punching bag. His father is after him to marry, so he picks a bride that he is absolutely sure will aggravate his father. Cassie is a poor, overworked tavern maid that he finds on the docks in America. He thinks she isn't virtuous, but it turns out that she is. He doesn't make her over or clean her up, but delivers her to his father in the condition he finds her. Then he abandons her.
At first, his father is pretty mean to Cassie. But Cassie's wonderful and kind heart wins his regard. He is also impressed with her determination to better herself by reading and learning how to be a wife of a noblemen. When Gabriel comes back, he realized what a gem he's married.
This is one of those books that I loved for the heroine, and for the beauty of the storytelling. Gabriel could use a hard knock upside his head with a shovel. That what I use as code for an uber-alpha hero who needs to be taken down a peg. The sensuality is steaming, although it seems whenever Gabriel makes love with his wife, he is driven by angry passion and rarely by tenderness. Gabriel does everything he can to drive his wife away, and finally he succeeds. It is then that realizes how much she means to him and goes to get her back. The ending of this book is so poignant that it is another reason I love it so much. I definitely recommend this book if you can handle a hero with a serious chip on his shoulder who has a tendency to be mean to the heroine. If so, it's worth reading, and I consider it a keeper.(less)