I wanted to like this a little more than I did, but I did find it a pleasant and enjoyable read. Readers who enjoy spinster/rogue romance, tortured heI wanted to like this a little more than I did, but I did find it a pleasant and enjoyable read. Readers who enjoy spinster/rogue romance, tortured heroes with a bad reputation, and heroines who finally get their day in the sun, along with the fairy tale theme, will probably like this book.
Loving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I fLoving Lord Ash does the estranged married couple theme very well. I had some happy surprises reading this book, including two main characters who I found thoroughly likable. Lighter historical romance, but the tone and the storyline are very engaging.
Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background. Synopsis
Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background. Tredway Lorent is not exactly a seasoned cowboy. Instead, he is a town-bred fellow with an eye for detail and organization, but he's interested in exploring his possible career options, including working on a horse ranch. She brings him back to Wells Double Bar, her brother and sister-in-law's ranch, and convinces her brother to give him a job, because she feels drawn to him and doesn't want him to walk out of her life just like he walked into it.
Tredway brings Laurel out of her shell, encouraging her art, and supporting her efforts to help others. In return, Laurel sparks this too-serious, too-thoughtful young man to enjoy life and accept that everything doesn't have to be so meticulously controlled, as well as going after his dreams. She finds her way into this heart, but fears of past failure still haunt him. Laurel knows that Tredway is the only man in her heart, but will she and her Perfect Tenderfoot ever make the move towards happily ever after as man and wife?
Perfect Tenderfoot is a sweet love story with two leads that are admirable and kind-hearted. Their interactions speak of deep friendship and admiration, with love growing slowly but surely. Beggs evokes images that take the reader back to life in in late 19th Century New Mexico. A strong sense of community is a highlight of this novel, as Laurel and Tredway continually help others in need, and expand their growing circle of friends and acquaintances.
I appreciated their good-heartedness, and their desire to live meaningful lives, as well as Laurel and Tredway's determination to conquer past fears and insecurities. However, the story was slow-moving at times, lacking sufficient romantic tension. While I could see that the love developing between Laurel and Tredway was genuine, I felt like it seemed to take a backseat to their continual efforts to help others and their personal emotional turmoil. Because of that lack of prominent romantic development, I didn't enjoy this novel quite as much as the first two in the series. However, the likable characters, the sense of community and the historical feel still make it more than an average read.
Perfect Tenderfoot is a novel for aficionados of sweet historical westerns who don't mind a lack of strong romantic tension. Laurel and Tredway are distinctive characters rendered with heartfelt sincerity by Beggs. That and the sense of strong community ties and a motivation to help others do make this book a worthwhile read, although not as successful on the romantic front.
Wow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. AdorWow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Adored Lara and the psychic storyline too.
Let me be transparent in advising readers to think twice about experiencing this book as an audiobook. I'm not sure it works that well. It could be meLet me be transparent in advising readers to think twice about experiencing this book as an audiobook. I'm not sure it works that well. It could be me. I am a very visual person when it comes to higher level concepts, especially mechanistic disciplines, such as geometry, architecture, and engineering. The geometrical descriptions were hard to visualize and my mind started to wander at the beginning of each chapter when Sanderson uses the metafiction device of reading from a textbook of rithmatics. Honestly, that was the major reason I didn't rate this book highly. Secondly, I didn't care for the narrator. His voice was too bland, almost monotone or robotic. I feel that if you are going to narrate a book, you need to give it a vitality, and this book lacked that.
On the positive end, I can see why Sanderson is a lauded author, and I can certainly see why he is qualified to teach writing. I think that his craft is evident. The characterization is sound, and instead of settling for thinly veiled archetype, he endows characters with added depth. You know the ones that feel very familiar like the boy who grows up to be the hero, the spunky female sidekick, the mentor, and the dark lord? Thus he gives each one a distinctive life that works very well to make this more than just the typical coming of age fantasy novel. Additionally, the idea of this story is intriguing. A look at wizardry and coming of age school story becomes something different when the concept is built around a magical art of endowing chalk figure-drawing with life.
His view of the United States as an archipelago was interesting. He doesn't describe why it's that way. It just is. The story has a steampunk-light feel. Enough to give the vibe, but it doesn't take over or define the story. Instead, the focus is on the school and the low-level magic at work.
I liked Joel a lot as the main character. He is the kind of hero you end up rooting for. He's normal and the underdog, and you want him to buck the system. Sanderson does something pretty clever here, in that the hero doesn't get his dreams come true. Instead, he's going to have to work for what he wants. That felt more realistic, and also strayed away from the expected archetypes of fantasy where the lead is the one who has the unexpected greatest power of all time. Melody is a fun character. She won me over with her love of unicorns and pegasi. Her feelings of being a failure and feeling forced into a mold she doesn't fit resonated with me. Yeah, she felt like someone I know, maybe myself, and I could feel her youthful angst to a nearly uncomfortable level. It was such a cute touch how her abilities end up being strengths that were taken for granted. I also loved Professor Fitch. His nervousness was rather endearing, and I do have a fondness for nerdy professors.
The chalkings were fairly unnerving and the accompanying villainous element was quite effectively sinister. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but as I listened, I was drawn into this world and it became very real. The end has a very good twist, well, I should say two piled on each other. Sanderson surely got me!
I feel bad because I am likely underrating this book. But I have to say that the choice of medium was a big factor in affecting my reading experience, so I have go with what I know for now. I will probably continue this series because it was an interesting read. I think I'll go with the print version of the next book.
A good end to this trilogy about three half-sisters who have a philandering, no-good father in common. Tawny is the youngest sister. She has a fairlyA good end to this trilogy about three half-sisters who have a philandering, no-good father in common. Tawny is the youngest sister. She has a fairly good head on her shoulders, although I thought she was very naive in believing Julie's sob-story about Navarre having naughty pictures on his laptop of them. I think she wanted to believe the best of people, and I can't fault her for that.
Was not liking Navarre initially. I loved the twist Lynne Graham embedded in this story. As I read, the layers peeled back from Navarre's character, and I had the opportunity to get to like him the hard way. He was more cold and emotionally detached than I would have liked. Not really very demonstrative with Tawny, although it was clear how attracted/compelled by Tawny he was. I think that I could see his love for Tawny by the end of the book, and the reveal made me feel much better about the situation between him and Tia. I can't say why though, 'cause it's a spoiler. I don't think Navarre is quite as romantic as Bee and Zara's husbands, but in the end, he comes through.
I liked that all the sisters had some moments together as a family. I was missing that from the first two books.
This was a light, entertaining read. Perfect wind-down material from a long week. Makes me want to do a Lynne Graham binge!...more
This book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and hThis book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and her father are black. I have had trouble reading on the Kindle right now, and this book made me want to brave the migraine just to finish it. This book series has its hooks in me! Highly recommended.
Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!
I loved this story. It was a great pleasure to listen to it on audio, narrated by the author himself. He seems like a very interesting person to know and to talk with. All the heart of him, his soul, pain, laughter, confusion, and fire that he had in him when he wrote this story emanates from him as he narrates this novel, and I was along for the ride. I actually didn't want to get out of my car when I got home this afternoon, because I wanted to finish this novel. Fortunately, it was near the end when I got home. Even though I was happy to finish it, I wanted it to go on forever. I could easily listen to further adventures of Arnold Spirit.
On an intellectual level, I was aware of the disheartening conditions that Native Americans (or Indians as Arnold calls his people) face on many reservations in the United States, but hearing it first-hand, it struck home to me how hard that life is. It was hurtful to see that Arnold was raised not to reach for any goals, to believe that as an Indian, his future was a big, black void. That he was less than anything. I screamed, "No. No. No!" But I could understand why Arnold had to change his whole mindset and learn to hope and to believe. I think it brings home how blessed many of us Americans are. Sadly, we forget that not all Americans have even the simplest of things we take for granted, such as food to eat every day, more than one pair of clothes, a decent education (Arnold's Geometry textbook at the reservation school is thirty years old) and the ability to get to school without having to walk twenty miles. Not to mention the very short average life-span of a Spokane Indian due to the ravages of alcohol. I know what it's like to be a 'minority' in this country, and everything that comes with it, but I didn't know what it was like to be an Indian, and that was an excellent learning opportunity for me.
This book is very angsty, and it's also very funny. I felt like I was there with Arnold when he goes through his milestones and horrible tragedies. I cheered him on at his successes, and cried with him when he cried. I loved him. I still do. Arnold's a part of me now. He'll stay in my mind forever, even though I will move onto reading other books, and I'm glad for that....more
I truly loved this book. I was worried, because all my friends raved, and I didn’t want to be disappointed. But I can truly see why this is a hit. TheI truly loved this book. I was worried, because all my friends raved, and I didn’t want to be disappointed. But I can truly see why this is a hit. The depth of character, the intensity and emotion, the freshness, and the humor. I loved how this romance unfolded, the manner in which Jolie and Cole come back into each other’s lives as adults and get the chance to make a go of a relationship together. Their relationship wasn’t just about sex. It was about two people who met each other’s emotional needs and wanted to be loved for who they were, not who everyone assumed they were.
I loved that Cole and Jolie were so nuanced. Both of them suffered blows from their parents’ affair, twelve years’ worth. Both cast in the roles of villains because of the fact that they were the children of an adulterous pair. I thought I’d dislike Cole after what he did to Jolie when they were teens. He seemed kind of cold and arrogant at first, but pretty soon, I could see that he had to make a show of being tough to get through years of what his father had visited on his family. I have to say I loved him. I especially loved how he took a stand for Jolie numerous times. He turns out to be her Shining Knight and he slew more than a few dragons for her. And his proposal was gorgeous! As for Jolie, she’s my favorite Harlequin Presents heroine now! A real woman in every way. A woman I admired and cared about. I loved that Jolie set Cole straight and faced him head on. He scared her, but she was brave enough to say what needed saying. I was telling her “Bravo” loud and clear. I knew I adored Jolie at that point. I identified with her shyness, but her ability to do what needed doing. Sometimes you don’t get to choose to hide. You have to stand tall and fight. At the same time, I could understand how things got too much, and she had to run back to her corner. The process of Jolie going through her epiphany about her relationship with Cole was so beautifully written, my heart completely engaged. I think it took a lot of bravery to go to the party with Cole, and to face Hannah and call Christina the way she did.
I think adultery is about one of the worst things a married person can do to a family. I hate it, and I have personal reasons for doing so. I find it very hard to deal with this plot element, and I really hate when adultery is trivialized, brushed off, or rationalized. It’s wrong to me, end of story. I like that Kelly Hunter doesn’t try to justify Rachel or James’ behavior, but neither does she demonize them. Instead they are portrayed are humans with frailties, and hopes and dreams. And Christina Rees, the wife that was cheated on, isn’t just a martyr. She does her share of hurting others as well.
I honestly can’t find a thing wrong with this story. It made for an involving, entertaining, emotional read. I fell in love with Jolie and Cole as individuals and a couple. I felt their pain, and their joy. And that makes for a five star read for me! ...more
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It has beautiful writing. The descriptions are lyrical and lush in their imagery. The ideas are very imaginatI'm not sure how I feel about this book. It has beautiful writing. The descriptions are lyrical and lush in their imagery. The ideas are very imaginative. I loved Karou. She's strong and vulnerable. She's old for her years, but full of youthful energy. Akiva has an appealing brokenness and dangerous allure. And of course, I love angels. However, I didn't feel satisfied when I finished this book. I felt rather empty, to be honest. I felt a twisty knot of anguish inside. Maybe that's a sign that it was a very good book. That I felt deeply for both Karou, Akiva, Brimstone, Madrigal. I couldn't take sides easily. That's real though, isn't it? War always has losers and rarely has winners. Even the winning side counts the cost, with the innumerable loss of lives, as much as their way of life in no small part.
Now this is embarrassing for a huge romance fan to admit. I found the romantic descriptions a bit much for my tastes. A little too saccharine for me. It could be because I listened to the audiobook version, and honestly I tend to avoid romance on audiobooks (with some notable exceptions). I think I liked this better as fantasy than as a romance. Certainly the end was a hard slap in the face. Very melancholy!
I can see why this book is so well-loved and highly reviewed. It has a lot to offer a fantasy reader. The storyline is very creative, with the author's building of unique myths just for this novel, and the writing is lush and beautiful. As an audiobook, it's a feast to the ears, and the narrator does a great job. However, since I am an unrepentant emotional reader, I couldn't give this five stars, because I wasn't fully satisfied in some intangible way. Having said that, I am looking forward to the upcoming sequel.
Would I recommend this? Yes. It's a book you don't want to miss. Whether you'll feel the same way I did, I can't say. It's important for you to make up your own mind....more
The Portrait was dark, angsty and riveting. At times, I wasn’t sure that I liked Jonas. However, I came to see that his initial cruelty towards ImogenThe Portrait was dark, angsty and riveting. At times, I wasn’t sure that I liked Jonas. However, I came to see that his initial cruelty towards Imogene arose out of his despair, his hopelessness about his life. People are often cruel out of self-defense. He felt a sense of powerlessness about his mental illness, and his dependence on his patrons to keep a roof over his head and to be able to do the one thing that had meaning for him, to pursue his art. As the book progresses, I saw that Jonas was a man who was very much capable of loving Imogene, a man that love could change for the better, merely by giving him hope and by having one person who saw him truly, who would not leave him or give up on him, even through the bad times, That was Imogene.
Imogene saddened me at times. Her lack of self-esteem, and lack of belief in herself. However, it was soon clear why she felt that way. Her father was just awful. He put his one daughter on a pedestal, and barely noticed the other, when he wasn’t putting her down and inflicting emotional cruelty on her. She’d spent most of her life feeling like she was inadequate to her family, feeling her mother’s disgust and hatred. Always below the mark of comparison to her sister, Chloe. When her father sends her to New York City to study art, she is determined to make a good artist out of herself, to make her father proud.
Instead she meets Jonas, a brilliant painter, who treats her cruelly at first, but captivates her and causes her to fall in love with him. Imogene wasn’t a fool. She went into the love affair with Jonas with her eyes open. She had been used by a man before, not measuring up, and she didn’t think that this larger-than-life artist could really love her for who she was. She was wrong. In Imogene, Jonas saw a masterpiece, a hidden beauty. But he also loved her for who she was. For her love and acceptance of him.
I love dark and angsty romance, but I was afraid this was going to be too dark for me. I’m glad to see that I was wrong. I loved the message of hope in this story. Jonas’ mental condition was not an easy fix. Many people with bi-polar disorder don’t fare well, particularly in the past, when they didn’t even have a diagnosis and no good way to treat this mental condition. With this story, I know things won’t be easy for Jonas or Imogene, but they have their love and their commitment to each other to help them through the dark times. Imogene has seen Jonas at his worst, and it didn’t make her run away. She only left because she thought he didn’t love her or that she didn’t matter. But she came back because he was the one for her, her true love. She would stay by his side forever, no matter what, knowing that he truly wanted her. Thankfully, Jonas loves her for who she is, and that’s what she always needed in her life. As this book ends, I felt a sense of hope that made this dark read just my kind of story. I could believe that although life won’t be easy, they will have a happy ending together. And that’s why I love romance novels.
Thanks to Denise for kindly loaning me this book for my Kindle!...more
If you don't like the vicious "I love you, I hate you" and "I despise you but you set me on fire" go around in a book, avoid this one like th*Warning*
If you don't like the vicious "I love you, I hate you" and "I despise you but you set me on fire" go around in a book, avoid this one like the plague. Serena spends most of the book acting like she can't stand Nick. Since his arrogance was off-putting and his double standards about marital fidelity were infuriating, I could see why Serena was putting up barriers against him. On the other hand, he did have that male vitality and strength that makes for a compelling Harlequin Presents hero despite his arrogant ways.
I spent most of this book really disliking Nick. He seemed like a jerk to me. He was so assured of his place in the world, and he was pushy in a way I didn't like. I admit I do love a jealous/possessive hero, but in light of his numerous mistresses, really? Okay the end helped me to be okay with him, but I can't say why, because it's a spoiler.
If the dramatic back and forth in a romance book works for you, this one will do the trick. I do agree there was sizzling tension between Nick and Serena, very well written and culminating in a very sensual love scene.
1.5 hours of reading that were diverting, even if I was annoyed at the characters for a large deal of that time. I have to give this 3.5/5.0 stars because it was a fun read....more
Ah, this was a cute book. Zach has the nerd appeal big time. I can't resist a guy who is hot and a nerd, or perhaps the nerdiness enhances the appealAh, this was a cute book. Zach has the nerd appeal big time. I can't resist a guy who is hot and a nerd, or perhaps the nerdiness enhances the appeal of a hot guy for me big time. I am a sucker for love at first sight stories, and finding loving where you least expect it, and this one definitely has that vibe. Dizzy saw Zach for the first time and fell like a ton of bricks, although she manages to keep her composure fairly well (point in her favor). Zach also feels things for his niece's young friend that are not at all avuncular. What to do about that! Zach won me over big time with his Nerdy Professor demeanor. I find that so hot! Whenever she described his bad clothes and glasses, I started fanning myself. I am a sick woman! But I see that also rocked for Dizzy. I like how she made a comment near the end when he bought some better clothes that she'd have to beat the women off her Greek God. Girls who ignore the nerds are missing out! (Keep in mind I am not referring to the uber-geeks with poor grooming and hygiene skills and no social skills that hang out at Comic-Con. They do nothing for me)
The one that troubles me about this book is how Dizzy doesn't get closure on her parents. Is she always going to be estranged from them? I can't imagine having parents like that. No one has perfect parents, but Dizzy's are a nightmare. At least she has Zach, Christi, and her friends. I feel like her parents are the ones missing out on knowing a great daughter.
Yeah, this one doesn't have a lot of drama, but I didn't miss it. I loved the sweet and passionate scenes between Dizzy, and how they weren't fooling Christi at all that they had made a love connection. Also loved the literary aspects of this novel with Dizzy and Zach's secret careers.
Although sweet and simple, this one was a winner. Thumbs up.
*Now Danielle wants to find more romance novels with nerdy heroes. The deliciously and lickably nerdy Bruce Banner played by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers movie did not help to diminish my thing for nerds at all!* ...more
This book was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up off my shelf because I needed a 'Q' book for my A to Z challenge. The blurb didn't really call my naThis book was a pleasant surprise. I picked it up off my shelf because I needed a 'Q' book for my A to Z challenge. The blurb didn't really call my name at all. However, I started reading and sunk deep into this story, leaving Texas and finding myself in Regency England. The writing flows naturally and smoothly, and the characters meant something to me. I could see where Diana was coming from with her very real issues. What happened to her was awful! And Brett wasn't the cad I expected him to be. He actually had some scruples, and was motivated by more than just his own pleasure. I started to realize that Diana really did need to come out of her self-imposed shell, because it wasn't healthy. She had let her dead fiance' steal away most of who she was as a person. Brett did have a way about him that definitely translated an irresistible vibe, and I enjoyed their flirtation and deepening relationship. I also liked the way the author turned things around. Brett was somewhat hoisted by his own petard, but in this case, it wasn't the best thing for either Brett or Diana. I was glad that he's a persistent fellow, and not one to settle. As far as any obvious flaws, I can only think of one--some parts got a little confusing as far as character motivation, but not so much that it ruined the book.
For a quick, enjoyable Regency read, I think this book will suit very well. It was nicely sensual, and the period aspects rang true. I liked both the hero and the heroine, and I wanted them to end up together. That adds up to a successful read for me. I'm glad that I have several of this author's books since I have a subscription to the Harlequin Historicals. ...more
It's very hard to top a book like Water Bound, but this is a very good follow up. I think that Lev and Stefan managed to feel different although theyIt's very hard to top a book like Water Bound, but this is a very good follow up. I think that Lev and Stefan managed to feel different although they are brothers, both very dominant, possessive, dangerous, edgy, and surprisingly passionate men. I'm not going to lie and say that I wouldn't have liked Stefan even if he was too much like Lev. I just have no resistance to this kind of character. But, I am glad that I liked him in a different way. Lev started out very rough and turned into, not a puppy dog when it came to Rikki, but a lethal guard dog, who loves her and her sisters so much that he can be soft for them. Stefan is still learning how to be soft. He undoubtedly loves Judith very much, but he's not going to soften the way Lev did in that way. Instead, his strength and his hard core are given to protecting his beloved and her family, her way of life. It should be interesting to see how Stefan adapts to being part of the family of sisters and husbands in Sea Haven.
Christine Feehan does have the tendency to be long-winded, so it makes her books a bit harder to read than a more concise author (my favored writing style). But she utterly worth the effort. She does passion, danger, dark love in a captivating, distinct way. It's interesting how her and Anne Stuart (my #1 author) write the same genre of romance, but do it very differently. And each one is obligatory in my reading regimen. When I want the domineering (which isn't my favorite except how she does them, go figure), possessive, lethal beyond belief hero who falls head over heels for a woman, along with an interesting intersection of mystery and paranormal, friendship, familial love, and an appreciation for the important things in life, I run to Feehan, because it's her trademark.
Okay, rambling aside. I really liked this book. It didn't move me like Water Bound, because that's just a one of a kind read. But there was a lot to offer in this book. I loved Judith. She has an effervescence, and a strange air of the zen in the middle of a swirling wind of chaos. That's not really easy to convey, but I get that from her. Stefan is the right man for her, because she can handle the things about him that make him a very tough sell for other women, and she touches his heart, makes him feel like a man, not a shadow. And for Judith, Stefan is the one. He calms her in ways she needs calm, opens her up and encourages her to be at peace with her abilities and her emotions, the good and the bad, and he meets her head on with the fiery passion she craves in life. Plus, he appreciates the importance of art in her life.
I thought long and hard, and I have to give this five stars, because even without being perfect, it meets my needs. As a emotional reviewer, that's five star criteria.
Man, these books don't help my Russian fixation at all!...more
This was a very competent book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt that too much time was spent on Brodie's internal dialogue, so I couldn't rate itThis was a very competent book, and I enjoyed reading it, but I felt that too much time was spent on Brodie's internal dialogue, so I couldn't rate it quite as highly as I would like to, since I think Leigh Michaels is a very good writer, and I liked the story idea.
What I liked:
*I really liked Drew's character. He's everything that I admire in a man: hardworking, honorable, steadfast, loving, caring, not a pushover. He was 33-years-old, and he had a mature attractiveness that appealed to me. You could look at him and say, "Now here's a man." Compared to Brodie's ex, there was no question of who was the better man, although it took a while for Brodie to see that. I liked how he didn't ever try to force or push Brodie into anything. He had loved her for a long time, but he was willing to let her go if that was how she could be happy. I think he was very patient with her, considering her earlier immaturity and some potentially bad decisions she was going to make.
*I liked how Ms. Michaels showed Brodie's transition from spoiled girl to mature woman. At first, I was worried that I wouldn't like her. She made some assumptions that she could have her cake and eat it: get married young, drop out of school, live with Drew, have him pay for her and her husband's support. Really? However, she grew up, and I really liked her from that point on.
*For some reason, I love that guardian falls in love with his ward storyline. I admit that it could be creepy, unless the author has a mature hero like Drew that you can respect and trust to do the right thing.
*What can I say? I am a sucker for unrequited love. It was very clear from the beginning that Drew loved Brodie, but he never was selfish in his love. That's true love to me.
*I have to give Ms. Michael's kudos for touching on domestic violence so well. Brodie's ex was about to hit her when he found out she didn't have money of her own. She broke up with him, and he found himself a sweet (and shy and browbeaten by her rich father) young thing who was very rich. He started hitting on her, and beat her up so badly after they got married, she had bruises on her face and all over when she comes to Brodie for help. This was pretty dark subject matter, but it's very real life. I was glad that Brodie wasn't the kind of girl to stand for that, and Drew wasn't going to let anyone hurt her like that. And I liked that she helped out the girl her ex married to get out of that ugly situation.
*Small town life: the good and the bad. It was well-presented here. Brodie was in a weird situation. She was living with Drew because his father was best friends with her father. They were really penniless, but people thought of her as a rich girl. When her fortunes change, it was interesting to see how the town treated her.
What I didn't like:
*The over-dependence on Brodie's internal monologue drug down this story for me. I would have liked to see more interaction and dialogue between Brodie and Drew because they had good chemistry together. I realize the older HPs didn't really show the hero's VP very much, but I think Drew was much too interesting to spend so much time focused on Brodie's thoughts. More of Drew could have been conveyed through action, although the glimpses of his psyche were very tantalizing.
*That it took Brodie most of the book to figure out she wasn't in love with her ex, and that she loved Drew. I realize only a short time had passed, but I would have liked it better if there was a more gradual realization of how much Drew meant to Brodie.
Overall conclusion: After analyzing this book as I reviewed it, I think I will go ahead and bump this up to 4 stars. I think readers who enjoy the guardian/ward relationship theme will like this book.
His Christmas Virgin sort of has that 'A Christmas Carol' vibe. That's a good thing because I love 'A Christmas Carol.' Jonas is sort of a modern-day,His Christmas Virgin sort of has that 'A Christmas Carol' vibe. That's a good thing because I love 'A Christmas Carol.' Jonas is sort of a modern-day, toned down Scrooge. He has divorced himself from emotional relationships because of his parents' horrible marriage, and how it affected him. While Mac is an artists, she shatters the stereotype that all artists are bohemian in their morals. In fact, hers are rather old-fashioned. She doesn't believe in sex without love. She is close to her family and embraces the commitments of family. While Jonas tells himself he needs to stay away from Mac and doesn't want to be bothered with her, he continually finds himself in her sphere, falling deeper and deeper for him. Mac doesn't like Jonas' attitude towards relationships, and finds him rather brisk and hard to like, but he is an intensely attractive, appealing man who 'does' it for her. Love breaks through all their barriers and causes both to risk their hearts to each other.
Mortimer wrote a story that is passionate and romantic, and with a modern feel. Never is there a doubt that Mac is a modern woman. She is just a modern woman who doesn't believe in casual sex, and had good reasons for her virginity. She finds it nothing to be ashamed of. While Jonas is quite uncharitable to her in that regard, I felt that he was making a last ditch effort to wiggle out of the trap of his feelings for her, and using that for an excuse, knowing she won't settle for just his physical body and not all of him. He falls in love while he doesn't believe in such a thing. I liked that each person stayed true to who they were, but also realized that being locked into a certain mindset can limit ones' possibilities. When they come together at the end, it feels right and felt very romantic.
His Christmas Virgin was a pleasant and fairly quick read. Definitely what I needed for this time of year when things are so hectic. ...more
This was a lovely little contemporary western romance with a prominent Gothic feel. Stormy Jones has not seen her father since she was five years old.This was a lovely little contemporary western romance with a prominent Gothic feel. Stormy Jones has not seen her father since she was five years old. In fact, she was told he died. She has spent the majority of her life in her mother's women-centered commune, with little to no contact with men. Yet she feels something missing from her life. When Jonathan McBride enters her life, she is blown away by his rugged male appeal, and has a sinking feeling he is just what he was waiting for. He's like the proverbial forbidden fruit, a virile male, and the epitome of what scares her mother and her followers about men.
Jonathan came to Los Angeles to meet his employer's daughter and deliver important news. Her father is sick and wants to see her before he dies. One look at her tells her she's trouble. He saves her life and ends up in her bed. He is sidetracked by an unfortunate attraction to Stormy that leads to a night of passion. He wakes up the next day, determined to put Stormy at a distance. His experience with love in the past taught him that women could only destroy a man. He feels enormous guilt at sleeping with Hugh's daughter, and just wants to forget about it. Unfortunately, Stormy is a hard woman to forget or to push away. Plus, Stormy still needs to see her father, and when she blurts out a confession of her involvement with Jonathan, the conniving old man changes his will to require a marriage between the two at his death. Jonathan doesn't want another wife, but he does want his inheritance from her father, and marriage is the only way to get it now. Stormy feels deep inside that Jonathan is a man capable of love, no matter how hard he pushes her away. And she's carrying his child, so she doesn't want to walk away. The problem is, someone keeps trying to kill her. Stormy refuses to believe it's Jonathan, despite the cloud of rumors about his last wife's death hanging around him.
I really liked this book. It had a lot of emotion and intensity. I liked the Gothic vibe, and I enjoyed the push/pull between Jonathan and Stormy. I love when the hero is hard and rough and wants to push the heroine away, but needs her and the love she shows him. Jonathan was really quite tortured. He'd had a very rough life and it had taught him that loving and trusting others was a dicey proposition. Stormy's innocent hope and vital passion was just what he needed in his life. While he fights his love for her throughout the book, it was enjoyable to see him fall for her.
The western atmosphere was very well done as well. I felt like I was on a cattle ranch in Southwest Texas, where the land is closer to desert than anything else. This book had a lot more suspenseful vibe than I associate with the typical Silhouette Desires, with someone trying to kill Stormy, and Jonathan's dark past. I miss these old vintage Harlequins which are full of lots of drama and intensity. The newer books just don't have that zing.
I am glad I was able to read this book. Definitely worth looking up if you want a good vintage modern western contemporary romance.
There is something very distinct and elegant about Caitlin Crews' writing that appeals to me. I noticed that in her first book for HP, Pure Princess,There is something very distinct and elegant about Caitlin Crews' writing that appeals to me. I noticed that in her first book for HP, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride, and it was evident here as well. I liked the strength of her heroine in Tristanne. She was afraid, she was wounded emotionally, but she was strong! She approached a very dangerous man and offered to be his mistress, for the sake of her mother. And that's not the end of her troubles, because she's gone from the frying pan to the fire. Nikos Katrakis is not easy to manipulate into a fake arrangement as she planned. He's the kind of man who gets exactly what he wants, and he has plans for her and for revenge on her family. Nevertheless, she ends up falling into his bed and in love with him.
Although I feel that this story could have had more dialogue (it's almost entirely introspective thoughts and description), it was still exciting and intriguing, what a good Harlequin Presents should be. Crews has a great way of writing the exquisite tension between her characters where I was holding my breath in anticipation. Also expectantly waiting to see what will happen next. I didn't believe that Nikos would go through with his ruthless, cold-blooded plan for revenge. When he does, my heart sank. I sorted through my own emotions and wondered if Tristanne could forgive him. I have to say that the scene in which they reunite really threw me. Tristanne shows what love truly is. Instead of plunging the knife that Nikos hands her into his black heart and twisting it, she forgives him. Because she loves him. Because she sees that this man didn't know what love was. And it was her job to teach him.
This story is quite different from Caitlin Crews' first HP novel, and I really liked it for its difference, although the first is still my favorite. I liked the intense emotions and the very admirable, mature, self-sacrificing, but painfully self-aware heroine. I liked the blazing hot passion between Tristanne and Nikos. And I loved how Ms. Crews took the standard self-made, ruthless HP tycoon, and gave me a tortured, hurting man who had been used and hated by everyone who should have loved him. She took this character and put him into the hands of the perfect heroine to show him what it meant to love and to be loved in return. It makes me think of Nature Boy by David Bowie
It's hard to say exactly what I felt for this book without rambling. First of all, let me say, I think this book has one of the most tormented heroineIt's hard to say exactly what I felt for this book without rambling. First of all, let me say, I think this book has one of the most tormented heroines I've ever read about, both in adult and young adult literature! How much crap can one girl go through? As I listened, I kept thinking how morose this story was. But I had to keep listening. Hoping that Plain Kate would find joy and a place to call home.
This is a novel that shows the destructive effects of prejudice in an interesting way. In this book, anyone who is different or odd has to be a 'witch.' Everyone is so busy blaming everything that goes wrong around them on witches (who are more than anything just anyone who sticks out), they don't even have the sense to go after the real cause of the problem. Even those who are outsiders don't show nearly the amount of tolerance that they should. That makes for a very bitter pill to swallow.
What I loved about this story, what kept me reading was Kate. It was not easy to walk alone, and to keep walking after all she had lost. But she does. And I admire her for that. Also her cat, Taggle. Talking about a scene stealer. I loved him. The author knows cat behavior very well. I would laugh at Taggle's antics and what he would say. He's charmed so that he can talk, but he expresses himself in very much the way I can imagine my cats talking. I definitely give the author brownie points for that.
Although it's never stated, the setting is very Russian. Even the folkore gives this story an indisputible Russian stamp. Russian elements always work for me!
The tone of this story was hard to handle at times. It's very grim in a way. There are spots of brightness and joy like a ray of sunlight shining through a cloudbank. But for the most part, this story has a very downcast feel to it. That sadness that permeated this story grabbed at me. I was glad that Taggle was there for needed comic relief. As an optimist, I looked for evidence of hope for Kate, another thing that kept me reading, even when one event had me sobbing out loud. I mean really crying. I was thinking how much can this one person suffer?
Although definitely the most depressing young adult book I've read in a long time, Plain Kate was a very good book. It's not one of those books that you put down with a smile, though. Instead, you feel a sense of moody reflection. If only to convey how ugly prejudice is, this book succeeds on that point. Substitute any class of people for the 'witches' as the persecuted group and you have a powerful story told in an imaginative way, and the lesson will get transmitted to an audience who I hope will take this lesson very seriously. I think that one should think hard about these issues. Thinking clearly might help a person to see that hatred of others because of their differences is just wrong. And a world that condones that kind of injustice makes for a cold, cruel world for all of us. If I have to read a book that's not so sunny and happy to get that message, I guess that's a good thing in the end....more
I picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of RI picked this up as an audiobook from my trusty library because I enjoyed The Magic of Recluce by this author. Although I think I liked The Magic of Recluce a little more, this was a very good book.
Mr. Modesitt's style is fairly distinctive. He writes what I would call 'grounded fantasy'. He is detail-oriented, and spends a lot of time building his world and setting the scenes. He is clearly a 'foodie', because he describes food in great detail, and it sounds very scrumptious to me. I obtained a very comprehensive visual of this world in which Rhennthyl lives, rather like Renaissance era Europe, although with some later historical touches.
The concept of people who are able to visualize things into being, and how they become part of a Collegium was interesting. I felt that the process could have been a little more dynamic when described (the scenes were a bit one-dimensional at times), but it definitely had me listening.
Although I liked the spy novel-esque vibe, this book is probably a bit more political than I like my reading to be, with a focus on the tangled situations between various governments, the one in which this book is set, and nations that they danced around conflicts with. However, I can't say that it was extraneous to the plot of this story. In fact, The Imager Collegium plays an integral war in keeping the political situation balanced by protecting the Council (who runs the country), and resolving situations in a discreet fashion that allows the status quo to continue. At times, I did feel my mind wander a little bit when the discussions in this book delved too deeply into waters of political intrigue, because this reader is just not wired to be very interested in such subject matter. I liked seeing Rhennthyl think on his feet to navigate these shark-infested waters, though.
Rhennthyl is a protagonist that I appreciated reading about. He doesn't have an easy road, despite his formidable abilities (hard-earned and honed) as an imager. I liked that he does have to struggle a little bit, work hard, and think hard, even though he advances very quickly in the hierarchy of Imagers from a primary. He felt like an everyday sort of guy, not excessively intelligent, nice, or charismatic. Just normal. Enough of all those things for me to like him, though. The guy was in a tough situation, as the Collegium was basically dangling him out as bait for the assassins who were plotting to kill young imagers. I have to say that he held his own, and managed to extricate himself from many a bad situation.
I found the romance between Rhennthyl and Celiora (spelling might not be right since I listened on audio) to be well-written and very important to this storyline. She is a good match for him. She is wise, insightful, loving, and independent and strong. He's the kind of guy who wouldn't do well with a softer, malleable woman, and Celiora is the opposite of that in all the best ways. If things progress the way I believe they will, Celiora will be a great mate for Rhennthyl.
This was a fairly long audiobook, but I was happy to keep listening. Although Modesitt's writing might be a bit too detail-oriented for some readers, I like how he builds the foundation of how his magic system works, using quite a bit of proven science that makes sense, and a concept that I found interesting. I also loved the artistic aspects, as Rhennthyl starts his training as an artist, and continues to maintain that artistic sensibility.
I mentioned above, the only shortcomings with this novel were the sometimes dry political aspects, and the less than dynamic action sequences (I'm a bit of a tough customer when it comes to that). Otherwise, I think this is a very good fantasy book, that I would recommend to those who might be interested in this sort of storyline. I'm adding the next book to my wish list....more
Bitter Frost was a good read that sucked me in as I read, and I appreciated getting immersed into this world, with Breena and her secret heritage. HowBitter Frost was a good read that sucked me in as I read, and I appreciated getting immersed into this world, with Breena and her secret heritage. However, I do feel that it was far too brief and seemed....unfinished, and I don't mean the cliffhanger ending. I felt a little cheated that it was so short. It was 196 pages. Long enough for me to get sucked in, and then it was over. Of course, this is a series, so I am encouraged to keep reading. I'm all for series, but I think this could have been twice as long and delivered more a satisfying read. I felt kind of annoyed that I have to buy the next book for $10 to get some closure when this book could have been twice as long and I would have probably given it a higher rating, because I would have been much more satisfied with the book.
The ideas were so good, so I did wish I could rate this one more highly, but I just needed more. I wanted to learn more about Breena, sink under her skin. I wanted more worldbuilding. I wanted to see Kian more clearly, and maybe like him or feel more compelled towards him as a person as Breena apparently felt. I am hoping that Breena's friend Logan will get more stage time in the next book, because I am loving him, big time. He's such a sweetie, but also tough as nails. He was so caring with Breena, and he clearly adores her. I feel that a relationship with Logan has a lot of potential, moreso than with Kian. Kian, I wasn't super-fond of him. He seemed a little empty to me. I didn't really feel that the conflict between his feelings for Breena and his duty to his kingdom was that compelling. To me, it seemed as though he could easily leave Breena as second fiddle to his duties. And I'm supposed to root for Breena to choose for him? Um, not so much. Now Logan, drool, swoon, sigh!
Let me just take the time to address a pet peeve I have with far too many young adult fantasy books now--the love triangle. Why do most of these books have to have a love triangle? Is this an absolute requirement for publication? How about a more deep, more developed relationship progression between the heroine and one love interest? How about more focus on the development of the character? How about more action and less "which guy should I choose?" I'm just saying. Maybe I'm the only one who has an issue with this. I mean no disrespect against Ms. Gow or any other YA writer. I just wish that this plot device would stop being so heavily relied on in YA fantasy. I'm not the target audience, since I'm in my 30s, so maybe this is a thing that the younger readers enjoy. But I think a book can be perfectly enjoyable with a heroine who has one love interest. And, as I addressed above, I didn't feel that the love triangle aspect rang true. To me it's an obvious choice who Breena should end up with. If I'm going to be pulled in two directions, I need to feel like the heroine could go with either choice, and Kian ain't ringing my bell right now.
So....It's hard for me with this book. It had a lot of potential. Some great ideas. But not enough here for me to be blown away. That's why I couldn't give it more than 3.5 stars. Honestly, I am miffed that I will have to shell out the not inconsiderable bucks for the next book, afraid I will feel the same dissatisfaction, but I will be coming back for more. That seems like a Pyrrhic victory to me.
Although I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way tAlthough I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way that Nikki could see there were two aspects of Harper that were fighting each other. The part of him that was a protector, sweet, and loving; and the predatory, domineering, take no prisoner part of him. She saw that he was in conflict, feeling like he needed to supress one over the other, and that this would be an issue in him accepting his love for her, instead of pushing her away altruistically. Nikki was young, about 23, but she was pretty mature and insightful. I loved that she was an artist. She reminded me of my mother, in fact. She was a pretty layered character. Harper was also deep and rich in characterization. I liked him from the beginning. He has that tough, strong, intense nature that I love in a hero, but also the warm, sweet, loving, caring personality that is equally irresistible. And he was a British hero. We need more Brits in the HP books! Another thing I liked about this book was that Harper was a family man. He was raising his nephew since his parents died when he was a baby. He was also close to his mother. I think Ms. Carpenter wrote this book with some elements that enriched it in a way that I wish I saw more in this category of books. This was a good book, and I wish I had read it fast, but I kept picking it up near bedtime when I was too sleepy to enjoy it as much as I could.
If you want to sample a Harlequin Presents that veers away from the whole Mediterrean/Latin billionaire playboy with the arm-candy heroine, you should check this out. I hope to find more of Amanda Carpenter's books since I enjoyed this one and The Great Escape.
This was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major pThis was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major points there. However, I didn't like that his edgy, dangerousness was mainly due to his ruthless manner in which he would go through women. He was a serious womanizer who never got emotional with his bed-partners. His pursuit of Ella was pretty coldblooded, although there was serious sexual tension and attraction between them. I didn't like how he would think of her as nothing but a sex partner, and he said something pretty cruel to her, although it was in the heat of a moment in which he was grieving what he lost in his past. I have to say, I didn't really like him all that much. He was alright, and he came around. But not a favorite hero of mine. That's a shame, since I love my Russian heroes. I liked the depth that Ms. Shaw gave him, showing his point of view, and how he was tortured by the loss that he blamed on his own actions. I think it could have made him more sensitive to the heroine's needs. But, it didn't seem to do that.
Heroine who is unwilling to marry or make a commitment to a man: I liked this aspect, but Ella's actions seem to belie this. She had a father who was really cruel, cheating on her mother (who was physically frail and had a heart problem), and locking Ella up in a room that was known to be haunted. He squandered the family fortunes on gambling, booze, and women. In other words, the worst role model ever, definitely enough to make a girl sour on men. And yet, Ella fell for a man who had some of her father's traits (at least the cruel womanizer ones) really fast. She told herself that she was just going to have a no-strings sexual affair with him, but she showed emotional involvement very fast. Also, for a woman who prized her independence from a man, it didn't quite ring true that she would allow herself to become a man's mistress. She didn't like him using that term, but she allowed him to treat her as his mistress. I think she should have set more boundaries with him. Such as: not sleeping over, not allowing him to buy her clothes, and jewelry, and having more control over the time she spent with him. That would have rang more true with me, given her emotional scars.
So, I was not blown over by this book, although it had some really good steamy romance, emotional intensity, and was fast-moving. I just had trouble with some of the actions that the characters took, and I wasn't too fond of how things unfolded. One thing that frustrates me is when the heroine falls way too easily for the hero. Where's the conflict in that? I want to see the hero have to do some chasing, and dealing with his feelings for a woman he can't get out of his mind. It seemed as though all he had to do was kiss Ella, and she melted. I realize that the strong attraction is important to the storyline, but I'd like to see some backbone as the heroine fights the attraction. After all, we know the hero is fighting his feelings. Why not show the heroine doing more of the same? I would have preferred that Vadim had to spend more time actually wooing Ella, and showing his feelings evolve as he worked hard to get her. She seemed to be a fairly quick conquest. Too quick for me. It was almost as though her hormones got the best of her.
Overall, this was a good read. I'll probably keep it because of the Russian hero.