I started this book on a Saturday and finished it the same day. This book was incredible. It has the great elements of an authentic western setting, e...moreI started this book on a Saturday and finished it the same day. This book was incredible. It has the great elements of an authentic western setting, engaging characters, sensual romance, humor, and danger. You will love Skylar as she is an incredible woman with a sense of honor but also the grit and determination to do what it takes to make a life for her younger brother. She was forced from a young age to suppress her feminine side and to work and to live as a cowboy, and nobody would question her abilities. Skylar ends up accidentally married to playful, but dangerous former bounty hunter, Tucker Morgan. He's gorgeous and tempting, but having a home for her brother is her first priority. The end goal is to get to Wyoming, get paid for her mustangs, and get an annulment. She just has to keep her hands off him, and his hands off her. Tucker wasn't looking at getting married ever, but he has one heck of a bride on his hands. She's willing to pull her weight and then some, and earns his respect. And she's beautiful. He finds it harder than he thought to keep from taking his wife to bed, and soon finds that he wants her forever. I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, it was intense, and I felt like I was there on the trail to Wyoming, with dust in my mouth, the cold wind blowing on face, hearing the mustangs neighing, and dodging bullets, along with the characters. If have been feeling at a loss as less and less western romances are being published, I highly recommend picking up this book. It will keep you entertained for hours indeed. Stacey Kayne is a new go to author for me when it comes to western romances. (less)
My faith in Loretta Chase was firmly restored with this book. It was a grand adventure with an unforgettable hero and a strong, independent, intellige...moreMy faith in Loretta Chase was firmly restored with this book. It was a grand adventure with an unforgettable hero and a strong, independent, intelligent heroine, and it was set in Egypt. I do love adventure romances with exotic settings. The dialogue sparkles, as Rupert always knows the most outrageous things to say to shock Daphne. He comes off as being a loser, but he's a very sharp, resourceful guy, and he comes to Daphne's aid multiple times. In fact, he is just what Daphne needs as she is suffering from "Premature Aging Syndrome." Her deceased husband was older than her and very stodgy, and so she's a bit stiff. Yes, she's a bit on the stuffy side, but she's spunky and sharp-tongued, more than able to keep up with Rupert. Her one and only passion (prior to Rupert, of course) is her love of deciphering hieroglyphics, a talent she had to keep hidden because of her husbands beliefs against educated, passionate women. If you like movies like "The Mummy" and "Indiana Jones," you'll like this. I think Daphne and Evie from "The Mummy" have some things in common. There are not many love scenes in this book, but Chase makes them count, and you never doubt the emotions between Rupert and Daphne. Although Lord of Scoundrels, The Last Hellion, and The Mad Earl's Bride are still my favorites by her, this book is an excellent addition to my keeper shelf.(less)
This is my favorite book by LS. It's funny, when I read this book, I had not discovered the appeal of the 'bad boy' yet. I was thinking that Abigail w...moreThis is my favorite book by LS. It's funny, when I read this book, I had not discovered the appeal of the 'bad boy' yet. I was thinking that Abigail was better off with the nice guy she was nursing. But she ends up falling for Jesse, and so do I. This book was steamy but in a different way from nowadays. The steam was the sexual tension that did not rely on descriptive love scenes, but the attraction between the characters.
Reading LS is an experience because you don't get out of her books without your heart being tugged on. This book is no different.(less)
I need to reread this to give it the review it deserves. Stuart did it again, for certain. I shouldn't have liked this book because I don't like unrep...moreI need to reread this to give it the review it deserves. Stuart did it again, for certain. I shouldn't have liked this book because I don't like unrepentant rakes, but I did anyway. In fact, I loved it. This book really showcases the Georgian period in all its debauched, over the top glory, and has shades of Dangerous Liaisons, just enough for a fan of this book/movie to get a happy fix. Great secondary romance as well, with a female counterpart of Killoran in Barbara (Killoran's sometime lover), who was turned into a sex object at a very young age, and has learned that using her charms to control and ruin men is the only way to go. She falls in love with a younger, innocent country gentleman who is fresh to the wild, wicked city. Despite Barbara thinking she has men all figured out, he melts her heart of ice and looks into her heart to find the hurt child there and the lonely woman she had to become to survive. Other touches I loved were the fact that Emma is unashamedly Junoesque, and Killoran definitely embraces her tall and bounteous curves. Emma might be innocent, but she's a great match for Killoran, seeing something to love in him. And because she does, I was forced to look deep and find the good core in this dissipated, seemingly amoral libertine. If you like dark romances, give this one a read. Yet there is no question that there is happiness to be found for Killoran and Emma, for this book has the best epilogue I've ever read, particularly if you like the sappy, totally Happy Ever After epilogues.(less)
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 was so glad I found this book at the library and happened to read it. The heroine is about 50 lbs overweight. Yes, you heard me right. I thought tha...moreI was so glad I found this book at the library and happened to read it. The heroine is about 50 lbs overweight. Yes, you heard me right. I thought that was very daring of this author. Usually the heroine is 15 pounds overweight and it's such a huge deal. This is more realistic in the United States with about 50% of the population overweight. The great thing is that the hero loves her the way she is. He doesn't think she needs to lose weight. I kept waiting for this to be an issue. It never was. If you like romances with heroines who are not thin, you should read this one. It was also good because of the great relationship between Katie and Jeremiah. He starts out just having the relationship with her so she can have a baby, but before it goes very far, he is deeply in love with her, and wants to marry her. I also like that she was 34 and a virgin and felt her biological clock was ticking(yes there are virgins in their 30s. It's not unrealistic), and this hunkalicious guy on a Harley rides into town and volunteers to do the deed. It sounds tawdry but it was very sweet how the story unfolded. I definitely recommend this book for a feel-good romance.(less)
Now normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rak...moreNow normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rake who gets hoisted by his petard by the man-hater. Silver feels like she is resistant to passions for a man. She tried love and it didn't work for her. She's all about being a good movie critic like her somewhat spiteful, Truman Capotesque mentor. He is teaching her to write acerbic, cruel reviews. Unfortunately she reviews Rafe's production and he's not happy. He decides to teach her a lesson, and ends up kidnapping her to his cabin in the mountains. It has a bit of the captive theme I like. And it has hot passion and hotter romance. The end is great because they both show sacrifice (sort of like Gift of the Magi). This is a great book to read if you can find it, a real treasure. As a matter of fact, I need to pull out my copy.(less)
This is my second read of this book, and my first attempt to review it. I couldn’t write a review before, because it had been years since I read it, a...more This is my second read of this book, and my first attempt to review it. I couldn’t write a review before, because it had been years since I read it, and my feelings were so all over the place. I didn’t think I could write an honest review at the time unless I did reread it. Don’t get me wrong. I love this book, and it’s definitely a five star read, but it challenged me in ways the first three books didn’t.
Bowen is a character we got to know in A Hunger Like No Other, and we followed up on him in No Rest for the Wicked. I was already emotionally involved with him, so it was exciting for him to get his own story. Despite that fact, Bowen could be a major jerk at times. I mean a serious clod. Some of the thoughtless things he says and does towards Mariketa are just loutish. I really winced at one particular misstep. An epic fail. I was just thinking: Wow, Bowen. You’re like the guy who caught the ball that cost the Cubs their first chance at the World Series in a long time! Yeah, that bad!
Despite the fact that Bowen commits some serious relationship nonos with Mariketa, he also has some heart-meltingly sweet moments where you can’t imagine not being bowled over by a guy like him wooing you. I think that combination of ineptness and fan yourself appealing hotness makes him an unforgettable hero. It means so much that despite the numerous obstacles he faces in his relationship with Mariketa, that he is able to win her heart and keep it, and leave behind all his preconceived notions and reservations about being involved with her. And I can’t blame him for some of those, just about how insensitive he was in addressing or dealing with them.
Mariketa is quite interesting as a heroine. Although she’s younger than Emmaline, she’s a lot more modern-thinking and less sheltered. She embodies the modern twenties-something girl in a more recognizable way than Emmaline, although they both have that dynamic. I liked that she was more street-smart than Emmaline because Bowen really needed someone who could handle him. Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t wound Mariketa, or sorely challenge her. At times, I could see why Mariketa definitely was not feeling the idea of a relationship with him. She had very good reasons, especially with her abandonment/not measuring up issues and his disdain for witches. On the second read, I was cheering her on a lot more. When she called him on his selfishness, she hit the nail right on the head. I could see why she wasn’t about to let her sexual attraction and maybe a little more feelings for Bowen deter her from the path she’d chosen, especially when Bowen felt like she had to give up something that was so vital to her identity.
It struck me that this book has a lot more relationship drama than the previous books. I think that although this is paranormal, some of the relationship dynamics would feel very familiar to a modern person with an active dating life; and they are trying to decide if someone is the ‘one’ they want to spend their life with. Many readers seem to dislike the ‘love at first/fated to be mated’ concept, but Cole doesn’t use it as a crutch to get out of building a genuine bond between her characters, or as a foregone conclusion. They still have to work out and through the particulars of cementing and committing to that relationship despite their instincts that they belong together. Particularly in this book, I seriously wondered how Mariketa and Bowen would work things out. Their problems are pretty enormous despite their volcanic sexual chemistry and growing love for each other. Since this is a romance, logically I know we’ll get a happy ending, but there is a good haul to get to that destination.
As always, Cole blisters the pages with the powerful sexual chemistry between her characters. She tantalizes and teases the reader so that they are just as highly expectant for the promised consummation as her main characters. And she doesn’t disappoint when it happens. I love the fact that Mariketa doesn’t make it easy for Bowen sexually. She needs his respect as much as the sexual release he clearly can give her. She also needs trust, and that is something a reader can definitely identify with. It just feels right. Even though the reader can love all the hot stuff, you can also get a connection between the main characters that makes sense intellectually and ethically (if that makes sense). You don’t want a character who doesn’t respect herself enough to expect respect from a hero.
Wow, this review turned out pretty long. I guess I did have a lot to say. Everything I love about Cole’s writing is here. She challenges me in ways, but that’s good. While this book has a bit more angst than the first three books, it also has some good humorous bits. The suspense storyline is intense, and it ties together very well. I liked that I didn’t remember exactly how everything goes together, which is a mark of a good book, that you can see more in the story with each read. Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night is a worthwhile read for fans of well-written, sexy paranormal romance.
Final Shoutout: Bowen, I’m glad you finally got your act together. High five! Mariketa, you go girl!
I had to place my faith in Ms. Cole that this premise of a ghost falling in love with a vampire would work. I just couldn't see how this would go well...moreI had to place my faith in Ms. Cole that this premise of a ghost falling in love with a vampire would work. I just couldn't see how this would go well at all. My faith was rewarded. I loved this book. It starts out so beautiful and even gothic. Neomi Laress is brutally murdered by a spurned lover in her house that she has just bought at a grand party she is throwing to celebrate her retirement from the ballet. She is a beautiful dancer in the early 20th century who has decided to leave her current beau. He stabs her in the heart and kills her. I was like, "Wow." This book already managed to stand out from the previous books, just with the prologue.
Things only get better. We meet Conrad, the long-lost Wroth brother. In the first few books you always hear that there are four brothers alive still (or undead rather), but that Conrad ran off, angry that his brothers had turned him into a vampire. Finally we get to see him, and things aren't pretty. He has become a mercenary/assassin and a vampire killer. He kills by taking their blood, thus having given himself over to Bloodlust. He vows to kill his other brothers for what they have made him. Kill them and anyone they love.
But fortunately, Nikolai, Murdoch, and Sebastian have not given up on their brother. They manage to capture him and have decided to keep him imprisoned until the Bloodlust wears off. Well, they end up keeping him prisoner in the property owned by the deceased Neomi. Unbeknownst to them, her disembodied spirit is still in her beloved home.
Neomi has been alone for so long. There have been people who came and went from her home, leaving her alone again. But none have captivated her like Conrad. Despite his blood-red eyes and his insanity, Neomi is very attracted to the brawny and beautiful vampire. Conrad sees her, which is very unusual, since most of the people who have come through her house cannot.
Thus begins the seduction of Conrad by Neomi. Neomi is a sensualist, she loves beautiful men and their bodies. It's the worst sort of torture to be around a beautiful male like Conrad and not be able to touch him. Conrad is a virgin, never having loved or made love to a woman. He sees the beautiful ghost and believes she is part of his raving insanity. With each person he killed by draining them, he absorbed their memories. This drives a vampire insane. Since Conrad killed the worst of all kinds of demons and vampire, he is violently insane. But somehow the beautiful spirit manages to calm his raving madness. He falls for her very quickly, and determines to find a way for them to be together.
There are problems with this relationship from the start. He wants to feel the same intense desire for her that she feels for him, but because he is a vampire, he cannot feel desire until he is blooded. He feels in his heart that Neomi must be his bride. However, she's a spirit, so she cannot truly 'blood' him. And even if she could 'blood' him, since she's a ghost, they really couldn't get physical anyway.
This story really captivated me. I was so sucked into it, that I remember sitting at dinner trying to eat with one hand and reading the book held in the other. My mother was so curious about my fixation with the book, she ended up reading it herself.
I liked the way Ms. Cole turned the tables, making Conrad the innocent (sexually) virgin, and Neomi the seducer. I loved the glimpses into other aspects of the Immortals After Dark universe, the Lore, inhabited by all sorts of immortal creatures. Ms. Cole has a way of making these books laugh-out loud funny, but also intense and poignant. Conrad is the type of hero that gets under your skin and you feel for him. Although Neomi had some hardened aspects to her that I typically don't care for in a heroine, I ended up loving her as well. I loved her intense feelings for Conrad, almost from the start. They weren't just lust, but a sense of ownership like he was dear to her. I also appreciated her passion for life and culture, and how much she loved her home. She had a good heart and was kind to the good people who stopped through her home. So it was easier than I thought to come to like her as heroine. Even though Conrad was insane and technically a murderer (really just of bad creatures), I loved him from the start. Seeing his madness and his loneliness really opened my heart to him. Despite the outer wrappings, you could see a deep sort of innocence in him that was more than just sexual.
Even with the obvious issues in their relationship, Conrad and Neomi really came across as soulmates, and very early in this book. I really rooted for this unlikely couple to be together, and the way in which this comes to pass was very well done. I must say, my respect for Ms. Cole as an author went up another notch at how she brought Conrad and Neomi's happy ever after together.
Despite my misgivings when I first heard the storyline for this story, I came to love Dark Needs at Night's Edge with the same passion that I loved the prior stories (and possibly more). Conrad was a new favorite hero, at least until Cadeon and Rydstrom came around. (less)
This was a classy, emotional romance. I really liked Drake and Grace as a couple. The idea of lonely people who drift through life, and find each othe...moreThis was a classy, emotional romance. I really liked Drake and Grace as a couple. The idea of lonely people who drift through life, and find each other, two pieces of a heart coming together always makes me feel mushy and sentimental in the best way. That's the ultimate kind of romance to me. Add on top of that, a hard, lethal man who melts only for one person, the woman he loves... Yup, I go into instant sighing mode. Despite the fact that this could have been rather cheesy in theory, this book is not cheesy in the slightest. At least, not to me. I love the dangerous hero who will do anything for his woman. And Drake definitely embodies that.
Lisa Marie Rice has an elegant, smooth writing style that makes for a quick, involving read. The love scenes are just right, although I could have done without the 'c' word for the woman's anatomy. I can understand that from the perspective of a rough man like Drake that he would use terms like that and the 'f' word for the sex act, so I was able to deal with it. I could see that his feelings for Grace were so deep, multi-layered and real. He never viewed her as a disposable sex object, which is a huge turnoff for me in a hero. He was just a rough guy who grew up in the worse circumstances, and to whom gentleness and love were foreign, until she came into his life, and everything changed. I'm not an erotic romance person, but I felt right in my comfort zone with the love scenes in this book ('c' word aside). The scenes show a sensuality teamed with an emotional connection that progressed the story nicely. Nothing too crude, kinky, or off-putting for me.
The action and suspense elements won over this exacting action/adventure fan. I knew I was going to like Drake from early on. This man knows how to handle himself. He might have bodyguards, and he is wise to do so, but he is lethal all by himself. Anyone who comes after him and his woman has a serious death wish, and there was no question about that. The strong, silent, lethal hero is my favorite type, and I will add Drake to my list. I also liked the way that sweet, gentle Grace handled herself in some dangerous circumstances, keeping her cool and showing a lot of resourcefulness. She proves that she can handle being in Drake's world.
I really enjoyed this book. The scenes of emotional and physical intimacy were perfectly rendered. Drake is the larger than life kind of hero that you do have to suspend disbelief to read (because he just makes normal men just fade in comparison), but that's the fun of it. Grace is a woman that you know is more than worthy of his love, who gives back even more than she takes, even from a man who would hand her the world on a platter. I can see them living happily ever after, more deeply in love each year of their long lives together. I love reading romance books that are like action movies with very good and extensive romance elements. That's the perfect combination for me. The adrenaline rush from both the danger and the swoonworthy romance. And this book definitely delivers that. I can see why this is such a well-liked book. I'd recommend it, even if you aren't into erotic romance. It gets the Danielle seal of approval, if that means anything to you.(less)
This was a fun, exciting book. Troy was crazy about Headley, but didn't know how to just open his mouth and say the words. He was seriously going thro...moreThis was a fun, exciting book. Troy was crazy about Headley, but didn't know how to just open his mouth and say the words. He was seriously going through all these changes and manipulating when he could have just told her. He was a big silly. (hot, though!) It was cute and I really enjoyed it. Hot love scenes, but the fact that Troy loved Headley so much was the winner for this book. Troy was pretty cavemanish, but Headley knew how to handle him. I like the possessive heroes so it didn't bother me, because Headley wasn't a doormat. I liked the interactions with Troy's friends, and Headley's friend Fancy. Some of the words that came out their mouths, wow! This book was a great read. Hours of entertainment after a long day of work. Can't wait to read Fancy and Maxwell's story. Intrigued about who Cole ends up with. Marie Rochelle is an autobuy for me.(less)
I loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two bo...moreI loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two books in this series yet. Alexander is a scoundrel, but you definitely want him to catch Sophie. Great chemistry, and wonderful romance. A five star read!
I cannot really explain why this is a favorite Johanna Lindsey book since the premise is rather offensive. A rich, playboy Russian prince sees a woman...moreI cannot really explain why this is a favorite Johanna Lindsey book since the premise is rather offensive. A rich, playboy Russian prince sees a woman on the streets of London, and tells his servants to abduct her since he's currently without a bedmate. They actually kidnap her and take her back to Russia. Ugh! What? Yet I love this book.
I did not agree with what Dimitri did to Katherine. He was arrogant and thought the world belonged to him. He was a prince of Russia, and they had lots of power. They literally owned people (serfs tied to the land and the houses of the rich for their whole lives). In his mind, he could have whatever he wanted. All he had to do was crook his finger and women jumped into his bed. Well Katherine is not a looker, and since she snuck out of the house dressed in her maid's clothes, he thinks she's no better than a serf. He cannot understand why she's not dying to be his lover of the moment, since they always leave his bed happy and well-cared for. She keeps saying that it's a horrible mistake, that she's a gentlewoman, and demanding to be taken back home, or at least to the English embassy. He thinks she's full of it. And he is floored that she reduces his attempts at seduction, not to mention angry. He's no rapist. He wants a willing woman in his bed. When makes an offhand comment out of anger to that effect to his servants, that they take as an edict to give him exactly what he wants. They dose the poor woman with an aphrodesiac that makes her experience severe agony if she doesn't do the deed. Well, he must help her out, and not allow her to suffer, right? Okay. I can buy that one time. Second time around, she is still not hip about being a bedbunny, even if he is a great and wonderful prince. So he deliberately has them dose her again! I thought that was beyond the pale. The first time, it wasn't a decision that he made, but a misunderstanding. But the second time around, he definitely was at fault.
After the second time, something changes in their relationship. Dimitri starts to see Katherine is a woman that should be respected and cherished, although he still doesn't believe she's a Lady. Katherine's heart softens towards Dimitri and she falls in love with him. Although there's a hiccup where one of Dimitri's imperious aunts orders Katherine caned and treated like the lowest servant when Dimitri is called out of town. He comes back and is livid on her behalf. He then proceeds to nurse her with tender loving care. Of course, this helps to melt the armor around poor Katherine's heart, and he in there.
I'm reading this book and thinking, get the heck out of that place with these crazy folks. Katherine doesn't really lose the desire to go home, despite falling in love with Dimitri. In her mind, he's so far above her (when I think he should be licking her feet personally) that she thinks the relationship is doomed. She'll enjoy her time with him until the ports unfreeze and she can go back home.
Okay why did I like this book so much? It was unique and original, and interesting. It kept my interest. I learned some things about Imperial Russia I didn't know, and it kindled my interest in Russia. Dimitri is a character that you become intrigued by, warts and all. I wanted this spoiled man to grow up and be a worthy hero. Katherine is a spectacular heroine. She might be plain and small, but she's got the heart of a lioness. She has no problem standing up for herself. You root for her to get herself out of that situation. And frankly, I could have cared less if she ever saw Dimitri again. He clearly didn't deserve her, even though she loved him. I guess the epilogue won me over. Also you could see towards the end of this book how much she had come to mean to him. So I grudgingly decided that it was okay for him to have Katherine, as long as he married her and made her a very happy woman for the rest of her life.
Well, I don't know if I have clearly explained why I like this book so much. But I do, despite some of the crazy and very un-PC events that occur in it.(less)
I don't even know where to begin with this review. Like so many of Ward's other books, this book consumed my thoughts. Even when I wasn't reading it,...moreI don't even know where to begin with this review. Like so many of Ward's other books, this book consumed my thoughts. Even when I wasn't reading it, I was pondering the interactions between the characters, hoping for the best, and dreading the worst that I felt was coming.
I don't know how the WARDen does it, but my love for this series and her writing grows even more all-consuming with each book. I do know that she understands the power of evoking emotions in the reader. I can't read any of her books without getting my emotions involved in the process.
I loved Rehv before I read this book. I love him even more after reading this book. Rehv is a great example of why antiheroes are so compelling to me. He is a mass of contradictions and not predictable in the least. He is so sexy, so powerful, yet so vulnerable at the same time. He's no boy scout, but his does have honor and duty. He sacrificed himself again and again for those that he loved, even allowing some of them to think the worst of him. Inside he bore his loneliness like a burden he felt he deserved. I was glad that he had two families, his mother and sister, and Xhex, Trez, and i.am.
I didn't like the drugs, the violence, and the prostitution, but I could understand why Rehv and Xhex inhabited that dark world. They felt that this was the only place they belonged. Fortunately Rehv also has the tether of his family, although he has to live a lie for many, many years. Xhex doesn't even have that. The sympaths were as fascinating I thought they would be. Even though this book delved into that world, I'd be perfectly happy to read more about them. They manage to exude a menace that jumps off the page as I read about them.
Like most outstanding books, the scenes were vivid like a movie in my mind. I love the realism mixed with magic and the supernatural. I am in awe of the WARDen's imagination. She has taken an hip/upscale/urban motif, mixed with the culture and world of an ancient race, and created several love and relationship stories and put them all together into a delicious confection that is this book. But it's the three-dimensional characters that really seduce me. Even the casual characters manage to grab my notice and my interest.
I am so glad that Rehv found Ehlena. It was great seeing such a tough, isolated guy fall so hard and fast and give his heart away. The interactions between Rehv and Ehlena was sweet and romantic, but erotic at the same time. He really knows how to treat a woman with tenderness, to cherish her as though she is the only woman in the world. At times, I was worried that Ehlena didn't deserve his love and devotion, but she proved true and worthy of it. Ehlena is one tough, steadfast woman. Just what Rehv needs. And Rhev is what she needs as well. My heart can rest in peace that Rehv does have the love and acceptance he always secretly yearned for. I am happy that he has a deep, loving relationship with Bella, and is like a brother to the Brotherhood.
It was also nice to see more of Wrath and Beth interacting. As they were the first couple, some of my memories have faded. So reading about their relationship and how it has remained deep and true was really great. What the WARDen has done with Wrath was so well-executed and felt right although some might feel that it was a dark way to go.
John Matthew is at a really dark point in this book, and I vacillated between despair and rage at what he is doing to himself. But I am so excited to read his book when it comes out. I wish it was coming out sooner. I can't wait to see him come into his own and claim his shellan in Xhex.
Xhex is my girl. I love the woman. She is all over it. I enjoyed getting perspective on her emotions and her thoughts. Her loyalty to Rhev is unquestionable, and I know there is more to learn about that, as well as her past. I felt her sorrow as she tried to push JM away although she clearly loves and is as drawn to him as he is to her. The next book in the series is going to be awesome as we see what transpires with Xhex and JM and follow along from how things ended in this book.
The whole Lash situation promises to grow even more enthralling. At first I dismissed him as an immature bully. But he is proving to be a formidable antagonist. The way things will go down with him is going to be something else. He's evil as all get out, but he's a fascinating character. I think he will definitely prove to be the supervillain in this series. And boy did he go there at the end of this book. Let's just say it's going to be 'on' in the next book.
It was nice seeing the other brothers, but like the greedy BDB fan that I am, I wanted more of them. Short stories about other brothers and their shellans, please??? I miss Marissa and Cormia. Haven't seen much of them lately. More Butch, V, and Jane too. How about Rhage and Mary updates.
Ah, I never get enough of these books... Let this be a warning to you. Do not read these books if you want a life outside of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.(less)
The Duke of Shadows was a meaty, involving historical romance, the kind I love! I admit I put off reading this book because I wanted to be in the righ...moreThe Duke of Shadows was a meaty, involving historical romance, the kind I love! I admit I put off reading this book because I wanted to be in the right mood for it. I was hesitant when I started it, feeling it would be too much for me right now. However, it turned out to be a good book to read at this time, because I was completely focused on the storyline.
I completely respect the way Ms. Duran addressed the setting of the British Raj in India, mid 1800s. She showed the complex issues at work: nationalism, prejudice, exploitation, cultural insensitivity, imperialism, loyalty, race; and for Julian and Emmaline, add falling in love to that picture. Although I have discussed with some romance fans who don't enjoy exotic settings about the tendency to pander to stereotypes or to oversimplify the pertinent issues, I enjoy exotic settings very much. Probably because I crave a good story of adventure and of travel to far away destinations--it adds another desirable layer to the escapist joy of romance reading. Of course, I do want to experience writing that does reach that 'next level,' and that addresses the important topics that go along with imperialism in a clear, thoughtful, and honest way. I feel that Ms. Duran did accomplish this in writing The Duke of Shadows.
As the descendant of African slaves, Native American tribespeople, and Irish immigrants to America, I can identify with the anger and sense of injustice of being under someone's economic and social yoke, with the wrong belief by the overrriding culture that they are bettering the savage or inferior race, showing a profund lack of respect for the beliefs and cultures of that 'conquered' group of people. I definitely could see the side of the native Indians, their land taken over, their cultures devalued, their people abused. On the other hand, the savagery in which the natives attack the British residents, civilian (including children and women) and soldier alike was very difficult and injust in a different way. Two wrongs never make a right. Duran shows both cultures at their best and their worst, making it clear that at the heart, we are all humans, good and bad.
I'm sure that Julian felt like he was being ripped in two by the uprising, having both Indian and English blood flowing in his veins. Not to mention that he never seemed to belong fully to either culture--too Indian to be a British person, and too British to be an Indian man. On top of that, was the fear that he couldn't protect Emmaline, the woman he'd fallen in love with, or his Indian relatives. This made for a very dramatic, somewhat shocking in parts, and extremely poignant read. Also, seeing Emma's breakdown and her struggle to survive after what she'd seen and experienced, and had to do for her survival. I can understand her anger at Julian in believing he'd failed to honor his promise to her, that he'd forgotten about her. Especially after the traumatic loss of her parents.
The reunion between these reunited lovers in London had me glued to the page. It was both what I would expect, and completely different. I was prepared to it to be powerful. I had not counted on Emma's rage. I didn't expect for Julian to be so out of control and primal in his need to hold Emma, even in polite company. Of course it made sense. Although their time together in India was short, a profound bond had formed, and their separation had left enormous holes in each other's hearts. They had come to love and rely on each other deeply, both in the tamer times in the British Raj, and during the fires of blood-soaked revolt. Despite all that had passed while they were separated, that love still simmered deep inside them both. However, they had to break past the barriers and the pain that Emma faced. From what I surmised, Julian would have taken up where they left off without a second thought, making Emma his duchess, since his love had never died. To my surprise, Emma turns out to be the more tortured person in this book. Julian's life had always been troublesome to some extent, because of his mixed heritage. He had many years to develop strong defense mechanisms that protected him from the scorn of society, and he had cultivated a reputation for being a fairly notorious, edge-riding member of the Ton. Not one easily dismissed, but not completely accepted by all in the snooty British society realms. For Emma, to go from being a coddled young girl with loving parents, to an orphan forced into a loveless engagement, to fighting for her life in a world in which she is hated and people want to kill her and her kind (and seeing her countrymen commit their own unspeakable acts of brutality), was no simple thing to recover from. It left deep scars on her psyche. It might have destroyed a more frail person, I'm sure.
Meredith Duran's writing reminds me of some of my favorite historical romance writers, like Laura Kinsale, Connie Brockway, and Anna Campbell, in a good way, although she establishes her own unique style and voice. It has a depth and an authenticity that shows me that she respects the time period and the impact of a historical romance with a powerful sense of period, texture, and intensity of emotion and passionate romance. Julian and Emma both are potent, vivid characters that resonated within me as I read. I think that Ms. Duran will likely become a favorite for the manner in which she writes, and the compelling charisma of her characters. This book just has that 'extra wow factor' that I look for in a historical romance, after more than twenty years of reading this genre.
Although there were parts of this novel that I felt weren't ideally paced, I think this is a five star read, because I was so involved and transfixed by this story. And I have to say this is an excellent effort for a first time author. I formed a bond with this book. I didn't just read it, I experienced the story of Julian and Emma as an active participant. The powerful pull into a story will urge me to give a book five stars, as I did in this case. Recommended!(less)
This book was so great. I was so happy to finally read a book where the sheikh wanted a woman of color, particularly an African American woman. Usuall...moreThis book was so great. I was so happy to finally read a book where the sheikh wanted a woman of color, particularly an African American woman. Usually the sheikh books have blonde heroines. It was also good because of the dialogue and interactions between the characters. This book mainly takes place in the cabin where they are both staying, so the focus is on the developing relationship between Delaney and Jamal. The sexual tension is volcanic, but there is also tenderness and respect between them. I don't usually like books where the h/h meet and decide to have a fling, but this was so well-done I loved it. And you know that they are really in love and won't be able to walk away from each other long term. Another great thing about this book is Delaney is about to start her final residency to be a doctor. I dearly want to see more romance novel heroines who are highly educated and are in a specialized profession, particularly science. For some reason, it seems as though it's a bit taboo to have heroine who is more educated and has a strong career in comparison to the hero. I think that's totaly sexist. But I digress. This is a wonderful, short, but sweet, Sexy as all get out, feel good read. I highly recommend it for readers who like sheikh books but want to see a different take on the sheikh romance.(less)
Married by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine Mar...moreMarried by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine Marks in the prior Hathaway books promised good tension and a fun read, but Ms. Kleypas managed to draw on deep wells of emotion and passion in writing this story, that made it even fuller than I expected.
I had the feeling that Catherine would prove to be fairly tortured for a Kleypas heroine, and it turned out I was right. She had some deeply buried issues, related to her abandonment by her father to the dubious care of her grandmother and aunt, and the heinous future they had planned for her. I was quite surprised at the terrible fate that Catherine barely avoided, and glad that her brother, Harry Rutledge, came to her rescue in time. But, his saving her wasn't soon enough for her to avoid the deep emotional trauma of what she suffered. Since that point, she has buried herself within the prim disguise of a spinster governess, although she isn't that much older than her charges, the younger Hathaway sisters, Poppy and Beatrix.
Leo Hathway was her Achilles' Heel, almost from the beginning. A strong, vital man who made her feel things she didn't want to feel. He represented what she thought she despised, but Leo proves to be the man for her. They trade insults freely, but underneath is a sizzling attraction that is more than obvious to the Hathaways.
I simply adored Leo in this book. He was the consummate hero in pursuit, in all the best ways. He is determined to woo Catherine and give her exactly what she needs: love, understanding, protection, and companionship. Because he realizes that she's the one woman for him, even though he vowed not to fall in love again after losing Laura. Catherine brings him to life, making him want her more than is prudent and convenient. And, in true form for him, he barely skirts society's rules chasing his reluctant heroine. I could see why Catherine was hesitant to accept Leo's proposal, with her past and what she suffered--even though I hoped she'd say yes to his proposal. Although Leo was frustrated that she continued to hold herself back, he didn't give up. I really admired him for that. I think Catherine needed a man who really focused on her, wooing her powerfully.
Leo was a dark horse in this series, although it shouldn't have been a surprise at how well he turned out as a hero. He went from the darkest depths of despair after the loss of his first love, turning into a dissolute rake bent on self-destruction. His sojourn in France gives him the time and space he needs to heal his broken heart and shattered soul. When he comes back, he's still a bit of a rake, completely irreverent and wicked in the things he says, but he finds a sense of purpose in taking care of his properties as Lord Ramsay, and occasionally doing architectural commissions, spending time with his family. When Ms. Marks shows up as the governess for his younger, unmarried sisters, he wonders why they hired such a buttoned-up, bitter hag. Yet, he finds himself unwittingly attracted to her. In fact, she becomes an obsession he cannot deny himself. When he finds out that he must marry to keep Ramsay house, he isn't eager to find a bride at first. But soon, his heart tells him that only one bride will do, Miss Marks. And Leo moves mountains and does the sweetest little things to prove his love. It made me sigh to see such a good woman who had been forsaken in many ways find a man who loved her so very much, and she loved in return.
This was a simple book, but rich in content. It has the characteristic, beautiful writing that makes Lisa Kleypas one of my favorite authors. It is very sensual, with the compelling attraction between Leo and Catherine. Stolen kisses that will melt your socks off, moments of intimacy full of passion, and a love that conquers both Leo and Catherine's reluctant hearts. I could not help but root for this couple. And of course, it's always lovely to catch up with the Hathaways, and their spouses. It feels like coming home. (less)
After I read a short story by Ms. Merrill, I knew she'd be an author I wanted to read more of. And Miss Winthorpe's Engagement has validated that deci...moreAfter I read a short story by Ms. Merrill, I knew she'd be an author I wanted to read more of. And Miss Winthorpe's Engagement has validated that decision.
I appreciate the bluestocking/spinster theme very much, and as a booklover, how could I not adore Penelope? All she wants is to enjoy her spinsterhood and indulge her love of books, and as a considerable heiress, she has plenty of funds to do so. Unfortunately, her brother has decided that she spends too much money on books, when she has plenty of them already. When he puts his foot down, stating that she will do as he says regarding her finances and how she spends her time, unless she has a husband to control them for her, what's a girl to do?
Being an intelligent person who is tired of being under her less intelligent brother's thumb, she decides she's going to find herself a husband. Serendipitously, Adam, Duke of Bellston, is about to end his life, so he can save the dukedom from ruination at his lately unfortunate hands. Fate decrees that he throw himself in front of Penelope's carriage. And Fate has determined that he won't die, but fall right into Penelope's husband-needing hands. Penelope realizes that he's the answer to her prayers. She continues to ply him with brandy as they elope to Gretna Green. They marry, and Adam wakes up the next morning to a blinding headache, and being told by Penelope's servant Jem, that he is married to Penelope, who is an enormous heiress, even though she's a tradesman's daughter. Although at first, Adam is shocked that he's now married far beneath him, and to a bluestocking, his honor decrees that he cannot just forget he married her and tear up the document they both signed to that effect. They make a deal to stay married, and Penelope will give him the money he needs to save his estate from ruin, and he'll let her go about her way, and leave her to her books. But they both realize that their comfortable marriage turns out to be have much more meaning for them both.
This book was so very good. It was entertaining and readable, but also filled with hidden depths of emotion. Penelope had retreated to her books to save herself from the hurt that a disastrous Season had brought her. She had never desired to feel a man's touch or to be the object of a man's desire and love. But Adam awakens that part of her, much to her pain, but ultimate pleasure. Adam is a brilliant politician, but pretty good at making messes of his personal life. He has to live with regrets about what his reckless actions wrought on his family home, his friendship, and his brother. And Adam finds himself falling deeply in love with his wife, and coming to admire and respect her for who she is.
The chemistry between Penelope and Adam was well done, building steadily to an intense fire that made their love scenes very good reading. And the emotional honesty between them really adds to the fulfillment of reading this book. Penelope has to find her way in Adam's treacherous world, where friends are more like frenemies, and a friend's wife is trying to get her claws back into Penelope's husband. Adam made a huge mistake, but the way this book is written, you can't hold it against him. He's suffered for it, and his remorse is very obvious. And he's more than willing to face the music, but can't stand the thought of losing the wife he's come to love very deeply. Although it's a bit hypocritical in light of what he did in the past, I thought his jealousy over his wife and how it spurred him on to make his marriage with Penelope real, rather endearing. It was a real pleasure to see this match of expedience turn into one that is full of love and devotion.
This book is a real gem. I am very glad that I did get the chance to read it, and I can't wait to read more from this talented author.(less)
I enjoyed this book a lot. It was rich with depth and with characters that I was interested in reading about. Callie was tired of being trapped by soc...moreI enjoyed this book a lot. It was rich with depth and with characters that I was interested in reading about. Callie was tired of being trapped by society's expectations, and the box she'd been put into, and decided to claim some happiness for herself. I liked that Gabriel liked her for who she was. He was drawn to her, even though she didn't fit society's ideas of beauty. She became the one woman he couldn't resist, and it wasn't hard for me to believe that was the case as I read this story.
I think Ms. MacLean did a great job of writing this novel, that was recognizably full of honest and real emotions. Normally, I don't care for the Regency hoyden, who gallivants around town doing things that women just didn't do. But, this book wasn't quite like that. Callie was a woman of her times. But, she was a woman who was trying to claim some happiness for herself. She never felt anachronistic in her morals. She was just tired of trying to live up to others' expectations. So, despite this being a theme I'm far from fond of, I wasn't bothered by Callie's hijinks. I really liked and felt for Callie. Some readers complained about it constantly being repeated that she was plain and plump. I didn't really see that. I think that it was mentioned as much as necessary, especially considering that's the box that Callie had been put into. I felt for her, seeing how insensitive people were in their treatment of her. It felt authentic. Women are often treated in such a fashion, when they don't fit into the mode that society defines for them. If you're not married, don't have a man, or a boyfriend, then what's wrong with you? You must be flawed somehow. You have no purpose in life. Sadly, that's still the case.
This was a very sexy book. There are some pretty spicy scenes, and they are quite well-done. The chemistry between Gabriel and Callie felt authentic. I could see why they were attracted to each other, and why they fell for each other. Those love scenes really kept me on the edge as I read.
I liked Gabriel a lot. Although he was a rake, he showed himself to be fairly admirable in his behavior. There were some lines that he knew he shouldn't be crossing with Callie, but the way this book was written, you could see that he couldn't resist his feelings for Callie. I didn't find Gabriel especially tortured. But, I don't guess all heroes have to be. He did have some baggage with his mother running off and leaving him, and you could see how that affected him, making him afraid to give his heart to a woman. But, with Callie, it was natural for him. He couldn't hold that back from her.
I liked Nick, Benedick, and Juliana a lot. I hope that Ms. McLean writes stories for them as well.
Reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was a very pleasant experience. It wasn't a particularly dark romance (which is my favorite), but it was nuanced and had an intensity between Callie and Gabriel that made it a fairly compelling read. I think Ms. MacLean is a very good writer, and it's clear she makes an effort to write a high quality historical romance that manages to entertain but also has an underlying message. She treats important elements of historical romance with respect, but writes a story that is fun, sensual, and engaging, and she earned my respect for doing so. She's definitely going on my to-read list.(less)
If you like romance novel heroes that are...well...evil, you'll love Adrik aka Warlord Varinski. He is Karen's demon lover who comes into her tent in...moreIf you like romance novel heroes that are...well...evil, you'll love Adrik aka Warlord Varinski. He is Karen's demon lover who comes into her tent in the in the middle of the night and makes passionate love to her. She doesn't see his face during the day until all hades breaks loose. At this point, he's decided that kidnapping her fits into his very flawed moral compass.
Okay, it sounds really wicked and depraved to like Warlord. But I did. That was the interesting thing about this story. You have to go back and read the first book in the Darkness Chosen series to understand what makes Warlord tick. He is being true to his heritage. In his family, it is normal for a man to be evil. His father is actually a Black Sheep because he decided to stop being evil when he fell in love with a gypsy girl who was gifted with the sight.
Sick of the rigid rules that he and his brothers constantly live under and for reasons he didn't really understand, Adrik ran away from home. He has committed an act that he believes dooms him to Hell, so he figures he might as well be free to do whatever he wants, including shapeshifting. In his family, it is a no-no to use this gift. Adrik was gifted with the ability to change into the panther form. However that gift comes with a price. It was part of a deal his ancestor made with that very famous being who shall not be named, and each time the descendants shift, they lose a part of their soul and get closer to Hell. Knowing he is damned regardless, Adrik lives as a mercenary, fighting wars for a price, killing men who don't deserve to live, seducing women as he pleases, and sometimes accidentally doing the right thing, pretty much breaking rules as he encounters them.
When he sees strong, capable Karen, something clicks. He's got to have her. Right or wrong.
Karen has no idea who or what Warlord is. Part of her thinks it's just a dream when he comes to her at night. One day, Warlord saves her life during a natural disaster. And Karen sees that something is not quite right with him, trying to break it off. No problem. Warlord decides to just keep her as his captive. This is where some readers were pretty offended. Okay, not very pc. But in this book it worked. Those scenes were pretty hot (I should be ashamed of myself). One reason this works for this book is because Karen is a very strong, capable woman. She's not an annoying uber-alpha woman who thinks she needs no one and is better than everyone. In contrast, Karen is the real deal. She has been raised to do most things a man can do and then some. Her father sent her on building projects that most people wouldn't send their worst enemies, and she has the reputation for getting it done. In my mind, she was a perfect match for Warlord, and probably the only woman who could save his soul. Warlord is forced to let Karen go when his camp comes under attack, although he's not particularly happy about it.
The story takes a 180 turn and we see these lovers meet again under totally different circumstances. Adrik gets another chance at love and to save his soul.
This was a great book. Full of action, steamy, interesting plot, and some underlying themes that give you something to think about. Dodd is one of my favorites, but if this was the first book I read by her, I would have fallen in love with her writing just for this book alone. She took a chance with Adrik aka Warlord, and with this storyline and this series. But in my opinion it pays off.
This was a great addition to the Darkness Chosen quarter, and definitely my favorite. (less)
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)