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)
Although even mediocre Loretta Chase is better than most authors, I found myself disappointed after reading this, for there had been a very long break...moreAlthough even mediocre Loretta Chase is better than most authors, I found myself disappointed after reading this, for there had been a very long break in which Ms. Chase wasn't gracing her world with excellently written romances. It was just on the dry side. I had to try really hard to get involved with Carsington and Mirabel, although they both were perfectly nice people and I didn't dislike them. I guess I just have very high standards for the author who wrote my favorite book of all time. So I'd give it three stars. If anything, it was a sign that Ms. Chase had not retired from writing romances forever. As Chase is a favorite, it's still a keeper for me.(less)
This book, simply put, was fun! It was a nice change after my last book, which wasn't that fun. I liked the light-spirit of the story, with one of my...moreThis book, simply put, was fun! It was a nice change after my last book, which wasn't that fun. I liked the light-spirit of the story, with one of my favorite themes: family. I adore my sister, so stories with sisters who love each other and get alone are always welcome.
Can I be honest? I read this book because Anne Stuart was one of the writers. I happily tried to pick out which parts of the narrative that she wrote, and I think I did a good job. But, in the process, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was very cool to get three, count them, three love stories in one. Each sister was very different, and their happy ending perfect for them. I liked each of their beaus, although Danny and Elric edged out slightly ahead. Danny seemed like an Anne Stuart hero, not from her Ice series, but from her lighter Harlequin romances. He was scrumptious! And Elric, well, I was cracking up that his name was Elric. Elric is a character by Michael Moorcock, an albino sorceror emperor of a dying race in a high fantasy series that I just started reading last year. I thought that was pretty cool that they used his name. And Elric was delicious, a wizard with long blond hair, dark eyes, and a silver earring, in a three piece suit. (drooling). He seemed a lot like Anne Stuart's kind of heroes. Crash was pretty cool, too. Easily the most traditionally gorgeous, and the kind of guy most women would fall in love with. Not as much my type, though. He works on motorcycles and lives in Italy. And the youngest sister, Mare, never got over him.
I liked each sister. They each had their own character quirks. I think Mare reminds me of my friends--movie buffs to their soul. She likes to quote movies. I liked Lizzie's penchant to manifest sexy (hooker) shoes when she's horny. She's determined to perfect the ancient practice of alchemy, but doesn't have it down just yet. Mainly, she creates bunnies from eating utensils. Dee has the ability to shapeshift, and paints pictures from the viewpoint of the animal she's shifted into. Because she shifts when she gets excited, she's been unable to have sex yet, making her The Oldest Virgin in America (or so she thinks).
The sisters' nefarious aunt casts a spell to bring the sisters' true loves to town, so they can have a happy life, and she can have their powers. This aunt is an evil witch who the sisters have been hiding from since their parents died. The sisters are fairly unhappy, unable to control their powers, and each dealing with the consequences of their unwanted abilities and having to live in obscurity. When their true loves come to town, it's clear that love does conquer all. And it's a lot of fun watching love do its work.
This is not a book to take seriously. It's a book to enjoy--laughing and enjoying the lovely, sexy romances for each sisters. And some drooling over the guys, lots of drooling.(less)
The third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eli...moreThe third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eliminate a young woman who knows how to lead a group of doomsday terrorists to a shrine where they plan to start Armageddon. But the man who never fails to carry through on his orders ends up falling in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill.
Honestly, I didn’t like the whole doomsday cult aspect. The bad guy was a loser, and I don’t like lazy, ineffectual bad guys. I can’t stand a villain who gets others to do all his dirty work and mainly stands around posturing. That’s definitely Shirosama. However, I loved the Japanese aspects, and this is the book where I meet my delicious bad boy Reno, who is Taka’s cousin. Taka takes a while to get a handle on. He’s all business, and he seems almost robotic at first. However, it becomes apparent that he can’t maintain that demeanor around Summer. For some reason, she just finds the chinks in his armor. And the more I read, the more I wanted to lick Taka, beautiful scoundrel that he was.
Anne Stuart doesn’t always write the most likable heroines. I don’t hate them, but sometimes I just kind of overlook them and focus on the heroes. Maybe she does that on purpose. I do like that she writes flawed, ordinary girls, because you can relate more to them, then the perfect angel heroines (if any author can get away with those, it’s Julie Garwood). I admit I liked Summer the most out of the heroines in the first three books. She was a reasonable girl, and her reactions and decisions make sense, considering. I think that she’s more mature than Chloe and more logical than Genevieve, but honestly, all the heroines fit their heroes in different ways. I couldn’t see Taka falling for any other heroine the way he does Summer.
If I continue my analogies from the first two Ice books reviews, I’d have to say that Taka is the katana. No, don’t think I’m just saying that because Taka is Japanese. When I think of deadly edged weapons, the most beautiful to be found is the katana. So, if Bastien is the Bowie knife, and Peter is the stiletto, then Taka is the katana.
See and admire:
I searched my heart and asked myself if I could give this book five stars if I didn’t really like the whole bad guy scenario, and if I felt a distance from Taka initially. Ultimately, I feel that this one is a five star book for me. I guess I just go there into ‘the zone’ when I read these books, and even if I have levels of five star-ness in comparison to other books, I can’t give it less. Let’s be honest. If I could imagine being trapped in a scenario with a guy who initially was going to kill me, and still might if the mission requires it (although he’d feel bad about) and still find it hot, I guess I have to say I bought this story, so that’s five stars for me.
I found A Loving Scoundrel at the library and quickly proceeded to check this one out too. I started this one Sunday morning and finished it late, and...moreI found A Loving Scoundrel at the library and quickly proceeded to check this one out too. I started this one Sunday morning and finished it late, and I do mean late, Sunday night (say around 3 am). This reminded me of many a time in my past where I stayed up far too late reading and re-reading the latest Johanna Lindsey novel. Jeremy Malory continues the tradition of thoroughly, mild-numbingly hot heroes. He would definitely be hard to resist if I was Danny, his amazing, enjoyable heroine. This book did have the rakish element that I don't always enjoy but the thing that made the book sing for me was that Danny played the game by her own rules. Sure Jeremy wanted an affair with her, and after resisting his advances at first and failing, she decides to enjoy their time together and move on. And she refuses to be his mistress. That saved the book for me because I really really don't like mistress books. Danny is probably one of the best, most interesting heroines I have encountered in my years of romance novel reading. She is very philosophical about life, doesn't shed unnecessary tears, and does what has to be done. She is a survivor with the character that hardship brings to a person. And the icing on the cake is that she doesn't take crap from her hero. When he deserves a punch in the face she gives him one. Jeremy fell hard for her and I must say that I did too. She's up there with Cristabel Gaines from Lawless in my book. Jeremy continues the tradition of rakish Malory males very well, and I found it interesting how his rakish ways were tolerated and condoned by his family. On a philosophical level, I felt like there was perhaps a commentary made by JL about women and their status in society. A woman with the protection of a man is respected and her innocence is preserved and cherished. But Danny doesn't have family and no protection so she is considered fair game by the Malories (as Jeremy's mistress). As a matter of fact, she is forced to dress as a boy for fifteen years to avoid becoming a prostitute in her live on the streets of London. I wasn't terribly happy about that attitude but I suppose it's realistic for the time period and even today in some ways. I felt that despite the fact that she was a maid in his household she shouldn't have been thought of as a "prime piece" who could be used and thrown away. The Malory men seem to have very sexist attitudes towards women: those which can be used and those who should be protected. It was interesting and somewhat annoying to me but nevertheless it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book, probably because when Jeremy came to fall in love with Danny he was willing to do everything and anything for her protection and her love. I would say that Jeremy was probably my favorite Malory easily. As far as favorite Malory books, I'm still a fan of Love Only Once with Regina and Nicholas and The Magic of You with Warren and Amy, but this one's up there too. Which brings up a good point: I also enjoyed the appearance of the members of the Malory clan. It was a joy to reacquaint myself with them after so many years, and I haven't read those books in some time.(less)
This was an enjoyable book. It was a different type of book for Lindsey but had her familiar and enjoyable writing style. I was getting a bit worried...moreThis was an enjoyable book. It was a different type of book for Lindsey but had her familiar and enjoyable writing style. I was getting a bit worried because it seemed like it took a while for things to get going between Duncan and Sabrina, and Ophelia was annoying the heck out of me. That's why I put it down...for quite a while. An online reading buddy encouraged me to continue it and I am glad. It was a comedy of manners and dealt with the machinations of Duncan's grandfathers to get him married off so he could give them great-grandchildren and to see him settled. It also showed how silly society can be. The feted beauty Ophelia has the personality of an ugly crone, yet Sabrina, who is considered plain, is the nicest, sweetest, most interesting person you could know. Unfortunately her marriage prospects are nil because of family scandal (which is really silly when you read what the scandal is). I would not say this is the best Lindsey book, but it's a good one, and it won me over in the end. Read it when you want to read a book that's Austenesque but is written by Johanna Lindsey.(less)
**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper...more**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper. It was written during the "I like, I take" era when heroes did rape heroines. I am not defending that, I am just saying that is what was done. I was twelve when I read it, and I didn't understand the mechanics of sex at all. I couldn't figure out what went where (yes I was that ignorant about sex).
I loved the adventure in this book. Although Brenna does annoy some friends who have read this book, I liked her. She was a warrior heroine, and I've always liked warrior women. She did what she could to protect her people. If she sometimes acted irrationally, she was only eighteen years old, and saw some pretty traumatic events (like her nurse getting an ax to the head). The Vikings were pretty violent in their raids.
I think this book awakened my interest in the Dark Ages and the Vikings. I went on to read way too many Viking books until I got sick of the genre, and I rarely read them now. But I do like to watch the programs that come on The History Channel about Vikings. All thanks to this book. I do believe that Johanna Lindsey did careful research. In the years since, I have educated myself about the Vikings, and she was spot on about their practices in a lot of ways. I can attribute my love of historical romance to this book. I love historical romance because I love learning about days gone by, and one of the best ways to learn is with an interesting story to lead you down the path of learning.
Garrick is a beautiful man physically, and he was a decent person, but I can't say I thought he was the best hero. He was a bit of a golden boy type, very spoiled, although fairly good-natured. He forced himself on Brenna and then expected Brenna to declare undying loyalty to a man who had enslaved her and taken away her innocence by force. Get a clue, dude. Brenna did end up falling in love with him, and made a promise she had every intention of keeping, but was stolen away by men hired by Garrick's bitter ex-mistress. Of course, instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, he believes she's run away again. She treks halfway across Norway to get back to him, after surviving a violent near rape, half-frozen, poorly clothed, half-starved, and being pregnant the whole time, and he drops her like a hot pancake. I was so glad when Brenna washed her hands of him. And I was glad that Garrick had to earn her trust. I do like a grovelling (because he deserves it), repentant hero.
This book has a really good secondary cast whose stories you care about. The interesting thing is you get both sides of the story, from the invaders and the enslaved. I thought it was really well-done of Lindsey to present that balanced perspective.
I haven't read this book in years, but I have forgotten very little about it. Although Lindsey newer books don't move me the same way they used to, she will always be one of my all-time favorites because fundamentally, she really is a great storyteller. This book is proof of that.
So if you want to read a non-PC, fairly accurate romantic tale of Vikings and the women they love, I suggest this book to you. Hearts Aflame is about Garrick and Brenna's daughter Kristen, and Surrender My Love is about the super-baby Selig (who survived about every insult an unborn child can survive in his mother's womb and lived to tell about it). They are both good, but my favorite is Fires of Winter.
This was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhood...moreThis was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhood of emotional neglect. He does some pretty bad things because he is exacting revenge for his brother's suicide. However, he does have a turnaround and truly does repent as his love for Larissa changes his heart and melts the layer of ice that encloses the little-used member. It's a very good Christmas read that captures the elements of A Christmas Carol but also gives them a romantic aspect missing from the famous and well-loved Dickens tale. There is no magic here, well, other than the magic of love transforming a heart. Larissa is way too sweet, at least until her heart is broken. But even then, she manages to find the way to forgive Vincent, with a little help from her father. A good read to get you in the mood for Christmas.(less)
This is one of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. What can I say, I love a hero that has scars or has lost an arm or something. Simon lost his arm...moreThis is one of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. What can I say, I love a hero that has scars or has lost an arm or something. Simon lost his arm. He's also a bit grumpy and withdrawn. He is helplessly drawn to socialite Tira who is bright and beautiful, but he doesn't want to be. And Tira has been in love with Simon for years. She is hanging out with Charles for companionship, but Simon mistakes this as a sexual relationship and perceives Tira in a negative light because of. Nevertheless he wants her desperately. I loved all the longing and unfulfilled passions between them. I also love the way that they come together as they realize that a future without each other is not a future worth living, and thus work together resolve their issues. As I have said many times, Diana Palmer knows how to tell a love story. FYI this is part of the series of books about the Callaghan brothers. All are must reads.(less)
I love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She i...moreI love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She is principled and kind, and can see past the surface to the man that Samuel is. It's a very touching book and my only complaint is I would love an epilogue about two of my favorite characters and their life together.(less)
**spoiler alert** Although this isn't near my favorite book by Catherine Anderson, it was a very good. I loved Tucker and Samantha. Even though I felt...more**spoiler alert** Although this isn't near my favorite book by Catherine Anderson, it was a very good. I loved Tucker and Samantha. Even though I felt that the balance was a bit off between the mystery/suspense element and the romance development, I did feel their connection and the love between them. Tucker, like most of Catherine Anderson's heroes, is just wonderful. He falls pretty hard for Samantha and does a great job of showing it, although he does something that momentarily feeds into Samantha's residual insecurities from her divorce and bad marriage. Otherwise, a girl couldn't ask for a better hero. Samantha felt true to life, and was a woman that I would admire in real life and possibly become friends with, if we traveled in the same circles. I liked that although she came from money, she was very grounded and a kind, warm person. She loved her horses very much, and it was abundantly clear.
I also loved how Ms. Anderson showed family interactions. That's always a good part of a book to see characters with loving families, although things are not always 100% perfect. Although Samantha's father and brothers were controlling and meddling in Samantha's eyes, you could clearly see that they cared about her and were trying to watch out for her. I could see how Samantha felt stifled and wanted to make her own decisions. I am the youngest daughter and I have family who think loving is telling people what decisions they can make and how to live their lives. It can be frustrating, but this book reminded me to consider that these people are showing love, perhaps in ways that may bother, but love all the same. I was actually pretty envious of Samantha having all those protective older brothers. I always wanted that. Another enjoyable aspect for me, seeing Tucker with this close-knit family. It was nice to catch up with Jake and Molly from Sweet Nothings.
I think that some readers will have issues with the significant degree of the narrative that was focused on the horse aspects. I actually enjoyed that. Although I am a surburban girl who was never around livestock until I went to college, I have become horse-mad later on in life. I think they are beautiful, fascinating animals. It broke my heart to see Samantha's horses poisoned and how they suffered from that. I can't imagine doing something like that to animals for any reason. I cried when she had to bury her horses that died. I loved the medicine aspects, finding it very interesting. With my background in animal medicine, it was sort of a no-brainer that I'd like that, but I could see the descriptions of the medical care that Tucker administered possibly being dry for some readers who are not interested in horses or medicine. I think he was an exceptional vet, really caring and devoted to doing a good job for his patients.
Although I think this could rub a non-religious person the wrong way, I actually liked that Samantha was a person of faith, and you could see evidence of that in her daily life. I think it's important to show a person of faith who does walk the walk, instead of professing something that is not evident through her behavior. I don't feel that Ms. Anderson was too heavy-handed in this book with it. I haven't read many books were the characters were devout Catholics, so that was interesting for me.
I wouldn't rate this book as a five star because of the intrigue plot being a little too much of a focus. I would have liked to see a little more romantic moments between Tucker and Samantha, although I enjoyed what was there. Also I had a little pet peeve with a small part of the story. I am hugely against declawing cats, which is the removal of the last digit of their toes. I find it cruel and unnecessary. It can be done painlessly, but it does cause residual soreness and effects on animals when it's not a crucial surgery. I think it was a little jarring for a major message of this story to be against cruelty to animals, but mention Tucker performing a procedure that I feel is not beneficial and necessary to most cats. I am not saying that a caring, conscientious veterinarian cannot perform this procedure, but my personal beliefs against declawing made it hard to swallow in a story that seemed to speak so strongly against animal cruelty. Most likely, this would not bother most readers. But, it did bother me. I mean no offense against Ms. Anderson, but it's food for thought that I felt necessary to add to this review. Most laypersons do not really understand the mechanics of this procedure, and that it's not necessary, and that was one of my things I tried to educate clients on. I learned to do this procedure, but made a decision not to do it in practice, based on my personal beliefs against it. Sorry for the PSA! This is a subject close to my heart, so I couldn't leave that out of my review.
Another issue I had was how they kept referring to one of Samantha's employee's Carrie, as mannish and homely. Her attempts to pretty herself up were made to seem clownish. That just felt mean to me. I realize this was tied in heavily to the overall story, but it seemed shallow. Not all women are going to be small, delicate, and drop-dead gorgeous. Beauty comes in all shape and sizes. It's hard for me to see people treated badly because they don't fit the popular modes of beauty. Carrie did something truly awful, and I don't let her off the hook for it. But the judgment of her shouldn't hinge on her looks or lack thereof. I wasn't quite comfortable with how that was handled, to be honest.
Despite my issues, and all in all, this was a very pleasant read, and one I will be adding to my keeper shelf with her other books. I love Catherine Anderson's stories because they are full of heart. I was glad to be able to reconnect with the Coulters and to meet the Harrigans. I look forward to reading more of the stories in this series. (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)
I loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I have...moreI loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I have a real understanding of Phury now. His torment is very much internal and revolves around his sense of failure, his not being able to "get there on time", as my mother so wisely said as we discussed the book last night at dinner. He failed in helping his parents, he failed in getting his brother back faster. Boy does he have a whopping case of Survivor's Guilt.
I went through the whole gamut of emotions as I read this book: anger, sadness, joy, rage, helplessness, you name it. I was right there next to Phury every step of the way. And most of all, I felt his isolation. I firmly believe that he is the least understood of the brothers, and in some ways has been given less understanding. I would never justify drug abuse, but pretty much all the Brothers, possibly excepting Wrath, have had some pretty destructive habits.
I hurt for him when he was kicked out of the Brotherhood, but at the same time, I knew it was for the best. He could not grow if he didn't leave that safety net behind. And in my understanding of addiction, you cannot enable the addicted person. Zsadist said some harsh things to Phury, and maybe they needed to be said, and at the same time, I am so glad that Phury confronted him on never saying thanks. It needed to be said. Phury has been in a vicious cycle, as my sister said. He always feels the need to play the Knight in Shining Armor, yet continually goes without having his own needs met. It has taken a toll on him and I believe, lead to him seeking solace in drugs.
These Brothers are very highly sexed individuals, so I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to spend many, many years celibate, and Phury did not have Zsadist's issues with sex to lessen his sex drive. The red smoke was a coping mechanism that started to consume him. But what is most telling is that when Phury gets the chance to have all the sex he wants, as the Primale, he is tormented about it, and hedges at doing his duty. I interpreted this as Phury being a romantic, pure and simple. Also it tied into his Savior complex issues. He was just burned out, and the last thing he wanted was to be responsible for forty more people, and their offspring. Plus, he wanted one woman, Cormia.
Once again, I am utterly impressed with JR Ward's ability to tell a story. This book shone from the first sentence. I love how she starts the book from the Omega's perspective, showing a little of his side of things, and showing some vulnerabilities, and what seems like 'humanity' in him. It leads so well into a major shift in the storyline. And what a shift it is.
I read this book late compared to other reads. I did that on purpose. I wanted to stagger my reading of the wonderful series because I did not want to go a long time before a new installment came out. Since I am very active in the romance novel fan community, I have heard many comments about this book, a lot of them less positive. Another area of major complaints was with Cormia. I don't understand why. I adored Cormia. I think she is PERFECT for Phury. They are both innocents in some ways, and their coming together could be nothing but destiny. I was quite annoyed that Phury wouldn't yield to this destiny, but understanding his Savior/Failure complex, he felt his was not worthy of her, and would only destroy her if he gave into his love for her.
Cormia was not a doormat, as has been implied. She is a soft, sweet woman, with a backbone of TITANIUM. This is made clear in how she steps up and is not afraid to tell off the Primale. I can't blame her for being intimidated by a houseful of enormous, formidable warriors. Going from a world of white and blandness to a world full of color, textures, emotions, and sensations. In fact, I loved seeing her immerse herself in this world. I enjoyed her innocent childlike enjoyment of simply running around on the lawn, and swimming naked, smelling roses, and watching movies for the first time. If anything, I wish that Phury had spent more time with her enjoying these moments. Whenever Phury was off "lighting up" I was telling him, go "play" with Cormia. However I did like that we got to see John Matthew interact with and be attracted to Cormia and to realize that his destiny lay in another direction as far as mates, a tough, strong woman that makes his heart beat faster. That person being Xhex.
It was nice to see Cormia and Bella interact and become friends. Cormia picks up right away, that Phury is mooning over Bella. She feels that Bella is a rival for his affections, because right away, Cormia feels possessive of Phury. He is her man, and she does not want to share him with anyone, much less her Chosen sisters, or Bella. But soon, she realizes that Bella is a true friend, and that Bella wants Cormia to win Phury. I loved their girl-bonding moments.
Cormia did help Phury in ways that the other characters could not. Her love and peaceful nature helped him to deal with his demons as he detoxed from two hundred years of drug abuse. That was a grand moment for me. I love Phury and I hated seeing him on that awful downward spiral. The scene in the bathroom was one of the most painful scenes in a book I've ever read (and since we are talking about the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, that's saying something.) It made the final triumph of Phury so much sweeter. That is not to say that Phury doesn't have a hard struggle ahead, but he is not alone in it, as he soon finds out.
It was painful to see Phury and Zsadist so at odds in this book, but I realize that this had to happen for their relationship to evolve and to heal. I was so glad at the scene near the end where Zsadist comes and sings again for his brother, accompanied by the other Brothers. I was practically crying, but also smiling at this. In fact, had this not been in the book, I would have been severely disappointed. And we also find out that although it seemed that Zsadist washed his hands of Phury, he never did abandon him. That was also great to experience.
I loved seeing Cormia and Phury interact. There was chemistry and fate in their interactions, although neither really seemed to grasp it. I think their relationship is one of the sweetest, most innocent in this series, and for that, it earns a special place in my heart.
Now for the other character's in the book. It was so great to see more of the triad: John Matthew, Qhuinn, and Blaylock. I wish there was more of Blay's viewpoint, but maybe that will be in the next few books. I just love John Matthew so much. I am happy that he is healing, slowly but surely. Not there yet, but he's going in that direction. His sense of shame for what happens to him, should not be a burden he has to bear, but I was so glad that he knows that there are people there to love and support him. His heartbreak about the loss of Tohr is readily apparent. And his joy at his return was sweet.
Qhuinn is such a complex character that we are just getting to know. He is a tortured guy just as much as the other brothers. I don't like his habit of picking up any person who's interested, but it makes sense in light of his self-worth issues. I cannot believe how callous his family was. It hurts to see "a male of worth" treated in such a way. And it shows the deep decay and rot in the society of the Glymera that a terrible person like Lash is lauded, whereas a really good, worthwhile person like Qhuinn is disparaged because he happens to have odd-colored eyes. Come on now. His relationship with Blay is so moving to me. I wish I could wave a magic wand and work things out for them, but that's not meant to be. Time will tell how things resolve in their case.
Now onto Rhev. Goodness I am fascinated and attracted to his character. He is complex with a capital "C." I loved how Ward seemed to put Phury and Rhev forward as contrasts to each other. The interesting thing is that they are like different sides of the same coin. The interesting thing is that Rhev is the "dark knight," whereas Phury is the "white knight," yet in some ways Phury might be more tarnished. I don't like that Rhev is a drug-dealer and pimp. Basically he is a smooth criminal. But he is also a really good person with valid motivations. This book only made my appetite for him grow. There are so many questions about him I want answers to. I can't wait to see him find his shellan to love him. His loneliness is heartbreaking, although he does have his good friend Xhex. But even with Xhex, he has to maintain a distance that leaves him in the solitary wasteland of his own inner sorrow.
Xhex has just a small part in this book, but it makes me hunger for more. She is a really cool, interesting character. I am dying to see her and John Matthew get together. They are made for each other, although one might shake her or his head at the thought of it. The bathroom scene with them was short, but WOW! Chemistry!
Other great moments: Qhuinn finding his place in the world of the Brothers. That was so cool. Go Wrath! Also loved the advent of the oh-so intriguing Lassiter. I can't say the evolution of Lash was a great moment, but it made for good reading.
I feel I could write ten pages about this book, but I won't belabor the point. I love this book. My life has been enriched in the reading of it. And although not all the moments I experienced in the reading were fun, I have no regrets in following these characters on their dark journey, with the hope of light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, it was some of the most enjoyable hours I've spent in the past several days.
It was great spending Christmas with the Mallorens and family. I loved the descriptions of English traditional Christmas celebrations. There is someth...moreIt was great spending Christmas with the Mallorens and family. I loved the descriptions of English traditional Christmas celebrations. There is something very enthusiastic and dashing about Georgian England. It lacks the stifled air of the Regency period, often steeped in hypocrisy in that people in the ton did what they wanted, they just pretended they didn't. With the Georgian period, people were a lot more freewheeling. That's not to say there weren't boundaries that one didn't cross. And Ashart was rather good about that last part, a cultivated rake from a young age.
At first, I didn't care much for Ashart. He was arrogant and kind of rude. I could see why Genova thought he was attractive, because he was dashing and masculine. But, I wasn't sure about his suitability as a romantic hero. He didn't move me just yet. Somehow that started to change. Genova got to know Ash better during their impromptu engagement after being caught in a compromising position. I begin to see that Ash was rather sad. His grandmother had raised him and fed him on the milk of vitrol, aching to get her vengeance on the Mallorens for her daughter (the Marquess of Rothgar)'s sad demise. She poured most of the Trayce's funds and all her energies into doing so, and did her best to corrupt Ash. The good thing is, she didn't really succeed. Deep down, Ash was a good guy. He began to see that making peace with the Marquess of Rothgar was the right way to go. They were actually first cousins, and not all that different. In fact, Rothgar was to be admired.
As much as I liked the romance, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Ash and Rothgar. In fact, Rothgar almost stole the show from Ash. I have been reading this series out of order, you see. I've only read Something Wicked, Elf and Walgrave's story, and I got a tantalizing glimpse into Rothgar, more as a stern, dangerous to his enemies, and wickedly manipulative and cunning older brother to Elfred. In this story, he is more relaxed (newly married to Diana, Lady Arradale), at peace with himself, and it spurs him to settle an old feud that has some valid roots, depending on who's looking. But, the cost has been too high, and it's Christmas time. He wants his family reunited, with pax ruling throughout.
This story was short, but it has some depth to it. It's a suprisingly complex mix of romance, family interactions, and a very good Christmas story. Ash has to figure out why his ex-lover dumped a baby on him that she claims is his, but couldn't possibly be of his blood, and deal with his nearly life-long enemy in Rothgar, or sue for peace. And then there is the inconvenient attraction to a young woman who he can't have without marriage, and he needs to marry a substantial heiress (which Genova isn't). Genova is determined to make Ash accept responsibility for his offspring, reconcile her duties as companion to his quirky, elderly aunts, and enter the lion's den of the powerful Malloren family. On top of that is the compellingly intense feelings for Ash.
Jo Beverley has a way with words. She doesn't write romance quite like anyone else. Her books aren't for all tastes, but I love the feel of her books, like I'm there in the past. She captures the passion of the characters, in more ways than one. When Ash and Genova come together, you can see the sparks and feel the burning desire between them, and the way love wraps itself around their hearts and entwines them together.
This was a very very enjoyable reading experience, and it was almost five stars, but the ending was a bit abrupt for me, although I did like the resolution of Ash and Genova's issues.
Some of my favorite aspects:
*Rothgar, Ash, and Genova bonding over their fascination with clockworks. (I know it sounds boring but it wasn't) *Genova's presepe, which is an Italian Nativity. I liked how Ms. Beverley used this as a metaphor to show Genova's longing for family and the stability of her own home. Her father was in the Navy, and she and her mother traveled all around the world with him. Setting up the presepe was a tradition every Christmas, and each year another animal was added. When her mother passed away, and her father remarried, his wife didn't want it in her house, calling it 'shabby'. It broke Genova's heart, and she knew she wasn't going to be a part of her father's new family. When she goes to stay with her friends, the Trayce aunts for Christmas, she takes the presepe with her, essentially wandering with all that is left of her family, hoping to find a new, safe home for herself. The part in which she sets up the presepe at the Malloren Christmas festivities (and everyone is delighted with it) brought a tear to my eye (I've already admitted to my sappy nature). We have our own Nativity at home, set up with pride in a place of honor on a table in our living room. *All the kisses and sensual moments were well done. Very good chemistry. *Fun Christmas festivities, with lively explanations of their roots. Just what I need to keep me in the Christmas spirit. *Seeing the Mallorens again. Reminds me to get back into this series.
Definitely a fun read, and more than worthy of a rating of 4.5/5.0 stars.
Well. I wrote a review, but it never got posted. Let's try this again.
This is a romance book, but it is also a book about choices and sacrifice. At le...moreWell. I wrote a review, but it never got posted. Let's try this again.
This is a romance book, but it is also a book about choices and sacrifice. At least three of the characters in this book had to make choices and sacrifices that destroyed their reputations and their credibility to achieve a goal. As this book begins, I saw Charlotte on the crux of changing her life irrevocably. And it only gets more hairy. I asked myself why it bothered me that she was going to do what she did. Should I have worried so much about that. Reputation is important, but is it that important to me that I truly regretted what Charlotte did, even knowing why. I was involved in this story, but not necessarily in a good way at some places. I guess that's makes a book successful for me. When I read this book, I wasn't just marking time. I was feeling a lot, and suffering along with Charlotte. She showed courage, and that courage translated to me as I read. I don't look at fiction books as a guide for behavior, but I do believe that almost every book I read has some gem that I can ponder and let it help me in some way. That might sound strange to most people, but not to me. It is rarely a literal thing. Most often, it is an encouragement in my own walk of life. From this book, I took the idea that I had to take advantage of the adversity I face to let it build me up instead of tearing me down. That courage is not being unafraid or uncertain. Courage is doing in the face of that fear. And the fears are many in life. If we let one fear overtake us, we will fall beneath so many. It's a domino effect. The reasons don't have to translate directly to my life. But deep down, that human experience always does.
As far as the romance, I felt the potency of it. Charlotte and Dand, both seemingly hardened to such a thing, found love together. A common goal brought them into each other's sphere, and love found its way into both of their hearts. I like to think that a mutual respect was the foundation to that love. When others around them saw little but the facade they projected, they looked deeper and saw the whys and not the whats. Considering the path that their lives had been forced into by circumstance, that was a rewarding thing in this book.
Overall, although I didn't like some of the aspects of this story (It has me wincing emotionally in parts), I loved the romance between Charlotte and Dand, and I loved their characters, and their willingness to sacrifice so much for doing the right thing. That's the core of this book, and that's what calls to me as a reader. So I count this as a well-written, enjoyable read.(less)
The Fairy-Tale Detectives is a pleasant audiobook read that fans of fairy tales (young and those who are young at heart) will probably enjoy. I liked...moreThe Fairy-Tale Detectives is a pleasant audiobook read that fans of fairy tales (young and those who are young at heart) will probably enjoy. I liked the idea that the Grimms were actually a real family of chroniclers whose legacy continues into the present. Sisters Sabrina and Daphne make for likeable, fun protagonists. I felt for them in that they had lost their parents and were adrift and lacking family and a home. Their grandmother is the kind of gramps you dream of. Although Sabrina was very argumentative and hard to deal with at first, it's understandable why. She's acting out because of what she's dealing with. She feels betrayed at her parents' disappearance, and a series of bad foster homes, not to mention the burden of having to protect her younger sister. Daphne was far more likable, but then, she is still in that stage where she's more resilient against the cold, cruel world. I liked Granny Relda and Mr. Canis and of course, their dog Elvis.
I liked the inside jokes of the fairy tale characters that are very familiar to those who enjoy the subject. Puck was a lot of fun, and so were the three piggies who are now the law enforcement in town. The author surprised me at the twist on the storyline. I did not expect the direction the story went. It's interesting that I had also read the first graphic novel in the Fables series: Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile, so I saw some of the same characters with storylines that overlapped in interesting ways. While this is a kids series, I think it has enough nuances that an older reader can enjoy it.
Why didn't I rate it higher? I think the narrator and I didn't click very well. I also felt like the story took a while to develop and get interesting, and it never got to that "I have to hear what happens next" phase. Now that doesn't mean I won't continue this series. I'm definitely interested enough to keep going, but this isn't a series I have to read back to back. I'm happy to fill it in amongst other reading adventures. But still, The Fairy Tale Detectives has an interesting concept and appealing characters that do make me want to come back to revisit them in the future.
Rose has her work cut out for her, taking on this family of seven brothers, one who will soon her husband. And George is not going to be an eager husb...moreRose has her work cut out for her, taking on this family of seven brothers, one who will soon her husband. And George is not going to be an eager husband. The Randolph brothers are as wild and rowdy as seven brothers can get. George is a little old before his time, trying to save the family ranch that went downhill when the oldest brothers went off to fight in the War Between the States. He returns to a mess and a dying mother. He can't run a ranch and raise his youngest siblings. The only answer is to get himself a housekeeper. But for propriety's sake, he'll ends up marrying her.
Rose is well-named. She's pretty, delicate-appearing and sweet. But she's also tough like a good strong rosebush. She's got nerves of steel. Otherwise, she would have went running for the hills when tasked with shaping up this family of brothers. The only two sweet brothers are the youngest, Tyler and Zac. Zac is still very young, and takes to Rose very quickly. Tyler takes a little time to be won over but he does fall for her because she understands his needs for peace and quiet in the midst of a loud, crazy family. The older brothers don't care much for Rose at all. Well George certainly likes kissing her and other things. But love is not on his agenda at all. Jefferson, who lost an arm in the war is trying to decide if it's worth living without being a full man. Madison never comes back from the war at all. The twins Hen and Monty are in their terrible teens and can't seem to stay out of trouble. And George is so messed up from the war, and in over his head with the ranch, he has no idea how to be a loving husband.
I was fairly surprised at how rough the males were in this book. They are like wild animals. They don't even bath or clean the house or themselves. Rose has to lay down some ground rules very early on. Thankfully George does support her. Yet, George is not a warm hero. I spent a while wondering where the romance was going to bloom. But it did. Rose is a strong woman, who endured much to claim this family and to mold George into a loving husband. But she does it.
This was my first read by Leigh Greenwood (who is actually a male), and I was impressed. It's a good romance novel, but also a good western. There are a lot of lessons about family in this story. The Randolphs are very real, not prettied up. They fight like cats and dogs, and say ugly things to each other. But somehow it made the story more interesting.
This might not appeal to all romance novel readers, but I sure did enjoy Rose. It started off an excellent series that I read from beginning to end.(less)
Daisy was just an okay read for me out of this series. I expected to see more sparks between Daisy and Tyler. Tyler mainly just came off as grumpy and...moreDaisy was just an okay read for me out of this series. I expected to see more sparks between Daisy and Tyler. Tyler mainly just came off as grumpy and antisocial. He didn't really develop any depths. Although I did enjoy that he liked to cook. I can see why he's so withdrawn being in this family. They are loud, brash men who tend to fight with each other and don't seem to know how to get along. Tyler is the quiet brother out of the bunch, and decided to get away from his brothers as soon as he could. He goes so far as to live up in the mountains away from people, who he doesn't care much for in general. To be honest, I don't remember much about Daisy. I love the theme of the woman dressed as a man, and I think she was a tomboy who came out of her shell. She was hiding from some people who had it in for her. Tyler's a Randolph, so he can take care of himself and her just fine. This bunch of brothers are pretty tough customers, even the quiet one (Tyler) and the easygoing jokester (Zac).
The romance was kind of lukewarm (especially in comparison to how fiery Violet was in that sense). I guess I was hoping for too much with this story. It wasn't bad. It was actually a fairly good western romance, but this is probably my least favorite in the series, even though the bickering in Iris between Iris and Monty just about drove me up the wall. I should reread this and see if I feel differently about it now compared to when I read it several years ago. It's probably a 2 3/4 star read, but we'll knock it up to 3 stars.(less)
Madison is the black sheep of his family. He went off to the North and became a citified lawyer. You can guess he and Jeff (who fought for the South)...moreMadison is the black sheep of his family. He went off to the North and became a citified lawyer. You can guess he and Jeff (who fought for the South) don't get along. Yet, even though he doesn't care for his brothers, he loves them and comes to town to defend his brother from a murder change.
Madison was a interesting contrast to his rough and tumble cowboy brothers (with the exception of Jeff, who is a businessman, and Zac, who is a gambler). He would have been called a metrosexual if he was around in the modern age, although he's all man. It's really interesting that he meets and falls for serious tomboy Fern. He is very offended at her loud-talking, uncouth, and boyish ways. Probably too offended, as in he doth protest too much.
Madison and Fern had great chemistry, along the lines of Jeff and Violet, and Monty and Iris (although mostly they fought like cats and dogs). This also had some good old fashion western action (which I love).
I enjoyed this story, although I wish Madison was less snooty and judgmental about Fern's humble origins. He comes around though. Boy those brothers do fight like cats and dogs (reminding me of my mother's family). I do have to hand it to Mr. Greenwood. He's not afraid to give his characters human traits and frailties, even if they made the characters less sympathetic at times.(less)
This my favorite in the Seven Brides series. For some reason I just adored Jefferson, although he was grumpy and hard to get along with. He was so hot...moreThis my favorite in the Seven Brides series. For some reason I just adored Jefferson, although he was grumpy and hard to get along with. He was so hot to me. I like heroes who have injuries or are missing limbs, scarred, etc. He is missing an arm from the War Between The States. Jeff is quite bitter because he fought for the losing side in the war, and self-conscious about his missing arm. But boy he is so sexy that missing an arm is not a detraction (it's an added bonus for me). Violet is from the North and she is strongly anti-Southern because of her family having ties to the abolitionist movement and also due to losing a family member in the War, so there's already tension, but there was some serious chemistry and attraction between them. This drove the book and made it very enjoyable. I could read another 300 pages about Jeff because I just loved him as a hero. I liked that Violet could handle him despite him being very alpha and grumpy at that. It was also good because Jeff was stuck trying to help Violet watch his troublemaking nieces. From what I remember, the family calls them the "Terrible twins." It was pretty funny watching some of their antics, which tended to throw this unlikely couple together. Definitely a keeper in all ways. I like that they show up in later books, and in Fern, Violet makes a comment that she's been pregnant for most of their marriage (Jeff is pretty virile, as you can guess.) (less)
This was a good book, but I got so sick of Iris and Monty fighting all the time. They either made out or made love or fought. No middle ground. It was...moreThis was a good book, but I got so sick of Iris and Monty fighting all the time. They either made out or made love or fought. No middle ground. It was like sparks were always flying, sometimes not in a good way. I certainly wouldn't want to be stuck on a cattle drive with them.
Iris was spoiled, and Monty is a self-serving kind of guy. The good news was that her flirting didn't allow her to get her way like it did with most other guys. Since Monty didn't fall under her spell, that made her hate him, yet find him irresistible. These two are not the most likeable characters. Yet, this is a very readable book. I am not one to stop reading a book unless I really dislike it, but I didn't feel the urge to stop. First of all, it's a really good western. You could enjoy this book on that basis alone, even if you don't like romance. If the sexy scenes bother you, just skip over them. On the positive side, you would like the sexy scenes if you enjoy romance.
Although this wasn't my favorite in the series, it's a very good book, and kept my interest. Would I want to be around Iris or Monty and the combination of the two in real life. No way.(less)
Zac was a handful as a little boy and things don't change. This is the final entry in the Seven Brides series about the Randolph brothers and their lo...moreZac was a handful as a little boy and things don't change. This is the final entry in the Seven Brides series about the Randolph brothers and their loves, and it's the most lightheart. That Zac grew up to be a scoundrel, and I was not surprised. He will make you laugh, but it turns out, he can handle himself just as well as the rest of the Randolph. He's not a man to be crossed.
Poor Lily. She didn't know what she was in store for with Zac. But she manages to charm and tame this bad boy. I really enjoyed this book for the laughs it gave me, but also the good romance between Zac and Lily. It was great to see little Zac grow up to become a strong man with the ability to laugh and enjoy laugh (maybe too much), and to find a forever love with a good woman.(less)
For some reason, I found this one to be a bit dry and hard to finish. I was excited that Hen was a virgin hero, and I liked him and Laurel and her son...moreFor some reason, I found this one to be a bit dry and hard to finish. I was excited that Hen was a virgin hero, and I liked him and Laurel and her son, Cody. But it just wasn't that enthralling to me. I didn't feel that much chemistry between Hen and Laurel to be honest. Even though Iris and Monty drove me crazy, I thought their book was more interesting, although they aren't anywhere near as nice as Hen and Laurel were.(less)