Oh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and writt...moreOh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and written to great affect. I could almost imagine how it must have been for poor Angelo each night when he was preyed upon by the creature, and I felt as though I could see the mound that the two gentlemen are discussing, and how creepy that must have been for them. I also felt sad at the injustice against poor Cristina, and how she wreaks her vengeance. Crawford doesn't explain how or why the creature rises to prey on Angelo, but I don't feel it was necessary. This story was completely successful in delivering an elegant scare. I read "The Upper Berth" by this author, and it was very scary. This one is quite fearsome as well, although very different. Mr. Crawford knows his way around a scary story. Yes, indeed. He's going on my list of the best classic horror writers.
I have heard nothing but good things about Savannah J. Frierson's writing. I can see the praise was well-deserved. This is one of the best books I've...moreI have heard nothing but good things about Savannah J. Frierson's writing. I can see the praise was well-deserved. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I've read a lot of romances, and luckily I don't actively dislike most of them. But neither can I say I love many of them to death and would seriously consider taking on a desert island as the only book I would bring. I feel that way about this book. It's one of those books you want to read again right after you finish it, and will no doubt pull off the shelf again and again to reread, in parts or completely.
This book is a love story, pure and simple. Don't let the fact that Tim and Bevin met in a bar on a night where her friends go out to pick up guys fool you. When they met, an intense connection was there. One of those once in a lifetime kind of things. Tim saw this beautiful, dark-skinned, thick/abundant/luscious/far from thin woman and knew she was the one for him. He loved her body, loved her being a dark-skinned Black woman, loved her heart and her mind, loved everything about her. Bevin thought he'd see her only as the gateway to her thin, sexy White friend who has her eye on him. But he makes it very clear that he's interested in her, not her friend. It takes a little while for this to sink in for Bevin, but Tim is a very patient man, and very willing to express his feelings for Bevin as often as possible, giving her the reassurance she needs. Tim is a man who knows what he wants, even in a very short period of time. His instincts honed in dangerous, spur-of-the moment situations make it clear that Bevin is the woman he wants and he should go for it. Tim is a very appealing hero in pursuit!
I knew I was going to like Tim early on in this book. Tim is real. He's down to earth, raw-speaking, big muscles (he picks up Bevin all the time), lovely sea-green eyes, Southern charm, mind-melting intensity and all. He knows how to love a woman. That is rare, even in a lot of the so-called romance novels that get written now. I submit that a lot of modern heroes know how to sex up a heroine. Love just happens along after they've had a few orgasms together. That is not this book. Yes, there is a strong sexual connection between Tim and Bevin, and I loved that about the novel. But it was the intense love that he shows Bevin that makes this book a winner for me.
Bevin is not an easy sale. Tim even thinks at one point that he had never worked so hard to get a woman. He says this with a sense of awe and satisfaction, no frustration. She is completely skeptical of his attentions after being ignored for her thinner, livelier, and might I submit looser friends (well, they are). He sees her as the real deal, the one that he wanted and was willing to work for.
I liked that Bevin was a strong woman, but she was gentle and sweet also. Somewhere along the way, a very pervasive stereotype of black women as hardass buttkickers who don't cry and never allow themselves to be vulnerable has caught on. It's so untrue. Black women want to be cherished and loved just like any other women. Like many other real Black women, Bevin was vulnerable, in a way that was almost painful to observe. Bevin was very real. Bevin was infinitely worthy of being loved so intensely by Tim.
Tim didn't have a real family, other than his now-deceased grandmother. His father was a drunk abuser who ran off when he was three. His mother was a drunk who neglected him. He found his home and sense of purpose in the NAVY SEALs and his team. He comes to the conclusion that he wants forever with Bevin, a family. He wants to love and cherish her and treat her with respect. You never have a moment when you doubt this in how he treats Bevin. I loved how caring and possessive Tim was. He was pretty raunchy too, but at the same time, he showed her a lot of respect. I was actually surprised at how late the consummation came and the way it came (Sorry. No spoilers here).
The secondary characters were great in this story: Bevin's wonderful parents, Tim's best friend Ulrich, Bevin's friends (Rosita, Courtney, Patrice, and Tamara), who are also her co-workers at the coffehouse The Grind that they own, and co-members in the Femme Crew. I love how Bevin's mom and dad adopt Tim very early on as their future son-in-law despite the race difference. He not only got the woman he dearly loved, but a ready-made family to go with her.
This is one of those really hard reviews to write. I can't say how much I loved this book, because my writing is nowhere near as good as Savannah J. Frierson's. But I can and do recommend reading this book from the bottom of my heart. I think that anyone who wants to read an intensely good love story that will touch the heart and engage the emotions, and keep your interest riveted past the last page would enjoy this book. It doesn't mantter if it's a fan of interracial romance, plus-sized heroine romances, or just plain romance. Yes, the sex is spicy (but happens in the best way (in my opinion), and there is some raunchy language, but this story couldn't be sweeter. In fact, I think the intense sexual attraction was an integral part of this story, because a woman should be desired intensely by the man who deeply loves her, and vice versa. I was buying her books already, but after this wonderful book, without a doubt, Savannah J. Frierson goes on my autobuy list.(less)
I'm not going to change my four star rating, because I felt like this was a 4 star book when I read it. However, some elements of the storytelling hav...moreI'm not going to change my four star rating, because I felt like this was a 4 star book when I read it. However, some elements of the storytelling have caused me to discontinue this series. It's not a bad book or a bad series. It's just too sex-focused for me. I love faerie stories, and I thought the fact that Fiona was a faerie princess was very cool. However, I didn't like the execution in that being a faerie princess became a plot point to string together the numerous sexual encounters in the book. I felt that it was much too intriguing a concept to be used in such a fashion. And, frankly, I didn't feel a strong love bond between the couple. But, that's just me. At the time, I didn't realize that Ms. Warren is coming over from romantica, where the strong sexual content is desired. I have nothing against that, it's just not my thing. When I read romantica, I usually feel like I want more story and less sex, especially when there's a very interesting paranormal/fantasy element that I want to see explored further. So, this book helped me to decide not to read the rest of the series. Having said that, it would work very well for those readers who like a lot of sensual content and an interesting storyline that sort of goes to the sidelines for the sexual relationship/love aspects. This book isn't terribly sexually explicit. It just has a lot of sex in it. I do have to say the climax was well done.(less)
Spending Christmas with three generations of the same family written by Carla Kelly was an enriching experience. Ms. Kelly explored the way that war a...moreSpending Christmas with three generations of the same family written by Carla Kelly was an enriching experience. Ms. Kelly explored the way that war affects families during wartimes. In the case of the Wilkie-Warton family, all three generations of the family have met during a war and married. I liked how Ms. Kelly took the very depressing concept of war and loss and used it as a backdrop to romances in development, and in a way that felt realistic and involved me emotionally. I especially appreciated how each story read differently, but was no less enthralling.
My thoughts on each story:
1812: A Christmas in Paradise: This story resonated personally with me because I lived in San Diego for six years, and it did feel a bit like being in paradise, although there were also some less desirable aspects about it. No, I wasn't shipwrecked there, a Scot in a strange land of perpetual warm weather, fish galore, and lots of Spanish/Mexican culture. But I think that I can identify with most of those things I listed. What I loved the most about this story was the earnest good-heartedness of the hero, Thomas. He is a Navy surgeon who genuinely cares about people. While human, that caring part of him motivated him to do the right thing and offer marriage to Laura Ortiz, who was truly in desperate straits. That marriage works out very well for them both, as they find true love. I admit one part made me cry like a baby. I'm sappy like that.
1855: O Christmas Tree : I don't have the pleasure of reading too many books set during the Crimean War, but this is one of them. That alone was one more advantage of this story. Added to this was the beautiful friends-to-lovers story between widowed Lilian, the daughter of Laura and Thomas from the first story, and an American Army Corps of Engineers officer, Trey Wharton. I loved how shy Trey was. He was constantly blushing, although he had a good sense of humor and a warm way about him. I wanted to give him a hug. I was glad that these two people found each other in a war-torn landscape where they saw too many bad things that weighed on their souls. I also like the unique way that they were able to bring and celebrate Christmas with the wounded soldiers and the Sisters who worked in the hospital. It had a bit of the "Gift of the Magi" by O Henry vibe to it. This one made me tear up as well. Yes, sap here!
1877: No Crib for a Bed: Ms. Kelly takes the reader and Captain Wilkie Wharton, Lilian's son to the Old West, where this Army surgeon sees the aftermath of the Indian Wars in a very personal way. He's asked to escort a regained Indian captive white woman back to her people in Iowa. Only Nora doesn't want to go, because she has to leave her children behind, since their father was Indian. His heart hurts for her, but he doesn't have a choice otherwise. Along with Wilkie is Frannie Coughlin, a cheerful teacher in Fort Laramie, who is also traveling back East. They find a companionship together that is problematic, considering that Wilkie has a fiancee' waiting for him back home. When Wilkie delivers a baby from a dying mother with Frannie's assistance, both realize there is no going back when that strong a bond forms between two people. Yes, again this one made me cry. I felt so bad for Nora. To think that they were forcibly separating her from her own children because they were half-Indian and she wasn't. I couldn't imagine the pain she was in. Also the newborn baby was so cute. Yes, my sap quotient goes up even more. The romance part was good too.
Overall Thoughts: Carla Kelly successfully writes a trio of books that are interconnected in an ingenious way, all around the theme of wartime, medicine and Christmas away from home. Each one touched me in different ways, and I just plain like and respect her characters. They are all grounded and realistic people in the best of ways. While I didn't finish this one before or during Christmas, but in fact, three days afterwards, I still love immersing myself in the Christmas spirit, and this book provides that feeling in spades, along with a great romance.
This is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it t...moreThis is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end.
I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not want to know and fall in love with a hero who is so tortured?
Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written (other than Jane Eyre). She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made by Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous.
The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all descriptive in this book. But they are incredibly effective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably.
The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitimate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time (or at least tied with Jane Eyre for favorite, which is nothing to sneeze at). If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life.(less)
This is in my top ten books of all time. I love Wolf and Mary. They are one of my romance supercouples. This is a book to read when you are feeling ja...moreThis is in my top ten books of all time. I love Wolf and Mary. They are one of my romance supercouples. This is a book to read when you are feeling jaded about romance novels. When I read it the first time, I immediately turned around and reread it. I still have my first copy but I bought another copy since the first one is a little worn.(less)
This book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Le...moreThis book is pretty darn awesome. Zsadist is definitely one to seduce a reader if you love tortured, sexy heroes. The only disadvantage is too much Lesser narrative. Otherwise I love it! It is full of passages that wrench at your heart as you read Zsadist's sad but ultimately triumphant story. You really root for Zsadist to accept the unconditional love that Bella has for him, as you see him give all of himself to her because he cannot help but love her, even believing he is far from good enough for her. And the relationship is not one-sided as Zsadist helps Bella to heal from her captivity with the Lesser. He is the only one that can help her through this ordeal. But long before she was kidnapped, she was drawn to Zsadist. You see the seeds of their connection start in Lover Eternal, and to be honest, that's what made me keep reading Lover Eternal. I was so fascinated by the interaction between essentially The Beauty and the Beast played out in this sophistocated, urban vampire universe. I knew that their relationship would be explosive and captivating, and I was right. The scenes of Bella and Zsadist during her needing are enthralling and sexual, but also tender and poignant. I don't think any man could love a woman more than Zsadist loves Bella. The ending will make the sternest, most cold-hearted person tear up as Zsadist very clearly shows just how much Bella means to him. And the gift that Bella gives Zsadist is just the icing on the cake. This is a wonderful love story.(less)
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)
If Bastien Toussaint is like a bowie knife, brutally destructive, sharp and vicious, then Peter is a stiletto. They are both dangerous men, efficient...moreIf Bastien Toussaint is like a bowie knife, brutally destructive, sharp and vicious, then Peter is a stiletto. They are both dangerous men, efficient weapons for the Committee. It's amazing how they could be so different, but still embody the ice cold, ruthless hero.
Peter starts out as a bland, gray ghost (as Genevieve calls him). He is deceptively mild-mannered in his role as assistant to billionaire philantropist Harry Van Dorn. Genevieve doesn't think much of him, except that he's annoyingly perceptive. However, that is an important tool in his arsenal: to be anywhere and everywhere, to blend in and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
On the second reread, it still took me a while to get a fix on Peter. He is so in the bland character that I underestimated him. Before I knew it, he had slipped under my skin. I can see why he drives Genevieve crazy. He is designed to be a woman's fatal flaw. I had to wonder how someone so bland could use sex as a weapon, but that was before he showed who he really was. The real man could probably seduce the panties off the most virtuous of nuns. The real man, well he's someone that is not to be underestimated.
Genevieve is a frustrating heroine. For a smart girl, she can make some stupid decisions. It's like she's almost all id. Her emotions seem to govern her intellect, which makes her an interesting counterpart to Peter, who analyzes and calculates every decision, until his well-buried heart makes its desires known. Still, his sharp mind maintains admirable control of the man.
Frankly, Black Ice is a hard act to follow. Bastien is so striking a ruthless hero, Peter throws you for a loop. However, that's good that he is so different. I found that although he didn't have that blatantly sexy edge of Bastien, I still loved him. He was the insidious kind of seduction that winds its way into your senses. If Bastien is a fine, potent wine, then Peter is like a tart, subtle dessert that you think you aren't impressed with at first, but the more you sample it, the more heady its taste becomes. Kind of like sherbet. I am an ice cream girl. Love its richness. But sherbet is something I always enjoy immensely when I eat it. And then I end up craving more.I read this book when I was tired out of my skull, and that's probably not a good time to evaluate a book, so it took me a while to feel his effects. However, I found that I enjoyed the sharp mind of his, the sensuality that he uses so effectively as a tool. I was very intrigued with how fast he fell for Genevieve, and once I thought about it, it made sense. Genevieve was not a woman easily dismissed, like the women in his past. He couldn't kill her or let her be killed. She meant too much to him. Although she was a very annoying woman, he had a way of getting her to do what he wanted, eventually. He kept her on her toes, made her alive with feeling, and killed her with his powerful, heady seduction.
Please forgive me if this review is incoherent. I am highly sleep-deprived right now. Although Cold as Ice just doesn't have the bite of Black Ice, I find that I still loved this book. Peter is in his own way just as irresistible as Bastien. His difference has an appeal of its own. Genevieve keeps things lively, and the plot moving, with her tendency to make stupid moves, and her complete inability to resist Peter. But who can blame her for the tendency to succumb to Peter?
Anne Stuart is an author who manages to keep me reading and never fails to lure me into her seductive web of dark romance and passion. Her tart humor is always appreciated. And no one writes a hero like this woman. It's rare that I don't enjoy her writing, and this story can't get less than five stars because what I love about her is here on offer. And Peter makes up for any shortcomings I might have seen as far as a villain that was more petulant child than anything else, and too quick a resolution on the suspense. Plus, the reappearance of Bastien and the advent of sexy Takashi O'Brien can definitely sway this reader's positive opinion.
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.
Review of 1st Reread completed May 18th, 2013 on Kindle Version
I have finally gotten the time to start my reread of Ice Storm. It’s taking me forever...more Review of 1st Reread completed May 18th, 2013 on Kindle Version
I have finally gotten the time to start my reread of Ice Storm. It’s taking me forever to get through this Ice series reread, but I am enjoying it immensely. It’s nice to be able to savor the writing of my favorite author this way. I usually read books faster than I would like the first time, and you miss the nuances when you do that.
I loved how I was kept guessing on Killian. Is he really the cold-hearted murderer his reputation suggests? Then why the acts of unselfish chivalry when he thinks no one is paying attention?
Once again, it struck me how much Killian truly loved Isobel. He was a man on a mission and he had to complete it, and his love for her was inconvenient and unadvised, but he couldn’t make that go away. Even though he did leave her life, she never left his heart, and for someone who apparently could care less about Isobel, he sure did keep track of her over the following eighteen years.
There is something about a hero who is so lethal and capable like Killian. Gives me happy shivers. I liked that Isobel knew her stuff as well. She was realistic for a woman who had been an intelligence operative for many of her adult years. Yet I also liked that it troubled her, what she had to do in her job as a Committee operative. While Killian seems to wear his heart on his sleeve less, he too is an honorable man in an elemental way. Not afraid to get his hands dirty to do his part to make the world a better place. I think that out of the Ice series so far, they are the most perfect match. Two soulmates, even if they don’t believe in the concept. For a dark concept, this book is rather blissfully romantic. Although don't expect the overt heart and flowers. That ain't Stuart's style and I'm glad she doesn't write that way and does it so well. I know when I read one of her books, she will surprise me with a romance that challenges the norm but truly gives me what I want in a romance novel.
I enjoyed catching up with the other Committee operatives: Bastien, Peter (who has an extended POV), and of course, my darling Reno. Happy to see these lethal men blissfully conquered by love, and waiting to see Reno get his own Cupid's Arrow to the heart, although there are signs already. The excitement level is rising to finally reread Reno’s book after something like four years. And of course, Mahmoud was both hilarious and a source of organic pathos, a child who is the symptom of a flawed, war and turmoil damaged world. How fitting that his surrogate parents would be two world-weary, dangerous spies. I cherish this book and this series.
Killian is a Saber. A sharp, deadly weapon made for efficient use.
Guy Pearce as Killian
Ruth Wilson as Isobel Lambert
***Original Review Below****
Anne Stuart does not disappoint. This book has all the things I love about Anne's books. And it has more. The characters are heroes on the edge, both the hero and the heroine. They live in the black heart of night, but fight for good the best way they know how. As much as I love Anne's heroes, Killian really sunk into me. His battle to do what must be done, and the fact that he never really got over Isobel in eighteen years. Isobel is convincing as a cool, competent leader for a covert organization. She suffers when she sends men out to their death, but she does it because it's the right thing to do. You want these two people to find peace. You want them to be together. In the hands of a master like Anne Stuart, you get what you want and more. (less)
I loved this book. I know a huge part of it was the Japanese hero. What can I say? I absoutely adore Asian men, and Reno is such a interesting guy. He...moreI loved this book. I know a huge part of it was the Japanese hero. What can I say? I absoutely adore Asian men, and Reno is such a interesting guy. He's not a nice guy, but boy is he sexy and in the heart he is a decent human being. He is one reluctant to fall in love hero, but deep down I think he fell for Jilly at first sight. He makes her pay for loving her though.
This book is action-packed and you don't get much down time. But it added to the almost Bonnie and Clyde appeal (without the overt criminal elements).
Boy the sex scenes are probably the steamiest I've read in an Anne Stuart. You really get the tension and the fire between Reno and Jilly. Jilly has no ability to resist Reno, and she knows it. Heck, I'm not sure I'd do better resisting him. I'm still trying to figure out Jilly's failed sexual experience. I'm scratching my head over that one.
For some reason I wasn't digging Reno's red hair. That bothered me a lot. I could deal with the tattoos, which has shown how I've changed in the years. But the red hair just didn't sound attractive to me. Probably because I love the glossy black hair of Asian men. Yum!
I have a secret fascination with the Japanese Yakuza, which was delightfully indulged somewhat with this book. I loved the tidbits about Japan that Stuart throws in. Not like a person who researched Japan, but truly loves the city and its inhabitants. This book made me want to jump on a plane and go to the country.
I was a bit worried about Jilly being so young, but it really didn't ruin the book for me. I think the way Stuart dealt with her young age was appropriate. She wasn't always certain and didn't always react the right way to situations, but who does at the age of 20. Reno also shows that he is a twentysomething and somewhat rebellious type, and so his actions were fitting.
I love the Ice series, although they definitely go there for romances. This book is no different. I think this one is my favorite because Reno is not as machine-like and completely apathetic about morality as the other heroes were (Don't get me wrong, I still love Bastian, Peter, Taka, and Killian for all their ruthless killerness). In fact, Reno has to work hard not to feel anything, particularly for Jilly. It's clear early on that Jilly is his Achilles' heel, although he makes her believe he can't stand her. If you're looking for a nice little romance with normal people who always do the right thing, and no body count, don't read this book. If you want an adrenaline ride with two characters who passionately love each other, even though they know it's folly, I think you will love this book. I adore Anne Stuart, so I was along for the ride. I thought the frenetic, intense, crazy adventurous theme of the book juxtaposed with glimpses into Japanese culture were thoroughly enjoyable. The book even ends with a wild climax that makes you wonder what these two will be up to in the future, but you don't doubt for a second that they will stay together because they are soulmates.(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 think this was my first Anne Stuart book. It was love at first sight. I really gravitated towards this story about a reclusive woman who is tormente...moreI think this was my first Anne Stuart book. It was love at first sight. I really gravitated towards this story about a reclusive woman who is tormented by her psychic ability to see dark events, and the mysterious, clearly dangerous, and very ruggedly-attractive man who comes to her hiding place from the world to get her help solving a kidnapping that may have national security implications. I don't really enjoy romance books where the characters are tracking a serial killer, unless they're really good. And this one was. For me they are too gritty, and the blood and death really overwhelms the book, and drowns out the romance. Not this one. Ms Stuart does a great job of weaving this story, making the focus is on the growing love between Elizabeth and Sam, but carrying the plot along so that you're invested in solving the murders taking place.
Elizabeth is reserved and quiet on the surface, but inwardly haunted by those terrible visions. Sam is a strong, enigmatic military man who's all about the mission. His vitality intimidates her, but also seduces her back to life again. Sam isn't too happy he has to work with such a quiet little mouse to get his mission accomplished. But he ends up falling for this mild-mannered and plain spinster woman when it's really at cross-purposes for his mission. He is not prepared for how much she comes to mean to him, especially when he has to put her life at risk to catch the killer he is after. Although Sam isn't as in your face dangerous as Ms. Stuart's later heroes (particularly in the Ice series), he is definitely a lethal man who will not hesitate to kill without mercy to protect Elizabeth and to achieve his mission.
It was great to read this story and watch Elizabeth come out of her shell, and see the strong, intense attraction between this unlikely couple unfold. Early on, Elizabeth has a vision about her and Sam, and a certain red dress that is pretty spicy, and you know that things are going to heat up. And Ms. Stuart really delivers on the romantic relationship in this book. That's what kept me reading despite the dark subject matter. It is really interesting how passionate the love scenes in these oldies can be without being explicit like the newer books. You feel all the emotions and the intensity even though a lot is left to the imagination.
I was hooked on Anne Stuart when I read this Silhouette Intimate Moments I checked out from the library so many moons ago (I used to read every single Silhouette Intimate Moment I could find at the library, and enjoyed almost all of them. Those were the days). It started a twenty-plus year relationship with my favorite author. She has brought so many hours of joy into my life. Nobody does romance as well as Anne Stuart in my book.(less)
I must confess that I never read the Cates and Martin stories. But I absolutely love the Anne Stuart and Christina Dodd stories. I often reread them....moreI must confess that I never read the Cates and Martin stories. But I absolutely love the Anne Stuart and Christina Dodd stories. I often reread them. Talking about dangerous heroes? Oh, yes.
Dangerous Touch by Anne Stuart:
If you like gunslingers, look no further. Billy Maddox is a fallen angel in looks and in his behavior. He's a gun for hire that comes to town to deal with a situation in which small-time farmers refuse to give over their land to a big cattle rancher. He has no problem with killing for money. He's done it before, will do it again. But, he takes one look at the target's young, innocent wife, Sara, and his priorities change. Talking about sexual tension, danger, violence, love, passion, all in a perfect package,....That's this story. I love it!!!! I would so run off with Billy Maddox (and there is no real adultery involved, so worry not). If you like Anne Stuart and you haven't read this story, you need to find it now! Gosh, I wish she wrote more Westerns!
The Lady and The Tiger by Christina Dodd:
This story really shows why Christina Dodd is a favorite of mine. Her heroes are scrumptious. Oh, my goodness. And the sexual tension? Off the charts. Laura Haver is a proper, yet impoverished steamstress who is determined to find out what happened to her deceased brother, who died while doing some undercover work in a smuggling ring. She goes to an inn to ferret out if Keefe Leighton, Earl of Hamilton, and the spyleader, was involved with her brother's death, and ends up having to seduce him to keep a special book away that might reveal some important information about what her brother uncovered in his work. That was a hot scene. Would you like a possessive, sexy hero who is set on getting his woman, and getting the job done? Look no further. I love this line:
My name is Keefe Leighton. And you're my woman. Let me show again.. What a line!
Writing this review makes me want to pull this one out for a reread. I think I just might do that!(less)
This is one of my absolute favorites by Anne Stuart. I loved the relationship between Izzy and Luke. Plus it's one of her western romances (I'm a big,...moreThis is one of my absolute favorites by Anne Stuart. I loved the relationship between Izzy and Luke. Plus it's one of her western romances (I'm a big, huge fan of westerns, whether it's historical or contemporary). The combination is magic in this book. Izzy ran off from home as a young woman, running from her feelings for Luke and her family's expectations, and her fears that she could never live up to them. Now she is back to claim her heritage, and to hide from an ex who happens to have some criminal intentions for her, but has to put up with Luke to do it. Luke has suppressed feelings for this girl who is nominally his stepsister for a long time, and doesn't think much of her flighty ways. He doesn't want her to get her hands on an inheritance he doesn't think she deserves. Also he has trouble keeping his hands off her.
This book has the wonderful dialogue and back and forth between the hero and heroine that makes Anne Stuart's category romances sizzle for me. Readers who are a little afraid of her dangerous heroes in the mainstream books would like this one. Luke is a good guy. Very down to earth, hardworking, if a little sarcastic. He's also very sexy and masculine, and knows just how to deal with Izzy, in all the right ways. Izzy is one of those girls who 'did it' but didn't really see what the fuss is about. Well, Luke is the guy to show her exactly what she was missing. He's also irresistible to me because it's pretty clear how desperately in love with Izzy he's been for years, but didn't feel it was right to seduce her or claim her for his own. He's also pretty angry that she ran away from home where she was safe, and got herself in some trouble. Let's just say if you like Alpha heroes who aren't over the top, I think you'd like Luke. Although the love scenes are not explicit, they are fiery to me, because of the well-described attraction and emotional connection between Luke and Izzy.
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore Anne Stuart. To me, this is one of her best books. Give it a read.(less)
In Blue Sage, Anne Stuart poses the question, "Could you fall in love with the son of the man who murdered your parents and several other people, and...moreIn Blue Sage, Anne Stuart poses the question, "Could you fall in love with the son of the man who murdered your parents and several other people, and maimed you for life?" And she answers it beautifully.
This is a very tough situation, and you would think that it would be way too dark to tackle in a series romance, but Ms. Stuart really does a great job with this plot. From the beginning you can see the struggle that Charles Tanner, Jr. (who goes by Tanner) has had, trying to deal with the fact that his father was a mass-murderer. He has faced prejudice because of it, even though he did nothing to earn it. This story reminds me a little of the Paul Newman movie "The Long Hot Summer" in how Ben Quick has to deal with his father's reputation as a despicable barn burner.
Ellie is an interesting character. She has been made into a living martyr by the town because she was the only survivor of the massacre. She basically has no identity outside of that, and is living a half-life but is afraid to have any goals or aspirations outside of this. When Tanner comes back to town, she is actually nicer to him than pretty much everyone else, even though she has the most reason to hate him. I believe that Ellie just wanted to get past what happen and move on, but the town wouldn't let her.
Tanner has an outcast personality, with good reason. He doesn't take crap from anyone, and says exactly what he thinks. He doesn't treat Ellie like a plaster saint. He says things that are designed to provoke her, in fact. Tanner succeeds very well in waking Ellie up out of the coma she's living in. His fearlessness inspires Ellie to become her own person and take what she wants out of life. Their relationship is a passionate and eventually loving one, but not smooth-sailing. But seeing these two characters who have so many reasons not to be together find solace, acceptance, and love, is a message that touches me. This is definitely one of her more serious category romances, but well worth the read.(less)