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)
This book was so great. I was so happy to finally read a book where the sheikh wanted a woman of color, particularly an African American woman. Usuall...moreThis book was so great. I was so happy to finally read a book where the sheikh wanted a woman of color, particularly an African American woman. Usually the sheikh books have blonde heroines. It was also good because of the dialogue and interactions between the characters. This book mainly takes place in the cabin where they are both staying, so the focus is on the developing relationship between Delaney and Jamal. The sexual tension is volcanic, but there is also tenderness and respect between them. I don't usually like books where the h/h meet and decide to have a fling, but this was so well-done I loved it. And you know that they are really in love and won't be able to walk away from each other long term. Another great thing about this book is Delaney is about to start her final residency to be a doctor. I dearly want to see more romance novel heroines who are highly educated and are in a specialized profession, particularly science. For some reason, it seems as though it's a bit taboo to have heroine who is more educated and has a strong career in comparison to the hero. I think that's totaly sexist. But I digress. This is a wonderful, short, but sweet, Sexy as all get out, feel good read. I highly recommend it for readers who like sheikh books but want to see a different take on the sheikh romance.(less)
There is drive-thru paranormal and there is sit down, multi-dish, stick to your ribs and set your taste buds on fire meal eating. Both are good, depen...moreThere is drive-thru paranormal and there is sit down, multi-dish, stick to your ribs and set your taste buds on fire meal eating. Both are good, depending on what you want. As a paranormal fan, I love a book that I can devour in three hours and get my PNR fix. But as a reader who likes to be wowed, I love Marjorie M. Liu's style. I figure if you don't like her writing style, you won't make it past the first ten pages. She writes intricate and textured. Her world-building involves all the fives senses, and includes initial moments that make you wonder where she's going. However, if you keep reading, you'll get your answers. I love that when I was reading this book, I kept asking was this paranormal or urban fantasy. Being a love of both, I'd rather have a paranormal that leans towards UF with the world-building and depth of storytelling, but has a monogamous couple who will get their happy ending together, and love sitting back and reading to see this unfold. This is one of those books where I felt like it was taking a while to read, and I was enjoying myself. When I got impatient, I settled down and experienced the writing for what it was. Again, no fast food here, but a satisfying meal that took some time to consume instead. I wasn't disappointed.
Things that stand out in this book:
* The cultural experiences in this book were to die for. I am a serious armchair traveler. I will tell anyone I know. I haven't had the opportunity to do much world traveling, and so I appreciate doing so in my reading. This book takes place in Taipei, Taiwan, and in Hong Kong and Mainland China. If there is one set of cultures I feel a strong pull towards despite not sharing that heritage, it is Asian cultures. With this book, though I have never set foot outside of the US, I was there, walking the streets of Taipei, Hong Kong, and experiencing the natural beauty of a small town in the mountains of Sichuan. I felt everything as though I was on the journey. Every element tied into the story, and not some random info-dump to proved that the author had done her research on the places she wrote about. I don't doubt that Ms. Liu has been to these places, and I thank her for taking me on a three-dimensional journey along with the characters. * True love between a boy and girl comes full circle--A strong romantic, I am. I loved the idea that Mirabelle and Dean grew up together, loved each other intensely. Even though they had thought each other dead for twenty years, their hearts never recovered and they never stopped loving each other. When they reunite, the magic is there and although they are older and had different life experiences, their bond is much more strong and richer as adults. I loved that they never doubted each other or their bond, and they didn't try to convince themselves that time had erased that bond. I think friends becoming lovers is one of the most romantic storylines ever written. You know each other so well, that this connection only deepens when you realize that you are each other's happy ending. * The characters: Dean is tough as nails, sarcastic, quick on his feet, a man who acts more than he talks. From the beginning, I loved him. He was wearing an Optimus Prime Transformers t-shirt, how could I not. And the fact that he loved Mirabelle so much, he'd never gotten over her. Happy Sigh! Mirabelle is a bonafide kick*ss heroine. She doesn't play. Even for an academian, she's not pushover or wilting flower. Although Dean might have saved her a few times, she reciprocates. I found myself saying, "Dang, girl." at the way she handled some of the bad guys. She's my kind of girl. * I spoke earlier about the impressive world-building, and on top of that, very novel, intricate storytelling, steeped in Chinese dragon folklore with believable archeological aspects. * Whenever I read Liu, I feel like I am watching action movies, specifically Hong Kong Action movies, where the fantasy elements go hand in hand with the kick*ssery. She couldn't make this movie geek happier. I am sure that she also stayed up late to watch movies like "The Bride with White Hair," "The Heroic Trio," and others. She brings this sensibility to paper so well, it reinforces how much I enjoyed those movies. * A host of intriguing secondary characters inhabit this book. Good, bad, and somewhere in-between. And ethnic diversity is the name of the game. Thanks for that! Monochromatic UF and PNR is disappointing in so many ways to this reader.
Marjorie M. Liu isn't for everyone. I imagine some readers will lose patience with her writing style. That's okay if she doesn't work for some of those readers. She works for me. What I invest in reading her books, I get back threefold. That's why she's a keeper for me!(less)
My two favorites were the Sabrina Jeffries story and the Liz Carlyle story. The Sabrina Jeffries story was sizzling with Colin, who is half-Indian and...moreMy two favorites were the Sabrina Jeffries story and the Liz Carlyle story. The Sabrina Jeffries story was sizzling with Colin, who is half-Indian and who recently inherited the Barony although his English family wanted to deny that his father was legally married to his Indian wife. He is Simon from Only A Duke Will Do's cousin. I really liked his chemistry with a plus-size hoyden in too tight pants who didn't give one whit that he was half-Indian. This was my favorite.
I also enjoyed the Liz Carlyle story about the half-Black niece to Kieran from Never Romance a Rake. It was a bit angsty, but you can guess why I liked it. :)
I am sad to say I found the other two stories rather forgettable. Otherwise I would have given this volume five stars.(less)
I can definitively say I have never read a romance novel quite like this. Ms. McCarver really accomplished something with this wonderful story. Sauda...moreI can definitively say I have never read a romance novel quite like this. Ms. McCarver really accomplished something with this wonderful story. Sauda is a heroine that you will come to admire, will laugh with, and will cry with. Her journey is unforgettable. Ethan is a hero that will steal your heart away. What I really loved about this story was how three-dimensional Sauda and Ethan are. Their love is tangible and poignant. It reaches off the page and into your mind and heart. It doesn't matter that Ethan shouldn't fall in love with a Blackamoor assassin who is clearly not a suitable wife. It doesn't matter that Sauda is a foreigner whose freedom is not her own, and thus shouldn't even consider falling for the golden, beautiful lord. It happens anyway. And the development of this affair is incredible to read. At times, I felt like I would be overwhelmed with despair, knowing in my heart that this couldn't end well, but hoping that Ms. McCarver would manage to pull off the happy ending I craved. Well, we do get our happy ending, but you should read it to see how it unfolds.
Prejudice is an ugly thing. This story shows how a worthy, incredible individual can be judged and maligned for the simple characteristics of being of another faith, dark skin color, and having hair that is curly instead of straight, despite traits that show her to be an excellent person. Her good heart and her sense of honor mean nothing when someone cannot look past what is so different. The great thing about this story is that from the first moment, Ethan looks at the outside and the inside and has a moment of clarity that this is the woman that he loves. His heart had been broken by the loss of his young wife in childbirth and his subsequent slavery in a Turkish prison, in which unspeakable things were done to him. Life means little to him, other than the freedom of sailing the seas, although he knows he will have to eventually marry to ensure his family's earldom secure. When he sees Sauda, it's like he comes alive again. From that point on, he is very focused on having her, in any way he can.
Sauda sees the beautiful Englishman and knows he's not for her. Her life has been nothing but death and discipline. She is a very skilled assassin who has had to seduce men to get close enough to kill. Her heart is merely an organ that pumps blood through her body. Love does not enter into the equation for her life. But love finds her, and a passion that she had never known.
This is a very raw and earthy romance, but at the same time, sublimely beautiful. Set during the Elizabethan period, you are privy to the very raunchy natures of Elizabethans, and not spared some of the less pleasanter aspects of living in the 16th century, but it works very well. It felt so authentic, and Ms. McCarver does a great job with the language and the terminology for this period. It is more than clear that she has done careful research and has a love for this period. As a lifelong reader of historical romances and a woman of color, It was great to see a heroine of color living and finding love within this time period. I was drawn into this story and I felt like I was right there in the late 1500s during Queen Elizabeth's reign.
The love scenes were tender yet vivid and very raw. The powerful chemistry between Sauda and Ethan really blazes in their private moments. There is an element of time slipping away from the starcrossed lovers as Ethan will have to marry soon and Sauda must leave to stay one step ahead of the hunters who want to take her back to her owner. I hated that aspect, but it brought dramatic tension and poignancy to the storyline. I wanted them to run away into the sunset together, but I could see how that would be a selfish thing and not feasible for either of them.
Sauda is very convincing as a formidable female warrior and assassin. She shows the discipline and skill of a woman who was heartlessly trained from the young age of eight to kill and to kill effortlessly. She has no moments that cause a lapse in her credibility as a warrior woman. Yet at the same time, she shows a humanity and a capacity for love that gives her the depth that I want to see in a romance heroine. She is definitely a great heroine for those readers who like to see a woman who can handle herself.
Although Ethan's friend Lucian annoyed me with his narrow-mindedness for some time in this story, I began to see why he was so fixated on his view of what was good for Ethan (and thinking that Sauda wasn't it). He got my attention and make me anxious to read his story and see him conquered by love in the most unlikely of packages. I also enjoyed seeing the interactions with Thomas, Ethan's younger brother, as well as Sir Nichols, and Mary, Ethan's former nursemaid.
This book took me away and seduced my senses. It kept me guessing, as I truly didn't know how things would end. There was a complexity to this plot that really did challenge my thought processes to see where things would go. The action scenes were well done, mixing swordfighting and martial arts. I loved that you did get to see Sauda show her abilities. Yet you also see that Ethan is a warrior in his own right. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to see this beautiful love story unfold between two people that are so very different, yet are soulmates in every way. Bravo, Ms. McCarver. (less)
It was love at first sight for me with this book. It was a such a sweet love story. I really enjoyed how involved Scott's kids were with Vanessa. They...moreIt was love at first sight for me with this book. It was a such a sweet love story. I really enjoyed how involved Scott's kids were with Vanessa. They loved her and bonded to her right away. I liked how they called her 'MyNessa.' Scott was adorable and a very nice, good man. Vanessa was also really nice. Okay that might be too much nice for some people, but I like the feel good romance of this book. The sensuality is very mild, so you won't find any steam therein, but there was great chemistry between Scott and Vanessa. The wedding night scene was pretty funny for Scott's choice of clothing. This is a favorite out of the first bunch of interracials I read. It does use the overutilized, 'what will the world think of our relationship' ploy, but no book is perfect. It was great to catch up with Scott and Vanessa in the subsequent book about Vanessa's widowed sister, Monica, and her terrible triplets, as they are called. After several years and more interracial romances, this is still in my top 5-10 of them.(less)
Once again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulnera...moreOnce again, Nalini Singh worked her magic on me. At first, I wasn't sure what to think. Hira was so mercurial, frigid ice princess one moment, vulnerable, exotic girl-child another, saying hurtful things to Marc. I was thinking I would be disappointed with this story. However, I began to see that Hira was protecting her heart from more damage like what had been inflicted over many years by a father who was a real misogynist, who treated her mother terribly, and restricted Hira's life severely, despite maintaining the appearance of being a loving husband and father. She had been treated like she had nothing to offer besides her beautiful looks and gorgeously-curved body. Her father used her as a business pawn, forcing Marc to marry her if he wanted to court her. Of course, she didn’t know that Marc wanted a real relationship with her. She thought he just wanted a sexy trophy wife.
As the book unfolded, I could see why she kept Marc at such a distance, and was so icy to him, although I hurt as Marc did. By the end of the story, I loved Hira, and I admired her for the strong woman that she was.
As for Marc, I loved him pretty much from the beginning. In fact, I wanted to take him and give him a long, fierce hug. He has a lot of the traits I just adore in a hero. He was a fierce, strong man, a real survivor, but with a gentle loving heart that hid behind steely, cold armor. He'd been abused really badly by his lousy alcoholic parents, who sold him to a thief. He lived on the streets, and was wounded grievously more than once, which was why he had scars on his face and body. I adored this man. Like Hira, his scars were badges of honor to me. This man worked his way up from nothing. Truly, he did have a chip on his shoulder against beautiful women. A stupid rich girl played a cruel joke on him, teaching him he wasn’t good enough without his money and power. Since then, he kept his heart protected. He felt inadequate because of his scars and his ignoble Bayou origins. But, like Hira, being a man who pulls himself up by his bootstraps and makes something of himself, being a strong, powerfully magnetic man spoke highly to me. She called him her fierce desert chieftain, and I felt this was a fair assessment from her viewpoint of admirable men (unlike her father). Also he is very possessive. Another plus in a hero. It gives me tingles! Golden boys born with silver spoons in their mouths don’t resonate with me the same way. If you like Lisa Kleypas's self-made heroes, you would probably like Marc. He definitely gave me that vibe, which always have the power to turn me into a melted pile of hormonal goo. Marc really was the perfect package for a hero to this reader.
Initially, this seemed a little melodramatic, (which ain't necessarily a bad thing since I like drama), but I wasn't sure what to make of it. Hira's innocence and unwordliness seemed too over the top. I had to readjust my worldview and consider how truly inexperienced and sheltered Hira was. Once I got my vantage point straight, I was all in. The intense, honest emotions and the heart-wrenching angst of Marc and Hira's pasts, and how they reach out to orphaned children to give them love (I cried on those scenes and the ones about Marc’s tortured past), and the fiery passion between them (which had me fanning myself as I read), well this was an irresistible package that won me over!
I can't say that all people would enjoy this book. Even those who are fans of Nalini Singh’s newer works, the Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter books, might not necessarily love this book. However, I believe that the elements that make her a favorite, auto-buy author to me are very apparent in this lovely romance morsel. I’m very glad I got the chance to read this one. It’s going on my keeper shelf with my other Nalini Singh books.
This book was fantastic. I thought that this series would get less interesting as it continued, but it seems to get even more intriguing. I loved the...moreThis book was fantastic. I thought that this series would get less interesting as it continued, but it seems to get even more intriguing. I loved the hero Dorian. He is full of contrasts: ice cold, but hot, violent but controlled, and deeply sensual. He is unable to change into a leopard, which he has mostly made peace with. Instead he has honed his skills as such a formidable warrior, that being unable to shapeshift is not a liability. However, being unable to shifts makes him no less in touch with his animal nature. As a lover of shapeshifter romance, I love how Singh depicts the feelings and thoughts of the leopard that dwells inside the man. Dorian is a totally hot hero, although he is an ice cold sniper for the Snow Dancer Leopard pack. He sets his sights on Ashaya Aleine, a member of the hated Psy race, but his leopard recognizes his mate. I love fated to mated books, so it totally worked for me that Dorian decides early on that he has to have Ashaya. And once he recognizes her as his, he will move heaven and earth to protect her and her child.
Ashaya is a Psy who never accepted Silence, the nonemotional protocol of the Psy race. Instead she has continued a charade. She is a scientist with a woman's heart who saves children being subject to horrible scientific experiments. When she delivers them to the Snow Dancer pack for protection, she asks that they extract her son who is being kept hostage to keep her working on a high priority project for the Psy Council. This how she encounters Dorian. Dorian hates the Psy since his beloved sister was savagely killed by an insane Psy Councilmember. His heart is full of vengeance against the Psy for what was done to his sister. Dorian almost shoots her, but his leopard recognizes his mate, although at first he is unable to accept this. Although in theory she is his enemy, the conflict doesn't get drawn out too long because the mating bond is much stronger between Dorian and Ashaya.
The attraction between Dorian and Ashaya is red hot and drives this book. You want to keep reading to see the fire between them. I loved the banter and interactions between Dorian and Ashaya. However, the plot is very readable as well. Ashaya has a twin who is a best a sociopath, at worst extremely dangerous. I felt for Ashaya's burden of trying to keep her twin under control, and how this has affected her life in many ways. Ashaya is rational and scientific, but is equally loving and loyal to those who matter to her.
Hostage to Pleasure was definitely a joy to read. I had trouble putting the book down, and was impatient to finish it. Nalini Singh has definitely earned my loyalty as an author by writing this fantastic series that mixes science and fiction that is a delicious package. Science fiction can be dry at times to me, but not the way that Singh writes it. She understands that the love story and the sexual chemistry, along with strong depiction of interpersonal relationships, has to be the glue in a paranormal book with science fiction elements, and succeeds without question. I also love how racially and ethnically diverse her characters are. Ashaya seems to be of European and African ancestry, while Dorian has predominantly Nordic features. As long as she continues to write these books with sexy, alpha heroes, and the women they love, I'll continue to eagerly read them.(less)
I loved this book. It was very different and kept my interest in a way that a great urban fantasy should. I really fell in love with Cal and his broth...moreI loved this book. It was very different and kept my interest in a way that a great urban fantasy should. I really fell in love with Cal and his brother Niko. I love books that show a positive view of siblings since I love my sister and get along so well with her. If you enjoy the relationship between Sam and Dean on Supernatural, you'd probably like this book for that reason. Some of the elements of their relationship bring to mind the Winchester brothers. Niko is a man that I could marry. His love for his brother was so intense and so all-consuming the way a sibling should love. I love his dedication to being the best warrior that he can so that he can protect Cal when his "other relatives" try to take him back. When he cut his hair off in grief, I just about lost it.
I enjoyed the new twist on elves, and I found the action sequences so vivid they jumped off the page at me. There were some genuinely scary moments that sent a chill down my spine (I love a good scare). I liked the noir-esque narrative, peppered with wry humor and in a voice that really sounded like a young man (I was surprised the author is a woman) who has seen more bad than good in the world. In fact, I think Cal is a great character and a real trooper considering what he has gone through and the heritage he has to face.
I love that Cal's sweet on a young woman who is biracial and can see the future (you know me and my love for interracial romance). Fans of shows like Buffy and Angel would like this book because it has the feel of these shows, but delves deeper than an hour long show can. I liked the very interesting secondary cast of characters and beasties (as a lifelong fan of folklore, I am always happy to see some of the beasties in fiction books). I loved that I actually had to look up a few like the boggle who lived in the pond in Central Park. Fans of Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher novels and John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside novels will probably like this book and consider it a book that might show what Harry and John might have been like as a young man. In the end, I just can't say enough good things about this book. I will buy every book Rob Thurman writes and particularly the Cal Leandros series. If you are an old fan of urban fantasy, a new fan, or wanting to branch out to this wonderful genre, please read this book.(less)
After more than a year away from reading Nightlife, I thought my love for this series would be a fluke. I'd read the second book, and the thrill would...moreAfter more than a year away from reading Nightlife, I thought my love for this series would be a fluke. I'd read the second book, and the thrill would be gone. Not even close. What a fantastic world Ms. Thurman has created. I don't know how she managed to bring two characters to life that I love so much.
Cal has really come into his own. He's still a major smart-aleck, with some self-hate issues, but he's even more lethal as a warrior, incredibly strong-minded, and fiendishly clever, although so self-deprecating you would think he was useless. I have found that he is starting to sneak up in my affections, although Niko has claimed my heart.
Ah, Niko, would you marry me? I just love this man. Too bad he's not real. He of the razor sharp sword that he wields with deadly precision. His exquisitely neat housekeeping skills. He cooks beautifully. His discipline and calm. The fact that he is more deadly than the Ebola virus. And then there's his love for his younger brother. Who could ask for anything more?
Just reading about these two guys doing, well nothing, is enough for me. But, thankfully, Ms. Thurman has created a whole new adventure for these fellows. It's a roller-coaster ride from the very beginning. There are moments where the pace slows down for a little bit, to allow the reader to catch her/his breath, but then it's off again. I lost count of the number of times that either Cal or Niko got injured and needed medical attention. Be assured that their adversaries fared worse.
I like what Ms. Thurman did with the werewolf lore, although her weres come off looking not-so-glamorous. And there are plenty of other mythical creatures in this story, adding to the pizazz and overall character of the New York and sundry that Cal and Niko live and fight to stay alive in. This book veers into horrific and dark fantasy territory, which is another thing I like about it. Who knew the modern world could be such a scary place full of beasties that made the fairy tales just that little bit macabre, that you didn't think were real? Well they are, at least in this series.
Niko's relationship with Promise, he and Cal's vampire co-partner in their detective business, has blossomed beautifully. It's pretty obvious how much this tenderhearted, elegant, but deadly when it's necessary vampiress cares for him. Who can blame her? Cal's love life would be looking good if he would let the fair Georgina into his heart. But his fear about what his auphe side would bring to life is causing him to keep her at a distance. But it's apparent to pretty much everyone just how much he cares for his little seer.
Robin Goodfellow, boon companion to the brothers, returns. He keeps things light when necessary, yet kicks butt like it's going out of style. He has connections like you wouldn't believe, aiding in getting very difficult things accomplished, fights at the brothers' side, while flirting with Niko (who he has the hots for, who can blame him?). It's impossible not to love him, morally flexible, pansexual flirt that he is.
Just like Nightlife, this lovely noirish urban fantasy story about Cal and Niko Leandros has established a place in my heart and on my keeper shelf. It makes me want to dive right into the next book in the series, Madhouse, to spend more time with these guys, who I love dearly. You probably noticed that.(less)
I loved this book for Steven, the hero. He was just wonderful. I liked that he saw what he wanted and went after it. This couple had some issues to de...moreI loved this book for Steven, the hero. He was just wonderful. I liked that he saw what he wanted and went after it. This couple had some issues to deal with, namely the baggage that the heroine has from her ugly divorce, and a crazy stalker chick who wants Steven. My sister got a free copy when she was working for a newsletter, and I was thrilled to read an actual interracial romance, and this was a good one for my early foray into the genre. Later on I bought my own copy because this one is a keeper.(less)
One of my very first interracials. I'm cheap, but I bought this in harcover, because I was so glad to see an IRR on the fiction shelves. I adored Giov...moreOne of my very first interracials. I'm cheap, but I bought this in harcover, because I was so glad to see an IRR on the fiction shelves. I adored Giovanni (Renee calls him Jay). Renee was somewhat hard to like. She's prickly, abrasive, and rather mean to Jay. She's really bossy to him. I admired his toleration of her. I love strong women, but I don't like bullying women or heroines. That's how Renee came off. I thought the chemistry was good, although the love scenes were a little too earthy for my tastes. They seemed more like sex than lovemaking to me. The storytelling was very good. Definitely will stay a keeper on my IRR shelves, although Renee is nowhere near a favorite heroine of mine.(less)
I didn't really like the heroine that much. This book was a keeper because of the hero. It was one of the first interracial romances I read, but I dec...moreI didn't really like the heroine that much. This book was a keeper because of the hero. It was one of the first interracial romances I read, but I decided recently not to keep it because I don't see me reading it again. I think Jon deserved better than Samone. In reality it isn't a romance. It's mainstream fiction with a romance. Samone wasn't a bad person, but she had some issues and I don't think she can love Jon whole-heartedly. I think she spent way too much time mooning over her ex, who I didn't like and certainly didn't think was all that.(less)
Although this book didn't move me like some IRRs that I've read, it was very good. Things I liked about it: Instant connection between the couple. The...moreAlthough this book didn't move me like some IRRs that I've read, it was very good. Things I liked about it: Instant connection between the couple. They saw each other across a crowded room and it was lust/love at first sight. Jeremy saw Jasmine and he knew he had to be with her. Sigh. Another plus was the noticable absence of excessive "What will the world think drama." There was very good sexual tension between the couple, and it didn't take very long for lust/desire to become love. If a book starts with the lust premise, that's the way I like it. Things that make it not as good as other IRRs: I felt the characters were a little too pretty and perfect. I don't like the unnecessary drama, but neither Jasmine or Jeremy were especially tortured or flawed. In a way, that made them less real to me. It was a bit on the short side. It was like a fairy tale without the obstacles to overcome and the tasks to fulfill. My favorite fairy tales have unique people with a disadvantage but still manage to beat the odds and do the impossible to get their happy ending. This was noticeably absent in this book. However, I will always cherish this book and it will be an eternal keeper on my shelf because it is simply a story of two people connecting on a physical and a deeper emotional level, and making the decision that they wanted to spend their lives together. And when it comes to interracial romance, that always wins me over.(less)
If you like Diana Palmer, but also love interracial romances, you'd like this book. It has the hero running as hard as he can, but trying to seduce th...moreIf you like Diana Palmer, but also love interracial romances, you'd like this book. It has the hero running as hard as he can, but trying to seduce the heroine on the other hand thing that Diana Palmer does so well. Having said that, I believe that Rochelle has her own unique style that shines through. She seems like a real romantic at heart to me. A reason why I like her books.
I would have rated it higher, but Rally is such a knucklehead about Sage not being Native-American. It was kind of silly, since she grew up with him in his household. He was attracted, and deep down loved Sage, but he had real issues about preserving the Native American heritage. He even had a Native American woman picked out to marry but he clearly didn't love. At the same time, he felt jealous and possessive toward Sage, and was livid when he thought she had slept with another man.
Also ***spoiler warning**** I don't think that Sage should have slept with Rally and then went off with the intent to marry his friend. That felt dishonest to me. I didn't think it was fair to her fiance. I think she was trying to move on with her life, but her fiance didn't deserve to be snuck around on, and with his best friend.
It was my first book by Rochelle and I enjoyed reading it. The chemistry was pretty hot but it had an old-fashioned love story in it's way (hence the Diana Palmer comparison). I like the combination because I am pretty vanilla when it comes to sex, but I like steamy vanilla sex in my romances. It was refreshing because I ran into issues where there were ebooks that were way too erotic for my tastes. So I am glad that they also have sweeter ebooks out there.
Like a lot of the smaller-press ebooks, it did have some editing issues, but they weren't so bad that it made it hard to read. I look forward to reading more of her books.(less)
This is an action-packed tale with enough twists to keep your interest. Alex/Camilla is a formidable heroine who also has a gentle side to her. The qu...moreThis is an action-packed tale with enough twists to keep your interest. Alex/Camilla is a formidable heroine who also has a gentle side to her. The question is, which one is real? That is what Alex has to find out on this journey. Josh is such a sweet guy, but he's also more than capable of handling the danger that stalks them both.
I liked the premise of this book, reminding me of the television shows Alias and La Femme Nikita. It's cool to see an African American heroine in this case. Like Sydney and Nikita, Alex is a heroine you care about but is more than able of taking care of herself and anyone who happens to be her enemy.
The love story was sweet and involving. You do want things to work out between Alex and Josh, hoping that they will find each other amongst the chaos of Alex trying to find out who she is and trying to stay alive as her enemies strive to do her in. And Josh is personally involved himself, as his ex-wife is one of the people gunning for Alex.
If readers are looking for an action-filled romance that has a sweet love story at heart, they will love this book. I hope to read more from Ms. Lori.(less)
This is a short novella e-book that I downloaded from Red Rose Publishing. It was so good. This book was hot but also had an emotional love story as w...moreThis is a short novella e-book that I downloaded from Red Rose Publishing. It was so good. This book was hot but also had an emotional love story as well.
Teane finds herself in a difficult position: she has the hots for her supervisor. To make matters worst, she is in the Navy. The good news is that her crush is not one-sided. Brett has the hots for her too.
The way that she finds this out is when he catches her in a "private moment" shall we say. And he helps her along in her "private moment." If you haven't noticed, I'm demure, so you can probably guess what I mean by "private moment."
I didn't mention that this is an interracial romance, so it's really cool that although both characters are sure that the opposite wouldn't want to date outside of their race, they are entirely wrong.
Brett has had the hots for his subordinate employee Teane for a while. If he hadn't heard her calling out his name in her "private moment," he probably wouldn't have pursued his younger, Black Petty Officer. But since he knows she has feelings for him, his pursuit is ardent. He is totally hot, and boy am I glad that I didn't have to work for a guy who was so irresistible since I don't feel comfortable dating a person I work with.
Having said that, this story really worked for me. I laughed so hard, and felt acutely embarrassed for poor Teane. Just imagine getting caught in the moment like that. Too horrible to conceive. But this turns out to be a very fortuitous moment for both Teane and Brett.
Ms. Azod doesn't shy away from the serious repercussions of fraternization in the military. But it shows that the feelings between Teane and Brett are real that they try to protect each other when word gets out about their affair.
This story was so endearing, despite being so short. This story is one that reaffirms my love of the interracial genre. It shows that the color of someone's skin does not have to be an obstacle. For love is in the heart and soul. It's not skin deep.
If you want to read a great story that is steamy but also emotional, then I would definitely point you in the direction of "Red Skies at Night." And while you're at it, pick up "Chain of Command" and "Cory's Salvation" by Shara as well. (less)
This story really had me holding my breath with anticipation. It was one of the first interracial ebooks I downloaded, and I was not disappointed in t...moreThis story really had me holding my breath with anticipation. It was one of the first interracial ebooks I downloaded, and I was not disappointed in the least. The storyline caught my attention right away. I love heroes who go after they want, the heroine. Ian patiently waited for Adanna to finish up her tour of duty in the Navy and become a free agent, so he could have her. The Navy takes fraternization very seriously, and as such, having an affair with a subordinate is a no-no. So when Adanna was no longer a subordinate, he could pursue years of pent-up feelings for her. It was really hot how into Adanna he was. He wasn't just lusting after her, he loved her. Ian observed her very carefully, learning what was important to her and what made her happy. I liked how his viewpoint is very prominent and you know how intricate his plans are involving Adanna. The viewpoint helps to make it clear he's not a crazy stalker or that he has honest intentions. He wants a life with her.
Adanna was really not expecting Ian to be into her. She saw him and definitely liked what she saw but that was that. Dating a superior wasn't even an option. When he offers her a ride home (to his home, we find out soon) and pretty much states his intentions, she is floored and of course, definitely intrigued. There's the fact that he's White and she's Black, not to mention an officer and she's enlisted. Also she didn't really think he noticed her outside of her performance on the ship, since she's all business and keeps a low profile. He always treated her with respect and didn't treat her poorly as some officers might do to an enlisted woman. But he has definitely has his eye on her. I guess you might consider him a bit stalkerific (but I love that in a hero, call me weird) Another thing I liked is that Ian is a redhead. I have a secret fondness for red-headed men, so that was a nice surprise. This was my first story by Azod, and it definitely made me want to pick up more by her.
Chain of Command is a great combination of romance and heated sensuality. I wouldn't like it if the romance was there. And it definitely is. Although Ian is very forthright in his attentions, it doesn't feel coercive. He's very gentle and persuasive with Alanna, beautifully so. You have to read it to see how things unfold, but I really liked the way this story progresses and concludes. It's very short, my only regret.
Oh my goodness, I just loved Cory. He is my dream of a cowboy. He's a really good guy and a knight in shining armor. He's good-looking but very down t...moreOh my goodness, I just loved Cory. He is my dream of a cowboy. He's a really good guy and a knight in shining armor. He's good-looking but very down to earth. He thinks he's no good with women, for all the things. If he was real, I'd be chasing him down. He takes in a woman and her child who are obviously running from someone, and his heart recognizes his true love in her. He also falls in love with her young child. Race doesn't even factor in. I just love how Shara Azod manages to write a very steamy read but doesn't leave the romance and the true love story by the wayside. I wish that more modern cowboy books had this feel to it, and that more cowboys were like Cory in real life. Cory is a sexy cowboy, but he's not a womanizer who takes advantage of his rodeo skills to bed saddle bunnies. I really like that about him. I guess my pet peeve is that too many romance novel heroes are portrayed as womanizers who'll sleep with any woman who's willing. That's really not sexy to me.
I liked Stephanie, also. She's the vulnerable type, having come from a bad home and having low self esteem, but found the strength to leave behind the really bad guy who was using her and hurting her, and to get her child away from him. She knew a good thing when she found Cory, and didn't let her baggage cause her to walk away from the man who is the love of her life. Some of the things her ex-boyfriend did to her were just horrible. Her ex was a lowlife, and Cory didn't hesitate to give him what was coming to him. I didn't feel any sympathy for the man considering how lowdown he was.
This is a short read, but everything's there that would make a romance novel fan happy. I am so glad that I took a chance and downloaded this gem of an ebook.(less)
I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. Although Catherine was insecure, it was very believable why she had her insecurities. And alt...moreI really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. Although Catherine was insecure, it was very believable why she had her insecurities. And although Karim did marry her without telling her it was an arranged marriage, he had good reasons. I was glad that although Catherine did spend a short time being angry with him, she did try to put that behind her and make the most of her marriage because she did see that he had best intentions to be a good husband to her. (less)
What do you do when you feel like a stranger in your own land? That’s the question that Zora and Nicky face. They both grew up in the church, children...moreWhat do you do when you feel like a stranger in your own land? That’s the question that Zora and Nicky face. They both grew up in the church, children of ministers. Their whole lives were about living and walking in the footsteps of Jesus. But when did it become a matter of trying to please their fathers more than Jesus? When did this require the sacrifice of their entire identities?
Both Zora and Nicky are adrift. Nicky is the prodigal son, returned to the fold to try to rebuild his troubled relationship with a father who never showed him the loving embrace that a dad should show his son, like Jesus loves His church. Nicky wants to be a writer, but the words won’t come. He feels so alone and trapped. His girlfriend is the perfect girl for the life that his parents want for him. But not for Nicky. And Nicky is dealing with three years of celibacy and sobriety, after wild teenage years of leading church maidens astray when he was asking for help from a family who left his cries unheard. When he goes to a bible study held by his boss, he encounters the beautiful, dark-skinned Zora, and feels a mix of emotions that do not strike him as healthy with everything else on his plate. Is it just lust or he could he be in love?
Zora is the daughter of a minister who preaches prosperity to those who can proclaim God’s word with faith. He has no tolerance for poor Christians or those who just want to get by. Although he gives her everything material she could wish for, designer furniture, clothes, and a Lexus, he controls every aspect of her life, and seems blind to the true unrest in his church. Zora walks out of church one day, praying that God would show her how to be poor in spirit. She goes to a bible study full of white people and feels that intense emotional connection with God that she feels like has been absent, but she’s embarrassed by the way she breaks down in front of the other bible study members. And then there is the gorgeous blue-eyed, blond rogue that she’s been warned about although they truly love Nicky. How can she be drawn to a troubled and rascally white man when she doesn’t even love the perfect black man hand-picked by her father, and groomed to be the future minister of his church? What does she do when her father takes everything away because he feels she’s in rebellion just by trying to be herself? And to her surprise, the white folks from her bible study, and the roguish Nicky, come to her aid when her family and most of her church turns a blind eye.
Zora and Nicky is a very moving romantic story, but it also strikes at the heart of a reader who grew up in the Christian faith, but is trying to find out where she or he fits into the flock of God’s church. I loved how Ms. Burney wasn’t afraid to get real. She showed how church is full of people who do one thing and say another, but it’s also clear that there are many who love God so much, but they just don’t know how they are supposed to go about doing that. I just loved both Nicky and Zora’s characters. Not because they were perfect, but because they were real and hurting and damaged. They both had a genuine love for Jesus, and they wanted to be wrapped in His arms in all their wounded, flawed selves. Not only that, they wanted to have fathers who knew how to love them, and accept them for who they were. Their troubled relationships with their fathers clearly affected their relationships with God, because they didn’t know that unconditional love that Jesus has for us, unused to feeling that in the model for His love that one’s father and minister should show.
The racial issues in this story are pertinent and handled well. Ms. Burney addressed the ugly things that normal people think and do on both sides of the racial issue. Although the way Nicky’s grandfather and father act about Zora was absolutely chilling, Ms. Burney also shows that black folks can be just as racist in their thinking as white folks. And neither is okay. Because humans are just human. And no person should be seen as the stand-in or representative for their race. It isn’t fair, because you can only be you. And Christians of all people should know better than to judge someone for the outside, the mere difference in melanin that means nothing to God. Although it was clear how powerful the bond was between Zora and Nicky, they had to work out their own issues about race so that they could see each other with the love that God put in their souls for each other.
Even with the sometimes mean things they said to each other, I loved how they seemed to get who each other was deep down, and supported that, even when people who should have loved, supported and understood each other didn’t. I loved that their relationship was passionate even with no sex taking place (just very passionate kisses), how they talked to each other, fought for each other, and dreamed together. I loved that they both shared a powerful love for Christ that was another thing that bound them together. They had the makings of a relationship I could truly see flourishing fifty years in the future.
Zora and Nicky was a book that made me cry. It made me angry in some scenes. It affected me deeply, and probed into the hurting places that I have regarding my own walk in the Christian faith; dealing with that feeling that you don’t fit into the body of Christ the way you should. That even though Jesus loves you the way you are and wants the best for you, others don’t think you measure up. Also seeing the superficial Christianity that seems okay for most, and how you want something deep and true and it feels like you can’t find it. I could identify so well with those aspects of this book. And the romantic in me loved the beautiful story of love found between Zora and Nicky. I felt that God did bring them together, and He was working in both of them for their good and for their emotional wholeness and healing.
I didn’t much care for either Nicky or Zora’s father. Actually, I think they failed in very profound ways. I did feel that at the end of the day, their mothers did show the love that both Zora and Nicky needed, even though it wasn’t enough to balance out the pain that each father caused them. I also liked Zora’s relationship with her friend MacKenzie. They stood by each other through tough times, encouraging each other to reach for their dreams.
I really appreciated the characters of Linda, Rick, and Billie, who are members of the bible study. Also Ms. Pamela, one of the members of Zora’s congregation. Who all represent Christians who are filled with the love of Jesus, and have made it their mission to show it, even though some Christians wouldn’t find them fitting or good enough to represent the faith. However, they represent Jesus in the purest way. Jesus was the despised, rejected man who owned nothing but the robe on his back, was born in a manger, and died on a cross. And He is the one who is able to save and love everyone. So that’s alright with me if a shabby person shows me Jesus in my everyday life. And they were there to show that love when Nicky and Zora needed it. Just writing this review is making me cry. I just loved this book. It was so meaningful to me. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (less)