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)
This was an enjoyable, light, but not too light historical romance. Richard was a sweetie and so was Meriel. I liked their dynamic, how they ended up...moreThis was an enjoyable, light, but not too light historical romance. Richard was a sweetie and so was Meriel. I liked their dynamic, how they ended up being drawn together and falling in love through their mutual concern for young Stephen. I don't care for deception between the H/h, so I wasn't predisposed to this book since Richard is pretending to be someone he's not. But it was handled very well.
Meriel has to overcome her trust issues, both of herself and Richard. She is still dealing with her father's betrayal, and how it rocked her whole mindset. She's a good person, and I like how she nurtured Stephen, and that she didn't let her heart stay hardened against Richard when she realized what a good man he was.
I still like The Lord Next Door more, because it has themes I prefer, but this was quite good, and it shows Gayle Callen's talent for writing a good historical romance. I liked the way she resolved what could have been a very difficult scenario with grace and in a way that brought a smile to my face. I recommend this book.(less)
Jodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the Wife...moreJodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the Wife Lottery Series, but I have to say I will probably have to eat my words. There is only one Carter McKoy for me, but Travis, now he certainly earns a place on my hero shelf. I enjoyed the complexity to Rainey's character. She wasn't unrealistically goody-goody or innocent. She made some decisions that weren't always highly ethical or selfless, although she is definitely a person of both strong morals and generosity. She led Travis a merry chase, however I can see why. I loved that Travis understood Rainey's issues and gave her what she needed to feel safe as a wife. While I was shouting, "Marry him already!", I could also understand why she was afraid/reluctant to do so. I think that even to this day, women do have to think long and hard about who they choose to marry, and moreso back in this time period where women had little rights or independence in a world that seemed to be wired for men. I like the way Ms. Thomas deals with these issues, not in a preachy way, but very matter of fact. She writes about several women who are in different situations, but all have to operate in a world that is dominated and controlled by men. With Rainey, the reader is able to examine that dynamic of a woman juggling the love of a man with a need for her own independence and control over her life, and I was able to empathize with and respect Rainey and root for her to gain both things in her life.
Equally complex was Travis. He's that tough, capable western hero that I love to bits, but he also has vulnerabilities, not in the least as a man of mixed heritage, with an Apache heritage that is written on his features in a society where Indians are the enemy and hated and feared equally. Also, he faces a life-changing injury, which requires him to look seriously at what his identity is as a person. Will he be happy and productive if he can no longer work as a Ranger? What's left for him if that is gone? I liked that Travis fell hard for Rainey and he had to deal with his sense of awkwardness in how to pursue her and romance her as a man who never thought he'd marry and start a family. Would he be happy with a friendship with his 'fairy woman' or would he be satisfied with nothing less than her as his wife? He couldn't have been more appealing to me.
I also liked how Ms. Thomas handled the issue of slavery. When I saw that this was set in 1854, I sighed. I really, really hate dealing with the slavery issue in historical romances. I'm black, so when I read these books, I think about how it must have been for black people to be slaves in this part of American history, and when I think about this, it makes it harder to enjoy the romance part of the book. In this case, Ms. Thomas managed to keep my conscience happy with those aspects of the book, and was able to keep that from detracting from the story, and it was realistic how she dealt with Mamie's situation.
Can I say how much I adored little Duck? What a sweet little boy. I just wanted to hug him. And Travis was such a good adoptive father to the orphaned, traumatized little boy. Nothing more sigh-worthy to this reader than a tough hero who is good with kids! Travis' relationship with Duck brought another layer of fantastic to this book, which was already pretty darn fantastic to begin with.
What can I say? Jodi Thomas has it when it comes to writing romance. She doesn't rely on a lot of bells and whistles. She brings simple to an art form. She just has what's needed: intriguing, lovable, relatable characters, an interesting storyline, great dialogue, and excellent western world-building and action that makes this Western-lover a happy camper.
I can't give this book less than five stars. That just wouldn't be right! Highly recommended! (less)
Seven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow'...moreSeven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow' Schofield, because, well, he's the man! But I have to say I really do like Jack. What's not to like about him? He's a fun character. Honorable, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, daring, and lethal to the bad guys. And being a girl who grew up on Indiana Jones, and wanted to be her own version of the adventurer, Jack has an Indiana Jones in a modern setting appeal.
I thought this story was a clever idea. I had watched a documentary on The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and they inspired a great awe in this history buff. To read a story in which our intrepid heroes track down these wonders, not for selfish reasons, but to save the world, was both interesting and exciting. This is one of those books I could not read quietly, which makes me happy I wasn't trying to read it in mixed company. It is full of scenes where I gasped out loud regularly, verbally and under my breath yelled insults at the bad guys, cheered and laughed. This is the brilliance of Matt Reilly. He is one of those writers that engages you and gives you a fun read that takes you out of your regular world and into danger and adventure. It's not always without loss or risk, because sometimes you lose characters you grew fond of along the way. In the end though, I know that good will win out. If it didn't in these books, I wouldn't be a Matt Reilly fan anymore.
I liked the found family that I met with Jack and his team. I am a tremendous sucker for a father figure hero. Even though Jack isn't the touchy-feely type, you can tell he loves young Lily like crazy, not as a mere means to an end or a mission. (view spoiler)[ I almost cried when she called him Daddy and it shocked him in a good way. Yes, I am a sap, which you probably know already! (hide spoiler)]
I have to say, I liked that Reilly wasn't afraid to make the Americans the bad guys. In his Q&A, he explained his reasonings and made it clear he has nothing against Americans. I wasn't mad at him anyway, but I tell you, I was hating on the bad guys something fierce. But honestly, he spread some of the bad guy yuck around evenly.
Warning: If you are a Christian, don't take some of the stuff about the Catholic church and the so called origins of some of the tenets of the church (indirectly Christianity) seriously. Before I started getting annoyed, I just rolled my eyes. It's a fiction book, and I am not trying to take offense at that stuff, and I don't think Reilly was trying to criticize or devalue Christianity itself. He has bit of the Illuminati thing going on, but doesn't call them that. Suffice it so say, if you have any conspiracy theory leanings, you will appreciate some of the elements about secret societies in this book.
The writing style isn't erudite or lofty. It's serviceable and casual. I just went with it, and I have to say that it fits the story. I like that Reilly writes fun books. He's not worried about being a member of the literary elite (which is fine with me because I hate book snobbery). At the same time, I felt like he worked hard to deliver a good quality read, and a lot of plotting went into this story. I appreciate the diagrams and illustrations, because I would have given myself an aneurysm trying to visualize a lot of it.
As usual, there is some blood and violence. That's sort of Reilly's thing, but he doesn't focus as much on it in this book as in the others I read by him because this is more adventure than action. There are a lot thrills as they navigate dangerous ancient traps and pitfalls to get to the artifacts. Good stuff! I don't like gore much, I did the excitement of the over-the-top action scenes. Some parts had me laughing because they were so crazy!
If you want a fun and educational in a 'doesn't take itself to seriously kind of way' read, with a lovable, larger than life (but rather humble) hero, and a great ensemble, with a cute but highly intelligent little girl thrown in, look no further! (Warning: Run on sentence!) If you like ancient history but want to have fun at the same time, this book is for you. If you watched Indiana Jones a lot and still haven't moved on, check out Seven Deadly Wonders!
I will never forget the moment I formed a bond with an Australian author named Matthew Reilly. It was a spur of the moment thing. If I had not grabbed...moreI will never forget the moment I formed a bond with an Australian author named Matthew Reilly. It was a spur of the moment thing. If I had not grabbed a book off the shelf of the San Diego Public Library called Ice Station, I might not be writing this review. But I did, and it changed my life.
I cut my teeth on action movies. I started watching them when I was very young, and they hold a special place in my heart. While I am a romance novel and fantasy book fan first and foremost, I have always loved a good action yarn. But I had no idea that they had books that gave the adrenaline jolt that a good action movie could deliver. Matt Reilly taught me differently.
But I can admit I did feel a bit nervous to read his first book. I think it's different when you read a first book first from an author you come to love and buy the telephone book if he/she wrote it. You see their talent and writing skill develop and progress for the better. But when you go back, even when you love their writing, you still feel like you'll cringe at the boo-boos because you have their later work to compare to it.
I like that Reilly wrote an afterword and explained the process of getting this published, and admitting that he revised it, and what was changed and what wasn't. I can see that his writing has improved, but what makes him a favorite of mine is essentially there. He has a way of building a story methodically and setting the scene without extra frills. Nothing is introduced for a lack of reason. It all plays a role, sooner or later. I like that about his writing. I love that he can keep me on the edge of my seat, and he has a way of sustaining tension. I go from thinking the character is toast, and then watching the situation turn around so they manage to get out of that tough situation.
While Reilly's writing is not exactly focused on character development, but always he gives us a main character who gains my loyalty. That was the case with Swain. Swain is a normal guy who steps up to the plate to be a hero when the situation calls for it. It's this trait that gets him into the bizarre situation of being chosen as the third human in 6000 years to compete in the galactic combat competition that takes place in the New York Public Library. He had to compete and he had to make it to the end, but that didn't mean he'd compromise his ethics in the meantime. In that way, character development is crucial even in this fast-paced book.
I liked the twist that Swain's daughter is present. I think it changes the dynamic considerably. He not only has to watch out for himself, but keep his daughter safe, and that changes the decisions that he makes throughout the story. I have a soft spot for heroes who are dads, so that definitely warmed me to him. Holly is not just a prop or a plot point, she does play a significant role in this book, within reason, for a seven-year-old in such a dangerous situation.
I was curious to see who the other combatants would be, and I admit, I was a tad disappointed with the makeup. I wanted more sentient combatants. But Reilly says in his afterward that he wanted to write a monster story, so that explains why the other combatants are mostly monsters. At any rate, I still liked what I got, and I especially liked that Swain was outnumbered and outgunned, but he still managed to turn things around. His way of doing it was cool too. He wasn’t a pumped up muscle man, but a thinker and an analyzer, from beginning to end. Some of his success was due to providence, luck, and assistance from others, but overall, you get the impression that Swain was the right guy to handle the situation.
“Contest” is surprisingly less gory than some of Reilly’s later works. I’m kind of glad about that, since I cringed when characters I liked died violently in his later books. I’m not putting him down. I love the guy, but I do wish his books weren’t so gory at times.
“Contest” is a roller-coaster ride, good old science fiction action adventure with monsters. While it broke my heart to see the beautiful library and its priceless books destroyed, I’m glad it was just fiction, and in a way, it’s cool to blow up something like that with impunity in a fiction story (I guess). My book-loving heart can’t stand the idea of a library getting nuked, and I mourned it along with the deaths of other characters in this book.
I’d recommend this book to readers who really like action/adventure and an everyman hero who is in over his head, but still manages to save the day. (less)
To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who...more
To Beguile a Beast takes a tried and true romance theme and does it justice. In this case, the Beauty is the fugitive mistress of a powerful duke, who takes her children to start a new life, not as a kept woman, but as a legitimate housekeeper. The Beast is a naturalist who was tortured by Indians in the colonies, as the result of an ambush against British soldiers.
The writing flows and compels. The romance not only involves Helen and Alistair, but also the bond that develops between Alistair and Helen's troubled children, Jamie and Abigail. I guess I am just getting older, but lately I really appreciate the idea of a hero or heroine who has children meeting someone who embraces those kids and makes them part of their life in all ways, founding their own parental bond. In this case, I loved how this relationship develops between Alistair and the children. I felt bad for them that their father wasn't really a dad to them at all. He didn't even talk to them or acknowledge them, although they didn't lack materially. They were just possessions to him. Whereas Alistair does spend time with the kids and genuinely cares about them.
As much as I liked this book, I didn't love it as much as The Raven Prince. I think the subject matter might have been a bit more dicey for me. I don't really like the idea that Helen willingly committed adultery with a married man. I understand her actions were those of a young, starstruck girl-woman, and she fully accepted the accountability for those actions. I didn't judge her for her actions, I just felt disappointed for the choices she made, but probably nowhere as near as she did. She threw away a lot for a man that wasn't worthy of her love, and paid the price for it. The one good thing that came out of it was her children, and she decides to make tomorrow a different and better day for herself and her children, which definitely shows character in a person. From a creativity standpoint, it makes sense to have a story for once about the 'other woman', but my deep-seated issues with infidelity give me a bit of heartburn about that. I'm never going to take that subject likely, so I do always feel a twinge when I read a book and the characters go down that road, past or present. Conversely, I didn't like that Alistair gave Helen such a hard time about her past when he finds out. I mean, he really rubs it in her face. Considering that his past is hardly lily white (a man who admittedly has slept with prostitutes (another ick factor for me), it was sort of like kicking a puppy. I know part of his issues were jealousy because he will never be a duke or have the powerful, accepted status in society as a duke. And also, his issues with his disfigurement. For all my disappointment with him, I did love how he rallies around Helen in her time of need and works to ensure the safety of her children from their father.
The other issue I had was I guess I expected the duke to be a bit more sinister. I was waiting for other shoe to fall, and when it does, it's a bit of a thunk instead of a bang. Helen seemed very afraid of the duke, and when he appears, he doesn't have even a smidge of the presence that Alistair has. Stylistically, I would have liked a little more Gothic flavor here. The book sort of begs for it, really. I suppose it's just my melodramatic/drama hound nature. I just felt like I wanted something deeper, more intense in this novel. Maybe more angst and flair than it had. Having said that, I do like the crafty way that Alistair deals with the situation. I love a hero who has as much or even more brains than brawn and uses them to solve a tricky problem.
Despite my misgivings, I found this to be a pleasant, highly enjoyable read. The powerful passion between Helen and Alistair made for good reading, along with the relationship between Alistair and the kids. As before, Hoyt sets an authentic historical tone that really works for this reader. The story of the beast finding love with the beauty will always be timeless and beloved to this die-hard fairy tale lover, and Elizabeth Hoyt gives it a different spin and gives it justice overall. (less)
This book was a very important volume in the series in relation to the Snow/Bigby storyline. I gave it five stars because the storytelling is really a...moreThis book was a very important volume in the series in relation to the Snow/Bigby storyline. I gave it five stars because the storytelling is really awesome. I was really surprised at the direction Willingham took with their offspring. It totally makes sense. There is some angst associated with the situation because things aren't pointing towards a happy ever after so far for a couple who is starting to become one of my mega ships, especially in comic books. I just love the heck out of both Snow and Bigby, both separately and as a couple. We got to see Bigby's adventures during WWII and his relationship with a soldier he met during that time. I am a huge fan of the supernatural WWII spin and War Stories goes in that direction. I have to say that Bigby reminds me a lot of Wolverine at times. I don't know if that is intentional or not or just a coincidence. All I know is the more I see of Bigby, the more I appreciate his character.
Outside of their storyline, there were other interesting dynamics in this novel. We see Cinderella's secret life and how important a role she plays to Fabletown. There's definitely more than meets the eye with her.
I wish I had felt like writing my review sooner, because I know I didn't do this book justice. However, I can definitely say that don't let my short review convince any readers that I don't have good reasons for loving this book. To me, Willingham has continued his streak of excellent storytelling with this book.
He brings on more of the pain as we see hard choices made in this story and personal sacrifices that have to hurt like heck. Although I had some bittersweet moments, this book experience is of the kind that brings to mind an excellent dessert that lingers on your taste buds long after you finish eating it.(less)
This volume of Fables is definitely for readers who have been following Bigby Wolf and Snow White's romance. I think that it was very satisfying overa...moreThis volume of Fables is definitely for readers who have been following Bigby Wolf and Snow White's romance. I think that it was very satisfying overall. I do have to agree with one of my fellow GRs friends/reviewers that Willingham committed the cardinal sin of an estranged couple, and that did bother me. I couldn't not give this five stars though because it was overall very well done.
I have always been enamored with werewolf stories. I tend to shy away from the gratuitously violent gorefests, but I am fascinated with the idea of werewolves and the lore behind them. How distinctive each story can feel. I pretty much love the whole idea of Bigby Wolf being who he is, and his evolution as a character. I feel that in this volume, his story comes full circle, although Sons of Empire (the next volume in the series) certainly adds to the story of Bigby significantly.
I liked the plot element of Mowgli trekking around the world to find Bigby, and how he encounters more than one wolf pack. You see, Mogwli is in his own way a wolf. He's a human raised by wolves, and he understands the psychology of the pack. It's another opportunity to delve in that subject, which holds endless fascination for me. I think there is a part of me that is attracted to the allure of the wild kingdom, not in a small way. I don't spend a lot of time out in the wilderness, obviously. So I get my fill of it by reading stories that tap into that arena. I feel that Willingham definitely satisfied me in that sense.
When Mowgli finally catches up with Bigby, it's to find he has tried to start a new life (or more likely hiding from the pain of having to leave Snow and the cubs behind). I was annoyed at what he does to keep his mind off that loss. This is where Willingham messes up, if I can be frank. Snow White is awesome! I hate that aspect, but I do like the way it was handled when he and Snow reunite.
Speaking of, I loved their reunion and where Bigby gets to be acquainted with his brood. It doesn't take long for them to grow close to their dad. It has a lovely element of big happy family, and I won't lie I am definitely a sucker for that. The wedding was fun and it was a great chance to bring many of the beloved Fables characters together.
Yeah, you can tell I loved the heck out of this volume of Fables. I am incapable of hiding my enthusiasm about it. Other than Willingham 'going there', this was a top notch addition to the series, and it ranks as one of my all time favorites.
I really enjoyed Lie by Moonlight, and I think a huge part of its charm was listening to it on audio. The narrator has a great voice, she speaks with...moreI really enjoyed Lie by Moonlight, and I think a huge part of its charm was listening to it on audio. The narrator has a great voice, she speaks with an English accent, and she modified her voice for the various characters, based on class, gender, and personality. I like how she captured the Victorian feel--both a mystery vibe and a romantic in a classic way vibe. She showed the chemistry that Concordia and Ambrose shared, and also she conveys the sense of family between Concordia and the girls, Edwina, Phoebe, Hannah, and Theodora. How they become a big family along with Ambrose, Mr. Stoner, and Mrs. and Mr. Oates.
The storyline was good. I liked that although Concordia is a woman who carries herself with respect and maturity, she does own up to her rather unconventional upbringing without letting it define her as a person. I really appreciate heroines who are independent, but also rational and thoughtful in their decision-making. Concordia never goes off like a loose cannon, which always seems to invalidate a heroine's intelligence and self-sufficiency to me when I read that in a book. Concordia also showed a lot of heart and integrity in how she protected the young girls in her care. I personally like heroines who believe in doing the right thing and helping those who have been oppressed, disenfranchised, or who are disadvantaged. Although Quick doesn't beat the reader over the head with the history of the Victorian times and how women were treated, especially orphans with no money or status, I could see that as the background for this story. I respected that although Concordia's parents shared one set of values, she didn't feel like she had to adopt their own values for herself when they obviously weren't valid or healthy to her.
Ambrose was a man of mystery and I liked that about him. I liked seeing how his background shaped his future and how he uses his skills to help people, even though he gets a personal high out of shadowy feats of espionage. It was clear that he fell for Concordia fast, but it was also organic how his feelings evolved with each moment he spent with her. I was rooting for Concordia to ask him to marry him, and I loved how he put that ball in her court because he knew she needed to have that sense of authority in her life.
The suspense and mystery elements were good. I didn't truly guess what was going on until the end. I thought things would go in one direction, but with the excellent plotting, Ms. Quick was able to bring the story to a resolution that made sense for the story.
This is my second read by Amanda Quick, Second Sight being the first. I liked Second Sight, but I really liked this one. I am glad I have several other books by Ms. Quick in my collection to read, and I will definitely avail myself of the Quick books on audio at the library when I can.
I do recommend this one on audio. The narrator adds so much to the charm and appeal of this book. Thumbs up from this reader.
It took me so long to read this book, and my frame of mind was an issue, in part. But also, the fact that the heroine started to get on my nerves fair...moreIt took me so long to read this book, and my frame of mind was an issue, in part. But also, the fact that the heroine started to get on my nerves fairly early into the book really hurt this book in my estimation. I could understand her situation, not knowing who she was or remembering her past. However, her instincts told her the truth about her relationship with Tristan and her daughter, Sabina. She was stubbornly persistent on supporting her parents, even to the point of throwing her life and happiness away. I definitely understand loving your parents and wanting to support and take care of them, but that didn’t mean she had to marry a man who was clearly bad.
I really did like Tristan. He was a good man, loving, understanding, supportive. He was so good with Sabina, and he cared about people. Lily was lucky to have him. I also ended up falling in love with Benedict, Tristan’s older brother. I liked how he supported Tristan and wanted him to be happy, even if it was with a woman whose parents were allied with their family’s enemies.
I am intrigued with Tristan's brothers and Genevieve, the woman he was betrothed to, who practically grew up with he and his brothers, so I have already made notes to get the other books in this series. Although I wasn’t that impressed with this book, I would like to continue to read this series. I think I will like the other books more, especially if the heroines aren’t as illogical and frustrating as Lily.
Ilona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that stor...moreIlona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that story, one that has stayed true in the subsequent stories that I have read by this team. With On the Edge, they have continued that excellence, providing me with a novel that is multi-faceted, genre-wise and story-wise.
Although I grew up in the Midwest, my roots are Southern, and I do appreciate books set in the South that show the real ways of Southerners. In this case, I saw something very real and almost familiar in Rose, her brothers, grandmother, and friends and neighbors. I smiled when Rose threw the boys in the car and took them to Walmart. Yeah, that's real. Real people do shop there. How many times do you read a book where the characters go to Walmart to buy not the designer shoes, but the ones that look close enough to pass muster? How about a heroine who buys ground beef and adds rice and bread crumbs to stretch it? Yup, that's real alright. How about those moments when you have to stretch your paycheck and hope you have enough money left over the week to buy gas so you can get to work? I've definitely been there. And the love and ties of family, having to work hard all day and get home, take care of your family, go to bed, and get up and do it again. I think a lot of readers can identify with that. So what if Rose is magical, along with everyone in her family? That's a little more on the fantasy part of the scale. But this combination is why urban fantasy is so irresistible to me. The real and the surreal nicely entwined.
The ideas in this story strike me as very unique and different. I liked it a lot, even if some elements was pretty odd, like a reanimated grandfather who likes to eat stray dogs' brains. Or the fact that a lot folks in the Edge community can curse people, or send flashes of powerful energy out of their bodies. And then there is the shapeshifting younger brother of Rose, Jack. The other young brother is a powerful necromancer (hence the zombie granddad). And things get even more interesting when Declan shows up. Rose's powerful flash abilities have made her an asset to Blueblood families who want to integrate her genes into their family lines, one way or the other. She has become wary of men for that reason, since most of her suitors didn't ask nicely. So when too good to be true Declan shows up to claim her and take her back to the Weird, the magical lands that are adjacent to the Edge, she definitely doesn't eagerly go off with him. She makes an oath with the handsome warrior that he can have her if he succeeds in her three challenges. However, they have big problems on their hands, as there are horrible, magical hounds that are devouring Edgers for their magic. And they really want to get their hands on Rose and her family.
I loved Rose. She was a heroine that you could hang with, and that you'd be slightly in awe of, because she knows how to take care of business. She's the type that you tell to do something, and she takes about five minutes or more, and she's back and ready to get the job done. Not the heroine who is infallible and annoyingly perfect. Nope, she's the heroine that you love because she tries so hard, and she has the determination to do what is necessary. I loved Rose's commitment to her brothers, how she raised them from a young age after her mother lost her mind and her father ran off treasure-hunting. Jack and Georgie (her brothers) are adorable and genuine little boys, despite their very unusual abilities. They were sweeties and reminded me of the poem about what boys are made of (you know, snails and puppy dog tails). You could see why Rose loves them, even though being a single mom to her brothers is far from easy.
Declan was a great match for Rose. He was just as determined and capable. He might be a rich princelike guy, but he was down to earth enough that this didn't bother me. And I do like tough, warrior heroes, I won't lie. He took to the kids very quickly, and he treated them like they were his own. He even makes pancakes for them. I liked how he was as much a thinker as a doer, a problem-solver not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was a guy who made a commitment and stood by his word, no matter what. Declan was definitely a knight in shining armor, and I could see why Rose fell in love with him.
William was also adorable. I felt for him, and I will probably end up reading Bayou Moon soon to get more of him. I liked his wildness but also his goodness and how sweet he was with the kids (I am a sucker for that).
On the Edge has its dark, gruesome elements, but I'm okay with that. I like some dark in my fantasy. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday with the fantastic and surreal. The Andrews have a great way of writing descriptively and setting the scene without overdoing things and info-dumping. I like that the narrative is spare in some places, and the character sketches give you enough to get an idea of the folks in the story, but you can still learn more as you read. There are times you have to figure things out as you go, which is what I prefer, to be honest.
Although I am sure this book wouldn't work for everyone, I had a ball reading it. I liked everything about it. The romance was great, but the fantasy elements were equally important. I'd recommend this to a reader who likes fantasy but wants to try romance, and a reader on the other side of that equation.(less)
This is a book with a wow factor. It has all the elements that make the older HP books sizzle, crack, and pop. The ruthless hero, the great dialogue,...moreThis is a book with a wow factor. It has all the elements that make the older HP books sizzle, crack, and pop. The ruthless hero, the great dialogue, and the crazy demands that you can only read about in a Harlequin Presents novel. One of my friends on GRs, you know who you are, raves about this book, and she's never wrong about HPs being awesome. She was right again!
I won't lie about my love of stalkerific heroes, and Matt makes my list. He was just wow. I had no doubts that this man couldn't live without Carrie. I loved the way that Patricia Wilson wrote the interactions between Matt and Carrie. Matt had a way of talking that seemed almost cinematic. I totally got this feeling of intense, once in a life time love between this couple. Because this is an older HP, you don't get the hero POV, but so much intensity emanates off Matt. For Carrie, she doesn't really have a clue how crazy he is about her. She thinks he just wants revenge. But as a reader, that is very clear, even if the sap doesn't can't bring himself to say the words to make that clear.
As far as the reasons for Carrie leaving Matt, I think that was a bit soft. I will chalk it down to her being young and immature. I really think he should have just asked her to marry him back when they first met. I feel that she would have been less insecure about their relationship. For Matt, his reasons for how he initially handled their relationship makes sense towards the end, but I was afraid that he had some deep, dark secret like he was married and that's why they were just living together as "loves". I am so glad that wasn't the case. I hate that sort of deep, dark secret.
This one will probably push buttons for some of the modern HP fans. The heroine is very young and quite submissive to the hero. That's not really my thing, but in this story, it works. Similarly, the whole blackmail thing probably wouldn't go over well to some readers. This one pushes my buttons in a good way. It takes that young, very innocent heroine and older, experienced hero and does it good. Although Matt seems like he has the upper hand, boy howdy, he doesn't. The man is putty. I could feel his need and his profound love for Carrie, even if he wasn't good about showing it. I liked that he wasn't a cruel man, even if he wanted to seem hard. He was so good with the kids, and that got him brownie points, not to mention how he always tried to take care of Carrie. Not the actions of a man who hates a woman and just wants to use her. It could be frustrating at time seeing all the mixed signals and words unspoken, but that was sort of par for the course. It's part of that vintage HP drama, so I go with it! In the end, everything comes together so beautifully, and I will have some of those moments emblazoned on my brain.
This is one of those books where I ask if I want to be loved that way while I'm reading. I'm not sure I do, but I sure do enjoying reading books with this dynamic. Thumbs up from this reader.
Italian Doctor, Sleigh Bell Bride definitely met my needs for a quick, feel good contemporary romance Christmas read. It had a Cinderella vibe, with s...moreItalian Doctor, Sleigh Bell Bride definitely met my needs for a quick, feel good contemporary romance Christmas read. It had a Cinderella vibe, with struggling single mom Liv; and handsome, sexy, accomplished, and very nice Stefano. That was very cool to see a deserving woman get her Christmas wishes come true. On top of that, this had some elements of the medical profession that I absolutely loved! It was so much fun to see the medicine cases that Liv and Stefano worked on together. Although Ms. Morgan played it safe by having Liv as the nurse and Stefano as the trained surgeon, she also showed how very good Liv was at her job. She was an excellent diagnostician, and had a wonderful touch with her patients. She took her job seriously and was always professional. And I liked the message that nurses were a valuable part of the medical team, often providing essential care that doctors can't and don't. Stefano was also a professional. Even though he was a rich Italian (gotta have that vibe going on), he was a very good doctor, and he took it seriously.
I loved the progression of their relationship. Stefano showed his love, which is a big thing for me. He saw that Liv was under a lot of burdens, trying to raise her son and make ends meet, and putting him first. I loved how he nurtured her, bringing her sense of self back where it needed to be, because she was had very low self esteem after her husband cheated on her and abandoned her. He was also really good with Max. He understood that the little boy needed a male influence, and he wasn't just playing along just to get close to his mother.
I liked that Liv and Stefano conducted their relationship circumspectly. Although Liv and Max were staying with Stefano after their apartment burned down, they weren't carrying on with a young boy in the house, because Liv didn't want for her son to get the wrong idea. I liked that Stefano respected that, and he managed to show Liv that he found her sexy and desired her, but did it in a way that didn't compromise her status as a mom with an impressionable young boy.
Although this story had some of the unrealistic elements of a Harlequin Presents, it also had some more real world aspects that I enjoyed. And the medical elements were the icing on the cake. The dialogue was good, with some great funny bits. And Max was adorable. I loved his last line when Liv and Stefano were being 'mushy'. It was classic! Sarah Morgan has once again written a story that I am adding to my keeper shelf, and showed that she knows her stuff when it comes to medicine. I can't wait to read more Medical Romances.
If you don't like kids in your romance, this might be a hard sell for you. For that's a big part of this story. Billionaire, hard-working businessman,...moreIf you don't like kids in your romance, this might be a hard sell for you. For that's a big part of this story. Billionaire, hard-working businessman, Jack Mason, has inherited his niece after the death of her parents (his sister and her husband) in a plane crash. His niece has serious emotional issues, and has managed to chase off every nanny Jack has hired thus far. Additionally, Child and Family Services is making noises about taking her away. His lawyer gives him one solution: marriage. Jack isn't ready for marriage, but he refuses to let go of his niece, even though she's adopted. So, he decides to advertise for a nanny, and convince her to marry him for two years.
When he has his interviews with nanny candidates, he's impressed with Annalise Stefano from the beginning. She's a good-looking woman, although understated. But she also has a calm, cool, collected demeanor he finds very appealing. And then, there is the masterful way she deals with Isabelle in full tantrum mode. He's a bit worried at her lack of experience, but circumstances occur that prompt him to hire her. She's definitely the best person for the job, able to bond with Isabelle, but also give her a sense of order and security, dealing smoothly with Isabelle's tantrums. Soon, it's clear that he can't keep his hands off her, and she seems to feel the same way. But Annalise is a person who tries to be control of herself at all times, and she wants to put Isabelle's needs first and foremost, which is what he wants too. Yet, he also wants her. He feels that the chemistry between them is too strong to resist. There were some interesting conversations regarding this issue that made me laugh.
The whole time, Jack is thinking about his master plan: marriage. He's sure Annalise is the right person for the job, in many ways. Jack is able to convince Annalise to marry him, and they form a very happy family. However, Annalise is keeping a whopper of a secret that will change things between them in a huge way.
I have to say that I loved this book. It was a slow evolution, although I knew that it was going to be a strong read from the beginning. Day Leclaire writes very well, and I thought her characters were very charismatic, from Jack to Annalise, to young Isabelle. Add in a pregnant Great Dane, and it's magic. But, the ending. Now that was just fantastic. That's what earned this book a five star rating. If a reader is too cynical to believe that lives can interconnect so seamlessly to form a perfect whole, then that reader won't like this book. However, I like to believe that we all go through rough experiences in our lives, but they have a reason, and they open doors to greater possibilities. This is one of those books.
If you don't care for kids in romances, I'd say give this one a try. It wasn't sappy. It was very well done. I don't see how it couldn't bring a tear to your eye. (less)
Disclaimer: I am in gushing mode, which means I have lots of clunky metaphors and a bit of unwise hyperbole. Don't hold it against this book or its au...moreDisclaimer: I am in gushing mode, which means I have lots of clunky metaphors and a bit of unwise hyperbole. Don't hold it against this book or its author. It's all me!
I make no apologies for my deep love of this series. It rocks. This series is premium when it comes to paranormal romance. Hands down. With Demon from the Dark, I felt that intense love grow like a rose bush on Miracle Gro fertilizer.
Ms. Cole has written a flawless book here. She wrote a hot, hot romance with two characters that I loved, flaws and all. She also had me believing that these people could fall in love with each other, even though they couldn’t speak the same language initially. I didn’t expect to be such a huge fan of Carrow when I met the party girl witch in Dark Desires After Dusk. But I do love her. It took me about five minutes into reading this to think, “I like her a lot.” Actually, the scene at the end of Pleasure of a Dark Prince had me feeling positively towards her. Now, I have to think she’s my favorite heroine in this series. Sorry Sabine!
A huge theme of this story is feeling abandoned/rejected/unwanted, like no one in the world truly loves you and accepts you. For Malkom, this was illustrated in a much more violent, heartbreaking manner. Malkom made my heart bleed. I could understand why he was such a violent, untrusting person who felt that being alone was the best option for him. I won’t go into all he suffered because I feel that this book needs to be read. You have to get to know Malkom the best way, by reading his story. But suffice it to say, no kid should go through what Malkom did. I so wanted him to have a beloved wife and a family. I wanted him to have that with Carrow and Ruby. Oh man, I just loved him. I was glad that Carrow ends up proving that she loves him and is worthy of being his fated mate.
In the case of Carrow, she finds herself in an untenable situation, and she is going to have betray the male that she falls deeply in love with. Normally, I would be raring at the bit, foaming at the mouth at what she did, because I hate deception. In this case, I could understand her dilemma. She ends up becoming the adoptive mother of an orphaned daughter of a friend murdered by Carrow’s human enemies. The thing about it was, Carrow acted like a parent. Parents have to make tough decisions. Their primary responsibility is to care for their children. She was over a barrel, and I respect that she stayed true and did what she had to with the intent to protect Ruby. And this decision almost cost her true love, putting her in that same situation of having love and affection denied to her, as she suffered as a materially privileged, but emotionally-starved young girl.
This situation shows what a masterful writer Kresley Cole is. She takes a scenario where you’re like, “This can’t end well,” and keeps you glued to the pages as she proves that it can, and has you enjoying the ride so much, you feel desolate when the book is over. That was this book (and all her books) in a nutshell. Also, did I mention, this woman knows how to write hot, hot, hot, really hot romance. For me, this was the hottest of her books. I think part of that was because I felt the intense pull that Carrow has on Malkom, and vice versa. They were like two powerful magnets exerting forces of attraction on each other (and pulling the reader along because the energy is so powerful). Ms. Cole manages to use every amorous moment to build the steam up until it’s about to explode and turn the book into a fireball. I really needed a fan as I read this book, and not just because Oblivion is like Yuma, Arizona with the thermostat turned up several degrees.
I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. Well, except that I wanted to find out what happens to some of the other Loreans who got abducted by the Order. I am gnawing on my knuckles to find out what happens between Melanthe and Thronos, and I really want to know more about Declan and Regin. Good thing I am reading Dreams of a Dark Warrior next month.
Kresley Cole, you kick paranormal romance butt and take names. You and the WARDen usually go neck and neck for this reader, but this book puts you in first place now. I’m not just being flattering when I say that my life is so much richer since I started reading your books. I have so much love for the Immortals After Dark series! (Off to fondle my copy and add it to my bookcase with my other beloved IAD books). (less)
William's story lived up to my expectations. He is a very cool character that more or less stole the show from the hero in On the Edge. Not that Decla...moreWilliam's story lived up to my expectations. He is a very cool character that more or less stole the show from the hero in On the Edge. Not that Declan wasn't a perfectly good hero. Well, he was a bit more 'golden boy' than I like my heroes. But he worked for Rose. As for personal taste, I go with William!
What can I say? I like 'em edgy. I appreciated how the Andrews shaped Williams character and showed all his textures and layers. One would think that a changeling would be a pretty basic guy, all id. Not William. He has a dichotomy, although he does aim for simplicity in his actions and thought processes. And wonderfully self-controlled, considering. He had to learn it the hard way, which is organic. I think he was very true to his nature. He had that primal, violent aspect, but also a loving, sensual (and not just in an erotic) nature. Although he had never been part of a family, you could see that he valued and treasured the concept of family. I especially liked how he reacted to Cherise. Just on a primal level, he fell for her and 'knew' she was meant for his. Even with that instant feeling, nothing was guaranteed in the story. There was a long journey for them, and that love story adds to but doesn't take away from this distinctly gritty fantasy read. Although I will put this on my urban fantasy shelf, I guess it really isn't UF. It's more like rural fantasy. Hey, would love more books in this sub-genre!
Speaking of rural fantasy, I loved the local color. With On the Edge, that was a major appeal of the story, the down-home Southern ambience of the story. This story goes even deeper. This is about swamp people. It felt very authentic and real. I think we can all identify with having an interesting family. How we have various relations that are just kind of odd, but we love and accept them because they are family. That's this book in a nutshell. Cerise's family was full of characters, each one distinctive. They gave her a headache and sometimes a heartbreak, but they were blood, and blood is thicker than water. So what if her family has some folks that aren't strictly human? Every family has quirks. I loved Cerise's loyalty to her family, and better yet, that William could respect that and realized that his Mate's family was his family now.
As far as adventure and action, this book has it in spades. As with other books by Andrews, it can be gritty and gory. The whole storyline about the scientific/magical adaptations was rather stomach-churning! If you're squeamish, you might not want to eat while reading some parts. William is seriously awesome as far as his warrior skills, and Cerise more than holds her own. In fact, she rocks the house. She's a tough, strong woman, the kind of woman you want to high five. Despite being tough, she has some vulnerabilities that give her a realistic portrayal. I could identify with her love of family but her feeling of being trapped by obligations. I liked her a lot. On top of her emotional and mental fortitude, Cerise is an incredible swordswoman, which definitely works for me, because I love swordplay. I also liked that her family is full of tough guys, of both sexes. Particularly, liked Kaldar and Aunt Marid, and little Lark. Let's not forget Gaston. But all in all, quite a brood, the Mars!
This was a long book, for sure, but there wasn't filler. I think moreso that there was a lot of story to be told, and no need to cut some of it out. We got William's fully-fleshed story and I loved it. Although I fully adored On the Edge, I love this in a different way. I think that's a great progression for a series, that each one feels different, although it captures what I love about Ilona Andrews' writing and stays true to their voice.
Now I'm wondering what these folks can get up to next in the Edge, Weird, and Broken, or all of the above! Glad there are more books in this series to read!(less)
I ended up loving this book. It was so well-written and the emotions and the characters were real life and genunine. I just adored Hannah. I loved how...moreI ended up loving this book. It was so well-written and the emotions and the characters were real life and genunine. I just adored Hannah. I loved how she was down-to-earth, a tomboy who was more into working on motorcycles than doing her nails, wearing dresses, and primping. She was tough and strong, but genuine. I could understand her pain of being betrayed by her sister and her ex-fiance', but it was also good that she was able to move on from it and live her life. I liked how she interacted with Joe's kids. She wasn't trying to insinuate into their life, or usurp their deceased mother's place.
Joe was great too. He loved Hannah for who she was, and he wasn't trying to change her. I loved how he wanted to do right by his kids and take care of them. He desired Hannah, but she was his friend too. He wanted her to be part of his life and his family. He didn't slight her for his kids, but he loved Hannah and showed that without it overriding his children's needs.
It was so heartbreaking when Hannah had her health scare, and how she tried to extricate herself from Joe's family so she wouldn't hurt them. How they came to her and made it very clear that she was part of their family and they loved her, and they would stick it out until the end brought tears to my eyes.
This is my second read by Sarah Mayberry. I liked the first book I read by her (She's Got it Bad), but I didn't like the subject matter, and it affected me in a negative way that affected my enjoyment. In contrast, this book was just what I needed to read. I love books about two souls who find each other, and fit into each other's life so well--their love makes their lives better, and they aren't trying to hurt each other, but manage to heal those wounds that they each have. Plus, I have a soft spot for heroes who are really good fathers. I definitely want to read more of Sarah Mayberry's books.(less)
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was a lovely little morsel to get me into the Christmas spirit (or at least more into it, since I've already started li...moreChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor was a lovely little morsel to get me into the Christmas spirit (or at least more into it, since I've already started listening to Christmas music on the satellite radio--I'm a Christmas junkie. What can I say?). It was also a great introduction to Ms. Kleypas' new contemporary series. I am very happy with it, and eager to read about Mark's brothers finding their HEAs.
I really loved the heart-warming vibe of this story. I love books that show the incredible bond that can form between a man and a woman (or any group of people who become their own family), and encompass children, either through their own union, or that they have brought into their lives. This book was definitely one of those stories. I have never felt that family has to be limited to the traditional idea of a nuclear bond. Blood bonds are important, but are completely unnecessary in forming a family. This book has that message.
Mark has the magnetic charisma that Ms. Kleypas is so stellar at endowing her heroes with. He also has a little bit of the tortured hero to him, not much, but enough. His family life wasn't great, and after losing his sister, he has taken on the role as guardian to her daughter Holly, not sure if he's up for it, but determined to do his best. Somehow, along the way, his heart is changed from the man who barely does the family thing, to a father who would do anything for his daughter, even if she's only his niece. And his brother Sam also finds an incredible sense of purpose through helping to raise Holly.
What's interesting is the dynamic between Mark, Holly, and Maggie. Initially it seems as though Maggie will be the fairy godmother who comes and makes everything right with Mark and Holly. But it turns out that Mark and Holly do a lot of healing for Maggie, who is still trying to recover from losing her husband, and has sworn off marriage and having kids of her own, afraid and believing she has nothing left to give.
Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors for a reason: She knows her stuff. When I read her books, I am getting a full experience. She puts the heart, a wonderful, exciting love story, the beautiful description, a great, engaging narrative, humor, and pathos all there for me to enjoy. She has a wonderful way with words, a skilled artist who paints a visually-arresting landscape with her prose. Her books never feel flat to me, they are as three-dimensional as if I was there in the scene. I have discovered this sudden urge to go to Washington and explore Friday Harbor, and hope that I will walk past Maggie's toy store, or Mark's coffee-roasting business. I want to look up Rainshadow Vineyard while I am in town. I don't know when I'll get to Washington, but I know I will definitely want to revisit Friday Harbor and its inhabitants again, and this book is short enough to pick up every year to get that lovely Christmas spirit infusion, and to stop by and visit with my new friends that I have made.
If you need a little pick-me-up, and a book to remind you why Christmas is more than just a hassle and a marketing gimmick, but a wonderful time of year to enjoy family and friends, and to remember the most important thing about the season, you will find that in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Because this book shows the power of love to warm hearts and to make bonds where there was no hope for a sense of connection. The power of love to heal what is broken. If you don't believe me, just give this book a read. (less)
This is one of my sister's favorite books, which always makes me want to read a book, since she has good taste. She's usually not wrong about the book...moreThis is one of my sister's favorite books, which always makes me want to read a book, since she has good taste. She's usually not wrong about the books she raves about. The other night, I decided to give it a read, since it has a flower on the cover, I needed a pure, happy romance book to get my mind off of darker thoughts, and it would meet my Spring challenge. I was glad I did. I love the old school romance books. They seemed to build up the romance story in a more believable fashion. As well as the chemistry. I must say Sandra Brown did a great job. She built up the sexual tension expertly in this book. Each scene and interaction, both in the past and the present, showed the attraction between Laura and James. Their kisses and caresses escalated that tension until they consummate. I miss that feeling of expectation of when they finally will do it, instead of the more prevalent insta-sex of today, which really just makes the romance fizzle before it begins. After they have sex, what's the point really in reading the romance? I like the romance to come first. But that's just me.
Other things I liked about this book: *There is something about Southern-set books. The ambience of that location, with all the societal aspects, the simmering heat, and the conventions of Southern folk. I could smell the gardenia and honeysuckle, taste the sweet iced tea, and feel the humid breeze against my skin. It is a clever metaphor for the heated sexual attraction between the characters that is burgeoning right under my eyes as I read. *I love books where the H/h knew each other growing up, although they didn't get together, merely flirting around, or having the unconsummated attraction that will culminate when they reunite later on as adults. *The bad-boy made good storyline: Although I didn't like the snobbery that Laura showed initially against James, I liked the dynamic of Laura and James having been in different social spheres. James was the son of the town drunk, and Laura the daughter of one of the town's more prominent families. James was pretty much like James Dean in the old 50s movies, a greaser with a bad attitude. But he was always a hard worker, just dealing with more pain and rage than a young man can carry and still have peace in his heart. It was good he shook the dust of his hometown off his feet and set off to make a life for himself, and his fortune. And he created his darling little girl, Mandy, who needs a mother. Good thing Laura is there to fill that job. James had a master plan of coming back to his hometown and making a good reputation for himself. Laura's found out that her father left her a mountain of debts and has to sell her house. It's a heartbreaking decision for herself, especially when she has to sell it to James, who she doesn't think is good enough for it. Things change in her thinking, and I was glad that she was able to open her heart and mind (although James had always been in her heart, even if he was way 'too bad, too experienced, too everything' for her). James sure has a way of bringing a girl around in her thinking. James has some revising of his views to undergo too. He wants a perfect southern maven wife, and doesn't need love or passion (at least not with her). He thinks Laura will fit the bill, until he realizes how much passion she has inside, and how much he feels for her. I think Ms. Brown did a good job of showing how James and Laura got to know each other past the misleading perceptions of each other they had (fostered by a society that is way too fixated on such things), and realizing how much they loved each other.
There was a lot to love about this book. I takes me back to the golden days of contemporary romance that I sincerely mourn nowadays. I've read a few of her older books, but I guess I should have paid more attention to Sandra Brown's contemporary romance. Now's as good a time as any.(less)
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I was somewhat disappointed. Some parts were a bit dry, and some parts very tantalizing. I wish the balance...moreI'm not sure what to say about this book. I was somewhat disappointed. Some parts were a bit dry, and some parts very tantalizing. I wish the balance was more in the latter direction. I have to say I loved the hero, Lucas. He was dreamy! He was a very tortured guy, who hadn't gotten a lot of breaks in his life. I wish that Ms. James had focused on that more. I felt like there was too much time focused on how snobby British society viewed him, and how that affected Lillian's view of Lucas way too much, instead of looking into his heart, and what her heart told him about it. I could understand why, since her mother had ran off with her lover, broken her father's heart, and disgraced her family. She had spent her life trying to be the epitome of a well-behaved lady, the epitome of English gentility. However, she was very unhappy with her life, twenty-five years old, and yearning to be loved. She was tired of being the perfect young lady, the model for others. She just wanted something real for herself. At times, she was almost unlikeable, coming off as being a complete snob at times. Lucas didn't deserve that from her at all. Granted, it took him some time to get back to her after she was ruined when he was caught kissing her hand on the balcony, but he had a good reason for it. She didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt.
I liked the bond and chemistry between Lucas and Lillian. It did seem like a fated, compelling love they shared. The brief love scene was pretty steamy. Definitely some good points for that!
I didn't quite get why the children of Lucas' deceased wife's sister were introduced, but then you didn't hear about them until near the end. I felt like they were more of a plot point than an organic part of the story. This was another area that could have been more developed instead of showing society functions as much as was done. I liked seeing the couple trying to work on their marriage, and interacting with the kids, and I wished there was more of this.
The adventurous climax was too quick and didn't make a lot of sense to me. I would have preferred seeing Lucas and Lillian work on their relationship to this.
All in all, this could have been a better read than it was. I liked Lucas a lot, and the little girls were cute. Lillian disappointed me in her snobbiness, despite my understanding of her issues. I wanted her to 'woman up' sooner than she did. I liked the Victorian setting, and the Christmas elements. But, I ended up feeling mostly let down by this book. Mistletoe Magic wasn't a bad book, but it could have been much better. It had a lot of potential. Sophia James' lovely way with words was evident, this just needed a more cohesive, focused narrative to shine like it had the potential to do.(less)
This book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic when...moreThis book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic when I finished the book. Not all books have to have a feel good quotient, but it's certainly nice when they do.
Evan and Kathy were both struggling to do right by the boys they were raising: Evan was a single father with a three-year-old son, and a big farm to run. Kathy was raising her orphaned nephew.
Evan used to be a wild child, raising you know what, and living life in the fast lane. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, he did the right thing, and married her. But she didn't want the settled life of a wife to a farmer, and a mother. She ran off with Jesse and broke Evan's heart. He finally got his son back, and he's determined to do the right thing by him. But, he's still insecure that he's not a good man or role model for his son.
Kathy decided that small-town life would be better for Mac, because he was getting to be at the age where trouble was calling his name. She was thirty-four and still a virgin, and thought her chances at love has passed her by. In fact, she didn't even date. Evan is too gorgeous to ignore, and he has an adorable young son. Could this man be the answer to her dreams, able to be husband to her, and father to her nephew, who badly needs a male influence?
This couple met when Mac vandalized Evan's truck. Evan recognizes the plea for help in Mac's actions, and sentences him to two weeks shoveling manure on his farm. It turns out to be a really good decision on his part, helping to bring these two people and their sons together to form a family. The kids are pretty cute: Jesse and Mac hit it off and become honorary brothers. It was nice to see Mac's sullen teen angst get melted by an adorable kid. Mac's vulnerabilities were realistic in light of losing his mother, and his father rejecting him before he was even born. He feared that Kathy didn't truly love him but saw him as an obligation, and he acted out because of it. Evan did a great job of setting boundaries with Mac, and showing him that parental love is often in the form of loving discipline, an area that Kathy had trouble. Working on the farm gives Mac something to focus on other than his sense of inadequacy and his fears.
This was a really nice, sweet story. It's probably too sweet for some readers. Things wrap up in a nice bow at the end, and that's a-ok with me. Since life isn't really like that, it's nice to read books where that happens.
Kathy and Evan are a good match. They have passion and understanding, and can work past their disputes and uncertainties to keep their marriage going. I like that their love encompassed their children, proving that there is infinite room in a person's heart for people to love. They are two people I can see happily married fifty years from now. It was great spending a couple hours with them and reading about their romance.(less)
After reading my last HP, this one pales in comparison. However, it's a good book.
Some of my thoughts:
*I could totally understand why Alex was unhapp...moreAfter reading my last HP, this one pales in comparison. However, it's a good book.
Some of my thoughts:
*I could totally understand why Alex was unhappy with Gabriel's lying to her about his identity. It's probably a 'duh' comment, but I truly hate when people lie to you. It's usually unnecessary. And it makes a future relationship based on trust very difficult. So, I could see Alex's insecurity in her relationship with Gabriel, although I didn't like it. I felt her struggle not to be 'weak' in her feelings for him. It's hard when you fall head over heels, and you can't be rational about it. I got that, loud and clear. I did like that she fought that insecurity and worked on hanging onto her sense of identity. I didn't agree with every decision she made. But in the light of their relationship, they made sense. *Gabriel is a hero who's arrogant, but not to the point of it being a chokepoint to me. He even admits that he's arrogant, and I like that he comes down off his high horse and works to meet Alex halfway. I also liked that he was man enough to appreciate a woman like Alex who 'keeps it real'. She isn't into makeup, girly clothes, or glamming it up, but Alex loves her for who she is. His only thing is that she doesn't wear tight clothes because he's possessive over her. I'm all for a guy who doesn't try to change a woman to fit his unrealistic view of his perfect woman. Alex was his perfect woman as is. Works for me! *Luke is present in the book, which is good. I think it's such a waste to have a book about parents and you never see the kids. You could see how having a child changed your life in the dynamic with Alex and her son, and how Gabriel had to get up to speed with having a child.
Yeah, I have to say that I'd probably have rated this higher if I hadn't read the book I just finished right before it. That one just blew me away, so in comparison, this one is going to be in the 3.5 star range. A good book that I enjoyed. I liked a lot more than I didn't like, and that's always a good thing.
Magnificent Folly was a quick, pleasing read from back in the day by this prolific author. It continues the story of the Clanad, a group of people wit...moreMagnificent Folly was a quick, pleasing read from back in the day by this prolific author. It continues the story of the Clanad, a group of people with powerful telepathic abilities who have found a refuge in the Middle Eastern country Sedikhan. This story is about Andrew, who is the brother of Mariana, from A Tough Man to Tame. Andrew donated his sperm so that Lily could have a child, only she doesn’t find out that he’s her daughter’s father until he finds them nine years later. Andrew bonds with their mutual daughter, Cassie, telepathically. Although Cassie is considered latent, she is able to communicate with Andrew, who she says, “Brings beautiful music to her.” Cassie is a musical prodigy, and the main focus of Lily’s life. Lily resents Andrew’s appearance in her life for a number of reasons. First of all, she hasn’t trusted or desired a relationship with a man since she was betrayed by one before she got pregnant with Cassie. Also, she can’t believe that Andrew has these special gifts. Lily is a realist, only believing what is tangible and real to her eyes and senses. Other things are as evanescent as sand castles. And then there is the fact that she has to share Cassie now with her father. However, Cassie is in danger from the people who want to track down and experiment on the Clanad and their descendents.
I loved Andrew. He is such an adorable, warm, loving, and sexy guy. I kept thinking of Spencer Reid (played by Matthew Gray Gubler) from “Criminal Minds”, who I have a lustful crush on, even though Andrew doesn’t look like Spencer. He just has that brilliant but sweet vibe that I love about Spencer. Andrew is steadfast in his love for Lily, who he saw on campus (where her doctor was) and fell in love at first sight, even knowing that it was hopeless that he could have had a relationship with her. If he could help her by donating his sperm for her to get pregnant, at least he could be in her life in that way. Andrew stays out of her life for nine young years (since he was in his teens at the time he first saw Lily, and only seventeen or eighteen when she got pregnant by him via artificial insemination). But when he realizes she and Cassie are in danger, he can’t stay away. He also realizes that he needs to take the chance to convince Lily that they belong together.
I found Lily frustrating for the majority of this book. Her past issues made her way too distrusting. She refused to see that Andrew was the real deal, although he was always as honest as he could be, and very genuine. Plus, Cassie trusted and had bonded with Andrew early on, which was good evidence that Andrew was a good person worthy of her trust, at least in my book. I can understand trust issues, but she took hers too far, and said some very hurtful things to Andrew, which seemed like shooting fish in a barrel, because he was so sweet. I did like the gesture she made at the end. It was perfect and poetic.
Although Lily’s character was annoying at times, I did like this book quite a bit. I was in a dark emotional place when I read it, and the book helped me to focus on something else other than my issues. So I appreciate that. Plus, I was glad I got to meet Andrew. (less)
Ironskin is a clever re-telling of Jane Eyre with a delicious heaping tablespoon of faerie thrown in. Since Jane Eyre is tied for my favorite book of...moreIronskin is a clever re-telling of Jane Eyre with a delicious heaping tablespoon of faerie thrown in. Since Jane Eyre is tied for my favorite book of all time, I definitely loved that about this book. I appreciated catching the references to the original novel and reading the author's original story with her own ideas based on this beloved classic. In other words, this is not a word for word redux of Jane Eyre. Instead it's a "what if?" sort of take on the novel by Charlotte Brontë.
I am captivated with the post-World War I period and the twenties, and it was a big plus that this book is set somewhere in that late 1910s-early 1920s period. Also, the infusion of faerie into the modern period that would seem incongruous but wasn't. The Gothic atmosphere is prominent, and the menacing allure of faerie magic. Don't look for friendly fey in this book. They are mean and vicious, and terribly insidious. The fey storyline turns out to be quite interesting and unsettling. Connolly taps into the essence of Post-War morals, the shunning of deep things and an enhanced superficiality. Shallow above substance. While the Great War is quite different in this book, the scars it left on society are similarly wounding to the survivors, and the society grabs onto the bright phony allure when so little of the Pre-War way of life is left behind.
Most of the characters are walking wounded, with some who seem blatantly unsympathetic. It takes a while to see where Connolly was going, which impacted my rating, honestly. Even until the end, I felt ambivalent, and the story was rather ambiguous. And yet, there was something impactful about this book. I think Connolly connected to the aesthetic in me. The appeal was in the dreamy and artful descriptions of the house and characters and the manner in which she revealed characters, with descriptions and body language telling much of who the characters were even before they open their mouths. Additionally, the characters' emotions were seething off the page. For this reader, that always speaks loudly when reading a novel. Jane, a tortured heroine who is drifting and surviving, because she has no other choice. When she finds a home with Mr. Rochart and his daughter Dorie, she fears it's an elusive dream, because of persistent feelings of inadequacy and a lack of self-worth. In this way she differs from Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is ever-aware of her shortcomings, but her sense of self is so strong. She is a tiny ball of determination and powerful will. She refuses to settle for less than she deserves, even if that means denying herself the man she loves. This Jane has to grow into that, and while I wasn't happy with some of the choices she made, I was happy that she found the fighter within that was buried under a mountain of hurt. Mr. Rochart is more vague and lacks the vibrancy of Rochester. He's also not as abrasive as Rochester, which is an enduring part of this character's appeal to fans of the novel. But I think he's a better fit for this Jane. He's her Rochester in the end. Dorie had such an impact on me. The lonely, troubled child in need of love and care that Jane is able to connect with. She is one of those younger characters that inspires the mothering urge in me. Also Poule's character. I can't speak on her at length, since it would spoil what was a very novel part of this book.
While Ironskin was a good book, it just didn't satisfy me completely. There was a sense of inertia when I read. As though the story wanted to get someone but it wandered aimlessly in a series of ever-widening circles. I'm not sure if that effectively conveys how I felt as I read, but it's as close as I can articulate at this time. The aspects of this story that appealed to me are significant, which is why I would recommend reading it. I just wanted more momentum in this book. Ultimately, I did appreciate the underlying themes. It speaks on the power of substance and will over all that glitters. Also that our wounds and scars can make us stronger, because they are tangible evidence of the inner truth. That we are survivors, down deep. We must just find that core of strength to prevail over our doubts and fears to grab hold of what we desire and need most in this life.
This book was so good!! I loved Coburn. What a man!!! You can tell I was a happy reader by the number of exclamation points I've used thus far. Honor...moreThis book was so good!! I loved Coburn. What a man!!! You can tell I was a happy reader by the number of exclamation points I've used thus far. Honor was a good heroine too. Very intense and awesome suspense. Very close to five stars. Rating: 4.5 stars.