Oh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and writt...moreOh, now that was a good, old-fashioned horror story. It definitely does live up the challenge of chilling my blood. It was very atmospheric, and written to great affect. I could almost imagine how it must have been for poor Angelo each night when he was preyed upon by the creature, and I felt as though I could see the mound that the two gentlemen are discussing, and how creepy that must have been for them. I also felt sad at the injustice against poor Cristina, and how she wreaks her vengeance. Crawford doesn't explain how or why the creature rises to prey on Angelo, but I don't feel it was necessary. This story was completely successful in delivering an elegant scare. I read "The Upper Berth" by this author, and it was very scary. This one is quite fearsome as well, although very different. Mr. Crawford knows his way around a scary story. Yes, indeed. He's going on my list of the best classic horror writers.
I have heard nothing but good things about Savannah J. Frierson's writing. I can see the praise was well-deserved. This is one of the best books I've...moreI have heard nothing but good things about Savannah J. Frierson's writing. I can see the praise was well-deserved. This is one of the best books I've ever read. I've read a lot of romances, and luckily I don't actively dislike most of them. But neither can I say I love many of them to death and would seriously consider taking on a desert island as the only book I would bring. I feel that way about this book. It's one of those books you want to read again right after you finish it, and will no doubt pull off the shelf again and again to reread, in parts or completely.
This book is a love story, pure and simple. Don't let the fact that Tim and Bevin met in a bar on a night where her friends go out to pick up guys fool you. When they met, an intense connection was there. One of those once in a lifetime kind of things. Tim saw this beautiful, dark-skinned, thick/abundant/luscious/far from thin woman and knew she was the one for him. He loved her body, loved her being a dark-skinned Black woman, loved her heart and her mind, loved everything about her. Bevin thought he'd see her only as the gateway to her thin, sexy White friend who has her eye on him. But he makes it very clear that he's interested in her, not her friend. It takes a little while for this to sink in for Bevin, but Tim is a very patient man, and very willing to express his feelings for Bevin as often as possible, giving her the reassurance she needs. Tim is a man who knows what he wants, even in a very short period of time. His instincts honed in dangerous, spur-of-the moment situations make it clear that Bevin is the woman he wants and he should go for it. Tim is a very appealing hero in pursuit!
I knew I was going to like Tim early on in this book. Tim is real. He's down to earth, raw-speaking, big muscles (he picks up Bevin all the time), lovely sea-green eyes, Southern charm, mind-melting intensity and all. He knows how to love a woman. That is rare, even in a lot of the so-called romance novels that get written now. I submit that a lot of modern heroes know how to sex up a heroine. Love just happens along after they've had a few orgasms together. That is not this book. Yes, there is a strong sexual connection between Tim and Bevin, and I loved that about the novel. But it was the intense love that he shows Bevin that makes this book a winner for me.
Bevin is not an easy sale. Tim even thinks at one point that he had never worked so hard to get a woman. He says this with a sense of awe and satisfaction, no frustration. She is completely skeptical of his attentions after being ignored for her thinner, livelier, and might I submit looser friends (well, they are). He sees her as the real deal, the one that he wanted and was willing to work for.
I liked that Bevin was a strong woman, but she was gentle and sweet also. Somewhere along the way, a very pervasive stereotype of black women as hardass buttkickers who don't cry and never allow themselves to be vulnerable has caught on. It's so untrue. Black women want to be cherished and loved just like any other women. Like many other real Black women, Bevin was vulnerable, in a way that was almost painful to observe. Bevin was very real. Bevin was infinitely worthy of being loved so intensely by Tim.
Tim didn't have a real family, other than his now-deceased grandmother. His father was a drunk abuser who ran off when he was three. His mother was a drunk who neglected him. He found his home and sense of purpose in the NAVY SEALs and his team. He comes to the conclusion that he wants forever with Bevin, a family. He wants to love and cherish her and treat her with respect. You never have a moment when you doubt this in how he treats Bevin. I loved how caring and possessive Tim was. He was pretty raunchy too, but at the same time, he showed her a lot of respect. I was actually surprised at how late the consummation came and the way it came (Sorry. No spoilers here).
The secondary characters were great in this story: Bevin's wonderful parents, Tim's best friend Ulrich, Bevin's friends (Rosita, Courtney, Patrice, and Tamara), who are also her co-workers at the coffehouse The Grind that they own, and co-members in the Femme Crew. I love how Bevin's mom and dad adopt Tim very early on as their future son-in-law despite the race difference. He not only got the woman he dearly loved, but a ready-made family to go with her.
This is one of those really hard reviews to write. I can't say how much I loved this book, because my writing is nowhere near as good as Savannah J. Frierson's. But I can and do recommend reading this book from the bottom of my heart. I think that anyone who wants to read an intensely good love story that will touch the heart and engage the emotions, and keep your interest riveted past the last page would enjoy this book. It doesn't mantter if it's a fan of interracial romance, plus-sized heroine romances, or just plain romance. Yes, the sex is spicy (but happens in the best way (in my opinion), and there is some raunchy language, but this story couldn't be sweeter. In fact, I think the intense sexual attraction was an integral part of this story, because a woman should be desired intensely by the man who deeply loves her, and vice versa. I was buying her books already, but after this wonderful book, without a doubt, Savannah J. Frierson goes on my autobuy list.(less)
This was a pleasant historical romance novel. I didn't have that spark of an unputdownable book, but certainly it was a nice way to spend a few hours....moreThis was a pleasant historical romance novel. I didn't have that spark of an unputdownable book, but certainly it was a nice way to spend a few hours.
This was a cute, enjoyable romance. Cami was sassy and lifelike for a heroine. She was a Texas girl that could be walking on the streets of San Antoni...moreThis was a cute, enjoyable romance. Cami was sassy and lifelike for a heroine. She was a Texas girl that could be walking on the streets of San Antonio, going out Texas two-stepping, or riding her horse in real life. Although Cami was a very young heroine, only nineteen, I didn't find her immature. She was young and had some idealistic views, but she showed maturity when it counted, and definitely met Ray head on.
Rayhan was hot. He was a bit behind in his views about women, 'wanting a pure vessel to carry his seed' although he played the field with unvirtuous American girls that he condemned with this mouth. Men! He did an underhanded thing, deliberately courting his enemy's daughter to get her oil rights, but I believed he manned up in the end and showed his devotion to Cami. It was kind of a complicated situation with her father swindling him. He certainly shouldn't have held onto his need for vengeance for ten years, but there was a part of his heritage, the need to seek vengeance. Funny how men in some of these books always want to use the heroine for said vengeance. And look at me reading these books.
Ray didn't want to admit but he fell fast and hard for Cami. I liked that he showed his commitment to her refusing by taking another wife, when he easily could have. Although Cami would have left him faster than you can drop a hot potato (not that I blame her). Cami showed her maturity and her strength in how she handled the situation with Ray's betrothed (a match made by his interfering brother the King).
This book had some really good sexual tension between Cami and Ray. It was odd how the writer would cut away from the love scenes, though. I've read Silhouette Romances with love scenes (not extremely explicit mind you). But I felt the love play between Cami and Ray was on the more descriptive side, and kind of set you up for some bedroom fireworks (and they were married at the time). Alas, the door closed between the deed was done and opened afterwards. What a shame.
My favorite part was when they were in Ray's home kingdom Adnan. It was a beautiful place, and the atmosphere felt very authentic. I think that Ms. Swift did her research and it showed. I felt like I was there. And what a nice trip it was. I enjoyed seeing the scenes where the family sat down to a casual dinner, and Cami feeds her niece by marriage. It was very nice to read about.
Although In The Sheikh's Arms didn't break any ground as a sheikh romance, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would definitely recommend it as a fan of the genre, and I am adding it to my keeper shelf.(less)
I'm not going to change my four star rating, because I felt like this was a 4 star book when I read it. However, some elements of the storytelling hav...moreI'm not going to change my four star rating, because I felt like this was a 4 star book when I read it. However, some elements of the storytelling have caused me to discontinue this series. It's not a bad book or a bad series. It's just too sex-focused for me. I love faerie stories, and I thought the fact that Fiona was a faerie princess was very cool. However, I didn't like the execution in that being a faerie princess became a plot point to string together the numerous sexual encounters in the book. I felt that it was much too intriguing a concept to be used in such a fashion. And, frankly, I didn't feel a strong love bond between the couple. But, that's just me. At the time, I didn't realize that Ms. Warren is coming over from romantica, where the strong sexual content is desired. I have nothing against that, it's just not my thing. When I read romantica, I usually feel like I want more story and less sex, especially when there's a very interesting paranormal/fantasy element that I want to see explored further. So, this book helped me to decide not to read the rest of the series. Having said that, it would work very well for those readers who like a lot of sensual content and an interesting storyline that sort of goes to the sidelines for the sexual relationship/love aspects. This book isn't terribly sexually explicit. It just has a lot of sex in it. I do have to say the climax was well done.(less)
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 excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because I...moreThis book excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because I read A Hunger Like No Other first. I remember reading A Hunger and being like, "Who are Myst and Nikolai?" When I realized that there was a prequel short story, I was on the hunt to get it. Finally I found it at a Half Price Books in San Antonio. I bought it and read it when I was in Denver for training. I actually read it about 2 and 1/2 times. I love this story so much. It's short but it's very hot and sweet. So well written, with characters that jump off the page at you. I thought I loved Lachlain, until I met Nikolai. The man is so delicious to me, and like Myst, I can't resist his scars and his warrior essence. It has a captive theme, so that might not work for some. As the saying goes, I would not kick Nikolai out of bed for eating crackers. Yet honestly, Nikolai is not a gentle lover, but Myst doesn't exactly play fair either. In the IAD universe vampires are unable to have sex until they meet their Bride who 'bloods' them. And then, watch out. Well, Myst is Nikolai's bride, despite the fact that as a valkyrie she hates vampires and kills their kind. She actually exploits the fact that she can 'blood' vampires and has killed them by almost seducing them. Well she feels an attraction to Nikolai despite her hatred of vamps. When she 'bloods' him, she leaves him hanging, in desperate need that only she can assuage for five years. Talk about frustration. This story has excellent chemistry, and the skill of Cole's writing shines in this short story. She is so good at combining humor, action, and writing characters that burn for each other.
Although I do love Sherrilyn Kenyon, I have not been enthralled by her BAD stories. They are just too ordinary for me. I really like what she does with paranormal in contemporaries, and I miss it when it's not there.
The Jaid Black story was pretty unique with the modern vikings who steal women to take underground. This is one is also a captive/kidnapped story with a bit of forced seduction if that is not a person's cup of tea. It was good, and I enjoyed it. However, I would say read this collection for the Kresley Cole story!(less)
Stolen was nothing like I expected. Well, I wasn't sure what to expect, actually. Ms. Armstrong expanded the world she created in Bitten, to encompass...moreStolen was nothing like I expected. Well, I wasn't sure what to expect, actually. Ms. Armstrong expanded the world she created in Bitten, to encompass other paranormal beings, adding witches, sorcerers, demons, and vampires to the mix. I liked how it was very much in the mode of realistic and everyday. The origins of these beings are not clearly stated, but speculated on. She doesn't ascribe good or bad characteristics to them overall, other than the sorcerers tendency to be more on the bad side, mostly due to the bad blood between them and witches.
This ended up being a slowly-unfolding, but at the same time, intense read. There seemed to be a strong underlying theme to this story about the necessity of violence. Accordingly, there's quite a bit of violence, most of it warranted, as Elena and the other paranormal beings she becomes acquainted with find themselves fighting for their lives and freedom. There's also some violence that made me squirm. Some of the actions of Elena, Clay, and Jeremy fall very much in the moral gray area, if you were to consider them human beings, with the ascribed moral absolutes that go along with humanity. However, they are not humans--they are werewolves, and their actions tend to show that aspect of their natures. Even still, Elena, Clay, and Jeremy are different in their approaches to situations. Jeremy is the most self-controlled--his actions governed by reason and what is best for the Pack. Elena is more likely to help others who are not Pack. Clay thinks only of his mate, Elena, and the Pack. Nothing else matters to him. He'll take care of others to make Elena happy. But, otherwise, he wouldn't go out of his way to do something that didn't benefit the Pack. In essence, Clay is pure wolf, even though he walks in human skin. As a whole, they kill, and it's more out of expedience at times, than an absolute need to do so. But, Elena doesn't make excuses for her actions. She admits that there would be another way, but this way turns out to be the best for the circumstance. While a part of me was somewhat troubled by these killings, I couldn't escape the reality of the fact that those that Elena, Jeremy, and Clay killed were men and women who had showed a lack of respect and value for the lives of the paranormal beings they had stalked, kidnapped and held captive. And, faced with the villain in this story, it's clear what is worse: to kill out of necessity, or to kill for the fun of it. Tyrone Winslow is a geeky, billionaire computer genius who decided that he likes the idea of a real life death match in which he makes the paranormals run for their lives, with no sure chance of escape. Why? Because he's a megalomaniac, craving power, and even in the most petty ways. Because it's fun for him, and because he can. He came off as petty and completely objectionable, showing how loathesome he was in his power struggles with Elena, and how he interacted with his employees at the place where they were imprisoning the paranormals. For all my qualms about the killing of people in this book, I didn't feel too bad for him when Elena and Clay turned the tables on him. He got his just deserts.
Stolen introduces the witch characters Paige and Savannah, who will play major roles in this series. I must say my interest was perked, and I do look forward to reading their stories. However, the highlight of this story was seeing Clay and Elena, and their relationship. Clay would do just about anything for Elena. His love is powerful and steadfast. And in this story, you can see that Elena does love him just as much, whereas in Bitten, she was running from that feeling and trying to avoid acknowledging that she loved Clay. They just felt right together. Jeremy was fascinating, and there was tantalizing bits of him in this story that make me want to see more of him.
Stolen was a book that took some investment on my part to read. But it turned out to be worth the time spent. It wasn't quite as fascinating to me as Bitten, and I'm not sure why. But I did like seeing the development of Elena. She seemed more multi-faceted in this story. I saw more of her humor, and her emotional depth that I didn't quite see in Bitten. Although slow-moving at times, this was a good follow-up to Bitten.(less)
Magician: Apprentice is an appealing introduction into an epic fantasy series that a newbie can enjoy. It offers a young hero who is just at the begin...moreMagician: Apprentice is an appealing introduction into an epic fantasy series that a newbie can enjoy. It offers a young hero who is just at the beginning of his journey to find his purpose in life. Feist offers a fantasy world on the brink of war from a threat that has the capacity to bring great change to Midkemia as they know it.
While the world has a typical medieval-type feel, the variety of races presented give the world an incredible texture. I loved the descriptions of the elves and their way of life, how they are similar and different from the Dark Brotherhood, Elves who have fallen into a darker way of life. I have to say that the dwarves really caught my attention. Their beliefs, values and their skill at fighting and navigating the mines of the Stone Mountains. Of course, loved the dragon!
I wasn't sure about the Tsurani storyline initially, but it takes this story in a different direction from what I initially expected. It sets up an incredible culture clash that takes this novel to a wider focus as the Midkemians have to work together to stave off the invasion of forces from another world.
Initially, it seems that Pug, our young magician apprentice, is the center of this story. But it becomes clear that various characters gain the focus of Feist. Starting out like a coming of age story, and I suppose it continues to be one in some way, this story becomes one about people dealing with their world being invaded by a formidable group of people whose values are completely alien to their own, and who seem invincible.
One detractor I'd have for this story is that it's not a standalone. The story doesn't end on an obvious cliffhanger, but you definitely have to keep reading to find out what happens to all the pivotal characters. With a massively overflowing to read list, I am not eager for too many series to add, but the strength of the story and the good writing here, guarantees I will be back for more.
Fantasy Beginner Rating (explanation: Scale is based on whether this is a good book for beginner fantasy readers or it is better for one who has read a lot of fantasy. High-Good starter book. Medium-Okay for a beginner. Low-May be confusing for a novice fantasy-reader.):
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most defi...more2nd Reread Completed 8/1-8/9/13
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most definitely that this book is an all-time keeper. For me, this story is magic. I didn't have a lot of time to read it, but I actually didn't want to put it down when I couldn't read it. Finally, when I was able to dedicate some time to reading, I more or less read it straight through, except for when I was busy with my review books and Vacation Bible School. At the end of the night, I was excited to get into bed and curl up and revisit Lachlain and Emma's love story, reading late into the night.
Lachlain remains one of my fall time favorite paranormal heroes (and probably of all time). Although I refuse to pick a favorite Immortals After Dark hero, Lachlain makes some steep competition for the following heroes. He starts out a bully, but I can understand why. He literally was insane after being tortured for 150 years. However, it is a testament to his force of will that he didn't do worse to Emmaline, not to mention the power of their bond. Even though he wasn't super nice initially, his charisma was undeniable. As time passes and he realizes who Emma is and how she means to him, above and beyond being his fated mate, he shows just how adoring and capable of caring for his mate he can be. By the time Emma starts to love him, you can understand why. Cole makes you want a Lykae mate of your very own.
Sometimes the heroine doesn't click with me in a romance. But this is not one of those times. I loved Emma. I appreciated her journey of self-identity and coming into her own. She had that awkward feel of a woman on the cusp of maturity in her early twenties. Away from home for the first time, exploring who she is, and finding love. Considering the force of nature that Lachlain is, I think Emma held her own against him, and eventually, she had him eating out of her hand.
I think Kresley Cole writes the best steamy romance out there. Blazingly hot, but not crossing the line into raunchy and distasteful (overshare) language that turns 'sexy' into 'gross' for this reader. Even on the reread, I was excited to see what happened next, and fanning myself with the incredible tension and fire between Emma and Lachlain. I wasn't a huge fan of vampire romance prior to reading this (this being one of the first I read at the time), but the scenes in which Lachlain feeds Emma show how powerful that is between a mated pair, and it's sexy, and not gross like I always thought it would be. I'm not saying I want to take blood or give my blood like in the book, but it's written well and beliveable in the context of the story. It's a very intimate thing, and you could see how it furthers the connection between them.
On top of the fantastic romance, the world-building is complex and fascinating, and I love the camaraderie between the Valkyries and the other characters. You can see the Lore factions aligning before your eyes on the one way march to the Ascension. And though the developing romance is fascinating, it's also great to get glimpses into the past of the long-lived creatures of the Lore.
There's a reason why Kresley Cole is in my top five authors of all time. She knows how to bring it. In the paranormal and historical romance genres, she kicks butt and takes names. You want to keep coming back for more of this wonderful world she has created. I'm glad I was able to revisit this fantastic book and I am jazzed to continue my 2013 reread of the Immortals After Dark series.
****Original Review Below********* I bought this book because I had read "If You Dare," by this author and absolutely loved it. Well, lets just say, it made a steadfast fan of me. The Immortals After Dark is one of my all time favorite paranormal series, and part of the reason I'm so crazy about paranormals. Lachlain is kind of crazy, and who can blame him after being imprisioned horribly underground in a fiery pit, being drowned every day and consumed by fire for 150 years. One day he senses his mate, and he does something really painful and desperate to get free, to get to her. I was hooked.
Lachlain is what I call a Sexy, Scottish, Werewolf. What a great combination. His one shortcoming is that he is kind of snobby towards Emmaline at first. He's dismayed that this true mate (Lykae only get one) is a Vampire. Although she's really a halfling, half-vampire, half-valkyrie. Emmaline is as timid as you can get. She's been protected and coddled by her valkyrie aunts her whole young life. She's about 70 years old, which is very young for a vampire and a valkyrie. Despite her penchant for very sexy, expensive lingerie, she's an innocent virgin.
Imagine this crazed, beastly man tearing across a Paris courtyard, and dragging you off with him, and wanting to do things with you of a sexual nature? Very scary thought. This is how this book begins. Cole grabbed me as a reader and didn't let go. I wanted to find out how Lachlain would deal with the fact that his mate was not exactly what he wanted. Would he force her? Would she grow to love him and trust him? They go on a journey to get back to Lachlain's ancestral holdings in Scotland. He is the king of the Lycae and must go back to take his place as ruler of his people. Even though he isn't really happy with the mate that was chosen for him by fate, he's taking her with him. Lochlain has to get used to modern life. He finds he has expensive tastes, and charges up poor Emmaline's platinum card. He really makes the poor girl miserable. But she does manage to fall in love with him. She's not so sure about this Queen of the Lykae deal and having such a dominant mate, though. So it takes some serious wooing, Lykae-style, on Lachlain's part. And Lachlain discovers that having a vampire bride is a great thing, because being bitten by her is ecstasy. Plus, Emmaline is a sweet, loving woman who eases her way into his heart.
This was a fabulous book. I was already werewolf-inclined after reading the MaryJanice Davidson story "Love's Prisoner", Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, and Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon, so it really got my attention. This is a spicy read with very hot love scenes, that don't overshadow the growing love between Lachlain and Emmaline. I enjoyed the whole dynamic of reluctant mates, and the crazy, alpha werewolf hero really appealed to me. I loved how Lachlain's feelings towards his bride changed so that he came to adore her and appreciate her. She became his life. I also loved how timid Emmaline comes into her own. She was drifting because she knew neither of her parents. She was afraid and disliked her vampire nature, and had to come to terms with who she is. She becomes quite the warrior queen. Ah, this is a classic for me. It comes highly recommended.
Just a warning to readers. The first book in this series is the story in Playing Easy to Get, "The Warlord Wants Forever." I read this one first and I was scratching my head trying to figure out who Nikolai and Myst were. You can read this first, but you might be a little lost when they bring up Nikolai and Myst as a forgone conclusion. (less)
Neverwhere is one of those books that answers the 'what if' question about the city in which you live your days, going through your admittedly 'mundan...moreNeverwhere is one of those books that answers the 'what if' question about the city in which you live your days, going through your admittedly 'mundane' routines. In this case, London. What if there was a London Below, a strange world which consists of Underground railways, tunnels, sewers, and sometimes uncannily parallels the London that the average inhabitant thought they knew but didn't, and in a way that seems a lot more interesting? It's a scary place, not terribly clean and sanitary. But it's also a place of wonders. If you spent some time there, would you find yourself, and realize that the normal world just doesn't hold the same charm for you, now that you've realized the possibilities? With this book, you can ponder these questions for yourself through the viewpoint of Richard Mayhew.
The unknown is scary for us. Scary, but also exciting. You just have to find the courage to seek it out. That's one thing I love about books. They take me places that I'm not sure I'd want to go in real life. And in the process, they make me want to be braver than I am. Richard has to find that courage (the hard way), but he becomes a hero and a champion in his own right in the process of his journey. He faces pain, loss, and uncertainty, but he gains a lot more in return.
This is the third book I've read by Neil Gaiman (all on audio), and I really appreciate his writing. He has a wonderful way with humor, a grand sense of adventure and whimsy, and he finds the uncanny and fantastical in the everyday and ordinary. Honestly, that's why I love fantasy, particularly urban fantasy.
Although parts of this story were dark in subject matter and could have been too gruesome, the writing keeps the subject from being over the top in these areas. Subtlety in storytelling gives this reader enough to know just how bad the bad guys are, and without the scenes being too off-putting. And there is always hope that good will win out. I need that in a book.
Of course, living in the sewer and the underground aren't the most clean ways to go about one's business, but there was also an undeniable appeal to these worlds. I'm not saying you will see me taking off on a sewer adventure (not going to happen), but at least I can read about it, and think that it didn't sound quite as bad as I thought it would (for the most part).
I liked the diversity of this world. People of different colors, shapes, sizes and origins. That's how a big city like London truly is, not the monochromatic make-believe of some of the shows on TV (which I won't name) where you wonder how the characters can go seven seasons without ever encountering a person of color. And the diversity isn't just background filler. Diverse people have strong roles in this story. With this added appeal, it made the novel even more enjoyable.
Neverwhere was a fun, interesting novel, with some mystical, otherworldly elements right smack dab in the middle of the everyday. I loved that about this book. I am so glad I started reading Neil Gaiman. I recommend you give this book a try if you haven't read him yet.
If you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows sh...moreIf you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows she’s a ‘bad girl’ in some way. In this case, Grant thinks that Devon’s demanding, spendthrift ways lead to her father embezzling money from his company to keep her in the style to which she had become accustomed. He showed up on their doorstep the night before Devon leaves for Sweden, not for an extravagant vacation like he thinks, but for a surgery that promises to give her full use of her hip, which was injured in the car accident that killed her mother. Devon comes back from Sweden to find that her father has been terminated from his job at Grant’s business, and will likely be prosecuted. She approaches Grant and asks him not to prosecute her father, and she’ll do anything he wants in return. His proposition is that she live with him as his mistress. Devon is willing to do this so that she can save her father from prison.
I liked that Grant wanted to be the ruthless seducer, but he didn’t really have it in him. He was clearly in love with Devon early on. He was kind of grumpy about it, but he had every opportunity to seduce her, but he didn’t take them, after he finds out that she had a bad hip and the money was spent to get her well. From that point, he does everything he can to get her to rest as she’s supposed to so she can get the all clear at her follow up.
I thought it was cute how Devon kept throwing herself at Grant so he would go ahead and fulfill his part of the bargain before her father comes back from the business trip in Scotland that Grant sent him on. Grant seems to come up with excuses for them not to be ‘together.’ Although Devon was clueless about Grant’s feelings for her, I as the reader, was not.
I really liked this book. It was a fun read. Devon was a nice girl, and Grant finally looked past his cynicism to see that, because Cupid’s bow had struck him dead center in the heart. (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 had issues with the heroine in this one. I think that Porter was trying to go for the modern heiress along the lines of Paris Hilton, but one who lo...moreI had issues with the heroine in this one. I think that Porter was trying to go for the modern heiress along the lines of Paris Hilton, but one who loved and made sacrifices for her family. It just didn't work for me. I thought her actions were contradictory, immature, and unpredictable. More than anything, she came off as irrational, which was bizarre for an educated woman who studied math and science. She didn't really have the personality for a mathematician or a science, way too dramatic and emotive. I think Porter was trying too hard with this heroine. It's neat that she tried to do something different with a HP heroine but I think she should have tried a more organic approach instead of forcing nuances to make the reader like her. Too bad because I really did like the hero and I wish more HP heroes were like him.(less)