Disclaimer: I’ve been friends with the author on Goodreads for several years (before she became a published author). I respect her as a human being, h...more Disclaimer: I’ve been friends with the author on Goodreads for several years (before she became a published author). I respect her as a human being, her tastes in books and her thoughtful manner of expressing herself on the books she reads, and now I can add that I respect her as an author.
When she asked me to beta read her novel last year, I said yes. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read “His Heart’s Desire” in its pre-publication form, and I am happy to write a review for it and recommend it to romance novel lovers.
If you’ve been reading romance more than fifteen years, you might be experiencing a longing for the “Good Old Days” when stories were genuinely romantic, and not just an over-emphasis on graphic sex with just enough declaration of love to classify as romance novels. Books that made you feel strongly and made the hours pass away rapidly while you read them. If that is the case, you will probably love this book.
“His Heart’s Desire” does read like a fairy tale come true, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I like angsty stories where the heroine has had a tough life, and her dreams come true in more ways than one. In this case, it’s not just getting her prince, but it’s getting a chance to live a life of purpose and fulfillment she always wished for.
Becca made with friends with a guy named Ethan, not knowing that he was impressively wealthy and powerful in his own right. She liked his personality and they bonded over their love of animals. She had no idea that he had fallen head over heels for her, and nursed a long simmering affection for her that she was oblivious to. Becca always knew a guy like Ethan was way out of her league, but she loved spending time with him, and he was one of the few people in the world she felt she could trust and feel safe with.
Ethan loves everything about Becca. He just wants her to be happy. When her mother’s death leads to a colossal mistake, he’s there to pick up the pieces and help Becca rebuild her life after the tragedy and betrayal she suffers. He makes every day a day of joy and simple pleasures, but has to be careful not to trespass on Becca’s long-held belief in self-sufficiency. Becca could never imagine that a man like Ethan could love her that way, but it’s up to Ethan to convince her otherwise.
Ethan is a bonafide Prince Charming, and in the best way possible. He’s not the boring kind of prince that makes me long for a bad boy or a hero to make your heart beat faster. No, he’s the strong, masculine, endearing and exciting, kind of prince who saves the day by loving his heroine genuinely and steadfastly. As you can guess, I loved him. He’s just the right guy for a sweet, somewhat naïve and unworldly young woman like Becca. These two make sense together.
I liked that their relationship is based on the rock-solid foundation of friendship and respect. Becca hasn’t had a lot of reason to open up to people and trust them, but Ethan proves he’s worthy of it. While they have a few bumps in the road, they don’t spoil the story or seem like they are manufactured just to fit the romance novel formula. Instead, their relationship feels genuine.
The sensuality is perfectly tailored to this novel. The love scenes are well-written, steamy and emotional. The best combination for this reader. I like that Ethan respects Becca’s values and her past hurts and he also has a desire to treat her like she's the woman he's been waiting his whole life for. It shows in his every interaction with her. When they consummate their relationship, it feels right.
Overall, the secondary characters are fairly well developed and add to the novel. Lindsay’s character was a bit too ‘evil ex’ for my tastes, but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Ethan’s family dynamic makes sense for his character (shows his values and why he's the man he is), and the tidbits about his siblings make me curious to read more about them. My favorite secondary character is Edna’s Becca’s older neighbor. She’s like a adoptive grandmother and a very good friend to the orphaned, lonely Becca, and she adds some comic relief with some of her dialogue.
His Heart’s Desire is an excellent first novel. It showcases strong writing talent and it is well edited. It's also very emotional and romantic (which is just what this reader loves in her romance novels) It’s nothing less than I would expect from Julianna. She’s a promising writer, and I’m excited to read more books by her.
I recommend this book to true romantics. Becca’s a sweetheart and Ethan truly is a to-die-for hero. I enjoyed reading this immensely.
Good conclusion to a satisfying Regency romance series. The mystery was sustained very well, and the culprit was a surprise to me. Archer is a delecta...moreGood conclusion to a satisfying Regency romance series. The mystery was sustained very well, and the culprit was a surprise to me. Archer is a delectable hero, just right for tortured Perdita.
Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as...moreReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.
It is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a re...moreIt is an incredible coincidence that I read two Lynne Graham books within days of each other, and each has a hero named Vito and a heroine who is a redhead and who has a strangely similar family history (with a few differences). Honest to goodness, I didn't do that deliberately. It was just one of those serendipity things.
I know some readers might be annoyed by the fact that the plot is slightly recycled. I wasn't. I think that in a long writing career, that's bound to happen to a prolific writer. I know that in my own writing I work out issues I see in life and that affect me on a deep level. So I'm not dismayed to see this in writers I follow.
Ava doesn't have an abrasive personality, and she probably would be entitled to it, considering her past. She carries a burden of guilt that has stripped that away from her, if she ever had it. It's heartbreaking what she suffered, and when it's revealed what truly happened, it makes it even worse. I think that Vito could have been a more sympathetic hero. I didn't love him, although neither did I hate him. He was kind of 'meh' for me. He was a bit too cold and unemotional (detached) to me. I felt that he loved Ava by the end of the book, but I didn't feel like he deeply needed her the way I like to feel from a hero. I think his attitude about sexuality was a turnoff. He was too much of a womanizer for my tastes. I think that his actions were initially motivated by a desire to get Ava in bed, even if he didn't want to acknowledge it on a deeper level. I'm not saying he didn't grow in his feelings for her, but I don't like when the heroes' feelings start merely as sexual (and his felt a bit lecherous to me).
Also, Vito didn't seem to want to believe the best of Ava. All along, he was willing to think she was everything that the past seemed to dictate, but he didn't consider how much his brother Olly loved and respected Ava and take that seriously enough. Let me put it this way, if my sister has a high opinion of someone, I take it very seriously. I guess that's why I was not 100% satisfied with this book. When it is revealed how badly Ava was wronged, I wanted to feel more remorse and regret for what she went through from Vito.
This story is pretty heavy and dark for a Lynne Graham book, surprisingly so. It really shows a profound degree of familial dysfunction. I kind of liked that, but I think things were wrapped up a bit too smoothly with a bow to balance out the really dark nature of this storyline. While I see love between Vito and Ava, I didn't get enough of a love payoff in this book. It's still a four star read because it was captivating and kept my interest. I was deeply enthralled with Ava's story and I wanted the best for her. I think she's a happy woman as far as the book ended, but I wasn't 100% satisfied. So it's a weak four stars.(less)
This is my first audiobook of a Diana Palmer book, and overall, I liked it. I didn't care for the way the narrator voiced the females. He sounded too...moreThis is my first audiobook of a Diana Palmer book, and overall, I liked it. I didn't care for the way the narrator voiced the females. He sounded too falsetto for my tastes. I think I enjoyed this more than other reviewers, although I agree that there were a lot of random conversations and less focus on the romance than I would have liked.
Diana Palmer is a long-time favorite of mine. She's a sweet lady and I will always read her books.
I was excited to read Shadow and Bone because the story seemed to have some Russian elements, and I love just about anything Russian. While the story...more I was excited to read Shadow and Bone because the story seemed to have some Russian elements, and I love just about anything Russian. While the story does not take place in Russia, but in a fictional world, it does have prominent Russian cultural elements, which I enjoyed. The folklore seems to be a distinctive one envisioned by the author, and not recognizable as Russian in my inexpert opinion.
At first, it took a while for this book to engage my interest. I was a bit bored initially. I had to get a feel for the vernacular and the world, and not much seemed to be happening. I wasn’t sure I felt the connection between Alina and Mal. I understood they grew up together, but I didn’t understand why Alina was so fixated on him and Mal didn’t seem to feel the same way.
While I appreciated the world-building and the concept of the Grisha, I think that it needed more texture. I felt like the narrative scratched the surface and was rather vague. It also took a while to get invested in Alina’s character. I liked the concept of her power and how suppressing it had affected her body detrimentally. I loved seeing her gain a sense of confidence and for her self-esteem to grow. I appreciated The Darkling’s character. I was always waiting for him to show up. Sadly he was more developed in some ways than Mal was. I found the resolution with him predictable. I would have liked to see it go in a different direction. Maybe he didn’t have to live up to everyone’s bad opinions of him. As for Mal, even at the end, I can’t say I grew to like him that much. I wanted to like him because Alina loves him so much. I just didn’t. I liked Alina’s character, but I wanted to feel for her more and know her on a deeper level.
At first I was going to give this four stars, because I liked the Russian elements so much and it’s an interesting idea, but I realized the execution wasn’t quite as good, and I had to adjust my rating accordingly. I feel that the writing needed to do a better job of drawing me in and conveying intensity and I think the descriptions of the places, specifically the concept of the Fold, could have been more fleshed out. With this kind of idea and subject, this story really could have had more impact than it did. In the end, it was a diverting, interesting read, but it didn’t set me on fire or get to my heart like I would have liked. If my library gets the rest of the series, I will definitely check it out, because I’d like to follow Alina’s story.
This book called to me because I love unrequited love stories. I also like the idea of the heroine working for the hero and having a buttoned up/no-no...moreThis book called to me because I love unrequited love stories. I also like the idea of the heroine working for the hero and having a buttoned up/no-nonsense demeanor but still getting under his skin. I have to say I was very satisfied by this book. Deb Marlowe is going on my reading list now for sure. Her sense of time and place is excellent, but so much life and feeling in her writing, her characters.
Chloe found her way into my heart. I liked everything about her. I can see a little of myself in her, that determination to fix herself so that she could handle anything that comes her way. Her situation in this book called to me deeply. Her fear and loneliness. Her loving heart, and her keen mind to match. Her struggle to face and defeat her fears and climb out of that box she had created for safety, but had grown too big for, so that it was just constricting her overall growth as a person. I really loved her, cheering her strengths and feeling for her vulnerabilities. I wanted her to get her man, and I love that her strategy did exactly that. Not only did she get her man, she let him realize for himself that she was the right woman for him. What a savvy, lovable heroine!
I found Braedon absolutely lickable, warts and all. Big, vital, strong-minded, wounded, afraid to love. What a complex mix that made for a hero I fell head over heels for. Even when he frustrated me with his stubborn determination to cling to old thought patterns that no longer would keep him safe and certainly didn't bring happiness. I felt for him and understood why. His family would make anyone afraid to love and open one's heart. Deep down though, he was a man truly worthy of loving. Even if he didn't think so. Like us all, he faced some real challenges that he had to overcome in his relationships with others, including a young boy who enters his life and raises some old demons. But like a well-made sword, he comes out of the fire even stronger as the impurities are burned away.
As I said earlier, I loved the main storylines, but also the plot threads about Braedon being a collecter of ancient weaponry. It made sense on a deep, symbolic level that a man with his emotional wounds would build himself a citadel of safety full of sharp, protective weapons. In the process, he realizes that when a man walls himself in, he builds a prison as well as a fortress. Whereas, if he allows himself to trust and to love those who prove worthy, he is much more safe in the long run, even if that requires a step of faith and going out into the danger zone of the unknown frontiers of emotion. What a beautiful, meaning-filled message. I am trying to be more strict about five star reviews, but when a book touches me this way, I have to give it the highest rating.
People regularly put down Harlequin books. To each their own. For myself, some of the best and most meaningful books I have read have been written by authors in the Harlequin imprints. They might not be long or have the dubious honor of freedom from the "Harlequin title stigma", but they are hidden treasures all the same. This is one of those books. Definitely recommend it!(less)
While this was slow-moving at times, it has a depth, complexity and richness that called to me. I was immersed in the time period, and the sensuality...moreWhile this was slow-moving at times, it has a depth, complexity and richness that called to me. I was immersed in the time period, and the sensuality and veracity of the complex emotions the characters felt.
"Captives of the Past" was one of those nostalgic grabs I made, having remembered this distinctive cover and that it was an angsty read. I do like ang...more"Captives of the Past" was one of those nostalgic grabs I made, having remembered this distinctive cover and that it was an angsty read. I do like angsty books, and I like how the old school HPs had a lot of emotional payoff.
Robyn Donald is known for her cruel, jerky heroes, and Rafe is definitely one of them. His treatment towards Jennet was reprehensible throughout the book. Yes, he does apologize and feel genuine remorse at the end, but he didn't quite feel redeemed to me, consider the pain and anguish he put Jennet through and how he turned a blind eye to her legitimate suffering, doing it all out of selfishness because he didn't want to love her or desire her because he resented her mother so much.
Jennet inspired a lot of sympathy in me as I read this book. Her situation was much like being between a rock and a hard place, although part of me wished she never returned to her step-family's cattle station. I understand why she did it, because she was concerned for her sister Melly taking up with her ex-husband, who was abusive, and was more than likely to continue being so, despite any excuses he might make.
It was inexcusable that Rafe would rationalize Jennet's being abused by her husband out of jealousy because Derek claimed it was after she initiated an affair with his cousin. Does that matter?
Rafe comes off as phenomenally self-absorbed, caught up in his unwanted feelings towards Jennet and his rage at his father taking up with Jennet's mother so soon after his own mother died. Funny how he was not angry at Melly existing, considering that Jennet's mother got pregnant with her immediately after taking up with his father. His feelings for Jennet were never rational though. While I like my possessive/jealous heroes, I think Rafe is definitely the dark side of that kind of hero.
This book is full of intense emotions and tackles some serious issues such as spousal abuse. While Rafe's viewpoint about it was ridiculous and reprehensible (even though it was because he was believing lies), I think the author gets points for making it clear that Derek's problems are his own, and that they are not Jennet's fault for not loving or being attracted to him. Regardless of how their marriage started, Derek's responsibility was to love his wife and care for her, and love comes as a result of being loved. Maybe if he had done that, things would have turned out different. Yeah, I know that wasn't likely based on this being a Harlequin Presents romance where Jennet was eternally in love with Rafe, but in real life, things aren't so cut and dried.
I picked this one up immediately after finishing the companion book, The Most Coveted Prize, because I was very intrigued with Alena's older brother,...moreI picked this one up immediately after finishing the companion book, The Most Coveted Prize, because I was very intrigued with Alena's older brother, Vasilii. My instincts about him were correct. He initially comes off as a cold, forbidding, all business type hero. But underneath there is a lot of untapped passions. Laura is the woman to open that door to the intense man that Vasilli keeps tightly leashed.
Sometimes I feel that romance novels just aren't romantic anymore. A sad realization for a die-hard romance novel fan. Like something is missing and the story is just painting by numbers. I don't feel that emotional connection that really makes a romance sing to me. I didn't feel that way with this novel. There was something intensely romantic about this book. I guess it was the fact that Laura and Vasilii seem so lonely and disconnected. You don't expect love to develop between people in their situations, especially together, but it does, so beautifully. The fact that they find each other and realize that they love each other deeply was very appealing.
That is not to say that Vasilii's actions are always ideal. He has the wrong idea about Laura early on, and refuses to change his mind. But slowly and surely, he sees her integrity and honor and the sweet heart of her, and he can't help but fall in love. And honestly, even though he doesn't respect her, he treats her well as an employee. Although he mismanages his sister's development in ways that lead to her situation with Kiryl in the first book, I loved that he was a man who believed in respecting and honoring women. I cheered for him when he refused to allow Laura to be a pawn in his business dealings. He showed how much integrity he had. Even outside of his developing feelings, I could see that he knew that wasn't right to use a woman that way regardless. And even though he pushed her away and hurt Laura when he realized he was falling for her, I could see that she was in his heart. Ultimately, Vasilii was kind of a sweet guy.
I really liked the fact that Laura was a likable, very intelligent, independent woman who was excellent at her job. She understood two difficult languages: Russian and Mandarin Chinese, but also understood the crucial cultural dynamics and facilitated Vasilii's delicate negotiations. I especially liked how she made a connection with the wife of the Chinese businessman, which actually made the deal go through in the end.
This was a lot better than the first book. I think it's because I liked Laura's maturity and composure, and Vasilii has this vibe of being all "still waters run deep". Those are the heroes who really heat things up in books when their iron composure finally melts!
The scene when Vasilii finds out how long Laura has been in love with him, and the significance of the earrings was so sweet. A definitely 'aww' moment!
This is a good one! A lot to like about this book. Overall rating: 4.25/5.0 stars. (less)
I don't have anything grand to say about this reading experience. It was pretty good. I liked Garrett a lot. He was actually a very kind, decent man....moreI don't have anything grand to say about this reading experience. It was pretty good. I liked Garrett a lot. He was actually a very kind, decent man. Sarah was a good person as well. She did a lot of harsh judging of Garrett based on the limited understanding she had of his marriage to her sister. She judged him wrongly, as it turns out, and didn't see her sister realistically. Her young age was actually a factor in that. I'm glad that she did realize the truth in time to give her the chance at love with Garrett. Yeah, I know it's sort of icky on the surface that her sister was married to Garrett, but reading this book takes that sting away. It's one of those books where you have to go with the flow and things will turn out right in the end.
What I thought about specific aspects of the story:
(view spoiler)[ I found the aspect about her being so terribly in love with Garrett as a sixteen-year-old, and that being the cause of why she was so hostile to him, hard to swallow. I was like what? I didn't think she had spent enough with Garrett to be that in love with him. Okay, whatever. Go with the flow.
As far as her sister having an affair with Garrett's brother, despite him being so in love with his wife, and his wife being oh so forgiving....Yeah, that's true love, ain't it? Especially when he tried to go into Sarah's room, half-believing she was her sister (like ten years after the sister was dead). And having your brother clean up your mess by marrying Sarah's knocked up sister? And look, he's a US Senator. Awesome! Not! That was a more digestible piece Harlequin Presents wacky goodness drama than Sarah being so in love with Garrett since she was sixteen. It made me feel some love for Garrett that he did step up and be a dad to his brother's child. And how he claims the boy as his own. Very sighworthy. (hide spoiler)]
Points for the cute ending!
This one was a 3.5 star read.
A good vintage HP for readers who like a more betaish hero.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was a pretty good romantic suspense. I liked that the hero wasn't all uber-alpha (I can break things with my teeth and kill all the bad guys with...moreThis was a pretty good romantic suspense. I liked that the hero wasn't all uber-alpha (I can break things with my teeth and kill all the bad guys without breaking a sweat). Dav was a normal guy (although a billionaire) who did the best he could in the dangerous situation that he and Carrie found themselves in. They were both nice people. It could have been a little more exciting as far as the suspense, but it kept me reading. And I liked the secondary characters.
I liked the vibe of the hero being the boy who picks on the girl because he likes her. I remember my mom always said that was why certain boys at scho...moreI liked the vibe of the hero being the boy who picks on the girl because he likes her. I remember my mom always said that was why certain boys at school picked on me. I never believed her. Looking back, I think she was right about some of those. Nothing annoys a boy more than a girl he likes ignoring him or looking down her nose at him. This thwarted affection comes out in pranks like hair-pulling and name calling. Not very mature, but there you have it.
In the case of Paul, it was very clear how much he adored Rebecca, even though he didn't want to. I am not justifying some of the mean things he says and does to Rebecca. It was interesting that Rebecca felt a lot of guilt about how she treated Paul as a youngster and submits to some of this treatment out of a sense of justice. I think that her humility showed strength of character that she lacked as a young girl. I can't really blame her for that behavior, since she was an immature kid. Paul of course, was the object of that behavior, so he had to work past his feelings of betrayal and learn to forgive Rebecca, and to trust that she's not just running a game on him like she did when they were younger.
I admit I read a lot between the lines, since Wilson doesn't spend a lot of page time on developing this dynamic. I'm okay with that. Harlequin Presents are very short, and I admit part of the fun of reading these books is reading into the subtext of the books. Since we don't get the hero's POV, it's especially fun to guess what the hero is thinking, and we can check our understanding in the last few pages when we get the reveal.
While this book lacked some tension, I liked it because I liked the idea of Paul being so in love with Rebecca for such a long time, almost obsessed with her. And I liked how Rebecca was able to come out of her shell and acknowledge that her feelings for Paul had always been love, even if she couldn't own up to it due to her repression from having toxic parents.
Again, I admit I am reading a lot into this book, and some readers might scratch their head and wonder how I got all this. What can I say? I find reading highly subjective. We see what we want to or what our minds bring to the forefront.
Unlocked is a fantastic short novel about a man who faces his past, and earns the love, trust, and forgiveness of the one woman he always wanted but w...moreUnlocked is a fantastic short novel about a man who faces his past, and earns the love, trust, and forgiveness of the one woman he always wanted but was afraid to go after honorably, to break out of the mode of society's expectations for him.
I totally identified with Elaine. I was picked on incessantly growing up. No matter what I did, it was the focus of ridicule in school. I followed her plan of attack and withdrew into myself, pretending like it didn't matter. If you pretend like it doesn't matter, after a while, you can deal with it and keep your composure. The prey animal that runs gets chased by the predator. Ms. Milan was spot on with her psychology in this story. It felt therapeutic to me, that she could hit at the heart of such an issue that many of us experienced, and do it so well in the context of a love story. Although I could never imagine falling in love with one of my adolescent tormenters and settling into a HEA, she made it plausible, because she showed that Evan was just a man, a man who was too scared to be real and to be stand out from the crowd in a good way. I completely fell in love with Evan, for his honest desire and efforts to make amends and to be a better man. That took so much courage, more courage than climbing a mountain. Sometimes you have to go away to grow, and he did that, and came back to fulfill his destiny. And what a man he became. Also, Elaine showed courage. She was afraid to trust Evan, to believe he had changed. He proved that he had, and she took that leap of faith when it counted. And leapt right into his arms.
Courtney Milan clearly puts a lot of thought and heart into her stories, and that's why they resonate with me. She writes about men and women who I want to see happy, to see fall in love. They aren't cardboard, samey characters. They feel distinct and real to me. I liked that Evan is somewhat awkward and afraid but works past his fear. I like that Elaine has been a social failure with a mother who is so brilliant she doesn't fit into society. She gets the passionate aspects right too. They belong there, very organic to the story's development, showing the bond between the characters, so that I hold my breath with expectation. For a die-hard historical romance novel lover, it's been a bit depressing to see an endless ocean of new books out there with few that actually move me that way romance used to. I'm glad that I have Courtney Milan's books to do that for me. It feels good to be excited about reading historical romance again. Short but sweet, Unlocked is a delightful treat for the historical romantic. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for encouraging me to pull this off the pile, MrsJ!(less)
I thought this was a cute book. Ben is clearly bonkers over Tara, although she doesn't realize it. He does his best to play it cool like he isn't craz...moreI thought this was a cute book. Ben is clearly bonkers over Tara, although she doesn't realize it. He does his best to play it cool like he isn't crazy about her, but I know better! It takes Tara a little longer to get a clue, but it was good reading seeing her realize that Ben loved her.
I also liked that Tara is a valued employee with an important job. She's not just arm candy. She isn't just the future mistress/wife material (who is temporarily employed just long enough to meet and snag the hero). And even though Ben is her employee and he pays for her mom's surgery, it's not like she's the oh so over-utilized Harlequin Presents downtrodden heroine. She is actually very skilled and reputable in her field, and when she looks for another job, she pretty much has it sown up. I did a fist-pump at that!
I think that the aspect that really won me over is the sweet relationship between Ben and Tara, how they take care of each other. Their relationship transcends employee/employer, and Tara is valued on all levels by Ben. Things get a bit angsty when Ben seems to reject Tara in a private moment and Tara's emotions and self-esteem spiral out of control as a result, but I could accept his explanation. I liked his show of jealousy towards the end.
(view spoiler)[Some readers won't like how the fact the guy Tara is dating strangles her enough to give her bruises, and instead of getting put in prison, he gets sent off to Brazil. I think he should have been arrested for it, even if it was a heat of passion reaction to finding out that Tara was at Ben's flat (innocently in this case). (hide spoiler)]
I tend to associate Patricia Wilson with uber-alpha, borderline jerky heroes, but Ben definitely isn't a jerk. He's actually a nurturer, a sweet guy, with a very soft heart, although he does his best to hide it under a tough, bossy, businesslike facade. That kind of hero never fails to make me smile.
I squeezed this on in between review reads. I needed a quick, satisfying romance, something I could read even though I wasn't feeling great. It did th...moreI squeezed this on in between review reads. I needed a quick, satisfying romance, something I could read even though I wasn't feeling great. It did the trick.
Megan was a bit frustrating to me with her self-esteem issues. I understand why she had them, but I think her brain was turned off. I think that Emilio couldn't have been more clear about his feelings unless he hit her over the head with a club and drug her off to his cave. I'm glad he didn't do that. He did take her off to his penthouse and then picked her up and put her in his limo at the end, so close enough. I wanted to say, "Girl, this guy is into you!" I mean, no man goes to those extremes for a woman he doesn't care about. The other thing was her insistence on hanging onto what happened two years ago. Stuff happens, and people say mean things. You have to move on and not put your confidence in with others say about you. Your confidence has to come from within. What I did like was her concrete reasons for remaining a virgin. I am not one of those readers who scoffs at a virgin heroine. I don't find them unrealistic or dated. Nor do I doubt that a woman a certain age can be a virgin. It does happen, more than the media tries to present. What I have a problem with is the neblous-minded accidental virgin so common. Yes, that can happen too, although I think they are overrepresented in the fictional virgin arena. There are more than a few virgins due to a lack of opportunity, and I can go along with that. But at the end of the day, there are some virgins by choice. I like that Megan was one of those. I can see why she made that choice based on her parents' actions and its affects on her upbringing. I also found it realistic when she decided not to be a virgin anymore when she encountered Emilio. He was the man of her dreams, the only man she wanted. He wasn't married anymore, and she went into their encounter with open eyes. So that part was suitable to me as a reader. As I said, my major issue was her self-esteem issues. It didn't ruin the read, but definitely knocked down my rating to a four star.
I liked Emilio. He knew what he wanted and went after it. He was honest enough to realize that his actions two years ago weren't rational and were based on his jealousy and his uncontrollable love for Megan, doomed to be denied since he was married. I loved that he was determined to be faithful to his wife, even if it was a convenient marriage. Fidelity is a huge stickler for me. To have a hero who believes in it is a real plus for me. I think he was very patient with Megan, through her determined actions not to believe he wanted her for her. He sure does know how to show what he feels. Another thing I love in a hero.
Not a ground-breaker, but a pleasant read. Nice pick-me-up for a Sunday when I wasn't feeling very well and just needed something relaxing to read. I love a good love story and this one had some aspects that appealed to me despite its shortcomings.(less)