I liked this slightly less than His for a Price, but that's because I fell gaga for Nicodemus. However, Chase is scrumptious in all his dysfunction. HI liked this slightly less than His for a Price, but that's because I fell gaga for Nicodemus. However, Chase is scrumptious in all his dysfunction. He truly believes he's a terrible person. He's focused on getting the thorn out of his side, one Amos Elliot, and more than willing to use his forced marriage to Amos' daughter. The fact that he marries the wrong daughter throws a wrench in his plans. Because while he was fully willing to use and discard Arielle, Zara makes him feel things that he can't dismiss and write off.
I really liked that Crews twists one of the HP themes on its head. While Zara is a blackmailed bride, she does so willingly, and she really doesn't have anything to lose. She can go back to a decent life after this marriage sham is over. She agrees because for once, she wants to prove her worth to her father, and stepping up and marrying Chase could very well do that. She doesn't expect to have some very powerful feelings for Chase, and not just lust. Chase is very damaged, and she knows it, but something keeps making her reach out to him.
I like virgin heroines a lot. But it's also refreshing to read a book where the heroine isn't a virgin, and the hero doesn't have some sexual allure over her just because she's sexually naive. I also liked that Zara was curvy/plump and she was okay with her body, even knowing that society wasn't. At first Chase had this image of perfection based on the media and being in the public eye that a woman should be skinny/bony. But he finds Zara's curves very sexy and realized that what his public image called him to select in his girlfriends wasn't really what he found appealing, deep down. I think that Chase and Zara and beautifully matched in both their strengths and their dysfunction. Zara doesn't have to change herself to make Chase fall for her, and Chase can't compartmentalize and put her into a box. Chase comes to realize that there is healing available for him and that he isn't the monster he believes himself to be. he can let go of that guilt that he carried around on his back for too many years.
This is a sexy and modern take on an arranged marriage. While the climax felt a bit awkward in how things unfold and the fact that Chase doesn't get why Zara feels so betrayed, the ending more than makes up for it. I like the closure that both siblings, Chase and Mattie gain in the situation with their mother's death so many years ago, something that destroyed them so much emotionally....more
Oh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, leaOh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, lean panther who talks like a panther purrs. He screams "I'm Bad For You, but I'm So Good!" He was delicious. He definitely goes on my lickable hero shelf. I fell hard for him because he is so super-sexy, and because he gave Hattie steadfast love in a way she'd never had before. At one point, he withdraws from her, and Hattie can't deal with that. He does it because it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that she refused to be honest with him. Hattie doesn't know how to deal with him not being in her life the way he's been for over ten years, and that is the impetus for change. That was when he realized she didn't know how. She didn't know what unconditional love was and the concept of being accepted no matter what. She spends most of the book pushing him away emotionally, and being a bit of a brat, so that tiptoes on the edge of being a bit tedious. Crews managed to change the tone soon enough that I was just burned out on it. I think the reveal for why Hattie has behaved the way she has so long was a pit too rapid in its delivery (and it felt a bit lightweight to be honest), and I would have liked better pacing in that regard. I did love the surprise that Nicodemus gets. I was really surprised myself. I like a good twist in a story.
This book is pretty heavy on internal dialogue and that probably wouldn't work for some. But I felt it was well done, and I think the characters are wonderfully complex. I think this is a nice mix of modern cultural awareness but with the old school intensity dynamic that makes many of us Harlequin Presents readers such advocates of the vintage novels. The sensuality is intrinsic and hot and underlined by the fact that these two people really love each other and can't imagine a life without each other.
I'm hoping that I enjoy His for Revenge, about Hattie's brother, as much as I did this book.
Maisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or isMaisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or is the gorgeous prince with his decadent lifestyle really the beast?
Disclaimer: I didn't put this review in spoiler tags, although there might be some borderline spoilerish elements. I endeavored not to give too much away, that wasn't necessary to expressing my thoughts of the book.
As I read this novel, it struck me that this is a very serious book. I didn't feel much levity, not that I always expect it, but it was noticeably lacking. Layna and Xander have some serious hurts in their past and their present situations. Xander went off the rails big time and the author wasn't afraid to keep it real in describing Xander's depredations. No Xander did it all in his checkered past (recent and distant). He was notoriously promiscuous to the degree that he doesn't even know how many women he's slept with (and doesn't even remember some of them), abused drugs, and was a hard drinker. In my mind I couldn't help wonder how healthy his liver is. I have alcoholics in my family on both sides, and through them I have seen the effects of long-term alcohol abuse on a person. I was glad that Layna doesn't let him off the hook when she agrees to marry him. She demands fidelity from him, and I was so glad that she required that he get STD tested. It was judicious, considering the circumstances. As for Layna's scarring, it's not just confined to a thin line that barely disfigures her face. She has significant scarring and the tabloids/newspapers say some truly awful things about her. That part was heartbreaking. I could completely understand her fears about going back to the public life she escaped from ten years ago. Going from a shallow, spoiled socialite with impeccable looks to a scarred woman in her near to mid-thirties who is marrying a good-looking future king would be heart-wrenching for any woman. Even with her training that vanity has no place in her life from the convent, that was difficult to weather. Although Xander is clearly the worse bargain, they make it seem like Xander is being altruistic in honoring his promises and marrying Layna.
Yates definitely brings the reality to what seems like a storyline straight out of the fairy tales. I can't say I would be eager to marry Xander with his abuses on his body (and it's not out of judgmentalism, but because you can't just click a finger and erase the effects of such a lifestyle from his body). And I think that it's clear that Xander has a ways to go before he breaks fifteen years of bad habits. I think this is evident when they are first intimate. Xander's lovemaking style while accomplished, does show a certain degree of selfishness and callousness about sex. He doesn't understand why Layna is conflicted about the experience, even though she enjoyed it. This is telling and I think realistic for a man who has spent fifteen years sleeping around with random women he meets as he frequents the casinos where he parties and makes his living gambling. I also liked how Xander's perception of Layna changes. He never thinks she's ugly, but he sees the scars through a harsher lens initially. As he falls in love with her, the scars become a part of her, and he loves the character of her features, because that's who she is. They cease to stand out to him.
Layna isn't portrayed as a perfectly good, pure woman either (other than what she appears to be on the surface). While she retired to a convent for ten years, her actions did have a certain degree of self-motivation. The convent was an escape, although she does realize how much she loves helping others and that her faith in God is real to her, in the process. At the root, it is running away, from the exposure she suffered as Xander's rejected fiance who was horribly scarred by an angry protestor, and also from her own emotional breakdown.
Yes, as I wrote earlier, this is a very serious book. Despite the fact that one would consider this storyline fertile ground for a dramatic, glossy style Harlequin Presents, there is a deep emotional core to this book that refuses to allow the reader to dismiss this book as a light read.
I gave this four stars because it was a intense, layered, well-written, and emotional novel, and I think that Yates handled this dicey subject matter very well....more
This was a pretty intense read. One of those romances where extreme hate between the main couple is really suppressed longing and desire. In real lifeThis was a pretty intense read. One of those romances where extreme hate between the main couple is really suppressed longing and desire. In real life, I don't know if I think that suppressed love translates into hate, but "Hope deferred does make the heart sick." My goodness, Andreas and Sienna are super-duper mean to each other. And Andreas is a hypocrite. He's the kind of guy who calls a woman a whore because she doesn't do what he wants her to do and she doesn't fit his mold for what he wants a woman to be. I didn't like that about him at all. I did like the fact that Sienna could easily trade insults with him. It took me a while to think that I even wanted these two to be together. There were times when I didn't particularly like either character. Sienna says and thinks some really mercenary and selfish things, and I didn't like that about her. However, I could understand why she was so prickly and thick-skinned, considering her tough life and living with an arrested development mother with terrible morals and being rejected by her married father. I wish that Andreas had shown more sympathy and empathy for Sienna. When he finally starts acting like a decent man, it was almost too late for me to feel I wanted him to be with Sienna. I did like that he went after her when she left him.
I thought that despite the meanness between them, there was good chemistry and I did see their relationship change, develop and blossom. With the conclusion of the book, I had hopes that they would not take each other for granted any longer, and that love had changed both of their hearts and lives.
I don't know if this book will work for everyone. The leads are at times unlikable and mean-spirited. However, I did see a change in both characters and that their feelings for each other weren't just reluctant lust, but real love. For that reason, I gave it four stars....more
Hajar's Hidden Legacy is a book for fans of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. It plays out a lot like that much-loved story, although that is not tHajar's Hidden Legacy is a book for fans of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. It plays out a lot like that much-loved story, although that is not to say there is no innovation or unique touch here. Maisey Yates careful touch with writing romance and the manner in which she builds a layered, emotional story is evident here. Her characters are real life, both struggling with emotional wounds from their past.
Zahir is a tough nut to crack. He doesn't want to be married to Katharine, and he definitely doesn't want to love her. He's afraid to let her in, and he is unable to let go of his guilt about surviving the attacks against his family. He hates himself, and that is very evident. He also fears his life is over. He exists because he must protect his country. But he is in a world of pain. At first, I wondered why if he thought his scars were so hideous, he didn't get plastic surgery. I came to realize that his disgust with his appearance was more about his disgust about how he survived when his parents and brother didn't. He felt like he was the unworthy one who lived. His truly believes he is unable to heal emotionally. He is like a lion with a thorn in his paw, and that requires some real nurturing and persistence from Katharine. Katharine was just the heroine to soothe his savage breast.
While Zahir has the bulk of torment, I liked that Katharine had her own angst to deal with. She was dismissed, sidelined, and marginalized by her father. He truly does not value her, and he shows it. But she craves his approval and moves mountains to get it. I loved how Zahir stood up for Katharine to her father. I also loved how Zahir helps to validate Katharine and build up her self-esteem, despite his own struggles.
Yates carefully builds the tension, both romantic and sensual. The love scenes are quite steamy, but it's very natural to the story. You can see that the connection between Zahir and Katharine has entwined itself between them on many levels. Before they both know it, their match is very much one of love and devotion, as well as a marriage of state. Their mutual fears of not being enough are assuaged by the fact that they are just what each other needs.
Hajar's Hidden Legacy is very much a novel about the healing of emotional wounds and the development of love between two hurting people. It lacks the drama of some book in this category series. Instead, it's more of an introspective novel about the development of a relationship that turns into a deep love between two people who weren't even looking for love, but needed it the whole time....more
Annie West, you did it again. You took a hero I was prepared to hate and made him a man I fell gaga over. I was thinking that Raul would be way too arAnnie West, you did it again. You took a hero I was prepared to hate and made him a man I fell gaga over. I was thinking that Raul would be way too arrogant, entitled, remote, supercilious, and unlikable (but why did I think that since I've loved all your heroes?). Oh no. I think it took about ten minutes into reading this book for me to see the appeal of Prince Raul.
Let me preface this by saying I really don’t get that into royalty romances (except the sheikhs..class of their own). I don’t expect to relate to Harlequin Presents, but I really can’t relate to royal romances. But that’s not an issue at all with this book. Because this royal couple are just a man and a woman, falling in love. And it was a beautiful love story to read about.
I read this book earlier today, and then I read another book in which I was given the polar opposite of Raul (but we won’t go there). Raul is a freaking prince, heir to a Kingdom, and what a man (in every sense of the word)! He's thirty years going on sixty (more like a Sylvester Stallone sixty, mind you). Tradition and duty was drummed into his head since he was four. His entire life was lived in the public eye, and he was careful to keep control and to plan everything out, not feeling deeply. When he finds out that he will lose his kingdom if he doesn’t marry Luisa, he will do whatever is necessary to see that happen. And he is rather ruthless about it. He doesn’t expect to admire, desire, and deeply love his reluctant bride.
This is one of those stories that keeps me reaching for Harlequin Presents. All the passion, drama, exotic locations, with characters that I love and want to see fall in love with each other.
Luisa was such a sweet, wonderful woman. She was strong in a way that made her very accessible to me as a reader. I could see her insecurities and identify with them. I could see how she fell for Raul and wish her happy with him, hoping he would treasure her for the unique aspects that made her up, and not try to change her. She wasn’t confident of her abilities as a future queen, but she tried her best and stayed true to herself. The last thing she wanted was to go back to the country where her grandfather lived, after he rejected her mother and Luisa herself as unfit. But she did it to save her family and friend’s farms from foreclosure.
The love scenes were great, and I especially liked the wedding night scene. That was pretty hot! I could see why Luisa found Raul very hard to resist. I certainly can’t blame her!
My favorite scene was (view spoiler)[ was when Raul thinks he’s lost Luisa, and he’s shaking, so overcome with emotion. At first, Luisa thinks it’s her shaking. She can’t imagine that he feels so deeply for her, as she does for him. For a man who has spent his entire life trying to control himself so he doesn’t make any more bad mistakes like he made in the past, that was very telling. No question how much he loved Luisa. (hide spoiler)]
And I admit, for a girl who never went through a princess phase, the coronation scene had me sighing breathlessly, wishing I was the long-lost heir to a principality with an arranged marriage to a breathtakingly sexy prince like Raul.
I have gotten somewhat picky about handing out five star ratings lately. But this one definitely earned it. It was very romantic and emotional, and I loved the characters. When a writer has a down-to-earth girl imagining her coronation to her very own Prince Raul, she has definitely succeeded in writing a five star book. ...more