Games for Sophisticates is a good name for this book, because it is about playing love like it's a game. Of course we know someone always gets hurt inGames for Sophisticates is a good name for this book, because it is about playing love like it's a game. Of course we know someone always gets hurt in that particular game. Quilla is put in the difficult situation of being asked by her brother to attract the attention of powerful businessman and ladies man Fraser McGill so that he will end his affair with her brother's wife. Quilla loves her brother and would do just about anything for him, but she knows she's out of her league making a play for Fraser. It turns out Fraser falls for the bait. His eye is on Quilla and he spends the rest of the book pursuing her, in various ways.
Quilla doesn't like Fraser at all. She has contempt for his love 'them and leave them ways' and she has to balance that dislike with the need to keep him on the hook so that her brother can repair his troubled marriage. Yet the more time she spends with Fraser, it grows harder to resist his seductive allure, and her feelings of dislike are conflicted by growing feelings of attraction to him. Occasionally, glimpses of the gentle, good man show through and gain her affection. However, she soon reminds herself that everyone knows (and he says it himself) he's incapable of staying with a woman and loving her. Quilla is a love and marriage (eventually) girl. She has no time or inclinations for an affair, even with a sexy man like Fraser. So, she makes it clear that all she feels for him is contempt as soon as she can. But Fraser is not a man to be played with. He gives her an ultimatum that ups the ante, and she has to show her hand or fold. But no one walks away from Fraser McGill.
This book is quite full of emotional/sexual tension. I liked that about the book. Set in the 80s, you can see the change in social mores and dynamics. While Quilla isn't sexually active, she doesn't come off as anachronistic in her personal morals. Instead, she's shown as a careful, somewhat introverted woman who has been focused on career and family, not playing the dating game. In that sense, it is not unbelievable that she would be susceptible to Fraser. However, she uses strength of will and cruel words to keep herself from becoming sexually involved with Fraser for most of this book. I didn't blame her for not wanting to get her heart broken by him. However, I did feel she was very mean and cruel in a lot of things she said and did to him. Usually, I feel that the hero is the one who is being mean to the heroine. In this case, Quilla takes that role. Fraser actually is quite nice to her. Of course, he's trying to get her to sleep with him, but he's not given the opportunity to truly know Quilla and her value system because she's stringing him along. He thinks she's up for the usual sort of relationship dynamic. When he finds out she won't be easily brought to heel, he resorts to some manipulations that aren't fair play, but considering the way she shuts him down continually, I didn't hold it against him. I felt that compared to how mean Quilla was to him, it was fair play.
I didn't rate this one higher because of the mind games and mean things Quilla said and did to Fraser. I understood why, but I winced at poor Fraser when he gives her something very beautiful and from the heart and she rejects it cruelly. I also didn't like how her brother was using his fairly sheltered sister against a known rake instead of manning up and saving his marriage the right way instead of manipulating his wife and her so-called lover. I felt that part was pretty immature and silly.
Overall, this is a good book. I liked Quilla's friend and business partner Nico. I couldn't quite figure out how he felt towards Quilla and wondered what his intentions were. I'm assuming he was respecting the friend barrier, but he would have taken things further if he had any indication Quilla was willing. That was one part I didn't mind, Fraser's jealousy about Nico, although it was mean on Quilla's part at the same time (she told Fraser a lie about their relationship). As I've said before, I like a jealous hero. I think that despite a lack of an on-the-page consummation, this was sensual and full of sexual tension. The end is very good, and I liked that for once, Quilla had to do the work in their relationship. Poor Fraser deserved as much.
A pretty good HP for readers who like their 80s output.
A life-threatening storm brings Oriel into the world of larger-than-life Blaize. He is the one she runs to for help when her cousin is seriously injurA life-threatening storm brings Oriel into the world of larger-than-life Blaize. He is the one she runs to for help when her cousin is seriously injured when their camping site floods. Forced to stay at his house until she recovers and the storm passes, she realizes she's in way too deep as her feelings for the bossy, yet very attractive man turn into love.
Blaize convinces her to be the governess for his young niece, a good use of her excellent teaching skills, but dangerous because the more time she spends with him, the more she loves him.
Blaize definitely has charisma. I could see a woman falling under his spell. He wasn't always likable, but at the same time, there was something that makes a woman want to let him take care of her. Oriel is a down-to-earth heroine whose very ordinariness makes her relatable. She's got some self-esteem issues because of her unusual height and gawky, angular frame--the fact that her mother never let her live it down that her only child isn't small, blonde, and delicately beautiful like she is. In my mind, I could see Oriel having a gorgeous dark-haired beauty like Angie Harmon (except with blue eyes and pale skin). And a big and tall man like Blaize would probably appreciate having a tall drink of water with legs for days.
This book doesn't have that much going on. Just an intense relationship drama. Donald has definitely written meaner heroes. Instead, Blaize just comes off as a tough, authoritative alpha who is used to getting his way all the time. I enjoyed his sense of being perplexed that the seemingly meek Oriel doesn't roll over for him like all the women he's known. He falls hard for her, and this book is just about Oriel and Blaize coming to terms with their feelings for each other and realizing they are mutual. Readers who enjoy tropical scenery will like the descriptions of the New Zealand island flora.
I would give it four stars because I enjoyed reading about Oriel and Blaize falling in love, and there are pretty good sparks although not a lot of on the page, descriptive love scenes....more
Morgan Wade’s Woman took me back to the category romances I read back in the day, from the library growing up in the Chicago suburbs. They had a shelfMorgan Wade’s Woman took me back to the category romances I read back in the day, from the library growing up in the Chicago suburbs. They had a shelf of them, and you could take them, read the books, and bring them back, trading them out for other ones. My sister and I must have read every Harlequin-type book they had. Although I never read this one, it brings back fond memories.
Storyline: Samantha’s father has just died, and she found out that obtaining the five million dollar inheritance her father left her depends on her getting married before she turns twenty-five. If she doesn’t get married, she gets nothing but a monthly allowance, and a home with her stepmother. Samantha hates the fact that she is going to be forced to get married, but she doesn’t want to be dependent on her step-mother. When she goes to visit her old school friend Barbs in Nevada, she meets Barbs' husband’s friend, Morgan Wade. He’s not like the usual type of guy that she dates. He’s rugged, tough, and dangerous. He makes her feel uncomfortable, and alive in the way none of her previous boyfriends have done. Barb suggests asking him to marry her, and she agrees, although she has serious misgivings about it. She thinks that Morgan has agreed to a passionless marriage of convenience, but Morgan has other ideas all along. Soon, he has seduced her into his bed and her heart. Can she deal with the fiery love and desire she feels for her husband, and the loss of control that being Morgan Wade’s Woman brings her?
My Thoughts: Sam was a bit too remote and controlled for me, except for when her temper erupted (I usually like this sort of heroine, but something about Sam didn’t quite appeal to me as much as I would have liked). She was the finishing school, polished, rich girl type, which works for me sometimes, and other times, not so much. Morgan was somewhat hard to get a fix on. He definitely had that hard as granite Western man thing going on that I like. He’s in the old school mode, the tough alpha hero who answers to no one, and takes what he wants. That’s not to say he’s rapey. He isn’t, although he’s probably a little too forceful for some readers, especially those who prefer the modern heroes. When he takes Samantha to his bed, she’s reluctant emotionally, but willing otherwise. So it’s more of a seduction scenario. He definitely has a jealous streak a mile wide, threatening to kill any man who touches Sam. And he doesn’t let Sam walk all over him, although she gives as good as she takes from him. And with their mutual fiery tempers, that can end up making for some blazing rows between this married couple. That’s when they aren’t hardly even talking to each other, and spending long time periods apart. I wanted for Sam and Morgan to communicate more than they did about their feelings. They didn’t quite have a big misunderstanding, just a phenomenal disconnect about the feelings they had for each other. They both can't believe that they are loved by each other, and they do foolish things to prove they don’t care about each other, like trying to cause jealousy when they spend time at their society dos with other people in their social circle. Sometimes, I’m cool with that storyline, but it was a tad tedious as I read this story. Not enough to ruin the book, but enough to keep this one from being a five star book.
Of course, this was written in the early 80s, so the hero and heroine both smoke and drink quite a bit. It may be shocking to modern readers that Sam both drinks and smokes while she’s pregnant. I admit it threw me for a loop, as I thought about how bad that is for a fetus. Back when this was written, they didn’t really know that, so I can’t hold that against Sam.
Sam’s life seemed kind of aimless. She didn’t do anything really. She was the daughter of a rich man, so she was definitely the socialite type. It was clearly a big change to be the wife of a hard-working rancher. She cooked and cleaned a little, smoked, swam, and visited. I think I would go crazy if I had that kind of lifestyle. She did seem to be going crazy at times.
What I liked: • I liked that Morgan was the tough, Western type (which I said above). He was a very alpha kind of guy, but he wasn’t unlikeable about it. At least, he wasn’t too rough and hard for my tastes, and I never got a cruel vibe from him. Yes, he was on the controlling side, but Sam wasn’t the wimpy kind of heroine, so she could handle a guy like Morgan very well. After they have a really rough sexual encounter, he feels bad about it, and apologizes, although Sam gave as good as she got (she might have gotten bruises, but he had scratches and a bite). I also liked that he adored Sam (although of course, he doesn’t vocalize that until the end). You find out towards the end how much he didn’t need to marry Sam, but he did it because he felt an instant love/lust for her. In a way, his controlling, demanding way with her showed his love (Yes, I know that sounds messed up, and I know in real life that doesn’t equal love, but in this book, it did show Morgan’s feelings of love. He was the kind of guy who took care of what was important to him. So, his taking care of Sam was his way of showing his devotion to her). Sam was likable too, for the most part. I liked her pluck and her kindness, and the way she went home to face the music instead of running away from her husband and her feelings for him. • Although the love scenes aren’t descriptive, the author manages to convey all the intense passion of their relationship. Nowadays, when books are so much more open door about sex, too often, I find there just isn’t real chemistry between the characters, even with the vivid, color by numbers love scenes. Sex seems too casual and kind of empty as I read a lot of the modern romances. I admit I like a lot of things about the current romances, but this is not one of those things. • There’s just something about these old school romance books that is so much more intense, making for a more exciting read. I felt this way about this book, although I did wish the characters actually talked about their feelings more. • It’s kind of funny reading the older books and seeing what fashions were in vogue then. I admit I do change the hair styles and update some of the clothing that seems really lame. There are a couple of scenes in which Morgan is wearing a white denim suit, and I just couldn’t go there. I’m sorry! And it sounds like Sam got her hair cut in a mullet, so I had to fix that in my head too.
I’m glad that one of my friends recommended this book to me. It was definitely worth tracking down and reading. I have a soft spot for jealous/possessive heroes, and Morgan definitely fits the bill. Thanks, Jennyg! ...more
This was truly an incredible book, in my opinion. Ms. Ryan captured the fear and the isolation that a person who is in a harrowing situation and who iThis was truly an incredible book, in my opinion. Ms. Ryan captured the fear and the isolation that a person who is in a harrowing situation and who is trying to do the right thing feels. I cannot even imagine what it must have been like for Jack and Katarina, trapped in an environment where evil is fostered and rewarded, and the slightest mistake could end up with one's horrible demise or failure in a mission to save lives.
What I truly appreciated was how the author wrote a fictional story that spoke to my spirit, my heart, and my intellect. It seems like a coincidence, but it's not. I read this book right when I needed. I am in need of being reminded that I am not in control, and better yet, that's not a bad thing. It's hard to accept that, but there is such a freedom when one does. For a control freak like myself (and Jack and Katarina), acknowledging that you can't control everything is one of the hardest things you must do, but you have to do it all the time. This past week at work was not good, and I tried to do my best in that situation, but I couldn't control all the situations I faced. I had to accept that, and seek God's will in that situation and trust that He would take care of me. So, I could feel what the characters in this book struggled with. But the good news is, that God is in control, and His will is done. It doesn't mean things will always go our way. But the truth is, when God leads you into situations, He will not abandon you or forsake you. I loved how Renee Ryan illustrated this so eloquently. How she had Jack and Katarina recalling scriptures from their childhood (since both had lost faith due to the horrible things that happened to them prior to this book) that reminded them of God's protection. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit will do that, and give the believer peace even in the worst of circumstances. As I read, I could deeply identify with that feelings that these characters I came to love experienced. How things looked so bad, but God's spirit promised His protection and His guiding hand for His children, even those who forgot that He will fulfill His promises. Yes, I read this book right when I needed to, and it helped renew my faith that God would take care of me.
Another thing I loved about this book were how charismatic and powerful the characters of Jack and Katarina were. Their magnetism reached off the page at me. Jack is a true alpha male in the best sense. He is unafraid to put himself on the line for others, always seeks to protect others, and uses his considerable assets of intelligence, training, and adaptability to maneuver in some truly dangerous circumstances. He is also tortured because he has left behind his godly ways after he ended up being forced into the life of a spy, and what his calling has forced him to see and to do. He believes he is doomed for his actions, although he does them for the right reasons. Katarina is an actress whose role lasts twenty-four hours a day. She is playing the role of an empty-headed Russian princess who earns a living on the stage, but has a penchant for getting involved with dangerous men. Deep down, she is a woman who is working for the British as a spy with the goal of protecting her mother, whose heritage could send her to the death camps. I loved the ice cool natures of these characters, and how they handled challenges that came their way. And I loved their vulnerabilities. Both had believed that God abandoned them and that they were on their own, but they learn that God never abandons His children. Sometimes we don't look hard enough to see His guiding hand, even though it's there in the dark. I loved how they found each other in the seemingly forsaken, evil environs of Nazi Germany, surrounded by men who seemed bent on world domination and annihilation of peoples who they felt beneath them, including the Jews, devout Christians (those who didn't follow the new religion of Germany based on nationalism and Nordic/Teutonic paganism), and people who spoke against their regime. Their relationship had real chemistry. I could see that they found something worthwhile in each other on every level. They saw something powerful in each other, that spoke to them. And God worked through both of them to bring them together and back to a knowledge of His love and protection.
This book has some very powerful scenes that made me cry. The scenes in which both characters seem at the end of their strengths, but manage to pull through because of their will, their newly rediscovered faith in God, and His steady hand of protection. I am not one for praying in a group (it makes me feel awkward), but I loved the scene where Jack and Katarina pray together. It made me cry because it was something they both needed and it gave them strength to face the dark circumstances that they needed to confront.
Ms. Ryan did a great job with this period. Although I am an not expert on this period, I have read up on it, and I could see that she did her research, and used that knowledge to write a powerful fiction story set during this horrible time in history.
I am so blessed to find another Christian romance that spoke to me. I had long feared that I wouldn't find any that ministered to me in a deep, powerful manner, and also provided an intense, edgy story that wouldn't leave me wanting more. Dangerous Allies definitely did this for me. Dangerous Allies shows a part of history that breaks my heart and makes me soul-sick. The good thing about this book was that it reminded me that although Nazi Germany seemed like a godless, evil place, and it seemed as though the Lord's presence wasn't there to protect the innocent from the terrors of the Nazis, that wasn't true. There were people of faith there working to end the reign of terror and horror that the Nazis had over Europe during this period. I couldn't ask for more in a book.
Well, this was certainly a dramatic book, Harlequin Presents-style. At times, it seemed over the top. The hero Gabriel would say the most outrageous tWell, this was certainly a dramatic book, Harlequin Presents-style. At times, it seemed over the top. The hero Gabriel would say the most outrageous things, and it seemed to make Rhiannon equally angry and burning with lust. I didn't know whether to laugh or say, WTH. But this book ended up sneaking in on me. Underneath the brash, uber-dominant hero's demeanor is a man who is in love, and has a master plan to get his woman, even if he has to steal her away from her fiance.
Rhiannon had a very traumatic experience with her last boyfriend, which made her bury her nascent sexuality. With Bobby, her fiance, it was easy to maintain a platonic relationship, since he's in cold storage with all his Mommy Issues. But Gabriel Stone is larger than life. He's a "Dominant Man" who calls to the intensely female part of her, the part that wants to be submissive. I was pretty surprised when I found out what Rhiannon's dark secret was. Not something I expected to read in an older HP book.
To be honest, I had a few eye-rolling moments with all the Dominant/Submissive stuff. At the same time, I was pretty surprised to see this in a Harlequin Presents that's at least ten years old, probably older. That part kind of missed the boat with me. But I liked the devotion and love that Gabriel showed for Rhiannon. I liked their bantering too (eye-rolling moments included). It was pretty sexy, if I may say so. Good book. I hope to read more of Sarah Holland's books. She has a very lively style that definitely kept me entertained with this quick read--it only took me about 1.5 hours to finish it....more
I can't believe I didn't have this one rated on Goodreads. This is one of my all time favorite Lynne Graham books. And it's one of her few books whereI can't believe I didn't have this one rated on Goodreads. This is one of my all time favorite Lynne Graham books. And it's one of her few books where the hero is British (although he's half-Italian, he is British more or less). Some of the love scenes were pretty interesting, dialogue-wise. *very wide grin* I'd have to reread it to give a review to do it justice, but I love this book. It made me a Lynne Graham fan....more
I read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettaI read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettable character. It's hard to put into words how I feel about him. If could clearly elucidate all the traits that I like in a hero, then it's like Ms. Briggs took many of those qualities and created Charles. I am crazy about a quiet, yet deadly hero. That's Charles! He's really sigh-worthy. I know I will have to read this story again, so I can define my reaction to him.
Anna is another one of those characters I like to read about. Not every woman of value is kickass all the time and full of sarcastic, pithy phrases. I think that's an insult to womankind to neglect to tell the story of women who have suffered terribly, often due to things beyond their control. Are they not worthy because they have been victims in life? Absolutely! She's a very observant, intelligent, and deep person. She's a survivor to me. I can't help loving her. She proved that she will be a formidable mate to Charles.
Briggs has really impressed me with her conception of werewolves. I am very picky about them, and she fires well on all cylinders. I wish that female weres could have children, and that's the only thing I don't like about her world-building. But from a physiological standput, I conceded it makes sense. Although I know that Anna and Charles will never have children together, I still think they are going to be a great pair. They just click together in a way that makes sense. I loved Charles's sense of knowing that she was his mate, his possessiveness and protectiveness towards her. And he was so resolute about it, so carefully calm about it. I loved his banked passion for Anna (sigh). He is seriously an alpha guy, but he smashes the perception of alphas as brash brutes full of posturing and throwing their weight around with punches and outrageous and obnoxious shows of strength. He exudes power, and he is powerful. Yes, I love Charles. I still love Adam, but I have room for both of them in my heart.
I got the feeling that this story wasn't long enough. Because I wanted more of Charles and Anna, and more of this world. Fortunately, I have two more books in this series to read. Thanks so much to Patricia Briggs for bringing this series to life....more
This was a very sexy story about a forbidden love between a man and his sister-in-law. Fortunately (that sounds awful to say) the brother is out of thThis was a very sexy story about a forbidden love between a man and his sister-in-law. Fortunately (that sounds awful to say) the brother is out of the way when this story begins.
Quentin is one intense hero. He had better calm down or he's going to have blood pressure problems. I would classify him is a stalkerific hero, in fact. I really liked this about the story. I also liked that Briony reciprocates his love 100% (although she's a little more even-tempered than he is). This story is more from Quentin's viewpoint, which is fun with a romance, especially when the hero is so far gone like he is. You really get inside his head and see just how much he loves Briony and how most of what he does is about her. It makes his intensity a lot less scary.
The sex scenes are frequent and very descriptive. I could have done without the one scene with a little bit of butt play and discussion of certain acts I really don't like to read about in a romance (thankfully that did not occur in this book). But otherwise, they were pretty spicy in a good way. Quentin sure does like to do a certain kind of oral act on Briony. He does that a lot. The language is pretty raunchy. Not only in the sexual moments, but because we are dealing with law enforcement types and also lowdown criminals who aren't exactly the type to avoid use of profanity.
I liked some of the police procedural aspects as they try to find out who killed the lowlife husband (Quentin hated this guy, even though he was his brother. I can't say I blame him. He does something to his grave that is just wrong, but knowing what an intense guy Quentin is and how badly he wanted to throw his brother a beating for being such a lousy husband and especially when he found out that he sold his wife to pay off a drug debt, I gave Quentin a little slack on that).
I liked that although this was an interracial romance (Briony is Black and Quentin is White), it wasn't a major focus. It was about two people who loved each other deeply, but met each other later than they should have. His brother even gloated to Quentin that he married Briony because he knew that Briony was a woman that Quentin would have wanted for his own. That's cold! I have mad respect for the authors that they did not have Quentin and Briony cheating together while her husband was alive. That's a big turn-off for me.
All and all, this was an enjoyable read, definitely erotic, and I still enjoyed it although I wish it had no butt play or anything along those lines because that is not sexy or appealing to this romance reader at all. I have no desire to read about butt plugs in a love story. While I feel that would be unfair to take a star off just for that, I wasn't enjoying that aspect of this story, but I was glad it was very brief. I'm just saying for any writers or editors out there who want to know what an avid interracial romance fan thinks (hint, hint). Despite that, I would recommend this book to readers who like/tolerate their romance a little steamy. ...more
Ms. Carriger, congratulations! This was a great ride. I can honestly say that I laughed myself silly reading this book. This is one of those books thaMs. Carriger, congratulations! This was a great ride. I can honestly say that I laughed myself silly reading this book. This is one of those books that will probably embarrass you if you read it in public. You have been warned! This is the first novel that I've read that managed to cleverly and gently satirize the conventions of historical romance, and it was done in a manner that was utterly irresistible. I have not read any Wodehouse, but I imagine I will like him very much, if he is indeed an influence on this author's writing.
Not only did I enjoy the humor, I thought the characters were beyond interesting. Alexia is one of those heroines that will stand out in the reader's mind. She's intelligent, gutsy, fierce, yet ladylike and admirable. Although she has moments where she's down on herself (she seemed unable to accept that Lord Maccon was interested in her, but it totally made sense to me), she manages to be remarkably comfortable in her own skin. I believe that this is a big part of her appeal to Lord Maccon. Alexia is an alpha woman that I really like. She doesn't come on too strong, and she knows her limits. Throwing her weight around is not a tactic that she resorts to. But if you try something, she will make sure you know it's not happening. I liked that she was a woman of her times, in that she was strong, intelligent, and passionate; yet, she possessed the morals and understandings of what was appropriate in her society. Alexia's ability felt very novel to me. I especially liked how she used it when she interacted with the supernatural people in her life, especially Lord Maccon. There's a really good part where Alexia has to get up close and person with a naked Lord Maccon to keep him from changing back into a wolf. And they sure do take advantage of that moment. Naked Lord Maccon, up close and personal, who could blame a girl?
Ah, let's talk about Lord Maccon. Three words: To Die For! I loved him. Not too surprising, since I happen to adore, big, sexy, Scottish werewolves. But it's the whole package with him. I like that he's rough around the edges. Smooth operators bore me. The unpolished, fierce heroes, they get me everytime. Ooh, he had me reading this book furiously to get to the next scenes with he and Alexia. I loved all his scenes, in human and in werewolf form.
Alexia and Lord Maccon had awesome chemistry. This is not really a romance novel, so the reader must keep this in mind. Soulless is more of a fantasy with a very strong romance. If you take that into consideration and enjoy the ride, the romantic moments will be a pleasant surprise on top of the humor and the fantastic elements. Having said that, I loved all the smootchy/getting personal scenes. This book has that element of Victorian romance that I just love. The whole "we are passionately carried away, but this is really improper and I hope we don't get caught" theme really works for me. I loved how they couldn't seem to keep their hands off each other. Very appealing! Alexia and Lord Maccon are going on my favorite couples list. No doubt about it.
Now to the fantasy/steampunk elements. I thought Ms. Carriger did a great job. Initially, I had to get used to the writing style. Like I said earlier, I haven't read too many satirical-styled stories. I had to realize that I couldn't take things too seriously. Once I got into that mode, I was good. This book is an interesting hybrid in that it's definitely a humorous story, but there are some edgy, dark elements, as well. The automaton was pretty darn creepy. I immediately started thinking about golems when it was first introduced. I liked how she took the golem folklore and gave it a steampunk twist. I could completely understand why Alexia found it so repulsive. It was alive, but so opposite from what a living being might be. I liked the adventure aspects. This book made me think of the old school adventure storytellers like Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, although this book doesn't stray far from the drawing rooms and polite environs of London and its suburbs. I could easily imagine Ms. Carriger writing a ripping, neo-pulp adventure yarn. If she does, sign me up! I hope she has a Roxton-esque hero if she does. Hint, Hint. I definitely think this would make a great movie (in the right hands).
Steampunk is a new, but beloved genre for me. When it comes to technical and mechanical devices, I have no imagination. So I have to give it to Ms. Carriger for writing these aspects very well. I had a very good visual picture of the steam-driven, clockwork technology in my head while I was reading. Yet, she didn't overdo it so that I was more focused on trying to picture these devices and not focused on the story.
Vampires and werewolves are the main supernatural beasties in this story. They are very politically and socially-organized, to the degree that they have advisors to the queen herself. I admit, I really had to focus on this aspect, needing to reread a few paragraphs to really gain an understanding of the social structure of the two supernatural groups. But it was time well spent. I liked reading about the social dynamics of the vampire society, divided up into hives, each with a Queen vampire (she's the only one who can make new vamps), and having human servants called drones. Lord Akeldama, Alexia's flamboyant friend who happens to be a very powerful vampire, was a hoot. His fashion sense was outrageous, and he kept me laughing. On the werewolf side, I was enamored with Professor Lyall, the competent, extremely intelligent beta to the Alpha werewolf, Lord Maccon, Earl of Woolsey. I hope to see a lot more of Prof. Lyall. The werewolf pack dynamics were especially interesting to me, werewolf lover that I am. I absolutely love the werewolf salute given to Alexia at the end of this book. I was practically clapping. I think you could see that the vamps and weres were very integrated into society, and a huge part of the governmental workings of the author's concept of Great Britain of the 19th Century. It really gives a different perspective on the British Empire.
Man, this was a great read. If you're coming from a romance or a contemporary urban fantasy background, this book will take you out of your comfort zones, but it's so worth it. Hang in there until you get used to the flow of the language (it's very 19th century), and relax and enjoy the witty humor (it's very funny). You will have a great time. Don't forget to bring your tricked-out parasol and glassicals, just in case....more
Looking back at this book, I can't believe how much I came to love Team 3. They are firmly entrenched***Reread from July 17-July 19, 2012
Looking back at this book, I can't believe how much I came to love Team 3. They are firmly entrenched in my heart. Initially I felt sort of thrown and betrayed that Ms. Feehan had left my beloved Teams 1 and 2 and went to a bunch of folks I didn't know. I am eating my words. These guys (and two girls) rock! A different feel and relationship with this group. All the teams are a family, but these folks grew up together, and that bond is many years in the making. I could feel that family tie between them and it makes this book shine.
Jaimie and Mack--
This couple is very complementary. Mack is hard and decisive. Authoritative. Jaimie is warm and welcoming. Her strength is in her mind and in her heart. She is thought and intellect. Her mind is kind of scary and beautiful at the same time. Mack is acting and moving. Jaimie is pondering and mental exploration and examination. That is not to say that Mack is not intelligent and Jaimie isn't decisive. But in those areas where one abounds, the other benefits. I liked that about this book.
I liked Mack more this time around. I could see that he loves deeply and strongly, but that's not about declarations, but about doing. He did learn a lesson when he lost Jaimie the first time, and it has impressed on him that he needs to give her what she needs, the affirmation. We can take people for granted, assuming they know how important they are. But Jaimie didn't know how important she was to Mack. She thought that she was an add-on to his life, easily replaceable or forgettable. She didn't know that his life more or less fell apart without her. When he comes back, she can't understand his anger. But the thing about a man like Mack is that if he can't change or fix something, it makes him mad. When Jaimie left him, he couldn't fix that. So now he is angry at her for taking something so precious away from him and not understanding how important she was. She thinks she's the one who has more of a grudge to bear against him.
Their job now was to find that way of giving each other what they truly needed. I liked seeing them come to this point of understanding that one was not too hard or the other too soft, but perfect for each other. Together they were complete and full, making something even stronger as a unit. It was also funny seeing how the family worked through and around their issues with each other, because their relationship affected the whole group and the guys loved them both. I liked how integrated the romance aspect was into the overall group dynamics.
Overall Thoughts: I didn't think this was a favored romance in this series, because Mack is so pushy in some ways. In the end, and even moreso on the reread, I loved it so much. It's different from all the other books (as each one is). While Mack isn't my favorite GhostWalker, I have come to love him for who is. There are some people who challenge you in a way that no one else does. And that's good. Because their presence in your life makes you well-rounded in ways you lacked before. I am taking Mack this way. He is teaching me to deal with the kind of guys that get on my nerves, and teaching me understanding. I do need that.
A different installment, but great in its own way. Love Team 3, love all the characters, and I loved the escalation and expansion of the conspiracies.
Another thumbs up. Yes I am hopelessly in love with this series!
To express my powerful feelings for the GhostWalker series, I would like to borrow the words from Oliver by its namesake: "May I have some more please?"
Street Game takes the GhostWalker series to a different level, but captures everything that I loved about the preceeding books. I love how this series is so intricate, with different storylines that intersect. There are familiar things here that continue to light my fire for this series, but this story is also unique as Mack McKinley and Jaimie Fielding get closure on their past relationship.
Street Game focuses on the Urban Warfare team led by Mack McKinley. He loves his job and what he does. He even loves the enhancements that Whitney's program has given him. This is slightly different from the heroes in the prior books, because they generally felt betrayed that their bodies had been manipulated in such a fashion. Mack takes it all in stride, enthusiastic that his enhancements enable him to do what he does best, fighting the bad guys and protecting his country.
Mack is very much an alpha hero. In fact, he almost comes off as nearly unlikeable at times. He is the macho type, not one to express his feelings unless it involves putting his fist into something, giving orders to his men (and girlfriend), and expecting them to be followed, or having a bout of energetic sex with his girlfriend. He is blown away when Jaimie leaves him. He tells himself that she'll come back, because she needs him much more than he needs her. However, he finds that to be far from the case. Jaimie was his everything, and every day without her is like a gaping hole in his life. When a mission leads him to Jaimie's doorstep, he's determined to get her back, still baffled that she left him.
I said that Mack nearly was hard to like at times. Well, this would be be the case without Ms. Feehan's masterful handling of him. Hugely surprising to this GhostWalker fan, but Mack is probably the most alpha hero yet in this series. He is aggressive and intensely male, take charge, and used to giving orders. At first, it's hard to see his vulnerabilities, because he's quite adept at keeping that part of himself concealed. He's not a man who likes feeling helpless or wounded, and doesn't know how to express himself emotionally. Being in control is crucial for him. Before, this was something that Jaimie was used to. Mack was the one who kept their self-formed family together. They met when Jaimie was an eight year old genius who was already in high school, and Mack took care of her from the very beginning, protecting her from bullies and watching over her, along with the rest of the guys and girl they grew up with in their Chicago neighborhood. Over time, their relationship became a romantic one. For as long as he could remember, Jaimie was his, to protect, to watch over, and to come home to, loving the fire that they had together. Mack always admired Jaimie's intelligence, and was proud of her, but he didn't like her expressing doubts about the GhostWalker program, especially on a botched mission, and his way of dealing with it turned out to be the last straw for Jaimie.
Jaimie never stopped loving Mack, although she knew they couldn't be together, because they were too different, and she didn't like the violence of what their GhostWalker abilities allowed them to do. She didn't trust their superiors when they went into a mission that could have led to the death of some of their team members. When she tried to express her doubts about it, Mack doesn't listen. Instead he dismisses her concerns. She's devastated that he doesn't trust her or take what she's saying seriously, and knows that she has to leave him. Two years later, Jaimie has made a new life for herself, but plans to set up her business so she can take care of her brothers. She knows she can't be with Mack any more that way, but she still cares about him. When Mack and his team end up on her doorstep, she isn't surprised, knowing that she's being set up to be taken out because of the information she had recovered about the conspiracy behind the GhostWalker experimentation.
This book delves further into the conspiracies behind the GhostWalker program, going above and beyond Whitney to the power players that have ties with the White House. Jaimie is a thinking woman's heroine. Her phenomenal brain and analytical skills are used to follow the trails of information to find out who is setting up the GhostWalker teams and why. This installment of the series flows seamlessly into the other books, although the only returning characters are peripheral ones, or characters we only got an intriguing glimpse of in past books. Instead, we meet a whole new group of men, who managed to claim their place in my heart. What I love about this series is that each book makes me want more.
Christine Feehan really knows how to write characters that you become attached to, and yearn to read about. You see their flaws and their pain, and you want them to be happy. This book challenged me, because men like Mack tend to rub me the wrong way. I'm not a big fan of chest-thumping type men. But I was allowed to peel back the layers to see that Mack is a simple, yet complex man who takes his responsibilities very seriously. He has to be brash and confident, because he takes the lives of his team as a powerful responsibility. His way of taking care of others is leading and protecting them. For him, his feelings for Jaimie couldn't be described with mere words. Yet, Mack had to learn that Jaimie needed more from him that he was giving her. He thought that she saw his devotion and adoration, but she felt as though her only place in his life was as his hero-worshipping, cheerleading, brainy, and nurturing girlfriend.
This book has some moments that really strike me with their emotional intensity. These moments show the profound nature of the feelings between the characters. My favorite is when Mack is finally able to express into words just how much he loves Jaimie. I love how that scene is written, and how unexpected it was. She's blown away by it, and so am I. You know that Mack will never be the type to say the three words all the time, and freely, but it's more than clear how much he does love Jaimie. The steamy sex in this novel is pretty awesome, but the emotions behind it are what really enthrall this reader. You feel the fire between Mack and Jaimie, and the powerful bond between them that goes beyond the bedroom to the deepest parts of their heart and minds.
As usual, I love all the interactions between the GhostWalker team. I already love the new characters introduced in this installment, and look forward to seeing more of them. Each character brings something different to the table. I am impressed with the incredible storyline that Ms. Feehan has created with this series. I love reading about the abilities of the different characters, and how they seem imminently plausible, but fantastic at the same time. The action scenes are well-done, and I feel that this book would appeal to a fan of techno-thrillers as much as paranormal and romantic suspense fans. But what I love about these books is how you get the octane moments, the well-thought out and often mind-boggling plot involving the GhostWalkers, the steamy love scenes, the funny and heartwarming moments, and the three-dimensional characters that you cannot help but love, all fashioned together into a beautiful package. This book ends with the evidence that there are more adventures ahead, as the groundwork is laid to follow up on some important storylines introduced in the preceeding books, and touched on in this installment. And all I can say is, I Can't Wait!!...more
Hard to Hold is a good start to a three book series about a trio of brothers (from another mother/father) who are all SEALs. This Navy SEAL-loving girHard to Hold is a good start to a three book series about a trio of brothers (from another mother/father) who are all SEALs. This Navy SEAL-loving girl definitely appreciated the portrayal of these characters who are members of my favorite Elite Special Forces unit. While this wasn't a perfect book, I definitely feel it was worthy of the four star rating I gave it. Here are my thoughts:
What I Liked: * I liked the message about family being more than just blood. Family is a group of people who watch out for you, love you, and have your back. Sometimes your blood lets you down, but that doesn't mean there aren't people out there who love you even more than your real parents didn't. I liked the close bond between Jake, Chris, and Nick, and their 'dad' Kenny. They were bros and friends, and they had each others' backs. * As I mentioned, I love the Navy SEALs, so I'm always game to read well-written stories about characters in this dangerous role. I liked the military aspects very much! * Although the hero is definitely the alpha type, he is also a sensitive, caring man. I liked how he really cared for Isabelle, and put her needs first. He had reasons to keep his heart closed to her, but in the end, he didn't let that stand in the way of giving her the love and support she needed. Jake has a vulnerability that he doesn't wear on his sleeve, but I could feel his pain and anguish, and it spoke to me. * Isabelle was a realistic character. She wasn't too perfect, and she wasn't annoying in that falsely strong way that is unfortunately over-used in contemporary romantic fiction. She made/makes mistakes, and she owns those, and uses them to grow. *(view spoiler)[ I think the rape was handled very well. Isabelle doesn't get an instant heal just because she's attracted to Jake, he's her savior, and she falls in love with him. Her situation with Rafe was a very complicated one. She started out in a consensual relationship with him that she knew was wrong because of her engagement. She broke it off, but then he became her stalker and abused and raped her. She had lots of issues about the situation because of the fact that initially she was involved with Rafe, and she felt some guilt that she didn't fight him after he kidnapped her. He earned her trust and took advantage of her, stealing her ability to trust and the belief that she is control of her life. That is a big morass of emotions to deal with, and 'instant sexual healing' would have been a bit insulting for the reader. (hide spoiler)] *I really felt the intense and real emotions in the relationship between Isabelle and Jake. It was a big draw in this novel. They spent time getting to know each other, talking and building the intimacy between each other. When I read a romance, I want to see that, so that when they take the relationship to the physical level, it feels real, true, and intense. * I liked that all the characters were complex. They were flawed, but they were also people you could feel for. (view spoiler)[ I even felt bad for Rafe, although I didn't like what he did to Isabelle or how he went about getting revenge for his father. What Isabelle's dad and uncle did to Rafe's father was wrong, but two wrongs don't make a right. I also feel that he didn't know what love was if he could hurt Isabelle that way, claiming he loved her and wanted to be with her. I liked that there was a parallel drawn between Jake and Rafe. They both suffered horrible abuse by people who were supposed to love and protect them, but Jake found a way to use it to make him a stronger person; whereas Rafe let his past destroy him. Granted, Rafe didn't have the support of two 'brothers' and a loving adoptive father and mother. I feel like Rafe really wasted himself. It made me very sad. (hide spoiler)] *I loved seeing Isabelle do her work as a doctor. I always get a kick out of the medical aspects in a story, and it's great to see the heroine as a medical professional with a dynamic, successful, and challenging character. It helps to round her out as a person. I also liked how Chris was a very talented medic. He knows his stuff.
What I Think Could Have Been Better: * I think there were too many POV shifts in this story. It made it hard to get a fix on the main characters, and the side stories were short-changed. Once a scene started, it seemed to end too abruptly, with the emphasis misplaced, taking away the impact of the interactions between the characters. The relationship between Sarah and Clutch was very compelling, but I would have preferred they had more time spent on their relationship. I hope that we see more of them. * The action sequences needed more life. The execution made them seem anti-climatic. I noticed this because this is romantic military suspense, with high-octane heroes and dangerous situations. As an action fan, I like to see these elements pop in a book, but that wasn't quite the case with this book. I suspect that Ms. Tyler will improve on this as she finds her feet in this genre. *(view spoiler)[ I loved the "I Love Yous" between Isabelle and Jake. However, the book ends with a bit too much of a happy for now, where you didn't really see a firm commitment between Isabelle and Jake. Maybe we will see more of this in the next book. (hide spoiler)]
Overall Thoughts: * This book ended up pulling me in, hard. I cared about the characters, and I found the storyline interesting. I liked the characters a lot, and I liked the emotional complexity of their struggles. I am definitely hooked into this series. I would like to see a lot more of Chris (really liked him), and Nick was cool too. I hope he's not going to continue to be a womanizer over this series (don't care for them). I'd like to know what his deep dark secrets are. This series has the potential to be a favorite of mine. Fingers crossed.
I found the hero Cal a little too harsh for my tastes. He represented what I don't like about pro sports players and that whole macho vibe that they cI found the hero Cal a little too harsh for my tastes. He represented what I don't like about pro sports players and that whole macho vibe that they can give off. It was wrong what Jane did to him,however he was in the habit of using women, so in some ways it was his karma coming back on him, in my opinion. My issue is that didn't treat her very well after the fact. I can understand him being angry but I feel he should have treated the woman who was pregnant with his child better than he did. That bothered me. ...more
I enjoyed this, even though I don't care for Antebellum setting at all. I think a shovel was in order for the overbearing hero (to hit him over the heI enjoyed this, even though I don't care for Antebellum setting at all. I think a shovel was in order for the overbearing hero (to hit him over the head with), though....more
"Indy Savage (cop’s daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner) has been in love with Lee Nightingale (once badBlurb, for those who are interested:
"Indy Savage (cop’s daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner) has been in love with Lee Nightingale (once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations) since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now, Indy’s employee, “Rosie”, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicating matters, Lee has decided he’s interested, Indy’s decided she’s not. But, she can’t seem to keep Lee out of her life when she’s repeatedly stun-gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she’s finding dead bodies). Indy’s best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee’s challenge it to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart."
This was a fun, exciting book. Troy was crazy about Headley, but didn't know how to just open his mouth and say the words. He was seriously going throThis was a fun, exciting book. Troy was crazy about Headley, but didn't know how to just open his mouth and say the words. He was seriously going through all these changes and manipulating when he could have just told her. He was a big silly. (hot, though!) It was cute and I really enjoyed it. Hot love scenes, but the fact that Troy loved Headley so much was the winner for this book. Troy was pretty cavemanish, but Headley knew how to handle him. I like the possessive heroes so it didn't bother me, because Headley wasn't a doormat. I liked the interactions with Troy's friends, and Headley's friend Fancy. Some of the words that came out their mouths, wow! This book was a great read. Hours of entertainment after a long day of work. Can't wait to read Fancy and Maxwell's story. Intrigued about who Cole ends up with. Marie Rochelle is an autobuy for me....more
Reading this at night before bed stretched out the process, but it was worth it. There's something about Shannon McKenna's way of writing romance. It'Reading this at night before bed stretched out the process, but it was worth it. There's something about Shannon McKenna's way of writing romance. It's utterly sighworthy but extremely earthy. Sometimes I think a sacrifice is made with extra-steamy romance to convey the eroticism, and often the diehard romance is left behind. Not so with McKenna. Davy thinks he's the knight saving the princess, but he's pretty darn messed up. Margot really is an alpha heroine in a good way. When the book takes place, she's in a bad way, but it's clear that she's a very independent, competent woman. Davy spends most of the book confused and delusional about being in love with Margot, which I think would be very hard to deal with. Margot admit she's in love with Davy and he sort of throws it in her face, but at the same time, his behavior towards her suggests that he's deeply emotionally entangled with her. He is the King of Mixed Signals. I wasn't too angry at Margot when she has a crisis of faith in Davy. Based on what she's been through in the previous eight months and a history of not being able to trust men, especially men that she couldn't control the scope of their relationship with. Davy is not a man who can be compartmentalized or controlled. That's for sure. I like Margot a lot and I think she's a good match for Davy. Davy was a bit of a putz at times, but still lovable and lickable.
The villain is one sick puppy, for reals. It was a different twist. This villain being a student of the Death Touch. Being the martial arts geek I am, well I thought that was pretty interesting. His relationship with his brother was a study in dysfunctional family relationships. He was a formidable villain and definitely able to match Davy in his own enviable martial arts abilities. I wish the climax hadn't been so abrupt. I would have liked to see more of a drawn out confrontation between these two and the controlling older brother getting his just deserts in a more descriptive fashion.
It was lovely to see the other McCloud brothers and associates. They are a special bunch. The dialogue is classic. Since I read Fatal Strike before this, it was special to see Miles as the geeky apprentice. He's adorable!
This one isn't a five star book for me. I think it's more like a 4.25 star read. It doesn't have the intensity of some of my other favorites, but it's still a very good book.