I am working my way through the Anne Stuart's Out-of-Print Gems collection on my Kindle, and it's wonderful to spend time with my favorite author of all time. I already read The Soldier And The Baby and chose this one next. I remembered not loving it the first time I read it. I don't know why, it just didn't stick with me.
I think that listening to a book the second time adds to the experience. I would admit that the robotic voice of Kindle Text to Speech in itself isn't a dramatic aid, but hearing the words of an author spoken out loud employs the auditory senses. Anne Stuart's writing feels good to the ears. She is a spare writer, but she is a master at creating imagery with a minimum of words. And atmosphere. This book seethes with Gothic atmosphere, and it's a perfect fusion of "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Phantom of the Opera." Except Megan is neither the unearthly beauty and pure-hearted goodness of Belle nor the sheltered innocent, and easily victimized Christine Daae. Regardless, this story still works. Megan is a mature woman in her twenties who is wearied from taking care of her immature father who had done something very bad with this construction company, involving the architectural designs of reclusive Ethan Winslow. He manipulates his daughter into going to plead with Winslow to save his skin. Megan knows her dad is manipulating her, but it's a set habit to take care of her dad. Ethan Winslow's world is a dark place with a shadow lover, and a small-minded, vicious town fed into a frenzy by a religious fanatic preacher. Megan knows Ethan is no good for her, in the end, but she is drawn to him in a way that she cannot deny. His lonely heart cries out to hers.
Readers who enjoy that vibe of Beauty and the Beast and Phantom of the Opera with a tortured, disfigured, lion with a thorn in his paw recluse will find themselves drawn to the story for that reason. However, Stuart adds her own stamp to the novel with the Gothic elements and the suspense and tension of Megan being initially imprisoned in Ethan's house and surrounded by strange phenomena and even stranger people.
Despite the short nature of this story, Stuart deals with serious themes of prejudice, the danger of intolerance and mob mentality and violence, and the misuse of religion (not faith or belief in God, which is a very different thing). Ethan is a very angry, vengeful man. He has reason to feel that way, but loving Megan opens a possibility for him to have a real life outside of the prison of the strange house he designed and the prison of his mind and past.
I hate prejudice and bigotry and my heart went out to Ethan for being despised for something that he had no control over. The small-minded meanness with its ugly results of the townspeople was infuriating and sad that they could see no other way to be, and that they felt justified in their hatred of Ethan for no reason (although he did taunt them some).
This story was very romantic. It touches on the fantasy of the shadow lover who is both dangerous and alluring, and the appeal of being in a world of their own making. Their sensual encounters are well-written and passionate, drawing me into the story as I listened, and I could vividly see the story unfolding in my mind.
The characters are sketches in some ways. You can assume more about their personalities than Stuart reveals. I don't mind though. I am easily able to fill in the blanks based on their descriptions, actions and mannerisms. I liked Megan more this time. I can appreciate her personality more now at my age. I respect her independence and her intrinsic sense of right and wrong, and that she's not an innocent girl. She knows what she wants and is mature enough to know what she's sacrificing to have it. And even though I stubbornly wanted Ethan to go after her, I think she showed a lot of bravery to go after the man she wanted, especially with the fact that he would never be the Prince Charming one expects in the fairy tales. He's her Dark Prince, and that's better, in my book.
While this won't ever be a favorite of mine by Ms. Stuart (too many contenders for that), rereading has upped my rating for this novel. I can appreciate it in a way that I didn't before. I think that it has a lot to say about society and the petty mean-spiritedness that people are capable of, and its costly effects to all involved. The atmosphere is fantastic, dark and sinister and Gothic. But also enticing and seductive. The dark can be both depending on the person, their frame of reference. I know for me it is definitely both. I love the night, the velvet of the dark sky, the cooler breeze, and the quiet and settled feel of the nighttime. I feel a sense of peace communing with nature in the dark. But sometimes, the dark inspires fears of the unknown. The things that go bump in the night. Both are evident in this novel. Ethan will always be a creature of the night, but Megan is fine with that. they can create their own world in the night, where their love is inviolate.
This is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that pointThis is a dark romance novel, but is excellent all the same. It starts with Ghislaine, the heroine, trying to kill Nicholas, the hero. From that point on, you cannot put the book down. This book has wounded, anguished characters who are brought together out of hatred, but find love and fulfillment together. I am a sucker for romances where a person is wounded and damaged, but manage to find a love that heals and fulfills them. Nicholas is definitely a rake, but he is a three-dimensional character who compels you to understand and appreciate him. Gilly is also flawed, but her struggles have made her a stronger person. The passion is sizzling, and yet the core of it is a true love. This book is a must read if you want a romance that will touch you on many levels and want a meaty read that will captivate you so much you can't put it down....more
Now normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rakNow normally most rakes do nothing for me. But Rafe, ah, Rafe is a rake I might find myself having trouble resisting. This book was delicious. The rake who gets hoisted by his petard by the man-hater. Silver feels like she is resistant to passions for a man. She tried love and it didn't work for her. She's all about being a good movie critic like her somewhat spiteful, Truman Capotesque mentor. He is teaching her to write acerbic, cruel reviews. Unfortunately she reviews Rafe's production and he's not happy. He decides to teach her a lesson, and ends up kidnapping her to his cabin in the mountains. It has a bit of the captive theme I like. And it has hot passion and hotter romance. The end is great because they both show sacrifice (sort of like Gift of the Magi). This is a great book to read if you can find it, a real treasure. As a matter of fact, I need to pull out my copy....more
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most defi2nd Reread Completed 8/1-8/9/13
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most definitely that this book is an all-time keeper. For me, this story is magic. I didn't have a lot of time to read it, but I actually didn't want to put it down when I couldn't read it. Finally, when I was able to dedicate some time to reading, I more or less read it straight through, except for when I was busy with my review books and Vacation Bible School. At the end of the night, I was excited to get into bed and curl up and revisit Lachlain and Emma's love story, reading late into the night.
Lachlain remains one of my fall time favorite paranormal heroes (and probably of all time). Although I refuse to pick a favorite Immortals After Dark hero, Lachlain makes some steep competition for the following heroes. He starts out a bully, but I can understand why. He literally was insane after being tortured for 150 years. However, it is a testament to his force of will that he didn't do worse to Emmaline, not to mention the power of their bond. Even though he wasn't super nice initially, his charisma was undeniable. As time passes and he realizes who Emma is and how she means to him, above and beyond being his fated mate, he shows just how adoring and capable of caring for his mate he can be. By the time Emma starts to love him, you can understand why. Cole makes you want a Lykae mate of your very own.
Sometimes the heroine doesn't click with me in a romance. But this is not one of those times. I loved Emma. I appreciated her journey of self-identity and coming into her own. She had that awkward feel of a woman on the cusp of maturity in her early twenties. Away from home for the first time, exploring who she is, and finding love. Considering the force of nature that Lachlain is, I think Emma held her own against him, and eventually, she had him eating out of her hand.
I think Kresley Cole writes the best steamy romance out there. Blazingly hot, but not crossing the line into raunchy and distasteful (overshare) language that turns 'sexy' into 'gross' for this reader. Even on the reread, I was excited to see what happened next, and fanning myself with the incredible tension and fire between Emma and Lachlain. I wasn't a huge fan of vampire romance prior to reading this (this being one of the first I read at the time), but the scenes in which Lachlain feeds Emma show how powerful that is between a mated pair, and it's sexy, and not gross like I always thought it would be. I'm not saying I want to take blood or give my blood like in the book, but it's written well and beliveable in the context of the story. It's a very intimate thing, and you could see how it furthers the connection between them.
On top of the fantastic romance, the world-building is complex and fascinating, and I love the camaraderie between the Valkyries and the other characters. You can see the Lore factions aligning before your eyes on the one way march to the Ascension. And though the developing romance is fascinating, it's also great to get glimpses into the past of the long-lived creatures of the Lore.
There's a reason why Kresley Cole is in my top five authors of all time. She knows how to bring it. In the paranormal and historical romance genres, she kicks butt and takes names. You want to keep coming back for more of this wonderful world she has created. I'm glad I was able to revisit this fantastic book and I am jazzed to continue my 2013 reread of the Immortals After Dark series.
****Original Review Below********* I bought this book because I had read "If You Dare," by this author and absolutely loved it. Well, lets just say, it made a steadfast fan of me. The Immortals After Dark is one of my all time favorite paranormal series, and part of the reason I'm so crazy about paranormals. Lachlain is kind of crazy, and who can blame him after being imprisioned horribly underground in a fiery pit, being drowned every day and consumed by fire for 150 years. One day he senses his mate, and he does something really painful and desperate to get free, to get to her. I was hooked.
Lachlain is what I call a Sexy, Scottish, Werewolf. What a great combination. His one shortcoming is that he is kind of snobby towards Emmaline at first. He's dismayed that this true mate (Lykae only get one) is a Vampire. Although she's really a halfling, half-vampire, half-valkyrie. Emmaline is as timid as you can get. She's been protected and coddled by her valkyrie aunts her whole young life. She's about 70 years old, which is very young for a vampire and a valkyrie. Despite her penchant for very sexy, expensive lingerie, she's an innocent virgin.
Imagine this crazed, beastly man tearing across a Paris courtyard, and dragging you off with him, and wanting to do things with you of a sexual nature? Very scary thought. This is how this book begins. Cole grabbed me as a reader and didn't let go. I wanted to find out how Lachlain would deal with the fact that his mate was not exactly what he wanted. Would he force her? Would she grow to love him and trust him? They go on a journey to get back to Lachlain's ancestral holdings in Scotland. He is the king of the Lycae and must go back to take his place as ruler of his people. Even though he isn't really happy with the mate that was chosen for him by fate, he's taking her with him. Lochlain has to get used to modern life. He finds he has expensive tastes, and charges up poor Emmaline's platinum card. He really makes the poor girl miserable. But she does manage to fall in love with him. She's not so sure about this Queen of the Lykae deal and having such a dominant mate, though. So it takes some serious wooing, Lykae-style, on Lachlain's part. And Lachlain discovers that having a vampire bride is a great thing, because being bitten by her is ecstasy. Plus, Emmaline is a sweet, loving woman who eases her way into his heart.
This was a fabulous book. I was already werewolf-inclined after reading the MaryJanice Davidson story "Love's Prisoner", Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, and Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon, so it really got my attention. This is a spicy read with very hot love scenes, that don't overshadow the growing love between Lachlain and Emmaline. I enjoyed the whole dynamic of reluctant mates, and the crazy, alpha werewolf hero really appealed to me. I loved how Lachlain's feelings towards his bride changed so that he came to adore her and appreciate her. She became his life. I also loved how timid Emmaline comes into her own. She was drifting because she knew neither of her parents. She was afraid and disliked her vampire nature, and had to come to terms with who she is. She becomes quite the warrior queen. Ah, this is a classic for me. It comes highly recommended.
Just a warning to readers. The first book in this series is the story in Playing Easy to Get, "The Warlord Wants Forever." I read this one first and I was scratching my head trying to figure out who Nikolai and Myst were. You can read this first, but you might be a little lost when they bring up Nikolai and Myst as a forgone conclusion. ...more
I am one of those readers who finds Ethan MacCarrick to be a completely irresistible hero. He is dark and dangerous, bitter, treacherous, unsociable,I am one of those readers who finds Ethan MacCarrick to be a completely irresistible hero. He is dark and dangerous, bitter, treacherous, unsociable, but deeply delicious. I love his large scar, his hulking presence, and his surly demeanor. But most of all, I love the fact that his wounded heart falls so completely for Madeleine, who happens to be the daughter of his enemy. Initally he plans to seduce and discard her, but she captivates him, and he begins to love her. For me, this story shows that love can come to even the darker hearts.
I think Cole is a fantastic writer, and it's very evident in this story. She knows how to write passion and love, and she researches and presents the Victorian period beautifully. A recommended read if you like passionate historical romance. I plan to reread this book to give it the justice in reviewing it, that it deserves....more
This was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhoodThis was an interesting and enjoyable read. Vincent is an intriguing hero who thinks he feels nothing, but clearly has never gotten over his childhood of emotional neglect. He does some pretty bad things because he is exacting revenge for his brother's suicide. However, he does have a turnaround and truly does repent as his love for Larissa changes his heart and melts the layer of ice that encloses the little-used member. It's a very good Christmas read that captures the elements of A Christmas Carol but also gives them a romantic aspect missing from the famous and well-loved Dickens tale. There is no magic here, well, other than the magic of love transforming a heart. Larissa is way too sweet, at least until her heart is broken. But even then, she manages to find the way to forgive Vincent, with a little help from her father. A good read to get you in the mood for Christmas....more
**spoiler alert** I really believe that Jared Burkett is the Antichrist. No, really. He is a lousy human being. I never warmed up to him. the reason w**spoiler alert** I really believe that Jared Burkett is the Antichrist. No, really. He is a lousy human being. I never warmed up to him. the reason why I somewhat like this book is the way Corinne sticks it too him with her revenge plot. Although she ruins her own reputation in the process. But it's not like she cares. She has no plans to stay in Hawaii, the land of the Jerky Husband, anyway.
I probably wouldn't like this book at all if it weren't for the scene where Corinne wants to reject her baby, but hears it crying and falls in love with her son. Okay I know that sounds cheesy, but I've read this book more than once, and this scene gets me everytime.
Jared is a hero that I wouldn't throw water on if he was on fire. He is just a nasty piece of work. He's near the top of my hated heroes of all time list. I still don't know why Corrine stayed with this man and fell back in love with him. I know a lot of readers hated Corrine. I didn't. She had some growing up to do, and started out this book a spoiled girl. But she matured very much over the course of the book, and even at her worse, she did not deserve Jared Burkett. She turns out to be a very good, loving mother, despite going through a period where she hated the fact that she was pregnant by the man who betrayed her. Is she my favorite JL heroine? No. But I thought she was an decent heroine and I did like her. I think she did grow as a person, so I respected her for that.
So I keep this book moreso to see how Corrine makes Jared look like the putz he is and for the poignant baby scene. Also because it's one of my favorite author's vintage books. I am a book collector, after all....more
Ross Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspireRoss Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspires respect in others. He reminds me of how I think King Arthur must have been. He was mostly celibate for eight years after his wife dies. That's why the way he falls for Sophia is so wonderful. She becomes his obsession and sets his heart on fire. And he does everything to keep her happy and to show his love for her. Sigh. I liked Sophia, and I thought she was a good heroine, but this book is mainly a favorite because of Ross. What a man! I also liked Nick Gentry, who is sort of the villain of this book, but turns out to be a very interesting character that we will see much more of (wink). If you like an older, mature, but intense hero who will steal your heart along with his heroine, you have to read this book....more
**spoiler alert** This really should be a five star book, but it had a few issues that make it hard to give it a five star rating. Fundamentally, the**spoiler alert** This really should be a five star book, but it had a few issues that make it hard to give it a five star rating. Fundamentally, the secondary love story takes up way too much of this book. I believe that McKenna and Aline's beautiful love story deserves more time than was spent on it in this story. I have nothing against Gideon and Olivia, but seeing their relationship unfold at the expense of McKenna and Aline was frustrating to me. It was almost like LK was finding it too painful to delve into the angst of their story and switched the camera away to focus on Gideon and Olivia. If I had my way, I would have introduced G and O in this story, and continued their relationship in a short story. Instead, we see them go from strangers to lovers to in love (in my opinion in a manner that is much more convincing than the main couple's story).
But what about the characters that I read this book for? Well, there is the beginning of their starcrossed love: John McKenna as a 'lowly' stable groom, and Aline as a shy, quiet teen who was in love with McKenna from the get go. They were close friends who were on the cusp of being lovers and more. Unfortunately, Aline's awful dad finds out and kicks McKenna off the estate, and he's forced to make his way in the cold, cruel world. He thinks that Aline didn't love him and easily forgot about him, so he has driven himself to get revenge against her by making himself into a very rich, powerful man, no matter what the cost is. Little did he know that his leaving broke Aline's heart, and she is badly injured in a kitchen fire, which makes her unmarriageble in her mind. So life has not been great for Aline after all.
When they reunite, Aline is determined to enjoy her summer (in every way she can) with McKenna and watch him leave with no regrets. All McKenna's thoughts of revenge fade as he is reconfronted with the woman he never stopped loving. Powerful stuff. McKenna is an incredible hero. He is strong and driven. I loved him. Aline was convincing and sympathetic as a heroine. You can understand why she tries to keep secrets from McKenna. She doesn't want him to be burdened with an invalid wife. So she gives herself only sexually to him. How could I not love this story? If there was enough time spent on it. It was so frustrating to see this book barely scratch the surface of all the longing and anguish between them. Not to mention that they go off to America to start their happy marriage and we never hear from them again.
So I can't help feeling down about the way this story unfolded. Normally I love an angsty romance. So long as the end is fulfilling and I am fully convinced that the couple has made it past the pain and will have a happy, loving future together. In this case, there wasn't enough payoff. Deep down I still feel this uncertainty about McKenna and Aline. Are they truly happy? Is all well?
This book about forbidden love has a poignancy that is almost painful. It stays on your mind and you hope that Aline and Mckenna are having a very happy life together. They earned it. But I needed more of their story to be content with this book....more
The Wedding managed to make its way up into the ranks of Garwood books that earned a five star rating. Why? Because this book took me from laughing hyThe Wedding managed to make its way up into the ranks of Garwood books that earned a five star rating. Why? Because this book took me from laughing hysterically, to being angry enough for my blood pressure to shoot up (or so my throbbing temples testified to), to being so sad I wanted to cry. Also, it's just darn entertaining.
I've read many, many romance novels in my thirty-some years, and Julie Garwood has a way of writing singular heroines, like no other author. On first glance, they seem too sweet to be believed. But, their sweetness is completely genuine. Her heroines are so kind and loving, that you'd have to be a big jerk to hate them. As for me, I love them. Brenna certainly was no different. The poor girl. She really went through the wringer in this book, and Connor contributed significantly to her suffering. At times, I did want to take a frying pan to his thick skull. Of course, I realize that he's emotionally stunted from the tragedy of his father's betrayal and death, and the murder of most of his clan. His deathbed promise to his father was what drove him, and marriage was only a secondary concern. He's a hard man, and it took him sometime to realize that his husband skills needed improvement. You cannot put wives away on shelves to gather dust until you want to play with them, man! Thankfully, love conquers all.
This was a very good book, and I didn't want to put it down. Brenna won my heart, and I was very glad that Connor got a clue. I loved the secondary cast of characters, such as Connor's men Quinlan and Crispin, and his people, Father Sinclair, her family, and of course, Laird Alec and Lady Jamie. I'm not sure if medieval Scotland in any way resembles this book, but I almost want to go there just to enjoy the ambience (despite the lack of indoor plumbing).
I don't have it in me to write a long review right now, so this will have to suffice. How does Ms. Garwood do it? Write such brilliant comedy, but scenes that are ripe with emotional anguish? Those diametrically opposed tones shouldn't go together, but she manages it. Although some parts wrenched at my heart at what poor Brenna went through, I felt that things worked out very well. I know that Connor will never, ever take her for granted again. He'll realize just how precious the love he has with Brenna, and how that was more important than the vengeance his father swore him to. She snuck her way into his heart, just like she did mine.
Darn! I wish I had time to go back and read all her historicals again!...more
Nigel is not really a good guy. He deceives Cassandra and takes advantage of her to get her to marry him. He spends the rest of the book proving thatNigel is not really a good guy. He deceives Cassandra and takes advantage of her to get her to marry him. He spends the rest of the book proving that he can be a good husband to her. It was a really good book. Great secondary romance involving Nigel's right-handman, who is quite intimidating....more
This is one of my all time favorite Harlequin Presents. It has the elements that I love about this line: passion, revenge, strong personalities clashiThis is one of my all time favorite Harlequin Presents. It has the elements that I love about this line: passion, revenge, strong personalities clashing in the arena of life, until they fall in love (and bed).
Jane and Ryan are enemies, for numerous reasons. For one thing, he ruins her father and his business (her father destroyed his family many years earlier and he has been biding his time to take his revenge). Also she ruins his wedding to her good friend, by arriving at the wedding and claiming to be his mistress that he's been having an affair with. Her meek friend has fallen in love with another man and is afraid to cry off from the wedding, so Jane steps in to help her at her own expense. After that, daggers are drawn. Ryan destroys Jane's business prospects and pretty much her life, and makes it impossible for her to find a job.
So it's her turn to get revenge. It sounds like a vicious cycle, but the fiery chemistry between them makes this story worth reading. Jane is tall and buxom (I sort of pictured her looking like Lucy Lawless as Xena or Jane Russell (40s-50s pinup girl and actress). Ryan is a big, tall, blue-eyed, black-haired guy who probably looks like a viking except with the dark hair. They make a striking couple.
There are few love scenes, but they are pretty blazing, and the first one definitely has a naughty vibe (you can read if you want to find out what I mean).
This book shows the strength of Napier's writing. She might have a heroine who's temporarily down on her luck, but she's more than a match for the hero as far as intellect, abilities, and personal fortitude. She isn't a pushover, and she's not going to let him treat her like she's beneath him. I also love that she has heroines who may not be model beautiful and have some insecurities about themselves that they might struggle with, but manage to live productive lives otherwise. You get the impression that they would be successful in life, but it's nice to have the love of a good man to complete them. I love her heroes because they are very alpha and somewhat domineering, but equally caring, and not so bullheaded that they cannot come to see the error of their ways or express their love and caring for the heroine. Plus she has a lot of big, muscular, dark hair, light eyed heroes, which I find very attractive. And they are New Zealanders (Not Italian, Greek, or Latin) and not necessarily billionaires. A lot of them are self-made men and/or have very down to earth values and lifestyles, even if they are wealthy. And usually they are very much heroes in pursuit, who go after the heroine who's not the typical immaculate, society beauty that every other man wants (although they are definitely appealing in their own unique way).
I think you'd have to be a fan of Harlequin Presentseque storylines, at least to a mild degree, to like this one. But I happen to love the revenge and powerful desire between enemies theme that is a staple of Harlequin Presents, so this book was a winner for me, especially in Susan Napier's masterful hands....more
This book marks a turning point in Iris Johansen's writing. She doesn't write romance anymore, publishing suspense/mystery books now. Another good romThis book marks a turning point in Iris Johansen's writing. She doesn't write romance anymore, publishing suspense/mystery books now. Another good romance author bites the dust. I enjoyed this book, but it focused on the suspense a little more than I liked. It was still very good. I liked the heroine's transition from passive to empowered. I especially appreciated the scenes where Nell trains to become a badass so she can get her revenge. I enjoyed the interactions between Nell and Nicholas and wished there was more of that. I really don't like the plain jane stories with the drastic makeup. I prefer when their inner beauty is recognized. But in this case, since she was in a horrible car accident and needed plastic surgery, it was very well integrated into the plot. All in all, a very good read, although it needed a touch more romance....more
Abby Green has written a sizzling and emotional story about revenge tied up in a relationship built on unrequited lust turned to love. Caleb Cameron hAbby Green has written a sizzling and emotional story about revenge tied up in a relationship built on unrequited lust turned to love. Caleb Cameron has Maggie all wrong. He thinks that her bid to seduce him was a coldhearted action designed to cheat Caleb in the favor of Maggie's stepfather. The truth is Maggie had to act on a genuine attraction she had to Caleb or her mother would suffer the consequences. In the end, it backfires, and their tryst is unconsummated with ugly words said before they parted. And many months later, Maggie has to protect her widowed mother from the consequences of her unscrupulous deceased husband's actions, and Caleb's revenge. Caleb will take everything, including her mother's house (from her first husband), if Maggie doesn't agree to be his mistress for two months. Maggie still has feelings for Caleb, but it hurts that he believes so poorly of her. However, she has to go through with their business for pleasure arrangement, and keep her heart locked away in the process. When it's over, will either walk away heart whole?
Maggie is a very sympathetic heroine. Her situation with her mother is tough, and she does tend to act as a sacrificial lamb, which may annoy some readers. I can identify with her need to look after her very vulnerable mother. I couldn't blame her for the choices she made, especially in light of the fact that she still loved Caleb, and wanted a real relationship with him. But now that's not a possibility. Maggie is a nice mix of emotional integrity, independent practicality and iron resiliency.
Caleb isn't really a bonafide jerk. He does come off as callous at times, and almost willfully determined to believe the worst of Maggie. He's fairly emotionally brutal towards Maggie initially (although I think it was more of a deliberate act to protect himself). That aspect is standard Harlequin Presents fare, but I think Ms. Green layers this story with deep emotion and poignant writing. You actually see Maggie and Caleb getting to know each other and fall in love, and see that while their relationship seems sexual, it's much more than that. I think his gesture near the end is very satisfying, and it has particular resonance for earlier moments in the story.
This is a satisfying quick contemporary romance read, and one of the Harlequin Presents books that very much captures the feel of the line, but also has deeper, powerful emotion that drives the story to a fulfilling conclusion....more
Patricia Grasso does it again. There is just something about her books and her writing that I find irresistible. She has a way with humor that I love.Patricia Grasso does it again. There is just something about her books and her writing that I find irresistible. She has a way with humor that I love. Her books are filled with family, sexy heroes, and spunky, adorable heroines. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments because of snarky comments made by someone in the book. There is usually a pet who is a prominent, treasured member of the family. I love the motifs that she uses in each book, such as the majordomo (butler) who always has an unusual name, such as Tinker, who is very outspoken but in a wry sort of fashion. One very amusing aspect of Grasso's regencies is there is always at least one scene where the hero and heroine, and anyone with them almost gets run over by a carriage because someone is trying to murder them (I guess London assassins aren't very creative), and there is usually a pregnancy in each book. The large family of Russian princes, either brothers or cousins, certainly helps the appeal.
This is a favorite of mine by this author, because Prince Drako is just a really good guy. He's not a rake, he's not distrustful of women, he's not domineering or obnoxious toward his heroine. He's a sweetheart. Yes, he does deliberately get Katerina pregnant so she'll have to marry him, but he has a really good reason for it. She's bound and determine to avenge the deaths of her sister, brother, and father, and he can't have her jeopardize herself like that. Plus, he falls head over heels for her very early in this book.
Katerina is strong and independent, but not in an annoying way. She has taken care of her family and has a thriving jewelry design business heavily patronized by the 'ice'-loving Duchess of Inverary. She is immediately attracted to Prince Drako, although she thinks he is her enemy she has vowed to revenge her family against. The great thing is that she doesn't hold onto her beliefs that Drako is the villain as she gets to know him and what a good guy he is.
I love all the nuances of this story, the funny conversations, and the poignant moments. The tea parties that the little girls have are hilarious, where they trade gossip about the imaginary Lord Rotten and such characters as that. I love how the Princes eagerly attend the Tea Parties and participate, spending time with the little girls. It's just adorable. You really have to read these books to see what I mean. This is not regency noir, nor is it fluffy per se. It's light, but substantial for a reader who wants to enjoy a book that's not overburdened with angst. Don't get me wrong, I love angst, but it's nice to have a little relief from it.
If you are the type to read books in order, it's best to start with the related series, which is about the Duchess of Inverary's (a prominent recurring character full of sage advice about relationships between men and women) nieces, which begins with To Tempt An Angel. This runs over into the Kazanov series because one of the sisters marries Rudolf, the first Russian Prince. The Kazanov series intersects with the seven Flambeau sisters series (they are the illegitimate daughters of the Duke of Inverary), as they intermarry with the Kazanov Princes. It's a little complicated, but oh so worth reading.
Highly recommended for a Regency romance fan who wants to laugh and really enjoy a fun book....more
Melanie Milburne is starting to win me over as an author. This is another book by her that I enjoyed and which also had a lot of character depth and eMelanie Milburne is starting to win me over as an author. This is another book by her that I enjoyed and which also had a lot of character depth and emotional content that made it a deeper and meaningful read. Readers who long for a heroine who has made mistakes and wasn't always a nice person, would appreciate Gemma. Gemma was a mean girl growing up. She was sharp-tongued and bitter-spirited, lashing out because of her guilt, loneliness, and just plain feeling unloved for who she was. I really respected her for owning up to her past mistakes, and I felt that her journey was realistic and just plain heart-wrenching. Despite her mean acts as a teen, she didn't deserve what happened to her. She was betrayed by a person who should have been there for her, and that escalated into an even worse situation. But at the end, she was still able to forgive that persona and own up to her own wrongs. I respect her madly.
Andreas was a good guy. He started out wanting revenge against Gemma for the past, but he treats her very well from the beginning, even though he wants to get her back for her cruel rejection and the lie she told. He showed a lot of depth, and wasn't just the run of the mill Italian billionaire who can have any women he wants. I think he never stopped loving Gemma, and that love continued to motivate his actions towards her. He was the right man to give her heart to, and he proves it again and again.
This is one of those books you don't want to put down when you start reading it. Love that with Harlequin Presents books, because they are books you can finish in two hours if you are able to. When you get one that makes you want to dive in, and you're sad when it's over, it just feeds the desire to read more. Of course, I had to find and read more Harlequin Presents this weekend as a result.
I'm giving this 4.5/5.0 stars because this really was an excellent book. Definitely recommend it!...more
I liked this book initially, but I didn't like the ending. I felt that Cristiano did not really make any compromises with Samantha, knowing her fears,I liked this book initially, but I didn't like the ending. I felt that Cristiano did not really make any compromises with Samantha, knowing her fears, and why she had them. She ended up being the one who gave in to make up with him. And he just took her back like that. He makes an aside to the effect that he might retire from the thing that scares the life out of Samantha in a year or so. More because he's tired of it, not because he loves her. I am not saying that a person should always give up what's important to them to make his loved one happy, but I don't think he tried to meet Samantha halfway at all. It was good for her to conquer her fears, but I would have preferred that Cristiano meet her halfway.
It's too bad because I thought it was beautifully written and I really was drawn into the story. I realize that Cristiano is written as an alpha man who shapes the world to his needs and desires. But, I don't see why an alpha hero can't learn and give compromise. Alphas should love and take care of others. He knew what Samantha's needs are, but I am not sure he made an effort to meet them. For that reason, I couldn't give this book more than three stars. ...more
Imagine falling in love with the daughter of the man you hold responsible for your wife's untimely death when you seek her out for revenge. That's whaImagine falling in love with the daughter of the man you hold responsible for your wife's untimely death when you seek her out for revenge. That's what happens in this book. Weirdo that I am, I love the revenge theme in romance novels. This one was done well, and luckily, the Josh came to his senses prior to when he and the heroine make love for the first time. Unfortunately he doesn't come clean with her until too late. It's made worse by the fact that Flora has trust issues from her father's downfall from drug addiction, the public exposure and the loss of her fiance when she refuses to turn her back on her father. From that point on, Josh has to win her love and trust again. For a short book, I think that it was well done watching Josh deal with this grief over losing his wife in childbirth, and coming to accept that it was just an accident. He has to deal with issues about having another pregnant wife, for obvious reasons. And he has to convince Flora that he wants her for real, and also the baby that he gets her pregnant with. This book doesn't have as light a tone as most of Lawrence's books. Scenes involving Liam, Josh's little boy, and his twin brother and sister-in-law help to lighten up things. I am pretty sure that I read his brother Jake's story several years ago. Now I need to find another copy of it to re-read....more