There is something to be said for rereads. I read this one more slowly this time, savoring the language and the scenes. I love dessert. It's my favoriThere is something to be said for rereads. I read this one more slowly this time, savoring the language and the scenes. I love dessert. It's my favorite meal. And I always eat my dessert very slowly. Sadly, I read this so fast the first time, since Ms. Stuart hadn't put out a book a while before this one, too fast to truly take in and appreciate all the nuances. This time, I tried to treat Black Ice as if it was a dessert to be savored. And indeed, it was like the most seductive, decadent kind of desserts. And, I love it even more this time around.
Can you fall in love with a ruthless killer? A man who cares nothing for life and has absolutely no sense of right or wrong? A man who will use violence, sex, or lies, in whatever way is necessary to get the job done? In real life, I hope never to find that out. But, in this book, I could totally believe that Chloe would fall in love with the covert operative who goes by the name of Bastien, among many.
Can love change the bleakest, darkest heart? I do believe it can. As she often does, Ms. Stuart did a great job of showing me exactly that.
Black Ice won't be for everyone. Not every reader will fall in love with a hero who is as ruthless as Bastien. I couldn't help but fall for him. Ms. Stuart knows how to write this kind of hero--like no other author that I've read. There are so many layers to the man who goes by Bastien Toussaint. I love how each layer is peeled away to reveal the man that Chloe (and I could love). He's a physically beautiful man, one of sinuous grace. He's completely elegant, even when he's doing unspeakable things. He's absolute, complete seduction. And then there's the way he risks life and limb, and wreaks all sort of havoc to protect Chloe. Like the woman in his past, and Chloe, I could not resist him. Funny to think I felt he was a bit too hard the first time I read this. Silly me. Now I realize that he's just what this Doctor ordered. Maybe I've come to appreciate this kind of hero more as I've aged. I'm glad for that.
Dark romance it might be, but Anne Stuart writes luscious, sensual romance like no other author for me. The love scenes--fantastic. Worth rereading again and again. So much to savor here.
The suspense and action elements were awesome. Nothing like a little danger with my romance to get my heart pumping. I am a sucker for a sophisticated setting-something about European locales for spy/suspense stories for me. I felt as though I was there in Paris on a wintery night. Seeing the dark, twisted deeds that the Committee did to keep the world safe, even if they had to sacrifice a few innocents along the way, looking so stylish and elegant in their black designer wear all the while. Watching the shadowy games and the more shadowy players. I could see this as a movie, and a great one, in the right hands. Maybe Luc Besson?
At the beginning of this story, Bastien seemed like he could very well watch a defenseless woman like Chloe, in the wrong place at the wrong time, die, and not shed a tear. But, something changes in him after he meets Chloe. By the end of the story, it's clear that he'd do just about anything to keep her alive and safe, even if he can't be with her. How could I not see his love for her? I found I didn't need the words. He's not a man to wear his heart on his sleeve, and by his own words, he normally feels nothing for no one; so when he tells her he loves her, it is that much more poignant. I could feel the ice break, and my heart with it.
I could go on. I get like that about Anne Stuart. But I won't this time. I'll end by saying this:
I think this book is going to be like fine wine. It will get even better with age; it will go down so smooth and then hit you with the fiery reminder of its potency after the fact--better and better each time I read it.
In my later reviews of this series, I used edged weapons analogies. I think of Bastien as a Bowie Knife. Brutal, deadly, beautiful.
If Bastien Toussaint is like a bowie knife, brutally destructive, sharp and vicious, then Peter is a stiletto. They are both dangerous men, efficientIf Bastien Toussaint is like a bowie knife, brutally destructive, sharp and vicious, then Peter is a stiletto. They are both dangerous men, efficient weapons for the Committee. It's amazing how they could be so different, but still embody the ice cold, ruthless hero.
Peter starts out as a bland, gray ghost (as Genevieve calls him). He is deceptively mild-mannered in his role as assistant to billionaire philantropist Harry Van Dorn. Genevieve doesn't think much of him, except that he's annoyingly perceptive. However, that is an important tool in his arsenal: to be anywhere and everywhere, to blend in and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
On the second reread, it still took me a while to get a fix on Peter. He is so in the bland character that I underestimated him. Before I knew it, he had slipped under my skin. I can see why he drives Genevieve crazy. He is designed to be a woman's fatal flaw. I had to wonder how someone so bland could use sex as a weapon, but that was before he showed who he really was. The real man could probably seduce the panties off the most virtuous of nuns. The real man, well he's someone that is not to be underestimated.
Genevieve is a frustrating heroine. For a smart girl, she can make some stupid decisions. It's like she's almost all id. Her emotions seem to govern her intellect, which makes her an interesting counterpart to Peter, who analyzes and calculates every decision, until his well-buried heart makes its desires known. Still, his sharp mind maintains admirable control of the man.
Frankly, Black Ice is a hard act to follow. Bastien is so striking a ruthless hero, Peter throws you for a loop. However, that's good that he is so different. I found that although he didn't have that blatantly sexy edge of Bastien, I still loved him. He was the insidious kind of seduction that winds its way into your senses. If Bastien is a fine, potent wine, then Peter is like a tart, subtle dessert that you think you aren't impressed with at first, but the more you sample it, the more heady its taste becomes. Kind of like sherbet. I am an ice cream girl. Love its richness. But sherbet is something I always enjoy immensely when I eat it. And then I end up craving more.I read this book when I was tired out of my skull, and that's probably not a good time to evaluate a book, so it took me a while to feel his effects. However, I found that I enjoyed the sharp mind of his, the sensuality that he uses so effectively as a tool. I was very intrigued with how fast he fell for Genevieve, and once I thought about it, it made sense. Genevieve was not a woman easily dismissed, like the women in his past. He couldn't kill her or let her be killed. She meant too much to him. Although she was a very annoying woman, he had a way of getting her to do what he wanted, eventually. He kept her on her toes, made her alive with feeling, and killed her with his powerful, heady seduction.
Please forgive me if this review is incoherent. I am highly sleep-deprived right now. Although Cold as Ice just doesn't have the bite of Black Ice, I find that I still loved this book. Peter is in his own way just as irresistible as Bastien. His difference has an appeal of its own. Genevieve keeps things lively, and the plot moving, with her tendency to make stupid moves, and her complete inability to resist Peter. But who can blame her for the tendency to succumb to Peter?
Anne Stuart is an author who manages to keep me reading and never fails to lure me into her seductive web of dark romance and passion. Her tart humor is always appreciated. And no one writes a hero like this woman. It's rare that I don't enjoy her writing, and this story can't get less than five stars because what I love about her is here on offer. And Peter makes up for any shortcomings I might have seen as far as a villain that was more petulant child than anything else, and too quick a resolution on the suspense. Plus, the reappearance of Bastien and the advent of sexy Takashi O'Brien can definitely sway this reader's positive opinion.
The third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eliThe third book in the Ice series gives us the beautiful and deadly angel, Takashi O’Brien. His mission is to secure an ancient Japanese urn and to eliminate a young woman who knows how to lead a group of doomsday terrorists to a shrine where they plan to start Armageddon. But the man who never fails to carry through on his orders ends up falling in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill.
Honestly, I didn’t like the whole doomsday cult aspect. The bad guy was a loser, and I don’t like lazy, ineffectual bad guys. I can’t stand a villain who gets others to do all his dirty work and mainly stands around posturing. That’s definitely Shirosama. However, I loved the Japanese aspects, and this is the book where I meet my delicious bad boy Reno, who is Taka’s cousin. Taka takes a while to get a handle on. He’s all business, and he seems almost robotic at first. However, it becomes apparent that he can’t maintain that demeanor around Summer. For some reason, she just finds the chinks in his armor. And the more I read, the more I wanted to lick Taka, beautiful scoundrel that he was.
Anne Stuart doesn’t always write the most likable heroines. I don’t hate them, but sometimes I just kind of overlook them and focus on the heroes. Maybe she does that on purpose. I do like that she writes flawed, ordinary girls, because you can relate more to them, then the perfect angel heroines (if any author can get away with those, it’s Julie Garwood). I admit I liked Summer the most out of the heroines in the first three books. She was a reasonable girl, and her reactions and decisions make sense, considering. I think that she’s more mature than Chloe and more logical than Genevieve, but honestly, all the heroines fit their heroes in different ways. I couldn’t see Taka falling for any other heroine the way he does Summer.
If I continue my analogies from the first two Ice books reviews, I’d have to say that Taka is the katana. No, don’t think I’m just saying that because Taka is Japanese. When I think of deadly edged weapons, the most beautiful to be found is the katana. So, if Bastien is the Bowie knife, and Peter is the stiletto, then Taka is the katana.
See and admire:
I searched my heart and asked myself if I could give this book five stars if I didn’t really like the whole bad guy scenario, and if I felt a distance from Taka initially. Ultimately, I feel that this one is a five star book for me. I guess I just go there into ‘the zone’ when I read these books, and even if I have levels of five star-ness in comparison to other books, I can’t give it less. Let’s be honest. If I could imagine being trapped in a scenario with a guy who initially was going to kill me, and still might if the mission requires it (although he’d feel bad about) and still find it hot, I guess I have to say I bought this story, so that’s five stars for me.
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
This book excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because IThis book excels because of The Warlord Wants Forever, the first Immortals After Dark story by Kresley Cole. I actually read this one second because I read A Hunger Like No Other first. I remember reading A Hunger and being like, "Who are Myst and Nikolai?" When I realized that there was a prequel short story, I was on the hunt to get it. Finally I found it at a Half Price Books in San Antonio. I bought it and read it when I was in Denver for training. I actually read it about 2 and 1/2 times. I love this story so much. It's short but it's very hot and sweet. So well written, with characters that jump off the page at you. I thought I loved Lachlain, until I met Nikolai. The man is so delicious to me, and like Myst, I can't resist his scars and his warrior essence. It has a captive theme, so that might not work for some. As the saying goes, I would not kick Nikolai out of bed for eating crackers. Yet honestly, Nikolai is not a gentle lover, but Myst doesn't exactly play fair either. In the IAD universe vampires are unable to have sex until they meet their Bride who 'bloods' them. And then, watch out. Well, Myst is Nikolai's bride, despite the fact that as a valkyrie she hates vampires and kills their kind. She actually exploits the fact that she can 'blood' vampires and has killed them by almost seducing them. Well she feels an attraction to Nikolai despite her hatred of vamps. When she 'bloods' him, she leaves him hanging, in desperate need that only she can assuage for five years. Talk about frustration. This story has excellent chemistry, and the skill of Cole's writing shines in this short story. She is so good at combining humor, action, and writing characters that burn for each other.
Although I do love Sherrilyn Kenyon, I have not been enthralled by her BAD stories. They are just too ordinary for me. I really like what she does with paranormal in contemporaries, and I miss it when it's not there.
The Jaid Black story was pretty unique with the modern vikings who steal women to take underground. This is one is also a captive/kidnapped story with a bit of forced seduction if that is not a person's cup of tea. It was good, and I enjoyed it. However, I would say read this collection for the Kresley Cole story!...more
This is one of the first Johanna Lindsey books I read. It was magic. It was also my first official sheikh book. Ever since I have had a weakness for sThis is one of the first Johanna Lindsey books I read. It was magic. It was also my first official sheikh book. Ever since I have had a weakness for sheikh romances. I can't even count how many times I read this book. It's been a while but I remember being absolutely transfixed by the writing and the storytelling. It's very romantic, if you don't mind captive situations and forced seduction. I loved the reunion in England and how that plays out. Definitely one of my all time favorites....more
**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper**spoiler alert** This was my first romance novel ever! And twenty-four years later, it has a special place in my heart. Okay, this is a bodice ripper. It was written during the "I like, I take" era when heroes did rape heroines. I am not defending that, I am just saying that is what was done. I was twelve when I read it, and I didn't understand the mechanics of sex at all. I couldn't figure out what went where (yes I was that ignorant about sex).
I loved the adventure in this book. Although Brenna does annoy some friends who have read this book, I liked her. She was a warrior heroine, and I've always liked warrior women. She did what she could to protect her people. If she sometimes acted irrationally, she was only eighteen years old, and saw some pretty traumatic events (like her nurse getting an ax to the head). The Vikings were pretty violent in their raids.
I think this book awakened my interest in the Dark Ages and the Vikings. I went on to read way too many Viking books until I got sick of the genre, and I rarely read them now. But I do like to watch the programs that come on The History Channel about Vikings. All thanks to this book. I do believe that Johanna Lindsey did careful research. In the years since, I have educated myself about the Vikings, and she was spot on about their practices in a lot of ways. I can attribute my love of historical romance to this book. I love historical romance because I love learning about days gone by, and one of the best ways to learn is with an interesting story to lead you down the path of learning.
Garrick is a beautiful man physically, and he was a decent person, but I can't say I thought he was the best hero. He was a bit of a golden boy type, very spoiled, although fairly good-natured. He forced himself on Brenna and then expected Brenna to declare undying loyalty to a man who had enslaved her and taken away her innocence by force. Get a clue, dude. Brenna did end up falling in love with him, and made a promise she had every intention of keeping, but was stolen away by men hired by Garrick's father's bitter ex-mistress. Of course, instead of giving her the benefit of the doubt, he believes she's run away again. She treks halfway across Norway to get back to him, after surviving a violent near rape, half-frozen, poorly clothed, half-starved, and being pregnant the whole time, and he drops her like a hot pancake. I was so glad when Brenna washed her hands of him. And I was glad that Garrick had to earn her trust. I do like a grovelling (because he deserves it), repentant hero.
This book has a really good secondary cast whose stories you care about. The interesting thing is you get both sides of the story, from the invaders and the enslaved. I thought it was really well-done of Lindsey to present that balanced perspective.
I haven't read this book in years, but I have forgotten very little about it. Although Lindsey newer books don't move me the same way they used to, she will always be one of my all-time favorites because fundamentally, she really is a great storyteller. This book is proof of that.
So if you want to read a non-PC, fairly accurate romantic tale of Vikings and the women they love, I suggest this book to you. Hearts Aflame is about Garrick and Brenna's daughter Kristen, and Surrender My Love is about the super-baby Selig (who survived about every insult an unborn child can survive in his mother's womb and lived to tell about it). They are both good, but my favorite is Fires of Winter....more
I cannot really explain why this is a favorite Johanna Lindsey book since the premise is rather offensive. A rich, playboy Russian prince sees a womanI cannot really explain why this is a favorite Johanna Lindsey book since the premise is rather offensive. A rich, playboy Russian prince sees a woman on the streets of London, and tells his servants to abduct her since he's currently without a bedmate. They actually kidnap her and take her back to Russia. Ugh! What? Yet I love this book.
I did not agree with what Dimitri did to Katherine. He was arrogant and thought the world belonged to him. He was a prince of Russia, and they had lots of power. They literally owned people (serfs tied to the land and the houses of the rich for their whole lives). In his mind, he could have whatever he wanted. All he had to do was crook his finger and women jumped into his bed. Well Katherine is not a looker, and since she snuck out of the house dressed in her maid's clothes, he thinks she's no better than a serf. He cannot understand why she's not dying to be his lover of the moment, since they always leave his bed happy and well-cared for. She keeps saying that it's a horrible mistake, that she's a gentlewoman, and demanding to be taken back home, or at least to the English embassy. He thinks she's full of it. And he is floored that she reduces his attempts at seduction, not to mention angry. He's no rapist. He wants a willing woman in his bed. When makes an offhand comment out of anger to that effect to his servants, that they take as an edict to give him exactly what he wants. They dose the poor woman with an aphrodesiac that makes her experience severe agony if she doesn't do the deed. Well, he must help her out, and not allow her to suffer, right? Okay. I can buy that one time. Second time around, she is still not hip about being a bedbunny, even if he is a great and wonderful prince. So he deliberately has them dose her again! I thought that was beyond the pale. The first time, it wasn't a decision that he made, but a misunderstanding. But the second time around, he definitely was at fault.
After the second time, something changes in their relationship. Dimitri starts to see Katherine is a woman that should be respected and cherished, although he still doesn't believe she's a Lady. Katherine's heart softens towards Dimitri and she falls in love with him. Although there's a hiccup where one of Dimitri's imperious aunts orders Katherine caned and treated like the lowest servant when Dimitri is called out of town. He comes back and is livid on her behalf. He then proceeds to nurse her with tender loving care. Of course, this helps to melt the armor around poor Katherine's heart, and he in there.
I'm reading this book and thinking, get the heck out of that place with these crazy folks. Katherine doesn't really lose the desire to go home, despite falling in love with Dimitri. In her mind, he's so far above her (when I think he should be licking her feet personally) that she thinks the relationship is doomed. She'll enjoy her time with him until the ports unfreeze and she can go back home.
Okay why did I like this book so much? It was unique and original, and interesting. It kept my interest. I learned some things about Imperial Russia I didn't know, and it kindled my interest in Russia. Dimitri is a character that you become intrigued by, warts and all. I wanted this spoiled man to grow up and be a worthy hero. Katherine is a spectacular heroine. She might be plain and small, but she's got the heart of a lioness. She has no problem standing up for herself. You root for her to get herself out of that situation. And frankly, I could have cared less if she ever saw Dimitri again. He clearly didn't deserve her, even though she loved him. I guess the epilogue won me over. Also you could see towards the end of this book how much she had come to mean to him. So I grudgingly decided that it was okay for him to have Katherine, as long as he married her and made her a very happy woman for the rest of her life.
Well, I don't know if I have clearly explained why I like this book so much. But I do, despite some of the crazy and very un-PC events that occur in it....more
Comanche Moon was an incredible book. I stayed up almost to 2:30am at night reading it (although I try to go to bed semi-early on the weekends becauseComanche Moon was an incredible book. I stayed up almost to 2:30am at night reading it (although I try to go to bed semi-early on the weekends because it messes me up for the weeknights since I have to get up really early), but finally made myself put the book down and go to sleep. First thing the next morning I started reading it again, until I had to go pill my cat, and ended up moving onto my chores. I went the whole gamut of emotions reading it. It reminded me why I avoid books focusing on the Indian-Settler conflict. It is a very real and heartbreaking subject for me. I hate that large groups of the native peoples were exterminated, and most were driven to the edge of extinction, and now some of the tribes are barely hanging on. I definitely feel for the Native tribes, although I don't agree with slaughtering of homesteaders that was done. There is no "white hat" and there is no "noble savage." Just humans with different goals in conflict with each other. It is a complicated issue, with atrocities (and evil people) on both sides, and Catherine Anderson did a fantastic job of evenhandedly covering the issue. I haven't read one of her books for a while (just have been reading a lot of paranormal and urban fantasy and not too much mainstream contemps, and I had read most of her more recent historicals). And the funny thing is people look down on romances. I don't think a non-fiction book could have given me this experience as well, because the emotional component was there as we had Loretta who represented the settler side, and Hunter who represented the Native American side. Loretta and Hunter were three-dimensional, well rounded characters who you feel for and fall deeply in love with. Many times I could not find fault at the "wrong actions" of the characters because their motivations were very real. I would not want to be in any of the character's shoes for a moment. And to think that people like Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah Parker, Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and many others from history lived it. It was a beautiful love story, with its share of heartrending, heartbreaking, and distressing moments. Many times I wondered how a happy ending could come out of it, but I was satisfied with the ever after for the couple, although you know that future for the Comanche people is bleak. If you want to read a wonderful love story that is at times brutal but also beautiful, I heartily recommend this book. There is no question that Ms. Anderson thoroughly did her research. I checked the article on Wikipedia about the Comanche and the Comancheros and she was spot on. I can't wait to read Comanche Heart, the story about Amy and Swift Antelope. What happened to Amy is beyond distressing. It still comes to my mind and I am filled with rage. But I was thankful that she was able to move past it and find a love with Swift Antelope that I would like to get closure on. It comes out in Spring of 2009 as a rerelease. Boy am I glad that they rereleased these books. ...more
This book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? WelThis book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Well I fell, flat on my face. This guy is amazing. He is extremely attractive, imagine big, tall, ice blue eyes, black hair (I'm a sucker for blue eyes and black hair), and extremely intelligent also.
The way that JR Ward wrote this book did it. She put so much love and effort into telling this man's story that you couldn't help but love him. I love his selfless love for Butch. I love how he looked at Jane and saw his soulmate. I love that he fights for the Brothers and helps them out in manifold ways.
Also I cry for the torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of his so-called father. And what amounts to neglect from his mother. And then she wants him to step up as Primale and leave behind all that he loves.... Man. And not to mention having to give up Butch but always be there for him.
This book really ripped away at my heart. I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Jane. She was very down to earth and likable. But tough at the same time. Most people would have flipped out when they were exposed to a world that was so different from what they knew. She took it like a champ. And she never even blinked at the fact that Vishous was in love with another man and was seriously into bondage and stuff. She accepted him for who he was. Jane fits into the Brotherhood's life like a long-lost puzzle. She is the half to Vishous' whole that he was missing. She doesn't replace Butch but she still gives Vishous the love and acceptance he deserved for so long.
If I had one complaint, then it was how things were resolved with Jane. Don't worry. They end up together. I can't give it away because it will spoil it. I am still feeling a little uncertain about that. Otherwise, I loved this story. Even writing about it makes me get an ache in my chest....more
This is a favorite of mine. I like the poignancy of the story. Cassie is a plain jane who doesn't think she's worth more than buying a husband with heThis is a favorite of mine. I like the poignancy of the story. Cassie is a plain jane who doesn't think she's worth more than buying a husband with her successful video game business. Joel is desperate and infuriated that this business rival might get an edge over him by marrying Cassie and gaining control of her business, so he beats him to the punch by kidnapping Cassie and forcing her to marry him. Of course, he doesn't plan to have a real marriage, since Cassie is no beauty. You can guess that he sees her inner beauty, but fights falling in love with her because he doesn't trust women after his mother runs off with her lover. I've read this book several times. I like how Joel's mother takes Cassie back to Italy with her, and she gets a makeover, but Joel was already attracted to her anyway. He comes to fetch her because he misses her. Anyway, I don't want to give the whole plot away. I'm really glad I have a copy of this one....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
This was a powerful book wrapped in a short package. I thought the emotional connection between the characters was riveting, and it grabbed you on theThis was a powerful book wrapped in a short package. I thought the emotional connection between the characters was riveting, and it grabbed you on the first page of the book. The story doesn't reinvent the wheel. It's very much in the vein of Harlequin Presents with the heroine who ran away from the powerful man who imitimidated her because of her love for him. But what Singh does with it is so wonderful, that you don't mind that it's a short read. Highly recommended for fans of sheikh books, Singh, or people who like the shorter category reads....more
I'd give this 4.5 stars if I could. Although it took me a while to finish this book because of outside factors, I thought it was pretty awesome. My onI'd give this 4.5 stars if I could. Although it took me a while to finish this book because of outside factors, I thought it was pretty awesome. My one complaint is I think the ending was a bit rushed. This might be the hottest book that I have read by GS so far. The love scenes were pretty steamy. One thing I liked is that Gray has a very large POV in this story. It's really cool to see a romance from the guy's perspective. And I feel that his viewpoint read pretty authentic for a guy. He did and said, and thought exactly the way I would imagine a man would think. Now I have never walked in a man's shoes, so I might be disputed on this. Nevetheless it felt real to me.
As typical for GS, there was an aura of sweetness and good-naturedness to this story. It is difficult to describe, but in the books I've read by Ms. Showalter with the exception of Awaken Me Darkly there seems to be this upbeat tone. Now that doesn't mean that bad things don't happen and people don't die in this book or her others. But you get the impression that in the end, everything will work out and good will prevail. I must say I like that about her books. Life can seem pretty dark and hopeless. It's nice to read a book with an overall tone of optimism. I love my angsty, dark romances, but it's also nice to read some that are on the upbeat side as well.
The mythology in this story is pretty interesting. It borrows from Greek myths, but there are some extra things added. I have never thought of vampires as being a large aspect of the Greek mythology, and I believe the Formorians are from ancient Celtic mythology. Thus I feel that there is a potpourri of folklore used to develop Showalter's Atlantis universe. As always, I am a folklore/mythology geek, so I enjoyed seeing the mythological creatures that populated this story.
It was also nice to revisit Darius and his bride Grace, and see the intriguing Layel (can't wait to read his story). Those demons are just gross and don't sound the least bit attractive to me.
I really did like Jewel. She was a sweet person but also formidable in her own way. She had been in love with Gray from afar for many years, seeing him in visions in her mind. I thought it was sad that she had seen the profusion of women he'd been with in her mind in excruciating detail, but she didn't let that bother her, but took her opportunity to be with him the capacity available to her. I appreciated her love for others, and how she often tried to sacrifice her well-being to help others. She had a rough existence, but in a way that is rather different from other romance heroines.
I must say that this is a great book to read if you are a fan of the paranormal genre. It's not dark and intense in the way that a lot of the popular series right now are. But it's very good and fun, but has depth that will fill your hours until the last word has been read....more
Approximately twenty-eight years ago, a young girl picked up a book from her mother's box of books out of boredom. Her life was changed. Ever since thApproximately twenty-eight years ago, a young girl picked up a book from her mother's box of books out of boredom. Her life was changed. Ever since then, her favorite type of book has been historical romance. She has read a lot of it. There have been many that she has enjoyed. But some books just stand out. This is one of them.
Because of how much I liked this book, this is a very long review. I apologize if you don't like long reviews. The short of it is I loved this book very much. If you want to know why, keep reading.
Laura Kinsale just doesn't write enough books for me. If you asked me if I want more from her, obviously yes! But do I want less quality but more books? No. A book like Flowers from the Storm is worth thirty lesser books.
This book begins with a hero who is doing something immoral and reprehensible (although to some degree socially acceptable). A reader has to decide if they can get past that. While I really dislike what he did, I wanted to know more about Jervaulx and explore his story. I wasn’t going to write him off just yet.
With Laura Kinsale, you don’t just get an entertaining romance. She gives you a complex, textured novel that has characters that are not just archetypes, but are realistic and multi-faceted like a jewel (and like a jewel, they may have noticeable flaws). Maddy is at times the bully, at times the victim. Sometimes I liked her, sometimes I didn’t like her very much at all. I felt some identification with her as a person of faith, but at the same time, I felt that she gives people of faith a bad name because of her legalistic and judgmental way of life. It also challenged me to consider how I interact with people. Am I sending out the right message about my faith walk, the loving God and all-welcoming God I love? When she gets the epiphany about why she is with Jervaulx, I was thinking all along I knew why they had been brought together. I felt that Jervaulx and Maddy could learn from each other, could complement each other. Could they love each other despite society’s notions of propriety or station? It was hurtful how she denied the love she felt for Jervaulx, as if it was an ugly thing. It hurt me to read because I could see deep down that Jervaulx needed her so much, and she needed him, and loving someone can be intense and powerful (and yes, inconvenient) without being an obsession or leading to doom and destruction. While people shouldn’t be projects, something we can ‘fix’, we come into peoples’ lives to learn something ourselves and to help them learn something. Love that is selfish cannot be mutual, and for me, their love definitely wasn’t a selfish one.
Jervaulx is a very complicated man. It was interesting to see him at the beginning of the story and see his selfish actions and his determination to live a hedonistic life, although deep down, his was a builder and a thinker and a contributor. Those parts of his psyche obviously warred with each other. I don’t doubt that his mother’s cold demonstration of religious faith pushed him to go in the opposite direction. In his own way, he did believe in God, but seeing faith in such an ugly way pushed him further away from God and into a life that didn’t have much meaning outside of his scientific pursuits.
I hurt for him. A person of the mind, an intellectual can have an experience almost like dying when that part of their persona fails. It’s like being caged away, and in the case of Christian, his mouth couldn’t say what he wanted it to say, and sometimes the words just wouldn’t come to him. Also, going from a place of having power and authority over your life and losing that is another kind of death. That process was understandably devastating to a man who was one of the most powerful men in England.
His family was shameful. They all saw him as a thing to be used or manipulated: as a resource, a pawn, or a liability. That made me very angry on his behalf. And afraid. For most of the book, I felt Jervaulx’s fear tangibly. That’s part of why Maddy’s acts at times grated on me. She didn’t seem to get what it was like to be him, to know that he was one step away from being locked in an asylum for the rest of his life. Even though she does have momentary breakthroughs of understanding and a sense of responsibility to him, her hardheaded beliefs about what she should be doing (that being with him long-term is wrong) seemed to try to get in the way more than it should have.
This book feels so realistic, but also beautiful, entrancing, hypnotically romantic. The scenes between Maddy and Jervaulx where their feelings are budding, blooming and coming to full life were the essence of romance. Their passion inexorable, special and inescapable. It’s what makes my heart beat fast when I read romance books. People think writing romance is easy and low-brow. That any hack can write a romance story. How wrong you are. It takes talent and care to craft such a rich story that fulfills both intellectually and emotionally. Especially when you write characters that aren’t just appealing stand-ins for the reader and her dream man. No, they are real people with real lives and struggles. While love doesn’t necessarily solve all our everyday problems, it does get us through the rough spots in life, and gives us hope for the future. Walking through life with a beloved one at our side empowers us to fight for what we need, what we want, what is rightfully ours. While Jervaulx and Maddy didn’t make sense to someone on the outside looking in, who lacked insight, it makes perfect sense to me.
I put this book off for a long time, but it was a case of reading it at exactly the right time. I have been going through a horrible book slump, feeling apathetic about reading. That’s horrible for an avid booklover like myself. A book like this is just the medicine to reinvigorate a reader’s flagging interest. Thank you, Ms. Kinsale!