Having a Russian hero is always a nice start. But it has to meet other qualifications, and I'd say Theodora Taylor did that very well. The beginning hHaving a Russian hero is always a nice start. But it has to meet other qualifications, and I'd say Theodora Taylor did that very well. The beginning has one of the best openings I've read in a romance for a while. The language is almost lyrical in those scenes. I have to say that Alexei is just about scrumptious. He's fierce and dangerous/lethal-vibed, but he's also a teddy bear deep down. That combination is so irresistible. I liked very much how Alexei was three-dimensional. While part of him really despised Eva, and was determined to hurt her and get revenge, his heart didn't want that, and he'd never truly stopped loving her. He was very sighworthy. There is no question that Eva is the right woman for him, and I felt his pain and unresolved feelings over their breakup deeply, even though I wasn't sure that Eva was 100% to blame as he thought.
Eva was very likable. She is one of those people that you can't help but like if you spend more than five minutes together. I think her parents didn't realize how lucky they are to have her, considering how terrible they acted towards her. I figured she had a good reason for leaving Alexei, but my jaw dropped when it's revealed why she did. For some reason, I wasn't expecting that. You might say, 'well, duh,' but it was a surprise to me. I normally don't like the plot that is a huge aspect of this book, but I can understand why Eva chose to make that decision, and I like how it was dealt with between Eva and Alexei.
Deep down, I will always be a Harlequin Presents geek. I loved that this has many of the HP tropes that I dig, but with a dangerous twist. And with a black heroine! That's just about perfect for me. I liked how Alexei was wining and dining Eva, but he was also wooing her by doing couple stuff. And having South Padre Island as a rendezvous was a bit novel.
So why not five stars? I doesn't quite feel like a fiver to me. I think a large part was the rough sexual language. I am not a big fan of that, honestly. I think the love scenes were very steamy, but I could have done without the big words that seem obligatory in a steamy romance book nowadays. Personal preference. Thankfully, Taylor keeps the love scenes kink-free (wipes brow). I would have regretted if I had never gotten to meet Alexei just because the book was too kinky for me. Also, it could have been a tad longer. I think that for its shorter length, it was a satisfying story, but this easily could have been longer with more depth.
I'm so picky with five star ratings lately. If I wasn't getting so stingy, this could have been a five. But it was darn close.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Thanks so much to Teneatha for the Kindle Loan!...more
So, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's aSo, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's a big part of why I enjoy this series so much.
Sorry, but this is a really long review. I had a lot to say!
Possible Spoiler Disclaimer: I will warn readers that while I really tried not to use overt spoilers, you will see that there is an emotional shock that comes in this book, but I don’t reveal exactly what it was. Readers beware!
The Shadows is the telling of the story of the two s’Hisbe brothers who have become unofficial members of the Brotherhood’s growing family. Trez is running away from his destiny, written in the stars, as the future mate of the Princess of the s’Hisbe. He’s done everything he could to disqualify himself, but the time is growing short and he can run no longer. iAm has stood in the gap for his brother for many years, trying to keep his brother from going over the edge of oblivion to the exclusion of having his own life. But the time is coming when he won’t be able to save his brother. Trez is stone cold in love with the Chosen, Selena, but for many reasons, a happy ending doesn’t seem to be written in their destinies. Will iAm ever get the chance to build his own life, and to make decisions that aren’t dictated by his sacrificial love for his brother?
With a storyline that like, you know there’s going to be major drama.
Drama is JR Ward’s calling card. When I read one of her books, I automatically expect it. It’s hard, at the same time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it often does, very hard. I deliberately took my time reading this, preparing myself for the emotional blows sure to come. Not at all sure that there would be a happy end by the last page. I know a lot of people weren’t happy with this book, and I was prepared that I might not be, or that I might like it and find myself an outlier in saying why I liked it. So, it was emotionally stressful for me to read it. Another reason to take my time.
Some have argued that Ward has moved away from her initial writing of romance. I’m not sure I agree. Even in her earlier book, there was always a sense that not everything was settled, and while there were committed and happily mated couples, troubles could be lurking around the corner. Yes, the books were shorter and they focused more on the romance, but there was always something more, and plenty of drama. As the series has progress, the books have expanded, and with them, the storylines. And yes, the drama quotient. At times, it’s wearying how the storylines get dragged out and she introduces yet another set of new characters instead of giving more resolution on current storylines. This book was not different in that regard. And there were parts of this book that ripped my guts out and gave me a headache that was just a shade below a migraine. I wanted to slap one particular character super-duper silly. And I wanted to shake another one. I wanted to rail at the capriciousness of life, and ask the whys. But at the same time, I was satisfied at the end of the story. Hence my rating.
My opinion won’t be popular on this book amongst many of my friends. Largely, I really enjoyed this book. While there were some parts that were terribly sad and that made me sob like a big old baby, I felt that JR Ward delivered the quality of storytelling I appreciate about her writing. I’m not the one to tell you if she messed up specific details. I love this books a lot, but I don’t always remember which hand of Vishous glows or which eye of Qhuinn’s is blue versus green. To me, I don’t find that terribly important. I do care about the stories and the emotional journey. I don’t care if she rewrites some aspects of the storyline, because that’s to be expected in a long-running series. As an artist, one’s creation will evolve, and Ward views these people as real, probably as real as they seem to me, but probably even more real. And real people do change.
I will say this as well, I believe in eternal life. I believe that life doesn’t end on this plane. I believe that death is an enemy in that it steals love ones away from their beloveds, hopefully not forever, but sometimes it is forever. Our mortal bodies fail us and we leave this life and go to another place. I’m a Christian, so I believe that Heaven and Hell are real. For the Brothers, it’s the Fade. But I think the pain is the same, knowing that you won’t see a beloved again in this life. And when one is dying, it’s facing one’s mortality, and the question of whether what you’ve believed that whole time was real or not.
My two cats (that I had for pretty much their whole, long lives) died this past fall, and it broke my heart to pieces. They were older and I should have been prepared. I work in animal medicine, and I lost my dad about ten years ago, so death is not new to me. But it still wrenched my soul to lose them. It’s funny what people say and don’t say to you when you lose someone. I had people say some things that were quite ugly even though they didn’t mean it that way, and that didn’t help my emotional healing. I also had people who ministered to me in my grief, and understood exactly how I felt. They can’t know how much they helped me, but I say a prayer of thanks that God put them in my path at the right time.
I think this book touched me because I saw one of the characters go on that journey. The stages of grief were so tangible to me because of my recent loss (and quite honestly, I also lost a church friend recently, so I was dealing with that as well). I could feel what it was like for this character and the pain of losing a person, but also the fact that they could not ever have regrets about having loved that person, for however short that time was. It’s real for me. I don’t know, but I’m thinking that Ward went through a loss recently, and she wrote this from her heart. I connected with that, and I can see why she didn’t change the ending to a “happy, joy, joy” one that would be expected.
Sometimes, that’s not the way life works. Sometimes, you lose people and you have to get out of bed the next day. You have to attend to the ceremonies that come along with the loss and keep one foot in front of the other until you can walk without falling. Sometimes you have to be strong so you can be strong for another person who needs that strength, and put your own needs aside. That was all so real to me, and very well-written.
Others may not like how that was done. I respect that. While it sucked that this person died, it was also valuable in the terms of the story. I can’t fault Ward for that decision. I’ve seen her make others in her stories that I was more angry about. I think she handled the situation with grace, even in the most ugly and emotionally wrenching parts. I think she knows that people are going to be angry with her, and she owns it. I respect her for that.
Speaking of things that made me angry, Xcor was a real tool in this book. I had started seeing more potential for him as a future hero in the past few books, but now I’m just annoyed at him and I question his value as a future love interest for a certain person. I really disliked what he did, for numerous reasons. Those who know my tastes can probably pinpoint why, and can understand why I wanted to bitchslap him. It’s not that I don’t understand his character or the whys but it was a jerk move. At some point you have to stop being a whiny baby and say no to the past and declare a better future. I hold out hope that he’ll get a clue, but he’ll need to get a cleansing deep inside and outside before everything will be okay with me.
I continue to like Layla’s character. She’s really growing as a three-dimensional character in her own right. I wasn’t happy about that storyline with Qhuinn at first, but now I’m okay with it. I think it’s an interesting dynamic, and I want to see where things lead with her and her ancillary relationship with Qhuinn and Blay. I just want her to have a Hellren who is worthy of her. She deserves it! I hope the male she’s in love with gets his head out of his rear end sometime soon.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the relationship between iAm and Trez, and how things turned around, and the one who always made sacrifices got to be the one who was put first in a crucial way. iAm is a really classy guy, a worthy male, and while Trez did have some jerk moments in the past few books, I really liked him in this book and felt for him. He proves to be a very worthy male (although I don’t agree with his view of prostitution being okay as long as the women get the lion’s share of their earnings). Yes, they don’t consider themselves black or African American, but I liked that they do represent people of color in this book so well. I also found the s’Hisbe culture fascinating. In some ways, it’s not super well-defined, but it’s intriguing to me. An interesting compare and contrast to the Vampire and Sympath cultures. ‘s’Ex is some kind of dude. On the real! He has swagger like my beloved Rehvenge, and that is a very nice comparision from a reader who is stone cold in love with Rehv! I hope we see more of him. I like one of the new characters introduced very much, which I cannot reveal as a spoiler. Thumbs up for her. That was super-sweet too what happens with her and another character.
A few things I was indifferent about as well. I am indifferent about the Lesser storyline. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. We’ll see what happens in the next book. I can’t make up my mind how I feel about Assail. I hate drug abuse/activity, so he’s got a major strike against him. At the same time, I do appreciate the pragmatism of his character. I think he truly is amoral, and he sticks true to that. I’m not sure if he’ll turn out to be an antihero or a full on villain. I have this sick appreciation for a good antihero, I freely admit.
I feel like the Band of Brothers storyline was underrepresented in this book, but I think Ward is saving it for the next book and chose to focus on other aspects. It will be interesting to see what happens between Xcor and Throe (and I’m glad that Wrath ain’t nobody’s fool when it comes to that situation). I wish she’d spent more time on the BoB instead of developing the new storyline with Paradise. I don’t hate her, but I can’t say I really care that much about her right now. Having said that, I’ll definitely be reading the spinoff series, even though I think it’s Ward’s bid for the New Adult niche (and I’m not interested in that genre).
So, yes, I think I could go on about this book, but I’ve already written such a long review. It won’t change anything. I’m pretty set on how I rated the book. I own it. I liked this book a whole lot. I enjoy Ward’s writing. I love the elegance of the old races she writes about, juxtaposed to the gritty modern world. I even like the thug slang and urban ways of the Brothers (as odd as some find it). I know a lot of folks hate that, but I feel that it’s characteristic of her writing, and I smile every year when I get to hang out with the Brothers and their ever-growing circle of acquaintances. I think that Ward really loves writing about these characters and that joy is infectious to me as a reader. I wish that some of my favorites were more front and center, but most of them had their day in the sun and it’s time to let someone else take the center focus. I will say it was nice to see more of Rhage and Mary in this book.
I guess I’m always going to enjoy Ward’s book for what they are. I don’t expect her to be a perfect writer. She has her quirks like any other artist, but I think she’s a darn good writer, and I love this world she’s created, even more with each book. I added The Shadows to my BDB hardcover shelf with a feeling of proprietary pride. Enough Said! ...more
This is a hard book for me to rate. It's been a while since I read it, but I still haven't changed my mind about what I thought I should rate it (I thThis is a hard book for me to rate. It's been a while since I read it, but I still haven't changed my mind about what I thought I should rate it (I thought I'd be in between and I still feel that way). I will say that it was really quite satisfying for an impulse buy.
There is something that just works about space westerns. Even if Fox did cancel Firefly because they were crazy, I knew that show was magic in the first five minutes. I mean, isn't space the final frontier? Well, Bowers captures all the wildness, the corruption and the lawlessness of space. And he puts a newbie Marshal (who was once a war hero) in a situation where his determination to see justice done might just get him killed.
Overall, this was a well-written book. I do feel that Bowers captured a really gritty feel and showed how deeply corrupt things were on Ceres and in the mining asteroid belts. It did remind me of how things were in the Real Old West. While Nick is definitely a White Hat, he has no issues with getting his hands bloody.
Readers who are sensitive to topics of sexual violence will definitely want to be careful with this book. There were aspects that made me absolutely livid, because that is a really sensitive topic with me. Sometimes I even had a anti-male rage going on, but Nick was just as hot about what was happening, so it does prove that not all men are like that. Yeah, what the Farringtons were doing to women in this book (and allowing to be done) was seriously dark. It made it hard to keep reading at times. I listened to this on my Kindle Text-to-Speech and it was a very visceral thing to hear about the abuses that were taking place at the Farrington Lockup. I'm not a violent person, generally, but this book made me feel murderous.
Overall, Nick was a very likable character that I respected. I totally felt his strong need for justice. I'm wired that way as well. However, I was conflicted about Nick's love life. I felt like his aversion to commitment was more of a throwaway to fit into the concept of him as a roaming marshal. It made me feel he was a bit skeevy, to be honest. At least he showed integrity in many other ways (and I can't fault that he was honest with the women he was involved with). I think it's deeply icky for character to bed hop, so I definitely could have done without that.
I feel that the secondary characters could have been a bit more developed. Misery was barely three-dimensional. Monica moreso. I loved that they were both black women. :) I did like David quite a bit. He seemed like one of the more fleshed out secondary characters, strangely enough.
I do think Bowers is working out his issues with religion in his fiction. He seems very cynical about organized religion, but I don't get that he's anti-God or anti-people of faith, but just not a big fan of some of the behaviors that occur in the religious community. I can respect that a writer uses their fiction to work out their issues, as long as they don't obviously get out their soapbox, and he didn't do that. So we're cool. I agree that the minister was pretty ridiculous to take his beautiful, young virginal daughters into a mining community with the worst of the worst and not expect something like that to happen. It's not that I don't believe in God's protection (I definitely do), but he didn't even rely on that, but just this arrogant belief that he had been called there to minister to the Lost (and he could save all the souls). So, yes, I was feeling Nick when he read the minister the riot act.
We read this for the Action/Adventure Aficionados group and I felt the action was definitely high caliber. Nick isn't afraid to dive into the fray, and the suspense was killer. I mean these folks were evil, and there are few things more disturbing to me than corrupt law enforcement.
I can't quite convince myself that this is a four star book. It's hovering, so I'd have to go with 3.5 stars. One of my pet peeves is abrupt endings and when tension dissipates too quickly, and I thought that was an issue. And honestly, I think a lot worse things should have happened to the bad guys, based on how horrific their behavior was.
I will probably continue this series, but I am not feeling Nick's bed-hopping, and I hope that isn't a pervasive trend in this series.
I think fans of Firefly and the movie Serenity and also of the show Ripper Street (not Western but about the law in London in a very rough area full of corruption) would like this book. But be warned, it's not for the faint of heart!...more
Hart is a good writer, with an evocative style. It's great that this is full of multicultural characters. But I gave this 3.5/5.0 stars, because it'sHart is a good writer, with an evocative style. It's great that this is full of multicultural characters. But I gave this 3.5/5.0 stars, because it's not really to my personal taste. I find I like straight contemporary romance less and less, and the romances are more HFN than HEA (which is not my personal preference). Overall, I think readers who enjoy the current small town romance series trend would like this very much.
Not the easiest read, with a lot of technological concepts to integrate. However, it was a fulfilling read. And a form of therapy for an artificial inNot the easiest read, with a lot of technological concepts to integrate. However, it was a fulfilling read. And a form of therapy for an artificial intelligence phobic person like myself.
There is something absurdly appealing about this series to me. I guess it's because it's so crazy and out there. A team of super-villains is selected There is something absurdly appealing about this series to me. I guess it's because it's so crazy and out there. A team of super-villains is selected from the population of Belle Reve, a maximum security prison in the middle of the Louisiana swampland designed to house dangerous meta-human criminals. the only ones selected for the team are the ones who survived vicious torture without breaking. They have nanite bombs implanted that will blow their heads off if they don't come back to the prison after the mission is completed, and are sent into missions where their chances of survival are extremely limited.
I haven't read much Batman in a long time (queued up on my reading list), so my experience with Harley Quinn is based on watching Batman movies and tv shows. She's seriously crazy and homicidally inclined, but in a strange way, I kind of liked her. Don't judge me! I'm trying to process it myself. Deadshot, I think I might be developing a crush on him. Stop judging me! I find King Shark disgusting. I hope he dies. He's yuck. Black Spider is interesting, although I don't trust him. Not that I trust any of these guys, but he has a sense of superiority because he's a vigilante who likes to kill criminals. A bit of self-righteousness can make someone very dangerous because they are good at justifying even their most questionable actions. El Diablo is quite a character. An ex-street criminal who felt severe remorse after flaming down a house full of women and children. He has the ability to start fires, and his numerous tattoos are burnt off in the process. There are a few other characters who round out the very fluid team membership. Amanda Waller, warden of Belle Reve, is the no-nonsense command officer for the Squad. She don't take no mess. She is fierce, and lays down the law with the members. It's do or die for them.
I think the creators of this series like the fact that they can go for it. You don't get those moments where the 'hero' wouldn't do 'that' or they wouldn't cross that line. They are pretty much what you think: violent criminal offenders who have a personal agenda for what they do. Admittedly, some have a bit more of an ethos than others. Their first mission is about as crazy as it gets. Getting dropped in the middle of a sportsdome full of people infected by a technovirus. Yeah, crazy!
Can I admit I'm shipping Harley Quinn and Deadshot? Well I am.
I'm officially in love with this book! It was a great way to break a rather long interracial romance fast. JJ Murray has managed to take an book aboutI'm officially in love with this book! It was a great way to break a rather long interracial romance fast. JJ Murray has managed to take an book about ordinary people and make it an extraordinarily romantic and delectable read. It has a Lad Lit feel that I rather liked, despite the fact I'm not a fan of either Lad Lit or Chick Lit. Highly recommend it.
Saga continues to be a very good graphic novel. The artwork and colors are gorgeous and the story is compelling. I think I would rate this highly if sSaga continues to be a very good graphic novel. The artwork and colors are gorgeous and the story is compelling. I think I would rate this highly if some of the content wasn't deliberately so risque/borderline sleazy. I would love to understand why the author chooses to go in that direction with the story, when the foundational themes of this novel are family, loyalty and solidarity. I'm not a prude, but I do feel like the creator puts some sleaze in here just to see if we're paying attention when we read and view the comic as we turn the pages. Believe me, we are. This story is so good, you can't help but be transfixed. It's what a kid who loves science fiction and fantasy movies and novels is dreaming of seeing as a graphic novel, and hopefully as a movie or tv series one day. It's evident that the creator of this novel has the same foundational series as favorites as many who would read this comic.
I love the fundamental love story here, about how these two people who come from such warring planets and who should be so incompatible, could come together and found a family that is so rich in love. I am interested in the secondary characters and their stories just as much.
So, I was playing around on my Kindle last night when I was trying to get sleepy since I had to get up early this morning, and I started reading thisSo, I was playing around on my Kindle last night when I was trying to get sleepy since I had to get up early this morning, and I started reading this and didn't finish until I was done. That's a good sign indeed.
I love interracial romance, so I try to keep an eye out for good books. However, I don't love interracial erotica, and that can be a double-edged sword, since you don't know how erotic a book will get until you read it. And I miss out on some good writing because I tend to avoid all of it (since I don't know what is and isn't out of my comfort zone).
I'm glad this came up free on Kindle, because I don't think I would have bought it, since it does have an erotic storyline. Despite the fact, it was a good read.
What I liked:
* I loved that Veronica is an independent woman with her own business, and she's very good at her job. * Also that Veronica is a geek. She did calculus problems in her head when Rossi's hotness started distracting her too much. How cool is that? The Doctor Who reference was awesome (although she spelled it Dr. Who). Also the Star Trek "Resistance is futile" quote raised the geek coolness bar a notch more. *I just loved the scene when Rossi nursed Veronica when she had the flu. I think that was crucial for such a short story focused around sexual attraction and assuaging that attraction for someone you work with. While I can't say I felt huge love between the characters, I could see there was a strong love bond developing. *I am a pretty big Harlequin Presents fan, and I perceive this as a Harlequin Presents-type homage, which was cool. It was great to have a black heroine and one who is not dependent on the hero for her livelihood, even though it does have a bit of the sexual harassment theme going on (which I kind of like in these books anyway).
What didn't work for me: *This is a grain of salt thing. I just don't care for erotica. It's not evil or wrong, but it just doesn't work for me on a romantic level. Yes, my hormones can be stimulated by reading hot stuff, I won't lie. However, I don't care for the rough language. If the author is going to use the big naughty words for body parts, I need to feel the love very strongly between the characters. In this case, I didn't. Not that the author isn't a good writer, but the scenarios and the short time period made that impossible. So hearing the naughty words associated with the sex scenes didn't work for me. *Also, some of the sexual scenarios felt more like a titilation factor than romance to me. I especially didn't care for (view spoiler)[ Veronica taking X-rated pictures of herself and putting them in Rossi's presentation booklet, especially one in particular involving a dildo. It felt 'icky' to me. But thank God, no anal sex! I think some readers might find it hot, but not for me. I do have to say that I almost choked in shock and laughter when Veronica's phone went off when she saw Rossi self-pleasuring himself and right at the explosive moment. Hilarious and deeply embarrassing at the same time. Well-written, I must say. (hide spoiler)] *The short length, which I allude to earlier didn't work for me. I didn't feel that the characters were going to stay together for ever when this ended. I can see them having a hot and heavy relationship and maybe falling in love, but that doesn't necessarily equal happy ever after to me. I am a happy ever after girl, not a happy for now. Just a resolution of them dating and going out in public and not just having sex wasn't fulfilling to me.
So Why The Four Stars?:
The writing is very good. It feels polished and the characters are very well-developed for a short, sex-oriented story. While I am just not into the moneyed, hot executive hero type (despite my love of Harlequin Presents) books, Rossi was actually a nice guy and he respected and admired Veronica for the whole person, and not just her physical assets. As I said above, I liked Veronica for the most part although (view spoiler)[ I wasn't down with how she objectified herself near the end to get Rossi's attention. (hide spoiler)] For the short length and the subject matter, this was a good story and it was very sexy. Not really my cup of tea, but well done all the same.
I would recommend this to readers who like the hot stuff and don't mind the language being naughty and a bit of a 'porny' scenario. Not tasteless in the least, so don't get that idea from my review.
It's worth the money if you like short erotic interracial stories built around the office love/sexual harassment scenario.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I pulled this one up on my Kindle because I was watching the HBO movie "Bessie" with Queen Latifah (who is the definition of awesome), and I wanted toI pulled this one up on my Kindle because I was watching the HBO movie "Bessie" with Queen Latifah (who is the definition of awesome), and I wanted to read something set at this time, and especially IR. I had downloaded is specifically because of the time setting and the storyline, and this was the perfect time to read it. I wasn't disappointed. This was a very good book.
Disclaimer: I will use the term 'colored' for black people because that is what black people were called at this time. This term is not appropriate to use anymore, but in the context of this story, it's timely.
Harmony sings the blues at the Cotton Club. Music is in her soul and it's her gift, how she pours out her anguish over the loss of her grandmother and her man. Her dreams of escaping a life bound by the restrictions of race and lack of money are given full rein when she sings. When her brother goes missing, she exploits the fact that powerful gangster Vinnie Romano seems captivated with her voice. She asks him to help her find her brother, knowing he'll have a price, and one that she's willing to pay. Set in a time of Prohibition when gang violence is near an all time high, this book delivers on the intensity.
I bought in on the chemistry between Harmony and Vinnie from their first meeting. I like that you initially don't know what Vinnie's motives are. He's a hard man and he keeps his heart buried deep. Coming over from Sicily with nothing, he's earned his status as a Boss with blood. And Vinnie definitely has an intimidating vibe. I like dangerous heroes, although I can't say I'm fond of mobsters. They aren't my cup of tea since I don't like brutality and the ruthless killing for profit and status associated with that kind of business. What hooked me in with Vinnie was his extreme appreciation for Harmony's singing and his love of blues music, a music that was strictly colored music at this time. They actually called them race records. For Vinnie to connect with such soulful music showed that he was deeper than he might have appeared. While at first, you don't get that race isn't an issue with him, you wonder that it can't be if he would connect so deeply with a culture so different from his own. Vinnie made me care about him. As Harmony sees his layers and the lion's heart he has, so did I. I appreciate loyalty and honor, and I don't tend to associate those with mobsters, but Vinnie clearly has those traits. He's a fascinating guy and I could see why Harmony loved him.
Harmony is equally layered. She's tough and independent and fiery passionate, but also sweet and demure. She's an artist and a believer deep in her soul, a dreamer, even in this world where colored people aren't allowed dreams. I loved how determined and fearless she is at the end of this book. That was a really bad and scary situation and she did something that only a lioness would do to save her man. Kudos to her for that.
I remember there is a great movie that I saw a long time ago called "Machine Gun Blues", starring Cynda Williams and Nick Cassavettes, about a colored blues singer who falls in love with an Italian mobster. It has a sad ending (sorry for the spoiler), and I always wished it had ended differently. I would like to thank Ms. Mynx for giving me a happy ending version of that seemingly doomed love affair. There is a time in this book where you aren't sure you'll get a happy ending, and I think I hardly breathed as I read the final pages of the book. The thing about Kindle books is it tells you how much time you have left in the book, and the last 20% was agony for me. But Mynx delivered.
I have a problem with erotica, and I try to avoid it. I just don't like all the 'anything goes' sex. I like to know there will be limits on what kinds of sex acts are depicted in the book. I don't mind steamy vanilla sex and plenty of it (so long as it doesn't take over the story), but I don't like the kinky stuff. A reference during the first love scene had me worried, but that stuff didn't take place on screen in the book, so I heaved a sigh of relief. While I do think this did have a bit more sex than strictly necessary, I can understand how important it was to show the passion and desperation of these two lovers, and how their love comes to the surface past their guarded armor and facades.
I won't say I'm a mafia/mobster romance fan, but I really did like this book. And since I'm a sucker for Early 20th Century romance, and I like reading about the 20s and 30s, it kind of comes with the territory. Prohibition was a very violent period in American history, and there are a lot of untold stories. I loved seeing what it was like a young colored woman and her Sicilian lover, that they did have a chance at a happy ending, even in their world of blood and strife. I learned some historical facts as I read that found very fascinating, such as which states it was legal to marry interracially during this period.
The writing was crisp and very organic and visually-stimulating. I felt like this was a cinematic read, and I would love if someone did make a movie out of this one day. I would definitely go see it! The music aspect was well-conveyed and integral to this story. The editing was pretty good, with only a few errors, mostly near the end.
I'd have to give this 4.5/5.0 stars because this was an intense, passionate and involving book that kept its hooks in me even when I was afraid to keep reading. I really cared about Harmony and Vinnie and I wanted desperately for them to get their happy ending together. I can see why Sienna Mynx is such a popular author. ...more
Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics,Although this took a while to get going for me, Blue Remembered Earth was a very good book with some hard science. I didn't quite get all the physics, but it was still an interesting and enjoyable read.
Three Parts Dead is a fantasy novel that teases at the senses and perceptions of the reader. Gladstone takes some fantasy concepts and weaves them intThree Parts Dead is a fantasy novel that teases at the senses and perceptions of the reader. Gladstone takes some fantasy concepts and weaves them into a creation that has its own flavor and feel. It's not urban fantasy in the common sense. It's not epic fantasy, either. It's a novel that forges its own path.
Gladstone takes the sticky territory of faith and belief in a deity and asks the reader to trust him and to follow where he's going. For those readers who are believers in God and who consider themselves religious, it will take some trust not to assume that Gladstone is attacking the system of belief and devaluing it. In fact, he gives the reader something to ponder and does not do this at all. While I don't believe that my God needs my faith to keep him alive, I did like how Gladstone examines the intrinsic relationship aspect of faith. Faith requires trust in your God. Faith requires a commitment to keep believing despite what circumstances may show. In the case of this book, the character of Abelard acts as a stand-in for a person who lives a life of faith. The struggle that is inherent in living in a world in which belief in God is steadily becoming an oddity and many have rejected such an idea and consider it irrelevant. With Abelard, he faces that crisis of faith and that anguish of being confronted with the idea that his god doesn't live anymore, and the hole within that comes from that lack of communion with him. At the crux of faith is that understanding that what one believes does benefit that person, even when others lack an understanding of how this happens.
Tara represents the skeptic. The person who has trained herself not to subscribe to a faith-based way of life. Tara feels that she has it together, and has all the power within to make prescribing to faith in God unnecessary to her life. She feels with her education and her life, she is above having faith in a deity, and almost has a smug way of looking at Abelard because she sees things on a higher intellectual level and outside of his faith-based worldview. While Tara treats Abelard kindly, underneath there is a smug attitude that she'll show him that he doesn't need God. That the concept of a deity is just something that can be used to achieve some sort of end-goal. Look how well she's done. I'm not picking on Tara here. I'm just commenting on how her character acts initially in this book.
Both Abelard and Tara are younger people, who have a ways to go in their life experiences, although what they have experienced is not to be dismissed. Both have a lot to bring to the table, and I feel they learn a lot from each other, and working together, they can achieve an important purpose in this novel.
And then there is Cat. Cat's character is not as well developed as Abelard and Tara. I felt that she is in transition and hasn't learned who she is as a person, what her identity is. But in that, she is a stand-in for that person who is searching for something to ground them in their lives. Who they are and what they stand for in this life. How does faith or lack thereof tie into this?
The world-building is its own character. Gladstone doesn't give much of a frame of reference, because Alt Coulomb, the home of Kos The Everburning feels modern and ancient. The city's very machinery is powered by the god they pay homage to. You have touches of modernity, and even with Tara's agrarian origins, it feels as though the story is set in the present, but in a different world. The idea of Justice and the Blacksuits was another concept that was both alluring and unsettling. I have to say that with the teasing touches that I get in this book, I end up with more questions and wanting more of this world-building. This world that Gladstone created could easily sustain several books.
I absolutely loved the idea of the gargoyles. How they had made their mark both literally and figuratively on the city. The buildings were scarred by their talons. The descriptions of their unworldly and intimidating beauty spoke to me as a visual artist.
The concept of craft and magic was also alluring in this story. The manner in which Tara used her powers. The concept of altering reality through the use of craft. The idea of the God Wars, a background piece of history which proves integral to the plot, but is not described in great detail. This is another area that could easily be picked up if the author chooses to write more stories in this world.
It's so hard to condense my thoughts into a review because this book had my mind running. Some aspects lost me a bit and I would find my mind wondering. But then another scene or concept would grab my attention and refuse to let go of it. I guess that's why I couldn't give this five stars. Part of me wasn't fully satisfied with the story. I felt like there were two many goals with this story and the author wasn't sure what kind of novel he wanted to write. Part mythical fiction, part occult detective novel, with some probing insights into human psychology and the power of belief. What I was glad about was that he didn't take this opportunity to attack organized religion. That just gets old. I think that there is so much more to probe into when it comes to matters of faith than just beating the drum about how the church manipulates and takes advantage of believers. I think we know that this is possible and happens more than any believer would like. Let's put that aside and explore other aspects of belief and how this can clash with other worldviews, or how belief is not as foreign and unfruitful as we might assume. While Gladstone only scratches the surface here (since this book isn't 1000 pages), he delivers something thought-provoking that I could appreciate.
Three Parts Dead has something to offer the genre of Fantasy. I would recommend it....more
I started reading this early this morning when I couldn't sleep, and I finished the whole book in that short time. This is really one of those unputdoI started reading this early this morning when I couldn't sleep, and I finished the whole book in that short time. This is really one of those unputdownable reads. I was compelled by and drawn into the dramatic situation that Oceans and Marshall faced.
I always enjoy a good survival on the elements book, and Pace excelled with this novel about two people who end up being stranded on a Caribbean deserted island and have to make a life there for the time being until they are rescued. This book is incredibly realistic about survival on a deserted island, including the risks and privations that people would face. Emotionally, Pace goes there. She involves you with Oceans and Marshall, makes you fall in love with them, and walk in their shoes in a way that doesn't leave you unaffected when the book is over. I can honestly say that Marshall is the kind of man I would want to be stranded on an island with. He steps up to the plate in so many ways. While he isn't a chest-thumping, stereotypical alpha, he shows all the traits that a mature man should have in a desperate situation and when he has a family to protect and care for. Oceans was also an incredible character. Her ability to adapt and survive and to use her knowledge of the islands to help them both survive really made me admire her. She is the kind of more realistic heroine I would like to see in romance novels. Not perfect, but perfectly lovable.
One aspect of this story was utterly heartbreaking. I felt the pain and anguish that both Oceans and Marshall faced, and I didn't think I would recover (it really hurt me on a deep level). It was one of those situations where I didn't agree with the choice made, but I still love and respected the person who made it, and like the other party involved, I had to decide if I was going to move past it for the greater good. I was so glad that things ended up working out in the end. While I still would have loved this book, I love it more the way things ended than if they had gone in a different way, just because that is such a tough, wounding situation to read about. I don't think either party in this book could have walked away whole from that. I can imagine it's even worse if you lived it.
I loved the fact that love blossoms realistically and intensely, and the sexual content wasn't the focus, although it was a big part of the novel. There were so many emotional depths to plumb that I would have felt cheated if this book was mainly sex scenes. I think a very good point was made about how sex is a way to express intimacy between two people, but certainly not the only way. And the fact that Pace shows the real consequences of sexual intimacy on a couple, good and not so good.
This is one of those books that lingers on the mind, making an indelible imprint on the emotions. I was very glad I got the opportunity to read Stranded, and Pace has upped the bar for stranded/marooned/survival romance for me. While not a perfect read, it's very close for me.
Serial Games is a gripping romantic suspense thriller. Maggie and Brandon are an FBI profiler and a Fugitive Retrieval Specialist US Marshal who teamSerial Games is a gripping romantic suspense thriller. Maggie and Brandon are an FBI profiler and a Fugitive Retrieval Specialist US Marshal who team up to recapture a notorious serial killer who escapes custody.
What I liked about this story:
*Maggie is an appealing heroine. She is a black woman who doesn't pander to stereotypes that are all too prevalent. Not only is she reserved, cerebral, and very good at her job, she is a woman of faith who shows dedication and drive to catch a very cunning serial killer--one that she had been highly instrumental in putting away the first time. I liked how she carries herself--she's not focused on being sexy or catching a man. She's focused on doing a good job in her field, putting her intelligence and training to use to better the world, and is a bit of a workaholic--not very good at the life/work balance. Even though she has feelings for Brandon, she doesn't allow herself to be his punching bag or let him to take advantage of their attraction to each other. She juggles a family dynamic in which she feels competition with her older sister, who is a successful attorney who is also happily married with a child. Her mom constantly reminds her of her need to get married, but Maggie isn't worried about that, when her job keeps her so busy.
*Brandon is magnetic and scrumptious. He's a bit tortured after losing his fiancee' and he is nursing an anger with God as a result. He was definitely blowing hot and cold, and he knew it, but I liked the way he interacted with Maggie.
*The chemistry was great in this book. It's clean romance, but the author conveys the attraction and the developing relationship between Maggie and Brandon in an engaging way. It's good romance for Christians who have certain beliefs about how to conduct a relationship and a courtship. It's kind of hard to find books that show this well. It's usually one extreme or the other: no chemistry, and too 1950s or way too erotic with behaviors that don't fit what is expected of single Christians in a dating relationship. I liked how Chase uses kisses, dialogue, and physical interactions and body language to build the chemistry between Maggie and Brandon. I found it very believable.
*The suspense part was well done. I felt like I watching an episode of Breakout Kings or Criminal Minds. Chase doesn't make things gruesome, but she portrays the pathology and the darkness of the serial killer very realistically.
*Chase's writing style is active and her voice is confident and sophisticated. She did a good job of balancing the varied themes of this book, without sacrificing any in the end result. It's only fair to say that I am not a big fan of serial killer fiction. While I didn't think she was heavy-handed, Ms. Chase doesn't skimp or go lightweight on this aspect of the novel. On the other hand, I didn't yearn for more focus on the romance because she was spending too much time on the suspense angle. I think that while she does convey a spiritual message, she does it naturally, so I don't feel like this book was at all preachy. Instead, it's a good choice for a reader who wants a good romantic suspense novel that is on the clean side and with characters who have personal relationships with God that they are working through. A person who is open to reading a novel with a Christian message, one that isn't focused exclusively on that message, or a reader is not necessarily a Christian, might enjoy this book.
My thanks to K. Victoria Chase for the opportunity to read Serial Games. I was happy to be able to explore some interracial romantic suspense that is clean, and not focused on eroticism. These are quite hard to find in this genre. I liked that this storyline is unique for the majority of the interracial content available. Maggie is a heroine that I could respect as a person and admire for her work ethic and her personal ethics. Brandon is definitely appealing as a hero, with a touch of the tortured aspect to his character, and also very good at his job. I felt the chemistry between them, and I can definitely see them building a life together. I would recommend this book.
This book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and hThis book has a serious wow factor. I love the vibe of it, like the X-Men movies, with some distinct and unique elements. Loved that the heroine and her father are black. I have had trouble reading on the Kindle right now, and this book made me want to brave the migraine just to finish it. This book series has its hooks in me! Highly recommended.
I loved this book, from page one. Brett is such a sweetheart. He is a tough, formidable Marine, but he's also a caring, warm, emotionally vulnerable mI loved this book, from page one. Brett is such a sweetheart. He is a tough, formidable Marine, but he's also a caring, warm, emotionally vulnerable man. My heart ached for him because of the way his wife treated him. It seems as though there was little of value to his marriage, but he did keep trying to be a good husband. I can't imagine how hard it was for him to go out on the frontline and have an indifferent, judgmental, unloving wife at home. Never feeling good enough for her or that he had done enough. That's so damaging to one's self-esteem. When he and Courtney make a connection, I was cheering for him. He needed a woman like her in his life. And it was on the best day possible for them to meet. It surely felt like God was answering his prayers.
I also loved Courtney. She was giving, cheerful, honest, lovable, motivated, and open. She had made some decisions that her family gave her trouble about, but I liked that she owned those choices and learned from them, and chose to be a happy person despite the low points in her young life. Considering what she was risking to be with Brett, I think she was very brave. Although Nelson doesn't pretend ignorance about the racial issue, I love the fact that this is not really the issue for Brett and Courtney's relationship. Instead it is the fact that Courtney's father and brother are officers and Brett is happily a grunt in the Marines, not to mention his emotional baggage from a toxic marriage. I liked that Nelson takes the time to show why that was an issue. The detail that Nelson gives about life in the Marines, both as a soldier and as family to Marines comes highly appreciated. There is no patriotic flag-waving per se, but merely telling it like it is. And for a person who is not directly involved in the military, but does admire what the Armed Forces do for Americans, it was welcome.
Even though I loved Dmitry's Closet, I found that this book touched me much more. While Dmitry was more of a modern day fairy tale, The Grunt is steeped in realism, but no less (actually more) romantic. Although Courtney is about Royal's age, she seemed more mature and more textured as a person. While I normally like a sexually inexperienced heroine, I think it was fitting that Courtney wasn't inexperienced in relationships, and she knew what she was getting into with Brett and his son. She had her eyes open and the staying power to see it through. Plus, it's nice to different kinds of heroines get their happy ending, and Courtney works hard for and deserves hers with Brett and Cameron.
As far as sexual tension and love scenes, this book was hot! I was like wow! I love that Brett is both vulnerable and open emotionally, not a playboy, but he definitely can give a girl a run for her money in the bedroom! Dang! That's all I'm going to say! Man I was feeling the heat there. Brett and Courtney had great chemistry, but it was also clear that Brett respected and valued Courtney as a whole person, not just a convenient body or sex object. Ms. Nelson really earned my respect with how she portrayed the sexual part of their relationship, considering the circumstances.
The family dynamics were also well done. I was afraid that Courtney's family would lean so hard on her that she'd break up with Brett, but I love that she stood her ground, and Brett stood up for her and next to her. I like that Brett told her brother like it is. I loved Courtney's mom, Diane. She was a real sweetie, but knew how to handle her husband and son. I loved that Courtney was close to her mother, and that her mother was very supportive and proud of her. I thought her dad and brother weren't as well-developed, but then Courtney wasn't as close to them. I also loved Cameron. What a sweet little boy, but also realistically portrayed. I wanted to give him a hug. (view spoiler)[The one part I still have a question about is when/how is Brett going to explain that Cameron's mom is dead? I guess he'll wait until Cameron is older. (hide spoiler)]
Although there were some mild editing issues, I continue to be impressed with Latrivia Nelson's writing ability. I loved the connection she developed and conveyed between Brett and Courtney. It felt like true love, but also realistic. Never does Nelson downplay how hard family life can be in the military, but the power of the love in the relationship between a military person and their spouse gives them the energy and the fortification to go out there and risk their life for us all. I was a very satisfied reader when I finished The Grunt!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was a very thrilling read that I didn't want to put down. I was gnashing my teeth and shaking my fists at the cliffhanger ending, and I will be eThis was a very thrilling read that I didn't want to put down. I was gnashing my teeth and shaking my fists at the cliffhanger ending, and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment.
This is a weak four stars for me, because there were some things I think detracted away from the book, but also things I really like. This has to be aThis is a weak four stars for me, because there were some things I think detracted away from the book, but also things I really like. This has to be a short review, so I can't get into all of that in great detail (if you really want to know, check Bitten by Books for the full review). On the whole, enjoyable. I loved the angel parts, but some of the theology was a bit muddled with bit too much of everything thrown in. Probably won't bother some readers, but it didn't sit well with me. I definitely recommend this to angel fiction fans, and for readers who want to see some cultural diversity in their urban fantasy. Ms. Banks gets an A+ for that.
Rest in Peace, Ms. Banks. The fiction world is poor for your passing.