Finally have time to write this review. I was skeptical about Nalini Singh's re-embarkation into contemporary romance, especially since I am not intoFinally have time to write this review. I was skeptical about Nalini Singh's re-embarkation into contemporary romance, especially since I am not into the rock star sub-genre. I heard such awesome things about this book, and I admit I find office romance a guilty pleasure. I hate business, but an office background in a romance makes it seem a whole lot more interesting. I have to say this was a pleasure to read.
It's always a joy when you truly like the main characters in a book. I definitely loved both Charlotte and Gabriel. I think that they had phenomenal chemistry. I loved how patient Gabriel was in wooing Charlotte. I am ever captivated by a hero in pursuit who shows genuine love for his heroine. It was clear that Gabriel wasn't just trying to conquer Charlotte. He wanted all of her. And Charlotte is one of those heroines who I could definitely be good friends in real life. She's adorable. I think most of us women can admit crushing on someone who is downright unattainable. And to think her crush is crushing on her. Charlotte's down to earth and a lovely person. Her shyness is certainly understandable, and I understand how being hurt that way could make a person withdraw from life. I liked how pivotal Charlotte's friendship with Molly is to the book. It definitely feels authentic the way she would call Molly or Skype with her about what was going on in their lives.
Charlotte's past is definitely dark. I feel that it's handled sensitively and Charlotte's recovery is realistic. Seeing Gabriel gently work through her issues and understanding that certain things were a trigger for her just made me love him more. I was a bit disappointed with the love scenes. they didn't quite have the impact I wanted considering the long buildup. However the proposal was lovely! I found the narrative device of email memos fun and a great way to advance the plot and set the tone and the evolution of Charlotte and Gabriel's relationship. Gabriel was scrumptious. I wouldn't say I'm into hugely muscular guys typically, but this man is ultra fine! I loved the fact that he's not merely defined by his physicality. He's also fiercely intelligent.
Overall, this is a great book. I can't give it five stars because it didn't have the strong impact that I expect from a five star romance book. However, I was immersed and drawn into this story. Just the kind of book that you want to dive into, take a few hours out of your own life and enjoy. Rather like a book version of dessert. Speaking of dessert, that was a big part of this book, and I'm all for it. When Gabriel was being beastly, he would buy Charlotte sweet treats. Charlotte is a keen baker and she also baked for Gabriel. Dessert will always be my favorite meal, so it was like two for the price of one.
Not five stars, but definitely 4.5/5.0 stars!...more
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
A nice introduction to the Leopard series. I'm late reading this, but I finally got an opportunity. I splurged and downloaded Fever (a duology of "TheA nice introduction to the Leopard series. I'm late reading this, but I finally got an opportunity. I splurged and downloaded Fever (a duology of "The Awakening" and Wild Rain, which I've already read. This took me a while because I was listening to it on Kindle Text-To-Speech at bedtime, and I kept falling asleep and having to rewind.
We learn about the Leopard shifters and how their society and physiology works. We're along for the ride as Maggie Odessa goes to the Borneo rain forest to find out about her birth parents. She's been lured there by Brandt Talbot, the man who happens to be her destined mate. He's known for some time that she was his mate (in their race they spend lifetimes looking for their mates). Maggie has no idea that she's a Leopard shifter. She's getting some feelings and physiological changes that don't make sense and are actually quite embarrassing, including some amorous feelings when that wasn't a problem before now.
At first, Brandt seems a bit stalkerish. I don't mind that if it's done well. It was a little weird in this book. He was stalking along beside Maggie in panther form when she arrives with some of the Leopard Men to their village. I was like, could you just say hi already? I was glad he finally introduced himself, and I think that he did come a little too strong at first. However, I liked that he realized that his love for Maggie meant that he had to make sure she was happy with being with him. I like that it wasn't going to be a foregone conclusion that she would accept him. He gave her the choice. Interestingly enough, I found Brandt quite a desirable contrast to the hero in Cat's Lair, who assumed and was willing to force his mate to accept him. I think that Maggie and Brandt are a really excellent match, although I didn't feel that way at all about the couple in "Cat's Lair."
I really liked that Maggie gained control of her change on her own, and I loved the scene when she changes for the first time. That was very well done. I felt like I was seeing and feeling everything along with her. The rainforest and its flora and fauna was beautifully rendered in Feehan's descriptive pose. I wouldn't love the humidity or the insects, but I would love seeing so much vibrant life firsthand.
This was pretty darn steamy. Less of the off color words that are in the newer books, but no less steamy. Great chemistry between Maggie and Brandt. Not hard to believe they loved each other, even in this short format.
The suspense aspect was a little weak, to be honest. Feehan was a bit preachy about the environmental message. Don't get me wrong. I'm 100% on board with conservation and environmental awareness, but I don't like when it comes off as a Public Service Announcement in a fiction novel. But overall, this was a satisfactory short story. I'll give it the full four stars....more
I'm so glad that some of my discerning buddies on the Harlequin Presents Reader group raved about this book. It was an excellent short and sexy romancI'm so glad that some of my discerning buddies on the Harlequin Presents Reader group raved about this book. It was an excellent short and sexy romance to read before the end of the year. At first, I was thrown by the writing style, very descriptive and emotive to the degree that it was hard to get a feel for the tone initially. But it didn't take long before I was soaking this book up like a sponge. Parker taps into my need for an intense, escapist, passionate romance book. It definitely gave me my angsty/dramatic romance fix.
Thane is all that and a bag of chips! Intense, honorable, grumpy, dedicated to his one and only woman (that alone made me swoon over him), and sexy as all get out. I could totally see why Luciana found him irresistible. He touches on all my hero qualities that I love. Luciana is a great heroine. Her motives are sound and her heart was good. She's strong in the best ways. Even though I did want her to cave and fall in with Thane's plans head first ('cause he was just so very...), I could understand her misgivings and her pain and anguish because of what she'd seen in her parents' marriage and scars from her own childhood. She made the best decision she could have at the time, even though she did deny Thane four years of his child's life. She regretted that she had cost him that and understood how wrong she was about him. While I don't care much for secret baby romance, this was well done. Scenes of Thane bonding with his son made me all cartoon starry eyed.
This is the kind of Romeo and Juliet tale I love. Honestly, I didn't care much for the original play, but Parker has given die hard romantics the version of that tale of young lovers and feuding families that they will love.
The sexual chemistry and tension was off the charts, but what made it so powerful was the delirious and intense love that Thane and Luciana found together and never got over. You could tell it was a once and a lifetime connection and you wanted them to get their happy ending.
Parker has convinced me that she's an author to watch for in the Harlequin Presents line. If she has more heroes in the vein of Thane (no rhyming intended), I'm sold!
Definitely recommend this book. Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars....more
This was a pretty good historical romance, a story of reunited lovers, with plenty of steamy romance. However, I never felt that zing, that sense of cThis was a pretty good historical romance, a story of reunited lovers, with plenty of steamy romance. However, I never felt that zing, that sense of connection with the characters and that compulsion to keep reading. I felt like it was fine to pick this book up when I had a free moment, and to put it down when I had more important things to do.
I'm not a big fan of lovers reunited stories, but I liked that Heath and Julia are older and wiser, and have lived their lives, and know very well that what they have together is very good and it's worth committing to this time around.
There were some fun moments, especially with the salacious sketch of Heath that falls into the wrong hands. I really liked when Heath realized that he wasn't going to let Julia get away from him this time, no matter what. I love a hero in pursuit! I wasn't that into the whole "Boscastle Antics" aspect of the story. It reminds me unfavorably of how there is a tendency to wink and nod at a family in a series, and to draw readership for the later stories by reminding the reader of how crazy the family is. Of course, I love series books. No question. I just think that the author's job is to make a storyline so compelling that we can't help but race for the next book. I'm not that intrigued with the other Boscastle rogues at this point. I'll keep reading because I like this author a lot. But it's not an urgency for me right now.
This is a solid B read for me. A nice past-time with plenty of sexual tension between Julia and Heath that I'm sure many readers will really enjoy.
This was a wonderful book. Initially, I enjoyed the effortless chemistry between the leads and found it a pleasant read. But by the end, I was holdingThis was a wonderful book. Initially, I enjoyed the effortless chemistry between the leads and found it a pleasant read. But by the end, I was holding my breath at how well Enoch sustains the tension of their situation. Definitely recommended to fans of Scottish historical romance.
This was definitely a unique Harlequin Presents. Aiesha really is a bad girl. She's not a very nice person, and while I felt sympathy for her, at firsThis was definitely a unique Harlequin Presents. Aiesha really is a bad girl. She's not a very nice person, and while I felt sympathy for her, at first, she was not easy to like. As time went along, it was clear that her outrageous behavior and caustic personality was a defense mechanism against the deprived nature of her childhood and all its attendant disappointments. She used sex as a weapon, and I'm not ever a fan of that kind of behavior. At the same time, it was refreshing to have a bad heroine and a nice hero. Milburne flipped the usual HP script around, giving Aiesha many of the HP hero traits. I think it would have been cooler if she was independently wealthy so that 'gold digger' aspect was not part of the equation.
The sexuality was a lot more blatant in this book, probably because Aiesha is quite sexually experienced and rather callused about sex. James tends to be more circumspect about sex, although he definitely knows what he's doing in the bed. I would have loved to see him as an inexperienced hero, which would have made the role reversal more thorough. Although James does have a condemning attitude towards Aiesha initially, I really did respect and like him. He was seriously harmed emotionally by Aiesha's antics ten years ago, and had a reason to be angry. I liked that he was able to put that behind him and evaluate Aiesha more thoroughly and he had learned to see past her offensive behavior and sex kitten armor to the wounded woman underneath.
The ending was pretty cool. Aiesha gets her dream come true and her man, and realizes that she doesn't have to be ashamed of her childhood, because none of that is her fault. At the same time, I think she did learn that treating people badly because of what she'd been deprived of wasn't good behavior either.
By the end of this book, I did believe that Aiesha and James truly loved each other, and were more than willing to take a risk and go after a life together, regardless of what had taken place in the past. James showed that he was for her and she showed that she loved him in a very demonstrative way.
I would give this four stars. It was well written and thoughtful. Despite the way it seemed, this is a very angsty and rather pathos-inducing. It made me feel a bit melancholy after I finished it, so that's why I didn't rate it higher....more
This was a lot darker than I expected. The portrayal of the dysfunctional and toxic relationship of Xavier with his mother adds a lot of depth to hisThis was a lot darker than I expected. The portrayal of the dysfunctional and toxic relationship of Xavier with his mother adds a lot of depth to his character and makes his rakish nature understandable. I wasn't happy with one huge aspect of the story, but it turned out well in the end. Almost a four star read, but I'd have to go with 3.5/5.0 stars.
Ms. Archer has written another lushly sensual historical romance that entertained me, but also made me think. It was more suspense than action-orienteMs. Archer has written another lushly sensual historical romance that entertained me, but also made me think. It was more suspense than action-oriented outside of the romance, but readers who like espionage fiction will probably enjoy that. I liked the depth she gives her characters with quirks like Marco cursing beautifully in Italian and teaching Bronwyn rude Italian hand gestures, as well as Bronwyn's incredible violin-playing skill. It's worth a read.
I was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. ThI was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. The characters had a complexity that made them real people, and not always in good ways. Our hero lives up to the scoundrel name for sure, but his path of redemption makes for delectable reading.
I have to give this one 4.5 stars, because it's just that good. I am adding Juliana Gray to my must read HR author list.
This book is for fans of scintillating dialogue and stimulating back and forth between the hero and heroine. It brings to mind "Taming of the Shrew" iThis book is for fans of scintillating dialogue and stimulating back and forth between the hero and heroine. It brings to mind "Taming of the Shrew" in the best ways. The chemistry is excellent, and while this is on the lighter side for a historical romance, it's a fun ride to watch Lucy and Derek go at it, and fall deeper in love with each encounter. It has a love scene that made me fan myself!
This book definitely satisfies my Western historical romance craving. While slow-building and with a lot more narrative than action, it was a book thaThis book definitely satisfies my Western historical romance craving. While slow-building and with a lot more narrative than action, it was a book that captivated me with lead characters whose stories I wanted to know. It definitely helps that Morgan is a redhead. I have a not-so secret fondness for red-headed heroes! I loved the manner in which Goodman conveys the loving intimacy that a marriage can cultivate between two people.
Maisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or isMaisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or is the gorgeous prince with his decadent lifestyle really the beast?
Disclaimer: I didn't put this review in spoiler tags, although there might be some borderline spoilerish elements. I endeavored not to give too much away, that wasn't necessary to expressing my thoughts of the book.
As I read this novel, it struck me that this is a very serious book. I didn't feel much levity, not that I always expect it, but it was noticeably lacking. Layna and Xander have some serious hurts in their past and their present situations. Xander went off the rails big time and the author wasn't afraid to keep it real in describing Xander's depredations. No Xander did it all in his checkered past (recent and distant). He was notoriously promiscuous to the degree that he doesn't even know how many women he's slept with (and doesn't even remember some of them), abused drugs, and was a hard drinker. In my mind I couldn't help wonder how healthy his liver is. I have alcoholics in my family on both sides, and through them I have seen the effects of long-term alcohol abuse on a person. I was glad that Layna doesn't let him off the hook when she agrees to marry him. She demands fidelity from him, and I was so glad that she required that he get STD tested. It was judicious, considering the circumstances. As for Layna's scarring, it's not just confined to a thin line that barely disfigures her face. She has significant scarring and the tabloids/newspapers say some truly awful things about her. That part was heartbreaking. I could completely understand her fears about going back to the public life she escaped from ten years ago. Going from a shallow, spoiled socialite with impeccable looks to a scarred woman in her near to mid-thirties who is marrying a good-looking future king would be heart-wrenching for any woman. Even with her training that vanity has no place in her life from the convent, that was difficult to weather. Although Xander is clearly the worse bargain, they make it seem like Xander is being altruistic in honoring his promises and marrying Layna.
Yates definitely brings the reality to what seems like a storyline straight out of the fairy tales. I can't say I would be eager to marry Xander with his abuses on his body (and it's not out of judgmentalism, but because you can't just click a finger and erase the effects of such a lifestyle from his body). And I think that it's clear that Xander has a ways to go before he breaks fifteen years of bad habits. I think this is evident when they are first intimate. Xander's lovemaking style while accomplished, does show a certain degree of selfishness and callousness about sex. He doesn't understand why Layna is conflicted about the experience, even though she enjoyed it. This is telling and I think realistic for a man who has spent fifteen years sleeping around with random women he meets as he frequents the casinos where he parties and makes his living gambling. I also liked how Xander's perception of Layna changes. He never thinks she's ugly, but he sees the scars through a harsher lens initially. As he falls in love with her, the scars become a part of her, and he loves the character of her features, because that's who she is. They cease to stand out to him.
Layna isn't portrayed as a perfectly good, pure woman either (other than what she appears to be on the surface). While she retired to a convent for ten years, her actions did have a certain degree of self-motivation. The convent was an escape, although she does realize how much she loves helping others and that her faith in God is real to her, in the process. At the root, it is running away, from the exposure she suffered as Xander's rejected fiance who was horribly scarred by an angry protestor, and also from her own emotional breakdown.
Yes, as I wrote earlier, this is a very serious book. Despite the fact that one would consider this storyline fertile ground for a dramatic, glossy style Harlequin Presents, there is a deep emotional core to this book that refuses to allow the reader to dismiss this book as a light read.
I gave this four stars because it was a intense, layered, well-written, and emotional novel, and I think that Yates handled this dicey subject matter very well....more
I really liked this book. The dynamic between Griffin and Justine was so appealing. I liked that Griffin was a bit of a pursuer and I felt the chemistI really liked this book. The dynamic between Griffin and Justine was so appealing. I liked that Griffin was a bit of a pursuer and I felt the chemistry between Griffin and Justine was well done. Readers who have a weakness for Spinster/Rogue historical romance should pick this one up!
I was not a fan of Tate. He was arrogant and narcissistic and clueless about how much he hurt Malene. Pretty much my least favorite kind of man and heI was not a fan of Tate. He was arrogant and narcissistic and clueless about how much he hurt Malene. Pretty much my least favorite kind of man and hero. But I loved Malene, and the spy action and romance was well-done. Not my favorite in the series, but still pretty good.
It was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how thIt was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how they got together. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't like it quite as much as I wanted to though. I think that was because Gideon is so sex-bombalicious nerdtastic in the other books, I wanted to see more of his oh-so alluring geekiness. Instead, he was much like the other Breed males in his demeanor although there was a cool part about him creating a precursor to the laptop we know and love today (cause guess what I'm typing this review on right now?). Thus, this book didn't really stand out that much from the other books. That was probably my biggest issue and why this wasn't higher rated. Also, I didn't like (view spoiler)[how Gideon promised not to fight in the field because of Savannah's fear of it. To me, it makes her into the bad guy to take that away from him. Fact is, they live in a world with a lot of violence, and I think that Gideon's status as a warrior is honorable and something to be proud of. Yes, there is risk, but he's very good at what he does. I wouldn't want to take that away from him. It does answer why he doesn't fight, but since he had a bullet stuck in his head, that was just as good a reason for him not to fight (hide spoiler)]. Even though Gideon wasn't as geeky, I still liked him a lot. I love his typical British colloquialisms, which we see in this novella as well.
What I loved was getting to know Savannah. I really, really like her. She's very young, but she has a maturity that I respected about her. She's a very intellectual person with a keen mind, and I could see part of why they were drawn to each other. Also her strong sense of right and wrong, and that traditional heroic urge, which is addressed in the novella. When she gets a vision of Gideon by touching his sword, you could instantly feel that bond begin between them, and when they meet, the rest is inevitable.
One thing that stood out to me was that Adrian stays grounded in the 70s setting throughout this book. The scene when Gideon tells her to call the Order, she has to grab coins out of her purse and run outside to a pay phone. That was really well done. At first, I expected her to pull out her cell phone, and I would imagine that would be Adrian's gut instinct to write that, but she remembers that they don't have cell phones at that time. I was instantly reminded that this is set about thirty-odd years in the past. She didn't have to keep hitting me over the head with descriptions of bell-bottoms and stuff like that either.
Ultimately, if you're a fan of the Breed series, I don't see why you wouldn't like this. It has the same feel and intensity of the other books. I think the biggest draw was getting to see Gideon and Savannah's backstory on paper, and although it was a short novella, it was well done and I believe in their love, past, present and future. Of course, it was awesome to see more of Tegan, 'cause I just love him!
And I'm really happy to see a popular paranormal romance novelist who is upfront and comfortable with depicting a loving, committed interracial relationship in her books. Kudos for that, Ms. Adrian.
A respectable four star read for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Wow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. AdorWow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Adored Lara and the psychic storyline too.
I am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's pI am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's present to me for my birthday! That said, let's get to my review:
**Disclaimer: This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!
Wrath, Son of Wrath and Beth Randall have come a long way since Dark Lover, and it's been my pleasure to accompany them on the ride!
When I first read Dark Lover (about eight years ago), I will be honest in saying that my biggest draw was not Wrath or Beth, but the world and the storyline of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the strange world within a world of Caldwell, New York. While I enjoyed their relationship, it didn’t blow me away, and neither character is my favorite in this series. However, I knew I was going to keep reading the series, and boy am I glad.
With The King, I feel that an immensely important chapter has been closed in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and it makes me happy because I feel that all the Brothers and their Shellans have found peace and the close bond of family, drawing close friends into their net. I also feel a sense of excitement in knowing that the storyline can continue and branch off in different ways and directions, and the waters seem uncharted. While there are tendrils that Ms. Ward has planted in this novel, I honestly don't feel I can predict too much about what is coming next. It's going to be fun to see where the story leads, and I am in no way ready for this series to end.
I feel we got to see some added depth to Wrath that was very good for expanding my view and appreciation of the King. He came to terms with some major hurts and issues he was facing, and I felt the flashbacks were a crucial aspect of the storyline. Wrath always regretted that he could not save his parents and he divorced himself from the concept of family and his legacy so long out of a sense of fear and guilt. In this book, he came to terms with his past and how his future did not have to be governed or hemmed in by fear. I loved his evolution as a King and what that responsibility came to mean for him. It was joyous for him to get everything he needed, but didn't even realize he wanted. Even though I know things didn't end well for his parents, their powerful love for each other and their son was still inspiring to me.
Beth's storyline was thought-provoking. She was all over the place emotionally, and I understand why. I feel that she was at some of her deepest lows and her highest highs both in this book. While the story is about her, as Wrath's shellen, I think that more of the story was about Wrath. Her role seems more peripheral, but in a pivotal way. I still enjoyed reading about her character journey in this book. Beth is the best Queen for the race, and I can think of no other shellan to stand at Wrath's side.
Beth and John Matthew
I think this book explored their relationship in a more satisfactory fashion than any of the proceeding books. They know they have each other's backs, and the readers as well. Also, it shows that although you may have your desired life partner, you also need the connection of family (blood and found). I almost thought the thing Ward said would never happen was going to happen, but it turns out that it wasn't necessary. I like the way the story unfolds instead. That John Matthew remains his own person, and his relationships with others aren’t hinged on his secret heritage.
Xcor remains a complicated male, not quite likable in many moments, and captivating and deeply sympathetic in others. Since I like my characters complex, he definitely has my interest, and he may turn out to be a new favorite of mine in this series. He remains a wild card in this new series arc, his behavior not the slightest bit predictable. To his great surprise, his feelings for a certain Chosen have opened closed off parts of his psyche, and this cannot be a bad thing at all. I think he will have a potential enemy in his own nest, but he’s not unaware of that.
Layla is on shaky ground, but she is making her own choices and defining herself as a female. In her own way, she may have helped to avert a war that wasn’t going to end well, and that’s a good thing. I’m happy about that. I’m very excited to see where the story leads her next.
Assail and Sola
Assail is probably the most amoral of the lead characters in this series to date. His behavior chilled me at times, but he was also very sweet in others to Sola and her grandmother. It’s hard to know what to make of him. I hope we see more of his viewpoint. I can’t believe their road ends here. Sola’s in a place where she has to deny the desires of the heart. How long will she be able to tune out the siren call of her unwise feelings for Assail, who logically seems like a ‘very bad man?'
The Shadows: Trez and iAm
I am jubilant at the expansion of their storyline. These two promise to be a gamechanger in the series. We will finally explore the world of the s’Hisbe, and what a fascinating world it is. Trez has been running from his past for a long, long time, dragging his brother iAm along for the bumpy ride, as iAm has ever been his self-appointed guardian. iAm will soon step out of his brother’s shadow and find his own destiny, since Trez must soon face the music. Trez’s character is both repellant and alluring. He breaks my heart in many ways, but I feel hope for his future. I am drawn into this exploration of the dark path he has walked. The Shadows, once merely loyal allies of the Sympath King, have their own grand tale to be told.
I didn’t expect her secret struggle at all. Another case of ‘keep reading’ to see how she will get her happy ending. And she had better!
The Usual Suspects
It's always a pleasure to see the various characters who have had their books, and at the same time, I want more of them. I don't think the WARDen could ever sate my desire for enough of each character, honestly.
JR Ward, like every other author, has her own distinctive voice. There are aspects to her storytelling that turn off some readers. While I can see where she can overdo some of her affectations (like the brand name dropping and the copious use of slang), I love reading her writing. I feel that her depiction of the ancient culture of the vampires and their various subspecies is very poetic and dramatic, like an epic in its own way. Her romantic exposition lushly romantic and deeply sensual. It wraps around me like the dark spices her bonded males exude for their mates. Her tendency to adapt an urban vibe doesn’t bother me, because I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition to the very antiquated rituals of the vampires. While I can’t deny that the Black Dagger Brotherhood is at its heart a soap opera (not a bad thing in itself), it’s an enthralling one that draws me in and doesn’t let go of me until I read the last page (although the stories and characters continue to linger deep in the recesses of my imagination long after I finish the books). I feel like the Brothers, their shellans, and their friends/associations are part of my family, and each book release is like a yearly family reunion that I don’t dare miss. If only I was as excited to go to my real life family reunions!
I’m sure that I could nitpick about the things I felt could have been better written, but I don’t want to. It won’t make me feel I wrote a better review, and I’m not sure it would change my rating at all. I just want to bask in the glow of a new release of one of my top three series. I don’t drink JR Ward Kool-Aid, but I certainly enjoy her fine literary comestibles.
**The countdown has begun until next year’s release.**
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is sly, sensual, humorous and firmly ensconced in the period. Even if I wasn't the biggest Anne Stuart fanI thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is sly, sensual, humorous and firmly ensconced in the period. Even if I wasn't the biggest Anne Stuart fan on earth, I will still have found this book utterly enchanting.
I was really nervous with the storyline because I hate adultery with a burning passion. I'm happy with how things unfolded. There was no line crossing in this book that I couldn't live with. While Lord Kilmartyn is supposed to be a sleazy rake, I was completely in love with him quite early on in the book. I found him very seductive and I could see why Bryony fell for him, despite being a very sensible young woman. I liked the importance of his Irish heritage to his persona, and how it had gotten him into a shaky situation of late, but defined him in a way that he couldn't turn his back on. I wish that Ms. Stuart had delved more into where his marriage went wrong, but I got the impression that he wanted to be a good husband to his wife at some point, and he loved her, but now he hated her. In some books with the unrepentant, adulterous rake, I question the character's ability to remain faithful to the heroine, but I have no doubt that Kilmartyn would be capable of that with Bryony. His caring for her when she was in need was very touching and showed more than words.
I also loved Bryony as a character. Her pain in feeling unloved and unattractive because of her smallpox scars made sense. While it scarred her self-esteem, she was still a strong-minded person and no fainting flower in the face of her family's recent change in fortunes. I like her pluck and how her natural personality comes out in her interactions with Kilmartyn. I rooted for her to get him, and win him over in a way that didn't cross the line into adultery or illicit affair territory and I was glad Ms. Stuart gave her that happy ending with no compromise in that area.
The secondary characters are a fun addition to the book, with a little bit of the "Upstairs, Downstairs" vibe as Bryony gets engrossed in the world of the servants and they take her in, especially Mrs. Harkins the kindly chef.
I confess I read the last book before this, so I sort of know how it ends, but it didn't spoil things for me. There is still plenty of mystery in the storyline with what happened to Bryony and her sisters' father to keep the story interesting. That is if steamy romance with a soon-to-be reformed rake isn't enough to keep things exciting.
Never Kiss a Rake is a promising start to this newest historical romance series by Ms. Stuart. She brings all the steamy romance and engaging characters that make her books delicious reads for me. I hope to read Never Trust a Pirate very soon....more
I think I found my lost kin. Ice and I must be from the same people, because I think I love the cold as much as she does.
Anyhoo, this was a good bookI think I found my lost kin. Ice and I must be from the same people, because I think I love the cold as much as she does.
Anyhoo, this was a good book. Loved the descriptions of Ice's abilities, and Arch was pretty cool too, despite his hellish lineage. I'd recommend this to paranormal fans looking for something a little different.
I was rearranging my books and came across this one. It caught my eye. So I ended up reading it. This was a very good story. I actually liked both chaI was rearranging my books and came across this one. It caught my eye. So I ended up reading it. This was a very good story. I actually liked both characters. Michael was a man who had lost his mother at a young age, and ended up in the foster system, eventually at The Granger Home for Boys. Because of that loss, he had determined never to fall in love or give his heart away. For three long years, he fought feelings for his secretary, Kate, until they had too much champagne, and shared a night of passion. The next morning, he apologized and told her he wanted things to be just business. Kate never got over that night, because she'd fallen in love with Michael. She knew it was a risky thing to do, but the heart doesn't listen to logic. When she reveals her pregnancy, Michael has to campaign for her to marry him, to make sure that his child has a family and a secure future that he didn't have. But that alone isn't enough. He finds that he wants his very wary wife's heart and a chance at a real family.
This was a very good book. Banks thoroughly involves me in this relationship between Michael and Kate. This book is both emotional and sensual. I loved seeing their hearts open up to each other and connect on deep levels. I liked that Kate doesn't settle for just part of Michael, because she shows him that he can have more if he does take a chance. Category romance is such a neat way to get a lovely romance that you can read in under two hours, but get the full exposure, albeit in brief form. I like marriage and baby books, and with a hero who acts tough and detached, but really is a sweetheart, plus a heroine who is very lovable, what more can you ask for with this book?
Oh my goodness. This is one of those that has a sappy romantic like myself sighing. A lonely, isolated man. A woman who 'has it together' or so it seeOh my goodness. This is one of those that has a sappy romantic like myself sighing. A lonely, isolated man. A woman who 'has it together' or so it seems, but is a wreck on the inside. And they find each other.
The Beauty and the Beast retelling doesn't get old for me. After all, I am a die-hard romantic and a die-hard fairy tale lover. Pepper Pace does both so well here. Yet, instead of the Beast being grumpy and surly, Christopher is the sweetest teddy bear (although he probably resembles a Grizzly bear) imaginable. I loved him!
Pace challenges the reader here. Our Beauty has a significant weight problem. And the weight problem isn't her issue, but the emotions underneath it, the ones that caused her weight issues, and the results of them. If you've ever been overweight, you know how it is for Ashleigh. The comments that hit like barbs, because someone thinks they have the right to say something or the fact that they are insensitive, because they've never struggled with weight problems. The assumptions made about you because of your weight.
On the other side, she doesn't make Ashleigh into a completely harmless victim. Ashleigh has some shallowness issues to work through. But that's the beauty of this story. She is able to see the beauty beneath the horrible scars and disfigurement that Christopher has. I truly loved the emotional connection between Christopher and Ashleigh. And there was also a very sensual component to this book, for romance readers who need that in their stories. Lots of spice and hot love scenes to go with an emotional love story that feels so authentic and timeless.
When I got to 38% on my Kindle and love declarations were made, I wondered what else could happen in this book. Well, plenty. This is a love story about not just two people finding each other, but also also finding their way to healing. Making a life together in spite of obstacles they both face.
When you read these kinds of stories, the stubborn person in you is determined to be upset if the problem is fixed, such as the heroine losing weight, or the hero getting his disfigurement repaired. But is that truly fair to the story for the characters not to go through that passage 'just because'? After all, it's easy to stay where you are. Even harder to take that step of faith to change something about yourself for the right reasons. In this case, the resolution made so much sense and only added to this story.
If I could change anything? That's a matter of personal tastes, and I'm sure many will disagree with me. However, I could have done without some of the graphic language in the love scenes. While they were scintillating and the chemistry powerful, I guess I didn't need to read certain terms when it came to body parts. That's a small quibble.
I'm personally no grammar stickler, but there were a couple issues there. I feel bad even pointing them out because a 100% accurate book doesn't necessarily tell a story that I love, like this somewhat imperfect one does. Overall, I found the writing very poised, professional, and so emotionally-stirring that I couldn't help but give this a five star rating.
This was a beautiful love story. That's kind of ironic, because this story is about how what's on the surface doesn't show you everything. That what is at the heart is worth fighting for in the end.
Highly recommended to romance readers who enjoy a more sensually descriptive love story, or just any old sap who can't resist a tried and true love story....more
I gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously faI gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously fascinating. I think Milburne nailed Natalie. Natalie was a ball of rage, and with good reason. She is a realistic product of toxic parents who have forced an innocent child to shoulder blame for something that never should have been her responsibility. And as the author showed, this damage doesn't just disappear overnight. Instead, a hurt child like Natalie takes that into her adulthood and every relationship she has as a grown woman. I literally hurt for Natalie.
Some readers would be turned off by her comments to Angelo, which were often abusive. But to me, I could see them for what they were, a cry for help. Natalie felt trapped by her family obligations and how they had damaged and poisoned her life and her very self-esteem. She wanted to break free, but that wasn't as easy as it seemed. Honestly, I think she probably needs therapy, and I personally feel that an encounter with Jesus Christ would do a lot of good for her. He would take away those burdens and the anger and pain she carries. It hurt to see her truly hating life and having trouble even enjoying one day in her life. I was just glad she hadn't taken the suicidal route. I think she felt obligated to live because of what had happened to her when she was young. So in real life, I would have expected something more interventionist for Natalie than just a love connection with the hero. Most of the time, that isn't going to fix what is broken, although being loved unconditionally is an important ingredient. But in the context of this story, I liked how the author dealt with her issues. Angelo has truly impressed me. He make a few miss-steps along the way, but overall he showed tremendous patience, even though Natalie did things that were hurtful to him. I liked how he didn't give up on her, but kept showing her that she mattered to him and he wanted a life with her. Considering how hurt Natalie was and how damaged her family was, and his ignorance of that, I think Angelo did a great job of connecting to her. Other than one thing he does shortly after they get married, I found him to be a real hero. Just the man for this very wounded woman. Maybe not truly realistic, but still I felt the power of their connection and how it put Natalie on the track to healing.
Man, this book blew me away. I found it very enthralling and emotionally involvinhg. It also involved me intellectually as I assembled the puzzles of Natalie's tormented psyche and came up with a picture of a woman who had been wronged so utterly by her parents. They had failed her in huge ways, and that kind of damage just sets an adult up for a lot of dysfunctional relationships as they get older.
I don't normally read Harlequin Presents for a look at 'real life.' I'll be honest. But I love angst and passion and I love seeing hurting people find happiness, healing and love. And Ms. Milburne definitely delivers.
This book won't be for everyone. But I was very impressed. I just pimped it to my sister, who doesn't read a lot of Harlequin Presents. I can't wait to see what she thinks of it.
This was my favorite so far in the series. The idea was interesting, and I liked the leads, Erion and Hellen, and I really felt their love for each otThis was my favorite so far in the series. The idea was interesting, and I liked the leads, Erion and Hellen, and I really felt their love for each other. Ladd is adorable. This was almost a four star book. But I think I have a high standard for paranormal romance now, so I felt more world-building and some clarity in the storyline would have added to this novel's appeal.
At least there was no butt stuff and she toned down the use of the dreaded c word for the ladyparts. I was relieved on both fronts.