Another really good Sarah Morgan book. This really reminded me of the story of Red Ridinghood and the big Bad Wolf. Selene is sweet as pie and very inAnother really good Sarah Morgan book. This really reminded me of the story of Red Ridinghood and the big Bad Wolf. Selene is sweet as pie and very innocent, with incredible belief in Stefan, based on their chance meeting five years prior. He is the glimmer of hope that she can escape from the figurative and literal prison where her father has kept her and her mother. She sneaks out and meets him and asks for a business loan for her company. To which Stefan agrees, but he also wants to exploit the association to revenge a past insult against his family by her father. Selene believes only the best about Stefan, and when they go to bed together, she is completely willing, excited to experience passion for the first time with a man she views as the only friend she's ever had. But everything backfires when a picture of them ends up in the press and her father finds out about it. Selene realizes that her knight in shining armor is actually the Big Bad Wolf, and her poor innocent heart is broken. Stefan realizes he wronged Selene in his quest for revenge and he wants to make it right.
Selene is such a sweetie! She cracked me up how excited she was with Stefan that first night. I could see how she was putting tiny cracks in Stefan's armor and making the Bad Wolf into her very own adoring Wolf Protector. Stefan was the first to admit he had no conscience, but the truth is that he had turned his conscience off to achieve his goals of success. Selene made him come back to life, but he did it kicking and screaming. He really doesn't want the vulnerability of love, but Selene reached his heart. And when she loses faith in him, it really bothers him. I liked that Stefan has to win back Selene's trust and show him that he was worthy of her faith in him. At the same time, Selene gains a balanced view of him, that he is neither an angel or a demon, but a human being.
As usual, the dialogue is a huge draw to this story. The sometimes inane things that the characters chat about feels realistic. Sometimes you do have strange conversations with people and they know what you're saying, even if it comes out of your mouth in a very bizarre way, because they know you. I think that Selene's parents were less developed, moreso her mother. Her father seems so sinister, and he's clearly an abusive lowlife. But Selene is able to put him into perspective as well . It helps that she has a faithful Wolf to guard her, and she's one Red Ridinghood who can take care of herself, gaining needed independence, that is not compromised but facilitated through her relationship with Stefan....more
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.
Crystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the conceCrystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the concept of 'psychical energies.' Both Evangeline and Lucas have paranormal abilities, and they are drawn to Crystal Gardens, Lucas' deceased uncle's estate by no accident. In the case of Lucas, he comes to investigate his uncle's murder. Evangeline comes to soak up the atmosphere and work on her series of serial novels, and also to investigate the place that her father (a man who studied psychical energies and invented machines that ran on these energies) was obsessed with. Evangeline is also fleeing a murderer and ends up running right into Lucas' arms, which is a very good thing! Lucas is just the knight in tarnished armor to keep her safe.
I enjoyed listening to this book on audio but it did fall short overall. The narrator has a very dramatic way of reading it. Sometimes, her voice sounded a little odd (especially when she narrated the male characters), but I loved her British accent, and that each character sounded distinctive. I think that Quick's books lend themselves very well to audiobooks. Her style is very focused on the mystery components, and the romance seems to take a bit of a back seat at times. This would probably bother me more if I was reading than when I listen to books. That is not to say that the romance wasn't good. It was. I just could have used more than I got. I do feel that she emphasized the paranormal elements too much. She used the term 'psychical' excessively. I think that the reader gets the point about the paranormal energies and she could have spent time on building up the story in other ways. I do think Quick excelled in her descriptions of the Gardens and its otherworldly atmosphere. I felt like I was there in the Gardens, which might be a very strange experience indeed.
Unfortunately, the characters didn't feel as well-developed as I would have liked. I found Evangeline and Lucas likable and intriguing, but I don't feel that I knew them as well as I wanted. I feel that Quick did more telling about them than showing. Maybe she could have caused their characterization come to light more organically if she had spent more time on revealing who they were than explaining about the paranormal elements of the Crystal Gardens. At the end of the story, I could feel their attraction and feelings for each other, but I didn't get to explore this powerful love that supposedly had developed between them. Since this is a romance, that is crucial. I found the love scenes well written and passionate, and I really liked this about the book. I did feel the attraction between Evangeline and Lucas, although Quick sort of stole its impact by implying it was related to the psychical energies. Lucas is the kind of hero I love, strong, intelligent, compelling, and dangerous in an appealing way, but something was missing from his portrayal. Evangeline was a good person, a sweet woman who is independent and intelligent, and I wanted things to work out for her, but she wasn't distinctive as a character. The secondary character were barely fleshed out. I did like Evangeline's friends Clarissa and Beatrice, as well as Lucas' siblings, Beth and Tony. I also like Molly, Evangeline's maid, and Stone, Lucas' manservant, but they weren't as vivid as I would have liked. Judith, Lucas' stepmother seemed more lively in her characterization, especially with her feelings of antipathy towards Lucas and the reasons for them. The way Lucas treated Judith endeared me to him. He was respectful and he took his responsibilities for her very seriously even though she had never treated him well. The villain was quite cardboard, and his motivations were shallow. He shows up just in time for a thrilling climax, but he spends very little time in this book overall.
I guess it's clear I wanted to like this book more than I did. I liked it, but I think that this author is capable of writing a better book than this. I say that with all respect for her. I hope that the next books in the Ladies of Mystery have the spark that this book was lacking, because I think this series really has potential. And I am a sucker for the Victorian Gothic romance! ...more
Even though there were some things that I wasn't fully pleased with execution-wise, on the feeling level, this is a five star book for me. I'm going tEven though there were some things that I wasn't fully pleased with execution-wise, on the feeling level, this is a five star book for me. I'm going to be thinking about the ending for a while. It's been a crazy ride with this series!
Is this supposed to be a suspense thriller? Okay. Technically it was. But for me it was an awesome romance story and a female empowerment story to booIs this supposed to be a suspense thriller? Okay. Technically it was. But for me it was an awesome romance story and a female empowerment story to boot. Loved JT and Tess. Loved them together. I loved how Tess went from mild and meek to kickbutt heroine. Did not love psychopathic ex-husband. But it was worth reading for the fantastic love story (okay I guess I missed the point of this book, didn't I?)....more
Okay, I think I am an official futuristic/space romance convert now. I loved what Ms. Kenyon did with this concept. I thought she did a very good jobOkay, I think I am an official futuristic/space romance convert now. I loved what Ms. Kenyon did with this concept. I thought she did a very good job with the world-building, but I caught a couple of 'slips' where she would describe things that I really had trouble believing they would have in a futuristic setting on another planet. But then I have no creativity when it comes to making up technological devices and futuristic settings, so I can hardly judge her. Overall, I was happy and I didn't find those rare instances jarring. I think she did a great job coming up with the different cultures and races. It wasn't to the degree that I got bored, and neither was the technological references. I don't like my sci-fi to be top heavy with this kind of stuff. Just enough to make me believe the setting, thanks very much.
Some of the aspects with the League of Assassins Academy and the political structure aspects reminded me vaguely of Star Trek, but this book is not very much in that vein at all. If anything it is more like Firefly. Sigh. Yes, I definitely had happy reminders of the short-lived but brilliant show Firefly with this book. The characters aren't that similar but some of the aspects of the universe and the social/political structures are. There is the whole fancy politically-structured universe paired to the backwater planets theme that is prevalent in the Firefly universe. Also the group of smugglers and outlaws that Nykyrian associates with reminds me of heavily of the crew and passengers of Serenity, and some of the folks they encounter in the various episodes. That's where the similarity ends, because this story is Classic Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sorry, Malcolm Reynolds lovers. There is no Mal character in this book. But we have Nykyrian, and he rules this book.
A newbie to tortured heroes? Meet Nykyrian Quikiades. This man takes the cake for this hero archetype. Was that a bad thing for this reader? Certainly not. I love tortured heroes. Nykyrian earns his spot on my hero to die for list. I found myself rooting for him, crushing on him, and almost crying for him, and deeply feeling for him. That's a good sign.
And Ms. Kenyon reaffirms to me why I love her books with this novel. She writes romance novels that read like my favorite action/adventure movies (with the amped up romance that is usually missing from some of my cinematic fare of my choice). I know I talk about movies a lot when I review books. I can't help it. I am a Movie Buff and a Bookworm. Those areas often overlap for me. Anyhoo, there is a bit of Cleric John Preston in fair Nykyrian. Oh, yes. That is a good thing, since Cleric John Preston from Equilibrium is a Certified, Grade A Badass. So is Nykyrian. He is absolutely lethal and he doesn't have to concentrate to be that way. His lethality is actually hard for Kiara to deal with after he goes futuristic/medieval on some badguys who were trying to kill her. I had a little bit of a "I want to slap the heroine of this book really hard" moment when she treats him like garbage afterwords. I told myself to calm down and remember what she went through. She had been kidnapped and was tortured, had to watch her mother be tortured and killed, was almost murdered herself, and had survived several other attempts on her life. I could understand her dislike of violent people. However, there are some instances where violence is the answer for other violence. In other words, she lives in a shades of gray universe, not a black and white one. She should have been more conscious of that before she started condemning Nyk and his colleagues. There are many instances of violence towards her and the other characters, that really did demand a response in kind.
I was really glad that Nykyrian's friend Syn told her off. She needed to hear that because she had badly misjudged Nyk. I a not a fan of cruel bullies and conscienceless murderers (despite my love of antiheroes and assassins). It was clear to me early own that this was so not Nykyrian. I think that Kiara really needed a reality check on Nyk. She has a couple of moments where she shows some emotional immaturity that irked me, but overall, she really comes through for Nyk. So I guess she can have him (even though I want him all to myself).
He's got so much damage and pain in his past, present, and future. Ms. Kenyon says in the introduction that she added back the parts that the publisher would not allow in the first publication since they were too intense. Yup, they were intense. She definitely didn't pull her punches with this one. I haven't read Acheron yet, so I don't know if Ash had it worse, but gosh I don't know if I'll be able to stand it if he did. Nykyrian really had a crap life. Some really awful things happen to him, so the reader should be warned that some of this is not pretty at all. But it really helped me to understand the person that he is. No wonder he doesn't trust anyone and is cold, isolated, and lethal, or maintains a facade to this effect.
Kiara was a good heroine. She had her moments where she annoyed me, but she turns out to be the right woman for Nyk. Ms. Kenyon doesn't seem to do tormented heroines, and Kiara isn't exactly one. But she's had some bad stuff happen in her past that flavors her and gives her added depth. I liked the aspects of her career as a dancer. I think Ms. Kenyon must have known a dancer or have been a dancer, because this felt very authentic.
The love scenes are very light, so don't read this expecting a lot of steam. But I didn't mind that at all. I liked them, because they showed the tenderness and the connection between Nykyrian and Kiara.
I'm loving Nyk's friends and sidekicks. They were all very interesting, adding to the flavor of this book. The dialog between them was great. Kenyon certainly knows how to turn on the snark and to have you laughing. My favorite secondary character was Syn. I'm excited to read Syn's story. He's funny and interesting, and he's got a lot of anguish that should make for an interesting journey in his novel. I also really liked Darling. I hope he gets his happy ending (although it wouldn't be the traditional boy/girl kind of romance).
I don't want to give spoilers, but readers will find that Nyk's past intersects very heavily with his future, giving him closure and opens a door for new beginnings. I must say I enjoyed that aspect of this story.
I'm very glad that this League series came back into print. I love the setting and the characters, and it meets my sci-fi-loving needs, with some great romance and action in a wonderful combination. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
FYI: The short story in the Man of My Dreams anthology is about Nykyrian and Kiara's son. It's awesome....more
Reread on Kindle Text to Speech at night before bed completed between 3/1 and 5/20/14. Review essentially the same. Even though the robotic voice isn'Reread on Kindle Text to Speech at night before bed completed between 3/1 and 5/20/14. Review essentially the same. Even though the robotic voice isn't the best, I still enjoyed listening and re-experiencing this in the Kindle format.
******Reread 6/13-6/15/2012 My Thoughts:
For the longest time, this was my favorite in the series, and that's saying something. I had thought I couldn't possibly love it as much the second time around, but I did. Something about this love story just did it for me. I know it has the beauty and the beast thing going on, which appeals, no doubt. But moreso, it's about a person who thought he was 100% ruined/broken/bereft of all things worthwhile except the ability to kill. And he meets a woman who never knew anything more than a cold, brutal soldier's life. Both lonely in different ways. Never expecting to be loved for who they are. My heart and my head is always drawn to these stories. Maybe because of my belief in redemption and the power of love to save what is lost. I think Christine Feehan wrote this story so well. She didn't solve all their problems. There will be issues for Ken and Mari to deal with. But they will deal with them together. How can I not love that about this book? This is a dark love story, but then I love my love stories dark. I guess it was fate that me and this book met and made a love connection.
I love you man. You are so intense and hurt. So dark and lonely. You're a scared little boy in need of a hug. You're a scary, tough man who feels there is not place for you outside of the dark. But there is. There is so much to love about you. I love how you take it on the chin for Jack, but don't cut yourself any slack. Now you have Mari to take care of you, to love you. Your family is complete now with Jack and Briony. I'm so glad. I love all you GWs like crazy, but you're still one of my favorites. Always will be! You're my darling. I hope Mari doesn't come after me for saying that!
You rock, woman! You are seriously a woman after my own heart. You are soft as silk and hard as steel. I guess you never knew you'd find a man like Ken. I'm glad that you did, even though we both know you don't need a man, well not really. You chose him and he chose you, and don't let that Dr. Crazy tell you any different. I'm so glad I could spend time visiting with you again. You made this reread so precious! Mari, you are my girl!
No other way to say it. I adored this book. It's in my heart, and this series takes me to that Book Cloud Nine. I'm out of words. If you don't feel it, I can't change your mind. I know it's real!
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much. It was so intense it was like spending hours on the edge of a cliff. The storyline is like a Gordian Knot, getting more and more intricate as we discover that the conspiracy and the tendrils of the Ghostwalker experimentation go deeper and farther than ever could be imagined. Ken went through hell, but he's not a man you could or would dare feel sorry for, although if you're like me, your heart will ache for him, and you'll just want to give him a hug. And he was given the perfect woman to meet his needs. Mari lived through hell as well, so she is the perfect mate for a man like Ken who can never feel or live a normal life again. Mari is a total and complete badass. I could hug the woman. She is a machine of death, but with a woman's heart and soul. She's just what a tortured man like Ken needs. No gentle princess for him. But she's capable of the tenderness that his aching soul is afraid to cry out for. And Ken also meets Mari's needs. He teaches her that a man's touch doesn't have to be disgusting or painful. And considering what Mari endured, that's just what the doctor ordered. I love dangerous heroes and Ken is Platinum American Express card-carrier in the the dangerous heroes club. Can't help not loving them. I like reading stories about people who have surmounted tremendous odds but get their happy endings. This book is way up my alley in that sense. It's full of action, but the romance is the center focus. It was such a great mix of both, that I have this tremendous craving to re-read the book again, like now. But I have to move onto other books. At least I have my memories of this book until I get my tbr pile under some semblance of control and can revisit the rollercoaster ride that is Ken and Mari's romance. ...more
**spoiler alert** This book is one that sneaks up on your senses. You start reading the first sentence and before you know it, you're hooked. It was t**spoiler alert** This book is one that sneaks up on your senses. You start reading the first sentence and before you know it, you're hooked. It was that simple. The writing flows, and the beauty of it is captivating. Yet at the same time, it is not flowery or florid. Just exhibiting the careful and artistic use of words to tell a story of redemption and growth. Sebastian Verlaine is not a pretender in the world of rakes. He is a true rake. He has lived an aimless existence of a sybarite, doing only what felt good to him, and only as long as it pleased him. He is on the crux of either descending to a lower level of debauchery, or turning his life around. When he encounters Rachel Wade, a woman just recently released from prison after 10 years, and arrested for vagrancy because she is homeless, this becomes a crucial moment in his evolution.
The manner in which the story enfolds is interesting. Sebastian has recently inherited Lynton, which is property from his disceased relative. He decides to go and stay there for a lark, and for fun and out of drunkeness, agrees to act as a local magistrate. As such, he is in a position of power to offer Rachel Wade a job as his housekeeper. In reality, it is also the position of his mistress. Sebastian finds himself fascinated by this beaten down woman, who was sentenced for murdering her husband, who had committed depraved acts on her. He is attracted to the luridness of the situation, and also by the woman herself.
When reading this, you are thinking, how could a person do a good deed for such a questionable reason. You see Sebastian laying his trap and allowing Rachel to settle into her position and you worry for Rachel. Yet Rachel is no fool. She knew all along to expect something along those lines, but her choice is to be put in the gaol for vagrancy, and to starve, or to accept relative comfort of a job, a place to stay, even if the price tag is to accept the unwanted attentions of her employer.
So begins this unlikely romance. At first, this is more of a character study as you watch Rachel adapt to no longer being a prisoner for ten years. You see her gain her self-confidence and overcome her sense of shame for being a convict, when she had been falsely accused in the first place. At the same time, you see Sebastian plotting and continuing along on his nefarious course, yet at the same time, slowly changing and developing a sense of purpose when before he only had a sense of boredom and jadedness. This evolution is so well done, that by the time you realize why Sebastian is such a rake, you have already forgiven him for it and accepted that this was his past. This was profound to me, because I have read more than a few books with rakes who really never seemed all that repentant, and certainly weren't fully changed by the love of the heroine. Characters that you wondered if they wouldn't end up falling off the wagon years later on, after the book was over.
The first sexual encounters are not consensual. Yet this is also done tastefully. Again, you are not reading this book as a romance novel at this point, but as a fiction work, and so it doesn't jolt you or offend your senses. Instead you keep reading, to see how this will unfold.
There are moments when I felt, that Sebastian would commit the final act that would serve as the straw breaking the camel's back, and I would come to hate him. Gaffney leaves the reader poised on the cliff of expectation, so skillfully keeping the reader's interest, as Sebastian has to make a choice, whether he truly is an unforgivable, irredeemable rake, or if he is a human being who does have ethical boundaries he won't cross. This moment arrives when he invites some of his jaded companions to his house, and allows them to bait Rachel verbally but does nothing. The situation worsens as one of the attendees states his intent to force his attentions on Rachel. At first, he acts like he could care less, because that is how the old Sebastian would have reacted. At the last minute he intervenes, and the breath that I was holding is let out.
From this point on, the story shifts as Sebastian learns how to love for the first time in his life. He becomes a caring person, learning to put someone else's needs first. And it really is touching the degree to which he devotes himself to making Rachel happy. I love redemption stories, so I really enjoyed reading about his transition to an honorable man. Or maybe, that seed was always deep inside of him, but he didn't allow it to germinate. When you get a glimpse into his family life towards the end of the book, you really have no questions as to why Sebastian acted the way he did at the beginning of the book.
This book works wonderfully on many levels, as a fiction book, and as a romance. It's not at all predictable, which is refreshing. Of course, you know that a happy ending is going to be given, but you don't exactly know how it will arrive at that point until you get there, and you almost want to read it again just in confirmation.
To Have and to Hold is a good example of the fact that romantic fiction should be respected for its power. Romance novels are wrongly labeled as fluff, trash, and worthless. But how could a book with such a deep message, and with such powerful storytelling ever be considered fluff? I will proudly put this piece of romantic fiction on my keeper shelf....more
I stayed up until 3:30am reading this book on Friday. It was just that good. Certainly not a book that is light and fluffy, but so excellent that youI stayed up until 3:30am reading this book on Friday. It was just that good. Certainly not a book that is light and fluffy, but so excellent that you feel as though you have eating a ten course meal instead of a sweet, tasty cupcake. Erith is not what I would call a nice guy. He's selfish and blunt and doesn't work too hard to observe social niceties. He lives for his own desires, and goes where he wants to go, always drifting, and leaving nothing behind that he regrets despite the many mistresses that he's cast aside. He's abandoned his children, out of grief when his wife died, but abandoned all the same for sixteen plus years. He's had more mistresses than he could count, and he doesn't have honorable intentions towards our heroine, Olivia. The interesting thing is that his behavior is consider more socially acceptable than Olivia. It's one of the hypocritical aspects of society that never fails to irritate me. A woman is no good when she is forced to take lovers to support herself. Yet a man can have as many lovers as he wants and no one blinks an eye, as long as he's semi-discreet and doesn't marry a woman who has a past.
I must admit it took me a long time to warm up to Erith. I felt he was a selfish man who didn't really understand what loving was, or he forgot when he lost his wife at a young age. He thought that his desire to give Olivia pleasure and trinkets was a act of generosity to be thanked for. He doesn't understand that his actions could make things even worse for Olivia when he decides he's had his fill of her. On the other hand, I loved Olivia from the beginning. I find it heartbreaking that a woman would have to sell her body for a living. The thought of it just sticks in my craw. But I would never hold that against a woman. Olivia was a strong, capable, likable person. She hated men, and she had a lot of reason to hate men. Yet you never get the impression that she's deliberately cruel or even thoughtless. What was done to her was pretty lousy, and it was done by a person who should have taken care of her and cherished her. And even Erith, who declared his love, had to almost lose her to do the right thing by her. That's why I just about washed my hands of him. But the truth is, we don't really get to choose who we love. We are ordained by fate to love people, more than we want to. That's what happens to Olivia and Erith. He didn't want to fall in love again after his wife died. He just wanted to exhaust his obsession and lust for Olivia, who he hears is the greatest courtesan of all time and who he must have because of her reputation, but he does end up falling for her. And that's not the end of his journey, for this man has to learn that love is about giving up one's self and putting another person's needs first. That's what true love is. It's not just giving when it's easy or when it costs little. Love is giving up things that a person considers most important for the person who is loved.
Dark and compelling, this is a book that isn't a fun read. But it's a wonderful story that will stay on the mind, challenge the reader to explore different kinds of characters whose motivations aren't pure or demure, and don't exist in the pretty ballrooms and sitting rooms of a Jane Austen novel. These characters live on the fringe of that same society, where the light is dimmer, and their choices are drearier. Perhaps Olivia could have been Emma, or Elinore, or Jane, or Lizzy, yet she doesn't get to live in protected circumstances or genteel poverty. Instead she's a woman who received a very poor hand of cards to play, and did the best she could under the circumstances. And Erith is no Darcy or Captain Brandon. But still, I am glad that Ms. Campbell told us their story....more
This is an excellent book. For those of us who love exotic settings check this one out. It takes place in India in 1841. The hero has lost an eye andThis is an excellent book. For those of us who love exotic settings check this one out. It takes place in India in 1841. The hero has lost an eye and spends part of the book impotent. It's so cool to have a hero who is far from perfect but just scrumptious. I really loved Ian and I think I might be adding him to my list of scarred/imperfect hero favorites. The heroine is also admirable. She's of Russian birth but raised as an Englishwoman and has issues with passion because of her wild and crazy parents. She is the kind of woman a man like Ian needs. She's a true helpmate and a strong woman. They meet when she's trying to protect the camp from a maneating tiger. She almost shoots him in the process. Their relationship develops beautifully as they meet each other's needs. Ian was imprisoned for years and was terribly abused, kept in the dark and starved. His cellmate was Laura's uncle and he asks him to bring his diary which he wrote in his bible. Laura helps Ian to heal from his trauma and Ian helps her to come to terms with her passionate nature. They actually marry because both thinks that they can have a passionless marriage since Ian is incapable and Laura doesn't want passion (although she has a sensual nature that she tries to suppress.) The magic and seduction of India helps Laura to come to terms with who she is. There is a lot about the cultures and religions of India in this book which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am definitely very Christian in my beliefs but it is always interesting to learn about other's beliefs. And India is such a diverse nation with people of so many cultures and beliefs. This is definitely dealt with in this book. This book also gives a different view of the British imperialism that takes place in India. I had a negative view of it overall, but in the book you can see that it had some good aspects. The British rule or Sirkhar actually brought about reforms in areas such as banning child sacrifice and sutee (the ritual burning of widows). They also reformed the tax system that was beggaring the poor because tax barons were taking all their money away. And I also learned that the army was largely composed of native soldiers who were lead by British commanders who were educated in the beliefs and language of their troops. Initially the apartheid system (for lack of a better word) didn't exist. Briton and native blended together and often intermarried and bred freely. But as more British who held prejudiced ideas entered the country, that changed. Never say you cannot learn from romance.
This is a great romance but also has plenty of action. Ian is a serious bad-ass. He's a sharpshooter (you might say how does he do it. Well it's explained. Most marksmen shoot with one eye closed). He's a man after my own heart. I love heroes who can get the job done. And he's a Scot. Sigh!!! They actually have to save India from becoming war-torn when a swell of anti-British sentiment from Afghanistan threatens to push over the border. There are reasons that go into this but too indepth for this blog, and you should read the book to find out. It does involve Laura's uncle. I'll tell you that much. There's even a cool secondary romance between Ian's army sargeant, a Pathan warrior, and a young Indian woman who is saved from sutee when her older husband dies. Ooh there's just too much to go into. You need to read it.
I can't give everything away but if you love exotic books full of action with awesome characters and a deep, wonderful romance, you should definitely check this one out....more
I adored this story. It has all the elements that make Sherrilyn Kenyon irresistible as a writer for me: imaginative story and setting, well-drawn, liI adored this story. It has all the elements that make Sherrilyn Kenyon irresistible as a writer for me: imaginative story and setting, well-drawn, likeable characters, flawed hero who is deeply tortured both physically and spiritually, a deep, emotional connection between the hero and heroine, and the promise of redemption and a bright future. It took me about an hour plus to read this story, but the joy of reading it will last longer. You have what looks like a hopeless situation initially that becomes a catalyst for a wonderful love between Adron and Livia. Livia is being forced to marry a really old man by her father. In order to be suitable as his bride, she must be a virgin. In her culture, women are kept extremely innocent. Thus, she has not even been alone with a man who is not her relative, much less had physical contact. Together her and her maid come up with the idea to find a man and sleep with him so she is no longer a virgin. She goes to a bar and finds Adron, the most beautiful man she has ever seen. However he is deeply scarred both physically and emotionally. She seduces him with a kiss, and he decides to take her home. From there, their lives become intertwined in the most beautiful of ways. This story accurately portrays the challenge and the agony of being disabled (the hero was badly wounded and tortured as a League Assassin. Each day is excruciating pain and limitations due to the fact that his internal organs sustained massive injury). He wanted to die but his brother would not kill him. But at the same time, he won't kill himself because he knows how much his parents and family love him. My heart just went out to him for his situation. Knowing people who deal with disabilities every day, I could see that this was real life, although in a fictional story. That is why I loved the ending of this story so much. I read Fire and Ice in the Man of My Dreams anthology, and even though I don't plan to read the other stories, it was definitely a worthwhile purchase and a keeper for me. ...more
Hard Evidence was an excellent book. It quenched my thirst for good romantic suspense, that's not just about a hot hero and a cute, likable heroine scHard Evidence was an excellent book. It quenched my thirst for good romantic suspense, that's not just about a hot hero and a cute, likable heroine scratching an itch while dodging bullets, and ultimately falling in love. No, there's nothing wrong with that. But it's great to read something that goes deeper and touches on issues that are real and meaningful in the world today while I get my high octane romance fix.
Julian is a man who has spent most of his life in the dark. He started out with a less than ideal childhood, a truly heartbreaking childhood, and channeled that into undercover law enforcement. He's seen only the worst of people. And while he believes that this has barred him from the possibility of a good, normal life and a good woman, undeserving of both, he is a very good man. He has put his life, soul and sanity on the line everyday to help the helpless. That made me love him. He's a gorgeous, sexy man in every way, but it was his heart that touched me the deepest.
Tessa is a crusader in a different way. She works as an investigative journalist to use the print media to bring positive change. Some of the risks she takes makes my hair stand on end. (And knowing that the writer, Ms. Clare taps from her own experiences in journalism makes it even more harrowing). Sometimes I wanted to ask her if she was crazy. But I also understand her need to help others, to use what God gave her to effect change in a world where too many people either don't know, don't care, or look the other way.
These two together make sense in a beautiful way. It was a pleasure to read their emotional, highly sensual, and meaningful love story. I started out reading this slowly (around my other review read), just taking it all in, enjoying the leisurely visit with Tessa and Julian, and soon I couldn't put the book down because I was so compelled to see what happened next.
Hard Evidence does hit hard with the realism of this world in which underage/teenage girls are abused, brutalized, and treated as objects and commodities. It makes me upset and angry to know that this is really happening, and it made me cheer for Julian (who is so well named, for he is a Dark Angel), and Tessa, who is an angel of justice from a whole different direction to do what they could to help those girls. Sometimes it seems as though the good guys don't win nearly enough, and it's too easy to give up the fight. But reading about heroes in these books like Tessa and Julian, that they represent the many unsung heroes, and knowing that there are those in real life who sacrifice and strive to make this world a better place is hugely encouraging. Some dark subject matter, but ultimately hopeful. A beautiful love story in which the light of love shines into places where most angels fear to tread, but not these in this book. Highly recommended!
In preparation of the November release of Striking Distance, The Pamela Clare Fan Group will be hosting a group read of the series, starting with this book! If you haven't yet read Pamela Clare's I-Team series, you're missing out on some truly fantastic stories.
Great way to spend a Saturday evening reading about Simon's determined pursuit of Louisa, and how the pursuer really was the pursued all the time. SimGreat way to spend a Saturday evening reading about Simon's determined pursuit of Louisa, and how the pursuer really was the pursued all the time. Simon has some issues from his cruel grandfather that take things to the next emotional level. I'm glad to see that things worked out for Simon and Louisa, and it's so refreshing to read a book with a hero who isn't sleeping with every woman he can prior to the heroine. Simon was a really hot hero, although he tried so hard to keep his emotions under control. I loved that Louisa was the only woman who could get under his skin, and how that fact drove him crazy. I loved that Louisa helped Simon to heal from his emotional wounds and taught him how to love. This one goes onto my favorites list. ...more
This book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some sThis book was an enjoyable read. I must admit that Kieran's determination to debauch himself into the grave was a bit annoying at times. He had some serious guilt over an infraction he committed against his brother many years ago, and was horribly abused by his uncle guardian. Fundamentally, he has a lot of self-hatred which drives his cycle of drinking, carousing, and not taking care of himself. One thing I liked is that although it appears that he is saving Camille, she is actually saving him. He never even rethought his lifestyle until she came into his life and gave him something to live for. He carries on the act (minus the carousing) into the marriage, but Camille's backbone and determination are the factors which help him to turn his life around. Carlyle is an exquisite writer. I do enjoy reading her books. Her love scenes are pretty hot but tasteful. I didn't like the first love scene because it felt tawdry, but then maybe that was the point. This is rather early on into their relationship, and Kieran hasn't faced that his feelings for Camille are deeper than sexual. The other love scenes have more of the emotions that were missing from the first one. It was nice to see Kemble in this one. He's a fixture in the Carlyle books. This is actually the third in the trio after Never Decieve a Duke and Never Lie to a Lady, so we meet the two prior couples after the fact. However this doesn't spoil the book. This works well as a standalone, although you will probably be tempted to go back and read the other books, as you will probably find the supporting characters interesting and engaging enough to read more of their stories. I would say that this book shines because of its heroine. She is strong and a survivor. She's very intelligent and pragmatic. She's not a whiny, insipid, stupid heroine that makes you want to throw the book down out of frustration. In fact, her balanced, mature personality is a saving grace for Kieran, and ultimately it is why I did like this book so much. She's had a rough life, but she is determined to succeed in having a better future. Her grit is irresistible. I also like that she is so very French, but not in a stereotypical way (at least not to me). I also liked that Carlyle uses the slavery culture of Barbados as a major plot point, as Kieran grew up there. It plays a role in shaping why Kieran has the issues he does, and becomes part of his mission for the future once he turns his life around. While this was not my favorite book by Carlyle, it was engaging and a keeper. I have an issue with prolonged self-pity (everyone is allowed five minutes and then you need to move on), so I think that is why this wasn't five stars....more
**spoiler alert** Gosh, what a standout start to the Wallflowers series. Simon is a definite hero in pursuit, one of my favorite types. He saw Annabel**spoiler alert** Gosh, what a standout start to the Wallflowers series. Simon is a definite hero in pursuit, one of my favorite types. He saw Annabelle and he had to have her. He wasn't always upstanding in the things he said or did, or his motivations. But it didn't help that Annabelle's inbred snobbery caused her to look down at him. Simon is a self-made man. He is very wealthy and his wealth has opened doors for him socially (just barely). The fact that he is a business associate (and friend of Lord Westcliff) does help him to get into this society that he really doesn't care about, except that it allows him to be close to the object of his desire, Annabelle Peyton. But Annabelle has been raised from the cradle to seek a marriage with a gentleman at the least, and a titled one, if entirely possible. Plus I think she is a little intimidated at how intensely Simon seems to want her, and how he is such a strong, vital man (not what she would consider an English gentleman at all). The first half of this book is a bit of a cat and mouse chase, as Simon spends his time hunting down the wary Annabelle.
Can I just say I adored Simon? He is just delicious to me. I love a strong, independent, self-made hero, who doesn't spend his time worrying about what others think. Annabelle came off as kind of mercenary. Yet I found I could not dislike her. She was in desperate straits. I could see why she was so fixated on making a good match. Yet at the same time, I wanted to yell at her, "Hey, Simon is loaded. He's hot. He wants you. Marry him." Let's be honest. I would have been throwing myself at Simon. He's one of my all time favorite LK heroes (top three). Yes I know he's got some ungentlemanly intentions towards Annabelle, but I felt that he would take her any way he could get her.
He shows his love and devotion in many ways. I love the scene when he cares for Annabelle when she gets snakebitten. He totally could have taken advantage of her, but he didn't. And things are getting where she doesn't have the luxury to wait for an honorable offer. Yet he ended up offering marriage, after all. Because he loved her to the depths of his soul. Sigh! And what a good husband he is.
Now after their marriage, I felt some frustration towards Annabelle for her snobbery against Simon's family. I can understand culture shock, but she was married to Simon, and her life had changed permanently. I didn't really see her setting her mind on the fact that she was now a middle class businessman's wife to the degree that I hoped for. She liked the trappings of being a rich man's wife, but didn't like to think about how he made his money or his origins. It took that potentially tragic event for her to snap out of her 'old' thinking mode and see what a wonderful love and life she could have with Simon.
I didn't care for Westcliff that much at first. But when Westcliff tells her off, I started to warm to him. Before that, he was rather cold. But you could see he disliked Annabelle because he didn't really think she deserved Simon. To be frank, I was somewhat agreeing with him. I felt I could like this cold, aristocratic man when he risked his life to save Simon who was socially beneath him and was protective about him against a 'fortune-hunting adventuress,' which was how he saw Annabelle. I felt that Westcliff knew Annabelle pretty well, because in some ways they were of the same mindset and were having to open their minds to the fact that the Old England was changing as the century wound to a close. I liked that they became a united front in their mutual caring for Simon.
It may sound as if I am being harsh about Annabelle. I really like her despite her snobby tendencies. She is a very sweet, kind person, and was good to the other Wallflowers. She has a good sense of humor and was a good daughter. I just tend to be very protective about my favorite heroes. I want their heroine to be completely in love with them, because my favorite heroes are the type who are 110% in love with their heroine. They should be loved to the same intensity. I hate when the feeling is unequal in a romance. I was glad that Annabelle finally came around, although I wished it was a little bit sooner.
This is my second favorite Wallflower (after Devil in Winter) because I loved the fact that Simon was a man who set himself on a course, and never gave up. That course was winning his heroine, Annabelle. I loved the friendship between the four wallflowers, Annabelle, Lillian, Daisy, and my favorite, sweet Evie. You get the impression that the friendship they form will stand the test of time. And you hope they will all meet and marry men worthy of them. Also I loved the late Victorian setting, and how rich the descriptions of this time and the people are in this story. Secrets of a Summer Night is definitely one of my all time favorite Lisa Kleypas novels.
Actors I would cast as Simon and Annabelle: Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale.
I loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I haveI loved this book. I had heard many criticisms about it not being as good as the others, and Phury not being as fleshed out. I have to say that I have a real understanding of Phury now. His torment is very much internal and revolves around his sense of failure, his not being able to "get there on time", as my mother so wisely said as we discussed the book last night at dinner. He failed in helping his parents, he failed in getting his brother back faster. Boy does he have a whopping case of Survivor's Guilt.
I went through the whole gamut of emotions as I read this book: anger, sadness, joy, rage, helplessness, you name it. I was right there next to Phury every step of the way. And most of all, I felt his isolation. I firmly believe that he is the least understood of the brothers, and in some ways has been given less understanding. I would never justify drug abuse, but pretty much all the Brothers, possibly excepting Wrath, have had some pretty destructive habits.
I hurt for him when he was kicked out of the Brotherhood, but at the same time, I knew it was for the best. He could not grow if he didn't leave that safety net behind. And in my understanding of addiction, you cannot enable the addicted person. Zsadist said some harsh things to Phury, and maybe they needed to be said, and at the same time, I am so glad that Phury confronted him on never saying thanks. It needed to be said. Phury has been in a vicious cycle, as my sister said. He always feels the need to play the Knight in Shining Armor, yet continually goes without having his own needs met. It has taken a toll on him and I believe, lead to him seeking solace in drugs.
These Brothers are very highly sexed individuals, so I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been to spend many, many years celibate, and Phury did not have Zsadist's issues with sex to lessen his sex drive. The red smoke was a coping mechanism that started to consume him. But what is most telling is that when Phury gets the chance to have all the sex he wants, as the Primale, he is tormented about it, and hedges at doing his duty. I interpreted this as Phury being a romantic, pure and simple. Also it tied into his Savior complex issues. He was just burned out, and the last thing he wanted was to be responsible for forty more people, and their offspring. Plus, he wanted one woman, Cormia.
Once again, I am utterly impressed with JR Ward's ability to tell a story. This book shone from the first sentence. I love how she starts the book from the Omega's perspective, showing a little of his side of things, and showing some vulnerabilities, and what seems like 'humanity' in him. It leads so well into a major shift in the storyline. And what a shift it is.
I read this book late compared to other reads. I did that on purpose. I wanted to stagger my reading of the wonderful series because I did not want to go a long time before a new installment came out. Since I am very active in the romance novel fan community, I have heard many comments about this book, a lot of them less positive. Another area of major complaints was with Cormia. I don't understand why. I adored Cormia. I think she is PERFECT for Phury. They are both innocents in some ways, and their coming together could be nothing but destiny. I was quite annoyed that Phury wouldn't yield to this destiny, but understanding his Savior/Failure complex, he felt his was not worthy of her, and would only destroy her if he gave into his love for her.
Cormia was not a doormat, as has been implied. She is a soft, sweet woman, with a backbone of TITANIUM. This is made clear in how she steps up and is not afraid to tell off the Primale. I can't blame her for being intimidated by a houseful of enormous, formidable warriors. Going from a world of white and blandness to a world full of color, textures, emotions, and sensations. In fact, I loved seeing her immerse herself in this world. I enjoyed her innocent childlike enjoyment of simply running around on the lawn, and swimming naked, smelling roses, and watching movies for the first time. If anything, I wish that Phury had spent more time with her enjoying these moments. Whenever Phury was off "lighting up" I was telling him, go "play" with Cormia. However I did like that we got to see John Matthew interact with and be attracted to Cormia and to realize that his destiny lay in another direction as far as mates, a tough, strong woman that makes his heart beat faster. That person being Xhex.
It was nice to see Cormia and Bella interact and become friends. Cormia picks up right away, that Phury is mooning over Bella. She feels that Bella is a rival for his affections, because right away, Cormia feels possessive of Phury. He is her man, and she does not want to share him with anyone, much less her Chosen sisters, or Bella. But soon, she realizes that Bella is a true friend, and that Bella wants Cormia to win Phury. I loved their girl-bonding moments.
Cormia did help Phury in ways that the other characters could not. Her love and peaceful nature helped him to deal with his demons as he detoxed from two hundred years of drug abuse. That was a grand moment for me. I love Phury and I hated seeing him on that awful downward spiral. The scene in the bathroom was one of the most painful scenes in a book I've ever read (and since we are talking about the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, that's saying something.) It made the final triumph of Phury so much sweeter. That is not to say that Phury doesn't have a hard struggle ahead, but he is not alone in it, as he soon finds out.
It was painful to see Phury and Zsadist so at odds in this book, but I realize that this had to happen for their relationship to evolve and to heal. I was so glad at the scene near the end where Zsadist comes and sings again for his brother, accompanied by the other Brothers. I was practically crying, but also smiling at this. In fact, had this not been in the book, I would have been severely disappointed. And we also find out that although it seemed that Zsadist washed his hands of Phury, he never did abandon him. That was also great to experience.
I loved seeing Cormia and Phury interact. There was chemistry and fate in their interactions, although neither really seemed to grasp it. I think their relationship is one of the sweetest, most innocent in this series, and for that, it earns a special place in my heart.
Now for the other character's in the book. It was so great to see more of the triad: John Matthew, Qhuinn, and Blaylock. I wish there was more of Blay's viewpoint, but maybe that will be in the next few books. I just love John Matthew so much. I am happy that he is healing, slowly but surely. Not there yet, but he's going in that direction. His sense of shame for what happens to him, should not be a burden he has to bear, but I was so glad that he knows that there are people there to love and support him. His heartbreak about the loss of Tohr is readily apparent. And his joy at his return was sweet.
Qhuinn is such a complex character that we are just getting to know. He is a tortured guy just as much as the other brothers. I don't like his habit of picking up any person who's interested, but it makes sense in light of his self-worth issues. I cannot believe how callous his family was. It hurts to see "a male of worth" treated in such a way. And it shows the deep decay and rot in the society of the Glymera that a terrible person like Lash is lauded, whereas a really good, worthwhile person like Qhuinn is disparaged because he happens to have odd-colored eyes. Come on now. His relationship with Blay is so moving to me. I wish I could wave a magic wand and work things out for them, but that's not meant to be. Time will tell how things resolve in their case.
Now onto Rhev. Goodness I am fascinated and attracted to his character. He is complex with a capital "C." I loved how Ward seemed to put Phury and Rhev forward as contrasts to each other. The interesting thing is that they are like different sides of the same coin. The interesting thing is that Rhev is the "dark knight," whereas Phury is the "white knight," yet in some ways Phury might be more tarnished. I don't like that Rhev is a drug-dealer and pimp. Basically he is a smooth criminal. But he is also a really good person with valid motivations. This book only made my appetite for him grow. There are so many questions about him I want answers to. I can't wait to see him find his shellan to love him. His loneliness is heartbreaking, although he does have his good friend Xhex. But even with Xhex, he has to maintain a distance that leaves him in the solitary wasteland of his own inner sorrow.
Xhex has just a small part in this book, but it makes me hunger for more. She is a really cool, interesting character. I am dying to see her and John Matthew get together. They are made for each other, although one might shake her or his head at the thought of it. The bathroom scene with them was short, but WOW! Chemistry!
Other great moments: Qhuinn finding his place in the world of the Brothers. That was so cool. Go Wrath! Also loved the advent of the oh-so intriguing Lassiter. I can't say the evolution of Lash was a great moment, but it made for good reading.
I feel I could write ten pages about this book, but I won't belabor the point. I love this book. My life has been enriched in the reading of it. And although not all the moments I experienced in the reading were fun, I have no regrets in following these characters on their dark journey, with the hope of light at the end of the tunnel. In fact, it was some of the most enjoyable hours I've spent in the past several days.
This book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? WelThis book was amazing in a lot of ways. Who would have thought I would go ga-ga over a bisexual, seriously dominant, kinda scary guy like Vishous? Well I fell, flat on my face. This guy is amazing. He is extremely attractive, imagine big, tall, ice blue eyes, black hair (I'm a sucker for blue eyes and black hair), and extremely intelligent also.
The way that JR Ward wrote this book did it. She put so much love and effort into telling this man's story that you couldn't help but love him. I love his selfless love for Butch. I love how he looked at Jane and saw his soulmate. I love that he fights for the Brothers and helps them out in manifold ways.
Also I cry for the torture and abuse he suffered at the hands of his so-called father. And what amounts to neglect from his mother. And then she wants him to step up as Primale and leave behind all that he loves.... Man. And not to mention having to give up Butch but always be there for him.
This book really ripped away at my heart. I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Jane. She was very down to earth and likable. But tough at the same time. Most people would have flipped out when they were exposed to a world that was so different from what they knew. She took it like a champ. And she never even blinked at the fact that Vishous was in love with another man and was seriously into bondage and stuff. She accepted him for who he was. Jane fits into the Brotherhood's life like a long-lost puzzle. She is the half to Vishous' whole that he was missing. She doesn't replace Butch but she still gives Vishous the love and acceptance he deserved for so long.
If I had one complaint, then it was how things were resolved with Jane. Don't worry. They end up together. I can't give it away because it will spoil it. I am still feeling a little uncertain about that. Otherwise, I loved this story. Even writing about it makes me get an ache in my chest....more
I love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She iI love this book. Samuel Gerard is three of my favorite heroes in one: virgin, warrior, and tortured. And Leda is a unique and likeable heroine. She is principled and kind, and can see past the surface to the man that Samuel is. It's a very touching book and my only complaint is I would love an epilogue about two of my favorite characters and their life together....more
When I heard about Marriage Most Scandalous was about I was intrigued. The hero was described as a mercenary which made my ears perk up. I love dangerWhen I heard about Marriage Most Scandalous was about I was intrigued. The hero was described as a mercenary which made my ears perk up. I love dangerous romance heroes. What can I say? I was tempted, despite my limited financial funds to buy the book when it came out (from Walmart at a considerable discount), but since money wasn't good I elected to wait. And lo and behold, my patience was rewarded when I found it at the library. I finished the book in 2 days (because I saw three movies also in that time period), and I was totally satisfied. Sebastian Townshend is in a word, a fantastic hero, despite his flaws: broody, rude, short-tempered. But also principled, vulnerable, and heroic. I pictured Christian Bale with a ponytail: tall, brawny, beautiful, brownish eyes, brooding. Perfection. Although I could not find an actress who fit Maggie's description, I had a very good picture of her in my head. This book definitely had elements that I love in my romance novels: dark, brooding hero, with an air of danger, who is disgraced for a past event that isn't totally his fault. A strong-willed, intelligent heroine who can handle him. And loads of chemistry. Sebastian's sexuality fairly erupted off the page. He makes such a very determined assault on Maggie's virtue that I know if I were in her shoes I would find very hard to resist, especially since their pretend marriage puts them in very close quarters. I felt the need to fan myself as I read the book. Lovely in a word. The secondary characters were also quite interesting and well-drawn. Of course there's never enough time to delve too deeply but JL tantalized the reader enough to wish that the book was 300 pages longer. As I finished this book I knew that my Johanna Lindsey slump was broken...more
This is my second read of this book, and my first attempt to review it. I couldn’t write a review before, because it had been years since I read it, a This is my second read of this book, and my first attempt to review it. I couldn’t write a review before, because it had been years since I read it, and my feelings were so all over the place. I didn’t think I could write an honest review at the time unless I did reread it. Don’t get me wrong. I love this book, and it’s definitely a five star read, but it challenged me in ways the first three books didn’t.
Bowen is a character we got to know in A Hunger Like No Other, and we followed up on him in No Rest for the Wicked. I was already emotionally involved with him, so it was exciting for him to get his own story. Despite that fact, Bowen could be a major jerk at times. I mean a serious clod. Some of the thoughtless things he says and does towards Mariketa are just loutish. I really winced at one particular misstep. An epic fail. I was just thinking: Wow, Bowen. You’re like the guy who caught the ball that cost the Cubs their first chance at the World Series in a long time! Yeah, that bad!
Despite the fact that Bowen commits some serious relationship nonos with Mariketa, he also has some heart-meltingly sweet moments where you can’t imagine not being bowled over by a guy like him wooing you. I think that combination of ineptness and fan yourself appealing hotness makes him an unforgettable hero. It means so much that despite the numerous obstacles he faces in his relationship with Mariketa, that he is able to win her heart and keep it, and leave behind all his preconceived notions and reservations about being involved with her. And I can’t blame him for some of those, just about how insensitive he was in addressing or dealing with them.
Mariketa is quite interesting as a heroine. Although she’s younger than Emmaline, she’s a lot more modern-thinking and less sheltered. She embodies the modern twenties-something girl in a more recognizable way than Emmaline, although they both have that dynamic. I liked that she was more street-smart than Emmaline because Bowen really needed someone who could handle him. Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t wound Mariketa, or sorely challenge her. At times, I could see why Mariketa definitely was not feeling the idea of a relationship with him. She had very good reasons, especially with her abandonment/not measuring up issues and his disdain for witches. On the second read, I was cheering her on a lot more. When she called him on his selfishness, she hit the nail right on the head. I could see why she wasn’t about to let her sexual attraction and maybe a little more feelings for Bowen deter her from the path she’d chosen, especially when Bowen felt like she had to give up something that was so vital to her identity.
It struck me that this book has a lot more relationship drama than the previous books. I think that although this is paranormal, some of the relationship dynamics would feel very familiar to a modern person with an active dating life; and they are trying to decide if someone is the ‘one’ they want to spend their life with. Many readers seem to dislike the ‘love at first/fated to be mated’ concept, but Cole doesn’t use it as a crutch to get out of building a genuine bond between her characters, or as a foregone conclusion. They still have to work out and through the particulars of cementing and committing to that relationship despite their instincts that they belong together. Particularly in this book, I seriously wondered how Mariketa and Bowen would work things out. Their problems are pretty enormous despite their volcanic sexual chemistry and growing love for each other. Since this is a romance, logically I know we’ll get a happy ending, but there is a good haul to get to that destination.
As always, Cole blisters the pages with the powerful sexual chemistry between her characters. She tantalizes and teases the reader so that they are just as highly expectant for the promised consummation as her main characters. And she doesn’t disappoint when it happens. I love the fact that Mariketa doesn’t make it easy for Bowen sexually. She needs his respect as much as the sexual release he clearly can give her. She also needs trust, and that is something a reader can definitely identify with. It just feels right. Even though the reader can love all the hot stuff, you can also get a connection between the main characters that makes sense intellectually and ethically (if that makes sense). You don’t want a character who doesn’t respect herself enough to expect respect from a hero.
Wow, this review turned out pretty long. I guess I did have a lot to say. Everything I love about Cole’s writing is here. She challenges me in ways, but that’s good. While this book has a bit more angst than the first three books, it also has some good humorous bits. The suspense storyline is intense, and it ties together very well. I liked that I didn’t remember exactly how everything goes together, which is a mark of a good book, that you can see more in the story with each read. Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night is a worthwhile read for fans of well-written, sexy paranormal romance.
Final Shoutout: Bowen, I’m glad you finally got your act together. High five! Mariketa, you go girl!
My faith in Loretta Chase was firmly restored with this book. It was a grand adventure with an unforgettable hero and a strong, independent, intelligeMy faith in Loretta Chase was firmly restored with this book. It was a grand adventure with an unforgettable hero and a strong, independent, intelligent heroine, and it was set in Egypt. I do love adventure romances with exotic settings. The dialogue sparkles, as Rupert always knows the most outrageous things to say to shock Daphne. He comes off as being a loser, but he's a very sharp, resourceful guy, and he comes to Daphne's aid multiple times. In fact, he is just what Daphne needs as she is suffering from "Premature Aging Syndrome." Her deceased husband was older than her and very stodgy, and so she's a bit stiff. Yes, she's a bit on the stuffy side, but she's spunky and sharp-tongued, more than able to keep up with Rupert. Her one and only passion (prior to Rupert, of course) is her love of deciphering hieroglyphics, a talent she had to keep hidden because of her husbands beliefs against educated, passionate women. If you like movies like "The Mummy" and "Indiana Jones," you'll like this. I think Daphne and Evie from "The Mummy" have some things in common. There are not many love scenes in this book, but Chase makes them count, and you never doubt the emotions between Rupert and Daphne. Although Lord of Scoundrels, The Last Hellion, and The Mad Earl's Bride are still my favorites by her, this book is an excellent addition to my keeper shelf....more