Changes is a wonderful example of what historical romance can accomplish in giving us a spotlight into history. History is alive and vivid, and we canChanges is a wonderful example of what historical romance can accomplish in giving us a spotlight into history. History is alive and vivid, and we can learn so much from it. Why not wrap that history lesson in a human story about two people who are very different, but connect through the love they share, and in the process learn that humans are all the same deep down?
One of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives andOne of the most enduring motifs of the Western genre is the town in the forsaken deserts of the West where people go to run from their past lives and to escape to a new one. In this novel, Golgotha is such a place, however the voice that leads travelers into its depths is a sinister, ageless one. A voice that also attracts all sort of supernatural phenomena.
Young Jim makes it to edge of this town, where the desert almost kills him and his beloved horse, Precious. His life is saved by a strange half-Indian man, Mutt, who turns out to be the town's deputy, and to have a supernatural heritage of his own. Jim gets hired to work for the Sheriff, Jon Highfather, a man who has cheated death again and again. A man who is the protector for the town from the supernatural evil always lurking in the dark.
Golgotha is full of strangeness, and also flawed humans, such as a wife and mother who has an incredible legacy. There is also a resident mad scientist, who has more interest in the dead than the living. And did I mention that Golgotha has a very large Mormon population? There might also be an angel lurking in the town. But I can't confirm or deny that.
The Six-Gun Tarot was very much a surprise find for me on the new arrival shelf at my library. I couldn't resist it, because I love the Weird West, and this book couldn't get any weirder. Many times, this book is more horrific than anything else. The deep, dark secret of this town is pretty darn harrowing, and the fact that its menace lurks behind a dark religious cult out to destroy the world as we know it.
There is a lot going on in this book. I think the author does a good job of holding it all together. The twisted threads of the story and the various character point of views come together as a cohesive whole that gave me a shuddery feeling as I read. I was glad I feverishly finished the last 160 pages during the day yesterday, trying to get it done, since it was due back at the library. It would have been a not so good thing to read before bed!
This isn't a feel good book, I must warn any who want to read it. It's dark fantasy/horror that seats itself very identifiably in the aesthetic of the Old West, where blood runs freely, and regret and prejudice are a part of the landscape. Where peoples of many heritages coexist uneasily, when they aren't at each others' throats, and the time comes to band together to face a darker, far from human threat which cares nothing for humanity, or anything right or decent. While not a feel good novel, the writing is very good and atmospheric. Belcher inspires empathy for the flawed characters in this novel. Their failures in some ways equip them for just the threat they face. There are many subtle references to works of weird fiction, such as a character who has Ashton Smith in his name, and quotes from Frankenstein by Mary E. Shelley. I want to read more stories in this town, since this threat they face in this book is neither the first, nor will it be the last.
If it's not obvious, I liked this book, even in its highly disarming moments. Good solid, weird fiction with a very credible Western setting and iconography. I'd recommend it to the brave reader who doesn't mind some tentacle, squirmy elements....more
Really good, angsty, passionate western with a very tormented heroine, and an extremely sighworthy hero. The Indian/white conflict causes pangs withinReally good, angsty, passionate western with a very tormented heroine, and an extremely sighworthy hero. The Indian/white conflict causes pangs within me that remind me why I avoid NA romance. Not because I don't care, but because I care too much. I have found a new western author in Elaine Levine. I will be reading her other books.
Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!Definitely get out the Kleenex when you read this book, because it will make you cry. If you don't, then I think you're a more stoic person that I am!
I loved this story. It was a great pleasure to listen to it on audio, narrated by the author himself. He seems like a very interesting person to know and to talk with. All the heart of him, his soul, pain, laughter, confusion, and fire that he had in him when he wrote this story emanates from him as he narrates this novel, and I was along for the ride. I actually didn't want to get out of my car when I got home this afternoon, because I wanted to finish this novel. Fortunately, it was near the end when I got home. Even though I was happy to finish it, I wanted it to go on forever. I could easily listen to further adventures of Arnold Spirit.
On an intellectual level, I was aware of the disheartening conditions that Native Americans (or Indians as Arnold calls his people) face on many reservations in the United States, but hearing it first-hand, it struck home to me how hard that life is. It was hurtful to see that Arnold was raised not to reach for any goals, to believe that as an Indian, his future was a big, black void. That he was less than anything. I screamed, "No. No. No!" But I could understand why Arnold had to change his whole mindset and learn to hope and to believe. I think it brings home how blessed many of us Americans are. Sadly, we forget that not all Americans have even the simplest of things we take for granted, such as food to eat every day, more than one pair of clothes, a decent education (Arnold's Geometry textbook at the reservation school is thirty years old) and the ability to get to school without having to walk twenty miles. Not to mention the very short average life-span of a Spokane Indian due to the ravages of alcohol. I know what it's like to be a 'minority' in this country, and everything that comes with it, but I didn't know what it was like to be an Indian, and that was an excellent learning opportunity for me.
This book is very angsty, and it's also very funny. I felt like I was there with Arnold when he goes through his milestones and horrible tragedies. I cheered him on at his successes, and cried with him when he cried. I loved him. I still do. Arnold's a part of me now. He'll stay in my mind forever, even though I will move onto reading other books, and I'm glad for that....more
Dragon Bound was an extremely hard act to follow, but I think Thea Harrison did a good job with her second book in the Elder Races series. I wonderedDragon Bound was an extremely hard act to follow, but I think Thea Harrison did a good job with her second book in the Elder Races series. I wondered how she could top Dragos, because he is so VERY! I am glad she didn't try to do that. She gave us a distinct hero with Tiago, and I like his differences, although he had the crazy/dangerous/possessive/jealous/fierce vibe of Dragos. Honestly, I would have missed that part...a lot. Tiago held his own as a hero, but not quite as compelling as Dragos. Having said that, how many heroes would be? Overall, I felt that he had some nice layers to his character. Lethal but also very caring and loving. The best kind of PNR hero! He reminded me of a mix of a Mack truck and a Golden Retriever.
Niniane, I liked her a lot. She was sort of the anti-urban fantasy heroine in all the best ways. She was soft and needy and vulnerable in a realistic way. But she was also very strong-minded, determined, in her force of will, which speaks to me more. Considering what happened with her family and her exile from the world of the Dark Fae, she definitely put on her big girl panties to go back to reclaim her throne. And that took some serious chutzpah. I liked that along the way, I was able to see an organic reaction to this process. Who wouldn't be scared to death, uncertain, and conflicted? I know I've felt that way even in much less dangerous situations. I could identify with her insecurities in that way, and it made her more lovable and admirable to me. I loved her warm, friendly way with people. I was glad that the betrayal she faced early in her life didn't destroy her capacity for that. I can see her being a very effective, beloved ruler.
Niniane and Tiago as a couple was something I couldn't quite get my mind around after I read Dragon Bound and knew they were next. But they worked together very well. Tiago is at heart a male who needs someone to fight for, someone to protect. Niniane has that softness to her personality that is a very good contrast to Tiago, and they complement each other very well. I would have enjoyed a bit longer book for their courtship in all honesty. But what I got was very enjoyable. Definitely some hot, sexy loving times for this couple! Talking about lightning striking, the earth moving, and seeing stars! I loved that they worked past the issues in their relationship and faced some serious obstacles as a united front.
The storyline was interesting, focused on Niniane's process of assuming the throne of the Dark Fae. A mix of fae politics, but a focus on the main characters and a few intriguing secondary characters. So far, I love me Aryal, the harpy sentinel. I know I said it in my Dragon Bound review, but she reminds me of Xhex from the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward in the best ways. Looking forward to more of her. Some interesting chemistry between Rune and Carling, the Queen of the Vampyres.
Ms. Harrison is a very good writer. She provides a compelling story that kept me reading, with some sexy, swoonworthy romance that keeps a PNR fan more than happy. I feel her world-building is a star element in this series, so along with the aspects of PNR I can't resist, it makes her a safe bet for this fan. I do have to say I was a little disappointed at the very rapid climax and denouement, and not too happy about the fate of a character I liked and hoped to see more of. I wasn't as satisfied with the ending because of those issues. That's why I couldn't quite give this five stars, although it is very close.
Overall, a very satisfying follow up to Dragon Bound, and more validation that Thea Harrison is a PNR author to follow. 4.5/5.0 stars...more
Pamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor sePamela Clare has lived up to the high standards she set for herself with the first two books in the MacKinnon's Rangers series with Defiant. Connor seemed immature and lacked the intensity of Iain and Morgan to me in the prior books, but he has definitely come into his own. If anything, Connor carries a more weighty burden due to his guilt over his actions in the aftermath of Morgan's abduction by the French. This burden has made his soft edges iron-hard and razor sharp, but it has not blunted the integrity that is such an intrinsic aspect of the MacKinnons. Readers who love Scottish heroes will adore Connor, although many of them have already read this book and don't need me to tell them that. Connor is delicious. While I don't really care for ladies' men, Connor's way with women is part of the texture that makes him the hero he is. I feel that his character grows and evolves even over this book, and things he thought didn't matter to him become readily apparent as his love for Sarah grows. This is a book for die-hard romance fans, as the reader is treated to a intimate view of Connor and Sarah falling deeply in love even though that seems impossible when this book begins. Their relationship is both sweet and very steamy, and that balance is very hard to achieve without sacrificing something. Ms. Clare definitely hit on both cylinders with this book.
Sarah was a very appealing heroine. My heart was won over by her sweetness and courage and her integrity. It was painful to read about how her family betrayed and turned their backs on her by not trusting and believing in the person she was, even in light of the terrible scandal that unfolded. Especially from people who supposed to be believing Christians. They showed little of who Christ is and stands for in the way they treated their daughter. It was interesting that the one family member who stood by her and truly loved her was Wentworth. Now many will say awful things about the man, but even at his worst, I still find him to be a fascinating and magnetic character. And since I do like bad boys, I can honestly say I have crush on him. His behavior went both to new heights and depths in this book, but ultimately, he won my allegiance in how he showed true love for Sarah. I cannot wait to read his story, so I hope that it comes to fruition and soon! But I know I was talking about Sarah, so let me get back to her. Sarah is also a complex character. She is a noblewoman, but deep down, her heart is very heart-to-earth and genuine. Her love of music touched me because I can identity with that joy of music, although my own musical talent is much more limited. While she experiences some terrible events in this journey to the New World, I believe it was her destiny to come here so she could be the person she was intended to be. England was way too small for her. She is a powerful, brave and capable woman. She was born to be Connor MacKinnon's woman. No doubt about it.
Ms. Clare shows impeccable research and a sense of the period in this novel. She doesn't tiptoe around the savagery and the violence that was an integral part of this period in colonial history. Her portrayal of people shows a lot of depth. There are no stereotypes in this novel. The natives have the same potential to be noble and honorable as the whites. Both show equal potential for acts of brutality. For a lifelong student and a fan of history, books like this bring home that reading about these events provides a safe distance that those who lived back then did not have the luxury to experience. This draws me into the story and makes me feel things as I read. Not always positive, but very impacting, making for an unforgettable reading experience.
While Defiant is an excellent read, it's not a book to gobble down. So much happens and the small details are crucial and should not be rushed through. As an avid reader, there is a tendency to read with an eye towards finishing a book and moving onto the next one of the pile. Pamela Clare is an author that you don't want to do that with. You want to sit and savor her writing. I was glad that I took the time to do that with Defiant. This series is a fantastic example of the high quality of writing available in the writing genre. I definitely recommend it to readers who want a larger-than-life historical adventure rife with passion and incredible detail.
--------------------- If you're already a Pamela Clare fan, or interested in learning more about her and her books, be sure to stop by our Pamela Clare Fan Group here on Goodreads! ...more
On the heels of the last book I read, this one didn't quite measure up. Rather mean of me to say that. But, it's the truth. However, this was a decentOn the heels of the last book I read, this one didn't quite measure up. Rather mean of me to say that. But, it's the truth. However, this was a decent read, and I enjoyed reading it. The best part of this book was the hero, Seth Adams. He was a dreamboat. A mix of strength and vulnerability. Half-native Inuit, he had an insecurity complex fueled by an Anglo father who never truly accepted his mixed son.
Seth is working undercover as a roughneck on the oil drilling site on a remote island in Alaska. In flies high-powered geologist, Lauren Fotheringay. Is she behind the corporate espionage he's there to investigate, or is she just stealing his heart? I wish I could steal this Alaska boy's heart. I'd never give it back. He was adorable.
Lauren, on the hand, annoyed me more than one time. She trusted her upper-crust moneyed fiance implicitly, although he was clearly too slick for comfort. She did everything she could to get herself killed more than once. Good thing that Seth was always there to protect her. I was about to write her off as a heroine, but she comes to her senses near the end of this book.
This actually was a pretty good book. The mystery was interesting. It has some good action and intrigue, and the Alaska setting was very appealing, if you like midnight-dark, bitterly cold, and nasty blizzards (which I do). I think I would have enjoyed it more if I could like Lauren more than I did. She wasn't the worst heroine ever, but she was pretty annoying, and unworthy of Seth, in my opinion.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you like yummy, half-Native American sexy cop heroes, and the winter/cold setting at its best, and you have a desire to spend a few hours reading a romance story set in Alaska. I wasn't going to keep this book initially, but Seth is too sweet to give away. :) ...more
I read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettaI read this out of the On the Prowl anthology. I am so glad that many of my GR friends encouraged me to read this one sooner. Charles is an unforgettable character. It's hard to put into words how I feel about him. If could clearly elucidate all the traits that I like in a hero, then it's like Ms. Briggs took many of those qualities and created Charles. I am crazy about a quiet, yet deadly hero. That's Charles! He's really sigh-worthy. I know I will have to read this story again, so I can define my reaction to him.
Anna is another one of those characters I like to read about. Not every woman of value is kickass all the time and full of sarcastic, pithy phrases. I think that's an insult to womankind to neglect to tell the story of women who have suffered terribly, often due to things beyond their control. Are they not worthy because they have been victims in life? Absolutely! She's a very observant, intelligent, and deep person. She's a survivor to me. I can't help loving her. She proved that she will be a formidable mate to Charles.
Briggs has really impressed me with her conception of werewolves. I am very picky about them, and she fires well on all cylinders. I wish that female weres could have children, and that's the only thing I don't like about her world-building. But from a physiological standput, I conceded it makes sense. Although I know that Anna and Charles will never have children together, I still think they are going to be a great pair. They just click together in a way that makes sense. I loved Charles's sense of knowing that she was his mate, his possessiveness and protectiveness towards her. And he was so resolute about it, so carefully calm about it. I loved his banked passion for Anna (sigh). He is seriously an alpha guy, but he smashes the perception of alphas as brash brutes full of posturing and throwing their weight around with punches and outrageous and obnoxious shows of strength. He exudes power, and he is powerful. Yes, I love Charles. I still love Adam, but I have room for both of them in my heart.
I got the feeling that this story wasn't long enough. Because I wanted more of Charles and Anna, and more of this world. Fortunately, I have two more books in this series to read. Thanks so much to Patricia Briggs for bringing this series to life....more
Bonechiller was a quick, but satisfying read. Our protagonist is a young man who is still dealing with the death of his mother from brain cancer. He wBonechiller was a quick, but satisfying read. Our protagonist is a young man who is still dealing with the death of his mother from brain cancer. He was very close to her, and her death has sent him and his father on the run, from place to place, to escape the grief of her passing. Lately they have landed in an small town in Canada, in the deep of arctic winter. He befriends fellow travelers, military brats, Pike, Howie, and Ash. Pike and Howie are two brothers named after weapons (Howie being short for Howlitzer), and Ash is a half-Ojibwa girl who is a boxer, and Danny's crush. Danny's just taking it day to day, enduring the extreme cold, and the weight of grief that is almost too much to carry. Soon, he will face a creature from his worst nightmares, a monster who marks him for a future meal.
That's when things start to get weird. What kind of monster is stalking Danny? We don't really find out. All that we know is that he's ancient, preying on many, many teens over the years. He stings them, injecting them with a venom that changes them, making them cold from the inside out, and allowing it to penetrate their dreams, until they give up and come to him, to be devoured. Danny thinks he's all alone in what he has seen and survived, until the monster attacks his friend Howie. Howie is the brains in his family. He investigates to find out what they are facing, and how to destroy it. I liked the surreality of the dreams that Danny and Howie must wade through, and escape, to prevent the monster from taking them, as it had countless others. But time is running out.
I thought this was a very good book. I liked how short and brisk the writing style was. It conveyed much, with an economy of words. McNamee managed to make this story both supernatural/monster horror, and a coming of age story about a boy who watched his mother succumb to a brain tumor. When I read these young adult books, I always appreciate the strength of young people to deal with what seems like far too much on their young plates. In this case, Danny suffered through the death of his mother, and her drawn out illness from the cancer treatments; and now he has to deal with the fact that a monster is changing him into a popsicle so that it can eat him. That seems like a double whammy to me.
I liked the portrayal of friendship between the quartet, and the growing romantic relationship between Danny and Ash. Ash is a tomboy, through and through. She boxes, goes hunting and fishing, and knows guns better than Danny. He freely admits she can kick his butt, and he thinks it's sexy. I loved that Danny appreciated Ash for what she was, and vice versa. Pike was an interesting character--very gun and ordnance crazy. He liked to set things on fire, shoot them, or blow them up. His talents come in handy when they face off with the monster. I liked how Howie was the resident geek/genius. His research skills prove invaluable. The friendship that these four teens shared spoke to me. They accepted each other for who they were, and united to face the threat that two of them faced.
The fifth important character (besides the monster), is the arctic Canadian wilderness. Below zero temperatures and extended dark hours every day is no joke, and it made for fascinating reading to see how people faced this kind of environment and went about their daily lives. No snow days for them.
All the pieces of this story come together to form a successful whole with Bonechiller. It was a unique idea and it was well-executed. I still have some questions about the nature of the monster, but we don't always get all the answers in life. It was good enough to watch these brave teens face and conquer this threat, and to see Danny (and also his dad) start on the road to emotional healing from his mother's passing....more
What's a man to do when he can't keep a nanny who doesn't want to seduce her way into his bed? Well, marry his neighbor, that's what. Josh is a grieviWhat's a man to do when he can't keep a nanny who doesn't want to seduce her way into his bed? Well, marry his neighbor, that's what. Josh is a grieving widower with a young daughter who needs stability, and he's got a ranch to run. He's pulling his hair out. And then he considers his steadfast, capable neighbor, Mattie. She's running her father's ranch and doing a fantastic job at it. How about approaching her with a marriage proposition, strictly platonic, and he'll pay off her father's debts, and pay for her to go to law school? She can leave after a year, or it will be even more lucrative if she stays five years. And this strong, determined man is not going to take no for an answer.
Mattie has been doing ranch work since she was a young girl, always at her father's side. She always felt unattractive because of her unusual height. Even her father thought she wouldn't marry. But deep down, she wants a life away from the ranch, and a career as a lawyer. Her sexy neighbor makes an offer she can't refuse. But what if she ends up falling in love with him? But sometimes, a girl has to take a chance, right?
This a very pleasant, fun read. I loved Josh and Mattie, and I was rooting for these special people to fall in love. Josh was buried in his grief for his wife, but he had to move on. He has a sweet little daughter to care for, and a ranch to run. He struggled with these emerging feelings for his new wife, a heady mix of desire and affection, rapidly turning into something more profound. How could he love her if he still loved his wife? But he underestimated how much room there is in the heart for loving. And Mattie and him have a connection he didn't share with his wife. He can talk to her about what's important to him, the ranch and being a simple man. Mattie can meet him on his level, and she is so good with little Elizabeth. Before Josh knows it, he's in deep for his convenient wife. Mattie's got problems of her own. She's very attracted to Josh, and falls in love with him, and Elizabeth, even though she cautioned herself against doing exactly that. She never thought she'd be mom material, but she finds that she loves taking care of Elizabeth.
Her Temporary, Torrid Marriage really captures what I love about category romance. A good one will give a good story where a man and a woman come together under circumstances that aren't necessarily about falling in love, but love finds them all the same, and I get to enjoy the journey down the path to happy ever after. This was a great book. Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars ....more
Ever watch a movie and wonder, 'What if the villain ran off with the femme fatale?' Then you might like this book. I sure did. I love dark romance. SoEver watch a movie and wonder, 'What if the villain ran off with the femme fatale?' Then you might like this book. I sure did. I love dark romance. Sometimes I ask myself why I enjoy seeing the dark side of this genre, not depravity and kinky deeds, cheating heroes, and bickering, but heroes and heroines who are more like antiheroes and villains, who find love and their happy ever after. I think it's my unassailable belief that love does conquer all. Like Fox Murder, I really want to believe.
Ava Gray has written an excellent offering for those of us with a taste for the noir. In this book, we have a heroine who lives for the next con, moving from town to town, and relieving fools of their money, feeling no remorse about it. But, at least she only takes money from those she thinks deserves it. On her tail is a hero who kills people for a living. Yes, an assassin. Like Kyra, he plys his trade on those who he feels deserves killing. Now, to like this story you have to be willing to read about people who are morally flexible, or at least, those have a different view of morality than the norm. I think that Ms. Gray brought these characters to life in such a manner that I could feel enough respect and empathy for them that their dark ways didn't offend me. I admit, I don't like the idea of stealing for a living. But, Kyra managed to be a heroine that I could like, although I didn't always agree with the choices she made. She had her own sense of honor, which endeared her to me.
I freely admit that I am intrigued by the idea of an assassin hero or heroine. Don't ask me why. It's morbid, but there is an appeal to seeing what motivates them to do what they do. Reyes is probably one of my favorite assassin heroes so far. He truly believes that he does a service to the world. The only reason he took Kyra's contract was because he was decieved into believing she was a bad person who needed killing. Fairly soon after he takes up with her as her apprentice in the con game world, he comes to realize that she's not the person he'd been led to believe she was.
Both Kyra and Reyes struck me as intensely lonely and somewhat sad characters. After Kyra's father was murdered, she had no one (other than her friend Mia), and lived a lonely life, seeking only the sexual satisfaction of one night stands as she travels. Although she's suspicious of Reyes at first, she ends up taking him into her solitary world, and falling for him.
Their first intimate encounter is all about lust, but Ms. Gray turns things around, allowing us to see a somewhat slow-building, and in some ways, innocent courtship between these two lonely people. They both start to hope that they have found someone who they can possibly love. However, Reyes knows he's on borrowed time. He has a job to perform. His reputation is built on always completing his kills. He doesn't want to kill Kyra, but he doesn't see a way around it. I found this a little disturbing that even halfway through the book, Reyes was still contemplating killing Kyra. I think that was a brave move on Ms. Gray's part. I held my breath, hoping that Reyes would realize that he couldn't hurt Kyra, because he loved her. Soon, this dangerous man turns his formidable skills to protecting the woman he has been hired to kill.
Skin Game is more suspense than action. I liked the fact that we were able to see the viewpoints of various characters: Kyra and Reyes; the fascinating Addison Foster, who is the security head for the man who wants Kyra dead; Mia, Kyra's friend; and Serrano, the man that Kyra used, humilated, and stole millions of dollars from, who will stop at nothing to see her dead to save his face. It gave a greater depth to this dark story, turning this book into noir romance for the thinking woman.
Skin Game is as gritty as it gets. It has some moments that made me wince a few times, as Kyra and Reyes have to deal with some enemies they make along the way. The love scenes are hot and earthy, and the love between Kyra and Reyes was believable and deep. I truly enjoyed reading this story. I was sucked into this dark tale with a silver lining. I wouldn't want to live the kinds of lives that Kyra and Reyes lead, but I liked the fact that they were able to find each other and hope for the future. They didn't really get the best hands in the poker game of life, but they managed to play a killer game with the ones they are dealt. I like the idea that even in the dark, there are those who do have motivations that show some degree of honor. Skin Game couldn't have been an easy book to write, but Ms. Gray did it very well. This one goes on my keeper shelf. ...more