So, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's aSo, this is my review of the latest Ward book. I love this time of year, and the traditions that come alone with it as a long-time JR Ward fan. It's a big part of why I enjoy this series so much.
Sorry, but this is a really long review. I had a lot to say!
Possible Spoiler Disclaimer: I will warn readers that while I really tried not to use overt spoilers, you will see that there is an emotional shock that comes in this book, but I don’t reveal exactly what it was. Readers beware!
The Shadows is the telling of the story of the two s’Hisbe brothers who have become unofficial members of the Brotherhood’s growing family. Trez is running away from his destiny, written in the stars, as the future mate of the Princess of the s’Hisbe. He’s done everything he could to disqualify himself, but the time is growing short and he can run no longer. iAm has stood in the gap for his brother for many years, trying to keep his brother from going over the edge of oblivion to the exclusion of having his own life. But the time is coming when he won’t be able to save his brother. Trez is stone cold in love with the Chosen, Selena, but for many reasons, a happy ending doesn’t seem to be written in their destinies. Will iAm ever get the chance to build his own life, and to make decisions that aren’t dictated by his sacrificial love for his brother?
With a storyline that like, you know there’s going to be major drama.
Drama is JR Ward’s calling card. When I read one of her books, I automatically expect it. It’s hard, at the same time, waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it often does, very hard. I deliberately took my time reading this, preparing myself for the emotional blows sure to come. Not at all sure that there would be a happy end by the last page. I know a lot of people weren’t happy with this book, and I was prepared that I might not be, or that I might like it and find myself an outlier in saying why I liked it. So, it was emotionally stressful for me to read it. Another reason to take my time.
Some have argued that Ward has moved away from her initial writing of romance. I’m not sure I agree. Even in her earlier book, there was always a sense that not everything was settled, and while there were committed and happily mated couples, troubles could be lurking around the corner. Yes, the books were shorter and they focused more on the romance, but there was always something more, and plenty of drama. As the series has progress, the books have expanded, and with them, the storylines. And yes, the drama quotient. At times, it’s wearying how the storylines get dragged out and she introduces yet another set of new characters instead of giving more resolution on current storylines. This book was not different in that regard. And there were parts of this book that ripped my guts out and gave me a headache that was just a shade below a migraine. I wanted to slap one particular character super-duper silly. And I wanted to shake another one. I wanted to rail at the capriciousness of life, and ask the whys. But at the same time, I was satisfied at the end of the story. Hence my rating.
My opinion won’t be popular on this book amongst many of my friends. Largely, I really enjoyed this book. While there were some parts that were terribly sad and that made me sob like a big old baby, I felt that JR Ward delivered the quality of storytelling I appreciate about her writing. I’m not the one to tell you if she messed up specific details. I love this books a lot, but I don’t always remember which hand of Vishous glows or which eye of Qhuinn’s is blue versus green. To me, I don’t find that terribly important. I do care about the stories and the emotional journey. I don’t care if she rewrites some aspects of the storyline, because that’s to be expected in a long-running series. As an artist, one’s creation will evolve, and Ward views these people as real, probably as real as they seem to me, but probably even more real. And real people do change.
I will say this as well, I believe in eternal life. I believe that life doesn’t end on this plane. I believe that death is an enemy in that it steals love ones away from their beloveds, hopefully not forever, but sometimes it is forever. Our mortal bodies fail us and we leave this life and go to another place. I’m a Christian, so I believe that Heaven and Hell are real. For the Brothers, it’s the Fade. But I think the pain is the same, knowing that you won’t see a beloved again in this life. And when one is dying, it’s facing one’s mortality, and the question of whether what you’ve believed that whole time was real or not.
My two cats (that I had for pretty much their whole, long lives) died this past fall, and it broke my heart to pieces. They were older and I should have been prepared. I work in animal medicine, and I lost my dad about ten years ago, so death is not new to me. But it still wrenched my soul to lose them. It’s funny what people say and don’t say to you when you lose someone. I had people say some things that were quite ugly even though they didn’t mean it that way, and that didn’t help my emotional healing. I also had people who ministered to me in my grief, and understood exactly how I felt. They can’t know how much they helped me, but I say a prayer of thanks that God put them in my path at the right time.
I think this book touched me because I saw one of the characters go on that journey. The stages of grief were so tangible to me because of my recent loss (and quite honestly, I also lost a church friend recently, so I was dealing with that as well). I could feel what it was like for this character and the pain of losing a person, but also the fact that they could not ever have regrets about having loved that person, for however short that time was. It’s real for me. I don’t know, but I’m thinking that Ward went through a loss recently, and she wrote this from her heart. I connected with that, and I can see why she didn’t change the ending to a “happy, joy, joy” one that would be expected.
Sometimes, that’s not the way life works. Sometimes, you lose people and you have to get out of bed the next day. You have to attend to the ceremonies that come along with the loss and keep one foot in front of the other until you can walk without falling. Sometimes you have to be strong so you can be strong for another person who needs that strength, and put your own needs aside. That was all so real to me, and very well-written.
Others may not like how that was done. I respect that. While it sucked that this person died, it was also valuable in the terms of the story. I can’t fault Ward for that decision. I’ve seen her make others in her stories that I was more angry about. I think she handled the situation with grace, even in the most ugly and emotionally wrenching parts. I think she knows that people are going to be angry with her, and she owns it. I respect her for that.
Speaking of things that made me angry, Xcor was a real tool in this book. I had started seeing more potential for him as a future hero in the past few books, but now I’m just annoyed at him and I question his value as a future love interest for a certain person. I really disliked what he did, for numerous reasons. Those who know my tastes can probably pinpoint why, and can understand why I wanted to bitchslap him. It’s not that I don’t understand his character or the whys but it was a jerk move. At some point you have to stop being a whiny baby and say no to the past and declare a better future. I hold out hope that he’ll get a clue, but he’ll need to get a cleansing deep inside and outside before everything will be okay with me.
I continue to like Layla’s character. She’s really growing as a three-dimensional character in her own right. I wasn’t happy about that storyline with Qhuinn at first, but now I’m okay with it. I think it’s an interesting dynamic, and I want to see where things lead with her and her ancillary relationship with Qhuinn and Blay. I just want her to have a Hellren who is worthy of her. She deserves it! I hope the male she’s in love with gets his head out of his rear end sometime soon.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the relationship between iAm and Trez, and how things turned around, and the one who always made sacrifices got to be the one who was put first in a crucial way. iAm is a really classy guy, a worthy male, and while Trez did have some jerk moments in the past few books, I really liked him in this book and felt for him. He proves to be a very worthy male (although I don’t agree with his view of prostitution being okay as long as the women get the lion’s share of their earnings). Yes, they don’t consider themselves black or African American, but I liked that they do represent people of color in this book so well. I also found the s’Hisbe culture fascinating. In some ways, it’s not super well-defined, but it’s intriguing to me. An interesting compare and contrast to the Vampire and Sympath cultures. ‘s’Ex is some kind of dude. On the real! He has swagger like my beloved Rehvenge, and that is a very nice comparision from a reader who is stone cold in love with Rehv! I hope we see more of him. I like one of the new characters introduced very much, which I cannot reveal as a spoiler. Thumbs up for her. That was super-sweet too what happens with her and another character.
A few things I was indifferent about as well. I am indifferent about the Lesser storyline. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. We’ll see what happens in the next book. I can’t make up my mind how I feel about Assail. I hate drug abuse/activity, so he’s got a major strike against him. At the same time, I do appreciate the pragmatism of his character. I think he truly is amoral, and he sticks true to that. I’m not sure if he’ll turn out to be an antihero or a full on villain. I have this sick appreciation for a good antihero, I freely admit.
I feel like the Band of Brothers storyline was underrepresented in this book, but I think Ward is saving it for the next book and chose to focus on other aspects. It will be interesting to see what happens between Xcor and Throe (and I’m glad that Wrath ain’t nobody’s fool when it comes to that situation). I wish she’d spent more time on the BoB instead of developing the new storyline with Paradise. I don’t hate her, but I can’t say I really care that much about her right now. Having said that, I’ll definitely be reading the spinoff series, even though I think it’s Ward’s bid for the New Adult niche (and I’m not interested in that genre).
So, yes, I think I could go on about this book, but I’ve already written such a long review. It won’t change anything. I’m pretty set on how I rated the book. I own it. I liked this book a whole lot. I enjoy Ward’s writing. I love the elegance of the old races she writes about, juxtaposed to the gritty modern world. I even like the thug slang and urban ways of the Brothers (as odd as some find it). I know a lot of folks hate that, but I feel that it’s characteristic of her writing, and I smile every year when I get to hang out with the Brothers and their ever-growing circle of acquaintances. I think that Ward really loves writing about these characters and that joy is infectious to me as a reader. I wish that some of my favorites were more front and center, but most of them had their day in the sun and it’s time to let someone else take the center focus. I will say it was nice to see more of Rhage and Mary in this book.
I guess I’m always going to enjoy Ward’s book for what they are. I don’t expect her to be a perfect writer. She has her quirks like any other artist, but I think she’s a darn good writer, and I love this world she’s created, even more with each book. I added The Shadows to my BDB hardcover shelf with a feeling of proprietary pride. Enough Said! ...more
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and Synopsis
Lady Ayla is threatened with either marriage to the powerful, conquering lord Margrave von Falkenstein or for her lands to be confiscated and her people killed in war. With her father ailing from a long-term degenerative condition, she has assumed command of his lands in his stead. She refuses the Margrave's offer of marriage, knowing that it will mean war, because she realizes giving into him is the wrong decision to make for herself and her people. On a trip through a nearby forest to notify her vassals of her need for men to protect Luntberg Castle and its villagers, she is robbed by the fearsome, dreaded, red-armor-wearing Robber Knight, who dares to take her money, property and her beloved horse, although he spares her life and doesn't harm a hair on her head. Lady Ayla vows to see him caught and hanged.
When Ayla and her steward find a sole-surviving, wounded man in a field of bloody, mutilated bodies, they bring him back to the castle. His name is Reuben, and he claims to be a merchant, but he is really the same Red Knight. If he reveals his identity, he will be hanged as a thief. And he is too weak to flee for his life from his wounds and a subsequent fever and infection. As he is nursed back to health by the beautiful Lady Ayla, his cynicism and overpowering self-interest gives way to love. Can Ayla keep her people safe from a deadly siege, and avoid falling for a man below her station who she believes is not telling her the whole truth about his identity?
The Robber Knight is an entertaining trip back in time to the medieval era. The narrative voice is lively, with subtle humor and vivid characterizations. Reuben is the perfect rogue character, a man who hasn't decided if he wants to take the trouble to be a better man again, until Lady Ayla shows him he is capable of it. Ayla is sweet and determined, a woman of her times. Beneath her ladylike exterior, she has the heart of a lion and a backbone of steel. The secondary characters, such as the old vassal but still capable knight and fighter, Sir Isenbard, are well-developed.
Mr. Thier clearly has a background in medieval history, and a talent for writing a story that is enlightening about the period, but in a very entertaining, readable fashion. The depiction of medieval castle warfare is lifelike and realistic without being overly graphic. The reader learns the ins and outs of protecting a castle against invaders alongside Lady Ayla, and her people, most of whom have lived in a time of peace and whose war skills are limited to non-existent. I cheered along with them as they survived numerous assaults due to the advice of the injured Reuben.
Readers who enjoy romance stories will appreciate the slow build of attraction and feelings between Ayla and Reuben. The author makes the most of their every moment together to show romantic tension and growing love between the characters.
The Robber Knight is a story that will appeal to readers who have interest in the medieval period. It's an edifying read, flows and keeps the reader's interest with engaging characters and a well-paced narrative. This reader recommends it, despite the fact that the cliffhanger ending pricks at one of the biggest pet peeves of mine.
I listened to this on audio, and I enjoyed it. I didn't get quite as into this as other reads by this author on audio. I felt that the romance wasn'tI listened to this on audio, and I enjoyed it. I didn't get quite as into this as other reads by this author on audio. I felt that the romance wasn't as well-developed. It seemed almost arbitrary, whereas the mystery was much stronger. The Bridegroom storyline was dark and twisted, and well-thought out. The Bridegroom was one creepy piece of work.
One thing I really liked was that Benedict felt awkward about himself as a romantic prospect. He felt that he might be too boring for a woman to want to be married to him, and that he wasn't romantic enough. I kind of get sick for the uber-confident hero who knows everything about love and romance. Benedict was sweet and adorable. He made me root for him in that regard. I liked Amity. She was independent and thoughtful. I liked that she had found her niche as a travel writer. Seeing Benedict and Amity's close bonds with their siblings added another level to the story. I also appreciated her sister's budding relationship with the Scotland Yard investigator they were working with on the Bridegroom case. It's tie-in with the industrial espionage aspect was a bit thin though.
I think I was disappointed because I liked the past few books on audio by Quick I've listened to. It wasn't bad, just not as good as I was hoping.
As always, I enjoyed this book by Ms. Thomas. Her writing is warm and sweet and beguiling. Her characters are distinct with interesting layers. I feelAs always, I enjoyed this book by Ms. Thomas. Her writing is warm and sweet and beguiling. Her characters are distinct with interesting layers. I feel like I am an honorary member of Harmony, Texas. I am always happy to go back there for a visit.
This was a very enjoyable reading experience! I especially appreciate how much they just talked to each other and got to know each other at the beginnThis was a very enjoyable reading experience! I especially appreciate how much they just talked to each other and got to know each other at the beginning. I miss that in romances. Constant is a wonderful heroine, and it was great for Kameron to realize how much he didn't deserve her, despite the fact she loved him dearly. The story is quite interesting, but a twisty-turny path to happy ever after. I recommend it.
Wow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. AdorWow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Adored Lara and the psychic storyline too.
This is a book that you need to read if you're an animal lover! I loved the whole aspect of the bond that formed between Scott and Maggie. They are boThis is a book that you need to read if you're an animal lover! I loved the whole aspect of the bond that formed between Scott and Maggie. They are both wounded warriors, grieving their lost love ones, and somewhat rejected because of their emotional/physical wounds. Maggie was so awesome, I felt my heart fill with love for this wonderful German Shepherd. I am a huge fan of this breed, and Crais presents their wonderful natures in the most truthful and vibrant way.
Crais fills in some interesting tidbits on the training of police dogs and their holders and what military dogs do. That aspect of Maggie in the frontlines with her handler just about tore my heart out. I cheer on military people who do that important and dangerous job, and it squeezes my heart as an animal lover how equally dangerous it is for their working dogs. Police dogs also serve a crucial role and they can face some very dangerous situations in the line of duty. Scott's boss reminded me of my dad who was a country boy who loved dogs. He had his down to earth manner and sense of connection to dogs that was almost spiritual.
Scott is a good character, but honestly, I needed more of his inner world. I feel that this was a function of this book being too short. I would have liked a longer, more expansive story that took place over a longer time period. While the bond between Scott and Maggie totally sells this book, I would have found it more believable had it taken place over a longer period of time. Such as it was, I loved it. Maggie is such a wonderful companion, and I liked that not only does she help Scott heal, he helps her as well. While I am a cat lady, I also love dogs, and this book made me long to bring home my very own German Shepherd Dog one day soon. Crais shows how important the human animal bond is in society and how therapeutic animals and people can be to each other. Sorry to go on my soapbox. I can't help it because this book really touches on this issue which is so dear to my heart.
The mystery part felt undeveloped, honestly. Crais is an excellent mystery writer, so I don't mean to put him down, but it was a bit simplistic compared to some of his other works. I was surprised at the culprits and the look Ta police corruption is sobering. The secondary characters add texture to the story, but some of their parts felt under-represented.
Man, I hate to put this book down in my review! I have so much love for the whole aspect of Maggie and Scott as partners, and I am truly in love with Maggie. She's up there with Einstein from Watchers for me, which is really saying something. This book has something so powerful to say about the love between people and their pets/animals that it earns a special place in my heart. And honestly, I still feel it deserves four stars despite some of my issues with its brevity affecting the execution of the overall storyline.
Definitely check this out. The audiobook is really good and the narrator is excellent....more
How much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would caHow much can a person survive before their humanity is destroyed?
Cassie is a young woman who will learn exactly what makes her human and what would cause her to lose the intrinsic element to her nature. She goes from being a normal teenager who has nothing more to worry about than whether her epic crush on Ben Parrish will be returned, to losing nearly everything, and living in a earth decimated by an alien invasion that is nothing like the ones showcased in movies and books thus far.
The aliens want the earth, and view humans as pests, much like we view cockroaches. Their solution, to kill off the majority with cataclysms and world-wide pestilence, and let hysteria and suspicion do the rest of the work.
What happens when humans can't trust each other and start viewing each other as the enemy? It's not much longer before humanity becomes extinct.
Cassie learns the hard way that she is safer alone, trusting no one, but she made a vow to her brother, and she will do anything to keep that vow. When her life is saved by Evan Walker, every hard lesson she learned to stay alive in the earth devastated by the alien invasion will be tested. Can she trust, when trust has led to betrayal?
This is a bleak and heartbreaking read. I listened to the audio, and I would highly recommend this medium because it makes the story that much more personal. The narrators, Phoebe Stohl and Brandon Espinoza allow us to view the story through their eyes, and feel their pain. Their voices portray the passion and pain, the angst and longing, and the violated innocence of young people who are in a horrible situation that they cannot escape.
While this is okay for the older end of the young adult audience, I don't feel that subject matter is appropriate to kids younger than 14. The atmosphere is dark and desperate, and people die in this book. Lots of them, and many in horrible ways. Not only that, but people are forced to kill others to survive or as part of the consequences of the invasion. But don't misconstrue me to be saying this is full of gratuitous violence. Many who have read Yancey's Monstrumologist series know that Yancey is not afraid of gore, but he doesn't take that tactic in this book. Instead, his tone is frighteningly realistic. Don't think that just because the majority of the characters are children, that he will take it easy on them. You'd be lying to yourself.
As a reader, I was sucked into this world, and I asked myself how I would adapt or deal with the circumstances that our characters faced. I am amazed at the resilience of the young. That Cassie could stay strong in heart and her mind whole after seeing what she's seen and being forced to make decisions she never would have faced before. That Ben could find the strength to keep living under his burden of guilt for surviving when his family and many others didn't. That they both could deal with the massive betrayals they suffered.
While clearly science fiction, the use of technology is minimal, but it feels credible. Enough that the presence of the alien invaders is undeniable. But not so much to blunt the realism of the novel.
The tension is neck-breaking, sustained until the last words of the book. I honestly had to take my time listening to this. It's so bleak and depressing at times, it doesn't make for 'fun' reading. But at the same time, I can say this was a fantastic and moving book. I think this book shows what can be achieved in young adult literature. Showing teenagers and young people in a scenario where as much is demanded of the reader as is of the characters. Not lightening the subject matter just to get a YA rating, or fantasizing or sensationalizing the story either to get more readers. From the beginning, I was engaged in this novel, and even when things got harrowing and I feared for what would happened next, I couldn't turn off the CD player and refuse to finish the book. I had to know what Cassie would do next, how she would handle the next situation. If she would find her brother and save him.
Yancey made me care about these people. He made me rage that children had to make these kinds of decisions, but at the same time, he didn't give me a convenient villain, not in the easy way that can happen in fiction. Instead, I was continually forced to reevaluate the situation and my hypotheses, along with the characters. There were times, I just gave up on making a guess on what was going to happen and I just kept listening and decided to let the chips fall where they may.
You wonder what an author feels when he puts his characters through the depredations seen in this book. Does it hurt like he's hacking off a limb? Does he smile gleefully at the computer screen? Or does he feel the grim determination of a surgeon who is cutting into their patient to save its life? This is a question that books like this make me ask. In a strange way, I feel more connected to the writer of a book like this, because I can imagine that the creative process was a demanding one. The they sweated and shed their own blood to write a book just for me to read.
I recommend this book fully to readers who are prepared to face the bleak, upsetting content of this novel. To walk in the shoes of these young people who have to face the end of the world head on, and can't close the book and read something else when it gets too painful for them....more
Happy Sigh! Lots of angst, passion, and true love. And a hero who reminds me of Edward Fairfax Rochester. I'm not sure if that was deliberate or not.Happy Sigh! Lots of angst, passion, and true love. And a hero who reminds me of Edward Fairfax Rochester. I'm not sure if that was deliberate or not. Declan is a nice mix of wounded, grumpy and tortured. Even at his worst, I couldn't hate him. I guess I could see pain behind his actions. With his brother's death and his feelings of guilt that he had failed him, it was hard to see clearly. On the other hand, I could see why Chloe couldn't settle for what he had to give her. She had fought too hard to claim a sense of self-esteem in her life.
I loved how the courtship between Declan and Chloe bloomed. I got that feeling of Jane Eyre in their interchanges. How Chloe might be his employee, but she won't kowtow to him. And also how Chloe is the light in the darkness to Declan. I found that bond and growing feelings between them very romantic. And the sexual tension and sensuality culminates beautifully.
After Declan finds out just who Chloe is, I wasn't sure what would happen next. I respect that Ms. West managed to keep the story on a mature level, even though Declan does act like a jerk. I loved how Chloe was able to hold her own and keep her dignity even in the way Declan was treating her. He might be her boss, he might seem to have the upper hand, but he didn't, because deep down, she wouldn't be allowing him to be control her.
And yes, the end might be sappy to some, but I found it deliciously romantic.
I started reading this early this morning when I couldn't sleep, and I finished the whole book in that short time. This is really one of those unputdoI started reading this early this morning when I couldn't sleep, and I finished the whole book in that short time. This is really one of those unputdownable reads. I was compelled by and drawn into the dramatic situation that Oceans and Marshall faced.
I always enjoy a good survival on the elements book, and Pace excelled with this novel about two people who end up being stranded on a Caribbean deserted island and have to make a life there for the time being until they are rescued. This book is incredibly realistic about survival on a deserted island, including the risks and privations that people would face. Emotionally, Pace goes there. She involves you with Oceans and Marshall, makes you fall in love with them, and walk in their shoes in a way that doesn't leave you unaffected when the book is over. I can honestly say that Marshall is the kind of man I would want to be stranded on an island with. He steps up to the plate in so many ways. While he isn't a chest-thumping, stereotypical alpha, he shows all the traits that a mature man should have in a desperate situation and when he has a family to protect and care for. Oceans was also an incredible character. Her ability to adapt and survive and to use her knowledge of the islands to help them both survive really made me admire her. She is the kind of more realistic heroine I would like to see in romance novels. Not perfect, but perfectly lovable.
One aspect of this story was utterly heartbreaking. I felt the pain and anguish that both Oceans and Marshall faced, and I didn't think I would recover (it really hurt me on a deep level). It was one of those situations where I didn't agree with the choice made, but I still love and respected the person who made it, and like the other party involved, I had to decide if I was going to move past it for the greater good. I was so glad that things ended up working out in the end. While I still would have loved this book, I love it more the way things ended than if they had gone in a different way, just because that is such a tough, wounding situation to read about. I don't think either party in this book could have walked away whole from that. I can imagine it's even worse if you lived it.
I loved the fact that love blossoms realistically and intensely, and the sexual content wasn't the focus, although it was a big part of the novel. There were so many emotional depths to plumb that I would have felt cheated if this book was mainly sex scenes. I think a very good point was made about how sex is a way to express intimacy between two people, but certainly not the only way. And the fact that Pace shows the real consequences of sexual intimacy on a couple, good and not so good.
This is one of those books that lingers on the mind, making an indelible imprint on the emotions. I was very glad I got the opportunity to read Stranded, and Pace has upped the bar for stranded/marooned/survival romance for me. While not a perfect read, it's very close for me.
When The Riccione Pregnancy starts, Zito shows up on the doorstep of Roxane, his estranged wife. Roxane left Zito because she was feeling stifled andWhen The Riccione Pregnancy starts, Zito shows up on the doorstep of Roxane, his estranged wife. Roxane left Zito because she was feeling stifled and strangled by his treatment of her as a porcelain doll. She felt that her sense of identity was being absorbed into that of only one role, his wife. She tried to communicate this to Zito, but he didn’t listen. Her only option in her mind was to leave him.
When this couple reunite, at first it felt tedious. The continual rehashing of why they separated, but never clearing anything up in reality wasn’t to my taste. In all honesty, I didn’t initially understand why Roxane kept pushing Zito away. I am not keen on the theme of estranged married couples, so that’s why I didn’t appreciate this novel initially. However, as the real issues came to light, and both Zito and Roxane did some thinking and listening, I could see the strong bond of love between them. And I could understand Roxane’s issues and why she left him. What I really loved about this story was that Zito truly did love Roxane. He just didn’t know how to show it. He was stuck in his ways because of his culture and what his ideas of loving meant (protecting, guiding, and yes, controlling). He didn’t realize that although Roxane was young, she had her own mind, and she needed to be her own person, even if she did love him and love being his wife. She wasn’t by nature a combative person, so it was hard to stand against his stronger personality and demand what she needed from him. So she started to fade like a flower out of the sun. And she left for her own survival. I came to the conclusion that their year apart was good for them both. Roxane was able to gain experience in being independent, and discover a sense of her own identity as a grown woman, and she was able to see Zito’s love in a new light.
I also liked (view spoiler)[ that Zito get’s Roxane pregnant on purpose. I know that’s wrong in real life, but some reason, I like this theme a lot. Probably because it shows a hero’s desperation to keep the heroine with him by any means. I love a hero that is desperate for the heroine. I like that although Roxane was mad at first, she acknowledged that she also had a responsibility in preventing a pregnancy if she didn’t want to be pregnant, and she was able to see why Zito did it. And the pregnancy had a way of uniting this couple, forcing them to work out their issues. It helped them to see how much they had in common and how much they needed each other in their lives. I would imagine in real life, that doesn’t necessarily keep a marriage together, but it worked in this story. (hide spoiler)]
So overall, I did enjoy this read. Even though I found the recriminations a bit tedious at first, merely a matter of taste--since I prefer books where the couple initiate their relationship at the beginning of the book, not when they get back together after they are/were already lovers/married--they had an important role. I believe that they helped to show why this marriage between two people, who loved each other very much and belonged together, fell apart for that short, painful time. I would recommend this book to Harlequin Presents fans who enjoy lovers reunited, married couple romance, pregnancy, and a steadfast/besotted hero themes in their romances. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I had no expectations for this one, and I'm getting where I'm a bit burned out on YA. However, I ended up liking this a lot. I liked the simple narratI had no expectations for this one, and I'm getting where I'm a bit burned out on YA. However, I ended up liking this a lot. I liked the simple narrative, but the author's ability to convey a lot on the emotional front. I loved Jason!!!! And never did Rachel annoy me or make stop supporting her as a heroine. Okay, I have to keep this a mini-review, so I'll stop here.
If you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows shIf you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows she’s a ‘bad girl’ in some way. In this case, Grant thinks that Devon’s demanding, spendthrift ways lead to her father embezzling money from his company to keep her in the style to which she had become accustomed. He showed up on their doorstep the night before Devon leaves for Sweden, not for an extravagant vacation like he thinks, but for a surgery that promises to give her full use of her hip, which was injured in the car accident that killed her mother. Devon comes back from Sweden to find that her father has been terminated from his job at Grant’s business, and will likely be prosecuted. She approaches Grant and asks him not to prosecute her father, and she’ll do anything he wants in return. His proposition is that she live with him as his mistress. Devon is willing to do this so that she can save her father from prison.
I liked that Grant wanted to be the ruthless seducer, but he didn’t really have it in him. He was clearly in love with Devon early on. He was kind of grumpy about it, but he had every opportunity to seduce her, but he didn’t take them, after he finds out that she had a bad hip and the money was spent to get her well. From that point, he does everything he can to get her to rest as she’s supposed to so she can get the all clear at her follow up.
I thought it was cute how Devon kept throwing herself at Grant so he would go ahead and fulfill his part of the bargain before her father comes back from the business trip in Scotland that Grant sent him on. Grant seems to come up with excuses for them not to be ‘together.’ Although Devon was clueless about Grant’s feelings for her, I as the reader, was not.
I really liked this book. It was a fun read. Devon was a nice girl, and Grant finally looked past his cynicism to see that, because Cupid’s bow had struck him dead center in the heart. ...more
Books like this in the Harlequin Presents line make me want to reach for more vintage romances. I like that this book had a rich story. The hero and hBooks like this in the Harlequin Presents line make me want to reach for more vintage romances. I like that this book had a rich story. The hero and heroine are complex individuals who come together and find a compelling attraction between them. Neither of them are perfect. Adam was delightfully surly, kind of take charge and rough in a way, and very compellingly masculine. He's also a bit insecure about his partial blindness. When Lenore literally bumps into him, they exchange mean words with each other, that Lenore feels bad about when she finds out that he's vision-impaired. Days later, Lenore gets stranded at his house during a freak snowstorm, after injuring her knee. They end up going to bed together, and it felt right to me. The passion and the connection and sharing between them felt authentic. However, Lenore runs away, only to return when her heart draws her back. But that's not their happy ending. They have to deal with some things first. Lenore was in a long-term relationship with a guy I felt was using her. He was Orthodox Jew and while she was good enough to shack up with, he wouldn't marry her unless she converted. When she said no, he broke it off. Now, she is dealing with the heartbreak of being dumped, and she's not ready to let herself be vulnerable in that way to a man. It's even more devastating when she has a powerful, intense attraction to a man like Adam.
Lenore's music ends up bringing them back together, when she's asked to see if the local music group can hold their performance at his house. Adam makes demands on Lenore that she's not ready to deal with, and they end up parting again, not under the best terms. However, he agrees to letting the concerts take place at his house. This brings them into close, tantalizing proximity, showing Lenore and Adam that their feelings are very real.
Although this is all from Lenore's viewpoint, I was able to get a fix on Adam. He's a tough guy who was gravely wounded in a war-torn country, where he lost part of his sight. He's not sure how to rebuild his life without being visual, since that's a big part of his self-esteem, allowing him to pursue his dangerous career is a videographer/journalist. He finds himself drawn to Lenore, and wants all of her. However, he's not good with words in showing his love. They both have to decide if they can love each other and find everything that they need in life together as a unit.
This was a quick, fulfilling read. I'm sure I read Flora Kidd growing up. But I feel the urge to hunt down more of her books, since I like her writing style. Recommended to fans of the older Harlequin Presents books....more
Not a terribly exciting story, but Destined to Meet has a charm to it. I love the British Harlequin Romances. They are nice fare to take me away fromNot a terribly exciting story, but Destined to Meet has a charm to it. I love the British Harlequin Romances. They are nice fare to take me away from my existence and to read a nice love story.
Bevin meets Jarvis when she's horribly sick. She approaches him to do a survey on the street as part of her new job, and faints right in front of him. Jarvis ends up taking her home to his apartment to recover, for lack of anywhere else to take her, and the fact that he's drawn to her. She seems to be what was missing in his life, and she falls right into his arms. His sister shows up and assumes that Bevin is Jarvis's new squeeze. This is timely since his late grandfather's will requires him to marry before his next birthday. Bevin is still confused and sick when she answers the door and meets his sister, and unwittingly agrees when Rosalind suggests that she's Jarvis's fiance. This is good and bad news for Jarvis, because it gives him a buffer between him and his pushy relatives, although it also puts pressure on him to move up the wedding date.
What follows is a bit of comedy of manners, although it's not particularly humorous. Bevin's tendency to be tongue-tied when she's on the spot, and her gentle nature has her inadvertently agreeing to what the very pushy Rosalind suggests regarding her relationship with Jarvis, digging their hole deeper each time. Jarvis gets frustrated each time, but can't stay mad at the sweet angel he ended up bring home with him. Bevin and Jarvis go along with their "fake" engagement, and spend time together, coming to realize that they make each other's lives complete.
I have a weakness for these British Harlequins, so it was enjoyable to me on those grounds, although a bit slow-paced and drama free (I like my Harlequin drama--what can I say?). I felt Bevin needed to be more assertive, in general. She seemed to go along with things too easily, although she showed backbone with Jarvis, for the most part. I didn't like how she took so much crap off her stepmonster, who had neatly stepped in and stole her inheritance due to her cheap father's refusal to get a lawyer to do his will. The lady pretty much stole her house away, and was using Bevin as an unpaid housekeeper/cleaner. I also wished that she would have communicated more clearly with Jarvis. She gave out a lot of mixed signals. Thankfully, he was a gentleman and didn't take advantage of her, although he easily could have. He was a genuinely nice guy, and I appreciated that about him. Not too many people would have taken a sick stranger home to their house and nursed her back to health, expecting nothing in return, although he did appreciate her cooking when she was on the mend.
This was a short, entertaining read, although a little on the dry side. It's definitely a sweet/"both feet on the floor" romance, which has an appeal nowawadays if a reader feels oversaturated with too much "nookie" in romance. For readers who have to have "nookie", I'd recommend skipping this one. I liked the charm of the very British elements, so I'll probably keep it for those reasons....more
I found myself really clicking with Ms. Mikels' writing style. She has a way of an interesting story. I was drawn into this book, and I felt a connectI found myself really clicking with Ms. Mikels' writing style. She has a way of an interesting story. I was drawn into this book, and I felt a connection with the characters. I was intrigued with what made Max Henderson such a cold, unapproachable man. When I found out, it totally made sense. I could see why he had withdrawn from others. His emotional pain made him unexpectedly tortured. Although he was a businessman-type, he also had a rugged, manly appeal that I liked. I could see why Sam fell for him. I thought that Sam was a good counterpart for him. Determinedly cheerful, yet strong and independent, but not without her own baggage.
Their love story was straightforward, but it had its bumps along the way, as they dealt with their emotional issues, moreso on the part of Max. There was a nice, strong vibe of attraction and an appeal to this story. But it wasn't a dramafest in the bad way. It was nice to see their love grow as they spent time together and realized that there was more between them than patient and caregiver.
Since this is part of a series written by different authors that all ties together, there is a bit of vagueness in the description and the characterization of the supporting characters, and loose ends with the mystery of who killed Max's sister Christina, with little resolution on that front. This didn't bother me, because I knew that going into it, and I was more interested in seeing the relationship between Sam and Max unfold. In the end, I was glad I pulled this one off the shelf for my Clean Off My Category Romance Challenge. It turned out to be a very good read.
This wasn't a bad book. It just didn't inspire any particular fire in me as I read it. I did like that the heroine was a physical therapist. That partThis wasn't a bad book. It just didn't inspire any particular fire in me as I read it. I did like that the heroine was a physical therapist. That part resonates because I have been in PT recently. Also the hero recovering from physical injuries. I did find the interactions between Kat and Matt cute. I felt the reasons for them breaking up were a bit contrived, and their getting together seemed rather quick and not well-plotted. I really like reading this author, and I've read some very good books by her, so that's probably why this one didn't impress me that much. I think if this was a book by a new to me author, I would have thought it was good and made a note to read more by her. But in the case of being a long-time fan of this author, I think my expectations were higher than what this book delivered.
In the end, this was okay, but it didn't have enough HP zing factor. A pleasant weekend read, but not anything that hit my reading satiety centers.
Fire of Spring has some beautiful, descriptive writing, and it hooked me emotionally. The imagery was very vivid, with the descriptions of the ColoradFire of Spring has some beautiful, descriptive writing, and it hooked me emotionally. The imagery was very vivid, with the descriptions of the Colorado landscape under the grip of a cold spring in which snow is still on the group, and the promise of a warm Spring lurks around the corner. The title of this book really ties into the storyline in a number of ways, relating to the weather, the emotional intensity between the characters, and the tapestry that Dawn is working on that reflects her hopes for her relationship with Logan. Additionally, anyone who has read Elizabeth Lowell’s romances knows how well she writes sensuality. She never gets too explicit, but there is a fire and a power in her descriptions of the attraction between her characters, and their eventual lovemaking.
Both Dawn and Logan have suffered in their lives, and the cause of their suffering is in part due to the same woman. However, Dawn chose to put that pain behind her and get on with her life. In contrast, Logan hangs onto the hurt of seeing his brother kill himself with alcohol, and after years of feeding him full of nonsense about how bad women are and how they will destroy you, because his brother fell for the wrong woman---Dawn’s mother.
Logan hurt Dawn very badly by taking her young love and turning it into something dirty, offering her the position as his mistress until he tired of her. Instead of taking him up on that, she left and moved on with her life. Three years later, Dawn’s friend Kathy, Logan’s sister begs her to come and take care of Logan, who is sick with walking pneumonia. Dawn doesn’t want to go back down that painful path, but she owes Logan a debt, and she intends to pay him back. She hopes that she can keep herself from loving him again, knowing that he will only break her heart.
This is definitely a well-written story, and I zoomed through it. However, Logan is a mean bastard. He is deliberately cruel to Dawn, and I think most women would probably have beaten him to death with a frying pan. Dawn takes a lot off this guy, probably too much, out of her love for him. She tries to break down the corrosive wall of anger and bitterness that Logan has around his heart so that he can be free, even if she won’t be able to claim his love for her own. Part of me wondered that he was even worth the effort. But deep down, Dawn knows that Logan does love her. He just has to overcome that bad programming that his brother entrenched into his mind and spirit. She tries her best to help him, even though she weeps from the wounds that Logan’s ugly words inflict on her vulnerable heart, and she stays until he tells her to leave. She was a strong woman to put up with that. Strong in that yielding and standing sort of way that is underappreciated. I really liked Dawn. Logan, not so much, especially after he humiliates Dawn in front of the ranch hands. He comes around, realizing how much he loves Dawn, but I would have preferred some extended groveling and an epilogue in which Logan shows how much he adores Dawn. Because these essential elements weren’t on offer, this couldn’t be a five star read for me. However, this is a very good book, if you can tolerate a jerky, cruel hero who needs some remedial lessons in love and groveling. ...more