I'm not sure how I feel about this book. This wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It has some very nontraditional aspects to the storyline, with twoI'm not sure how I feel about this book. This wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It has some very nontraditional aspects to the storyline, with two delays on what I'd consider a textbook romance HEA. Also, the hero does something pretty lousy to the heroine (even if he thought he had good reasons at the time). I understand his motives, but the way he made excuses about it, I didn't like it so much. Readers who like a heroine with serious commitment issues might enjoy this. Her mother has a history of running out on her family and lovers. Gerry has avoided relationships because of her fear that she can't stay in love and stay committed to a man. Bryn causes all kinds of intense emotions in her, and while she's tried to avoid him, he continually engineers situations where they are in contact, with some very calculated reasons.
It's not my favorite by this author. I think it's emotionally intense in the way her books are, but it wasn't satisfying to me. I guess I'm just old-fashioned. I like a committed HEA at the end of my book (this one has it, but there's a two year delay.) This kept my interest, so that's something....more
Good conclusion to a satisfying Regency romance series. The mystery was sustained very well, and the culprit was a surprise to me. Archer is a delectaGood conclusion to a satisfying Regency romance series. The mystery was sustained very well, and the culprit was a surprise to me. Archer is a delectable hero, just right for tortured Perdita.
I think I would have rated this book higher had I not read it sandwiched between two really intense HP books. This story is a thoughtful one about twoI think I would have rated this book higher had I not read it sandwiched between two really intense HP books. This story is a thoughtful one about two lonely souls who build a powerful connection after a chance meeting and realize they are the soulmates they were searching for. And they realize what home really is. It's a person and a relationship, not a building.
Markie grew up in a series of foster homes and it made her a careful nomad who never allows herself to get too close to anyone or stay in one place too long. By chance, she camps on land owned by Daniel, and when a surprise blizzard hits, she's forced to seek shelter in his house. Over the time of being snowed in, casual strangers become cautious friends, and love develops slowly and intensely.
There really isn't anything wrong with the writing in this book. It just didn't touch me as emotionally as I would have liked. I hate to think I am becoming a drama addict. But I admit I do prefer the more intense Harlequin Presents. I also feel that it's just because of when I read this in my reading schedule (during a Harlequin Presents binge). If I had reached for this separately, I think it would have hit the spot more.
Markie is a very likable character. Considering or because of her tough life, she has a lot of character and fortitude. She has a habit of denying connections with others and she spends a lot of time initially feeling like she had to pay Daniel back because she didn't like feeling obligated. I can completely understand that. I liked how Daniel patiently breaks down the walls between him and Markie, earning her trust, slowly but surely. He gives part of himself to her in exchange for taking parts of her. I really liked the mutuality of their relationship, and how caring Daniel was. Initially, he was gruff, but I think he's a marshmallow hero deep down (can't resist them). He is the kind of hero you can't help but love because he is 'all in' with the heroine as soon as he realizes there is something worthwhile about their connection.
I liked that they were both creative people with public personas that they tried to keep separate from their private lives. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil the book. But it was fun seeing them hang out and be creative together.
This is actually a good book, and I feel I am slightly underrating it. Unfortunately, I am an emotional reader, so I rate based on how much a book impacts me emotionally when I read. I didn't feel that impact I would have liked, although the writing was good and I liked the characters a whole lot. As such, I would give this book 3.5/5.0 stars I do plan on tracking down a copy of Morgan Patterson's other book when I get a chance....more
A pleasant read, but not much conflict other than 'Will they, won't they?" A lighter historical romance with plenty of dialogue and conversations. AboA pleasant read, but not much conflict other than 'Will they, won't they?" A lighter historical romance with plenty of dialogue and conversations. About a couple who knows they aren't right for each other, although they feel so right together. Samuel is a really sweet guy, the kind of hero you can't help but love.
Deadly Angel was an entertaining read, and it definitely had plenty of tension and emotion to it. When I read Harlequin Presents, those are some of myDeadly Angel was an entertaining read, and it definitely had plenty of tension and emotion to it. When I read Harlequin Presents, those are some of my biggest criteria, so the book scores in that way. However, I couldn't give it high marks because of some issues that were too serious to overlook. Let's discuss those first.
Nick is a bully. He is used to throwing his weight around and using his sinister reputation to get what he wants. I like tough, scary heroes, but I don't like bullies. I thought he was way too physically intimidating with Olivia. He forces her to kiss him and pushes her around in a way that felt uncomfortable to me. He does not rape her, Thank God. However, his behavior was still hard to swallow. I think I would have flung the book against the wall if Olivia hadn't been a courageous woman who didn't bow to his intimidation (any more than she could avoid). I don't quite understand why she fell in love with him though. He wasn't nice to her. He didn't treat her that well. He didn't show her much gentleness. Even with the scary, sexy, cool literary men I love, I need to see and feel that he is a man the heroine could love. I didn't quite feel that with Deadly Angel. Yes, he's sexy if you like a domineering, rough, demanding hero who threatens her constantly.... But all of a sudden, she realizes she is deeply in love with him? Huh? I did appreciate his loyalty to his family and that he worked hard to bring his family business back from the edge of oblivion. Some of his methods, not so much.
Another aspect I struggled with is the almost stereotypical presentation of Sicilians as violent, dangerous people. Maybe I don't know much about Sicilians, but I don't think it's right to label a group of people some way. People have done plenty of that with black people, and I'm not having that. I really dislike movies/books about the Italian/Sicilian mafia, and this book sort of took me too close to that perception. If I was Sicilian, I think I'd be a bit offended. I'd be curious to see what a person of Sicilian ancestry thinks about it. Maybe I am taking it too seriously....
I liked Olivia. I felt for her situation. You can't help if you don't love someone, and what Greg did was not her fault. But she did was right in that she went to him to help him when he was in the hospital and recovering. I didn't quite get her actions towards the end of the book though. Why would she get in the car with that slug? I would have kept on walking and I probably would have started screaming to draw attention to myself. But I guess it gave Nick the chance to be protective....
Anyway, I give some points for dramaticism, emotion, and the fact that this book kept my interest, but I have to subtract points for Nick's brutish nature and the stereotyping of Sicilians. I think 3.5/5.0 stars is a fair rating.
Lynne Graham excels in getting the reader's juices flowing, particularly in her older books. I pulled this one off the pile as part of my Harlequin PrLynne Graham excels in getting the reader's juices flowing, particularly in her older books. I pulled this one off the pile as part of my Harlequin Presents Binge because I knew I'd get something cathartic. I wasn't disappointed.
I liked the fact that Vito is quite sympathetic. He is actually a nice guy, although he does tend to want things his way. He did and said things the wrong way to Ashley, but He had no idea about how traumatic her upbringing was. So I can't really hold that against him.
Even though Ashley was hard to get along with, I liked that about her. I get tired of the heroine who is the hero's dumpbucket, there to be kicked around except for in bed. Ashley isn't shy about standing up for herself or telling Vito what for. Her aggressiveness about certain topics is 100% linked to her past, and I think that if she had felt free to open up, I don't think they would have broken up in the first place.
I think Ashley is definitely one of Graham's most tortured heroines, despite her flaws. Frankly, her homelife sucked, and the abandonment she faced by her family was lousy. Because of her parents highly dysfunctional marriage and her father's abuse (both mental/emotional and at times physical), she has a low opinion of marriage and any sort of commitment, and she was raised to disdain anything feminine. I like to think that Vito could have been the family she lacked, if he had been given full disclosure on her past. Instead, he thought the worst of her instead of digging to the deeper issues beneath her posturing. He took her aversion to commitment and marriage as a sign of a moral failing in her, instead of a sign of emotional scars. They missed out on three years together as a result.
While Ashley is still argumentative and abrasive, she genuinely loved Vito and was heartbroken about their breakup and a loss she suffers shortly thereafter. She has the time to revisit her past strong opinions about marriage and family, realizing a lot of them weren't her own. But now Vito has cast her in the role of heartless jade, although he never got over her. I like that Vito still went after her, even though he thought the worst of her and knew she could hurt him. It showed that his love for her hadn't died. And this time, he wasn't going to settle for a non-committed sexual relationship. He wanted marriage, as he had before, and he wasn't afraid to blackmail to get it this time around.
There is a lot of tension, both sexual and relationship, and plenty of drama in this book. I don't know if I ever read this back in the day. I didn't own it, and I think I would have remembered if it had read it. The feels like Classic Lynne Graham and is worth having in the collection of serious fans of hers. ...more
Ms. Brooke, I think we have a psychic connection. You picked up on what annoys me about too many of the Regency historicals coming out nowadays (thusMs. Brooke, I think we have a psychic connection. You picked up on what annoys me about too many of the Regency historicals coming out nowadays (thus causing me to avoid them). You took every element that annoys me and turned those conventions around and wrote a book that I enjoyed very much. Thank you!
This was a very good book. At first I thought Nick was a jerk, the way he reacted to Cory's aunt's dog knocking him over. I didn't have hopes for himThis was a very good book. At first I thought Nick was a jerk, the way he reacted to Cory's aunt's dog knocking him over. I didn't have hopes for him as a likable hero. However, I have to say that he made me eat my words. He showed a lot of consideration, patience, and caring for Cory, who wasn't an easy woman to love in some ways. I don't hold it against Cory. I can totally see why she was so reluctant to open her heart to Nick. She had some very deep emotional scars, layered on top of each other. First from neglectful parents, and then with a bad relationship. She truly believed she was unlovable. She probably should have gotten counseling, but how many of us are walking wounded from a lifetime of toxic relationships? With the full book behind me, I really appreciated Nick for his love for Cory that took him through some rough patches with her. However, I did get the feeling that Cory was worth it, and I was glad that she had someone who did love her unconditionally when she had suffered the lack of that from two people who should have given more of that then she could handle.
Maybe I am applying this to the book because I know Helen Brooks is a Christian, but it reminded me of Christ's love for me. That made me appreciate this book on a deeper level, because I can see that Christlike love in Nick (although he is a human male with human desires and emotions. However, the Apostle Paul does tell men to love their wives like Christ loves his church, so Nick isn't setting a unknown precedent here).
I can see why a Goodreads friend of mine appreciates Helen Brooks books so much. If Nick is an example of her heroes in how he treated Cory, then Helen does heroes well. He was both masculine and sexy, but also loving and gentlemanly. A very nice combination.
This was a good Harlequin Presents. It kept my interest, with sexy chemistry between Nick and Cory, paired with a deep, abiding, dare I say healing love. I look forward to reading more of her books....more
This was a very good fantasy romance. I loved the dragons, so majestic and beautiful. The world-building was strong, and the magic awe-inspiring. I woThis was a very good fantasy romance. I loved the dragons, so majestic and beautiful. The world-building was strong, and the magic awe-inspiring. I would like to read more by this author.
I can totally see why one of my GRs friends has so much love for Polly. She really is a great character. Loving, hardworking, intelligent, strong, andI can totally see why one of my GRs friends has so much love for Polly. She really is a great character. Loving, hardworking, intelligent, strong, and willing to stand up for what's right. And she has a great sense of humor. I loved her loyalty to her employees. Wish more bosses were that way in real life. At first, I didn't think Mr. Doukakis was nearly good enough for her. He was a bit of a jerk to poor Polly. Fortunately, as it should be with any good romance book, I came to like and respect him, to see that he was a Control Freak more than anything. It's interesting how an insecure childhood can shape two different people in two entirely different ways. Honestly though, Polly and Damon aren't that different. They are both goal-oriented, decisive people who get the job done. Who deal with circumstances and fix what's wrong in the best way possible. People who love strong and deep, and believe in doing the right thing. Damon came on hard and tough, like he didn't care, but he also cared about his employees. He just wasn't touchy feely about it like Polly. I have to say I liked his business ethics a lot (except for the hot desk idea. Did not like that at all). So my main issues were with how Damon treated Polly. Damon couldn't see past the outside, the fae, energetic beauty of Polly, to believe that she was just as capable as he was. He was poisoned by his past experience with her and his issues with her father. I was glad that he did work past his preconceived notions to give her the credit she was due. And he fell head over heels for her. I think I might create a new shelf, the "He never even knew what hit him" shelf, because that's what happened to Mr. Doukakis when Polly came into his life.
I liked the fresh, modern feel of this story, without throwing out the things I value in a HP. I like a virgin heroine, and I like that Ms. Morgan wrote one who is identifiably modern without being promiscuous. It wouldn't make sense for her to be that way, but it makes perfect sense for her to be a virgin. And there are a lot of woman out there who might be virgins for similar reasons without being weirdos, as the media tries to present. (off soapbox) I also felt the freshness in the references to such things as You Tube and other social media. Polly knows that the target audience for her advertising campaigns are going to rely heavily on social media. So why not use those technological avenues to advertise to the younger demographics? This felt very relevant, and I never felt like I was lost in a time zone, like I can feel sometimes with category romances. I also liked that although Damon takes over Polly's dad's firm, she isn't just the secretary. She's been running the company for years and not getting credit for it. It puts her on much more equal footing than you see in the usual workplace-set HP. Cheers for that. Even though this couple get their traditional HEA, I can rest happily knowing that Polly will continue being a genius in the workplace, making a name for herself, as she deserves. And she gets the man of her dreams. Works for me.
This review is a rambling fest. I guess that's the mood I'm in. Anyway, I ended up loving this book. it's glad I am that this is my first HP read of the new year. You were right, Lulu!
Annie West, you did it again. You took a hero I was prepared to hate and made him a man I fell gaga over. I was thinking that Raul would be way too arAnnie West, you did it again. You took a hero I was prepared to hate and made him a man I fell gaga over. I was thinking that Raul would be way too arrogant, entitled, remote, supercilious, and unlikable (but why did I think that since I've loved all your heroes?). Oh no. I think it took about ten minutes into reading this book for me to see the appeal of Prince Raul.
Let me preface this by saying I really don’t get that into royalty romances (except the sheikhs..class of their own). I don’t expect to relate to Harlequin Presents, but I really can’t relate to royal romances. But that’s not an issue at all with this book. Because this royal couple are just a man and a woman, falling in love. And it was a beautiful love story to read about.
I read this book earlier today, and then I read another book in which I was given the polar opposite of Raul (but we won’t go there). Raul is a freaking prince, heir to a Kingdom, and what a man (in every sense of the word)! He's thirty years going on sixty (more like a Sylvester Stallone sixty, mind you). Tradition and duty was drummed into his head since he was four. His entire life was lived in the public eye, and he was careful to keep control and to plan everything out, not feeling deeply. When he finds out that he will lose his kingdom if he doesn’t marry Luisa, he will do whatever is necessary to see that happen. And he is rather ruthless about it. He doesn’t expect to admire, desire, and deeply love his reluctant bride.
This is one of those stories that keeps me reaching for Harlequin Presents. All the passion, drama, exotic locations, with characters that I love and want to see fall in love with each other.
Luisa was such a sweet, wonderful woman. She was strong in a way that made her very accessible to me as a reader. I could see her insecurities and identify with them. I could see how she fell for Raul and wish her happy with him, hoping he would treasure her for the unique aspects that made her up, and not try to change her. She wasn’t confident of her abilities as a future queen, but she tried her best and stayed true to herself. The last thing she wanted was to go back to the country where her grandfather lived, after he rejected her mother and Luisa herself as unfit. But she did it to save her family and friend’s farms from foreclosure.
The love scenes were great, and I especially liked the wedding night scene. That was pretty hot! I could see why Luisa found Raul very hard to resist. I certainly can’t blame her!
My favorite scene was (view spoiler)[ was when Raul thinks he’s lost Luisa, and he’s shaking, so overcome with emotion. At first, Luisa thinks it’s her shaking. She can’t imagine that he feels so deeply for her, as she does for him. For a man who has spent his entire life trying to control himself so he doesn’t make any more bad mistakes like he made in the past, that was very telling. No question how much he loved Luisa. (hide spoiler)]
And I admit, for a girl who never went through a princess phase, the coronation scene had me sighing breathlessly, wishing I was the long-lost heir to a principality with an arranged marriage to a breathtakingly sexy prince like Raul.
I have gotten somewhat picky about handing out five star ratings lately. But this one definitely earned it. It was very romantic and emotional, and I loved the characters. When a writer has a down-to-earth girl imagining her coronation to her very own Prince Raul, she has definitely succeeded in writing a five star book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This book was a middle of the road read. I didn't hate or love it. I ended up giving it 3.5/5.0 stars because of its good and not-so-good points.
WhatThis book was a middle of the road read. I didn't hate or love it. I ended up giving it 3.5/5.0 stars because of its good and not-so-good points.
What I liked:
*I love a good hero in pursuit. I have an issue with player heroes, so I was feeling tough towards Alessandro at first, thinking he might view Lily as another conquest. However, he proved himself that his intentions were sincere towards her. There were several moments where he could have pushed her into sexual intimacy and he refrained, knowing she wasn't ready for that. I ended up liking and respecting him a lot for that. I also liked that he was steadfast in his regard for Lily, despite her cold shoulder. I could feel that he truly loved her. Also, I liked that he was self-made with a tough life behind him. He had turned his life around with the guidance of Lily's aunt and her deceased husband. *I loved that Lily was a fully-qualified chef and actually had a job that she put a lot of time and energy in. I also liked that she was a woman of independent means. I think Bianchin managed to show that Alessandro could afford to shower her with material things (because that's just obligatory for an HP hero, isn't it?), even though she didn't need them. (view spoiler)[ It was a bit sneaky how it turns out that he owns the restaurant where she gets hired as an assistant chef and her apartment building. I had to laugh, because his tendency to own everything reminded me of Roarke from the In Death series by JD Robb! (hide spoiler)] *I loved all the food descriptions. What can I say, I'm a foodie?
What I didn't like:
*The fashion descriptions bored me to tears. It's not that I don't like fashion, but getting a list of what Lily wore every time got really old. *Normally I like how HPs will have details about the different locales, but this one didn't do much for me as far as describing Milan. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. *I just didn't get very excited about this book. It wasn't badly written. I just think she needed a little more zing in the story, and I don't mean sex. Just more tension and hop in the storyline. The annoyance factor of the continual post-mortems on Lily's failed relationship and her using that to keep Alessandro at bay was an execution issue, not so much that I don't like having the reluctant heroine who is afraid to love again. I liked that she didn't fall into bed with him immediately, so I'm not sure that insta-sex would have solved the lack of sizzle problem for me.
Overall, a decent read. Not one that I will find especially memorable, but I did like the fact that Alessandro is a solid hero who definitely shows he's worthy of love. When you have a heroine who has gone through what Lily did with her ex, you need that kind of hero. So it was a success on that front.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
**spoiler alert** My feelings about this book are conflicted. I did like the intensity with this story. I felt that the connection between Clary and M**spoiler alert** My feelings about this book are conflicted. I did like the intensity with this story. I felt that the connection between Clary and Morgan was fated in an impossible to rationalize away. However, I just couldn't reconcile the relationship with Susan away. I know that Morgan didn't know that Susan was married when they got together, but he continued to sleep with her after he knew and was willing to take a separation as enough to continue his adulterous relationship with another man's wife. I know my issues stem from my incredible distaste for adultery. I tried to tell myself what Clary told herself, what Morgan did prior to her was his business, but it was too sordid for me to just chalk away. So I could understand how hard it was for Clary, on multiple levels. In addition to unresolved issues from her father's destruction of his own marriage, I think that she was in a very difficult situation with her love for Morgan in direct conflict with her loyalty and love for her brother, the wronged husband. I like that Donald didn't minimize this issue, but it was something they both had to deal with face on. Morgan's way of dealing with it was interesting, and in a forceful way, probably the most direct solution to the problem.
I love a possessive, jealous, obsessed hero, but something about Morgan didn't sit right with me. Maybe I didn't detect enough vulnerability from him early enough on. He seemed a lot more controlling than I like in a hero. While I love a stalkerific hero, I don't like controlling heroes, and Morgan is definitely that. On the good side, his devotion for Clary was undeniable. He showed that what he felt for her was different from what he'd felt for women in the past. This is one of those books where I can say definitively that I wouldn't be happy with a man like this in real life. I'm not sure how many women could be happy with a man like Morgan, with his controlling, somewhat inflexible (the world bends to him and he doesn't bend to the world), and yes, manipulative personality. As an only child, he has a hard sort of self-absorption that expects others to fall in with his own wants and needs. That is not to say he is incapable of generosity or acts of kindness. They are just on his terms. Not sure that would be the ideal marriage partner, honestly.
I decided to give this book four stars because it has a lot of intensity and depth to it, which does appeal to me as a reader. Additionally, I felt a mixture of very vivid emotions as I read it. When I read books, I want to experience the books on a visceral level, and I did feel that with A Willing Surrender. Yes, this is one for readers who can't resist a stalkerific hero, but there were aspects about Morgan's character that compromised my ability to like him as a hero, especially his unethical response to the issue of sustaining an adulterous relationship with another man's wife. He even admitted his jealousy and possessive feelings towards Clary. Put on the other man's shoes! It was like he didn't consider what that might do to another man whose wife he was sleeping with. And it wasn't like he was in love with Susan and truly couldn't let her go. That's undesirable to me.
I know I have massively over-thought this book. What can I say? I can't leave my brain behind when I read books....more
Maisey Yates takes the royal and sperm-bank mix-up themes and combines them in a very satisfactory manner with An Accidental Birthright.
Things I LikeMaisey Yates takes the royal and sperm-bank mix-up themes and combines them in a very satisfactory manner with An Accidental Birthright.
Things I Liked:
*I liked that Max wasn't an over-the-top, arrogant uber-alpha type. He was more on the beta end of the scale, which didn't make him a pushover. He was a nice guy. Although he was born royal, he had a huge work ethic and really cared about his country and his people. I liked that he never disrespected Alison. He showed her a lot of consideration, and was quite long-suffering with her issues. I feel that his marriage damaged him emotionally, because he took on too much blame for his deceased wife's emotional immaturity. *I found myself identifying with Alison to a scary degree, which was a wake-up call to me. She tended to hold onto her fears of commitment a bit too much, and it was almost frustrating for me to see her be so dogmatic about her determination not to be involved. I did like Alison a lot. She was a strong woman who set a plan in motion for her life, and stuck to it, even through the hardships she faced. *I liked that both Max and Alison were deep and complex individuals, not just the usual stand-ins that might popular a book of this type, and how they had to get past their respective fears and issues to realize that they weren't just going to be parents together, but that they loved each other truly and belonged together. *I liked the passion and the emotion of this love story. *Ms. Yates has a clear, modern, unique writing style, but she gives the reader of HPs what is classic and desired in this line of books, at the same time.
The only thing that I didn't like as much was the roller-coaster that Alison was on with her fears of involvement. I thought it was very cowardly of her to want a celibate marriage in which her husband would be given the go-ahead to cheat on her. I can't see a logical woman standing for that when she had good chemistry and liking for her spouse. I could understand her fears, but I wish she had not taken so long to give herself the opportunity to be loved as a woman after so many years of loneliness with a really good guy like Max. As far as Max, I didn't like that he was determined not to love Alison. I can understand him feeling wounded by his last marriage, but he was given a gift of a child, and a good woman to love and to marry. I felt that he should have been a little braver about taking that chance for a happy future.
Other than the overlong angst and waffling of the characters, I really enjoyed reading this love story. I'd give it 4.25/5.0 ....more
This was a bit of a slow read, but I gave it four stars because I liked the emotional intensity of the storyline. Initially, I got the impression thatThis was a bit of a slow read, but I gave it four stars because I liked the emotional intensity of the storyline. Initially, I got the impression that Matt was going to be one of the super jerky heroes, the way he goes up to Sian at the party and emphatically warns her off of his brother, Jordan. However, after Sian sets him straight, beautifully, I might add, it's clear that he's not that way at all. From thence it becomes a hero in pursuit story with a hero that was so romantic he made me sigh. I read his declaration about marriage and my toes tingled, and I thought, "Wow! That's the kind of husband a woman wants." Yeah, people might turn their noses up at romance, but those moments make it clear why romance novels are a billion dollar industry in itself.
One thing I also liked about this story was how textured Sian was as a heroine. She wasn't falsely perfect, nor was she catty and frustrating. Instead she was a realistic young woman who had very understandable fears about giving her heart away. She had a composure that I really admired. She was loving, and playful, but she didn't take crap off anyone. Considering her upbringing, and her belief about how unimportant she was to her father, a world class gambler who never stayed in one place very long, and who continually let her down by backing out of his commitments with her, I could totally respect why she wanted a stable, comfortable marriage, instead of an emotional rollercoaster union. Matt scared her deep inside because she instinctively knew he wouldn't be the kind of guy to settle for just part of her--he would want all of her.
I have to say that I loved that this book was set in Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and Chi-Town will always have a place in my heart. I was really excited when they went to Indiana Dunes, which is a place I've visited myself. Although I love Harlequin Presents for their exotic locations, it was very nice to read one set in places I am familiar with, and with American characters with their uniquely American ways.
As far as the chemistry between Sian and Matt, it was volcanic. This is one of those stories where we don't see a physical consummation, but there are some pretty fiery kisses and caressing scenes where I didn't miss the 'real deal'. Ms. Carpenter definitely does a great job showing the attraction between her characters.
I liked various scenes in this story, such as the one in which Sian saves the little boy from the tree, and Matt saves her (I could see how much Matt cared for her very clearly and also what a good person Sian is). I thought the reveal on Sian's father was well-handled too. Quite a unique sort of dynamic there with her dad's real reasons for not being around much. And the ending was very good too. More sighworthy moments.
So, even though there was some parts that read slow, this was a steady, fulfilling read. That's four stars from me. ...more
**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read thi**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read this book. If you tolerate or don't mind this content, then you may like this book despite that material. **
This book was recommended to me on a forum somewhere (perhaps for the objectionable content above). I must have ordered it to see how that was handled. I am curious about how authors were able to approach questionable content and still 1) get published, 2) gain a following, 3)write a book that others will recommend. I think that many readers have enough intelligence and self-awareness to read a book in which questionable content occurs and take it as written and either decide they can deal with the way it was written and treat it as fiction that doesn't espouse or endorse said behavior in real life, or decide that it didn't work for them. As I grow older, I have gotten very intolerant to rape (between the leads) in a romance. Let's face it, back in the 80s, it was hard to avoid this content, so you just dealt with it. Now, it's rare, and I think that is a reflection of the times. I never really liked it, to be honest. ( I am okay with forced seduction, but that does read different in a book. (although in real life, rape is rape) I think it's because the prevalence of violence against women (and the manner in which it is addressed) that occurs in society has sensitized me to this issue. Let me say this here and now: Spousal rape is a real thing, and it is 100% wrong. That's my official stance on it. That doesn't mean that I will give a book 1 star just because it has spousal rape or non-consent sexual encounters without consideration of other factors.
In this book, it was rather shocking to me. Not that it was graphically depicted, but that the writer didn't try to dress it up as anything other than rape. I believe that the author handled the subject matter responsibly and I feel that the hero was both sorry for what he did and realized how serious his action was. He didn't expect forgiveness, although he did ask for it. The heroine didn't accept blame for what happened or write it off, or assume that he had to right to rape her just because he was her husband (and Thank God for that). It was something she had to process emotionally and I was overall okay with the way the characters dealt with it. In the context of a fiction novel, I can see such a situation and deal with it. In reality, no. In my mind, I face the reality of this situation in light of a US senator's recent comment dismissing spousal rape, and it gives me a sick feeling inside. I wonder if that was a coincidence that I read this book a couple of days after seeing what this senator said. Maybe, but since I don't live in a vacuum, I can't really dismiss that coincidence.
So what do I think about this book?
I don't know if it was a very comfortable book to read on many levels.
Normally, I love the marriage of convenience theme, and I like when the heroine is reluctant to fall in love with the hero and he has to woo her. I don't feel this book is a good representation of the timelessness of this theme. First of all, while I could understand Cara's reluctance to warm to her husband, I still feel that her treatment of him was immature and mean-spirited. I am not talking about the rape situation right now, let me be clear. Right now, I am talking about her attitude for the majority of the book. In my mind, she had a choice to marry Nicholas, and she agreed to marry him in good faith. Nicholas treated her kindly, was willing to give her space and room, and he was tolerant of her meanness. The way she treated him made her seem like a big baby and I admit it made her less likable. Considering that he was helping her family out of a situation that her father engineered (although there was definitely some self-interest on his part), she seemed very unbalanced in her enmity towards Nicholas compared to her father and brothers, who were essentially willing to sell their daughter/sister to a man to save their own butts. Not to mention she is used as a dogsbody in the family. There is a lot of unaddressed pathology in this family in the background of this book.
This is one of those books where the term 'enjoying' doesn't really apply. It was a painful situation, because you could see that Nicholas was deeply in love with Cara, but Cara had emotional problems stemming from her childhood that were never addressed or dealt with. I suppose that is an example of carrying baggage into a marriage that makes it very difficult for a marriage to survive. In this case, we have a tidy(ish) ending that makes you hopeful that their marriage will survive. I guess I feel that their chances are good, but in my mind, I feel that Cara and Nicholas both need to go to marriage counseling to deal with their issues and to learn how to communicate. While the rape was a huge issue, it was the tip of the iceberg of the issues they have in their marriage, and one would hope they are able to deal with these issues in a healthy fashion and keep their marriage together.
I guess I would give this book three stars because I wasn't overly satisfied with the subject matter treatment or with the story on an emotional level. I think that the author is a good writer, and it definitely kept me interested, although sometimes it felt like a train wreck about to happen. Sometimes, that kind of fun with Harlequin Presents, but not in this case.
I enjoyed reading this book. I think the writing style probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it has a trad regency feel that I like in a regency roI enjoyed reading this book. I think the writing style probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it has a trad regency feel that I like in a regency romance.
Unfortunately, the title and blurb are a bit misleading. The hero, Ben, really isn't that much of a rake. He's illegitimate, and that has affected him so that he doesn't 'spread his seed' liberally. He has affairs, but he is discreet about it and careful to take precautions. Charlotte is a virgin, but she's not as young and naive as the title conveys. She's five and twenty, very intelligent, and tough-minded, and she holds her own.
I thought the chemistry between Ben and Charlotte was a big plus in this story. They do a lot of verbal sparring. Charlotte has been attracted to Ben since they first met, but she doesn't want to be. Ben feels the same way, much to her surprise. She had determined that she would stay a spinster and devote her life to educating young women. She had no desire to marry. And Ben isn't a marrying man anyway. The last thing she'd do is be any man's mistress. If you're like me and you hate the whole mistress angle, don't worry. Actually, Ben doesn't hold any dishonorable intentions seriously. He knows better. He actually turns out to be quite honorable. For many reasons, I just didn't see him as a rake, which is a good thing for me.
There is a bit of suspense, but it's not the major part of the storyline. However, there were things that occurred in the previous books that were discussed and alluded to that left me in the dark regarding the suspense angle. Not enough to frustrate me or spoil the read though. I'm not real big on suspense being too prominent in a romance book, so I was happy that the focus is on the sparring/chase/advance/retreat between Ben and Charlotte. There are some passionate kisses and a well-done love scene, and the author shows very clearly that they are both crazy about each other. I believe the author did a good job in keeping this story period. There was enough sexual tension to make this a lively romance, but the characters acted as people of their times in how they conducted themselves (very important for this reader).
I think that the narrative relies a bit too heavily on internal dialogue, and less on actual conversation and action, and that would be a negative for some readers. I would have liked more of both, but overall, I thought this was a good read. I enjoyed it, and I had a smile on my face as I finished the epilogue, which was very sweet.
I've give this book a 3.75/5.0 stars because I thought it was good entertainment, and I really liked both Ben and Elizabeth. And I am a sucker for a good spinster/bachelor sparring and fighting their feelings for each other romance. I'd recommend it with reservations as expressed above....more
I was hoping for a good, older Harlequin goodie when I picked this up, but I didn't get my fix that I wanted. Reading this was like swimming through mI was hoping for a good, older Harlequin goodie when I picked this up, but I didn't get my fix that I wanted. Reading this was like swimming through molasses. I don't know if it was my mood or if the story just didn't do it for me. I suspect it was a bit of both. Now I am not the girl who thinks every book she reads needs to have descriptive sex, so that wasn't my problem with this book. It was that I didn't feel the love between David and Eve. Eve was fighting tooth and nail not to feel anything, I do get. She was recovering from a damaging relationship with a man who turned out to be married, which I can respect. However, the execution on that was poor. I never felt that Eve had an ethical dilemma with the adultery so much as that he was thinking of leaving his wife for her, and specifically his kids. Yes, taking a man away from his children is bad, but it's also bad to participate in an adulterous relationship and contributing to a man betraying his wife is equally bad. I didn't expect Eve to wear a scarlet letter 'A', but she didn't seem to have any angst about the actual act of cheating. The author threw in a casual 'he said he was separated', which means nothing to me. He's still married. So, yes, that was an issue with this book.
The other issue is just that it felt mediocre. No passions were stirred in the slightest. I didn't care about the love story. David was mildly appealing. He was a nice guy, he was attractive, but he was bland to me. I liked him, and that was as deep as it got. Eve was bland as well, when she wasn't abrasive. I didn't care about her that much. I normally like when the heroine is slow to fall for the hero and he has to work to woo her, when it's done well, but in the case of this book, it didn't work for me. As far as Eve, I didn't feel any sympathy for her and I don't think David did that much wooing.
End verdict: This was disappointing for a book of my favorite theme: marriage of convenience. I guess my needs for a good and quick romance were too great for this book to satisfy. I give it three stars because it wasn't a bad book, but it was just okay. Lukewarm is a good word for it. One thing I did like was the fact that David was a jewelry designer, and his creations sounded beautiful! Oh, and it was set in Chicago, a much beloved city to me. There was even a scene where David had ordered pizza. Chicago style pizza---sigh!...more
After a long break from this series, I'm glad I'm back. I missed this world! I put this one off because I wasn't too enamored with Mercy, another domiAfter a long break from this series, I'm glad I'm back. I missed this world! I put this one off because I wasn't too enamored with Mercy, another dominant female changeling, and I wasn't looking forward to more of the same irritation. Fortunately, Indigo isn't like Mercy in that sense. However, the dominance issue seems even more troublesome with the wolves. I guess that make sense, for wolf pack dynamics are very crucial. Cats don't have quite the same rigid social structure.
I liked this book a lot. I didn't love it. I guess I just didn't feel as compelled by Indigo and Drew's love story as I've felt in the past. I freely admit that I am a big fan of the Psy storyline, and when it's two Changeling leads, it's not as much fun. Not as much contrast, and inherent tension in the pairing. Not to say that Indigo and Drew's story didn't have tension, because it does. Both emotional and sexual.
I didn't know much about Drew, and I was pleasantly surprised with the complexity of his character. His identity and the result that it has on his place in the pack reminded me of the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs. I'm not sure if you could directly call Drew an Omega, and probably Singh avoids doing so because of the inherent comparison. However, I think he probably is an Omega, in that he doesn't have to respond in the same way to a dominant pack member. Of course he recognizes the Alpha and respects dominants, but he has more independence. I guess you can see I did like the insight into pack dynamics that this book delivers. Being very interested in that when it comes to stories, I appreciated it.
One thing I wasn't as comfortable with was all the 'in your face' about the fact that both Andrew and Indigo had people they had been sexually involved with still in their lives. I think I am way too possessive a person to be 'cool' with that. In a way, it was good that they had to just get over it and focus on the now. I like to think I would be a big enough person to do that if I was presented with a similar situation in real life. Not sure though.
As far as the ongoing Psy storyline, I feel that got shortchanged. There was some progression, but it seemed less expansive than I had hoped. Maybe I was wanting more because I was less invested in Indigo and Andrew's love story...It could also be because Kaleb doesn't show up in this book the way I wished. Or some of the other Psy I am crushing on. Admittedly, it was cool seeing more of Judd, because I love him.
So, yes, this was a very good book. But it wasn't as good to me as some of the Psy books. I did respect Indigo and I liked her. I could see the issues she faced as a tough female. It's hard for females who fail to fit certain expectations of gender, and when they meet men who they fall in love with. That man has to get who they are and respect them for who they are. I can honestly say that Drew is the right guy for her. As far as Drew, I think Indigo grew to appreciate and understand what a complex guy Drew was, easygoing by effort. A deep ocean who pretends to be a still pond. People tended to underestimate him and that could lead to some real hurt. I'm glad that she was man enough to embrace the whole of Drew.
Yeah, this was a a solid four star book, but not a five star read for me. That's a shame. Let me tell you, I am so excited to finally read Hawke's book. He has the heroine I was hoping for too!...more
Married by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine MarMarried by Morning was such a delightful book. It fully exceeded my high expectations. The sparks between Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay, and Catherine Marks in the prior Hathaway books promised good tension and a fun read, but Ms. Kleypas managed to draw on deep wells of emotion and passion in writing this story, that made it even fuller than I expected.
I had the feeling that Catherine would prove to be fairly tortured for a Kleypas heroine, and it turned out I was right. She had some deeply buried issues, related to her abandonment by her father to the dubious care of her grandmother and aunt, and the heinous future they had planned for her. I was quite surprised at the terrible fate that Catherine barely avoided, and glad that her brother, Harry Rutledge, came to her rescue in time. But, his saving her wasn't soon enough for her to avoid the deep emotional trauma of what she suffered. Since that point, she has buried herself within the prim disguise of a spinster governess, although she isn't that much older than her charges, the younger Hathaway sisters, Poppy and Beatrix.
Leo Hathway was her Achilles' Heel, almost from the beginning. A strong, vital man who made her feel things she didn't want to feel. He represented what she thought she despised, but Leo proves to be the man for her. They trade insults freely, but underneath is a sizzling attraction that is more than obvious to the Hathaways.
I simply adored Leo in this book. He was the consummate hero in pursuit, in all the best ways. He is determined to woo Catherine and give her exactly what she needs: love, understanding, protection, and companionship. Because he realizes that she's the one woman for him, even though he vowed not to fall in love again after losing Laura. Catherine brings him to life, making him want her more than is prudent and convenient. And, in true form for him, he barely skirts society's rules chasing his reluctant heroine. I could see why Catherine was hesitant to accept Leo's proposal, with her past and what she suffered--even though I hoped she'd say yes to his proposal. Although Leo was frustrated that she continued to hold herself back, he didn't give up. I really admired him for that. I think Catherine needed a man who really focused on her, wooing her powerfully.
Leo was a dark horse in this series, although it shouldn't have been a surprise at how well he turned out as a hero. He went from the darkest depths of despair after the loss of his first love, turning into a dissolute rake bent on self-destruction. His sojourn in France gives him the time and space he needs to heal his broken heart and shattered soul. When he comes back, he's still a bit of a rake, completely irreverent and wicked in the things he says, but he finds a sense of purpose in taking care of his properties as Lord Ramsay, and occasionally doing architectural commissions, spending time with his family. When Ms. Marks shows up as the governess for his younger, unmarried sisters, he wonders why they hired such a buttoned-up, bitter hag. Yet, he finds himself unwittingly attracted to her. In fact, she becomes an obsession he cannot deny himself. When he finds out that he must marry to keep Ramsay house, he isn't eager to find a bride at first. But soon, his heart tells him that only one bride will do, Miss Marks. And Leo moves mountains and does the sweetest little things to prove his love. It made me sigh to see such a good woman who had been forsaken in many ways find a man who loved her so very much, and she loved in return.
This was a simple book, but rich in content. It has the characteristic, beautiful writing that makes Lisa Kleypas one of my favorite authors. It is very sensual, with the compelling attraction between Leo and Catherine. Stolen kisses that will melt your socks off, moments of intimacy full of passion, and a love that conquers both Leo and Catherine's reluctant hearts. I could not help but root for this couple. And of course, it's always lovely to catch up with the Hathaways, and their spouses. It feels like coming home. ...more