Madison Carmichael loves the small-town lifestyle she'd grown up with in California, and has no desire to leave Serenity Hills. But all that iSynopsis
Madison Carmichael loves the small-town lifestyle she'd grown up with in California, and has no desire to leave Serenity Hills. But all that is threatened when Jake Colt shows up, claiming that he's the new owner of Oak Hills, her parents' winery. Jake is son of the owner of Colt Enterprises, living a rootless dilettante life as a vice president in name, although he mainly jet sets around the world, looking for the next adrenaline rush. He made a deal with his father that if he could make the winery profitable, he could be in charge of his own subsidiary of Colt Enterprises, far away from the father he's despised since he was ten.
Madison hates Jake from first sight. He reminds her of another city-bred man who broke her heart. She doesn't trust his intentions, not as the new owner and boss of her parents, or the seductive twinkle in his eye when he looks at her. Jake likes what he sees of Madison and wants to explore their attraction, at least as long as he's in town. He hires her struggling photography business to take some photos for his new marketing plans for the winery to increase its exposure, concocted as an opportunity to spend time with her and to gain her trust. However, Jake discovers a real affinity for the winery business and realizes that he really takes this business endeavor seriously. As Jake and Madison spend time together, they realize that she can teach him the delights of home and family and he can teach her to be more spontaneous and open to adventure.
Fearless Love is an enjoyable sweet contemporary romance. Initially, I felt disconnected from the lead characters, but they grew on me as I read more of their story. Jake isn't that likable initially, too much the textbook rich playboy born with a silver spoon in his mouth. However, he started growing on me as it was evident that his cavalier lifestyle was a reaction to deep hurts from his childhood. He shows a lot of consideration and concern for Madison, which belies his insistence that he doesn't want to get serious for her or have feelings involved. In that way, he earned my respect. It's gratifying to see him realize that he can put down roots and take life seriously, with the right motivation. Madison has her prickly moments that are at times borderline rude. While I could understand her inability to trust Jake, her attitude may rub some readers the wrong way, especially since she allows a past hurt to prejudice her against Jake and ‘pigeonhole' him unfairly. Her feelings for him are divided: a powerful sexual attraction warring with a head knowledge that he's bad for her based on her past failed serious romance. Kadence is very capable at developing the chemistry and growing emotions between the leads in an organic way. Their photography adventures provide plenty of bonding moments that show that they have a lot of potential together.
The small-town vibe is appealing, with evocative descriptions of the local natural wonders, and I liked the story about a famous star-crossed couple from the town's history. It was more than evident why Madison would love her town so much. Madison is surrounded by loving family and friends, showing Jake the positive side of small town life, which he needs to see. Readers who enjoy ‘fish out of water' and ‘opposites attract' romance as well as small town settings will appreciate that about this story. Also the fact that there is no rush to sexual intimacy, but a nicely paced development of their relationship, may appeal to readers looking for a sweet rather than erotic contemporary romance.
Fearless Love is a short, enjoyable romance with a good lesson about how easy it is to judge people unfairly without taking the time to know them or understand them on a deeper level. It also has a good lesson about letting go of past fears and embracing future opportunities with courage.
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale oSynopsis
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale of her grandmother's home. Her past memories of Mistletoe Valley are painful, including her rebellious behavior and earned reputation as a "Preacher's Kid," her subsequent failed marriage, and most of all, having to give her baby daughter up for adoption. Her first day back, she meets handsome and friendly real estate agent, Rich Stevens, who happens to have an adorable daughter named Carly (who coincidentally is the same age as her daughter). An instant spark and connection develops between them, but Sarah knows she doesn't intend to stay in Mistletoe Valley, where the past has eliminated her hope for a good future. Besides, Rich is also a part-time youth pastor and a grieving widower, not an ideal choice for a romance, considering Sarah's bad reputation as a rebellious "Preacher's Kid" when she was younger. Can they spend the short time they have together, knowing that they will have to walk away from any love developing between them?
The Heart Leads Home is a sweet contemporary romance that has a meaningful message about letting go of past mistakes and pain and being open to a future. Both leads have distinctive burdens to carry, and they clearly help each other through their pain, although each has to work through the bulk of their emotional issues themselves. I could feel Sarah's anguish over having to give up her daughter, failing her grandparents, and her regrets over her short-lived marriage. Her fears are reasonable, and her desire not to ‘go back' is completely understandable. She showed a lot of courage to face people who knew about her mistakes, so when she had occasional lapses in mettle in being open to a future romance and letting go of the past, it's forgivable.
Rich's issues seem to take a backseat in the story. The author does mention his pain about his wife's death, and there is a sense that he is grieving, but not as much page time is spent on processing his grief as is spent on Sarah's journey. Also the stress of his juggling his single father status with his full-time job as a realtor and his work as a youth pastor wasn't as well-described as I would have liked. I felt that his portrayal was lacking, as a result.
The romance is well done. I appreciated that even though this is a sweet/lightly inspirational romance, the author does establish romantic chemistry with some sexual attraction between Sarah and Rich. One of my pet peeves with Christian romances is the way that the characters are often sexually neutered by the author, perhaps out of the sense that any sexual content is inappropriate. While I respect that not all readers would feel comfortable with graphic sexual descriptions, I see nothing wrong with a passionate kiss between the characters or even an acknowledgement that they feel attraction to each other. Voeller achieved a good balance in her portrayal of Sarah and Rich's developing feelings for each other. How, yes, they initially feel physically attracted to each other, although their love is built on a foundation of friendship and respect.
I did feel that the secondary characters lacked definition and development. Because they seemed one-dimensional, some of the dialogue between the characters seemed disingenuous. Overall, Carly was well-done as a child character, although the scene where she behaves badly could have been more authentic.
For readers who enjoy sweeter contemporary romance with a light inspirational theme, The Heart Leads Home will probably be an enjoyable read. In some ways it seemed to have an identity crisis, because the Christian message felt a little sidelined/watered down. For readers who don't really identify with the faith message, this might appeal. But for Christian readers or those who read books to gain insight into the way believers live out their faith, this might be disappointing. Additionally, the crises faced by both leads were watered down in how they were described (another pet peeve of mine with Christian romance). Being a Christian is hard, and Christians face some serious challenges in life, and the tendency in Christian fiction novels is to sanitize the content to the point that the message lacks profundity. Despite the way the end dragged, leading to the loss of some of my emotional investment, this was a well-paced, well-written book overall.
Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and heSynopsis
Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and help run her household through her final month of pregnancy. Shortly after her arrival, the dashing Lord Adair asks the ducal couple if his second cousin, the roguish George Rodrick Irvin, Viscount Elmer, who is apparently hiding from pirates can stay with them since he's going out of the country. Celine is nursing an affection for a very bad poet by the name of Philbert Woodbead, and the bored Viscount is eager to help her reconnect with him to keep his mind off his own situation of being Public Enemy Number One with a vicious group of pirates. With his checkered past and happy-go-lucky personality, Viscount Elmer brings life and chaos into Celine's ordered existence. He makes her realize the difference between a temporary affection and true love, but is Viscount Elmer here to stay or is this just a temporary diversion while he's in hiding from his enemies?
Seeking Philbert Woodbead has the slapstick humor tone of its predecessor, Penelope, but unfortunately, it lacks its charm and the cohesiveness. Celine doesn't have the presence and doesn't captivate (and bewilder) the reader as thoroughly as her sister Penelope. That was a shame, since I really loved Penelope, her personality and her antics. I perceive that the author wanted to flip the page with this book, and have a serious heroine with a silly hero, but George isn't as funny or as lively a main character as this book needed.
While there are some humorous moments, they didn't feel organic. The silly tone felt contrived, as if the author was trying a little too hard. The biggest issue was this book doesn't have the energy and spirit a story of this kind needs. When a story is played for laughs, it needs to own its absurdity, and I didn't feel that needed sense of abandon to silliness that makes Penelope such a delightful read.
Overall, Celine is likable, although a bit bland. I didn't connect with her as much as I liked, and I hardly felt any connection with George. For a hero who supposedly had his sense of joie de vivre, I didn't feel it. The pirate storyline could have been a bit more prominent and better integrated into the storyline, because a lot of the humorous potential within this plot was left undeveloped.
It was great to catch up with Penelope and her duke again, and their scenes were some of my favorite parts. Penelope is now a married woman who is heavily pregnant, and seeing her and the duke deal with some of the aspects of pregnancy and marriage was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Seeking Philbert Woodbead after being so captivated with Penelope. This is a decent book, and if I hadn't loved the first Fairweather series book so much, I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It just doesn't hold up as well in comparison. I'm still looking forward to continuing this series, because I do enjoy Anya Wylde's writing and her desire to make the reader laugh with sweet, fun Regency romance.
Young baker's daughter, Robin forms a group that stands up to fight against the tyranny of an unjust king who is overtaxing the populace of CoSynopsis
Young baker's daughter, Robin forms a group that stands up to fight against the tyranny of an unjust king who is overtaxing the populace of Cordovia, while children go hungry and without basic necessities. Having learned the warrior arts of swordfighting, riding, and excelling at archery, she dresses in men's clothing and leads her band of Robin's Rebels to hold up the taxmen as they pass through the forest, and in other ways subvert the King's unjust policies. Robin meets fellow young rebel, Daniel, who also leads his own band of men who work against the government and help the unfortunate. After a challenge to see who has the most skills, they agree to work together. It doesn't take very long for Daniel to realize that Robin is a woman, and he respects her for being a strong person who stands up for what she believes. With each moment they spend working side by side, Robin and Daniel fall deeper in love. Their mutual desire to improve their country's welfare only fuels the fire of the growing affection for each other.
The Rebels of Cordovia is a historical fiction novel that teams a sweet love story with a light adventure tale about people standing up for others and for what is right, against a corrupt governmental system that exploits its population of rights and dignity and ignores their basic needs. Robin is a very lovable heroine, both endearing and admirable. She's caring, strong in character, and very good-hearted. Robin is a true believer who is not afraid to stand up for others. Daniel is a great match for her. He shares many of her traits, and has a grace that strong man born into privilege might not necessarily possess. Instead of taking advantage of the weak and assuming himself naturally superior, he views people whose stations in life differ from his with respect. I especially liked that he treated Robin as an equal and didn't dismiss her because of her sex. While he finds her attractive, he doesn't objectify her or make assumptions about her based on being a woman. Daniel is a really nice guy, with a lot of honor and class, but also an appealing although roguish sense of humor. The author makes it very believable that these two would fall in love. The camaraderie with other characters in this book charmed me, and I loved the caring, open relationships that Robin and Daniel share with their parents, and the esteem that their band of rebels show for them and each other.
While this was a very enjoyable read, I did have a few issues. It took a while to get immersed in the story. While Robin is clearly a very capable warrior, I was disappointed that she didn't have more fighting scenes. Although I liked that the rebels rarely resorted to violence, I feel that Robin should have been depicted in more of the hand-to-hand fighting, with added opportunities to acquit herself in physical confrontations. Also the narrative lacked a sense of grounding in the historical period. Some of the language was too modern-sounding and the descriptions could have been more detailed. As a result, the world-building was tenuous and didn't feel very authentic for a historical novel, even with its fictional setting. Additionally, the villains were not as well-developed. A point of view by the King would have enhanced this read.
Despite some minor issues, The Rebels of Cordovia is a novel that readers who enjoy the stories of freedom fighters like Robin Hood and Zorro will appreciate. The fact that the lead is a strong and self-actualized heroine is a great bonus. This is a feel good novel that makes you glad to see that intrepid heroines and heroes are out there, doing their part to make their world a better place.
Young country maiden, Penelope Fairweather arrives in London to stay with the Radclyffs, her goal to catch a husband. However, Penelope is theSynopsis
Young country maiden, Penelope Fairweather arrives in London to stay with the Radclyffs, her goal to catch a husband. However, Penelope is the most awkward of ducklings. She is a disaster magnet, with no polish, a penchant for saying whatever comes to her mind, and a best friend (Lady Bathsheba) who is a goat. So the dowager Duchess of Blackthorne and her daughter, Anne, Lady Radclyff, have their work cut out for them. It doesn't help that Charles, the present duke, despises Penelope, and wants to send her back to Finnshire. What they don't know is that Penelope has no home to go back to, since her stepmother hates her. Penelope has one chance to have a home, and that's to succeed at finding a husband. If only she could do something right and temper her incautious, enthusiastic ways, so she can have a chance at a home and a family of her own.
The Radclyff women recruit Madame Bellafraunde, a dynamo at styling women of the ton, who just happens to be a man dressed as a woman, to turn Penelope into a stylish young lady who can catch a husband. What ensues is moment after moment of zany scenes, as Penelope struggles to find her feet in a new world. The Duke of Blackthorne slowly finds his feelings change for Penelope, her sweet spirit and generous, authentic nature finding the key to his frozen heart. Now if he could only convince Penelope that he doesn't hate her. There's also the matter of his mean-spirited fianceé, Lady Lydia Snowly.
Penelope is a laugh riot. This is a book for romance readers who really want to enjoy themselves with lots of slapstick-style comedic scenes and absurdity. Penelope is absolutely adorable. Her sweetness and honest spirit makes her a heroine that readers will love. At times, I wondered how she could constantly stumble from disaster to disaster, but it's all in fun. Mixed with the hilarious moments is pathos for Penelope's situation. She lost her true mother at birth, and was never loved by her stepmother. She never felt accepted in her own home. She hasn't had the same opportunities as many, but that doesn't stop her from being a young woman of courage and strength.
Charles, Duke Blackthorne is not very likable for most of the book. He says the most horrible things to Penelope, which makes him seem like a puppy-kicker. I loved that Penelope stood up to him, and demanded his respect. She didn't try to fit into his narrow boxes and narrow world, and over time, he realizes that he loves her for who she is, despite her lack of a verbal filter and penchant for disaster. While I didn't much care for Charles initially, he does come around and redeem himself, and he and Penelope have great chemistry. I wanted him to fall in love with her, just because that would be the last possible thing a lofty duke like himself would ever consider doing.
This novel is populated with quirky characters that kept me laughing and engaged in the story. I love to laugh, and Anya Wylde definitely had me laughing with this book. I couldn't wait to see what zany disaster would occur next. I liked the crazy twist on "My Fair Lady", with a little cross-dressing thrown in.
Penelope is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. It's unashamedly goofy, but it's done so well, this book is infectiously readable as a result. I would recommend this novel to readers who love funny romance stories. Penelope is a heroine that you can't help but love. Charles isn't quite as likable, which is why this isn't a five star read, but I did like how he comes to realize that he can't resist falling in love with Penelope. And it's great to see her get the happy ending she deserves. Definitely recommended!
Tennyson Wells learns the hard way that Jasper Greon is not to be trusted when he abandons her when they run off together to get married. CaleSynopsis
Tennyson Wells learns the hard way that Jasper Greon is not to be trusted when he abandons her when they run off together to get married. Caleb Cameron is there to pick up the pieces, rescuing her and taking her back home. He also encourages her to change her life, to put behind her past thoughtless behavior and to pursue her dream of helping others. He encourages her to mend bridges with her sister Mauranie, and facilitates her mission to help Theron Barnes, who ends up with a crippling injury after he comes to her aid the night Jasper abandons her. Slowly, Tennyson's feelings for Caleb grow into something more than friendship, but will Caleb be patient enough to wait for Tennyson to notice how much he has loved her from afar?
Substitute Lover is the follow up to the previous book in the Place in the Heart series about Tennyson's sister Mauranie, Breaking Point. In this book, the reader is able to see Tennyson's evolution from a self-absorbed, immature person to a woman in charge of her own destiny. Tennyson is very sympathetic, which was not evident in the previous story. I learned more about her, that while her actions seemed frivolous, she was actually a deeper person with more honest motivations than she seemed. Tennyson is a sensitive and caring young woman who feels compelled to help others, which gets her into trouble at times because she can also be gullible. I came to like her very much. I could see why Caleb fell in love with her, despite the fact that he almost makes a career out of keeping her out of trouble, due to her association with no-good Jasper Greon.
I enjoyed this story for its heartfelt exploration of relationships and realistic people with troubles they are working through. As a shortcoming, the relationship between Caleb and Tennyson could have used more romantic tension, but I did enjoy their friendship and how they genuinely seemed to like each other. Caleb is a real sweetheart, very chivalrous and caring towards Tennyson, even when he doesn't always support or understand her actions.
I feel that this story could have benefited from being longer, giving more room to develop the romance and also the suspense storyline. Additionally, I would have liked to see more interaction between Tennyson and her sister, considering how acrimonious their relationship was in Breaking Point. Despite its shortcomings, Substitute Lover was a very readable and involving book. It touched my heart and made me happy to see Tennyson come into herself and for her to find a good man to call her own in Caleb.
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting foSynopsis
Merry Anna Dougal is a very passionate animal rescuer who literally stumbles into Grady McGrath in the middle of the forest. She is hunting for injured wildlife. McGrath is a bounty hunter and animal cruelty investigator hunting for a bail-jumper with a penchant for abusing animals. McGrath knows instantly that Merry Anna is a woman who needs a protector. Her heart is so big for animals that she doesn't have much of a grip on reality and the danger she is in when someone is trying to kill her. He insists on her staying in his house for 24 hour protection when someone vandalizes her house. They will end up playing house together with a fostered Basset Hound and nearly newborn kitten under their care. That's saying something for two people who don't have good experiences with family or relationships. Will they be able to walk away from each other when the danger is all over for Merry Anna?
Charming Champion is well-named. This is a charming book. Merry Anna has an endearing innocence and earnestness with her passionate love for animals. McGrath is adorable. He's tough and sweet at the same time. He is clearly in over his head for a typical loner who falls head over heels for a woman who comes with baggage, the emotional and furry kind. He is a protector by nature, a man who was a sickly child who developed his body into perfect fitness and fought to escape from his overprotective mother's fold. As an adult, years of living under his mother's stifling over-protectiveness has made him wary of commitment. However, Merry Anna inspires him to want a woman in his life on a forever basis. It's very cute seeing them together, discovering love for each other.
As an animal lover, I appreciated spending time with Mr. Ponder, the Basset Hound they end up fostering, as well as Snowy, the abandoned newborn kitten they are hand-feeding. Also, I admired the work that both Merry Anna and McGrath do with animals and for animal welfare, although Merry Anna has issues to work through with her single-minded, blind determination to help animals at any cost. Often, I was frustrated at her when she would dive in headfirst trying to help animals, without thinking things through. I could understand how McGrath might have felt, since he usually had to pull her back from the edge.
A shortcoming of this novel is the fact that the suspense angle is lightweight. It definitely ties in with the overall theme of animal welfare, but the villains lacked depth and intensity. I couldn't help giggling at the various altercations with the bad guys.
Charming Champion was a pleasant, fun, heartwarming book. I think I would have rated it higher if the conflict with the animal abusers was stronger and had more impact. It was hard to take it seriously. Nevertheless, the message about care and respect for animals was well received by this animal lover. I enjoyed the romance. It was sweet with just enough sensuality, the chemistry between McGrath and Merry Anna well-written and appealing. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy lighthearted, animal-themed sweet romance.
Mauranie Wells is breaking her back working to keep her family ranch in New Mexico, and living day to day in the shadow of her younger, more bSynopsis
Mauranie Wells is breaking her back working to keep her family ranch in New Mexico, and living day to day in the shadow of her younger, more beautiful sister, Tennyson. Tennyson is constantly angry and demanding more money, when there is little money available. Especially when Mauranie finds out from the bank manager that her father's investments failed since his death and their inheritance is gone. Next she finds out that the mortgage is about to go into default for non-payment.
Mauranie is working to breed and train horses to turn her family ranch into a productive enterprise, but that takes time she doesn't have to meet their overdue mortgage payment. She doesn't have much hope to get through the day until handsome, well-dressed cowboy Stemson Arroyo Smith comes to their ranch. Instant chemistry ignites between her and Stemson, and Mauranie is shocked that he overlooks her more feminine, well-dressed sister to give her the time of day. Mauranie is self-conscious about her hearing disability, which she compensates for, although it makes it difficult to be around other people. Stemson is the new banker in the nearby town of Aqua Gulch. He came to look at her property in order to find a place to stable his horses and genuinely seems to like Mauranie, but Tennyson plants seeds of doubt in Mauranie's mind that he could truly care about her; that he's out to steal their ranch instead.
Mauranie is troubled by the tensions of trying to keep her sister satisfied, and heartsick at the growing distance between the sisters. Can she remain true to her vision for the family ranch, and keep her sister happy? Is a future possible with Stemson, or is that just a distant dream, far removed from the ugly reality of trying to keep their ranch afloat with little help from her sister?
Breaking Point is as much about family as it is a romance. Mauranie has made incredible sacrifices for her sister since her parents died. And her sister seems increasingly ungrateful. Love has made her bend over backwards for her sister. She hates that her sister is always angry and unhappy with her. I felt Mauranie's anguish at the growing gap between the sisters, her desire to succeed at turning their ranch around, and her hope that she could find a man of her own and a family.
I very much appreciated the manner in which Ms. Beggs incorporates Mauranie's hearing issues into the story. Mauranie works hard to live as normal a life as possible, and doesn't allow those hearing issues to get in the way of living a productive life. Mauranie is a great heroine. She is strong, but also loving. Her heart is very good, and she truly cares about others. I hated the way Tennyson treated Mauranie, always demanding and never thanking her for all the sacrifices she made. I was glad that Mauranie did stay true and consistent in her love for her sister; although I wish that she didn't let the younger woman walk all over her the way she did, and would force her to share more of the burdens of running the ranch.
Stemson is an intriguing character. He's a dapper cowboy businessman with a caring, down to earth heart. It spoke highly to me that he could appreciate Mauranie for her unspoiled, unpolished goodness and inner and outer beauty. He also struggles with demons from his family life, although the author focuses less on these overall. The tension between them resides in the trust and self-esteem issues they both have, and in the process of learning to open up to each other. Their loving bond and romantic chemistry kept me reading. I wanted things to work out for Mauranie and Stemson to be together, and I appreciated how the story unfolds on this front as well as with Mauranie's problems with her sister.
Ms. Beggs packs a lot of emotional impact into this short novel. She has a descriptive and emotional writing style that drew me into the story. Her imagery of historical ranch life spoke to the western lover in me. I felt for the characters and rooted for a positive resolution for them all. This was a well-written, enjoyable novella, although I wish it had been full-length; I feel that Ms. Beggs could have explored the issues presented more deeply. I would love to continue reading this series to revisit the characters and see what happens in the future with them.
We often have ideas of what we want in life, but they aren’t necessarily what we need. Such was the case with Michael Bowen. He asked the Lord to sendWe often have ideas of what we want in life, but they aren’t necessarily what we need. Such was the case with Michael Bowen. He asked the Lord to send him a bride, a genteel, elegant Southern lady. The Lord sent him Selina instead. Of course, he took one look at the rough and tumble, trouser-wearing , but very beautiful young woman, and thought he’d been cheated. It turns out that Selina had her friend write those letters, unaware of the embellishments her friends had made. Nevertheless, Michael was a man who took his vows seriously, and he’d married her, even if she wasn’t the woman he’d fallen in love with via the letters they had exchanged. He would make the best of this marriage, but he didn’t believe he’d ever love her. He was afraid to love the wrong kind of woman after what his eldest brother went through with his first wife.
Selina fell in love with Michael via the letters he’d sent her. She came to Idaho from Kentucky in good faith, determined to be a good wife to her new husband. She was perfectly happy with him, with his good looks, and his honorable personality, and she was happy to have a safe home and plenty of food, and an accepting family of in-laws. However, it was heart breaking knowing that she wasn’t enough for her husband, what he wanted. That he didn’t love her for who she was. Regardless, she too had made vows and she’d keep them. They both prayed that God would make the best of their marriage, and give them the hearts for being a good husband and wife to each other.
Debra Ullrick charmed me with this novel. Her writing is crisp and lively. Her prose nicely descriptive and full of imagery. I found Selina utterly delightful. She is comfortable in her own skin. She’s a giving, generous person who is highly capable of many things, even if that list doesn’t include reading and writing, speaking genteelly, and wearing dresses. She wants to improve things about her that need improving, but she doesn’t want to fit into anyone’s box for her. She believes that God made everyone and everything unique, and that’s the way she wants to stay. I like that she stands up for herself with Michael when he tries to do the bossy husband bit. Like her, I don’t believe being a good wife means being a doormat to one’s husband. She’s perfectly willing to honor and cherish her husband, but she’s not going to let him control her. I loved how she inspired Michael to look at the small things one typically takes for granted, the ever-present beauty of the world around him. To stop and smell the roses. She continually surprised him, and showed him that God knew exactly what he needed in a wife. I loved Selina because she was easy to love. I wanted Michael to feel the same. It took him a while, but ultimately he realized just what a good woman God had brought him. Michael was a good man. I didn’t like some of his tendencies to be narrow-minded about what he thought his life and his wife should be. I liked that he was a man of faith who truly wanted to do what was right. He was afraid that he couldn’t love his wife, but his actions showed love in that he treated her with respect, took care of her, stood up for her, and opened his life to Selina. He honored his vows, and he showed what he didn’t believe he could feel. Love is about what you do, not what you say. And I could see love in Michael’s actions towards Selina, long before he owned up or acknowledged it.
I am so glad that I read this book, because I enjoyed the story and the messages about the Christian walk in it. Along with a beautiful romance, it made for a very fulfilling read. I liked that even though this is a clean romance, Ms. Ullrick did a good job of conveying the chemistry between Selina and Michael, through their thoughts, their interactions, and their kisses, both gentle and passionate. There’s no question that they have a true love match.
The only reason I didn’t give this five stars is because Michael’s fixation on not being able to love Selina, and her efforts to change herself to make herself worthy of his life, along with the aspects about God giving him the power to love her seemed a bit unromantic. I do believe God shows us what love is, and I think that a Christian marriage should definitely involve God in the process of relating to one’s spouse, but I wanted Michael to realize that he loves Selina out of his own heart. He did come to this conclusion eventually, and realized how he wasn’t doing right by Selina trying to make her something she wasn’t. So that was good.
That issue aside, this was an infectiously readable, wonderful book. I would recommend The Unlikely Wife to any historical romance readers open to a book with an obvious Christian message. I will be reading more by this author.
Tears of Heaven was a very moving romance. It made me cry in several scenes. The devotion between Heaven and Sergei really hit home with me. I felt foTears of Heaven was a very moving romance. It made me cry in several scenes. The devotion between Heaven and Sergei really hit home with me. I felt for Heaven, all that she had gone through, and her emotional anguish, and then her fear to open herself up to loving. And Sergei never grew impatient with her, his love steadfast, gentle, and protective--the balm to heal her wounds.
Although this is a short novella, the progression of the love affair between Heaven and Sergei felt right. They started out as respectful strangers, Sergei initially just Heaven’s employer. As Sergei taught Heaven that she could trust him, their relationship became a deep, understanding friendship and bloomed into a profound love. Sergei’s proposal made me cry. It was very romantic! I guess I was really in the mood for a sweet, emotional love story, and this definitely sated my need. I wish that there were more sweet, romantic interracial romances out there like this. If you know some, point me in the right direction. I know that Jewel Adams definitely writes these kinds of stories, so I will be reading more of her. Although the love scenes are hinted at, not described, she managed to capture the passion that was a part of Heaven and Sergei’s relationship excellently, and I didn't feel cheated that there weren't more details. And this is perfect for readers who actively seek out clean romance.
The inspirational aspects of this story are readily apparent, and make this story even richer. Heaven’s relationship with God, and her faith as a member of the LDS Church is a part of her that gives her a lot of strength. It felt realistic and natural that she would pray and let her faith dictate the lifestyle she pursued. Readers who are in the LDS Church will appreciate these elements, but those who don’t share those beliefs can still appreciate this story, as Heaven and Sergei’s faith are well-integrated aspects of their personalities, and the spiritual elements were not presented in a preachy manner.
Heaven’s issues with her abusive ex-boyfriend were well-handled. It was clear that Heaven had her reasons for staying in the relationship as long as she did, but her self-esteem and strong beliefs had give her the strength to leave. She still suffered from fears and anxiety as her ex-boyfriend stalks her, but I liked how Sergei stood by her and protected her, and that she didn’t let those stand in the way of having the relationship of her long-cherished dreams with Sergei.
I could probably go on, but I want the future readers to get to enjoy this book without me revealing too much. Tears of Heaven is a wonderful story. I am thankful to Ms. Jewel Adams for the opportunity to read and enjoy this story. She has made a loyal reader out of me.
I was listening to 'Halo' on the way home, and it fits this book perfectly. ...more
This book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic whenThis book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic when I finished the book. Not all books have to have a feel good quotient, but it's certainly nice when they do.
Evan and Kathy were both struggling to do right by the boys they were raising: Evan was a single father with a three-year-old son, and a big farm to run. Kathy was raising her orphaned nephew.
Evan used to be a wild child, raising you know what, and living life in the fast lane. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, he did the right thing, and married her. But she didn't want the settled life of a wife to a farmer, and a mother. She ran off with Jesse and broke Evan's heart. He finally got his son back, and he's determined to do the right thing by him. But, he's still insecure that he's not a good man or role model for his son.
Kathy decided that small-town life would be better for Mac, because he was getting to be at the age where trouble was calling his name. She was thirty-four and still a virgin, and thought her chances at love has passed her by. In fact, she didn't even date. Evan is too gorgeous to ignore, and he has an adorable young son. Could this man be the answer to her dreams, able to be husband to her, and father to her nephew, who badly needs a male influence?
This couple met when Mac vandalized Evan's truck. Evan recognizes the plea for help in Mac's actions, and sentences him to two weeks shoveling manure on his farm. It turns out to be a really good decision on his part, helping to bring these two people and their sons together to form a family. The kids are pretty cute: Jesse and Mac hit it off and become honorary brothers. It was nice to see Mac's sullen teen angst get melted by an adorable kid. Mac's vulnerabilities were realistic in light of losing his mother, and his father rejecting him before he was even born. He feared that Kathy didn't truly love him but saw him as an obligation, and he acted out because of it. Evan did a great job of setting boundaries with Mac, and showing him that parental love is often in the form of loving discipline, an area that Kathy had trouble. Working on the farm gives Mac something to focus on other than his sense of inadequacy and his fears.
This was a really nice, sweet story. It's probably too sweet for some readers. Things wrap up in a nice bow at the end, and that's a-ok with me. Since life isn't really like that, it's nice to read books where that happens.
Kathy and Evan are a good match. They have passion and understanding, and can work past their disputes and uncertainties to keep their marriage going. I like that their love encompassed their children, proving that there is infinite room in a person's heart for people to love. They are two people I can see happily married fifty years from now. It was great spending a couple hours with them and reading about their romance....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
This was a cute, enjoyable romance. Cami was sassy and lifelike for a heroine. She was a Texas girl that could be walking on the streets of San AntoniThis was a cute, enjoyable romance. Cami was sassy and lifelike for a heroine. She was a Texas girl that could be walking on the streets of San Antonio, going out Texas two-stepping, or riding her horse in real life. Although Cami was a very young heroine, only nineteen, I didn't find her immature. She was young and had some idealistic views, but she showed maturity when it counted, and definitely met Ray head on.
Rayhan was hot. He was a bit behind in his views about women, 'wanting a pure vessel to carry his seed' although he played the field with unvirtuous American girls that he condemned with this mouth. Men! He did an underhanded thing, deliberately courting his enemy's daughter to get her oil rights, but I believed he manned up in the end and showed his devotion to Cami. It was kind of a complicated situation with her father swindling him. He certainly shouldn't have held onto his need for vengeance for ten years, but there was a part of his heritage, the need to seek vengeance. Funny how men in some of these books always want to use the heroine for said vengeance. And look at me reading these books.
Ray didn't want to admit but he fell fast and hard for Cami. I liked that he showed his commitment to her refusing by taking another wife, when he easily could have. Although Cami would have left him faster than you can drop a hot potato (not that I blame her). Cami showed her maturity and her strength in how she handled the situation with Ray's betrothed (a match made by his interfering brother the King).
This book had some really good sexual tension between Cami and Ray. It was odd how the writer would cut away from the love scenes, though. I've read Silhouette Romances with love scenes (not extremely explicit mind you). But I felt the love play between Cami and Ray was on the more descriptive side, and kind of set you up for some bedroom fireworks (and they were married at the time). Alas, the door closed between the deed was done and opened afterwards. What a shame.
My favorite part was when they were in Ray's home kingdom Adnan. It was a beautiful place, and the atmosphere felt very authentic. I think that Ms. Swift did her research and it showed. I felt like I was there. And what a nice trip it was. I enjoyed seeing the scenes where the family sat down to a casual dinner, and Cami feeds her niece by marriage. It was very nice to read about.
Although In The Sheikh's Arms didn't break any ground as a sheikh romance, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would definitely recommend it as a fan of the genre, and I am adding it to my keeper shelf....more
It was great to finally read Reynold's story. I love him even more after seeing him find his way to his own happy ending. Reynold really made his legIt was great to finally read Reynold's story. I love him even more after seeing him find his way to his own happy ending. Reynold really made his leg more important than it was. He thought that it was all that anyone ever saw about him, and felt bad because it made him feel different from his brothers. He needed to strike out on his own and find himself. Fortunately, his pilgrimage brought him to a group of people badly in need of a hero. Sabine and her remaining people believe they are being preyed upon by a dragon. They entreat Reynold to protect them from the dragon. Reynold doesn't really believe in dragons, but his knight code requires him to protect those in need. Plus, Peregrine, the squire appointed by his kooky l'Estrange aunts by marriage, insists he needs to do this because it's preordained as his knight's quest. Reynold agrees to help them, and finds himself falling for the blonde beauty Sabine, even knowing she can't feel the same for him because of his infirmity.
I felt that Reynold was somewhat too mopey about his leg. It makes sense, to a certain extent. Being in a family of larger than life men, it must have been hard to be born different. This mission really gets Reynold to see himself and his 'lame' leg different. It doesn't have to be something that requires him to be alone and unloved by a good woman. It doesn't have to define him as a person. He begins to see himself through others' eyes for the strong, intelligent, capable man that he is.
Sabine adores him from the beginning, although she feels he's too good for a simple Sexton's daughter. Plus she's got her own secret cross to bear that she feel makes her unworthy of a man. Reynold is drawn to her, but thinks that she just wants his skills as a knight and not him. Reynold was somewhat frustrating in how he continued to push Sabine away because of his lack of self-worth. He was the only one who didn't see how wonderful he was. He had a habit of comparing himself to his brothers in a way that wasn't favorable for him--although having read the other de Burgh books, I could see that all the brothers have their weaknesses, no less than Reynold's. I was glad that he gets a wakeup call and comes to realize how much he's indulging in self-pity.
Although I thought this was a really good book, I was disappointed on how it was way too focused on the intrigue and mystery of the dragon. I wanted to see more about Reynold and Sabine's relationship. There are no love scenes. Okay, I admit that bothered me, because all the other de Burgh books did have some nice love scenes. I felt like Reynold should have gotten some good love scenes too. I think this book would have been five stars, if it had been a touch more steamy and if the romance was more of a focus. As it is, it's still a very good book, and I am so glad that I got to read Reynold story. I love this man!
I read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit II read this book out of curiosity, with no preconceived notions. Merely because I was curious what kids would do in a world with no adults. I admit I was blown away.
Mr. Grant told me a story that I couldn't put down. From the beginning, my mind was full of questions about how this happened, how the kids would survive, what could prevent the same thing from happening again....So many questions.
Sam is the kind of boy you want to have around when the world goes crazy. He's definitely the reluctant hero type, but usually they come through for you like no other. Because they do what needs to be done, simply because it needs to happen. Not for glory, not for recognition. Sam doesn't want to be 'the guy', but he knows that no one else is going to do it. And when Caine and his posse come down from Coates Academy, taking over and making things mostly worse, someone has to step up to the plate to stop him.
This book is intense, violent, and sometimes sad. Some of these kids die. A lot of them get hurt pretty bad. I'm not a mother yet, but I love kids, and I hate to see them suffering. It was a bit painful to watch. Even harder was seeing the cruelty and potential for evil that some of these children showed. Drake, who is basically Caine's bully boy, is a psychopath. He loves hurting people, and he feels no remorse about doing it. In my mind, I was weighing the options, even thinking that they needed to kill him, because he was like a rabid animal, bent on destruction. I felt horrible doing that, but he's a loose cannon, and he's only going to get worse. I don't think saving this boy is an option.
One of the take home messages of this book is the consequences of a social structure that is pretty familiar to most of us. The dynamic that we see in a group of kids where there are bullies who find the 'weakest' people and torment then, doing everything they can to make life miserable for those kids. And this causes a lot of fallout, because people forget ethics and what's morally right so that they can have peace from the bullies. In essence, they become part of the problem, contributing to a micro-society in which children get hurt because everyone is afraid to speak up and stand up against the bullies and the ones who are 'running things' for their own twisted, self-absorbed reasons. It made me shudder to see what these children did to each other, because they thought it was the easiest option to keep control of things. I'll be honest. I was bullied and picked on big time. It made me hate seeing the so-called 'weak' or 'different' people get targeted and treated that way. I'm no fighter, but I made a promise that I'd stand up for someone who couldn't do that for his or herself. I was glad that the kids like Sam and Edilio (what a sweetheart) were more than willing to do that.
I had some issues with the decisions that were made by the kids. They had no real sanitation rules. They didn't use their resources effectively. They had very poor nutrition, unnecessarily, because there was a supermarket full of healthy things like fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains. They ate mostly junk like candy, ice cream, soda pop, you name it. I guess I was looking at things through 'grown-up' eyes, which did cause me some discomfort. I was glad that they did organize care for the babies and kids too young to watch out for themselves, because Mary and her brother took on that job. I was also glad that Dahra worked as the medical provider. Albert took over the McDonalds and provided food for the community. Even so, I see some problems ahead, unless the kids set up a civic structural system in which every person is accountable (over-thinking this, I know!).
I loved the relationship between Astrid and Sam. They had an innocent love but also a strong friendship and support system in which they watched out for each other and did what they could to help everyone through this situation. Astrid was the brain, very smart, but also very kind. She had to take care of her younger brother, who was autistic, and extremely gifted with powers. I'll get to the powers part later. Give me a minute. Not an easy task for a young girl, but she did it. I was rooting for things to work out for these two!
Another character who turned out to be a favorite was Lana. Lana is in a very bad position when the 'event' happens--the one in which all the people over fourteen disappear. She ends up getting horribly injured and is about to die, when her power to heal manifests. Oh, I was on the edge of my seat, seeing her stranded, wounded very badly, with only her dog to protect her from the wild animals in the desert. I was so glad that she was able to get out of that situation. Of course, she ends up in a worse situation that ties in with the kids in town, and in a big way, as this book culminates. It might seem like a deus ex-machina to have a character who can heal even the most grievous wounds, but I was glad that she did have the power. These kids have a lot stacked up against them already. They need all the advantages they can get.
Now, lets talk about the power. Some of the kids, Sam included, have supernatural abilities that start manifesting. I thought this part was very cool. How Caine approaches this, with his evil little posse' made my hair stand on end. I can't even conceive of children being as cruel as that lot were. The powers end up playing a pivotal role in this story, and I am sure that this will continue to be a very strong element in the forthcoming books. I liked the "X-Men" sort of element it brought to the story, and how kids that were often bullied and felt useless, got to play important roles in the fight against Caine and his Posse' of Evil.
I wanted to give the author a nod of thanks for making the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) a multicultural environment, with children of all races. Everyone is important, and it was nice to see that there was a rainbow represented here. That speaks highly to me!
If you're an adult and you don't think you could enjoy young adult books, this is one I'd recommend. If you're like me, you will be riveted to this exciting story. It has a lot to offer as far as entertainment, but also stimulates the brain, as you are confronted with this bad situation that this young kids have to face. I cannot stop reading these books. I'm way too invested now!...more
The Cowboy and the Lady was a pleasure to read for me. I didn't enjoy the last book I read, and it was completely soothing to immerse myself in one ofThe Cowboy and the Lady was a pleasure to read for me. I didn't enjoy the last book I read, and it was completely soothing to immerse myself in one of the sweet, yet passionate love stories that Ms. Palmer excels in telling. This book was published in 1982, and that is apparent in some ways, with the clothing details, and descriptions of surroundings, and the more old fashioned morals. However, the pure, essential love story is timeless.
For Palmer fans, this is nothing new. The innocent, very young woman who falls for a man she grew up with, who's quite a bit older than her (ten years), and thinks little of her because of his internal issues with women. When I found out why he hated her mother (and her by default) so much, I was surprised. I have to say that I don't think her mother should have been let off the hook so lightly by Amanda. Amanda had an understanding heart and put herself in her mother's shoes for what her mother did. But, considering the widespread hurt it caused, I would have told my mother I didn't agree with what she did, even if I loved and forgave her. Amanda allowed her mother to continue to be treated as a child, which wasn't fair to herself or her mother, or the people her mother hurt. I had a big issue with blowing off what her mother did, as you can tell.
Jace was the typical, "don't get too close, don't run away" hero for a Diana Palmer book. But, the thing I like about her heroes is that they might be cruel with words, but it's very clear to the reader how crazy in love with the heroines they are. And they usually make up for it. They aren't usually jerky toads for no reason who get off for it with a kiss or a nice romp in bed (like the hero in the last book I read before this one). He was stone cold in love with Amanda, and it was apparent to every one but Amanda. She couldn't look past her own insecurities.
Let's face it, if you don't like young, innocent heroines, you won't like this book. They don't bother me. I like them in a well-told story, so I was fine. And Amanda did show spunk most of the time when it was necessary.
Diana Palmer shows her usual warm, engaging storytelling ease, making reading this book a pleasant, enjoyable experience. The usual mix of fiery passion although with little explicit details, and snappy dialogue and humor was present in this story. It was a good read, no doubt about it. My rating of four stars reflects a comparison to favorites of mine by Ms. Palmer. This was a very good book, but not near my favorite's list. But, all the same, a wonderful read that soothed my frayed nerves. I hope I get to thank her one day for the many hours of reading pleasure she's given me. This book is no exception to that....more
I had never read Nancy Butler before this book, although she is quite well-loved in traditional regency reading circles. I can see why she is admired.I had never read Nancy Butler before this book, although she is quite well-loved in traditional regency reading circles. I can see why she is admired. The stories of people who have suffered grievously both physically and mentally never fail to touch me when written well. This is one of those books.
Initially I didn't think I would care for Morgan Pearce. He is upset because he'll have to put off his affair with a very married woman and leave London for the country, out of a debt to a friend who supposedly saved his life on the battlefield. I was thinking, how honorable is that to be having an affair with a married woman? This is one of those books where you need to keep reading and put your robe and gavel away. For soon, it is clear that Morgan has many times more honor than most men.
He goes up to his friend's family home to help his friend's retired General father write his memoirs. At first he is quite impressed with the family of his friends, the Palfreys. They are very friendly, have a beautiful and perfect home, and seem to be a warm, affectionate family. Even helping with the memoirs of General Palfrey is going well. Then one day his eyes lay on a very sad figure out in the garden. A thin, broken woman who is clothed head to toe in heavy wool, and abandoned in a Bath chair.
Morgan can't look away. Having fought in the army for years, he has seen his share of wounded soldiers, and his best friend lost a leg in the war, and has yet to recover emotionally or physically. He knows he has to help her. This is not one of those love at first sight books. Miranda is a shadow of her former self. She is very debilitated from barely eating,and her muscles are atrophied from disuse. Not only that, her face has been slightly disfigured on one side, with scarring and flattening of her cheekbone. Morgan doesn't see her as the monstrous figure that she believes herself to be, or her neglectful cousin and his family have deemed her to be. He sees a woman that he can help to recover (and he feels the desire to do so because of what his own friend has been going through) and go on to lead a productive life. It becomes his mission to do so.
As this book progresses, we see Morgan pushing and goading Miranda on to care about herself and to want to get better. Initially Morgan uses the tools of somewhat harsh words and saying things designed to get a woman's goat. It works, as Miranda is so angry she is empowered to fight back, to push this meddlesome do-gooder away. Gradually a strong chemistry develops between the couple. Morgan sees the attractive woman that Miranda is despite her infirmitites. He admires her spirit and intelligence, and her beautiful blue-grey eyes that sparkle with anger towards him. Miranda falls in love with the man who has pushed and prodded her to get better. She doesn't think anything can come of it, but she loves him anyway, and will enjoy the time they have together before he leaves to go back to his life as a publisher in London.
Prospero's Daughter succeeds in being a sweet but passionate romance at the same time. The action never goes past kisses, but you don't doubt the desire and longing that Morgan and Miranda feel for each other. Morgan was a very masculine, vital hero, but he was also a gentleman. Although he was not without his flaws, he was a really good person. Although he had an affair with a married woman and availed himself of courtesans and prostitutes in the past (two of my pet peeves in a hero), I couldn't hold that against him, because he really showed with a good person he was. He was honorable and kind, and he was the kind of person who did the right thing, even though it might cost him something. He was perfect for Miranda.
I loved Miranda as well. My heart was breaking for her. Not only had she lost her mother and father, she lost the dreams for a normal life and a future. She was not quite at the point of suicide in this book, but it was clear that fairly soon, she might consider taking that option. Miranda wasn't that kind of person who would give up easily and take that way out, but she was such a vital, strong-minded person, trapped in a feeble body, and treated like a burden and a monstrosity by her family, even though she had her own means and property. It must have been awful to be in her situation and to be so neglected and abandoned by those who were supposed to love her.
I was very glad that Morgan called her family on their selfishness and their shallow natures. It was awful that they lived in the same house with her, but never took the time to visit her, and reassure her. She lived a separate life, and wasn't even included in Christmas celebrations or dinner with the family. That kind of neglect was beyond criminal, and it probably added to Miranda's feelings of despair.
Miranda had a very wise thing to say to Morgan that he needed to hear. He had pretty much given up on helping his friend who had lost a leg in the war. She told him that he needed to tell his friend that he was okay the way he was, even if he never walked or got out of bed again. Morgan had to struggle with that, because he was used to feeling like he had to fight to be the best and to strive for excellence due to his troubled relationship with his father, who felt he married beneath him by marrying a daughter of a publishing family. His mind interpreted that as failure. But it turned out to be excellent advice that does help Morgan to accept Miranda as she is and not fixate on improving her if it's not meant to be, and he and his sister to deal with Phillip's condition. His sister Kitty is in love with Phillip but has finally given up and decided to marry another man. Miranda helps to get the two lovebirds back together, showing the intelligence and strength of will that she never really lost. It was just locked away in a feeble body and a heart starved for love and the acceptance of others.
This book really touched me and kept me reading. It is a wonderful story about caring about someone enough to put oneself out there in the emotional danger zone, basically putting your money where your mouth is. Being a person of principles means nothing if actions don't back it up. Miranda's family thought they were good people, but it was clear that it was just a facade when it was really obvious how much they had neglected Miranda (despite having people to care for her most basic needs and nothing much above that). It's about doing the right thing, and reaching out to others in need, and how you will be blessed when you do take the time to open your heart and care for others. Morgan stepped up to the plate and discovered a treasure in Miranda, and a great love that will continue to reward him for the rest of his life....more
This was a fun, sweet read by one of my favorite authors. John is probably one of the nicest heroes that Diana Palmer has ever written. Yes he did preThis was a fun, sweet read by one of my favorite authors. John is probably one of the nicest heroes that Diana Palmer has ever written. Yes he did pretend to be a modest cowboy, but you can't hold that against him, considering his past. From the beginning, he reaches out and helps Sassy with no underlying motives. He sees the good and the beauty in a small-town, simple girl who has sacrificed everything for her sick mother and adopted sister.
Although I love her writing, and don't have any issues with it, some readers find Palmer's stories to be formulaic. If that is the case, they would probably enjoy this story because of its freshness. Also for the fact that John is not like her typical heroes, fighting falling in love with Sassy. He has a moment or two of apprehension as he realizes he is getting in deep, but surrenders fairly quickly to the knowledge that he is in love with Sassy and wants to spend the rest of their life together.
The ending of this book reads like a fairy tale comes true, the downtrodden princess gets her happy ever after with the handsome rich prince, and all ends well. But isn't that why we read romance novels? At any rate, I couldn't help smiling as the last pages of this book went by my eyes....more
Okay, I am officially a Georgette Heyer reader now. I can see why she is touted as the best of the best when it comes to historical romance. This bookOkay, I am officially a Georgette Heyer reader now. I can see why she is touted as the best of the best when it comes to historical romance. This book was thoroughly enjoyable. I tell you, Avon is a very singular hero. I have read few books with a hero whose dialogue was so expressive, yet ironic at the same time. His wit is so sharp that it could cut diamonds. What's really interesting is that Avon is considered the worst of the worst when it comes to being a debauched rake, yet you never see him looking or acting anything less than elegant. I really admire that Heyer was able to convey this about him without going into his dirty deeds. All that occurs before the book begins. In fact, so much is conveyed and not expressly shown in this story, and done with remarkable skill. I have to say that I read this story, looking to Ms. Heyer to teach me (as a writer) the ability to create powerful dialogue that shows and does not tell. Avon is quite the character. He is definitely a dandy and a fop, wearing bright colors, dripping with lace and jewels, and high-heeled shoes. He even carries a fan that he uses. But he is a man of his time, with a masculinity that is not questionable. And to think we don't have to see him bedhopping to believe in his masculinity!! I thought that Ms. Heyer did a fantastic job in showing Avon's transition from being a cold man with a heart of stone to a loving person. You see this in his manner changing towards friends and family. And you see it in how he interacts with Leonie, who gives him her steadfast, unconditional love from the very beginning.
Avon is bent on revenge, but he exemplifies the saying, "Revenge is a dish best served cold." He waited over twenty years to obtain his revenge on his enemy. When the tool of his revenge stumbles into him on a Paris street, it takes a while for you to see how he/she plays into it. Avon concocts a shallow, bored, remote demeanor that is very misleading. The whole while, he is feeling and seeing everything that goes on around him. He sees right through Leon's facade, realizing that she is a girl. Her unique coloring, Red hair and black eyebrows, immediately brings to mind his worst enemy, Saint-Vire. Yet it takes the reader a little while to put the puzzles together. You are not bored though, as the story unfolds and you get to realize what Avon's plan is. For the lines in this story are so laugh out loud funny, you might want to be careful where you break out this book. I'm sure people thought was I was crazy in the moments I read this story in public, because I would burst out into hilarious laughter. As for the revenge plot, you have to read this book until nearly the very end to see how marvelously and skillfully Avon executes his plan for revenge. I have to say, 'Bravo.' And to be honest, it couldn't have happened to a better person.
One of my favorite characters in this story is Rupert, Avon's younger brother. Why? Because he made me laugh so hard. He had the best lines. I firmly believe that Loretta Chase must have thought of him when she wrote Bertie in Lord of Scoundrels, although Rupert is not nearly as unintelligent as Bertie is portrayed to be. Rupert does a very good job as serving as comic relief in a story that would have been quite dark without these moments of humor. Because of his contribution, I cannot even consider this a dark read. This is also in part to the back and forth dialogue between characters which has the cadence and the humor that endears comedic movies of the 1930s and 40s to this reader and movie buff. The scene with the horse that Rupert 'borrowed' and its livid owner who comes to Avon's home for redress was laugh out loud hilarious. Definitely like a scene from 1940s slapstick comedy at its best. Some of the characters that add to the wonderful atmosphere are Fanny, Avon's sister, Marling, her staid husband, and Hugh, Avon's less staid, but certainly moral friend, who often disproves of Avon's behavior, but is a steadfast friend all the same.
Leonie is a character that I liked, although at times her ingenue nature was a bit much for me. The older I get, the less I really enjoy the very young, vivacious, extremely audacious-mannered heroines. I did not let that lessen my enjoyment of this story, for Leonie is the perfect foil for Avon. This older, very jaded hero needed a very young, sweet heroine with a zest for life. He would not have fallen in love and committed to a happy ending as a happily married man otherwise. In fact, I think his cold heart would have grown colder through the years, probably pushing everyone away who loved him, had it not been for Leonie's advent into his life.
Leonie is the character that everyone loves. I suppose she might be considered a 'Mary Sue' by some, but again, I don't quibble, for this story needed a character like her for it be successful. Also I reject the notion that an old fashioned, feel-good story doesn't have its place in the world. They most certainly do. And at the end of the day, the escapades of this hoyden do make you smile and feel good.
This novel gave me a very good look into 18th century life in France and England, for which I was grateful. It is said that Heyer's book stand up against the most stringent historical accuracy sticklers. She is a testiment to the genre of historical romance, which is always taking hits as being low-brow fiction. I wonder why this has not been made into film, for I feel it would make a wonderful movie. And it has an appeal outside of those readers who enjoy romance.
This book was a joy to read, and it has made me an eager fan of Heyer. I would love to read more of her books, and since I've heard that she had some older, sensible heroine (one of my favorite types in historical romance), I expect to enjoy those books just as much, if not more.
For those romance fans who haven't read Heyer, take it from me. You really should give her a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed....more
I enjoyed this book a lot but it's not my favorite by this author.I probably would have loved it more except for the following issue I had: I felt theI enjoyed this book a lot but it's not my favorite by this author.I probably would have loved it more except for the following issue I had: I felt the heroine was a little judgmental of the hero. She had issues because her father was a driven businessman who was not generous and loving. I think she attributed the same traits to Dragan. Maybe he was a little stiff and cold, but he deserved to be judged on his own merit. Otherwise it was a fun, sweet romance set during the holidays. I loved the message it had about generosity being about more than donating money. It's about giving about your self and your time. It's something I need to be reminded of as life is so busy and I get caught up in my own problems....more
Not too many romances have a hero who's describes as 'loutish,' has pervasive body odor, and is clueless about wooing a woman. I was a bit worried wheNot too many romances have a hero who's describes as 'loutish,' has pervasive body odor, and is clueless about wooing a woman. I was a bit worried when I heard of this book. I didn't see how a hero would BO would possibly appeal to me. But, I loved it. It's very funny, but also touching. Alienore is so afraid of getting married to Colin (her betrothed), she runs off, dressing as a man. She ends up being reluctant squire to Colin, who is determined to make a 'man' out of her. This book is connected to This Is All I Ask, as Colin is Christopher's best friend. Colin really endeared himself to me in This is All I Ask. So, I was excited to read his story, BO aside. Colin turns out to be a great hero, and makes a wonderful husband. Minor spoiler: love the scene near the end when he finds out Alienore is pregnant and faints dead away! Too funny!...more
This is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian wasThis is a truly lovely romance story about two scarred people who find each other. There are parts that made me so sad to think about how Gillian was treated by her family. I was pretty curious to see how Ms. Kurland would handle a blind hero in a medieval romance. Think about it. How difficult that would be for a blinded knight? How could he run his keep, and keep what he earned by blood and sweat, in a world where might means right? I think she did a great job of dealing with the blindness issue. There's a part that is very realistic, although those who dislike heroes who are not 100% physically capable probably won't like it. But it made sense the way things happen.
I thought the emotion and love between Gillian and Christopher was so touching and poignant. The power of it transcended the words on the paper and went right to my heart. There are no love scenes in this book. And to be honest, they are not necessary. Yes, I love a good love scene, but a book that has a powerful love story doesn't need one.
This book was also good for the way you see scared, shy Gillian grow into a strong, beautiful woman. She was described as being unattractive, but part of it was because of her lack of self-esteem and belief that she was unworthy. There is no magical makeover. You see Gillian's inner beauty bloom as she is carefully tended and loved by Christopher. It brought tears to my eyes.
Christopher is a wonderful hero, thoughtful, intelligent, kind, and strong. He's been in a funk because of his loss of vision, but you don't hold that against him. It's perfectly understandable.
The humor was the perfect balance to the often dark subject matter. Colin, who has his own story in From This Moment On, is Christopher's best friend and companion. Christopher always knows when Colin is around because he can smell him. Colin's not too fond of bathing, so he has a characteristic odor. Despite my being a stickler for good personal hygiene, Colin won me over for his kind heart behind a gruff exterior. I loved his back-handed matchmaking for Gillian and Christopher.
This was a great medieval romance. Highly recommended.