I will be blatantly honest. If I was rating this book by part I, it would be getting three stars and nothing more. However, the book in whole gets fouI will be blatantly honest. If I was rating this book by part I, it would be getting three stars and nothing more. However, the book in whole gets four. The beginning of this book is probably one of the most unromantic starts to a romance I've ever read. A hero who has a serial history of paying for mistresses for six months for the better part of ten years but is so tied up and proper, they can't even call him by his first name? The heroine interviewing for him naked? No thanks! She's not allowed to touch him or be seen with him and has to call him, Mr. Nakamura. She does all the work in bed?
No is really unsympathetic and actually rather robotic at the beginning. I don't even understand why he would hire mistresses. He seems like he shouldn't even have a sex drive. He is so tied up and controlled, it's hard to believe that he could fall in love with a woman. Much less have sex with so many women. Perhaps that's his only outlet, but I would have found this more believable if he had actually been more reactive in bed. I get where the author was going with this. She wanted us to see how being with Ana changes No, and how she was different from other women. She wanted Ana to stand out from the crowd, but it was too gradual for my tastes.
Lili/Ana I liked from the beginning. I have to say she really loves her brother and niece. I don't know if I could interview naked to be some rich guy's mistress for my family. Thank God I haven't had to do that! She does have a sense of innocence, but at the same time, she is remarkably blase' about the paid sex thing. I think without her internal monologue, I would have been very confused.
Japan seems very real in this book. I felt as though the author is very well acquainted with it and rather in love with the country. I've read books set in Tokyo, but not in Osaka. It was lovely to get introduced to that city. It's always good when you read a book and it makes you feel like you're visiting the place.
Now, I am the biggest Harlequin Presents fan on the planet, and the mistress scenario is a big plot in that line. I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of mistress stories, but I'm not averse to a preposterous plotline that works well. It was certainly something different. Overall, despite it's start and some parts that I didn't gel with, I walked away from this book satisfied. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but I was intrigued, so I read a sample on my Kindle. I ended up borrowing it from Amazon and finishing it in less than 24 hours. That says a lot right there.
As to the sex. I think that the initial sex scenes are way clinical to me, and I didn't like the thing that No would do to make Lili climax. All I can say is 'ouch!' I didn't care much for the blunt sexual language. I'm not a big fan of that. It's not that romantic to me. I'm fine with descriptive sexual scenes, but not with some of the descriptors. Lust is easy to find, but where's the love and romance?
I really love Asian guys. It's a huge surprise to me how much No didn't appeal to me for the first part of the book. He did start to appeal to me when he gets mad and decides he wants revenge. He actually starts acting like a human being and not a robot at that point. I like pissed off No much more than Billionaire, Proper Japanese Businessman with an Erection But No Other Emotions No. I liked how he changes and thaws and starts reacting normally. I know that his family is seriously screwed up. I realize that Japanese culture is very rigid in expressing emotions and requires strict public etiquette. I liked him much better after he comes to the US to start a company with his friend and to get revenge on Lili/Ana and his father. Angry No is Hot No. At the beginning, I didn't find him attractive because he seemed so emotionless. I did kind of like how proper and buttoned up he was, but I would have preferred if he turned into a wild man in bed instead the way he has sex with Ana for their six months together. I also liked how he nursed her when she was sick and how he seemed to want to spend more time with Ana, despite his intentions. While I normally like a coldly ruthless hero, I think No didn't work for me at the beginning because he wasn't cold in the still waters run deep, but too robotic acting.
One thing that made this book stand out, but in some ways had a problematic execution was the thread of suspense/thriller that ran through it. I had no idea how cutthroat the Japanese businessworld is, at least based on this book. I don't know how much of that's true, but the fact that No's family is samurai on both sides gives their behavior an authentic feel. When you find out how truly heinous the behavior of a certain person is, it's chilling. This makes for a much darker than book that one would expect. I think it was problematic in that some of the action aspects weren't well described. I'm picky about action scenes, because it's a huge love of mine. And when you throw in katana-wielding ninja and samurai, my expectations go up very high. But, despite that, I found it charming.
I like over the top when it's done well. The OTP in this book was done charmingly. I could have been a little better executed, if I'm honest. But despite that, I did have a smile on my face when I finished the book.
I have been hard on this book, and i realize that. I do think Ms. Taylor is a gifted author. I have such a deep love for interracial romance, I am hard on the genre. I hate that the romance part seems to be taken for granted. I think Ms. Taylor seems believe in romance, but with a bit of a more jaundiced eye than I would like. I'm excited to read His Pretend Baby: 50 Loving States, Oregon...more
I really enjoyed this book. I've never read this author, but I'd definitely read more by him. A great book for the Christmas season that sets a good mI really enjoyed this book. I've never read this author, but I'd definitely read more by him. A great book for the Christmas season that sets a good mood without being sappy. Some great insights about the romance publishing world.
This is a meaty little short story. It definitely has an insta-love vibe, I think most out of all the Carpathian novels. But the story has a lot to ofThis is a meaty little short story. It definitely has an insta-love vibe, I think most out of all the Carpathian novels. But the story has a lot to offer despite that. Falcon is one of the original Carpathian warriors sent out by the previous Prince Vladimir, which means he's at least a thousand years old. It's amazing that he's held onto his honor and Carpathian sense of ethics and not turned vampire. I like to think that the fact that Sara was out there in the future was one of the reasons he didn't give in, but he's very, very close to turning when he senses his Lifemate. Sara has been stalked by a vampire who killed her whole family for fifteen years. She's stayed one step ahead of him, traveling the globe and helping orphaned children. She meets Falcon and he realizes that she's his lifemate. She realizes that he's the male she's been in love with since she found his journal on one of her archaeologist parent's digs. The romance part is the easy part. The difficult part is keeping Sara safe from the vampire.
This book is full of action and some horror elements with the despicable vampire and his zombie-like human servants. While I like the romance aspects, I find the whole Carpathian culture thing very interesting. It was great to touch base with with Mikhail and Raven and Jacques and Shea. Jacques is a lot more stable than he once was. He's definitely benefited from having a lifemate in Shea. I read this after reading Dark Descent, out of the Dark Nights book. Feehan is developing the whole storyline about the Carpathians trying to find a reason for their infertility and infant mortality, and slowly but surely recruiting assets in their cause. Gary shows up briefly, and it's making me excited to read Dark Promises.
I have no issues with this book. It was a solid read....more
I admit I found the characters too jaded for my tastes (twenty-three going on forty-three). I think that there could have been more opportunities to eI admit I found the characters too jaded for my tastes (twenty-three going on forty-three). I think that there could have been more opportunities to establish emotional connection to the characters in lieu of some of the focus on erotic sex. Readers who like New Adult themes may enjoy this more than I did. I'm not fond of the idea that very young people would act with these kinds of attitudes and destructive lifestyles.
This had a rocky start, but I liked it quite a bit overall. Honey was feisty. In fact, it kind of reminded me of "Taming of the Shrew" because Honey wThis had a rocky start, but I liked it quite a bit overall. Honey was feisty. In fact, it kind of reminded me of "Taming of the Shrew" because Honey was so prickly and rebuffed any attempts at seduction. Ben isn't a flashy charmer who gets off on being offensive like Petruchio, but rather takes the tactic of disinterest. Surprisingly, it does hurt Honey's feelings, although she's sick of being seen as a sex object because of her beauty and curvaceous body. The "Taming of the Shrew" aspect is more that Ben actually woos Honey into relaxing the icy walls around her heart and wins her by loving her for her. She has some valid reasons for being wary of men who seem only attracted to her looks.
I think Ben did play a little too lukewarm at times. If I was Honey, I would have thought he was disinterested as well. I think that's part of why I didn't give this four stars. I like when the hero is crazy about the heroine and it's easy for me to tell that as a reader, even if the heroine can't because of her issues. In the end, Ben finally came clean, but he left it almost too late.
I liked this quite a bit in the end, even though the "hot and cold' back and forth got a bit tedious at times. It was a nice diversion and I'm a sucker for a good marriage of convenience storyline.
I liked this for the mystery more than the romance, although I did like both Grace and Julius. I just think the romance was sort of an afterthought. II liked this for the mystery more than the romance, although I did like both Grace and Julius. I just think the romance was sort of an afterthought. It's worth a read though.
I'm working my way through my library's graphic novel collection and availing myself of the New 52 titles. I would be remiss if I didn't check out CatI'm working my way through my library's graphic novel collection and availing myself of the New 52 titles. I would be remiss if I didn't check out Catwoman. I did start reading an earlier run (single issues) with Ed Brubaker several moons ago (still have a stack I never got around to reading). I thought, why not try this?
Catwoman isn't always my favorite. On one level, I like that she's morally ambiguous, sometimes on the good side, sometimes on the bad side. I like strong women who can fight and hold their own, but her selfishness and how it leads to others being hurt is hard to handle. I couldn't stand her in the last Nolan Batman movie. I didn't like her with Bruce/Bats, but I did like them together in this book. I can see why some ship Batwoman and Catwoman so avidly. I think they understand each other, even though they are on the opposite side of the line more than not.
I didn't like the artwork. Catwoman looks harsh and rather scary. Her features don't have the catlike beauty or appeal that I would associate with her. The colors were too washed out for my tastes as well.
I like Judd Winick's writing. I didn't find that much fault with the storytelling in this one. He shows Catwoman as a morally conflicted person who has made poor choices out of a damaged psyche. I can get that about her.
Overall, this was pretty good. The biggest issue for me was the artwork. Otherwise, I'll keep reading this title. Batman showing up drove my rating up a lot (I can't even lie). My library also has Brubaker's run, so I may grab those to read next year (which is only two months away now).
I had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and iI had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and it's set in Scotland. But I had trouble connecting to the characters. Even in spite of the major angst the hero and heroine were feeling, I felt like I was viewing them through a thick glass instead of being plopped right there in the action.
I'm not saying that Kaye isn't a good writer. That's evidently true. I like how honest and authentic she is about women's issues and what it was like being a wife in the 19th century. In that sense, I did feel for Ainsley. I can imagine how difficult it must have been in her marriage, seeing her husband drive them into economic ruin and having her needs unmet and feeling like she was disgusting to her husband.
I guess my disconnect was that I didn't quite believe in the romance between Ainsley and Innes. Innes never won me over and I never formed an emotional connection to him. I think he was really cruel in some ways to Ainsley, even knowing how bad her first marriage had been. I felt the grovel at the end could have been more authentic. I don't know that I would have taken him back so easily after the way he ended things.
So sadly, I have to give this one three stars. I hope I that I enjoy her other books more, because I do see some promise in her descriptive writing, authentic heroines, and sensual romance....more
Oh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, leaOh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, lean panther who talks like a panther purrs. He screams "I'm Bad For You, but I'm So Good!" He was delicious. He definitely goes on my lickable hero shelf. I fell hard for him because he is so super-sexy, and because he gave Hattie steadfast love in a way she'd never had before. At one point, he withdraws from her, and Hattie can't deal with that. He does it because it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that she refused to be honest with him. Hattie doesn't know how to deal with him not being in her life the way he's been for over ten years, and that is the impetus for change. That was when he realized she didn't know how. She didn't know what unconditional love was and the concept of being accepted no matter what. She spends most of the book pushing him away emotionally, and being a bit of a brat, so that tiptoes on the edge of being a bit tedious. Crews managed to change the tone soon enough that I was just burned out on it. I think the reveal for why Hattie has behaved the way she has so long was a pit too rapid in its delivery (and it felt a bit lightweight to be honest), and I would have liked better pacing in that regard. I did love the surprise that Nicodemus gets. I was really surprised myself. I like a good twist in a story.
This book is pretty heavy on internal dialogue and that probably wouldn't work for some. But I felt it was well done, and I think the characters are wonderfully complex. I think this is a nice mix of modern cultural awareness but with the old school intensity dynamic that makes many of us Harlequin Presents readers such advocates of the vintage novels. The sensuality is intrinsic and hot and underlined by the fact that these two people really love each other and can't imagine a life without each other.
I'm hoping that I enjoy His for Revenge, about Hattie's brother, as much as I did this book.
I am working my way through a reread to get ready for the next books in the series, and I also just plain love the Prakenskii bReread in January 2016.
I am working my way through a reread to get ready for the next books in the series, and I also just plain love the Prakenskii brothers (they're Russian, enough said!) and the Sisters of the Heart, the found family of women who buy a farm together and are united by personal tragedy and their gifts of power over the elements.
I can easily say this is still my favorite so far (out of the first 3 books), although I loved to the third power Water Bound and I really did enjoy Spirit Bound. I think that this has the best action and the romance between Airiana and Maxim is so natural in its progression. Although they seem to start as enemies, the mutual alliance they found becomes a bond of trust and love.
It hit me hard like for the first time how lethal Maxim is. He doesn't play around! Airiana is sweet, but she has the capability to dive into the fray and do what needs to be done. She's feisty too and she definitely tells Maxim what she thinks. They're such a great couple!
The children are integral to the story and adorable, but it's so awful and heartbreaking what they have experienced. The subject matter here is definitely not for the faint of heart.
I'm super jazzed to finally be able to start reading Earth Bound and excited about Fire Bound coming out in April! I've a feeling that Casmir is like Maxim on steroids.
****************************************************************************** Previous Review I loved this book!
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he loves so good! I had no clue that this tough, lethal man that we met at the beginning of this book could be such a sweet, gentle, loving guy to Airiana. I think that is Feehan magic, how she creates this guys who are lethal and ruthless, but then they are so deeply in love with their heroines, that I end up sighing as I read the book. Now this won't work for some readers, but I am such a sucker for the mix of action and suspense and romance, and Feehan has delivered both in such a delicious combination in this book.
I will confess that she's autobuy for me and I didn't even read the synopsis. I was there because I knew it was a Prakenskii hero. I didn't read the blurb until I opened the book to read it, and I was like, 'cool.' So I didn't have much preconceived notions, but I was just in it for the ride, and what a fun, wonderful ride it was.
Most of the book takes place away from Airiana's sisters, but I didn't mind that. I think that the situation was crafted very well to the lead characters. While somethings will always be the same about Feehan's books (but those things are why I read her), the situation felt different in an appealing way. Maxim is in no way a carbon copy of his brothers. And Airiana is also distinctive from her 'sisters'. Despite her air element, she's actually quite cerebral and far from flighty and hippie-chick, like I was suspecting. I liked the backstory of her life and how it ties into Maxim's story. Airiana is a tough young woman. For such a small, delicate person, she can hold her own and she was quite the action heroine in this book. She's really a very cool, down to earth, mature for her age woman. She gets my seal of approval.
I feel that Feehan does a good job of plotting and tying her stories together. and this fits very cohesively into the series. She makes the idea of the 'Sisters of the Heart' all ending up with Prakenskiis a lot more plausible than one would expect. I'll admit that I am fine with it because I can't get enough of these guys.
I liked that the love scenes come later in the book. Considering how dangerous Airiana and Maxim's situation was, it made a lot more sense. I can't stand when they take an inappropriate 'sex break' in romantic suspense novels. When the the love scenes come, they are blisteringly sexy but also very romantic. Although both are wounded, the 'getting busy' part isn't implausible. the love scenes say so much about the love journey of these two characters. You can see how much Maxim cherishes Airiana and you can also see that Airiana truly trusts Max and gives her heart unreservedly. That makes me sigh happily.
There is a really cool twist in this book that I really liked, and it adds to the believability of Maxim settling into a normal life, which he never had because of his family and their tie to the Russian government. There was some horrible tragedy and wrongness in this book, but I think that Max and Airiana were in exactly the right place at the right time and they will make things right.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I wanted to read it again right after I finished it. Lately, I've felt less sucked into books, and this book certainly breaks that trend for the better. I rejuvenates my romance novel juices and makes me want to go on a reading tear. I have a need for more high octane romance novel action books like this, with a yummy hero and heroine I really like for this long, hot summer I am facing! Please write the next book soon, Ms. Feehan!...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.
While I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypesWhile I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypes about the typical romance novel hero. The food descriptions were mouth-watering.
I wanted to like this a little more than I did, but I did find it a pleasant and enjoyable read. Readers who enjoy spinster/rogue romance, tortured heI wanted to like this a little more than I did, but I did find it a pleasant and enjoyable read. Readers who enjoy spinster/rogue romance, tortured heroes with a bad reputation, and heroines who finally get their day in the sun, along with the fairy tale theme, will probably like this book.
Maisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or isMaisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or is the gorgeous prince with his decadent lifestyle really the beast?
Disclaimer: I didn't put this review in spoiler tags, although there might be some borderline spoilerish elements. I endeavored not to give too much away, that wasn't necessary to expressing my thoughts of the book.
As I read this novel, it struck me that this is a very serious book. I didn't feel much levity, not that I always expect it, but it was noticeably lacking. Layna and Xander have some serious hurts in their past and their present situations. Xander went off the rails big time and the author wasn't afraid to keep it real in describing Xander's depredations. No Xander did it all in his checkered past (recent and distant). He was notoriously promiscuous to the degree that he doesn't even know how many women he's slept with (and doesn't even remember some of them), abused drugs, and was a hard drinker. In my mind I couldn't help wonder how healthy his liver is. I have alcoholics in my family on both sides, and through them I have seen the effects of long-term alcohol abuse on a person. I was glad that Layna doesn't let him off the hook when she agrees to marry him. She demands fidelity from him, and I was so glad that she required that he get STD tested. It was judicious, considering the circumstances. As for Layna's scarring, it's not just confined to a thin line that barely disfigures her face. She has significant scarring and the tabloids/newspapers say some truly awful things about her. That part was heartbreaking. I could completely understand her fears about going back to the public life she escaped from ten years ago. Going from a shallow, spoiled socialite with impeccable looks to a scarred woman in her near to mid-thirties who is marrying a good-looking future king would be heart-wrenching for any woman. Even with her training that vanity has no place in her life from the convent, that was difficult to weather. Although Xander is clearly the worse bargain, they make it seem like Xander is being altruistic in honoring his promises and marrying Layna.
Yates definitely brings the reality to what seems like a storyline straight out of the fairy tales. I can't say I would be eager to marry Xander with his abuses on his body (and it's not out of judgmentalism, but because you can't just click a finger and erase the effects of such a lifestyle from his body). And I think that it's clear that Xander has a ways to go before he breaks fifteen years of bad habits. I think this is evident when they are first intimate. Xander's lovemaking style while accomplished, does show a certain degree of selfishness and callousness about sex. He doesn't understand why Layna is conflicted about the experience, even though she enjoyed it. This is telling and I think realistic for a man who has spent fifteen years sleeping around with random women he meets as he frequents the casinos where he parties and makes his living gambling. I also liked how Xander's perception of Layna changes. He never thinks she's ugly, but he sees the scars through a harsher lens initially. As he falls in love with her, the scars become a part of her, and he loves the character of her features, because that's who she is. They cease to stand out to him.
Layna isn't portrayed as a perfectly good, pure woman either (other than what she appears to be on the surface). While she retired to a convent for ten years, her actions did have a certain degree of self-motivation. The convent was an escape, although she does realize how much she loves helping others and that her faith in God is real to her, in the process. At the root, it is running away, from the exposure she suffered as Xander's rejected fiance who was horribly scarred by an angry protestor, and also from her own emotional breakdown.
Yes, as I wrote earlier, this is a very serious book. Despite the fact that one would consider this storyline fertile ground for a dramatic, glossy style Harlequin Presents, there is a deep emotional core to this book that refuses to allow the reader to dismiss this book as a light read.
I gave this four stars because it was a intense, layered, well-written, and emotional novel, and I think that Yates handled this dicey subject matter very well....more
Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far asReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.
Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background. Synopsis
Riding her horse one day, Laurel Smith meets a man who makes her want to open her closed world after many years living in the gray background. Tredway Lorent is not exactly a seasoned cowboy. Instead, he is a town-bred fellow with an eye for detail and organization, but he's interested in exploring his possible career options, including working on a horse ranch. She brings him back to Wells Double Bar, her brother and sister-in-law's ranch, and convinces her brother to give him a job, because she feels drawn to him and doesn't want him to walk out of her life just like he walked into it.
Tredway brings Laurel out of her shell, encouraging her art, and supporting her efforts to help others. In return, Laurel sparks this too-serious, too-thoughtful young man to enjoy life and accept that everything doesn't have to be so meticulously controlled, as well as going after his dreams. She finds her way into this heart, but fears of past failure still haunt him. Laurel knows that Tredway is the only man in her heart, but will she and her Perfect Tenderfoot ever make the move towards happily ever after as man and wife?
Perfect Tenderfoot is a sweet love story with two leads that are admirable and kind-hearted. Their interactions speak of deep friendship and admiration, with love growing slowly but surely. Beggs evokes images that take the reader back to life in in late 19th Century New Mexico. A strong sense of community is a highlight of this novel, as Laurel and Tredway continually help others in need, and expand their growing circle of friends and acquaintances.
I appreciated their good-heartedness, and their desire to live meaningful lives, as well as Laurel and Tredway's determination to conquer past fears and insecurities. However, the story was slow-moving at times, lacking sufficient romantic tension. While I could see that the love developing between Laurel and Tredway was genuine, I felt like it seemed to take a backseat to their continual efforts to help others and their personal emotional turmoil. Because of that lack of prominent romantic development, I didn't enjoy this novel quite as much as the first two in the series. However, the likable characters, the sense of community and the historical feel still make it more than an average read.
Perfect Tenderfoot is a novel for aficionados of sweet historical westerns who don't mind a lack of strong romantic tension. Laurel and Tredway are distinctive characters rendered with heartfelt sincerity by Beggs. That and the sense of strong community ties and a motivation to help others do make this book a worthwhile read, although not as successful on the romantic front.
Wow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. AdorWow. I love this series. Miles has such a duality to his nature: sweet, loving teddybear, and steely, ruthless warrior. Definitely worked for me. Adored Lara and the psychic storyline too.
Imprisoned by a Vow has Annie West's characteristic intense writing and a compelling story. Readers who enjoy a romance between two troubled souls wilImprisoned by a Vow has Annie West's characteristic intense writing and a compelling story. Readers who enjoy a romance between two troubled souls will probably enjoy it.
While I liked this story and I gave it four stars, it doesn't quite appeal to me the way some of this author's other books have. I think part of it was I didn't quite care for Joss for most of the book. While I love a rugged, tough hero, I like them to have more accessibility than Joss had, especially in this kind of book. I can understand a cold as ice, impenetrable spy, but a businessman with that much ice around his heart was a little harder to reconcile.
I think that Leila makes this story. Her struggles to regain the sense of self destroyed by her cruel stepfather and her strong spirit in the face of very crushing emotional and mental abuse spoke to me. Honestly, I think she was much too good for Joss. I was hoping he would realize that a lot sooner than he did. It took him a bit too long. The ending was nice, but I would have preferred a more drawn out redemption process.
Joss goes from being Man of Ice to I Might Have a Heart way too quickly at the end. Yes, he does show some caring touches to Leila, but she was always able to explain them away as acts he did for his own convenience. As a reader who strongly appreciates "the gesture" as showing love, even as much as the words, his gestures didn't speak loudly enough for me in this book.
The passion is well written, as always. And Leila's journey of coming back into herself was inspiring. Annie West doesn't tend to disappoint this reader. While she didn't disappoint me with Imprisoned by a Vow, per se, I just wanted a little more out of her hero than I got.
But overall, a very good marriage of convenience turns to love story....more
Changes is a wonderful example of what historical romance can accomplish in giving us a spotlight into history. History is alive and vivid, and we canChanges is a wonderful example of what historical romance can accomplish in giving us a spotlight into history. History is alive and vivid, and we can learn so much from it. Why not wrap that history lesson in a human story about two people who are very different, but connect through the love they share, and in the process learn that humans are all the same deep down?
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
The Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of naThe Informationist has one of the most daring and distinctive heroines I've personally read about. Vanessa Michael Monroe is practically a force of nature. Her personality is hard to pin down, even if you know her very well, which few people do. And she makes a very bad enemy. While some characters might go to Africa to run away from their past or to define a new life for themselves, Monroe is the opposite. She was born in Africa and raised there. Although she is Caucasian American descent, Africa flows in her veins and helped to make her who she was, and not all in good ways.
Monroe doesn't let fear define her, instead she walks in defiance of it. Being afraid is not her problem. It's the rage and anger she keeps under lock and key. She struggles against demons from her past that simmer in her blood and make her heart beat fast with the tribal beat of war. Control is a way of life when she knows just what she's capable of. Yet, she is unafraid to go into dangerous places when others would shirk such a responsibility. When Emily Burbank's adoptive father contacts her to find out what happened to his daughter in Africa four years ago, she is going to have to go back to the place she was born and face her ugly past.
I love to read about heroines who are tough and resourceful. Who can kick butt just like the action heroes. Monroe is definitely one of those kinds of heroines. I like that she is very adaptable and clever about thinking through situations. While she has other weapons, she uses the one between her ears very well. Her personality is really abrasive and she's not what I would consider a typical "likable" heroine. And yet, there is something about her that resonates with me. I like that she is such a survivor. I mean, who could go through what she did and still be 100% sane and free of scars? She actually is quite sane, although I think deep down, she fears what lurks in the abyss she keeps locked away inside. She's sort of the opposite of Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness. She's been there and she walked away. It holds no appeal for her.
I liked the complex relationship that Monroe has with Francisco. I didn't expect it, yet when it happened, I thought, "Of course." I knew that Monroe would have to come full circle and get closure about Africa in order to heal. That process was ugly and painful, but necessary. I also liked her relationship with Miles. Each encounter helped to shape her in different ways, as relationship with others should do.
While I didn't like everything about the narrative, I did like how the author builds tension and unfolds the story, and keeps me guessing what's going to happen next. While one could easily draw conclusions about what happened in Equatorial Guinea, it's different from what I thought, and complicated. I think this is a book that lends itself well to audio, because some of the written facts about Emily's disappearance and the various places she went/the stonewalling she encounters, and Monroe's search in those places might be a bit dry on paper. I also think that some of the action scenes could have been more suspenseful and intensely written. There was a sense of risk, but it was a bit muted at times. As far as the narrator, I liked her voice a lot. She captures who Michael aka Monroe very well.
This is one of those books that doesn't build up one's faith in humanity. Corruption runs so deep and twisted in this world, and some places are built on this foundation. And while some of us who are lucky to live in a more lawful country, those same individuals go to other places in the world and make things worse in their conquest for power and money because they can get away with that in some places in the world, where life is cheap. Like some of my other thriller/suspense/action hero favorites, Monroe is there to teach them a lesson, but in her case, that lesson is a costly one for her as well.
I couldn't imagine living the life that Vanessa Michael Monroe has lived. One of the things I love about fiction is that I can go on a journey with a distinctive heroine like Monroe and see life through her lenses. I can feel her pain and her anger and experience the victories and defeats she has, and it helps me to understand that life is a complicated thing, but we can make it through things we never imagined possible.
This book might not work for everyone, but I found it interesting and thought-provoking. It felt unique and Monroe is an unforgettable heroine. She's kind of lawless in some ways, but deep down, she has a code that she won't stray from. She's a complicated women. Readers who enjoy this kind of heroine or a reader looking for something different might enjoy The Informationist....more
Courtney Milan writes wonderfully. Her characters are three-dimensional and nuanced, more like real people than characters. I always feel like I wantCourtney Milan writes wonderfully. Her characters are three-dimensional and nuanced, more like real people than characters. I always feel like I want the romance to happen just as much as they do or in some circumstances more. My heart was with Grantham as he wooed Lydia, and I felt deeply for Lydia. Her terrible experience five years earlier would sour anyone on romance, and I could see why her barriers were erected so strongly. I liked that Milan did give them an opportunity to get to know each other and that they had many talks which helped them to get to know each other in the deep way they needed. Grantham is a bit of an odd duck. He's lacking in social graces in that he doesn't know how to measure or mince his words, but tells it like it is. His reasons for marrying initially are barebones pragmatism, but understandable given his situation. But he learned the hard way that he needed to deal in honesty no matter what the cost.
Somehow Milan managed to make a novella feel like a novel. By the end of the book, I did feel like an entire courtship had taken place and that these two people had plenty of reason to be committed to each other. I also liked that she includes some social consciousness such as the sad state of medicine in the late 1800s, especially in light of women's health and the angst of caring for an aging parent.