Patricia Grasso does it again. There is just something about her books and her writing that I find irresistible. She has a way with humor that I love.Patricia Grasso does it again. There is just something about her books and her writing that I find irresistible. She has a way with humor that I love. Her books are filled with family, sexy heroes, and spunky, adorable heroines. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments because of snarky comments made by someone in the book. There is usually a pet who is a prominent, treasured member of the family. I love the motifs that she uses in each book, such as the majordomo (butler) who always has an unusual name, such as Tinker, who is very outspoken but in a wry sort of fashion. One very amusing aspect of Grasso's regencies is there is always at least one scene where the hero and heroine, and anyone with them almost gets run over by a carriage because someone is trying to murder them (I guess London assassins aren't very creative), and there is usually a pregnancy in each book. The large family of Russian princes, either brothers or cousins, certainly helps the appeal.
This is a favorite of mine by this author, because Prince Drako is just a really good guy. He's not a rake, he's not distrustful of women, he's not domineering or obnoxious toward his heroine. He's a sweetheart. Yes, he does deliberately get Katerina pregnant so she'll have to marry him, but he has a really good reason for it. She's bound and determine to avenge the deaths of her sister, brother, and father, and he can't have her jeopardize herself like that. Plus, he falls head over heels for her very early in this book.
Katerina is strong and independent, but not in an annoying way. She has taken care of her family and has a thriving jewelry design business heavily patronized by the 'ice'-loving Duchess of Inverary. She is immediately attracted to Prince Drako, although she thinks he is her enemy she has vowed to revenge her family against. The great thing is that she doesn't hold onto her beliefs that Drako is the villain as she gets to know him and what a good guy he is.
I love all the nuances of this story, the funny conversations, and the poignant moments. The tea parties that the little girls have are hilarious, where they trade gossip about the imaginary Lord Rotten and such characters as that. I love how the Princes eagerly attend the Tea Parties and participate, spending time with the little girls. It's just adorable. You really have to read these books to see what I mean. This is not regency noir, nor is it fluffy per se. It's light, but substantial for a reader who wants to enjoy a book that's not overburdened with angst. Don't get me wrong, I love angst, but it's nice to have a little relief from it.
If you are the type to read books in order, it's best to start with the related series, which is about the Duchess of Inverary's (a prominent recurring character full of sage advice about relationships between men and women) nieces, which begins with To Tempt An Angel. This runs over into the Kazanov series because one of the sisters marries Rudolf, the first Russian Prince. The Kazanov series intersects with the seven Flambeau sisters series (they are the illegitimate daughters of the Duke of Inverary), as they intermarry with the Kazanov Princes. It's a little complicated, but oh so worth reading.
Highly recommended for a Regency romance fan who wants to laugh and really enjoy a fun book....more
I love the cover for this book. It was beautifully written and delightfully melodramatic. A good book to read to escape from the mundane cares of yourI love the cover for this book. It was beautifully written and delightfully melodramatic. A good book to read to escape from the mundane cares of your everyday life. I liked that the heroine was socially awkward and tended to say things that shouldn't be said. ...more
Thank you for writing this book, Ms. Campbell. I loved it, from beginning to end. I am an unashamed lover of virgin heroes, and Matthew is going nearThank you for writing this book, Ms. Campbell. I loved it, from beginning to end. I am an unashamed lover of virgin heroes, and Matthew is going near the top of my list. Matthew truly was a hero to die for. His passion, his integrity, his intelligence, his innocence, his anguish. Oh, my goodness. I am so in love with this man. And reading his story, and how he meets Grace, was such a wonderful experience for me. Why we love books is so unique to each reader. There is no formula for a perfect book. But, in the right hands, and with the right elements, a story can earn a place on a reader's keeper shelf, and in her heart. This is what happened with this book.
Ms. Campbell proved to me that a virgin hero is a fantastic lead for a story. I have never felt that experience made a better lover. The best lover is the one who cares for your needs and wants to please and take care of you. That sees you as an individual and wants to make each moment with you special. That you are the only person in the world that he wants to be with. Matthew showed this so well. I liked that their first time together was realistic. I would expect no less. But after that, and before that, he makes up for it. I knew that he wanted nothing more than to please Grace and to show her how much he loved her in every way possible.
Matthew was so tortured, but he never came off as weak to me. He had the strong will and the strong nature of a survivor. His keen mind is continually used and enhanced, to become a formidable weapon that he uses to protect Grace, although he is at a physical disadvantage. In my mind, brute strength will fail the user. But a strong mind, a strong spirit, will always prevail. That was the case with Matthew. It's fairly obvious, but I loved this man!!!
Although I gush and sigh over heroes, and a great hero is a huge draw for me as a reader, a well-written heroine is equally crucial for this reader. I want to believe in the love that the couple finds together, and it requires strength of character in a heroine for me to do so. I found this in Grace. Grace is a woman who embodies the elements of womanhood that I find so powerful. She has suffered much in her life. She made mistakes, but she moved forward and accepted the consequences of her choices in life. She realized that she was spoiled and expected the world to bow to her, in her youth. But as she matured, she realized that she had to make lemonade out of lemons. Although she has a very passionate heart, she values herself not to give herself away lightly or to sell herself cheaply. She was well named, because I did see a lot of grace in her.
Grace was put in a truly harrowing position in this novel. She was threatened with death and brutal rape. But instead of curling up into a ball of misery, she kept searching for a solution to her problems. I loved that she saw the beauty in Matthew. She fell in love with him, and wasn't going to let him give up on a chance of freedom. She was willing to make some tough choices for him. And despite the fact that she raised to believe it was wrong to give herself to him sexually as his mistress, her love inspired her to make the choice of her heart. Despite her love for him, she was willing to let him go, to live his life and discover what life outside of the prison he had lived in for most of his adulthood, had to offer. In a nutshell, Grace was a wonderful heroine.
Anna Campbell knows how to write romance, in my book. She can write a love story that will break your heart, but also blister the pages with passion. And the depths of the storytelling are such that you feel so enriched by reading her books. I found this book so delightfully sensual and thrilling. Each scene between Grace and Matthew was full of the delightful anticipation of when their passion for each other would culminate. Ms. Campbell did a fantastic job of building the attraction between Grace and Matthew. It would be easy to say that Matthew would have felt a burning, relentless passion for just about any woman, as a healthy young man who had been sexually unawakened before Grace. Maybe I could say that for another book that was not as well-written as this book. But, in Untouched, there was no question that what Matthew felt for Grace was unique and special. The love scenes were fantastically written, and I still replay those interactions, and all the moments between Matthew and Grace in my head. I know this is a book I will pull off my shelf for rereads many times.
I thought that the transformation of Grace's feelings for Matthew was so well-done. She starts out in fear of him, trying her best to keep her distance. But gradually, his beauty, his appeal breaks down her defences. I got the impression that his soul was calling out to hers. Call me sappy, I care not. Yes, there is the great peril that she is in, should he not take her as his mistress. But the way Ms. Campbell wrote this, showed that her decision to become his lover evolved out of her passion for Matthew, not out of desperate calculation.
I thought that the romance so delectable in this story. It was full of strong, earthy passion, but there was also a purity to it. I felt as though Matthew and Grace were soulmates. They were alone and had suffered so much, until the evil machinations of Matthew's uncle led to their meeting and getting to know each other. The menace and the peril that Matthew and Grace dealt with was so apparent, that I held my breath in expectation of how things would end. I hoped that Grace and Matthew would find their happy ending they both deserved, and I was well-rewarded.
I can only speak for myself, but I was blown away by this book. It was such an enriching experience to read this story. This is my third book to read by this author, and I am convinced that historical romance is blessed by her presence. For the third time, I was captivated, and the world fell away. I didn't want to do anything but read the book. Even if that meant I was missing out on a meal or sleep, in the meantime. Simply put, Anna Campbell writes the kind of stories that take me away, and make me believe in the intense promise of love. And that is why I read romance. This book definitely goes on my keeper shelf....more
I must admit I am not a fan of the courtesan/prostitute heroine because I dislike the idea of a woman having to sell her body for survival. For that rI must admit I am not a fan of the courtesan/prostitute heroine because I dislike the idea of a woman having to sell her body for survival. For that reason, I did not read this book right away, although I was very intrigued by the storyline of a hero who would do just about anything to keep his heroine. I read some scenes from it at the bookstore, trying to decide if I was "ready" to read it, and I couldn't stop thinking about story and how good the writing was. Finally, I decided I had to read it and I read it within a few days of buying it.
This book is one of the best historicals I have ever read. It was intense, it was well-written, it had believable characters who made real choices, good or bad. And at the heart I think it did have a really good love story. Not the sweet and light kind, but a love story all the same. I have championed this book and I have tried to explain why Kylemore isn't a bad man. He's not an emotionally healthy man. And he does some things that are not right, namely forcing Soraya to have sex with him after he kidnaps her, not to mention kidnapping her in the first place. I would never defend or excuse that behavior. But reading the book, you can understand what his motivations are. He is completely desperate at the thought of losing her. Yes, he's like a child who has a toy taken away from him, on one level. But I believe that he is motivated by a deep, obsessive love for her. I find myself very intrigued by obsessive heroes. I don't know why because that would be really scary in real life, but I do like it in romance novels. I love when the hero truly cannot exist without the heroine.
Kylemore somehow found his way into my heart. I did find him to be a sympathetic, albeit flawed hero. There were aspects about him that I did like, such as his devotion in his own way to Soraya. He waited for Soraya for years when she was with another protector. As far I as I recall, he didn't even take another lover in that time. When he had her as his mistress, he compartmentalized their time together, making it seem that it was not as important as it was. But deep down, I believe being with her was the highlight of his existence. Also, he was going to ask Soraya to marry him. Dukes did not marry their mistresses. It just wasn't done. They had their mistresses but married virgins or respectble widows, and the two aspects of their existences didn't meet. Yes he told himself it was to anger his mother, but I believe it was because he genuinely loved Soraya and wanted to make a life with her.
So, viewing his actions in light of the facts given, I do believe that his behavior was not completely rational. His kidnapping and captivity of her was done from a knee-jerk, emotional level that wasn't ruled by logic and negated right and wrong. Not excusable, but definitely actions I could understand in light of what motivated Kylemore. There was also an aspect of knowing that as a powerful duke, he shouldn't have to be told no or be denied anything he wanted. That is the part I didn't like.
The scenes where they struggle against each other physically, mentally, and emotionally were riveting, and I didn't even want to put the book down for a minute. I was drawn in and I knew I had rarely if ever read a romance novel with this degree of complexity of relationships. In some ways it was hard to watch how Kylemore scared Verity and wore her down. At some points I wondered if he would drive her to insanity. That was painful to read. She deserved better. I wanted to tell him, "If you're trying to get this woman to stay with you and love you, you're going about it the wrong way." But Kylemore was raised by a very evil woman, his mother. How would a man raised in that environment know how to give or receive love? You could not expect that of him, considering his background.
Truly Verity was the more emotionally stable and well-adjusted of this pair. I really liked how Ms. Campbell really plays with society's concepts of morality in both this book and in Tempt the Devil, having the courtesan be the more virtous and more respectable and laudable of the pair. And truly in my mind they are (in most cases).
Back in this time period, there was no such thing as equality between the sexes. Women were property and chattel. Women's choices were extremely limited. Men had the power and they had the choice to have sex with women according to their wishes and wants. Women had to submit in various ways, either as wife or mistress. I can see that this dynamic is played out in this novel. Verity had to become a courtesan out of survival, and she did it until she was financially secure. I found it repugnant that her first protector was an older man who made her an offer to become his mistress at the young age of fifteen, and he felt that that was the right way to save her from a harrowing situation. If he really wanted to help her, he could have placed her in a safe situation and helped her to get a living that wasn't prostitution, or at least waited until she was older. But he saw how incredibly beautiful she was and wanted her. Thus his motives were selfish and although Verity now had some protection, he sent her into the life of a demimondaine.
Verity/Soraya accepted her position as a courtesan and made the best of it, but it wasn't the life she wanted. When Kylemore made her an offer, it was business, pure and simple. She could not make the mistake of getting her heart involved. She didn't expect Kylemore to be emotionally involved either. When their two year contract was up, she had achieved the means for financial security. There was no reason to continue in that life. By leaving Kylemore, she could close her life on one chapter and start another. I want to reread this book to study again how the wall broke down and Verity was able to love Kylemore. I think that this part is probably one of the most important elements, because knowing that she accepts and loves him doesn't make what he did okay, but at least you can hope that they will have a hopeful future together and that there can be some emotional healing for both of them.
Words fail me to express why I loved this book so much.I just did. It's not for the faint of heart reader who wants a happy-go-lucky rakish hero who wouldn't ever consider harming a woman or doing anything she didn't consent to. But for a reader who is willing to put aside her list of what a hero does and doesn't do and read this book and evaluate Kylemore as an individual, I believe that this reader may find that there are untapped depths to this book that make it a fascinating and enjoyable read....more
I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. Although Catherine was insecure, it was very believable why she had her insecurities. And altI really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. Although Catherine was insecure, it was very believable why she had her insecurities. And although Karim did marry her without telling her it was an arranged marriage, he had good reasons. I was glad that although Catherine did spend a short time being angry with him, she did try to put that behind her and make the most of her marriage because she did see that he had best intentions to be a good husband to her. ...more
I ended up giving this five stars because there was such a WOW factor on the reveal at the end. I did a complete 180 on Alex. He was giving me a serioI ended up giving this five stars because there was such a WOW factor on the reveal at the end. I did a complete 180 on Alex. He was giving me a serious a-hole factor for a lot of this book, and by the end, I really 'got' him, and I just wanted to hug him.
I guess because I am getting older, I am less enchanted (if I ever was) with the dewy, very young heroine. I started out sort of rolling my eyes (in a "Yes, I'm a fan of this author although I'm not feeling this plot element" fashion) at Kerry being eighteen when she married Alex, and becoming a mother. However, I think this was so much a part of their love story, it worked. Kerry and Alex were meant to be, and they would have stayed together, and worked through their issues, if it wasn't for what Kerry's sister did. I mean that was so wrong!!! She really ruined two (and almost three) lives. I don't know how she could have borne the guilt of that for four long years! I think I would have gone crazy, although I would hope I wouldn't do anything that lousy.
This is one of the books where I thought the hero was a b*stard, but when I found out what his issues were, I totally understood his crazy reaction to what he dumped Kerry for. It made sense, considering his history, and Alex turned out to be pretty darn tortured. Kerry is a suitably tormented companion for him. She was a feisty woman by nature, but she assumed guilt for something that wasn't her fault and it killed her spirit for four long years. When she finds out that she wasn't guilty, her normal spirit returns, and she gives Alex a run for his money.
This book touches on the destructive aspects of male jealousy. I admit I like a jealous hero, but I could see that Alex's jealousy was extremely unhealthy, and it made him impossible to be married to. It was sweet how Alex really tried hard to be a good husband to Kerry once he realized how scared Kerry was of his jealousy. It was sweet that he bought her a shop to continue her antiques business he made her give up when he blackmailed her back into marriage. I do have to say that Lynne Graham does a good job of showing that Alex is crazy about Kerry, although Kerry doesn't see it that way. She thinks he just wants to punish her, and to use her as a wife and mother to his son.
I loved how Alex's mom comes and talks to Kerry after he leaves when he realizes how wrong he was about Kerry. This is one of the best reveals I think I've read in the Harlequin Presents books. It makes you see a jerky hero in a really new light, and that's a good thing. In this case, it was totally right for Kerry to go to Alex, and those final scenes brought a smile to my face. (view spoiler)[ And she even resolved the one aspect that was a bummer for me. I hate the unfairness of the heroine staying celibate while the couple is apart, but the hero having affairs. In this case, Alex just couldn't. He dated, but he couldn't have sex with them. He was still too in love with his wife. Big sigh! (hide spoiler)]
I've been reading Lynne Graham for a long time, and I am a big fan of hers. This book showcases her unique style and why she has such a large Harlequin Presents following, and myself. Definitely a new fave of mine by this author, and it deserves the five stars I gave it when I finished reading it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It was a bad move to pick book up this past 3 am this morning when I knew I had to go to bed and get up semi-early. 'Cause I got sucked in, big time!It was a bad move to pick book up this past 3 am this morning when I knew I had to go to bed and get up semi-early. 'Cause I got sucked in, big time! I don't normally like when the hero or heroine lies to each other or puts on a charade, but there is something about the twin storyline that gets you. Especially when one twin is 'bad' and the other twin is 'good', and they take over each others' lives. In this case, Nina was the good girl. I loved her. Her caring heart and devotion to her young niece Georgia won me over on the first page. Which is why I couldn't put this down this morning. I also liked that she was sassy with the hero. She was no wilting female. She was a tough and loving woman of very strong principles. While it wasn't really wise how she played along to Marc's sexist prejudices about women, it was actually kind of cool that Marc fell in love with her, even with her so-called notorious life. I think that there was a real connection between Marc and Nina, that overcame all those obstacles between them. Heck, that is why I am a bonafide romance novel fan. I love seeing love overcome all kinds of obstacles. And Georgia was such a sweet little baby.
I think it was interesting that Nadia truly was a bad seed. I mean bad! Oh my, the things she was up to were kind of eye-opening. And so soon after having a baby! It was also interesting to see how twins with the same start in life could go in such different directions. I also appreciated the contrasting or comparing dynamic between Nina and her sister, and Marc and his brother. I felt for Marc that he had been forced to shoulder the burden for so many things that went wrong in his family. He did use some terms I hate for a man to use for a woman, but other than that, he was a good guy. I liked how he stood up to his father for Nina. I think a man should definitely demand that his father show respect for his wife.
Despite reading a few books I enjoyed by her, I haven't been a huge fan of this author in the past, but I think I will have to reevaluate that. This is the second book in a few days I read by her and really liked. She definitely writes intense and emotional books. And unlike the one star book I read by her, I really liked Nina and the heroine in the last book I read. They are well-developed, complex heroines. That's what I like in a book, when the hero and heroine can meet on equal terms, even if their lives and paths have been so different.
So, even though I ended up with a sleep-deprived hangover, it was kind of worth it for this book. Definitely a well-earned four stars!...more
This book had a really good adventure story line, passion, and two likable characters. You wanted them to find happiness together. This is a book thatThis book had a really good adventure story line, passion, and two likable characters. You wanted them to find happiness together. This is a book that reminds a long-term romance reader who feels that she is getting burned out, why she should keep reading romance. If you like Sheikh books, you should read this book....more
I put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was boI put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was bored with his inactivity and seclusion while his broken leg was healing, and he needed a distraction. I started it once, because it's about the sister of the heroine from The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride (Surrender to the Sheikh), a book I loved. But I put it down because I wasn't in the mood for that kind of hero. As I embarked on my Weekend Harlequin Presents Marathon, a tradition I have that I truly enjoy, I picked it up and started reading it again. I am glad I finally did read this book.
How could I have doubted you, Annie West? You know how to write a great, intense romance. The process of showing the courtship and the seduction of Arik by Rosalie (note I didn't say the opposite) was so beautifully executed by you. Arik thought he knew all the moves, had women figured out, and knew how to get his pleasure out of a woman and move on. He saw Rosalie and wanted her body. But when he spent time with her, saw the mix of vulnerability and beauty that was her, not just her body, he wanted more from her. I have trouble with playboy heroes that think all women are the same, just warm bodies for pleasure. So I was predisposed to dislike Arik. He had to work very hard for me to like him. But he succeeded. He succeeded by showing he was a sensitive man. The way he gave Rosalie time, and let her come to him, made allowances for her skittishness, and didn't force the issue, that really helped me to like him. Also how he became obsessed with her, completely drawn in, so that by the time they were actually lovers, it was more than just that. For the short time period that this happened in, I have to give Ms. West some credit. I've read books where the couples have a love affair that spans much longer time periods, and the love aspect, the connection was missing. Not with this book.
Like the other books that I've read by Annie West, the intensity that turns a HP from an enjoyable read to a real pleasure and a favorite, was there in spades with this book. I liked how the struggle within Rosalie to claim back her life, to open her heart to love and a physical relationship with man after she was raped was shown. Even though Arik didn't know she was raped until near the end, he was very caring and considerate to her, and that helped Rosalie get past her fears and her issues. And Arik went from being kind of shallow, a rich playboy (even if he did have a heart for his people and worked hard, his attitude towards women was very shallow) to a deep, caring, loving man who fell truly in love, completely captivated by a woman before my eyes. I think this was done so well.
This was a great book. I'm a big fan of sheikh romances, but I liked that this was one was more intimate. There were hints about Arik's wealthy and powerful identity, but that was in the background. The focus was on the relationship between Rosalie and Arik. How a wary heart found a once shallow man and turned him into a man who was so lovestruck, he wanted nothing more than the one woman he had initially decided to seduce out of boredom. That's the most awesome kind of book that takes a story you're kind of 'meh' about, and completely draws you in.
I love this book. One of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. It's got a tortured hero and heroine who are separated by a misunderstanding, but comeI love this book. One of my all time favorites by Diana Palmer. It's got a tortured hero and heroine who are separated by a misunderstanding, but come back together and find a stronger love....more
Imagine a desperate heroine. Imagine a cold, ruthless hero. Imagine having your child stolen from your arms and having no recourse. Well that is whatImagine a desperate heroine. Imagine a cold, ruthless hero. Imagine having your child stolen from your arms and having no recourse. Well that is what happens in this book. The realism is incredible, but the love story overshadows it. So vividly written, you feel as though you are watching an old western. ...more
I read this book by an author I had become a fan of after reading The Wicked Truth, and I was struck by the uniqueness and the beauty of this romance.I read this book by an author I had become a fan of after reading The Wicked Truth, and I was struck by the uniqueness and the beauty of this romance. Jonathan is considered an idiot savant because of his incredible abilities as a composer but his lack of social skills. Knowing this initially, I wasn't sure how things would go before I met him, but I fell in love with him. I really like books with unusual heroes and heroines. Jonathan is that. He's perfectly intelligent, he just has a different way of looking at things. He doesn't care much for what's going on in the world, and has a tendency to be wrapped up in his music. I would use the phase, "He needs a keeper," to describe him. He bonds almost immediately with Kathryn and in a very sensual way. It involves a piano bench. Definitely a wow moment for me. I knew I'd like this book at this point. Another truly enjoyable thing about this book was how capable and practical Kathryn is. If you are a fan of Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels, I think you would like Kathryn. She is slightly older than Jonathan, and has taken care of herself for many years. She is the perfect match for Jonathan, tempering his passion with reason, although he brings out the latent passions in her. He gives her what she needs, the desire to nuture and love him and his children. Kathryn gently encourages Jonathan, supporting him in his music, but giving him nudges to remember that there is a world outside there beyond his music. There are poignant moments that involve how he was farmed out to women to father their children so they could have children who were musical geniuses. Kathryn helps Jonathan find all his children, and they bring them to live with them, and start a ready made family. I enjoyed seeing their family moments and the marital intimacy between Jonathan and Kathryn. I found it very touching. I really love this book, although most people have never heard of it. If you want to read a wonderful love story with a different kind of hero who will endear himself to you very quickly, I think you'd like this book....more
I finished listening to this book early this morning, a little before seven. I could not sleep, and as I lay in the darkness in need of some comfort aI finished listening to this book early this morning, a little before seven. I could not sleep, and as I lay in the darkness in need of some comfort and company, I thought that I should go ahead and finish it. I am glad I did.
I am perhaps a bit biased. I have always liked Lewis, ever since I read The Chronicles of Narnia in high school. My liking deepened for him when I saw the movie Shadowlands. Something about his life called to me. I have since done research on him and his journey from atheism to fervent Christian belief. I cannot deny how inspiring I find his life.
I started this book years ago, and put it down, not out of disinterest, but because of other priorities at the time. As far as I got, which was not far, I appreciated his methodical, clear approach. I always intended to finish it. I actually own two copies, one on my Kindle, and one paperback copy. When I saw this at the library on audiobook, I decided to listen to it. That was a good decision.
Mere Christianity is a book on the fundamentals of Christian belief. Its audience is not just Christians, but also non-believers, folks who would like to investigate the faith of Christianity, what it entails, and what it doesn’t. Although the Bible is the foundation of our beliefs, I think this book does an exceptional job of condensing, or explaining, if you will what Christians espouse.
I respect Mr. Lewis that he does not pretend to have all the answers. That he does not deny that there are some things he had not figured out. Nor does he deny that he struggled with some aspects of being a Christian at times. That is a strong testament to the life of a Christian. We admit that we are flawed folks in need of saving. We admit that we strive to know God and to have God work in us to make us more like him. That takes a fundamental humility, one that is rewarded time and time again. By breaking down and admitting our brokenness, we become whole by our acceptance of him who made all things.
There were parts of this book that spoke so intimately to my spirit, that I lifted my hand to praise God. For Mr. Lewis had indeed through the power of the Holy Spirit, put on paper that feeling that I believe all people who are born again in Christ feel and experience. For that alone, I could easily give this book five stars. However, it has yet more to offer.
I appreciate just as much, how logical Mr. Lewis is in his discussion of Christianity. While many feel that Christians are fools who believe in fairy tales, he shows just how much sense Christianity makes to those who choose to follow it. While atheism might have appeal for some, there is more appeal to those who choose to follow Christ than deciding to reject God in any form. He takes it a bit further to explain why some point in between atheism and Christianity (including other belief systems) won’t work for those who choose to follow Christ. We freely admit we have nothing to lose, looking at the facts, and yes, there are inescapable facts about Jesus Christ, not just found in the Bible, in human history recorded by those who have absolutely no stake in affirming or confirming that miracle of God begotten man who came and died and rose again for the sins of humanity. He also speaks into the facts about the nature of humanity and what makes us uniquely created to love and to interact with a Creator who became man so that we could have an intimate and real relationship with him. If we are fools to seek Christ, then why do the laws of human morality and that essential need inside ourselves point to the need for a savior, for fellowship with God?
I won’t say I didn’t struggle with some aspects. And Lewis does not in any way excuse the fact that he is saying things that are hard to face. I like that brutal honesty. Brutal honesty is as much a part of the Christian faith as the comfort is in knowing that while the walk in following Christ is a tough road, we do it not alone, but through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who lives in us and empowers us to follow him.
This book comes highly recommended by this reader. It’s not overly long, certainly not bogged down in theological doctrines that won’t make any sense to a person who does not belong to a specific Christian denomination or who isn’t even a Christian. In fact, Mr. Lewis works very hard to use concrete examples that illustrate his points. His analytical approach makes this profound spiritual message that much more powerful, because he does not seek to play on the reader’s emotional heartstrings or sentimentalities. As a lover of Christ, he does not seek to turn his message into another one of manipulation (as many view Christianity and the followers of this faith), for it’s far too important for that. I know that I will read this book again, probably more than once. I would like to come back to it and explore some of the thoughts here. They speak to me, and perhaps will speak to others, regardless of how they currently feel about Christianity.
This was an interesting read that takes a different path for the urban fantasy heroine. Kitty is not the usual kickbutt heroine who can handle whateveThis was an interesting read that takes a different path for the urban fantasy heroine. Kitty is not the usual kickbutt heroine who can handle whatever life throws at her. She's a regular girl, who happens to be a werewolf. I found that intensely refreshing.
Kitty is the wolf of lowest status in her pack and complete submissive when the story starts. She has to come into her own and into the realization that she can make it on her own, and that she doesn't need the pack so much that she can deny her sense of self.
The description of werewolf pack dynamics kept my attention. I didn't care much for the way the pack controlled Kitty's life. I tend to be a loner because I don't like doing things because they are expected of me by others, and not because I want to. That's why I could really identify with Kitty's situation.
Kitty is still trying to deal with her dual selves, as a werewolf, and as a human. She became a werewolf under some pretty awful circumstances, and has lingering trauma over that. When the book starts, her parents don't even know she's a werewolf. She avoids going to family get-togethers because of fear that the wolf would emerge.
The one thing is hers and makes sense is her radio dj gig that becomes a show about preternatural creatures, and as it grows, helps Kitty to find her sense of self and meaning in life.
This story has plenty of action, but it is also a story about a woman coming into herself and dealing with her identity. That is one of the reasons I really like this story, because of the introspective aspects teamed with a good, action-oriented urban fantasy tale. Cormac is a hunter of vamps and weres who his hired to kill Kitty, but is convinced to call off the contract at the last minute by Kitty herself. Cormac certainly caught my interest, and I'd like to see more of him.
When this story ends, very few of the external conflicts are wrapped up. You know that Kitty has troubles ahead to face. But you know that she can handle it, because she is a wolf in control of her own destiny....more
Patricia Briggs continues to impress me with her oh-so expressive writing that conveys so much, so economically. I am truly in awe of her talent. CleaPatricia Briggs continues to impress me with her oh-so expressive writing that conveys so much, so economically. I am truly in awe of her talent. Clearly I am very behind on this series. It's not due to a lack of appeal, but due to my reading style and my review reading taking up a lot of my reading time. But I do love knowing that I have a guaranteed read when I reach for one of her books.
Mercy is definitely near the top of my list of fictional characters I think I would love to have as a friend in real life. Probably number one, if I'm honest. And not just because she's an excellent and trustworthy mechanic (and I need one of those big time). Mercy is a mix of real-life traits: humble, down-to-earth, courageous (even in the face of fear, which is the true definition of courage), snarky, empathetic, observant, and very self-deprecating. While some readers don't like abuse storylines in their books, I don't mind them when they are done well. Mercy shows so much strength and fortitude of character. Her journey to recovery after her attack in Iron Kissed is realistic and inspiring. I truly love this woman.
Briggs writes the kind of fantasy that grabs hold of me and doesn't let go. She plants a garden of what seems like ordinary wildflowers, but exotic blooms that are far from ordinary grow in that garden, waiting to be plucked by a reader. Briggs mixes shapeshifters, werewolves, fae, and vampires in an appealing way that doesn't leave out the inherent menace of all the various supernatural creatures. With a coyote shifter narrator, the reader is fully along for the ride, as Mercy is the first to admit that being a coyote shifter doesn't always give her the advantage, but often puts her in a dangerous situation (while she is more immune to magic than most, she's not impervious.) Oh, and Briggs also throws in ghosts. I must say that I was happy as a clam, since I love fantasy like a house on fire, but I also have an appreciation for old school/classic horror and an old-fashioned ghost story.
Can I take the time to gush over the men in Mercy's life?
Adam, Adam, Adam! How I love you. He is perfect for Mercy. And I like that Mercy is starting to see past her emotional wounds and barriers to see him for who he is, her Mate. Also, I love that Adam is so patient and loving about it, even though that is an act of hard-won discipline. He's very possessive, but not in a controlling, irritating way. I love a possessive hero like a house on fire, but I find controlling, dominating men a turnoff. Adam is just right for me. I wish I had an Adam in real life! He's very demonstrative that Mercy is his, but he's not trying to dictate to her every step she takes. He's a true life partner.
If there was no Adam in the Mercy Thompson world, then I would definitely be all over Samuel. I still love Samuel, very much. I just don't love him for Mercy's mate. I love him all on his own, and I hope he gets the Mate he needs one day. He's a really cool character. Sweet as pie, but also full of danger that makes the hair stand up on one's neck. He seems serious, but has this mischievous sense of humor. His calm facade hides a wild wolf that might never be tamed.
Bran is the Man, or rather, the Alpha of the Alphas (Marrok). He steals a scene, no matter who else is in it. And that's saying something in this series! I know Briggs has said she probably won't write a book with Bran as a main character. I'm sad and understanding of that. He's such a mysterious and compelling figure, when he shows up, it's so satisfying but also tantalizing. I can't love him more. I'm always hungry for more of him.
Stefan has actually grown on me quite a bit. While I have become quite a vampire romance fan, I still prefer shifters/weres to vampires, and I like that they take center place in this series. But Stefan adds such a nice touch to this series. While he insists on telling Mercy that he is a 'very bad man', his actions say otherwise. I haven't decided who would play my Stefan, but it would have to be an actor with lots of presence. I liked how Briggs develops Mercy's friendship with Stefan much more in this book (it was more assumed at the beginning). I have to say the vampire storyline makes my heart beat fast and gives me shivers. They are truly menacing creatures.
The thing with Briggs is that no character is a throwaway. Each one is carefully developed, even for their short presence in this book. You feel everything even in a short scene that you should feel. And while the characters might throw you for a loop at first, their motivations are apparent as the layers peel away.
I think that for the short length of this book, it's really a full meal. Urban fantasy for the true lover of the genre. Also, I think a good gateway to those who are investigating this genre for the first time. Mercy by herself is enough to keep a reader hooked. But the secondary characters, the plotting and storyline will have the reader staying for seconds and dessert.
Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs I've actually read Alpha and Omega twice now. It's such a wonderful story. Very short, but that's okay, because we hAlpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs I've actually read Alpha and Omega twice now. It's such a wonderful story. Very short, but that's okay, because we have two full-length stories with one of my supercouples now. I can't describe how much I love this story. I did write a long review which I added under Alpha and Omega separately. I'll just say that Ms. Briggs did an exemplarly job of writing this story that is full of underlying intensity, but written so simply. Charles and Anna are two characters that I found very fascinating. I could feel their chemistry in every interaction. It's romance at its best, wrapped up in a delicious urban fantasy package. Five stars.
Inhuman by Eileen Wilks This was one of those stories that I find hard to review and to rate. It's a very good story, but the writing was hard to get into. I found there was a distance between me and Kai and Nathan that I had to work very hard to bridge. The remote writing style was the culprit. Having said that, I liked the world that Ms. Wilks built, ripe with magical creatures, and unfortunately, full of prejudice against those gifted with magical abilities. Nathan is a character that I found myself liking very much. He had a lot of integrity. He was a man of self-control, but also a man of intense emotions. Kai was a strong woman with an interesting ability, that she was trying very had to understand. I liked their romance. But, I must admit. The world was the selling point in this story. Rich with Faerie elements, which never fails to appeal to me as a reader. Four stars.
Buying Trouble by Karen Chance This is my third story by Ms. Chance, I am definitely seeing why she has such a devoted fan base. Her stories are action-packed. The world-building is intricate and rich. Her characters are appealing and likeable. And she is a very funny writer. I was reading this while sitting with my sister in her hospital room, and I kept laughing out loud and gasping as I read it. Ms. Chance managed to pack quite a lot into this story, but it wasn't overloaded. Although I feel that she could use more dialogue in this story, it's hard to find fault with it, because it was so well done. Sexy, appealing, funny characters that I cared about, humorous moments, and no-holds-barred action, what else could I ask for? Oh, and a heavy dose of Faerie! Five stars.
I didn't read the Sunny story because erotic urban fantasy isn't my thing. And skimming made it clear this was very erotic. So, no rating for it.
I'd give this collection five stars just because of Alpha and Omega. But, the Wilks story was enjoyable, and I loved the Chance story, so it makes it a lot easier to give this book a five star rating. If you are urban fantasy fans, and you aren't reading Briggs and Chance, get to it. You're missing out!
I'm not sure how to write this review without excessive gushing. Gushing hurts my credibility as a reader. Well, I think it's clear that I'm not aboveI'm not sure how to write this review without excessive gushing. Gushing hurts my credibility as a reader. Well, I think it's clear that I'm not above a little gushing if I love a book. But I do try to be objective. However, sometimes a good book deserves gushing, and lots of it. Such is the case with Cry Wolf. My tastes are somewhat simple when it comes to a book. I want to be involved and entertained. When I read a book that takes me to that next level of pure emotional enjoyment, catching me where I live and feel deeply as a human, I wish I could rate it higher than five stars.
Patricia Briggs is an author that I was not expecting to come into my life and rock my perception of what I consider good urban fantasy. Now, the standard is much higher. She has found a way to make the werewolf tale that much more enjoyable to this lover of the genre. She writes characters that convince me that there must be werewolves out there, and that they aren't all ravening beasts. That there is an entire spectrum. That they are lonely, in need of love, always fighting a battle of control against their animal natures, or that some have completely given into their animal side. That they form bonds of family and love that wrap around them, and when those bonds are taken away, it has the power to destroy them. Conversely, the bonds of love and pack, can heal a long-broken heart.
The characters in this story show that spectrum of wolves very well. By the end of the story, they felt like people I knew. Oh, and there were some characters that I crossed myself in hopes that I never encountered their likes. Mariposa, oh, how she gave me the shudders. Oh, and Bran.... Could I love him more now? Even though he has some really scary aspects to his personality? Although that just increased his appeal to me. What control this man has. How tortured he truly is. Ms. Briggs, do write a separate story for Bran, I humbly ask.
Charles and Anna: More continued goodies with their nuanced, layered relationship. It's a symbiotic relationship, almost. It would seem that Anna is the weak one, and Charles is the strong one. Not so. Anna's presence brings strength and calmness to Charles. She saves his life numerous times in this story, in fact. And Charles gives Anna that reason and that purpose she had not found before. She loves him so much it scares her. He heals the broken places deep inside of her with his love and devotion. And, he brings her to a home where she had been lost before. I love that not only does this couple come together, but Anna comes to form deep, important relationships with other wolves in this story, who are in need of the peace that she can give them as an Omega wolf.
There were scenes that clutched at my emotions and wouldn't let go. When Anna sings to Asil and Bran, and they fall with their heads in her lap. These troubled wolves finding the peace that an evil adversary had denied them. It was just wonderful to watch.
There are dark and scary moments in this story, as Charles, Anna, and Walter, a wolf they encounter, face a very malevolent entity from the old wolf, Asil's past. Oh, there was plenty of horror in this story. Of the more subtle, not in your face, but very unnerving variety. And the power of this person, powerful enough to take over a character who is known for his absolute strength and control. Shuddering thinking about it.
Yes, I'm gushing. I waited a few days to write this review, trying to get my thoughts in order. For me, this is urban fantasy at its best. Cry Wolf truly is an exemplary werewolf story to me (and that's saying a lot from me). It's the kind of book that you don't want to put down for anything. Ms. Briggs with her misleadingly simple way of telling a story, will have likely a profound effect on you, if you appreciate really good storytelling. Watch out if you haven't read her yet. In the end, I can't speak for other readers. I won't even try. I can only speak for myself. This was a fantastic story. I hope that others who read this enjoy it as much as I did....more
Iron Kissed has made me even more of a fan of Patricia Briggs. This story takes off shortly after Blood Bound. Mercy and her friends are still recoverIron Kissed has made me even more of a fan of Patricia Briggs. This story takes off shortly after Blood Bound. Mercy and her friends are still recovering from dealing with the demon-possessed vampire, and the wave of violence that he inflicted on the Tri-Cities area. Do not be fooled into thinking that things will go back to normal for Mercy. The heat is on as the pressure to choose between two werewolves who want her as their mate: her former flame, Samuel and the sexy, powerful alpha of the Tri-Cities pack, Adam, gets explosive. Normally I hate love triangles, but Ms. Briggs handles this one so well, I was loving it. I could see how it was hard to choose between Samuel and Adam, because they both have a lot to offer a girl, although my heart already made the choice for her, and I was glad that Mercy made the same choice. I adore both Adam and Samuel, for different reasons. They are both tough and powerful men, with a primal edge that I just adore. Adam is protective but he knows that Mercy is always going to be her own woman, and works hard to give her space, even though his urge to claim her is increasingly hard to control. Although he is dominant and formidable in his own right, Samuel is more touchy feely and does sweet things like cooks for Mercy and provides her with the feelings of home and hearth that she sometimes misses from being part of Bran’s pack long ago. I enjoyed the flirtations she had with both guys, and I didn’t feel like she was stringing them along. It was clear how hard it was to choose one man, and possibly lose the other. Ms. Briggs balanced the tension beautifully in this book.
On top of emotional/relationship aspects, is the mystery about who is killing Fae at the Walla Walla faerie reservation. I love reading about the Fae, and this book didn’t disappoint me. Ms. Briggs captures the ruthless/dangerous aspects of these creatures, but also the allure and the otherworldly appeal awesomely. Mercy is in serious danger in this book, and there are some moments that are intense and very heartbreaking, as Mercy puts herself in jeopardy to save her friend Zee from being framed for the murder of a bigoted, anti-Fae guard who worked at the reservation.
Ms. Briggs is my favorite fantasy author, and this book only solidifies her place in my keeper shelves. She writes urban fantasy with a light, subtle touch, her narrative sparing but rich at the same time. She has all the human elements that make an urban fantasy book call to this reader. Yet she also gives a reader the magic and the preternatural creatures that make fantasy one of my favorite genres. I loved her wolves from book one, and this book makes me love them more. Adam is just awesome, but Samuel is delicious and adorable too. And the rest of the pack and their dynamics stands out beautifully, especially Ben. I loved how Ben was able to talk to Adam and Mercy and help them through the horrible situation the potential mates found themselves facing in this novel.
This book was just fantastic. In fact, I feel the urge to read it again already, although my tbr pile is calling me to other books. I’m so glad that I have the rest of the books to come back to when I get my reading schedule under control. Ms. Briggs, I want to shake your hand. You know how to write an enthralling book for fantasy lovers, and you proved it with Iron Kissed.
What a great addition to the urban fantasy genre. Mercy is a likeable and engaging protagonist. She doesn't come off as invincible and inhuman in herWhat a great addition to the urban fantasy genre. Mercy is a likeable and engaging protagonist. She doesn't come off as invincible and inhuman in her buttkicking abilities, yet at the same time, she is comfortable in her own skin and can hold her own.
The universe is interesting, much like the world we live in, save the addition of preternatural creatues such as werewolves, vampires, fae, and coyote shifters like Mercy, which seem quite rare.
I enjoyed the description of the pack dynamics and Mercy doesn't quite fit into the werewolf packs, yet at the same time is an integral part of them. She has an interesting relationship with the Marrok, Bran, who is the acknowleged leader of all the werewolves in North America, and somewhat like a father figure to Mercy, Samuel, the firstborn of Bran, who Mercy almost married/mated to, and Adam, the alpha of the pack of werewolves where Mercy lives, in the Tri-Cities area. Out of the three, Adam is my favorite. He was very attractive to me in his personality and how he interacted with Mercy. I can't get enough of him. Samuel also had some seductive traits to me. He is strong but gentle at the same time. He clearly has feelings for Mercy that are unresolved. There are other secondary characters that truly caught my interest and that I want to read more about. Mercy has an interesting relationship with both Adam and Sam, and that is sure to play a major role in later installments. I much say Mercy is surrounded by beautiful, powerful, intriguing men (of various origins).
I like the way Briggs' made Mercy stand out. She saved Adam's life more than once, but she is also very aware of her limitations. Mercy's an auto mechanic and runs her own shop, which is how she gets entangled in the situation that arises in this book. It's great to see a heroine who has such dimensions to her.
The magic elements were arresting, particularly as this book showed the magic of the werewolf and the pack, how their strength draws from the alpha and gives back to him. It was really enjoyable to read about. As a werewolf lover, this did my heart good. There are also some vampire elements in this book for those who are of the fang persuasion. And yes, for the faery lovers, there's even a little of that sprinkled in this book. Although this was not a long book, it was a veritable hearty meal for urban fantasy lovers.
All in all, a great start to a series that I definitely want to continue reading....more
There is something so wonderful about Patricia Briggs's writing for this reader. She is able to create a world in which I am completely drawn in, butThere is something so wonderful about Patricia Briggs's writing for this reader. She is able to create a world in which I am completely drawn in, but she writes with such simple elegance. Without a doubt, this is my favorite urban fantasy series so far.
Mercy Thompson is the kind of heroine that earns my devotion. She is so brave, but has the same fears and uncertainties that us readers have. She wants a simple life, even though she's a walker, a coyote shapeshifter, who is up to her neck in werewolf politics, not to mention vampire and fae issues. She has to go to work the next day even after staying up all night, dealing with demon-possessed vampires and the like, knowing that some of her close friends might be dead. I think Ms. Briggs has really tapped into the wellspring of what pulls me in as a reader in this genre. She is able to give me a fantastic world that is imbued with the real life things, and the combination is very satisfying.
Mercy could not be more admirable. Not a perfect person, but who is? Nevertheless, she has qualities that earn my respect. She is strong, and loving, empathetic, and willing to do the dirty jobs. Her courage in a truly harrowing situation spoke to me. She could have just moved on, and took things as they ended, but her conscience told her she had to finish things. Which she did, despite her fear, her guilt about doing something that went against her code, and her disgust at what she had to to. And Mercy is surrounded by men (wolves/vamps) who are used to exerting their dominance, but she navigates her way through this testosterone-laden world without losing her sense of self, or control over her own life.
The men in this series. Oh, the men. Adam is the keeper of my heart. I just love that man. I believe he is the right man for Mercy, hands down. The chemistry between Mercy and Adam is divine. There is a naturalness to their relationship, full of tension, but so organic. I loved all their scenes together, reading the subtext of their complex relationship. How Adam has to suppress his compelling power as the alpha, but his feelings for Mercy make it difficult. How Mercy wants to submit, but doesn't want to, at the same time, out of fear of losing herself and disappearing into the pack hierarchy. So intense! And then there's Samuel. He was Mercy's first boyfriend, the man she almost mated to. He still wants her, even more than ever. But he knows he messed up the first time, and his fight to give Mercy the choice of who she wants, takes its toll on him. And then there's his pain at what he has lost, and fears he will never have again.
The vampires in this series are scary! They are predators, pure and simple. They have powers that make them formidable enemies and uneasy allies. Mercy's 'so-called' friend Stefan has an ambiguosity to him that is inherent because of his being a powerful vampire, but at the same time, having a humaneness that the other vampires lack. He's one of the good ones, but he's still a predator at the end of the day. Mercy knows she's in over her head when she has to deal with the vampires, and particularly a demon-possessed sorcerer vampire. But Mercy has the power to resist the vampires to a degree that the other preternaturals lack, even though her small size and lack of strength as a coyote shifter leaves her at a disadvantage. There are parts in this book where I felt the tension like a knife edge. The evil that these creatures were capable of was always clear. Yet some hid it behind an urbane facade.
But more than anything, I love the wolves. The pack dynamics are utterly fascinating. The basic and primal nature of the wolves always played a factor in how Mercy dealt with Samuel, Adam, Bran (the leader of all the werewolves in North America), Warren (Adam's third, a good friend of Mercy), and some of the other wolves in this book. I felt envy that this was not real. But at the same time, I'm not sure I could handle being in love with a werewolf, and knowing that his control is what keeps him from eating or killing you, if that inner wolf nature takes full control. Not to mention dealing with the dicey pack politics that Mercy gets sucked into, despite her desire to do her own thing.
I'm gushing. I know I am. I can't help it. I love this book, and this series. I think I will have restrain myself from speeding my way through it too fast. I don't think I could handle having to wait a long time for the next books in the series, then!
If you're looking for a really good urban fantasy series with a heroine that you will fall in love with, I recommend this series. If you are into werewolf fiction, you are really missing out if you don't read this one. These werewolves are the best in fiction (in my opinion). Thumbs way up!...more