Kei Swanson is clearly eavesdropping in on my brain. She truly knows about my love for Asian men. If not, then she must be a serious admirer of AsianKei Swanson is clearly eavesdropping in on my brain. She truly knows about my love for Asian men. If not, then she must be a serious admirer of Asian men, just like me. Laine Tanizaki was completely, utterly fantastic. Sexy as all get out, but sweet and kind and honorable. I kept picturing Ian Anthony Dale as I read this book, and badly in need of a bib to catch all my drooling. But, I don't want to objectify him. He was a fully-realized character that I fell in love with, just as Corie did. Helping people is in his blood, and being an undercover police officer wasn't something he enjoyed, but it was a way to do what he felt was necessary to keep people safe. He was so loveable, and lickable too (okay, mind out of the gutter). I like that Kei wasn't afraid to have a hero who is Japanese-American, but one who didn't cement or pander to stereotypes. I felt as I read this story that we are of the same mind, ethnicity doesn't control our lives. It's who we are, but just a part of our identities. Laine was an American who happened to be Japanese. He had some of those elements of his ethnicity and heritage, but he also was just like any other American. To be honest with you, I could give this book five stars just because of how much I adored Laine. He was just one of those heroes who claims my heart early on and doesn't let go. I loved how he watched out for, loved, and truly respected and liked Corie. He was a dream man, in my opinion.
I liked Corie, but she's the vulnerable type. If readers don't go for the kind of heroine who is always in need of rescue, Corie won't be your thing. I was okay with her, because I felt that she was the right woman for Laine, and I felt the chemistry between them. Also, she went through a tough experience, and came out of it a survivor, even though she was worse for wear from the experience. And, she gets points for running a bookstore, owning a cat, and seeing what a fine, sexy, hunk of burning love Laine was. I liked that she was also a character who didn't fulfill stereotypes about Black women. She's about as far as you can get away from the uncultured, uncouth, loud, bitter, mean Black woman that seems to be used as the poster child for women of my race. She came from upper class, born into money, but strayed when she fell for a man who turned out to be a straight-up hoodlum and drug-dealer, who beat her so badly, she lost her baby and was in the ICU for two weeks. Now, she lives in fear of him, which was a little frustrating. Although I could understand that fear can control us. I wasn't always happy with the choices she made in regards to dealing with her ex-husband, but I've never been in her shoes, so I didn't hold that against her too much.
This was a well-paced, well-written romance. The chemistry builds deliciously, and you feel the emotional bond between Laine and Corie. Even though they can't open up about who they are, there is a connection between them that drives their interactions. I liked the dialogue and the intimacy in their everyday interactions. When they make love, the fire has stoked to a tingling level of anticipation, and I was not disappointed.
I had a bad experience with the last interracial romance I tried to read. It also had an Asian hero and a Black woman, and that woman was also battered by a man in her life. This execution was so much better. There was nothing tawdry or disturbing about this story, but the abuse that Corie suffered was clear. Laine never came off as an opportunist or a user, but a man truly in love who knew how to care for his woman and to love her. Just what she needed. And, Corie turns out to be right for Laine, giving him a connection and the love of a woman, when he's felt so isolated, with only a dying father in his life, and his job. I am thankful to Kei for her deft handing of this tough subject. I loved how she dealt with the racial and socioeconomic differences, and how lovingly she brought Laine to life. It sounds really bizarre to say so, but I have a heart for Asian people, and I want to see more stories that show Asian Americans as they are everyday, minus the stereotypes that seem to cloud a true vision of a group of people who are diverse and rich in culture and personality. As a Black woman, I feel that on a personal level everyday, and it's not pretty. So, when I read a book that doesn't go in that direction, I feel very happy. I cheered for Laine and Corie to get their happy ending together, because I felt that I truly knew them as lovable, good people. If they were real, I'd definitely want to go to their wedding.
1)Do not go on a cruise for your vacation...There might be vampires aboard. 2)Be aware of childhood rivals thatLessons learned from reading this book:
1)Do not go on a cruise for your vacation...There might be vampires aboard. 2)Be aware of childhood rivals that you go on family vacations with...They might be evil witches. 3)Never spend your vacation in the French countryside, and by all means, avoid striking up a conversation with a garrulous Frenchman...It could very well be deadly to you and yours. 4)If you go to Jamaica, avoid the strange house with mirrors on it...Just take my word for it. 5)Never, ever take a backpacking trip through strange European countries with even stranger names like Necratul. Trust me on that!
This turned out to be a very good short story collection. I was kind of worried at how the first story, "Cruisin'", by Sarah Mlynowski, started. I thought, "Crap. This is like the CW teenie-bopper shows I avoid like the plague. Young girls out to get laid, 17 going on 35." I'm glad I kept reading. Just when I was about to give up, it got interesting. I have to admit that she threw me for a loop with the unexpected twist. Nicely played, Ms. Mlynowski. 4 stars.
"I Don't Like Your Girlfriend" by Claudia Gray took an interesting look at childhood rivalries between two girls whose mothers are both initiating them into their lives as witches. Cecily is a by-the-book girl, following all the rules of the Craft faithfully. Kathleen, her nemesis, has no problem breaking one of the first rules of witchcraft, not using your power to influence others. And to make it even worse, she's using it over her sweet boyfriend, Scott, who Cecily has a crush on. Cecily is out to see justice done. This was a pretty good story. Not really a subject I'm that interested in, but it kept my interest. 4 stars.
"The Law of Suspects" by Maureen Johnson struck me as such a well-done story. It starts out so funny in a completely sarcastic way. I was laughing out loud at Charlie's observations of her trip to France. And then, suddenly this story became as creepy as heck! Imagine being stranded in a country where you barely speak the language, and there is a weird French guy telling you an incredibly unsettling story. You know something is Just Not Right about this guy. Then, there's a very cute French guy who shows up. He tells you that you and your sister's lives are in danger. What do you do? What do you do? Man, this was a suspenseful story. I had no idea how it was going to end. Was Gerard telling Charlie the truth? Argh! I was holding my breath! When it ends, there's still this lingering fear. Is it over? What a good story. 5 stars.
"The Mirror House" by Cassandra Clare unnerved me, enthralled and riveted me. Ms. Clare used her prose very skillfully, creating a story that was beautiful and sinister. Despite the sunbleached brightness of the Jamaican beach, there was a dark undertone to everything. Along with Violet, I feared for young Evan. I had no clue initially what the threat was, but when I found out, I really liked the direction that Ms. Clare took. Brimming with atmosphere and intensity, this was a 5 star story for me.
"Nowhere is Safe" by Libba Bray. Man, oh, man. I'd rather have the most boring summer on earth than have the vacation from you know where that this group of friends had. I couldn't believe how scary this story got. Imagine going to a town where the townspeople had a pact with the Devil, sacrificing their children for prosperity for many years. They haven't done that in over one hundred and fifty years. But, some traditions aren't easily forgotten. I loved that the main character was half-Asian. He was subjected to prejudice because of his heritage, but he is heir to a special ability that may very well be the saving of his friends. He's sweet on his best friend, Izzy, whose parents were Haitian refugees, and who understands very well being a stranger in one's own land. Can he and his friends survive the nefarious plans of the villagers on their last Feast before their village is uprooted to build a power plant? Boy, this was not an ideal story to read before bedtime. Although the ending was a bit rushed, I still give it 5 stars for really scaring me, and for the hidden themes of prejudice and identity that I think it handled very well.
I was very happily surprised with this story collection. It was a quick but fulfilling read. I didn't expect these stories to be quite so scary, but it was, and in the best ways! Although this is a young adult collection, I think a lot of older readers would enjoy it too.
Finally, I've started this series. I am smacking my head and asking what took me so long. Navy SEALs, interracial. Am I crazy? Well, I have rectifiedFinally, I've started this series. I am smacking my head and asking what took me so long. Navy SEALs, interracial. Am I crazy? Well, I have rectified my mistake, and I am a happy camper.
This was a really good book. Aliyah Burke is an excellent writer. Her voice is authentic and polished to the eyes, making for an enjoyable reading experience. Her characters are real life and likable, flaws and all. I loved Dezarae. She was unique and interesting. Her ethnicity was a part of who she was, but she was in no way a stereotype. I liked that she was normal-sized with muscles from the physical work she did, and she was sexy with it. I loved her independence and the fact that she was good at doing something she loved--restoring cars. I've never been into cars, but movies like Gone in 60 Seconds, XXX, and the Fast and the Furious movies have pricked my interest. I recognized the Shelby from Gone in 60 Seconds, which was awesome. I seriously love a heroine who has her own life going on, but at the same time, she's open and warm. Dezarae opened her heart and her life to Ross in two huge ways: she saved his life, and she gave his daughter a safe, warm home. How could you not love her? Another thing I loved about this book was how many male friends she had (and no, not in dirty-minded way). I like to see women having male friends and being able to fit into that world easily because of their mutual interests. They respected her for her personality and her car savvy. They accepted her for who she was and she was happy in her own skin. People do want to be around you when you are confident and outgoing, so it makes total sense. It makes me wonder if I need to get into this kind of hobby so I meet more guys (I'm kidding, mostly)! Too bad I don't have a bit of mechanical car sense other than how not to get ripped off by car mechanics! Anyway, Dezarae had wonderful texture and I loved her as a heroine. I would have loved to understand why she had trouble believing Ross really loved her. I'm guessing it had something to do with her failed relationship with Jack, but this isn't explained. Maybe the fear of loss from her father dying...
Ross was not only deliciously hot, he was a genuinely nice guy. He cracked me up with his possessive jealousy. I like that in a hero, and I like that he wasn't too irrational about it. He had to deal with the fact that his woman was the kind of woman that men liked being around, even on a platonic basis. For all of that, he didn't try to change her or mold her to fit his preconceived notions. He really found her sexy for who she was. I think he was a very good dad, and I liked seeing him with his daughter Charmane (and I feel her part added significantly to the book, and she wasn't just a plot point), and how natural it felt for them as a family with Dezarae. He did have some insecurities about being low on the totem pole in his Team, but he wasn't aggravating about it. Towards the end, he was tripping out some, but I forgive him!
As far as romance rating, I rate this high. It's very steamy and that was great. Burke writes great love scenes: hot and sensual without being a turnoff because of the raunch factor. The steam shows the feelings and the growing love between Dezarae and Ross. You could see although there was intense chemistry between them from the beginning, they don't jump right into bed, which was great. They give their feelings time to be real and not just about sex. And when they do get intimate, it's so much better!
I can tell that Burke does have some real-life understanding of the military. She writes a sexy, credible Navy SEAL hottie hero, but it feels realistic and deals with the hard realities of that life. I loved the friendship between Ross and his Team, and how they open up ranks around his new-found love. Although I haven't read the first two books, seeing the couples from those makes me eager to read them very soon. Of course, I will make sure I get all the books in this series (I think I have most of them already), because I definitely want to read more of SEAL Team Megalodon and the women they love.
I guess I'll have to give this five stars, 'cause I really liked it a lot!...more
I've been excited to read this book for over a year, since I read Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge. It was clear that Fancy and Maxwell had some excitingI've been excited to read this book for over a year, since I read Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge. It was clear that Fancy and Maxwell had some exciting chemistry and wonderful tension building up between them in that book.
Finally, I did read this book, and I wasn't disappointed. Marie Rochelle writes scintillating interactions between her couples very well. The dialogue really furthers the storytelling, showing the fiery chemistry between Fancy and Maxwell. This book is the quintessential battle between the sexes. Fancy and Maxwell play a game of chaser versus chasee. Their dynamic reminded me of a game of chess. Each player tries to make a move that will win them the game, but protect their queen (their hearts).
Initially, Fancy was doing the pursuing, until Maxwell decided that he wanted to be caught, and he thought Fancy had moved on. Fancy has been in love with Maxwell for a while now. He came into the Tycoon Club (where she worked) with his friends Troy and Cole pretty regularly, and she tried to ask him out a couple of times, only to be rebuffed. She gave up on there being something more between them. However, she needs the position he's advertising for, as his assistant and cook. Fancy's determined to keep things professional between them, and to hide her feelings for Maxwell. However, Maxwell sees Fancy and considers all the possibilities. She's completely sexy, and he likes her--she's spunky and intelligent, and a great employee. He's not sure what he wants from her--he just wants her. But, his past makes him believe a wife and a family are not in the cards for him. At the same time, his attraction to Fancy makes it impossible not to pursue her and claim her as his own. For those who enjoy a jealous hero, it was kind of cute how Maxwell was jealous of his friend Cole's relationship with Fancy, who was very good friends with Cole.
This was a light (but not in a bad way), fun, and sexy read. I loved the back and forth between Fancy and Maxwell. They were both strong people, and neither wants to let the other win, although their feelings betray themselves into each others' arms. Additionally, it was great to catch up with Headley and Troy from Dangerous Bet: Troy's Revenge, who are very happily married, with a baby on the way, and more than willing to do some matchmaking between Fancy and Maxwell.
I do feel that the editing could be better. I hate to harp on that, because I've noticed that can be an issue with smaller presses. It didn't really hurt my enjoyment of this book, but I feel I should mention that there were issues here, for full disclosure. Editing problems aside, this was a great story. I enjoyed spending a Saturday watching Fancy and Maxwell's courtship unfold. For those readers who like the Diana Palmer-esque heroes and that kind of dynamic in a story (albeit with a pretty fiesty, independent heroine), you'd probably like Maxwell. He does have some of those traits.
I truly enjoyed this book. Thus the five star rating!
PS. I emailed Ms. Rochelle about Cole's story, and she kindly emailed me back almost immediately to tell me that his story came out in July. It's called Cole's Surrender, currently available through Red Rose Publishing. I'm looking forward to seeing Cole surrender to young, sweet Lauren. :)...more
Come To Me is a book that asks a reader, "Do you believe in soulmates? In a soul-deep connection in life that leaves you searching until you find theCome To Me is a book that asks a reader, "Do you believe in soulmates? In a soul-deep connection in life that leaves you searching until you find the one who makes you whole?" I won't ask you to answer that question, but instead, I will talk about this book.
Come To Me is a quick, but very satisfying read. It's about a man who has had empty, meaningless sexual encounter after sexual encounter. He's searched for something to fill that void inside of himself, in the beds of the wrong women. One day, he hears the voice of a seductive angel on the phone when he calls to complain of an issue with his condo building. A connection is made that very first time he talks to her. He does his player bit, trying to get her to go out with him, unsuccessful, although his mysterious "Jasmine" does flirt back with him. After leaving one last strenous, but unsatisfying bout in a just another woman's bed, he calls her to complain about a car parked in his space, and finally breaks through, getting her to agree with a date. He wants a date so bad that he's willing to fly across the country to see her. From there, it's just the fulfillment of what seems like his destiny.
This is a very romantic book. I am the first to say that I don't really care for modern romance that much, with the uncommitted sex, and the question of whether sexual chemistry leads to love. But I think Ms. Thompson managed to take these sort of premises and really write a story that touched me. Reading this story, I felt a strong connection between Baron and Jasmine that extended far out of the bedroom. I liked that a significant portion of this book was spent with them getting to know each other in ways that didn't involve the physical. Even though they had only talked on the phone for six months, and were just now meeting, I could feel that there was a strong bond between them. The love scenes themselves were romantic and emotional. I liked that Baron was the first one who was willing and able to admit that this was it for him, that he had found his soulmate. It didn't take Jasmine much longer to realize that he was 'the one'. I found the uncertainty about who was going to uproot her/his life to be with the other to be very realistic, and the conclusion they came to, showed their mutual love and regard for each other.
This is my first time reading Ms. Thompson, although I have talked to her and enjoyed our discourse--due to our mutual interest in interracial romance stories. I can say objectively that she has something to offer as a romance writer. She really does know how to pen a story that will make you sigh and feel the romance and the possibilities of love between a man and a woman. If you're looking for a shorter but satisfying read that will remind a jaded romance novel palate of why this genre is your reading material of choice, I recommend Come to Me....more
**spoiler alert** LA Banks succeeded in restoring my faith in her as an urban fantasy writer with this book. I read the first two Vampire Huntress Leg**spoiler alert** LA Banks succeeded in restoring my faith in her as an urban fantasy writer with this book. I read the first two Vampire Huntress Legends books, and I was very disappointed with the execution. I didn't feel that the first outing of an African American lead vampire hunter went very well. Thankfully, I had different thoughts about the first in the Crimson Moon series.
There were times where I wasn't sure I would like the direction that Banks took with this story. But then, her writing (which is very polished and without flaw) diverted me into paths that made me fascinated and almost excited to keep reading. My fear of being let down hung in a pall over me as I read this book. I was almost determined not to like it, afraid to have myself be disappointed again. That's why this book earning a four star rating is significant.
I like a lot of books, but at the same time, I'm rather demanding on what I read. I don't like certain elements thrown into a book without rhyme or reason. I want things to make sense. I want my time spent reading to be of value. I want to feel that the writer took the time to write a story that she or he cared about. If she or he does not care about the story, why should I? It's clear that Ms. Banks really did invest herself in this series. And the results turned out very well.
Bad Blood has a strong lead in Sasha Trudeau. She is a competent soldier, who is very good at taking care of herself and solving problems. That's what I look for in an urban fantasy heroine. I liked that she's just one of the guys, but feminine at the same time. She is devoted to her team, they are her friends and family. Events in this book unfold to destroy her unit, and her grief is palpable to the reader. Her path in the world has not been easy, and she goes through even more heartbreak in this book. She earned my admiration for her strength and for her humanity. I thought Sasha's origins were quite interesting, giving this story a high tech/almost futuristic vibe in that sense.
The plot of this story centers heavily on the aspect of lycanthropy being in part a viral disease that turns humans into rampaging beasts, completely out of control, and hungry for human flesh. As the story continues, it becomes clear that this not representative of all werewolves. There are natural werewolves, who are in control of their wolves, and who are good, and hunt the demon-infected werewolves. That's where Max Hunter and Shogun come in. Max Hunter is the alpha of the Shadow Wolves, part of the Ute Native American tribe. They are werewolves who can hide in shadow and use shadows to travel. I found this to be a very fascinating element (and something new for me as a werewolf fiction fan). Shogun is the alpha of another tribe of wolves, who makes contact with Sasha on a mission in North Korea, revealing that what she knows about wolves is all wrong.
From their very first scenes together, it's clear that Max Hunter is destined to have a very strong connection with Sasha, and this is revealed in a very steamy, erotically intense way. Their scenes together make you want to reach for a large glass of something cold. There was some serious chemistry between Sasha and Max, making this story read more like a paranormal romance, in certain scenes. I think that their relationship will make this series even more worth continuing.
On the negative side, I do have to say that Sasha came off as being a little hard-shelled in her behavior towards Max Hunter. It was clear from the begining that their attraction was extremely intense and hard to resist, and going with it, went against the grain for Sasha. However, this is a woman who herself said she was used to be a sex buddy, booty call, casual friend that you take to bed, and it felt good to be someone of value, someone treasured by another person. Max cherished, respected and valued her. He saw her as an equal from the beginning. He didn't treat her merely as a possession or sex object, disposable or otherwise. But when Max got possessive with her, she threw a fit. Come on! This is an alpha wolf--that's how they are. He made it very clear that she was his mate in his mind. Max was a man who was rejected by women because of the taint of his heritage. For him to find a woman of his own was a tremendous thing. Even still, when he wanted to bond with her fully as a mate, he didn't try force her, or press her for a commitment. It hurt him deeply that she couldn't give the same for him, but he was willing to give her time. Despite that, he couldn't help feeing possessive, especially if she was treating him as her mate in all but name. She took it as a personal affront, like he was saying she would sleep with any random guy to get info. It wasn't like that at all. It was about his primal feelings towards her. Just like the attraction between them was primal, and she was more than willing to go with that. That annoyed me about her. I will freely admit, I am not fond of hardened heroines. Something just rubs me the wrong way with them. Nothing wrong with being tough and in charge, having self-control, and being no one's pushover. But when they get where they are so callous about emotions, that's a pet peeve to me. I admired her honesty with Max, but I think she needed to really get where he was coming from a little more, since he was doing the same for her.
This was really the only issue I had with Sasha. But I'm a little worried what's going to happen in the next book. A clear that there's an attraction to Shogun as well. She's more or less 'lightly committed' to Max. Is she going to get with this other guy too? If so, I will be very disappointed, especially in the light of how much ground was laid building the relationship with Max. I really dislike when the heroine is going between two men. I don't mind if there's a flirtation, but since it's very clear that Max is deeply in love with Sasha, I will not be a happy camper if Sasha 'cheats' with Shogun.
The military vibe was working for me, mostly. I love characters who are soliders, warriors, or military. I especially like when the heroine is a badass warrior. Sasha's definitely that. It looks like she'll be running her own unit, so that's going to be really cool to see where her mission takes her yet.
I hope the storyline expands past the search for the demon-infected werewolves. Ms. Banks already introduced other creatures into this book, and very well, in fact. I look forward to seeing the vampires, werewolves, faery, wizards, etc. The vamps that show up, do a good job at trying to steal the show. They are seductive, sexual, and devious, with their own agenda. They have presence. I think it will be interesting to see more of the vampires as this series progresses. I can't wait to see what Ms. Banks does with the fae.
As you can see, I got involved with this story. Even though I was a reluctant reader, afraid of being hurt again. I have to give Ms. Banks kudos for that. I was glad that she left out a lot of the urban vibe that she used in the Huntress books (it does nothing for me), and told a story I could get involved in. The action scenes were intense, and the magical elements were very vivid. I loved the parts when Sasha and Max called their wolf. Very well done. It's icing on the cake to see the main characters of African-American/Native American ethnicity. We could use some ethnic diversity in the urban fantasy.
If you're like me, and felt let down with the Vampire Huntress books, give Bad Blood a try. I think you might like it. I'm happy to say that I believe this series has a lot of potential, and I hope I continue to enjoy it....more
Well, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with Ashes of Midnight. Because I have had a crush on Andreas for a while, I've been looking forwardWell, I must say I was very pleasantly surprised with Ashes of Midnight. Because I have had a crush on Andreas for a while, I've been looking forward to this book, although this seems to be a least favorite of a lot of fans of this series. Veil of Midnight ended with things in an abysmal place for Andreas. His whole family was wiped out through an act of his enemy, Wilhelm Roth, who is highly placed in the Enforcement Agency. This book begins in medias res of Andreas' brutal quest for vengeance. Andreas has the gift of summoning fire, and he uses it to devastating effect against his enemies. It's only a matter of time when his former love, Claire, ends up in his path. She's the breedmate (term for a wife/life-partner in the vampire world) to his enemy, and has been for thirty years. He left her because of his problem with the uncontrollable fire that wells from deep within him, and when he returned, she was married to Roth. Since then, he's stayed away, and lived the life of a playboy and leader of his Darkhaven in Berlin. But all that was taken away from him by Roth.
Andreas is a man driven by vengeance. The only thing that penetrates this thirst is the love he felt for Claire, which never faded. It puts him in an impossible position, because he won't give up his determination to kill Roth, even if Claire begs him to. Although I didn't always agree with the choices that Andreas made, I could see why he made them. That gave me a level of understanding for his actions. He was truly in a bad place. His gift of firestarting had unwittingly caused him to do something that haunted him with guilt, and he knew that every time he summoned fire, his ability to control this devastating force lessened, and his bloodlust got stronger. Even though he was murdering his enemies in a very brutal fashion, at heart, I could see that he was a good man. He'd just been driven over the edge by his enemy's actions. And he harbored no illusions that his own choices would lead to his own demise. His goal was to destroy Roth, even at the cost of his own life.
I actually ended up liking Claire quite a bit. Marrying Roth was a bad decision on her part, but with Andreas gone and her all alone in the world, she clung to Roth as her only security. She paid dearly for that, trapped in an loveless marriage for thirty years. When Andreas turns up again, she is faced with the horrible conflict of being between the man she loves and the man she owes her loyalty to. Although I thought she was a bit too trusting of Roth initially, I could see why. Claire was a very honorable, loyal person. She made vows and she wanted to keep them. Too bad she made them to the wrong man. That was clear, because she felt the same intense love for Andreas she had felt so many years before, even though he comes back into her life as a violent, enraged, and dangerous man. She's a gentle, but strong person. Her loyalty and steadfast love is the only thing that has the power to save Andreas.
The adventure in this story was really good. I loved the concept of Andreas having the gift of fire. It was very cool and cinematic. And kind of intimidating. He was literally so hot, he could incinerate anything that came near him. He could summon fireballs and make things explode. Very cool. I also liked that his gift had a cost to him. It was getting out of control, and it summoned an insatiable lust for blood. The conflict built to a very good climax, and I was very satisfied with the resolution (which has not been the case with most of the other books).
I thought the love between Andreas and Claire was very apparent. This book was also pretty steamy. Although I don't like adultery in books (to me Claire was married in every sense of the word, even though vampire marriage is different), I felt that they were in a tough situation, and Roth had manipulated both of them, giving them little choices in the matter. I didn't like the idea of Claire being blood-bonded to another man when I heard about this book, but I think Ms. Adrian handled it pretty well. It was clear that Andreas and Claire belonged together, and their bond was a much more powerful one than the bond with Roth.
Ashes of Midnight turned out to be my favorite in this series so far. I think that everything was pretty well done, and Ms. Adrian took one of my least favorite concepts (reunited lovers) and made a very good read with it. She has a good feel for mood and tone. Her writing is clear and strong, telling a fast-moving, interesting story in this book. I felt the urgency of the situation that the Order faces. The threat of the crooked politicians in the Enforcement Agency and the nefarious plans of Dragos. Things are culminating to a very dangerous confrontation with each book. I realized that I don't like all the foul language in this series, but I try to overlook it. I think that it ties into the dark, gritty vibe that Ms. Adrian is going for (even if it causes me more than a few winces when I read). This series just gets better and better in its execution. She tied everything together from the past books very well. It was good to see all the Breed warriors and their mates. I love how Renata fights with the men. She rocks! I think Ms. Adrian does a good job of integrating and involving the breedmates into the work of the Order, making them more than just chess pieces after their book is over. I respect her for that. I am excited to see where things go with the storyline. I look forward to reading Kade, Brock, Chase, and Hunter's stories.
I found this one a little darker and edgier, but still too much talking. I am just about ready to give up on this series, but recently someone talkedI found this one a little darker and edgier, but still too much talking. I am just about ready to give up on this series, but recently someone talked me into giving the next books a try....more
I really wanted to like this book more. I give LA Banks a very firm pat on the back for creating an African-American vampire huntress. I saw this bookI really wanted to like this book more. I give LA Banks a very firm pat on the back for creating an African-American vampire huntress. I saw this book and grabbed it off the shelf. However, the execution didn't live up to my expectations. It was too dry. Too much new-agey talking and two much hip hop lingo. I want the vampire huntress to kick butt, no just sit around talking about kicking butt. I loved her eclectic band who were all her backup in the vampire fighting that didn't even happen except for one or two occasions in the book.
Kudos for Carlos, the very sexy, very edgy, antihero and would-be love interest in this story. I love the dark characters who are on the cusp of being bad or good. Also I was very pleased to see the lead love interest was Latin-American.
The dark aspects and the evil menace in this book was effective and quite scary in parts. Just wish there was more of this. More danger, more action. Less talking.
I may get slapped for this, but I don't get spoken word. It's boring to me. I am a fan of some rap music, and I was a big fan back in the late 80s. But now I am just not into it as much. So that was an issue for me too.
I would like to read a book about an African American heroine who's a nerd, who likes new wave music, hunts monsters, and never lived in the hood. I guess I'll have to write one....more
Being Plumville is a love story about two people who knew they were each other's happy endings from a very young age. But society and the stupid notioBeing Plumville is a love story about two people who knew they were each other's happy endings from a very young age. But society and the stupid notions of color, race, and what should and shouldn't be done managed to stand in their way for fifteen and more years.
Savannah J. Frierson takes the reader back to the late 1960s in the South where there is hope of things changing, but a lot of blood, sweat and tears will be expended to make things better. This is a world in which skin color dictates many things: how much you get paid, where you live, what kind of job you are able to take, even how well you get treated by others. It doesn't matter what you want for yourself or for your children. It is just the way it is.
The opening scene tells me a lot about Benny and Ceelee. Benny is protective, caring and possessive of little Ceelee. Ceelee loves and trusts Benny. Benny declares that he's going to marry Ceelee. However, it is not acceptable that Benny should feel that way about Ceelee, because Ceelee is black, and Benny has expectations that he must meet for his family and for Plumville. White future state judges (sons of prominent Plumville citizenry) don't marry black daughters of their family's housekeepers. So, Patty was forced to keep her young daughter away from Benny.
Fifteen years later, both Benjamin Drummond and Coralee Simmons have yielded to the dictates of their world. They live in the same small town, but inhabit separate spheres, black separated by white. Until Ceelee is asked to tutor Benjamin in English, or he will not longer be eligible to play as quarterback for their college football team. Benjamin has fallen into the mold of white prominent young citizen. He even jokes along with his racist friends about blacks, even if his heart doesn't feel that way. Deep down, he yearns for his friend Ceelee, and is secretly glad that he can reestablish that crucial connection that was missing in his life for so many years. But now, Coralee keeps him at a distance. She doesn't trust him anymore. To her, he is another white person who thinks he's better than her, thinks he can insult her, and treat her like a second class citizen. Benjamin is determined to show Coralee that he is different from the others. That he is worthy of her trust and friendship, because the truth was, he never stopped loving her. Coralee has to find the courage to fight for the love that she feels (has felt for many years) beneath the hurt and fear.
This book was a wonderful read. It was also very difficult to read. It brought the anger and rage to the surface. Knowing that in the United States blacks were (and still are in some instances) treated this way because of some bizarre belief that skin color determines intelligence, eligibility, and superiority. I was born a short five years after this book takes place. My mother and father (both black) lived in this world of Ceelee and Benjamin, dealing with the same issues. It is a painful thought to accept that one's life is not your own. That you don't get the same choices as someone else because that's the way it is. That it's okay for them to call you ugly names, and you have to bite your tongue and deal with it. That you can't love who you want to love without being rejected by your own people, and subject to physical harm by his people.
Ms. Frierson didn't make up any of that angst. This book is real. I rooted for Ceelee and Benjamin, even as I knew the road they traveled was a long, hard, ugly one. I could feel their frustration when they weren't even able to hold hands or express affection towards each other in public. It was okay for Benjamin 'try the dark berry', but he couldn't love a black woman. For Coralee, she was condemned and ridiculed for even thinking it was okay to date a white man. It was a lot to take, making this far from a fun, escapist read. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy or love this book. It was just a sobering experience for me, and sometimes I had to put this book down and regroup. I am glad I read this book, because I really appreciate Ms. Frierson's writing. Although painful at times, this gave me something to think about. It helps me to be grateful that I have the choices that Coralee didn't have back then, and not because I am smarter or more deserving than Coralee was. Although I have and will face prejudice for my skin color, my fate and my life is my own. I can love who I want, and if people don't like it, I have the safety and the ability to face that and not find my essential being damaged from it. I for one am grateful that people like Coralee and Benjamin and the real life Mr. and Mrs. Loving paved the way for interracial couples in the modern United States. People can say what they want, but their opinion doesn't legally amount to a hill of beans.
This was a moving, excellent book. It hurt my heart, but it also gave me hope that you can believe in love, even if it won't guarantee a perfect road ahead. But two is stronger than one. And love is worth fighting for.
This was a fun and laugh-out-loud book populated with plenty of 'characters'. I have only been to Florida once, so I can't comment on the veracity ofThis was a fun and laugh-out-loud book populated with plenty of 'characters'. I have only been to Florida once, so I can't comment on the veracity of this portrayal of Floridians, but I can't see how someone can make up this kind of weirdness without a grain of truth behind it all.
Under the levity, there is a very serious undercurrent. Two white supremacists who are so busy blaming blacks, Jews, Hispanics, gays, and other undesirables can't look in the mirror and see that they certainly could do much better at being upstanding citizens themselves. Everyone else is a scapegoat for the disappointments they have with life, and never can they take responsibility for their own lives. While I found their antics funny, there is a part of me that was really dismayed at the intensity of their hatred for people who didn't look like them or live their lives their way. Most importantly, hatred for manufactured reasons that make no sense. As unlikable as Bode and Chubb were, I really liked JoLayne and Tom, although they were no less quirky. JoLayne is an animal-loving vet tech with a history of bad romantic choices that she leverages as a lottery win by playing her age at which she broke up with each one every week. Tom has spent four years trying to divorce his wife who has been evading him because she doesn't want to be a divorcee. Tom gets sent to a small town to investigate the lottery win and ends up volunteering to help JoLayne to get her lottery ticket back.
The romance was well-integrated into the story. It starts out as respect and friendship and a romantic entanglement progresses sensibly. Along with the romance, this was a fun sort of caper, on-the-road read as JoLayne and Tom pursue the fellows who have beaten her up and stolen her lottery ticket, as well as wreaking havoc across the state of Florida.
Hiaasen gives the reader some really strange characters, and along the way, I found myself getting sucked into this story, rooting for JoLayne and Tom, scratching my head over the psychology of such flagrant bigotry as evidenced by Chub and Bode, and enjoying the Florida local color.
I've read another book by Hiaasen, but it was a long time ago. I'm glad that this book reminded me to add him to my roster of authors to pick up in my reading adventures....more
I loved it, loved it, loved it. I just want to grab Christine Feehan and give her a big kiss! I don't know why some people complained about MaryAnn. II loved it, loved it, loved it. I just want to grab Christine Feehan and give her a big kiss! I don't know why some people complained about MaryAnn. I thought she was awesome. She cracked me up with her fashion addiction and her girly-girlness. She was adorable. It helped to give her real life as a character. And her heart was so huge and loving. I think Christine did a great job writing a Black heroine. You can tell she did her research, especially with the hair thing. I think a lot of love went into crafting MaryAnn's character. I like that she met Manolito head on and didn't back down to him. She was so dedicated to him, and willing to suffer for him, his people, and to make sacrifices to be with him. This is now one of my favorite interracial romance books. I love that the race thing is not an issue, well not in the way you might think. It was more an issue about the species difference (Carpathian versus Human and something else). Pardon my french, but MaryAnn is a hell of a woman. I love all Feehan's heroines, and particularly MaryAnn, and not just because she's Black. She's just a neat character (even though I am so not a girly girl or a fashionista).
Manolito was hot with a capital H. I could see why MaryAnn had trouble resisting him. He was so sexy, and had the dominant alpha thing going on, but was really caring, and not afraid to say what he was feeling. He admitted his love for MaryAnn very early on. The love scenes were steamy! Very well done and spicy! And I love the De La Cruz brothers. Very macho, which usually doesn't work for me. But it certainly does with them!
I love the world that she has created. I am totally addicted to these Carpathians. Some might think these stories are formulaic. I don't. Each book is different, and another layer is exposed. We learn more about the Carpathians, and how complex their world is. And the other species that are part of human myths and legends. The parts with the Jaguar people and how they are being torn apart as a race from the inside out was very interesting. I am excited to read the rest of the books, and very intrigued with Solange, Zacarias, and Jasmine's stories. As usual, the vampires creep the heck out of me, and I love the action scenes.
The jungle scenes were so beautiful. I love nature (except for big bugs), and animals, and I felt like I was right there in this wild, primal place. I loved the shapeshifting parts and the werewolf aspects, very much. A great addition to the rich Carpathian/vampire elements of this series.
As usual, I am going in a different direction. I have to say this one of my favorites so far. I am so grateful that I started reading Christine Feehan, and one of my GR friends (you know who you are) kept suggesting I read the Carpathians, because I loved the GhostWalkers so much. Thanks again, Ms. Feehan, for brightening my life with one of your stories....more
This is an action-packed tale with enough twists to keep your interest. Alex/Camilla is a formidable heroine who also has a gentle side to her. The quThis is an action-packed tale with enough twists to keep your interest. Alex/Camilla is a formidable heroine who also has a gentle side to her. The question is, which one is real? That is what Alex has to find out on this journey. Josh is such a sweet guy, but he's also more than capable of handling the danger that stalks them both.
I liked the premise of this book, reminding me of the television shows Alias and La Femme Nikita. It's cool to see an African American heroine in this case. Like Sydney and Nikita, Alex is a heroine you care about but is more than able of taking care of herself and anyone who happens to be her enemy.
The love story was sweet and involving. You do want things to work out between Alex and Josh, hoping that they will find each other amongst the chaos of Alex trying to find out who she is and trying to stay alive as her enemies strive to do her in. And Josh is personally involved himself, as his ex-wife is one of the people gunning for Alex.
If readers are looking for an action-filled romance that has a sweet love story at heart, they will love this book. I hope to read more from Ms. Lori....more