I think this is one of my fave Lynne Grahams because of the fact that the heroine truly hates the hero for most of the book, and she doesn't so easilyI think this is one of my fave Lynne Grahams because of the fact that the heroine truly hates the hero for most of the book, and she doesn't so easily fall for his charms. Her reactions to him are consistent with her strong dislike of him. It annoys me when the heroine falls into bed instantly with a guy she doesn't like. That's so not realistic. Most people I dislike are not attractive to me (such as Tom Cruise--don't find him attractive b/c I can't stand him). The hero had to work to earn her respect and her affections. Hopefully the heroine doesn't sound mean. She really isn't. Based on what happened with her sister, she has her reasons for her antipathy towards the hero. Also I liked the powerful emotions in this book. I love the scene where the heroine is tipsy and she totally tells the hero exactly what she thinks of him. What an ego crusher! Some of these heroes could use an ego deflation. I sound sadistic, huh?
Jodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the WifeJodi Thomas has done it again for me. I love how she can write such a genuine story that draws me in each time. I didn't think she could top the Wife Lottery Series, but I have to say I will probably have to eat my words. There is only one Carter McKoy for me, but Travis, now he certainly earns a place on my hero shelf. I enjoyed the complexity to Rainey's character. She wasn't unrealistically goody-goody or innocent. She made some decisions that weren't always highly ethical or selfless, although she is definitely a person of both strong morals and generosity. She led Travis a merry chase, however I can see why. I loved that Travis understood Rainey's issues and gave her what she needed to feel safe as a wife. While I was shouting, "Marry him already!", I could also understand why she was afraid/reluctant to do so. I think that even to this day, women do have to think long and hard about who they choose to marry, and moreso back in this time period where women had little rights or independence in a world that seemed to be wired for men. I like the way Ms. Thomas deals with these issues, not in a preachy way, but very matter of fact. She writes about several women who are in different situations, but all have to operate in a world that is dominated and controlled by men. With Rainey, the reader is able to examine that dynamic of a woman juggling the love of a man with a need for her own independence and control over her life, and I was able to empathize with and respect Rainey and root for her to gain both things in her life.
Equally complex was Travis. He's that tough, capable western hero that I love to bits, but he also has vulnerabilities, not in the least as a man of mixed heritage, with an Apache heritage that is written on his features in a society where Indians are the enemy and hated and feared equally. Also, he faces a life-changing injury, which requires him to look seriously at what his identity is as a person. Will he be happy and productive if he can no longer work as a Ranger? What's left for him if that is gone? I liked that Travis fell hard for Rainey and he had to deal with his sense of awkwardness in how to pursue her and romance her as a man who never thought he'd marry and start a family. Would he be happy with a friendship with his 'fairy woman' or would he be satisfied with nothing less than her as his wife? He couldn't have been more appealing to me.
I also liked how Ms. Thomas handled the issue of slavery. When I saw that this was set in 1854, I sighed. I really, really hate dealing with the slavery issue in historical romances. I'm black, so when I read these books, I think about how it must have been for black people to be slaves in this part of American history, and when I think about this, it makes it harder to enjoy the romance part of the book. In this case, Ms. Thomas managed to keep my conscience happy with those aspects of the book, and was able to keep that from detracting from the story, and it was realistic how she dealt with Mamie's situation.
Can I say how much I adored little Duck? What a sweet little boy. I just wanted to hug him. And Travis was such a good adoptive father to the orphaned, traumatized little boy. Nothing more sigh-worthy to this reader than a tough hero who is good with kids! Travis' relationship with Duck brought another layer of fantastic to this book, which was already pretty darn fantastic to begin with.
What can I say? Jodi Thomas has it when it comes to writing romance. She doesn't rely on a lot of bells and whistles. She brings simple to an art form. She just has what's needed: intriguing, lovable, relatable characters, an interesting storyline, great dialogue, and excellent western world-building and action that makes this Western-lover a happy camper.
I can't give this book less than five stars. That just wouldn't be right! Highly recommended! ...more
Miss Kleypas, are you reading my mind? How do you get me where I live emotionally so easily? I felt as though reading this book you had delved deeplyMiss Kleypas, are you reading my mind? How do you get me where I live emotionally so easily? I felt as though reading this book you had delved deeply inside my psyche, laying my issues out for me to examine in the context of a character with whom I found myself identifying very deeply. You see, I too have control issues. I too am afraid to love deeply and to care, because when you do, you lose something, and you can't get it back. It seems so much easier to hide behind your fortress of heart.
Reading your book was therapy for me. Because it helped me to look at things and to realize that holding oneself in won't save you from hurt. It just makes you feel more alone and hurting than if you did open yourself to loving others.
You made me cry with Ella's feelings for Luke. I could feel from the beginning, that tender thread of love that blossomed in Ella's wary heart for that helpless bundle of humanity. Babies are the secret weapon, and I think you know that. How can you not love a baby, who looks up at you and knows only how to love and trust you? They sink beneath your skin and find your tender areas of the heart that you have no defense or protection for. And that love builds a bridge between them to you, and from there, to the rest of the world. Luke felt like the way to open Ella up so that she could love Jack. I also think that Jack fell for Ella because he saw who she truly was in the way she cared for Luke, because she forgot to keep up her armor up then. I totally, totally got that.
You also made me laugh with this story. I loved the dialogue and the conversations. They feel very genuine to me. Like people I know talk, like conversations I might have. Texas is my stomping ground, although not Houston so much. But this book felt just like the Texas I know, the folks I see and live with every day, even if I don't really know the richer echelons. But people are people, no matter what how much money they have. You captured that beautifully.
And the romance. Ma'am you have a gift for writing romance that blesses your readers. You capture that deep, irresistible powerful intensity of a love story--the steam, the emotional connection, the powerful bond between a man and a woman. This book is one of your more steamy ones, and you definitely had me fanning myself as I read.
As for Jack Travis--yeah, he's irresistible. He's a mix of charm, determination, and realness that a woman can't overlook. Ella stood no chance. I'm glad she didn't, because they were made for each other. I don't go for that slick ladies man type, but you crafted Jack with a substance that goes beyond the charm and the playboy exterior to make him a fully realized character. I liked his confidence, and I liked that he also had vulnerabilities. Even though he'd been hurt in the past, he didn't hold back from Ella. He gave of himself deeply, and that's what I love in a man. He's not just saying what you want to hear. He's there to back up his words. His actions show where his heart is. Yeah, he played around in the past. In theory, that doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. But, on a realistic level, you take the good and the bad, the experiences that make a person who they are, and you love them for the unique creation that they have been made into by the experiences that have shaped them, along with their intrinsic core. That was my long, drawn-out way of saying that I loved Jack for who he was in this story, and that was a complex mix that worked very well for this story. He needed to be that man to be the right man for Ella. Yes, I can see why Jack is a favorite of many of your fans. I still love Hardy the best out of this series. I just do. Hardy....that man makes me sigh. But Jack....he ain't the slightest bit shabby!
I was surprised at the fact that I think I love Ella even more than Jack. It helps that I walked around in her skin in this book. I told you earlier that I felt a lot of identification with her, not on a superficial level. But on a deeper level, in the arena of the psyche. It was cathartic to see her work through her issues, and gave me something to think about. I loved the way she loved Luke, and I loved the way she loved Jack. I loved that she was a loyal sister and a patient daughter to a very difficult mother who needed that kind of love from her daughter. I liked that she picked herself from the ashes of a troubled childhood, and made a good life for herself, and sought mental and emotional wholeness. If she hadn't started that before she ever met Jack and Luke, then those relationships wouldn't have had the same hopeful resolution. I'm glad that's not the case.
Once again, you've given me a great read, and hours of pleasure, but also a read that engaged me fully. Thanks again, Ms. Kleypas!
Mikhail is the businessman brother of Jarek from Mr. Temptation. After reading Jarek's book and meeting Mikhail, I knew I couldn't put off reading InsMikhail is the businessman brother of Jarek from Mr. Temptation. After reading Jarek's book and meeting Mikhail, I knew I couldn't put off reading Instinctive Male. It seems that Ellie Lathrop is the woman who can get under his ice cold demeanor and shatter his businessman cool. Ellie is the boss's daughter, who he disliked because she came off as a spoiled playgirl. Initially, he might have seen that part of Ellie, as she adopts this facade to hide a heart broken by her mother's leaving when she was a baby, and an uncaring father who only thought of her as an asset to his own business. Mikhail seems too much like her father, and she can't resist needling him. But years later, she comes to him because he can protect her and her adopted daughter from the wrath of her father, and her selfish sister's attempts to take the girl away from her. Because her sister is actually the girl's mother.
Mikhail knows he's going to help Ellie. Family is too important to him to see her suffer for the loss of her daughter. He is able to see that the carefree girl of the past is gone, and a strong, loving woman remains. Mikhail wants to be her knight in shining armor. He wants her forever, but Ellie is afraid to give her heart, not knowing who she is, since she never knew her mother's love. But Mikhail isn't used to failing. He's playing to win, for her heart.
Mikhail is different from his brother, in some ways. But, I liked him just as much. At heart, they share their love of family, and the strength to claim the women that claimed their hearts. ...more
I don't think I've read very many Harlequin Presents where I liked and felt for the hero as much as I did for Vittore. He was a very good man whose heI don't think I've read very many Harlequin Presents where I liked and felt for the hero as much as I did for Vittore. He was a very good man whose heart had been ripped out when his dead wife stole his three month old baby. He barely existed until he gets a call from England that gives him a lead on where his son might be. When he gets there, he meets Verity, who is his wife's adopted sister. She's a beautiful, voluptuous vision that reminds him that he's been dead to his body's needs for over a year. Verity was appointed as Lio's guardian, unofficially, since her sister never legally divorced Vittore. He's determined to take his son back to Italy, but there's a problem. Lio has terrible separation anxiety, and he's completely bonded to Verity. Vittore decides that he needs to take Verity with them. It's a decision made a lot easier by his attraction to her.
Verity has fallen in love with young Lio. She started to believe that he would be her own child, since her sister is dead, and she thought that Vittore didn't even care about Lio. When Vittore arrives, it bursts her bubble, because she knows she doesn't have the right to deny him his son. She finds herself very attracted to her dead sister's husband, despite all the horrible lies that her sister told her about Vittore, that he was a heartless womanizer and a terrible husband.
There is a blazing attraction between the two from the very beginning, one that they both want to act on, on a visceral level. Vittore has made up his mind that Verity will be his mistress while she is in Italy with him, allowing Lio to get used to being with his real family. His strong attraction to Verity is too much to ignore. He hasn't felt like this over a woman in a long time. After losing his baby, he didn't think he could. They strike a bargain. If Lio doesn't get used to his father and new home in six months, Verity can bring him back to England. If it happens sooner than six months, Verity will become Vittore's lover. Although Vittore's motives don't seem pure, it's very clear that he's a good man. He has several opportunities to take advantage of Verity, since she's a sleep walker, and inadvertently comes onto him when she's sleeping. He treats Verity kindly, and encourages his people to show her respect, even though they all hate her sister. He finds himself falling deeply in love with Verity. She's everything her sister wasn't. I consider Vittore a good example of a beta hero. Caring, considerate, thoughtful, but strong-minded. He doesn't throw his weight around or try to intimidate Verity. He knows his rights for his son, and he's not afraid to fight for them. Even though he wants Verity, he doesn't play underhanded games about it. He's up front about his motives.
Verity soon comes to realize that her sister made up a flaming pack of lies about Vittore, and how bad a mother and a person her sister was. Her heart is breaking, because she knows she doesn't have any legal right to Lio, other than as an aunt, and she's falling in love with Vittore, but wants to be more than his lover and unofficial nanny. She can't believe this sophisticated, gorgeous man could want her when he had her glamorous sister as a wife, and his beautiful ex-betrothed is in the picture.
The emotions in this story were very intense. I felt for Verity, Vittore, and poor Lio. Verity's sister and Vittore's dead wife really created a horrible mess with her selfish behavior. But it turns out to be a good thing, because it brings these two kindred souls with a mutually strong love for baby Lio together. I really liked this book....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
Seven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow'Seven Deadly Wonders introduces a new character by Matthew Reilly to me, Jack West Jr. It's very hard to follow in the footsteps of Shane 'Scarecrow' Schofield, because, well, he's the man! But I have to say I really do like Jack. What's not to like about him? He's a fun character. Honorable, intelligent, athletic, dedicated, daring, and lethal to the bad guys. And being a girl who grew up on Indiana Jones, and wanted to be her own version of the adventurer, Jack has an Indiana Jones in a modern setting appeal.
I thought this story was a clever idea. I had watched a documentary on The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and they inspired a great awe in this history buff. To read a story in which our intrepid heroes track down these wonders, not for selfish reasons, but to save the world, was both interesting and exciting. This is one of those books I could not read quietly, which makes me happy I wasn't trying to read it in mixed company. It is full of scenes where I gasped out loud regularly, verbally and under my breath yelled insults at the bad guys, cheered and laughed. This is the brilliance of Matt Reilly. He is one of those writers that engages you and gives you a fun read that takes you out of your regular world and into danger and adventure. It's not always without loss or risk, because sometimes you lose characters you grew fond of along the way. In the end though, I know that good will win out. If it didn't in these books, I wouldn't be a Matt Reilly fan anymore.
I liked the found family that I met with Jack and his team. I am a tremendous sucker for a father figure hero. Even though Jack isn't the touchy-feely type, you can tell he loves young Lily like crazy, not as a mere means to an end or a mission. (view spoiler)[ I almost cried when she called him Daddy and it shocked him in a good way. Yes, I am a sap, which you probably know already! (hide spoiler)]
I have to say, I liked that Reilly wasn't afraid to make the Americans the bad guys. In his Q&A, he explained his reasonings and made it clear he has nothing against Americans. I wasn't mad at him anyway, but I tell you, I was hating on the bad guys something fierce. But honestly, he spread some of the bad guy yuck around evenly.
Warning: If you are a Christian, don't take some of the stuff about the Catholic church and the so called origins of some of the tenets of the church (indirectly Christianity) seriously. Before I started getting annoyed, I just rolled my eyes. It's a fiction book, and I am not trying to take offense at that stuff, and I don't think Reilly was trying to criticize or devalue Christianity itself. He has bit of the Illuminati thing going on, but doesn't call them that. Suffice it so say, if you have any conspiracy theory leanings, you will appreciate some of the elements about secret societies in this book.
The writing style isn't erudite or lofty. It's serviceable and casual. I just went with it, and I have to say that it fits the story. I like that Reilly writes fun books. He's not worried about being a member of the literary elite (which is fine with me because I hate book snobbery). At the same time, I felt like he worked hard to deliver a good quality read, and a lot of plotting went into this story. I appreciate the diagrams and illustrations, because I would have given myself an aneurysm trying to visualize a lot of it.
As usual, there is some blood and violence. That's sort of Reilly's thing, but he doesn't focus as much on it in this book as in the others I read by him because this is more adventure than action. There are a lot thrills as they navigate dangerous ancient traps and pitfalls to get to the artifacts. Good stuff! I don't like gore much, I did the excitement of the over-the-top action scenes. Some parts had me laughing because they were so crazy!
If you want a fun and educational in a 'doesn't take itself to seriously kind of way' read, with a lovable, larger than life (but rather humble) hero, and a great ensemble, with a cute but highly intelligent little girl thrown in, look no further! (Warning: Run on sentence!) If you like ancient history but want to have fun at the same time, this book is for you. If you watched Indiana Jones a lot and still haven't moved on, check out Seven Deadly Wonders!
Good old school Harlequin romance with a marriage of convenience between an orderly accountant and a disorderly pediatrician, all for the sake of ShauGood old school Harlequin romance with a marriage of convenience between an orderly accountant and a disorderly pediatrician, all for the sake of Shauna's younger sister, who is not doing well living with their self-absorbed mother (currently on her fifth husband). Shauna meets Rob when she takes her sister Mandy to the pediatrician for stomach aches that are due to the stress of living with their mother. She decides that it would be best for Mandy to live with her, and her mother says no. When her mother and her current husband are going to move to Mexico for a year to film a movie, Shauna intervenes in her mother's plans to place Mandy in a boarding school. She makes a deal with Rob that they will marry for a year, and she'll pay off his medical school debts, if he'll be her husband in order to provide a stable home for Mandy. It sounds really good on paper, but the feelings of attraction between the couple will grow when they are living in close quarters, making their convenient marriage into an inconvenient love match.
Shauna gave me some heartburn with her emotional ups and downs, and her mood changes towards Rob. I understand why, with her insecurities after having a father who walked out of her life after her parents divorced, and an ex-fiance who turned out to be a 'Baby Daddy' and a deadbeat dad out for her money. Rob was such a good guy, and it was frustrating to see how she always wanted to assume the worst about him. Thankfully Harlequin delivers a happy ending for this couple, and the final scene shows them coming clean with each other, admitting their love (from nearly the beginning) for each other. Just a Normal Marriage was a quick, sometimes fun/sometimes angsty read, taking me back to the Harlequin Golden Age....more
What is it about these Carpathians? I can't seem to stay away from these books. This time I lasted three months. I started reading this book, and soonWhat is it about these Carpathians? I can't seem to stay away from these books. This time I lasted three months. I started reading this book, and soon I was fully immersed in this world of dark sensuality and supernatural beauty, where the creatures of the night are a race of ancient immortals who live on blood. They fight against their own dark natures, and against their brethren who have succumbed to the darkness and became the evil vampires who pray on humans and destroy them. They walk through centuries hoping they will find the one woman who will be their other half, their salvation from the darkness inside of them.
Poor Alexandria was just trying to get a job when she encountered the vampire who would change her world irrevocably. And the whole time she was dealing with foul creature, I was waiting for Aidan Savage to make his appearance. As typical for Carpathians, he made a dramatic entrance. I was like, "It's about time!"
Alexandria didn't sign up to be a lifemate, to live in the darkness, to have to drink blood to survive, but Aidan had little choice but to change her, since she had been fed on twice already by the vampire he destroyed, and forced to drink its blood. The third time was when he thought she was a vampire herself and was going to bite her to kill her. But meeting her was fortuitous to him, because he sees colors. That's a sure sign to him about something....He knows she's his lifemate, and he's selfish enough to want her to live and to be in his world, for she is his salvation. But Alexandria won't come into his world alone. She has a little brother that she loves dearly, and has cared for alone, since her parents died.
This Carpathian book started very dramatically, and the tone didn't abate. Simply put, I really enjoyed this book. I guess it goes without saying that I am a pretty big fan of this series. I like the uniqueness of it, the old world Carpathian men with their heavy air of mystery and magic. I like the dramatic, flowery language, the scary fight scenes in which the nasty vampires pull all sorts of monstrosities out of their bag of tricks, only to be vanquished by the Carpathians and their lifemates. I like the elegant nature they have, their constant struggle with the dark side, and their reliance on their women to save them. Their behavior is on the edge of what's acceptable in a modern day romance. They don't have much qualms against carrying their lifemates off and 'convincing' them that their future is tied to their own. Some are a little more cavemanish than others (Rafael I'm talking to you). In the spectrum of un-PC-ness of some of the Carpathians , Aidan was practically a New Age male. I feel that Aidan tried to give Alexandria room. Her situation was tough in that he really didn't have much choice about changing her since the vampire had already started the conversion, and she would have died if he didn't give her his blood. He did try to give some freedom and time to adjust, as much as possible. Alexandria was in denial about her new nature, and I can't blame her too much. I'd be a bit upset if I found out I had to stay out of the sun, and drink blood to survive (Although I don't think I'd mind the hot guy saying I was his lifemate too much). Not to mention the fact that her new lifestyle would preclude her being a full mother to Josh in some ways (no baseball games and stuff like that). Aidan really showed a lot of patience with her, only getting mad when she freaked out and ran out into the full sun, and got one heck of a sunburn. Otherwise, they had a fairly gentle courtship for a Carpathian and his lifemate.
It's hard to condense down what appealed to me about this book. It was fun and interesting. When I read this series, it's unlike any other that I've experienced, and in a good way. I like this world, although it's pretty dark and scary. I like the concept of these ancient males searching through centuries for their other halves. I like the humor and the passion, the intensity of emotions that the characters experience. And the action scenes are very good also. Although I can't typically read these books back to back, when I pick one up, I fall in deep and enjoy the time I spend reading them. Dark Gold was no different.
Ilona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that storIlona Andrews (writing team of Ilona and Gordon) caught and kept my interest when I read Magic Bites. I liked the distinctive voice I saw in that story, one that has stayed true in the subsequent stories that I have read by this team. With On the Edge, they have continued that excellence, providing me with a novel that is multi-faceted, genre-wise and story-wise.
Although I grew up in the Midwest, my roots are Southern, and I do appreciate books set in the South that show the real ways of Southerners. In this case, I saw something very real and almost familiar in Rose, her brothers, grandmother, and friends and neighbors. I smiled when Rose threw the boys in the car and took them to Walmart. Yeah, that's real. Real people do shop there. How many times do you read a book where the characters go to Walmart to buy not the designer shoes, but the ones that look close enough to pass muster? How about a heroine who buys ground beef and adds rice and bread crumbs to stretch it? Yup, that's real alright. How about those moments when you have to stretch your paycheck and hope you have enough money left over the week to buy gas so you can get to work? I've definitely been there. And the love and ties of family, having to work hard all day and get home, take care of your family, go to bed, and get up and do it again. I think a lot of readers can identify with that. So what if Rose is magical, along with everyone in her family? That's a little more on the fantasy part of the scale. But this combination is why urban fantasy is so irresistible to me. The real and the surreal nicely entwined.
The ideas in this story strike me as very unique and different. I liked it a lot, even if some elements was pretty odd, like a reanimated grandfather who likes to eat stray dogs' brains. Or the fact that a lot folks in the Edge community can curse people, or send flashes of powerful energy out of their bodies. And then there is the shapeshifting younger brother of Rose, Jack. The other young brother is a powerful necromancer (hence the zombie granddad). And things get even more interesting when Declan shows up. Rose's powerful flash abilities have made her an asset to Blueblood families who want to integrate her genes into their family lines, one way or the other. She has become wary of men for that reason, since most of her suitors didn't ask nicely. So when too good to be true Declan shows up to claim her and take her back to the Weird, the magical lands that are adjacent to the Edge, she definitely doesn't eagerly go off with him. She makes an oath with the handsome warrior that he can have her if he succeeds in her three challenges. However, they have big problems on their hands, as there are horrible, magical hounds that are devouring Edgers for their magic. And they really want to get their hands on Rose and her family.
I loved Rose. She was a heroine that you could hang with, and that you'd be slightly in awe of, because she knows how to take care of business. She's the type that you tell to do something, and she takes about five minutes or more, and she's back and ready to get the job done. Not the heroine who is infallible and annoyingly perfect. Nope, she's the heroine that you love because she tries so hard, and she has the determination to do what is necessary. I loved Rose's commitment to her brothers, how she raised them from a young age after her mother lost her mind and her father ran off treasure-hunting. Jack and Georgie (her brothers) are adorable and genuine little boys, despite their very unusual abilities. They were sweeties and reminded me of the poem about what boys are made of (you know, snails and puppy dog tails). You could see why Rose loves them, even though being a single mom to her brothers is far from easy.
Declan was a great match for Rose. He was just as determined and capable. He might be a rich princelike guy, but he was down to earth enough that this didn't bother me. And I do like tough, warrior heroes, I won't lie. He took to the kids very quickly, and he treated them like they were his own. He even makes pancakes for them. I liked how he was as much a thinker as a doer, a problem-solver not afraid to get his hands dirty. He was a guy who made a commitment and stood by his word, no matter what. Declan was definitely a knight in shining armor, and I could see why Rose fell in love with him.
William was also adorable. I felt for him, and I will probably end up reading Bayou Moon soon to get more of him. I liked his wildness but also his goodness and how sweet he was with the kids (I am a sucker for that).
On the Edge has its dark, gruesome elements, but I'm okay with that. I like some dark in my fantasy. I loved the juxtaposition of the everyday with the fantastic and surreal. The Andrews have a great way of writing descriptively and setting the scene without overdoing things and info-dumping. I like that the narrative is spare in some places, and the character sketches give you enough to get an idea of the folks in the story, but you can still learn more as you read. There are times you have to figure things out as you go, which is what I prefer, to be honest.
Although I am sure this book wouldn't work for everyone, I had a ball reading it. I liked everything about it. The romance was great, but the fantasy elements were equally important. I'd recommend this to a reader who likes fantasy but wants to try romance, and a reader on the other side of that equation....more
Disclaimer: I am in gushing mode, which means I have lots of clunky metaphors and a bit of unwise hyperbole. Don't hold it against this book or its auDisclaimer: I am in gushing mode, which means I have lots of clunky metaphors and a bit of unwise hyperbole. Don't hold it against this book or its author. It's all me!
I make no apologies for my deep love of this series. It rocks. This series is premium when it comes to paranormal romance. Hands down. With Demon from the Dark, I felt that intense love grow like a rose bush on Miracle Gro fertilizer.
Ms. Cole has written a flawless book here. She wrote a hot, hot romance with two characters that I loved, flaws and all. She also had me believing that these people could fall in love with each other, even though they couldn’t speak the same language initially. I didn’t expect to be such a huge fan of Carrow when I met the party girl witch in Dark Desires After Dusk. But I do love her. It took me about five minutes into reading this to think, “I like her a lot.” Actually, the scene at the end of Pleasure of a Dark Prince had me feeling positively towards her. Now, I have to think she’s my favorite heroine in this series. Sorry Sabine!
A huge theme of this story is feeling abandoned/rejected/unwanted, like no one in the world truly loves you and accepts you. For Malkom, this was illustrated in a much more violent, heartbreaking manner. Malkom made my heart bleed. I could understand why he was such a violent, untrusting person who felt that being alone was the best option for him. I won’t go into all he suffered because I feel that this book needs to be read. You have to get to know Malkom the best way, by reading his story. But suffice it to say, no kid should go through what Malkom did. I so wanted him to have a beloved wife and a family. I wanted him to have that with Carrow and Ruby. Oh man, I just loved him. I was glad that Carrow ends up proving that she loves him and is worthy of being his fated mate.
In the case of Carrow, she finds herself in an untenable situation, and she is going to have betray the male that she falls deeply in love with. Normally, I would be raring at the bit, foaming at the mouth at what she did, because I hate deception. In this case, I could understand her dilemma. She ends up becoming the adoptive mother of an orphaned daughter of a friend murdered by Carrow’s human enemies. The thing about it was, Carrow acted like a parent. Parents have to make tough decisions. Their primary responsibility is to care for their children. She was over a barrel, and I respect that she stayed true and did what she had to with the intent to protect Ruby. And this decision almost cost her true love, putting her in that same situation of having love and affection denied to her, as she suffered as a materially privileged, but emotionally-starved young girl.
This situation shows what a masterful writer Kresley Cole is. She takes a scenario where you’re like, “This can’t end well,” and keeps you glued to the pages as she proves that it can, and has you enjoying the ride so much, you feel desolate when the book is over. That was this book (and all her books) in a nutshell. Also, did I mention, this woman knows how to write hot, hot, hot, really hot romance. For me, this was the hottest of her books. I think part of that was because I felt the intense pull that Carrow has on Malkom, and vice versa. They were like two powerful magnets exerting forces of attraction on each other (and pulling the reader along because the energy is so powerful). Ms. Cole manages to use every amorous moment to build the steam up until it’s about to explode and turn the book into a fireball. I really needed a fan as I read this book, and not just because Oblivion is like Yuma, Arizona with the thermostat turned up several degrees.
I honestly can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. Well, except that I wanted to find out what happens to some of the other Loreans who got abducted by the Order. I am gnawing on my knuckles to find out what happens between Melanthe and Thronos, and I really want to know more about Declan and Regin. Good thing I am reading Dreams of a Dark Warrior next month.
Kresley Cole, you kick paranormal romance butt and take names. You and the WARDen usually go neck and neck for this reader, but this book puts you in first place now. I’m not just being flattering when I say that my life is so much richer since I started reading your books. I have so much love for the Immortals After Dark series! (Off to fondle my copy and add it to my bookcase with my other beloved IAD books). ...more
I just love when I read a book by a new author, and their writing clicks with me. That is how I felt about The Earl and the Governess. I have had thisI just love when I read a book by a new author, and their writing clicks with me. That is how I felt about The Earl and the Governess. I have had this book on my shelf for a few months, since I get all the Harlequin Historicals. I loved the cover, so I knew I'd probably read it sooner. But, the storyline didn't really call out to me that much. I'm not a fan of the titled hero chasing a woman who is in dire straits, and manipulating that situation for his own prurient gains (unless an author can do it well). I needed an 'E' for my monthly challenge, and it shouted "Read Me!" So, I selected it, and I am glad I did.
As I read this story, I said to myself, this is good writing. Not reinventing the wheel, but telling a story of two people who meet and fall in love, and doing it very well. I found myself liking both characters very much. It's not always a given that I like the titled, handsome, monied hero. I find that it's a coin flip for me. I don't like people who have a huge sense of entitlement. I don't like heroes who think they can have any woman they want, and who will resort to underhanded methods to get her, unless the author can show me a man with those undesirable traits, and reveal to me that he has some good traits to balance it out.
I must say that William and I got off on the right foot from the beginning. He sees a woman in distress, not particularly well-dressed, passably pretty, but not a stunner, and he goes to help her. He's not just trying to get her into bed. He's genuinely concerned about her. That really softened me towards William. He's rich and important enough to ignore people that are beneath him, but he doesn't.
Surprisingly, even though William was working the angle of having Isabelle under his thumb as the governess to his ward, and he eventually wants to persuade her to be his mistress, he shows some qualms about it. Although they share a couple of passionate kisses, he doesn't automatically resort to hanky-panky with his ward in the same house. That would have felt very wrong to me. When her reputation gets ruined, he offers marriage, when he could have just paid her off. He shows respect, and a love for this woman, a love that is equal to his desire. That made me love him.
I really liked Isabelle too. She had a good head on her shoulders, but she also had a heart and emotions. The war between those aspects of her personality was well-written. She felt a connection to William from the beginning, but she was no fool. She was in dire straits, and she knew that her reputation was important. She knew that nothing lasting could come of her association with William. Her love and attraction to him slowly but surely wore away at her doubts, and it was an organic process.
I'm pretty iffy about the wallpaper-type historicals. I like to read historical romances that are written with the morals and the atmosphere that represent the times and makeup of people who lived back then. I get pretty frustrated when I read one that has modern people who are merely dressed up like historical people, and carry their modern ideas and mores into the story. This is not one of those, fortunately. Although Ms. Elliott doesn't hit the reader over the head with the Regency setting, it's very natural and obvious in this story. I found myself reading this book very fast, and enjoying it a lot. Seeing William and Isabelle's courtship play out was a lovely thing. When they consummate their relationship, it felt natural, although I wondered how things would work out for them long-term. But I knew their love was real, and that was important for me.
I would have given this book five stars, but the ending seemed a little drawn out to me, leaving me with an uncertain feelings as for how things would resolve. But eventually things get to where I wanted them to, and I was happy with the resolution in the end. Otherwise, I had no issues with this story. The Earl and the Governess was a very good book, and I'd recommend it to fans of Regency romance.
Although I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way tAlthough I wouldn't call this book unputdownable, I enjoyed it. It had a deep element that I don't always see in Harlequin Presents. I liked the way that Nikki could see there were two aspects of Harper that were fighting each other. The part of him that was a protector, sweet, and loving; and the predatory, domineering, take no prisoner part of him. She saw that he was in conflict, feeling like he needed to supress one over the other, and that this would be an issue in him accepting his love for her, instead of pushing her away altruistically. Nikki was young, about 23, but she was pretty mature and insightful. I loved that she was an artist. She reminded me of my mother, in fact. She was a pretty layered character. Harper was also deep and rich in characterization. I liked him from the beginning. He has that tough, strong, intense nature that I love in a hero, but also the warm, sweet, loving, caring personality that is equally irresistible. And he was a British hero. We need more Brits in the HP books! Another thing I liked about this book was that Harper was a family man. He was raising his nephew since his parents died when he was a baby. He was also close to his mother. I think Ms. Carpenter wrote this book with some elements that enriched it in a way that I wish I saw more in this category of books. This was a good book, and I wish I had read it fast, but I kept picking it up near bedtime when I was too sleepy to enjoy it as much as I could.
If you want to sample a Harlequin Presents that veers away from the whole Mediterrean/Latin billionaire playboy with the arm-candy heroine, you should check this out. I hope to find more of Amanda Carpenter's books since I enjoyed this one and The Great Escape.
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor was a lovely little morsel to get me into the Christmas spirit (or at least more into it, since I've already started liChristmas Eve at Friday Harbor was a lovely little morsel to get me into the Christmas spirit (or at least more into it, since I've already started listening to Christmas music on the satellite radio--I'm a Christmas junkie. What can I say?). It was also a great introduction to Ms. Kleypas' new contemporary series. I am very happy with it, and eager to read about Mark's brothers finding their HEAs.
I really loved the heart-warming vibe of this story. I love books that show the incredible bond that can form between a man and a woman (or any group of people who become their own family), and encompass children, either through their own union, or that they have brought into their lives. This book was definitely one of those stories. I have never felt that family has to be limited to the traditional idea of a nuclear bond. Blood bonds are important, but are completely unnecessary in forming a family. This book has that message.
Mark has the magnetic charisma that Ms. Kleypas is so stellar at endowing her heroes with. He also has a little bit of the tortured hero to him, not much, but enough. His family life wasn't great, and after losing his sister, he has taken on the role as guardian to her daughter Holly, not sure if he's up for it, but determined to do his best. Somehow, along the way, his heart is changed from the man who barely does the family thing, to a father who would do anything for his daughter, even if she's only his niece. And his brother Sam also finds an incredible sense of purpose through helping to raise Holly.
What's interesting is the dynamic between Mark, Holly, and Maggie. Initially it seems as though Maggie will be the fairy godmother who comes and makes everything right with Mark and Holly. But it turns out that Mark and Holly do a lot of healing for Maggie, who is still trying to recover from losing her husband, and has sworn off marriage and having kids of her own, afraid and believing she has nothing left to give.
Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite authors for a reason: She knows her stuff. When I read her books, I am getting a full experience. She puts the heart, a wonderful, exciting love story, the beautiful description, a great, engaging narrative, humor, and pathos all there for me to enjoy. She has a wonderful way with words, a skilled artist who paints a visually-arresting landscape with her prose. Her books never feel flat to me, they are as three-dimensional as if I was there in the scene. I have discovered this sudden urge to go to Washington and explore Friday Harbor, and hope that I will walk past Maggie's toy store, or Mark's coffee-roasting business. I want to look up Rainshadow Vineyard while I am in town. I don't know when I'll get to Washington, but I know I will definitely want to revisit Friday Harbor and its inhabitants again, and this book is short enough to pick up every year to get that lovely Christmas spirit infusion, and to stop by and visit with my new friends that I have made.
If you need a little pick-me-up, and a book to remind you why Christmas is more than just a hassle and a marketing gimmick, but a wonderful time of year to enjoy family and friends, and to remember the most important thing about the season, you will find that in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Because this book shows the power of love to warm hearts and to make bonds where there was no hope for a sense of connection. The power of love to heal what is broken. If you don't believe me, just give this book a read. ...more
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I was somewhat disappointed. Some parts were a bit dry, and some parts very tantalizing. I wish the balanceI'm not sure what to say about this book. I was somewhat disappointed. Some parts were a bit dry, and some parts very tantalizing. I wish the balance was more in the latter direction. I have to say I loved the hero, Lucas. He was dreamy! He was a very tortured guy, who hadn't gotten a lot of breaks in his life. I wish that Ms. James had focused on that more. I felt like there was too much time focused on how snobby British society viewed him, and how that affected Lillian's view of Lucas way too much, instead of looking into his heart, and what her heart told him about it. I could understand why, since her mother had ran off with her lover, broken her father's heart, and disgraced her family. She had spent her life trying to be the epitome of a well-behaved lady, the epitome of English gentility. However, she was very unhappy with her life, twenty-five years old, and yearning to be loved. She was tired of being the perfect young lady, the model for others. She just wanted something real for herself. At times, she was almost unlikeable, coming off as being a complete snob at times. Lucas didn't deserve that from her at all. Granted, it took him some time to get back to her after she was ruined when he was caught kissing her hand on the balcony, but he had a good reason for it. She didn't even give him the benefit of the doubt.
I liked the bond and chemistry between Lucas and Lillian. It did seem like a fated, compelling love they shared. The brief love scene was pretty steamy. Definitely some good points for that!
I didn't quite get why the children of Lucas' deceased wife's sister were introduced, but then you didn't hear about them until near the end. I felt like they were more of a plot point than an organic part of the story. This was another area that could have been more developed instead of showing society functions as much as was done. I liked seeing the couple trying to work on their marriage, and interacting with the kids, and I wished there was more of this.
The adventurous climax was too quick and didn't make a lot of sense to me. I would have preferred seeing Lucas and Lillian work on their relationship to this.
All in all, this could have been a better read than it was. I liked Lucas a lot, and the little girls were cute. Lillian disappointed me in her snobbiness, despite my understanding of her issues. I wanted her to 'woman up' sooner than she did. I liked the Victorian setting, and the Christmas elements. But, I ended up feeling mostly let down by this book. Mistletoe Magic wasn't a bad book, but it could have been much better. It had a lot of potential. Sophia James' lovely way with words was evident, this just needed a more cohesive, focused narrative to shine like it had the potential to do....more
This book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic whenThis book passed my good book test. I loved the characters, I was involved, and I enjoyed the storyline, and it made me feel good and optimistic when I finished the book. Not all books have to have a feel good quotient, but it's certainly nice when they do.
Evan and Kathy were both struggling to do right by the boys they were raising: Evan was a single father with a three-year-old son, and a big farm to run. Kathy was raising her orphaned nephew.
Evan used to be a wild child, raising you know what, and living life in the fast lane. When he got his girlfriend pregnant, he did the right thing, and married her. But she didn't want the settled life of a wife to a farmer, and a mother. She ran off with Jesse and broke Evan's heart. He finally got his son back, and he's determined to do the right thing by him. But, he's still insecure that he's not a good man or role model for his son.
Kathy decided that small-town life would be better for Mac, because he was getting to be at the age where trouble was calling his name. She was thirty-four and still a virgin, and thought her chances at love has passed her by. In fact, she didn't even date. Evan is too gorgeous to ignore, and he has an adorable young son. Could this man be the answer to her dreams, able to be husband to her, and father to her nephew, who badly needs a male influence?
This couple met when Mac vandalized Evan's truck. Evan recognizes the plea for help in Mac's actions, and sentences him to two weeks shoveling manure on his farm. It turns out to be a really good decision on his part, helping to bring these two people and their sons together to form a family. The kids are pretty cute: Jesse and Mac hit it off and become honorary brothers. It was nice to see Mac's sullen teen angst get melted by an adorable kid. Mac's vulnerabilities were realistic in light of losing his mother, and his father rejecting him before he was even born. He feared that Kathy didn't truly love him but saw him as an obligation, and he acted out because of it. Evan did a great job of setting boundaries with Mac, and showing him that parental love is often in the form of loving discipline, an area that Kathy had trouble. Working on the farm gives Mac something to focus on other than his sense of inadequacy and his fears.
This was a really nice, sweet story. It's probably too sweet for some readers. Things wrap up in a nice bow at the end, and that's a-ok with me. Since life isn't really like that, it's nice to read books where that happens.
Kathy and Evan are a good match. They have passion and understanding, and can work past their disputes and uncertainties to keep their marriage going. I like that their love encompassed their children, proving that there is infinite room in a person's heart for people to love. They are two people I can see happily married fifty years from now. It was great spending a couple hours with them and reading about their romance....more
Thoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance between two people who never thought they'd end up being instant parents to the orphaned children of their rThoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance between two people who never thought they'd end up being instant parents to the orphaned children of their respective best friends. Very sweet and surprisingly sexy at the same time. I need to read some of Jo Goodman's other books, many of which I have on my to read shelf at home.
Joe Golem and the Drowning City is a lovely sort of homage to HP Lovecraft and the Jewish golem folklore tradition. One wonders how they can exist togJoe Golem and the Drowning City is a lovely sort of homage to HP Lovecraft and the Jewish golem folklore tradition. One wonders how they can exist together harmoniously in the same work, but Mignola and Golden do exactly that.
New York City is a very different place from the one we know and love in this book. Some sort of ecological disaster turned half of the city into what is essentially a Venetian-like, water-logged environment. Downtown flooded, and those who lived there are cut off from the denizens of Uptown and forced to fend for themselves. Like humans are apt and known to do, they adapt to a semi-aquatic lifestyle, living on the top floors of the taller buildings, constructing bridges and mazeways between buildings and using watercrafts to navigate the flooded streets.
This novel is initially about two of its citizenry: An elderly magician named Felix Orlov, who can communicate with the dead, and his unofficially adopted daughter, fourteen-year-old, redheaded, former street kid, Molly McHugh. Their somewhat harmonious lifestyle is brutally interrupted when strange, inhuman creatures abduct Felix, failing to capture Molly when she is saved by a big, rough-looking man named Joe. Joe is special, more than they realize initially. His colleague is the ancient British gentleman, Simon Church, a man who has adapted his failing organs with mechanical parts (added a steampunk-like flair to the story). He also uses a mix of science, machinery, and magic to monitor the supernatural barometer of the city. He happens to detect a very large spike in activity the day that Felix is kidnapped, and Molly teams up with them both to find out what happened to Felix and to save him and save the world in the process.
This is a rather solemn tale. Joe's past is very tortured, and along with Simon's regrets about the past, and Felix's special legacy, the storyline is fairly dark. Molly is a spunky and energetic young woman, who's seen more bad things than a person of her age should. She has trouble trusting, with good reason. We feel her pain as she is helpless against forces that pull the man who is as close to a father to her as any man could be away from her by events beyond their control.
In addition to the somber tone, the Lovecraft-type storyline adds a cosmic horror to the story. While I am personally a bit alienated by Lovecraft's concept of an ancient, extra-dimensional cosmos and its denizens (which are indifferent to our moral concepts and even our right to exist as humanity), Mignola and Golden add an emotional context that makes this typical idea more relatable and almost heartfelt.
One of the downsides to this book is the villain truly never feels invincible or formidable. He comes off more as a petulant child who is playing with matches (dabbling with magics and science far beyond his ken), than a disturbing force for evil. He felt like a paper tiger, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I need a villain who is truly formidable--one that I question if the hero will be able to prevail against. His creations were disgusting, and while repulsive and off-putting, they don't add much in a positive way to the creepy tone of the book.
Despite being somewhat disappointed with the villain, I was drawn to Joe's character, his painful struggle, his search for identity, and the integration of past and future. I also liked Molly. She feels like 'me' in the sense that she is the everyday person put in bizarre and non-ordinary circumstances. I think a good weird fiction tale needs that kind of protagonist.
Mignola just does it for me, with his stories and his creations. His collaborations with Golden have been unilaterally successful so far, and I add this one to the list. I hope to see more of Joe Golem and Molly McHugh, and more of the Drowning City. Recommended to weird fiction readers, and avowed fans of classic horror motifs and loving homages....more
Okay, I enjoyed this one a lot. I admit I was pretty annoyed at Sergios for most of the book, and highly offended that he expected a wife who would loOkay, I enjoyed this one a lot. I admit I was pretty annoyed at Sergios for most of the book, and highly offended that he expected a wife who would look the other way at his sexual infidelities but wasn't allowed to have her own. Don't get me wrong. Cheating/marital infidelity is a big, fat, huge, no no for me, across the board. But I despised his double standard. Why was it okay for him to 'get some' outside of his marriage but not his wife? No way, buddy! Surprisingly, I could understand why Beatriz agreed to his terms. She wanted to see her mother cared for and she had already started bonding with Sergios' orphaned nephews and niece. Another aspect that had the steam coming out of my ears was how the hotness of Sergios just made Bee melt like ice cream on a Texas summer day. Will power...gone! I respect that you feel an incredible sexual attraction sometimes, but, ugh, I just wish that it didn't made the heroines in these books act so marshmallowy. On the good side, she fought it longer than some do in these books. A good point in this book was Bee. She was fairly mature and grounded. I think she was a bit on the insecure side, but other than that affecting some of her decisions more than I liked, I liked her and respected her a lot. Even Sergios wasn't a total write-off. Although I wished that his feelings for Bee were a bit more obvious to me as a reader earlier on (other than lust), he was a decent guy, for the most part. Even though he started off way too smug about his attractions (a real turnoff even if he is hot), presumptuous, manipulative, and self-absorbed, I could see a discernible change in him for the better, and I loved how he lays his cards on the table near the end. Let me tell you, though, I was seething, wondering if he really did go there on his wedding night. I am pretty certain that I think I would be driven to physical violence were I some of the women in these books. It's a good thing I am not a Harlequin Presents-caliber heroine!
Final Thoughts: This was an enjoyable read for me. I know many long time Lynne Graham fans have not been happy with her newer books, I felt like this one was more or less on par with some of her older books, although it's not a favorite of mine. I like that this heroine is a bit more mature and not dizzy like she tends to do with her heroines. I liked that she knew her mind and she was an independent thinker, for the most part. The romance was good and at the end, I felt like Sergios had proven worthy of Bee. At any rate, I didn't feel like holding him off from her like a maiden aunt with a rolling pin. I'd give this one a thumbs up and a solid four stars. If you like Harlequin Presents novels, you might like this one. I did.