I read this about a month ago, but didn't get a chance to review it or add it to my currently reading shelf. It's a great second chance at love book wI read this about a month ago, but didn't get a chance to review it or add it to my currently reading shelf. It's a great second chance at love book with a twist. Alix has every reason to hate Pierce and distrust him for the cruel way he treated her the first time they were married, and with him back, she can't believe he has good motives. The author does a great job of showing the reader they whys and how much Pierce really does love Alix. Alix doesn't want to believe (and can't afford to), that Pierce has good motives, so Pierce has to show her. I can see why she was so resistant and cynical about him. He had to prove herself to him and he did. I love a hero who is crazy about the heroine. After I finished this, I reread the beginning because there is such a huge revelation in what was really going on and how deeply Pierce loves Alix and regrets what he did. He had his reasons, but it was so unbelievably cruel. However, I believe that this is one hero who definitely redeems himself for the heroine.
I think I was recommended this by one of the girls on the Harlequin Presents group, and I'm glad I did get it on Kindle. It's an oldie but goodie that I definitely wouldn't have wanted to miss out on....more
Wow! I loved this book. Yates has always been a writer that struck me as having a lot of promise. I feel she nailed it far and away with this book. ShWow! I loved this book. Yates has always been a writer that struck me as having a lot of promise. I feel she nailed it far and away with this book. She has a written a romance between a Very Bad Man and a Hero Who Isn't a Good Girl. Oh she's a virgin, but that doesn't make her a good girl. I like that she flipped that around where virginity doesn't equate with innocence. I love when the heroine is a virgin, but I don't think that having a V card makes a woman more worthy. So yay to Ms. Yates for how she wrote this book with Charity showing some traits that make her less likely to qualify as a Disney Princess. Having said that, she's perfectly sympathetic. Her father was a con artist who raised her with his morals, which are very gray. She always knew deep down that something wasn't right about that life. But she didn't have access to another way of life to establish an alternate or better since of right and wrong so she could reject her father when he comes back and gets her help in pulling a con on Amari. When he runs off, he leaves her holding the bag and dealing with a coldly vengeful Amari who doesn't take kindly to anyone stealing what belongs to him. I loved how Yates sensitively depicts Charity's character evolution and identity crisis. It was excellent writing.
Oh my goodness! I loved that it's pretty obvious that Charity is biracial, if not racially mixed. Kudos again. It's nice to see brown skin as an object of beauty in a mainstream romance that isn't slated just for a multicultural audience.
Rocco Amari is a Class A villainous hero. In his own way, his morals are as flawed as Charity. His treatment of her is on par with an Anne Stuart hero. He is fearlessly cutthroat with Charity, but in a way that shows he's not as cold and lacking in feelings towards her as he would like. From the beginning, something about her gets beneath his armor and he can't dismiss her or deal with her in the way he would typically deal with his enemies. The reader gets a bird's eye view of this hero falling like a ton of bricks for his heroine, even though he can't allow himself to accept it. Amari also goes to an evolution. He realizes that Charity is not a possession, but a flesh and blood woman who he has to love in a deeper, selfless way and not like an expensive acquisition. Oh my goodness, some of his dialogue is priceless. Yates shows that she is a modern writer in how these characters express themselves. I've never heard a hero use some of the terms that Rocco does in this line before.
I could probably go on and on about how much I loved this book, but I won't. I like how Yates plays around with tried and true motifs in this line and breathes new life in them. I normally don't like the mistress storyline at all. The relationship between Amari and Charity doesn't feel like a rich man-mistress scenario, and while Amari seems to hold all the power, it's clear that he's equally vulnerable to Charity. I appreciate that very much. I definitely recommend this book to readers who either are Harlequin Presents fans or modern romance fans who like the billionaire hero or even Anne Stuart villain heroes motif. ...more
I think this could have easily been a New Adult novel. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the genre, but if I could find more like this book, I might readI think this could have easily been a New Adult novel. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the genre, but if I could find more like this book, I might read more of them. The reason why I feel this has a NA vibe is because both characters are in their twenties and they have the values of the Millennial generation, and they way their lives unfold, but not necessarily just in a negative way. Technology is very prominent in this story, and the fact that Nathan is a self-made billionaire in a novel way that fits the 21st Century. He also seems to be disconnected from the more traditional values that those of us of the previous generation have at our roots, but it's understandable considering his situation. Riya does have more of the traditional values of family and that might be due to her Half-Indian heritage. She's a very smart young woman, and she's had so much pressure and burdens on her, she doesn't know how to act like a person of her age. Nathan takes it up on himself to teach her that and is arrogant enough to believe that his heart won't be touched by her in the process.
Nathan is really quite cruel to Riya in some points in this book. He does it out of self-protection and in his mind trying to protect Riya, but it is still mean. I can understand why he's that way, but it doesn't mean I liked it. Overall, I did think he was sexy hero and he definitely has an impact. I like the way his dialogue and body language is described. I feel that if you met him in real life, he definitely wouldn't be easily dismissed.
Riya's mother is a hot mess. She really had some nerve the way she was talking to and treating her daughter. She had a bad habit of taking advantage of Riya and she betrayed her in a way that was almost unforgivable, and didn't seem to get why. I like that Riya still acts like a grown up with her mom, despite that. I really liked Riya. She's a young woman with a lot of sense, values, and heart and a work ethic that speaks volumes for her young age.
Another reason this feels like a NA is the very spicy love scenes. They feel pretty modern, even for a new Harlequin Presents. I would recommend this to readers who want to try a Harlequin Presents and are used to the typical contemporary romances (ebooks) out nowadays....more
A well-written book but almost zero tension. Everytime I thought the author had managed to build an angle for HP-style tension, it was quickly diffuseA well-written book but almost zero tension. Everytime I thought the author had managed to build an angle for HP-style tension, it was quickly diffused. I feel that there was a lot of potential here. Tough-minded executive hero of Russian heritage, poor little rich girl with daddy issues, forced marriage scenario. But it turns out where everyone is really nice to each other, and even though Viktor blew off Madison years ago and they weren't friends in the interim, it takes a short discussion to clear all that up. A slightly longer discussion has them agreeing to get married. Sex works out perfectly, and while Viktor has sowed his wild oats, Madison has kept her aged hymenal status for an incredible to believe twenty-four years. I'm being a bit sarcastic, but that was a big irritating that such a huge deal was made about her being a virgin so long. Yeah, I know that most people aren't virgins into their twenties, I think that way too much of a deal was made of it. And I found it irritating that while Madison couldn't feel that way about other men, Viktor was able to have his share of sexual attachments in the interim. When asked why he didn't take her up on her offer at eighteen, his answer is too glib for my tastes. "It's marriage or nothing with you." But I guess women who aren't Madison can be used to slake his sexual urges with no emotional entanglement. *Rolls eyes." I'm all for virginity. I like virgin heroines. But I really hate that double standard for men. It sticks in my craw. Your mileage my vary. Of course after marriage, declarations of love occur equally smoothly. It's all too smooth for me.
Yeah, that's the problem. Everything felt too copacetic in this book. I guess that would be fine if you were looking for an easygoing romance where everything is assured, despite a sticky beginning. I wasn't.
I did like the descriptions of Viktor's grandparents Russian marriage customs, and the family drama aspect almost created more tension, almost.
I think this is a perfectly fine book if you're in that headspace where you don't want too much drama and tension. But usually, I reach for a Harlequin Presents because that's exactly what I'm looking for. So it failed to meet my needs.
I would say that this is worthy of 3.5 stars. I took off a star and a half because there's practically no tension and the obnoxious virginity hype/double standard was irritating.
Oh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, leaOh man, I loved the hero in this book. He was scrumptious. He reminded me of Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter in that he's a long, lean panther who talks like a panther purrs. He screams "I'm Bad For You, but I'm So Good!" He was delicious. He definitely goes on my lickable hero shelf. I fell hard for him because he is so super-sexy, and because he gave Hattie steadfast love in a way she'd never had before. At one point, he withdraws from her, and Hattie can't deal with that. He does it because it was difficult for him to deal with the fact that she refused to be honest with him. Hattie doesn't know how to deal with him not being in her life the way he's been for over ten years, and that is the impetus for change. That was when he realized she didn't know how. She didn't know what unconditional love was and the concept of being accepted no matter what. She spends most of the book pushing him away emotionally, and being a bit of a brat, so that tiptoes on the edge of being a bit tedious. Crews managed to change the tone soon enough that I was just burned out on it. I think the reveal for why Hattie has behaved the way she has so long was a pit too rapid in its delivery (and it felt a bit lightweight to be honest), and I would have liked better pacing in that regard. I did love the surprise that Nicodemus gets. I was really surprised myself. I like a good twist in a story.
This book is pretty heavy on internal dialogue and that probably wouldn't work for some. But I felt it was well done, and I think the characters are wonderfully complex. I think this is a nice mix of modern cultural awareness but with the old school intensity dynamic that makes many of us Harlequin Presents readers such advocates of the vintage novels. The sensuality is intrinsic and hot and underlined by the fact that these two people really love each other and can't imagine a life without each other.
I'm hoping that I enjoy His for Revenge, about Hattie's brother, as much as I did this book.
Intangible Dream is the kind of Harlequin Presents that old-school fans will enjoy. Despite the lack of descriptive love scenes, there is plenty of paIntangible Dream is the kind of Harlequin Presents that old-school fans will enjoy. Despite the lack of descriptive love scenes, there is plenty of passion in this novel. And enough true love to make a diehard romantic sigh when they finish the last sentence.
It has a strong, fascinating hero who's pretty much obsessed with the heroine. Readers who love heroes who are stone cold in love with the heroine will find this book very romantic and James irresistible. Wilson maintains the tension of the reader sensing the hero's feelings, although we don't get his point of view. You feel like Gemma has underestimated his feelings for her, even though you don't find out how much until later on. Despite that, he conveys just enough and says enough to make it clear that he's crazy about Gemma. While Gemma puts up quite a fight against falling in love with James and into his plans for her, I could understand her reasons, even though I knew just how crazy James was about her. She was a bit too hurtful at times, although I think it was because she felt like she was a mouse caught in the lion's paws, out of self-defense.
Gemma has a sweet shyness and awkwardness about that I found really appealing. I could definitely see myself in her shoes, especially when I was younger. I am sure I would feel a bit overwhelmed by James' powerful personality, especially if I was youngish and very sheltered by an overprotective father (she's a very sheltered 24-yr-old) . The scenes in which James teases Gemma and draws her out of her shell are really appealing. They have a warmth and made me smile. Some readers don't care for young and innocent heroines, but they don't bother me, especially if their naivety makes sense and feels authentic. While Gemma is definitely naive, she wants to gain some agency in her life, and she has a lot of courage considering. After a life of being in a gilded cage with her dad, she doesn't want to change it to a gold cage as James' trophy wife. When she realizes his love is genuine and that she feels the same, that makes a big difference to her, and it shows in the denouement.
I think this might be one of my favorites by this author so far. I think James is a Class A Stalkerific hero (shows the possessive/jealous/obsessed traits I find a guilty pleasure, but not in a really psycho way that's too disturbing). I also liked Gemma a lot. They make a good couple and they made me root for things to work out for them. I recommend this to fans of the older Harlequin Presents, and for any fan of stalkerific romance novel heroes.
This is an intense book. Jessica had very good reason to resist Carlo the first time around. With the terrible examples at relationships that her pareThis is an intense book. Jessica had very good reason to resist Carlo the first time around. With the terrible examples at relationships that her parents set and her mother's promiscuous behavior, she was deathly afraid of the sexual attraction she felt for Carlo. Besides, she was engaged. Carlo was arrogant as only a young man could be. He thought that he could crook a finger at Jessica and she would drop everything to be with him. But I think that he wouldn't have respected her if she did. I liked that while Carlo does act like a jerk, he isn't a bad person. He acts out of hurt and determination, and the fact that he fell like a ton of bricks for Jessica and never got over her. It's clear that both Jessica and Carlo have damaged family relationships and that makes it hard to trust in future relationships. You can therefore sympathize with both of them.
I love jealous heroes, so I really liked how he was so jealous of her marriage to another man. He didn't even want to call her by her married name. I could tell it was because he had always loved Jessica, even if he didn't realize it.
I liked that although I had read this before, it felt like I was reading it again for the first time. All the emotions were fresh and intense. A nice one to read when you want an HP escape....more
Lynne Graham excels in getting the reader's juices flowing, particularly in her older books. I pulled this one off the pile as part of my Harlequin PrLynne Graham excels in getting the reader's juices flowing, particularly in her older books. I pulled this one off the pile as part of my Harlequin Presents Binge because I knew I'd get something cathartic. I wasn't disappointed.
I liked the fact that Vito is quite sympathetic. He is actually a nice guy, although he does tend to want things his way. He did and said things the wrong way to Ashley, but He had no idea about how traumatic her upbringing was. So I can't really hold that against him.
Even though Ashley was hard to get along with, I liked that about her. I get tired of the heroine who is the hero's dumpbucket, there to be kicked around except for in bed. Ashley isn't shy about standing up for herself or telling Vito what for. Her aggressiveness about certain topics is 100% linked to her past, and I think that if she had felt free to open up, I don't think they would have broken up in the first place.
I think Ashley is definitely one of Graham's most tortured heroines, despite her flaws. Frankly, her homelife sucked, and the abandonment she faced by her family was lousy. Because of her parents highly dysfunctional marriage and her father's abuse (both mental/emotional and at times physical), she has a low opinion of marriage and any sort of commitment, and she was raised to disdain anything feminine. I like to think that Vito could have been the family she lacked, if he had been given full disclosure on her past. Instead, he thought the worst of her instead of digging to the deeper issues beneath her posturing. He took her aversion to commitment and marriage as a sign of a moral failing in her, instead of a sign of emotional scars. They missed out on three years together as a result.
While Ashley is still argumentative and abrasive, she genuinely loved Vito and was heartbroken about their breakup and a loss she suffers shortly thereafter. She has the time to revisit her past strong opinions about marriage and family, realizing a lot of them weren't her own. But now Vito has cast her in the role of heartless jade, although he never got over her. I like that Vito still went after her, even though he thought the worst of her and knew she could hurt him. It showed that his love for her hadn't died. And this time, he wasn't going to settle for a non-committed sexual relationship. He wanted marriage, as he had before, and he wasn't afraid to blackmail to get it this time around.
There is a lot of tension, both sexual and relationship, and plenty of drama in this book. I don't know if I ever read this back in the day. I didn't own it, and I think I would have remembered if it had read it. The feels like Classic Lynne Graham and is worth having in the collection of serious fans of hers. ...more
This was a pretty good book, but it's one of those books where it would have lasted thirty pages if the leads had just sat down and had a long conversThis was a pretty good book, but it's one of those books where it would have lasted thirty pages if the leads had just sat down and had a long conversation. There's only so long that you can sustain tension in a book in which the lead couple splits up due to lies and misunderstanding, without one of the leads being shown in a negative light. In this case, I did like Charley, but she seemed really immature in her decision-making. I couldn't help but think that maybe she needed some time to grow up. She married very young (soon after losing her parents), before her personality was even formed, and she felt so insecure that everything that happened in her marriage seemed like an indictment against herself as lacking as a wife/woman in comparison to the dreaded other woman.
Sebastian was actually a decent guy, although I wish he had been a little more proactive in demanding an explanation and explicitly clarifying his end of things when they were newlyweds. Again, back to what I sad before about the falseness of the conflict. You couldn't really blame either character, although they both messed up, so you're left to wonder what was the point of the four year separation. I think the author probably wanted Charley to have time to grow up, but I wish that their reason for breaking up the first time was more organic and less contrived (OW's machinations). Yeah, I realize that the OW drama is a very important sub-theme in Harlequin Presents books. This one was just so hackneyed and unbelievable, really.
I think this is one of those books you just have to be in the mood for. It's fairly classic Harlequin Presents from the late 80s-early 90s. Charley's fiance is such a buffoon, and actually quite unattractive (both physically and personality-wise). It's hard to believe that she would have fallen for him, other than the fact that she was just lonely and hurting and the oaf took advantage of that. I guess it was a good thing that Sebastian wasn't complacent enough to give her a divorce right way (wanted to fight for their reconciliation-although words wouldn't have gone amiss!). The heroine could use some maturity, even after four years apart from the hero, and the hero should learn to stand up for himself better. I do have to say the chemistry and sensuality was well-done and helped my rating considerably. I'm typically not into Latin heroes, but he was kinda scrumptious.
A slightly better than middle of the road read. Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars....more
I think Jennie Lucas might give Lynne Graham a run for her money with the sweet, naive heroine theme. Josie is as sweet as they come. She really seemsI think Jennie Lucas might give Lynne Graham a run for her money with the sweet, naive heroine theme. Josie is as sweet as they come. She really seems out of her league with Kasimir. It seems like shooting fish in the barrel. But Kasimir never knew what hit him. Before he knew it, his plans for revenge that involved Josie were flying away like birdies, and he was stone cold in love.
Jennie Lucas understands the appeal of escapist fantasy romance and she delivers it. While most of the readers of this genre won't know what it's like to swept off our feet by a ruthless billionaire, and probably don't want it in real life, Lucas gives us a 2 hour read that allows us to explore the possibilities. That's why I like this series of books so much. It's a different world and I like that I can spend two hours in that world.
Kasimir is a very bad man. Well, at least he was. I mean, he wants to be. But I think deep down, he's a decent fellow who forgot what was important in life. He lost everything, and when you lose everything, you have nothing to lose. Josie teaches him what it means to love and to sacrifice for love. She teaches him what it means to be a genuine person. And she teaches him to follow his heart and love passionately.
I really liked the first book, Dealing Her Final Card, but I think I liked this one even more. It felt more like Princess fantasy. I liked that they are actually married, and she's not just a mistress. And I think the change in Kasimir is more dramatic than in Vladimir. I also think it's because this was not a reunion romance. The feelings between Josie and Kasimir develop on the page before my mesmerized eyes, and I enjoyed every page of it.
Plus the ending was so sweetly romantic, it made me sigh.
I can't rate this very highly because it felt rather tame and didn't really touch my emotions. I read this on a Harlequin Presents Weekend Binge, andI can't rate this very highly because it felt rather tame and didn't really touch my emotions. I read this on a Harlequin Presents Weekend Binge, and while I enjoy those, just picking books randomly from my Pile o' Harlequin Presents, sometimes you get this feeling of incongruity when you read a book that isn't as intense and emotional as the other ones. Unfortunately, this book felt like the ugly stepsister because I was 'feeling' the other books I read so much this weekend.
Patricia Wilson is a proven vintage Harlequin Presents author. I really enjoy her books and she has more than a few that are all time faves for me. However, no author has a completely winning streak. This one is just decent. Not bad, but not particularly memorable.
What I liked:
*I really liked Brett, Kit's grandfather. I love how Charley immediately bonded with the old man, and how he approved of her and liked her. *Kit's possessive/jealous leanings. I am unrepentant about my love for jealous/possessive heroes. He could have been more demonstrative of those traits, but I liked it when I saw it. *Overall, Charley was a heroine that I liked. She's a bit on the meek side, but that doesn't bother me as much as it might some readers.
What didn't impress me:
*Kit's way of treating Charley was weird. He sent out so many mixed signals. He admitted at the end that he needed to stop lying and I totally agree. If I was Charley, I think I would have had whiplash at how often Kit's behavior changed. *I didn't like the whole Antebellum thing. I think it's my own personal issues with that time period in US History and so it rubbed me the wrong way. *The evil other woman plot didn't impress me much. I did like that Brett couldn't stand her but he liked Charley.
I think I have high expectations for the authors I really like, so when I read books by them that are just okay or decent, it's disappointing. I think I might have enjoyed this more if I hadn't read it between two really intense, dramatic books. It was a cute book overall....more
I gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously faI gobbled this book down. Seriously! I was so drawn into this story. The heroine's personality and the psychology of her character was tremendously fascinating. I think Milburne nailed Natalie. Natalie was a ball of rage, and with good reason. She is a realistic product of toxic parents who have forced an innocent child to shoulder blame for something that never should have been her responsibility. And as the author showed, this damage doesn't just disappear overnight. Instead, a hurt child like Natalie takes that into her adulthood and every relationship she has as a grown woman. I literally hurt for Natalie.
Some readers would be turned off by her comments to Angelo, which were often abusive. But to me, I could see them for what they were, a cry for help. Natalie felt trapped by her family obligations and how they had damaged and poisoned her life and her very self-esteem. She wanted to break free, but that wasn't as easy as it seemed. Honestly, I think she probably needs therapy, and I personally feel that an encounter with Jesus Christ would do a lot of good for her. He would take away those burdens and the anger and pain she carries. It hurt to see her truly hating life and having trouble even enjoying one day in her life. I was just glad she hadn't taken the suicidal route. I think she felt obligated to live because of what had happened to her when she was young. So in real life, I would have expected something more interventionist for Natalie than just a love connection with the hero. Most of the time, that isn't going to fix what is broken, although being loved unconditionally is an important ingredient. But in the context of this story, I liked how the author dealt with her issues. Angelo has truly impressed me. He make a few miss-steps along the way, but overall he showed tremendous patience, even though Natalie did things that were hurtful to him. I liked how he didn't give up on her, but kept showing her that she mattered to him and he wanted a life with her. Considering how hurt Natalie was and how damaged her family was, and his ignorance of that, I think Angelo did a great job of connecting to her. Other than one thing he does shortly after they get married, I found him to be a real hero. Just the man for this very wounded woman. Maybe not truly realistic, but still I felt the power of their connection and how it put Natalie on the track to healing.
Man, this book blew me away. I found it very enthralling and emotionally involvinhg. It also involved me intellectually as I assembled the puzzles of Natalie's tormented psyche and came up with a picture of a woman who had been wronged so utterly by her parents. They had failed her in huge ways, and that kind of damage just sets an adult up for a lot of dysfunctional relationships as they get older.
I don't normally read Harlequin Presents for a look at 'real life.' I'll be honest. But I love angst and passion and I love seeing hurting people find happiness, healing and love. And Ms. Milburne definitely delivers.
This book won't be for everyone. But I was very impressed. I just pimped it to my sister, who doesn't read a lot of Harlequin Presents. I can't wait to see what she thinks of it.
A nice old school Harlequin Presents. Jonas has a repressed/dark/seething vibe that I found intriguing. Jonas is intense! He and Cassandra apparentlyA nice old school Harlequin Presents. Jonas has a repressed/dark/seething vibe that I found intriguing. Jonas is intense! He and Cassandra apparently couldn't stand each other. So why was he demanding marriage from her? This is one of those books that works better if you don't have the hero's POV. You have to use your imagination on what the hero is thinking and why he does what he does until the last few pages, and then you get the reveal and all is good.
It's a guilty pleasure of mine, but I love the blackmail marriage theme. It's harder to pull off in the newer books because most readers aren't going to go for a book with a heroine-limited POV, and it would almost surely spoil it if you know what the hero's thinking in this scenario. I think it can be done, but it would take some skills.
I liked that Cassandra decided to dive in and find out about the relationship between Jonas and his father. There is clearly something very wrong, and it very much affects her since she was married to his half-brother (she's his widow). Jonas's bitterness and lack of trust can be linked right back to his troubled relationship with his father, and secrets that come to be revealed about his father's marriage. It wasn't just selfish on her part, though. She correctly felt like it was destroying Jonas and he was missing out on a genuine relationship with his father, and she wanted to help, out of love for him.
I felt like Jonas was a "still waters run deep" guy when it came to his feelings for Cassandra (or at least I read them into his interactions with her). He is very fixated on her, and has been since they first met. I didn't think it was just about her having been married to his brother (and spillover resentment for his brother). I liked how the reveal wasn't just about their relationship, but how everything in Jonas' family's dysfunctional dynamic affected Jonas and his relationships as a grown man.
I liked his relationship with Cassandra's daughter, and it was an integral part of the story. You could see that he had a soft aspect to his personality in the way he bonded with her. He will definitely be a good father. He also did things for Cassandra that her first marriage didn't. She loved Charles, but Charles was kind of immature for his age, and she felt like the parent. With Jonas, he is able and willing to be the husband who is a protector and provider for his wife. While Cassandra is an independent woman, I think even self-sufficient women want a man who they feel will carry his weight as a partner/husband.
This book is a good read, not just a romance book, but a book about the way that family relationships can affect our ability to relate with others in our adult lives, and that we need to seek healing so we can move on and love others in a healthy way. I was glad that even though things worked out with Jonas and Cassandra, he also reestablished a relationship with his father and knew how much his father loved him. This one's worth seeking out, in my opinion....more
This was a very good book. From the first page, I was sucked in. There was so much emotional intensity and sizzle in every interaction between ColetteThis was a very good book. From the first page, I was sucked in. There was so much emotional intensity and sizzle in every interaction between Colette and Stephen. Tension in all the good ways when it comes to a romance book. I liked how I continued to discover more about Colette and Stephen. I was not able to hold onto judgments about their behaviors or their personalities.
Stephen captivated me. I don't like player heroes, and he challenged my perceptions of him. I admit that I liked him intensely. I could see that he felt so much for Colette, even if he didn't want to, and he didn't understand how. I loved that he never got over her. He pursued her out of love from the beginning, even if he didn't think he was capable of love. I love that he was tough and strong, an alpha hero (and in a vital way that I don't always feel with the Harlequin Presents businessmen heroes). He has that air that draws me to a hero like superglue. I think he's a great dad, and I loved his interactions with Emma. Stephen doesn't think much of himself, but I do, and I can totally see what Colette fell in love with him. He was sexy and utterly appealing in a way that I don't always feel with the average Harlequin Presents hero. He had a 'dangerous to a woman's heart' air that really spoke to me as I read, and I imagine that he would be irresistible to a woman, even a woman so wary of involvement as Colette. Colette was a good person. She had some self-esteem issues that turn out to be perfectly understandable. I felt I couldn't judge her for running away, and I really respected her for apologizing and facing the music for not telling Stephen about their child together. She was a good mix of tough yet vulnerable. She was a realistic woman with a depth that made me feel for her. I think for what she experienced as a child, she should be proud of herself and what she's accomplished in life, building a career for herself and raising a healthy, happy daughter despite events that could have damaged her completely as a person.
With both Colette and Stephen, Natasha Tate did such a great job of crafting their characters. I could see why they had their commitment/fears of love issues because of their childhoods. That kind of emotional trauma can undermine a child's sense of self and their ability to bond and form relationships. I'm not a big fan of the secret baby theme, but this book serves as an example of a theme that you don't like being used to good effect in a skilled author's hands. I believe that the reason why Colette got pregnant with Emma, despite their using contraception, was that they were meant to be together, because they truly were soul-mates with love for each other that was capable of healing them, and together they are stronger. It wasn't an easy journey, but the results were so worthwhile in the end.
Something drew me to reading this book, even with the blurb having aspects that would normally turn me off a book. I have to say that I am impressed with Natasha Tate's writing. She created a compelling, sexy, intense, emotional book that I thoroughly enjoyed. That makes for a 4.5/5.0 star rating, a place on my keeper's shelf, and makes her an author to watch out for. I look forward to reading more of her books.
If you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows shIf you like the stories where the heroine is hopelessly misunderstood by the hero, then you’d like this one. The hero is drawn to her, but he knows she’s a ‘bad girl’ in some way. In this case, Grant thinks that Devon’s demanding, spendthrift ways lead to her father embezzling money from his company to keep her in the style to which she had become accustomed. He showed up on their doorstep the night before Devon leaves for Sweden, not for an extravagant vacation like he thinks, but for a surgery that promises to give her full use of her hip, which was injured in the car accident that killed her mother. Devon comes back from Sweden to find that her father has been terminated from his job at Grant’s business, and will likely be prosecuted. She approaches Grant and asks him not to prosecute her father, and she’ll do anything he wants in return. His proposition is that she live with him as his mistress. Devon is willing to do this so that she can save her father from prison.
I liked that Grant wanted to be the ruthless seducer, but he didn’t really have it in him. He was clearly in love with Devon early on. He was kind of grumpy about it, but he had every opportunity to seduce her, but he didn’t take them, after he finds out that she had a bad hip and the money was spent to get her well. From that point, he does everything he can to get her to rest as she’s supposed to so she can get the all clear at her follow up.
I thought it was cute how Devon kept throwing herself at Grant so he would go ahead and fulfill his part of the bargain before her father comes back from the business trip in Scotland that Grant sent him on. Grant seems to come up with excuses for them not to be ‘together.’ Although Devon was clueless about Grant’s feelings for her, I as the reader, was not.
I really liked this book. It was a fun read. Devon was a nice girl, and Grant finally looked past his cynicism to see that, because Cupid’s bow had struck him dead center in the heart. ...more
**spoiler alert** My feelings about this book are conflicted. I did like the intensity with this story. I felt that the connection between Clary and M**spoiler alert** My feelings about this book are conflicted. I did like the intensity with this story. I felt that the connection between Clary and Morgan was fated in an impossible to rationalize away. However, I just couldn't reconcile the relationship with Susan away. I know that Morgan didn't know that Susan was married when they got together, but he continued to sleep with her after he knew and was willing to take a separation as enough to continue his adulterous relationship with another man's wife. I know my issues stem from my incredible distaste for adultery. I tried to tell myself what Clary told herself, what Morgan did prior to her was his business, but it was too sordid for me to just chalk away. So I could understand how hard it was for Clary, on multiple levels. In addition to unresolved issues from her father's destruction of his own marriage, I think that she was in a very difficult situation with her love for Morgan in direct conflict with her loyalty and love for her brother, the wronged husband. I like that Donald didn't minimize this issue, but it was something they both had to deal with face on. Morgan's way of dealing with it was interesting, and in a forceful way, probably the most direct solution to the problem.
I love a possessive, jealous, obsessed hero, but something about Morgan didn't sit right with me. Maybe I didn't detect enough vulnerability from him early enough on. He seemed a lot more controlling than I like in a hero. While I love a stalkerific hero, I don't like controlling heroes, and Morgan is definitely that. On the good side, his devotion for Clary was undeniable. He showed that what he felt for her was different from what he'd felt for women in the past. This is one of those books where I can say definitively that I wouldn't be happy with a man like this in real life. I'm not sure how many women could be happy with a man like Morgan, with his controlling, somewhat inflexible (the world bends to him and he doesn't bend to the world), and yes, manipulative personality. As an only child, he has a hard sort of self-absorption that expects others to fall in with his own wants and needs. That is not to say he is incapable of generosity or acts of kindness. They are just on his terms. Not sure that would be the ideal marriage partner, honestly.
I decided to give this book four stars because it has a lot of intensity and depth to it, which does appeal to me as a reader. Additionally, I felt a mixture of very vivid emotions as I read it. When I read books, I want to experience the books on a visceral level, and I did feel that with A Willing Surrender. Yes, this is one for readers who can't resist a stalkerific hero, but there were aspects about Morgan's character that compromised my ability to like him as a hero, especially his unethical response to the issue of sustaining an adulterous relationship with another man's wife. He even admitted his jealousy and possessive feelings towards Clary. Put on the other man's shoes! It was like he didn't consider what that might do to another man whose wife he was sleeping with. And it wasn't like he was in love with Susan and truly couldn't let her go. That's undesirable to me.
I know I have massively over-thought this book. What can I say? I can't leave my brain behind when I read books....more
**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read thi**spoiler alert** **Let me give a warning in this review about this book:
If you don't like rape/forced seduction/non-consent scenario, do not read this book. If you tolerate or don't mind this content, then you may like this book despite that material. **
This book was recommended to me on a forum somewhere (perhaps for the objectionable content above). I must have ordered it to see how that was handled. I am curious about how authors were able to approach questionable content and still 1) get published, 2) gain a following, 3)write a book that others will recommend. I think that many readers have enough intelligence and self-awareness to read a book in which questionable content occurs and take it as written and either decide they can deal with the way it was written and treat it as fiction that doesn't espouse or endorse said behavior in real life, or decide that it didn't work for them. As I grow older, I have gotten very intolerant to rape (between the leads) in a romance. Let's face it, back in the 80s, it was hard to avoid this content, so you just dealt with it. Now, it's rare, and I think that is a reflection of the times. I never really liked it, to be honest. ( I am okay with forced seduction, but that does read different in a book. (although in real life, rape is rape) I think it's because the prevalence of violence against women (and the manner in which it is addressed) that occurs in society has sensitized me to this issue. Let me say this here and now: Spousal rape is a real thing, and it is 100% wrong. That's my official stance on it. That doesn't mean that I will give a book 1 star just because it has spousal rape or non-consent sexual encounters without consideration of other factors.
In this book, it was rather shocking to me. Not that it was graphically depicted, but that the writer didn't try to dress it up as anything other than rape. I believe that the author handled the subject matter responsibly and I feel that the hero was both sorry for what he did and realized how serious his action was. He didn't expect forgiveness, although he did ask for it. The heroine didn't accept blame for what happened or write it off, or assume that he had to right to rape her just because he was her husband (and Thank God for that). It was something she had to process emotionally and I was overall okay with the way the characters dealt with it. In the context of a fiction novel, I can see such a situation and deal with it. In reality, no. In my mind, I face the reality of this situation in light of a US senator's recent comment dismissing spousal rape, and it gives me a sick feeling inside. I wonder if that was a coincidence that I read this book a couple of days after seeing what this senator said. Maybe, but since I don't live in a vacuum, I can't really dismiss that coincidence.
So what do I think about this book?
I don't know if it was a very comfortable book to read on many levels.
Normally, I love the marriage of convenience theme, and I like when the heroine is reluctant to fall in love with the hero and he has to woo her. I don't feel this book is a good representation of the timelessness of this theme. First of all, while I could understand Cara's reluctance to warm to her husband, I still feel that her treatment of him was immature and mean-spirited. I am not talking about the rape situation right now, let me be clear. Right now, I am talking about her attitude for the majority of the book. In my mind, she had a choice to marry Nicholas, and she agreed to marry him in good faith. Nicholas treated her kindly, was willing to give her space and room, and he was tolerant of her meanness. The way she treated him made her seem like a big baby and I admit it made her less likable. Considering that he was helping her family out of a situation that her father engineered (although there was definitely some self-interest on his part), she seemed very unbalanced in her enmity towards Nicholas compared to her father and brothers, who were essentially willing to sell their daughter/sister to a man to save their own butts. Not to mention she is used as a dogsbody in the family. There is a lot of unaddressed pathology in this family in the background of this book.
This is one of those books where the term 'enjoying' doesn't really apply. It was a painful situation, because you could see that Nicholas was deeply in love with Cara, but Cara had emotional problems stemming from her childhood that were never addressed or dealt with. I suppose that is an example of carrying baggage into a marriage that makes it very difficult for a marriage to survive. In this case, we have a tidy(ish) ending that makes you hopeful that their marriage will survive. I guess I feel that their chances are good, but in my mind, I feel that Cara and Nicholas both need to go to marriage counseling to deal with their issues and to learn how to communicate. While the rape was a huge issue, it was the tip of the iceberg of the issues they have in their marriage, and one would hope they are able to deal with these issues in a healthy fashion and keep their marriage together.
I guess I would give this book three stars because I wasn't overly satisfied with the subject matter treatment or with the story on an emotional level. I think that the author is a good writer, and it definitely kept me interested, although sometimes it felt like a train wreck about to happen. Sometimes, that kind of fun with Harlequin Presents, but not in this case.
This book was a delightful breath of fresh air for the current mode of Harlequin Presents. I loved how resistant Sally was to Zac. She saw him and disThis book was a delightful breath of fresh air for the current mode of Harlequin Presents. I loved how resistant Sally was to Zac. She saw him and dismissed him on first glance because he wasn't her first priority!! How nice. She didn't become a drooling, melting pile of female flesh because of his unbelieveable appeal (rolling eyes). Yes, he was attractive, and she was attracted to him, but she kept a good head on her shoulders when it came to him, for the most part.
I like mutuality in a romance. I like seeing the hero and heroine are mutally engaged, and their affections are even on both sides. In real life, the sad thing is that one person seems to love more than the other. I realize this. So, I tend to not go for that scenario in romances.
Unfortunately, I've read way too many where the man holds all the sexual and emotional power in the relationship. It bugs me. Why should the heroine always be the one to concede, to give in, to change for love? Why shouldn't the hero have to work for her? This was a nice change for this reader.
Zac had to work hard to get Sally. He did some less than ethical things, and made some bad assumptions, and he had to eat some crow, more than once. And the great thing was that Sally wasn't out to treat him poorly or out to use and abuse him. She was just trying to deal with the bad situation she had with her ailing mother and loser, lowdown father. Yes, sometimes women do have more important things to deal with than their sex life or love life, or men.
I think Ms. Baird did a great job writing this story. She showed Sally to be a normal woman, with desires and needs. But Sally was a strong woman who had priorities, and those priorities didn't involve chasing men, casual sex, or being someone's sex toy. Zac gave her an ultimatum, and that gave her an excuse to give into him, because she was very attracted to him. But, before that, she did resist him pretty well, because she didn't want the kind of relationship he was offering. Bravo to her. She didn't give her up needs and goals for some less than satisfactory relationship with a guy who didn't love her. Some might not like that she waited so long to say, "I love you." But it completely made sense, based on the baggage she had with her parents, how her father was a serial adulterer who completely took advantage of her mother, his lovelorn wife. She'd be pretty silly to fall easily for a seemingly inconstant male with her background, in my opinion. And I liked how Zac might have been the typical Italian sex god hero, but in some ways he wasn't. He'd been celibate for almost a year, he worked hard to get what he had, he was able to realize when he was wrong, and make up and apologize for it. And he was willing to take Sally on her terms until she was emotionally able to give him more. I quite liked him for those reasons. I enjoyed their separation (I guess it's my sadistic streak), because Sally was trying to go and find out what life was like without carrying the baggage of her parents on her shoulders. I liked that Zac was the one who was pining. (Yes, I guess I am sadistic. It was so refreshing for me).
I honestly hope to see more books like this in the Harlequin Presents line. With rational, educated, independent women who are not ruled by their libido, and who won't settle for less than they deserve for some 'hot' guy who makes me as a reader question if he's worthwhile for her in the end.
This a was nice book, and such a palate cleaner after a prior Harlequin Presents, who got everything wrong with the sexual/emotional dynamic for this reader.
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars. A for Effort, Ms. Baird....more
This was such a fun book. It had some elements that could have made it fairly angsty, but it was handled in such a way that I was able to sit back andThis was such a fun book. It had some elements that could have made it fairly angsty, but it was handled in such a way that I was able to sit back and enjoy the Harlequin Presents-style drama.
Natasha is the prim, buttoned up type. She hides her lush curves and good blond and blue-eyed looks behind proper suits and tied-up hair, but Leo has had his eye on her for a while. Too bad she's engaged to his step-brother. But Leo gets his chance with Natasha when they catch Rico in a compromising position in his office--with none other than Natasha's sister. Leo is there to pick up the pieces of Natasha's bruised heart (or at least her ego). Rico was never good enough for her, but she was flattered that he wanted her, and not her younger, slimmer, and more flashy pop star sister. But apparently, Rico only wanted her for the fact that his mother liked her.
Leo has been cleaning up messes after his step-brother for far too long, out of loyalty to his step-mother, whom his deceased father loved very much. But the straw that breaks the camel's back is when Rico steals money from the business, and then cheats on his fiancee with her sister.
Leo is trying to be noble when it comes to Natasha, but he steals a kiss, or a few. And he wants more. When he finds out that she colluded with his brother to steal his money, all bets are off. She can't get access to the money for six weeks, so she'll spend those six weeks as his mistress, so he can work her out of his system. He couldn't believe he fell for her Miss Prim act, when she was more like his traitorous ex-wife all the time. But it turns out that what he saw with Natasha is what he got. When he takes her virginity, Leo is honor bound to offer marriage (yeah, that was the only reason!). But, Natasha isn't about to trust her heart to a man who doesn't even trust or like her.
There is a battle of wits and passions between this couple that I found highly enjoyable. It was such a refresher. Something about this kind of Harlequin Presents drama that keeps me entertained and takes me out of the mundane world. Yes, Natasha has some emotional ups and downs, but her insecurities felt realistic to her, considering that she was adopted by her parents when they thought they couldn't have kids, and then shuffled to the background when their miracle natural daughter came five years later. Since then, she's watched out for her sister, and kept her out scrapes, managing her pop singing career, and getting no thanks for it. So, it made sense that she doubted Leo's feelings for her.
Michelle Reid is a great writer. She pours passion and emotion into her books, that keeps my eyes glued to the page. This one was a little lighter for her, but not lacking in substance for me. It was a quick, diverting read that I loved. For me, definitely a five star read. ...more
This was intense like I like my Harlequin Presents. I honestly didn't like Nick at all initially. I totally thought the worst of him. But then there wThis was intense like I like my Harlequin Presents. I honestly didn't like Nick at all initially. I totally thought the worst of him. But then there would be moments where he looked so devastated and heartbroken. I sort of guessed what his issue was partway into the book, and that he was trying to push Abby away. I also felt he must be deeply in love with her and that's why he was trying to get them back together. It was heartbreaking to see Nick interact with the son he had rejected four years before. But I could see why Abby didn't trust him and certainly didn't want to fall back in love with him, since it had cost her so much the first time around. This book really makes you believe the hero was a cheater, but hang in there if you don't like cheating. It all turns out well.
I liked that both lead characters are so three-dimensional. You see all their traits, even the ones that aren't as pretty, such as Abby's jealousy of other women. Although that is really understandable, considering the situation. I like that Baird shows Nick at his worst, but allows the reader to gain the ability to think favorably about Nick and believe he loves his family and his wife. He was a very tortured guy and that came across very clearly. I think this is one of the HPs where you can feel just as strongly about the hero and the heroine.
Books like these are why I avidly reach for the older Harlequin Presents. They really bring the emotion and intensity for the reader.