My sister and I listened to this on Playaway in the car. It was very enjoyable. The narrator was really good. She was able to endow her voice with difMy sister and I listened to this on Playaway in the car. It was very enjoyable. The narrator was really good. She was able to endow her voice with different personalities. The heroine is refreshingly quirky. She hears the voices of her puppets in her head. The fact that she's a puppeteer alone is a different touch. Add that onto a story that is rife with Gothic atmosphere and that her puppets are real personalities to her, and that makes this feel very unique.
I totally pictured Kirsten Wiig as Annie. She's Annie until proven otherwise.
Kristen fits Annie's personality from her some of her roles. She plays quirky and kind of normal, nerdy but very pretty.
Annie is down on her luck and ends up back on Peregrine Island, a place that has nothing but bad memories for her. To her surprise, she encounters Theo Harp, the first boy she loved, but one who did her irreparable harm. I was not surprised that she didn't trust Theo until very late in the book. He really did need to prove himself.
Theo was the perfect Gothic hero with an extremely dark past. I wanted to believe the best of him, although it was almost like SEP wanted us to hate Theo in some parts. Deep down, he was a sweet guy and a bit of a victim to some of the darkness in his family and with his deceased wife.
I liked that Theo really accepted Annie and was attracted to her the way she was. He admired her spunk and that she didn't take crap from him. Theo was pretty delicious. Definitely for those of us who like our heroes a bit dark, tortured and mysterious (Bryonic hero). I pictured Aiden Turner, who is one of my newest crushes.
Theo is described as devastatingly handsome and very hard to resist. That's Aidan to a tee.
I didn't really like the tone of their relationship (sex with no commitment), but it makes sense of Annie since she really doesn't trust Theo and wants to get him out of her system. I could tell that Theo was really deeply in love with her, but he was afraid to be with her because of tortured past.
The Gothic tone was interesting. You don't see that much in contemporary romances that aren't suspense. I think it got a little confusing with some of the things that happen. My sister speculated like nobody's business as some mean pranks are taking place against Annie, considering the past and what she suffered. We had some really interesting theories. We were both very surprised at who the culprit was. I think it spoiled the Gothic tone a lot. But oh well.
I feel like there was a huge aspect that wasn't handled well, in my opinion. That's why I didn't give this five stars. My sister agreed with me. But overall, this was such a fun read, and I loved the relationship between Annie and Theo, and the look at the island, and how claustrophobic it can be to live in a small town, especially one that's an island! Theo is definitely my favorite SEP hero and I liked Annie. She had a great heart and was really her own person, although she had some self-esteem issues. I love the career path she chooses eventually. It's a big sign of accepting who she is and not feeling like she has to fit some unrealistic standard. You could see she was way on the road to being self-actualized. I wanted them to be together big time.
If you can, definitely check out this on audiobook.
I really enjoyed this book. I've never read this author, but I'd definitely read more by him. A great book for the Christmas season that sets a good mI really enjoyed this book. I've never read this author, but I'd definitely read more by him. A great book for the Christmas season that sets a good mood without being sappy. Some great insights about the romance publishing world.
I gave this four stars because it's a well-plotted mystery that kept me guessing, with a very surprising and rather disturbing twist. I would continueI gave this four stars because it's a well-plotted mystery that kept me guessing, with a very surprising and rather disturbing twist. I would continue reading this series.
Moon Knight is a new comic book hero for me, but I find I like him quite a bit. I like the concept of his identity, and the fact that he is in fact, sMoon Knight is a new comic book hero for me, but I find I like him quite a bit. I like the concept of his identity, and the fact that he is in fact, suffering from what appears to be schizophrenia, in that he hears voices talking to him. At first, I didn't get it when Wolverine, Spider-man, and Captain America show up to give him a pep talk. I thought they were there in real life! Nope, they are a manifestation of his mental condition.
Also, I liked how this book shows how the Avengers were building up their West Coast hero roster, since some of the crime outfits were fleeing the Eastern seaboard for greener pastures.
And the coolness escalates when Marc (Moon Knight) recruits an ex-Avenger, Echo (real name Maya) who is deaf and Latina. His gadgets man is an ex-SHIELD agent who is black. I appreciate cultural diversity enormously. I'm a black woman, and I can tell you from experience that many comic book and movie geeks are black, and we like to see people who share our culture/background in the genre.
Moon Knight definitely knows how to kick butt. He relies on his physical adeptness, fighting skills and gadgets to do his thing. On Marvel Wikia, he's described as Batman with mental illness. I can see where they are coming from with that.
The art was really well well done. It has rustic feel that I liked, and it uses plenty of shading. This adds to the noir feel of the storyline.
I am happy to keep up with this series. Marc Spector is a distinctive kind of hero, some traits recognizable to other big heroes, but others off the beaten path. I like that he's a big time actor who uses his income to finance his crime fighting activities.
This was definitely a unique Harlequin Presents. Aiesha really is a bad girl. She's not a very nice person, and while I felt sympathy for her, at firsThis was definitely a unique Harlequin Presents. Aiesha really is a bad girl. She's not a very nice person, and while I felt sympathy for her, at first, she was not easy to like. As time went along, it was clear that her outrageous behavior and caustic personality was a defense mechanism against the deprived nature of her childhood and all its attendant disappointments. She used sex as a weapon, and I'm not ever a fan of that kind of behavior. At the same time, it was refreshing to have a bad heroine and a nice hero. Milburne flipped the usual HP script around, giving Aiesha many of the HP hero traits. I think it would have been cooler if she was independently wealthy so that 'gold digger' aspect was not part of the equation.
The sexuality was a lot more blatant in this book, probably because Aiesha is quite sexually experienced and rather callused about sex. James tends to be more circumspect about sex, although he definitely knows what he's doing in the bed. I would have loved to see him as an inexperienced hero, which would have made the role reversal more thorough. Although James does have a condemning attitude towards Aiesha initially, I really did respect and like him. He was seriously harmed emotionally by Aiesha's antics ten years ago, and had a reason to be angry. I liked that he was able to put that behind him and evaluate Aiesha more thoroughly and he had learned to see past her offensive behavior and sex kitten armor to the wounded woman underneath.
The ending was pretty cool. Aiesha gets her dream come true and her man, and realizes that she doesn't have to be ashamed of her childhood, because none of that is her fault. At the same time, I think she did learn that treating people badly because of what she'd been deprived of wasn't good behavior either.
By the end of this book, I did believe that Aiesha and James truly loved each other, and were more than willing to take a risk and go after a life together, regardless of what had taken place in the past. James showed that he was for her and she showed that she loved him in a very demonstrative way.
I would give this four stars. It was well written and thoughtful. Despite the way it seemed, this is a very angsty and rather pathos-inducing. It made me feel a bit melancholy after I finished it, so that's why I didn't rate it higher....more
My first review got sucked into the Review Twilight Zone, so here we go again.
Zatanna is an interesting mix of showmanship, jocular affability and incMy first review got sucked into the Review Twilight Zone, so here we go again.
Zatanna is an interesting mix of showmanship, jocular affability and incredible magical aptitude. Her costume is a shirtwaist and tails, with a top hat, and she brandishes a magical wand. Her enemies tend to underestimate her abilities, big time. She's more than capable of taking on the practitioners of the darkest of magics, as evidenced in the story arcs of this book.
This book was an improbably successful mix of a light-hearted vibe and kooky magic tricks and a glimpse into the world in which sorcerers practice dark arts and demons trade power for souls. It shouldn't have worked, but it did. I think it's because Zatanna successfully straddles that line of fun-loving, cheerful stage magician and truly talented wizard who uses her skills to protect humans from the world of evil sorcery that she is familiar with through past battles and a heartbreaking loss.
I am watching "Young Justice" on Netflix (fantastic show, by the way!), and Zatanna was on an episode I watched today, and it was serendipity that I had read this around the same time. I think she's a cool character with a skillset that is distinctive compared to some of the more famous DC Comics heroes. I found Justice League Dark at my library, where she teams with other sorcerers and wizards to combat dark magic, and I'm looking forward to reading more Zatanna graphic novel content.
I'd recommend this to readers who aren't too squeamish about sorcery and magical content. One of the baddies is really, really bad, and some folks die in terrible ways due to evil magic, so not for the faint of heart....more
I think I would have rated this book higher had I not read it sandwiched between two really intense HP books. This story is a thoughtful one about twoI think I would have rated this book higher had I not read it sandwiched between two really intense HP books. This story is a thoughtful one about two lonely souls who build a powerful connection after a chance meeting and realize they are the soulmates they were searching for. And they realize what home really is. It's a person and a relationship, not a building.
Markie grew up in a series of foster homes and it made her a careful nomad who never allows herself to get too close to anyone or stay in one place too long. By chance, she camps on land owned by Daniel, and when a surprise blizzard hits, she's forced to seek shelter in his house. Over the time of being snowed in, casual strangers become cautious friends, and love develops slowly and intensely.
There really isn't anything wrong with the writing in this book. It just didn't touch me as emotionally as I would have liked. I hate to think I am becoming a drama addict. But I admit I do prefer the more intense Harlequin Presents. I also feel that it's just because of when I read this in my reading schedule (during a Harlequin Presents binge). If I had reached for this separately, I think it would have hit the spot more.
Markie is a very likable character. Considering or because of her tough life, she has a lot of character and fortitude. She has a habit of denying connections with others and she spends a lot of time initially feeling like she had to pay Daniel back because she didn't like feeling obligated. I can completely understand that. I liked how Daniel patiently breaks down the walls between him and Markie, earning her trust, slowly but surely. He gives part of himself to her in exchange for taking parts of her. I really liked the mutuality of their relationship, and how caring Daniel was. Initially, he was gruff, but I think he's a marshmallow hero deep down (can't resist them). He is the kind of hero you can't help but love because he is 'all in' with the heroine as soon as he realizes there is something worthwhile about their connection.
I liked that they were both creative people with public personas that they tried to keep separate from their private lives. I won't say any more because I don't want to spoil the book. But it was fun seeing them hang out and be creative together.
This is actually a good book, and I feel I am slightly underrating it. Unfortunately, I am an emotional reader, so I rate based on how much a book impacts me emotionally when I read. I didn't feel that impact I would have liked, although the writing was good and I liked the characters a whole lot. As such, I would give this book 3.5/5.0 stars I do plan on tracking down a copy of Morgan Patterson's other book when I get a chance....more
This was interesting and unputdownable until the end. This is the drama I was looking for in the last books by this author I read and was disappointedThis was interesting and unputdownable until the end. This is the drama I was looking for in the last books by this author I read and was disappointed with. Add a hero who has a vibe that sets you up to dislike him, and mix him with a heroine who is sweet, but sassy enough to hold her own. Put a dash of "Wow! Did they really meet that way?" and some family drama. And lastly, great sexual tension, and you have an arresting read.
Caleb didn't endear himself to me at first. I admit the butt slapping intro was a black mark. It hit my male chauvinism buttons. Plus, he has the macho air of aggression that normally doesn't work for me when it hits me in the face in a book. However, Cat was so good at facing off with Caleb, and she's no one's pushover, so they were perfectly matched. While the age difference is pretty considerable (15 years), it didn't bother as much, because Cat is fairly mature, independent, and Caleb doesn't feel way too old at 39. He reminded me of the Hollywood sex symbols of the early 80s, and since I was a wee girl and I hadn't developed my palate for actors at that tender age (although I wanted to marry Hutch on the eponymous show for some reason), I can't say I was feeling that vibe. Caleb started winning me over gradually. I think it was seeing his vulnerabilities as much as his obvious strengths. And the fact that even though he was supposed to be this confirmed bachelor hardened against woman after a divorce (except as bedmates) and jaded about women, it's clear he's crazy about Cat. There is plenty of sizzle between Caleb and Cat, but Caleb doesn't win Cat over too easy (I hate that). He has to work to earn her. I liked that he was so jealous of her deceased fiance'/childhood sweetheart.
The fact that Caleb's dad is an elusive Hollywood maven still mourning his wife's death for thirty years adds an intriguing facet to this book. I have a bit of a jaundiced love affair for Hollywood, due to the fact that I am a huge movie buff and TV-watcher, so I am always a bit drawn to a bit of Hollywood thrown into my fiction reading. Lucien's POV was sad and gruff and intriguing, and the perfect touch to help Cat get over her angst over her lost love and to gain some insight on her feelings for Caleb. And his son, Luke's bad behavior (Luke's bad behavior is why Cat and Caleb meet under such infamous circumstances), hides a sad soul that Cat connects with on a deep level because she identifies the desperation within.
Every character in this book adds something to the portrait of its main characters, from Lucien (Caleb's father), Luke (his son), Norm (his assistant/Man Friday), and a bit of Mrs. MacDonald (Caleb's housekeeper) and Vicki, Cat's flatmate. They make a short novel feel incredibly textured.
No Longer a Dream is a vintage Harlequin Presents that I think is worth seeking out. There is a lot of emotional complexity in the short length, and a story that builds on the foundation of a good romance in such a way that you feel like you get a bonus level of storytelling. I think books like this make me keep seeing out vintage Harlequin Presents books.
Thought not a five star read, it's more than a four star. Let's say it's 4.25/5.0 stars....more
Eh, it's safe to say that I didn't like Inside Man as much as the first volume in this series. I still enjoy the idea, because metafiction is very fasEh, it's safe to say that I didn't like Inside Man as much as the first volume in this series. I still enjoy the idea, because metafiction is very fascinating to this avid reader. I just had too many moments of trying to figure out what where the writer is going with this book. I feel that this volume lacked the clarity I could see in the first book.
As before, the artwork is lovely. I liked the use of mixed media and textures to convey the story. The layout includes illustrated representations of articles, screen caps from message boards, and images of news reporters, which add texture to the narrative. The exploration of folklore and fiction versus reality. Tom is still a sympathetic character who has had his whole life uprooted and his character destroyed by the recent events in his life. This book seemed to much like a detour, and the tone was very dark. In fact, one part of this book irritated me enormously and I still don't see the point in writing that.
Will I continue reading this? Yes. I want to know where this series is going, and since my library has these, I can check them out at my leisure and explore this series between other books.
I wasn't exactly a happy camper with Inside Man, but I think it does have something to offer a graphic novel reader....more
The Unwritten strikes me as being somehow 'impressive'. It's hard to clarify what I mean, but the idea of it and the execution was very well done. ItThe Unwritten strikes me as being somehow 'impressive'. It's hard to clarify what I mean, but the idea of it and the execution was very well done. It delves into the very fruitful literary territory of metafiction, where reality and fiction intersect. I find I truly enjoy metafiction, probably because of being such a lifelong bookworm and having my head stuck in a book for most of that life (since I was four).
In the case of Tommy Taylor, it's a painful intersection. His father is a famous novelist of children's books (in the vein of Harry Potter) who suddenly disappeared. Tommy is left depending on the uncertain income from coasting on his identity as Tommy Taylor, the eponymous character of the books his father wrote. When a lady shows up at a comic book convention and challenges his identity, the stuff hits the fan, and the adoring fans of the books become hateful, vengeance-seeking stalkers. Tommy's life implodes. But things only get worse, when he develops enemies that hail from the so-called mythical landscape of the books.
One of the things I liked the best about this graphic novel was the illustrations. It is clean and elegant. The lettering is also well done and distinctive. My eyes wanted to stay on the page and observe every detail, whereas with some graphic novels, there is too much to look at (so I pick and choose), and some aspects of the frames seem to fade into the woodwork because they are deemed less important. This book is a great midpoint where neither clarity or detail is compromised.
I also liked the prose and the storytelling. I felt sorry for Tommy. He really got a rough deal being who he was, and in effect powerless to change his life. I hope that he does gain some agency and authority in his life situation.
I do have to say I didn't care much for some aspects of one of the sections. The idea of tackling horror conventions since they were at the house at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where Mary Shelley (and apparently John Milton earlier) wrote the famous masterpiece they are known for, was a good one. I just didn't care for the gory turn of the story. I think it pricks a sore spot I have about the horror genre in general--the sacrifice of story and genuine narrative content for splatter and gore. I understood the purpose of this, but it just seemed gratuitous (although I admit it was still tastefully done).
The last section was rather odd initially. I didn't get why Rudyard Kipling was the narrator, until well into the story, and then the lightbulb came on. It ties in very well with this developing and expansive story and endows it with increased sense of threat and risk.
I still have a lot of questions, and I want to keep reading this series because it has my interest and attention. I hope that Tommy will come to understand his troublesome situation and discover the hero within.
I'd recommend this novel to lovers of books and literature in its various forms. ...more
I enjoyed this story of an aging Hollywood actress trying to get her life back on track after her husband's mysterious disappearance. I wish that Meg'I enjoyed this story of an aging Hollywood actress trying to get her life back on track after her husband's mysterious disappearance. I wish that Meg's TV show was real! It sounds fun!
A very good installment in the Death series. Eve is completely authentic as a tough police woman, but I like that Roarke sees her in a more intimate wA very good installment in the Death series. Eve is completely authentic as a tough police woman, but I like that Roarke sees her in a more intimate way as his wife. Yet he embraces her as a strong woman and stands by her side. That's a good man! The mystery was good, although it did drag a bit towards the end. Still, it was an excellent book despite that fact.
I wasn't that keen on reading this book. I am not into sportspeople as a rule, particularly race-car drivers (Sorry, they do nothing for me!). I mainlI wasn't that keen on reading this book. I am not into sportspeople as a rule, particularly race-car drivers (Sorry, they do nothing for me!). I mainly read this because it's part of the Notorious Wolfes series and I didn't want to read the series out of order.
I ended up liking it more than I thought. Alex had more depth than I expected, and I really liked Libby. Alex as a race-car driver is a metaphor for trying to outrun the pain in his past. Eventually he comes to realize that he has to slow down and face the ugly emotions from his past. Ms. Grady got the anatomy and physiology facts right, and kudos to her for that. It added credibility to Libby's being a physiotherapist. There is a nice twist with Libby that adds impact to this story. Overall, this was good but not great.
I liked Libby's backstory a lot. (view spoiler)[The fact that she used to be a champion surfer until a shark attack. I wasn't expecting Libby to have lost a lower leg in an accident. I felt that this made her more identifiable than the typical Harlequin Presents heroine, who seems to be so perfect that the identification factor is blown to smithereens. Honestly I didn't think the fact that she was an amputee who wore a prosthesis was handled to the degree that I wanted. She didn't describe it or dwell on the day to day of having a prosthesis. I was looking forward to that part. Since I have recently had mobility issues, this was in my mind as I read the book. I wasn't sure that she would have that degree of freedom of movement to be completely unnoticeable as a prosthesis-wearer, but I will give a benefit of the doubt on that. Overall I was disappointed about the overall handing of this part of the story. But still, kudos to having a heroine who has an obvious and permanent physical 'imperfection' in this line but has taken measures to move on with her life. (hide spoiler)]
I would have liked to see more of the Wolfes in this installment, because that's why I enjoy this series, the family dynamics. On the other hand, I appreciated a closer glimpse at the family through the eyes of Alex and to see how that terrible night that changed the whole family impacted him in particular, especially as Annabelle's twin.
All in all, this was a good book. The romance was well-written and I felt the chemistry and feelings between Alex and Libby. Both had character depth and their emotional angst had an impact on me. Fundamentally, I just didn't like this as much as the other books, and I don't feel that for me it's a four star book. Pretty close though. After all, I liked it more than I thought I would, and Libby's character kicked this one up a notch more for me. I am excited to read Annabelle and Jacob's stories.
This was a very engrossing book. I got sucked in from page one with the intricate descriptions of Aneesa in her Indian wedding finery. And when AneesaThis was a very engrossing book. I got sucked in from page one with the intricate descriptions of Aneesa in her Indian wedding finery. And when Aneesa and Sebastian meet face to face. Wow! The chemistry between Aneesa and Sebastian is electric, like a taut band that will always draw them back to each other. Sebastian frustrated me at times, but in light of his very tragic family history, it makes sense. When he wasn't frustrating, I wanted to eat him up. He really was a sexy hero. There is something about heroes named Sebastian for this reader. We usually get along very well. I loved that Aneesa stayed genuine with him and true to herself. She was an adorable, very lovable woman that I wanted to hug. I liked how she acknowledged her immaturity and shallowness prior to the bombshell that changes her for the better when this book begins. She shows true maturity and emotional integrity as a woman.
It goes without saying how happy I am to read a Harlequin Presents with a heroine of color. I wish that instead of referring to Aneesa as olive-skinned, she would have just came out and call her brown-skinned. Even with that small issue, I was thrilled to bits with the tidbits about Aneesa's Indian heritage and the glimpses into her family life and culture.
I am loving this Notorious Wolfes series. Each book peels back the many layers into the fascinating emotional dynamics in this troubled family. Each Wolfe is distinct in my mind. I already adore Jacob. I think I will just float away like a happy cloud when I finally get to his book.
Abby Green hasn't disappointed me yet. This is another emotional, intense, very good romance by her that has all that I like about Harlequin Presents, but added depths that make me enjoy every minute of reading the book.
Sarah Morgan has written a book that is both very funny and quite sad and poignant at the same time. She used the overlying theme of Nathaniel being aSarah Morgan has written a book that is both very funny and quite sad and poignant at the same time. She used the overlying theme of Nathaniel being an actor and built a whole story around it, including a lot of symbolism and motifs related to acting/playing roles to enrich this novel.
You see, Nathaniel is not an accoladed, successful actor for no reason. Playing roles was a way to escape from his terrible childhood, in which he was treated in a way no child should have to experience by his parents. He took the opportunity to become a Hollywood actor at the age of 16 and didn't look back. Since then, he has gone from one role to another, hiding himself in the characters he enthusiastically and vibrantly plays.
Katie is a clothing designer who prefers to hide behind the scenes. She is self-conscious about her voluptuous curves and the fact that she feels her looks pale in comparison to her glamorous model sister. She prefers being unnoticed, watching the actors play their roles and dressing them, and she is a very talented clothing designer with aspirations to make clothing for movie productions. When she meets Nathaniel, she is in awe of him, since he is one of her favorite actors, and a beautiful man. Never could she imagine that she would be embarking on an exotic interlude with him.
Despite their obvious differences, it's clear that Katie and Nathaniel have a connection that will lead them down the rocky but ultimately rewarding path to love. Katie being a determinedly bright, cheerful, communicative person, and Nathaniel always in control with his 'actor' facade on, unless he's lost in a role, giving as little as possible outside of his characters. I loved how Katie became a formidable opponent to that self-control, destroying that cold wall that the real Nathaniel hid behind (and she got revealing glimpses of the more time she spent with him). He couldn't resist her, because her spark and her joy, and her veracity hit him deep where he couldn't run away. Before long, Nathaniel is giving more to Katie than he ever shared with anyone. And Katie is in love with the real Nathaniel. But can she keep the real man from retreating behind the actor role he plays 24/7?
There were some very funny moments, and I loved those. Yet I was deeply affected at the pain and anguish that Nathaniel (and his numerous siblings) suffered and held deep in his heart. His family life was truly horrible. I felt for him and his siblings, and Ms. Morgan did such a good job of conveying this intense angst without beating the reader over the head with it. Like Katie, I could see the subtle signs that all was not as smooth and casual as Nathaniel tried to convey. Beneath his Hollywood persona was a wounded, troubled young boy that I wanted to hug. I was glad that Katie was there to love him, and that she met him head on and wasn't afraid to challenge Nathaniel to be real.
I have been a fan of Sarah Morgan for years, because she writes such rich, emotional, and hopeful stories with heroines I love a lot. They don't have to be sophisticated and gorgeous, or perfect to be wonderful heroines. Instead they have determination, emotional fortitude, and good hearts, and they make you cheer them on to get their men, and without settling for less than they deserve. I also like that her heroes are three-dimensional, and even though they might start out with undesirable traits, love causes them to grow into men that make worthy mates for their women.
This book is five stars because it had so much to offer to me. For a short read, it took me on a very comprehensive emotional journey, and it has me totally psyched to read the Notorious Wolfes series. This is one family that I need to read more about, and to see these eight siblings overcome a very sad family past to be successful people who find true love.
Notorious could have been a soap opera story arc. I don't mean that in a demeaning way, either. Soap operas can be very watchable, and enjoyable. I diNotorious could have been a soap opera story arc. I don't mean that in a demeaning way, either. Soap operas can be very watchable, and enjoyable. I did my share of soap opera watching before I became a working woman who didn't have time for daytime television, and I don't judge people who enjoy them. So, in a good way, this reminded me of my soap opera-watching days.
Sabin starts out a pretty scary character who mellows over the course of the book. Although Mallory's husband's murder paints her as a 'bad girl' in the public eye, she's not. Instead, she's a calm, dedicated actress who is trying to rebuild her career after she is acquitted for her husband's murder. Too bad she married into a crazy family. She's kept the bad aspects of her short marriage to herself. She thinks that Sabin Wyatt blames her for her husband's death and hates her. She's so wrong!
I have to admit to something. Strangely, Sabin's machinations kind of creeped me out. Yes, this from a self-admitted lover of stalkerific heroes. I think he was a little too cold-blooded about it. The whole aspect of his brother making suggestive tapes of Mallory and sending them to Sabin to blackmail him for money was just so wrong! How intially Sabin held this over Mallory's head. That part made my hair stand on end, in the way I feel when I see a swarm of bugs. Not a good feeling. I do believe that Sabin truly was mostly obsessed with Mallory, with a little love mixed in, initially. Fortunately, I think their time together caused that obsessive fixation on an image, a visual perception of this woman, to become a fully-realized love for her. I liked seeing that transformation, and how he was able to put her needs first, and to give her the time to heal, not pushing (much, anyway) her to something she couldn't commit to. It was clear that he liked and respected her for the person she was inside, not just for a beautiful face and a sexy body. That helped me to like Sabin.
I liked the cinematic aspects, and the movie references. As a movie-buff, that did sit well with me. Mallory was an actress who cared about her craft. She wasn't just an ambitious starlet out to trade on her incredibly beautiful looks. The director on the film Sabin's company was bankrolling was determined to give Mallory a hard time because he thought she got the job because she was sleeping with Sabin. Mallory took his stunts like a champ and earned his respect. She showed that although she was a gentle woman, she was strong in the manner of being able to weather and endure what came her way. And she stood up to Sabin when he came on set and was trying to throw his weight around on her behalf. The way Sabin reacted showed his respect for her. I was glad that scene this was written, because it helped me get past my feelings of wrongness about Sabin's feelings towards Mallory initially.
If anything really detracted from this read for me, it was the way the ending descended into overt melodrama. I love drama. Drama makes for a great read. But the change in tone was a bit inconsistent. Mallory's stalker comes out of the woodworks, and he goes from apparently sane to completely bonkers too quickly. It was interesting that this character served as a contrast to the hero, who definitely had some obsessed/stalker tendencies himself. In Sabin's case, his need for Mallory wasn't pushing him off the edge of sanity, but seemed to settle him and make him a better person. I could see what Ms. Johansen was going for with this, at any rate. I just needed a little more subtlety in the execution, I suppose. The ending was a bit abrupt as well, leaving a rather important loose end with someone important to Mallory, who was indirectly involved with the situation, in my opinion (not on the romance front though).
Notorious was a good read, but it's not for a reader who doesn't like drama/unrealistic/over-the-top elements. If you don't like stalkerific heroes, you'd want to avoid this one. Sabin was scary to me, and I have a very high tolerance for these kinds of heroes. All in all, a fun, sexy, old-school read to add to my Iris Johansen collection....more
I can't believe I didn't have this one rated on Goodreads. This is one of my all time favorite Lynne Graham books. And it's one of her few books whereI can't believe I didn't have this one rated on Goodreads. This is one of my all time favorite Lynne Graham books. And it's one of her few books where the hero is British (although he's half-Italian, he is British more or less). Some of the love scenes were pretty interesting, dialogue-wise. *very wide grin* I'd have to reread it to give a review to do it justice, but I love this book. It made me a Lynne Graham fan....more
This was a pleasant surprise for me, as a reader. Emma Darcy is hit and miss for me, when it comes to Harlequin Presents. I often find myself alienateThis was a pleasant surprise for me, as a reader. Emma Darcy is hit and miss for me, when it comes to Harlequin Presents. I often find myself alienated by a romance story that is too modern and overtly sophisticated, and doesn't touch me, when I read her stories. But, that is not the case with The Outback Bridal Rescue.
I like the prominent male point of view with Johnny's character. Johnny was an orphan, who never knew his father, and lost his mother at a very young age. He was abused as a foster child, and learned to keep people happy by turning on the charm. He got himself into trouble at the age of sixteen. As a result, he and two other boys were sent to Patrick Maguire's sheep station in the Outback. This turned out to be a life-changing event for Johnny, as he found a mentor, and honorary father in Patrick. He never forgot what Patrick did for him, and considered the sheep station a home away from home. When he gets word that Patrick died, he's devasted. It turns out that Patrick has left 49% of the financially-ailing sheep station to him in his will. The remaining 51% was left to Megan, Patrick's daughter, who despises him, for all intents and purposes. Yet, Johnny cannot allow that to stop him from doing his part to see that Patrick's legacy doesn't fade. He's determined to get Megan to accept his help, and to work with him to save the sheep station.
Megan fell deeply in love with Johnny as a very young girl. When he fails to be there for a very important moment in her life, she starts to believe that she doesn't matter to him, and the caring treatment she received from him was nothing personal, just part of his usual charm. She grows quite bitter towards him in the intervening years. When she finds out that her father left almost half the station to him, she feels betrayed. She's determined to do what she can to limit his involvement in the station.
This couple butt head initially, but they come to an understanding because of their mutual love for Megan's father and the station. They decide to be friends and to work together. But the night of Patrick's funeral, they ended up being more than that. As a result, Megan ends up pregnant, and Johnny insists on marriage. From this point, the story is about Megan coming to terms with her insecurity about herself and how she can fit in the life of the international celebrity and singer that Johnny has become. Johnny enjoys the fruits of his successes, but he never forgot the lessons that Patrick taught him. Deep down, family is the number one thing for him. He's torn, because he can see how the celebrity life aspects torture Megan, and he's ready to give it all up, for her. I liked that Megan showed some maturity, and was able to get past her insecurities, to encourage Johnny in his career.
As I said above, this was a deep story, with a lot to offer, emotionally. I liked both characters, finding them to be sympathetic. I felt bad for Megan that she was feeling so unwanted and inadequate, although Johnny never saw her as being either. I sympathized with Johnny in his feelings that Megan hated him, but he wasn't sure what he had done to cause her dislike. I wanted them to come to an accord, and to see if they could make things work between them. This story did touch me, and I liked the aspects of Johnny trying to integrate his professional persona with his life with Megan on the sheep station. In the end, he was really trying to find himself, and by the end of the story, he is able to do that. I also liked that Megan came to terms with her insecurity and was able to focus on being the supportive wife that Johnny needed, meeting him halfway, and accepting the love he had for her. This book had a good message about family and finding what you felt you could never have, and about love giving us the ability to compromise for the greater good.
This was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major pThis was a pretty good book. I had some issues with some of the choices for execution that Ms. Shaw made, and I'll discuss those.
Russian Hero: Major points there. However, I didn't like that his edgy, dangerousness was mainly due to his ruthless manner in which he would go through women. He was a serious womanizer who never got emotional with his bed-partners. His pursuit of Ella was pretty coldblooded, although there was serious sexual tension and attraction between them. I didn't like how he would think of her as nothing but a sex partner, and he said something pretty cruel to her, although it was in the heat of a moment in which he was grieving what he lost in his past. I have to say, I didn't really like him all that much. He was alright, and he came around. But not a favorite hero of mine. That's a shame, since I love my Russian heroes. I liked the depth that Ms. Shaw gave him, showing his point of view, and how he was tortured by the loss that he blamed on his own actions. I think it could have made him more sensitive to the heroine's needs. But, it didn't seem to do that.
Heroine who is unwilling to marry or make a commitment to a man: I liked this aspect, but Ella's actions seem to belie this. She had a father who was really cruel, cheating on her mother (who was physically frail and had a heart problem), and locking Ella up in a room that was known to be haunted. He squandered the family fortunes on gambling, booze, and women. In other words, the worst role model ever, definitely enough to make a girl sour on men. And yet, Ella fell for a man who had some of her father's traits (at least the cruel womanizer ones) really fast. She told herself that she was just going to have a no-strings sexual affair with him, but she showed emotional involvement very fast. Also, for a woman who prized her independence from a man, it didn't quite ring true that she would allow herself to become a man's mistress. She didn't like him using that term, but she allowed him to treat her as his mistress. I think she should have set more boundaries with him. Such as: not sleeping over, not allowing him to buy her clothes, and jewelry, and having more control over the time she spent with him. That would have rang more true with me, given her emotional scars.
So, I was not blown over by this book, although it had some really good steamy romance, emotional intensity, and was fast-moving. I just had trouble with some of the actions that the characters took, and I wasn't too fond of how things unfolded. One thing that frustrates me is when the heroine falls way too easily for the hero. Where's the conflict in that? I want to see the hero have to do some chasing, and dealing with his feelings for a woman he can't get out of his mind. It seemed as though all he had to do was kiss Ella, and she melted. I realize that the strong attraction is important to the storyline, but I'd like to see some backbone as the heroine fights the attraction. After all, we know the hero is fighting his feelings. Why not show the heroine doing more of the same? I would have preferred that Vadim had to spend more time actually wooing Ella, and showing his feelings evolve as he worked hard to get her. She seemed to be a fairly quick conquest. Too quick for me. It was almost as though her hormones got the best of her.
Overall, this was a good read. I'll probably keep it because of the Russian hero.