I was underwhelmed with this book. It's the case of good premise, poor execution for me.
What I loved: * I loved that Tomas, the hero, was celibate aftI was underwhelmed with this book. It's the case of good premise, poor execution for me.
What I loved: * I loved that Tomas, the hero, was celibate after his wife died, and his wife was his first and only lover prior to the heroine. * I loved that Angie was determined to get her man. I am a sucker for an unrequited love story. * Cowboy/rancher hero
What I didn't like: * I didn't like that Tomas was so closed off from Angie, and I never felt connected to his emotional anguish about losing his wife. It seemed more like an excuse not to fall in love, instead of manifesting as cold, hard fear about losing a woman he loved. * I didn't like how Angie was pretty much chasing after Tomas. It just felt too desperate and kind of sad--with a heroine who came off as really needy, doing all the giving, but getting nothing back. Fundamentally, I'm not a huge fan of books where the heroine does the chasing, although The Magic of You is a book where this was done exceptionally well. This book was not a good execution of that theme. Deep down, I think every woman deserves for a man to court her. If an author strays from that, I like to see it done where the heroine doesn't read as desperate and giving the hero all the emotional power. I don't like unequal power dynamics in my romance books, and this felt way unbalanced. I can understand it more if the hero is obviously crazy about the heroine, but he's fighting his feelings. But Tomas really didn't seem that 'into' Angie for most of the book, other than lust. * The sudden reversal of Tomas at the end felt unconvincing to me. I was reading the book and realizing I only had a few pages, and all of a sudden, in the last couple pages, he gets the lightbulb about loving Angie. It just didn't feel authentic to me. * This book just didn't get to me emotionally, and it really should have, with the concepts of a widower mourning his wife and his friend who had been so in love with him for many years. It felt superficial to me. I have the feeling this would have been better as a Harlequin Presents--with a healthy helping of drama to give it that powerful zing. Or maybe if someone like Nalini Singh wrote it, someone who can bring on the emotional intensity.
I was disappointed with this book, and that makes me sad, because it had the kind of hero I would love to read more about. The good thing is it was a short book. Now I can move onto other books in my tbr pile. Onward and upward! ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I haven't read any Diana Palmer for a while, and it was very nice to read one of her books again. She is a very funny ladyI really enjoyed this book. I haven't read any Diana Palmer for a while, and it was very nice to read one of her books again. She is a very funny lady! I like that she has normal kinds of people, and their values are traditional. It may seem hokey, but there are people like that still in the world. I felt like I was going home to visit with family and friends.
Harley came around to be a great hero. I liked that he was a sweet guy. I wasn't sure how she could pull him off as a hero, but he turned out great. I like that Alice is pretty outgoing and did some of the pursuing. Yes, normally I don't like that, but it was cute how she would always ask Harley when they were getting married. I think it helped to break the ice that she was doing some of the chasing. And with his history of being rejected by girls who were on the rebound, I guess he needed to be the one pursued.
If someone argued with my five star rating because the investigation takes too major a role, I couldn't dispute that it does, but it didn't ruin the book for me. It was great to see a heroine who was good at her job, and in a specialized field. And I liked the way the romance unfolded around the mystery, albeit unconventionally.
I was very satisfied with this book. It was a balm to my soul after having so many books that I had to read to read one I really wanted to read. Ms. Palmer remains one of my favorite authors.
This was a total impulse buy that paid off. I loved this book. It was one of those stories that I couldn't put down, and I was compelled to read, evenThis was a total impulse buy that paid off. I loved this book. It was one of those stories that I couldn't put down, and I was compelled to read, even though I had already started some other books. It couldn't believe how fast I read it, within about four to five hours.
I love medieval romances, so that helped. And I'm a sucker for the broken/scarred/hurt hero. Well, Roderick is all three. He comes back from the Crusades a broken man, although he had lots of baggage before he went there, with a father who did nothing but torment and treat him poorly and had driven his mother to suicide. Thankfully, his good friend that he makes during the Crusades saves his life and gets him medical attention, and the word that his father has died and he must find a bride to keep his land, gives him the strength to fight to get better and to come back to England.
There were times when Roderick descended into self-pity. I suppose this might not work for all readers, but it was realistic. If if a man had always been talked down to and ridiculed by his father, I wouldn't expect him to have the healthiest self-esteem. Yes, he might annoy some readers the way he pushes his son away and doesn't want to let Michaela in, but I loved Roderick from the first page. He's one of those heroes I really wanted to see happy. I could understand why he kept those he loved and who loved him at a distance, feeling he wasn't worthy and would fail them.
I adored Michaela as well. She had some moments of self-interest, but at the same time, I could see why she was motivated in such a fashion. She had been picked on her whole life because of her mother insisting that she had gotten kidnapped by The Wild Hunt. They called her Devil's Child and stuff like that. She was clumsy and tended to trip and run into things. Plus she grew up poor, although very much loved. One night at a party at her overlord's manor, she gets his attention by her bond with his daughter, Elizabeth, who hasn't talked since her mother died. Also her beautiful singing voice makes Michaela stand out. He invites her to come live with them as Elizabeth's companion. Because of this attention she gets from him, she fell in 'love' with her overlord, and he made some gestures like he was going to marry her, but married her arch-nemesis instead, humiliating her. So she decided to marry the Beast, who was the lord over the man who spurned her, a move motivated out of revenge against this man who spurned her, since he won't inherit the properties of Roderick, his cousin.
She goes to his rundown castle, determined to fulfill the required ninety days of residence before the marriage. When she finally sees The Beast, she is instantly attracted to him, scars, limping, and surly demeanor and all. She falls into his beautiful and bright green eyes, and likes his large, sculpted body, despite the fact that it's clear that his leg and arm are crippled. Their dance around each other made this book worth reading. There was an intense attraction between Roderick and Michaela that sparkled off the page. At times, Michaela was very much put into the role of the "Chaser," but it worked for me, because Roderick had never been loved in that way, so it was nice to see someone working for his affections. It was cute how Roderick was somewhat bewildered by his strong feelings for Michaela.
Another thing I loved was the toddler Leo. He was so cute. I just wanted to take him out this story as my own baby. I loved his baby talk, and how loving he was. As Roderick's acknowledged son by a prostitute in the Crusades, he had a big role, since he was Roderick's heir. Also, the interplay with Roderick as he tries to keep his distance out of fear of destroying his son the way his father destroyed him was pivotal in the evolution of this story. Just reading the scenes with this cute little boy made this book so much more enjoyable. I'm so serious. This kid was so adorable. I liked the way Michaela bonded with him and helped improve the relationship between Roderick and his son. Like any baby, Leo loved his father unconditionally, but was somewhat kept at a distance that was somewhat confusing for the toddler. I was glad that this changed significantly over the course of the book.
Hugh was also a great character. His steadfast friendship and aid to Roderick. His love and care for Leo. His flamboyant tastes in clothing. His potty mouth and irreverent humor. His bad advice to Michaela about how to snare Roderick's affections. It gave this book another appealing layer.
There is a thread of the paranormal that runs through this book that intensifies at the climax. I thought it was very interesting, and also unnerving. It was very cool. Now I have to read the short story in Highland Beast, which is about a character who shows up in this story.
I really, really liked this book,and I would highly recommend it to fans of scarred/wounded heroes,and heroines who are determined to get their man, but aren't obnoxious about it. I'm glad I was able to spend a few hours with Roderick, Michaela, cute little Leo, and Hugh, who made me laugh, and also choked me up with his devotion to Roderick. It was time well spent....more
Very good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radarVery good and very gritty. Gin is absolutely lethal. Killing someone is just a job to her. Not that she kills just anyone, but if you're on her radar for death, you get dead very quickly. I found her character very credible. I won't deny that I sort of have a fascination with fiction stories about assassins. This is a good one. Estep builds a three-dimensional character here with Gin. She's not evil, but she's not a a saintly person either. How can you be when you kill people for a living?
That's where the grays come in. If you knew what some of the folks she's killed have done, then you might not count it as such a loss. Ashland is a place full of dark souls, you see. The whole place is corrupt to varying degrees, except for Donovan Caine. He truly is the only honest man in this place. So imagine the dilemma when they discover an attraction between them. Between the cold-hearted (but warm-pantsed) assassin and the straight arrow cop. Yeah, that makes for quite a conflict.
If you like magic noir, definitely check this book out. If you like bad*ss women who know how to get the dirty jobs done, definitely check this out. If you have a problem with women who are a bit callous about sex, you might have a problem with Gin. I'm not big on that trait in a heroine (or a hero for that matter). I did like how she does the pursuing when it comes to Donovan. That was kind of cute. And she can be a bit of a bully when she wants to. I can understand why her character is that way, having lost her family and lived on the streets. It's made her into a hard woman, one who doesn't let anyone make a victim out of her. For all that, she does have a sense of honor. At least someone does in this place. As for Caine, he was a bit self-righteous at times. I totally respect his sense of honor, but I think he needs to open his mind a little and ask the whys instead of just blindly following. I find it hard to believe he was completely oblivious to the corruption in his police department. I think he was just willfully ignoring it. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit and vice versa. If his partner was doing that horrible stuff, why didn't he have a clue? I like that Gin didn't try to defend herself to him. Why should she? She was true to herself, and he had to accept her or leave her. Either way. I like that he can't put her into a box and forget about her either. Too bad Gin can't get this cop out of her mind either. That relationship is fraught with issues.
The magic was cool. I liked the concept of elementals, and how many folks in Ashland had elemental magic. I liked the use of runes to identify people, and how it was used to seal magic, if you will. The vampires felt sort of extraneous, but maybe that's because I'm jaded with vampires being in every single urban fantasy series!
Overall, this was a very good book. Gin is a very lethal, fascinating character. I didn't like everything about her, but I liked a lot. I loved that she was so bad*ss and capable. She does a lot of the saving, but she also works together with others, so there was balance in that. Donovan is an interesting love interest. It should be entertaining to see where things go with that angel. I also liked the foodie aspects (being a big foodie myself), and the glimpses of Southern life and society. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy enjoy dark, gritty urban fantasy, and tough female leads. I will definitely continue this series!
Thanks for recommending this book off my tbr pile, Suzi!...more
This was my first book by Catherine Mann, and I will definitely put her on my list of go-to authors for military romantic suspense. What I really likeThis was my first book by Catherine Mann, and I will definitely put her on my list of go-to authors for military romantic suspense. What I really liked was that the military part of the equation in this book was the heroine, Darcy Renshaw, who is a pilot in the Air Force. She was a very likeable heroine--well-balanced with a soft, feminine side and a tough exterior. She was great getting along with the guys, but not too prickly where she was annoying. I liked her confidence, but I also appreciated her awkwardness as she tries to let Max know she's interested in him. I also liked the hero in this book, Max. He's a deep-cover CIA agent who happens to have a PhD in Marine Biology. I have an unrepentant fondness for intelligent guys, so he gets bonus points for being a scientist who's also a CIA agent.
I could understand and respect both character's baggage. Darcy was kidnapped at a young age and mentally tortured by her captors. Sense then, she's been afraid to let anyone get too close, and highly values her independence. Max is mourning his lost lover who got murdered in the line of duty as a CIA agent, taking his unborn child with her. Max blamed himself for not getting out of the life. Since then, he's kept women at a distance. But the attraction between them breaks down their barriers.
Ms. Mann has a very good, dramatic and descriptive writing style. She brought the tropical locale of Guam to vivid life for me. I could have been there on the island as I read this book. I found myself impressed with how she kept the narrative active and my interest engaged. I do have to say I felt the suspense conclusion was a little abrupt. I felt somewhat underwhelmed with the reveal on the villain. I was thinking, "That's all?". Also, I could have done without the brutal, wanton spider-killing part. I could understand Darcy's issues with spiders, but I felt bad for the critter. I certainly got why she took out the snake. I just wished the villain had more respect for animals instead of using them to terrorize Darcy and leading to their untimely demise. But otherwise, I thought this was a very good book. It's great to see a heroine who is in the armed forces, and is blazing her own trail in her military career, and a hero who is not at all threatened by her independence and proficiency in her field....more
I found the hero Cal a little too harsh for my tastes. He represented what I don't like about pro sports players and that whole macho vibe that they cI found the hero Cal a little too harsh for my tastes. He represented what I don't like about pro sports players and that whole macho vibe that they can give off. It was wrong what Jane did to him,however he was in the habit of using women, so in some ways it was his karma coming back on him, in my opinion. My issue is that didn't treat her very well after the fact. I can understand him being angry but I feel he should have treated the woman who was pregnant with his child better than he did. That bothered me. ...more
Stan and Teri were such a cute couple. I loved Stan from the beginning. It saddened me that he thought he was ugly. In my head I can't picture him asStan and Teri were such a cute couple. I loved Stan from the beginning. It saddened me that he thought he was ugly. In my head I can't picture him as ugly because he was such a cool guy. I enjoyed the bond and the chemistry between Stan and Teri, and how they saw each other deeper than anyone else did. It was interesting how Stan was trying to flee from Teri and his attraction to her, and she was the one chasing him. Out of the Team 16 couples, they are one of my favorites.
The Sam and Alyssa parts will break your heart. I thought I was going to die, the way that things ended between them at the end of this book. I was praying that things would work out. I guess I had to keep reading. :)
Unlike quite a few fans of this series, I loved the WWII storyline in each book. But it's a particular favorite period of mine.
The action is great. That Alyssa can kick some serious butt. And Sam, well, he can do no wrong, sort of. He can, but I love him anyway. One of my personal favorites out of this series....more
Ross Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspireRoss Cannon is yet another of Lisa Kleypas wonderful heroes. He is so honorable and dignified. He has this intelligence and way about him that inspires respect in others. He reminds me of how I think King Arthur must have been. He was mostly celibate for eight years after his wife dies. That's why the way he falls for Sophia is so wonderful. She becomes his obsession and sets his heart on fire. And he does everything to keep her happy and to show his love for her. Sigh. I liked Sophia, and I thought she was a good heroine, but this book is mainly a favorite because of Ross. What a man! I also liked Nick Gentry, who is sort of the villain of this book, but turns out to be a very interesting character that we will see much more of (wink). If you like an older, mature, but intense hero who will steal your heart along with his heroine, you have to read this book....more
I absolutely loved this book, although I didn't expect to. First of all, Warren seemed like a jerk when I first met him in Gentle Rogue. He didn't seeI absolutely loved this book, although I didn't expect to. First of all, Warren seemed like a jerk when I first met him in Gentle Rogue. He didn't seem like he had a personality or a sense of humor. Secondly, he's so much older than Amy. But I ended up adoring this book and Amy and Warren as a couple. Warren needs a woman like Amy. He's so serious and rather pompous, and she infuses him with life. I know that Amy chases him shamelessly, but I found it appealing in this book. Normally I don't really believe in chasing guys (it doesn't seem to work out well), but Amy definitely had a master plan. I liked that she didn't give up easily. The scene that really cemented my love of this book is when they touch each other's hands through the wall, and Warren whispers her name so longingly. He thinks he's blown it. But Amy is like Napoleon. She is not easily defeated.
This was a fun romp, showing that being reckless, a rule-breaker, and pursuing the one you want for your own is not just a male Malory trait. The Magic of You is definitely one of my favorite Johanna Lindsey books....more
I had to place my faith in Ms. Cole that this premise of a ghost falling in love with a vampire would work. I just couldn't see how this would go wellI had to place my faith in Ms. Cole that this premise of a ghost falling in love with a vampire would work. I just couldn't see how this would go well at all. My faith was rewarded. I loved this book. It starts out so beautiful and even gothic. Neomi Laress is brutally murdered by a spurned lover in her house that she has just bought at a grand party she is throwing to celebrate her retirement from the ballet. She is a beautiful dancer in the early 20th century who has decided to leave her current beau. He stabs her in the heart and kills her. I was like, "Wow." This book already managed to stand out from the previous books, just with the prologue.
Things only get better. We meet Conrad, the long-lost Wroth brother. In the first few books you always hear that there are four brothers alive still (or undead rather), but that Conrad ran off, angry that his brothers had turned him into a vampire. Finally we get to see him, and things aren't pretty. He has become a mercenary/assassin and a vampire killer. He kills by taking their blood, thus having given himself over to Bloodlust. He vows to kill his other brothers for what they have made him. Kill them and anyone they love.
But fortunately, Nikolai, Murdoch, and Sebastian have not given up on their brother. They manage to capture him and have decided to keep him imprisoned until the Bloodlust wears off. Well, they end up keeping him prisoner in the property owned by the deceased Neomi. Unbeknownst to them, her disembodied spirit is still in her beloved home.
Neomi has been alone for so long. There have been people who came and went from her home, leaving her alone again. But none have captivated her like Conrad. Despite his blood-red eyes and his insanity, Neomi is very attracted to the brawny and beautiful vampire. Conrad sees her, which is very unusual, since most of the people who have come through her house cannot.
Thus begins the seduction of Conrad by Neomi. Neomi is a sensualist, she loves beautiful men and their bodies. It's the worst sort of torture to be around a beautiful male like Conrad and not be able to touch him. Conrad is a virgin, never having loved or made love to a woman. He sees the beautiful ghost and believes she is part of his raving insanity. With each person he killed by draining them, he absorbed their memories. This drives a vampire insane. Since Conrad killed the worst of all kinds of demons and vampire, he is violently insane. But somehow the beautiful spirit manages to calm his raving madness. He falls for her very quickly, and determines to find a way for them to be together.
There are problems with this relationship from the start. He wants to feel the same intense desire for her that she feels for him, but because he is a vampire, he cannot feel desire until he is blooded. He feels in his heart that Neomi must be his bride. However, she's a spirit, so she cannot truly 'blood' him. And even if she could 'blood' him, since she's a ghost, they really couldn't get physical anyway.
This story really captivated me. I was so sucked into it, that I remember sitting at dinner trying to eat with one hand and reading the book held in the other. My mother was so curious about my fixation with the book, she ended up reading it herself.
I liked the way Ms. Cole turned the tables, making Conrad the innocent (sexually) virgin, and Neomi the seducer. I loved the glimpses into other aspects of the Immortals After Dark universe, the Lore, inhabited by all sorts of immortal creatures. Ms. Cole has a way of making these books laugh-out loud funny, but also intense and poignant. Conrad is the type of hero that gets under your skin and you feel for him. Although Neomi had some hardened aspects to her that I typically don't care for in a heroine, I ended up loving her as well. I loved her intense feelings for Conrad, almost from the start. They weren't just lust, but a sense of ownership like he was dear to her. I also appreciated her passion for life and culture, and how much she loved her home. She had a good heart and was kind to the good people who stopped through her home. So it was easier than I thought to come to like her as heroine. Even though Conrad was insane and technically a murderer (really just of bad creatures), I loved him from the start. Seeing his madness and his loneliness really opened my heart to him. Despite the outer wrappings, you could see a deep sort of innocence in him that was more than just sexual.
Even with the obvious issues in their relationship, Conrad and Neomi really came across as soulmates, and very early in this book. I really rooted for this unlikely couple to be together, and the way in which this comes to pass was very well done. I must say, my respect for Ms. Cole as an author went up another notch at how she brought Conrad and Neomi's happy ever after together.
Despite my misgivings when I first heard the storyline for this story, I came to love Dark Needs at Night's Edge with the same passion that I loved the prior stories (and possibly more). Conrad was a new favorite hero, at least until Cadeon and Rydstrom came around. ...more
This is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it tThis is my favorite book of all time (well, tied with Jane Eyre). Great hero, heroine, story, humor, romance, angst. Perfect except I didn't want it to end.
I fell in love with Dain from the moment of his birth. He was an ugly baby, loved only by his dearest mother, who was taken away from him. He was horribly treated by others growing up because of his half-Italian heritage and his large nose and ungainly features. Not knowing love, he felt he was unworthy of being loved. As an adult, he lived a life of selfish pleasure, spending his time with women who he could pay for his pleasure, thinking no woman would want him voluntarily. How could I not want to know and fall in love with a hero who is so tortured?
Enter Jessica, the best heroine ever written (other than Jane Eyre). She is ruthlessly intelligent, and knows just how to handle Dain. And she pretty much loves him the first time she sees him. Although others think he is ugly, he is perfect to her. There's a statement made by Jessica where she thinks or says she cannot resist him, and he is baffled that she would feel that way, used to being considered ugly as sin. I am like Jessica. To me, Dain is gorgeous.
The chemistry between Dain and Jessica is better than any other book I've read, and I've read a lot. I've read books that were much more sexually explicit. The love scenes are not at all descriptive in this book. But they are incredibly effective, because of the passion between Jessica and Dain, and the deep caring and love they feel for each other. She knows of his flaws, but cares about him anyway, although she doesn't let him get away with anything. She even shoots him when he compromises her in the eyes of the ton but doesn't offer marriage. How cool is that? Dain cannot resist her, even knowing that she is much too good for him, and will change his life irrevocably.
The scenes between Dain and Jessica are so delicious, it's like eating a banana split with a cheesecake chaser. And I have read few books that could manage poignancy and humor so well. There are scenes that make me cry every time I read them. Yet other scenes cause the biggest smile to spread over my face. One of my many favorite scenes is when Dain acknowledges his illegitimate son, knowing he loves him, even though he is just as ugly as Dain was as a child, and is filthy and covered in vomit. My heart wept, and tears flowed from my eyes.
At the end of the day, it's really hard to describe why I love this book so much. But I do. I have absolutely no reservations in saying, this is my favorite book of all time (or at least tied with Jane Eyre for favorite, which is nothing to sneeze at). If I ever meet Loretta Chase, I will thank her from the bottom of my heart for writing this book that has so enriched my life....more
This is one of those books that instills a good feeling in the reader throughout the reading, and once the last word has been read. I was cheering forThis is one of those books that instills a good feeling in the reader throughout the reading, and once the last word has been read. I was cheering for Dane and Olivia to consummate their marriage, and I was laughing and rather surprised in a good way at the reasons for Dane's virginity. I liked that Olivia was the one pursuing in this book, instead of Dane. This book was fun and exciting to read. It has some rather nontraditional sensuality elements for a mainstream, non-erotic historical romance (in general), but I liked the way it was done. Very well written as typical for Bradley. She's really great at combining humor and pathos in her books. A sure keeper....more