Another much beloved book of all time. It's set in the 1940s, a time period that I really love. JT Montgomery is such a good hero, can I have one of hAnother much beloved book of all time. It's set in the 1940s, a time period that I really love. JT Montgomery is such a good hero, can I have one of him? He's a military man on a mission, and he will complete it. He is a hero in the true sense, although he's not anywhere near royalty. Although he comes from the grand Montgomery dynasty, he's All-American in his thinking. He didn't expect to fall for Aura, who is all-princess. This is such a delightful book, from beginning to end. I was hoping in vain that JD would write some more 1940s romances. Sigh. Alas it's just not a ripe period for historical romances. This book had some steam when I read it back then. It would be tame nowadays though. Loved the lovemaking on the stairs scene. Wow! I also loved the scene when we see Amanda dancing with her daughter-in-law Aura like Carmen Miranda. This book is just all around wonderful in every way.
I loved this book because the hero Draker wasn't a rake, and he was socially awkward, in fact, having the disposition of a big bear with a thorn in hiI loved this book because the hero Draker wasn't a rake, and he was socially awkward, in fact, having the disposition of a big bear with a thorn in his paw. He thought he was unlovable by women, but he couldn't stay away from Regina. Regina was fascinated and drawn to him despite her determination not to marry. And honestly, so was I. For some reason I like heroes who are a little grumpy and unapproachable. I found him very sexy in fact. Regina looked and acted like a perfect princess and was very mannerly, but she had a dark secret that has tormented her. I was really glad to see them come together and find happiness. This is my favorite in The Royal Brotherhood Trilogy....more
Lily is a great protagonist. I love that the elements of her Chinese-American heritage were well-integrated into this story. I love her no-nonsense, dLily is a great protagonist. I love that the elements of her Chinese-American heritage were well-integrated into this story. I love her no-nonsense, down to earth, cop personality, but also that she is open-minded enough to appreciate her gifts and to realize that there are things that go bump in the night.
The aspect of the werewolf society took a unique, but confusing term. I like that Ms. Wilks built a culture, complete with a separate religion for the werewolves. They are very earthy and sensual, and not just in a sexual way.
Rule, I haven't made up my mind about him. I am not sure I really like him yet. He's very morally ambiguous and almost detached in some ways, other than his primal werewolf nature. All I got to know about him were aspects that didn't appeal to me. I am not sure that I feel he's a good mate for Lily, but time will tell.
I enjoyed this book enough to continue reading the series. I like it moreso as an urban fantasy than a romance, and as a good werewolf novel. I wasn't really feeling the appeal of Rule as a romantic hero. ...more
I do have to say that Nikolas is a very unique hero. He's dark and conflicted. He wants Emma but doesn't know what to do with her when he gets her. HeI do have to say that Nikolas is a very unique hero. He's dark and conflicted. He wants Emma but doesn't know what to do with her when he gets her. He does everything he can to destroy her love for him. But at the same time, he yearns for her love with all his heart. A romance novel, for certain. But I felt it was also a character study. Nikolas is a character that makes you want to keep reading to see if he'll get a clue and turn his life around. He almost waits too late, but a magical twist of fate sends him on the path to redemption. This is definitely one of Kleypas' more darker books, but it's worth the read. Just be prepared to meet a character who will make you look very closely at your concept of what a romance novel hero is....more
The Moon: Dravian’s Seer is an imaginative fantasy erotic romance. It is the story of Lilya, who views her gift of prophecy as a curse, and in some waThe Moon: Dravian’s Seer is an imaginative fantasy erotic romance. It is the story of Lilya, who views her gift of prophecy as a curse, and in some ways, it is. She has been horribly mistreated by everyone she knows yet used for her abilities. In addition, her abilities cause enormous pain and wreak havoc on her health, often putting her in a trance for days on end. She is a seer, born in a time where seers are no longer treasured. As such, she travels from place to place, earning her living as best as she can, and fending for herself in a violent world where her kind are despised. The last thing Lilya wants is the so-called devotion of another warrior who states that she should be treasured and cared for, even though she finds herself irresistibly attracted to this warrior. Her experiences taught her to trust no one, so she views his attempts at loving care as evidence that he is crazy, and only desires to help him so she can get away from him. Over the course of this story, Lilya grows to not only trust and love the warrior but also to embrace her destiny as a powerful seer.
Dravian is the prince and heir to the throne of a magically cursed, war-torn land. His father was wounded and kidnapped from the battlefield, and he is determined to go after him and rescue him, despite the fact that his mother, the queen, and the advisors of his country want him to ascend to the throne and accept the fact that his father is dead. Dravian is half-wolf caller through his father; in other words, he is able to call and communicate with wolf shifters, who are his friends and royal guard. Dravian learns that there is a seer who can help him in the quest to find his father. Dravian finds himself attracted to the seer, even in the vision that he first has of her. When he meets her in person, the attraction is even more intense. He comes across the seer as she is about to be raped and murdered by village bullies, and saves her, although she clearly believes she can take care of herself and doesn’t want his help. He is dismayed that she has been so disparaged and mistreated by others when his people believe that seers should be cared for and treasured. The tenderness and desire he feels for Lilya soon makes it apparent that she is his longed-for mate. But before they can be together, he has to rescue his father from the dark forces rising in his world.
I enjoyed this story because it was imaginative and interesting. I liked Lilya and Dravian and definitely felt the chemistry between them. I felt for Lilya and the sorrow and tragedies she had suffered in her life. It was very nice to read about her coming into her powers and developing confidence in her abilities and her place in the world and her coming to see that she was worthy of love. I really liked that Dravian wanted to take care of her and wasn’t just out to use her for her powers like others. Another element that I enjoyed about the story was the intricate mythology that Ms. Illyria created. In some ways, this story favorably reminded me of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. I did find the very modern language used distracting and not fitting for the pre-historical/Dark Ages-esque setting. But overall, I found The Moon: Dravian’s Seer to be an enjoyable, imaginative, and steamy read. I look forward to reading more stories by this author.
The Desert Lord's Baby is the first book in the Throne of Judar series, although it's the second book I read. This book is one that sucks you right inThe Desert Lord's Baby is the first book in the Throne of Judar series, although it's the second book I read. This book is one that sucks you right in. The writing is so vivid and poignant. The characters are never lukewarm in their emotions. In fact the book seethes with violently intense emotions. Carmen and Farooq are a couple that never should have been parted from each other, but misunderstandings and fears crop up and come between them. I feel that if they had just made a commitment to each other early on instead of having what they called a three month affair, then there wouldn't have been that insecurity in their relationship, but what do I know?
After the rejection she faced with her parents and her first husband, Carmen doesn't have much reason to believe that she could be loved for her self. Yet paradoxically, she gives herself unselfishly and completely. This is clear from page one. Farooq is used to having his way and cannot believe that a woman would choose to leave him, not to mention a woman he was so deeply attracted to and in love with. He doesn't think to read between the lines when Carmen ends their affair with what has to be a pretty blatant lie if a person really thought about she said, knowing Carmen. But something causes him to track her down, and he finds out she's had his child. He falls instantly in love with their baby, and the scenes of the little cutie make it easy to accept this. Mennah is described as a miracle baby and she is in more ways than one. She brings this couple back together and gives them both peace that they were needing desperately.
Again I was captivated by the incredible emotional intensity of the storytelling, teamed with an exotic setting that I am a sucker for. Ms. Gates seems to have a definite appreciation for Arabic culture, and with her writing skills, the reader cannot help but be equally attracted to it. The love scenes are very steamy for a category romance but they belong in a story with such a fiery, intense relationship between two people. This one is a another recommended read for sheikh romance lovers. ...more
This was my favorite of the Throne of Judar series because we see a hard, immovable man brought to his knees with the realization that he did wrong thThis was my favorite of the Throne of Judar series because we see a hard, immovable man brought to his knees with the realization that he did wrong the woman he loved and who loved him. Not that I like to see a person suffer, but this hero does grovel and does make amends for the horrible way he treated the heroine when he should. He also makes a decision that a power-craving man would only make if he really loves a woman, although he is in no way manipulated or guilted into doing so by Aliyah. He was told some things about Aliyah that were definitely lies, and his own misgivings and fears based on an event in his past made him push her away.
Aliyah had some personal issues that affected her health and personality, and made it easier for Kamal to believe the lies he was told, and made his rejection even more devastating. I also loved that Aliyah was strong in her own right, and was an incredible queen and this was realized fully by Kamal and those around her. The first scene between Aliyah and Kamal was great. She didn't turn into a ball of mush because of his awesome masculinity. She told him off and didn't back down from his imperious manner. Bravo, I was thinking. At the same time, she made a choice to marry a man she thought she hated for the good of her country and his. That took some bravery and emotional strength.
As characteristic of Ms. Gates' novels, the writing is deeply involving and emotional as you see and experience the love and anguish that her characters feel. There are also vivid descriptions of Judar and its customs and the beautiful surroundings that its characters inhabit. The wedding ceremony is one of the best I've ever read. It practically played like a scene from an exotic movie. The love scenes are scorching and passionate as well. If you are a fan of sheikh romances and want to read a romance with three-dimensional characters who take an emotional journey from desolation and loneliness to a deep, abiding love, you should read this book....more
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most defi2nd Reread Completed 8/1-8/9/13
Looking back at how much I loved this book when I first read it, and how much I loved it on reread, I can say most definitely that this book is an all-time keeper. For me, this story is magic. I didn't have a lot of time to read it, but I actually didn't want to put it down when I couldn't read it. Finally, when I was able to dedicate some time to reading, I more or less read it straight through, except for when I was busy with my review books and Vacation Bible School. At the end of the night, I was excited to get into bed and curl up and revisit Lachlain and Emma's love story, reading late into the night.
Lachlain remains one of my fall time favorite paranormal heroes (and probably of all time). Although I refuse to pick a favorite Immortals After Dark hero, Lachlain makes some steep competition for the following heroes. He starts out a bully, but I can understand why. He literally was insane after being tortured for 150 years. However, it is a testament to his force of will that he didn't do worse to Emmaline, not to mention the power of their bond. Even though he wasn't super nice initially, his charisma was undeniable. As time passes and he realizes who Emma is and how she means to him, above and beyond being his fated mate, he shows just how adoring and capable of caring for his mate he can be. By the time Emma starts to love him, you can understand why. Cole makes you want a Lykae mate of your very own.
Sometimes the heroine doesn't click with me in a romance. But this is not one of those times. I loved Emma. I appreciated her journey of self-identity and coming into her own. She had that awkward feel of a woman on the cusp of maturity in her early twenties. Away from home for the first time, exploring who she is, and finding love. Considering the force of nature that Lachlain is, I think Emma held her own against him, and eventually, she had him eating out of her hand.
I think Kresley Cole writes the best steamy romance out there. Blazingly hot, but not crossing the line into raunchy and distasteful (overshare) language that turns 'sexy' into 'gross' for this reader. Even on the reread, I was excited to see what happened next, and fanning myself with the incredible tension and fire between Emma and Lachlain. I wasn't a huge fan of vampire romance prior to reading this (this being one of the first I read at the time), but the scenes in which Lachlain feeds Emma show how powerful that is between a mated pair, and it's sexy, and not gross like I always thought it would be. I'm not saying I want to take blood or give my blood like in the book, but it's written well and beliveable in the context of the story. It's a very intimate thing, and you could see how it furthers the connection between them.
On top of the fantastic romance, the world-building is complex and fascinating, and I love the camaraderie between the Valkyries and the other characters. You can see the Lore factions aligning before your eyes on the one way march to the Ascension. And though the developing romance is fascinating, it's also great to get glimpses into the past of the long-lived creatures of the Lore.
There's a reason why Kresley Cole is in my top five authors of all time. She knows how to bring it. In the paranormal and historical romance genres, she kicks butt and takes names. You want to keep coming back for more of this wonderful world she has created. I'm glad I was able to revisit this fantastic book and I am jazzed to continue my 2013 reread of the Immortals After Dark series.
****Original Review Below********* I bought this book because I had read "If You Dare," by this author and absolutely loved it. Well, lets just say, it made a steadfast fan of me. The Immortals After Dark is one of my all time favorite paranormal series, and part of the reason I'm so crazy about paranormals. Lachlain is kind of crazy, and who can blame him after being imprisioned horribly underground in a fiery pit, being drowned every day and consumed by fire for 150 years. One day he senses his mate, and he does something really painful and desperate to get free, to get to her. I was hooked.
Lachlain is what I call a Sexy, Scottish, Werewolf. What a great combination. His one shortcoming is that he is kind of snobby towards Emmaline at first. He's dismayed that this true mate (Lykae only get one) is a Vampire. Although she's really a halfling, half-vampire, half-valkyrie. Emmaline is as timid as you can get. She's been protected and coddled by her valkyrie aunts her whole young life. She's about 70 years old, which is very young for a vampire and a valkyrie. Despite her penchant for very sexy, expensive lingerie, she's an innocent virgin.
Imagine this crazed, beastly man tearing across a Paris courtyard, and dragging you off with him, and wanting to do things with you of a sexual nature? Very scary thought. This is how this book begins. Cole grabbed me as a reader and didn't let go. I wanted to find out how Lachlain would deal with the fact that his mate was not exactly what he wanted. Would he force her? Would she grow to love him and trust him? They go on a journey to get back to Lachlain's ancestral holdings in Scotland. He is the king of the Lycae and must go back to take his place as ruler of his people. Even though he isn't really happy with the mate that was chosen for him by fate, he's taking her with him. Lochlain has to get used to modern life. He finds he has expensive tastes, and charges up poor Emmaline's platinum card. He really makes the poor girl miserable. But she does manage to fall in love with him. She's not so sure about this Queen of the Lykae deal and having such a dominant mate, though. So it takes some serious wooing, Lykae-style, on Lachlain's part. And Lachlain discovers that having a vampire bride is a great thing, because being bitten by her is ecstasy. Plus, Emmaline is a sweet, loving woman who eases her way into his heart.
This was a fabulous book. I was already werewolf-inclined after reading the MaryJanice Davidson story "Love's Prisoner", Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, and Night Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon, so it really got my attention. This is a spicy read with very hot love scenes, that don't overshadow the growing love between Lachlain and Emmaline. I enjoyed the whole dynamic of reluctant mates, and the crazy, alpha werewolf hero really appealed to me. I loved how Lachlain's feelings towards his bride changed so that he came to adore her and appreciate her. She became his life. I also loved how timid Emmaline comes into her own. She was drifting because she knew neither of her parents. She was afraid and disliked her vampire nature, and had to come to terms with who she is. She becomes quite the warrior queen. Ah, this is a classic for me. It comes highly recommended.
Just a warning to readers. The first book in this series is the story in Playing Easy to Get, "The Warlord Wants Forever." I read this one first and I was scratching my head trying to figure out who Nikolai and Myst were. You can read this first, but you might be a little lost when they bring up Nikolai and Myst as a forgone conclusion. ...more
I adored this story. It has all the elements that make Sherrilyn Kenyon irresistible as a writer for me: imaginative story and setting, well-drawn, liI adored this story. It has all the elements that make Sherrilyn Kenyon irresistible as a writer for me: imaginative story and setting, well-drawn, likeable characters, flawed hero who is deeply tortured both physically and spiritually, a deep, emotional connection between the hero and heroine, and the promise of redemption and a bright future. It took me about an hour plus to read this story, but the joy of reading it will last longer. You have what looks like a hopeless situation initially that becomes a catalyst for a wonderful love between Adron and Livia. Livia is being forced to marry a really old man by her father. In order to be suitable as his bride, she must be a virgin. In her culture, women are kept extremely innocent. Thus, she has not even been alone with a man who is not her relative, much less had physical contact. Together her and her maid come up with the idea to find a man and sleep with him so she is no longer a virgin. She goes to a bar and finds Adron, the most beautiful man she has ever seen. However he is deeply scarred both physically and emotionally. She seduces him with a kiss, and he decides to take her home. From there, their lives become intertwined in the most beautiful of ways. This story accurately portrays the challenge and the agony of being disabled (the hero was badly wounded and tortured as a League Assassin. Each day is excruciating pain and limitations due to the fact that his internal organs sustained massive injury). He wanted to die but his brother would not kill him. But at the same time, he won't kill himself because he knows how much his parents and family love him. My heart just went out to him for his situation. Knowing people who deal with disabilities every day, I could see that this was real life, although in a fictional story. That is why I loved the ending of this story so much. I read Fire and Ice in the Man of My Dreams anthology, and even though I don't plan to read the other stories, it was definitely a worthwhile purchase and a keeper for me. ...more
I haven't read very much science fiction romance, but this is a good one to read to get into the genre. It was a bit slow in parts, but a very good stI haven't read very much science fiction romance, but this is a good one to read to get into the genre. It was a bit slow in parts, but a very good story all the same.
I fell in love with Jared early on in this book, when he was fourteen years old, in fact. He is everything a king should be: noble, good-hearted, self-sacrificing, strong, intelligent, and of iron-willed disposition. Yet there is also a gentleness to him, a very kind nature. It is very evident why his people and the soldiers in his regiment are so devoted to him. To me he was a worthy leader who inspired the admiration of his people. I love heroes that can be loving and kind without feeling that this destroys their ability to be a tough, strong man. That is why I adore beta heroes so much. Jared isn't a beta hero exactly. He's more of a mix of an alpha and beta, which is a great combination. He is in touch with his feelings, but also a proven warrior. Sigh! Not only that, but he is very tall, strapping, but lean, with black hair and black eyes. I like that Jared has the looks of a Southern Asiatic/Northern African, or a Native American, with deep copper-colored skin, high-cheekbones, and almond-shaped eyes. He sounded totally yummy to me (fanning myself). Ah, I just loved this guy.
Kelsey was also a great heroine. She wasn't one of those, I'll fight my love for the hero because I can't fall in love, it would make me vulnerable types. She gives Jared her heart completely, and even though he doesn't reveal everything at once, she allows her love and trust for him to lead the way. It's refreshing to see a heroine who can be womanly and loving, without having to be prickly and rigid in her sense of self-protection. And with a couple like Jared and Kelsey, it's the best union, because Jared loves her so much, he'd cut his heart out before he'd hurt her. And Kelsey would lay her life down for him, but also retains her sense of self. She had a strength to her, but also a softness, like a live oak tree, which can live for many years and endure the harsh elements, but retains its beauty. She's tall, pale-skinned, and beautiful, but natural-looking, with long, curly-red hair that Jared loved to play with. Kelsey will be a great queen, although she's bound to be confused with learning all the aspects of her husband's dual cultures. (I know I would).
I found this to be a very romantic book, even from the first pages. The love connection between Jared and Kelsey is so intense and passionate. I just sighed my way through this book. I don't think I've seen very many couples who are so in love with each other as Jared and Kelsey are. Their intimate moments were fiery and intense, and the aspects of Jared's dual nature as a King and Royal of two different races play a very important role. There a very strong fated to mated vibe in this story, so for readers who don't care for that, you might find that a turn off. As for me, I love the fated to be mated storyline, so I was a happy camper.
The path of true love doesn't run smooth, so there are some issues that need to be dealt with. Jared's people have been at war with another race bent on genocide for many years, so there is a threat to the king and his chosen lifemate that remains very evident in this story. But the main focus is on the relationship between Kelsey and Jared (which is a good thing).
The cultures introduced into this story can be a bit confusing at times, and it was a little hard to keep up with some of those aspects. But I do have to admire Ms. Knight for creating this intriguing premise, and populating it with complex characters that you become interested in. At times, I felt that the narrative ran too long, and seemed to get where it was going very slowly. It might be the fact that reading science fiction can tend to be dry for me at times. I like fantastical elements much more. It could also be the fact that Knight is a new author for me, and I have to get used to her writing style. For that reason, I couldn't give this book five stars. If the passages that were too wordy had been a little more concise, this easily could have been a five star book.
Despite the dry moments, she didn't really do the 'Star Trek' thing where the science fiction gets way too political and technical and leaves me yawning. Don't get me wrong, I am a serious science fiction movie geek and I consider myself a 'Trekkie', but I like the action to keep moving. I don't get into the sitting around and discussing political factions, philosophy of the future and the interactions between alien races, and technical stuff about how the various machines work. Just lay the foundation for the futuristic world and populate it with interesting characters, and keep the action moving, and I'm a happy sci-fi geek. I think Ms. Knight mostly succeeded with this. She had enough technical, social, and political world-building to make her world credible, but not too bogged down. Just a small issue with the long, drawn-out narratives in this book. So I am definitely signed up to continue this series. I hope to learn more about the worlds at war and their people, and to see Jared's companions, Scott, Thea, and Annika find love and to see this war end. Also I would like to see more of this great couple Jared and Kelsey, whose love story captivated me so much.
For a science fiction romance neophyte, I do recommend Parallel Attraction. I think you will enjoy it, as I did....more
This Fables series has been consistently good. I didn't imagine I would enjoy Flycatcher's story so much, but it was very meaningful. Flycatcher is veThis Fables series has been consistently good. I didn't imagine I would enjoy Flycatcher's story so much, but it was very meaningful. Flycatcher is very much a man of hidden sorrows. He dropped out from his past life because of the intense grief he suffered due to the loss of his family in the Homelands. His role as janitor in Fabletown (and his tendency to eat flies) is a way of escaping and dealing (or not dealing with his sorrow). but the time has come for him to face his past head on. He goes back to the Homeland and becomes an enormous thorn in the side of the Adversary.
Willingham has managed to make this series feel new and distinct in each and every volume. I like that I couldn't predict what happened next in this book. I suspected tragedy, but things are surprisingly satisfying in the conclusion, but it's also evident that the battle continues and victory isn't necessarily guaranteed for our displaced Fable friends. The upcoming war looms even closer on the horizon.
I can't recommend this series more highly than I do. Definitely required reading for fairy tale aficionados....more
I'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairlyI'm rounding my rating up on this one, because I loved the Kresley Cole story enough on its own for five stars. The Gena Showalter story was a fairly solid four stars.
First of all, lets talk about how awesome "Untouchable" was. I liked Murdoch before I read this story, because the Wroth brother are four times hot! But, I didn't love him as much as Nikolai (swoon), Conrad (thud), and Sebastian (sigh). I'm not fond of womanizers. But somehow, I fell in love with Murdoch. I could see that his fear of giving himself away and losing himself in love with a woman was the reason why he was so love 'em and leave 'em. Truth be told, I don't think he really broke any hearts. He found woman who just wanted sex and he made sure he gave them what they wanted very well. I don't know that he held any more fondness for them than they did for him. As always, Kresley Cole does the devoted male very well. This Wroth courtship was very different in that Murdoch didn't want to be Blooded. He was rather unhappy with the fact that Daniela was his Bride, and she had brought his body back to life. This story is a good metaphor for the relationships that some women face with the reluctant bachelor, who doesn't want to give up his freedom, out of fear that he's going to miss out on something. Murdoch had to go through the process of realizing that he might no longer be fancy free, but he had found the love of his life, and he would have been miserable without her--she made his life better, just by being in it. Daniela also had her issues. Because of her Icere heritage, she couldn't be touched by anyone. She'd spent two thousand years of celibacy, as a chaste (other than self-pleasure) virgin, seeing her Valkyrie sisters have their love affairs and live a full life, while she felt she was on the shelf. When she meets Murdoch and realizes she is his Bride, she's willing to give him a chance. At times, I felt bad for Daniela. She really put herself out there to be hurt by Murdooch, and he did hurt her more than a few times. Yet, at the same time, he did care about her and tried to do right by her. He is probably the most like a real guy out of the heroes I've read about in paranormal romance. Not to pigeonhole men, but he had a lot of the fears and insecurities of a modern guy in relationships, instead of the slavish devotion and adoration that I've seen (and I freely admit I like) in a lot of paranormal romances. He fought the bond between him and Daniela. But, when he gave into it, boy did he! The love scenes were tres steamy! I was curious how Ms. Cole would pull off having lots of sexy encounters with a couple who couldn't touch each other, but I must say she did it well.
I love this world of the Lore. It's funny, fascinating, exciting, interesting, and very entertaining. The Immortals After Dark series is tied for my favorite paranormal series (with the Black Dagger Brotherhood) for a good reason--it's awesome. I was happy to see that this was a fairly long short story, just under 300 pages. And Ms. Cole used the time she had to excellent advantage. I totally ended up loving this story, and it more than earned its five star rating. I loved how well Ms. Cole wrapped up the Wroth brothers' stories. I think that she found the perfect mates with them, and I was very happy with how she resolved Daniela and Murdoch's prickly situation. And can I just say that I think I might be part Icere? I sure do love the cold, and I truly enjoyed the scenes in which Daniela gets settled into Murdoch's icy hunting lodge in Sibera, and the couple frolicking in the snow and ice. This story was fantastic!
"Tempt Me Eternally" by Gena Showalter had a tough job to accomplish, following an Immortals After Dark story. I have to say that it did it fairly well. I will always choose supernatural over science fiction. It's just the way I'm wired. However, I thought the concept behind this story was pretty interesting. The Rakans have come to Earth to settle down and rebuild after their world and peoples are devastated by an invasion by the Schon, a race of beings who have sex with and infect other races with a virus that causes the the females to turn into cannibals. All the females were killed, and they decimated many of the males of the Rakan world. The lone survivors have found Earth, and intend to live here peacefully. However, they encounter a force of AIR, an agency that protects Earth from hostile aliens. Things don't go well, and some of the AIR agents are killed by a rogue Rakan, and their leader Breean sees and kidnaps AIR agent Macy (who is actually Aleaha-a shapeshifting woman who has assumed the identity of Macy). Breean can actually see the real Aleaha under the mask of Macy. He sees and decides he has to have her. He takes her and some of the other AIR agents back to his hideout, biding his time to try to make an exchange with AIR and bargain for the right to live on Earth peacefully, but he's already determined that he will keep Aleaha. Aleaha is a pretty tormented heroine. She has an ability that has caused her a lot of trouble, because she morphs in moments of extreme emotion (including sex). She's tired of pretending to be someone else. When Breean seems to see and like the real her, as well as accepting her morphing abilities, she feels a real bond, not to mention he's sex on legs, and she's incredibly attracted to this tall, well-built, sweet-tasting, golden man. She doesn't want to be his captive, but he makes captivity very enticing as he seduces her body and soul into loving him and wanting forever with him. But, Aleaha has her loyalty to AIR to deal with before she can jump off the deep end into passion with Breean.
This was a good story. It was also very steamy. I ended up enjoying the science fiction elements very much. Ms. Showalter focuses more of the sensuality, but she does that very well. I knew the characters enough to care about them, and root for their happy ending, and I was pretty engaged. As I said, I was so blown away by the IAD story, it was hard to love this one quite as much. But it was good and entertaining. It easily earns a four star rating. And it was nice to revisit the Alien Huntress storyline, in which I am way behind.
I don't tend to buy very many hardcovers, because I'm cheap and they are harder to store, but this was way worth my money, even if just for the Immortals After Dark story. I think of the Alien Huntress story as a nice bonus, since I've been more interested in reading science fiction lately, and I really do like Gena Showalter's writing. This was a great read for the holidays. Although the stories weren't heavily focused on Christmas, I thought that the authors used the holiday theme to good effect. I especially loved the frosty moments in IAD. Oh to have a sexy guy to play in the snow with!...more
Cry of the Icemark was a stirring military fantasy adventure. The author really took the time to bring the cultures of this novel to life. I could seeCry of the Icemark was a stirring military fantasy adventure. The author really took the time to bring the cultures of this novel to life. I could see that Icemark people seemed to be modelled after the Scandinavians, while Thyrrin's mother's peoples, the Hypollitan must have been based on the Amazons. And the Polipontans seemed to be like the Roman Empire. The battle scenes were fantastic--thrilling and very well-written. I got the impression that Mr. Hill took these elements very seriously and worked hard to get this part right and make it feel realistic. And I appreciated that, and I am sure that his younger readers probably do as well. Although not excessively gory, I felt all the inherent threat and bloody nature of battle. The element of loss is very evident in this story, and I definitely could appreciate the horrible odds that Thyrrin's people faced with an enormous invading force pitted against their smaller country. However, the Icemark people quickly proved that they wouldn't easily be conquered. Along with their fierce nature, there were elements of their rich sense of family and tradition, many aspects that would have been destroyed or wiped away by the Polipontans, who cared nothing for other cultures, only the assimilation of their lands and raw resources.
Thyrrin is a young heroine that I just loved. She was born to be a queen, and she showed a multi-facetedness to her character that brought her to vivid life. She's very strong and the kind of leader you want to have when you are facing a mammoth invading force who wants to wipe your people off the face of the earth. On the other hand, it's clear that she is very young and still learning a lot about leadership, courage, and humanity. I really wanted to give her a hug for all that she dealt with in this novel. I loved her friend, Oskan, Witch's Son too. He had a mystique, and a wisdom that was much greater than his young years. I also loved his wry sense of humor and the fact that he never took himself too importantly, despite his incredible latent power. He was a good companion to Thyrrin, able to deal with her sometimes hot-headed arrogance, and to soothe her very recognizable fears with the voice of reason and comfort when she seemed like she couldn't handle one more burden. In fact, most of the characters were well-drawn and excellently narrated by Heather O'Neill. This book really got me sucked in. I found myself cheering for Thyrrin and her warriors (the Hypollitan warrior women were freaking awesome), and hating General Scipio Bellaron. I loved the werewolves and the snow leopards, both groups having a ton of personality. The vampires were nicely creepy, and the wood folk (like the Green men and nature spirits of Celtic/Norse mythology) added a sense of majestic awe to this story. This book would have great as just a straight military historical fantasy, but the supernatural elements elevated it to an even more interesting level.
There was so much to like about this story. It really got me revved up. I was excited to listen to it, and sad but satisfied when it ended. It was definitely a five star listen for this reader. I look forward to the reading the other books in this series. Recommended! ...more
Very passionate and emotional, with vivid descriptions and steamy love scenes. If you are a fan of Olivia Gates' Throne of Judar series, you will alsoVery passionate and emotional, with vivid descriptions and steamy love scenes. If you are a fan of Olivia Gates' Throne of Judar series, you will also enjoy her newest series. As a fan of unrequited love storylines, I was in heaven. He loves her but thinks she hates him. She loves him, but thinks he only wants her because she's a princess. The fun is watching how they come to realize their feelings are very much mutual.
With Gates' writing, everything is larger than life, but it does charm this reader. If you are the type to roll your eyes at very dramatic moments and characters, you might not like this book. But if you read books for escapism, you will find hours of enjoyment in this book....more
Review of The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Rating: Three Tombstones
As I read this book, I was drawn into this story aboReview of The Ice Palace by Bill Haworth Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Rating: Three Tombstones
As I read this book, I was drawn into this story about Mikhail, who is a prince in a country where princes are quite numerous, Russia, during the 18th Century. He possesses a modest fortune, but not enough to continue living richly in Russia. So he takes on the ambassador position offered by the Tsaritsa. This leads him to Italy, where he invests in a road-building enterprise and falls in love with the beautiful but sickly daughter of the mayor and his business partner, who he marries.
Unfortunately, his marital bliss doesn't last very long, because the cruel, vain, selfish, dictatorial Tsaritsa Anna Ivanovna sends men after him and arrests Mikhail for marrying outside of his faith and without her permission. In the process, this puts stress on his young bride's already weak and taxed heart, and she subsequently dies. This might seem like a spoiler, but this is really just the setup for this story. Life goes downhill very quickly for Mikhail, for he is forced to go to Russia by land, which is a long, arduous trip. When he gets back, he is punished by the Tsaritsa (for what she considers spurning his advances since he has been an object of her lust for some time) by being forced to play the fool/jester in her court. The good thing about this situation is Mikhail has lots of time to think about his life, and to realize that he is very lucky, compared to others. In addition, Mikhail earns the admiration of others for his good-natured acceptance of his ill-treatment by the Tsaritsa, while the growing dislike of the populace is her just reward for her bad behavior. Although Mikhail never came off as shallow and selfish, you do get to see him grow as a person. Fortunately, this enables him to see the inner beauty and goodness in a very ugly servant that the Tsaritsa forces him to marry (again out of spite). At first, he was horrified by her ugliness. But his intrinsically good heart causes him to treat her kindly despite his repulsion to her poor looks. This story gives a little history background about the severe winter of 1739, where most of the lakes and rivers freeze over. People are struggling to stay warm , while the selfish Tsaritsa throws extravagant parties, eating excessive amounts of unhealthy and rich food and drinking too much vodka. She gets the idea to have an ice palace built and decides to christen it by making Mikhail and his bride Avdotoya, spend the night in it. Were it not for a little assistance from a long-lost friend, they would have died, because of the extreme brutal cold of a Russian winter night. The experience of spending the night together, fighting for survival brings the unlikely couple together, and they quickly fall in love. Mikhail is able to see the inner beauty, the sweet nature, the wisdom, and the intelligence of his new bride, and know that she is his true soulmate. While reading the story, The Ice Palace, I felt as though it had an identity crisis. It wanted to be so many things: serious historical fiction, comedy, romance, a treatise on good eating habits, and a little bit of a fairy tale. At times, it was hard to keep up with the different changes in tone that happened rather abruptly. I feel that it would have flowed better if the author had established one tone for the story, and avoided veering away from it more than necessary, and unless it was to emphasize a message. The rapid changes from serious to humorous and back left me feeling confused, and made it harder to take the narrative seriously. Another issue I had was the anachronistic language. There were modern colloquial phrases used that took me out of the historical setting and distracted me. Also, I felt that the author was a bit too preachy with his thinly veiled message about healthy eating habits. Numerous times in the story, he criticized the heavy, fatty diet of Russians, and how it contributed to bad health. Although I have no problem with his message, I felt that a more subtle approach would have been just as effective, and less like an obvious public service announcement. Despite the issues I mentioned, The Ice Palace was an enjoyable read that kept my interest. It gives a glimpse into what was happening in Russian during one of the worst winters on record. It also shows us the power of perseverance and looking beyond the surface and into the heart, a lesson that never loses its power. ...more