This was a very enjoyable Regency romance. Dominic seems a bit stiff-necked, but he mellows beautifully. Any man who could fall in love with a kittenThis was a very enjoyable Regency romance. Dominic seems a bit stiff-necked, but he mellows beautifully. Any man who could fall in love with a kitten has my thumbs up! Dotty is a very lovable heroine, and I liked the look at Regency manners. It was nice to visit with the Worthington clan again.
I will be blatantly honest. If I was rating this book by part I, it would be getting three stars and nothing more. However, the book in whole gets fouI will be blatantly honest. If I was rating this book by part I, it would be getting three stars and nothing more. However, the book in whole gets four. The beginning of this book is probably one of the most unromantic starts to a romance I've ever read. A hero who has a serial history of paying for mistresses for six months for the better part of ten years but is so tied up and proper, they can't even call him by his first name? The heroine interviewing for him naked? No thanks! She's not allowed to touch him or be seen with him and has to call him, Mr. Nakamura. She does all the work in bed?
No is really unsympathetic and actually rather robotic at the beginning. I don't even understand why he would hire mistresses. He seems like he shouldn't even have a sex drive. He is so tied up and controlled, it's hard to believe that he could fall in love with a woman. Much less have sex with so many women. Perhaps that's his only outlet, but I would have found this more believable if he had actually been more reactive in bed. I get where the author was going with this. She wanted us to see how being with Ana changes No, and how she was different from other women. She wanted Ana to stand out from the crowd, but it was too gradual for my tastes.
Lili/Ana I liked from the beginning. I have to say she really loves her brother and niece. I don't know if I could interview naked to be some rich guy's mistress for my family. Thank God I haven't had to do that! She does have a sense of innocence, but at the same time, she is remarkably blase' about the paid sex thing. I think without her internal monologue, I would have been very confused.
Japan seems very real in this book. I felt as though the author is very well acquainted with it and rather in love with the country. I've read books set in Tokyo, but not in Osaka. It was lovely to get introduced to that city. It's always good when you read a book and it makes you feel like you're visiting the place.
Now, I am the biggest Harlequin Presents fan on the planet, and the mistress scenario is a big plot in that line. I can't say I've ever been a huge fan of mistress stories, but I'm not averse to a preposterous plotline that works well. It was certainly something different. Overall, despite it's start and some parts that I didn't gel with, I walked away from this book satisfied. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but I was intrigued, so I read a sample on my Kindle. I ended up borrowing it from Amazon and finishing it in less than 24 hours. That says a lot right there.
As to the sex. I think that the initial sex scenes are way clinical to me, and I didn't like the thing that No would do to make Lili climax. All I can say is 'ouch!' I didn't care much for the blunt sexual language. I'm not a big fan of that. It's not that romantic to me. I'm fine with descriptive sexual scenes, but not with some of the descriptors. Lust is easy to find, but where's the love and romance?
I really love Asian guys. It's a huge surprise to me how much No didn't appeal to me for the first part of the book. He did start to appeal to me when he gets mad and decides he wants revenge. He actually starts acting like a human being and not a robot at that point. I like pissed off No much more than Billionaire, Proper Japanese Businessman with an Erection But No Other Emotions No. I liked how he changes and thaws and starts reacting normally. I know that his family is seriously screwed up. I realize that Japanese culture is very rigid in expressing emotions and requires strict public etiquette. I liked him much better after he comes to the US to start a company with his friend and to get revenge on Lili/Ana and his father. Angry No is Hot No. At the beginning, I didn't find him attractive because he seemed so emotionless. I did kind of like how proper and buttoned up he was, but I would have preferred if he turned into a wild man in bed instead the way he has sex with Ana for their six months together. I also liked how he nursed her when she was sick and how he seemed to want to spend more time with Ana, despite his intentions. While I normally like a coldly ruthless hero, I think No didn't work for me at the beginning because he wasn't cold in the still waters run deep, but too robotic acting.
One thing that made this book stand out, but in some ways had a problematic execution was the thread of suspense/thriller that ran through it. I had no idea how cutthroat the Japanese businessworld is, at least based on this book. I don't know how much of that's true, but the fact that No's family is samurai on both sides gives their behavior an authentic feel. When you find out how truly heinous the behavior of a certain person is, it's chilling. This makes for a much darker than book that one would expect. I think it was problematic in that some of the action aspects weren't well described. I'm picky about action scenes, because it's a huge love of mine. And when you throw in katana-wielding ninja and samurai, my expectations go up very high. But, despite that, I found it charming.
I like over the top when it's done well. The OTP in this book was done charmingly. I could have been a little better executed, if I'm honest. But despite that, I did have a smile on my face when I finished the book.
I have been hard on this book, and i realize that. I do think Ms. Taylor is a gifted author. I have such a deep love for interracial romance, I am hard on the genre. I hate that the romance part seems to be taken for granted. I think Ms. Taylor seems believe in romance, but with a bit of a more jaundiced eye than I would like. I'm excited to read His Pretend Baby: 50 Loving States, Oregon...more
I was verra much enamored with this book. A great match between the very tortured hero and heroine. I like my Highlanders brawny and intense, and LiamI was verra much enamored with this book. A great match between the very tortured hero and heroine. I like my Highlanders brawny and intense, and Liam definitely fits the bill. I have found another historical romance series to follow!
Like all of Maisey Yates' books, she takes the tried and true Harlequin Presents format and gives it an unexpected and welcomed depth. In this book shLike all of Maisey Yates' books, she takes the tried and true Harlequin Presents format and gives it an unexpected and welcomed depth. In this book she's tackled the taboo but alluring subject of step-siblings getting together. And I would say she did a great job with it.
Elle and Apollo seem to have everything to hate about each other, despite the fact that their parents are married. Apollo has set his mind on revenge, and Elle doesn't even know the whole story. All she knows is that Apollo has seemed determined to torment her from day one, and that she is so attracted to him, it scares the life out of her. When they get into an elevator together after a contentious meeting, they give into an angry and fiery passion for each other, and end up with the consequences of a baby on the way.
Apollo still wants revenge, but he also wants to take care of his baby, and he's not against doing both. Elle doesn't trust Apollo, but she wants to do what's best for her baby. They have to put their vitriol aside long enough to do right by their baby. Apollo needs to convince Elle to marry him, but Elle is pretty sure that's a bad idea, at least until Apollo can show that he is a devoted husband, fat chance. That's the rhythm of this novel.
Disguised behind the titillating subject matter is a deep story about relationships and putting the past behind you to embrace a better future. Setting aside what you used to know about a person and learning who they really are and how to best love them. I really appreciated that aspect of this story. One shortcoming is that the book does seem to lose momentum towards the end with the dramatic intensity dipping down, but I did truly love the fact that Apollo shows deep love for Elle, for who she really is. He is faced with losing her and he realizes that she's what he wants, not revenge. I love that realization the hero has about loving the heroine. Elle grows as a person as well. She's very independent and no pushover, and I liked that about her. But she also has some emotional vulnerabilities that have crippled her to some extent. Elle has wanted her father's love and respect for so long, but she's never been able to obtain it. It's surprising that Apollo can give her that unconditional love, but she realizes that for their whole relationship, she was pushing him to show her that very thing.
If a reader is just look for pure taboo titillation, this is not the book for you. If you want a deep story with that alluring forbidden love angle, with some good old enemies to lovers thrown in, then check this book out. It's not my favorite by Maisey Yates, but it's still very good. ...more
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.
This had strong writing and great art. I have no major complaints. My Batman critical meter is high and I felt that while it did revisit the genesis oThis had strong writing and great art. I have no major complaints. My Batman critical meter is high and I felt that while it did revisit the genesis of Batman with some unique tweaks, it really concentrates what makes Bruce Wayne/Batman who he is. You see Bruce as a raw vigilante, making plenty of mistakes, with a worried Alfred looking on and discouraging his kamikaze approach. I liked how prominent Alfred's role is in the story. It almost seems to go closer in the direction of "Gotham", but still with Bruce as the focus. Alfred truly is an incredible man. The older I get and the more I explore Batmanverse, the more I appreciate him. The sidestory of Gordon and Bulloch's meeting and becoming partners was more interesting that I thought. A different view on both characters. And the whole concept of the Penguin as Mayor with a serial killer on his payroll was utterly chilling. When I watch the tv show "Gotham", I have this visceral feeling of Gotham City as a pit of twisted. slimy misery. That is the vibe I get from Gotham City in this novel. You often wonder how Gotham City could be Gotham City without Bruce Wayne/Batman and you certainly know that GC has made Bruce into the man he is.
I can't ever get enough of good Batman stories in my life. This is one I'd recommend....more
This is just what the avowed Scottish highlander historical reader would ask for: a steamy, emotional love story set in a well-researched Scottish hisThis is just what the avowed Scottish highlander historical reader would ask for: a steamy, emotional love story set in a well-researched Scottish historical setting. I enjoyed Alexander and Hannah's journey to love, and Alexander is scrumptious enough to substitute for a nice hot fudge sundae. I look forward to her sister's stories, particularly young and quirky Lana's.
I found the older comics a bit dated in storyline and the artwork. It was nice to get some of James "Logan" Howlett's backstory, all the same. It wasI found the older comics a bit dated in storyline and the artwork. It was nice to get some of James "Logan" Howlett's backstory, all the same. It was really interesting to discover that Wolverine's first appearance was in The Incredible Hulk. Seeing these two guys throw down is quite an experience.
I'm having to be honest and say I can't stand Mariko. Definitely not worthy of Wolverine's pining. I couldn't help comparing this as I read to the most recent Wolverine movie, "The Wolverine," which I love, except for a few aspects. I think I prefer the movie versions of both Mariko and Yukio. Yukio wasn't bad, but I didn't like how she was so moony over Wolverine. I did like how kickbutt she was and kind of edgy. All the ninja stuff was cool (as they always are). I think Wolverine's adventures in Japan shape him in pivotal ways, and I feel that it helps to temper his animalistic nature.
Wolverine will always stand out as an antihero who is quite heroic. He learns through the School of Hard Knocks how to use his healing factor, formidable strength, and lethal fighting skills, not to mention his adamantium claws to best advantage.
Rereading "Weapon X" brings to mind why Logan is so conflicted as a character. How they deliberately and ruthlessly tortured him to bring out that aspect, and why he will always struggle against it now. And that makes him even more admirable that he can temper his berserker rage to fight with the X-Men and others on the side of justice.
If you're newer to the Marvel Verse, and want to find out the origins of Wolverine, this is worth tracking down. Just keep in mind that some of the older stories are from a different era, and frankly, like the sophistication of modern graphic novels. However, "Weapon X" is not to be missed by anyone who is intrigued with Wolverine.
This is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a joThis is a book that will make your stomach turn flips as you read it. Unger kept me from trusting that anything would be okay in this book. Quite a journey.
I think this could have easily been a New Adult novel. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the genre, but if I could find more like this book, I might readI think this could have easily been a New Adult novel. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the genre, but if I could find more like this book, I might read more of them. The reason why I feel this has a NA vibe is because both characters are in their twenties and they have the values of the Millennial generation, and they way their lives unfold, but not necessarily just in a negative way. Technology is very prominent in this story, and the fact that Nathan is a self-made billionaire in a novel way that fits the 21st Century. He also seems to be disconnected from the more traditional values that those of us of the previous generation have at our roots, but it's understandable considering his situation. Riya does have more of the traditional values of family and that might be due to her Half-Indian heritage. She's a very smart young woman, and she's had so much pressure and burdens on her, she doesn't know how to act like a person of her age. Nathan takes it up on himself to teach her that and is arrogant enough to believe that his heart won't be touched by her in the process.
Nathan is really quite cruel to Riya in some points in this book. He does it out of self-protection and in his mind trying to protect Riya, but it is still mean. I can understand why he's that way, but it doesn't mean I liked it. Overall, I did think he was sexy hero and he definitely has an impact. I like the way his dialogue and body language is described. I feel that if you met him in real life, he definitely wouldn't be easily dismissed.
Riya's mother is a hot mess. She really had some nerve the way she was talking to and treating her daughter. She had a bad habit of taking advantage of Riya and she betrayed her in a way that was almost unforgivable, and didn't seem to get why. I like that Riya still acts like a grown up with her mom, despite that. I really liked Riya. She's a young woman with a lot of sense, values, and heart and a work ethic that speaks volumes for her young age.
Another reason this feels like a NA is the very spicy love scenes. They feel pretty modern, even for a new Harlequin Presents. I would recommend this to readers who want to try a Harlequin Presents and are used to the typical contemporary romances (ebooks) out nowadays....more
I liked this slightly less than His for a Price, but that's because I fell gaga for Nicodemus. However, Chase is scrumptious in all his dysfunction. HI liked this slightly less than His for a Price, but that's because I fell gaga for Nicodemus. However, Chase is scrumptious in all his dysfunction. He truly believes he's a terrible person. He's focused on getting the thorn out of his side, one Amos Elliot, and more than willing to use his forced marriage to Amos' daughter. The fact that he marries the wrong daughter throws a wrench in his plans. Because while he was fully willing to use and discard Arielle, Zara makes him feel things that he can't dismiss and write off.
I really liked that Crews twists one of the HP themes on its head. While Zara is a blackmailed bride, she does so willingly, and she really doesn't have anything to lose. She can go back to a decent life after this marriage sham is over. She agrees because for once, she wants to prove her worth to her father, and stepping up and marrying Chase could very well do that. She doesn't expect to have some very powerful feelings for Chase, and not just lust. Chase is very damaged, and she knows it, but something keeps making her reach out to him.
I like virgin heroines a lot. But it's also refreshing to read a book where the heroine isn't a virgin, and the hero doesn't have some sexual allure over her just because she's sexually naive. I also liked that Zara was curvy/plump and she was okay with her body, even knowing that society wasn't. At first Chase had this image of perfection based on the media and being in the public eye that a woman should be skinny/bony. But he finds Zara's curves very sexy and realized that what his public image called him to select in his girlfriends wasn't really what he found appealing, deep down. I think that Chase and Zara and beautifully matched in both their strengths and their dysfunction. Zara doesn't have to change herself to make Chase fall for her, and Chase can't compartmentalize and put her into a box. Chase comes to realize that there is healing available for him and that he isn't the monster he believes himself to be. he can let go of that guilt that he carried around on his back for too many years.
This is a sexy and modern take on an arranged marriage. While the climax felt a bit awkward in how things unfold and the fact that Chase doesn't get why Zara feels so betrayed, the ending more than makes up for it. I like the closure that both siblings, Chase and Mattie gain in the situation with their mother's death so many years ago, something that destroyed them so much emotionally....more
I had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and iI had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and it's set in Scotland. But I had trouble connecting to the characters. Even in spite of the major angst the hero and heroine were feeling, I felt like I was viewing them through a thick glass instead of being plopped right there in the action.
I'm not saying that Kaye isn't a good writer. That's evidently true. I like how honest and authentic she is about women's issues and what it was like being a wife in the 19th century. In that sense, I did feel for Ainsley. I can imagine how difficult it must have been in her marriage, seeing her husband drive them into economic ruin and having her needs unmet and feeling like she was disgusting to her husband.
I guess my disconnect was that I didn't quite believe in the romance between Ainsley and Innes. Innes never won me over and I never formed an emotional connection to him. I think he was really cruel in some ways to Ainsley, even knowing how bad her first marriage had been. I felt the grovel at the end could have been more authentic. I don't know that I would have taken him back so easily after the way he ended things.
So sadly, I have to give this one three stars. I hope I that I enjoy her other books more, because I do see some promise in her descriptive writing, authentic heroines, and sensual romance....more
I am working my way through a reread to get ready for the next books in the series, and I also just plain love the Prakenskii bReread in January 2016.
I am working my way through a reread to get ready for the next books in the series, and I also just plain love the Prakenskii brothers (they're Russian, enough said!) and the Sisters of the Heart, the found family of women who buy a farm together and are united by personal tragedy and their gifts of power over the elements.
I can easily say this is still my favorite so far (out of the first 3 books), although I loved to the third power Water Bound and I really did enjoy Spirit Bound. I think that this has the best action and the romance between Airiana and Maxim is so natural in its progression. Although they seem to start as enemies, the mutual alliance they found becomes a bond of trust and love.
It hit me hard like for the first time how lethal Maxim is. He doesn't play around! Airiana is sweet, but she has the capability to dive into the fray and do what needs to be done. She's feisty too and she definitely tells Maxim what she thinks. They're such a great couple!
The children are integral to the story and adorable, but it's so awful and heartbreaking what they have experienced. The subject matter here is definitely not for the faint of heart.
I'm super jazzed to finally be able to start reading Earth Bound and excited about Fire Bound coming out in April! I've a feeling that Casmir is like Maxim on steroids.
****************************************************************************** Previous Review I loved this book!
I am seriously in love with the Prakenskiis, and I have to say that Maxim is my favorite now. He's a mad, bad, dangerous man but he loves so good! I had no clue that this tough, lethal man that we met at the beginning of this book could be such a sweet, gentle, loving guy to Airiana. I think that is Feehan magic, how she creates this guys who are lethal and ruthless, but then they are so deeply in love with their heroines, that I end up sighing as I read the book. Now this won't work for some readers, but I am such a sucker for the mix of action and suspense and romance, and Feehan has delivered both in such a delicious combination in this book.
I will confess that she's autobuy for me and I didn't even read the synopsis. I was there because I knew it was a Prakenskii hero. I didn't read the blurb until I opened the book to read it, and I was like, 'cool.' So I didn't have much preconceived notions, but I was just in it for the ride, and what a fun, wonderful ride it was.
Most of the book takes place away from Airiana's sisters, but I didn't mind that. I think that the situation was crafted very well to the lead characters. While somethings will always be the same about Feehan's books (but those things are why I read her), the situation felt different in an appealing way. Maxim is in no way a carbon copy of his brothers. And Airiana is also distinctive from her 'sisters'. Despite her air element, she's actually quite cerebral and far from flighty and hippie-chick, like I was suspecting. I liked the backstory of her life and how it ties into Maxim's story. Airiana is a tough young woman. For such a small, delicate person, she can hold her own and she was quite the action heroine in this book. She's really a very cool, down to earth, mature for her age woman. She gets my seal of approval.
I feel that Feehan does a good job of plotting and tying her stories together. and this fits very cohesively into the series. She makes the idea of the 'Sisters of the Heart' all ending up with Prakenskiis a lot more plausible than one would expect. I'll admit that I am fine with it because I can't get enough of these guys.
I liked that the love scenes come later in the book. Considering how dangerous Airiana and Maxim's situation was, it made a lot more sense. I can't stand when they take an inappropriate 'sex break' in romantic suspense novels. When the the love scenes come, they are blisteringly sexy but also very romantic. Although both are wounded, the 'getting busy' part isn't implausible. the love scenes say so much about the love journey of these two characters. You can see how much Maxim cherishes Airiana and you can also see that Airiana truly trusts Max and gives her heart unreservedly. That makes me sigh happily.
There is a really cool twist in this book that I really liked, and it adds to the believability of Maxim settling into a normal life, which he never had because of his family and their tie to the Russian government. There was some horrible tragedy and wrongness in this book, but I think that Max and Airiana were in exactly the right place at the right time and they will make things right.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. I wanted to read it again right after I finished it. Lately, I've felt less sucked into books, and this book certainly breaks that trend for the better. I rejuvenates my romance novel juices and makes me want to go on a reading tear. I have a need for more high octane romance novel action books like this, with a yummy hero and heroine I really like for this long, hot summer I am facing! Please write the next book soon, Ms. Feehan!...more
I think that reading this alone out of the whole series doesn't give you the entire picture. I feel like I have some holes in my understanding. I am hI think that reading this alone out of the whole series doesn't give you the entire picture. I feel like I have some holes in my understanding. I am hoping my library has all or most of these. I like the idea of presenting the situation through the eyes of various characters in the Marvel world. Each one would have a different vantage point based on their worldview and life experiences.
It's not a big surprise that Captain America and Iron Man come out on different sides of the issue. However, Captain America stands against the Superhero Registration out of sheer belief that it is wrong and it goes against the principles of a free society. As a true patriot, he is willing to fight for the rights of others. Iron Man doesn't have a POV in this story, so it's hard to argue his viewpoint, but I believe in his own way, he thinks he's doing the right thing as well. That's the anguish of the situation, that there are good people on both sides, although the baddies like HYDRA and Dr. Doom are going to use the discord to advance their own agendas.
The Winter Soldier has a big role in this book, as well as some protegees of well known superheroes, such as the next Hawkeye, Kate Bishop. Even Namor, who fought with Cap back in WWII shows up. It was neat to read more about TWS after seeing the excellent movie a couple of months prior to this. I hadn't even heard of him until the movie came out and from watching Marvel's Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The artwork is lovely and the writing touches on the emotional battlefield that Captain and others around him face. Civil War is an apt title for this series, because we are seeing the Marvel heroes well and truly divided. ...more
This was a lot darker than I expected. The portrayal of the dysfunctional and toxic relationship of Xavier with his mother adds a lot of depth to hisThis was a lot darker than I expected. The portrayal of the dysfunctional and toxic relationship of Xavier with his mother adds a lot of depth to his character and makes his rakish nature understandable. I wasn't happy with one huge aspect of the story, but it turned out well in the end. Almost a four star read, but I'd have to go with 3.5/5.0 stars.
As much as I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Unexpected Duchess, I loved this one even more. The author's take on Shakespeare's "Twelfth NigAs much as I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Unexpected Duchess, I loved this one even more. The author's take on Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" and the engaging comedy of manners humor, along with a sighworthy romance, really won me over. I'm looking forward to Jane and Garrett's story next. They really strike sparks off each other. Definitely recommend this series!
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale oSynopsis
Sarah Pendleton returns to her hometown of Mistletoe Valley, Oregon, to get her deceased grandmother's affairs in order, especially the sale of her grandmother's home. Her past memories of Mistletoe Valley are painful, including her rebellious behavior and earned reputation as a "Preacher's Kid," her subsequent failed marriage, and most of all, having to give her baby daughter up for adoption. Her first day back, she meets handsome and friendly real estate agent, Rich Stevens, who happens to have an adorable daughter named Carly (who coincidentally is the same age as her daughter). An instant spark and connection develops between them, but Sarah knows she doesn't intend to stay in Mistletoe Valley, where the past has eliminated her hope for a good future. Besides, Rich is also a part-time youth pastor and a grieving widower, not an ideal choice for a romance, considering Sarah's bad reputation as a rebellious "Preacher's Kid" when she was younger. Can they spend the short time they have together, knowing that they will have to walk away from any love developing between them?
The Heart Leads Home is a sweet contemporary romance that has a meaningful message about letting go of past mistakes and pain and being open to a future. Both leads have distinctive burdens to carry, and they clearly help each other through their pain, although each has to work through the bulk of their emotional issues themselves. I could feel Sarah's anguish over having to give up her daughter, failing her grandparents, and her regrets over her short-lived marriage. Her fears are reasonable, and her desire not to ‘go back' is completely understandable. She showed a lot of courage to face people who knew about her mistakes, so when she had occasional lapses in mettle in being open to a future romance and letting go of the past, it's forgivable.
Rich's issues seem to take a backseat in the story. The author does mention his pain about his wife's death, and there is a sense that he is grieving, but not as much page time is spent on processing his grief as is spent on Sarah's journey. Also the stress of his juggling his single father status with his full-time job as a realtor and his work as a youth pastor wasn't as well-described as I would have liked. I felt that his portrayal was lacking, as a result.
The romance is well done. I appreciated that even though this is a sweet/lightly inspirational romance, the author does establish romantic chemistry with some sexual attraction between Sarah and Rich. One of my pet peeves with Christian romances is the way that the characters are often sexually neutered by the author, perhaps out of the sense that any sexual content is inappropriate. While I respect that not all readers would feel comfortable with graphic sexual descriptions, I see nothing wrong with a passionate kiss between the characters or even an acknowledgement that they feel attraction to each other. Voeller achieved a good balance in her portrayal of Sarah and Rich's developing feelings for each other. How, yes, they initially feel physically attracted to each other, although their love is built on a foundation of friendship and respect.
I did feel that the secondary characters lacked definition and development. Because they seemed one-dimensional, some of the dialogue between the characters seemed disingenuous. Overall, Carly was well-done as a child character, although the scene where she behaves badly could have been more authentic.
For readers who enjoy sweeter contemporary romance with a light inspirational theme, The Heart Leads Home will probably be an enjoyable read. In some ways it seemed to have an identity crisis, because the Christian message felt a little sidelined/watered down. For readers who don't really identify with the faith message, this might appeal. But for Christian readers or those who read books to gain insight into the way believers live out their faith, this might be disappointing. Additionally, the crises faced by both leads were watered down in how they were described (another pet peeve of mine with Christian romance). Being a Christian is hard, and Christians face some serious challenges in life, and the tendency in Christian fiction novels is to sanitize the content to the point that the message lacks profundity. Despite the way the end dragged, leading to the loss of some of my emotional investment, this was a well-paced, well-written book overall.
While I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypesWhile I wouldn't typically reach for an Amish romance novel, this was a pretty good read. I liked Adam a lot, and the fact that he breaks stereotypes about the typical romance novel hero. The food descriptions were mouth-watering.
Maisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or isMaisey Yates takes the Beauty and the Beast story and twists it on its side with this book. Is the heroine the beast due to her unsightly scars, or is the gorgeous prince with his decadent lifestyle really the beast?
Disclaimer: I didn't put this review in spoiler tags, although there might be some borderline spoilerish elements. I endeavored not to give too much away, that wasn't necessary to expressing my thoughts of the book.
As I read this novel, it struck me that this is a very serious book. I didn't feel much levity, not that I always expect it, but it was noticeably lacking. Layna and Xander have some serious hurts in their past and their present situations. Xander went off the rails big time and the author wasn't afraid to keep it real in describing Xander's depredations. No Xander did it all in his checkered past (recent and distant). He was notoriously promiscuous to the degree that he doesn't even know how many women he's slept with (and doesn't even remember some of them), abused drugs, and was a hard drinker. In my mind I couldn't help wonder how healthy his liver is. I have alcoholics in my family on both sides, and through them I have seen the effects of long-term alcohol abuse on a person. I was glad that Layna doesn't let him off the hook when she agrees to marry him. She demands fidelity from him, and I was so glad that she required that he get STD tested. It was judicious, considering the circumstances. As for Layna's scarring, it's not just confined to a thin line that barely disfigures her face. She has significant scarring and the tabloids/newspapers say some truly awful things about her. That part was heartbreaking. I could completely understand her fears about going back to the public life she escaped from ten years ago. Going from a shallow, spoiled socialite with impeccable looks to a scarred woman in her near to mid-thirties who is marrying a good-looking future king would be heart-wrenching for any woman. Even with her training that vanity has no place in her life from the convent, that was difficult to weather. Although Xander is clearly the worse bargain, they make it seem like Xander is being altruistic in honoring his promises and marrying Layna.
Yates definitely brings the reality to what seems like a storyline straight out of the fairy tales. I can't say I would be eager to marry Xander with his abuses on his body (and it's not out of judgmentalism, but because you can't just click a finger and erase the effects of such a lifestyle from his body). And I think that it's clear that Xander has a ways to go before he breaks fifteen years of bad habits. I think this is evident when they are first intimate. Xander's lovemaking style while accomplished, does show a certain degree of selfishness and callousness about sex. He doesn't understand why Layna is conflicted about the experience, even though she enjoyed it. This is telling and I think realistic for a man who has spent fifteen years sleeping around with random women he meets as he frequents the casinos where he parties and makes his living gambling. I also liked how Xander's perception of Layna changes. He never thinks she's ugly, but he sees the scars through a harsher lens initially. As he falls in love with her, the scars become a part of her, and he loves the character of her features, because that's who she is. They cease to stand out to him.
Layna isn't portrayed as a perfectly good, pure woman either (other than what she appears to be on the surface). While she retired to a convent for ten years, her actions did have a certain degree of self-motivation. The convent was an escape, although she does realize how much she loves helping others and that her faith in God is real to her, in the process. At the root, it is running away, from the exposure she suffered as Xander's rejected fiance who was horribly scarred by an angry protestor, and also from her own emotional breakdown.
Yes, as I wrote earlier, this is a very serious book. Despite the fact that one would consider this storyline fertile ground for a dramatic, glossy style Harlequin Presents, there is a deep emotional core to this book that refuses to allow the reader to dismiss this book as a light read.
I gave this four stars because it was a intense, layered, well-written, and emotional novel, and I think that Yates handled this dicey subject matter very well....more
Non-stop adventure and intrigue with very poignant human drama. Like a good spy/adventure novel with a healthy dose of weird/supernatural/sci-fi fictiNon-stop adventure and intrigue with very poignant human drama. Like a good spy/adventure novel with a healthy dose of weird/supernatural/sci-fi fiction thrown in.
Confession takes the Astro City series to the next level with this story of a young man who comes to the big city to make his name and becomes the sidConfession takes the Astro City series to the next level with this story of a young man who comes to the big city to make his name and becomes the sidekick of the mysterious superhero Confessor. The drawing and coloring was gorgeous and vivid. It seemed to almost leap off the page at me. I think this volume was more emotional and much darker than Life in the Big City.
This reminded me a lot of Batman, which may or may not be intentional. I felt like the young boy was both a Batman in the making and Robin at the same time. He has his share of anger at this father's passing and the way he feels that his dad failed him. And an anger at bullies and the unjust. While Bruce Wayne was more angry at the criminal who murdered his parents, I think he also resented his parents for leaving him, for putting their philanthropy before him. In the Robin parallel, he takes on a mentor who is mysterious and driven, who inspires his loyalty the hard way. And from whom, he takes on a mantle and continues his legacy.
Some aspects of this novel hit home very closely. It deals with suspicion and prejudice, and the injustice that seems so intrinsic to a society. How people use ridiculous reasons to hate each other, and that allows deep injustice to occur in the world, often right under their prejudiced noses. The fact that being a hero rarely pays off materially, but requires an unflinching commitment, often at the risk of personal endangerment, and dealing with the fact that your work is often goes uncongratulated and the public opinion can change in an instant.
While Life in the Big City is a more upbeat, bright view of superheroes, this is superheroes in the dark. There are moments that hit me hard, and I had to go back and double check that I had read the former panel right. And I was sad to see my understanding was correct.
I think this is a seminal graphic novel work for superhero fans. Maybe I don't get an opinion (because I haven't read as many GNs as others), but that's how I feel. It shows the truth of the nitty gritty of being a superhero, and the narrator (the young man) is like a stand-in for all of us readers who were in awe of the various superheroes growing up (and even now as grown up geeks). We can see that it's not all it's cracked up to be. The first volume also showed this, but I still think it was more of a 50s style, everything is bright version of that. This is the version in which all the illusions are ripped away and you see the unvarnished truth.
This is a strong graphic novel and it deserves a high rating. I think if I wasn't in such a persistent reading slump, it might have been a five star book. It caught me at a less than ideal time, so I'm going to give it a 4.25/5.0 stars. ...more
Readers who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far asReaders who like their contemporary cowboy romance on the spicier side might enjoy this. For me, the book seemed to have an identity crisis as far as its romance genre status. The characters are emotionally all over the place and that was wearing. Overall, pretty good.