I was telling a friend, how much of an emotional wreck I was, while I was still in the middle of the reading this story. It was an intense journey. The writing is very engrossing, and once it's grabbed you and hooked you, it doesn't ever let you go. And why would anyone want to?
I was hanging on as if my life depended on it, even as my mind was confused and outraged, even when my heart was bleeding and breaking, and even more so when I felt all the good and the goodness, leaving me hopeful, feeling the love.
I'm still thinking about Murphy and Livvy, about how thankful I am they have each other. Our past, it molds us into the person we are now, but it doesn't define us. And Murphy, he is a very strong man for having survived his past, and he is made even stronger for confronting his demons and being brave enough to live a life worthy of love. And Livvy, who's given so, so much to him, loving him so ardently, wholeheartedly. She put her faith in this man, and was loved in return. All of the heartaches and the sorrow and the hurt and the pain, it led them precisely where they needed to be, and when they needed each other. It won't be perfect, struggles will always be present and they'd have to be brave and strong over and over again, but these two make me think of a happy future, one that won't ever be taken for granted, and that is what makes my heart sigh contentedly.
Really, really wanted to read Head Over Heels but remembered for some unknown reason that I haven't even read the first two. Gaaaah! Rectifying this mReally, really wanted to read Head Over Heels but remembered for some unknown reason that I haven't even read the first two. Gaaaah! Rectifying this mistake and now reading this one. I hope it's as feel-good as it seems to me!
So hard to rate anthologies ... also, while I'd love to sit here and write an actual review, have to just make this short and simple. So muuuch love fSo hard to rate anthologies ... also, while I'd love to sit here and write an actual review, have to just make this short and simple. So muuuch love for Jill Shalvis! Have bought her books already but don't think i have read any yet, so this is a first for me.
Jill Shalvis: All He Wants for Christmas
My, oh my. So when they say "heating up" they really mean it, heh. So many things to love about it: the inverting the usual unrequited love trope, the actual development in the love story, the whole Christmas season not overwhelming the story ... the banter, haha, I live for the banter and the tension. Dustin, how do you not love Dustin? I don't know how Christina held out for so long. :P But seriously though, I love how I went through a whole range of emotions, having those highs and experiencing those lows ... especially that pinch in your heart you get when you know, when you know that there is no way this heartache should even last.
(I don' t normally think up of real life people to base characters on but for som reason, Dustin's description just made me think of Rodrigo Santoro in Love Actually, with his quiet demeanor and his glases amd his hotness. Hahaha.)
This book, I can just forever keep it close to my heart. I can't even form the words for a review. The Rake and the Reformer. I laughed, I cried, thenThis book, I can just forever keep it close to my heart. I can't even form the words for a review. The Rake and the Reformer. I laughed, I cried, then I laughed AND cried some more. So much love.
My heart is so full from reading about these two incredible individuals who defied their situations by not letting circumstances, actions, and reactions define who they are. I reveled in the respect, and the friendship, and all the familial and romantic love found in this story. I loved every moment and I'm so glad I read this jewel.
Wow. I ... did not see that coming, but the tears, there were no stopping them. I had to pause and put the book down and gather myself first before reWow. I ... did not see that coming, but the tears, there were no stopping them. I had to pause and put the book down and gather myself first before reading the last few pages left. It was that emotionally satisfying for me, to read that scene that made me cry. Oh, so good....more
If I only had one word to use for this awesomely delicious adventure, it would be 'revelatory'. I've caught myself surprised numerous times in my readIf I only had one word to use for this awesomely delicious adventure, it would be 'revelatory'. I've caught myself surprised numerous times in my reading, which, needless to say, is thoroughly wonderful and satisfying. I was already more than halfway in lustlove with Colin and I already held Minerva dear, dear to my heart in ANTS, but AWTBW elevated that love for them to new heights.
(view spoiler)[Er, not spoilers really, but under the cut for now nonetheless.
Seeing these two lose their equilibrium as they discover and explore the truths uncovered about each other made my heart ache. We are treated to see beyond the façade, and suddenly I was seeing the imperfections and/or insecurities they attempt to amend, and there they were, authentic and heartrendingly real.
I love Colin for all his good intentions and fierce protectiveness and genuine affection for M, and I love Minerva for her bravery and fierce loyalty and for allowing herself to live her life for herself. Oh, these two. They may have seemed to be an unlikely pair in the beginning, but discerning minds know it is no coincidence that these two people gravitated towards each other; theirs is a cleverly matched alliance formed in the beginning, turned to a deeply loving allegiance that can't be shaken in the end. I'm so glad to partake in this grand adventure to see two genuinely beautiful people flourish and shine, as individuals and as partners.
A Week To Be Wicked is the second book in the Spindle Cove series, and it will be out on March 27, 2012. I've already pre-ordered my copy, but I've been very fortunate to have been given early access to the book via Edelweiss.
The third, A Lady by Midnight, will be out this September. I've been waiting for their story too, since ANTS. Heh.:D ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was going through my library last night when I saw this book and decided to pick it up. Obviously the summary is not going to give away the plot butI was going through my library last night when I saw this book and decided to pick it up. Obviously the summary is not going to give away the plot but now that I've read the book, that summary just doesn't match for me ... it doesn't do it justice .. Because this book is not all light and fluffy. Yes, it does revolve around the marriage agreement, and it is hilarious at times, with the witty banter, the clever comebacks, with theirhis stubbornness that just endears him even more. The story though, it's got so much more to offer than that. I won't spoil it for anybody, but I will just say that there will be many people touched by Dan's situation and by Jo's circumstances. I even shed a tear or two at different times. I loved it didn't shy away from emotionally heavy matters such as those present in the book. I loved the characters, both the h/h were so real, flawed, struggling, trying, and you can't help but love them and root for them. They've been best friends practically their whole life, and you really do get the sense of their very strong and solid friendship. It made me have faith in their relationship that even as a reader, I wasn't so worried because I saw their unwavering devotion to each other. There was this great scene in the kitchen when Dan and Jo were talking, where he proved exactly how much he knows Jo, that I didn't even realize what was going on until she paused and I had the same epiphany. Jo, too, gifts Dan something like it when in the end, she gives him a chance to be alone to figure some things out. Then, there were supporting characters that were also awesome, and were actually very ... supportive of their plight, hehehe. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were plenty of moments to love and there were sooo many moments that made me fall in love. The ending was a little too much for me, like something I would expect from a romcom movie, but apparently Dan could do no wrong in my eyes because it just made me love him even more. This is my first of the author, but I'm definitely off to buy more of her work. :D...more
He hides his true colors while she hides her true self. That statement alone would have gotten me to read this book right away, but as it was, back inHe hides his true colors while she hides her true self. That statement alone would have gotten me to read this book right away, but as it was, back in April or something, I kept hearing about this book with many readers either abhorring "that scene" and hating the book completely, or admiring the book because of it ... I didn't want to be spoiled so I went ahead and downloaded this and read straightaway. I was so very curious to see what everyone was talking about, and I was really interested to discover also what kind of reaction it would warrant from me. And oh, my. What an experience it was.
I'm not going to lie. This book is a difficult read for me. I don't like reading about betrayal and deception to begin with, because I can't abide by it in real life. Duplicity is the ultimate risk, and trust once broken is so, so hard to earn back. But then again .... people lie all the time. We tell others half truths, we tell them white lies, mostly it's sprung from our (misguided) love and our need to protect others. Truth hurts. But it hurts even more to know that the person we have trusted with our heart has outright lied to us.
Truth hurts, but it doesn't kill. Except maybe if you're Diccan, and you've uncovered a Plot To Kill Someone, and then suddenly the whole country's safety is at stake. As a spy masquerading as a diplomat, he takes his duty to serve his country to heart. He has been doing this for so long, pretending to be someone he's not, that he's perfected the art of Being Somebody Else. And he has been fine with living that kind of life, being known as The Perfection. Up until he got caught in a compromising situation with Grace. Now there's another person who exemplifies duty. As a soldier's daughter, she has learned to sacrifice her own desires. All her life, she has been exactly what others need her to be. She could not wait for the day when she is able to live freely and honestly, without reservation. Grace has dreamt of it for so long, and damn, she has definitely earned it. But she can't have it. Because that choice has been stripped away from her, and she finds herself obliged to Do The Right Thing once more. Diccan and Grace marry.
Truth doesn't kill, but it suffocates. Diccan does the honorable thing and marries Grace (although he bungles that up by not even asking properly in the first place). He knows that he was set up, and that he would be able to protect Grace by staying together. Maybe both of their names can be salvaged. When women get asked The Question, it usually signifies a happy start to their future, not a sad goodbye to dreams now dissolved. Grace entered this marriage with her eyes wide open and her heart already broken. Neither of them harbors the illusion that this marriage is a blessing.
But they do their best.
We see glimpses of who Diccan can be when not bogged down by all the secrets and lies. I think this is why I can never truly hate Diccan. Because as much as it pains me to see the repercussions of his actions are, especially towards Grace, we see how conflicted he is and how much it pains him to do the things that must be done. I think if Ms. Dreyer didn't do an exceptionally good job of showing us how this is greatly affecting Diccan as well, I wouldn't have been able to finish this book. Because truly, some of the things that Diccan does seem well and beyond redemption. To put his duty to his country over his love? Over and over again? How horrible must the choices be to choose from? And to know that each time he is hurting somebody else. Somebody who has become real to him -- a person he has come to care a great deal for. Those moments of inner conflict, when it shows he regrets his actions and that he is even disgusted with himself for putting her through so much, you get the feeling of just how unjust and cruel the fates have been to them. Because Diccan is not a detestable person. He is honorable. He is thoughtful. Protective and gentle. Despite everything he has done, he is still capable of love.
When you're just tolerating someone, you don't really get to see them for who they are, for what they have to offer, and for who you could become because they're present in your life. But once you start caring for them, you start admiring their strengths. You start being attracted to them, not just because of their looks, but because you've seen beyond. Without even knowing, you have come to accept the person just as they are. You begin to see them in a different light, respect blossoms, and love begins to grow.
Grace may not be called beautiful, she may be too tall, she may be a cripple, and she may not know the ways of the ton, but she is not just amazing ... she is real. She is smart. She recognizes truths for what they are. She is so giving, always sharing a piece of herself. Grace is a good person; kind, decent, and loving. Just don't mistake her for weak, because when she is put to the test, her strong character, solid sense of dignity and her heart worthy of love is something remarkable. I fell in love with her. No wonder Diccan fell in love with her.
But it wasn't easy. Like I said, this was tough for me to read. It was challenging for me to finish the first time because of how real it was for me. I don't know how many times I have picked this book up since I first read it. Sometimes I just flip to a page and start reading from there. More often than not, after doing that, I find myself going back from the beginning, completing the book. I've picked this book up when I was very upset at something. I picked it up when I was feeling much angst. I picked it up when I was feeling content. It didn't matter the mood and the time, I suppose, because always, it always feel like a rollercoaster and I'm guaranteed to feel something.
Grace's plight was so heartbreaking. I tried to explain it to a friend once, and usually when I do something like this I like to quote (I remember words.) a passage from the book, a part of the dialogue between the characters ... I couldn't come up with one. The book was littered with those poignant moments, when we have access to Grace's penetrating thoughts and we are allowed passages to those moments of her agonizing and heartrending resolve. It felt to me as if pieces of Grace's heart were scattered in those passages, and I felt as though I was the one who has lost her heart. I had to keep reading. I wanted to know that she didn't give up so much of herself that she becomes lost in the process. I wanted to know that she's learned to not just accept things as they come, but to fight for what she wants and what she needs. I had to know that Grace makes it, dignity in tact, heart pieced back together. I had to be strong for this character, because she had to be strong. As distressed and lost and heartbroken as I was, I still couldn't help but hold on to the hope that she will be wanted and needed and loved. Such was my tenacity in believing in their Happy Ever After.
Because Diccan and Grace, they're essentially two wounded, lovable, damaged, good people caught in the charade. Because as much as truth devastates their heart, it also ultimately frees their soul. Because everything they have been through, all the hurt, humiliation, and anger they were subjected to only strengthened character and fortified their resolve to live the life they deserve with the person they want, and need, and love.
All I can say is that the book did not disappoint. It's a rare book nowadays that can get a reader to experience a whole gamut of feelings and emotions. Surprise, happiness, angst, loneliness, rage, betrayal, shock, confusion, heartache, concern, hope, love .... and in the kind of intensity the story and the characters compels you to feel. There are times when I was just astonished at how much one person can give and overwhelmed at just how much they can take, when I was touched by simple gestures that show their real person, when I was just tempted to close the book and walk away because of the extent of anger and hurt I was feeling at that moment, and there were times when I just wanted to hug the book so close to my chest and never let it go.
I love the way Gaelen Foley writes. To me, she's one of the best writers out there. I know I'm only on her second book, but regardless. Her words invoI love the way Gaelen Foley writes. To me, she's one of the best writers out there. I know I'm only on her second book, but regardless. Her words invoke a whole new world and I find myself irrevocably drawn into it. My senses are forever engaged, and I can not only picture the setting, but I feel like I'm engaged in it. The world building is excellent, with history intertwining superbly with personal backgrounds. The plot is tight, the characters are complex and multi-dimensional. I get tickled everytime I meet her characters as they are presented and thrilled to see them challenged as they struggle and grow. Awesome storylines and lovable characters. :D
Lucien. Lucien who is not really anyone's favorite. Lucien who is just so misunderstood (Hi, his name is Lucien, Draco is one of his numerous alias. Sets you up thinking he's a bad guy. But oh, he's soo not). Harbors many secrets (he is a spy, so naturally) and conceals his real thoughts and feelings from others (a stonewall, so he won't get hurt). But hiding inside himself got exhausting, and it did not prevent his heart from breaking.
How fitting, that this was what his life had come to, he thought acidly as he crossed the billiard room. For the past two and a half years, he had worked alone, changing identities like a shape-sfifter each time he had moved on to a new assignment, drifting in and out of countless people's lives like a ghost, never quite connecting. Now not even his twin brother knew him anymore -- di not know him and did not want to know him, for he was a spy, a deceiver, a man without honor. A man who knew the rules of gentlemanly conduct and ignored them. Self-loathing pulsed through him, and despair. If Damien did not give a damn about him anymore, who ever would? No one, he realized, with an empty, sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He was utterly alone.
Lucien has a realization that he simply doesn't want to be alone. Fate threw him together with Alice, and because of a deep and indescribable connection he felt with her, he chooses to hold on to her and not let her go. I loved being inside Lucien's head. It was confusing, and you feel his hesitations and you understand why. It was heartening, seeing how tender and gentle he is with Alice, patient, willing to compromise ... to learn. I was there with him when he let himself become vulnerable enough for Alice to be able to break down those thick walls he built around his heart. I, too, allowed myself to hope for the best.
Loved jealous!Lucien, I couldn't help but laughed when he was reduced to irritation. Looooved playful!Lucien, being so awesome with Harry, playing pee-a-boo, the way he interacted with him when he was giving him his gift (oh, and it was so much more than the prism, Lucien.). Ugh. My heart. When he comforts Harry. Guh. It's ten times as big. And then he finally breaks down and tells the story of his capture and my heart breaks for him. Especially when he thinks that by showing his true emotion, she'd think him a weakling. Oh, Lucien. You'll always be my hero. ;)
Loved that we were able to go on this journey with him, from his loneliness to his desperation to his happiness.
Things I liked:
The plot, the game, the action. Oooh. When there's action happening I can't even breathe. I had to stop and remind myself to breathe. Hehe.
The minor characters. I know we didn't see a lot of him, but I liked Mr. Whitby. Awesome mentor. Heh. The bad guys really did give me the creeps. I really felt danger whenever the story shifts to their perspective, and I truly feared for their safety. That Bardou guy. Eeeevil. Caro ... I hated her, and pitied her. So much.
Things I didn't like as much as I would have:
Otherwise known as things that hinders happiness and/or causes Lucien pain. Hahahaha. I promise I didn't even notice it when I was making this list, but I couldn't figure out where to put these characters. Then it hit me. The main reason why I don't like them in the first place is because of how they've tortured Lucien or made things so much more difficult for him. :D
Alice. I liked Alice well enough ... for recognizing early on what Lucien is trying hard to express to her. There were moments that I didn't like, specifically some things she did that I didn't like ... Maybe it's because I'm biased, because I didn't want Lucien to be hurt (hahaha, he's got my heart), but when she proposed an ultimatum? Gaah. Cringe-worthy moment for me. That's not to say that I don't understand what she's trying to get at, but, heeeey. Guy is thinking about the future, your future together, even thinking of you bearing his children, for goodness sake, and there you are, listing your demands before he can have you. I know, can't really blame the girl for trying, for trying to understand and break through Lucien's world. (After all, how many of us can comply with the "ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies" policy?) Another thing, when she (of course) didn't stay in her room, defiantly going after him in the Grotto ... making him choose again, revenge over love. Then the thing happened, then they had to separate ... I see it from both sides, so this one's a tough one, but ultimately, my loyalties lie with Lucien (mortal enemies, come on!). But then. And this is after reading the entire story. I was left with the feeling that Alice will take really, really good care of Lucien. Good enough for me. :D
Then there's Damien Knight. I didn't even know how disparaged spies were, but this is his twin we're talking about! His twin, and he's failed to understand Lucien. :( Just didn't seem right. And I know, it's said that Damien is the respected one, admired and beloved, but he just came across as cold. (Heh. Damien's cold as ice while Lucien's hot as sin. And yes. That's from Sarah MacLean's list, lol.) And then he has the audacity to go to Alice and propose to her and "make things right." Wth, D, that's how low your opinion is of your brother? Or that's how far you are willing to go to hurt him? And that horrid proposal, lol. I hope whoever he'll marry will have fun making him melt. But then. Oh, but then. We get towards the end and we see that Damien is not indifferent. Oh, no, not at all. That scene with Lucien and Damien....so lost, so heartbreaking. And then they clear up misunderstandings ... I'm intrigued, what can I say. I'm intrigued and soon I'll be reading Damien's story. :D
3.5 stars. I flew through the first part of the story because I wanted to get over the whole Big Secret and Big Mis part. Suddenly found myself slowin3.5 stars. I flew through the first part of the story because I wanted to get over the whole Big Secret and Big Mis part. Suddenly found myself slowing down when I got to the better half of the story....more