A bunch of my fellow romance lovin’ Goodreads friends have been reading and raving about Kristen Ashley, and with great...more5+ stars – Contemporary Romance
A bunch of my fellow romance lovin’ Goodreads friends have been reading and raving about Kristen Ashley, and with great reason. Lady Luck is the third book in the Colorado Mountain series, and after reading it, I’m now 3 for 3 with her books being big 5 star winners that I loved.
There’s just something about her stories that grab me right from the beginning and never let go. I especially love how the details, descriptions, and conversations depict such vivid images of the characters and scenes so that it feels like you’re watching a movie in your mind. It’s true that the editing could use improvement and there’s perhaps too much elucidation of inane minutiae, like clothes, jewelry, outfits, rooms, furniture, and common “stuff”. But overall Ashley’s unique writing style and genuine, engaging dialogue bring the story and cast to life. Her books are unusually lengthy and take me longer to read than other authors/books, but then astonishingly when they’re over, I’m sad and still want more. Fortunately, she also gives her readers superb epilogues that more than satisfy.
I absolutely adored Lexie, but I didn’t warm up to Ty quite as easily. I felt bad for him and all that he endured, and his anger, cynical mistrust of women, and desire for vengeance were more than justified. Even so, Ty’s cruel treatment of Lexie in a couple of momentous, heartbreakingly intense scenes really pissed me off. I cried like a baby and felt nearly as emotionally flayed and raw afterward as she did. Lexie’s such an incredibly sweet, loyal, giving, and loving heroine, and I wasn’t sure he’d be able to win me back after he’d hurt her so terribly and unforgivably. Amazingly he did, and with icing and a cherry on top. It certainly didn’t hurt that he’s a smokin’ hot, tortured, badass alpha, which I can never resist.
Crude language doesn’t bother me, but there’s a lot of fuckin’, pussy, and bitch talk in this that got somewhat grating at times. Also, I didn’t really care for Ty’s nickname “mama” for Lexie initially, but it grew on me after a while.
My summary of the Colorado Mountain series so far: Favorite hero: Max from The Gamble Favorite heroine: Lexie from Lady Luck Favorite overall story/book: Sweet Dreams And I can’t wait for Chace and Faye’s story!
I’m glad she’s got an extensive backlist and more book releases coming because I definitely want to read more by this author! Big 5 stars!
I envisioned hunkalicious Boris Kodjoe as Ty. He doesn’t have enough tats, but I’ve got a great imagination and could mentally tat him up.
I imagined Jennifer Garner or Rachel Weisz as Lexie. I think either of them could play her with the perfect mix of sweet, goof, and sass.
Awesome read! Finally another ICE book and it delivered! With exotic locales, nonstop action, edge-of-your-seat danger, knu...more5 stars – Romantic Suspense
Awesome read! Finally another ICE book and it delivered! With exotic locales, nonstop action, edge-of-your-seat danger, knuckle-gripping suspense, uber nasty villains, an unforgettably sexy, ruthless Irish hero, a heroine who manages a minimal amount of whining for such extreme and violent situations, hot sexual tension, and steamy romance, On Thin Ice is definitely a must read for fans of Anne Stuart’s ICE series and dark romantic suspense! My only quibble is that there are quite a few editing errors, but those minor mistakes didn’t lessen my enjoyment, at all. 5 stars!(less)
Wow! What can I possibly say about this one to convey how absolutely wonderful it is? Talk about a charming, wick...more5+ stars – Historical/Regency Romance
Wow! What can I possibly say about this one to convey how absolutely wonderful it is? Talk about a charming, wickedly splendid read and a smashing good time! A Week to Be Wicked is one of the most engaging, refreshing, witty, banterific, and all around pleasing historical romances that I’ve read in quite a while and definitely so far this year.
Colin is a handsome, flirtatious, affable, generous, funny, sweet, and utterly lovable scoundrel whose tormented past and insecurity make you want to hold him tight, heal his wounded soul, and never let go. And spunky, awkward, bespectacled, bluestocking, spinster geologist Minerva, who prefers spending her time unearthing rare rocks and minerals and making scientific discoveries to people, might appear his polar opposite, but together they prove that magnets indeed attract.
Colin, with his good-natured, roguish charm, endearing wit, and underlying tortured soul, reminded me of one of my favorite romantic heroes, Leo Hathaway, Lord Ramsay from Lisa Kleypas’s masterful Married By Morning, and that’s high praise indeed!
It’s a highly enjoyable, gratifying read for historical romance fans! Big 5 stars!
One of my favorite scenes/passages:
(view spoiler)[A hint of sensual frustration roughened his voice. “And I will curse the gods along with them, Min. Some wild monsoon raged through me as I looked at you just now. It’s left me rearranged inside, and I don’t have a map.”
“I will insist you be man enough to take it. I won’t have you making light of my feelings, or making light of yourself—as if you’re not worthy of them. Because you are worthy, Colin. You’re a generous, good-hearted person, and you deserve to be loved. Deeply, truly, well, and often.”
He looked utterly bewildered. Well, what did he expect, after the power he’d given her? He couldn’t compare a woman to a torrentially beautiful monsoon, and then look surprised that he’d gotten wet. “You reckless man.” She laid a touch to his cheek. “You really should be more careful with those compliments.”(hide spoiler)]
I recently read and enjoyed Samantha James’s Sterling/Perfect Trilogy, and especially loved A Perfect Bride; so...more3 ½ stars – Historical/Regency Romance
I recently read and enjoyed Samantha James’s Sterling/Perfect Trilogy, and especially loved A Perfect Bride; so I was excited about this first book in her new The Lords of Sheffield Square series.
I enjoy dark, emotional, angsty romance with the best of them, but the constant over the top melodrama in this was a bit eyeroll inducing at times. The whole “I hate you and want revenge/lust for you/hate you/can’t control my lust for you/hate and hurt you/lust for you even more/could it be I love you?/but wait, I don’t deserve you/still lust for you/keep hurting you/but I do love you!” between the H/H was exhausting.
And OMG, (view spoiler)[What the hell was up with Claire shrieking over and over again about Gray wanting to take her baby away from her?!?! Gawd that was annoying! (hide spoiler)] Gray was quite often to blame for much of the hurt between them, that’s true, but Claire still made me want to smack her (hard!) at times.
But despite all that, or perhaps because of it, The Sins of Viscount Sutherland captured my attention like a car wreck and kept me riveted and turning the pages. It’s definitely an addictive soap opera and the H/H frustrated the heck out of me at times, but I was also entertained. By the time Gray and Claire finally, finally found their HEA, I needed a relaxing glass of wine. 3 ½ stars.
**spoiler alert** 4 ½ stars – Romantic Historical Fiction
Note: This is actually my second review, as the original got lost somewhere on the Island of...more**spoiler alert** 4 ½ stars – Romantic Historical Fiction
Note: This is actually my second review, as the original got lost somewhere on the Island of Server Timeouts and Misfit Reviews.
At this stage in my life, I read exclusively romance (of various subgenres) because it’s what interests and entertains me, and life is too short to read books that I don’t want to. I used to read historical fiction and non-fiction because I enjoy learning about people and places in various times and seeing the ways society has changed, progressed, and sometimes digressed. That probably explains why I love historical romance so much, since it satisfies my historical and cultural curiosity while still giving me my much needed romance fix.
I’m not an equine expert by any means, but I enjoy equestrian sports and events, like horseracing, as a spectator and respect the awe-inspiring power, majestic beauty, and historical significance of horses. I love books and movies that feature horses prominently, like Riding Lessons by Sara Gruen, The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans and its film version, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry and the TV mini-series, one of my all time favorite movies The Man From Snowy River, and Hidalgo, Seabiscuit, and Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken to name a few others.
So a book that combines 18th century English history with strong equine elements, like breeding and horseracing, and yet is at its heart an epic account of star-crossed lovers? That sounded intriguing indeed, and I’m grateful to new author Emery Lee for giving me the chance to read her romantic historical fiction debut, The Highest Stakes.
The attention grabbing prologue sets the stage for a riveting tale of retribution, but it’s so much more than that. Set mostly in Georgian England and mainly spanning a period of nine years, between 1742 and 1751, this is a powerful, evocative, and complex tale of true love, social class differences, friendship, adventure, war, greed, betrayal, and revenge, all centered on and around the high stakes world of horseracing.
Let me just say upfront that although the racing serves as an important expression of characters and events, there are a lot of complicated details on horse breeding, bloodlines, lineages, and training that some readers might find a bit cumbersome, especially in the first part of the book, but I think you can skim through those passages (if it’s not of great interest to you) and still highly enjoy all of the other elements. I know I did! There are several intriguing characters worth mentioning, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on the three key players: Charlotte, Robert, and Philip.
Orphaned Charlotte Wallace is a lonely, adventurous girl who’s only freedom from her aristocratic uncle’s cruelty, emotional neglect, and oppression is training and riding horses unimpeded across the heath of the family estate. Then she meets a kindred spirit and genuine friend in poor, hardworking stable groom Robert Devington, who shares her intense passion for horses, and their kinship soon evolves into deep love. Charlotte makes it clear that Robert’s lack of social and financial status mean nothing to her and that all she desires is for them to be together. But Robert knows that her uncle and other members of the elitist ton will never accept him without wealth and standing, so he leaves to join the military in order to prove himself worthy of earning Charlotte’s hand.
Robert becomes a trooper in the King’s Horse Guard and develops a close friendship with his Troop’s leader, Major Philip Drake. Philip is the second born son of an aristocratic family and an affable, notorious rake and spendthrift of often dubious morals, whereas Robert is serious, honorable, steadfast, loyal, and celibate in his faithfulness to Charlotte but of low class birth. Although Philip and Robert are complete opposites in social station and personality, theirs is a brotherhood forged in blood and battle. Their friendship is an integral part of the story and ultimately has far-reaching, irrevocable ramifications.
After distinguishing himself nobly in various military campaigns and earning a title and prestige in the King’s Horse, Robert returns to claim his true love. However, Charlotte’s villainous, elitist uncle refuses to see him as anything but a lowly stable hand, and he conspires with other forces to thwart their love and to keep Robert and Charlotte forever apart. This is where the “highest stakes” part of the plot comes into play, with an ultimate wager on a horserace with honor and a betrothal, not just money, as the prize that becomes a life-altering catalyst for the characters.
I was so infuriated at Robert for not trusting in Charlotte’s commitment and willingness to endure any obstacle to be with him, regardless of his social position and lack of wealth, and for doubting her loyalty. But I think his motivations, decisions, and reactions were totally realistic because a man’s identity and pride are often tied with his being able to provide for and support his woman and family.
Philip Drake is a charismatic, complex, hard to define character whose selfish actions resulted in devastating consequences for several characters. There are multi-faceted layers to Philip’s personality that have yet to be completely revealed, so I’m looking forward to finding out more about him and hopefully having some questions answered in Lee’s next book.
It’s an epic, against all odds love story that will twist your emotions and have you cheering, cursing in anger and frustration, and possibly screaming noooo! at times (like I did). But I have to give author Emery Lee kudos for its authenticity and for not taking the easy road with the characters, even though it was really trying to witness their pain, injustices, and hardships. One thing to keep in mind (for romance readers like me) is that although it’s a passionate love story, the actual physical intimacies besides kissing and some mild petting happen off the page, but the relationships were so emotionally intense and well developed that I didn’t miss the sex.
Two things kept me from rating it five stars: 1) The excessive equine breeding details that sometimes overwhelmed the story’s flow and characters and 2) the abrupt, rather anticlimactic ending. After enduring so much emotional agony, tumult, heartbreak, and drama between Robert and Charlotte, I wanted a little more closure and gratification in the end. Yes, there is a satisfying HEA, but it’s over with much too quickly. I wanted another chapter and/or more of an epilogue...darn you, Ms. Lee! :)
The Highest Stakes is an original, well researched, intelligently written, poignant, and sweeping saga that should appeal to horse enthusiasts, historical fiction readers, and fans of unique, complex, Georgian historical romance with star-crossed love theme. 4 ½ stars!
“Try as you may, you can never defy love.”
Finally, mutually, and completely, they released all doubts, abandoned all fears, unwilling and unable to deny this overpowering love.
This is an enjoyable, engaging, and utterly romantic read with charming, multifaceted characters, intelligent dial...more5 stars – Historical/Regency Romance
This is an enjoyable, engaging, and utterly romantic read with charming, multifaceted characters, intelligent dialogue, witty repartee, hot sexual tension, the right amount of humor and emotion, and very steamy love scenes. It’s my first read by Julie Anne Long, but it definitely won’t be my last. And it’s certainly sparked my interest in reading the other books in her Pennyroyal Green series. 5 stars.(less)