The Perfect Wife is a perfect treasure! Avelyn and Paen are both wonderfully likeable and caring people. Because he spent so many years fighting in th...moreThe Perfect Wife is a perfect treasure! Avelyn and Paen are both wonderfully likeable and caring people. Because he spent so many years fighting in the Crusades, Paen was so obviously clueless about how to interact with his wife, yet he was observant enough to see - and deal with - Avelyn's low self-esteem caused by her nasty cousins. Thank you, Lynsay Sands, for this beautiful falling-in-like and falling-in-love story!
'Begin as you mean to go on', Iliana's mother had always told her. So when Ileana's new husband refused to bathe until the end of July (after all, he'...more'Begin as you mean to go on', Iliana's mother had always told her. So when Ileana's new husband refused to bathe until the end of July (after all, he'd just bathed in January!), she donned her chastity belt and hid the key.
This was a cute premise, and Sands handled it with her trademark humor, but this one just didn't have the same punch as Love Is Blind or The Perfect Wife. The humor didn't flow quite as well here, and I just couldn't accept the idea that Iliana would have been able to wear that blasted device day and night (she unlocked it only to relieve herself), so that premise just didn't work for me in the long run.
But I did enjoy the verbal interactions between them - and between Duncan and his father, where Angus berated him for being 'a randy bastard' for bedding Iliana day and night when he hadn't even been able to get past the belt!
The mystery behind the murder attempts soon became pretty obvious to the reader, and I was sitting here pretty wide-eyed at Iliana's leadership in repelling a siege and saving the castle. But the characters were appealing enough to make it better than average - to me, it's 3.5*, but that option doesn't exist yet, so I gave it 4*(less)
Moira is a serf-born woman who has been taught by life to expect nothing, especially the love of a high-born man of power and privilege. Addis is that...moreMoira is a serf-born woman who has been taught by life to expect nothing, especially the love of a high-born man of power and privilege. Addis is that man of power and privilege, but he has also been dealt some hard blows. First he was left for dead on a crusade (and his wounds were not delivered by the enemy!), and then he spent six years as a slave, so he understands Moira’s need to be more than a bondwoman. But he also knows that he only feels whole when he is with her. The problem, of course, is that the rules of society say that they can never be more than lord and lehman, and Moira knows that her soul, her spirit, could never survive being only his mistress, especially once Addis marries, as he must to secure an alliance and provide legitimate heirs. All Addis knows is that he must find a way to make sure that their ‘accident of birth’ does not keep them apart. I was impressed with the steps he took to bring them their very unlikely happy ending. (less)
Joan has escaped the horrors in her past, only to indenture herself for 5 years to a London tiler. Her drunken master, however, was responsible for pu...moreJoan has escaped the horrors in her past, only to indenture herself for 5 years to a London tiler. Her drunken master, however, was responsible for putting her in the stocks, since she was caught selling the defective tiles he sent with her to the market. Rhys protects her from the hecklers & rotten-fruit throwers, and ends up buying her indenture. He knows that he wants more from her than master & servant, but he also senses her fear of physical involvement. So altho he keeps her papers, he has not forced her to his bed - even though they both feel the strong sexual awareness between them. Joan has strong reasons for avoiding intimacy, and she is so focused on avenging what happened in the past that she does not feel she has the right to enjoy the present. Then suddenly all the promise of what could be is spoiled when the ugly and dangerous past returns.
The title of this book is very appropriate - both Rhys & Joan are designers. Rhys is a mason who also sculpts beautiful statues; Joan makes lovely tiles and beautiful miniature statues. I loved reading about their work.
This is a stand-alone story, but the roles that Addis & Moira play here make more sense if you have read By Possession, the first book in this series. But that's no punishment, as this is a great series!(less)
Blanche wanted to be an ordinary woman, capable of feeling deep emotions and strong passions. But she is 26 years old, and the only thing she feels st...moreBlanche wanted to be an ordinary woman, capable of feeling deep emotions and strong passions. But she is 26 years old, and the only thing she feels strongly about is her charity work. Then her father dies and she’s a rich orphan who must marry to have someone to manage her estate. Suddenly she has 228 fortune-hunters wanting to woo her, and she is so overwhelmed she flees to the countryside. But the estate she thought to escape to isn’t hers after all, so she ends up staying at Land’s End, which is owned by Rex DeWarenne, the brother-in-law of the man she was engaged to marry 8 years ago. After a week at his estate, Blanche and Sir Rex have gotten along so well that she decides he’s the perfect man for her, so she proposes marriage to him – a marriage of ‘convenience and economy’ with her living in town and he spending most of his time in the country. And she is stunned that he’s insulted at this offer! And Rex is already a bitter man – he lost half a leg in the war, his son legally belongs to another man, and he despises society. How could they ever suit?!
Now the emotional journeys begin, and Blanche discovers she’s not so emotionless after all, but that comes with a price as her emotions come back with a vengeance. She begins having nightmares and fainting spells and flashes of memory of an event that happened when she was 6 years old – an event that has been locked away from her conscious mind. All these things cause her to think she’s losing her mind.
Although the story eventually grabbed me, this author’s writing style did not initially make it easy for me to get emotionally involved in the characters – they felt ‘cardboard’ to me for too long to say that I enjoyed the entire book, but I am glad I stayed with it – the 2nd half was worth the read. (less)
There were a lot of things to like about this book. Circenn and his insistence on following a few basic rules - until he meets Lisa and starts breaking...moreThere were a lot of things to like about this book. Circenn and his insistence on following a few basic rules - until he meets Lisa and starts breaking his own rules one by one. Circenn and his love for his family and his people. Circenn and his old-fashioned morals and gentleness. Circenn and his desire to make Lisa happy. Circenn and...
I found it very easy to empathize with Lisa and her problems in the present time, and to respect her because she put aside her dreams to work menial jobs and care for her mother. I liked that Lisa had knowledge of the 14th century & enjoyed 'losing herself' in the medieval wing of the museum - it made it more plausible that she could adapt to medieval life. What I couldn't understand was why she waited so long to explain why she wanted/needed to go back to her own time.(less)
The prologue of TTaHW was great, but then the story kind of limped along, even though the competition for Jillian's hand should have been more interes...moreThe prologue of TTaHW was great, but then the story kind of limped along, even though the competition for Jillian's hand should have been more interesting/compelling/I'm not sure what word to use. For me, this story really took off at p. 180, and from then on I was hooked. I loved Jillian's parents, especially her devious 'da', and the interaction/conversations of Grimm's uncle and dad were fun to read.
I liked Grimm in 'Beyond the Highland Mist' (he took that wishing-on-a-star so very seriously!), and I liked him throughout this book as well - I just couldn't decide about Jillian for the longest time. In the end, it seemed to me that she didn't just grow up, she changed personalities! However it was, the 2nd half of the book redeemed it and made it almost a 4* read(less)
How can you not love a man whose biggest fault is loving too strongly? And how can you not love a man who is strong enough - morally & emotionally...moreHow can you not love a man whose biggest fault is loving too strongly? And how can you not love a man who is strong enough - morally & emotionally - to withstand the evil power trying to take over his soul, while searching for a way to send it back where it belongs?
Daegus is host to 13 evil immortal souls because his unconditional love for his twin brother led him to time travel to undo Drustan's death, thus breaking the Compact with the Fae and picking up the evil hitchhikers in the 'inbetween'. Now he is searching for the way to keep from unleashing all this evil on the world. His mistake is in not realizing/understanding that his unconditional love for Drustan is reciprocal - if he had gone to his brother for help, they may have found an answer earlier, but then Daegus wouldn't have met Chloe. His Druid self 'knew' her immediately, but it took Chloe a little longer. She loved Celtic artifacts, and was entranced with the multitude of them she saw in his penthouse, but once she realized Daegus was the ultimate Celtic artifact - well!(less)
This was not really a 4* read for me, but it was above average for the most part, so 3* wasn't enough. I liked the story, I loved the Highlander clan...moreThis was not really a 4* read for me, but it was above average for the most part, so 3* wasn't enough. I liked the story, I loved the Highlander clan members (especially Angus & Ian & Malcolm), and Jaime's son Jesse was almost too good to be true. And I really liked the gradual change in Jaime from his first 'she's-a-witch, I'll-throw-her-in-the-pit' response when he first saw her in his castle.
So what didn't I like? Elizabeth was a 20th century author who often ate take-out and seldom cleaned her own apartment, yet without any adjustment time she jumps right in and not only organizes cleaning the castle (that was for survival), but is down on her hands and knees scouring a truly disgusting floor, and apparently was a good enough cook to create recipes. And then there's Megan, who's been posing as a boy for nearly a decade because Jaime didn't allow females in the castle, but as soon as Beth puts her in a dress, she acts completely like a girl, again with almost no adjustment time. It was just too jarring for me.
That said, I will continue reading about the MacLeods(less)