I will not be rating this one as I didn't give up on it because it was bad, but because I just couldn't connect with the intricate world. I felt liDNF
I will not be rating this one as I didn't give up on it because it was bad, but because I just couldn't connect with the intricate world. I felt like you had to have some kind of background understanding of Middle Eastern culture in order to get an idea of what is happening here and I just don't have it.
The characters and the world are all very gritty and complex which I normally love. However, there is very little time spent introducing the reader to the world and giving them the opportunity to adjust and feel familiar with it. I was constantly lost and frustrated and finally couldn't justify continuing. Reading a book, especially a fantasy/urban fantasy, shouldn't be work and this was nothing but that for me.
I'm hesitant to put a star rating on it, because while I didn't enjoy it, I felt that there was a depth that others readers of the genre would enjoy. So, if you have the time and patience for decoding some very subtle world building, please give this a try. Otherwise you might want to move on to something a bit lighter. ...more
“Look at us. Amps. We're morons smarter than Lucifer. Cripples stronger than gravity. A bunch of broke-ass motherfuckers stinking rich with potential. This is our army. Our people. Strong and hurt. We're the wounded supermen of tomorrow, Gray. It's time you got yourself healed. New world ain't gonna build itself. And the old world don't want to go without a fight.”
Amped takes place in a future America where technology has managed to help individuals overcome disorders of the brain. Amplification devices are fitted to manage everything from ADD to epilepsy. Sounds great right? Well in a country legendary for its history of discrimination, these devices cause a whole new civil rights movement. It just so happens that people fitted with these amplifiers also benefit from enhanced neural processing and focus, setting them at a cut above the rest. Schools and workplaces are becoming inundated with individuals who are smarter, faster, and stronger than the average American, leaving everyone else in the dust. So, what's an average American to do? Take it to the supreme court of course.
When the supreme court rules that amplified Americans (Amps) are not equally protected under the Constitution, the world becomes a frightening place for anyone with a maintenance port on their temple. There is rioting in the streets and people are being thrown out of their homes as contracts with Amps are no longer being recognized as legal and binding. Enter Owen Gray, a man whose amplification merely keeps him from going into epileptic seizures; or so he thinks.
Amped started off with a bang, hooking me from the very first chapter. I kept saying to myself, "This is it! That epic read I've been waiting for!"
The narrative reminded me so much of Ready Player One that my awesome meter exploded and I started raving to my friends and family about how Amped was going to be the best read of my year. Little did I know...
It literally felt like it was the skeletal outline of a much longer novel. With an idea with this much potential, I was really looking forward to an epic read. While, Amped combines familiar aspects of American history with futuristic technology to create a concept that is wonderfully intriguing, it fails to really follow through. Wilson spends too much time jumping the reader from one major plot point to the next and not enough time developing the core characters and exploring the epic possibilities of cybernetic civil rights.
Amped does have some spectacular moments where you get a glimpse at what a truly remarkable work of science fiction this could have been had the author taken more time to develop his idea. The wasted potential is even more highlighted by the newspaper articles, court rulings, and press releases at the end of each chapter detailing how the events were impacting the nation as a whole. For all its ambitious concept and likeable characters, there just wasn't enough meat to back it up....more
Calder is enjoying himself in the Caribbean when he is abruptly called back to the shores of chilly Lake Superior by his sisters. Their blood calls them to avenge their mother, and it just so happens they finally found the man who can satisfy their blood lust. Calder is recruited to seduce Jason Hancock's daughter Lily in an attempt to gain his trust and get him alone on the water so his sisters can strike. Everything is going fine until Calder develops feelings for Lily and must fight between his emotions and his animal instincts, or risk losing the only warmth he has ever felt.
Murderous mermaids indeed! This dark take on possibly one of the most fanciful mythical creatures is breathtaking in its morbidity. Lies Beneath was a first for me in a couple of ways. First, it was my very first paranormal romance about mermaids. I hadn't yet taken the plunge into mermaid fiction as it seems to have been met with mixed reactions, but when I saw the cover for this one and read the blurb, I had to give it a go. As a friend recently pointed out to me, I tend to lean towards darker fantasy as opposed to fluffy fairy stories. With that in mind, this really was the perfect introduction to mermaids in popular fiction for me.
The other first that Lies Beneath presented me with was a first-person perspective, starring the male lead. I have read fathoms of paranormal romance from the perspective of the naive, human girl, but never have I come across a YA story told by the seductive otherworldly guy. A tale told by the predator has an entirely different tone. Had the narrative been more traditional, Calder's initial murderous intentions would have been unrelatable and could have very well made this more disturbing than darkly delightful. Thanks to Brown's foresight on this, you get to see their violently beautiful existence through his eyes, rather than discovering a completely alien way of life as experienced by another clueless teen.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about Lies Beneath was that the author stayed away from the Disney incarnation of mermaids and even poked a bit of fun at Ariel. Brown seems to have molded her merpeople around the dangerous sirens found in Homer's The Odyssey; those tantalizing, yet vicious creatures who lured sailors to their deaths in the murky depths. Calder and his sisters thrive off of absorbed energy from humans they drag beneath the waves. Creepy? Oh yes, but the author's well developed mythology and vivid writing style make this a tale about how truly transformative love can be for the soul.
The only issue I had with this fantastic first title in the new YA series was that there were some continuity problems. Especially near the end of the novel when the hectic climax was in full-tilt, I found that certain events weren't explained enough or were just dropped entirely. I don't know whether this was because they will be expanded on in the coming sequel, or if the author lost sight of them during the frenzy and hoped readers wouldn't notice. Regardless Brown's writing style, while wonderfully depictive, reveals that it is still in need of development.
The Final Verdict An impressive debut that fans of dark fantasy will delight in.
FTC Disclosure I received an advanced reading copy of this book from Netgalley and Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for the views expressed above. All opinions are my own. ...more
Four years after the zombie apocalypse, Paige is released from her family's locked down bomb shelter into the dessicated remains of her hometown. Her mission: meet up with her father and his fellow scientists at Disney World to help rebuild society. Outfitted with razors that extend from her fingertips and some ocular implants that do so much more than night vision, Paige should have no problem getting passed the undead. That is, until she has a chance meeting with her first love, Chris Parker, now known as Chase. Chase still hasn't quite gotten over her ditching him during the outbreak. Paige hasn't gotten over putting duty before love. Will they find love again post-apocalypse?
First, I'm going to touch on the split chapter element as it seems to be dividing reviewers. The book is set up with chapters alternating between past and present; before the apocalypse and after. Some have found this bothersome, awkward, and confusing, but I thought this was a brilliant way to tell the story and loved how the juxtaposition of the two timelines allowed Chase and Paige's back story to unfold within the action. This kept the book fast paced and made for a truly enjoyable read.
I loved the combination of strong love story and zombie action. Mancusi doesn't shy away from the darker elements of this genre, but still manages to keep the tone intrinsically young adult. These two are still teenagers trying to figure out who they are while they fight to survive. You even get the fairly annoying relationship tug-of-war aspect so common in YA fiction. A bit of this is necessary to keep the story moving, but it got to be too drawn out for my taste. The character development was so-so for Paige, but quite a bit better for Chase.
In the chapters concerning past events, Chase is the scraggly, soft hearted nerd who just wants a shot at the pretty popular girl. In the chapters concerning present events, he has been shaped by the apocalypse into a harder, more world weary version of himself. Obviously this works for a number of reasons, not only has he grown out of his scrawny body, but also his naive view of the world. I even enjoyed the fact that Marcusi was brave enough to tackle teenage drug addiction. She blended it well into the plot and made it one of Chase's eventually redeemable flaws. Overall, the development of his character was very satisfying. However the one thing that really bugged me was I felt like some of his sentimentality wasn't realistic for a nineteen year old boy. All three of my brothers are around this age and let me tell you, when daydreaming they would not be imagining their girlfriend/love interest as a Disney Princess. The imagery I got out of the last third of the book from Chase concerning Paige felt very out of character for a guy his age and broke me out of the rhythm the book had going. It felt much too feminine and not in sync with the more realistic tone of his thoughts from earlier on in the story. To me, this just felt like a rushed effort to tie together the whole Disney themed undertone of the novel, which while kinda fun at first felt a bit out of place in a story that had started out so gritty.
What I loved about this book was the technology aspect. Paige's razors and ocular implants made her a unique and kick-ass heroine. The zombie origin wasn't exactly unique. The zombie virus is spread by a vaccine that should have been a cure for a disease that has been plaguing mankind, in this case HIV/AIDS, but instead backfires turning everyone to mindless, flesh eating monsters. Cure gone wrong has been done quite a bit, but the implementation of it all was done very well.
The Final Verdict:
A very sweet post-apocalyptic love story, awesome tech, and fast-paced story make this a quick and enjoyable read, but the occasional lightness in tone was more awkward than complimentary. Tomorrow Land will please fans of fluffy YA fiction, but may not appeal to more hard-core fans of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genres....more
Amelia, a spinster at 27 is secretly a published author. In order to pursue her dreams, she vowed never to marry. However when Amelia agreed to accompany her dear friend, Prudence to meet her potential fiance, she never expected to become the object of Lord Carnach's desire. In an unfortunate turn of events, Amelia finds herself in a tenuous situation. Marry Lord Carnach or be ruined in the eyes of the ton. Either way she has earned the ire of Prudence who is one of the three people who know Amelia's scandalous literary secret.
Malcolm is a Scottish laird who desperately wants to save his clan and their home in the Highlands by joining the House of Lords. He seeks an obedient and simple wife in Prudence to help him reach his political aspirations without scandal. However when he lays eyes on Amelia, he can't deny the magnetic attraction he feels towards her. Will he be able to tame her into the wife he needs or will their passion consume them both?
While I ate the majority of this book up there were a few things about it that irked me. After tearing through the first half like a mad woman, I started to notice a continuing pattern that at first presents an interesting twist to Malcolm and Amelia's romance, but becomes frustrating after the fourth or so repetition. The whole basis of this book's plot is that Amelia never wanted to be married, but now that she is, she is altogether the wrong kind of wife for Malcolm's political career. I very much enjoy the premise of an unlikely pair finding love and understand that this requires quite a bit of back and forth, "I love him, I hate him." However, instead of feelings and complications evolving over time, the two characters are stuck with the same issues throughout the entire book. Plus, they spend very little time actually considering their situation and substituting actual relationship building for loads and loads of sex. It sort of goes like this...
Malcolm: Are you going to behave woman? Amelia: Are you going to force me into subservience so that I will have no time to write my...letters? Malcolm: (Gets distracted by her breasts) Um... letters? What could you possibly be writing to people about!? Amelia: You know... stuff, the Highlands, London stuff... Malcolm: (Still distracted by her breasts) There's something she's not telling me... Oh well! Bend over darling!
Obviously that's only my abbreviated version of events, but you get the idea. This sort of thing happens over and over again. After half of the book I felt like the romance just wasn't developing and they were trading sex for avoidance of the real issues. Finally at 2/3 of the way through, it has to actually be stated point blank, "I think I'm in love with him/her" by each of them internally in order for you to get the gist that all this bumping and grinding hasn't been for nothing. I feel if the emotional side of the romance was better developed earlier on in the story, this would have been an excellent read for me.
As it stands, this was still a good read, much better than many of the historical romance I've been indulging in lately. I enjoyed the premise of Amelia, who was determined for spinsterhood, lands herself in a marry or be ruined situation. The irony that she is stuck in a situation she would have written for one of her heroines was attractive and I loved reading about how the Highlands and Malcolm were inspiring her to be a better writer. Even though I didn't enjoy the constant back and forth I did appreciate the fact that there were no easy answers here. Everything doesn't magically fall into place and work out in the end. The characters have to work for their goals.
Overall, I felt Scotsmen Prefer Blondes is an enjoyable read read for lovers of the genre and will likely charm less picky readers. ...more
I gave this one a good try and because I didn't finish this, I won't bore you with a long review.
All I can say is, there was noDNF
Been There Done That
I gave this one a good try and because I didn't finish this, I won't bore you with a long review.
All I can say is, there was nothing new here that I haven't seen in other books of the genre to keep me interested. The writing was decent, but offered nothing unique or substantive. I just didn't see the point of wading my way through another mediocre paranormal YA that wasn't delivering when my review queue is filled with books written by authors who are taking risks and delving into unexplored territory.
'Burn a Pure and breathe the ash. Take his guts and make a sash. Twist his hair and make a rope. Use his bones to make Pure soap.'
When I first picked up Pure I was relieved. My review queue was a mile high and I was looking forward to a fast-paced YA read. With all the great press this book has gotten, I figured it was going to be highly addicting and a nice diversion from all the so-so books I had been slogging through recently. Quick and dirty. Easy Breezy. In retrospect, I don't know if anything could have prepared me for Pure.
My initial reaction to Pure was frustration, confusion, and morbid fascination. I hated the narrative perspective. The third-person present tense completely threw me off and made the experience that much more grating. ie. "Pressia is waiting..." I kept thinking, "Who writes like that?" and "Why write like that?" I even considered updating my Goodreads status to make a point as, "Jess is thinking she does not like this book..." I wondered if this was some strange attempt at making "stream of consciousness" the new literary fad, but no, Pure was still understandable, just frustrating. The strange world I had been tossed into without warning had me struggling to acclimate and I spent the first quarter of the book in aggravated confusion.
Then something strange happened. I couldn't even tell you exactly when, but I began to become attached to the characters and the story was slowly drawing me in by taunting me with little peeks at the big picture. Once the main male character Partridge leaves the Dome and begins to experience the outside world, I had a truly awesome lightbulb moment. What I realized was, Baggott meant for her readers to be confused at first. The strange and disturbing elements of the alien world created by the detonations is shocking and the true gravity of the consequences of nuclear warfare could not be better related to readers than to force them to feel it for themselves.
While this book is classified as young adult fiction because it follows teenaged characters, it carries a much more graphic and intense nature than most book in the genre. I have seen reviewers classify this book as "icky" or "just gross", but let's be honest here. What did you expect? This book chronicles the struggles and survival of individuals who have been deeply scarred, mutated, and even fused to the world around them. The weight of the message this story carries was meant to challenge your way of thinking and immerse you in a world where teenagers must be brave, strong, and decisive as opposed to the often more fickle nature of YA characters. Do I recommend this book for everyone. Absolutely not. There are scenes that made me cringe from their graphicness and scenes that I never saw coming from a young adult title. I'm not talking about sexual content. The novel is very mild in that aspect with mostly a chaste kiss that is few and far between. I'm talking about gore and death. There is a particular twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) that completely shocked me with it's disturbing abruptness. That being said, it felt completely right within the context of the story. As an adult, I was elated that Baggott was not afraid to truly express the gritty, dark nature of her world.
The Final Verdict
Pure is a hauntingly brilliant story that combines the impact of more literary dystopia with the sneaky addictiveness of modern day young adult fiction. This is a story I will not soon forget and I look forward to future volumes in this series with hungry anticipation. I would recommend this book to adult fans of YA and dystopia and more mature teens....more
I was not aware at the time I took this on for review that it was a non-fiction history book rather than a novelization of historical events. I normally don't take on biographies or other works of non-fiction for my blog, however I must say, throughout the course of the book, I became captivated with the story Goldstone so eloquently revealed in the pages of The Maid and The Queen.
The book is split into three portions; Before Joan, Joan of Arc, and After Joan and chronicles the intertwined lives of Joan and Yolande of Aragon, Queen of Sicily. I was very interested to see just how Yolande of Aragon influenced Joan's journey and how Yolande in turn seemed to fade into the recesses of history. What I found was the much larger portrait of Joan's life and death that the small picture I already had fit into. The things I was taught about Joan through history teachers, documentaries, and films didn't even begin to cover what actually happened to this amazing girl. Goldstone manages to give readers the facts as objectively as possible while still staying respectful to Joan's religious beliefs and claims. While I would have expected a non-fiction book to attempt to explain away Joan's visions and voices as delusions or schizophrenia, The Maid and The Queen points out the events that were pushed along by Yolande of Aragon while gracefully allowing for Joan's piety.
You must be wondering why I have given it only three stars after having enjoyed it so much. Although it is beautifully written, there are points within the book that seem bogged down with political dealings and war strategy. While these details are important to the overall understanding of the events of the Hundred Years War, they dry up the lushly told history and slow down the read exponentially. A reader who is only looking for the tale of Joan of Arc would easily get frustrated fishing through the political intrigues, rivaling parties, and genealogies. That being said, I still enjoyed learning about these two strong women.
If you are a fan of non-fiction, Joan of Arc, and are interested in learning in depth about the Hundred Years War, I would recommend picking this one up. As a reader of mostly fiction, I enjoyed it very much and feel it has been a good introduction for me into reading more books like it. ...more
Leaving Mundania is a non-fiction, in-depth look into the world of live action role playing and the people who have made it a lifestyle.
If you are a regular on my blog, then you know I am nerdy and proud. Now although I'm an avid gamer, I can't say that I've delved much into the world of LARP. I mean, I have cosplayed at anime conventions, but I don't really consider that to be the same thing. I did play table top RPGs with my high school buddies a couple times, but it just wasn't something I got into. Now years later in my adulthood I have found a sudden interest in this subject. While I don't expect to go jumping into a LARP convention anytime soon, I do see the experience in a whole new light. I picked up this book out of curiosity and came out intrigued and endeared thanks to the wonderful compilation of stories and information that Stark has put together.
I love that this book doesn't just seek to dump information into your lap about a subject you probably know little about. Stark informs her reader through the telling of her actual personal experiences and the often heartwarming and comical stories of LARPers she has interviewed. I didn't feel like I was being talked down to by some self-important expert on the subject. I felt like I was being led, hand-in-hand, through the entire process of starting up to becoming a part of the community. I think people interested in the subject will find Leaving Mundania a lot of fun.
Another thing that I found interesting while reading this book was that LARP may very well be a great device for authors. How you may ask? Well, as explained in this book, LARPers explore the characters they have created during each session of gaming. One of the most important things an author needs to do before they even put pen to paper is to get to know their characters. What better way than to actually put themselves into their characters' shoes and see how they would react in a plethora of improvised situations? I could see this process truly immersing an author into the characters they wish to write about and allowing them to reach an entirely new level of development. I could just be nuts, but it's at least something to ponder I think.
The Final Verdict Leaving Mundania is a fun and informative read that will satisfy your curiosity and quench your thirst for nerd culture.
FTC Disclosure I was provided a review copy of this book by Netgalley and Chicago Review Press in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation for my review. All opinions are my own....more
Derek Prince's night on the town takes a sexy turn when he meets a mermaid. No, not a real one, but one of the nearly legendary beautiful, virginal women who entertain Manhattan's most prominent men. Entranced, by her beauty and charm, he follows her into the infamous nightclub, Fathoms where he discovers how the other half really live!
I really liked this sexy, contemporary adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Although there is no actual magic or mermaids involved, this erotic short still tinged my nostalgia for the Disney film even as it turned up the heat.
What I loved about Immersed in Pleasure was that the hero, Derek, doesn't try to sweep Xenia off her feet and take her away from her life. The heroine is not some damsel in distress, but a strong woman who can take care of herself. Unlike many popular romances today, Xenia doesn't just throw her life away for her man. I won't spoil the end for you as it has an interesting little plot twist, but I enjoyed it very much.
I also really loved that the narration of the story unfolded as Derek told his guy friends about how he and Xenia met. The funny little interruptions of his buddies asking for more info had me chuckling and added to the fun tone of the book.
Recommended for those looking for a sweet and spicy short!...more
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland meets Greek Mythology when Teenager Cora Alexander falls through a sinkhole during her abusive father's funeral and finds herself in the Underworld! Together with her strange and not entirely trustworthy guide, Minotaur, Cora must navigate the Underworld to find her genius brother Lucas. But what's a living girl to do in the land of the dead?
The White Oak suffers from a raw narrative riddled with short, choppy sentences. However, there is an undeniably captivating quality regardless of the overall unpolished feel. From start to finish I was pulled into the strangely wonderful world White has created. The chapters are a reasonable length making it easy to read one chapter at a time during a busy schedule, but you may find it difficult to stop. Cora's surroundings are so unique and fantastic that you will devour many chapters at a time just to see what comes next. Despite its obvious Alice roots, the entire reading experience fondly reminded me of Jim Henson's movie Labyrinth with all the bizarre and fiercely beautiful creatures and locations.
My main problem with The White Oak is that it felt more like half of a book than a whole one. Just as the conflict with Minos began to reveal itself, the story ended. I felt like the moment I began to truly love this tale, it was over and I was left feeling like I had been majorly jipped! There was just not enough actual story and there is no real character development in sight. I never felt like I got a chance to really know Cora as a person. I understand this is going to be a series, but this felt more like a novella companion than an actual first novel in a set. I really would have liked it to be much longer
Although this book didn't match up to my standards with length and polish, I still can't deny there is something magical about this book. An immense potential lingers in the background showing itself in brief spurts throughout the novel. I kept waiting for it to reveal itself during my read, but just as I thought, "Yes! Here it is!" the book abruptly ended. Regardless of my disappointments, you can bet I will be reading the next book in this series. This author has the potential to be amazing, and I want to be reading her books when that happens. ...more
Jax is a young witch on the run. She does not want to live her coven's black magic lifestyle and dreams of a normal teenage experience. Then she finds Baker's Gap, a tiny little town where everyone knows everyone else, and Jax settles in. Can she keep her powers under the radar and avoid being tracked down by her coven? When things get crazy, will she stay and protect her new found friends, even if the price is death?
When we first join Jax as the story opens, she has already flown the coop, bought a used slug bug and a small RV, and has procured herself a campsite to live in. She already has a plan for getting herself enrolled into the local high school in Baker's Gap, after failing numerous times in other towns. This is also where she gets her first sight of the local supernatural hunter who ends up being the school hottie. Don't worry, that wasn't really a spoiler as you find this out almost immediately. That was one of my problems with this book, there was very little mystery. Most of the plot is straight up with only a few minor plot twists. It was very easy to feel like absolutely nothing was going on.I would have liked to have experienced the escape with Jax and gotten a better feel for the hostility of the life she was leading rather than just being told, "this is this, and that is that."
The awkward toss of the reader into the already executed escape was a rough start, but really the whole book feels rough and underdeveloped. There is just not enough world building for the reader to feel either comfortable in the story, or confident that it is going somewhere. This is not helped by the fact that the meat of the book is made up of silly teenage stuff. Jax gets a crush on her super hot hunter, Jax gets a BFF, Jax goes to local dinner and gets milkshaked by local bitch, Jax pines over hottie hunter, Jax goes to homecoming! It just goes on and on and it was disappointing for me because I was looking forward to a fun YA paranormal experience not teen time with residual magical effects. This felt like a story about a contemporary runaway landing in a new town and doing silly teenage stuff. The witch aspect plays a very small role until the very end of the book.
My other main problem with White Witch was that I never really connected with any of the characters. There were plenty of fun, likeable characters, but this book was so short, and there was so little development, that these characters just felt like faces put there for the direct purpose of furthering Jax's journey. Although this is exactly what characters are in relation to a hero/heroine, the reader should never recognize them as such. A reader should be so lost in the story that they see supporting characters as people, not tools to move the story along.
That being said, there were things I enjoyed very much. I loved Jax's new bestie Toni. She's a tough young lady who isn't afraid to be who she is. As a fellow Buffy nerd, I had a lot of fun with all the references to the show and definitely though Hostile 17 would have been an excellent name for Toni's band. Although I still couldn't quite connect to these nearly transparent characters, Toni was my favorite. I think this really sums up how I felt about the entire experience; fun, cute, but just not quite completely there.
The bottom line is, this was a cute but lacked direction. The story and characters were rough, underdeveloped, and felt more like a sketch of what this could have been rather than a final product. White Witch could use some more action and a final polish, but definitely has potential behind it. There is a stronger version of this story somewhere and I would be glad to read it once it is found....more
This companion novella to Firelight fills in that three year time lapse at the beginning nicely. Readers who enjoyed the first book in the Darkest London series, and couldn't get enough of Miranda and Archer will find this informative. There were many things left unexplained about Miranda and Archer's time apart in Firelight like (view spoiler)[Miranda's failed engagement and her deflowered status (hide spoiler)]. I definitely wondered about these things and was glad to have gotten a decent explanation thanks to Ember.
I think my favorite part about this though was getting to experience the beginning of Miranda and Billy Finger's friendship. The development their was very sweet and often times chuckle worthy.
I'm only giving this 3 stars as it really is only a bite of the original and doesn't necessarily offer us a new story. Enjoyable, but read Firelight first. I observed that it would have been confusing for me otherwise as they leap over key plot points in expectation of the reader already being aware....more
After being saved by, and feeling up, a shadowy man in the alleyway behind her home, Miranda dreams steamy dreams of him every night. Three years later, the destitute status of her father forces her to marry The Dread Lord Archer, a darkly eccentric nobleman whose face is perpetually covered with a mask in public. He makes ladies faint in fright at the thought of what deformity he is hiding, but really he cares only for the affections of one lady in particular. The young lady he saved in that alleyway three years ago. The beauty marries the beast in an attempt to pay back her father for ruining him forever as a merchant with her dangerous gift. Can this beauty ever truly learn to love a beast?
I will begin by saying I absolutely adored this book! As a fan of historical romance and urban fantasy, I about died when I read the description for Firelight. A sassy heroine with supernatural skills forced to marry a mysterious masked man with a frightening reputation in Victorian London? Yes please! Usually, I bounce back and forth between a saucy historical romance and a gritty urban fantasy, however in this case, both of my cravings were equally and undeniable satisfied. Callihan's ability to place the reader directly in her world without getting too into the often tedious societal explanations is astonishing. I literally felt like I had jumped straight into Victorian London from page one. The world building is done flawlessly throughout the span of the novel as Miranda and Archer attempt to keep their secrets from each other. The third person perspective jumps from Archer to Miranda nicely offering readers intimate insights on each of the characters and their back stories. I ended up soaring right through this book and was left desperate for more. Not to say Miranda and Archer's story isn't wrapped up, it is, and very nicely so. Now to discuss my new favorite couple...
The chemistry between Miranda and Archer is incendiary! I can honestly say I have never been that hot and bothered over a near-kiss scene before. I mean, they don't even really kiss and I was fanning myself due to my furiously flushed face. The tone set between the two of them left my skin tingling in anticipation of the next heady moment.
“With the suddenness of a cat leaping upon its prey, he leaned forward and caught up her wrist. "Tread lightly, Miranda Fair." His thumb moved lightly over her fluttering pulse, as she stared with her mouth assuredly hanging open in shock, her heart beating furiously within her breast."You know, it's never wise to tempt the devil." His gaze lowered to her hand, still locked in his grip, her fingers glistening with pear juice. "Had I not this mask, I should be of a mind to suck that juice right off of your fingers.”
After ridiculously sexy scenes like this I was dying to get to the good stuff. The frustration Archer and Miranda felt at being so close to each other, but still kept at arms length due to their secrets was so palpable, I ended up writing this short poem to express my own longing.
Oh sweet frustration!
Oh agonizing fascination!
Oh desperately desiring delight!
Oh despair for I am doomed to die without Dread Lord Archer's dark dalliance!
And oh what dreams may come!
Archer's secret was definitely not what I was expecting, and a tad bit disappointing, however I think it is fair to say given such a wonderfully intriguing tool as a masked man, it is easy for what we imagine to be much wilder than reality. All in all, I am thoroughly impressed and delighted! Calihan has been added to my list of must have authors. I don't have too many series or authors that I will go right out and buy without seeing if the library has it first, however anything Callihan releases from now on will be sure to appear on my bookshelf!
To Be Continued? Absolutely! I will be impatiently, agonizing until book two, Moonglow, comes out in August! ...more
Dominic Paget awakens in the home of Julianne Greystone where he has been taken to receive care after being ghosted out of France by Julianne's smuggler brother, Jack. Dominic was shot in the back by an assassin, because, you see, Dom is an English spy working to help end the threat of the French Revolution. Unaware of his location, and the sympathies of the household, Dom pretends to be an officer in the French military, appealing to Julianne's Jacobin leanings. Will the love that forms between them survive his lie? Can two people on opposite sides of a war make their love work?
I didn't like this one as much as i thought I was going to. The prologue was very exciting and the concept intriguing, but the first half of the book really ruined it for me. The development of Julianne and Dominic's love while he is masquerading as Charles comes across as silly, fake, and over the top. Julianne's character is so naive. I get that she is innocent and doesn't really understand the world around her, but her thought processes come across very childish. Unfortunately, she makes for a very wimpy heroine and when paired with the very alpha Dominic, she just looks pathetic.
The second half of the book made this book more enjoyable for me because once Dom was no longer pretending to be Charles, I like him a lot more. I loved his uber alpha male attitude, for some reason, that cold exterior really did it for me. Plus, he doesn't baby Julianne at this point. I ended up enjoying the book just for him and the intrigue.
Speaking of intrigue, there wasn't much to begin with and I almost gave up and put this in the silly romance pile. However, the second half of the book makes up for this and brings to the table all sorts of plots, betrayals, and blackmail.
Even though I didn't like the heroine, I did enjoy the book as a whole. It was a very quick, and fun read once Dominic was unmasked. You could also see the author pulling the strings of characters who will star in books to come. Although this wasn't a great read for me, I will still be looking out for the next book. Sometimes, the first book in a series is just ok, but the rest ends up being amazing. I can see that being the case here. Plus, I want to read a romance staring the Greystone brothers! They sound dreamy! Lucas' blonde hair and grey eyes, Jack's roguishly charming demeanor! Oh and, Dom's ex-fiance, Nadine, just so happens to be lonely and in need! There is definitely lots of potential for future great reads there. ...more
This book was well written, well played out, and I believe will be well loved by romance fans of all kinds. I'm sure there are many amnesia themed romances out there, but this was my first one and I really enjoyed it. I felt like this book really stood out from the masses of historical romance out there in that the characters were wonderfully developed and the circumstances keeping our heroine and hero apart were more realistically observed. There was no magic solution. Society doesn't just look the other way like they do in most historical romances. Georgia actually has to work and make sacrifices in order to be with the man she loves.
I loved the incorporation of classic literature. It completely endeared the hero to me that he woke up from his accident thinking he was Robinson Crusoe. I respected the hero. Once he got his memories back, he didn't have a miraculous change of character. He was the same basic person who happened to learn some lessons about life and love. He didn't delude himself that he could make the ton accept lower class Georgia. He didn't say "Oh, what the hell!" in the name of love. He unselfishly considers the ramifications it would have on Georgia's happiness and well being. This wonderful fact gave Georgia the opportunity to be one of the strongest heroines I have ever read. I was so proud of her by the end. She never swooned and got her way. Everything she got, she had to bust her butt for.
Aside from the main characters, the supporting characters were also well written and well loved. From the hilariously creepy neighbor suffering from a bought of unrequited love, to Georiga's rough and tumble son-in-law, I found myself loving every character in this book.
My only complaint is that the ending was rushed. The majority of the book was fleshed out perfectly, engaging readers in the lives and circumstances of the characters. Georgia's plan to inflitrate the ton was such a fun idea. I really thought it could have been its own book, but wouldn't have minded Marvale making her book a bit longer to incorporate more of how Georgia and Roderick deceive the ton together. I felt cheated out of that part of the book.
Recommendation: Get cozy, make your favorite beverage, and get ready for a romance read that will take you across the emotional spectrum and leave you cheering for a strong heroine. No wilting violets here!...more
The intriguing first installment of the Veiled Isles Trilogy gives readers a taste of its rich world and the cataclysm to come. Jianna is the spoiled daughter of Magnifico Aureste Belandor. While on her way to a new land and a future husband, Jianna is kidnapped by an enemy her father discounted long ago. Jianna must overcome her pampered upbringing and naivety of her father's past deeds in order to escape the fate that awaits her.
The whimsy of this book caught me right away with the prologue and the humorous banter between Grix Orlazu and his automaton I never felt forced to read this as the style and quality of writing were wonderful, however I felt like there was a veil between myself and the characters. Although I wanted to get to know them better I could never really connect or relate to any of the character except Jianna. Jianna annoyed me at first with her bratty attitude and complete dependency on her father to rescue her, however as the story progressed and it become more and more clear that her father would not be coming to her rescue, I was pleasantly surprised at Jianna's development. . I especially enjoyed her nursing of the patients with Falaste Rione. Instead of complaining and getting grossed out, she rose to the challenge and helped heal the battle injuries of her patients. I loved her growing sense of responsibility and her eventual willingness to devise her own way of escape. It was nice to read about a heroine who tries to save herself rather than just waits for someone else to do it. I look forward to seeing how much she grows in the next book as well.
There was were very little romance elements in this book. You could tell the author is setting up Jianna to have feelings for Rione, but instead of focusing on a romance, the Paula Brandon focuses on her world building, characters, and story. Although I felt the chapters focusing on Vinz Corvestri slowed down the pace of the novel quite a bit, I still enjoyed getting to know the characters. Rione was my least favorite character in this story, mostly because he was a complete and utter wimp until the last couple chapters. I absolutely hated that he just stood around and let Jianna be hurt and treated as a prisoner. If Jianna does develop feelings for him and he becomes the love interest, I hope the author gives Rione a way to redeem himself because he is still on my shit list.
Readers will find this first installment to be more of a precursor to the main story which seems to be set to unfold in book 2. While reviews I have read complain about this, I was compelled to find out more and actually excited by the way it all ended. The end perfectly sets up book 2 for readers and gives them a pretty good idea of what is happening to the world around its characters. As a zombie fanatic, I am not completely convinced about the zombies of Brandon's world, but am looking forward to finding out more about them. I think Brandon had the right idea when she set up The Traitor's Daughter to mostly set everything up so that she could get into the meat of things in book 2 The Ruined City set to be released February 28th of 2012.
Recommendation: Fantasy fans will recognize the elements of an epic tale, but will want more clarification. Not for readers looking for a romance novel, this is pure fantasy and adventure. ...more
Tess and Jack haven't seen each other for 10 years, but when her father's disappearance brings them back together again, they must overcome their turbulent past and join their roguish skills once again for the greater good. Will Black Jack be able to deny the fire that still lingers between them? Will Tess find the strength within herself to love him once more?
Much Ado About Rogues is the final installment in the Blackthorn Brother's series as Michaels has run out of brothers to write about! I have to admit, this series will not be added to my favorites list, however it still holds its own unique charm. I enjoyed reading about each of the bastard brothers and felt Michales wrapped up the series quite nicely, leaving no loose ends and offering a satisfying solution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these books, all are well written, witty, and charming; I merely feel they were an "ok" experience for me.
In this last book, we meet some new faces and get reunited with some old favorites. I couldn't force the silly grin off my face when Puck made his grand entrance. His infectious personality had me adoring him since the second book in the series and I felt he made a perfect fit within the plot of this book as well.
Our heroine Tess is a woman to be admired as she is no damsel in distress. We first meet her wearing buckskins and a linen shirt , looking very much like the lady rogue she is portrayed as. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and her subsequent training by her father and Jack. These were by far the most interesting portions of the book as I just couldn't get into the rest of the story for some odd reason. In all honesty this should have been the ideal story for me as the heroine is kick-ass, the hero is dark and broody, and it takes a sharp turn away from the traditional historical romance formula. All of these are usually elements for a sure fire winner in my book, but it just wasn't working for me this time and here's why.
Jack and Tess have been together before. They have already experienced those first heady moments of discovery with each other off the page and the excitement of the chase and the sparking of the flame just wasn't there for me. Sure they still have chemistry and they have definitely both matured since the last time they were together, but I honestly just didn't feel the heat between the two of them. The sex scenes felt very mechanical and been-there-done-that to me. I didn't get that great build up between the characters like I'm used to. Sure there was emotional tension between the two. They've been keeping secrets from each other for over 10 years, however the physical tension was just not there. I think I almost have to have this in a romance novel or else it just doesn't do it for me.
While this formula may not have worked for me, I think many historical romance lovers will find it does work for them. Jack and Tess are a well-matched pair and the adventurous nature of the plot sets readers up for an exciting ride. The part of the book that touched me the most though was the Blackthorn family's reunion and ultimate resolution of the tension between the brothers and their father. Michaels does a superb job emotionally involving her reader at this point and giving them the ending they didn't even realize was possible.
Overall an enjoyable read for historical romance lovers, but just ok for me. ...more
When Alyson accompanies her new husband Niall Clyne during his voyage she discovers one of the young passengers is the heir to the Scottish throne. Along the coast of England they are quickly overtaken by pirates, the heir is kidnapped, and Alyson is left for dead on the sinking ship by her negligent husband. Enter Jake Maxwell, Scottish knight of the realm and captain of the Sea Wolf. Will rescuing Alyson lead to an epic romance or epic trouble?
After being thoroughly impressed with the previous book in this trilogy Highland Hero, I was looking forward to continuing the story Scott set before her readers and get to know our Highland Wolf, Jake Maxwell better. All I can say is that what I got in comparison to what I had previously read was a bit of a disappointment. For a book titled Highland Lover there was very little loving going on. The majority of the book is bogged down with details concerning Jamie's kidnapping, the journey to St. Andrews, and the legal ramifications of Alyson's marriage making the overall feel of the book come off dry and drudging. We gets hints throughout the book that Alyson and Jake have a thing for each other, but not much happens until the last quarter of the book. This final installment in the trilogy is still well written, but lacks the captivating spark of the previous book. I kept putting this one down and moving on to a different book. I read chapters in between large sections of other novels in hopes I would finally get into it, but it never really happened.
For some reason, in the previous book, the Scottish colloquialisms were charming, but in this book they became cumbersome, slowing down the read substantially. Especially when the group sets foot in the English tavern and decides they need to imitate the speech of the locals. Dear lord! I was struggling to get through the dialogue portions at this point and was grateful when a large portion of narration came along. Don't get me wrong, I love me a sexy Scottish accent, but it was just not happening here.
Besides the dryness of the story and lack of any actual "lovers" until near the end, the main plot revolving around the Scottish throne is never resolved. When the story comes to a close, Jamie is still in English hands and Albany appears to be on his way to claiming Scotland for his own. It was almost like Jake and Alyson got their happy ending so *shrugs* oh well! I'm hoping that Scott did this because she is planning on continuing the development of Jamie's plight in another set of novels, and this may very well be, but it still felt unpleasantly abrupt. Needless to say this is my least favorite installment in the series, but Scott has not lost me yet. I look forward to future Highland romance novels from her matching up to the potential I observed in Highland Hero. ...more
Henry VIII is at the height of his reign and he's hungry like the wolf...
King Henry VIII is infamous for his ability to go through wives like dirty underwear with his fickle attentions and desire for a male heir. This book tells a tale untold until now.Henry's Europe is characterized as a land balancing precariously between human and demon kind. The Vatican acknowledges the existence of demons and even promotes their existence because, "..frightened people are more likely to attend church." Seriously, that's what they're going with. The Protektorate is an organization overseen by the Vatican that attempts to keep the demons in check to an extent, but in all honesty is pretty useless. Henry contracts lycanthropy and spends most of the book loping through England at night tearing into peasants with his great big teeth and hiding random body parts in his closet.
The title says it all, really I think readers will find an enormous lack of direction and misplaced humor. There are definitely some funny parts, but there are fairly few truly laughable moments. It is easy to see where the author tries to get a twisted laugh out of his reader and fails completely leading to much head shaking and exasperated sighing. I am a huge fan of dark humor, horror, and novel ideas. However in this case I just didn't like it. I think it is mostly because I have been incredibly spoiled by Christopher Moore and his fantastic books that mix dark humor, horror, and quirkiness superbly while still offering the reader an emotionally charged plot. His stories make you question just how fucked up your sense of humor actually is one minute and then show you that no matter how dark it gets, there is always heart at the center of it. I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a method to Mr. Moore's madness, whereas Henry VIII: Wolfman is just mad.
The pages of this book are soaked with blood and guts. I can get into that for zombies and the like, but when it comes to cracking jokes during the graphic slaughtering of children, I tend to be revolted. At one point, wolfman Henry digs up the grave of a recently deceased child, pulls of its head and limbs, and buries his snout in the gaping neck hole to feast. This is all after sinking his teeth into the ample breasts of the dead child's mother and ripping them off of her while she screams in agony. I am in no way debating morals here, I have read and enjoyed many a blood fest with novels like Z.A. Recht's Plague of the Dead and darkly humorous tales like Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. If you can write your gore and humor with a satisfying storyline I commend you, it just doesn't happen here.
I won't lie though, the reading experience wasn't entirely unenjoyable. The text is well written and for all its sillyness keeps your reading at a brisk pace. I was brought to tears laughing at two different parts because of how absolutely ridiculous they were. That was honestly the thing that kept me reading, the twisted desire to see what crazy thing the author would come up with next. After all my criticisms for this book I did have the pleasure of reading the best irreverent death scene ever. I almost feel like bearing with the rest of the book is worth it just to read the death by fat ass scene. Don't have a cushion to smother your poor suffering patient with? Have the fattest man in the room sit on his face. Genius. I honestly mean that.
So Wicked reader, are you confused? Are you wondering right now "Did she like it or not?" The only answer I can give you is this. I didn't enjoy the story so much as I enjoyed the way it fucked with my head. I'm giving it 2.5 stars because of the butt death scene and because this book made me really think about what I liked in a book and how far someone can mess with historical accuracy before I stop taking it seriously. And that brings me to my final advice about this book. Don't take it seriously, enjoy the insane, twisted ride it takes you on. If you are not into the darker side of fiction, this is probably not the book for you. However if you enjoy a good mind fuck now and then, I suggest you give Henry VIII: Wolfman a read. And then tell me what you thought because I am dying to discuss this book with someone. ...more
Allison Sekemoto has spent her life surviving day to day in the Fringe of New Covington, a sprawling vampire city. When she is ravaged by rabids, Kagawa's version of zombies, she is given a choice between death and becoming what she hates most.
This first book in the Blood of Eden series was a likeable read that fell a bit short of my expectations. The idea of mixing dsytopia with vampires caught my interest right away, but while The Immortal Rules is set in the future, it's dystopian aspects mirror another popular series a bit too closely. The beginning of this book is very similar to The Morgainville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Vampires have contracted with humans to provide them with protection, food, and work in their cities in exchange for keeping the vamps supplied with blood. The exact same statement can be made for Caine's YA vampire series, except the vampires' power extends to the boundaries of the city of Morganville. There is also another key element to Kagawa's vampire lore that is also exactly the same in Caine's series, but it is a spoiler for both so I won't discuss it here. The likenesses between The Immortal Rules and The Morganville Vampires series will be painfully obvious to fans of the latter. This could have ruined the book for me, but thankfully the core structure of the dystopian element isn't the focus of the novel. The story Kagawa tells once Allison leaves the city is one worth reading.
Once Allison gets past New Covington, the story becomes more unique and enjoyable. She spends some time surviving in the outside world alone for a time, but it isn't long before Allison meets up with a wayward group looking for the legendary Eden, a sanctuary for humans devoid of vampires and the threats they bring. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Allison is constantly covering up her vampire nature as she tries to maintain her tenuous alliance with the people and their formidable "man of God" leader. I definitely bonded with these characters and experienced some heart-wrenching moments throughout their journey.
Allison is a breath of fresh air in the YA heroine category. She isn't your average sweet, but misunderstood, pretty princess. Allison begins her journey by becoming what she most hates and proceeds on a progressive and satisfying character arc. This girl is tough and often times stoic in her need to disguise her nature. The best part about her is there is not once an instance of whiny, pathetic damsel in distress syndrome! She is hardly perfect, but she soldiers on and doesn't rely on others to save the day. I'm looking forward to future books staring this badass, lone wolf heroine.
My only complaint about Allison? There is a scene at the beginning of the book that was so cliche I cringed. Allison's vampire sire asks her to pick a weapon from an abandoned museum and what does she pick without fail? Of course! the Asian girl picks a katana as her weapon of choice even though she has no identification with or knowledge of her Japanese heritage. Given, a katana is a generally perfect weapon of choice for any situation, I thought this was just way too obvious and was left shaking my head.
Finally, the book's version of zombies suffer from an unfortunate title. Rabids and rabidism remind me too much of Raving Rabbids.
I couldn't help but imagine a bunch of these crazy cute little guys every time the "rabids" appeared in the book, regardless of their vicious and frightening natures. This is obviously hardly the author's fault, it was just something that messed with my overall enjoyment.
The Final Verdict
The Immortal Rules is a decent start to a new and exciting dystopian series. While the painful similarities to The Morgainville Vampires series are unfortunate and a bit off-putting, the characters, running plot, and lethal heroine will keep readers coming back for more. This could be the start of something beautiful if Kagawa keeps up the excellent character writing and puts a more unique spin on her dystopian world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for stating any of the above views. All opinions are my own. ...more
I need to clear something up in response to all the negative reviews.
This is not a book you can read without having read the first one! The world is intricate and fantastic just like any other deep fantasy book. The Ice Song books are also very dark and at times strange, but no less beautiful for these elements' existence. If that is not something you are into, and you are not a fan of deep fantasy then you probably won't like this book. So before you make a harsh 2 star or lower judgment on it, I suggest you take the time to read book 1, it is only fair to this amazing author's hard work.
With that out of the way,Tattoo is a beautiful follow up book. The characters and the morbidly beautiful world are just as wonderful and developed as you remember them. My only complaint is that the plot wasn't as well fleshed out as Ice Song. I felt like book one had a solid plot. We knew what the objective was and we were emotionally invested in the outcome. In book two, it is less clear what exactly is the objective. Soryk wants his own life free from his primary Sorykah who just wants to live a quiet life with her children.
Readers get a better understanding of some of the supporting characters like Sidra the Lovely and Dunya the dog-faced girl. We also get lessons in some of the more concrete mythology of the world. I found these aspects very enjoyable and a nice distraction from the uncertainty of the major plot line.
Overall, it is worth a read for those who have read the first book. Laying the groundwork for other prospective installments, Tattoo will continue your journey through this vividly strange world. ...more
Caroline Broadhurst is a loyal wife and has been since the day she married her MUCH older husband at 14. Now that she is 28 and he is nearing his end, Mr. Broadhurst desperately wants and heir. After years of being unable to conceive not only with Caroline, but also with his two previous wives, he has a proposal for his dutiful wife. Become impregnated by a well standing gentleman or lose everything that should be rightfully hers once he dies.
This isn't a new concept to period romances, however Katy Madison writes her interpretation with great style and emotion. I enjoyed the characters and the overall read of the book, but I just couldn't get past all the unconsensual fooling around Caroline is forced to do. I understand that it is part of the plot and that she has to endure a certain amount of it to be convincing to her husband, but Caroline spends more time being fondled by these disgusting brutes than she does romancing with our hero Jack Applegate. Honestly, the romance doesn't even really get going until the last third of the book! For this reason, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
There is a lot to like about All About Seduction. It was a fast paced read, with great detail of the time period and well thought out characters. Caroline is not your average wealthy lady, she actually cares about the people who work the cotton mill that makes her and her husband rich. She advocates for the workers and even does her best to keep young children from participating in the difficult and dangerous labor. I really enjoyed this about her character.
I believe most readers will enjoy this book, but may be caught off guard by the indecency that Caroline is forced to endure. There really wasn't enough romantic development between the Jack and Caroline for my taste, but there you have it. This book is an enjoyable read with a sweet ending, but leaves something to be desired in the way of romance....more
It's unfortunate when the first thought that comes to your mind once you've finished a book is "Thank God it's over!"
The entire experience was painful. Hold Me If You Can is a paranormal romance so coated in sugary silliness I literally think I got a cavity. There wasn't a single moment in this book I could take seriously. The fierce warrior hero uses flower shaped throwing stars... Okay... and if that wasn't weird enough the villein's power that seems to be causing all the problems is called smut and it isn't the only thing smutty about this book. Don't get me wrong, I love trashy romances especially ones with paranormal themes, but this was just over the top. Towards the end I didn't have to read entire sentences as every other word was love. It was like my annoying Aunt Marge was pinching my cheeks and reciting, "You are such a lovey wovey lovekins!" Love was crammed into this book like nobody's squishy lovey business. Did I mention the heroine is a Sweet? No, not scrumptious dessert! Her mystical race is actually called Sweet and she actually owns a dessert shop named Scrumptious. The only cool part about this situation was that she made virility balls, a magical chocolate treat that gives men nearly perpetual erections. That was pretty cute.
Although I didn't enjoy this book very much, I did feel it had a decent message squeezed to death by all the suffocating love. Throughout the book, the heroine is encouraged by her friends and her hero to love herself, no matter how scary that may be. Self-acceptance is a powerful, wonderful message no matter what the packaging.
I really wouldn't recommend this to anyone, unless they had really off the wall tastes. I'm going to have to read something really mature and serious to cleanse my pallet after this. I may just have to resort to Stephen King, and I'm really not that big of a fan. ...more
This book was a lot better than I expected. With a cover to match it's title, Ripe for Scandal offers the reader a range of emotions not typical to thThis book was a lot better than I expected. With a cover to match it's title, Ripe for Scandal offers the reader a range of emotions not typical to the usual smutty historical romance fare as the main characters take on hardship after hardship in their already shaky marriage. I gave it three stars for diverting a bit from the formula of historical romance we are so used to. However, fans of this genre will still feel comfortable and familiar with the style and locales. ...more
Sir Ivor Mackintosh, known as Hawk, is summoned by His Grace the King of Scotts to secretly escort his son Jamie to safety from the greedy Duke of Albany. Little does he know that Jamie's nursemaid is actually the young prince's cousin Marsi, a ward of the crown fleeing from the prospect of a forced marriage.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I have been looking for a long time for a series that gave me a similar feeling to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and Highland Hero fit the bill. Now I'm not saying this is anywhere near as epic as Outlander however, it was very fun and had a similar adventurous feel to it. The author really did her homework when she put this book together. The settings and cultural feel authentic; readers who appreciate history will be sucked right in. It does drag on a bit towards the middle while they are making their way to Saint Andrews, but picks up again right in time for the closing chapters. The only real complaint I have is that the constant use of Scottish Colloquialism is very distracting and slows down the pace at times giving the speech an unnatural feel for American readers. I can't imagine what it must have been like to write "I ken fine!" and "In troth!" a few hundred times while putting this book together.
I would recommend this for Highlander Romance fans, history lovers, and anyone who wants a romantic adventure. The characters are very lovable especially young Jamie and scrappy Marsi. Ivor kind of fell flat for me as a hero, but then again I also like my love scenes a bit juicier than the ones provided in this book. ...more
There's something wrong when your final thoughts about a book are, "Thank God it's over!" I wasn't sure if I would make it through this mess of a book, but I am very proud to say I stuck with it all the way to the craptastic end.
The author's bio at the back of the book says Ayers likes to infuse her stories with humor... If this is Ms. Ayers' idea of humor, then I am sad to say it never matured past middle school. Completely horrible and unnecessary instances of phrases like, "See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya," clutter the story with juvenile interruptions that both distracted me and lessened any chance of me actually liking the book each time one popped up. Just so you know, they pop up a lot.
The main characters are flat and boring. Serah, the heroine, is a pretty two dimensional character with a bratty streak. Every time she had one of her abrupt and uncalled for outbursts, I honestly wondered if the author was channeling a teenager rather than a grown woman. Our hero Mathias is little more than a walking, talking slab of beef cake. Literally no personality. Supporting characters are what made this bearable, though still not good enough..
Reading this book made me feel like Ayers read a lot of romance novels and decided to take a crack at it by combining all the most cliche aspects of romance writing into one massive muscle rippling fest. And I don't mean that in a good way. Mathias' personality has such a low pulse that the author tries to make up for it by making his muscles ripple and his eyes burn with desire every other sentence. The man can't breathe without a pec or a bicep popping suggestively.
Recommendation Don't waste your time with this one unless you want a good example of what not to do when writing a paranormal romance. : ...more