“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.(less)
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. (less)
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. (less)
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. (less)
When I first started reading this, I was a bit put off by how rushed it felt. Much of the time the characters spend together is off page leaving weeks unaccounted for. I felt disoriented, almost like there wasn't enough thought put into the actual events of the book, but once I hit about a third of the way through, the story really opened up to me. Details about the world, the catastrophe it has suffered, and its characters are revealed slowly as Avry travels, a bit against her will, to heal a sick prince who could save the fifteen realms, but has left a scar on more than one aspect of Avry's life. Her traveling companions must convince her that Prince Ryne is worth saving, and worth giving up her own life for.
I was intrigued by the magic woven throughout Avry's world and ultimately how the rare healers came to be. The mystery of the Death and Peace Lillies kept me interested, and when I finally found out what they had to do with the overall plot, I was pretty impressed. Some aspects of this book were easy to anticipate, but I seem to get that with almost every book I read.
The thing that really makes or breaks a book for me are its characters and Snyder does not disappoint. Avry's band of misfits were so endearing, especially Poppa Bear. Their interactions with Avry and slow but satisfying development are what really invested me in this story.
What I genuinely appreciated about this book is that it wasn't focused on forcing the romance between Avry and Kerrick. It just fell into place while Snyder focused on the goal of saving the realms, introducing fantastic characters, and offering the reader a genuinely enjoyable experience. Although the book could have stood on it's own, I can say that I am truly looking forward to further installments of this series. (less)
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!(less)
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. : (less)
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.(less)
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. (less)
A sexy gladiator and his master getting sweaty? Yes please! The cover is gorgeous and so are the men, so you'd think this book would have blown my mind. Unfortunately not so much.
This book was just ok for me. Usually my next phrase would be, "and here's why..." However, in this case I have to say I couldn't quite put my finger on why this wasn't a great read for me. The premise was fairly new to me and the characters were likable enough. The story is truly heartfelt and the love between Cealius and Gaidres is both fiery and sweet. There is just something here that is missing for me, some essential spark that isn't tangible, the story either has it or it doesn't. I found myself becomign easily distracted and taking frequent breaks to read something else. I have to give the authors props for writing such hot and steamy sex scenes, but even these fell flat for me at times.
Lot's of people who have reviewed this book seem to love it, so I feel kind of weird saying it was just ok, but there you have it!(less)
Marie Antoinette gets a revival and a more flattering coat of paint in this first installment of the new Marie Antoinette series by Juliet Grey.
What can I say? I have always been fascinated with a handful of historical leading ladies and Marie is one of the top 5. When I thought of her before this book, I pictured lush, scrumptious desserts and wispy cotton candy hair piled high on an overly pampered and exceedingly empty head. Think the Kirsten Dunst movie adaptation, which I loved by the way. After reading Becoming, which chronicles Marie's story from childhood to her husband's rise to the French throne, I feel like historians and poorly informed high school history teachers have been pulling the wool over my eyes. I realize this is historical fiction, however the author leaves us readers a note at the end about what is historically accurate and what she embellished for story's sake.
Written from Marie's perspective and supplemented by journal entries and correspondence between the major players in her accession to dauphine, Becoming Marie Antoinette allows the reader to feel a kinship with this infamous historical figure. Another thing that struck me as unique and pleasing was Grey's characterization of Louis Auguste. Rather than the cold, indifferent husband he is most commonly represented as, Grey offers us a shy, and painfully socially awkward boy. The way she progresses the relationship between him and Marie is both frustrating and achingly sweet.
This book would be a great way for anyone interested in learning more about this wonderful heroine, to become better acquainted with the young Marie Antoinette. I enjoyed reading this book very much and look forward to the next release, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, which is expected to be published sometime in 2012. (less)
Beldon Stratten is the epitome of the perfect English gentleman and he just so happens to be in the market for a bride. He knows exactly what he wants, a perfectly proper English rose, that is, until Lilya Stefanov waltzes into his life and takes him for a wild ride. Liliya is the bearer of a rare diamond that many dangerous men would kill to get their hands on. Now Lilya must choose between protecting her family's legacy or embracing a happily-ever-after with the man she loves.
I don't feel like the title does this book justice. It suggests that Lilya is scandalous and improper. Her character is actually quite the opposite. She is sweet, intelligent, and courageous as she secretly protects her family's legacy from those who would use it to gain power. Of all the Harlequin titles I have read, Secret Life's heroine has to be my favorite. She was such a strong willed, unselfish model that I couldn't help but like her. Beldon's character came across like a weak cup of tea for most of the book, until near the end when he faces losing Lilya. He really steps up at this point in the story and takes charge of things. Beldon isn't the alpha male I usually enjoy, however he does have his sweet English charm.
The story is really what sets this book apart from others within the Harlequin-Historical lineup. The romance feels like it was built to fit around the story, instead of the story facilitating the romance, which was really nice. Many other books like this have left me feeling like the author created the situations in this story just to give the couple an excuse to get steamy. Scott manages to make every encounter between Lilya and Beldon feel spontaneous and realistic; loving and sultry as their relationship grows through the dangers hey encounter.
Overall, this was an engaging quick read with a memorable couple and a very sweet romance. You can pick up a copy for your reading pleasure September 6th. (less)
Callie McFay has taken a job teaching at Fairwick College that she wasn’t sure she wanted in the first place, and has bought an old Victorian house that her instincts are screaming for her to stay away from. Something has drawn her to become a part of the community that is not what it appears to be at first glance. Just when she feels she is settling in, Callie is visited by a demon lover that is determined to suck the life out of her. Night after night, the insatiable demon brings her to new heights of pleasure and ever closer to death. As time goes on, Callie becomes less and less sure she minds.
There is really only one word that describes The Demon Lover accurately and that is lush. This book is filled with deliciously ripe detail that echoes my fondest memories of classic gothic literature while utilizing the trend of today’s popular paranormal fiction. The academic atmosphere of Fairwick College and Callie’s scholarly analysis of her situation are engrossing and give this novel the intelligent edge that a great deal of today’s paranormal fiction is missing. Juliet Dark’s attention to detail is truly what makes this story so breathtakingly beautiful and heart wrenchingly real.
The writing style and Callie’s character can be a bit frustrating, at times. She is constantly changing her opinion on her present situation and for the first half of the book she is in denial, coming up with a logical explanation for everything that happens to her. This frustrated me to no end until I hit a moment of clarity the same moment Callie did in the story. The writing style and content are meant to be confusing and frustrating at points to reflect Callie’s state of mind as it has been altered through her interactions with the incubus. Once I realized this I was completely enthralled. It was like a slap in the face and I had to admit to myself that the demon lover had hypnotized not just Callie, but me as well.
It is difficult to describe the romance of this book. Callie falls in love with many things through the course of its pages. She begins to feel at home in Fairwick and finds a mish mashed sort of family in the people that she interacts with on a daily basis. The magic and mystery of the town beckon to her deeply buried roots until she finds a piece of herself she didn’t know she had to begin with. Finally there is the incubus. I easily felt the same indecision towards him as Callie did. At first she thinks him a dream, but as he becomes more and more real to her, she can no longer deny his appeal. I will not spoil any of this story for you all, but eventually you will have to ask yourself, just as Callie does, “Is it possible that he could truly love her and become flesh?”
It was pointed out to me about half-way through this book that it was the same book as Incubus by Carol Goodman published by Ebury Press on July 21st, 2011. The only real reason I could come up with in my research for why two different publishers would publish the same book, under different titles, and authors six months apart from each other would be to maximize marketing. Incubus was published in the UK and therefore the publishers probably felt that particular title and its cover art would appeal to the European audience whereas the U.S. requires a bit more of a sexualized title and mysterious author pseudonym. Whatever the reason, it was a bit confusing, but did not divert from the overall appeal of the book itself.
These days, it has become excruciatingly popular for authors to end their books on a huge cliff-hanger, forcing you to read the next just to find out what happened, even if you didn’t really like it that much. The Demon Lover wraps up its loose ends nicely and all major plot points are developed so that the reader is satisfied. This book doesn’t need any cliffhangers to get its hooks in you; it’s just that good. I look forward to a sequel, which is all but promised by the subtext of the Incubus version declaring it as Fairwick Chronicles #1. Juliet Dark, and by extension Carol Goodman, has a new loyal fan in this Wickedly Bookish reader. (less)