This "Fifty Shades of Grey" read-alike follows a mostly chaste romance between a college professor and a graduate student. Literary references and anThis "Fifty Shades of Grey" read-alike follows a mostly chaste romance between a college professor and a graduate student. Literary references and an academic setting also may make this book appeal more to intellectually-inclined readers who are looking for a guilty-pleasure romance to read. However, just like the Fifty Shades trilogy, this book features a shy, stammering, blushing, stumbling wallflower heroine and an outwardly-cold, controlling, and dominating hero. I'm a sucker for teacher and student romances though, so I enjoyed it despite the same old character types :P
Professor Gabriel Emerson doesn't realize that he met his alluring graduate student, Julia, another time before in his past. Both have held onto the memories of their one-day tryst through the years, and they soon rekindle their affections. Family drama and legal entanglements keep the couple from consummating their relationship until the end of the book, so the steamy-looking cover is a bit misleading - there's barely more physical contact in this book than in an Amish-country romance. The writing style is strange and overly formal at times, and readers are immediately thrown into the characters' lives at the beginning of the book with little explanation of the family relationships connecting them. I did enjoy the Toronto setting, the literary references and the detailed descriptions of apartment decor, food, and clothes. Being an academic nerd, I would have enjoyed more discussion of the characters' thesis and dissertation topics and the progress of their research! This was a fun diversion, but I'm not sure I'll pick up the sequel...too much drama for characters I felt barely invested in....more
This is the first book I've read by Traci Harding, and I definitely see more in my future. Gene of Isis is like a crazy combination of Indiana Jones,This is the first book I've read by Traci Harding, and I definitely see more in my future. Gene of Isis is like a crazy combination of Indiana Jones, the Da Vinci Code, Regency romance, and science lesson all blended up and packaged into an intergenerational, feminist adventure story. Mia is an archaeologist studying ancient languages who's invited to a dig sponsored by a mysterious billionaire. The stories of her ancestors, Ashlee - a young wife in Regency England - and Lillet - a priestess of an obscure French religious sect who lived in the Middle Ages - are told as Mia reads through their memoirs. It's obvious that the author did tons of research for this book which is overstuffed with obscure facts and ideas. I listened to the first book on audio but I think I'd opt for print for the rest of the series, because there is so much explanation. At times it gets repetitious, but at other times it's helpful because so many crazy concepts and ideas are introduced. If you like stories where everyday life and the supernatural combine, you will enjoy this book. Also, Albray the ghost knight is my new fictional-guy crush - he's adorable :)...more
I didn't understand until near the end of "The Demon Lover" that this book is the beginning of a series, which explains a lot of aspects that I didn'tI didn't understand until near the end of "The Demon Lover" that this book is the beginning of a series, which explains a lot of aspects that I didn't like about the plot. Now that I'm more well informed, I'm willing to write a gentler review of this book.
Callie is a young English professor who has gotten some publicity with her research on Victorian-gothic literature about "demon lovers." She gets her first teaching job at small Fairwick College in upstate New York, and is immediately taken with Honeysuckle House, the former home of Victorian gothic-romance writer Delilah LaMotte. Since childhood, Callie has been haunted by recurring dreams of a handsome stranger who would come to visit her in her bedroom. After moving into Honeysuckle House, the dreams return becoming ever more intense. Callie eventually learns that her mysterious visitor is an incubus, a spirit that preys on the sexual life force of women. Up until this point, I loved the character of Callie along with the small-town atmosphere that mixed brooding gothic elements with quirky life at a small liberal arts college. After this point of the story however, everything turns chaotic.
Readers are haphazardly and confusingly introduced to the entire Fairwick College faculty, who are made up of witches, demons, vampires, spirits and every type of paranormal being. We learn that Callie has special talents due to her blended faerie/witch family heritage. Her coworker leaves in scandal halfway through the semester and is suddenly replaced with a foppish Irish visiting scholar. The incubus is banished in a witch's ceremony, but someone is draining the college students of their life force....and there's still more characters and plotlines including a giant attacking crow, a witch's curse that needs to be broken, a mouse familiar, a Norse-god handyman, and a ladies' society club made up of witches in New York City.
Eventually I lost track of the scores of different characters being introduced and was in total confusion, but I continued reading because I had to find out how the author would wrap up all 10,000 threads of the plot. I was actually satisfied at the end, but it was pretty painful getting all the way through this book. If subsequent books in the series are more streamlined, I'd read them because the idea of a college where all the profs are paranormal beings...well....it's a pretty fun idea. It would be nice if the author had restrained herself a bit and saved a few of the characters and situations for later books in the series! I'm not sure many readers will be as patient as I was while reading this book, since I almost chucked it halfway through. ...more
This romance is different than many both in the time period in which it's set (the 1870s) and because of its unusual hero. While Ian MacKenzie exhibitThis romance is different than many both in the time period in which it's set (the 1870s) and because of its unusual hero. While Ian MacKenzie exhibits many traditional romance alpha-male traits (growling, a large and muscular frame, bad temper, protectiveness) he also is "mad": while the author never specifically diagonses his "madness," he seems to have Asperger's Syndrome. Lord Ian prefers not to look in others' eyes, he has a precise memory for detail, and he can get lost in thought while gazing at specific objects or patterns. Beth Ackerley, a formerly down-on-her-luck lady's companion, receives an inheritance from the lady in question upon her death and finds herself thrust into high society. Caring little for social norms and her reputation, she immediately falls for Lord Ian, and while he claims he's incapable of love, by the end of the book, of course, he has fallen for Beth as well. Ian is just one of a roguish family of Scottish brothers who do whatever they want regardless of what society considers "appropriate" for the time. The brothers are all unique and each has his own romantic problems which readers will no doubt discover in the subsequent books. While there are many anachronisms in the book's dialogue, I was able to overlook them as I was also captivated by the unique and mysterious Lord Ian : ) If you're in search of a romance with a little murder mystery and characters that are not stereotypical you will enjoy this read....more
I was first attracted to read this book because I had an almost identical idea for a book a couple of years ago (my exact thought was, "Like 'TwilightI was first attracted to read this book because I had an almost identical idea for a book a couple of years ago (my exact thought was, "Like 'Twilight,' but with past lives instead of vampires!"). So of course I had to read the book that used this idea. The main characters, Daniel and Sophia, have a relationship that stretches across centuries as each of their souls is reincarnated into new bodies and new lifetimes. Daniel is unique because he can remember each of his past lives, whereas his love, Sophia, like the rest of humanity, forgets each life as she is born anew.
We begin in the present day when Daniel and Lucy (Sophia's name in her current incarnation) are high school students. Through each of the chapters, Daniel retells stories from his past lives. He was the cause of Sophia's death in his very first life on Earth and has spent each subsequent incarnation trying to find her soul and make it up to her by loving and taking care of her. In their current lifetimes, an awkward run-in at a high school dance forces Lucy and Daniel apart until they are college students. As Daniel tries to find Lucy again, he learns that a malicious adversary from his past lives is also stalking her.
Some of the plot points and sentiments in the book are spot on. The section where Lucy travels to England to see the manor house from her recently-remembered past life is goosebump-inducing. The way that Brashares writes the voice of Daniel, an "old soul" who has been around for centuries inhabiting a young man's body, is also haunting, and the ideas surrounding reincarnation in the book are definitely food for thought.
For me however, the ending of the book definitely left something to be desired. Although Brashares avoided making the ending as cheesy as it could have possibly been - a relief - and the ending was consistent with the tone and themes of the rest of the book, it still felt very abrupt and left a major part of the plot unresolved. I can only hope that the author is planning to write a sequel! I want to know what happens to the couple next and I am sure I'm not alone....more
A romance novel with mathematicians in it? Quaker mathematicians? A hero who suffers a stroke during an early-morning duel and then is locked up in anA romance novel with mathematicians in it? Quaker mathematicians? A hero who suffers a stroke during an early-morning duel and then is locked up in an insane asylum because he suffers aphasia? A prim and proper nurse who helps him escape an arranged marriage because she loves him? Yes! Flowers from the Storm has all this and more. It's definitely not your stereotypical romance novel. I loved the details of the characters, the plot full of family arguments, intrigue and adventure; and the heroine's inner conflict between her religious ideals and her romantic feelings. Flowers From the Storm is a great read for people who aren't "into" romances, or for those who have read romances but find something lacking in plot and characterization. It really is the best of the genre that I have read in my "historical romances" binge of the past month. ...more