This was actually reasonably well-developed for a short story. It's a futuristic sci-fi setting where the select few survivors of the after-m...more3.5 stars
This was actually reasonably well-developed for a short story. It's a futuristic sci-fi setting where the select few survivors of the after-math of man's interference with nature are forced to live underground or under the ocean - as is the case with this one. Thankfully, as I dislike sci-fi as a general rule, the author provides the reader with the necessary background in a simple way, never getting bogged down with detail.
To ensure the genetically healthy continuation of mankind, survivors who haven't paired off naturally in the first couple of years are now allocated spouses with the expectation that they will do their bit to ensure the human race survives. When Rena met Micca before the catastrophic events that changed the world, she told him "Not if you were the last man on earth". Now he almost is...
Last Man on Earth is one of the ridiculous number of freebies that I have downloaded to my beautiful new Kindle. I'm sure that most of them will be a complete waste of time. This one wasn't.(less)
Where Curran POV #1 was a series of Curran's observations from each book, Curran POV #2 was a continuous story about what occurred immediately after h...moreWhere Curran POV #1 was a series of Curran's observations from each book, Curran POV #2 was a continuous story about what occurred immediately after he woke from his coma and found out about all the challenges Kate had faced from the pack.
I hope Gordon Andrews writes more of these - it's great to get Curran's POV.(less)
I really enjoyed reading Curran's POV. Loved these lines from when they first met in Unicorn Lane:
The scared hovered at the edge, the stupid died not
...moreI really enjoyed reading Curran's POV. Loved these lines from when they first met in Unicorn Lane:
The scared hovered at the edge, the stupid died not far from it. I was here to meet someone, and if she made it far enough to find me, I would know she was neither.
So not a mouse after all, but something more. This could be interesting. I'd let her dance in the dirt a bit more. She was find to watch. She crouched with her hand out. What the hell was she doing... "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty." Oh my God, she was retarded and I was going to kill Jim. She blinked and stared at me. She'd seen my eyes glow. I let go, shifting in the dark into my true form. If you want a Kitty, little girl, I'll give you one you'll never forget. I stepped into the moonlight. She froze. That's right. No sudden moves. I padded toward her slowly and circled her allowing her to take it all in. Do you like the Kitty now? I could smell her surprise and fear. Our gazes met. Her eyes went wide and then she fell on her ass. Heh. A bow would have been sufficient.
The Spymaster's Lady is destined to be one of my top reads for 2011, so I was really interested to see if it was a fluke, or whether Joanna B...more4.5 stars
The Spymaster's Lady is destined to be one of my top reads for 2011, so I was really interested to see if it was a fluke, or whether Joanna Bourne is one of those too rare, extremely talented authors. There's some good news and some bad news in the answer to that question.
The good news is, The Spymaster's Lady wasn't 'beginner's luck'. I loved this one too. The bad news is, there is no backlist for me to glom. How incredibly exciting to have found a new favourite author, and how disappointing that there isn't a mountain of books to look forward to.
Ridiculous title and misleading cover aside, this was an excellent book. I know a lot of readers who loved The Spymaster's Lady were disappointed with his one, but that was absolutely not my experience. Sure, The Spymaster's Lady might have the edge, but this was a great read in its own right.
Once again, the author gifts the reader with a unique, unconventional, interesting, chameleonic heroine, and pairs her with a strong hero who combines raw masculinity, strength and dominance with sensitivity, care and concern. The heroines seem to shine so well in these stories that you can forget the enormous appeal of her heroes. It's a surprisingly pleasant change.
Again, our hero and heroine seem to be at cross purposes where each have their own agenda, adding significant complexity to their basic and fundamental attraction. The author writes this so well. I loved that in this one, Sebastian's agenda wasn't to the mutual exclusion of Jess's. The battle here was not just of political origins, but really about trust.
The attraction between Sebastian and Jess was wonderfully rendered and I loved their banter and the way Sebastian patiently and purposefully pursued her. These are not books with detailed sex scenes, but nor do they need them. I never felt like something was missing.
The author again brings the setting to life - another major talent of hers. I'm not always a visual person, but the images here were vivid and leapt into my imagination without conscious effort on my part, or the need for endless dull description by the author. I love her prose and the way she writes dialogue really enhances the experience. The secondary characters are also fully realised.
My Lord and Spymaster is balanced in action and emotion and is a rich and rewarding read. My one niggling complaint was Adrian's character. I adored him in The Spymaster's Lady and I didn't recognise him here. He was a different and less interesting character in this one. I can't to read The Forbidden Rose.(less)
Joanna Bourne is one very talented author. Her crisp, unfettered style is brilliantly lacking the over-wrought sentimentality that often prevails in h...moreJoanna Bourne is one very talented author. Her crisp, unfettered style is brilliantly lacking the over-wrought sentimentality that often prevails in historical romance, and results in moments of breath-taking poignancy. She is a striking talent bringing a fresh and unique voice to the genre. It’s no surprise that she has rocketed up the list of my favourite authors.
The Forbidden Rose is a prequel to the amazing The Spymaster's Lady and My Lord and Spymaster, and doesn’t disappoint on any level. Bourne again showcases her unique voice, seamlessly providing the reader with a sense of time and place, always ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’, with the dialogue providing the bulk of the flavour.
This is William Doyle’s story, who we originally came to know in The Spymasters Lady, and saw again in My Lord and Spymaster. Although I liked his character in those books, they didn’t quite prepare me for what a wonderful, amazing man he really was. Doyle is not a flashy character; he doesn’t need or want to be centre stage. He is a man of tremendous strength, substance and subtlety with a sly sense of humour – a combination that I found compelling and irresistible.
Luckily, the author gave him a worthy match with Marguerite de Fleurignac – intelligent, practical, daring and self-reliant, she is nonetheless rendered in a very believable way. Bourne writes some of the best couples going around, and although they generally start the book at ‘political’ odds, the progression of their relationship is deftly handled – nothing ever feels forced and the author has no need to rely on overused, clichéd devices.
I cannot possibly write this review without mentioning Adrian. While Doyle was too strong and impressive a character to allow someone else to steal the show, Adrian came as close as possible to that line. I adored Adrian in The Spymaster’s Lady, and was left feeling a little bereft of his sparkling character in My Lord and Spymaster. Oh, but he was brilliant in this one.
I’d never thought to see Adrian’s life before his entrée into Britain’s elite spy agency, and what a loss that would have been. The twelve-year-old Adrian was something to behold. In fact, I intend to re-read these books (something I never do), starting with this one first, just so I can appreciate Adrian in chronological order, along with Doyle and Maggie. (Ignore what Goodreads says about chronological order – this one would come first, not third.)
The Forbidden Rose is the story of two people who know they cannot be together, but neither can they bear to be apart. Neither conforms to society's standards of beauty, but each sees the inner beauty of the other. I could wax lyrical about this series all day. I will refrain, but let me just say this: Read. These. Books. (less)
This is a spoiler-free review, because you really need to experience the magic of this book without knowing what’s ahead. And believe me, despite what...moreThis is a spoiler-free review, because you really need to experience the magic of this book without knowing what’s ahead. And believe me, despite what you think you might have worked out from reading the previous books, you probably have no idea.
I hate spoilers. Hate ’em. No matter what the book, I don’t want to know anything going in. Yet very early on in Shadowfever I found myself so tempted to look ahead, or find some other way of getting a hint about what I could expect. Thankfully, my GR friend AH jumped in to talk some sense into me. She was so right. Don’t do it!
Shadowfever is full of moments that will leave you gaping open-mouthed, saying ‘Get Out!’, ‘No Way!’, ‘OMG!’ and ‘WTF?’. Over and over and over. There are so many twists and turns and revelations that you never see coming. With the benefit of hindsight, you might recognise some clues from the previous books, but others will come out of nowhere and hit you like a freight train.
This book is one hell of a ride, and such a fitting end for this brilliant series. This is not a typical final book that’s devoted to wrapping everything up and tying it off with a nice bow, but one that rips the paper apart again and again. And yet it still gives a satisfying resolution, even while leaving some questions unanswered and some stories still to tell. That’s life.
I left wanting more, but not because I felt I was left hanging. There were some questions that didn’t need to be answered, and I got everything I needed from this book, and then some. I stand in awe of the author’s ability to weave such a complex plot over the course of these five books, and never lose any of the threads. Absolutely, brilliantly, amazing.
KMM hasn’t delivered another never-ending series, and it is all the more powerful and satisfying for that. Now that the secrets are uncovered, I can’t wait to go back and do a re-read, and experience this series with a whole new perspective. Wooo-hooo! (less)
For anyone who read this one when it was originally released and has had to wait for over a year until the release of Shadowfever, you have my deepest...moreFor anyone who read this one when it was originally released and has had to wait for over a year until the release of Shadowfever, you have my deepest sympathy. This one ends on the mother of all cliffhangers. It's bordering on cruel by the author to have readers waiting for so long!
Dreamfever picks up right where Faefever left off (and you thought that was a cliffhanger!), so this is a series that is absolutely necessary to read in order. It's also a series that you really want to read without spoilers, so I'll not go into any kind of synopsis.
What I do want to say, is that although I have 'only' given this instalment 4 stars, and although I wasn't a fan of the first book, Darkfever, this is a 5-star series all the way. It's definitely a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I was only half-way through this book, and so had no idea of the cliffhanger ending, when I decided that I couldn't wait for Shadowfever to become available at the library. I've ordered the hardcover book at full price plus shipping because it wasn't available from the Book Depository. Then I went and purchased all the previous books in hardcover at ridiculous prices.
Wow. I’m so glad I persevered with this series. You were all right. Mac does get better (much, much better!) and the series is shaping up to...more4.5 stars
Wow. I’m so glad I persevered with this series. You were all right. Mac does get better (much, much better!) and the series is shaping up to be awesome, just like you all said it was.
I’m completely and utterly invested in this story. I’m in awe of the author’s imagination and the way she has crafted this complex tale – so full of mystery, intrigue, suspense and action, not to mention the myriad twists and turns.
And Barrons. Ah Barrons. Has there ever been a more enigmatic character? Who is he? What is he? The possibilities are considered and discarded, only to be reconsidered when the author reveals yet another tantalizing clue.
Although there wasn’t a lot of progress in the story itself, there was plenty of action and a lot of information and background, which was of course provided in a very entertaining way.
Mac (and the reader) learns more about the creation of the Hallows and the history of the Fae from V’Lane, who is trying very hard to secure Mac to his side. She comes the closest she has yet to the Sinsar Dubh (the deadly book of dark magic), and the more she learns about Barrons, the less she knows.
Faefever ends on a pretty major cliffhanger, and I really feel for readers who read this one on release and had to wait an agonizingly long time for Dreamfever. Thankfully I’m so late to this party that I won’t have to endure that.
I could have done without the "Note to the Reader" at the end of the book, which promises that this isn't a story about darkness, and that one day Mac will hold a lot of joy. That's a spoiler in my book, and I detest spoilers.
Unless I'm reading a romance (which this is most assuredly not), I don't need to know there's a happy ending for the character. I'm totally fine with darkness - in fact that's one of the reasons this series is working for me - but I have to assume given the inclusion of this note, that many readers weren't.
If you're a fan of KMM's Highlander series (which I am), don't go into her Fever series expecting more of the same, or you will be disappointed. (less)
Bloodfever was a far more enjoyable read than its predecessor Darkfever, solely because Mac was far more palatable. Her trans...more*Breathes sigh of relief*
Bloodfever was a far more enjoyable read than its predecessor Darkfever, solely because Mac was far more palatable. Her transformation from shallow Barbie to take-no-bull combatant with substance is well on the way. Dare I say I even liked her at times in this one?
The story of the looming battle between the Fae and mortals, which saved Darkfever, continues to be intriguing, and because of Mac’s growth it was not told in as grating a voice, and there were less irritating conversational moments in the narrative. The “If I knew then what I know now” type moments were probably still there, but I was too caught up in the story to bother about them.
This was a fairly short read at 296 pages, so we didn’t get to see a lot of progress in Mac and Barrons’ search for the Sinsar Dubh. What we did get, was some truly stomach churning action and a further glimpse into the perplexing relationship between the pair.
Despite his cold and calculating demeanor, I am still finding Barrons to be an intriguing, compelling and strangely attractive character. I imagine that the author will string out the ‘who or what is he’ and ‘will they or wont they’ questions, but she provided such a powerful crumb toward the end of this book that I was left believing it will be worth the wait. Talk about hot - yowza!
While it would be nice if each book provided some level of resolution rather than adding more mysteries to those that remained unsolved and leaving the reader with a hook for the next installment, the ride is shaping up as being worth it. I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on Faefever.(less)
I have never been so grateful for the OCD that requires me to read series in order. This book is an absolute gem that I otherwise may never have read....moreI have never been so grateful for the OCD that requires me to read series in order. This book is an absolute gem that I otherwise may never have read. It’s certainly not the kind of book I would normally pick up, and were it not for new_user’s review of The Forbidden Rose (the third book in this series), I highly doubt that I would ever have bothered with this one, and what a loss that would have been. I loved it!
Spies are not really my thing, especially in fiction. I pretty much never read mainstream thrillers and I’ll likely never pick up a John le Carré, Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, so when I read that this one was about a French spy and British Spymaster, I was less than enthusiastic to say the least, but this grabbed me from the first page and never let go.
The Spymaster’s Lady is a rollercoaster that is well worth riding. Even if the plot doesn’t sound appealing to you, I strongly encourage readers to step outside their comfort zone like I did, and give it a go. It is so, so good. The Spymaster’s Lady has definitely earned a place on my keepers shelf.
This was so refreshingly and wonderfully different from any other Regency/Victorian historical romance that I’ve read, yet it was never gimmicky. There really wasn't anything I didn't like. I loved the characters, I loved the plot, I loved the writing.
Annique is a heroine like no other you have ever read, though her manner of speaking did take a little adjusting to. Where it would have been very easy for her character to be over the top, the author manages to walk that fine line and achieves a very delicate balance, providing depth and nuance.
If you like an enemies to lovers storyline that is complex and believable, you should be very happy with this one. I loved the romance here even though neither character was willing to compromise and their relationship was fraught with seemingly insurmountable difficulties. This is a romance that is hard fought and won, and I loved that the author stayed true to the circumstances and never took the easy route.
Even though at times I could have happily smacked him, I loved Robert’s character and the fact that he did his best to protect Annique while never confusing his priorities. The fact that the hero and heroine remained true to themselves was very impressive. I loved that author didn’t make any compromises and managed to create complex characters and a compelling plot filled with adventure and intrigue that really captured my imagination.
This book also has one of the most brilliantly executed twists I have ever had the privilege of reading that will come out of nowhere and hit you like a freight train. It was extraordinarily skillful writing. I loved the secondary characters, too, and I can’t wait to read more from this author. (less)
Nora Roberts books are like comfort food for me. They are always reliable and leave me feeling warm, satisfied and content. I just enjoy her...more3.5 stars
Nora Roberts books are like comfort food for me. They are always reliable and leave me feeling warm, satisfied and content. I just enjoy her writing. Always.
Happy Ever After is the final installment in the Bride Quartet, stories of four life-long friends who run a Wedding Planner business finding their own happy-ever-after.
It is a fairly common theme in NR’s trilogies and quartets that one or more characters establish their own business, and I usually enjoy the details and insight she provides into her characters via the day to day running of their particular enterprise. At times it can be quite fascinating.
This is true of the Bride Quartet, where we have a photographer, pastry and cake artist, florist and business woman extraordinaire. It was interesting to see how they came together to create the most amazing weddings for their clients, each excelling in their own area and working together to make magic.
But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and NR broke this cardinal rule in this series. In the absence of any suspense or paranormal elements, the story got completely over run by details of the different themes and weddings they planned. It was just too much, even when written as well as NR does.
I did enjoy Happy Ever After a little better than the others in the quartet, as I really like the match between rough around the edges Mal and perfect Parker, but I would not recommend reading these back-to-back. You will definitely benefit from a little space between books. (less)
Tempest is a book you could read in one sitting, and it would keep you engaged the entire time. The action comes into play early, and keeps a steady m...moreTempest is a book you could read in one sitting, and it would keep you engaged the entire time. The action comes into play early, and keeps a steady momentum throughout, with some truly memorable moments.
Professor Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is leading a group of hikers up Tempest Mountain. Among the group is Jake Nelson, a man to whom Charlie feels an irresistible pull. Unfortunately he is accompanied by the beautiful and much younger Adrienne.
This would have to be the hiking trip from hell. So much goes wrong - fast. Jake turns out to be a special agent, acting as bodyguard to protect Adrienne, which puts the rest of the group in danger. Not only are they hunted by the bad guys who want to get to Adrienne, but the wild animals seem to want to share in the action, too.
Given this was a novella, the hero and heroine needed to establish a connection fairly quickly, and I thought the author handled this really well. Of necessity, there was an immediate ‘connection’ between the two, but they did not fall into insta-lust and pounce on each other at the first opportunity.
I wouldn’t call this an erotic novel, either. It was not a book where the plot existed only to take the reader from one sex scene to the next. In fact, for reasons unknown, I had expected more love scenes than there was – although I’m not complaining. The first such scene was one of the hottest I’ve read in a while, and the H/h were in separate tents!
Charlie was a fairly realistic character – she was neither a kick-ass heroine, nor helpless. She was someone who was happy to take charge and wanted to pull her weight, but also recognised her own limitations and welcomed help when she was in need. Charlie went through a lot in a short space of time, and Jake provided some much needed strength and comfort.
I also liked that the hero, Jake, was not a study in super-human perfection and made mistakes. I appreciate that sort of realism. Unfortunately, he made the same mistake of leaving his charge unprotected one too many times for the realism to stick. If you leave the witness you are protecting alone once, and she comes to harm, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t do it again. And probably not to have sex, either.
Also, in the interest of realism, you would not book the hike you were using as cover under the actual name of the witness you are protecting. I'm sure the FBI trains their agents better than this, or they at least are able to use their own common sense.
None of this ruined the story for me, though. It written in such a way that it was very easy to just roll with it. What did come close, however, was the heroine’s inexplicable urge to giggle in times of extreme danger. I understand people can have uncontrolled irrational emotional responses in heightened states, however it wasn’t portrayed that way here.
It is tough to pull off a satisfying novella length story, and it is probably only fair to make allowances for the limitations. In a full-length novel, I may have down-graded my rating for some of detail that otherwise would have been lacking, but all in all I think Jamie DeBree produced an entertaining read and made the most of the pages available. I would be really interested to see what she could do with a full-length novel.
This book was won in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. (less)
After much resistance and reluctance, I finally took the plunge on the dauntingly long In Death series. I know Nora Roberts can write, and I love the...moreAfter much resistance and reluctance, I finally took the plunge on the dauntingly long In Death series. I know Nora Roberts can write, and I love the books she has written in her name, so I'm not sure why I waited so long.
I suppose there's was my the reluctance to commit to an ongoing series that spans nearly 40 books and shows no sign of stopping. The futuristic setting did not appeal overmuch to me either. I am not a lover of sci-fi, particularly in novels.
And then there's Roarke. How could he possibly live up to the hype that surrounds him in the romance world? I was worried that he couldn't possibly come close to my expectations and the magic wouldn't happen.
Well, as I expected, the novel was well-written, and the characters were multi-dimentional and appealing, even the prickly Eve. The author, whether writing as Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb knows how to create depth in her characters and writes relationships that just feel right and give you that warm, tingly feeling.
The futuristic setting, though, was a disappointment in that it wasn't fully realised. It seemed almost wall-paperish, just some random name-dropping of futuristic devices and elements with no depth or even explanation. I found this distracting initially and felt it really did nothing to enhance the novel. That said, it is very easy to ignore and didn't overly detract from my enjoyment.
And then there's Roarke. Even though I was reading with such heady expectations, he still managed to shine and provide some sigh-worthy moments. Although I can't yet name myself among the legion of fans ready to forsake all others, I can definitely see the potential. I imagine that as I get to know him better in future books, I may be willing to make that declaration.
So, yes, my TBR will happily be increasing by 38 and counting.
Wow. I am loving Anne Stuart's House of Rohan books. I am so glad I gave this author another chance.
Reckless does have some similarities to R...more4.5 stars
Wow. I am loving Anne Stuart's House of Rohan books. I am so glad I gave this author another chance.
Reckless does have some similarities to Ruthless in that it is essentially the story of a debauched libertine who finds love with a 'plain', inexperienced spinster who is firmly on the shelf. But the development of the relationship in Reckless happens in quite a different way, and Adrian is quite a different character from his father.
Reckless is the story of Adrian Rohan, the son of Francis and Elinor from Ruthless. Although Reckless can be read as a stand alone novel, Ruthless is such a wonderful novel that it would be a shame to miss it. We do also get to see and hear a little more of Francis and Elinor.
Once again, the author has created a 'bad boy' that you can't help but love. While we were made privy to the circumstances leading to Francis's behaviour in Ruthless, we never got sufficient explanation for the cause of Adrian's sad eyes and reckless behaviour. It appeared to be the result of immaturity, lack of character, and desire to rebel against his powerful father. But such is the strength of Anne Stuart's writing, that this did not detract from my enjoyment in the story.
I am also really appreciating that I actually like the heroines every bit as much as the heroes. These are women who are strong enough to hold their own with the men and are absolutely deserving of happiness (and great sex!).
One of the things I really love about this series so far, is the way the author creates a completely unconventional and scorchingly hot encounter for their first sexual contact. This sets the scene for both parties to endure some smoking sexual tension until they next cross paths.
Reckless is not a perfect novel, but I once again found myself so absorbed in the story that I couldn't put it down. The positives and quality of writing far outweigh the opportunity for greater depth to the hero's character or any similarities in the tropes used.
I can't help but include the following passage, which leads to one of the hottest scenes I have ever read:
******* The following is an excerpt from the novel. Possible minor spoiler. *********
He took a step forward, and without thinking, she backed away, the uncertainty still moving through her body.
"It's not going to work if you do that," he said softly.
"Maybe that's a better idea."
"Coward," he said. He took another step toward her, and she took another one back, coming up against the closed door. He leaned forward and brushed his mouth across hers, so gently it seemed as if she'd imagined it. "Poor Charlotte," he whispered. "You're as bad as I am."
"What do you mean?" Her voice was only a thread of sound as his mouth traced the line of her jaw, ending up just beneath her ear, against her throbbing pulse.
"It's a waste of time to keep fighting it. We're doomed. We may as well give in." His hands were in her hair now, and she heard the hairpins fall on the floor as her neat braids fell loose around her. "Turn around, Charlotte."
"Because I want to unlace your dress."
"Is that strictly necessary?"
He laughed against her throat. "Yes, it's strictly necessary. I want to see you naked. I want to lick every inch of your body. Turn around."(less)
Broken is an amazing book that defies description and categorization. It is not your typical erotica, nor can it be classed as roma...moreWow. Just..... wow.
Broken is an amazing book that defies description and categorization. It is not your typical erotica, nor can it be classed as romance, though it certainly contains elements of each. It is a complex and layered novel that is so much more than any synopsis could possibly represent.
Broken is the story of three people - Sadie, her husband Adam, and Joe. But this is not a love triangle story.
Sadie and Adam meet in college and fall in love in the sweetest way. They marry and have their whole lives to look forward to, until a tragedy shatters their existence and turns their entire world upside down in the most heartrending way.
Sadie, desperately needing some relief from what has now become her existence, meets Joe. Strangers, they fall into an unspoken agreement that sees them meeting on the first Friday of every month. There, Joe will tell Sadie the story of his latest sexual encounter. Having had sexual intimacy in her marriage brutally taken away from her, Sadie imagines she is Joe's sexual partner in each story.
Sadie remains desperately in love with her husband and, although she never cheats on him, is agonized that meeting with Joe is a form of emotional betrayal. For Sadie, life has become the ultimate no win situation.
Broken is told in the first person from Sadie's point of view, and wouldn't be as powerful any other way. I didn't feel any of the limitations often found in first person narrative because the story is written in such a clever way.
Even though Sadie was not present in any of the sexual encounters Joe describes, these are written in the first person from the female's point of view - a different character each time. We therefore get a different 'feel' each time. Joe, who begins as a complete stranger, also reveals more of himself in each encounter, so we get to know him at the same time as Sadie. The writing is so clever there is no way of knowing how much of the story comes from Joe, and how much from Sadie's imagination.
There is a whole critical element in this novel that I have not included because I don't want to diminish the powerful impact on the reader.
Broken is such an apt name for this novel. It is achingly sad, confronting and real - and different from anything I have ever read.
I didn't find the sex gratuitous or kinky (although there is one f/f/f/m scene), but an integral part of the broader story, which is so much more than just the sum of these scenes.
Broken will not be for everyone, but on the strength of this novel, I can see Megan Hart becoming one of my favorite authors.(less)
Sherry Thomas is an extraordinarily talented author. Her prose is letter perfect, and her study of a fractured relationship is second to none. She is...moreSherry Thomas is an extraordinarily talented author. Her prose is letter perfect, and her study of a fractured relationship is second to none. She is a master of the slow-reveal, feeding the reader the pieces of the puzzle with a brilliant sense of timing, steadily drawing the reader in, engaging their emotions exquisitely and placing them firmly and personally within the hidden, private depths of a broken marriage.
In Not Quite a Husband, Sherry will lead you to question your notions of right and wrong, and show you that sometimes there is no clear answer or even purpose to assigning blame.
How do you move forward, when, having long believed yourself the victim, you discover that the failure of your marriage could more accurately be placed upon your shoulders? That you can no longer claim the high ground? When your behaviours prove more abhorrent than that one misdeed of his? When you finally, finally realise what you never knew you had and were too blind to see?
She had a sudden vision of herself as a wizened old physician, her hands too arthritic to wield a scalpel, her eyes too rheumy to diagnose anything except measles and chicken pox. The wizened old physician would very much like to drink tea next to her wizened old professor, chuckle over the passionate follies of their distant youth, and then go for a walk along the river Cam, holding his paper-dry liver-spotted hand.
How ironic that when they’d been married, she’d never thought of growing old with him. Yet now, years after the annulment, she should think of it with the yearning of an exile, for the homeland that had long ago evicted her.
What if you made one stupid mistake, and it cost you everything you hold dear, your very future? If there was nothing you could ever do to make it right, no way to repair the damage? If you were forever destined to live your life as a shadow, trapped in the wanting of what you can never have?
Amazing what a man thought of, looking at a fully clothed woman who did nothing more provocative than sipping her tea while gazing thoughtfully into the distance.
For the thousandth time he wished he’d just met her. That they were but two strangers traveling together, that such lovely, filthy thoughts did not break him in two, but were only a pleasant pastime as he slowly fell under the spell of her aloof beauty and her hidden intensity.
There were so many stories he could tell her, so many ways to draw her out of her shell. He would have waited with baited breath for her first smile, for the sound of her first laughter. He would be endlessly curious about her, eager to undress her metaphorically as well as physically.
The first holding of hands. The first kiss. The first time he saw her unclothed. The first time they became one.
The first time they finished each other’s sentences.
But no, they’d met long ago, in the furthest years of his childhood. Their chances had come and gone. All they had ahead of them were a tedious road and a final good-bye.
And what then, when you discover this truth? That the carnage of your life, the years of torture and heartache, the loss of your dreams and future, all of this could all have been saved by the simple act of honesty and communication. Would you then be forced to live with the regret, which must surely be more powerful and devastating than all that has come before?
Neither Bryony Asquith nor Leo Marsden are as they first appear. The author gradually provides the reader with both Leo and Bryony’s perspectives on their disastrous marriage and the years since the annulment, along with details of their respective lives before they met. Thus you come to learn about the characters and understand their behaviour.
Not Quite a Husband is an extremely poignant and moving tale, plumbing the depths of emotions with heartbreaking insight and hindsight. Set against the majestic backdrop of India in rebellion, this book, along with the extraordinary Private Arrangements are must-reads for any lover of complex - and at times dark - historical romance. (less)
Wow. I must say a great big thank you to my GR friend Keri for sending me this recommendation. I REALLY enjoyed Seven Secrets of Seduction by this new...moreWow. I must say a great big thank you to my GR friend Keri for sending me this recommendation. I REALLY enjoyed Seven Secrets of Seduction by this new to me author.
Miranda Chase, an avid book-lover, works in her uncle’s book store. Unable to overcome her fears and fully embrace the world at large, she fulfills her dreams through the pages of her beloved books. One day, an irritating, confusing, devilish man enters the shop and proceeds to turn Miranda’s life upside down. Unbeknown to Miranda, he is the notorious yet mysterious Viscount Downing.
And so begins a dance of seduction.
Seven Secrets of Seduction had one of the best opening chapters I have seen in a long time, and, having created such high expectations, doesn’t disappoint at any stage. This is despite, or maybe because of the fact, that the book focuses solely on the interaction between Miranda and Downing.
There is no cast of thousands or secondary romance to distract the reader, no lengthy separation of the hero and heroine, no Big Misunderstanding, and almost no action to speak of. Just Miranda and Downing, navigating the un-chartered territory in which they each find themselves.
I admit to expecting boredom and ennui to set in some point, but, thankfully, it never happened. Not even close. The dance between Miranda and Downing was fascinating to watch, and all the more affecting because of the intimacy the author created.
Downing was an intriguing, sensuous and extremely sexy character. He goes to great lengths to orchestrate circumstances where he can spend time with Miranda, who has fascinated him for longer than she knows; but despite the fact Downing believes himself the choreographer, he will find himself just as much a slave to the dance.
Downing employs the use of words in his seduction, using innuendo and double-entendres to confuse and arouse Miranda, knowing that she is able to compete with him in wit and intellect. Although Miranda at first believes he seeks to amuse himself with the lowly shopgirl, Downing demonstrates her worth to him in a myriad of subtle yet powerful and moving ways.
Miranda is a clever, sensible and pragmatic character, written in such a way that it is completely understandable that she has so completely captured the attention of this dark, powerful man. I loved them both.
The sexual tension fairly leaks from the page, a divine torture, and when words finally move to touches, it is worth the wait. The fact that the reader will likely know Downing’s secrets well before Miranda does not detract in any way, and the author still manages to include other surprises.
I highly recommend this book and will definitely be reading more from this author. (less)
Firstly, I must thank Lady Jayne for recommending this wonderful book, and Catherine for endorsing Jayne’s rec. For some reason, this excellent read i...moreFirstly, I must thank Lady Jayne for recommending this wonderful book, and Catherine for endorsing Jayne’s rec. For some reason, this excellent read is not one that I have seen come up in discussion very much, or if it has, I have missed it. Given the buzz that surrounds other books, I’m surprised this worthy title has not generated more chat and am grateful that it was brought to my attention.
The Duke of Shadows is not your average historical romance. It has elements that I adore in romance - heart-thumping action with the hero and heroine’s lives at stake, a couple that are perfect for each other and realize this early in the piece, a hero that is to die for and a worthy heroine, both of whom have seen more than their share of tragedy – all written in beautiful prose that is at times almost breathtaking.
The book is set in two parts – the first being 1857 India during the time of the sepoy uprising. Ahhh, what can I say but that this part was perfection. India made for a wonderful setting, expertly and at times gruesomely brought alive by a talented author.
The attraction between our couple during the initial period of peace is beautiful and, more importantly, believable. To then find themselves alone with each other and fighting for their lives makes their experience both more poignant and tragic. The author provides some exquisite moments of tenderness amidst the cruelest of brutality. Through it all, there can be no doubt that this couple were meant for each other.
The second part, although set in 1861 London during peaceful times, I found more difficult to read. Having seen how utterly right the love between these two could be, I had a hard time with seeing them apart. I love me some angst in my romance, no question, but at times I felt some of the magic was lost.
There were moments of brilliance in the writing, and I realise the trauma they suffered, but some of the actions and behaviour of the characters was still not convincing or understandable to me. I think we also would have benefited from seeing more from Julian’s POV. At times this left me feeling that this was just another good historical romance, instead of the outstanding read that it was initially.
Of course, the author would then craft a scene that again left me in awe of her writing talent, and I was reminded again that this really was something special.
I am wavering between 4.5 and 5 stars for this one. Either way, I highly recommend it.(less)
I am not a fan of Anne Stuart's Ice series. Although admittedly I only read the first, Black Ice, the hero was far too much of a cold bastard...more 4.5 stars
I am not a fan of Anne Stuart's Ice series. Although admittedly I only read the first, Black Ice, the hero was far too much of a cold bastard for my taste and I found it be absolutely devoid of romance. Having been advised by readers whose opinion I trust that the rest of her heroes were cut from the same cloth, I had no interest in reading further.
Then I saw Ruthless, a historical from the same author getting such good reviews on this site, and my interest was piqued. Given that the author is recognized for writing a certain kind of hero (I think some may refer to them as Gamma?), I was hesitant to invest my time reading about another a-hole. In the thread on Lady Danielle's review of this book, I was encouraged to give it a try.
I am soooo glad I did. I loved this book.
I am finding it very difficult to organize my thoughts here, because Viscount Rohan is a man of contradictions. He lives a depraved lifestyle but in many other ways he holds high standards of conduct and honor. He is a broken man who hides behind a facade of decadence that no longer provides the distraction and amusement he needs to fill the void in his life. Viscount Rohan is wicked, but in a delicious way. I found myself quite drawn to him, which came as some surprise. Perhaps the man himself says it best in this passage:
Her eyes narrowed. "You're a bastard, you know. A heartless, manipulative monster." "Oh, surely that's too harsh. I'm not a monster. I wouldn't even say I'm a bad man. I'm just not a very good one."
I enjoyed the interactions between Elinor and Rohan, but it was Rohan's actions away from Elinor that spoke more clearly. This is a romance that takes place almost behind the scenes. It was very well written, with the author doing an excellent job of showing, not telling, even when the characters were determined to tell a different story. Both characters have suffered horrible trauma in their past that makes their behavior believable.
This was a book that captured my attention from the outset and didn't let go. I found myself completely immersed in the story - and don't you just love it when that happens? If, like me, you like your romances on the darker side, then I highly recommend you give Ruthless a try, even if the Ice series left you cold. (less)
I swear, Pamela Clare cannot write a bad book. Why this talented author is not writing books full time is beyond me - and on a note of pure selfishnes...moreI swear, Pamela Clare cannot write a bad book. Why this talented author is not writing books full time is beyond me - and on a note of pure selfishness, incredibly disappointing. And that is the only time you will hear the word 'disappointing' come out of my mouth (or fingers, as it were) in connection with Ms. Clare.
Breaking Point was possibly the I-Team series' most gritty and action-packed book to date. You can tell that the author knows her stuff, and researches her locations and scenarios expertly. I really felt like I was there with Zach and Natalie every step of the way, from their cells to their trek across the desert. The sense of place was superb.
I absolutely love the way this author writes - it just works. No matter what is happening, it always, ALWAYS, feels authentic. And Breaking Point, despite the extreme storyline, is no exception.
I've seen lots of comments about the cover, and the only thing I will say, is the story underneath far surpasses it in every way.