One of the best Medieval romance books I have read. It made my cry and laugh. The main and secondary characters were wonderful and the action was steaOne of the best Medieval romance books I have read. It made my cry and laugh. The main and secondary characters were wonderful and the action was steady. Great insight into the heroine's feelings of isolation. Wonderful love story.
Update: This one is on my ‘favorites’ list and now that I see Amazon has it available via Kindle I thought I would do a quick review here. I have recently re-read it and it still holds up. If you are looking for a book with a good medieval Scotland setting, this is a very good one with a twist. The beginning starts with the heroine about to be burned at the stake as a witch. Gwendolyn has endured prejudice and rejection all her life and the author does a wonderful character study of her. She is one of the strongest fragile persons in many a book. In an enjoyable Robin Hood fashion, Mad Alex saves her. Karyn Monk is such a good writer she is able to take the reader back to a time when many people were superstitious and yet manages to bring today’s issues to life, i.e. those of being ostracized and bullied. She made me cry, she made me laugh. I felt for these characters, including the secondary ones, even if the later are somewhat one-dimensional. This is the book that made Karyn Monk an auto-buy author for me. ...more
(This is a review of the audiobook.) Man-oh-man! I love this book. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It is on my “reTennessee Farm
★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) Man-oh-man! I love this book. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read it. It is on my “re-read-for-comfort” shelf, which I desperately needed now. My life is currently too crazy to sit and read, so I popped in my ear buds and tried the audiobook this time, narrated by the wonderful Anna Fields.
I have heard nothing but great things about this reader, so I don’t know why I waited so long to listen to a story she narrates. If a character speaks softly, she delivers the line softly. If they turn sarcastic, she complies. If they gasp, she gasps. Their voice breaks, so does hers. Astonishing as it sounds, not all readers do this! Some dialogue doesn’t have adjective queues; nevertheless, this talented raconteur intuitively knows how to delivery Ms. Phillips’ clever quips or tender moments in context. She definitely kicks this story up a notch. I highly recommend her as narrator.
As far as the storyline, what can I say? I love these characters in the seventh book of the Chicago Stars series and I adore their love story. Ms. Phillips sure knows how to set up a “meet cute,” and this one, taking place on a highway outside of Denver with Blue Bailey walking down a hot dusty road in a beaver costume – plus a killing rage – is perfect. When Dean Robillard, rich superstar quarterback, crosses her path, he is taken by surprise in one humorous situation after another on their road trip to Tennessee. Nevertheless, each scene carries a Real Life believability that lets us get drawn into the deepening depths of their relationship.
Ms. Phillips also knows how to write amazing secondary characters and these are some of her best. There is one scene between an aging rocker and his neglected, vulnerable young daughter that still has the ability to make my throat swell, my eyes tear.
This story can be read as a “standalone”; however, you would probably enjoy it better if you read this series in order. A younger Dean is deviously charming in Match Me If You Can; while in this one he is still deliciously witty, but confronted with those demons in life that make one run or stand and mature.
Never thought I would like a book about professional fighters, but I loved this one, read it three times in four years, marked it as a favorite, and pNever thought I would like a book about professional fighters, but I loved this one, read it three times in four years, marked it as a favorite, and put it on my keeper shelf. Only bought it because Lori Foster is one of my favorites and she is always an author I can count on. (It was not too melodramatic for me as I had a long lost younger brother who spent his childhood in Foster care – whereas I was adopted into a loving home - and looked me up decades later.) LF did a convincing job of siblings trying to reconnect.
The hero Havoc sucked me into the whole series, though I think this one is the best. He is HOT and tries so hard to be laid-back with the whole family connection and NOT being an older, dependable, protective brother. My roof was leaking at the time I read this book, so there I could relate. LOL. I liked Eve too. When Havoc meets her family was fun and believable. I felt the chemistry between Havoc and Eve was steamy. I could see their affair-turned-to-love happening as the pages turned and knew it was a given when she had her period and he brought ice cream. As a teenager I used to have a boyfriend that worked in an ice cream parlor and brought me rocky road. *Sigh*
The ‘who-done-it?’ kept me guessing; I can usually guess this aspect in romance books, so this was a nice change. The sub-romance plot between Jacki and Gregor was fun and enjoyable too. Not a big fan of tattoos, but the meaning of Havoc’s made me cry. So, yes, everything was firing on all cylinders for me with this one. ...more
St. Bride's Church Fleet Street, London, England, c.1830*
I read this when it first came out over ten years ago and remember loving Colin. Though I’mSt. Bride's Church Fleet Street, London, England, c.1830*
★★★★½ I read this when it first came out over ten years ago and remember loving Colin. Though I’m a bit of a “re-reader,” I haven’t done so. Consequently, I jumped at the chance to join in a “buddy read,” the forth in this enduring series.
However, on re-read I was really impressed with Penelope. Don’t get me wrong: I still had heart palpitations over Colin and his deep green eyes. Nevertheless, I appreciated Penelope’s subtle straight-forward intelligence, calm humor, and not-so-common common sense. Not that she doesn’t have a secret or two up her sleeve.
I was also surprised at how much more I enjoyed seeing these two “perfect for each other” people – the wallflower spinster no one notices and the always popular “Golden Boy” – go from friendship to love on this second visit to Ms. Quinn’s world.
Of course, it isn’t strictly true that they were friends first, because Penelope has loved Colin for years. She always felt any attention Colin gave her was but perfunctory courtesy. Thus, it is a sweet delight to see him finally realize the jewel right under his nose. This story more than simply ‘holds up’ – it is definitely worthy of notice today.
P.S. I wish they’d put it on audio!
P.P.S. Ms Quinn borrowed the curmudgeonly** Lady Danbury from Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster series and made her more than a walk-on character – she’s an integral part of the plot. Such fun!
*19th century engraving; engraver unknown 19th century; public domain picture.
** Yes, I know “curmudgeonly” is a masculine term, but it works here, I think....more
I read this, the second in the Highlands’ Lairds series, years ago and thought I’d give it another go to see if it still held up. (It does!) There wa★★★★½ I read this, the second in the Highlands’ Lairds series, years ago and thought I’d give it another go to see if it still held up. (It does!) There was also going to be a “buddy read” – something I find hard to resist, since I love a good discussion about a great book.
My image of green eyed, brown-haired Gillian. Picture by artist, Cris Ortega.
Thank you, Pamela(AllHoney), one of my “buddy read” group, for introducing me to this talented artist.
What can I say about a classic Garwood Highland Medieval and –at 546 pages – a “chunkster” to boot? I feel like I’m repeating myself about Ms. Garwood; but, while there were a few LOL moments, what I really found was that I was smiling throughout this book. I like smiling while I read; it gives me a warm feeling; makes me want to hunker down under my covers and stay there, indulging in a bit of escapism to Garwood’s Medieval Scotland. This writer can get away with a subtle brand of humor that others cannot. The prologue in this one is excellent, and instantly transported me there. Even in the urgency and danger of the situation JG still managed to capture the character and innocence of a young Gillian and make me… well, smile. ☺
Here we get two love stories in one, which some people don’t like, but I found one complimented the other and made the developing friendship between the two women, Gillian and Bridgid, a more realistic relationship. It gave them something to talk about. (Not that there wasn’t enough action, intrigue, and betrayal going on in the story.) This was true for the corresponding relationship between the two long-time comrades and heroes, Brodick and Ramsey. They all got to know each other on a different level, and it is easy for me to see the four of them remaining friends for life.
That said, I felt the resolution of secondary love story was a bit too quick; greedy romance reader that I am, I would have liked a smidgen more. Maybe a wedding?
My image of Bridgid on her wedding day; I guess, Ramsey is the frog, LOL! Picture by artist, Cris Ortega.
And I felt JG missed a golden opportunity with Alec, the child that was kidnapped, when he spit after each utterance of King John’s name. To an appalled Gillian, he explained that Brodick did this too (or cursed); yet, when Brodick does mention King John later – there’s no spitting, cursing or any attempt to refrain from either. Granted, a very small flaw, but I was looking forward to the imagined scene.
Still, an almost flawless delivery of a sweet and spicy romance. I’ll have to read it again in another couple years to see if it still holds up then.
My first exposure to SEP was Heaven, Texas and, therefore, it has a special place in my heart. This is not just another bad-boy football superstar witMy first exposure to SEP was Heaven, Texas and, therefore, it has a special place in my heart. This is not just another bad-boy football superstar with a diabolic gleam meets 30 year-old wallflower story. These characters had depth. (view spoiler)[I actually had to call my best friend - who doesn't read romance books, but loves football - and tell her about the scene where Gracie discovers Bobby Tom reviewing the video of his career-ending injury over and over again. I fell in love with him before that, but that just made me sob. (hide spoiler)]
Loved the road trip, Bobby Tom's menopausal mother and her secondary romance, the actress he works with on the movie, Gracie’s make-over followed by him wondering who the hell’s driving his convertible, the ice cream scene, Gracie's ideas for his old house, how you could see them falling in love as the pages turned, their real-sounding fights, LOL moments, and…well, everything. This one went directly onto my ‘re-read for comfort' bookshelf and sent me to the bookstore to pick up more of the Chicago Stars series.
Oh, and the end of Heaven, Texas is absolutely, positively worth waiting for. Actually, it is one of the best endings in many a romance book. Don’t click the following spoiler if you haven’t already read the book. (view spoiler)[SEP has an ability to make me laugh and cry at the same time, and she perfected it in Heaven, Texas. At the end, Gracie is down on the rough ground with Bobby Tom. They’re on the side of the road after he’s broken out of jail to chase after her, everybody follows along and she’s protecting him so it's really a comedy of errors-tear jerker. Question: If that happens, does it count as a groveling scene? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(This is a review of the audiobook.) This was a “re-read via audio” for me. I can’t believe how much I had forgotThe match lit by the passionate Win!
★★★★½ (This is a review of the audiobook.) This was a “re-read via audio” for me. I can’t believe how much I had forgotten about Kev and Win’s love story. I have always enjoyed the appearance of these two in the other books in the Hathaways series more than in their own volume. However, on listening to the elegant Rosalyn Landor narrator this one, it is kicked up a ½ star. She is so versatile on the voices and the infection of tones and nuances for the many dramas that take place. I can’t believe I forgot the wardrobe scene, Dodger’s part in it all, Amelia’s pregnancy, and also all the secrets we learn about Kev and Cam. Well worth the “re-read” via my ears.
Yes, I do think Kleypas 'blew a kiss toward' magical realism in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor in the first toy store scene (anMagical Realism or Not?
Yes, I do think Kleypas 'blew a kiss toward' magical realism in Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor in the first toy store scene (an enchanted place for everyone) (view spoiler)[when Maggie gives Holly the shell and tells her she can talk into it and it may help her to speak when she’s ready. I loved that scene, especially when Holly does speak and Mark, who’s telling Maggie he doesn’t believe in encouraging a child’s flight-of-fancy, starts to tell her to not interrupt. Magic is all around us and we are often too busy or preoccupied to notice. Or maybe too full of denial for the sake of political correctness. (hide spoiler)]. It brought a smile to my lips.
There are a lot of other subtle things. The majority of the book takes place on an island, evocative of an exotic locale. I can almost smell the sea air and feel the breeze. The smooth, warm taste of roasted coffee Mark has made from his own labors. Sam valiantly works the soil while tending his vineyards, with a Victorian house - often a time period for magical realism - in the background. And Alex desperately needs some sort of mystical intervention. The magic of the season (both Halloween and Christmas). The letter to Santa.
But most of all, we know this is a HEA novella, so there is a sensual aura of exploration and driving force of destiny whenever Mark and Maggie interact. Yes, LK just gave a tiny nod to the genre, but it was well done and done so sweetly.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Wow! How can I rate a book more than five stars? Even after all the hype, this book still held up. I guess all I can do is put it on my “all-time-favoWow! How can I rate a book more than five stars? Even after all the hype, this book still held up. I guess all I can do is put it on my “all-time-favorites” bookshelf. Lord Ian is intense and he leaped off the pages and into my arms. I wondered how Jennifer Ashley was going to present his POV, since he has Asperger syndrome, and at times it was almost as if it was written by someone else, the tone is so substantially different.
Here is a scene, from the heroine’s POV, from early in the book when the hero, Ian, has just met the heroine, Beth, at the opera for the first time. You can see she is attracted to him, yet he is disconcerting her; while Ian doesn’t know how to take her teasing:
Lord Ian drew a thin curl between his fingers, straightening it. He let it go, his eyes flickering as it bounced against her forehead. He drew the curl out again, watching it bounce back, and again. His concentration unnerved her; the closeness of his body unnerved her more. At the same time, her own wanton body was responding.
“You shall take all the spring out of it,” she said. “My maid will be so disappointed.”
Ian blinked, then returned his hand to the arm of his chair as though having to force it.
I liked the humor in the heroine, Beth; it is delicious when she finally makes Ian laugh out loud, something he never does. Still, she is also a tenacious woman out to solve a mystery. It is nice to see a heroine worthy of the hero.
The three brothers, Isabella, and the servants were very, very real; their dialogues believable. I found the relationship between Ian and Hart thought-provoking. Each brother thinks the other is guilty of something. I loved that Hart, the Duke, was earthy - but also so arrogantly rude to Beth - believing her to be not good enough for his brother, only worried about her safety with regards to how it would affect Ian; conversely, at the same time rude and dismissive toward Ian feelings, while still relying on him for his abilities. On second thought, Hart is rude to everyone. Ms. Ashley has created complex characterizations here and they are fun, intense, emotional and subsequently button-pushing. A wonderful love story about a woman learning to love again and a man, who thinks he can’t, learning to love for the first time!
Ms. Ashley is a new-to-me-author and I will definitely be purchasing, not borrowing, more of her works. ...more
Soulless is my first foray into the world of “steampunk.” Well, other than the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, read to me by my adventurous m★★★★½ Soulless is my first foray into the world of “steampunk.” Well, other than the writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, read to me by my adventurous mother.
Dirigable from Ms. Carriger’s website.
I will be honest and say I just didn’t see the appeal until somewhere around the middle of the third chapter. Maybe I was too focused on figuring out the subtle world building to sit back and enjoy the ride until then. (Unsure what a claviger, drone, or dewan was, I do still wish there had been a glossary provided. At my age, I need to read things more than once to comprehend them. Scroll about half-way down the page on this link and these terms, and others, will be explained: Soulless on Shelfari.)
And the world building is subtle at first. It took a while to see things take off or even understand why this was considered steampunk instead of paranormal. However, when things do take off – they zoom! I will tell you Miss Alexis Tarabotti, a preternatural, and Lord Conall Maccon, the Alpha leader of the Woolsey pack of werewolves, are delightful and their witty dialogues entertaining. Each feels the other is in the way of their investigation, all the while denying their mutually growing attraction. There is evil afoot in Victorian London and these two are bound and determined to find it and root it out.
For those of you, like me, who find the going slow at first, stick with it; it’s well worth your time. Amazing secondary characters too!
Second "reading" May, 2011 Five whole stars! I listened to this audiobook and it is still as riveting as it was way back when. The narrator, Susan Eri
Second "reading" May, 2011 ★★★★★ Five whole stars! I listened to this audiobook and it is still as riveting as it was way back when. The narrator, Susan Ericksen, does an excellent job in start of this futuristic New York cop murder mystery series featuring the infamous Eve Dallas, written by Nora Roberts AKA J.D. Robb. Check your library for the downloadable format - it is well worth it.
Update: March 23, 2012 ★★★★★ (This is a review of the audiobook.) So, I did the dumbest thing; I accidently erased from my iPod/Touch my downloaded copy from my public library of Loyalty in Death I had all set up to listen to in January (yeah, I know it’s March; I'm behind!). Usually not a problem, except these books are quite popular, and this put me back on the ‘waitlist’ into position #5. As I have set myself a personal challenge for 2012 of listening to two from the In Death series a month, this made for a bit of frustration.
Then I got the bright idea of listening to the first in the series, Naked in Death, again while I zipped around town in my car running errands, especially when I saw that the first one was available at my library’s back-up database. Plus, this would certainly help me with some of the trivia facts [Roarke’s birthday: (view spoiler)[October 06, 2024 (hide spoiler)]. . . how Galahad, the cat, came into Eve’s life and got his name (view spoiler)[he was a victim’s pet, found at a crime scene; later he saves Eve’s life! (hide spoiler)]] and questions going around in the J. D. Robb GoodReads Group, such as the first appearance of The Candy Thief.
Imagine my surprise when someone else’s voice other than Susan Ericksen’s came across my car speakers. Yup, Cristine McMurdo-Wallis! (Yes, Cristine without the "h".) Now, I personally feel Ms. Ericksen was born to narrate J.D. Robb’s futuristic detective series set in 2058 New York City – and her Irish accent for Roarke, imbued with so much rakish charm you can hear the devilish twinkle - can’t be beat! However, Ms. Wallis does a nice job of it and sounds a bit like Kathleen Turner, the femme fatale with the deep voice from Body Heat. (For the younger generation, that would be the voice of Jessica Rabbit in action/animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) All in all, not a bad reading.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A GoodReads friend, Amanda, just asked me if Kleypas’ Gamblers series was as good as the Wallflowers series. All I could doStill today, a full ★★★★★!!!
A GoodReads friend, Amanda, just asked me if Kleypas’ Gamblers series was as good as the Wallflowers series. All I could do was answer with a rhetorical question: Is any series as good as the Wallflowers? However, this book is the best in this series, IMHO, though some people will surely disagree. And they are almost right, as the first in the series, Then Came You, is a close second. Dreaming of You’s Derek Craven has his own fan club in W♥LK group’s Hero Threads: Craving Craven , and I voted for this book on listopia’s“Favorite Dukeless Historical Romances”; while I placed it forth on the list, it ranks as number one overall by voters.
This was a re-read for me and I was perplexed as to why it took me over fifteen years to do so when GoodReads reviewer, Bekah, came to it in her “Bekah’s 2011 I Love Lisa Kleypas Journey”. After a frantic search, I realized I must have loaned out my copy. Never again!
It says a lot that, though it is available at my library or on various second-hand bookstore sites, I purchased a brand-spanking-new copy. (Ahhhh…the relief of smelling a new book in my hand.) For this story still holds up after all these years. However, I must point out that I do wish I had re-read Then Came You first as there is a lot of background on Craven there. Plus, the H/H in that one, Lord Alex Raiford and the now Lady Lily Lawson Raiford, have more than walk-on parts in this one.
Kleypas writes such great characters. The heroine, Sara Fielding is not just your average spectacle-wearing country mouse. Sara is a famous novelist; the fact that hardly anyone believes that her infamous heroine Mathilda doesn’t exist is pretty tongue-in-cheek for me as I have a difficult time believing Kleypas’ heroes, too, are imaginary! **cough, cough - Jack Travis**
Our hero, Derek Craven, is darkly delicious as written; a self-made-man, or “Flash Gentry” – as he is referred by both rich and poor – he is splendidly swoon-worthy. He owns an opulent gambling club and he slips into his cockney slang when he is brutally injured or stressed. And he is maliciously disfigured by page four, when Sara steps forward to save him. She is soon constantly around his club doing “research” for her next book and creeping into his heart. He resists the attraction; though it is not apparent to him, it is a dead-giveaway to me when he secretly palms her extra pair of spectacles to keep (view spoiler)[on his person! **sigh** And she finds them on him later in the story. (hide spoiler)].
The secondary characters, from Monsieur Labarge, the French chef, to Tabitha, a whore at Craven’s club, are well written; I especially liked Derek’s arch-nemesis, Ivo Jenner. Oh the arch-villain is obvious from the start…but I didn’t care as Kleypas added a twisted emotional depth that made them scarily believable.
Best scene/quote (IMHO), page 163:
She felt him tremble with the force of his need. He spoke just beneath her ear, his voice thick with tormented pleasure. "You have to leave, Sara ... because I want to hold you like this until your skin melts into mine. I want you in my bed, the smell of you on my sheets, your hair spread across my pillow. I want to take your innocence. God! I want to ruin you for anyone else."
All in all, a GoodRead!
**Photo taken from blog site: Regency Ramble ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
★★★★★ (Review of audiobook.) Wow! Now this is a brilliant and breathtaking introduction to the clever Ms. Clare’s The Infernal Devices trilogy, and the narrator, Jennifer Ehle, certainly elevates it by a half star with her splendid delivery. Ms. Ehle keeps these amazing characters’ voices very distinctive, with a nice variety of tone, inflection, accent and personality.
This genre-bending chapter in Ms. Clare’s edgy fairy tale, a prequel to The Mortal Instruments series, is plopped down in gas-light lit Victorian England, a favorite setting of mine. A kind of Historical Urban Fantasy for its age. It is a must read for anyone who loves young-adult paranormal books. If you haven’t tried the YA genre before, this is one to start reading.
The Strand front of Somerset House and St Mary-le-Strand church sits in the middle of this Victorian London street, as it still does today. Print published by Ackermann & Co in 1836. Artist unknown.
The humor is pitch-perfect, the “fish-out-of-water” heroine is not annoying, and the secondary characters interesting, all bringing the book together instead of just providing fillers. The typical love triangle found in young-adult books is not overbearing and the mystery well plotted, paced, and purely additive! I (along with my “buddy read” partners) found myself stumped repeatedly and still not frustrated or impatient in the delicious reveals. Of course, not all is discovered; it is, after all, the first of three. Can’t wait for the next one!