Not much to really say about this one. It was nice and angsty, hot 'n' tasty (hello! it's Linda Howard!), but no...more**spoiler alert** Reread December 2010
Not much to really say about this one. It was nice and angsty, hot 'n' tasty (hello! it's Linda Howard!), but not so heavy as to be a tough read.
What worked for me: *I liked Marley's psychic abilities, and I LOVED the fact she'd lost her "powers" to some extent after surviving a "psycho with a knife" *The angggsssstttt! Oh man the hero's betrayal of the heroine. Man. Tasty, delicious angst. *The sex. Oh well der, I liked sex, but specifically, I liked the first time they were together, how he just got up and left, then LATER, was like "*facepalm* Oh crap that was a dumbass thing for me to do lemme go fix this" lol
What didn't work for me: *I think Marley forgave him a little to easily. And by "forgave him" I of course mean "fell back in bed with him". I also found it unrealistic that the cops would let her stay with him instead of going to a safehouse, or that they'd let her continue to go to work like nothing was different. I tell you one thing, forget him, I'd have packed my shtuff up and gone straight back to Colorado while they thought I was at work. So there.
Overall, I stand by my old score of 4 Stars -- not the greatest book by Linda Howard, but a danged good read anyway.(less)
I wanted to love this book. Really, I did. For most of the book, I kept thinking how it would get at least four stars, possibly even, dare I say it, f...moreI wanted to love this book. Really, I did. For most of the book, I kept thinking how it would get at least four stars, possibly even, dare I say it, five.
Gator (our Cajun hero) was delicious, with just the right amount of disarming bayou charm to balance out his alpha-male arrogance, and Flame (our fiery heroine, whose hair matched her temper) was such an amazingly capable and fierce warrior herself that I was cheering each time she put Gator soundly in his place.. And her affinity for knives. So tasty :)
The conspiracy theory that ran throughout just knocked my socks off... I was right there with Gator, torn between just rolling my eyes and chalking her up to a paranoid conspiracy theorist and getting that tingly feeling on the back of my neck that made me think "wait, what if she's right?!"
The action scenes were great, with a fantastic sub-plot that had the most satisfactory conclusion, and the romance was just as intense and scorching as we've come to expect from this series. There was even just the right amount of kink thrown in to keep it from being too formulaic, since the previous books in the series have all had similar intensity to their romance -- which of course is why we read them ;)
But the ending.
Oh the ending.
It just wasn't at all what I was expecting, and quite frankly seemed both rushed and forced (no pun intended). It just seemed... too easy? No, that's not quite right, since most who read it will agree that there was nothing "easy" about the final resolution, but still... It just seemed as though there should have been more angst in the ending than was present. It was like *BAM* this one thing happened and there was just tons and tons of angst and then a little action to throw us off, then a little more angst then fade-to-black, some time passes behind the scenes, and all of a sudden *BAM* they get their HEA. It left me scratching my head, wondering if maybe the publishers had put a page limit on the book and CF was like "ahh crap I'd better get this drama wrapped up so we can move on to the next book" or something.
I don't want to say any more because it really will spoil things, but their HEA just left me feeling hollow, unlike the previous books in the series.
Overall, I give it three stars. It would have been much higher had the ending been more to my tastes. And since I'm currently devouring this series like a starving man at a buffet, I say read it regardless. It may not be the strongest in the series, but up until the ending, it was a fantastic read.(less)
**spoiler alert** See where you had to click on the little link that let you know that there was a spoiler here?
I wasn't kidding.
This is your last ch...more**spoiler alert** See where you had to click on the little link that let you know that there was a spoiler here?
I wasn't kidding.
This is your last chance before I ruin it for you ;)
Ok. I warned ya.
So I'm just gonna go ahead and say this -- I put "adultery or infidelity" as one of the keywords, because for a good solid HALF of the bloody book, you think, even though Crissy is a total Mary Sue as far as honoring her wedding vows go, that not only has Judd cheated on Crissy in the past (quietly), but that he's blatantly banging this hot piece of tail that shows up in the first couple chapters.
But he's not.
I ruined the whole story for you.
That's what you get for clicking on a review that you knew had spoilers in it ;) :P
I can't stand adultery in books. It turns my stomach. Total turn-off. I don't care if it is a marriage of convenience, or even if the married partners can't breathe the same air without wanting to perform hari-kari just so they won't have to tolerate the other. Or heck, even if they've been estranged for 15 years. It's just not my cup of tea at all.
So, when I started reading this book, I had that sickly, stone-in-my-gut feeling as I read, because it was obvious (or so it seemed) that while Judd was respectful of his wife, he'd been getting a little something something on the side *wink wink nudge nudge*... And then when the hoochie mama Tippy shows up in all her whoretastic glory (and c'mon, face it, how cliche is Tippy in this bloody book?!).. Well.. You get the picture.
But, turns out Judd's been behaving. For five. long. years. *blink* I'm actually kind of impressed. Our thud-tastic hero, whose rare kisses practically melt the panties off of our poor love-starved heroine, is actually... celibate? *blink*
So yes, cliches abound
But you know what?
I loved this book anyway :D
This is my first Diana Palmer book, and if the rest of hers are anything like this one, I'll be glomming her with a quickness.
The angst in this book is delicious.
Judd is just too bloody stubborn to admit that he's got the hots for his much younger, married-only-on-paper wife, and Crissy, bless her little virgin heart is just too tomboyish and in blinding love with Judd to realize that she's actually a hot little number and that it's not a case of her being undesirable but rather a case of him being chronically "noble"... *facepalm*
Ahhh but I do love stories like that. The angst is just freaking delicious. I wanna slurp it up with a spoon.
And Cash! Oh Cash! *falls over* How I adore him! I see from other reviews that he's got his own book -- I'm going to be at the library first thing in the morning searching for that puppy, because he's just delicious in his own right. I admit, I was totally rooting for him, at least for a while *dreamy sigh*
It would have had a higher rating, but the ending was just too contrived.
Twins? Really?! And she hid it for the whole pregnancy? REALLY?! Yeah, I don't think so. It just jacked the cheese factor waaaaaay up, so it lost a star.(less)
In the tradition of the other Banning Sisters books, this novel was full of secret plots, spies, and intrig...moreGood Lord this book was a long time coming!
In the tradition of the other Banning Sisters books, this novel was full of secret plots, spies, and intrigues.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was really never a dull moment, and every time it seemed that progress had been made, something else jumped forth to cause problems between them (just like I like it lol)
Sensitive readers should be aware that this novel contains attempted rape, kidnapping, and a sexual assault (some would call it "forced seduction", but honestly I think it may have crossed the line a bit).
It also has the dreaded "hero sees the heroine naked without her consent" thing which drives me NUTS in romance novels. Attention Authors: THAT'S NOT SEXY.
Despite that, however, it was a wonderful way to end the Banning Sisters Trilogy which started with Scandalous followed by Irresistible. Gabby/Nick and Claire/Hugh play a big part, as does their wonderfully meddlesome aunt.
I absolutely adored Neil, however. I know I may be alone in this, but one of the things I loved about him was that he actually, honest to goodness considered killing Beth -- just snapping her neck. Usually in romance novels (outside of Anne Stuart's creations of course lol), even the most hardened assassin hero would never consider killing an innocent woman who'd gotten in his way. I liked that he was all like "Man that sucks I'm gonna have to snap her neck. Oh well." (paraphrased of course :P)
The only thing keeping it from being 5 stars is the fact that the ending seemed really abrupt to me. Everything got wrapped up in a nice little HEA mind you; it's just that there was some fade-to-black smexin that seemed a bit out of place, followed by a short bit of action and then cut to what was practically an epilogue where Robards told us, rather than showed us how the rest of the stumbling blocks to Neil and Beth's HEA were quickly and tidily swept away. Knowing how long it's been since this book was supposed to come out (what is it, an 8 year wait?), it almost feels like Robards took the old dusty, unfinished manuscript off the shelf and spent a few days quickly whipping up an ending and sent if off to her editors so that she could just be done with it.
Still, despite that, it was a highly satisfying and attention-grabbing novel that I would highly recommend to any fan of the Banning Sisters novels (which, I admit, I suggest reading in order before picking up this novel, even though it could easily stand alone).
I've thoroughly enjoyed the entire medieval trilogy by Elizabeth Lowell, which started with Untamed, followed by Forbidden, and ending with this book,...moreI've thoroughly enjoyed the entire medieval trilogy by Elizabeth Lowell, which started with Untamed, followed by Forbidden, and ending with this book, Enchanted. Though they were, in some ways, a bit predictable, they were also quite satisfying in their conclusions.
I'm very sad that she has no plans for more medieval stories, but I do plan on reading more of her works.
Though each of her books can be read alone, I do highly suggest reading the entire trilogy in order. (less)
**spoiler alert** I have yet to read a story by Anne Stuart that hasn't left me feeling (happily) dazed and raw at the end of it, and Ritual Sins is c...more**spoiler alert** I have yet to read a story by Anne Stuart that hasn't left me feeling (happily) dazed and raw at the end of it, and Ritual Sins is certainly no exception.
Sakes alive I wanted to hate Luke. I wanted to despise him, to categorize him unquestionably as a detestable villain with no chance of redemption in my eyes.
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for me, Anne Stuart is the ever luvin' queen of presenting you with a man that you abhor (with good reason!), all the while seducing you right along with her heroines until somewhere down the line you realize that in spite of everything (and completely against your will), you've somehow fallen in love with him as well. And there's no point in trying to analyze just when it happened, because it's such a slow and methodological seduction that you were a lost cause as soon as you started reading the first page, helpless against it from the start.
Make no mistake about it -- Luke is not a good guy. He's not some poor lost soul who is simply misunderstood. He's not one of those tortured heroes who despite being all deliciously hot and angsty intimidating and scary is actually a sweetheart full of protective instincts of the heroine, just waiting for a chance to prove himself as something other than the villain others view him as.
No, Luke is, in fact, a complete and utter (insert expletive here) -- a completely despicable con man who purposely sets out to destroy our heroine by any means possible and plans to thoroughly enjoy the process along the way.
Some of the things he does actually crossed the line for me (which is one of the reasons I'm waffling on the final star-count here). Many of Anne Stuart's heroes sexually exploit the heroine with no compunction at all (Black Ice and Ice Storm are the ones that immediately come to mind), but Luke went further than simple exploitation. He actually sexually molested (and possibly raped? It's not really clear on that) the heroine while she was in a drug-induced sleep, and then again while she's in a deep sleep at a hotel. Not cool. Not cool at all.
I'm not sure why I am able to more freely forgive some of her other heroes who really were just as nasty to their heroines as Luke was, while holding a bit of a grudge against him for those particular incidences. Maybe it was knowing that Rachel had previously been raped by her stepfather at a young age that made it even more despicable for him to take advantage of her without her knowledge.
However, by the time they actually do have a consensual sexual encounter, I was just as emotionally raw as Rachel was -- torn between some sick sense of adoration, despair, loathing, and acceptance.
Delicious, just as I knew it would be :D
Their time in the van was simply scorching -- the chemistry between these two characters combined with all sorts of UST leads to a completely explosive encounter (or two lol)
This is my favorite quote from the whole book: She just looked at him. She really had extraordinary eyes, he thought, keeping his own face expressionless, slightly bored. It was those eyes of hers that were his downfall. He could resist her anger, he could resist her body and her sarcastic tongue. But those deep brown eyes, so full of pain and fury, need and defiance, did him in.
Luke, like most other Anne Stuart heroes, is not the secretly squishy, overbearing-yet-adoring, overprotective alpha male that one might come to expect from typical romance novels. Even though the book's ending distinctly hints at a HEA, I still feel like he'll always be the charismatic con-man with the incredibly tough core (*snickers* I totally can't write "core" without giggling after reading hundreds of romance novels. My inner 14 year old boy is having a field day).
He definitely has a sympathetic back-story that twisted at your gut and helped you to understand why he was the way he was, but even that doesn't change the uncomfortable feelings of disgust and repulsion that arise from his treatment of both the heroine and of himself.
Another point scored by Anne Stuart is the fact that her heroine wasn't a total Mary Sue either. She's had a heck of a messed up life -- unwanted and unloved by her trampy mother, molested and raped by one of her step-fathers, and at a point in her life where the possibility of real happiness slipped through her fingers with her estranged mother's death (and subsequent will leaving all of her inheritance and trust fund monies to Luke's "Foundation of Being"), so she's a very sympathetic character. Written by another author, she had the real potential to be completely one-dimensional, wishy-washy, and pathetic. In AS's skillful hands, however, she was transformed into a strong and determined woman who is struggling to survive amidst a storm of fear, anger, lust, newly awakened passion, self-pity, and determination.
On top of all that is the mystery of what is really going on at the Foundation? Was Rachel's mother murdered or did she truly die of cancer? Is the Foundation really a spiritual retreat that helps lost souls find their way, or is it a cult that preys on the innocent? At the root of the mystery, of course, is the question of Luke's true character, and whether he's a knowing part of any nefarious plots (should they exist) or if he's merely a tool being used in turn by those he himself is using. I admit that I was actually surprised by some of the developments in the story as far as those things went. There were times where I truly couldn't see a HEA in store for these two either, which made it all the more enjoyable to read. While there were certainly some predictable elements (because let's face it, if you're an Anne Stuart fan, you somewhat know what to expect of her heroes), there were several nice subplots and twisty elements that kept things interesting.
Anne Stuart never fails to amaze me with her skill in writing characters who have many layers to their psyches as well as the ability to have the external story elements able to stand alone. I was not disappointed with this story.
Overall, I'm going to go with four stars. It would have been five had it not been for the whole messing-with-her-in-her-sleep thing, which is JNMK :)(less)
The book description clearly states that the when Prince Alex discovers that Maria is pregnant, he assumes that it wa...more**spoiler alert** Lies! All lies!
The book description clearly states that the when Prince Alex discovers that Maria is pregnant, he assumes that it was on purpose and decides to make her his mistress, and that he does so because she'll "never make a suitable wife"..
Truth of the matter is, even though she's pregnant from the very start of the book, Maria doesn't even figure out she's pregnant until the end of Chapter Ten (over halfway through the book), and he doesn't find out she's pregnant until the very last chapter.
He decides to make her his mistress as soon as he's been told he has to go talk to her again, as a punishment for (what he feels was) making a fool out of him two months prior, not because he's found out she's pregnant and he knows she won't make a suitable wife. Instead, he does it because he's been basically obsessed with her and her (alleged) betrayal so he thinks by forcing her to be his mistress that he can just smex her right on out of his system. Any thoughts of her being wife material, suitable or otherwise, don't even occur until the very end.
Ug. I feel so betrayed!
Ok so maybe I'm being just a wee a bit melodramatic. But still.
It's kind of like when you see a trailer for a movie and then you go see the movie and it turns out your favorite scene from the trailer ended up on the cutting room floor for the final edit.
The description has Alex cast in the role of the cold, bitter villain who is out to ruin Maria from the very start, only to find himself falling for her anyway... However, he's really not a bad guy at all. I quite liked Alex, despite his occasional snarky behavior towards Maria.
And honestly, the fact that he couldn't bring himself to follow through with forcing her to be his mistress won me over completely :) I liked how their first time together (apart from that disastrous one night stand two months prior to the start of the book) was completely consensual and not the result of coercion or because she thought it was what was required of her.
So despite the incredibly inaccurate description, it was still a good story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was a bit disappointed because it wasn't the story I thought I was going to be reading, but it was quite enjoyable to watch these two crazy kids fall in love :)
It's also the start of a series of interconnected stories, and I'm interested to read more in the future to see just what's up with the diamonds ;)
**spoiler alert** Ahhh how I do love Anne Stuart novels *contented sigh*
One of her older stories, this book had all the delicious angst and subterfuge...more**spoiler alert** Ahhh how I do love Anne Stuart novels *contented sigh*
One of her older stories, this book had all the delicious angst and subterfuge that I've come to adore from Anne Stuart. It was, however, a lot more.... hopeful I guess you could say, than her more recent novels. In her more recent works, you're really not certain if our main male character is a villain or a hero until the end. In fact, in Ritual Sins (the last Anne Stuart book I read), I really couldn't even see how she could possibly finagle a HEA into the story line.
Michael, the hero of Now You See Him, is much more in touch with his feelings (but not in a smushy, metrosexual way or anything -- he's still all alpha male!). He knows exactly when he's fallen in love with Francey, and even though he won't allow himself to be with her, he's honest with himself, and even with her (as much as he can be). Every time he walks out of her life, I just wanted to shake him because it was just so bloody obvious he was never going to get over her.
But, that's part of the fun of Anne Stuart -- lots of teeth gnashing and rending of clothing due to overwhelming angst ;)
The romance was a bit light -- I can't put my finger on it but I didn't really feel a lot of intensity between the t...moreA free Kindle book from Amazon.com
The romance was a bit light -- I can't put my finger on it but I didn't really feel a lot of intensity between the two characters... And the sister's motives for what she did years ago seemed a bit glossed over as well.
The murder-mystery part kept me guessing though, which was surprising -- I completely expected to be able to figure it out very quickly, but there were enough "good" suspects woven in that I was never quite sure even though I had several suspicions.
A must read for urban-fantasy and paranormal romance fans!
There's not much I can say that won't spoil things (outside of what's already mentioned in...moreA must read for urban-fantasy and paranormal romance fans!
There's not much I can say that won't spoil things (outside of what's already mentioned in the synopsis), but I have to say Dawn McClure is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I can honestly say that just based on her two books I've read (Azazel and Asmodeus), she's ranking right up there with J.R. Ward and Nalini Singh for me, and that's a high compliment, trust me.
This story had way more angst, action, and UST than I'm used to in this type of novel, which is great...more**spoiler alert** Awww :) Such a sweet ending :)
This story had way more angst, action, and UST than I'm used to in this type of novel, which is great :D
I'm really glad that the whole "cheating" thing got cleared up early -- that's SO not something I enjoy in my romance novels and it really would've put a huge dampener on the whole story had it been dangling over our heads the entire time.
I can see that I'm going to be a fan of Jennie Lucas, and hope to read more of her works in the future.(less)
(Kindle Edition) My first book of 2010, and I couldn't have chosen a better one :)
A huge fan of the entire Ghostwalker Series, I was glad to see Christ...more(Kindle Edition) My first book of 2010, and I couldn't have chosen a better one :)
A huge fan of the entire Ghostwalker Series, I was glad to see Christine Feehan pull away from the we-just-met-but-OMG-I-just-have-to-have-you motif that's present in so many of her other books.
In Street Game, our hero and heroine have known each other their whole lives, and were even involved romantically before any of the pheremonal whatnot occurred.
Never fear, the conspiracy is still alive and kicking, with several old players making an appearance, as well as a few newbies. There was also quite a bit of hat-tipping towards characters from previous novels, and I have to say that I sincerely hope that Kane is going to be one of the heroes in an upcoming novel, because his story is one I'm dying to hear.
I adored the underdog Paul, really hope that Javier gets his own novel one day, and was quite enamored with our hero in all his chest thumping glory (especially that he was so bewildered by his feelings for wee Jaimie)
I definitely think this was one of her stronger novels, with much the action finally not taking place in a swamp or jungle scenario ;)
Overall a very solid read. 4 1/2 stars (only losing 1/2 a star because I feel it can't stand on its own without reading at least a few of the previous novels)(less)