No really though, I adored Nykyrian. Even if I truly was about to stab myself in the eye if I had to(Kindle Book)
Ahh Acheron by any other name... lol
No really though, I adored Nykyrian. Even if I truly was about to stab myself in the eye if I had to read one more bloody time about how unworthy he was and how he was nothing but an animal and blah blah blah. Yeah. I get it. The man hates himself. Cool. Move along already.
I have to say Sherrilyn Kenyon is the queen of (literally) tortured characters. Good heavens talk about a miserable childhood for pretty much everyone in the story, but no one more so than Nykyrian. I can't even imagine anyone even resembling sanity after being put through all that, but despite his self-hatred and profession, Nykerian rocked my socks off as the absolute scariest good guy I think I've ever read.
Kiara was a bit annoying at times, but really no more so than her character called for -- in the beginning she was naive despite both her past and her belief that she was worldly, and she really was just as unfairly judgmental of the assassins as Syn accused her of. However, I do think that her character matured a lot over the course of the story..
The side characters were incredibly fascinating too.. Syn was probably my favorite (and is the hero of the next book, Born of Fire), with both Darling and Dancer being a close second.
I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of The League novels (I have them right here on my iTouch, ready to read!).
I'm kicking myself for waiting this long to buy the series, and I just hope the rest of the books live up to this one. 5 Stars....more
Ahh I do adore Nalini Singh :) I swear she could write a biography of Abraham Lincoln or something and I'd happily read it.
ArchangeRe-read April 2010
Ahh I do adore Nalini Singh :) I swear she could write a biography of Abraham Lincoln or something and I'd happily read it.
Archangel's Kiss is the second novel in her new Guild Hunters series (which began with Angels' Blood, and includes both Angel's Judgement from the Must Love Hellhounds anthology, and the e-release novella Angels' Pawn) and is the continuation of Elena and Raphael's story.
One notable difference between the two novels is the romance aspect. In Angels' Blood, there was much more of an Urban Fantasy vibe with a bit of romance and heat thrown in. Archangel's Kiss, on the other hand, is much much steamier.
However, UF fans should note that there's still plenty of fighting -- everyone it seems is out to kill Elena. The entire Cadre sees her as Raphael's weakness, and attempts to use her against him. Additionally, she has to watch her back from members of Raphael's Seven, since old rivalries continue and new ones are formed as the Seven struggle to balance their loyalty to Raphael and their desire to protect him -- even from himself.
I would suggest reading Angels' Blood first. Even though NS did a great job of seamlessly integrating the necessary history from the first novel, you miss the nuances of Elena and Raphael's burgeoning relationship and the transformation and adaptations that they both are forced to undergo in order to truly make their relationship work.
I LOVE that Elena and Raphael both struggle to find a balance in their relationship. Elena doesn't suddenly become a docile little doormat who allows Raphael to walk all over her, but neither does Raphael suddenly give in to her every whim or automatically relinquish the total control over someone he rightfully feels is less than his equal. Instead, they both begin to make small concessions to the other; both give up some of their own power and vulnerabilities to the other in order to build trust and to begin to rely on the other's strengths.
Fans of the first novel will be happy to note that we're given much more information a certain childhood incident that played a such a big part in shaping who Elena is, although there are still several unanswered questions in regards to her relationship to her father.
In addition, there are quite a few new characters who are introduced in Archangel's Kiss that will hopefully play large parts in future novels in the series -- I'm incredibly interested in both Jason and Aoden and hope that they will play a large part in future novels.
One confrontation at the end did feel a wee bit anticlimactic upon first reading it, but I went back and re-read the chapter and realized that really it couldn't have been done any differently. The speed and severity at which it was dealt with was an important step in character development, and in the end, a later confrontation definitely erased any feelings of anti-climax.
I greatly look forward to reading any new novels in the series (with the next one due out in 2011 I believe), and enjoyed the snippet from her newest Psy/Changeling Novel, Bonds of Justice, due out in July of this year.
**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**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....more
I really wanted to like this but I found myself scratching my head and saying "the who in the what now??" a LOT while reading. It's almost certainly mI really wanted to like this but I found myself scratching my head and saying "the who in the what now??" a LOT while reading. It's almost certainly my own fault -- I tend to read a page here, a couple pages there, so it's sometimes hard for me to follow more complicated plot lines.
The parts that actually stuck in my head were interesting, so I'll probably give this another shot sometime in the future :)
**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**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 :)...more
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 inA 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.
**spoiler alert** Overall, I enjoyed this book. It had several things going against it to me -- for one, a May-December marriage really isn't my thing**spoiler alert** Overall, I enjoyed this book. It had several things going against it to me -- for one, a May-December marriage really isn't my thing. Being 19 years old and being forced to marry a man quite literally old enough to be your father *ahem* doesn't really scream "HEA" to me, but, to each their own.
The villain was a bit over-the-top, though he definitely kept things interesting.
The twist squicked me, and I admit, were it not for the epilogue, this story would've rated MUCH lower. I swear I was having flashbacks to Old Boy or something. *shudders*
While I grew to love the hero, I really didn't like him in the beginning. He physically and sexually assaulted the heroine to "discipline" her. Granted, she appeared quite spoiled and shrewish at the beginning, but honestly that's not excuse to force your tongue down her throat with the intention of cutting off her breathing, and then brutally shove your fingers into your virgin wife's vajayjay to teach her that you can do whatever you want and she's powerless to stop you so she might as well stop trying.
His behavior in the carriage after he untied her though, did make me think maybe he wasn't quite the asshat that he initially appeared to be, when he thought to himself something along the lines of how she reminded him of a young soldier, brave and reckless.
Looking at his behavior from the perspective of a commanding officer who'd spent a lifetime looking out for those under his command, you could begin to see that his behavior wasn't necessarily born out of a cruel nature, but rather a man used to nipping mutiny and stubbornness in the bud. Sure, he could have gone about it better, and I wouldn't have been so slow in warming to him, but even so, it was a gentle foreshadowing that he wouldn't necessarily be awful to her in the future.
Also, their first consensual sexual encounter seemed a bit... off... I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it was how she went from being all like look-we-can't-stand-each-other-so-let's-dispense-with-this-silly-idea-of-consummating-the-marriage, and being all squicked that he manhandles her and shoves his tongue halfway down her throat, to being all c'm'ere-an-lemme-see-you-nekkid... On one hand, perhaps I should be thankful(?) that it wasn't like most other "forced marriage" stories where they hate each other and then the man gets her all hot and bothered (unwillingly of course *snorts*), but still, it just seemed too much of a turnaround. Nothing he'd done up to that point had aroused her.. In fact, as I mentioned before, he was temperamental and both physically and sexually assaulted her (though neither beating or raping her -- it was still assault), and she was quite put off by him.. And then all of a sudden he's all like "you're my wife, so c'm'ere" and she's all "well then you take your clothes off too cause by gawd I'm not going to be the only one naked" lol Paraphrasing of course!
Once they got their collective heads out of their arses though, things progressed nicely. He was still an asshat, and she was still a manipulative shrew, but they were well matched and often times it seemed that their bickering was more foreplay than cruelty.
I did like the cameo of Vivian and Piers, though I admit I didn't recognize them immediately (they sounded so familiar but it's been a long time since I read their story that I couldn't place them)
Overall, though, I'd say I enjoyed the read, and think it rates a solid 3 Stars (having lost points for the hero's early behavior, and the "twist")...more
**spoiler alert** Ahhh this book was SO much better than I was expecting it to be!
I admit, it got off to a bit of a slow start, but once Lina met Deme**spoiler alert** Ahhh this book was SO much better than I was expecting it to be!
I admit, it got off to a bit of a slow start, but once Lina met Demeter, things definitely picked up.
Hades. *fans self* Oh my. *fans self some more*
Hades was delicious! How I adored him! He was absolutely everything a romantic hero should be - dashing, tender, sexy, wealthy, compassionate, and above all, willing to own up to his mistakes, all the while maintaining his powerful aura. He was the perfect blend of alpha male, full of the natural arrogance of a god, and a closet romantic who was compassionate and fair (well, most of the time lol).
I also thoroughly enjoyed the liberties that Cast took with the original myth, including that of Orpheus and Eurydice, Minthe, and of course, Persephone herself (including the bit about the Pomegranate)...
It was also refreshing to have an "older" heroine -- in her early 40's, though obviously for the majority of the story, her outward appearance didn't reflect her mortal age.
The ending was sweet (but left me slightly confused for a moment -- nothing major, just a question of dates really), and throughout the entire story was a nice "chick lit" undertone of loving people for who they are inside and not for their outer appearances. While this theme was pervasive, however, it was definitely subtly done, unlike some other "chick lit" stories where you feel that the author is lecturing you the whole bloody time.
The bathing scene annoyed me.. Granted, it was hot, but I have this.. aversion, I guess you could say, to heroes in romance novels seeing the heroine naked without her knowledge or consent. While she never discovers that this took place, it still irritated the bejesus out of me. Blech.
Other than that, though, it was a thoroughly enjoyable, sweet and romantic story, and I would highly recommend it (and boy did it make me want some authentic Italian pizza lol)
I recently discovered Shiloh Walker as an author, and let me tell you, she's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Even though Broken is a sequel to FrI recently discovered Shiloh Walker as an author, and let me tell you, she's quickly becoming one of my favorites.
Even though Broken is a sequel to Fragile, I do think it would stand well on its own.
Quinn is just delicious. I do adore my tortured heroes *swoon* I also really liked Sara, and how hard it was for her knowing she shouldn't stay but desperately wanting to anyway.
The romance was sizzling. The chemistry between Quinn and Sara was simply to die for. However, sensitive readers should be aware that there is a scene involving explicit back door action. I do hope, however, that even those who don't like that sort of thing in novels will just skip over that part, because the rest of the book is truly worth it.
I was very pleasantly surprised at the twisty end. I had it partially figured out but not completely, and when the truth was revealed, I truly smacked my forehead because looking back, Ms. Walker had done such a fantastic job of planting the clues all along and yet my mind still failed to come to the correct conclusion.