Ahhh that was bloody fantastic! Very much worth the wait.
While there were a few things that bugged me (that I'm not going to mention since I don't wAhhh that was bloody fantastic! Very much worth the wait.
While there were a few things that bugged me (that I'm not going to mention since I don't want to spoil it just yet for those who can't resist reading reviews), I must say that overall this was one of the best stories in the series.
There was a nice little surprise at the end that had my jaw on the floor, and let me tell you, that doesn't happen often.
I'm very very anxiously awaiting Payne's story, though I know it'll be a long time coming (boo).
A word of warning though, do yourself a favor and read the series in order. While the earlier books (books 1-4 perhaps) are easy enough to read as standalones if you must, Lover Mine is definitely not for the uninitiated.
I will definitely be re-reading this one in the future.
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, fI 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....more
**spoiler alert** This is the second Elizabeth Rolls book that I've read (the first being His Lady Mistress which I got free on my Kindle as part of H**spoiler alert** This is the second Elizabeth Rolls book that I've read (the first being His Lady Mistress which I got free on my Kindle as part of Harlequin's 60th Anniversary Celebration).
As strange as it sounds, I think one of the things I like the most about ER's books are the one thing that frustrates other readers: the fact that her H/H could often avoid 90% of then angst if they'd just TALK to each other rather than make assumptions, internalize everything, and immediately go on the defensive whenever the other one opens their mouths.
So while yes, I may want to pull them aside and shake them sometimes for their stupidity, I have to admit it's a bit of a guilty pleasure to see a hero or heroine to get all needlessly angsty.
A few things in particular kept this book from getting a higher rating from me.
1. The description of this book is a bit misleading. Meg didn't exactly have a "spotless reputation", though it wasn't anything of her doing. I was expecting more of the "Woe is me, my life is now ruined because I'm trapped marrying a simpering virgin" type of vibe from our Marc (our hero), but he was like "Meh. I need an heir anyway so why not?".. I guess from the description, I was expecting it to feel like it was more of a sacrifice on his part, rather than just speeding up his plans for finding a bride and siring an heir by a few months.
2. The villain -- unless I missed it somehow, ER never explains WHY he hates Marc so. I don't know if it was in an earlier book, or if it's in a later book, or if I just accidentally skipped over that part, but it was frustrating to hear over and over how they hated each other and that there was some reason that was known only to a select few as to WHY they hated each other so.
3. It never occurred to a man who has a very hedonistic reputation that in being the sole caretaker of a sick, 20something, single female (who already has a social strike against her for her family's history) that maybe, just maybe, the old hens in the town would think he was doing more than "tend her illness" if you know what I mean. Granted, his reputation was that of a "good" rake -- only carrying on with widows and married women whose husbands didn't mind, but still. He should have known immediately upon seeing that she was a young, single woman, that he would need to send for someone from the village if nobody else in the house could care for her. In the end, scandal might have been unavoidable, but I was disappointed in him that it never even crossed his mind until one of the local women very vocally turned her nose up at Meg because of it.
I do have to say that Marc's sister was a pleasant surprise. I expected her to be all hoity toity based on her earliest appearance in the book, but in the end she was actually a very lovely character :)
I also liked Marc. Sure, he had a lot of self-hate and was insecure about some of the most amusing things, but deep down he was really a good guy and even when he was being a total a**, it was more that he didn't fully think things through before speaking than him being malicious.
I really liked Meg as well. Again, as I've come to expect from an ER Heroine, she had a lot of self-esteem issues and insecurity, but she was feisty. Very feisty. It just took her a bit to be feisty about what really mattered!
I was surprised to find myself liking Marc's old mistress as well, once she stopped being catty and started being realistic. I fully expected her to be an unsympathetic character throughout, but her actions at the end fully redeemed her in my eyes.
Overall, it was a decent read. It was a bit predictable at times, with obvious foreshadowing, but on the whole, I enjoyed it. ...more
So I was putzing around on the AAR website earlier and came across the listing for the Reader Favorites 2007-2008.. This book won for "Best Heroine",So I was putzing around on the AAR website earlier and came across the listing for the Reader Favorites 2007-2008.. This book won for "Best Heroine", so I decided to give it a chance.
Not my usual "historical" tastes, this book was set in the 1890's -- where such devices as trains and telephones and typewriters abound (wow that's a lot of "T" words!). I admit, that threw me off a bit, but the time setting was necessary -- in a Regency romance, the entire concept of "girl bachelors" simply wouldn't have been believable.
I loved our heroine, Emma. She was a naive and virginal spinster (she's even got a cat! How cliche!), true, but ignorant does not indicated lack of intelligence. Just because nobody bothered to teach her about relationships (and other *ahem* relations) between men and women, doesn't mean she's a frigid prude.
I adored the bit about the fan as the catalyst to change her life, and how once she finally makes a decision, she sticks with it.
Our hero, Harry, captured my heart as well. Granted, he was obnoxiously male, especially at first... Complete with having his secretary buy his mistress' "parting gift", and being completely and utterly bewildered when rightly put in his place by a woman. He definitely won me over once we got more of his back story, and how on earth could I resist that ending? *happy sigh*
I admit the romance portion seemed a bit slow-going at first, but once things heated up, I realized I was glad for the reprieve in the earlier chapters, because it allowed me to care for the characters before I got to know them in the bedroom.
Overall, I'd say a solid four stars. Part of me enjoyed the fact that there was no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING that left me smacking my forehead and wanting to chuck the book across the room, but I admit, I typically prefer a villain. The sensuality was very nice, though I admit I don't care for the P word in the love scenes of my romance novels. Call me crazy but it always makes me think of the old text books from sex-ed in high school where you had to use medical terminology *snorts* That said, some of the scenes definitely made up for lack of slang ;)...more
**spoiler alert** EDITED: Re-Read August 2010 -- I still agree with the below review and rating, only this time I was really put off by the enormous a**spoiler alert** EDITED: Re-Read August 2010 -- I still agree with the below review and rating, only this time I was really put off by the enormous amount of exclamation points lol
What other secrets was his bride hiding?
Did family honor really dictate that he marry the first eligible girl who could make intelligent conversation? The Earl of Darleston certainly hoped not, but there was no denying that he needed a bride. And Miss Phoebe Ffolliot seemed the ideal candidate for a marriage in name only.
Or so he thought. Until his bride brought a wolfhound to the wedding and the learned that he hadn’t married Phoebe, but her twin, Penelope. But when Penelope revealed the reason behind the charade, Darleston knew his “unexpected bride” deserved nothing less than his whole heart. Could he now turn a paper marriage into wedding bliss?
If you've read any other books by Elizabeth Rolls, you'll recognize a lot of elements of this book. First, there's the bitter mistress plotting with some evil somebody to do harm to our Heroine. You've also got her typical Hero who just refuses to admit that he's falling for his wife. And then there's the bit about the horse at the end which reminded me a lot of the climax of His Lady Mistress...
That said though, I was quite pleased with our Heroine, Penny. She wasn't nearly as much of a doormat as some of ER's other heroines which was quite refreshing. While I was a bit surprised by a physical condition of hers (that I'm going to make you read to discover -- bad me!), I was also thrilled to see that it didn't make her weak as it might have any other character.
One thing that bothered me though was that during the first three chapters, our Hero had an active sexual relationship with another woman. Now, I realize that part of the fun of those Reformed-Rake stories is that the Hero previously was a man-slut.. However, I don't particularly want to read about it in the present tense, no matter how hard the author tries to allude to it without going into an actual "love scene"...
Having his mistress (who is, of course, not our Heroine) change into a very revealing night robe and him remove his cravat and start kissing her on the sofa before they fade to black and then have the narrative comment the next morning about how late he got home? Yeah. Not my thing.
I actually cringed to hear the mistresses' POV about how our hero was "distant while making love" or somesuch nonsense. Blech. I would have been much happier had ER left that out, and merely given us the history as she did in The Dutiful Rake which of course had a similar bitter-mistress-turned-villainess plot (though I actually LIKED the villainess in TDR lol) At least in TDR, when the Hero was still macking it with his mistress, he hadn't yet met our Heroine..
Don't get me wrong -- he's not cheating on Penny. In fact, they'd only met once (maybe twice by this point?), and it's not as though they'd started to express any interest in each other except for the casual social chatter you would expect from passing acquaintances.
The ending left me a bit... I don't know.. "Not Surprised" I guess... I don't want to spoil it completely but let's just say that I had a sneaking suspicion all along that things would end up exactly the way they did. You'll see what I'm talking about if you read it :)
Overall I did enjoy it. I still prefer His Lady Mistress, though it was pretty equal to the other ER works that I've read.
While all of ER's books seem to have similar plot elements and tend to be a bit formulaic, it's the needless angst brought about by lack of communication and even self-loathing and insecurity that make me keep reading anyway. This book had the formula, but not as much of the angst.
For many readers, however, that will actually be a positive point. Had I not read her other works, I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more because of this. The simple fact that I recognized similar plot elements from her other books did detract from the story a bit, which is why it got a lower score than some of her other books that I've rated. If I work to put those similarities out of my mind, then the book really does become more enjoyable (starting with Chapter 4, for reasons I mentioned above ;)).
Overall a nice summer read, despite the fact it's December ;)...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**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 ;)
**spoiler alert** One of my favorite "themes" in romance novels is The Reformed Rake -- you know, the man who's seen it all, done it all, and is to th**spoiler alert** One of my favorite "themes" in romance novels is The Reformed Rake -- you know, the man who's seen it all, done it all, and is to the point where he's actually getting bored with debauchery, only to be turned around by the love of a good woman? Yeahhh those :)
I'm so torn with this book. I truly can't decide if I loved it or hated it. Sebastian is a true rake -- he's bored, promiscuous, a bit cruel, and just overall a pretty nasty fellow. At least, that's how he is at the beginning.
Our heroine, Rachel, was horribly abused by her husband, both physically and sexually, for the one week that they were married.. The only thing that stopped him was someone murdered him. Rachel was convicted and sent to prison for ten years.
Prison in those days was not like prison is today. It was solitary confinement, with prisoners never allowed to speak or even make eye contact with anyone else. Basic human qualities such as modesty and vanity were completely abolished, with prisoners suffering all sorts of indignities designed to strip away their individuality.
Rachel ends up with a pretty solid case of PTSD, both as a result of her treatment at the hands of her cruel husband, and based on her experiences in prison.
My biggest issue with this book is the same one I think a lot of people have -- the first sexual encounter between the hero and the heroine is not consensual (even though it's not a violent rape). And I don't mean "forced seduction", where the heroine very weakly protests then gives in because she's so turned on. Rather, she doesn't want to have sex, it obvious to both the reader and to the hero that she doesn't want to have sex, and he has sex with her anyway. To the point where he actually makes a conscious decision to go ahead and ignore her pleasure and seek his own climax simply because he realizes that continuing the facade of trying to seduce her will just end up in his physically hurting her.
Is it "rape"? Yes. Not in the he-threw-her-down-and-violently-had-his-way-with-her-while-she-sobbed-her-protests way or anything, but it's still rape in my eyes when a sexually abused woman clearly indicates that she is not interested in a sexual relationship and the man pretty much tells her that she can either have sex with him or go back to prison. Our heroine is hesitant to call it rape (it even says just that right afterwards), but deep down, I think most people would acknowledge that it was. At the very, very least, it's dubious consent, and made me very uncomfortable reading it.
However(and that's a big "however"), I can't say that it was gratuitous. I did not get the feeling that Patricia Gaffney included that disturbing little scene (and the one immediately following it) in order to arouse or even give a thrill to the reader. Instead, it seemed to be a further illustration of Sebastian's true character. He is not a nice man. While it's clear he had no intention of physically hurting her (as he's clearly concerned that he might have done just that), it's also just as clear that he's excited by the fact she's not interested in a sexual relationship. He's so jaded and filled with ennui that pushing the envelope like that is one of the few things that gets his motor running. As uncomfortable as it was to read, I can't say that it wasn't necessary. Without that scene (and the scene immediately following), the reader would continue to foster the misconception that deep down Sebastian is a noble man who wouldn't really take advantage of someone who was truly in a helpless situation. That's simply not the case, and it's important for the reader to realize that in order to truly appreciate his redemption.
In addition, the entire bit where his friends come to visit, and it's clear that Rachel is to be that evening's entertainment (not sexually, mind you, but so that his friends can pick her apart about her abuse and jailhouse experiences), was also very uncomfortable to read.
Rachel is not your typical "abused heroine". She's a realist -- she understands that sometimes bad things happen for no reason other than that's just the way things are. She did not agree to be Sebastian's housekeeper with blinders on, but instead expected to have to please him sexually from the moment they arrived at his house. I think that might be one of the reasons their first encounter was so hard to read -- she'd been expecting it, had resigned herself to it, and yet still desperately wished she didn't have to go through it.
I still really, really liked this book.
There was a single pivotal scene where Sebastian comes face to face with the reality of the type of man that he's become, and his whole world shatters. He knows he doesn't deserve Rachel's forgiveness for his treatment, and is appropriately grateful when she begins to bestow it upon him.
The whole conversation with the vicar before he leaves town that last time had me wanting to shake him. Total V8 moment (you know, where you want to just thump them on the forehead for being a moron?).
Also, do be aware that this book contains several situations and conversations that could be triggers for victims of sexual abuse.
So, my final rating is a solid four. Part of me really wants to give it a five, because it was so well written. The characters were three-dimensional, and there wasn't a single Mary Sue in the entire novel which was so very refreshing. If I could get over the squick factor of their first two encounters, I wouldn't hesitate to give it a five. ...more
I think I would have enjoyed it more had it been the first Samantha James novel that I'd read, but having just finished Gabriel's Bride, I couldn't heI think I would have enjoyed it more had it been the first Samantha James novel that I'd read, but having just finished Gabriel's Bride, I couldn't help but notice the bajillion similarities between the books. There were even several instances where it seemed that she'd taken phrases and just copy/pasted them into the other text.
Ahh well. It was still an enjoyable story. Thus far, I've found her books to be very similar to books written by Elizabeth Rolls, in that there's always a ton of angst caused by characters being too quick to judge and too locked into their preconceptions (and refusing to be adults and just sit down and have an actual conversation for once).
Her books do seem to contain quite a bit of dubious consent (meaning some readers might perceive one or more sexual encounters to be rape situations), so sensitive readers should keep that in mind....more
I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. The premise is wonderful to me -- it's got ancient warriors, shape-shifting, psychic juju goI wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. The premise is wonderful to me -- it's got ancient warriors, shape-shifting, psychic juju going on, fated mates (which are really my thing if you didn't know), but it really fell short.
I think it was the whole guy-transforms-into-a-hawk-and-has-sex-with-his-human-girlfriend thing. Don't get me wrong -- I adore shape-shifters, and I think it was hella cool that Ajax went from big imposing human dude to wet-your-pants-if-you-saw-him glowing ginormous freakishly awesome Hawk Dude. However, having a shape-shifter boff a human while they're transformed into their animal just squicks me something fierce..
I liked Shay, and really felt her frustration at her family's tendency to keep secrets from her. I also adored the interaction between the Oracle and good King Leo... I know River's book is next, but I'm hoping Leo and the Oracle do get their own.
There were a couple continuity errors that irked me as well.. For one, it was almost implied that Shay was a virgin (her blushing when Jax's brother said something about virgins having a harder time with the portal travel, and the flash of pain when she and Jax first have sex), but then she talks about numerous previous lovers... Kinda bugged me. Then there's the whole Apollo severely punishes anyone who touches an Oracle thing and yet there's supposedly a whole lineage of them? Well how were they havin' babies if nobody touched them?? Or was it just a case of menfolk being willing to suffer Apollo's wrath in order to bag an Oracle? *shrugs* Either way, it bugged me a wee bit. And finally the conversation Shay and Ajax had about his previous lovers -- he talks about how he had a lot of human lovers over the years, and she said something about how he could have gotten married, and he's all like "no I was waiting for you" and she's all squee-ing over how sweet it is that he was faithful... to her... while banging all these chicks... just because he never married them? Yeahhh... Not feeling it.
Don't get me wrong -- the man's 2500+ years old. If he'd been abstaining the whole time I would imagine he would be MUCH less pleasant to be around.. Nor would I judge him for his past were I in Shay's position.. I'm all about reformed rakes and all, so the fact that he's most definitely going to be faithful to her for the rest of eternity is wonderful.. But I still wouldn't be thrilled about it nor would I be seeing big puffy hearts in the air because he chose to bang multitudes of women but that he knew one day she'd be around and he'd love her, so he never gave any of those women his heart. Makes me feel kind of bad for at least some of those women, even though he wiped their memories when they were done.
It wasn't all bad mind you -- hence the three stars...
There was a lot of action for the Urban Fantasy fans (though keep in mind this is mainly a PNR not UF), the side characters were all interesting enough to look forward to more of the series, and Shay's awakening combined with the little twisty-twist at the cemetery were all positive points. I also enjoyed the meshing of ancient gods and goddesses with Christian theology. That was a surprising little twist that made for an interesting read.
Overally, I'd say a solid 3 Stars. I'm planning on reading the second book in the series, Red Kiss, so I hope that it is an improvement now that we've got the "universe setup" that's necessary with PNR's out of the way....more
Good Lord I thought they'd never admit they loved each other lol
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sebastian totally reminded me of a Loretta Chase heroGood Lord I thought they'd never admit they loved each other lol
Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sebastian totally reminded me of a Loretta Chase hero -- you know the type -- Fights falling in love but really is completely besotted with the heroine pretty much from the start? *contented sigh* Lovely :)
I was surprised by the ending, though I admit the transition from the last chapter into the epilogue had me blinking to see if I'd missed something since it was so abrupt..
This book has some of my favorite romance staples. First, we have an emotionally abused, spinster heroine, who has been told all her life that she's plain but with a little confidence (and some new dresses lol), quickly discovers that while she'll never be a ravishing beauty, she's quite lovely. Then we've got a notoriously hedonistic rake, who due to an abusive childhood, avoids marriage like the plague. In addition, our hero and heroine were friends before they became lovers, which is another concept that I typically enjoy in my romances, because it's always fun to see a man completely befuddled when he starts to notice that there's more to his female friend than he'd once assumed.
Both characters do play an important part in Book One of the series, so I would suggest reading them in order, though it's certainly not necessary.
I simply cannot wait for Book Three to come out (due out in December 2010) as it is to be Daniel and Anna's story :)