Expected Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: MacMillan Imprint: St. Mart...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 4, 2013 Publisher: MacMillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Press Author’s Website: http://zoearcherbooks.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Nemesis Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy Pet Peeves: Overly Drawn-Out Ending Favorite Tropes: Convict, Revenge Plot, Good Epilogue
Dark, gritty, and very, very sexy, this adventurous romp through the underbelly of late 1800′s London will hook you from the very first pages and not let you go until the end. The sheer brilliance behind the concept of Nemesis, combined with powerful protagonists with wonderful chemistry set the stage for plenty of action, and boy, did this book deliver.
I loved Jack’s character, rough edges and all, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed Eva’s character as well. More than just the main couple, though, was the dynamic of the entire cast of characters from Nemesis, and the potential for this series has it firmly on my watch list for the future.
Recommended for fans of dark and somewhat violent romances, unconventional heroes and heroines,and the struggle to remember that revenge is sometimes a dish best served cold.
A very solid 4.5/5, and a series to keep an eye on.(less)
Expected Release Date: April 30, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 30, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Carina Press Author’s Websites: summerdevon.com & bonniedee.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am very picky about my contemporary romances — I’m far stricter on my ratings for contemporary tales than I am on historical or fantasy-based stories, if for no other reason than I’m typically more familiar with the way the world works for a contemporary story. While I initially found it a bit odd that Luke was allowed to work in a bar straight out of prison, I quickly fell in love with the setup.
Mary’s insecurities stemming from her family life as well as well-meaning comments from friends added a lovely amount of tension to the relationship, and Luke’s own lack of confidence because of the constant judgement from others created such an interesting dynamic between the two. The chemistry between them was scrumptious, and when they finally gave into their attraction, they lit up the pages.
Recommended for fans of tortured heroes trying to get back on their feet, of sweet heroines determined to prove themselves, and of believable romantic problems and solutions.
Expected Release Date: March 20, 2012 (Paperback. April 1 eBook) Publishe...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: March 20, 2012 (Paperback. April 1 eBook) Publisher: Harelquin Imprint: HQN Author’s Website: http://www.rhyannonbyrd.com/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Primal Instinct World Series Best Read In Order: Yes, recommend reading Primal Instinct Series first. Steam Level: Hot
While this book is considered to be Book 1 in the Primal Instinct World, I do highly recommend that those unfamiliar with the series go back and read at least a book or two from Primal Instinct series before attempting this one. While the main story between Juliana and Ashe is indeed self-contained, there is enough history between the characters, and enough cameos and references to the events, locations, and characters from the original series to make it confusing for those who have not yet read any of them.
As a fan of the original series, I have been greatly anticipating Juliana and Ashe getting together, and I was not disappointed. The delicious intensity and chemistry that Ms. Byrd has become known for is in full force between these two, and the push and pull between them was a joy to read.
While I wasn't thrilled with some of Ashe's behavior or his treatment of Juliana, I have to admit that I was still quite happy with their journey in the end.
A delightfully steamy 4/5 Stars
Series Reading Order: Edge of Craving (Prequel Novella) Edge of Hunger Edge of Danger Edge of Desire Touch of Seduction Touch of Surrender Touch of Temptation Rush of Darkness Rush of Pleasure Deadly Is The Kiss (Primal Instinct World)(less)
Expected Release Date: January 31, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 31, 2012 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQN Books Author’s Website: http://sarahmccarty.net/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Hell’s Eight Series Best Read In Order: Worked well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
While I don’t think I’m a prude (because really, how can one read as much steamy romance as I do and still be a prude?), I was a bit taken aback by the spanking. Not that it was objectionable, mind you, just that it was unexpected in the context of the story and really threw my off my stride in reading this, and I don’t think I ever really recovered from it.
It was deliciously steamy, and I really loved the chemistry and dynamics between Shadow and Fei Yen, but because unexpected spanking is unexpected, I couldn’t say that I loved it. *shrugs* From what I understand, though, this series tends to be more romantica than just steamy romance, which of course tends to have light kink and/or taboo acts in them just for the thrills. It was completely a case of mea culpa there since I didn’t pay attention to the fact that previous books in the series were from a steamier imprint.
Even knowing that, however, I can only go by what I actually felt while I was reading it, and in the end I simply never recovered my stride in reading after that one minor incident, no matter how much I enjoyed the characters and the storyline.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Red Sage Press Imprint:...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Red Sage Press Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://heathermassey.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
A giant battalion of Calithian invaders are moments away from crushing Earth’s forces, when Captain Michael Drake makes the momentous decision for his ship, the Relentless, to retreat, knowing that sometimes the best hope for success is to live to simply fight another day.
Limping away from battle, the Relentless’ integrated Calithian technology interferes with navigation, dropping the ship out of their jump in orbit around Vardos — a planet orbited by a maximum security penitentiary, and dubbed with the befitting name, Hades Station. Knowing that the war would have caused interruptions in supply shipments, Captain Drake and his crew board the station, fearing they might find nothing more than the remains of starved prisoners and guards.
Instead, they are quickly taken captive by a gang of convicts, and Drake soon comes face to face with Queenie — their ruthless yet beautiful leader.
Queenie was born and raised to be a leader of the people of Hades Station, and when a UFE starship is dropped in her lap, she immediately takes action to ensure that her people gain control, knowing that this might be their only chance to escape their prison. Ruthless and cold-blooded, Queenie is cruel by necessity, never hesitating to deal pain and violence to those who oppose her. Falling for a sexy starship captain, who wants nothing more than to manipulate her and her people into fighting a war to save a planet that long since abandoned them, is not an option.
But soon Drake’s fairness, honesty, and sense of loyalty get beneath her skin, and it isn’t long before he begins to convince her to see things his way. For a woman whose whole life is defined by her leadership and loyalty to her people, can she find a way to fulfill her duty to the other inhabitants of Hades Station while still giving her heart to the handsome Captain Drake?
Drake was delicious, Queenie herself was a delightful blend of ruthlessness and vulnerability, and the entire world with the Calithian war and the prison outpost made for an exciting read.
Queenie’s Brigade is currently a standalone novel, but there is a lot of potential for this one to expand into a series. While the author tells me that there are no concrete plans to transition into a series, both she and the publisher have expressed interest in possibly continuing the story some day. I for one hope that they do, because I think the war with the Calithians could lead to many interesting situations, and frankly, I’m rooting for Drake to finally find the redemption and forgiveness he’s seeking after his sister’s death.
Recommended for badass heroines who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, of tortured heroes battling between duty and attraction, and of exciting space operas complete with alien computers and lot of explosions.
Expected Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. M...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: October 4, 2011 Publisher: Macmillan Imprint: St. Martin’s Paperbacks Author’s Website: www.janelledenison.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Reliance Group Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone Steam Level: Hot
Sean grew up with a con-man as a father, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. After his father was sent to prison from a con gone bad, Sean tried to take the straight and narrow path, but the temptation of easy cash and the thrill of the con were too tempting, and pretty soon he was partnered up with one of his father’s old accomplices for what seemed to be an easy job. Things went sour with the victim, and Sean not only went to prison for a short stint, but also is plagued with guilt over what happened to the woman because of his actions.
Now both a bartender at the Onyx Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a member of the Reliance Group, a secret organization that utilizes the special skills of its members to complete under-the-radar investigations for high-profile clients, Sean is well on his way to proving to both himself and his boss that he has mended his wicked ways.
However, when a client approaches the Reliance Group with a job to track down the very man had been Sean’s father’s accomplice all those years ago — and the man responsible for his father’s prison sentence — Sean knows that this is his chance to finally bring the man to justice. Unfortunately, the case requires him to once more don his suave con-man persona — a persona he has worked incredibly hard to move on from.
It doesn’t help matters that his mark this time is Zoe Russo, the daughter of the man who sent Sean’s father to prison. Hating having to deceive her, Sean is determined to protect Zoe from the knowledge that she’s being played. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and pretty soon Zoe is confronted with Sean’s part in the investigation of her father, as well as his own personal history as a professional liar. For Zoe, whose own personal history gives her a distinct dislike for untruths, this is an incredibly cruel blow, because she had finally allowed herself to open up and trust a man.
Now Sean must protect Zoe from her father’s dangerous business partners who will stop at nothing to find her father, and to try desperately to convince her that the strong connection between them was the absolute truth.
I recently reviewed the first book in the Reliance Group series, INTO THE NIGHT, and gave that book a 4/5 Star rating. As much as I enjoyed that book, I don’t think it can hold a candle to this book at all. Don’t get me wrong, the first book was good, but this book was pretty much fantastic.
While this book is the second installment of the Reliance Group series, new readers should be aware that it works beautifully as a standalone. While the hero of the first book makes a small appearance, this story stood on its own two feet very well, with all the important information being given without ever falling into the dreaded Info Dump that so many sequels do.
I liked Zoe right from the start. While not a prude, she prefers for sexual relationships to have a basis in emotion, which was a refreshing change from the heroine in the first novel.
Sean was absolutely delicious, with his consummate good looks and all that charm, along with his guilt and self-hatred over his own mistakes in his past.
There was a delightful twist at the end that kept me on my toes, and I personally enjoyed the secondary romance between Jessica and Noah.
Overall, this was a wonderful read, full of both drama and suspense, as well as some delicious chemistry between the main characters.
Expected Release Date: January 10, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Simo...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 10, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Gallery Books Author’s Website: kresleycole.com My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: Yes, Book 11, Immortals After Dark series Series Best Read In Order: Yes Steam Level: Steamy
See, I have so much to say about this novel, but almost everything I want to talk about is a spoiler in some way, which is killing me. However, in short, I will say that this was definitely worth the wait.
I’m not blind to the detracting points, however. The overall story arc involving Saroya was taken care of far sooner than I’d expected, and as such, felt a bit anticlimactic. That said, the longer word-count of this book is what made it feel as though it was taking place fairly early in the story, when in reality, by the time the resolution was occurring, most books would have been pretty much over.
I definitely would not suggest this book as a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the series. Lothaire has been a major player from the very beginning, as has Nix, and I truly think new readers would be doing themselves a disservice by not, at the very least, going back a few books before trying to tackle this one.
However, I do think that fans of the series will definitely enjoy Lothaire. Ms. Cole’s trademark humor, action, steam, and seemingly impossible-to-overcome obstacles are all present in great abundance, and both Lothaire and Ellie themselves are absolutely wonderful. I, of course, cannot wait for the next book.
Wow. This book completely blew me away. It’s been a long time since I’ve...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Wow. This book completely blew me away. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a good sci-fi/space odyssey novel, and I’d forgotten how much I could enjoy one. I first became interested in this book when it was nominated for the DABWAHA tournament for 2011, and finally managed to get my hands on a copy when the sequel, Children of Scarabaeus, came available on Netgalley.
Edie Sha’nim was born on a planet where the natives are completely dependent on a neurotoxin present in the environment to live. She was an outcast from birth, because while her biological father was a native, her mother was a human scientist, and frankly the native community in which she lives is very xenophobic. As a young teen, she was “rescued” by the Crib — a mega-corporation that controls the majority of the known universe — because of her incredible talent manipulating “biocyph”, which is a combination of biological material and computerized data. After years of being exploited by the Crib, and being forced to participate in a their terraforming program, she is kidnapped by a group of renegades who want her to help recover and reprogram Crib technology to help the worlds who are failing under the Crib’s thumb. Of course, they’re also interested in the profit that can be made…
In order to ensure both her cooperation and her safety, they tether a convict, Finn, to her, so that if he ever gets a certain distance away from her or if she dies, his head will literally explode.
To say that Finn doesn’t trust her is a complete understatement. He resents both his initial years of slavery and the tether placed in his head that forces him to serve Edie, and the political games around them on the ship they are imprisoned on only make things worse.
To add insult to injury, the planet that the renegades want to visit to hijack the Crib technology is Scarabaeus — a planet that Edie holds very dear to her heart, and the site of her biggest failure.
There were so many things I loved about this book. Edie wasn’t a wimp, but neither was she super-woman either. Sure, she was incredibly talented at manipulating cypertech, and wasn’t afraid to try to use her talent as leverage to get what she wanted from those who were using her, but she was also emotional, not incredibly strong physically, and had a tendency to trust too easily. Finn was such a tough cookie and it took a long time for him to trust Edie, despite the fact that she’d proven that he could trust her multiple times.
One point to note is that while Edie certainly started to develop some feelings for Finn over the course of the novel, this is not a romance novel. There is some very mild second-base action, and there is no HEA. Well, honestly, since it was such a horrific cliff-hanger, there wasn’t any sort of resolution to the end at all, so the lack of HEA is unsurprising.
Speaking of the cliff-hanger, it literally cost this book an entire star in my final rating. The novel was so incredible that I read it in a single sitting. Despite the lack of romance and HEA, I found myself completely invested in not only the universe that Ms. Creasy created, but in Finn and Edie’s lives, as well as those of the unlikely comrades they’d found, and of Scarabaeus itself. However, the cliff-hanger was so unexpected and infuriating, that I could no longer go with the 5 Star rating I’d intended up until the last chapter, and in the end, my final rating is an astoundingly solid 4/5 Stars(less)
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Aut...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: http://www.brendanovak.com My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes – Bulletproof Book 1 Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Holy wow. This book was absolutely fantabulous!
Pulse-pounding action, police corruption, a spurned lover, and deadly gangs out for revenge, all paired with a delicious romance make this a novel that can’t be missed. Despite some concerns I might have had with the epilogue, this is hands-down a must-read, and I gladly give it a very solid 5/5 Stars.(less)
What worked for me: * A prison planet with ruthless social dynamics and a toxic mine that ensures a horrible death sentence to all...moreI. Loved. This. Book.
What worked for me: * A prison planet with ruthless social dynamics and a toxic mine that ensures a horrible death sentence to all humans sentenced to reside there. * A cunning thief as one of the heroes, who isn't magically smarter, stronger, and just overall better than others. I loved that Aleron made mistakes just as any other human would, rather than being this paragon among prisoners * Jasak. Oh Jasak. Why must you be attracted to men? You and I could have had a beautiful life together if only you were interested in those of the female persuasion lol I adored Jasak. A man of true honor is a rare thing, but couple that with a good dose of bloodthirstiness and primitive drive and you make me want to purr. * The love scenes were very well done, and not a single one was gratuitous. * I also thoroughly enjoyed the subplots and intrigues and politics that staged the background of this story.
What didn't work for me: * I didn't like the fact that Jasak already had a mate, even though there was absolutely 100% zero chance of them ever being together. This almost made his and Aleron's relationship feel like an adulterous one to me. As bad as it sounds, I think I would've preferred for his previous mate to have been killed before he was sent to Tantoret.
Overall, however, I absolutely adored this story, and as such, say 5/5 Stars, hands down.(less)
Expected Release Date: July 13, 2010 Publisher: Omnilit Publishing Imp...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Expected Release Date: July 13, 2010 Publisher: Omnilit Publishing Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://jenniferlanebooks.com My Source for This Book: Gift from the publisher Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, CONduct Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Overall, despite its flaws, this book was highly entertaining. With romance, family drama, the struggle to reintegrate with society after spenigng time behind bars, and having to face tough personal issues in order to grow as a person, I found that I couldn’t put it down.
It’s unusual to have both the hero and heroine of a romance novel be ex-convicts, but Ms. Lane pulled it off beautifully. She illustrated not only the struggles that those with felony convictions face when reentering the “real world”, but also took two very broken people and allowed them an enormous amount of personal growth over the course of the novel.
Her ability to make the reader care for even the minor characters is what kept me turning the pages, despite the daunting word count, and I was practically cheering for Sophie and Grant by the time the closing chapter rolled around.
While certainly not without its issues, I am definitely looking forward to Bad Behavior, which continues the story of Sophie and Grant, and I would definitely recommend this book to fans of tortured heroes and heroines, of intense character building, and of fresh takes on contemporary romance novels.
A solid 4/5 Stars, and I’m looking forward to reading more about Grant and Sophie, as well as the rest of the characters I’ve grown to love.(less)
I'm such a sucker for stories (especially historicals) about tomboy females who finally get a chance at love.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't like...moreI'm such a sucker for stories (especially historicals) about tomboy females who finally get a chance at love.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't like children in romance. They're either vomit-inducingly cute and perfect, or way too mature for their ages. That said, I adored Graciela. She was spoiled, annoying, smart-mouthed and manipulative. In other words, she was six lol It was nice seeing her mature throughout the story, and I loved her interactions with Jenny (especially since Jenny hated children)
The romance was fun, with tons of UST.. Who knew just kissing could be that hot?? *fans self*
It was also funny at times, and I admit I snickered at the fact they kept referring to their attraction as "having a hankering" lol
The ending was a bit predictable (but no less fun), and the epilogue was simply beautiful.
Honestly, it probably wasn't "that bad", but rather, just really not my style. I've read some short stories where the smut fit in well, but this reall...moreHonestly, it probably wasn't "that bad", but rather, just really not my style. I've read some short stories where the smut fit in well, but this really wasn't one of them.. All the interactions between the H/h seemed awkward and... I don't know.. improbable maybe? There's really no chemistry between the two.. It almost seemed as if they both had to convince themselves to sleep with each other...
I hate giving it a single star, because I think had this been a novella rather than a short story, I would have liked it much better -- it would've given the characters some time to develop and grow together rather than just meet, scrump, and jump straight to the ILY's or whatever.
I really enjoyed this one. I admit, it reminded me quite a bit of Grimspace by Ann Aguirre, but that was probably just because they're both space oper...moreI really enjoyed this one. I admit, it reminded me quite a bit of Grimspace by Ann Aguirre, but that was probably just because they're both space operas with similarly angsty/tortured heroes.
I loved Gabriel! It was hard at first to get used to him talking about himself in the third person, but definitely by the end of the novel it both makes sense and becomes second nature.
Ok ok about the actual book -- I really enjoyed it. The resolution was a bit too easy for...moreI admit, the cover made me LOL
I mean, really. What. the heck?
Ok ok about the actual book -- I really enjoyed it. The resolution was a bit too easy for my tastes, but it had all the elements I love in Alexis Harrington novels (only, for once, there was no child involved, which was pretty refreshing to be honest..)
The heroine's prickly attitude got on my nerves a bit, but, considering her circumstances in life, I can kind of understand it.
I really liked the hero, though his baggage from his previous marriage definitely put a dampener on things.
**spoiler alert** Seeing as how much I adored Grimspace, it really came as no surprise that I'd be head over heels for this book as well.
It had every...more**spoiler alert** Seeing as how much I adored Grimspace, it really came as no surprise that I'd be head over heels for this book as well.
It had everything I desire in contemporary romantic-suspense novels:
A not so innocent heroine who is being pursued by...
An assassin (with standards) who has been hired to kill her by...
An evil (or is he really?) villain out for revenge on aforementioned not-so-innocent heroine because she publicly embarrassed him as part of her own revenge plot.
Throw in the agendas of other characters throughout the story, a pinch of hot, rough sex, and a dash of paranormal ability on the part of our heroine, and you've got the makings of a deliciously complex and compelling novel.
I was actually hesitant to mark this one as a PNR, simply because it didn't have the "whole world" of paranormality -- as far as Kyra and the reader know, she's the only one of her kind, rather than a part of an entire underground group of psychics or mages or shifters or any other group that typically goes hand in hand with the PNR genre.
While the paranormal aspects definitely added to the story and were key to moving the plot along, I think I would have enjoyed it even without them, which is saying something since I'm not typically one for straight up contemporary romances. The relationship between Reyes and Kyra was simply fantastic to follow. They were both working with trust issues (for good reason obviously!) and the pacing felt perfect for their relationship -- any faster and it wouldn't have been believable, but any slower and the readers would start getting impatient.
There were only a couple bits that kept it from getting a solid five stars, and that's due to my own hangups as a reader rather than any defect in the writing. Having Kyra actually kill people felt wrong to me. Sure, she's no angel, and that fact was established literally from page one onward... She's a con artist, and she was out for revenge, but it didn't seem to fit into her character, at least not the second time. The first time could be attributed to the "power" she'd stolen just prior, rather than an ingrained part of her personality. I suppose that the second time could just illustrate an evolution of her character, but tt just took me aback for a moment. Then again, that's part of what I like about Ann Aguirre/Ava Gray's writing -- she certainly manages to constantly keep me on my toes.
I'm really looking forward to Skin Tight, due out this summer.
**spoiler alert** This book was so good that I'm hesitant to read the sequel because I know it can't possibly be as good as this one lol
I love the cha...more**spoiler alert** This book was so good that I'm hesitant to read the sequel because I know it can't possibly be as good as this one lol
I love the character progressions and how Ann Aguirre wasn't afraid to kill off major characters over the course of the story... That gave it a gritty realism that you have to respect, not to mention keeping you on your toes as a reader, because you never know who's gonna bite the big one next...
The first person POV helped as well I think, since I've recently discovered a strong liking for first person POV in my reading ;)
While this book is technically the first in a series, it seems to be very prudent to have read the Night Huntress Series (Halfway to the Grave, One Fo...moreWhile this book is technically the first in a series, it seems to be very prudent to have read the Night Huntress Series (Halfway to the Grave, One Foot in the Grave,At Grave's End, and Destined for an Early Grave) in order to delve more deeply into both the characters' backstory and the history of that world itself. However, having never read any of those books, I have to say that it did a fantastic job of standing on its own. I was only left with a few questions (such as, what the heck are "ghouls", and how exactly does one get changed into a vampire?), which honestly didn't detract from the story at all.
I loved loved loved Spade. *THUD* He's firmly entrenched on my "favorite heroes" shelf now ;) He was an alpha male without the arseholiness that so often comes with the title, and I adored how the romance progressed.
This novel had everything -- action, romance, sizzle, some really cool supernatural elements, heartache, and yes, even a Too Stupid To Live Moment which totally made me wanna V8 someone.
I also have to comment on how perfect the pacing was. I rarely speed through books as quickly as I did this one without feeling as though I'm being rushed or that something is dragging. Instead, I was surprised every time I noted just how far I'd read, despite the wealth of information I was left to absorb.
I find myself wanting to glom the entire Night Huntress series, even though I know that many of the elements from this book won't be present in the earlier bits of the series.
I'm so so glad I picked this one up, and imagine I'll be re-reading it in the future.
I'm a huge fan of "survival" type books, where the hero and heroine have to brave the elements and somesuch, so this book...moreLoved loved loved this book!
I'm a huge fan of "survival" type books, where the hero and heroine have to brave the elements and somesuch, so this book was right up my ally.
The romance between the two of them was believable and their chemistry was amazing.
I adored Bridget. That girl had some major spunk :D And Cole was delicious in so many ways. I admit, I didn't realize just how young he was until there was a comment about living twenty-four years without a specific experience *cough*. I kept thinking he was in his thirties, probably because he'd been through so much it just seemed to age the poor man.
This one is definitely going on my All-Time-Favorites shelf.
**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...more**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. (less)