"When her mind, whirling with incredulity, finally settled on a formed thought, it was: So this is Middle Earth. Home to creatures with te4 1/2 stars.
"When her mind, whirling with incredulity, finally settled on a formed thought, it was: So this is Middle Earth. Home to creatures with tender hearts, like rabbits and hobbits and Vincent the Beast. And her gallant, jewel-eyed phantom."
Vincent was also in my mind as I read this story, but this beast isn't hiding away because of the ugliness of his face but because of the ugliness of his memories. But to Tommy T, a homeless boy who loves comic book superheroes, he's Dark Dog -- a mythical Indian legend who defeats the drug dealers and gang members who terrorize their neighborhood. (Tommy draws him in knee-high moccasins with steel-reinforced toes.) And to Angela, a woman escaping an abusive ex, he's the jewel-eyed phantom who cared for her after she was robbed and beaten, and who visits her nightly in her strangely vivid dreams.
I can't claim to have understood all of this mystical story, but I found it fascinating and beautiful. Eagle's typically sweet and playful love scenes are at their very best here, while shrouded in darkness and mystery....more
I probably wouldn't have started this if I'd realized it was yet another small town sheriff/returning home town girl in trouble stories, so I'm glad II probably wouldn't have started this if I'd realized it was yet another small town sheriff/returning home town girl in trouble stories, so I'm glad I didn't. This brought something new to the table -- not the suspense element, though that was well done, but a more realistic look at some of the downsides of a small town. It's not a super heavy story, but the white heroine and partially black hero do have to face some racism, while a ring of meth labs and an abused child turned stalker provide suspense.
Sheriff Turner is deliciously devoted, and Candy has an interesting story arc, though her self-discovery is rather conveniently helped along by the threat of losing everything she's newly found in her home town. A really good, hot romance, well read....more
Short, hot contemporary read, bad dates, no-strings fling with a friend... to be honest, this had "not r(reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)
Short, hot contemporary read, bad dates, no-strings fling with a friend... to be honest, this had "not really my thing" written all over it. But I thought this author might make it work for me, and I was right.
It's not that the story doesn't fulfill what it promises in the blurb, but it doesn't feel the need to do it stereotypically. Milla, a travel blogger and youtube personality currently stationed in England, has a refreshing attitude towards her bad dates -- she cuts her losses and moves on. They might be funny, but they don't make her ridiculous.
And being with Milla is a genuine risk for Charlie: he's been badly burned by a (literal) East End Boy and West End girl marriage, and by social media. His trust in her as a friend and lover, nonetheless, is adorable. Of course there's a conflict, but part of what I most liked about this story is that the characters change, but not through any kind of coercion. It's always their decision.
If you like blokes with beards, this is the book for you. Many of the sexiest moments in the book involves Milla's fascination with Charlie's beard:
"The sharp edge of his scruff scratched deliciously at her lips as she brushed them back and forth across his mouth, tempting him to open them."
"His beard, she discovered, had reached the soft, curling stage. She stroked it with her palms as his mouth coaxed hers open, savoring the sensation of smooth, hot tongue contrasted with the denser, soft hair around his lips."
And then there's a shaving scene...
Charlie's art is also used for sexy metaphor. He "had learned patience handling sand heated until it became liquid, pliable. He'd learned how to seduce a woman by working with heat." But it's not just that, but an integral part of his personality. His commitment to his art, and what it says about him, gives substance to the story.
My only complaint is that the short format leads to a few initial short-cuts of telling rather than showing. I pretty much forgot about that as I read on. This isn't a heartbreaker like Breath on Embers, but confirms my opinion that Calhoun is one of the authors who really makes short form romance worth reading....more
I was quite interested in this book, but unfortunately in the first chapter alone, there were two pages missing from the ebook. I decided to save myseI was quite interested in this book, but unfortunately in the first chapter alone, there were two pages missing from the ebook. I decided to save myself frustration and look to see if I can find it in print....more
Disclosure: The author and I are friendly online. E-arc provided by NetGalley.
I think this novella is Hall's first contemporary romance since GlitterlDisclosure: The author and I are friendly online. E-arc provided by NetGalley.
I think this novella is Hall's first contemporary romance since Glitterland, and I'm happy for the return, being more into serious contemporaries than fantasy. It's not a sequel, though there's a small hint that it's set in the same world.
Edwin has a complicated relationship with his home. He loves the house, but his love stemmed from the life he envisioned sharing in it: "From the moment I saw it, I saw us. I saw us in every room: talking, touching, sharing. I saw it all, but as it turned out, I saw only my dreams." Since his lover left him, he's been marking time -- leaving the holes left by the things Marius took with him, staying out of spaces that are too painful to be in. But now a flood threatens him and his neighbors, and Edwin is forced out of passivity.
This is a quiet, tender story about rebirth after grief, with the flood providing poignant symbolism -- as well as an opportunity for Edwin to meet a charming civil engineer named Adam. I empathized with the domestic homebody Edwin, who has to learn to appreciate himself again. Though my favorite character may be his former sort-of mother-in-law, who still regards him as a son, telling him, "family is really just whoever sticks around." (Curiously enough, my main quibble with the book also involves this character, who is described as indiscriminately using lol in texts, including "Uncle Teddy dead lol." It irks me when urban legends/jokes are incorporated into fiction.) I like Adam and the romance too, but I think it was the atmosphere and elegant prose that really won me over. ...more
I was impressed by the elegant style and serious tone of Satie's first book, and this one is even better, with a compelling romance, sympathetic charaI was impressed by the elegant style and serious tone of Satie's first book, and this one is even better, with a compelling romance, sympathetic characters, and even a well done mystery plot. The heroine Sophie has an unusual disability, very poor long-term memory, and the effect this has on her life is beautiful imagined and movingly described. Trust is a major theme in the story, and it plays out in a fascinating way.
I compared The Secret Heart to Jo Goodman, but this reminded me more of Cecelia Grant, primarily because of Sophie's absorbing interest in the ink industry. The rich detail around her unusual profession makes this just the sort of historical romance I enjoy. It doesn't hurt that it also features a hero who can't stop loving the heroine, no matter how hard he tries.
This is only loosely linked to The Secret Heart, and it's fine to read it independently. However, after reading the blurb for the third book, I suspect that threads from both of the first two books will be followed up there....more
This short novella is less a fantasy in the genre sense than in the aspirational sense: there isn't much room for world-building, but the world establThis short novella is less a fantasy in the genre sense than in the aspirational sense: there isn't much room for world-building, but the world established allows for a certain kind of story. In this case, it's an arranged political marriage between two men.
Marcel and Gilbert both have mixed feelings when told they're expected to marry. Gilbert doesn't want to deprive his closest friend of the possibility of a love match. But Marcel, unbeknownst to Gilbert, has always hoped to marry him. I liked the bit of trope reversal here: scientist Gilbert is what we'd call nerdy, and not conventionally attractive. (His nickname is The Frog Prince.) But the popular, sophisticated Marcel has been pining for him for years.
This is a gentle, tender story, with mostly internal conflict. I like the slightly fantastical details, such as Marcel's collection of prosthetic arms. (He was born with a twisted leg and no left arm.) As a courtier and a dandy, he enjoys accessorizing, even using arms that are purely decorative:
Marcel chose his clothes carefully. The arm he chose to go with his outfit was made from black metal intricately sculpted to look like a tree with its roots twining around his shoulder, the branches stretching down to where they became fingers.
Marcel's disability isn't ignored -- it sometimes causes him difficulties -- but it is treated fairly casually as just part of his life.
This isn't a story with a great deal of oomph, but it's a pleasant world to spend some time in....more
I really enjoyed the first three stories in this anthology, all of which were on the paranormal romanceOne of these things is not like the others...
I really enjoyed the first three stories in this anthology, all of which were on the paranormal romance side of urban fantasy, just where I like it. I was familiar with the worlds already established in Briggs' and Wilks' stories but think it would have been fine if I hadn't been; Chance's world was new to me, but stood alone perfectly well. Good characters, good conflicts; I actually feel inspired to continue with Wilks' Lupis series, which had previously bogged down for me.
Then Sunny's story went all Laurell K. Hamilton on my ass. The writing was a weird mix of mystic-poetic and feisty vernacular. The backstory was confusing as hell. And the frontstory seemed to be mostly the lead character having lots of sex with different people. I have no idea how erotica slunk its way into this particular anthology but it did not mesh well....more