3 1/2 stars. Anders's last book seemed to be moving away from the angsty, over-the-top, cruel billionair(Reviewed from an e-arc provided by Netgalley)
3 1/2 stars. Anders's last book seemed to be moving away from the angsty, over-the-top, cruel billionaire stories she's most known for, and this one is firmly in the subgenre of small town contemporary romance, with a slight twist in that the small town is in South Africa. (The hero is still very wealthy, but not the high society tycoon type.)
When Mason Carlisle reluctantly agrees to help his brother out by distracting Daisy McGregor -- the shy, plain, chubby McGregor sister -- he finds himself in unexpectedly good company. Then Daisy discovers the truth, and asks Mason to make it up to her by being her date for her sister's wedding. Drawn to Daisy more than he wants to be, Mason insists they have to make their fake relationship look good by spending a lot of time together. But nothing could ever come of it... because Mason isn't a relationship kind of guy, and insecure Daisy could never believe he's truly interested in her.
Although I can't help feeling sad at the loss of the Anders angst-fest, I enjoyed these relatable characters and the often funny dialogue. Daisy and Mason's senses of humor match up nicely, making them really work as a couple, and though Daisy's inferiority complex gets tiresome, the story does address that. There's a nice set-up for a story for Mason's brother and Daisy's sister--an unrequited love turned to angry indifference--and I look forward to it....more
YA author Gayle Forman's first adult novel, Leave Me, was a delightful surprise—a book that starts out frightening and upsetting, yet develops into aYA author Gayle Forman's first adult novel, Leave Me, was a delightful surprise—a book that starts out frightening and upsetting, yet develops into a story with a sensitive, warmhearted spirit.
4 1/2 stars. This seems to be quite a polarizing book. It does require some suspension of disbelief, but then so much in romance does. I found it gorg4 1/2 stars. This seems to be quite a polarizing book. It does require some suspension of disbelief, but then so much in romance does. I found it gorgeously written and wonderfully surprising.
Although it was pretty heavy on the naval-gazing, in the manner of most modern HPs, I really liked the plot risks the author took here. It reminds meAlthough it was pretty heavy on the naval-gazing, in the manner of most modern HPs, I really liked the plot risks the author took here. It reminds me of the intense older Harlequins that I love so much (sans hero brutality or rapey-ness!) There is a lot for the heroine to forgive, but that's part of what makes an intense story. I also say bravo to having a character encounter consequences for his behavior....more
(Disclosure: I received an ARC for review from NetGalley and the author is an online friend. In this particular instance, that might especially lead (Disclosure: I received an ARC for review from NetGalley and the author is an online friend. In this particular instance, that might especially lead to bias, because awww.)
This should maybe be 3 1/2 stars, because I do remember that parts of the first half got dull. I loved the second half though, so finished it with that 4 star glow. Slightly tempered by the glossary at the end, which -- while very funny -- was pretty damn irksomely placed. WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THERE WAS A GLOSSARY?! I was in a slightly better position to understand this book than some will be, because I use the daily planning website "Habitica" which is loosely based on MMOs. (Massive multiplayer online games.) But I was still frequently lost and had to Big Chill it. ("Sometimes you have to let art flow over you.")
There's a lot of online game playing description in this, and (unless you're a gamer) it all has to be glorked from context. Which is much better than endless explanations, but it is confusing, and sometimes boring. Writing about playing a game is perhaps not entirely dancing about architecture, but not all of it worked for me here.
What I loved were the characters, the humor, the sweetness, and the conflict. Kit is someone I identified with tremendously: shy, "different," treasuring the connections he's made online. But I also empathized a lot with Drew, and his feelings about missing out and wanting to be a part of things. In a way Kit is my ideal, because he's made so much peace with who he is. But being a young, very sensitive person, he's still easily shaken, and Drew's disregard of the value of online friendships shakes him a lot, making their relationship toxic. It's a very real conflict for two people in college, still figuring out who they are; I especially love it as a romance conflict because it's so understandable and genuinely fixable, given love and care.
TL;DR: not a perfect book, but very worth reading if you enjoy geekiness and tenderness....more
4 1/2 stars. This is my idea of a just about perfect modern Harlequin Presents. It's got all the expected elements, but feels fresh and grounded in be4 1/2 stars. This is my idea of a just about perfect modern Harlequin Presents. It's got all the expected elements, but feels fresh and grounded in believable emotions. The heroine has a lot of strength and the hero is vulnerable, rather than an alphole....more
I enjoyed the strong sense of place and evocative theme of this story but it was the sensible, strong heroine that really won my heart. Available at OI enjoyed the strong sense of place and evocative theme of this story but it was the sensible, strong heroine that really won my heart. Available at Open Library....more
3.5 stars. I'm all over the place about this epistolary novel. There's so much it does well and then there's...
Gena and Finn are self-proclaimed fangi3.5 stars. I'm all over the place about this epistolary novel. There's so much it does well and then there's...
Gena and Finn are self-proclaimed fangirls who bond via email and text over their love for the show "Up Below." (Fairly obviously based on the "Supernatural" fandom.) Everything that has to do with fandom and internet friendships in the story is utterly true to life and just about perfect. Sincere, heartfelt, utterly convincing -- I literally cried over a character from an fictional show based on a show I don't like.
I especially loved that Gena's fanfiction (Finn does fanart) is not sexual in nature. Not because there's anything wrong with slash or with shipping, but because of the stereotype that all fanfiction is erotica. It's great to see other aspects represented.
But it's a really complicated story. Finn is out of work and ambivalent about her boyfriend. Gena is mentally ill. Gena and Finn are (view spoiler)[ maybe in love (hide spoiler)]. None of these plot points were resolved satisfactorily. I understand that life is complicated and messy, but that's why I read fiction; I need some kind of closure. If you go into the story with expectations based on the title, you'll be especially disappointed.
Even with its limitations, I'd recommend this to those who enjoying reading about the fandom experience. But I can't quite put it up there with How to Repair a Mechanical Heart or Fangirl.
(Review based on an e-arc provided by NetGalley)...more
3.5 stars. I've enjoyed previous Anders books as over-the-top angst fests, in the classic style epitomiz(reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)
3.5 stars. I've enjoyed previous Anders books as over-the-top angst fests, in the classic style epitomized by Harlequin Presents. A Ruthless Proposition has many of the typical elements of such a story -- astonishingly cruel hero, misunderstood heroine, boss/assistant fling, unexpected pregnancy, deep hurting -- but it also has more depth and more realistic character arcs. The result shows the author's growth as a writer, though it might not be quite as much unalloyed fun. ...more
If you've read any of Stuart's "Ice" series, you know pretty much what to expect here. Ruthless hero, in(Reviewed from an e-arc provided by NetGalley)
If you've read any of Stuart's "Ice" series, you know pretty much what to expect here. Ruthless hero, innocent but feisty heroine who steals his heart very much against his will, lots of bad guys doing bad things. There's a particularly sad tinge to this story though, because the heroine loses so much.
The "white sheep" of a family of powerful racketeers, Jenny Parker tries to serve justice and help the helpless as a lawyer. But she finds herself unexpectedly on the wrong side when she tries to protect her younger brother from what she's sure is an innocent mistake. The other side is Matthew Ryder, a member of the super secret "Committee" (American branch) who has no compunctions about doing anything he has to do to get information out of Jenny... or has he?
As often happens in Stuart's books, the line between good and evil can get so thin as to disappear. As the heroine of Ice Storm once thought about, "In their life there was no such thing as good guys and bag guys. He was still a monster. He was simply the same kind of monster she was." Be warned: Ryder is not just your standard romance asshole; he literally tortures Jenny to get information out of her. Readers may or may not feel he's adequately redeemed for this. (Though I actually think, in Stuart's strongest books, redemption is pretty much besides the point.)
I enjoyed this, yet didn't feel there was anything special about it to make it rise above its formula. Since it's one of my favorite formulas, I didn't mind that much. But I would have liked to see a bond between the main characters based on more than sexual attraction with a huge dollop of romance style Stockholm Syndrome (made even more pronounced by Jenny's overall suffering) and also fewer repetitions of thoughts/ideas. ...more
Such a delightful story, with a really charming hero. Like the previous book, it focuses on the role of women in a way that feels very believable forSuch a delightful story, with a really charming hero. Like the previous book, it focuses on the role of women in a way that feels very believable for its period (this one is set in 1948) but also resonates with modern readers. ...more
I appreciated how complex and flawed the characters of this story are; it's a very untypical romance in many ways, with a low-key hero and a heroine wI appreciated how complex and flawed the characters of this story are; it's a very untypical romance in many ways, with a low-key hero and a heroine who's made huge mistakes. I was won over by the tenderness of the ending, but I did have one huge problem with the plot. (view spoiler)[The heroine was impregnated at 18 by her married teacher, who is now the principal at her daughter's school. It never seems to occur to her that sending her daughter to school with a known predator is a terrible idea; when her daughter learns the truth and says they should expose him so he can't do it to another girl, she offhandedly agrees. I would at least like to have seen some consideration of this issue from the heroine herself, even if she couldn't bring herself to do it... it never seems to have occurred to her. (hide spoiler)]...more