I swear, there must be something wrong with me. Everywhere I looked people were reading this book and talking about how smoking hot it was. I heard it...moreI swear, there must be something wrong with me. Everywhere I looked people were reading this book and talking about how smoking hot it was. I heard it again and again and again. How could I not try it too? Well, obviously my idea of hot and the majority's opinion of hot do not align. The main phrase that comes to mind when I think of the sex scenes in this book is "trying too hard." It was so over descriptive and wordy that I was bored. I like dirty talk, but you're doing something wrong if you guys are full out monologuing each other during sex. Shouldn't you be just a smidge more carried away by the moment?
The fact there were sex scenes constantly meant that I was bored the majority of the book. When I wasn't bored, I was usually pissed off. The object of my rage was Jenna. I wanted to reach through the pages and take her out of my misery so badly! She was completely mental! Seriously, what was going on in her brain??? She said she wanted a relationship with Bryce, but I honestly don't think she did. No one could be that stupid without trying to deliberately sabotage things!
Jenna decided to give Bryce a "taste of his own medicine" and play the playgirl because...why exactly? Anytime he made a move toward building a relationship she treated him like a booty call. All to keep him panting for more, of course. Right... Also, what kind of drugs was this girl on? She was so hot and cold she seemed bipolar! She made it impossible for him to approach her for anything but sex, but then she sobbed and whined about him only wanting her for sex. I seriously wish Bryce had just dumped her and taken up with his hand. At least then I could have understood why he even liked his love interest.
Bryce wasn't a bad guy, but there wasn't anything about him that really stood out. He was just a prop for Jenna's lust and craziness. I was way more interested in Trey and Sarah. Now there's a couple who seems to have some tension. Maybe their relationship would actually be more interesting than watching paint dry!
The only conflict in this story was manufactured. If Jenna hadn't descended into her neurotic, whiny behavior (for no real reason) the book would have only been about 50 pages at the very most. It was just sex scene-Jenna drama-sex scene-Bryce tries to understand crazy Jenna drama-more sex, rinse and repeat.
Toward the end we got The Big Misunderstanding. It was resolved easily, but I was still ticked that Bryce was the one begging for another chance when Jenna's the crazy chick who has been lying to him the whole time. After The Big Misunderstanding was resolved I thought it would be smooth sailing. Nope! Right before the end another Big Misunderstanding popped up. It related to the first one, but wasn't resolved when that one was. It seemed to be there solely to give Jenna another excuse to have a meltdown and Bryce another reason to crawl for her. Not what I find interesting...
I was going to give this book a 1 star grade, but I liked the interactions between Trey and Sarah enough to bump it up to a 2 star.(less)
I am so mad at this book right now! What happened?!?!? Everything was going nicely until page 295. That page is where the book went bipolar on me and...moreI am so mad at this book right now! What happened?!?!? Everything was going nicely until page 295. That page is where the book went bipolar on me and made me hate it.
In the beginning we're treated to a sweet love story. Paris has been reclusive after his return from the war and Isabel is finally determined to lure him into spending time with her. She had a bit of puppy love for him when she was younger. Paris was best friend to her older brother, Will, and whenever they would get leave from the war they would come visit. Isabel worshiped him and mooned over him constantly. For his part, Paris longed for the sort of home their family had and thought Isabel was sweet.
Isabel makes sure to insert herself into his home as often as possible and tries to deal with his insecurities about his scars as best as she can. Paris was scarred in the war and is afraid of anyone new seeing him. Isabel was patient and persuasive, and they both fell sweetly into love with each other. Paris had a bit of need mixed up in that love, but with time and patience he would have healed more and straightened himself out.
So, it hits page 294 and I'm really wondering why there are so many pages left in the story. Everything seems to be wrapping up nicely, and I'm looking forward to them being together. But then page 295 hits and I find out why there's so many pages left! Because the author wants to throw in out of character actions and wild misunderstandings just to draw things out!!! Argh!!!
What started with me enjoying it, ended with me absolutely hating it! Isabel turned into a spoiled brat. She (out of the blue) decided that the relationship that she longed for with Paris wasn't good enough unless he ignored all his fears and courted her for a year or so in front of all the ton. She constantly accused him of making their relationship shameful because he was afraid of being seen in public.
Paris miraculously faces his fears and runs into the public eye for her, but they still don't get together. Instead, he creates a ridiculous plot to win her that just causes even more misunderstandings. Time and time again it felt like the hero and heroine would finally get together, only to have yet ANOTHER misunderstanding or insecurity stand in their way. At one point Isabel thinks "oh he really does love me!" to herself, but two seconds later she's back to doubting him and their relationship.
WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THIS STORY AND THESE CHARACTERS????
Just when I thought things couldn't get any more complicated, a caricature villain is thrown into the plot with a blackmail scheme just to make things drawn out even longer! Paris and Isabel were finally getting together and the author had to ruin it AGAIN.
I'm just so mad! What pisses me off the most was that the first half was so promising. It was a little flowery and melodramatic, but that wasn't bothering me that much. I got a bit of an eye twitch whenever Paris referred to his penis by name, but I was still able to ignore it. But I cannot ignore 150 pages of wild misunderstandings and illogical character behavior.
I was interested in seeing if this author had put out a story for Iris and Ryan, but after the second half of this book, no thanks!(less)
This author took a bold risk with this story. I think that the reaction to it will be very polarized....more**spoiler alert** I received this book as an ARC!
This author took a bold risk with this story. I think that the reaction to it will be very polarized. People will either love it or hate it.
Henrietta spends literally half of the book convinced that she is in love with someone other than the hero. She finally believes she's not in love with her cousin, Edward, and a day later she has an epiphany that she loves Kesseley. I agreed that she loved him, but I wasn't convinced she was in love with him.
Henrietta convinces her childhood friend, the Earl of Kesseley, to take her as a companion for his mother when they go to London. Kesseley's mother has finally convinced him to ignore his feelings for Henrietta and start looking for a wife. Henrietta has come up with a plan that she is convinced will lure her beloved, Edward, back from the woman he tried to elope with. Kesseley lets himself be talked into it, which doesn't help Henrietta's opinion of him. She can't help but feel that she would respect him more if he would stop letting himself be used by her.
Here is when the risk starts coming into play. Henrietta is very unlikable for a large chunk of the story. She feels extremely young and selfish. She knows that she hurts Kesseley, and she knows that she uses him, but she just doesn't care. She also has a really bad habit of saying things that crush him and then expects him to comfort her as she sobs about her lost love. She is the kind of girl that is mean and rude but is always baffled when people don't like her. Kesseley's mother for one.
Kesseley starts out as an honest to goodness farmer. He's unfashionable and more than satisfied with living in the village he grew up in. He's confused and hurt by Henrietta's constant scorn toward his satisfaction with his life and his comfort with the village. She longs for London and a dark and mysterious rake like she reads about in her gothic novels. She feels that Kesseley is too much of a country bumpkin to realize what he lacks. She seems so young.
Poor Kesseley had a horrible father. He was witness to things that no son should ever see or hear. He came to regard Henrietta's house as a haven. He grew up feeling that all the things his father prized weren't what mattered in life. Honesty and loyalty and love are what should matter. Who cares how you were dressed or how your hair was cut? The poor man finds out that his opinion is the minority in the ton and grows more and more jaded. Finally, an action of his mother's and more typical harshness from Henrietta push him over the edge.
He says to hell with people and decides to show everyone how like his father he can be. He changes his look, his manner, and his values. He goes to the Courtesan Ball and fights with people and finds his comfort with courtesans. I can see why he snapped, but I think he really couldn't see the forest for the trees. His anger at Henrietta shouldn't make him throw away his money and morals.
Kesseley's mother was a very messed up soul. She had good cause to be, I have to admit that. But she had no right to be so judgmental of her son and he had no right to castigate her for longing for pleasure. Their attitudes toward each other just widened a split that could have been a small thing if handled correctly. His mother won my respect for her dislike of Henrietta and her wish to protect her son, but her atypical behavior toward the end made my sympathy dim. She didn't like Henrietta until Kesseley was mad at her and then she clung as hard as she could.
So, the angst and the circumstances just kept piling to keep Kesseley and Henrietta apart. Up until the last 30 pages I still wasn't sure if they were going to end up together. They seemed to spend no real time together and what time they did spend together was tempestuous. They didn't even have a relationship. Kesseley had more action with courtesans than with Henrietta.
This story really helped clarify something for me. I always long for the person passed up to move on. Seeing it here made me realize that I really don't want that. Even though Kesseley and Henrietta weren't in a relationship, and it wasn't cheating, I didn't like seeing the hero playing the field. It also left little time for me to believe in their relationship.
This book was compelling, and I read it quickly, but it didn't work for me as a romance. If it was advertised as Kesseley's struggle with self-identification and the story of him losing his way, it would have better results. Then I wouldn't have expected a romance and a relationship to be the focus of this story.(less)
This book was so much fun! I had heard mixed things from various friends, but it seemed fun enough that I had to try it out despite not being...more4.5 Stars
This book was so much fun! I had heard mixed things from various friends, but it seemed fun enough that I had to try it out despite not being a huge fan of contemporaries. I'm so glad I did!
The book was fast paced, action packed, and sexy and hilarious to boot. That combination usually works well for me in action movies, but it also thrilled me here. This was like one of my favorite action-comedy movies but with more focus on the hero and heroine's attraction and feelings. Especially the hero. His memories about his feelings for her when they were kids really added a nice touch.
The story gets going and it just doesn't stop. Things happen in a very short amount of time, but I (surprisingly) didn't feel shortchanged on Quinn and Regan's relationship. I think it was because the author did such a great job establishing the past feelings they had for each other, especially on Quinn's part. His voice made him extremely easy to like. He's sexy and fun, but he's also a total sweetie. It's no secret that he's a romantic underneath it all. He was totally gone on her and it was so sweet that he used to be so nervous around her. It was also cute that they both had fantasies about each other for years. Him with his yen for girls in white socks and her with her secret poster of him. Adorable.
I loved the idea of the organization Quinn worked for. I also loved that they were all so into their cars and named them. It reminded me a bit of Nicholas Cage's character in Gone in 60 Seconds.
The secondary characters also popped as well. The pov switches back and forth throughout the story but I didn't feel a lack because of it. Kid and Nikki were excellent to read about. I really hope that they are revisited in the future because they were great together. Kid's reaction to Nikki and her art was hilarious. He was so awkward and adorable at times that he melted me.
There was one odd part with Hawkins and something he did that kind of perplexed me, but I was able to shake it off and continue enjoying the story. There was also one regrettable instance where a character pulled a dumb move in an otherwise dumb move free book. But those were really slight issues in my overall enjoyment.
I hope the second book is just as good and I can't wait to read it!
Book Chat with Catherine and Sophia – Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl
Today Catherine and I are chatting about Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl. Since this is a book chat the following may be considered slightly spoilery. We’ve tried not to reveal anything key that would ruin the book for anybody, but everyone has a different opinion about what a spoiler is so keep that in mind if you decide to read any further.
Molly Jennings is a best selling erotic romance author. The problem is no one in her life knows. She writes under a pen name and because her first sale was based on an encounter she had as a teenager with her brother’s best friend Ben Lawson, and because she feels her family wouldn’t approve of what she does, she has kept her career a secret. When her aunt dies and leaves her home in Colorado to Molly she decides it’s time to head back to her roots and try to get her head clear after breaking up with a controlling boyfriend and maybe get her writing mojo back in the process.
Molly has every intention of reconnecting with her teenager crush Ben Lawson and possibly making that years-ago “almost” encounter a reality. But the minute she arrived in town the rumors and gossip start flying and conservative Police Chief Lawson is right in the thick of it. He’ll do anything to avoid scandal and since Molly won’t even tell him what she does for a living he is hesitant to take the plunge into a more serious relationship with her.
Then there’s the ex-boyfriend Cameron who just doesn’t seem to realize he is the EX-boyfriend. He just won’t get a clue! Cameron has made it his mission to integrate himself into Molly’s life even though she’s made it clear they are over. But when strange things start happening Molly can’t help but suspect that he could have something to do with it.
Sophia: Okay Catherine, let’s start by talking about Molly. What were your impressions and over all feelings about her?
Catherine: Ah, Molly… She’s definitely my kind of girl. She’s in touch with her sexuality and knows what she wants. I loved that she was the aggressor and Ben was the shy guy trying to resist her. It was adorable. I also loved Dahl for giving Molly a friend like Lori. Their interactions together were hilarious. The only real problem with her I had was her attitude toward her job and toward her ex-boyfriend. One I thought she was taking too seriously and the other I didn’t think she took seriously enough.
Sophia: I agree, I really liked that Molly was so comfortable in her sexuality without being over the top and in your face. I found it very refreshing and fun. I think the scene where she’d had too much to drink and was getting frisky with Ben in the squad car was hilarious. (sirens were involved people) I also thought that at first she was being a little ridiculous about hiding her profession from her friends and family. But as the story went on I realized it was more about keeping up with the lie and not as much about what people would think. Sure she was worried about how it could affect Ben, and what her family would say etc, but once the mystery of her profession became a really big deal she seemed more determined than ever to hold on to that little piece of herself that was just hers. I’m not sure what this says about me but I enjoyed watching as her stubbornness battled with the snowball effect of the lie.
You mentioned Ben and his shy guy persona. I really liked that Molly had the advantage when they reconnected after all those years apart. We see so many alpha males spewing tons of arrogance around in the romance genre and I loved that he was a little embarrassed and humbled by what transpired between them years ago. He’s still a sexy stud but he pulled it off without all the posturing. What did you think of Ben?
Catherine: I loved that scene! How mortifying for them both! I laughed when she reflected on it later and concluded that she had used him to masturbate herself. LOL. I never thought that her sexuality was over the top–indeed, it was quite refreshingly upfront–but I did get a little irritated later when she kept distracting him with sex to keep from having to talk and potentially reveal her secret.
I think you’re right about her reasons for hiding her job, but it still wore a little thin for me. I can see why she would hide it from her parents, but from her friends? I guess once she started hiding it she had a hard time being open about it. Speaking of her parents, that scene where she talked to her mom and her mom admitted to being friendly with the ex-boyfriend after they had broken up shocked me. That, added to their reverence for the golden boy, Quinn, left me with a less than positive view of them.
I really liked that Molly had the advantage too. I love darker heroes, but there’s something about the awkward, adorably straight-laced boys that tug at my heart. I loved watching Molly blow into his world and shake it up and laughed at his response to the schoolgirl outfit when she was out playing pool. It was so adorable.
The scene in Molly’s kitchen where she brings up their past was absolutely hilarious. I wish I could quote it so everyone could see the humor, but it’s way too long for this. Regardless, it was an excellent scene and really illustrated their relationship well.
I loved Ben and cracked up at all the jobs he came up with when trying to figure out Molly’s occupation. They were out there, but I can see why he was getting crazy with it. Who is that determined to keep their job a secret if it’s not shameful or illegal? Although I loved him in the beginning, I was less impressed with him toward the end. His first instinct was always to blame the situation on Molly and that did not endear him to me at all. Did that bother you too?
Sophia: I’m glad you brought up the parents and I completely agree with you. I find it frustrating how authors vilify parents in romance so often. It seems the heroine must have either horrible or no parents and it gets old. I want decent parents in romance darn it!
I did get annoyed with Ben for blaming Molly but then again she didn’t give him a lot to cling to in the trust department. I probably would have had less respect for him for trusting her blindly when she was so secretive. I’m all for trusting the one you love but you’ve got the throw a guy a bone here and there.
We can’t really get too into it here without revealing big spoilers, but there was a little plot twist near the end that I sort of saw coming, but not completely, involving Cameron. What I will say is I was surprised at how quickly and easily it all wrapped up. Cameron was a very clever man so this little twist didn’t seem likely to me. It was just too easy. Do you agree?
Catherine: I’ve gotten a little tired of the villainized parents as well. I know it’s an easy way to provide depth, but can we get a little grey to it? I’m tired of them being all bad. I’d like to see issues born of a more complex relationship. Like I’m sure Quinn, the golden boy brother, has with the parents. They were good to him, but resentment must have been there when he saw the sister he loved getting shafted.
You’re right about Ben, I know. It was just hard to read him blaming Molly multiple times for things that weren’t her fault. It’s like he knew he couldn’t trust her in one respect so he refused to trust her in any situation. I got tired of it. But I got really tired of Molly lying as well… So I guess you could say I got tired of them both for being so ridiculous. :)
I was really surprised by how easily it was solved too. I knew that one of the people involved would go down easily (and wow, Ben was completely blind about this situation) but I expected more from Cameron. It almost made it seem a little silly with how easily it wrapped up.
Speaking of Cameron, I’m very glad you brought him up. His character really made me think. Regular stalkers are scary as is, but I think his brand of it is even more horrifying. I can’t imagine anything worse than someone taking over your life. He took her friends, her family, her potential lovers and won them all over. They all turned against her and tried to convince her to get back together with him. *shudder* Horrifying.
Sophia: Yes! Molly said Cameron seduced her boyfriends, family and friends and that is so true. He made her look totally crazy and the more she protested the crazier she looked. I think Cameron was a very effective villain.
Catherine: Before we wrap this up I wanted to touch on one more thing. We’ve both talked about the hilarious situations and Molly being upfront with her sexuality, but I wanted to go a bit more into that. Specifically on how much they added to the story. I think the effortless humor in Dahl’s writing is one of the things that makes me like her so much. Her contemporary books are always so funny without being over the top. And her sex scenes are hot! Those are two things that were particularly well done here. What do you think?
Sophia: Effortless humor, that is exactly it, you nailed it. Sometimes characters seem like they are trying to be funny but Dahl creates characters that just are funny, period. Although her heroes and heroines are not perfect, I feel like I’d like to be friends and hang out with them. I’m just starting the next book in the Tumble Creek Series and I think I like Molly even more in that book. Her friendship with Lori is great and they have such good “friendship” chemistry between them.
Overall I really enjoyed this light, sexy contemporary romance. Molly and Ben were great, the sexy scenes were smoking hot and the mystery and suspense played out well except for a little disappointment in the conclusion. As I said, I’m already starting the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens with Quinn and Lori. I give Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl 4 hearts.
Catherine: I really enjoyed this one as well. The writing, humor, and characters all combined into a very fun book. I got a little frustrated with the characters toward the end and I wish the suspense wouldn’t have resolved so easily, but overall it was a great start to the Tumble Creek trilogy. I give Talk Me Down 3.5 hearts.
Sophia’s Favorite Quote:
“I wouldn’t yell fire at that slime ball if his ass was in flames.”
Catherine’s Favorite Quote:
Lori sat way back in her chair and gave him the once-over. “What in the world’s gotten into Ben Lawson? Jokes? Flirting? Maybe I should sleep with Molly. I think she’s got a magic hooha.”
Catherine and I are talking about Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl today. Since this is a book...moreJoint review with Sophia originally posted on Fiction Vixen.
Catherine and I are talking about Start Me Up by Victoria Dahl today. Since this is a book chat the following may be considered slightly spoilery. We’ve tried not to reveal anything key that would ruin the book for anybody, but everyone has a different opinion about what a spoiler is so keep that in mind if you decide to read any further.
Lori had always planned to get out of tiny Tumble Creek, Colorado, but when her late dad left her his beloved auto body shop, she’d stayed. Now, according to her crazy best friend, Molly, what Lori needs is some excitement, in the form of hot, no-strings-attached sex…and lots of it.
Quinn Jennings has buildings on the brain—not love and romance. A serious architect, he’s delighted to discover that Lori is willing to skip dating protocols and head straight for the sheets. And aided by the steamy books on Lori’s bedside table, he’s busy indulging both of their wildest fantasies. But when life in Tumble Creek takes a dangerous turn for Lori, Quinn’s protective instincts kick in.
Suddenly he cares. More than either of them ever expected….
Sophia: Start Me Up is the second book in Tumble Creek series by Victoria Dahl. We’ll start this time by talking about the hero, Quinn. I’m not going tip-toe around this. I LOVED QUINN! I have a real fondness for nerdy types in romance. They are always sex gods in disguise. I love that! *ahem* Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, how did you feel about Quinn as the lead in this book?
Catherine: I am right there with you. Quinn was fabulous! He was so sweet and nerdy and then he would morph into the “sex ninja.” It never felt out of place with his characterization either, which I definitely appreciated. I liked how normal he seemed. That’s one of the things I appreciate most about Dahl’s characters. The friends hang out and banter back and forth without seeming like they’re trying to be friends. Know what I mean? They just are friends.
I also really liked that Quinn was Molly’s brother. The falls-for-the-best-friend’s-sibling is a favorite trope of mine anyway, but it also added a nice bit of tension and secrecy in the beginning. Watching Molly bust Lori out was hilarious! Even though Quinn was my favorite character of the two I still enjoyed Lori–although she did grate a tad at the end. What did you think of her?
Sophia: The friends-to-lovers or falls-for-the-best-friend’s-sibling troupe are also a favorites of mine. Mostly because the couple already have a history, they know each other and then we get the excitement of the hero and heroine realizing there is a new layer to their relationship. In Lori and Quinn’s case they went straight for the sexy times and the rest followed but it was believable because they had a friendship first.
I liked Lori for the most part. I liked that she was ready to spread her wings, and fulfill a few fantasies and I thought it was great that she chose her long time friend Quinn to take a walk on the wild side with. Their chemistry was great and since they had a history she trusted him. Lori was fun because she was wanting to be adventurous and live out some romance novel fantasies but her discomfort in letting loose and inner dialogue was quite comical at times. Good thing she had that ‘sex-ninja’ to help her out. *wink*
What bothered me about Lori–and what put a pock mark on this romance for me–was Lori’s treatment of Quinn when it came to their friendship. As I’ve said they had history and it seemed once they took things to the bedroom she dismissed the friendship. At one point she suffers a pretty serious injury and completely shuts him out knowing it would hurt him. I know at that point she was nervous about the romantic feelings that were seeping into their relationship but they were friends before all else and I thought Lori treated Quinn poorly and it bothered me.
Catherine: I, unfortunately, noticed the same thing. That’s what made her grate on me toward the end. I could understand her position about not wanting to start a relationship, but she seemed to forget their friendship at times in her rush to make it clear they weren’t a couple. I knew where she was coming from, but it was like she couldn’t see the forest for the trees. I ended up feeling sorry for Quinn because he was so eager to help her and so hurt by her refusal to let him.
But I can’t say that he was perfect either. There at the end when he tried to decide her future he really took a misstep with me. I was glad she didn’t just roll with it. Because even though some of the stuff he said was true, it really wasn’t his place to say it. She was absolutely right, it’s her life. Who is he to think that he knows best? What do you think?
Sophia: I had the feeling that Quinn went into panic mode with Lori at that point. He realized his feelings for her were the real deal and he felt he had to do something or she was going to slip right through his fingers. Unfortunately what he did was wrong, wrong, wrong. LOL. But I have to say, Lori’s reaction made me feel better about her as a character. Her likability factor went way up when she stood up to him. That was a pivotal point in their relationship where lines were drawn and they would either sink or float. Fortunately the author did not take the easy way out and resolve this stand-off in a few paragraphs, and I found the relationship to be very believable.
I want to switch gears here and talk about the mystery in this book. Although the story was mainly focused around the relationship between Quinn and Lori, there was a bit of a mystery and a villain. I was actually quite sympathetic toward the so-called bad guy and although I suspected him early on, I held out hope for him throughout the story. I have to say I was a little sad in how the mystery played out. What are your thoughts?
Catherine: It made me sad too. I saw it coming as well, but not the why of it all. When I found out the whole story I felt bad for the “bad guy” but I also totally understood Lori’s reaction and ended up being proud that she reacted the way she did. It was so smart and not like the standard Romance heroine’s usually react. Often they’re a bit too sympathetic and forgiving (to the point of stupidity) for my taste. Lori reacted like a rational person would and booked it. I really liked that she struggled with her feelings about the bad guy after all was resolved.
How did you feel about the HFN (Happy For Now) end instead of the standard I-love-you-let’s-get-married HEA (Happily Ever After) ending? I’m really glad that Dahl left it like that. It felt more realistic and hopeful than it would have been would have been otherwise. I noticed that Ben and Molly are still only dating as well. I like the slower, measured pace of the relationships in this trilogy. Do you like that as well or would you prefer a more concrete relationship?
Sophia: Since I read romance almost exclusively I’ve come to expect the full-on HEA ending. I admit at first it felt like a little something was missing not having the whole relationship tied up and a neat little bow. But again, Dahl’s stories have a nice realistic feel to them and it is quite refreshing that she holds true to that even in the end. Plus, who knows, maybe there’s more stories that need to be told in the romantic relationships in Tumble Creek? *crosses fingers*
Catherine: I tend to prefer a concrete HEA in most books, myself. But I actually appreciated the HFN in this trilogy (so far) because they just didn’t feel ready for the HEA yet. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m glad Dahl didn’t just tack one on because it was supposed to be there.
Before we wrap this up I have to mention the sexy factor in this book. Quinn really got into his “research” and was perfectly willing to experiment and see what turned Lori’s crank. That scene behind the restaurant…. *fans self* I also love that we saw them have sex without any games or role-playing. It really helped show me that it wasn’t just the thrill of the experience that was making it so good for them both. I enjoyed the little snips of the erotica we got to see, too. I thought it was a fun touch.
Sophia: The restaurant alley scene was one of the best sex scenes I have read in while. WOW! The heat and passion between Quinn and Lori was so intense. I really liked that not only was Quinn into Lori’s fantasies but he seemed genuinely surprised at his own response to some of the bedroom games they played. It wasn’t overdone, just fun and sexy.
So to wrap up, I really enjoyed this second installment of the Tumble Creek series. Lori and Quinn had great chemistry, I loved their easy humor and I was invested in the romance. The sex was smoking hot and Quinn’s title as ‘sex ninja’ stands. Lori’s dismissal of her friendship with Quinn and her treatment of him at times threw me out of the romance groove and frustrated me but all in all Start Me Up was an enjoyable, entertaining read. 4 hearts.
Catherine: Despite the few minor irritations mentioned, I really enjoyed this book as well. I can’t wait to get to Jane’s story! 4 hearts from me.
Sophia’s Favorite Quote:
“I do feel sort of like a harem girl being called up for the sultan’s latest pleasure.”
Catherine’s Favorite Quote:
“Aaron, listen. Please. I will never sleep with you. And I will never sleep with anyone else in front of you. Nor,” she interrupted when he opened his mouth to speak, “will I sleep with someone you know and then tell you about it. Is that clear enough? Just drop it, all right?”
"But…” He looked confused, not believing even a gay woman wouldn’t want to sleep with Aaron, god of the hot river guides. A deep crease of thought appeared between his eyebrows. “But I thought we were friends.”
”Oh, for God’s sake. I don’t even know what to say to that.”
This book confirms my original supposition about this author's work: We were made for each other. She wa...more*Originally read 9/12/10 - 9/13/10*
This book confirms my original supposition about this author's work: We were made for each other. She was made to write these entertaining books, and I was made to read them. :)
Before I get into my review, I would like to make one thing clear...
This is a paranormal historical romance.
There, that should help some readers out. For some reason, the publishers decided to shoot themselves, and the author, in the foot and not mention anywhere in the summary that this was a paranormal. They did this author a grave disservice, because nothing will piss a reader off faster than unfulfilled expectations. If you look at a lot of the negative reviews floating around the internet, you'll see that most of them revolve around the fact that they were expecting a straight historical and instead got something with paranormal. They didn't want it, and they weren't happy about it.
So, on to the story... I absolutely loved how this book opened up! By page three I already knew that I was going to adore Valerian and Abigail's relationship. Something happened in their past that made them what they are today. They're not friends, but they can't stay away from each other. The ton would be shocked to know that Valerian even knew Abigail existed, let alone that they spoke every single time they saw each other at an event.
Valerian has become the master of stalking Abigail and talking to her without anyone noticing. They constantly clash and throw verbal darts at each other whenever they encounter. Abigail cannot resist walking on her own at parties, knowing that he will come for her, and Valerian cannot resist coming to her and picking at her. Sounds like a fun relationship, eh? Abigail is finally beginning to tire of the game, which seems to directly influence Valerian's actions, finally revealing an association to the ton.
Something happens to Valerian which leads to big changes for Abigail. Men are suddenly popping back up hoping to court her, traits best left in the dark are brought to attention, and she finally gets the satisfaction of being believed.
The relationship and the tension between Abigail and Valerian are the best part of this book. At times the power disparity in their situations rankled, but the more I knew them, the less it did. While it was easy to see Valerian's power - he had the ton on his side. He always dangled the threat of revealing her and ruining her socially. Too bad for him he didn't understand that there were worse things she feared... But while his power was apparent, hers was more subtle. She had the absolute power to stop playing the game. He could only pick at her for as long as she would let him. The day she finally decided to stay with her crowd would have been the day she won.
He needed her to focus on him. He refused to admit to any fault on his part, but he desperately wanted to go back to the children they used to be. He couldn't stand that his confusion, and then his pride, had cut out the best thing in his life. For as much as he closed his life to her in the beginning, she closed her life to him even more. So he picked at her and provoked her constantly. Look at me. Talk to me. Think of me. Care for me... It was very sad for both of them.
Once again the author takes what I expect and twists it. I always cringe from the thought of the expected scene, but the author always changes things up so I'm left pleasantly surprised. I didn't see the identity of the ultimate villain coming. I thought I did a few times, but I could never settle on just one person. I saw plots wherever I looked, and while they did exist, they weren't what I expected.
There were a few instances of unanswered questions, and an event I really wanted to happen didn't occur. There was also a last minute social development that popped up that I felt was absolutely unnecessary, but I was very pleased with the story regardless. I cannot wait to try more of this author's work!
(view spoiler)[Why was he different from all the other spirits? Did the sex between them really count? Why would that event the doctor threatened her with "cure" her? What happened to the ghosts at the end? Why did they become all blurry?
The event I really wanted to happen involved moving out of the shadows in the ton. I was pleased that his friends had noticed his obsession, but I wanted him to humble himself a bit in front of everyone. It seemed like social acceptance was a weapon between them, and I would have liked to see him "lose" and her "win" for once. (hide spoiler)]
Edited To Add: Upon rereading this book I've found that the things that bothered me in my first read didn't bother me so much the second time around. I still wish that I could have had a bit more of a glimpse of society's reaction at the end, but because I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around, I'm increasing my rating.
I am so pleased with this final entry in the Lords of Intrigue trilogy! I liked the preceding two, but they were missing the c...more*4.5 stars to be exact.*
I am so pleased with this final entry in the Lords of Intrigue trilogy! I liked the preceding two, but they were missing the click that I usually have with this author's work. That could very well be because my first tastes of her were with her more recent works, and this trilogy was her debut.
After having quite a bit of back and forth conversation with my friend, Katyana, I've drawn a few parallels in my mind with one of Anne Mallory's other books. It's not that they're similar storylines, but there are some similarities, and differences, I want to draw between the heroes and their behavior toward the heroines.
The book that I'm referring to is Three Nights of Sin. The hero of that book, Gabriel, was very closed off and manipulative. He played his little power games with the heroine and always held himself apart. The hero of this book, Marcus, does exactly that too - although it's to a lesser extent.
I had an extremely hard time with Gabriel's relationship with Marietta. She was so in the dark and rather like a sexual puppet most times. It all felt very uncomfortable to me, and I railed against Marietta's passive attitude and unfounded trust. A dead body could have been in her path and she would have just stepped over it without looking down. That's how oblivious she was.
The big difference in my feelings toward that book and my feelings toward this book is simple. Isabella had an awareness that Marietta never had. Isabella knew that Marcus was playing his games with her, maneuvering her around like a chess piece. She knew that he danced around answering her questions and tried to distract her with her feelings for him. But she consciously chose to play the game with him in the hope that things would play out in her favor. That's all I need, awareness. I never felt like Isabella was a dim victim - as I sometimes did with Marietta - because she had the strength to choose. Marcus could only manipulate her for as long as she chose to let him.
I really loved Isabella's character. What most people would see as pitiable actually opened her up to her biggest strength. I'm referring to her secret love of Marcus, of course. She had the strength to reach out for what she wanted. Even when she was knocked down by embarrassment she was strong enough to pick herself up and try again. Because what she was reaching for mattered too much to her to not give it her all. She was willing to forgive Marcus's occasional jerk moments and his stoic attitude because the potential pay off would be worth a little tweaked pride. Usually I see characters in this position as people to pity, but I just couldn't feel that way about Isabella.
Marcus caught my heart and squeezed it even when he was irritating me. The more I learned about him the sadder I was. His friendship with Isabella has been a rock for him throughout his life. He's known her since she was 7 1/2, and she has always been a bright spot for him. Especially after he was changed by an event when he was 18. That was when Marcus closed himself off from the world. He has existed as an island. He has friends, but he never lets them get too close to his personal life. He trusts them, but he doesn't trust them, not with the deepest parts of himself. There are things about himself and his future that he had hoped to never share with anyone. Things have started to come to a head for him though, and it's the slight vulnerability that it created that really seems to have made Isabella's change of behavior hit him so hard.
I had so much fun watching Marcus pace around the shadows getting edgier and edgier with each new dress Isabella wore, and each new man she was friendly with. It was especially entertaining watching Marcus interact with his friends during this! At times Marcus's attitude became a little tiring, but on the whole I stayed sympathetic rather than frustrated.
I just wanted to make a quick mention of how surprisingly hot some of this book was! The tension and anticipation worked extremely well for me. I've quoted one of the scenes in one of my status updates if anyone cares to have a look.
I knocked down a half star because of the ending. I don't mean the very end, because I actually liked that it was a realistic happy ending. I ended it a little sad for the eventual future, but very hopeful of certain things and very confident in their relationship no matter what happened. But before that there was a section that was resolved way too quickly. I wanted to be a fly on the wall as realizations were made and courage was gathered. I felt a little cheated that it was all so abrupt.
Other than that little thing I enjoyed this book immensely. I cannot wait to read more by my new addiction, Anne Mallory!(less)
After starting this book, I was almost positive that I wouldn't like it. The heroine, Ellie, seemed like a bitter ex-wife who was trying to play at be...moreAfter starting this book, I was almost positive that I wouldn't like it. The heroine, Ellie, seemed like a bitter ex-wife who was trying to play at being a martyr-mom. Everything she did was for her kids. She lived and breathed solely to be there for them and never thought of herself. Her whole life was for them and she was critical of her ex for not being as dedicated as she was. She apparently hadn't even been able to shave in two weeks because the time she'd waste on that was precious time she could have been spending on her kids. *excuse me while I take a moment to gag* Right then and there, it's a good bet that I'm already on the ex's side. I just met her and even I couldn't stand her!
But I soon saw that the author set her up like that very deliberately. This was a woman who had suffered in life and who was overcompensating for something quite tragic. She and her ex, Tucker, split up after the loss of one of their sons, and they both reacted to it in very different ways. Their changes in behavior were sad indications of the loss they had suffered and the emotional upheaval that it caused. Not only did they lose a son, they lost each other. Their attitudes didn't always make them likable (mostly Ellie), but it did make their slow change feel more authentic for being so hard won.
Ellie and Tucker have both disliked each other since their divorce. They blame each other for certain things and they both suffer from feelings of guilt and inadequacy that they can't seem to deal with, beyond turning it into anger at each other. They've been divorced for three years and have avoided speaking to each other entirely for the last year. Their kids have become very unhappy and they can feel that the point of no return is coming. They decide to take drastic measures and run away.
Ellie and Tucker, along with their current love interests, mount a search for the kids, but at first they can't seem to do anything but fight and play the blame game. This made their relationship feel more real, but it's constant nature occasionally made me grit my teeth. Their journey to find their kids finally forced them into each other's company long enough to admit that they're not over each other. They finally had to deal with all the messed up emotions they've been hiding inside. It was a painful process, but it unfolded well.
One of the things that always makes me nervous about second-chance-romances is fearing that the author will take the characters too far. I love that trope, but I want to be able to feel good about them getting together. I need to believe that they can recover from the wrongs they have dealt each other. That means walking a fine line when writing their reasons for breaking up and the way they've treated each other since. I'm happy to say that Anderson nailed this. The reader could sympathize with both of them over their reasons for breaking up, but it was also apparent that they really belonged together. They needed time and distance to get over some genuinely heartbreaking things, but in the end the only one that made them truly happy was each other.
The book focuses around the search for their missing children and takes place over a relatively short period of time. The pacing was well done and I never felt like things were going too quickly to be believable. The only thing that bothered me, other than a few irritants now and again, was the fact that the kids ran away and put their parents through that and never really had any internalization of how wrong they were to behave that way. It's like the fact that Ellie and Tucker got back together cancelled out the punishment that I think they deserved. I think their complaints were completely valid, but that was a crappy thing of them to do.
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started r...moreReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started reading, but within the first 16 pages it was glaringly apparent. I hate reading about cheaters. If I hear a book has infidelity I’ve learned to just skip it. Otherwise I usually spend the whole book pissed off. It is a rare day when I believe in the relationship after they’ve cheated on one another. It has happened a time or two though, I have to admit, but those I liked despite myself. On the other hand, I am nuts for second chance romance stories. I love watching people work out their problems after they’ve grown wiser. I love knowing that two people love each other enough to put themselves out there even though they know they’ve already been burned once.
I struggled through finishing this book. To be honest, the only reason I read the whole way through was because I have a little OCD problem where I’m compelled to finish. It drives me insane to not have resolution! I spend way too much time wondering what happened and if the book got better. It’s better for me just to grit my teeth and finish it. Yes, I know I’m weird.
My biggest problem with this book was Charlotte. I thought they were both pretty shabby people, but because of how the plot of the book was set up my ire was focused on her. Because Philip was trying to win Charlotte back he was much nicer than she was. He just took whatever she threw at him and kept trying. It actually made me feel really bad for him, even after I learned about their past together. He was like that dumb little puppy that kept trailing behind someone even though it had already been kicked multiple times. You just want to save it from itself, you know?
I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to be on Charlotte’s side. I think I was supposed to look at her behavior and think Yeah! Girl Power! but I didn’t. Philip’s wrong (and it was a really bad thing to do) did not excuse her behavior in my eyes. I can see how she got to that point, but that doesn’t mean I like her and want to read about her. Maybe if I had gotten to know her before her antics came into play? I might have ended up more sympathetic. As it was, it was really hard to like her when I spent most of the book disgusted by her behavior.
Charlotte used men. She was very upfront about using her looks and seductive presence to manipulate men. She flat out reveled in her power over them. Whenever she was in a tough spot she turned on the seduction and tried to control people with it. It was very off putting for me. I don’t like modern girls who use their sexuality as a weapon, why would I like it in a historical? I find it pretty shady, and it really makes me sad for the character. Her behavior to men everywhere makes her just as bad and manipulative as Philip was.
Her constantly turning on the sex kitten routine made her look pretty slutty because she did it to everyone. The book opens with Philip coming and peeling her out of some guy's lap. Her insolent sex kitten act when he did so was not a good introduction for me. Then he tries to take her to their country estate and when they stop at an inn she runs in first. When he catches up to her she’s offering to strip for all the men in the place and even starts to before he stops her. This all happened by page 18, by the way. I’m sorry, but debasing yourself because you think it’ll hurt your husband is the dumbest thing ever. I’m sure it happens, but I don’t want to read about it!
Philip is really no better than Charlotte. I had more sympathy for him, and I finished the book pitying him, but he was the one who screwed his own life up. He was screwed over in the past, there’s no denying it. But his revenge was a really, really jerk thing to do. It was also illogical because he trapped himself too! I’m not surprised by the current plots he cooked up—although those are pretty dumb too. I really think he needs to hire someone to come up with some plans that actually have a chance of succeeding!
I can see why he was constantly scheming though. When he was upfront it still didn’t work! Charlotte was just so back and forth about him that it made my head spin. She would do the exact same things that he did—like try to make her jealous—but then when she found out, it was just more proof of him being a controller. Even though she did the EXACT SAME THING! I just really think these people would have been better off apart. There was one “big reveal” about Charlotte that I think was supposed to make me grateful and relieved by the truth. (I can’t specify because of spoilers!) It didn’t work. I just shook my head over it.
One thing that really bothered me is the way Charlotte behaved. She went around cursing constantly in public and making insulting obscene gestures toward Philip. I just find it hard to believe that a squire’s daughter and a duke’s wife would run around comparing his head to a “horse’s testicles” in public. At the end there was a slight mention of the “stodgy” members of the ton and the “self-righteous matrons” making her feel like an outcast for her behavior. I honestly think that she would be a pariah everywhere, not just with the sticklers. Especially when all of society knows she’s estranged from her husband, so being nice to her won’t win them any points with him. Maybe there were duchesses running around like that, I could be wrong.
Ignoring the characters and the plot… I see a lot of potential for the author. She had a smooth rhythm to her writing. Pages turned quickly for me, even when I was irritated. She also had quite a few funny one-liners. One of my favorites was on page 95:
"You must not stalk around the room--"
"Stalk?" His brow wrinkled.
"--as if you were a lion and everyone else is your prey."
"Do you really think I stalk? I must say, that is quite a stroke to my ego. I assume I appear quite dangerous when I do it?"
There isn’t a very strong period feel at all, the setting felt kind of tacked on with no real depth. I believe people refer to those as “Wallpaper Historical.” But I’m okay with that! Not every book has to be like that. I enjoy a lot of books that would fall into that category.
It’s Always Been You felt quite different than most, if not all, of Victoria Dahl’s other works. It has such an air of sadness to it. It wasn’t exactl...moreIt’s Always Been You felt quite different than most, if not all, of Victoria Dahl’s other works. It has such an air of sadness to it. It wasn’t exactly agnsty, but there was a lingering sense of melancholy as I read. Perhaps it was just me, unable to see a way for them to forgive each other and forgive themselves, but I really don’t think so. I don’t expect all of her book books to have hilarious scenes, but there’s usually a sense of fun somewhere, even in relationships with issues. I really missed that aspect of her writing style. I think it would have helped add a little levity to a relationship that at times left me feeling glum and hopeless.
I enjoy second-chance-romances and stories where the characters were childhood lovers or friends, but sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. It’s takes a fine balance to write a believable reason for the characters to have parted, yet still make it seem possible to overcome. I’m left feeling a little lost, even though I enjoyed the book. I’m just not sure I feel satisfied with how it all resolved. I can see that they love each other, especially on Aidan’s part, but a lot of things have happened in the past ten years. At times I felt the driving force in their relationship really was nostalgia, just as Kate occasionally suspected.
Kate never allowed Aidan to see what she had been through and the woman she had become, and Aidan didn’t want to let her know the man he was before he saw her again because he was ashamed and frightened of her reaction. There wasn’t enough truth in their relationship to really satisfy me. All was revealed eventually, but too close to the end for my comfort they were still so angry and hurt that at times they hated each other, even while they were still desperately in love. I was completely convinced of the sentiment and their emotional intensity together, but I needed more time watching them work through their issues. So much time was spent drawing out them coming together, while balancing lies and omissions, that I wanted more of a focus on the resolution.
Dahl did a great job of creating characters and situations that didn’t have any clear cut right or wrong answer. Both of them were wrong at times and could have done things differently, but it’s hard to blame them for any of it. I could see both sides of the story clearly, and I think that’s why I ended up so sad instead of taking a side and being angry. How could Aidan not be angry that she didn’t fight and that she didn’t try to come to him for help? And how could she not be angry that he found it so easy to replace her again and again while she was trapped in misery? Sure, both were fooled and lied to, but that’s cold comfort for ten years worth of hurt and blame.
I had a hard time really sinking into this story. I found the emotion of it moving, but I became frustrated by the lies and wished the characters would have just sat down and talked. There wasn’t enough of that. They were always hiding from each other and it was hard to feel completely sympathetic after a while.
”Goddamn you,” he ground out between clenched teeth. “If I’d known you were alive, I would never have done any of it.”
He expected anger, outrage in response. The calm that came over her body frightened him.
Pale as the white silk wallpaper that glowed behind her, she nodded and dropped the hand from her mouth. “That is something between us then. If I had known I was still alive, I’d have done things differently too.”
I just finished this book and I am still grinning like a fool. I am not a fan of contemporary books normally, but Janzen has slipped beneat...more*4.5 Stars*
I just finished this book and I am still grinning like a fool. I am not a fan of contemporary books normally, but Janzen has slipped beneath my guard and is making a liar out of me. Obviously I can't say that I dislike contemporaries anymore because I just love this series! It is so sexy and so fast paced and just so fun that I can't resist it.
When you open this book you will be in for a wild ride. Once the action (and the attraction) starts it just won't stop. Even though these books take place over a short amount of time I never feel like anything is lacking in the romance. The author has been smart and made the main characters second-chance-romances so you feel the connection and attraction even though they don't have weeks and months to get to know each other before hooking up. Also, some of the future romances have been slowly built up as secondary romances through these books so we'll have history with them as well when we finally get to read their wild ride.
I really loved that the author showed us so many clips of Christian and Kat's past together. It really helped make their feelings authentic and I could totally understand how Superman (aka Christian) let everything get so out of control. The time that Kat got drunk and tried to seduce him in the elevator was a good example of this. I also thought it was adorable and sexy that he tried to be cool but totally broke down and spilled all his feelings for her the minute he got back in a *ahem* familiar situation.
Christian and Kat were so perfect together. They were from two completely different worlds and were complete opposites in some respects (she's a slob and he's a neat freak), but they couldn't resist each other when they got within a hundred yards of each other.
The dialogue and the humor were perfect. These books make me smile and laugh and they are completely sexy as well. The attraction was as irresistible to me as it was to the characters. Their attraction popped and that car scene was very hot.
The setup is secondary to the romance instead of the other way around, but that's how I prefer it. The mystery and murders were just a vehicle to put the characters together so I could enjoy them. :)
Kat's mom is completely psycho and I didn't like that Kat softened toward her at the end, or that Kat couldn't man up with her at times, but that was really my only complaint. Other than that I loved it! How can I not love a second-chance-romance where the guy has been calling the girl Bad Luck Dekker for the last thirteen years?(less)
Wow, this book was a complete surprise for me after the Stud Club trilogy. I wouldn't have tried this author again--having failed to connec...more*4.5 Stars*
Wow, this book was a complete surprise for me after the Stud Club trilogy. I wouldn't have tried this author again--having failed to connect to two of the three books in that trilogy--if a friend of mine hadn't praised this one so highly. Thank goodness I did, because this book was great! I enjoy falls-for-sibling's-friend storylines as is, so that predisposed me to enjoy the relationship setup, but Jeremy and Lucy and their dynamic are what made me continue to enjoy it.
I enjoyed watching Lucy confuse herself with her attraction to Jeremy. She believes herself in love with another friend of her brother's, but she can't resist Jeremy when they get in close quarters. At times I was irritated with Lucy for being so fixated on Toby, but most times I was just embarrassed for her. Plus, watching Jeremy try to protect Lucy from herself and watching him give her some hard truths really made me love him. I really liked that he didn't do it in the beginning from jealousy or attraction. He was just helping her because someone had to look out for her and clearly no one was taking the job.
I loved watching Jeremy stumble over his feelings for Lucy. He may not have been upfront with her, but he didn't try to lie to himself about wanting her and wishing he could have her for himself. I also like that he was honest with himself about how his friends were. He didn't flinch from the fact that they had created Lucy's behavior through their own actions.
Jeremy wasn't dark and dangerous--Lucy actually laughs when she hears that he's known as a rake in London--but he is incredibly compelling. He's distant and closed off, but he can't help himself around Lucy. He's always sticking his neck out to help her and more and more he can't deny that he wants her. His honesty and his reluctant care were incredibly endearing. It also helped that when Lucy and Jeremy got physical the book got very hot. The wardrobe scene and their inability to resist was an excellent example of how delicious they could be together.
I loved Sophia and was glad that she struck up a friendship with Lucy. How often does the heroine befriend the "other woman" even when she no longer desires the man? Sophia was so desperate for excitement and adventure that I can't wait to read about her next. I'm sure her fantastical stories will be a trip. And nothing but excitement can come from how her story ended in this book.
The only real disappointment for me was the misunderstandings that cropped up near the end. Both were so willing to believe that the other person didn't really want them that I got frustrated. I just wanted to stick them in a room and make them talk with each other. They weren't a deal breaker for me and they didn't last for a large chunk of the book, so they didn't drop my grade for the book much. Also, sometimes those misunderstandings could be hilarious--like when Jeremy was incredibly disappointed that there was no dessert for dinner.
The humor and the great characters have really made me eager to read the next book. Hopefully I'll like that one just as much.(less)
The one thing you can say about the Dirk & Steele series is that it’s never typical. Sometimes I just stop and marvel at the stories Liu comes up...moreThe one thing you can say about the Dirk & Steele series is that it’s never typical. Sometimes I just stop and marvel at the stories Liu comes up with. It is the one series that I can think of that manages to provide something unique to the Paranormal Romance genre with every book. I mean, each time you crack open a new book in the series it’s something different. Different powers, different countries, different races. I love it.
In this installment we finally got a closer look at Dean. He came off as completely carefree when I had seen him previously, so I was curious to see how he would do in a more serious role. Surprisingly, Dean had an absolutely heartbreaking past that made me hurt for him. The boy he was then, and the man he grew to be, were surprisingly deep. I was very impressed with the hidden depths that were revealed and was glad that he found a heroine that complimented him so well.
I loved that this was a ‘childhood sweethearts’ romance. I always like how the history between the hero and heroine adds a nice layer or tension and depth to romances like these. This one was no exception. Miri and Dean both had some major baggage and pain to overcome. What I loved was that beyond the initial uncertainty between them, they had no hesitations about each other. They loved each other when they were kids, and although they both had grown and changed, they never quite got over each other. It was no surprise to find that they were rapidly falling in love all over again.
What I liked so much about that was how refreshing it was to avoid all the misunderstandings and hurt feelings that could have easily arisen from stumbling upon each other again. It made their relationship feel more heartfelt and solid than it would have otherwise. I honestly couldn’t imagine them fitting so well with anyone else.
I was fascinated by the storyline in this one. As a child I was obsessed with all things archaeological, so having an archeologist heroine paired with a mummy plot was pretty exciting for me. I never would have expected the complicated, multilayered story that followed, though. Liu has a gift for writing dark plots and this book is no exception. By turns terrifying and grim, this book does not trouble itself to sugarcoat the harsh circumstances Miri and Dean face. That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom, though. Once again, Liu strikes a nice balance between light humor and dark reality. The end of the book made me very curious to see the part Miri and Dean will play in the future of this series.
Unfortunately, this was not a perfect book for me. Liu writes complicated storylines with layered prose. Her books are never a simple read for me, but usually I love that. I may have a moment or two of confusion while reading, over the ins and outs of a particular event, but usually a fast backtrack clears it up for me. But in this one I struggled quite a bit. I felt confused multiple times and honestly felt like the story was never clearly illuminated. I still enjoyed the book, but the disjointed feel of the story really dropped the grade. I love her style more often than not, but this one felt like it got away from her. Luckily, this is a reread, so I know this is a rare off book in the series for me. ;)
"There, there." Miri patted his back. "If you like, I can touch your throbbing manhood and make it all better."
"Maybe I should handle your weeping flower. Water it with my hot man-juice. Caress your love grotto with my swinging showerhead."
I’ve reached my limit with this book. It is too irritating for me to continue. The hero is an immature, selfish pig. He leaves for five years aft...more*DNF*
I’ve reached my limit with this book. It is too irritating for me to continue. The hero is an immature, selfish pig. He leaves for five years after being forced to marry his childhood friend and ignores any attempts from his father to get him to come home. He’s angry that he was forced to marry Sileas—he’s horrified at being stuck with such a scrawny, unattractive girl—and he blames her for getting them into that situation. In his mind he’s not married since he didn’t consummate the marriage. He doesn’t care (doesn’t even consider at all) how bad things might have been for Sileas after being abandoned by her husband. It’s her fault after all…
For her part, Sileas is still pining for Ian. She has a great guy hanging around her who loves her and wants to marry her. He tries to convince her to ask for an annulment or get a divorce because he wants to be with her and give her everything Ian hasn’t. He’s convinced that five years is long enough to wait. Too bad he’s not the hero! But Sileas is still waiting for Ian to show up and fulfill her dreams of really being loved by him.
Ian comes back and expects to be God’s gift to his family for returning. He’s still pissed that he has to deal with the wife situation, though. He just wants to end it and be done with it. At least until he sees Sileas. Suddenly all he can think about is how hard she makes him and how maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be married to her if he gets to sleep with her. Don’t imagine that he got a clue—that would be expecting too much of him. He only changed his mind because Sileas is hot now. Apparently he thought she’d stay skinny and awkward and thirteen forever.
He continued watching her as they ate their midday meal. With that full bottom lip, her mouth was made for kissing. Every time she puckered and blew on her stew, his heart did an odd little leap in his chest. And his heart was not the only part of him affected. His cock was standing to attention, stiff as an English soldier.
Likely, Sileas was foul-tempered toward him for not making his intentions clear. He had trouble recalling his reasons for waiting as he watched her take a spoonful into her mouth, smile with pleasure at the taste, and run her pink tongue across her top lip.
Perhaps he should just take her to bed now and have done with it. If the price of following his desire was gaining a wife, well, it was time he had one anyway.
Be still my beating heart, eh? And after only exchanging words with her twice since he got back. *rolls eyes*
Ian is shocked to find out that Sileas and his little brother Niall are angry at him. They’ve been left to keep the family going and are pissed when Ian doesn’t consider what they did a big accomplishment. Sileas kept the accounts up and she and Niall made all the decisions for the crops and farm. Ian basically rolls his eyes over the thought of taking the task over and giving it any importance because he’s a warrior. He also doesn’t seem to have any awareness of how difficult taking care of their father has been and how hard it has been keeping up the house and the farm without the ability to hire workers.
Ian blunders around acting like a buffoon and is pissed when his family isn’t impressed by him. He has no real sense of responsibility for his family and I am honestly shocked that he is the older brother and Niall is the younger. Ian acts like a little boy who never grew up.
So he decides (without talking to her) that he’s keeping Sileas as a wife and goes up to her room when she’s asleep. He gets naked, climbs in bed with her and kisses on her neck a few times while he gropes her boobs. That gets him so hot that he flips her over right them and starts lining up for the goal, if you know what I mean. Unfortunately, that’s about the time the heroine wakes up. Now, I don’t bring this up as a complaint about his actions being skeezy. I bring this up because this is the hero and this was an honest to God seduction for him. All Ian does is think about Little Ian and what would make him feel good. He has no real awareness of the wants and desires of anyone around him. I honestly don’t think he even realizes that he should care. Because the world revolves around him, you know?
Because Ian was such a clueless douche it was hard to respect the heroine. She pined for him for five years and continues to pine for his love now that he’s back. I have to doubt her intelligence in wanting such a man. She has a suitor and brother-in-law that are much, much, MUCH nicer and who value her and treat her with respect. Does she want them? Of course not. She wants the douche hero for…some reason. I’m still not sure why, exactly.
Basically, this book was too irritating to continue. I stopped at page 214 and have no regrets about never picking it back up again. I don’t need a perfect hero or a perfect heroine, but I need one that’s not such a pig.
Ah, a “second chance” Romance. I have been in the mood for one of those lately. I enjoy the sense of depth and connection in the hero and heroine’s re...moreAh, a “second chance” Romance. I have been in the mood for one of those lately. I enjoy the sense of depth and connection in the hero and heroine’s relationship when they have a past, so that was definitely a plus with Liam and Guiliana (aka Jules). This was my first book in the Three Kisses series, but I never felt lost. The author did a good job of making the book able to stand on its own. Although I didn’t need to read the first two books to read this one, I had my appetite whetted enough to want to backtrack and check out the other two stories. I’m curious to see the sisters’ romances unfold—and to see Jules and Liam snarking at each other. ;)
The relationship between Jules and Liam felt a little back and forth. It bounced between humor, angst, and coolness. It took me a bit to really sink into it because I was having a hard time getting a handle on the characters and their feelings. One moment Jules would be sniping at Liam, but then in the next she’d be laughing with him and reminiscing about some good memory they had together. Liam was the same. He’d jump from finally gaining ground in his pursuit of Jules to closing himself off and acting coldly. At times it felt a bit like they’d take one step forward and three steps back. It was frustrating, but once I got further into the book and saw deeper into their pasts I understood them better and had more patience (even though I still wasn’t always happy).
Learning about their past as a couple and getting a glimpse of their individual past issues with their families really helped iron out the inconsistencies I had with the characters. The only complaint I have about that is that it took quite a while for all to be revealed, so it was a while before I had a well rounded view of them. But when I learned all there was to know about their past… I felt so bad for them. The author did a really good job showing the emotion in a scene toward the end where Liam hears Jules talking to someone else through the window.
Don’t tell her. Liam’s heart rate spiked. Don’t say it out loud. Please don’t make me hear it.
It hurt just reading it. His internal pain and thoughts in that scene were what really sold him for me. I liked him before and was rooting for them to get together, but there was no way I could read that scene and remain unmoved. And that goes for both of them, not just Liam.
While revealing Jules and Liam’s past, the author used flashbacks. Normally flashbacks do not work very well for me. I always end up feeling like I’ve been shorted development of the relationship in the present while the author develops the relationship in the past. That wasn’t the case here. The author used a light hand with the flashbacks and ended up adding to the romance instead of overwhelming it.
In addition to Jules and Liam’s romance, we were also treated to a lovely secondary romance. Kohl and Grace were scene stealers and for a while there I was impatient to get through the main characters’ relationship issues so I could get back to them. I really wish they would have had a book of their own so I could have enjoyed them more. They were great as it is, so I can only imagine how much more I would have loved them together if I had been able to really sink into their characters.
One thing that I really wish was addressed in the book was the particulars of their break up 10 years ago. I never felt any closure with this because I couldn’t understand why they didn’t completely sever all ties. I needed some reason for this and I didn’t see one. Because of that I was left feeling that it existed strictly for use as a plot device. I also felt that in the beginning of the book Jules came off a little more immature and petulant than I think the author was going for. It went away eventually, but it made it a little hard for me to get into her character.
Although I had some issues with this book, I still enjoyed it overall. I’m going to keep my eye out for this author in the future.
”The kind that will kill you while you lie in bed.” She could see it now. “You heard them. They say that I have a nasty temper and hold a grudge for eternity. And you know me. Think! I might even do it without realizing it. I’ll just rise up in the middle of the night and…and smother you with my pillow.”
They were all staring at her as if she’d gone mad. So? The idea of being that close to Liam again made her mad.
Allie stepped forward. “Guiliana.” Her voice was kind. “Nobody said you had to actually sleep with Liam.”
Mortification rushed over her. “I knew that,” she mumbled.
You know something’s wrong when you’re 39 pages from the end and you seriously contemplate DNF’ing the book because you just wish it was over. The her...moreYou know something’s wrong when you’re 39 pages from the end and you seriously contemplate DNF’ing the book because you just wish it was over. The heroine was already killing the book for me, but then the last 100 or so pages were drawn out for no reason. It was so frustrating!
The book was pretty cute in the beginning. The heroine and hero were childhood sweethearts, but Connor abandoned her to fight for the English and Mairi never forgave him. They’re forced into each other’s company when Mairi and her brother are temporarily left behind in England while their family traveled home. I was anticipating some lovely frenemy sparring and was eager to see the charm that was so apparent in the last book in the series, Seduced by a Highlander. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that.
The more I got to know the heroine, the less I liked her—especially when I found out that although the hero did leave her to go to fight for England, it wasn’t as black and white as she would have liked to imagine, and she was hardly a victim. The hero asked her to go with him! He wrote to her again and again asking for her to join him, telling her that he was going to build a house for them. He didn’t callously abandon her. He wanted to marry her and was only leaving for England because it was a family duty that he was obligated by honor to fulfill! She claimed that he gave up too easily—even though it was four years later before he admitted defeat—and that he wasn’t sincere because he didn’t beg her. She criticized him for expecting her to be willing to leave her home and blamed him for choosing England over her. All I can say to that is what was she doing if not choosing Scotland over him?
In addition to that, her bloodthirsty attitude toward getting rid of the Protestants really rubbed me the wrong way. I know that the tension between the Catholics and the Protestants was real, but it made the heroine hard to like. It’s not that I don’t like historically accurate religious attitudes in my romances—I loved Flowers from the Storm after all—it’s that I was extremely turned off by heroine’s genuine bewilderment over the hero’s tolerance toward the Protestants. After talking to the hero about his remorse over the Protestant massacres she did eventually agree that wiping out whole shires of people was wrong, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said that she ever really learned any tolerance. She was always freaking out on the hero and accusing him of betraying Scotland.
The hero is the only thing that kept me from rating this as an F. He was practically a saint with how patient and forgiving he was of Mairi’s spaz attacks. She would make wild accusations and fly off the handle constantly, but he always ended up forgiving her for doubting his devotion. Mairi was the only one keeping them apart. The minute Connor saw Mairi again he was desperate for another chance. He had finally given up hope three years before and had moved on, but nothing could keep him from trying again now that she was close enough for him to make her listen.
A driving force for this plot—beyond Mairi being Catholic and disliking the Protestants—was her determination to fight. I didn’t mind her desire to battle, but I did dislike the modern attitude she was given. At one point she said
"Mayhap I would mind being a lass less if I spent more time around a man who was at least aware of his knuckles when he tripped over them."
Connor and Mairi finally get back together and admit their love and their desire to stay together, but that was page 235 and I was baffled over what the author was going to do with the next 116 pages. As it turns out, there was a whole lot of nothing and the extra pages existed for no other reason than to throw ridiculous roadblocks in their path to keep the relationship from being resolved. At that point my patience was spent and it was a chore to finish. I just wanted it to be over.
”How did I ever survive ye, woman? Do ye remember that time when we were babes—ye were barely five summers old, I think. I had snatched the doll ye had been playing with and ye chased me and then began to cry when ye couldn’t catch me.”
Och, damn him to Hades, why was he bringing up their childhood? “If ye dinna’ mind, Connor, I would prefer not—“
“Feeling terrible fer what I had done, I walked back to ye and handed ye yer treasured doll. Ye took it gently, kissed its head and then whirled it around yer shoulder and smashed it into my face.”
“I never struck ye with a doll,” she insisted, refusing to drift off into the past with him. “You are a liar and have always been one.”
“I lost two teeth.”
“So? Ye grew more, didna’ ye? I was sent to bed with no supper because of ye.”
Faith and Ethan knew each other in high school. She was the rich princess and he was the bad boy. One night he gave her a ride home and stole...more3.5 Stars
Faith and Ethan knew each other in high school. She was the rich princess and he was the bad boy. One night he gave her a ride home and stole a kiss—and tried to steal more, although he was denied. ;) Fast forward to the present and their positions are almost completely reversed. Faith’s father was caught running an investment scam and sent to jail. Her family is now broke and a social pariah in town. Ethan left town under a dark cloud but made it big after getting out of the military and starting his own business. They both come back to town with a need to prove something. Ethan needs to prove that he’s not that punk kid anymore and to try to reconnect with his brothers. Faith is trying to stand on her own two feet and make something out of herself. She also wants to discover herself after a lifetime spent being who the men in her life wanted her to be.
I know this sounds like a pretty typical setup, but the author really impressed me with her take on it. Faith and Ethan were not perfect characters who were able to magically conquer their problems at just the right moment. Neither were they necessarily the ones in the right. They made mistakes, Ethan especially, and they had to struggle to earn back the respect of those around them. They were willing to take their lumps, no matter how much it occasionally grated, and I had to respect them for that. Ethan’s past behavior really made me uncertain about his character—because he was wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts—but he was such a good character that I actually became impatient with his brothers for acting like jerks (more on that later) toward him.
I liked Faith and appreciated her desire to make something of herself and her drive to pull herself out of the mess her father left behind. I know that the people her father defrauded were angry at her for benefitting from her father’s income while they lost everything, but I got really tired of her willingness to take their criticism when she had done nothing wrong. She tried to be the bigger person and not spread around her defense, or even an explanation. I can’t fault her for what she was trying to do, but I honestly don’t understand why she would be determined to come back to her hometown when she knew the people there would constantly treat her like crap. One, who thinks they can start a new business in such a hostile environment and have it be successful? Two, maybe it sounds cold, but other than her friends, why did she care so much about winning back the good opinion of the town? It’s not like she was trying to make amends for her father’s actions, she was just trying to get them to see that she was not the princess she used to be and that she was hurt by him too. I was honestly perplexed.
I liked the inclusion of Tess. Usually kids are iffy for me, but I thought she mirrored young Ethan nicely. I enjoyed watching Tess and Ethan circle around each other to try to find a way to connect and was pleased that Ethan finally had someone in his family on his side (eventually). Her transformation from a trouble-child into a girl who wants regular hair and clothes happened so quickly that it felt inauthentic, but I suppose the author had to compress the timeline to make it work. I just don’t think she would have gone from such an angry kid to Miss Dyes-her-hair-back-and-wears-regular-clothes so easily.
Ethan was my favorite character in the book. He was such a good guy. He had made a lot of mistakes in the past, but he was willing to try again and again to make it right in the present. He took a lot of abuse without flinching and it made me so sad to know that there was a very real possibility that he might never be able to apologize enough to make a difference. I loved that he owned the kind of guy he used to be. He even looks back on his teenage experience with Faith and reflects on how he didn’t take the rejection well at all back then. I loved that the author made a point of saying that, because that felt more authentic to a teenage boy.
The fact that I loved Ethan so much made it really hard for me to like his brothers. I knew that they were completely justified in being so angry with him, but it doesn’t change the fact that I found it extremely hard to like them. I had no sympathy for Ethan’s previous actions, but it was hard to get over the fact that they were such complete and utter douches to him. By the end, I liked one brother more than the other, but I’m still not remembering either of them with many fond feelings.
Although I enjoyed the book for the most part, I never quite felt the spark that would help suck me into the story. I didn’t feel wowed by the characters and plot, although I did like how the author approached the setup. I found the book pleasant and enjoyed my time reading it, but I doubt I’ll be continuing the series. I just didn’t like Ethan’s brothers enough to care about reading a Romance where I’m stuck in their head. I know I should sympathize more, but they really bugged me.
The bad boy he used to be would take what she offered and not look back. But Ethan had worked too hard to get past that kid, his cockiness, arrogance, and the devastation he'd caused. He was still working on it. And he wasn't stupid. He knew he could never be this particular princess's Prince Charming.
This was a fun read. It had a light suspense plot running through the background, but overall its tone was light and fun. Thanks, Tammy, for the rec!
T...moreThis was a fun read. It had a light suspense plot running through the background, but overall its tone was light and fun. Thanks, Tammy, for the rec!
The hero and heroine of the book used to be childhood friends, but then things went a little far on prom night and their friendship ended. The hero, Matt, was completely uncomfortable with introducing sex into their relationship (although the heroine was all for it) and decided to deal with the issue by ignoring it. Unfortunately, that meant that he ignored the heroine, Carly, too, so it's no stretch to see that it spelled the end of their friendship.
Years later Carly is back in town and back to square one with Matt in no time at all. She's still pissed at him, which is demonstrated by hilariously childish snipes and outbursts, but he insists that they are still friends. Their interactions together made me laugh. Carly was childish and resentful, but it worked because the book had such a lighthearted tone to it. I thought it was hilarious how they kept repeating the same kiss-and-run pattern again and again.
There were quite a few times that I winced over Matt's obliviousness. He was determined to keep Carly in the friend zone and uncomfortable anytime sexual attraction came into the mix, leading him to be harshly honest with her. I didn't blame him at all for his stance, but his delivery and the casual way it beat down Carly's ego was ouch-worthy.
I liked the way everything resolved, but I needed more time spent in Matt's pov to be completely convinced of his turn around in regards to his feelings toward Carly.
"Listen, I know what I saw, and what I saw was hot." Sandra made a big production out of pretending to fan herself with her hand. "I practically melted where I stood."
"Give it a rest, Sandra, will you please?" Carly asked tiredly.
"Then you went and kicked him. Honey, men in general don't like that. Not unless they're kinky, that is. Is the that hunky sheriff kinky? 'Cause I want him if he is."
If you are looking for a simple, sweet romance, then this book is probably right up your alley. There are a few subplots in it, but on the...more*3.5 Stars*
If you are looking for a simple, sweet romance, then this book is probably right up your alley. There are a few subplots in it, but on the whole it’s a surprisingly uncomplicated book. It’s just a guy and a girl who have had bad luck in their last relationships and are wary of being hurt again. They do have to work past some things (especially Sophie), but for the most part their fall into love was simple and easy.
I had a hard time connecting with Sophie in the beginning of the book. The author started the book three months after Sophie and her husband had broken up because she caught him cheating. She had just signed the divorce papers right before heading back to town. Given that the first page shows Sophie only just arriving in town, it doesn’t leave a believable amount of time, in my opinion, for her to bounce back. The Sophie I was originally introduced to was emo and whiny and I was dreading being stuck in her head. I’m sure it’s harsh of me to say, but just because I totally understand and sympathize with her feelings doesn’t mean I want to be trapped in her head while she has a pity party. I’d much rather look back and sympathize than be stuck with her in the moment.
As the author led Sophie into public it got easier to deal with. More outside interaction led to more dialogue and less introspection. She did still have an unfortunate habit of mooning over every kid out there, though. She was very unfulfilled by her lack of children (her husband’s fault, of course) and never lost an opportunity to treat the reader to her yearning and aching inside over it when she saw one of her friends with their kids. I sound mean, I know, but she made me grit my teeth.
On page 127 Sophie said,
”The funny thing is,” she said slowly. “I’m not. Sorry, I mean. Not anymore. I wasted too many days waiting for him, believing in him. At least now my life isn’t on hold anymore.”
That is the girl we should have seen in the beginning. A woman who has picked herself up and has come to terms with the past. She’s open to what the future will bring her and doesn’t scream “rebound” anymore. I liked her much, much more after that. Other than the continued baby thing, of course. ;) The only thing that troubles me is that Sophie didn’t have enough growth or time to get from the beginning her to that. She just suddenly changed. I liked her more, yes, but it wasn’t believable.
After that, everything settled into an easy, cheerful pattern that was a breeze to sink into. The author has a very simple, inviting style that makes the pages turn quickly. Rafe turned out to be a sweetie and it was easy to see why Sophie was stuck on him when she was a kid and why she ended up stuck on him again when she moved back. Not only did they share the hilarious memories of her and his sister stalking him whenever he tried to make out with one of his girlfriends, he also turned out to be one hell of a man. His dedication to his daughter was admirable and I loved whenever they were together. Usually kids in Romance make me grimace, but I actually enjoyed Ivy. She felt like a natural part of the story and acted like a real kid.
The story spanned quite a bit of time. I enjoyed watching Rafe and Sophie’s relationship stretch out and getting to see where they were at (in terms of feelings) at different points in time, but I felt like I missed out on some of the meat of their relationship. Things skipped along so quickly at times that I really wanted to stop and get more time watching them fall in love. I enjoyed what they had, I just had a little yen for more.
The subplots in this book were a little unnecessary, in my opinion. I didn’t dislike them being included, I just couldn’t really see the point for it. Maybe the author was just trying to add a few more layers? I don’t really know, I’m just guessing here. I felt that way about something else that cropped up toward the end, but that came off more as the author tying a big bow around their romance (which some people will adore) than anything else.
Although I did have some issues with this book, I enjoyed the read overall. It was quick and cheerful and a nice little palette cleanser. I think I’ll look this author up again when I’m in the mood for something simple.
He hadn’t felt this way about any woman ever. He didn’t just want to have sex with her, he wanted to spend time with her, look at her, listen to her. And yeah, have sex with her.
I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first met Tru back in Nightfall. Pen was in that book too, but she was a kid and didn’t interest me in...moreI’ve been looking forward to this book since I first met Tru back in Nightfall. Pen was in that book too, but she was a kid and didn’t interest me in more than a vague way. I had the feeling that they would end up together, but I never expected things to develop the way they did. I’m actually glad that it unfolded this way, because it made the characters feel richer than I expected.
Pen and Tru haven’t seen each other in years. Tru split off on his own after a few years, hoping to experience the world and make it on his own. Not only did the new magic of the world finally kick in and turn him into a skinwalker, but he’s suffered through some serious personal tragedy. I don’t know why I was so surprised by what we learned about the years he spent on his own, but I was. I was a little angry that he never troubled to return and check in on Jenna and Mason, but I also understood what held him back.
In some ways Tru is exactly the same as he was in the first book, but in others he is completely different. He’s still the same little punk who hides himself behind a wall of attitude, but the years have stripped him down and added a layer of harshness to him. He comes across as more amoral and selfish than young and full of attitude to hide his insecurities, as he used to. The first couple chapters highlight a rather off-putting side of him and it’s difficult to predict whether or not you’ll even end up liking him. I didn’t expect that, really. I thought that his time with Mason had changed his behavior in irreversible ways and made a man out of him.
And it did. He just had to stop long enough to really see the person. Too much time spent in animal form and too little contact with humans had led him to discard social niceties and not notice people beyond what he wanted from them. Even Pen, who he had a history with, didn’t really register as a real person until a while down the road. When I learned more about what led him to behave that way, I found myself much more sympathetic and understanding toward him.
When I was first introduced to Tru and saw the man he had become I thought that he would be the main impediment in the future relationship. How surprising to be wrong! After her mother died Pen had a hard time connecting emotionally with anyone. She viewed the world through an impenetrable shield of armor, which is particularly surprising for such a martyr-like figure. She spent her life doing good deeds and selflessly helping people and became known as The Orchid. After that it was even more difficult to connect once people found out who she was. They spoke about her in hushed tones and looked at her in awe. Tru was the first person to come along in a while that didn’t cater to her.
I liked Pen, but I found her frustrating as well. I was very uncomfortable with how quickly she was willing to use her body as a bargaining chip with Tru. I was uncomfortable with him accepting her offer, too, but she was the one who brought it up in the first place. I liked how their roles in the bargain swapped as they traveled along. Tru became more and more reluctant to play the game and Pen became more and more determined to take the pleasure he had teased her with. When the time came to fulfill the bargain I thought things would have turned out differently than it did. The actual outcome made me grimace a little, to tell the truth. When that was paired with Pen’s next actions toward Tru, I found myself very, very uncomfortable with their sexual relationship—very uncomfortable.
Things eventually smoothed out and I was able to enjoy them together. Tru was the main reason I enjoyed them together so much. He did a lot of changing throughout the book. When he finally opened up, I loved his character. It made Pen’s determination to stay closed off jarring by comparison. She took so long to change and appreciate Tru that it was too little, too late for me. I liked that Tru refused to accept her words of love when her actions never matched them, but I was disappointed that he was so willing to settle for less with her. She eventually kicked it in gear, but I was left feeling a little sad about the disparity in the depths of their feelings and commitment.
I’ve really enjoyed my time reading this trilogy and am sad to say goodbye. If you haven’t given this series a try, I recommend you get out there and rectify that. You’re missing out. ;)
”Now I see why you have no trouble getting laid,” she said softly.
Tru swallowed. “You didn’t before?”
“No. You’re kind of an asshole.”
“No more than anyone else,” he said with a shrug. “Less than some.”
She frowned up at him. “But you should be better.”
I wanted to read for a little bit before I went to bed last night, so I opened this up. I had heard great things about this series from Sophia. She lo...moreI wanted to read for a little bit before I went to bed last night, so I opened this up. I had heard great things about this series from Sophia. She loved how the whole family was so important to the series and since I enjoy the same, I was eager to give it a try. well, unfortunately for me, I really got into the book. I say unfortunately because I had to go to work in the morning and I ended up staying up way too late because I wanted to read it all. I may be cursing myself today, but it was worth it. ;)
I loved the family dynamics and the fact that we got a glimpse at each couple. The family provided a comfy sense of fullness to the surroundings and helped me see--without having the author shove it down my throat--how connected the hero is to his family and why it would have been so hard for him to leave them. I also liked seeing the various reactions to Keri coming back into Joe's life. Having someone still resent her made it feel more authentic than if she had been welcomed by all with open arms. Especially after Joe's life crashed so completely after she left.
Speaking of Joe's life crashing, I was surprised to see how badly he took her leaving. I felt that he was a bit too casual about his past problem, but after having Kevin talk about it more seriously and seeing it handled at the end, I came to realize that it was more a symptom of Joe's character than of the author not handling the issue well.
Joe and Keri's reunion was pretty simple. Neither of were resentful or surprised to find themselves so attracted to each other after so long. The only real issue they had was the same one that originally drove them apart. Keri wants to have her life and her career, and Joe still wants to stay near his family. I liked that the issue was so simple--even though it was difficult for them both to compromise on.
This was a simple, fun read, and the only real problem I had with the book was how manufactured I found Keri's reasons for leaving Joe. I find it unrealistic that they wouldn't have even talked about the issue before she decided to dump him for his own good. (less)