Happily, I was one of the lucky few who got to preview DARE! And I tell you, this is sizzling hot tale will have you racing for the shower and turningHappily, I was one of the lucky few who got to preview DARE! And I tell you, this is sizzling hot tale will have you racing for the shower and turning the dial to COLD! Do yourself a favor and add it to your TBR list now. ...more
Sarah Ballance's Hawthorne is haunting, lyrical, original, and incredibly well-written. I don't know of many other authors who have a talent for weaviSarah Ballance's Hawthorne is haunting, lyrical, original, and incredibly well-written. I don't know of many other authors who have a talent for weaving language the way she does, and evoking such a deep, emotional response. This story is an absolute must....more
Detective Holden Whitlow is thrown off his game when his old flame, Julia Cohen, is thrown back into his life. There is more than love lost between thDetective Holden Whitlow is thrown off his game when his old flame, Julia Cohen, is thrown back into his life. There is more than love lost between them, which makes Julia's new connection to a recently tied-up cold case even more inconvenient.
It's no secret Sarah Ballance is one of my favorite authors. Among other things, she has a way of developing a slow-burning heat among her characters, wrapping potent emotion and tension in every scene. Tide of Lies is at the top of my Sarah Ballance reading list. This author really knows how to weave a mystery, and she does one thing so many other suspense writers don't: she doesn't try to trick the reader with misdirection, nor does she make everything obvious. She leaves subtle hints, bread crumbs, and leads the reader on a thrilling chase....more
When I heard there was a version of Pride and Prejudice with some steamy omitted scenes, I was very much intrigued. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam DWhen I heard there was a version of Pride and Prejudice with some steamy omitted scenes, I was very much intrigued. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are my all-time favorite lovers, and I know I'm not alone in that regard. That said, I purchased this version of Pride and Prejudice with some reservations. I've read a variety of the "published fanfic" Pride and Prejudice off-shoots, though they are all usually a DNF for me because of the mishandling of the characterization.
I made it all the way through this one, though I do believe that is mostly to be accounted for Ms. Austen's writing. That is not to say I didn't enjoy the steamier scenes between Elizabeth and Darcy; I did, but the insertions felt very forced. Ms. Armstrong did a good job of adapting a seventeenth century/regency feel, but the scenes themselves were so out of character it felt very much as an addition to an otherwise classic novel.
The thing about Elizabeth and Darcy is this: while there is a good deal of physical attraction, their main draw to one another is their intellectual regard. Darcy came to admire Elizabeth for the way she holds herself, conducts herself, expresses herself, and so on. It's her intelligence, her convictions, her kindness that entrance him. Her ability to match him in discussion, debate and support her beliefs and convictions, and so on. Of course he is drawn to her physically -- Austen herself alluded to this with repeated acknowledgment of Elizabeth's "fine eyes" and her eventual status as one of the "handsomest women" of Darcy's acquaintance. And Darcy, himself, is regarded for his physical attractiveness.
Austen's Darcy and Armstrong's Darcy are at such odds with each other so as to contradict their characterizations. No matter how strong Darcy's attraction to Elizabeth, I cannot be persuaded to believe he would do more than perhaps the only organic "clandestine" moment between them: kissing her at Netherfield. The other intimate moments between them -- the Netherfield ball and what occurs when Elizabeth is visiting the Collinses -- is a vast stretch of character. The Darcy who said the following would have had much too much respect for societal boundaries, and for Elizabeth, to behave as he did:
``I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind. Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of innocence. But with me, it is not so. Painful recollections will intrude which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.''
Furthermore, given what occurred between Georgiana and Wickham, and given Darcy never explains himself or his deeper sentiments before presuming to endanger Elizabeth's reputation, any intimacy between them is a vast stretch of his character.
And then, of course, is Elizabeth. Elizabeth is proper, yes, but fiercely independent and quite quick to make a judgement of someone's character. I wanted to see some of her fighting spirit in the new material. She should have slapped Darcy when he presumed to kiss her at Netherfield, she should have hated him by the time of the Netherfield ball (especially since he presumed a kiss), and she would never have allowed him so close to her after she had made up her mind regarding his character. That is not to say these things couldn't be believably accomplished, but it would take more care than what was presented here. Elizabeth Bennet is not the sort of heroine who throws her convictions out the window in exchange for physical pleasure, and to render her as such is, in my opinion, a great disservice.
I don't wholly believe this is the fault of Ms. Armstrong. As I stated, I am guilty of wanting to see intimacy between Darcy and Elizabeth, and have purchased the fanworks to prove it. I am not convinced, as I said, that reworking Pride and Prejudice to include those scenes isn't possible, but I have read nothing that has managed it believably. I think that is a testament to Ms. Austen's characters. I WANT very much to see more of them, but haven't been able to suspend my disbelief in the portrayals that have been provided. I do believe Ms. Armstrong could rework the Austen storyline into a contemporary setting, as others have, and I would very much enjoy reading something along those lines. The same characteristics that make Elizabeth Elizabeth and Darcy Darcy could be achieved believably alongside the steamy scenes if societal norms altered. Both Elizabeth and Darcy are very much products of their environment, such to the point the environment needs to change before does their behavior.
I enjoyed reading Pride and Prejudice again, and commend Ms. Armstrong on a good effort in her additions to the original, even I ultimately didn't believe it. Her writing itself is strong enough I would like to read some of her other work.
I would recommend this version for those who love Austen and don't mind the occasional flight of fancy. The new intimacy between Darcy and Elizabeth might throw you momentarily out of the story, but the result is a fun guilty pleasure detour of an otherwise brilliant book. ...more
No one should go into this book without having read the first two. The world Ms. Saare has built is so compact, so tight, that every action from eachNo one should go into this book without having read the first two. The world Ms. Saare has built is so compact, so tight, that every action from each work has an ostensible reaction, and without that knowledge head-on, there is no way to appreciate The Ripple Effect.
Having said that…
Wow. Wowie wow wow. I’m going to do my best to keep this succinct as this is one book you definitely don’t want spoiled.
Rhiannon Murphy has had a lot on her plate since she time-traveled to a dystopian future and saw what would become of the world if everything remained on its current course. Yet the hell that awaits her when she returns almost makes the nightmare of the future look like sunshine and rainbows. Disco, the man she loves, violated her in a way that seems unforgivable, and that’s not the least of her problems.
To say The Ripple Effect is about consequences is really underselling it. There are so many underlying themes, not the least of which is the power of forgiveness, the awesomeness of love, and realizing strength comes from many places.
Rhiannon isn’t an easy character to love. She’s tough and gritty, and sometimes so damn stubborn you want to punch her in the mouth. Without knowing everything that she went through and the things she’s had to learn—the things to which she’s had to adapt—it’s easy to walk away feeling she’s been stupid and selfish. I won’t be surprised if this is the reaction she garners at first. To those readers, I ask you simply to take another look. Rhiannon has never been a “people person,” and it took her a long time to share as much of herself as she did with Disco. She traveled to the future to sever her lover’s debt, and saw a world she wants very much to avoid. In desperation to return to her home, she made some deals on the fly and did some things she regrets. And upon returning, the homecoming she wanted isn’t the homecoming she gets.
What makes this series so good, and Ms. Saare such a great writer, is the characters’ actions and motivations. So often in fiction we see characters doing things they should, not things they would as people with their own desires and weaknesses. No one in this story escapes unscathed, and likewise, no one in this story is blameless for what happens to them. Instead of a black and white canvass with the good guys and bad guys clearly established, we have flawed people doing their best to make it through their flawed world. They don’t always get it right, but they always try. Rhiannon’s actions might be irritating as hell, but don’t we all know someone who acts against their own best interest without realizing it? Don’t we all know someone who makes a decision no one agrees with? Haven’t we been that person before? This is the strength of the writing, and why the series has resonated so much with so many readers.
Having said that, be prepared to squirm, and not for the fun reasons. Ms. Saare doesn’t flinch when she inserts you deep into the realm of demon society. There are parts that are painfully gruesome to the point of unbearable. Yet the payout is more than worth it. Trust Ms. Saare to get you to the end, for all the pain and heartache, you'll find such poetry in the novel's final pages. Ultimately, this book is about realizing how liberating acceptance and forgiveness can be, especially when preparing for the fight ahead.
In her debut novella, author Nikki London is quick to introduce readers to her strong sense of character development, relationships, and her killer inIn her debut novella, author Nikki London is quick to introduce readers to her strong sense of character development, relationships, and her killer intuition when it comes to dialogue. The plot behind SOUTHERN COMFORT might be familiar, but with its characters, humor, quirks, and heart, this is one ride you won’t want to miss.
We start with Kris Meadows, the faithful assistant to career politician Jay Rosenberg. Their rapport is quick and familiar, and with just a few lines, Ms. London establishes a relationship that is cozy but wrought with tension. You can sense the affection between her main characters from the start, be it between Kris’s close relationship with Jay’s mother or Jay’s teasing Kris over her obsession with ghost stories. Jay’s mother, Edith, manages to convince her son to take a vacation, which by itself would be considered a feat. Throw in that their getaway is in Mississippi, and it’s practically a miracle. A last-ditch effort to save face results in Kris finding a plane ticket with her name on it, though she has no idea how she can pretend to be nothing more than Jay’s friend without the familiarity of an office setting.
Ms. London doesn’t play coy with the characters or their relationships. We enter the story very much aware that Kris is in love with Jay and that Jay harbors a crush on her as well. Furthermore, the characters themselves seem to be aware, but mutually tacit due to what it could mean for their working relationship. It’s not as though there are no obstacles: Ms. London establishes Jay as a workaholic playboy, whose selection of arm candy is almost always politically motivated. Yet it is clear from the start that Jay’s love life is less the result of his being a chronic womanizer, and more due to his attraction to sharp women whose ambitions are much like his, not to mention his need to put work first. Without motivation, his close friendship with Kris might never escalate to something more, though he wouldn’t be opposed to it. And Kris, having had a front row seat over the past several years of working with Jay, knows every relationship he enters has an automatic expiration date. That doesn’t stop her from loving him, but it does keep her from pursuing him, or thinking it possible they could ever work.
With a company of additional characters, including a cranky old woman, a pair of horny college coeds, and a bed-n-breakfast owned by what Jay sees as a walking contradiction, SOUTHERN COMFORT will keep you rooting for their characters, grinning at their snappy dialogue, and falling in love with the story’s overall amazing heart. ...more
It's been a while since I've been so absorbed in a book. The premise is rather routine, but Hannah Murray's writing is sharp, smooth, and her characteIt's been a while since I've been so absorbed in a book. The premise is rather routine, but Hannah Murray's writing is sharp, smooth, and her characters are personable, funny, touching, and very relatable.
I'm so disappointed to have come to the end that I'm going to have to go check out Ms. Murray's other work. She definitely gained a fan....more