This a a beautiful, multi-layered tale that truly has a little bit of everything: action, adventure, mystery, and romance. But more than anything, itThis a a beautiful, multi-layered tale that truly has a little bit of everything: action, adventure, mystery, and romance. But more than anything, it is Gabriel and his characterization that gripped me and made me fall in love with this story.
Too often mental disorders--like schizophrenia--are romanticized or villainized in stories, the characters who have those traits never elevated beyond a set of stereotypes and troupes. This is NOT the case in Gabriel's City. Gabriel's condition is never specifically named, and it wouldn't be in the language or thinking of the time and world in which the story is set. Everyone thinks him mad or, if they are more compassionate towards him, "touched" and prone to flights of fantasy. But his portrayal is so wonderfully nuanced that he is presented as a fully realized character who happens to be schizophrenic, not a schizophrenic character. The difference may seem slight, but it is very important. Because Gabriel is a fully realized character and not a caricature of his disorder, the story as a whole speaks to the importance of perspective in understanding, and how even "flawed" perspectives hold truth and value. How perspective can change the world around you and the way you interact with it; the way others interact with it.
Watching Colin grow and change from a spoiled, entitled brat who was really rather unlikeable into a strong, intelligent man who thinks of more than just his own pleasure is satisfying, and he would not have undergone this transformation if not for his relationship with Gabriel. Gabriel, in both his moments of clarity and his moments of "madness," drives the story forward even though it is really Colin's journey.
Gabriel's City kept me on the edge of my seat, flipping pages and desperate to learn how it ended. There is a lot of action--theft and violence and knife play (so much knife play) and jail breaks--but there is also heart. It is engaging on so many levels, and will stick with you long after the end....more
Fantastic addition to the series. The tension between Nick and Victoria is sizzling, the dialogue is fast-paced, and the interactions with the other mFantastic addition to the series. The tension between Nick and Victoria is sizzling, the dialogue is fast-paced, and the interactions with the other members of H.O.T. are some of the best yet (especially Mendez, who really shines). Great story and I'm looking forward to the next in the series....more
The fifth installment of the Hostile Operations Team series, and Harris does not disappoint. It's filled with the same tension, intrigue, and sensualiThe fifth installment of the Hostile Operations Team series, and Harris does not disappoint. It's filled with the same tension, intrigue, and sensuality that is a hallmark of this series. Looking forward to the next book!...more
I love this story. I'm a sucker for stories where false assumptions and well-intentioned half-truths lead to a tangled web of the protagonists' own maI love this story. I'm a sucker for stories where false assumptions and well-intentioned half-truths lead to a tangled web of the protagonists' own making--but only when the misunderstandings are well-motivated and understandable. This book has that, and so much more.
Emily's attitude and outlook on life really drew me in to the story. With her background and upbringing, she could easily have been a pampered party girl, but she strove to make more of herself and it was her determination to become more than just another Wilde that made her likeable and sympathetic even when you knew she was digging herself into a hole that would eventually collapse in around her.
Marco is definitely an alpha male, but one with a wry sense of humor and a way with one liners that kept him from becoming unapproachable. The chemistry between Emily and Marco was hot, and the ending very satisfying.
I also fell in love with the glimpses of the extended Wilde family presented in the book. This is the first of the Wilde books I've read, but from the appearance of Emily's brothers and sisters, I'm now eager to read their stories as well. ...more
This is the first I've read from the HOT series, but it will not be the last! Kev and Lucy's story definitely lives up to its name.
Dangerously Hot isThis is the first I've read from the HOT series, but it will not be the last! Kev and Lucy's story definitely lives up to its name.
Dangerously Hot is almost a reunion story. Kev and Lucky shared one scorching kiss when he saved her from a terrorist years ago, but then he pushed her away, convinced he couldn't give her what she needed. She married his friend and HOT teammate Marco, and the two went on with their separate lives. Then Marco is killed in action and the terrorist everyone thought was dead resurfaces, putting Kev and Lucky (and all their unfinished business) on a collision course once more.
Despite the mission and all the forces that should be keeping these two apart, they can't fight the pull between them. The stakes are high, and so is the tension. Harris balances the suspense perfectly with the romance, both of the storylines steamrolling towards the satisfying conclusion. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. If you are a fan of military romance, romantic suspense, or well-crafted romances in general, read this series. While this is the 4th installment, I was able to jump in without feeling lost. I'm going to backtrack and read the first 3 now.
*Note: I read Dangerously Hot pre-release and know the author, but the provided review is an honest assessment of my thoughts on the story and I am not being compensated for this review....more
I got to beta read this title for Kim, and I've been waiting for its release so I can share my love of this story with others.
"Two Turtle Island DovesI got to beta read this title for Kim, and I've been waiting for its release so I can share my love of this story with others.
"Two Turtle Island Doves" is a fantastic short story. It kept me engaged and rooting for Kelly and Becky the whole way through. My reading preferences run more towards paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi, but this short, sweet tale pulled me in and left me with a happy sigh. It's the perfect Christmas story, and one fans of romance will love!...more
More 3 1/2 stars, but I prefer to round up instead of down.
The good: Interesting story. Lots of tension. I enjoyed the sci-fi element; I've read so mMore 3 1/2 stars, but I prefer to round up instead of down.
The good: Interesting story. Lots of tension. I enjoyed the sci-fi element; I've read so many vampires and werewolves and shifters (oh my!) that this alien storyline was a welcome departure. The world is well built and the pace satisfying. I could tell it was a part of a series (if not in number, than in terms of "insider references"), but reading this as a standalone did not hamper my enjoyment or understanding.
The not so good: I liked Serena, but Hunter was too alpha for me. This is not a complaint with Armentrout's writing; Hunter is a consistent and realistic character. My personal preference, however, is towards heroes who are less domineering. His actions and thoughts early on turned me off and, because they had the opposite effect on Serena, I had a difficult time empathizing with her. I will note Hunter went through a huge transformation by the end, redeeming some of the faults I found with him. First impressions are hard to get over, though. Just not my cuppa. If hardcore alphas are your thing, Hunter is the hero for you....more
If possible, I enjoyed this story even better than the first.
The brilliant characterization that made me fall in love with Hauk and Jolie in the origIf possible, I enjoyed this story even better than the first.
The brilliant characterization that made me fall in love with Hauk and Jolie in the original is back, but both characters are fleshed out more fully. We get some backstory on Hauk in the form of a ex-girlfriend and some more information about his life immediately pre-fire. While we don't learn anything new about Jolie's past, we do get greater insight into what makes her tick. Readers get to see some of her insecurities, uncertainties about who she is, and her indecision where Hauk is concerned. There's action and increasing stakes, with the Ananke posing an ever larger threat. Readers are given greater insight to the role magic, gods, and goddesses play in the world of the series. Then there's the growing relationship between Hauk and Jolie.
I love the slow burn relationships; the couples who are pulled together by sexual tension, but pushed apart by (realistic) issues they think are too large to overcome. So they dance around each other, taking their time, both making missteps. The build-up of tension makes the resolution all the more satisfying. Hauk and Jolie definitely have a slow burn relationship, and the resolution (at least as far as this installment) is very satisfying.
Note - There are times when I hate Goodreads. Like, for instance, when I write a MASSIVE review and it DELETES it for no good reason. *shakes fist toNote - There are times when I hate Goodreads. Like, for instance, when I write a MASSIVE review and it DELETES it for no good reason. *shakes fist to the heavens* That said, I'm going to try to remember everything I've just typed that Goodreads ate.
I love this story so much. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, and this modern retelling is everything I was looking for. I tore through it in little more than one sitting, got to the last page, and was immediately pissed off...until I realized this is only book one of a trilogy (two more books to go!!), which made me so happy I had to purchase both sequels immediately so I can play in this world a bit longer :-D
Hauk is my kind of hero. I like heroes who are broken, scarred emotionally and physically, because (if done right) their characters arcs are just so satisfying. Garren TOTALLY does it right. Hauk could easily be a villain. He isn't marred by some light scar that gives him a sexy, bad boy look or enhances his allure. Hauk is disfigured. Garren pulls no punches with the description. This isn't some minor injury that he's blown out of proportion in his mind; it's truly a life-altering change to his appearance that affects the way he lives and interacts with others. It would be easy for Hauk to embrace the promise his deformed appearance seems to make and take his anger out on the world. He doesn't do that. Instead, he works all the harder to protect those he cares for and live a morally sound (if not quite legal) life. He is a good man because he chooses to be a good man. I love the dichotomies he presents. Strong, but vulnerable. Hopeful, but secure in his knowledge that the pleasures of life aren't meant for him. At peace with his injuries, but longing for what his life could be without them. He's so physically strong he can overpower anyone, and yet a kind touch is his undoing. I love everything about his characterization.
Jolie could have easily been a cardboard cutout or Mary Sue character. Rich, gorgeous, intelligent, capable, sexy, talented; you name it, this girl's got it going for her. But despite all these characteristics, Garren makes her *real*. While reading, I was able to relate to her. I care about her as a character. She never becomes a poor-little-rich-girl or a Madonna figure. Instead, she is a well-rounded, authentic character. I especially like her relationship with Hauk. She doesn't immediately look past his appearance. Her reaction to him is, instead, more realistic. And it's something she struggles with. It bothers her. It takes her some time. The more she gets to know Hauk, the less she notices his disfigurement. But that doesn't mean she's ready to jump into a relationship with him. Through it all, Jolie is very human and honest with herself about Hauk, her feelings towards him, and her ability to return his feelings and to what degree.
I wasn't initially crazy about the ending, because it's open in some ways and not what I was expecting - and also because there are quite a few plot threads left unanswered. Then I realized there are two more stories in this series, which changed my opinion entirely. As part of a trilogy, I think this story ends in the perfect place, allowing a favorable resolution to the story problem, but leaving enough dangling threads to pull readers to the next installment. I, for one, can't wait. ...more
I tried. I was interested in reading what all the hype is about, but I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't engaged enough by any of the characters toI tried. I was interested in reading what all the hype is about, but I just couldn't get into it. I wasn't engaged enough by any of the characters to make it more than a few chapters. No star rating because I bailed early in the text....more
I wavered between a 2 and a 3, so my rating for this is really 2.5. Interesting enough premise, but the characters just don't work for me. Janette isI wavered between a 2 and a 3, so my rating for this is really 2.5. Interesting enough premise, but the characters just don't work for me. Janette is flawless, written as perfect in every way, so not a lot of room for growth to be had. And then there's Darius. Darius is a dick. No better way to say it, really. I love an alpha hero, but he doesn't read as alpha to me. Instead, he has some vague, unexplained past trauma that's used an excuse for acting like a prideful, arrogant, jealous, overbearing bully. Everything about him is a major turnoff, and I found it hard to sympathize with a woman - a forwarding thinking, independent woman, no less - who fell for his "charms."
I love steampunk, and steampunk elements are present, but there aren't enough of them as a driving force for the novel for me to overlook the elements I didn't like (the overall romantic plot). As a novel, I'm sure it will work for some, it just isn't for me....more
This short story is a funny satire of the plastic surgery craze and how the pursuit of perfection can backfire.
I absolutely loved the hero, Tom. At fThis short story is a funny satire of the plastic surgery craze and how the pursuit of perfection can backfire.
I absolutely loved the hero, Tom. At first he seems like nothing more than a half-baked surfer dude with a knack for saying the wrong thing, but first impressions are untrustworthy where he's concerned. Well educated and successful, Tom decided he cared more about enjoying life than about accruing money and power. It's refreshing to see a well-balanced character who can truly go with the flow ("be the jellyfish," as he says) and find happiness where it is to be found. He seems unconcerned about his blunt observations, inclination towards physical injury, and free-living lifestyle...until he meets Angelica.
Angelica I have a problem with. I don't exceptionally like her, even if I understand her, and I didn't see her character change enough to alter my initial opinion. Angelica is incredibly insecure about her body (I'm female, I can understand). She's a worrier. She's also just kind of miserable with every aspect of her life. Appearance, relationship status, career. Honestly, I get understand all that. I even get a hesitancy to change out of a poor situation; the devil you know and all that. But I don't see any authentic change or growth from her, and that bothers me. Sure (spoiler alert) she makes some big physical changes at the end of the story, but I feel like they are all surface level only. Location, career, etc. She doesn't seem to have changed at the core of who she is. Even her new-found body acceptance is because "Tom thinks I'm perfect," not because she found inner peace with her attributes and flaws. At the end, I'm left with the feeling that were Tom to up and leave her, she would return to the person she was before, because all the changes she's experienced are in direct relation to and dependent upon him. This is not a writing flaw, if this is who Angelica is it's who she is as a character. Cach was not inconsistent in the way she wrote Angelica and I definitely had a reaction to her depiction. I just prefer stronger female protagonists, but recognize the characteristics about Angelica I find unfavorable are far from uncommon in real life.
The details really make this story. Mr. Toad, Tom's dilapidated truck, is described in such vivid detail you feel like you're in the cab beside Tom and Angelica. The intense carb and sugar cravings Angelica and Karen experience had me wanting to raid my own pantry. And the Hall of Beauty made my skin crawl, it was described in such vivid detail. Cach has a way of weaving details into the story that is layered and nuanced without being intrusive.
I really enjoyed this take on zombies. The intense craving for "sweeeeeets" rather than brains is an amusing twist on a much explored genre. I'm interested in reading more of Cach's work. ...more