This book is three Christmas novellas by three different authors, so I'll review them separately.
A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh
Eh. Not awful, but no...moreThis book is three Christmas novellas by three different authors, so I'll review them separately.
A Handful of Gold by Mary Balogh
Eh. Not awful, but nothing memorable either. I did find the part with the vicar and his family showing up rather amusing, but nothing about the plot or characters was really all that engaging or believable. I'm all for corny, sappy Christmas stories, but this one just didn't work for me. It didn't seem plausible that the hero and heroine would fall in love so quickly or in those circumstances.
The Season for Suitors by Nicola Cornick
Again...eh. The first story is a "reformed rake" story and this one is too. The story was way too short for the kind of character development that would make me believe that kind of story, and there was just far too much "I'm so attracted to you I can't control myself" in this. I have no idea why they were supposedly in love with each other. Maybe I'm just expecting too much of these stories. Also maybe I'm prejudiced against "reformed rake" stories because I don't generally like that sort of hero.
This Wicked Gift by Courtney Milan
I was really expecting to like this one because I've really enjoyed everything else by Milan that I've read, but I think I may have liked this one least of all. It started out well - I liked that it was about two regular people with actual jobs, not something I've read much of in historical romance, and I liked that the heroine started out with a big fat crush on the hero. So cute. And then it went downhill from there. The hero and heroine basically don't know each other at all - they know each other's names and he frequents the lending library she works at. A short greeting whenever he'd come in to the library is the sum total of their interactions up until they point when he basically tries to bribe her into sleeping with him. I'm supposed to believe that somehow from that they fall in love? And the fact that he thinks he is coercing her into sleeping with him (even though she is in fact quite willing) and he does it anyway makes me really not like him at all. Basically, I just didn't understand the appeal of the characters or the story line and that makes me sad.(less)
Another enjoyable romance from Milan. Although I found myself thinking that much of what occurred in this book was highly improbable, Milan's writing...moreAnother enjoyable romance from Milan. Although I found myself thinking that much of what occurred in this book was highly improbable, Milan's writing swept me in anyway.(less)
I didn't enjoy this one all that much. There's too much back story that we just hear about in side comments, and tha...moreOne Starlit Night by Carolyn Jewel
I didn't enjoy this one all that much. There's too much back story that we just hear about in side comments, and that back story is where the real relationship building happened. I also found the circumstances of their separation 10 years prior rather unbelievable for the time period. They also argued in circles a lot which may be realistic but is frustrating to read and went on for a little too long.
What Happened at Midnight by Courtney Milan
Although I didn't really enjoy the first novella in this book, this one was better, and it was neat to see how the first story connected to thid one. I still felt like I was coming into the middle of the story, but I actually felt these two characters were more well drawn, and I actually cared what happened to them. Although it's obvious the hero and heroine of this story have history, they basically have to rebuild their relationship in this story, so we do get to see them fall back in love...or remember why they loved each other in the first place.
A Dance in Moonlight by Sherry Thomas
This one was more enjoyable than I expected based on the premise - lonely widow wasmjust dumped by her (married) first love when she meets a man who looks almost exactly like her first love. The relationship they end up building is actually quite sweet. She's a widow, he's a widower, and they build a friendship by talking about the good times with their spouses and share in the grief of losing them too soon.(less)
Another well-written, engaging story from LK Rigel! I really enjoyed this story of wyrding women and fae and true love and mistakes. The characters al...moreAnother well-written, engaging story from LK Rigel! I really enjoyed this story of wyrding women and fae and true love and mistakes. The characters all felt so real and the world felt real as well. It took a bit to get used to how the story jumps back and forth in time between the 10th century and the 21st century, but it kept me on my toes, and I loved how the story flows through both time periods. The 10th century part of the story is mostly about Elyse, half-fae wyrding woman, with bits a pieces of Diantha and Galen's doomed love story thrown in. Elyse is still a part of the 21st century story, but it's mostly about Lilith and Cade and how their story ties to the story of Diantha and Galen (and Elyse). I just wish there had been a little more story. It didn't feel rushed, but I didn't want it to end. If you're looking for a full-on romance novel, you may be disappointed in this. The love stories are important to the plot, but this is more a fantasy with some romance in it than a romance with fantasy elements. That being said, I can't wait to read the next book, Bride of Fae.(less)
Once again Rigel manages to weave a story throughout different time periods in a way that draws the reader in. WhileGive Me: A Tale of Wyrd and Fae ta...moreOnce again Rigel manages to weave a story throughout different time periods in a way that draws the reader in. While Give Me: A Tale of Wyrd and Fae takes place mostly in the "real" world, and although fae play a part in that story, none of the main characters are full blooded fae. This book has a much larger focus on the realm of Faerie and one of the main characters is Dandelion, the exiled fae prince. I's also the story of Beverly, Cade's mother from Give Me: A Tale of Wyrd and Fae. As in Give Me: A Tale of Wyrd and Fae, this story also jumps around in time from the 1870's to the 1970's and 80's to the present day, wrapping up shortly after the end of Give Me: A Tale of Wyrd and Fae. I look forward to the next book in this series and hope to learn more about characters like Cissa and Max and maybe peek in on Lily and Cade and Beverly and Dandelion.(less)
**spoiler alert** Wow. This is the story of the middle Turner brother, Smite. Smite is nothing like his two brothers who are just so nice and likeable...more**spoiler alert** Wow. This is the story of the middle Turner brother, Smite. Smite is nothing like his two brothers who are just so nice and likeable right off the bat. Smite is cold and distant. But he also feeds stray kittens and loves his dog. And as a result of his mother's abuse, he suffers from PTSD. He holds everyone at arms length because he doesn't want to get comfortable and forget what has happened to him because he feels it has made him into the man he is - Lord Justice, the magistrate who listens and finds the truth of the matter no matter how rich or poor a person is.
Things I really liked about this story:
There was no instant attraction between Smite and Miranda. It wouldn't have been believable for either of them given th circumstances of their meeting. Smite, a magistrate dispensing justice who can sense the truth of what you say, and Miranda, a poor girl in disguise about to lie as a witness as a favor to "The Patron," the person in charge of dispensing "justice" in the poor parts of town. She was scared out of her mind about being discovered and he knew something was fishy...not exactly the time or place for eyes to meet across the room and love to spark.
Smite's romantic gestures. I personally have never been one for flowers or chocolates or jewlery because those are generic tokens of affection that supposedly every woman will appreciate. Smite gives Miranda things that show he listens to her and knows what she would like. Things that may not seem romantic to anyone else. Like a sandwich.
Miranda's sarcasm. She's just funny. Also her telling Smite right away about the blackmail situation. I was waiting for her to hide it and try to solve the problem herself just like any other romance novel heroine, but she did the smart thing and told right off the bat and asked for help. So sensible.
I wasn't really a fan of how their relationship is built with her as his mistress, but I don't think that Smite could haveever brought himself to court a woman i the usual way. He was so intent on not feeling and keeping "sentiment" limited in his life, a business arrangement with clearly defined terms and limits is probably the only way he could let his guard down long enough to fall in love and realize he wanted more.(less)
I really enjoyed this. Although this story is novella-length, I felt the relationship build up was just right. I would have loved for the story to be...moreI really enjoyed this. Although this story is novella-length, I felt the relationship build up was just right. I would have loved for the story to be longer and to get to know Hugh and Serena in more depth, but I think this does the job of setting up her new Brothers Sinister series very well. Milan also does a great job of avoiding so many of the things that annoy me in romances. For example, There's a little bit of (unplanned) deception at the beginning when Serena assumes Hugh and the Wolf of Cleremont are two different people, but rather than let that misconception continue on for most of the book causing problems, he tells her the truth fairly early on. So many other romances let misunderstandings like that continue on to the point of being annoying. I definitely look forward to reading The Duchess War and the rest of the books in this series.(less)
If all you want is to read about the various couples making out and hooking up and how creepy and evil Sebastian is, this is the book for you. Otherwi...moreIf all you want is to read about the various couples making out and hooking up and how creepy and evil Sebastian is, this is the book for you. Otherwise, I'm convinced Clare would have been better off stopping after the third book in this series. Since I've come this far, I'll keep reading to see how it all turns out, but I'm far more excited to find out how the Infernal Devices trilogy turns out than I am about finishing this series.(less)
This book had the potential to be a really fun read, and it definitely had its moments of fun, but overall it didn't work for me.
1. The actual writing...moreThis book had the potential to be a really fun read, and it definitely had its moments of fun, but overall it didn't work for me.
1. The actual writing made me roll my eyes more often than not. Here are just a couple sentences that made me groan, but be assured there are more just like them:
"I couldn't keep the frown from stealing my lips as I looked out the window of Rand's Range Rover."
"We started walking in the direction the key initiated and found ourselves in the thick and dense forest and wouldn't you know it, raindrops started falling, plunking themselves against my head and face like Chinese water torture."
2. Does every guy in the book have to be really hot and want to have sex with her? It's weird. Rand and maybe one more to be an obstacle to their relationship would have been plenty and a bit more realistic. Heck...even if Rand was the only hot guy who wanted to have sex with her, that would have been plenty for one book.
3. Rand and Jolie's relationship could do with a slower build up. First book in a series, I'd say they shouldn't even have admitted any feelings to each other yet, almost kissed once, thought aboutneach other a lot, and been (secretly) jealous of each other's dates. The way it is so hot and cold and hot and cold and hot and cold already, it's getting frustrating, and I'm kind of sick of them already. I'd have liked to see them start building a relationship in this book, but most of their interactions are purely about work or their attraction to each other. Maybe that's just me though.
I have an ARC of the third book in this series, so I'll keep reading to see if a traditional publisher diminishes any of the things that don't work for me, but otherwise, I might just stop here. (less)
I really enjoyed this first book in this series, Dearly, Departed, so I had high expectations for this book. Readers who loved Nora, Bram, and their f...moreI really enjoyed this first book in this series, Dearly, Departed, so I had high expectations for this book. Readers who loved Nora, Bram, and their friends will most likely enjoy this book. There are definitely aspects of this book that I loved. Habel portrays the relationship between Nora and Bram so well; I loved seeing their romance built up in every little interaction. It was sickeningly sweet and adorable (and I mean that in a good way). The ending was also absolutely perfect. Although there was a lot to like about this book, I also found the pace very uneven. The beginning was very slow, and I found the constant point-of-view switching to be a distraction. The plot sort of meandered for awhile before the story started to actually grab my interest more than halfway through. By the end, I was definitely interested in what was going on, and I'm curious to find out what happens in the next book, but I'm not sure if someone who isn't really invested in the characters will make it through to the end. Still, for fans of Nora and Bram, there's a lot to enjoy about this book, and I'd definitely recommend it to fans of the first book.
Note: I read this as a free eARC from Netgalley(less)
I think I liked the previous book, Proof by Seduction, a tiny bit more, but I still enjoyed this book. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces, bu...moreI think I liked the previous book, Proof by Seduction, a tiny bit more, but I still enjoyed this book. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces, but I just didn't connect with this one quite as much as the first. Still a Courtney Milan fan though, and looking forward to reading her others!(less)
This book is about Sir Mark Turner - the youngest brother of Ash Turner in Unveiled, and while I liked him in that book, I loved him in this book. He...moreThis book is about Sir Mark Turner - the youngest brother of Ash Turner in Unveiled, and while I liked him in that book, I loved him in this book. He is just so...good. Likeable, confident, and not afraid to be himself or to make up his own mind about other people, regardless of what others think. This book had the potential to go very cheesy - famous hero who wrote the popular bestseller, "The male's practical guide to chastity," and courtesan with a heart of gold heroine who is bent on ruining his reputation for money in order to secure her own future. I absolutely love the way Jessica rescued herself from her troubles at the end. Although Milan's heroines may at times be damsels in distress, they aren't waiting around to be rescued by the heroes, and although her heroes are certainly strong manly, men, they treat women as people, with care and respect, unlike so many romance novel heroes. Another enjoyable read. (less)
Milan continues to impress me with her real, smart, flawed characters that still obviously belong in a romance novel, but aren't too annoying and don'...moreMilan continues to impress me with her real, smart, flawed characters that still obviously belong in a romance novel, but aren't too annoying and don't feel cookie cutter even when adhering to some romance novel formulas. I thought it was interesting to make Ash, our hero, a man who made his own fortune despite the fact that he (secretly) can't read (dyslexic). The revenge plotline dragged on a bit too long for me, but I thought the romance part of the story was perfectly smushy and fluffy, and although Margaret was a little too stuck on either being loyal to her brothers or to Ash rather than trying to find a middle ground sooner, she didn't strike me as TSTL. Also Ash, was not the uber pushy jerk that so many romance novel heroes are. He went after what he wanted, but he didn't just take it. Overall, a very enjoyable historical romance.(less)
Wow. This is what I'm looking for in a romance novel - characters who are real people, not cookie cutter stand-ins for hero/heroine, and real emotion....moreWow. This is what I'm looking for in a romance novel - characters who are real people, not cookie cutter stand-ins for hero/heroine, and real emotion. I found myself tearing up at points, laughing at others, and cheering for the HEA. I will definitely be reading more Courtney Milan after this.(less)
Another enjoyable romance from Courtney Milan. I never would have thought that the topic of bullying could work so well in a romance novel plot, but I...moreAnother enjoyable romance from Courtney Milan. I never would have thought that the topic of bullying could work so well in a romance novel plot, but I think it worked here. (less)
I enjoyed this book much more than the first Nvengaria book, so I'm glad I decided to keep reading in the series. (Didn't hurt that I picked this up f...moreI enjoyed this book much more than the first Nvengaria book, so I'm glad I decided to keep reading in the series. (Didn't hurt that I picked this up for $1.99 at Walmart, so I didn't have much to lose if I didn't like it.) I liked Meagan and was intrigued by Alexander in the first book, so it was nice to read a book about them. They balanced each other out well, and although this book also had some sort of magic drawing the two main characters together, it was handled in a much more believable way - the two characters realized it right away and resisted (mostly). I really felt like they grew into their relationship throughout the book.(less)
What I liked: The secondary characters - I loved Penelope's best friend Meagan, Damien's friend Egan, Penelope's mom and Meagan's dad, and even the "vi...moreWhat I liked: The secondary characters - I loved Penelope's best friend Meagan, Damien's friend Egan, Penelope's mom and Meagan's dad, and even the "villain," Alexander. The fairy tale bits
What I didn't like: The "convenient" magical prophecy that made Penelope and Damien fall in love/lust at first sight. It read like an excuse to have sexy scenes between them from the very beginning with little or no relationship development. Verging on erotic romance rather than what one thinks of when one thinks standard historical romance - not really what I'm looking for in a book, and contained kinks I'm very much not interested in. The story felt very much just like window dressing for the sex scenes. It had humor, but not enough. If this was meant to be a parody, it didn't work for me, and if it wasn't, then...
Still, I liked enough bits and pieces of it, that I picked up the next book in the series in the hopes that it expands on what I liked and improves on what I didn't.
Note: Picked this up as a Kindle freebie awhile back
Technical Note: Quite a few typos/errors in the e-book version. I'm assuming OCR scan errors when converting to digital.(less)
I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. The "hero", Black Jack Knight, treated the heroine terribly for most of the book, for her own good of course...moreI wanted to like this book, but I didn't. The "hero", Black Jack Knight, treated the heroine terribly for most of the book, for her own good of course (barf), and yet she still fell in love with him? I didn't feel any chemistry between them, and the plot didn't really hold my interest. I think the story had potential, but too many things just didn't work for me that I found myself rushing to finish so that I could hurry up and read something else.
Technical Note: I read the epub version from Smashwords, and there were some formatting issues where font changed randomly in the middle and then changed back.(less)
**spoiler alert** Really cute story! What would you do if all the birthday wishes you've made for the past 15 years started coming true?? What if one...more**spoiler alert** Really cute story! What would you do if all the birthday wishes you've made for the past 15 years started coming true?? What if one of those wishes was that your best friend's boyfriend would kiss you (although he wasn't anyone's boyfriend at the time you made the wish...)???
I really wasn't sure how this would have a HEA, but it did, and it worked. And really, the image of a living, life-size my little pony wandering around made me giggle when I read it. I can't even imagine the sorts of things I wished for when I was six years old.(less)