I've read 7 of Julie James' books so far. Se-freaking-ven. And if my brain and fingers serve me correctly James has written 7 books in her entire writ...moreI've read 7 of Julie James' books so far. Se-freaking-ven. And if my brain and fingers serve me correctly James has written 7 books in her entire writing career. I really enjoyed her earlier works, and I have felt a deep sense of unquestioning loyalty towards her works. In my very strict opinion I enjoyed her earlier numbers more. I get it that she is a screen-writer, so her scenes really play out dramatically in my mind. But - don't get me wrong - in words, they sometimes just seem plain wrong. The whole scene just suddenly disconnects with me and I feel like I'm watching a bad soap opera rather than experiencing the fuzzy emotion of escapism that has inspired me to maintain my soft spot for cheesy, fuzzy chick lits. Anyway, enough of me rambling and on with this book. This novel talks about a thirty-over woman call Sidney. She is rich, gorgeous, successful in her career, popular, but hopelessly inadequate and shameful because she don't see no ring on her finger in the near future. What a hopeless woman. Enter Vaughn. He is gorgeous, successful in his career, popular, FBI, yada yada, but hopelessly inadequate because he doesn't seek commitment. What a hopeless man. Anyway, both of them meet in a coffeehouse, and sparks fly. But Vaughn is snubbed by Sidney, and both don't part amicably. But then - aha! - due to a set of (un)fortunate circumstances, both are forced to suffer each other's company more than either would prefer. Then, of course, it's one-night stands, fooling around, and by some miracle of cupid, both find that sleeping around isn't enough, both actually enjoy each other's company. I've always liked James' style of writing; it gets me hooked even if I don't like the story in itself. I guess that's what made me cling on for 7 of her stories even though I really didn't enjoy the last few of her books. The high ratings reflect this biasedness. That said, let me go on and articulate what I didn't like about this one. First off - Sidney. My god, can this woman be less of a role model to the women out there?! She has almost everything that can make any person reasonably happy, yet all she frets about is the ticking of her biological clock and the onset of menopause. All she wants is a committed partner, and that clouds they way she talks to anybody with the Y chromosome. It's desperate, and obviously not cool. Then there's the whole "FBI/US Attorney" installment. For the later novels, how are they related to the FBI or Attorney. No spoiler here, but if you have read the third and fourth books in this series, you wonder where the action in the courtroom, or in a sting operation, go. Ultimately, these books turn out to be no more than a very ordinary, very predictable, and perhaps VERY boring romance novel. It's sad, really, considering that James can write. Finally, James' plots are getting more and more predictably predictable. Her sense of "romance" is pretty cookie cutter. Again, *yawn*, I am bored. All in all, I have stuck to Julie James from the very beginning since her debut, and have religiously followed her works more diligently than a Wall Street stockbroker following stock market fluctuations. I enjoyed this one, but a rational part of me is beginning to ask why. (less)
Finally! Someone clears up the misconception of being cold-hearted rather than being extremely shy. I understood what the author meant so well - I fin...moreFinally! Someone clears up the misconception of being cold-hearted rather than being extremely shy. I understood what the author meant so well - I find that sometimes happens to me too. Well, either I'm shy, or a cold-hearted b****, and I really don't want to think of myself as the latter. I find it horribly overwhelming sometimes to be in a crowd of new people (my definition of "crowd" is probably smaller than yours), and sometimes even in a crowd of friends. I absolutely shut up. Some of my closer friends get me - but some others just think I'm bored and rudely uninterested - or just plain boring and uninteresting. I've been called unfriendly before, which makes me shyer the next time I'm introduced to another group of new people. Worst part is, like Haley, I like meeting new people and making new friends - I really do - but not in herds and gaggles. I'm glad the author brought this up. It's time for someone to be the voice for those who are too chicken to speak up (like yours truly). I instantly LOVED Haley for going through the same problems I have but have no clue on solving. SO forgive me if my review is a bit biased due to a tiny tiny part that probably most people won't pay attention to. Well, the story unfolds with Haley living in her dream house with a not-so-dream neighbour (that is an understatement). I would never be so unforgiving if I were Haley - but probably just as chicken, again, as Haley for having no balls to speak up for herself and complain to that initially-awful Jason. Then Haley finally chooses to speak up - or rather, yell - at Jason and such communication allows Haley to realise that Jason is not such a dick as she thinks she is anymore. But a messy, rather inconsiderate neighbour, yes. I wonder why Haley still didn't mention anything of Jason's past bad habits once they to become friends. But still, they are rather sweet together. Jason has always wanted to be friends with Haley. Now that they are, and that Jason has always thought of Haley as mildly attractive, he decides that Haley deserves better in her love life. Player that he is, he knows he isn't good enough for Haley (probably in the beginning, and starting with his messiness and his perpetual medically-frightening hunger) but delegates to himself the task of looking out for Haley. Meaning, chasing every single person with the Y-chromosome who looks at Haley, talks to Haley, or smiles at Haley. Possessive as he his, he literally kills Haley's love life, since he won't make a hit himself, which is kinda akin to a dog in a manger. But no matter. I enjoyed reading about their friendship the most. And of course you know what transpires from there. I thought the story was interesting, the chemistry between the two main characters was definitely there. I am an absolute believer in friends-turn-to-lovers type of romance, I think it is kinda scary to not have your other half be the person whose company you enjoy the most with, and the person you can share absolutely everything with. But while I lived their friendship, once they reached the point of no return (I mean, when they officially get together), I really couldn't see them returning to the friend-zone. I think that in the romance department, the development was adequately, and satisfyingly done. Of course, I had a few problems with the book in general, though I still enjoyed the book very much as a whole. *spoilers ahead!* Firstly - Jason. He may be friends with Haley, but Haley must have a heart of gold (view spoiler)[ - and a wallet of Gates - (hide spoiler)] to keep providing for Jason (view spoiler)[and his voracious appetite (hide spoiler)]. I found it scary, and a bit annoying that within a day, Jason invades Haley's life and home like it's his. While I can imagine that between friends, even my own, from an outsider's perspective, I found that the giving was rather one-way. Haley didn't seem to be getting anything in return at all (except probably company - since she is a wallflower right?). Secondly, the enemies-turn-friends transition was way too fast. Especially for such a level of friendship (see above point). I understand why some readers felt that the creation of such a friendship was unbelieveable and artificial - I would have liked to see a slow and steady development and deepening of the friendship myself, but probably this would make the book way too thick. (view spoiler)[Lastly, the oh-so-typical misunderstanding. While the source of the conflict was legitimate and real - both of them have good reason to kill each other - I felt that the stubbornness on both sides kinda killed the situation. In the end, i felt that both sides were just trying to stay mad with each other - the initial reason be damned. And the make-up sex - can't we have something new? while I am only complaining it in this book, and not pointing fingers at some other previous book I've read, I do believe that given the lovely portrayal of both solid characters, I felt that both of them could have done much better at asking for forgiveness rather than the way they did it, and that even so, the "climax" was a yawn as compared to the other parts of the book. (hide spoiler)] On the whole, this book was a great read. An example of how a simple plot can be pulled of with good writing and a steady development of the characters. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This book was an entertaining read, where the plot was simple, but beautifully and effortlessly written. The story tells us about a young girl, who wa...moreThis book was an entertaining read, where the plot was simple, but beautifully and effortlessly written. The story tells us about a young girl, who was lost her father, the only person she loved in the entire world, due to very unfortunate circumstances. Alone, lost, and burdened with a stepmom (oh the irony), she takes up a shit job as a hotel maid with pay so low that should she be in this current world, she would have been labelled as unemployed. Four years later, she stumbles across her father's picture in the papers - or at least, the picture of whom she believes is her father. The picture was taken at a town weeks away (sorry that this isn't exactly the proper unit to measure distance, but just take it as it is). Is her father still alive? Not that I would have had such faith in such dismal evidence, but given her circumstances where she resides in a town that is so testosterone-driven, my wonder is why the heck she didn't find any excuse to leave earlier. She seeks a lone traveller, the uber-hot Chantos who stopped by the hotel, for protection for her life-altering journey out of the town. A stranger she can trust with her safety? With her town inundated by men who drool over anyone with the XX chromosome, anyone is trustworthy by comparison. Well, you know what happens along the way ... Courtney eventually finds that there is indeed more than one person she could love in this world after all. The delivery of the novel is very well done, but I have come across many travelling stories so it has become very difficult for me to be surprised, or utterly taken with such another plot. I think the ordinariness of the plot kinda killed this book for me, as I didn't enjoy this book as much as I would have. But the characters - Chandos, Courtney, etc, they were all so loveable! I also loved the multiple conflicts that arose in this story, and how the author dealt with each and every one of them to my satisfaction. On the whole, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a light-hearted, but in every way hearty read. A special thanks to Valia for recommending this book to me! (less)
I am glad that I read this book after Return of the Rogue. This book had a much deeper background story, and its characters were more developed. Altho...moreI am glad that I read this book after Return of the Rogue. This book had a much deeper background story, and its characters were more developed. Although still a tad predictable, I liked how the author dealt with the existing conflict that existed between the 2 main characters. (less)
4 to 4.5 stars!!!! Move over, chick-lit heroines like Princess Diaries, here's a deep, entertaining, and to a certain extent, believeable masterpiece...more4 to 4.5 stars!!!! Move over, chick-lit heroines like Princess Diaries, here's a deep, entertaining, and to a certain extent, believeable masterpiece that you all will always aspire to be.
I had 2 books available to me at the library and I was deciding between this book and the other. I'm glad I picked this one. I can't even remember the other book's name.
The plot here is pretty simple: a princess, the last in line to the royal throne, has been betrothed since infancy to the crown prince - whose father took the throne after the a blood feud wiped out all of Princess Tatiana's family. Forced into hiding, Tatiana flees to the land of the free, only to be brought back when the last of the family nemeses are obliterated. While hiding, Tatiana was supposed to received ample education, and a life fit for the Gods, but one mishap led to another and ... enter Tanya, the abused tavern wench.
Twenty years later, the Crown Prince reluctantly goes to retrieve her for his wedding ceremony, to fulfill his father's dying wish, and boy, is he in for a surprise.
I loved Tanya in this book! Despite her harsh upbringing, she's tough, rough, yet she doesn't pass off as one of those rustic whores that everyone assumes her to be. In her own way, she has her air of grace, dignity, but she still doesn't take shit from anyone. And do the men in this book give her a lot.
What I loved about her is that while she is resigned to her fate, she still makes the best out of the circumstances. And she isn't gullible and bimbotic to believe simply anyone that she is of royal blood. I mean, while pursuing the American Dream, what are the chances that one is actually a princess in hiding? Tough luck. Tanya has worked hard to get to where she is toady, and she isn't going to simply believe that she can simply throw all of it away. The risk is too great. But either way, for what she has put up with, she deserves all of her good luck. Royal blood and all.
Stefan (STEE-FARN? STEH-PHEN?), oh what should I do with you.... if someone could take this book as target practice, I can certainly see why. This guy is rough to the bones, and doesn't take shit from Tanya either. Hence the clash of wills, a conflict bigger than the blood feud itself. While it is sometimes understandable how he sometimes treat Tanya, I wish he had more communication with her, I mean, she may be a princes, but she sure ain't a mind reader. And the mistress thing! HELL NO!!! But personally, because Stefan isn't such a perfect guy, as they usually are in chick lit, I found it absolutely hilarious when Tanya manages to outsmart Stefan. No pity for Stefan, and Tanya didn't look like she was being annoyingly stubborn and hot-headed. Why, his flaws only served to highlight Tanya's perfection (feel free to disagree).
However, by the second half of the book, once all the action waned, my interest in the book just died as well. A pity really, since I was so dead set on awarding this book a solid 5 stars. Mostly there was just talking, misunderstandings, and making out. *Yawn* The romance wasn't great either (must be Stefan's fault), I would have simply preferred the 2 lovebirds to be at loggerheads.
On the whole, I was thoroughly entertained, even despite the second half of the book and the very abrupt ending. This author is definitely one I'd watch out for!(less)
I think Garwood is an advocate of women's rights. Particularly, women in matrimony.
Now, I've only read 3 of her books, so pardon me if I do not have t...moreI think Garwood is an advocate of women's rights. Particularly, women in matrimony.
Now, I've only read 3 of her books, so pardon me if I do not have the authority to make sweeping statements about her writing, but this review is merely a precipitate of my thoughts and nothing more. I have realised that in all her 3 books, the plot, characters and conflict tend to be similar. Entertaining, no doubt, but one can hardly turn to Garwood for suspense and surprise.
Yet again, we see another story that reminds me of, oh, I don't know, The Prize, and Honour's Splendour. My sypnosis will be a spoiler to not one, but all 3 books, so beware.
(view spoiler)[Beautiful but mistreated woman meets devastatingly handsome husband-to-be in uncommon courtship and slightly hostile circumstances. For some strange reason they are forced to marry each other, though both are, in God's name, secretly pleased (*yawn*). There is always a travelling scene, the night-camp scene, etc. When they reach the husband's home, husband treats wife as chattel; wife is too stubborn and hot-tempered to be pushed around so easily. Wife and husband get into arguments, but realise that they actually love each other. Husband finally realises that he should treat wife with more respect and as an equal, NEVER realising that this relationship should exist in all matrimonial relationships, and not just theirs alone. Hmmph. Masochist. (hide spoiler)]
Problem is, I don't remember the names of the characters in each book as I usually would in most books I've read. What I see is reading different permutations but essentially similar copies of the same alpha man and woman. Not to say that the books, by themselves, aren't entertaining and engaging - Garwood's way with words could pull of essentially similar plots in so many beautiful and elegant ways. If you can enjoy the above storyline very much, then Garwood is for you.
However, what really rattles me with regards to the plot is the initial way of how the hero treats the heroine. I don't doubt his animalistic lust after the heroine, but how on earth he is able to expect unquestioned devotion and absolute obedience is beyond my comprehension. No doubt I am aware of such expectations existed during those times, I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR - but seeing it on paper, in such perfect settings - perfect guy, perfect girl, perfect home, perfect horses and sheep, blah blah - seems kinda awkward. Even after 3 books, I seem skeptical that sustained impatience, annoyance and irritation, as well as love/lust can coexist, in those circumstances and setting penned by said author.
I wanted a nice, enjoyable read, and Garwood was the first author that came to mind. With Garwood, you can expect your few hours of reading time to be well-spent, but if you were expected to be knocked off your feet by the plot, I suggest you give this one a pass.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
One thing I love about novellas is that I can have an entire story read and savoured in relatively short time. But with a lack of words comes the chal...moreOne thing I love about novellas is that I can have an entire story read and savoured in relatively short time. But with a lack of words comes the challenge of developing the story and the characters substantially to the satisfaction of readers. But thankfully, Milan doesn't face this problem here. In fact, she creates masterpiece with which its lustre is not compromised due to the lack of literary volume. This story is pretty simple - a #-%+% idiot of a guy hurts a lovely, strong hearted Wonder Woman of a girl, and only after a long time does Epiphany strike the now-grown-up guy to make amends - to the deserving girl, and for the sake of his own love life. This book is an excellent guide on how to, and not to, woo a girl. Trust me, it's every girl's fantasy to be in Elaine's shoes, and to own a grown up Evan of their own. To the guys out there: if you can't tell the "to do"s apart from the "not to do"s on the ways to snare a girl's heart, then God help you. One he whole, while the story was sufficiently long, with Milan's flair with words, a longer story probably wouldn't hurt the story at all. In fact, I would take it with pleasure.(less)
Really? That's the title? Oh, I can think of thousand better titles for this one. The idiot. The prick. The loser. The asshole. You see, title...moreThe Duke.
Really? That's the title? Oh, I can think of thousand better titles for this one. The idiot. The prick. The loser. The asshole. You see, title and all, there is one rule Hawkscliffe should always remember: don't you mess with us females. You got that right. Even if in your days society wouldn't punish you for your horrible, horrible actions - or if anyone disagrees, at the very least his stubbornness and arrogance is something we can shake hands on - you will get your payback from the secret service of the sisterhood. Why, I think I just might be in the frontline. Whatever good or social justice you may have been doing before meeting the perfect, gorgeous, and breath-taking Bel, I kinda forgot all about it after reading about you and Bel. Uh, you disappoint me. And just to make it clear, regardless of whatever Bel's history was, or what her station may be, she is worth a thousand times more than you.
*Ok, objectively, impartially speaking, of course Hawk redeems himself, so of course all is right with the world eventually. But I honestly think such heroics were way overdue. Of course, his haughtiness and cowardice made the book last waaay longer, but at least we had more of Bel and her perfection of a fantastic, ideal woman. Which again keeps reminding us how much superior Bel is to Hawk. God will he ever learn.
Ok, honestly-objectively speaking (this time), Hawk is pretty ok. Without his stubbornness and his holier-than-thou-you-insignificant-midget antics, he is pretty much a cool guy. I guess my prejudice was a bit restless today. Thank god for him Bel was kind enough to give him a second chance. On the whole, this book was great. Superb. It gives one a fresh perspective in live, to remind ourselves (especially me) to stop constantly judging others, especially strangers whose background and history we have no clue of. Put me in my seat, really. Definitely a series to look out for.(less)