Inflated rating or rating with a curve? lol The writing is not the best and the characters come off a bit flat and stereotypical (especiall3.75 stars
Inflated rating or rating with a curve? lol The writing is not the best and the characters come off a bit flat and stereotypical (especially the evil stepsister) but I found the sexual tension and quiet longing between the hero and heroine really sweet and so palpable. It's an easy read with not much guessing. It's a Cinderella-inspired story with a Highlander twist. The world building isn't the greatest, there's a lot of repetitive dialogue and the constant breaks in chapters is awkward but sweet love story nonetheless. That saved me from dropping this fast. lol I'm a sucker for good slow simmering chemistry and Lachann and Anna had it. ...more
My first Maggie Robinson read. Wow. What a little gem this is. Was really impressed with the writing quality and attention to detail. Superb! Very we
My first Maggie Robinson read. Wow. What a little gem this is. Was really impressed with the writing quality and attention to detail. Superb! Very well-rounded flawed characters. And very realistic portrayal of alcohol addiction and the PTSD dealings of a sexually abused victim. Very real, the author captured every nuance on the page beautifully. So much so that I wanted to take the hero and heroine and hug them to my chest. Really well done.
I'd definitely recommend this to HR fans, Lisa Kleypas fans in particular who like dark gritty stories with a passionate couple. I couldn't help but see some similarities between Gareth and Annie with Evie and St. Vincent from Devil in Winter (my babies <3). Not just in physical traits but characterizations as well. You have a stammering flame-haired freckled beauty who tames a brooding handsome rakish ex-soldier who has nothing to live for. Sound kinda familiar? My kind of recipe. ;P The light humorous moments in here are hysterical and fun, Gareth certainly isn't afraid to show how he feels. lol There was a real nice balance of comedic humor and dark angst that just pulls you in. I was really delighted with the amount of depth the story had, from the setting, to the characters, to their individual hardships and personal demons they try to battle and overcome.
And this is my first read with a Welsh hero, loved the Welsh backdrop and language barriers. I found it enchanting. Everything just leaped off the page from page 1. Wonderful read! ...more
This didn't read like a Tessa Dare story for me at all. What happened to the yummy sexual tension and dark angst? :( This was all light fluff3.5 stars
This didn't read like a Tessa Dare story for me at all. What happened to the yummy sexual tension and dark angst? :( This was all light fluff which is fine but comparing to her other works, this fell extremely short. The writing quality wasn't the same, all the details were completely missing. How does someone notice the scruff on a man's jaw much less the details of his boots from across a courtyard? Across a courtyard??(and he's standing in a shadowy alcove). And how does someone pick a person up from across said courtyard without moving a step? And lying down on the floor during a love scene then magically standing up and leaning against a wall a minute later without moving is very jarring and takes you completely out of the scene. The world building in this was very sloppy and loose, I kept catching contradictory confusing moments that pulled me out of scenes. The details seemed to be cut out in places that it was necessary and it showed. I don't know, like I said before this didn't feel or read like a TD book, the tone and writing style seemed foreign to me which I found the most disconcerting thing of all. That wonderful angsty edge was missing. I really hope she hasn't changed her writing style. :( It's what I found so addictive and marvelous about her work. This wasn't bad, I enjoyed the hero and heroine enough...but not TD's best work IMO. ...more
What I liked: -Revisiting the Duke of Villiers one of my favorite EJ characters from this series and seeing his family dynamics with Eleanor and a growWhat I liked: -Revisiting the Duke of Villiers one of my favorite EJ characters from this series and seeing his family dynamics with Eleanor and a grown up 'Tobias' a.k.a: Thorn. -The love triangle in this made the dragging somewhat-stale-predictable plot more interesting in the last quarter of the book. -Vander. Oh sweet sweet sexy Vander. Thorn's best friend and the 'other man' vying for India's hand in marriage. I really hope the next book is for him, he deserves it. His presence in here was very magnetic and I loved how he didn't back down from Thorn and went after what he wanted with honesty and caring for India's feelings. And can we please go back to him having icy blue eyes? They go from blue to warm brown by the end of the book. ;P
What bothered me: -EJ pretty much used the same plot in here that was used in Villiers's book. Thorn is insistent on finding and marrying the 'perfect' woman for him and he's convinced that woman is Laetitia a.k.a. 'Lala' Rainsford (what the hell kind of name is that?). Never mind the fact that the girl cowers in fear every time she's near him and doesn't say a peep in his presence or anyone else she doesn't understand. And Thorn doesn't notice any of this. Like father like son. Ack!
-I found the chemistry between the main couple a little lacking, or forced is more like it. I tried to be swept away by them and their story but really couldn't. This was the case of "I can't stand you but you secretly turn me on" a trope that didn't really work for me here. The constant bickering and arguing was used as a form of foreplay and supposed sexual tension but I struggled to see it. There has to be more than hurling insults on the page to convince me it's chemistry. If it wasn't for Vander's involvement in the last quarter I would have been bored out of my mind to be honest. He managed to make things much more interesting and genuine.
-The heroine's character motivations kept changing like her mood swings. Didn't like the dramatic wishy washy self-indulgent mind games India kept pulling in this. And it was used to gain sympathy with readers near the end which confounded me more. India lies to Thorn 2 times, both times to intentionally deceive. Emphasis on intentional. The first to get what she wanted--sex (view spoiler)[she lies to him about not being a virgin (technically she isn't but there's more to it) just so he will have sex with her (hide spoiler)] and the second to get him to cry off from feeling 'obligated' (in her eyes) to marry her. He accepts both lies, never mind the fact that he questions and fights her later on about it when he learns she lied to him. Nope. That doesn't matter to our heroine. Too little too late! She then turns around hurt and moaning about him not seeing through her lies and feeling betrayed, crying that he never knew her and just wanted to use her. Oh how could he?! He tupped me in the closet like a loose housemaid without using protection even though I was panting and crying his name and clinging to him like a dog in heat. He has no respect for me! I lied to him and he didn't see through it! -__- Are you serious? I felt like I was in the twilight zone with the abrupt 180. I'm sorry but she strung him along the entire time knowing exactly what she was doing. This bothered me greatly since it was used to paint the heroine as the wounded betrayed victim and the hero as the careless rake who used her. Nope, didn't buy it. Oh and apparently she was testing him this whole time. Really?? Where? When? I must have missed that part. I have no interest for these mind games. I saw no point or reason for her to act so put-upon and morally offended or scorned by any of this when she set these lies in motion and had zero problems seducing him and letting him take her against a wall without any protection. Girl please. It takes two people to tango. Take responsibility for your part and the mess you made. I really hate when authors try to force sympathy on characters whose words don't line up with their actions. Acting like the wounded party when they set everything in motion is a little ridiculous and contradictory. It's clear flip flopping. You can't manipulate your readers that way.
-The heroine technically isn't a virgin. That's not shocking. But this is: (view spoiler)[ When she was 12, her hymen broke when she went horseback riding without a saddle and riding astride (hide spoiler)] Seriously? I know this was an old-wives tale in those days but was this even actually possible? I have a hard time believing this. How could you break your hymen that way?
-India is a voluptuous curvy woman but acts like it's a curse. This is more of EJ's typical character trope and I usually enjoy it when it's written well and more subtle but here it got a little annoying. Her endless sighing over having ‘too much hair’ and too full lips and ‘overly generous breasts’ came off so melodramatic and self-victimizing. Everything you eat goes to your breasts? Boo hoo darling. That’s not something to complain about. I get it, it’s a different time setting where society’s views on beauty were much more severe but it became eye-roll inducing seeing this woman lament over it like it’s a miserable problem. Give me a break. India is a walking siren, don’t act like it’s a hardship.
-India's short temper. This girl goes from 0 to 100 in less than a minute. She's a fireball and very set in her ways. I found her reactions to every little thing Thorn would say or do a little bit much and overly dramatic. She veered into shrew territory a few times for me with her constant reprimands. Calm down girl.
-Why didn't we see any of Villiers's other children? I was hoping to meet Theodore all grown up, I wanted to see how the twins were faring 8 years since the last book. I really wish we got to see the rest of Leo and Eleanor's brood and was honestly expecting to see them considering the big part they played in the last book. :( I was a little disappointed by the no-shows. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
What I liked: -The attention to detail and accuracy to the Western trail made the story so vivid and engaging. Brava Anderson! -Hunter's endearing rela What I liked: -The attention to detail and accuracy to the Western trail made the story so vivid and engaging. Brava Anderson! -Hunter's endearing relationship with little Amy and his nieces Blackbird and Pony girl was adorable. I loved how such a rugged brawny Warrior like Hunter was so gentle, patient, protective and boyishly playful with these kids. Adorable, enchanting and stinking cute! -The continuous use of Comanche language and Western slang was so realistic and wonderfully handled. The Comanche dialogue in particular was great and came off very real. The voice inflections, pronunciation of things and mannerisms just leaped off the page. The attention to detail Anderson paid as far as the Comanche culture and particular traditions was brilliant. I could picture their conversations, traditional Indian garments, lodges, friendly banter, war garb vividly. I especially loved how Hunter was depicted, the epitome of an alpha male in physical presence and spirit. The sights, sounds, smells of the Indian campsite were beautifully described down to every pebble and wrinkle. I loved it! -Loved when this FINALLY happened (view spoiler)[(hide spoiler)] -The hero and heroine overcoming their prejudices and intolerance of each others race and accepting each other. Loretta in particular who started out as a haughty intolerant little thing learned a few things which was a Yureka! moment. She finally came to understand that love and acceptance should overcome hate and vengeance. I really liked how she finally had the courage to stand up for what's right and defend Hunter's people. This quote summed it up beautifully:
"She realized now that there was no good or bad, no right or wrong, just people fighting for their lives. Wonderful people, who lived and loved and laughed."
What I didn't love: -The story was severely weighted down by the continuous meandering never-ending back and forth between the hero and heroine coming together than drifting apart. It just made for a very long winded story that dragged out too long to come to an ending. It was understandable in the first half, but in the second half having Loretta constantly leaving the hero and flip flopping over reasons they can't be together got very redundant and contrived. First it was because she didn't love him, then it was because they were from two different worlds, then it was because she wanted to be his only true wife, then it was because she feared marital intimacy with a man, then it was because she couldn't live in the same camp as her parents murderers then it was because Hunter wanted her safe away from him while he seeked revenge on the tosi tivo who killed his loved ones.... @_@I'm dizzy just typing this out.
-There was little to no love scenes in this which I found surprising and very underwhelming. It's a Western Romance and Anderson doesn't hold back in the gruesome graphic moments (view spoiler)[a 12 year-old girl is gang raped (hide spoiler)] yyyyet...no love scenes?<__< Really?? I found that odd and disappointing. There's pretty much only one full love scene that is quickly rushed through with some oral sex Hunter finally persuades her into and then glosses over the important parts following it. It's safe to say I felt gypped considering the amount of time it took for these two to finally get there. All the other lovemaking moments are alluded to through FTB or Loretta reflecting back on it which at some points I found confusing (there seemed to be some timeline inconsistency).
-Loretta's constant continuous lack of faith and unreasonable fear in Hunter really put a damper on the love story for me personally. Every time something goes slightly off kilter this girl is barreling down on Hunter shrieking animal!heathen! and tries to run away. It just got very tiring very quick. She's quick to believe the worst of him when something goes wrong and uses it to flee and that grated. I was never crazy about this romantic trope where the hero is chasing after the obstinate heroine and forcing her to stay with him and it happens here in 90% of this book. So much so I had trouble believing if Loretta could ever come to truly love Hunter and not resent him.
- This didn't read like a romance story when more than half the plot the heroine is scared shitless, spitting, biting and running away from the hero. This is quite a popular one amongst CA's work, but I don't think this is her best work or most 'epic romance'. Far from it. It's riddled with contrived angst, repetitive dialogue and an unnecessary heavy plot. Anderson dragged out the story too long and stretched the couple too thin with all the stifling tension, misunderstandings, mis-assumptions and lack of faith between them. It dulled the shine off moments that should have been sweet and magical. Their tender moments were very fleeting and sometimes came off very forced, on Loretta's part in particular. It's not my thing when the prudish heroine has to be persuaded, cajoled and tricked into giving in. Meh. I can sympathize with heroines being raised with certain morals and don't know any better but honestly? Reading about the heroine freaking out every time her guy tries to cop a feel, see her naked or kiss her there isn't really fun. It's not romantic nor sexy. I was tired of it half way through. I believed she loved her man in the last few chapters with the lengths she went to for Hunter and his people but at that point I was mentally exhausted. It was like beating a dead horse with a stick with the number of times Hunter's honor was questioned by the gullible naive Loretta. All the stalling just screamed as last minute foot shuffling to find contrived reasons to prolong these two from coming together. I just started to feel manipulated when the misunderstandings kept happening till the near end of the story.
*2 depressing WTF sad stars* Ouch. This hurts. :( What in the hell happened?? I just...can’t even form words to whTorin
Keeleycael, the Red Queen
*2 depressing WTF sad stars* Ouch. This hurts. :( What in the hell happened?? I just...can’t even form words to what a complete disaster this was. What happened to the emotions? The angst? The suspense? It pains me to do this but damn this was a disappointment all around. The most disappointing book out of the entire series for me honestly. It's freaking Torin, Tor Tor and he got royally shafted (no pun intended). I have been waiting for his story since Book 1, I even made fanart for this one gosh dammit and I don't do that often so yeah there was a lot riding on this one. Gah! What amazes me is that nothing worked for me, a complete first. Even when I’m not crazy in love with the h/hr I can always count on Showalter to give me a little bit of everything or just bits and pieces that hook me in from page 1. Here everything dragged, nothing major happens except the couple going in circles playing hot and cold, threatening each other or trying to bone. I just wasn't feeling any of it.
Torin & Keeley My biggest fear was that Tor would be saddled up with a heroine undeserving of him and my fears were horribly justified. I could not stand Keeley. Nothing about her moved me, interested me or convinced me she was the perfect match for Torin. She's catty, vain, shallow, hot tempered-to the extreme, bratty and the most insecure watering-pot you could possibly imagine. For a supposedly all powerful most-feared ancient being, Keeley has the emotional depth and maturity of a 5 year old. She acts like Anya and talks like Viola, wonderful combo no? She brings an entire building down if she doesn't get her way...literally. She's hypersensitive to everything and everyone around her. What exactly am I supposed to find sympathetic about this creature? Her poor sad 'woe is me' attitude and nobody likes me or wants me, I'm tootally misunderstood! sob story just chaffed even more. Been there, done that, a hundred times over. Is that supposed to automatically make me like someone who is unlikable Gena? NO. I got tired of this girl's constant posturing and throwing corny threats every 5 pages. In the words of her 'majesty' herself: Ugh. I mean are you kidding me? Bring Mari back! I truly felt Keeley was too selfish, self-absorbed and flighty for someone like Torin. The guy I know wouldn't give someone like her the time of day. Period. This was not who I pictured him ending up with much less bending over backwards and groveling forgiveness over the dumbest things, things that were entirely out of his control. *whimpers* Going centuries without human touch and this is what he gets? It's really bad when you keep wondering what the other options would have turned out like. I kept wishing Mari hadn't died or wondering what the first & second drafts of this story would have turned out like before Gena decided to rewrite the whole thing. Why Gena? WHY? And I never get hung up on shit like this. Ever. I always let the author lead me where they want to go and just enjoy what I can. But this disappointed me, saddened me and pissed me off like nothing else could.
And I want to know what happened to my lovely Torin? Did he get a personality transplant? What happened to the sweet shy computer-savy sexy nerd with the warped sense of humor? He's supposed to be the most even tempered sweet guy out of the bunch. Not here. He's now magically turned into a hot tempered, mean, self-described 'villain' (WTF?) who craves destruction and bloodsport and who's the perrrrfect match to Keeley's screeching mercurial behavior. AS IF. Get real. It gets under my skin like nothing else when character idiosyncrasies are changed to fit within a pairing the author is trying to sell. And now he's magically wearing leather gloves instead of his signature latex gloves?? You know the only kinds he can wear to ward off any kind of touch or bodily fluids? SMH.
I honestly felt this couple was shoved down readers throats too much. Everything about them was incredibly forced and is a big part of why I struggled with this. You have a handful of characters who have to prop Keeley to make her redeemable and it just didn't work for me. Never mind the fact that badass Hades and broody Galen adore her, you have giants and immortals pissing their pants and Torin endlessly spouting sappy poetry about her. I got really tired the number of times he kept telling everyone and himself how perfect, sweet, and pure of heart she is and how he doesn't deserve her. Right. The woman who eats hearts as a hobby has a pure heart? O_o Um...WHO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? But besides all that, I did not see any chemistry between them and that just ruined everything for me. I felt more sexual tension and pull in that one scene between Cameo and Torin then any scene with these two. It's never a good sign if you keep wishing your hero was paired up with his best friend instead of the heroine. It's one thing if I can't stand one half of the pairing but if I feel the chemistry and the sexual tension then it's another thing entirely. Here it was non-existent. Zip, zilch, zero. Everything quickly became all about Keeley, how to please Keeley, how to win Keeley, how to get her to help the Lords, how to not make her cry, so on and so on. There was no fair balance. And strong arming your friends into accepting your girl when she's given no reason to trust her and looks down her nose and preens and postures at every turn doesn't win her any points from me. I didn’t care for Keeley’s treatment of Torin’s friends. The show she put on in front of a recovering heartbroken Cameo just to mark her territory? I wanted to scratch her eyes out! Like Bitch STEP OFF. I did find it ironic and slightly amusing that Anya out of all people didn’t like Keeley considering they are clone copies. RME. The whole situation with Cameo was ridiculous and suited for High School melodrama. Keeley throws her typical temper tantrum and threatens to leave Torin when she sees him fussing over and taking care of his near DYING best friend Cameo. Why weren’t you paying any attention to meeeee Torin? You couldn't take your eyes off her! SERIOUSLY?! I cannot with this self-centered twit. That was the final nail in the coffin for me.
And the whole brimstone/ward thing was convoluted to me. Keeley who is a Curator, is tied to the earth and it’s elements, she draws her powers and strength from the earth. But brimstone is her kryptonite, if she touches it she is weakened and if someone else is scarred by it her powers are blocked. Is anyone else catching the contradiction here?....If she draws her powers and strength from the earth, wouldn’t brimstone be one of those elements?? I didn’t understand how scarring yourself with it would block her powers? This didn’t really click for me. Same goes for the bonding thing, there seemed to be some contradictions. And the whole concept of her being given a body by Hades as a 'present' creeped me out supremely. Curators are spirits with no form, Keeley was given her body that used to belong to Persephone. Freaky much? I get this is the LOTU world and using bodies as a host may not be that shocking but I wasn't feeling this one. And I still would like to know why she's called the Red Queen?? So random.
The writing was also another factor to my rating. There was nothing organic about the plot or story momentum. The choppy manic writing was all over the place with the story picking up in a frantic mess that made no sense. This lacked flow of any kind with arbitrary jokes and innuendos being shoved in at the most random times. Jokes that have absolutely nothing to do with the conversation that's taking place or the inner dialogue. It was like the characters had ADD. It just screamed ‘Oh look I got jokes! Wanna hear them? let me shove it in here. Har har har! -__- We get it Gena, funny moments are fun but this many? MAKE IT STOP. Please. It becomes unbearably hokey.
As far the side plots go, they were more interesting then the main couple but..there wasn't enough of it.
William & Gilly Yes yes I still want them. *sigh* William sure did a 180 in here, going from overprotective growly guardian trying to keep his distance from Gilly in the last handful of books to giving her outright heated smoldering looks that everyone in the house is picking up on and pointing out. I was kinda surprised by this abrupt turn and can't help but feel like the rug is gonna get pulled out from under us. I’m a little scared what Gena has in store. This book is the perfect example that GS is notorious for changing her mind for storyline/plot directions and who to pair up with who. And she's been verrrry tight lipped about William and Gilly. I swear if this is another psych! red herring I’m gonna scream. It seems everything is building up to Gilly’s 18th Birthday party. There were giant anvils being thrown around that something big is gonna happen when Gilly turns legal. I hope it's something good, like this girl finally getting a POV and some character growth.
Lazarus & Cameo The couple that stole the show entirely. Lazarus completely stole Tor’s thunder. Oh boy did he ever. And just by 3 measly too-damn-short scenes. I’m obsessed with these two now. I’m waiting for sexy Lazarus to barrel down the door of the fortress, take Cameo, carry her off fireman style and make her his love slave. Oooooh Lazarus... My gawd he’s a SEXAY BEAST! I want him. Cameo’s reaction to seeing Tor happy broke my heart. At least Gena was consistent in that regard by addressing the history and feelings between Torin and Cameo. It was bittersweet. I wanna see Cameo happy and Lazarus is the perfect specimen to make that happen. In more ways than one. Unf.
Galen & Legion I really hope Gena gives this guy his HEA. It seems he's switching sides maybe? and I'm totally fine with this. Really great potential and great character growth for this anti-hero. I love him with Legion a.k.a Honey (by the way hate this new name). He played a bigger part in this and seems genuinely concerned and set on winning Legion's trust. I hope he succeeds. I want more of Legion's POV. Give them a story pleeease!
Baden Probably the most random WTH? side plot inserted in here. Correct me if I'm wrong but the last time we heard from Baden he was content in Heaven when Aeron 'died' no? I know he definitely wanted to come back and asked his brothers to help save him. That was in Book 5. So what the hell is he doing stuck in a random realm in here? How did he get there? I felt like this was a pretty big plot hole and haphazardly shoved in here. Or maybe I need to brush up on my history and forgot something that happened in the last book. How did Torin find out about him? Everything was wrapped up a little too easy and quickly with him in here to interest me. We haven't heard from him in a long while so I was expecting his rescue to be a little more climactic.
Overall: I'm just here for the 3 couples I mentioned, that's it. Anything else I don't care for at this point. I love these guys but I feel like this series has run it's course and is starting to get very mechanical. The passion and intensity that was there in spades in the beginning has all but vanished and characters are taking on the roles of cartoon-like interchangeable caricatures. Her Angels of the Dark series is picking up footing and steam where this is starting to fall apart....more
Great read. But I have a whole lot of questions and I'm wishing I read the first book before this. And I'm not talking about Astrid and Zarek, it wasGreat read. But I have a whole lot of questions and I'm wishing I read the first book before this. And I'm not talking about Astrid and Zarek, it was everything else that made my head spin. The story structuring could have been waaaay better. SK doesn't really waste time explaining all the different demons and sub species which became inherently confusing and hard to follow. Are Appolites and Daimons one in the same? And who is fighting who? This book was busting at the seams with the overcrowding of groups fighting groups and it became very hard to follow who is on whose side exactly in this 'war'. And I'm still unclear about the mortals vs. immortals characters in this and the rules that apply. Are Dark-Hunters immortals once they become Dark-hunters? If so, why the hell was Zarek lamenting over not being allowed to live in Olympus to be with Astrid? He's not a mortal so it didn't add up. And how come Zarek's eyes changed from blue to black? He had blue eyes as a human slave but as a Dark-Hunter his eyes are described endlessly as black. That obvious change was never addressed and kinda drove me crazy. I also felt that there were some inconsistencies as far as character descriptions and physical actions that could have been caught (especially during the sex scenes ahem). I point this out only because I kept catching them and would have to go back and re-read a paragraph or whole page thinking I missed something. The mistakes are pretty obvious and quite a few. Zarek taking his pants off & undressing two times in one love scene, penetrating her without taking his pants off, getting off a snowmobile two times, Astrid rubbing her rump against his erection from behind when she's described as laying down facing him, etc. etc.... This was in serious need of editing. The mistakes and contradictions were everywhere.
As for the world building, I could say it's my fault for starting this series from the middle but I've dove into other PR series in the middle and read books as stand-alones and had no problem connecting the dots. No matter what series, authors always give readers slight reminders, cues and nudges as to what's going on in every book and past history and who the characters are. Those slight nudges were completely missing here. It's only the third book and yet Kenyon couldn't bother giving us back stories & character information? Really?? She seemed to kind of cut corners and edit out all the important information and just dive in with dialogue and action. I get for the sake of redundancy she didn't want to but it just made for confusing world and story building. Especially if you have a world this dense and complicated you would think it would be better to remind us who is who and where is where so to speak. Help fill in the gaps. There are a handful of demons, immortals, hunters in here that go by different race names. And half of which all have long blond hair, blue eyes and a towering build. Lord how are we supposed to tell them apart? lol It's clear this is a big series with a heavy ensemble cast with a hierarchy of different characters and realms but IMO the author needs to support her characters and help readers along by being a little more informative. It made my head spin trying to just follow along the old Thanatos vs new Thanatos drama. Omg that was so confusing.
I loved Zarek and Astrid. They were sweet, sexy, intense and heartbreaking all in one. Any woman who can bring a man to his knees is my kind of gal. ;) The dreams and flashbacks of Zarek's life as a Roman slave were brutal and gut wrenching. I wanted Astrid to just cuddle up with him and take away his pain. I did enjoy this so don't let my review sway you. I just have a bunch of questions and things I noticed while reading. I love the world created and character interactions. There were a lot of elements in this that I generally gravitate to so I'm hoping to continue with this to see where it goes. Has a lot of potential. Acheron intrigued me the most, he seems the most mysterious and menacing out of everyone. Which says so much considering Zarek was put in complete isolation from everyone and had an awful traumatic life before meeting Astrid. Zarek is very similar to Zsadist I'm almost wondering if SK read the BDB books while writing this character. lol They could be twins. No disrespect to Phury! (love you boo)
And speaking of Acheron, for someone supposedly so lethal and deadly and someone Artemis clearly is terrified and in love with, why was he letting her punish him physically every time she would get angry?? It didn't add up. I'm clearly missing something there. I didn't understand how or why he would let her do that when he clearly has the upper hand in brawn and powers.
Aside from my nit picking, great introduction to Kenyon's writing. Hoping for more! ...more
I have to say this was really enjoyable and it made me miss Eloisa James's writing. I miss this series! I went into thisWell wasn't this a surprise!
I have to say this was really enjoyable and it made me miss Eloisa James's writing. I miss this series! I went into this with very low expectations and part of it was because of the low ratings this received and one review in particular that completely turned me away from reading this. I usually try not to let reviews/ratings sway my decision on a book but it happened here unfortunately. I blame it on my 'spring cleaning' of my towering to-read shelf.lol EJ is the very first historical romance author I read and she wrote the wonderful Pleasure trilogy which I loved so much so I do feel a sense of loyalty to her. She has her moments of eccentricities in her writing style and sometimes silly characters and plots, but still she can write wonderfully beautiful in-depth stories with endearing characters, witty brilliant dialogue with a ton of angst thrown in there.
I will be honest the first few chapters of this I struggled to get into and it didn't seem very promising. The heroine Olivia wasn't winning me over with her snarky indifferent personality while her twin sister Georgiana kept fussing and scolding over her poor manners. It got tiring. And their parents were no better with their self-serving deluded ways (forcing your daughter to have sex with her betrothed to ensure a possible heir if he doesn't return from war...are you serious?? disgusting). Olivia and Georgie's twittering jokes over Rupert's limp celery episode was in poor taste and made me wish EJ didn't go there but it was all in good fun and not meant to be mean. As the story progressed my opinion changed about Olivia. I started to understand Olivia and come to love her and she isn't as indifferent and careless as others peg her for. I fell hard for the hero Tarquin 'Quin' real quick. I was expecting a brooding indifferent jerk but he surprised me (I'd still like to know when exactly Quin was a 'jerk' in this story?). He broke and melted my heart. He's incredibly intelligent, has a surprisingly great sense of humor and very tender passionate vulnerable heart. And oh yeah, excuse my girly moment but he's drop dead gorgeous! :D LOVED him! While I don't mind love-triangles, I was leery and nervous over the set up in here. The duke falling in love with a woman who's already betrothed to be married and also happens to be the sister of the woman his mother plans for him to possibly marry. I loved this couple so much and their story was very enthralling.
This book needs to be given more credit than deserved IMO. Let me get this out because there are quite a few misconceptions about this book that I feel needs clearing up after reading a few reviews on here. First of all, the hero Quin absolutely does NOT have Asperger's syndrome or made fun of like one reviewer vehemently accuses James of doing and is what originally turned me away from reading this. The only 'difficulty' Quin suffers is struggling to read others emotions and sometimes putting his thoughts into words, which anyone healthy or otherwise, suffers on a daily basis. That is not an ailment IMO and the author never describes him as having one. Quin is perfectly fine and acts like any quiet grieving man would act. As for Rupert, Olivia's 18 year old fiance, he's described as having social difficulties and very emotional, he's labeled as being mentally handicapped something he apparently suffered when he was born. His traits could be *similar* to Autism but it's never pin pointed and it's definitely NOT Asperger's. So I have to ask the reviewer what the hell they are talking about??! Cause I saw none of that in this book. To each his/her own but I like to call out bull when I read it and the author supposedly making fun of someone with Asperger's syndrome in this story is pure fiction and a load of bullshit if I may be frank. I even googled Asperger's syndrome to see if it was something I missed and none of that was in this book. In fact, Rupert's personality and how he behaves is the exact opposite of AS. Also, this is set in the 1800s so if you expect aristocratic England society to be so accepting, knowledgable or advanced medically of learning disabilities or handicapped of any kind that's not accurate or realistic. I went into this expecting the worse, a selfish cruel heroine poking fun of a mentally-handicapped man and I saw none of that in here. The only ones who maligned Rupert are those who didn't know him.
As for Olivia and how she treats Rupert? She was his champion through most of this book. She protects his name, encourages his poetry, faces down others including a stuanchy Doweger who insults him, takes care of his dog Lucy, and goes all the way to France to save him and nearly dies while doing so. What part of this is considered cruel or selfish? That's quite brave and selfless in my book. And I have to point out none of her actions were out of obligation, she vehemently refuses to leave Rupert alone in France and insists on going all the way there with or without Quin. She genuinely seemed to care, love and worry for him. I don't know what readers expect from this girl, she made some tasteless jokes in the beginning and is labeled as a cruel selfish heroine. I disagree with that completely. She had some growing up to do and she does plenty of it in here. And as for "stealing" her sister's fiance, considering the fact that Georgie and Quin were never betrothed or even courting to begin with and Georgie gives her sister her blessing to go after the man she loves, there was no stealing to be had in here like some reviewers keep insisting. Georgie tells Olivia point blank she doesn't have feelings for Quin and pushes her sister to go after him. The few times Quin confronts Olivia and pleads with her to let him court & woo her, she turns him down putting her sister's feelings and Rupert's ahead of her own wishes so again, I saw nothing of a selfish heroine in this. She was willing to sacrifice her own happiness for her sister and Quin respected her wishes. He too felt guilt ridden for falling for a woman who is already betrothed and feels he owes something to Rupert.
This whole situation could have painted both the hero and heroine in a not-so-favorable light but James handled it beautifully. There is a lot of angst, longing, guilt shared between the two so I can't label this couple as selfish or careless. Not even close. But that's just me. I went into this with a somewhat skewed negative perception given all the comments and low ratings I saw on here and was amazed with what I got. A lonely duke who isolated himself after losing his wife and young child and believes he can never love again and doesn't have the capacity for it. A beautiful incredibly insecure woman who loves her sister more than anything and hides behind silly jokes and naughty limericks and thinks she's the 'imperfect' fat twin.
I call out characters when they act a' fool and neither of these two were. They were very open and honest from the very start with each other, no games, no lies or tricks. Honest, open and up front from the start. I was surprised with how playful, affectionate and passionate (my damn) Quin was with Olivia. *fans self* Wooh! He made me melt. Olivia clearly made him happy and he wanted so very badly be with her. For a mathematical genius who's supposedly not good with words (I beg to differ), he's quite the romantic. They fell for each other quite easily and openly and tried very hard to fight it out of respect for other parties involved.
I generally like to go into books with a clear head and no preconceived ideas of what to expect and I always like to be 100% honest when leaving reviews whether it's an absolute favorite author of mine, or a new author to me. It goes without saying (or repeating in this case) that this book is highly underrated book in Eloisa James's Fairy Tale series. She is not for everyone, like I said before she has her own eccentric style of writing that works in some cases and in others not so much. You never know what to expect from her which is part of the reason why I can never give up reading her work, her characters are one of a kind and far from conventional HR characters. Her characters and stories are always colorful and very unique and I've always admired that. I enjoyed this book so thoroughly and was charmed by every aspect of it. I didn't want it to end.
And this bares repeating: The author does not in any part of this book disparage or make fun of a character who is mentally handicapped and there is no character in here that can be labeled as having Asperger's. It's a skewed false statement to make. In fact Rupert is the hero of the story who both Olivia and Quin go to a great deal to bring back home like the war hero he is. So I guess I fail to understand what was so incredibly awful about these two or the story. I'm guess I'm in the minority on this one. :P ...more
A heart-warming story with a very yummy intriguing hero named Wolf. Wolf and Mary made an adorable couple. It did have some cringe-worthy moments. IncA heart-warming story with a very yummy intriguing hero named Wolf. Wolf and Mary made an adorable couple. It did have some cringe-worthy moments. Incredibly dated and awkward writing and painfully skewed stereotypes. Whites do not refer to themselves as white Anglos and Native Americans do not refer to themselves as Indians. And a 29-year-old virgin doesn't need to keep referring to herself as an old maid no matter what her staunch strict Aunt drilled into her head. It's the late 80s not early 1900s. Made the time setting very confusing. This really needed a good editor, especially since there is a glaring typo on the first page, first line of the author's note (this story was written and published in 1989 not 1998)....more
You know that delicious feeling when you are reading a book and keep coming across scenes that you've been hoping/prayingMy babies...
So. much. fun.
You know that delicious feeling when you are reading a book and keep coming across scenes that you've been hoping/praying/waiting for and the surprised elation that you finally got it? Yes this feeling: It happened to meeeeee! :D *twirls* Was this perfect? No. But it was still really enjoyable. This exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I had this mental check list going while reading and 9 out of the 10 things I wanted to happen happened and things I wasn’t even hoping for or prepared for did happen so it was a double wammy. Add that to the fact that I tried very hard to drag it out, take my time reading it and not being able to put it down? Pretty great reading experience IMO. I seriously did not want the book to end.
Ok sorry in advance for the looooong ass review. I tried to keep it nice and short, didn't happen. Here we go.....
**WARNING THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS**
What I loved: Wrath and Beth: Gosh. Words can’t even describe how lovely they are. Together and apart. They are the whole reason I got into this series. They are my #1, first, last, always. The idea of them getting another book and a possible child? Hell yes. I was over the moon. Which is why I was kinda dreading reading this too. But everything I wanted for these two and more happened in here and I could not be any happier. I could literally list all the golden nuggets of wonderful heart-stopping, ovaries-melting, shout-from-the-rooftops moments that were so poignant, raw and can I say fucking adorable? Wrath hollering and thumping his chest over that sonogram and showing it off to everyone?...
And don't even get me started on the wedding, birthing scene and Wrath showing his son around the house. Gaaaaaah! TOO MUCH! The best thing above all? This really felt like their story. Top to bottom. They owned it and marked their territory and reminded me once again why I loved the both of them so much from the very beginning. They are just so electric and intense yet honest, real and capable of taking great care of each other. I was worried we wouldn't get those signature Wrath/Beth moments but we did. I was seriously impressed and delighted to see how much page time these two actually got, especially in the second half. Whenever one of them would screw up they knew it and would go out of their way to make it right and do whatever is necessary to have one another’s back. I LOVED how Beth would not rest until her husband got his throne back, she took initiative and came up with a solid plan that had its advantages. I adore these two so much.
Wrath and Zsadist: More of a standout scene. Z talks to Wrath about fatherhood while he fusses over Nalla. MY DREAM COME TRUE. I have been begging/bitching/dreaming/hoping for a small scene of how Z is fairing in the role of fatherhood. This played into that wonderfully. I mean how could you not? Wrath stressing over possible fatherhood who else is there to talk to besides Z? We get to see Zsadist in present time totally comfortable in his role of a doting father and at ease and giving out smiles and reassurances and comforting words. Warms my heart so much. And for him to be so steadfast and sure of himself and being supportive of Wrath & Beth..amazing. Tohr was someone else who played a small part in this and I’m so glad Ward included him. His reaction to the news about the pregnancy broke my heart.
Beth and John Matthew: Another thing checked off my list of ‘could I please have’ and we got it. FINALLY! I have since day 1 wanted to see the siblings form a relationship of some sort and grow close. I bitched about it so much and felt it was a total missed opportunity in Lover Mine, now I see why Ward held off. Seeing JM take on his role of supportive protective brother so easily was amazing and made me melt. They are so freaking cute together. Gah. JM giving her away at her wedding? Rushing out to be there for her when she goes into labor and sitting next to Wrath? My heart!
Saxton: I'm throwing him in here because I adore this character so much. My heart aches for him. He is such a male of worth as the race say and in here it showed more than ever how wonderful he is and how....lonely. I really really hope he finds someone deserving of him. Love him to pieces.
Xcor and Layla: Oh Xcor. My precious. Could you stop breaking my heart and make it easier for me to hate you? And just take your Chosen and make her sing. I will be honest I’m not sure how to feel with how things left off with these two here. I’m intrigued but also scared to know what happens next. Their ‘agreement’ was not how I pictured them starting things off. And Layla’s ‘I don’t want to want you’ vibes made me feel a little disappointed and surprised. I felt it was a 180 turnabout since the last book. And Xcor’s shopping expedition for clothes at the mall? So fucking cute and heartbreaking. I wanted to give him a hug how far he was willing to go for his lady. We really see his vulnerable side in here and how he views himself. :( <3
Anha/Wrath: The flashbacks of Wrath's parents were wonderful and gave more dimension and back story to present-day Wrath's family history. Ward really helped fill in the blanks and breathe life into Wrath's history by giving us glimpses of how the monarchy was run in the Old Country. I found it so insightful and bittersweet. His parents were so in love and thrust into a world that was new to them which was very ironic. I really liked the parallels Ward drew between the former King and Queen and his son Wrath and his Beth. The issues both couples faced dealing with the overall theme ‘this was not them' mirrored each other in more ways than one. Very nice. I see what you did there Ward. ;)
-Great sense of continuity: Something that was seriously lacking in the last book especially with the number of side stories. Like I mentioned earlier, our main couple got a whole lot of page time and great momentum in the story which thrilled me. The Brothers also didn’t go AWOL which was very refreshing, they all played vital parts in here and didn’t get lost in the shuffle at all. Their presence was very much felt and I honestly felt like I was in the beginning of the series where it was just the Brothers and Wrath. This book very much felt like a coming home.
-Character/Story Consistency: The number of trips down memory lane and reminders to very distinct scenes/moments from the very first book? Awesome. Made new memories in here all the more special because of the reflections and nod to history. Huzzah Ward! A+ on that impressive feat. There was nothing watered down, re-written, glossed over for the sake of plot points and story (I'm gonna overlook that 'no separation' slip up from Wrath), everything that was important was accounted for.
-No lessers. Thank you Warden.
-Greater sense of balance. Ward is still juggling a hand full of stories in one book yes but the shifting of POVs seemed more balanced and not all over the place. Yes there were some moments that I was sorely tempted to skim/skip scenes because the timing was WTH and felt disruptive but the more I kept reading the less I wanted to skip anything.... yes even Assail & Sola. lol
-Wrath stepping up to the plate big time. In more ways than one. I wasn't worried about him in regards to his Beth but his role as King was taken to a new level in here and it was fucking awesome. Meeting with commoner's and hearing their troubles, struggles and helping in any way he can was wonderful. He put his money where is mouth is and actually did something to help his civilians. Long live the King indeed.
What irked me: -Ward needs to pay attention to her world building and details. This was waaay more cleaned up & polished than her other work but there were a few huh? moments that stood out. Wrath rasping something directly in Beth’s ear while nibbling *up* her throat is a little backwards no? And Wrath walking around with the waistband of his pants sitting at his thighs? Thighs? That’s not even possible unless he's stomping around exposing his royal goods to everyone. And I didn’t think a male was capable of losing so much weight after 1 day of needing to the point of having his clothes hang loose on him 'like a flag'. The logistics were a little hard to swallow. Also how in the hell did Beth manage to get the stomach flu?? 99% of the time she’s surrounded by vampires, she is barely exposed to the human world and rarely goes out especially when she went into her needing, so for her to just magically get sick I found a little hilarious and WTH? Vampires aren’t carriers of human viruses or bugs sooo....Manny? Mary? Butch? She didn't spend time with any of them so who else in the mansion could have given it to her?
-The needing scene. You gotta be kidding me. THAT WAS IT?! This was my only disappointment and hold up from the entire book. The climactic moment, the culmination of everything we’ve been waiting for since Book 1?....ended up being 2-3 pages long with a FTB. With a break in the middle. -__- FOUL. Major foul! Way waaaaaay too short. This is Wrath and Beth we are talking about. Come on! The most raw, animalistic, powerful, insatiable ferocious bonded alpha male out of the bunch, to get a short scene seemed unfair and a cut at the knees. I know I didn’t wait 12 books for them to get to this cross road only to get a rushed sex scene and a FTB. Hell no. Talk about anti-climactic.
-The political storyline made NO sense. I felt like an idiot trying to follow along and the contradictions were endless. The whole divorce strategy was a total moot point when they let the cat out of the bag two minutes later telling the commoners the truth about their marriage status. Just HUH? Um...what was the point of that entire ceremony and signing the contract if you aren't even gonna try to play up the part you created to hoodwink the glymera with??? There should have been much more discretion than this, the characters are never this stupid or careless. Too many things weren't explained clearly and left a bunch of unanswered questions till the very end. I felt like the answers should have been obvious for me but it was nowhere to be found. The whole loop hole made no sense and just seemed very contrived.
-The pop culture references were out of control. They were everywhere, it was toned down in the second half but the first few chapters was insane. Was Ward on a Bravo TV marathon binge when she started writing this? And I really don’t want or need my man Wrath’s sexual prowess compared to Miley Cyrus. x_x Just...WHY? NO. Characters like these shouldn't be even making such kitschy shit references. Stop it. Please.
-Payne. Girl...what the fuck is wrong with you?! That shower stall scene with Wrath? Not. fucking. cute. She's on my shit list right now. Sorry but I didn't find that scene funny or amusing. It was cheap & grossly unfair. This is how you treat your supposed friends? Bitch bye.
Other side stories/Characters: Assail/Sola Pretty much my reaction the first half with these two. I wanted them to just get the fuck OUT and disappear foreva. But once Assail started with the ‘my darlings’ I started to waver. A little. And I like that Sola walked away. Blessedly this couple are pulled back and took a hike in second half so it helped. The breather from them was nice and I didn't mind them as much even when we got a few brief scenes. And I still find Assail’s quiet twin cousins Ehric and Evale (he has a NAME finally!) sexy. :P
s’Ex Hmm...Ok ok so I was expecting nothing from this character. I mean the name? Sounded sooooooo cheesy. You have a whole lotta preconceived ideas about him with just that name. But damn, this guy is quite ferocious in presence and attitude. Like Whoa. Not what I was expecting to be honest. I’m curious to know where Ward takes him.
Trez/Selena I love these two but kinda surprised how fast their story progressed in here. I know Trez’s story is next I can’t help but wonder what Ward plans to do with these two now. I really love Selena. Her take-charge honest attitude and open heart is really refreshing and so endearing. And girl going after what she wants? Get it! I'm not exactly thrilled with Trez right now. He has A LOT of stepping up to do and needs to knock it off with the whiny flip flopping bullshit. Get your shit together dude. I'm embarrassed for him at this point. Glad he's finally starting to wake up. I'm rooting for you man come on! I miss that charming gentleshadow from Covet.
iAm/Boo (a.k.a G-ddamn Cat) I kinda have a crush on iAm now. His confession to Beth in the Doctor’s office was so adorable and endearing. He keeps surprising me. And that scene between him and Boo cracked. me. up. I loved his flustered reaction to the little feline who keeps purring for him. :P I’m curious to know who Boo is and her? backstory. Everyone thinks this cat is a male...I don’t think sooooo. :D I’m guessing Ward has plans for these two given that cat’s possessive attachment to the Shadow. lol
Overall, the major highlights for me were pretty much centered around Wrath and Beth and their personal struggles and triumphs and I'm kinda glad Ward decided to handle it all in their book. I don't know if I would have liked or been patient to see them get rushed filler scenes in another book or with shifted POVs. No thank you. This was a great installment and addition to the BDB world and I'd say a step up in both writing and direction from Lover at Last. I really really hope this isn't a goodbye to Wrath and his Beth but a 'I'll see you later'. I want an update on how my lovelies are fairing in future books. ;)
Long live the King.
*credit goes to the awesome Mady @ http://bdbrotherhood.tumblr.com/tagge... for the beautiful Wrath/Beth gif art.*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
So a woman who's been sequestered to an Abbey for 10 years and is a devote believer in G-d and all things good and pure her Mother Serenity taught herSo a woman who's been sequestered to an Abbey for 10 years and is a devote believer in G-d and all things good and pure her Mother Serenity taught her is really a hot tempered, blood thirsty brazen woman who wishes her clan's enemies be eaten by a pack of wolves and bleed to death with no reservations? And doesn't think twice about hurling insults or attacking anyone? Really?? Uh huh...
The characterization of the heroine was so jarringly contradictory, unrealistic and mishandled IMO. Her personality and actions made no sense given the environment she grew up in. I had issues wrapping my mind around how a former nun could be so angry, hostile and argumentative like Mairin is 80% of this book. Like red-in-the-face-hollering-body-shaking angry. Not cute. There's being rebellious then there's just being idiotically difficult for the sake of being difficult. Very contradicting and made no sense. This girl needed some serious anger management therapy. Too bad the McCabe clan didn't offer that service. LOL.
Also didn't care for Ewen and his overbearing heavy-handed attitude. It was too much and made him come off like an insufferable jerk rather than a concerned protective husband. I found him one-dimensional in many ways. And the couple's incessant bickering and squabbling I didn't find funny but tiring and obnoxious. ...more
Wow. I'm on a roll. Love reading back-to-back 5-star reads! :D YAY!
Devlin Kimball, Lord Strathmore *sigh* What is it with me and black-hair5 stars!
Wow. I'm on a roll. Love reading back-to-back 5-star reads! :D YAY!
Devlin Kimball, Lord Strathmore *sigh* What is it with me and black-haired blue eyed guys that just gets me all a flutter? Guh. And what? He has long hair? And has a pierced ear? Excuse me...
Where to start? There was so much about this story I thoroughly enjoyed. I don't even know where to begin. The characters, their back story, the never-ending plot full of twists and turns dealing with revenge, murder, secrets and oh yes a lovely love-triangle thrown in there too. Still with me? I truly think this is one of Gaelen's strongest works and it is very underrated I must say. This will forever be a favorite of mine. There is a serious dark heavy edge to the tone and story that had me glued to my seat. Devlin and the story kept circling around in my head when I wasn't reading. That's always a positive for me. And of course I was expecting a HEA but there were several moments that I had no idea what was going to happen next and was a little nervous, somewhat anxious to see what played out next. Devlin suffers an unimaginable loss at the age of seventeen, losing his parents and sister in an 'accidental fire'. He pretty much goes on a downward spiral of drinking, gambling and whoring as a rebellion after dropping out of school for a few years until he decides to uncover the real truth behind the accident.
As a hero Devlin had a lot of layers and substance that made him so relatable and 3 dimensional. I could picture him clearly in my head and felt his sorrow and loneliness like a tangible thing. Besides the fact that he's drop dead gorgeous *quivers* (I WANT), there is real true heart and a vulnerability and sorrow to his character that had me fascinated and had me wishing I could hold his head to my chest and go woo woo woo. He puts on a calculated air of a careless rakehell to fool certain people in this but what lies beneath is so much more and very endearing. He's got a big heart, is incredibly selfless and very honorable and has a playful mischievous personality that makes you wish this guy was real. I honestly was expecting to get an arrogant dandy Lordly alpha male who is reckless. Devlin proved me wrong a few chapters in.
Loved seeing the connection between him and Lizzie. I don't know any two characters more perfect for each other. Both so alone, outsiders looking in and wanting so badly to find a place they belong to, a family to call their own. Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Carlisle is everything that Devlin needed and vice versa. I utterly adored Lizzie, such a root-worthy relatable heroine. A bluestocking in her own right, who stands by her principles but has a compassionate generous kind gentle heart. She amazed me with her endless capacity to show Devlin the kindness and love he so desperately needed and was unfailingly patient with him. I love that she didn't judge or put on airs which sometimes comes with heroines who are written as virtuous bluestockings who are leery of men in HR set ups. Loved seeing Devlin slowly become enamored by his Aunt's lady companion. What started out for him as a simple 'seduction' game turned into something much more real and has him scared yet in awe of what she is to him and he goes through the greatest lengths to put her first and protect her.
"I can't believe I get to marry you." The words slipped from her in a soft tone of amazement. He reached out and cradled her cheek in his palm. "I was just thinking the exact same thing."
I was seduced by them both. Their story, the trials they go through separately and together and the wonderful all-consuming love they find for each other. I'm sorry for sounding so damn sappy but there it is. This book is chalk-full of surprises which is something I generally love to discover while reading.
And I really enjoyed seeing the Knight's in this. Alec Knight plays his part in this and I'll be honest I was skeptical of him after the stunt he pulled with Lizzie but his earnest guilt and attempt at winning her back was really sweet and so much fun. There were moments were I was just as conflicted as Lizzie, just a *little*. :P That's the kind of love triangles that I love to see. It amused me to no end to see two well known gorgeous 'rakes' fighting for the quiet unassuming Lizzie, who the ton only viewed as Jacinda's best friend and nothing more. Ha. Go Lizzie! :P
And I have to truly applaud and praise Gaelen for her characterization of the villains in this. There are very few villains that stand out to me while reading HR, there are the typical haughty villains who cackle and throw feeble threats and then there are these guys. Lord Carstairs, Quint Randall and Tarquil were truly terrifying because they came off so real and would do absolutely anything to hide their secrets. Gaelen actually gives them POV's and dives into their headd and almost has readers sympathizing with them at certain points. That's certainly not easy to pull off. There were certain parts that had me fidgeting and almost scared to find out what happens next. Naturally I couldn't put this book down because of that. There so many faucets of this book that had me sitting with a numb ass, glued to my seat not wanting to put this down. The 3 leaders of the reckless Horse and Chariot Club are as menacing and vile as you could possibly imagine. You have a child molester who has a penchant for young attractive men, a rapist, a sharp shooter who happens to have an incestuous affair with his own sister (and fathered her child) and thinks nothing of killing someone to cover his secrets. Oh and one of the 'steps' to gaining entry into this freak show hell hole is to rape a virgin in front of all the members. If that doesn't make your skin crawl and want to fidget I don't know what does. Gaelen seriously knows how to write dark gritty characters and she manages to write them so real and not in the least bit contrived or cartoonish, which is something HR villains generally suffer from. These guys have plenty of substance and are intelligent, cunning and predatory. There was nothing caricature-like about these three. The members of the club practice every form of debauchery imaginable and manage to hide their worst offenses because they happen to rub elbows with the ton and most of them have titles of their own.
I was amazed how even the villains were multi-layered and had their own inner demons to fight and each separately try to deal with the mounting guilt of what they did 12 years ago. Not many authors are willing to go that far. Bravo to Gaelen for going there. While I do think the final climax of the story took a *little* too long to draw to a final conclusion, it was wonderfully well written with so much drama and hair-ripping suspense. I almost felt like passing out after finally finishing it. There is so much that happens in this story that I can't describe or do it justice. I really wish this level of writing and edge comes back into Gaelen's recent work because it certainly is missing what is so present in her earlier works like this one.
Devlin and Lizzie made me melt, swoon, gush and get flustered a hundred times over like a little girl. I truly hope to see them in Alec's book which I will definitely read after reading this. I truly do hope he finds the right girl after seeing his 'Bits' find her HEA. ;)
I don't have anything negative to say about this. Only thing I did notice is the amount of typos I kept finding especially in the first half. It did become a little distracting because they were very obvious and a handful of them which surprised me but other than that amazing read!
I highly recommend this to any Gaelen fans or even new readers. So much happens in this story and if you like drama, angst, suspense and romance then this is the perfect way to go!
DNF @ 80% First, let me sum up my experience with reading this:
Dear author, please stop trying to pile in lengthly over-wordy sentences that go inDNF @ 80% First, let me sum up my experience with reading this:
Dear author, please stop trying to pile in lengthly over-wordy sentences that go in circles and make absolutely NO sense. If you are trying to make a point, get to it. Stop fiddle fucking with run on sentences that have no direction or point and give me a headache trying to decipher what the hell you are trying to imply in just. one. sentence.
Exhibit A: "Cami was thirteen. She would be fourteen in 3 months. Add 9 more months to that, and it added up to the time their mother had taken Jaymi and stayed in Denver with aunt Beth for nearly a year."
Couldn’t you have just said the heroine was freaking 14 years old when she visited her aunt Beth?? I don't need the math equation to try and figure it out. Jesus.
Exhibit B: "Eddy was mocking, snide, sarcastic, and those were his good days, but he wasn’t cruel, and he had never gone out of his way way to be mocking, snide, and sarcastic either. It was simply what you found when you found Eddy.”
Exhibit C: “She recognized that voice, even as carefully disguised as it had been. Still, she would remember whose voice it was, and when she did, unlike her sister, Cami would raise hell and make damned sure he paid for attempting to terrorize her, let alone threatening her.”
I had to re-read just this paragraph literally 5 times before giving up and moving on cause it was too contradictory and nonsensical to even comprehend.
Clearly this is my first Lora Leigh book and from what I’m understanding she’s no rookie in writing novels. She’s actually a best seller? Excuse me for my bluntness but...HOW?? That actually terrifies me that someone with so much experience in this field would write such a poor sloppy half assed story like this that is packed and I mean PACKED with timeline/story/character inconsistencies, grammatical mistakes and a shaky meandering plot that makes no sense. And I realized I actually own a book of hers that I wasn’t aware of until reading this. I happened to buy one of her books randomly during a Borders closing sale, it’s a hard cover. It was in the 4 books for a $1 bargain bin. Now I’m beginning to understand why. She seems to have a big following given the number of comments and ratings I see. I just don’t get how writing this shitty can get overlooked. If this book is any indication of her skills and handling of a story then I think I’ll pass.
I didn't manage to read this to the end. I tried. I really really tried but got tired of forcing myself to keep going and finish it. I had maybe 30 pages left but the story was not inspiring me to keep going and the writing was just too awful for words. I never found out who the 'mysterious' town/stalker/rapist is who is obsessed with Cami and Rafe. For some reason this person doesn't approve or like the fact that Cami is involved with Rafer, the town 'outcast'. Supposedly the killer is someone all the characters know, his voice is familiar but no one can figure out who it is. I didn't care enough to want to find out who it is because the murder mystery angle seemed so contrived like everything else. And I was still trying to figure out if this had anything to do with Rafer's family and all the mysterious deaths. Not sure if there really was a connection there since the author tried so vehemently to pound it into readers heads that the family 'accidents' were no accidents. Whatever.
The number of inconsistencies in timeline and characters were too many to keep track of. I'm still not sure exactly how old Cami was when she lost her virginity, first she was 21, wait no, around-twenty, no she was 18. The back and forth and constantly changing her age was ridiculous it was so obvious. Does Lora Leigh have an editor? Because if so, don’t quit your day job dearie. It’s incomprehensible how mistakes THIS BIG can get overlooked and make it to print as is. This read more like a writer’s very rough rough 1st draft.
As for the hero and heroine and their 'relationship'? Oh boy. The heroine is the biggest passive aggressive wishy washy wilting lily I just wanted to smack. I really didn’t understand Cami’s constant lashing out at Rafer and her reasoning to stay away from him. And he's no prince either. But her line of reasoning versus her actions and way of thinking just never added up. She supposedly is pushing him away because she can’t bare to lose him yet snarls at him and whines, pouts and acts outraged! over why he stayed away from her (something she consistently pleads him to do). Someone seriously needed to give this girl a one-two slap and reality check. She gives indecisive girls a bad rep. It’s so passive aggressive and just stupid mind games. The unfairness of aching for a man ‘she can’t have’ oh yeah? Then stop acting like an uptight bitch to him and just be with him and shut up about it. What's even more outrageous is the stupid song and dance she puts him through every time they meet up and are about to go at it. We get this nauseating overused line from her the minute he comes near her:
“Don’t do this Rafter please–“
“What are you doing to me, Rafer?
"Why are you doing this to me???!”
If I had a quarter for every time this annoying dialogue is used and reused in this book I'd be rich. And I'm not even kidding. It's used like clockwork without pause in every scene when these two are together. Every. single. time. Is this the author's version of angst? If so, it sucks. And of course 2 seconds after all that girly whining and her trying to act offended and immune to his 'persuasions' she's all panty, humping his leg and demanding Rafer to fuck her hard! Yes yes oh yes! Fuck me harrrd! RME.
Shoot me please.
Cami went through a traumatic ordeal when she was a teenager, she loses her sister to a brutal rape and murder and deals with a lot but instead of coming off strong, independent or even rational-headed and sympathetic, she just came off really pathetic and whiny.
And Mr. I'm-Too-Sexy-I-don't-Wear-Any-Underwear-Cock-for-Brains-Moron-Rafer made me want to punch him more than once. He's the hero in this who swaggers around like he's a bad ass (um no) with a real bad attitude who screws not only the heroine but had a previous relationship with the heroine's older sister before. Gross much? He is by far the most cliche contrived character out of the bunch. Gag me please. Every time he comes near Cami, she creams her panties and gets all breathless cause he's just too beautiful. We are reminded every other line/paragraph/page that he’s the town leper everyone hates for known/unknown/still up for debate? reasons. Again...a whole lot of hemming and hawing and assuming and back-peddling. The author doesn’t give clear reasoning's behind why Rafer and his 2 cousins are hated so much by the town people other than the mysterious all-seeing-all-knowing ‘barons’ (where the hell are we? 18th century London? cut that shit out) who hate Rafer’s family and pretty much blame them for every problem, accusation and now a spree of murders. Just…so stupid. The back story to this is so convoluted, so complicated and a complete hot ass mess there is no way of explaining it or trying to even understand it or make sense of it. Cause it doesn’t. Make sense. At all. I gave up after the 5th time the author rehashes the whole back story at a painfully slow pace. The repetitive info-dumping is insane. Do I really care or need to be told for the UPteenth time how Rafer’s family died/ married/ remarried/ had a shit load of Callahan babies??
I. don’t. care.
Plus it just started to get really obnoxious when he kept trying to shut Cami up by screwing her 5 ways to Sunday and compare their love making to rutting around like animals, and I quote: ‘fucking like minks in mating season’
And what's her reaction to this lovely piece of post-coital poetry you say? She fights a smile cause he’s just so darn sweet like that. He's comparing you to a cat in heat you DUMB FIDIOT, that's not a compliment! *fumes*
And then there are the handful of convenient ‘gee-ya think?’ coincidences that are GLARINGLY obvious that these stupid shit for brains characters can’t put two and two together. At one point we have the heroine Cami point out the ‘coincidences’ to our hero Rafer who pats her on the head saying the paranoia is just getting to her head, now be a good girl lie down and let me continue fucking you. Cause of course having 3 generations? (I lost track of the Callahan story the 7th time it was retold) of your family die at the exact same spot on a cliffy mountain just CAN’T be a set up can it?? *crickets*
Cause that would actually make sense if it was a set up and someone was actually behind the deaths and would solve the moronic pointless riddle in this story wouldn’t it Leigh? Ugh.
Even the sex scenes are a real chore to get through. It goes on for pages and pages describing just the ‘sensations’ before the two actually come together. Waaaay too wordy, too much redundancy, and for some outrageous reason the author decides it's the perfect time to do more info-dumping. Dumping information that isn't new, that we already know. I'm amazed the number of ways Leigh came up with using the word 'ecstasy' in this. She's dying of ecstasy, aching with ecstasy, agonizing ecstasy, blah blah blah. I really think a Thesaurus would have been Leigh's best friend in this because clearly her choice of diction was incredibly in short supply and for some reason she kept using and reusing the same words. It just became exhausting.
The sexy 'dirty' talk in this just wasn't working for me either. Oh lord. It was just incredibly skeevy for me and stupid and so trite instead of hot and steamy. And don’t get me started on the juicy vagina, or juiced vagina er juice dripping from her vagina. What the hell is this? Cue the cheap 80s porn music. Dear authors who like to write explicit love scenes: Vagina juice is NOT sexy and never will be sexy.Ever.
I don’t want to read about this woman’s juices and their pesky adventures every which way. Pick another damn word. If this goes in the category of hardcore ‘erotic romance’ then...not impressed. It was just trying too hard with sticky graphic details and humid tone. Not sexy. In this case less is more.
That gorgeous cover is the main reason I picked this book up but unfortunately the actual story did nothing to capture my interest. The writing in thi That gorgeous cover is the main reason I picked this book up but unfortunately the actual story did nothing to capture my interest. The writing in this was pretty poor and kind of stale to be honest. I also kept finding a lot of grammar mistakes and typos. Typos especially, this was riddled with them to the point where I literally took a pencil and had to fix them myself because it got so distracting. Lots of repetitive dialogue and weird choice of phrasing things. In fact some of the odd proses made no sense to me. The love scene which is at the very end of the book was underwhelming and odd. The author dragged these two coming together throughout the story and had them make love as the final scene only for it to be glossed over in certain areas and just filled with fuzzy awkward fragmented dialogue. The sad part was it didn't even read like a love scene, she glosses over entirely all the *crucial parts* just gave bits and pieces instead.
Let me give a snippet of what the one and only love scene consisted of:
"The duke kissed her here. The duke kissed her there. The duke kissed her down there. Her legs parted. He moaned. Her hips arched. He bit his lip."
"She cried out again and again and again."
"He did it again, and she moaned, again and again and again"
I mean...really? -__-
But aside from that, the the overall plot and characters did nothing for me. I tried really hard but I found myself not buying the 'love story' between the hero Sebastian and the heroine Eliza. It came off hallow and flat. I didn't see much of any chemistry between them, it came off not believable considering how little time we actually see them spending time together other than playfully flirting and him ogling her ass. The 'wooing' in this pretty much consists of them sharing one or two heated kisses, a quick fondle, a few rooftop drunken moments where she plays the coy flirtatious empty-headed housemaid and he gives a few naughty winks in return fighting back his desperate lust for her because he will not be another 'Wicked Wycliff' who tups the housemaid. And here I'm supposed to believe she falls madly deeply in love with him? *crickets* Yeah, I got nothing. I just had a hard time buying any of it there wasn't enough page time or effort into showing these two actually connecting or getting to know each other. And for some inane reason I can't wrap my head around, through 90% of this book the hero Sebastian is referred to as 'the duke'. Not his given name, not Wycliff but the duke even (as mentioned earlier) during the love scene at the end. I found this odd and as a reader incredibly tiring and so out of place. He has such a lovely name author, please use it more. And the fact that he has tattoos on his chest, has long hair and wears an earring is emphasized, repeated, milked for all its worth through out the story. I truly lost count how many times this statement was brought up in this book. ...more
Decent read but there were things that fell short for me. Missing that extra jouj. The first person narration from the heroine's POV? Don't understan Decent read but there were things that fell short for me. Missing that extra jouj. The first person narration from the heroine's POV? Don't understand the reason behind this considering this is a spin off based on the menacing broody hero Vlad (aka: Draaaaacula!). Like why are you gonna give this guy his own series only to give readers the entire story from the heroine's POV? I mean...really? Because of this Vlad did not come off fully fleshed out to me. Oh he's sexy enough but he came off flat in some areas and not as layered as I was hoping he would be. We get no insight from him, no reflection, nothing. It's all coming from Leila. And the author's clever way of working around that by having him be telepathic was a nice try but did not fix the problem for me. I needed more. I needed to know what drives him and what motivates him to do things and what he found so alluring about Leila. The immediate insta-lust and possessiveness Vlad shows for this girl came entirely out of the blue, like 2-seconds-after-meeting-her fast, which did not make any sense. I found it inconsistent to his character and back story. He's very guarded and jaded and doesn't take lovers very often or very rarely takes them to his own bed unless he really wants them. So what made Leila different? I struggled to understand how or when he came about liking her and wanting her for his own. He just randomly does right after saving her in the beginning and talking about making her his. Made zero sense. It all came off supremely fast and shallow. Because of this the chemistry between them seemed very one-sided and hallow. And telling readers he likes her because she could see flashes of his past and she amuses him isn't enough. Will I read the next installment? Yes. Because this was an obvious cliffhanger (which drives me nuts) and I want to know more about Vlad. And I have to say this series needs a serious upgrade in villain, cause what's-his-face-I-can't-pronounce-his-name bored the crap out of me. The suspense for me was very tepid and dull. The whole predictable buildup to trying to lure the bad guy out and track him down was super flat and boring. There is nothing menacing or exciting about an old undead vampire with a serious grudge. I just wanted the old fart to die off and be done with it. And the fact that he hasn't been confirmed dead gives me the sinking suspicion that he's gonna pop up in the next book. Oh goody. -__- ...more
I was honestly set on giving this a 2-3 star rating a good 80% of this story. But things picked up and finally got interesting and in typ3.75-4 stars
I was honestly set on giving this a 2-3 star rating a good 80% of this story. But things picked up and finally got interesting and in typical MB fashion her Highlander characters and the love story lured me in. It was great to see these two finally unclench and just give in. I usually never jump to such a high rating when things take too long to pick up like this did (it was freaking slow) but the couple finally managed to pull me and not let go and in the end, I couldn't put this down. I still really believe Banks' strength is in the Highlander-Historical genre rather than Contemporary and I'm really sorry to see she's given that up (for now). I still really really want the 3rd book in Montgomerys & Armstrong series, which was a spin-off from this trilogy. I hope she one day comes back to it. Taliesan and Brodie deserve their story. *sigh* The idea of them never getting their story breaks my heart. This reader hasn't forgotten about it..still. ...more
This was meh. Interesting set up, story had a lot of potential but it kinda deflated for me for a few reasons. The main thing that made it a 3 star foThis was meh. Interesting set up, story had a lot of potential but it kinda deflated for me for a few reasons. The main thing that made it a 3 star for me was the hero, Connor's obsessive-controlling-bullying-borderline-abusive tendencies when it came to the heroine, Erin. I'm all for alpha-male possessive heroes um yes please but there is a limit to how far they go, and in this case the author pushed it a *little* too far and started to veer off into that grey area. Staking a claim on a woman by using rough sex, insulting her and overpowering her is not love nor is it cute. It lost all fun and flavor with how he would go about getting her to 'listen'. There were several scenes that made it a little uncomfortable to read because I couldn't help drawing parallels between Connor's behavior with how a jealous controlling abusive boyfriend would react to finding out his girlfriend went somewhere without telling him. I mean really?? Being protective is one thing, but keeping tabs on everywhere you go and going completely ape shit (to the point of getting physical) because you didn't tell him beforehand is two seconds away from a restraining order for me. That's not healthy or normal behavior for ANY man to have towards a woman. I just couldn't get into the overall story cause Connor's creepy obsessive controlling behavior kept ruining it for me. I thought his reactions to things were extreme and way over-the-top.
Plus the condescending attitude he used whenever he talked to her and kept using that stupid pet name 'babe' didn't help either. It made me cringe. That's more a personal thing but I've never found it cute or sexy when guys call their girl's babe. That particular nickname just gets under my skin I don't know why but it comes off so patronizing especially the way the hero in this used it. It's a turn off and pet peeve of mine. And using sex (rough dominating sex I might add) and feelings as manipulation to get your way doesn't score points for me as a rootable hero. The story had it's moments but it quickly lost my interest cause of one or several reasons I'm listing got in the way. I wanted to enjoy it more but couldn't.
Also as far as plot and 'suspense' there really wasn't much of that in this. The villain was kind of laughable and ridiculous at best. I didn't really care much for his 'revenge' plot that only popped up in a few chapters here and there. It was like the author wanted to make the guy so vile and creepy and deranged (cliche much?) that he came off a little cartoonish for me. I kept waiting and waiting for something explosive to happen between the H/HR and the villain but nothing did except in one chapter at the very end. So predictable. RME. More then 2/3rds of the book was focused on the H/HR getting together and having hot monkey sex every which way and playing out kinky fantasies.
The other thing that I couldn't get passed and made my eyes roll was every time Connor and Erin would get sentimental or have a sweet tender serious moment it was ruined with Connor getting a hard-on and wanting to have sex like some hormonal teenager. I mean are you kidding me? Slow down there buddy. Just got kind of corny and unrealistic for me at times. Cause gosh! it's so freaking sexy and a turn on when she would simply thank him. Oh please. And I'm not exaggerating in the least. The guy would be firing and ready to go the minute she would say 'thank you. His instant reaction: 'OH YES! Baby let's fuck!' WTF?? Am I in the High School version of the Twilight Zone? O_o Slow it down there and reel some of that in. That's another thing that just lost all interest for me. The author loved to lay it on rrrreal thick when it came to the sexy talk and the constant swearing, cause you know it's just oh so sexy and macho for the guys to cuss and swear every other minute. lol I don't mind a dirty mouth or swearing but when it's necessary, using it every other line is just OTT and trying too hard. Guys have potty mouths, yes I get it. We all do but it doesn't need to be used all over the place to get the point across IMO. In this case, less is more.
Oh and Connor's kung-fu kick ass brothers who talked like teenagers didn't endear me either. More like cornball cheesy cliched characters then anything else. ...more