I absolutely adore this book. Yes, Sarah is a friend and so I can be justifiably accused of bias, but I'm fairly sure I would adore this book if I hadI absolutely adore this book. Yes, Sarah is a friend and so I can be justifiably accused of bias, but I'm fairly sure I would adore this book if I had never met Sarah in my life.
The plot is romantic and humorous, with the leads butting heads or at least trading wit throughout, and I really appreciated how the various supernatural elements were not the stars of the show as they are for so many paranormal romances. The lead, Alex, is a person first and a vampire second, and while what he is plays a large part of who he is, it is not all he is (if that makes sense). He's a great character.
I also really enjoyed the supporting characters, Alex's friends who are a pack of werewolves. Everyone here is an outcast of some sort for a variety of reasons, and it is a heartwarming aspect of the story how not just the romance blooms but also the various friendships.
Sarah always manages to put a twist into her stories, and she's very good at world building; both skills are on full display here. Especially in regards to vampire lore, she develops some interesting ideas that are not just plot dressing but critically important to what happens (and has happened in the past) to Alex.
Very enjoyable read, her best work so far IMHO, and I've read a lot of her work! (Lucky me!)...more
I absolutely adored this story! It is a modern and romantic fairy-tale with unique, lovable characters. Rodney the gargoyle, particularly, was heartbrI absolutely adored this story! It is a modern and romantic fairy-tale with unique, lovable characters. Rodney the gargoyle, particularly, was heartbreaking in his sincere affections and innocence. As Rodney's life as a gargoyle nears its end, the story turns very angsty but it is (as I always expect from Madison) happily resolved. It is a lovely story that I highly recommend!...more
Short, unspoilery review: The night that changes everything is more than just a typical gay bashing gone awry, and it profoundly, tragically alters thShort, unspoilery review: The night that changes everything is more than just a typical gay bashing gone awry, and it profoundly, tragically alters the lives of everyone involved. Connor and Sam are very close friends, and it is clear that Connor, who is married to Kelly, has a major crush on Sam. What is slowly revealed in the aftermath is how much Sam loves Connor, and how closely tied to both men Kelly is emotionally. Sam is nearly 100% gay, and his relationship with Kelly is not very sexual, so this story doesn’t fit neatly into M/M/F or M/F/M boxes; what it does beautifully is show three close friends reacting to the changes in their circumstances and relationships in an honest and loving way. Jealousy is at a minimum in this story, which personally I really like about it. In the end, the three friends and lovers have to decide if the changes that have happened between them are sustainable, and whether the psychological trauma Connor lives through can be survived without it destroying all of them. A touching and poignant story about difficult, complex issues and how important friendship is to love. This is an excellent book that I highly recommend!
Disclaimer: Ryan is a friend of mine, someone whose writing I have admired for a long time. So, yeah, I’m biased, and happy to be so. Either way, my opinion here is not just ego fapping for Ryan, but an honest reaction to what I feel is a great book....more
I really enjoyed this book; it is high-quality writing featuring great characters and a solid plot. People who aren't familiar with soccer should notI really enjoyed this book; it is high-quality writing featuring great characters and a solid plot. People who aren't familiar with soccer should not be put off reading the book because of that, since Ryan artfully weaves descriptions and explanations of the sport (and the sporting league in the U.S.) into the story.
This is definitely a romance novel, centering on the love-at-first-sight of not-quite-superstar player and out gay man Adam Dumas for his new teammate, Colin Evets. The drama around them of the sport give the story some weight and realism, which I really appreciated. It's clear that Ryan did a lot of research for this book, a fact openly shared by the author in the author's notes at the end (something I'd love to see more of from authors in general, honestly! But I'm a research geek that way).
While I'm not much for the love-at-first-sight trope, Ryan manages to make it convincing by showing that Adam has become somewhat jaded and lonely over the years, his "gay playboy" image wearing thin on him. He's ready for change, whether he knows it or not, and gets plenty when he is transferred to a new team and meets Colin.
Colin was the only drawback for me in this book, but I think other readers will love him. I'm just not a fan of "innocent virgin" characters, and despite Ryan's deft hand at creating a believable back story explaining Colin's inexperience, it was a hard sell for me. But perhaps I'm just jaded? He's certainly a lovable character, and I think most readers will adore him.
One thing I have to mention that I truly love about Ryan's writing in general, and that shines in this book: there is no shying away from bad situations. Injuries, career problems, homophobia -- all are dealt with in this story with a realistic and not exploitative way. There is not drama for drama's sake, either. I love a dose of realism and believability in my escapism and Ryan always delivers.
Ryan's solid writing, excellent characterizations, and interesting plot/setting make "Offside" a must-read, IMHO. Try it out!...more
**spoiler alert** Very enjoyable read, hard to put down! Sherwood carefully tracks the emotional development of her main character, Dan, through sever**spoiler alert** Very enjoyable read, hard to put down! Sherwood carefully tracks the emotional development of her main character, Dan, through several tumultuous changes in his life as he moves from hard luck and tragedy into a new, exciting life full of romance and drama. Also, it's a fun read for anyone who ever once had a "horse crazy" period in her life (as I did!) due to the intimate knowledge author has of the horse world.
Note: the book delves heavily in grief and mourning issues, so might be triggery for those who are dealing with the death of a loved one. However the subjest is sensitively and realistically handled, which I (as a mourner) give Sherwood many points for. ...more