"So this is what it feels like... Circenn. I love you." - Lisa Stone
I often ask my dear mother if, perhaps, I was born in the wrong side of the world...more"So this is what it feels like... Circenn. I love you." - Lisa Stone
I often ask my dear mother if, perhaps, I was born in the wrong side of the world - a personal joke at my own misery, as I sometimes find myself behaving and thinking very differently from the people of my country. Still, it's hilarious how Moning has made me question even the timeline - perhaps it's not the country I live in, but the era? Who knows? One thing's for sure, her Highlanders so far - Hawk always excepted - are nothing short of delicious!
Circenn Brodie, a Highland laird that has lived way more than any mortal would have been able to, has a dark side he's not very proud of. In order to keep it in check, he has sworn a list of oaths - and since Circenn is a true warrior, he never breaks an oath. But all this changes when he curses a flask vital to the Tuatha Dé Danann, and Adam Black, the Black Elf, forces him to swear yet another oath: he must kill the mortal whose hands will make the curse work. Circenn obeys, only to find out he can't bring himself to honor his word when the curse finally works. The unfortunate mortal in question is a young woman from the 21st century, who has suffered many miseries in her short life so far, and who poses a different kind of threat than any other possible candidate of this awful position - she makes his heart beat in a rhythm that can very well cause him to break his oath. Lisa Stone has had a life no one would envy. Her father has died, her mother is sure to follow very soon, and she works two jobs just to make ends meet. Travelling back in time was not in her immediate plans, and this dark yet handsome warrior who is supposed to kill her certainly makes things worse - as if she needed more drama... Will Circenn break his oath to keep the only woman who's made him truly feel alive by his side? And how will Lisa go home, before her mother dies, to at least say goodbye?
What better way to make an old-fashioned woman melt than a good man, who's hell bent in keeping his word no matter what? Screams "honorable knight" to me quite clearly. Alright, I'll admit I didn't want him to keep his oath about killing Lisa... Or the one about intimacy, because, heck, why give me a brooding hot Scot and not give me some sexy scenes to drool over? I seriously have to check for therapy, by the way, because my obsession with brooding, grumpy fictional guys is just not normal - or healthy, God help me if I decide to follow that obsession and marry someone like that. Anyway, while Grimm in the 2nd book was wonderful, I felt that Circenn ranked a level higher than that. Maybe it was his grumpy, dark looks - sort of like NR's Grant Campbell, one of my personal favorites. And despite the dangerous aura than only Lisa seemed to be getting, the man was pretty much all bark and no bite. Once he stopped being afraid of what he was, though, he honestly became one damn tempting piece of male dominance and sinful fantasies! The way he kept describing in perfect detail what he wanted to do to Lisa had me gasping like a virgin in heat - which, to my defense, is true, but is rarely obvious, so you can imagine my surprise at Circenn of all people bringing that side of me out in the open. The only problem was when he got too daring in his approach - using the "back door" without permission is a definite no-no, pal, and no, I don't care how much of a prude that makes me, buttsex is ALWAYS a turn-off for me, period. Things should NEVER enter the body from that place - unless we're talking about colonoscopy or other medical reasons, then I'm game. Fortunately, there is no other scene with that kind of atrocious act, so I won't complain any longer. The fact he thought intimacy comes with trust, and he refused to have sex just for the sake of it compensated well enough, too.
Lisa, on the other hand, never did anything I might disagree with, or do anything stupid. And to think that she didn't go to any fancy college, well, that goes to show that great education doesn't always make someone smart, you have to be a natural to really think. While she didn't compare with Jillian St. Claire, Lisa still was a far cry from the weakling, indecisive idiot that was Adrienne from the 1st book. And she had even more tragedies in her life, so how cool does that make her? Though, between you and me, if her parents were a little bit mature and responsible, none of this would have happened. Honestly, her moter refuses to go have her damn PAP test, and she gets cancer - stupid parent #1. Her father has his head up in the clouds, doesn't take care of life insurance - or mobile vehicle security - and the only thing he thought of asking when he was told his cars were stolen was if his wife had really checked, as if two huge metal machines can actually get lost that easily - stupid parent #2. See what I mean? It's a miracle Lisa managed to be so responsible with those two fools needing some parenting themselves...
There were also many more freaking awesome things in this book. Duncan and Galan Douglas being two of them. Duncan was so funny in his skirt-chasing ways, and I would have loved to see if he ever managed to convince dear Elizabeth to give him a chance - not that I would have blamed the lass if she didn't, the man had been in more holes than my poor usb flash drive... As for Galan, God, I do wish he finds someone clever enough to see the man under the strategist's face. I dare say he was my favorite of the Douglas brothers - there we go, again, another quiet and brooding male. Can we pretty please send Ruby back for him or him in the future for her? My mind is stuck on that impossible ship that makes no sense to anyone else but me, I'm afraid...
The Highlander's Touch was by far an excellent read - certainly much better than the first two books of the series. But there's still something missing, and I'm seriously confused as to what on Earth is not doing it for me in this series. I think in this case the end sort of ruined it - too perfect, too convenient, too easy. Almost like Moning was rushing things to be done with it.
Let's hope I can finally find that missing detail I need for the five stars in the next book...
"I would not have had it come out like this — not now, when I have no choice but to race off to battle. You must believe that I have never lied to you, Lisa. Believe in me and await my return. I promise we will speak of it all then. I will answer any questions you have, explain everything. I love you, lass." - Circenn Brodie
"I love you. I love all of you. There’s nothing I don’t love about you. The way you talk to yourself. The way you care about your crazy grandmother an...more"I love you. I love all of you. There’s nothing I don’t love about you. The way you talk to yourself. The way you care about your crazy grandmother and her friends. The way you accept people and make everyone happy. Including me. You make me happy, Nikki. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been happy? Oh, and I love your body. I really love your body." - Dallas O'Connor
Sit down and get ready, ladies, for the ride of your life! Christie Craig's PI trio is here to rock your socks off - in the most fabulous and hilarious way possible!
Dallas O'Connor has been misjudged and betrayed before - the first makes him want to protect Nikki Hunter and prove she's innocent, the second has him trying to keep his heart from falling for her angelic looks and kind soul. Nikki, on the other hand, has way too much on her plate already to be looking for her kind of forever in the sexy PI's arms. She's the main suspect in her ex husband's murder case, she is flat broke, and her sexual life is so not something anyone would envy... What's a girl to do when her heart and mind are at war with each other? And who DID kill Jack Leon, anyway?
Christie Craig took what could have been a typical romance born during a murder investigation, twisted it, and turned it into one of the hottest suspense romances. Her plot is a cliché, used many times, and told twice as much. Boy is a private investigator or cop, girl gets accused of something she hasn't done. Boy defends her and fights to prove her innocense. Boy and girl fall in love. We've all read it or watched it at least once in our lives - especially us women, something about a big, manly detective protecting us clicks in our feminine hearts, no matter how tough we say we are, don't you think?
Even so, her approach on the matter was delightufl, and rather refreshing. While her main male leads are all roughened up from the betrayal they've faced and the cruelty of the world around them, they still take the time to show they're actually very humane, and that, above all, they're still three MALE FRIENDS. Why am I putting emphasis on those two words? Well, let's just say that the banters between those three were precious! I even have them memorized!
Dallas was admittedly not my favourite of the three. Not that he wasn't dreamy or anything - God, the man sure knew how to talk to make even a reader's panties go to hell, not just Nikki's - but he lacked that something that could have done me in. I had to give it to him, he was sweet, and protective, and all pure male, but honestly, his motto sucked. I understand where he's coming from, I really do - hell, I would have deprived myself from any interractions with the opposite gender if I had been through what he had - , but one would have to be blind not to see how Nikki was feeling. And okay, even if it wasn't obvious on her part, saying all those things in front of her every time was very hurtful. I mean, sure, you're not certain of your footing with relationships, because you've been burned, but this gives you no reason to deny things between you and Nikki so vehemently when someone asks you - IN FRONT OF HER! It doesn't take a genius to know she will one day have enough and leave your sweet ass.
As for Nikki, if you haven't already guessed on my rant above on how stupid Dallas's actions were, then I'll tell you right now - I loved her! She was cute, and I could sympathize with her, and unlike Dallas, she wasn't trying to hold him away emotionally while humping his sexy body. She had morals, and her kindness was beyond enough to make me melt and care for her. And despite what everyone said, I was all in for her wanting to keep her distance from Dallas. Alright, she was hurt in the past and shouldn't think all men are the same, but she was still far better in my list than the PI - I just can't get over the vulgar way he treated the whole thing between them, I guess...
But the amazing parts of the story weren't reserved only for the main couple. Turns out Mrs. Craig has quite the talent in telling two love stories - at the same time! So, Dallas's big brother, Tony, and his distanced wife, LeAnn, were also trying to make things work between them - and damn me, it was so sweet and so right, I wish all marriages could get as good as theirs. The good thing about it was that both love stories were fantastic, and actually shared the book successfully, without the main couple stealing the glory from the secondary one, and vice versa. Two in the price of one!
Ellen was a wonderful main heroine's best friend, too, even if she didn't get enough "screen time" - who am I kidding, that morphine-induced monologue on how she would jump Tony's bones or, hell, Rick's, will forever stay ingrained in my mind! Speaking of Rick, who wants to bet this seemingly chauvinistic pig is actually a big bad softie? Oh, and don't forget Nana - ok, a question here, why do the crazy grandmas always bring out the most laughs? I see a literal pattern here, hmmm...
So, you want your fair dose of suspense, plot twists, and a good whodunnit love story? Look no further, because Don't Mess with Texas is just the series opener you need - and really, who would want to miss out on a two-in-one deal in romance, anyway?
Have you ever had the pleasure of finding a book you thought would be awesome - with not only the blurb but also the general reviews pointing to that...moreHave you ever had the pleasure of finding a book you thought would be awesome - with not only the blurb but also the general reviews pointing to that opinion? Good, I'm so happy for you!
Because such was the case with this book.
Now, have you ever found such a book, started reading it, and just when you finally found some kind of interest in the story so far, had the writer take it all away from you? Like being hungry, then someone allowing you to have a sniff of a warm meal, only for them to snatch it back right before you can take big, juicy bite. (damn, now I know how Tantalus must have felt!)
What do you know, this, again, was the case with this book!!!
Yup, you heard me right. It really is possible for a book to frustrate me that much. That will teach me to challenge fate to bring me a story that can actually slap me with only its ending as a sign of force...
Liana Cantacuzino is a member of the Little Counsil - a group that is more or less Romanian royalty - so, being something like a vampire's personal babysitter, is the kind of duty she can do without, thank you very much. Still, the order to guard Maximilien Hess came from the President himself, so she has to comply - even if Romania is the safest place on Earth exactly because there haven't been any vampires on its soil for more than five centuries. But Max's arrival brings more than just discomfort for Liana - secrets that were buried for so long finally come to the surface, and Liana's friends and foes are not the ones she thought them to be.
With this kind of plot, one can only imagine the intrigue and the political twists the story will have. Oh, I imagined. And imagined... and imagined... and imagined...
Sadly, imagination was the only thing that was left in the end...
I will leave aside the fact there was a part where the writer repeated herself - frankly, I don't think it's the right thing to blame when it comes to The Impaler's Revenge - and go straight to the problem. Which was the way the book was planned out. An amateur would not have done that kind of mistake, and if it was intentional, then I'm even more enraged, damn it. At first, I found it fascinating. How true to her hatred for vampires Liana was, how Max didn't act arrogant but was still reasonable about his needs as a vampire - in a hilarious, Chandler-Bing-like kind of acceptance - , and how awesome it was to see anoher side of the vampiric literature - one that was playing an active part on the world's politics. Only a few of the reasons why I was so excited as the pages went by, no matter how dull the story was - because, let's face it, had it not been for the scathing dialogues and banters, it would have been a disaster. But we all know that a writer needs time to develop their story, so I sucked it up and kept reading.
Well, guess what? The writer must have lost the notes to the rest of the story, because what she left us with was NOT satisfactory! You don't give so many pages of boring everyday, political problems that the heroine has to put up with, peppering it with some info about her sexual life, constant thoughts of hatred and murder towards her charge and half-told past events, only to stop the story right when it FINALLY picked up in action and interest! This was not a cliffhanger - I should know, I love writing with cliffhangers, too! - it was a hiatus! Like you either don't know how to end the book or don't care at all!
"Hmm, what should the ending be? Oh, I know! I will start real slow. Then I will abruptly pick up the pace, and end it just at that precise moment when everything begins to make sense and Liana actually does something useful! And oh, silly me, why not rush through it all and leave it like a neutral news report while I'm at it? It will be brilliant, and it will make readers want to see the rest of the story in the next books!"
Sorry to burst that bubble of positive thinking, but this is not how it works. And this is the "cliffhanfer-loving" side speaking, in case you were wondering. You want to end the story and leave the reader hanging and wishing for more? Then don't rush the damn ending after having dragged us through meaningless blah-blahs! Give a little more! I can't possibly consider this a cliffy when it was so abrupt, I thought there was something wrong with my reading device and I had lost the rest of the book. After thorough research, I discovered that no, Liana's - totally misplaced and out-of-the-blue - comment on her dating a doctor WAS actually the last line of the first book. And that's when it hit me. There was no more to the first part. Nothing. Nada. Zero!
If it was accidental, I say the writer needs to work on her planning. If it was not... Well, pardon me while I make something clear in my usual, bitchy way: I don't find this method of selling the next books in a series moral - or appropriate to a true writer's ethics and behavior. When you want people to keep reading your stories, you use your writing voice and your art to convince them. You don't dangle what COULD BE a story, full of gaps and unanswered question marks, in front of their face and then stop narrating because it's a convenient way to keep them going. I understand that marketing plans are important in this kind of work, too, but they're nor everything. In the end, what speaks for you is the story itself. If you've done your job right, it will eventually be known and loved, even if it takes some time.
I don't know the reason why Ms. Visan stopped The Impaler's Revenge at that particular point. And I regret to inform you that I won't be reading the rest of her books, because she's got the basics. But in the end, what counts is the result, and in this case, there was nothing that could be named as such...
***I was given a review copy from a LibraryThing Member Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***