Every now and then there comes a time where I am reading a book and I NEED to tell you about it before...morePRE-REVIEW (Or more accurately, MID-WAY REVIEW)
Every now and then there comes a time where I am reading a book and I NEED to tell you about it before I've finished it. Shiver by Karen Robards is one of those books.
First off, let me say that, not only do I LOVE this book so far, but I actually won it in a giveaway on Goodreads. I didn't even know that I'd won. It arrived on Christmas Eve of all days.
Furthermore, when I entered to win Shiver I had NO IDEA what it was about. When it comes to giveaways on Goodreads I enter giveaways for books based on one of two things. A. I've heard about the book and figure, why not, I wouldn't mind giving it a try. or B. I love the cover. Other than seeing adds for Shiver on Goodreads, all I knew about it was that I loved the cover.
I'm not particular about things like genre or subject matter so as long as the writing is good and I love the characters, this proves to be a pretty decent way to select books. Also, an awesome love story and original literary voice are clutch.
Upon opening the box, I read the blurb and realize, shit, I'm really lucky I won this--it sounds awesome, and totally up my alley.
This instantly bumped Shiver up to the "next to read" position on my reading list.
I am now over half-way through the book, on page 272, and I just HAVE to pre-review it. And all things considered, not much is likely to change about my review upon reading it unless some SERIOUS shit goes down and the book goes off in a totally ridiculous direction. From what I gather, it will do no such thing.
Sam, the female lead character, is struggling to provide for her son, working late nights repossessing cars. Sam...unlike so many female characters these days, is strong. Not only emotionally but she's smart too. Strong-willed and as good under pressure as anyone in her situation might hope to be without appearing to be unreasonably so. And she has reason to be this way. She's been through a hell of a lot for her 23 short years of life, including raising a four-year-old by herself in the bad part of town. She's savvy, she's thrifty, and she's not afraid to do what needs to be done to take care of and provide for her son.
Danny, the male lead, is just as strong and clearheaded but in no way is his ability to handle his bad predicament unreasonable either. When the two meet he is virtually helpless and there is no mistaking that he starts off as the rescued in this particular situation. In fact, he owes his life to Sam. A man who doesn't have to be the hero from scene one? What a concept... Because of Sam's heroism, which by all means, she questioned from the beginning considering the circumstances, Danny makes it his priority to protect her and her son. Totally realistic. I mean, how many times have you read a romantic thriller and the guy swears his life to a girl just because she's cute? I mean...come on. No stranger is worth death at all costs, sure you'd help them out and good-looks make the job easier, but you wouldn't be driven purely by lust. Least of all in a situation like this one.
Sure, Sam and Danny notice one another and deduce within a reasonable time-frame that the other is attractive but come on...that's not abnormal for us to do as human beings. It's just one of the things you notice about a person. He's in a trunk. He's been shot. He must be in some kind of trouble. And he'd probably be pretty cute if it weren't for all the blood.
Not only do I love the characters and the pace of the love story, I am also mildly obsessed with the literary voice in which this book is told. Clearly Robards has had some practice crafting her literary voice with the dozens (literally) of books she's already published. It is sooo easy to get lost in this book. Not only does it read smoothly but it's actually really funny, but effortlessly so. I've read some books where the literary voice felt so forcefully funny that it was obvious the author was trying to be funny. The perspective switches smoothly from both lead characters and it's just really enjoyable to read, there's no other way to explain it.
That's all you'll get from me so far. I've already convinced my sister to go out and buy this book, you'd be silly not to do the same.
Upon finishing Shiver I found myself deeply satisfied. I've read a few reviews throughout completing this book and they were mixed for the most part and I'd like to make mention of a few things to give you an idea as to why Shiver deserved five stars in my opinion.
Because I already reviewed the characters and literary voice, I'll skip right to the general bits and pieces.
I've read a handful of romantic suspense novels and I've come to find that there are things I enjoy about them and things I don't.
Things I enjoy: and pretty much need to exist in a romantic suspense story to be deamed good.
--sexiness (it goes without saying that in order for a romantic suspense book to work, it needs to be sexy)
--An actual plot: preferably one that's heafty and believable (If the plot is paper-thin and takes a back seat to the romance then I'm out...)
--Action (I don't want an abundance of action anymore than I want an unbelieable amount of sexiness. The point of a story being a "romantic suspense" story is that you have both. In equal parts.)
Things I DO NOT enjoy in romantic suspense stories
--A over abundance of sex (It seems strange but sex can actually ruin a romantic suspense for me. I mean seriously people, there's a time and a place for being horny.)
--Lack of plot (This is more-or-less implied being that it's the opposite of what I enjoy but it's worth mentioning again.)
--Too much gore (I get that very often these types of books have gore or gross scenes of violence. I can take certain amount. It's expected even. But do not. DO NOT. Try and make me sick. I will stop reading. Seriously.)
Okay, with all of that taken into consideration, Shiver is a five-star read for me. The romance, which was expected in this story given its genre, was well-paced and tasteful but not lacking in sexiness. The plot was real and tangible and fully rounded. The story even had subplots which is just like an added bonus. And the gore, which there was some of, was tame enough that the story was digestible and the gore wasn't distracting. Nothing took away from the overall story for me.
Some reviewers complained that Sam had sex with a stranger way too easily and fell in love way too fast. If you ask me, this isn't at all true. I'm of course one of those saps who believes that love at first sight is possible. My husband and my relationship being case and point. Long story, but trust me...if I wrote that shit down, no one would buy it as a believable story. Still, it's entirely true and nine years later we're still going strong. So I completely buy that the two characters fell in love. Also, may I remind you...this is fiction. And in suspense romances a swept-off-your-feet love story is to be expected. If you don't like it, read something else.
To wrap things up. I loved the characters. I thought the romance and suspense were both tastefully written and satisfying without going over the top and the story in general was really well rounded. Go read this book...If you enjoy romance novels but don't need for clothing to be ripped off in the first chapter and you can appreciate an actual plot then pick this book up NOW. You won't regret it. (less)
The Ideal Man is a story about Ellie, a young doctor who has spent her life running from danger and finds herself in the center of another dangerous m...moreThe Ideal Man is a story about Ellie, a young doctor who has spent her life running from danger and finds herself in the center of another dangerous mess when she witness a shooting. Max Daniels, an FBI agent assigned to bring down the attackers, makes it his job to protect her. When he learns that the threat on her life comes from multiple directions he is determined to bring her peace once and for all. While their instant attraction to one another poses a threat and distraction, neither can fight the hunger they have for one another. In the throws of keeping Ellie alive and taming their lust Ellie discovers what it truly means to find herself the ideal man.
This book for me was okay. Romance novels are hard for me because they tend to get a little caught up in the lust aspect and they ends up feeling like everything else is just for show. Not always but sometimes. My biggest selling point for Romance novels is believable lust. For me, this novel felt a bit too staged at times. I understand that things need to unfold in a certain way for a story to work, I guess this novel just left something to be desired for me.
Mostly I just didn't really like Ellie as a character. I can't say exactly why either, as strange as that sounds but I guess the easiest way to put it is that for me she wasn't relatable. Part of it was that she seemed so afraid of what was happening in her life, enough so that she didn't want to go home, yet she was willing to stick her neck out time after time. Her personality was very conflicted and contradictory in the way.
All in all I liked Max as a character and the read was enjoyable. My biggest complaint, as I said, was Ellie. She just didn't do it for me as a main character. I wouldn't let my review deter you from reading the book of course, when it comes to characters everyone enjoys reading about different types of people and personalities. Ellie in general was a strong and smart woman, one might argue she was "the ideal woman". But in my eyes she was just a bit forced at times. But again, to each his own.
As far as romance novels go the story was complete and had a lot going on so there's definitely a good story to submerge yourself into. (less)
Nick Ryan wants success and money. He has no time or tolerance for love or a family. But when he's faced with the terms of his uncle's will he finds t...moreNick Ryan wants success and money. He has no time or tolerance for love or a family. But when he's faced with the terms of his uncle's will he finds that family is something that is required of him to get what he wants most in life.
Alexa wants a loving husband, kids, and a house full of pets some day. Sadly, right now, what she needs is money. She can't stand to see her family struggle, faced to lose their home to unpayable debt. When she and Nick Ryan, an old tormentor and past heartbreak, collaborate to make a marriage bargain to end both of their struggles the last thing they both expect is to be drawn together in every way they'd never imagined possible.
Romance novels are tricky. They're supposed to be firey and raw with emotion, but without a solid plot and equally well-established characters it doesn't really matter how sexy it it. Probst hit the nail on the head where I'm concerned. Her effortless way with words amerced me within the pages of this book. The anxiety, the fear, the emotion. It was honestly far better than a lot of other romance novels I've read in the past. Usually they're a bit vulgar and the sex is just...random. This book plays on the real feelings that can manifest between a man and a woman. Without having to mention specifics on the anatomy department Probst was able to make the scenes real and vibrant, flooded with emotions.
In the same sense she brought meaning and reality to the conflicts of the story. Both characters had real problems. Their backgrounds were well-established and their goals were reasonable and relatable. I never once felt as if I was being forced through a scene. Something I feel regularly with other romance novels where the intimacy is the main focus.
Nick Ryan, I might add, is like a dream. He's got a temper and he's stubborn but he's got an easy allure to him. When he entered the room from one scene to the next I felt myself smile. Watching him evolve was a near visual experience and I enjoyed every minute.
A romance novel with real substance,now that's a rare find! If you like a good romance now and then or if it's all you read, I have no doubt that you'll love this book too!(less)
Rowan is a Zullie, she fights and chases fires until they're snuffed out. Like her father, Iron Man Tripp, it's what she'll do until she can't do it a...moreRowan is a Zullie, she fights and chases fires until they're snuffed out. Like her father, Iron Man Tripp, it's what she'll do until she can't do it anymore. But this season is much different than all the others. When she meets Gulliver she finds herself faced with breaking the rules. Not to get involved with her fellow jumpers. But the rookie, fast on his feet and romantic to the core has the ability to break down the barriers she's put up around her heart. Sadly, the danger of falling for Gull isn't the only threat she and her team face this season...
This book was not your typical romance. While Rowan and Gull's relationship ignited like the flames they fought, their story is about much more than the raw emotions between a man and woman. It's about the fire, merciless and unpredictable. The siren call as the zullies prepare to jump fire and the threat that goes beyond the towering flames they jump.
The characters were all so solid and real I felt like I knew each and every one of them. Gull, a heart throb on my top list of fictional fellas, is witty and smart, strong and sweet...the list just goes on. Rowan, unlike most female characters I meet in romance novels is strong too. In fact, it's her strength that is so appealing not only to Gull but to the reader. She's the kind of character you can root for. She's stubborn at times and a spit fire if I ever saw one but she's real. And she's not too proud to admit when she's wrong.
In this book you'll be taken into the roaring flames of hell as a zullie. You'll feel sweat rolling down your back and get the dry mouthed urge to chug a Coke. As the characters fight on, suit up, and rest their weary bodies you'll feel as if you're fighting alongside them. And in the end, if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself immensely satisfied.(less)
Ellen can’t seem to escape her past, a past that threatens the very possibility of ever having a future. She’s been hiding out for a year now and when...moreEllen can’t seem to escape her past, a past that threatens the very possibility of ever having a future. She’s been hiding out for a year now and when she finally happens upon a possible out, she’s sure it must be too good to be true. People who protect women like her? Why understand the danger she’s in? It can’t be. She’s been running for too long, had too many close calls to believe it. All that has kept her spirits alive for the past year was her ability to sing under a fake name. And now she can’t even do that.
Harry Bolt has been through hell and back. Not only was his childhood a tragically pathetic excuse for a childhood at all, but he’s only just recently recovered from a crippling experience in Afghanistan. The only thing that got him through was the beautiful and mysterious voice of Eve. And when a woman, scared and alone walks through his door, revealing herself as the mysterious Eve he can’t contain the gratitude and attraction he feels for her. And nothing will stop him from protecting her…and making her his forever.
I’ve read only one of Lisa Marie Rice’s books before and I really enjoyed it. This book for me had only one redeeming factor however. Harry Bolt. Lisa Marie Rice sure can make a man. But even he had a few flaws that bugged me at times. All of the men in fact in this book seemed to overreact at stuff they shouldn’t have and underreact with other stuff. Which I found frustrating. But this wasn’t my main problem… this book was graphic…unnecessarily so. And not romantically…there was virtually no sex at all, just a lot of inappropriate male arousal…it was graphic with violence which…I don’t enjoy reading in a book that I picked up for the hope of finding a bit of romance and a knight in shining armor. Yeah, sure, there are bad guys in every story…but this bad guy just was completely unenjoyable to read about. I didn’t even finish the book to be honest. I hit a point where I knew that the climactical action scene was coming where the bad guy would be heavily involved, triggered by another scene with inappropriate arousal, and I closed the book. I mean…women read these books. Why would women want to read about torture and a man getting off when a woman’s upset? Even the good guy! Sorry. No thanks. I did of course skip ahead to the end to be sure that it ended how I wanted but it wasn’t an enjoyable read at all.
Note to authors…when writing an antagonist…especially when alternating to their POV, make them at least a little likeable. Or add humor. At the very least don’t make them horrendous…otherwise those chapters or sections will be undesired to read, which…when writing a book, there shouldn’t be any parts like that. I understand making a bad guy bad. And raw and real evil…but in that case…I would prefer not to get that much of their POV. Personal preference… (less)