In some respects, this is one of my favorites of Roni Loren's novels, which are among my favorite romance novels. The relationships work wonderfully,In some respects, this is one of my favorites of Roni Loren's novels, which are among my favorite romance novels. The relationships work wonderfully, and the main characters are appealing and intriguing. It's also satisfying to see all three of them evolve in the course of the story. There is suspense on both the emotional and the plot level, and the plot is well constructed. As for the erotic aspects, Loren consistently manages to use blunt language (no Fifty Shades coyness) without coming across as crude, and while maintaining emotional intensity.
My one quibble: there may have been one too many boy-it's-a-small-world complications, and that one kept me waiting, to a distracting extent, for the other shoe to drop. I did hope that Loren would not handle this element in too obvious a way, and she fulfilled that hope. ...more
A beautifully written novel about resistance to Nazi occupation in WWII. If you're trying to find some overriding scheme behind who survives and who dA beautifully written novel about resistance to Nazi occupation in WWII. If you're trying to find some overriding scheme behind who survives and who doesn't, don't: Russell determined her character's fates randomly, as life does, and then wrote to fit the result....more
For years, I've been reading Loren's Loving on the Edge series and hoping she would venture beyond the bounds (or bonds, snicker) of BDSM erotic romanFor years, I've been reading Loren's Loving on the Edge series and hoping she would venture beyond the bounds (or bonds, snicker) of BDSM erotic romance. Her characters have always been fully realized and (other than the occasional bad guy) sympathetic, their relationships full of tangible chemistry. I was delighted to learn that Loren was starting a new series.
This book has the strengths of Loren's earlier books (including very steamy sex scenes). While the humor doesn't match that of Pike's and Gloria's exchanges in Call on Me, it's there and enjoyable. I sometimes found the romance genre conventions a bit obtrusive, but not very.
Some BDSM details have found its way into this series, though in a more or less peripheral way. I don't know whether this indicates Loren's, or her publisher's, insecurity about her audience's willingness to embrace her books for their plots, characters, and heart, without leftover BDSM trappings....more
This is one of my favorites of Roni Loren's Loving on the Edge series. It would probably be my favorite if not for sporadic narrative weaknesses I'llThis is one of my favorites of Roni Loren's Loving on the Edge series. It would probably be my favorite if not for sporadic narrative weaknesses I'll get to in a minute.
Pike is a terrific character, and the reader can feel Loren's glee at finally spending a whole book with him. Perhaps for that reason, this book contains some highly inventive and high-powered scenes. There's the "hoarder" conversation, the not-for-work phone call, the shopping scene, the text-instruction scene, the sort-of-three-way....
Oakley's head is basically a fun place to be, even with all the angst and other obstacles that sometimes get in the way. She and Pike have highly compatible senses of humor, and their dialogue was a joy. And the contrast between her daytime personality and her pseudonymous night job provides a very nice starting point for the personal journey that follows.
Oakley's brother Devon is back from Yours All Along, and his dialogue with Oakley is entertaining as well.
And Oakley's relationship with her beautifully drawn daughter Reagan is three-dimensional and poignant, well integrated into Oakley's history.
So what narrative weaknesses?
Given that Loren obviously enjoyed writing this book, I'm a bit puzzled at its occasional clumsiness. Backstory is injected in oversized chunks. Toward the end, there's a scene presented in past perfect tense with too many "had"s for the reader to stumble over. Did her packed publication schedule cut short the available time for editing, or did the publisher's editing staff change? Or am I just feeling picky this week?
Then there's my usual difficulty with this sub-genre. With each new book, the improbable statistics become more grating. Just how many people out there are supposed to have masochistic and/or submissive tendencies they'd never known were there, no matter their personalities and histories? If there was a genre (or is there?) of ginger erotic romance, no doubt we'd constantly be discovering that this or that character really had red hair, whether their ethnic origin be Nordic or Navajo. I'm not saying that Oakley is a uniquely unlikely candidate for the lifestyle, but with each new book I find it harder to suspend a certain amount of skepticism. (That's one of several reasons I'm looking forward to her new, non-BDSM Pleasure Principle series.)
I was also a bit disappointed that after setting Pike up as outside any neat BDSM categories, Loren backtracked somewhat -- although at least he hangs onto a somewhat unconventional style.
Caveats notwithstanding, I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed any of Loren's previous books, or to anyone who likes achingly real characters and snappy dialogue in their erotic romance. ...more
The latest in Roni Loren's "Loving on the Edge" series has the same strength I've admired in the previous five books: fully realized, interesting, comThe latest in Roni Loren's "Loving on the Edge" series has the same strength I've admired in the previous five books: fully realized, interesting, complex characters who interact in emotionally resonant ways. Also like its predecessors, it's hot and steamy: no "fade to black" or symbolic railroad tunnels here!
I was a bit surprised and quite impressed at how appealing she made m/m action for a reader with no particular pre-existing interest in such.
There were times I got frustrated with some characters' decisions not to be straightforward and honest with the others, but I can't claim those decisions were unrealistic (sigh).
I also enjoyed the double meaning of the title: "Nothing Between Us" could mean "we don't have anything going," or "there is no boundary between us."...more
I'm rounding up quite a bit -- oh, for a half-star!
I enjoy this series for its continuing characters, its setting, and its good writing. However, I'mI'm rounding up quite a bit -- oh, for a half-star!
I enjoy this series for its continuing characters, its setting, and its good writing. However, I'm becoming more aware of, and almost weary of, the repeated themes and memes (the adolescent in its familial habitat, the pervasive and unassailable corruption of Italian government, the gradual decay of a still-beautiful Venice).
This latest novel takes us into the world of antique and collectible books, with its take on books as precious "objects" whose value can be drastically reduced by the temporary removal of some small component. I enjoyed the tour, as well as the refusal of Commissario Brunetti to accept the collectors' (purported) view of what makes a book valuable. I also enjoyed visiting once again with Brunetti, his co-workers and his family, repetition notwithstanding....more
I thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in Scalzi's Old Man's War series. In fact, my only minor gripe arises from the fact that this novel was iI thoroughly enjoyed this latest installment in Scalzi's Old Man's War series. In fact, my only minor gripe arises from the fact that this novel was itself originally published in installments. As the serial proceeded, Scalzi apparently felt compelled to insert reminders of various plot elements, as sequels often do. Over the course of something like fourteen installments, these reminders add up and become annoying. I don't know whether Scalzi considered editing them out for the fully-assembled novel, but I would have preferred to do with fewer of them.
Scalzi has perfected his own blend of humor and pathos. I also love the resourcefulness of Scalzi's characters, and this book gives us many marvelous examples.
After the third book in the series, The Last Colony, Scalzi apparently had no plans to continue it. We are all fortunate that he reconsidered and wrote Zoe's Tale (my favorite book in the series). After reading The Human Division, I shudder to think that he might once again decide to leave us hanging, with many plot threads conspicuously unresolved. I hope he will put such fears to rest....more
This novel is a profound and absorbing narrative with many layers and levels. As the child of parents who lost many relatives in the Holocaust, ThoseThis novel is a profound and absorbing narrative with many layers and levels. As the child of parents who lost many relatives in the Holocaust, Those not very familiar with the Holocaust will find it educational as well as painful reading, but it is far more than an account of atrocities. It is an exploration of various kinds of personal guilt, of responsibility, of family, of continuity, and of growth. It's also a darn good story. (I will say that this is the first time I've been able to guess one of Piccoult's usual last-minute story twists, well before the end. Whether it is more predictable than her preceding works, or whether becoming a novelist has given me a better eye for plot construction, I couldn't say.)...more