Allow me to begin by saying I spent the first three quarters of the book wanting to headbutt Lindsey, the main character. She makes decisions and clea...moreAllow me to begin by saying I spent the first three quarters of the book wanting to headbutt Lindsey, the main character. She makes decisions and clearly understands the possible negative repercussions but goes through with them, anyway. I really respect the author for being so true to Lindsey’s personality and her faults. Lindsey makes decisions that are honest to who she is and her character is clearly defined throughout the story. While this didn’t work for me, individually, I think this is a real pull for many people looking to connect to the heroine of a story. She isn’t perfect and she makes decisions that aren’t the best but are what she’s capable of doing at the time. It may be a somewhat polarizing technique in writing as some readers are looking to relate to their heroines and others are looking to see the heroine they want to be. However, the technique doesn’t mean the book isn’t enjoyable.
It does mean, however, that it took me a little extra effort to make it to the action of the book because I kept yelling “why would you do that?”. It’s easy for me, the reader, to say this given I see more of her universe than Lindsey does. I acknowledge that. But in real life, I don’t have that capability and that’s what Ms. Langston is writing about.
This is, perhaps, the absolute best part of the book, as a whole. Ms. Langston, the author, never once sugar coats a character or makes him or her palatable. Rather, she has a character and she makes him or her absolutely real. You expect character archetypes in books. This is a book with no archetypes, just real people. Every character has a real flaw and some equal strengths, as well. Granted, the slicked-back dark-haired stock broker may be a type of stereotype and the blonde-haired golden-skinned surfer-beach-bum may strike you as a classic concept, their personalities are neither good nor good, but unique. She shows that each character identifies themselves with a particular stereotype in society, but maintain their individual selves, with equally unique intentions and traits. This adds a depth to all characters I don’t commonly see in similar books. These are now people, not characters, all of whom are as easily predictable as they are unpredictable.
There is no firm line between antagonist and protagonist. Just like in real life. Granted, from our perspective of the story through Lindsey, we are aware of who to consider the protagonist, Ms. Langston works hard to show the good and the bad in them, and it’s up to the reader to decide.
The professional growth of Lindsey is actually quite interesting and Ms. Langston is either an expert in market research and analysis or did some serious researching, herself. I was drawn into Lindsey’s professional discoveries without being overloaded with data. Ms. Langston did a truly remarkable job of not wasting words. They may not seem necessary at the time, but generally they applied at some point or another and drove the plot along.
Perhaps the only exception to this rule was the prologue. I understood Lindsey’s character enough from her breakdown (where the story actually begins) and her decisions from then on. It was a bit more than I needed and I kept expecting Steve to show up again at some point to provide the pivotal moment of emotional maturation.
This is a good segue into what I didn’t particularly enjoy in the story: character growth. Or lack thereof. The story seems somewhat half-finished. Even at the end of the book, Lindsey is making decisions and facing consequences near identical in concept to those in the beginning of the book. The plot ending was perfect and I loved it! However, the lack of character growth was notably anticlimactic. There was no real resolution because we never quite hit the actual character conflict.
The book is worth the read and I hope it does well among its contemporary peers. It’s smooth, easy-going, and realistic. It may not rank among my favorite books, but tastes aside, I think it deserves the TV show founded on it and I admit to being interested in watching.
I’m looking forward to the second book in the series with my fingers crossed that we see Lindsey’s growth into the unique strong woman we’ve seen hints is lurking inside.(less)
So I'm a bit biased, as I have the magnificent fortune of being one of Ms. Summers' crit partners, BUT with all the honesty I can portray through the...moreSo I'm a bit biased, as I have the magnificent fortune of being one of Ms. Summers' crit partners, BUT with all the honesty I can portray through the internet allow me to tell you that this is a hilarious, romantic, sexy romp that will have you laughing while you're... uh... we'll stick with the laughing for the review; you'll get what I mean when you read it.
Hot Shots is an anthology comprised of two short stories about friends and acquaintances on some hot summer days.
Spring Cleaning stars Leanore Elliot...moreHot Shots is an anthology comprised of two short stories about friends and acquaintances on some hot summer days.
Spring Cleaning stars Leanore Elliot and her oh-so-helpful neighbor Sam McFlandry. Editor Leanore hates spring cleaning but in a flash of brilliance, decides to spark up her motivational juices by sparking up her own. Task one? Go through her private-time toys while fantasizing about “Hotty Scotty” Scotsman, Sam.
Fantasy comes to life when she realizes that her fantasy man is actually standing in her bedroom. Her considerate companion lends her a hand (by handling her own) in deciding what creative devices she should be saving and which ones won’t ring her bell.
Sam is exceptionally inventive in his methods and his domineering attitude melted me to the bone. This was quite the feat given that his accent, alone, could have scorched off my arm hairs from its sexiness (I have a thing for Scotsmen). The entire event is both instructional and motivational in the best of ways. Sam and Leanore had me panting as they explored themselves and took creativity out of the box. And sometimes back in again, if he said so (mwahahah).
Despite the short length of the story, both characters have unique voices and bring quite a bit to the story.
Summer’s Break tells us the happily never-ending story of Gordon Summers and Mrs. Dickerman, his boss’s wife. Summers is doing work for Coach Dickerman while studying to complete a degree in Sports Medicine. Coach “Dickhead” Dickerman pauses from the endless barrage of insults toward Summers and the other kids in order to task Summers with the care of Mrs. Dickerman, who is on a flight home.
Summers is none too pleased with this new arrangement, but goes to care for the old bat, regardless. What he finds is a woman of years and beauty.
And a great, grand helping of domination.
Mistress Dickerman proceeds to introduce our young Gordon Summers to the ways of Dominance and Submission.
Perhaps the most exceptional aspect of this story is the fact that it is told from Summers’ point of view. Summers makes an interesting self-realization while cleaning Mrs. Dickerman’s pipes (mm hmm). I absolutely loved the perspective. Additionally, DX takes a further step from the norm by introducing a submissive male that is in no way feminine. No, Gordon Summers is all man, he’s just a man with certain needs.
Needs that we get to meet right up front. And it’s De-Lish!
Neither of these stories contain romance, and they’re very Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma’am (that’ll be funnier after you read the second story, btw), but that doesn’t change the fact that DX Luc has written two sizzling hot summer reads. Each story entails a single encounter and you’ll be left wanting more, in the best sense!
DX Luc has truly done a wonderful job of writing two very short stories that are believable, hot, and scintillating! A lot of erotica is raw, but DX adds another dimension to them that makes the simple desire more spicy than not!
So grab your partner and get ready for a quick read that will lead to a long afternoon of heat and creativity!(less)
Duncan MacDonald is the bastard son of a mystery man who never claimed him. With no name to give him credence, Duncan becomes a renowned warrior in hi...moreDuncan MacDonald is the bastard son of a mystery man who never claimed him. With no name to give him credence, Duncan becomes a renowned warrior in his own right and Captain of Chieftain Connor MacDonald’s forces. He wins many a battle, but lost his heart years ago to Connor’s sister, the beautiful Moira.
But what can a bastard offer a Scottish princess?
Moira is strong-willed, strong-headed, and strong-hearted in this tale of love lost, regained, and renewed. Wedded to a man not even his own mother could love, she fights for herself and moreso for the son she bore six and half years ago.
The story begins in the middle of the tumultuous reclaiming of MacDonald lands, once ruled under the tight and cruel fist of Moira’s uncle, Hugh Dubh. Connor has since wrested control of his home, but now he and his three warriors must regain control of the lands that have been overtaken by his life-long enemies. A prologue whisks you through the affair Moira and Duncan had in their youth before both were cast away in opposite directions by her father; Duncan was sent to war, and Moira was sent to wed. During Duncan’s time away, both have faced trials and dangers that have hardened their hearts.
Moira is wife to an abusive and self-absorbed violent man. She dreams of Connor arriving to rescue her, while her heart longs to find its once-love, Duncan. Duncan is in the middle of fighting battles with Connor to regain the control and safety of the MacDonald lands.
Connor decides that it’s time he had word of his sister, Moira, and sends Duncan to check on her. After accidental but deserved bloodshed, Duncan returns to Connor with Moira at his side. But Ragnall, her son, is gone, in the hands of their enemies.
Moira and Duncan navigate the trials of the heart, while fighting through trials of betrayal, secrecy, and war to find each other and to save the young heir of the MacDonald clan.
Duncan is truly the definition of honor through this story, managing to narrowly walk that fine line between heroic honor and downright stupidity. He does it well, I might add. I thoroughly enjoyed Duncan, even with his very serious demeanor. Ms. Mallory works hard to ensure the reader understands the background behind Duncan’s approach to life and I found myself nodding at his decisions.
Moira’s driving motivation changes from joie de vivre to protecting her son and keeping her heart locked away tight. I understand her need, completely, but did find that, at times, she let her pain make her decisions for her. While I wanted to shake my head, I did come to understand why she made certain choices and had particular reactions.
The overarching storyline continues with Hugh “Dubh” MacDonald betraying anyone and everyone to regain what he wants. The fighting focuses on Duncan’s fighting and- surprisingly- musical skills. Ms. Mallory doesn’t disappoint and readers will wait ecstatic to read her final installment in the series.
The majority of the action was somewhat predictable, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading it.
With such great characters, storyline, and action, the only thing keeping this book from near-perfection is the quick changes from scenes. I had some difficulty feeling the emotions of the characters during highly dramatic scenes. While I’m not a huge fan of narrative, a bit more emotional input from the characters through action and thought would have perhaps helped me to really grasp the scene as the character felt it. The issue wasn’t enough to take me from the story, but I had to put a bit more into it in order to really stand inside of the story and feel the characters. As a result, I found myself somewhat distanced from Moira and Duncan, throughout the story.
I do recommend this book, however! The story is lively, creative, and quite historically accurate. You’ll learn a great deal, while enjoying a massively entertaining tale. Ms. Mallory obviously worked very hard to ensure her facts were straight and what areas she made fiction still hold well to history.
If you’re looking for love, drama, action, and handsome men in kilts, Margaret Mallory’s “The Warrior” is definitely a choice for you!(less)
Touch of the Gods was an erotic but sweet book about overcoming both yourself and others for the sake of love. It starts out with Hephaestus and the w...moreTouch of the Gods was an erotic but sweet book about overcoming both yourself and others for the sake of love. It starts out with Hephaestus and the well-known disgust his Olympian family has for him, most especially his wife, Aphrodite. The scene is set in a bar, where Heph is quietly celebrating his divorce from the Goddess of Priss and Vanity- er- I mean Love and Beauty- when the son of the lady in question, Eros (a truly great friend to Heph), reveals that he made a wager in defense of some Heph-trashtalk Ares was spouting.
That Heph could find true love with a mortal woman.
That the mortal woman, of her own volition, says that she loves Heph.
Eros, the kind and wonderful young god that he is, sets Heph up in a house and with a job. Almost immediately, Heph makes the acquaintance of the self-proclaimed Plain-Jane woman named Vanessa, who happens (completely by chance, I’m sure, *wink wink*) to be his next door neighbor.
Heph decides to take things slow until his older brother, Ares, God of War, decides to speed up the action and foul up the situation. Heph is forced to intervene to save the life of the woman he quickly realizes is his destiny.
Unfortunately, that’s only step one in the tale to get these two love-birds in each others’ arms.
The story unfolds in first-person starting with Heph and then sliding to Vanessa at appropriate intervals. While the story focuses on Heph’s journey, Vanessa is certainly not left out. You’re left with no confusion on who the bad guys are and you’ll find yourself rooting loudly when they get their comeuppance!
The story is steamy but not so much that it is targeted to certain interests. The storyline is great and enjoyable and I really liked Heph! Perhaps the best part about it is the idea behind it. The Greek pantheon has always interested many, many people, and this take is modern and exciting. The gods are both ancient and modernized at the same time; you can feel their age through their thoughts, spoken through modern verbiage and action. This Old-Becomes-New approach is very well done and exceptionally interesting. One of the best things about modern Fantasy is that it brings these tales into your world and DX succeeds at this with streamers flyin’! It’s a blast to see how these old fogies have acclimated throughout the ages and to see how their old routines have changed.
It’s a good book and could have actually lasted a bit longer with some additional character development. The ending promises a new book and you’re given a huge hint as to the starring characters! Considering the familial issues on Olympia Lane, I have a feeling it’s going to be equally exciting!
Btw, DX’s characters don’t ever go overboard, but she doesn’t hold back in their personalities. :) And while the book is written by an erotica writer, it straddles line between romantic and erotic. While there is a great deal of erotica written into the book, the overall focus is more on the relationship, which brings it a bit more mainstream Paranormal Romance.(less)
Let me begin by saying that I found Catherine Bybee by chance, when I read her book, Married by Monday. Luck was truly on my side with that purchase....moreLet me begin by saying that I found Catherine Bybee by chance, when I read her book, Married by Monday. Luck was truly on my side with that purchase. The author’s ability to fashion and create believable characters has held up through three books and I’m already starting the next in this trilogy.
The story begins with Tara McAllister, a 25 year old virgin in the 21st Century, attending a Ren Faire with her best friend. Unbeknownst to either, the Faire’s Gypsy Queen has ulterior motives and none of them are good.
Enter Prince Charming.
Hawtie Highlander, to be precise.
Duncan MacCoinnich and his brother, Fin, are also attending this year’s Ren Faire. It was a bit of a trip for them, I admit. It only took a few centuries to get there. The MacCoinnich’s are a Scottish clan who are living in 1576. They’re also brilliant Druids and quite a funny bunch.
But I digress.
Duncan and Fin are set on a rather interesting journey. Their mission? To deflower maidens.
Necessary, however, since the blood of a virgin descended from Druids is necessary to free the evil Gypsy Queen (who is actually a black witch and former Druidess, herself) from the curse placed upon her as punishment for her past quite heinous deeds.
Duncan’s mission is a bit harder, this time around, as he develops rather unique feelings for Tara the moment he sits on her lap, by accident, in the dark.
Tara resists any and all of Duncan’s persuasive seductions (for the most part) due to some past history that has left her terrified of the consequences of a simple dalliance. You know, simple things like: having a child for the rest of her life with no one to help her raise him, things like that. ;)
Eventually, Duncan is forced to take Tara back to his home in 1576, to keep her safe from the evil witch. Tara, while thankful for being saved, is furious at being kidnapped away from her single-mother sister (did I mention the past history?) and nephew, her world, her dreams, and, well, her own time period. Even if Ms Bybee hadn’t done such an awesome job of explaining Tara’s emotional journey, I think Tara’s concerns are understandable.
The relationship between Duncan and Tara is beautiful and quite honest. While Tara may have changed her tune rather quickly, Ms Bybee is brilliant in making it believable and logical. There is no “Oh, fine, I like you, let’s go hop in the sack.” Rather, we’re walked through reasonable circumstances for the change in Tara’s stance.
To be entirely candid, this is perhaps one of my absolutely most favorite things about Catherine Bybee: her character development and character-driven plot.
Yes, the story is lovely and simple, but the characters are what make it truly a wonderful read. I’m never left thinking “Um, okay, I’ll just go with it.” No, instead, I find myself nodding and thinking, “Exactly what I would have done… I can see it.” It really draws you into the story and makes you want to know more about every character you meet.
Catherine’s also supremely talented in giving just enough narrative to guide your imagination without boring you with unnecessary details. I’m quite impressed! Catherine’s feel for narrative vs dialogue is outstanding. In scenes where build up is needed, Catherine gives the exact narrative needed to give the tone to the scene, rather than just imagery of what’s around them.
Catherine isn’t just an author, she’s a story-teller, through-and-through.
Duncan and Tara’s story is sweet, strong, and romantic. I’m highly anticipating Myra’s, Fin’s and Lizzy’s tales, as well! (In case you’re wondering: no, I didn’t spontaneously decide to write in APA format; the Oxford comma was dropped for a reason, *wink wink*)
This was well worth the purchase! I wish Duncan and Tara the best as they continue on and can’t wait to read more about them as I find out the destinies of their siblings! More on that to come!(less)
I started this book without even realizing that I had read (and quite liked) its predecessor, Wife by Wednesday. When I made the realization, I hoped...moreI started this book without even realizing that I had read (and quite liked) its predecessor, Wife by Wednesday. When I made the realization, I hoped it would be as good.
In fact, it was better.
Ms. Bybee writes authentic situations and expresses the good and the bad in such an equal way; making no excuses and leaving us to care for her characters because of their strengths, not because of drama stirred up by their weaknesses. Furthermore, the relationship is entirely believable and there are no odd jumps, bizarre reactions, or impractical situations; this could be a true story between two unique people.
She took a relatively standard storyline and made it amazing. You know there's going to be an HEA, but don't try predicting the plot; I have a feeling you'll be as surprised as I was. Where most would have gone a much different route, Ms. Bybee took the story and made it shine by going that extra mile. The action and thrills aren't overdone but add just enough touch of spice to keep the reader on the edge of her seat.
The conflicts and resolution in this book are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I found myself tearing up during the last three chapters. I’ve only done that twice before.
All-in-all, Catherine Bybee has a winner in Married by Monday. I can't wait to read the next book.
If you want an engaging tale of true love, danger, sacrifice, and happiness: this is one you definitely shouldn’t miss!
This little gem is going on my Keeper Shelf where it will be treated with love, care, and periodic re-reads!(less)
This was a very sweet book. The characters are enjoyable and the situations exciting. Perhaps the most awesome bit of the book, however, is the banter...moreThis was a very sweet book. The characters are enjoyable and the situations exciting. Perhaps the most awesome bit of the book, however, is the banter. The author has a way with dialogue! Furthermore- while I’m no expert at speaking “Pirate”- the author seems to have taken a good deal of time really working on the accuracy of her verbiage. The fight scenes were realistic, as well, which really added to the excitement.
While it’s not one of my favorites, I certainly did enjoy the book. The heroine is most definitely far from perfect and in a sort of off-the-beaten-path kind of way. The hero’s issues are, while sad, within the realm of “normal” for romance heroes. However, the author does a good job individualizing the hero and the heroine. Note that if you’re looking for some physical intimacy between h/h, this book won’t be your cup of tea. While there’s some activity, it’s not satisfying. For anyone involved.
I think the fast pace of the book does tend to strip out the connection to the characters just a touch, however, and I wasn’t sure I believed the change of hearts that I read.
Still, it was a cute way to spend my time and I’d recommend it as a simple “Beach Read” if you want a quick adventure, some lively characters and to be whisked away on a Pirate’s ship for an afternoon!(less)
The relationship between Eva and Gideon is a total emotional rollercoaster ride that rivals Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. Ups, downs, lefts, rights, t...moreThe relationship between Eva and Gideon is a total emotional rollercoaster ride that rivals Disneyworld’s Space Mountain. Ups, downs, lefts, rights, turns, and spins. Sylvia Day’s story of confliction, compassion, and compromise left me feeling every possible emotion every single time I put it down. The raw sexuality was undeniably incredible and I loved it! There were no innuendos; everything was primal and yet exceptionally tasteful! Their dialogue, alone, made me shiver!
I couldn’t decide whether I hated the book or thoroughly loved it. I would despise their relationship and yet, in the same scene only moments later, absolutely adore them. Eva narrates her love story in first-person and I was taken through each winding road that her heart and mind coursed through. Towards the end of the book, I really disliked Eva’s seeming self-absorption, but it was believable and real. Gideon spends the book alternating between utter vulnerability and supreme domination. His helplessness, at times, was in such stark contrast to his character that I was left uncomfortably reeling. I found myself feeling insecure in their relationship as a result. It didn’t help that I wasn’t entirely convinced of their relationship being more than just “friends with benefits”, and that it seemed Gideon did the majority of the work for it.
However, Ms Day does an incredible job of showing the segregation of sexuality and emotion in the beginning of the book and the gradual but dominating way that these two people learn to combine them. I really, really enjoyed the underlying almost imperceptible domination/submission angle, as well. It wasn’t about pain nor did it have to be physical; it was about security for both individuals: his in needing to have control over every outcome and hers in needing someone to “fall into”. I’m very curious where the next book, Deeper in You, will take us when it comes out!
See my original review on Reading Between the Wines Book Club! (less)