Can I just say that I loved this story about second chances and new beginnings?! From reading Susan's other books...moreFinally, Noelle and Gabriel's story!!
Can I just say that I loved this story about second chances and new beginnings?! From reading Susan's other books, you pick up little tidbits about characters, but I was blown away at the heart of this story. Noelle is a big city girl that sticks a pin in a map, winding up in Fool's Gold after a rough and devastating time in her life. Gabriel is a military doctor that has seen the effects of war up close and personal. Fool's Gold represents a haven of sorts for these two wounded souls to recoup, regroup, and maybe even heal. These two wonderful people endeared themselves to me, from the very start...think umbrella and snow!
Definitely a great read to get you in the mood for Christmas spirit!(less)
Another winner for Susan Mallery! I think Felicia is my fav heroine to date...it is always fun to find a character that jumps to life and really grabs...moreAnother winner for Susan Mallery! I think Felicia is my fav heroine to date...it is always fun to find a character that jumps to life and really grabs you. I love her uncertainty about herself. I find it endearing when she views herself just as I or a friend might see themselves. She doesn't believe she is perfect the way she is. She does what countless people have done, turned to surgery. But she is also isolated socially. Gideon is the consummate bad boy...I loved reading the word play between these two lovers and their friends!!! I definitely would recommend!(less)
I am not one for contemporaries..let me say this first off. I am more of a historical romance kind of girl. BUT I AM HOOKED!! Ever since starting the...moreI am not one for contemporaries..let me say this first off. I am more of a historical romance kind of girl. BUT I AM HOOKED!! Ever since starting the Fools Gold series, I am finding myself on the verge of packing up and moving there myself!
Patience has lived in Fools Gold her entire life. As a teenager her first love was one of her very best friends, Justice. When on the brink of telling him of her crush, he mysteriously disappears. Fast forward almost 15 years and just as mysteriously, Justice walks back into her life. Justice hasn't had an easy time of it. Being in the special ops in the military doesn't leave a man with the time or inclination to start a family or have a real life. Not that he ever wanted to start a life or family with anyone but his secret childhood crush, Patience. His demons haunt him, not just from his military service, but his own family upbringing. He moves back to Fools Gold to open an elite training facility for bodyguards, hoping to find normal and reconnect with Patience. With big and exciting life changes happening for Patience, can she trust her heart and Justice to find her ultimate happiness?
I have to say that I loved Patience! I am enchanted with her quirkiness, her funky tshirts, and the way she loves her family. Her relationships with her friends make me envious of those close female friendships that we all envy, but may not ever experience. She is strong and funny, dedicated and loving...She reminds me of many women I have known. I love that she shows her vulnerability, but also shows her inner love and strength.
Justice is one of those characters that makes one believe that men can be just as vulnerable and damaged as women. He shows a side of men we don't get to see very often. The yearning to be better than his parent, the want to be happy and to find his normal state are qualities that we often forget that our strong heroes have. I loved that his nervousness and indecision showed through, just as his strength and competence did.
I loved watching the interplay between these characters. The yearning, the want, the hope all managed to shine through. These characters endeared themselves to me with their "realness"....and that doesn't happen to me often!
Another great read from Susan Mallery...can't wait for the next installment!(less)
The Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell is the second book in the “Chattan Curse” series. After a young woman commits suicide due to an...moreThe Scottish Witch: The Chattan Curse by Cathy Maxwell is the second book in the “Chattan Curse” series. After a young woman commits suicide due to an unfaithful lover, her mother places a curse on the man and his family. If a Chattan man falls in love, he will die after siring a son to continue the witche's prophesy. Harry and his two siblings, Neal and Margaret, are the first in the Chattan line to be more than a one child generation. It is because of this that they hope to change what they see as their fate…to live without love and a family to avoid death.
Harry Chattan is a man on a mission. He has traveled to the wilds of Scotland to find a witch to reverse the family curse. His older brother is succumbing to the mystery illness that has claimed all the previous Chattan men after they sired a son. Harry is determined to find an answer and believes against all hope he will find the cure in Scotland. A decorated war hero, Harry has his own demons that have haunted him.
Portia Maclean has much more mundane problems to worry about than a family curse. Thanks to a adulterous and wastrel father, the family has been left bouncing from family member to family member as poor relations. After being sent to the country and renting a small cottage home that is falling down around their ears, they are facing eviction because their family has conviently forgotten to send money to support them. Add to that a mother that is in denial about her late husband, and a sister that has managed to anger the landlord's jealous daughter with her beauty and to fall in love with the homely town doctor, and you have a distressing mess. Portia devises a plan to pretend to be the witch Harry is searching for, believing the money she will gain will make her conscious feel better about fooling an Englishman. Little does she know a mysterious cat has other plans for her, much less that she finds the Englishman in question to be humble and genuinely concerned for his family.
I found this book to be a little slower paced than the first in the series. Although it took a little longer to pick up, I wouns up really enjoyed this mix of characters. Portia is the main provider for the Maclean family; she cares for each member, makes sure to pay the bills and doles out what little she has saved in the way of money as she can. She is fiercely devoted to her beautiful sister, who is just as pretty on the inside as she is outside. She tries to keep her meddling mother from ruining the blossoming romance of the town doctor and Minnie, her sister. Portia reminds me a lot of most women I meet: devoted, headstrong, and sometimes a little derogatory to herself. She tries to provide for her family's needs before her own happiness.
Harry is a devil-may-care rake, albeit a disillusioned and fearful one. I expected a lot of things of Harry - none of them overly great. I must admit that I was pleasantly fooled. His love for his brother touched my heart. He was truthful to the point of pain, humbling himself before a “witch” in order to save his brother's life. Harry made me remember the bonds that siblings have and the overwhelming need of all people to love and be loved, no matter the obstacles in the way. His war memories and coping mechanisms, alcohol and opium, made me feel like I was reading a story about a 21st century soldier with PTSD and the spiral into an abyss of his own making.
Ms. Maxwell again delivers a compelling and heartfelt read to her fans. I can't wait to read the next in the series, The Devil's Heart: The Chattan Curse. (less)
The third installment of the Secrets of Hadley Green series is another winner for Ms. London. Harrison Tolly is in a difficult position. He is the ste...moreThe third installment of the Secrets of Hadley Green series is another winner for Ms. London. Harrison Tolly is in a difficult position. He is the steward of the estate for Lord Carey and his family. He also happens to harbor a hidden love for the mysterious Lady X, who just happens to be Lady Carey. Although she knows nothing of his feelings, she does have an immense tenderness for him. To her, Harrison is a bright spot in her lonely days. Her husband is abusive- verbally, emotionally, and physically. Not only does he routinely humiliate her in front of others, he drinks in excess and, proceeds to routinely rape her in the hopes of conceiving an heir. Enter Lady Carey's younger sister, who while on a trip to Europe falls in love, gets pregnant and runs home. Ever the gentleman and loyal steward, Harrison steps in to give the unborn child legitimacy. It becomes a whirlwind of happenings around the estate to hide the young woman and to plan a wedding that is not exactly the “wanted” outcome for either party. When it is revealed that Harrison is actually the illegitimate son of the Earl of Ashwood and the rightful heir, he keeps the information private, seeking to stay as long as possible in Olivia's presence. Lord Carey becomes paranoid and begins to think his wife is having an affair and on a vengeful night, in the throes of anger, falls off his horse and dies. The rest of the story is a complicated mix of discovery and refound love.
I found this to be an incredibly easy read, once you get into the story. This installment was so different from the other stories. I was impressed that Ms. London decided to take on the task of alcoholism/abuse in all forms. I love that she did not sugar coat the abuse aspect in this book. It was and is a very common problem in society. The reader, in the first few chapters, gets an up close and personal look and grasp of what Olivia’s life has been like for the past 8 or 9 years. I could feel her barely controlled angst, her pain at not feeling as if she was good enough for her husband. Her rationalizations are completely in line with what many abuse victims profess to feeling. She was, to me, a friend that put on the face of happiness and obliviousness to hide her pain. Olivia is a proud woman and does not want to admit that her husband is a jerk, even though she is quite aware of it. But she sees in Harrison a kind man, who has been a strong and supporting person to her through the years. For his part, Harrison has stepped in more than once to protect and defend Lady Carey. Although he is employed by Lord Carey, he stays there to be close to Olivia. He comes across as a star crossed lover, an incurable romantic that is resigned to loving her from afar. He has set morals and beliefs, and wants to be taken on his own merits, rather than because he is now considered to be of the gentry. I was glad that the reader got to see the double edged sword that cuts both ways when in just such a situation.
If there was anything that I disliked it about the book, it was also what I loved. Abuse in any form is often ugly and hidden. I cringed at every verbal jab that was thrown Olivia’s’ way. Every insult and physical injury made me cry as if it were I that was experiencing it…but isn’t that the goal of every author? To make the reader feel the characters’ plight and want them to succeed. The reader is left rooting for the happy ending, anxiously hoping that all the right things happen and no one is left on the outside, including Lady Olivia’s bratty sister. I would give this book a 4 star rating, a truly enjoyable series! (less)
I am pleased to say that Ms. Laurens has redeemed herself. This book was nicely set up in the previous books, building the suspense. We finally find o...moreI am pleased to say that Ms. Laurens has redeemed herself. This book was nicely set up in the previous books, building the suspense. We finally find out who is kidnapping the Cynster sisters..Dominic, the Earl of Glencrae. A honorable man, Dominic is forced to resort to underhanded tactics because of a horrid mother who is blackmailing him. He meets the last sister he wanted to deal with, Angelica Cynster. The most headstrong, stubborn and manipulative of the sisters, Angelica twists everyone around her fingers. When she hears of the plight of Dominic and his clan, she resolves to aid him in deceiving his mother and gaining his honor and fortune back. What she doesn't count on is falling in love with this strong and caring man. While I found this to be a great ending to the trilogy, I was a little amazed at Angelica's manipulations. She knows just how to trick our hero into giving up information that he doesn't think is important, enabling her to make connections. She uses her body as a tool to elicit the wanted responses from Dominic. Normally I can understand some give and take in that area, after all, don't most men do this in these books? This just seemed a little much from the norm for Ms. Laurens books.(less)
I thought that after having enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, I would have liked this one. I was very disappointted. Don't get me wrong, I think...moreI thought that after having enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, I would have liked this one. I was very disappointted. Don't get me wrong, I think the characters were great, I just don't think Ms. Laurens did these two justice. Our heroine is Eliza Cynster...of the sisters, she is the most typical society miss. Never a step out of line, quiet, smart but easy going. She also would love to find that elusive hero to take her away. At a ball given by her family, an unknown man sends a note and she steals off to meet him. Hence, kidnapping #2 unfolds. On the way to the wilds of Scotland, the drugged and terrified Eliza manages to hail another traveler on the road...Jeremy Carling, again a family friend. Jeremy is much more a scholar than a hero. He is Eliza's exact male match, better suited to a quiet country home...definitely not the hero type. Again, he gives chase and rescues the young lady in question. What follows is a lot of tramping over mountains and streams, and dodging bad guys. After reading the first book in the series, I could easily predict what was going to happen next with this book. I felt it was, if not an almost carbon copy of the first book, then very close. Maybe it was just me, but these characters were well developed, but weren't given their due. There is so much more that could have been done with their story and I just felt it fell short of Ms. Laurens previous efforts. (less)
I really enjoyed this last installment of the Fifty Shades series. The speed of the story picked up and flowed nicely, although as I stated in a previ...moreI really enjoyed this last installment of the Fifty Shades series. The speed of the story picked up and flowed nicely, although as I stated in a previous review, this book and the second one could have been combined. The transformation of the characters through the series touched me, and the happy ending delivered the closure that I was at first unsure would be possible with such tortured souls. The relationship in this book between Anastasia and Christian, I think, takes on more of a "normal" look. Yes, there is lots of sex, some of it kinky, some vanilla. But I noticed that while the reader finally understands the level of abuse Christian has suffered, it bogggles the mind that the unintended pregnancy results in such a horrified tone to the book for the last half of the book. But this issue is smoothed over and helps promote healing and the happy ending this series really needed. I think that my favorite part of the book is actually the last few chapters that are told strictly from Christians' point of view, coinciding with the first few chapters of the first book. Overall a good series that makes you be a little more open to different lifestyles.(less)
After reading the first book, I was expecting the second to carry on in the same fashion, tempo, speed, and action wise. While I did enjoy this book t...moreAfter reading the first book, I was expecting the second to carry on in the same fashion, tempo, speed, and action wise. While I did enjoy this book too, I guess I was expecting a little more. This volume continues the story of Anastasia and Christian, and their getting to know each other and at times tainted relationship. Not giving anything away, my generalized comments are more along the lines that this volume could easily have been combined with the third book for a decidedly more meaty edition. Between creepy bosses, stalking ex lovers, and some hot sex, the book does keep you on the toes. The story continues in the same vein as the first, lots of sex, revelations of the characters pasts...in my opinion, it could have sped up a bit. For me, I kept reading to try to piece together the puzzle that is Christian. The psychological aspect of these books are amazing, and it makes you cheer for the characters.(less)
I got drawn into the seriws by my co-workers. This doesn't happen regularly, as I am distinct in my tastes. But overall, I am glad that I did. This bo...moreI got drawn into the seriws by my co-workers. This doesn't happen regularly, as I am distinct in my tastes. But overall, I am glad that I did. This book was very hot! While the plot is borderline believable, ok, not so much, I felt the real story was much deeper than most readers really get. The story is about Anastasia, a literature major who helps a sick friend by doing an interview with a good looking, young billionare, Christian. A series of "accidental" subsequent meetings causes the very young Ana to be exposed to the wily and controlling antics of Christian, did I mention manipulative? She finds herself thoroughly attracted to him and thinks dating him might not be such a bad idea. Christian jets her around in his helicopter and Audi. Then the real Christian shows himself, he is a sado-masochist that enjoys the BDSM scene with dedicated submissives, and he wants her to become his current sub. He offers a contract of things she will do/wo'nt do, he will/won't do...and all to an inexperienced virgin! While I was not overall crazy about the way he wears her down til she says yes with stipulations (but amazingly holds out and doesn't sign anything!), I know this was a important part of the story to show the depth of control in a dom/sub relationship. I noticed that for all that the book is touted as "mommy porn" and full of dom/sub sex...there is an overall overabundance of "vanilla" everday normal sex. Like every few pages. There are some scenes that invoke images of handcuffs, floggers, spatulas, weighted balls and the like, but for all the hype-I expected more of that type scene that what really was there. Do not get me wrong, I loved the book, was just expecting a little more BDSM and a little less vanilla. What I found intriguing was the underlying story, how Christian became this emotionally immature man with the need to dominate a particular type of woman. The psyche issues of this book spoke to me much more than the sex. The sex was hot, and Christian was always ready, I mean-I don't know any man that is ready 5 minutes later-but for this reader, the background story was much more compelling. (less)
Another great book from Stephanie Laurens! Heather Cynster is not your typical society miss, besides being opinionated, smart and sassy...she wants a...moreAnother great book from Stephanie Laurens! Heather Cynster is not your typical society miss, besides being opinionated, smart and sassy...she wants a hero to sweep her off her feet! She doesn't want the typical Lord of the Realm...most certainly not Viscount Breckenridge, family friend and not-so-hero material.They have known each other for years but never gotten along, rubbing along like sandpaper. But when he observes her kidnapping, he gives chase and begins a whirlwind adventure. The two must work together to foil the kidnappers and get Heather to safety. Ms. Laurens throws in a little paranormal suspense into the mix to help these stubborn souls find their way...but I won't give it away! What I find interesting about the characters is that these two might never have looked twice at each other had they not been forced into these circumstances. He considers himself too old, and feels she views him as an uncle figure. She feels he will see her as a sister, a vexing little minx. The old saying of "closeness breeds familiarity" is certainly true for these two. A nice easy going adventure, an easy read. (less)
Another great read from Julia London, the second book in the Secrets of Hadley Green series does not disappoint. "The Revenge of Lord Eberlin" picks u...moreAnother great read from Julia London, the second book in the Secrets of Hadley Green series does not disappoint. "The Revenge of Lord Eberlin" picks up shortly after Miss Lily Boudine has returned from Europe to settle into her newly inherited title of Lady Ashwood. She finds a scandal in the making as her cousin, Kiera, has pretended to be Lily in an effort to try saving the broken estate. The estate is sinking fast, with tenants leaving for greener pastures and the money running out quickly. "Greener pastures" is just a nicer way to contribute the decline of the land to Count Eberlin, the mysterious nobleman that has recently taken over Tiber Park. Little does Lily know, her painful childhood is coming to the surface to be dealt with. After her testimony condemns a possibly innocent man to die for theft of the rare Ashwood jewels, the eight year old was forced to move to Ireland with her cousins. Lily only returns to the estate which brought such turmoil to her because of obligation. She soon finds out that the curious Lord Eberlin is really the son of the man she condemned, and he is bent on revenge! Lord Eberlin believes that his childhood friend deserves total ruination for the pain and suffering that occurred after his fathers' death. He has built himself into a powerful lord, albeit a bought title, but a wealthy and successful man none the less. His proposition for saving Ashwood is simple, either Lily can submit to him bodily or the estate will be completely ruined!
This was a great read. I am many times apprehensive with series: sometimes the flow is a little off, the story seems to run along the same course of action as previous titles, or the characters aren't cohesive. "Lord Eberlin" was none of these things. The basis of this story is, as I see it, is of returning home to reconcile the past. To me, these characters reached out and grabbed me! Lily is a tortured, guilty soul, who has been haunted by her recollections of life at Ashwood. She is a strong woman, full of emotion and love, but someone who is distinctly vulnerable. A very self-assured, sassy female, she knows what she wants, and is not afraid to use some subtle manipulation to get it. Enter Tobin, Lord Eberlin. A man who has brought his niece, sister, and himself up from the depths of poverty to live among the upper echelon of society. He has used Lily as the drive behind his betterment of self. Another wounded soul, he is racked with pain and rage at the stunning Lady of Ashwood, who he views as the main trigger of his family’s' demise. He has strength of will that keeps him from feeling his emotions, effectively shutting them off because he cannot process them. It is obvious to the reader that these two need each other; their hurt and redemption lie solely within each other. Both are reliant on the other for not only the means to make Ashwood profitable, but also to heal the hurt and damage of years past.
The story line was a little slow at first, but I felt it worked with the need to build a budding trust and understanding between the characters. For me, the emotional turmoil Tobin encounters trying to come to terms with a dark childhood and his growing feelings of attraction to Lily touched me. Ms. London did a fantastic job of showing his vulnerability and pain, not to mention the grief that still controls him. The descriptions of what can only be described as anxiety attacks truly made me feel as if I was in his position and experiencing them as well. Lily makes a very likable character, from her want to fit in with local society, to finding that one person who makes a love that is enduring. At times her manipulations and endless questions (does that count as harping?) regarding Tobin’s' remembrances of long ago events made my teeth grind. She was relentless in her pursuit of information, and because of this was not always aware of the hurt her information gathering was causing. But I was overall impressed with her dealings with Tobin's sister, a person full of resentment and hate directed solely at Lily. She showed great restraint, class even, when faced with direct scorn and venom when dealing with her. Lily is like many of the young ladies I see today, trying to find their way in this world. I especially liked the fact that the unfolding of the hero’s' emotions was gradual, not hurried and wham! all out there at once. Tobin was allowed to discover and grow in his new found acceptance of this person as an important aspect of his life.
"Lord Eberlin" was not what I expected. The raw emotions that the reader can feel pouring off the pages at times made me feel as if I was part of the story, and because of this emotional pull, I could not put this book down! I would easily give it 4.5 stars. (less)