*** NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS *** Usually with a Mary Jo Putney novel I can't put it down. It's one of those books that you think you're g...more*** NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS *** Usually with a Mary Jo Putney novel I can't put it down. It's one of those books that you think you're going to read a few chapters of before bed and then it's morning and it's time to get up and the couple chapters had turned into the whole novel. Unfortunately with this book that was not the case.
If I was religious it probably wouldn't have been that bad for me, but since I'm not it felt like I was kind of reading a warped version of the bible. However her portrayal of the Adrian, the male lead in this novel, proves my persistent opinion that many upstanding members of the church are some of the most hypocritical there are and many devout religious church goers seem to think they can behave however they want and all will be forgiven. While it reinforces my jaded opinion of religion I doubt it will go over well with those who are devoutly religious.
Adrian was one the youngest son of a baron who was taking his vows in the monastery when his family was massacred by a neighboring baron seeking control of the same land. Now the air to the barony he forgoes taking his final vows to take up his father sword and avenge the deaths of his family.
Meriel is the youngest daughter of a poor Norman Baron and is initially living in a convent studying to become a nun, when the day approaches for her to take her vows she realizes she can't do it. She can't lock herself away in the convent for the rest of her life.
The years pass and Adrian becomes one of the most powerful barons in England, fighting for the Empress Matilda in the great civil war, he is granted the Earldom of Shropshire and permission to hunt in the Royal Forest. Meriel is taken in by her youngest brother who is enfeoffed by Lord Theobald, a baron fighting for King Stephen in the great civil war. She is the Mistress of Avonleigh as her brother is an unmarried knight. Still yearning for Freedom she goes alone with her hawk hunting and is befallen by the worst sort of bad luck. First the hawk flies off into the Royal Forrest where she doesn't have permission to hunt. Then she and her horse are attacked by a boar where she is thrown and the horse escaped, then covered in mud she is surrounded by armed men, including the Earl of Shropshire fighting got the opposite side of the war. Worried about endangering her people she lies to the earl about her identity and is taken prisoner when she is thought to be a peasant girl on royal land with a hawk she doesn't that the station to own.
The ultra religious Earl has an obsession with the girl and is unwilling to set her free though her crimes are minor and he can't really prove she did anything wrong. He offers her a position as his mistress and when she refuses he continues to keep her captive. He tries every method possible to win her and then in desperation almost rapes her. His way of trying to make it right is to then propose to her. When he refuses to set her free and her only options seem to be death or rape Meriel attempts suicide by jumping out a window. The Earl desperate to save her jumps in behind her.
Though she shouldn't have lived she does survive, but has amnesia. It is during this time that the Earl convinces her to fall in love with him and marries her. He neglects to tell her what happened before she woke up. During a tempest she's almost struck by lightning and in the fall regains her memory of everything except the months during which she married. When she tries again to escape she is captured by a rival baron, almost raped again and the heroic male lead save her and murders the man who massacred his family.
I'm all about character growth but I can't get over the fact that I'm somehow supposed to like and feel for a man who tried to rape the girl. Whether he stopped himself eventually or not, he ripped her clothes, and caged her torturing her like an animal and this sis supposed to be the good guy. Add to this the man refuses to allow Jews to settle on his land until after they tried to help his wife. It's like I owe you one so I'll let you stay but if you hadn't done for me I'm not going to let you live here because you don't believe the same thing as me.
What was really creepy to me is that they were quoting bible verses during sex. That just seems somehow wrong. And of course at the end they somehow end up happy and together the captive and the captor who tortured her.
The book has some exciting scenes and a lot of historical information about at time period that isn't often covered well in historical romance, but it's lacking a lot everywhere else. (less)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** This book is absolutely hilarious. Beyond just being a love story, this is the kind of love story that dra...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** This book is absolutely hilarious. Beyond just being a love story, this is the kind of love story that draws you in.
I'll admit I wasn't expecting much when I picked up this book, I purchased in just a bag of books and it as a romance by an author whose name I didn't recognize, but the cover image caught my eye and I thought well I already bought it, might as well read it before I send it off to someone else.
I was pleasantly to find this book was much more than I expected. Arian who believes she's a witch in the 1600s own an emerald amulet which was given to her by her mother when she was a child. The amulet she believes enhances her own magical abilities. We're introduced to her when she's in the woods trying to take flight on a broom. After a few failed attempts she succeeds only to crash land face first in the dirt.
When she is caught practicing magic and being tried as a witch with a test by water she attempts to perform a spell to save herself from drowning. She doesn't drown but instead find herself transported through time to the year 1996 and just happens to show up in the exact spot of a competition to prove magic is real being held by the "boy billionaire" Tristan. The story follows their journey to overcoming distrust and falling in love.
Beyond that you share in the experiences of a curious girl from the 1600s experiencing the wonders of the mid 90s. She shut the water off to his fountain by running the show, the faucets and repeatedly flushing the toilet when she discovers indoor plumbing. She almost electrocutes herself when she sticks a spoon in a broken light bulb that's still attached to a plugged in lamp. She plays French lullabies on the key pad of the touch tone phone, attempts to find the people living inside the television and learns to play the piano from gang members in Harlem who she visits because she's hungry and she can smell their food. Her innocence and curiosity will keep you laughing from beginning to end.
If the humor and love weren't enough to keep you turning the pages the book includes a subplot filled with time travel, betrayals and intrigue. This is a definite must read.
I give this four stars only because some of the scenes are a bit farfetched and unrealistic, also it was a bit disappointing when you learn the real source of Arian's magic. Also I didn't like when she went into a distant third person or narrators voice in some scenes like in the end scenes where she writes, had they opened the door they would have seen... I found this a bit distracting. Overall however the book was still a page turner. (less)
Zander is an Argonaught, a descendant of Achilles who has yet to discover his “heel” and who just might be...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS***
Zander is an Argonaught, a descendant of Achilles who has yet to discover his “heel” and who just might be immortal. He found his soul mate ten years ago but faced not love, but heartbreaking rejection when he did as well as the ultimate betrayal he can never forgive. So when the King demands one of the unbound Argonaughts marry Isadora he volunteers for the duty. He already knows he’ll never have his soul mate, he won’t allow the King to deny his brothers the chance of having theirs.
Callia is the Kings personal healer, she’s devoted her life to duty because the only man she’s ever loved didn’t love her back. He abandoned her when she needed him most and she has her cleansing period scars and an ache for a child she lost as proof. Now her cleansing period is almost over and she’ll soon marry the man she’s been betrothed to since birth, a man she despises, but who will become the future leader of the council. Through him she might make changes her world desperately needs ar at least prevent him from moving their world back to the middle ages as he desires. So when she has to face the man who’s hurt her more than any other in the world and examine him to be Isadora’s betrothed she’ll set aside her hurt and do her duty.
Max is a ten year old boy raised by Atalanta in a life where he must kill or be killed. He survive because of a mirror, given to him by one of the Fates, which allows him to see his one true hope, the image of his real mother. He doesn’t understand why she didn’t want him, but if she’d just come for him, just give him one chance, he’d be the best son anyone could ask for. Atalanta’s goal is to kill Max’s humanity and it’s the one thing he refuses to give up. He’s never had anything in his life, but she won’t steal from him his hope. When the lives of these three people collide, untold secrets are revealed and unheard of dangers arrive. But can they survive the dangers around them and move past the hurts destroying them to become the family they always should have been?
This second Eternal Guardians novel is as stunning as the first. While it did present a couple questions like why is it that Theron can find his soul mate anywhere, but Zander can’t and how exactly Zander can take Callia’s scars, those confusions are few and far between. What I really love about this series is that it’s so much more than a romance. With this installment Naughton brings us so much further into the political climate of Argolea. We spend almost as much time with characters outside the love story as we do with the romantic leads. There exists in this world so many intrigues and secrets that you can’t help but being sucked into their lives. There weren’t as many interactions with the Greek gods in this story as there were in the first, but Naughton still continues to interestingly twist Greek Mythology to fit her world by bringing story of the Titans and the Horae into this latest installment. Through the mythological twists and political intrigues Naughton continues to build a larger potentially explosive story are that makes this romance series on of the few readers should read in order. More than the romance, it’s the series story arc that makes these books ones not to be missed. Max, who was briefly introduced in the first novel takes up a larger role in this book and probably has the most intriguing storyline of the novel. His life is the culmination of secrets and betrayals and it’s his circumstances that pull at your heart strings the most. The well written close third person story is fast paced and loaded with action. The world is vividly described and stunningly addicting. The love story is built more on past encounters shown through memories than current events and does include sex though that’s neither a focus nor an abundance of scenes in this book. The one major sex scene though is a little disturbing, not because of what happens between the characters, but because of when. Callia and Zander have just discovered their child wasn’t still born or aborted, but is living with Atalanta, their world’s worst enemy and while they’re on earth supposedly searching for him they stop to have wild monkey sex?! Because of the when it takes a little bit of respect from the characters, their number one concern at this point should have been finding Max and making things right, not scratching a ten year itch. So while the sex isn’t a major part of the story, the scene does actually detract from the plot and would have been more beneficial to the plot at a different location in the story. However beyond that, the plot is an intense page turner from beginning to end.
Like in the first novel the characters are extremely well developed. We see both Callia and Zander’s faults, but we are also given insight into the events that made them make the choices they did. Casey and Theron are still reoccurring characters in this book, but they’re more secondary background characters in this story and Naughton relies a lot on the first novel in the series for their characterization. The other secondary characters from the first book however she continues to build and shape giving each more flesh and making each a little less of a mystery. Naughton also introduces a few new characters in this novel like the council members Lucian, Simon and Lukas and she does a wonderful job building these secondary characters with both strengths and flaws as well as providing the motivations for their actions. Her characterization skills are just are strong as her plotting, coming together to create a stunning novel.
Overall this story isn’t one to be missed. This excellent installment in the Eternal Guardians series is one I’d highly recommend to readers who enjoy paranormal romance.(less)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** In defense of this book I will say that the first time I read it I remember not being able to put it down,...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** In defense of this book I will say that the first time I read it I remember not being able to put it down, but that was also shortly after it was published in 2005 or 2006 so it's been a while since I first read this book. I don't know if my reading interests have changed or if I've become more jaded or what, but the second time around it definitely wasn't a page turner for me.
Roshan is a vampire on the edge of suicide when he starts reading a book about an accused witch who was burned at the stake, the drawing of the woman captures him and he becomes obsessed with the notion of saving her. He used his powers to travel back in time and save the beautiful Brenna Flannagan.
This time reading it the spark between the two characters just wasn't real for me. It was also very difficult for me to relate to the female lead because her though process was like a child almost rather than an adult woman. Another thin that just didn't' work for me is that Brenna didn't seem that surprised, impressed or scared about the differences between her time and ours.
While Brenna is asserting her new found odd sort of independence in the 21st century she meets a coven a witches at a book store. Unlike her own form of witch craft these witches practice dark magic and are working to discover the secret to eternal life - the immortality of a vampire without any of the downfalls. Of course she doesn't know that when she meets them. I found it hard to believe the character didn't sense any of the darkness within her new friends and her unwavering trust in complete strangers after having almost been burned at the stake in her own time is highly unbelievable for me.
Brenna also never seems to know what she wants and her decisions for the most part are made for her rather than by her, she spends most of her time reacting rather than acting and as a reader I find it hard to feel for a person like that.
The book does have some very amusing scenes as well as it's share of exciting, dangerous and racy ones. Overall it's not a bad book, I just don't recommend reading it twice. (less)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Two enjoyable tales from Kate Hoffman. The first tale of Conner gives you the first glimpse into the child...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** Two enjoyable tales from Kate Hoffman. The first tale of Conner gives you the first glimpse into the childhood that made the Quinn boys the men they are. Conner plays a sexy alpha male who falls for a spicy willful female as he breaks all the rules to protect her from the criminals out to harm her and stop her from testifying against them. The second tale is the high school crush come back to chase you. Every girl's dream to have the man you were secretly "in love" with as a teenager run into you as an adult and finally realize your true charms. What starts out as a plot to get even for a high school slight turns into a steamy love affair as another Mighty Quinn falls. Both are excellent contemporary romance reads. (less)
***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** For a quick read I guess this is okay. Most of the action in the story takes place over a few days with th...more***NOTE MY REVIEWS OFTEN CONTAIN SPOILERS*** For a quick read I guess this is okay. Most of the action in the story takes place over a few days with the ending chapters occurring a month later.
North Black is a 29 year old Ranching mogul, owning one of the biggest ranches in Southern Texas and treated like royalty wherever he goes.
Melody Woods is a 22 year old Wild Child who's spent her time running away from everything and wandering the world. She's still a virgin and frightened of the idea of sex because of an event when she was eleven. Apparently when she was in sixth grade she wore a pair of red underwear under her skirt to school when one of the older boys saw it he told his friends. Four boys chased her down and pinned her to the ground to look at her red panties. North saved her before they could do more. She never told him why they bothered her that day or told anyone else. She blames herself because she'd worn the red panties and is frightened by anyone wearing mirrored sunglasses because that was what the boys were wearing that day.
The couple has a history and were almost married in the past, before Melody chickened out and left North standing at the altar in front of half of Texas. They tangled again six months before the book begins when they almost have sex in his apartment before Melody gets scared and runs off again. Had she been older this back story might have been a little more believable. It might have made a little more sense, but you have to figure this wedding must have occurred at least a year before this and if he's a traditional sort like she portrays him they probably dated at least a year before that and that makes her maybe twenty probably a teenager when their relationship really began while he would have been in his mid twenties.
He talks about having been in love with her since they were kids, but with that large of an age difference I don't see how he would have noticed her or thought of her as anymore more than a little sister when they were kids and if he was noticing her when she was 11 and he was 18 there's something messed up about him. I guess I'm the only person who this doesn't set well with. Without the back story the relationship might have worked. A 29 year old and a 22 year old hooking up is no big thing and I guess pretty normal, but him having had feeling for her since she was a little girl doesn't work for me. It screams pedophile in a big way to me.
Anyway they start to tangle again in the story when her mother tricks him by inviting him to dinner claiming Melody is still on the road instead of right there. Though he's seeing someone else they end up involved in a sexual type encounter without having sex and ends with Melody running again. He goes back to his ranch and later she follows him there, determined to win him.
She has three under developed sub plots occurring at the same time as this one. First that of an illegal Mexican boy who's parents abandoned him and who is trying to cross the border to get to his Aunt in Houston I think it was. The boy collapses on North's land and is brought to the house when Melody is there. She stops him from calling border patrol and cares for the half dead child until his Aunt arrives. Second that of the Midnight bandit who is trying to steal North's cattle and take them over the border. They mention him a lot during the book but he only actually is present in one scene where North and his buddy Jeff are taken hostage and Melody gains her courage to save him. Instead of being grateful for her saving his life he gets mad at her for not listening to him and staying home where he felt she should be. He gets jealous because she flirted with the criminal to keep him distracted enough to give the border patrol time to arrive.
Her act of heroism almost ends their relationship and they don't speak for a month before he decides he's an idiot and proposes to her again. Finally there's a subplot about his father's early death and North's blame in it which isn't much developed either. Most of the plots were pointless and obviously just thrown in there because she needed some reason for Melody to stay on the ranch and some sort of exciting twist for Melody to prove her worth. I think the father’s death was an attempt to show character growth but since like the other plots it was sort of glossed over and barely mentioned it's was just extra information that didn't really help the story along at all.
It's a quick read and not an overall bad book, but it's not something I'd call great reading material. (less)