Melissa McGuire’s a hard working news producer whose job seems to consist of keeping the cute, perky, nightly news anchor on time and out of hot water. Since her last job ended after a nasty breakup with the station manager in Los Angeles, she tells herself she’s satisfied with her current status. She might be happy, but her grandmother Nelly isn’t.
Nelly knows she doesn’t have much time left on this earth so she plans to make sure Melissa falls in love with a good man—someone who’ll look out for her once Nelly’s gone. And the best place to find a good man? A charity auction where the hunky, single firemen are auctioned off to the highest bidder. (Who among us hasn’t dreamed of the gorgeous men who grace calendars everywhere?) But after being burned by the last man she dared to love, Melissa isn’t about to fall into that trap.
Compared to other genres, I don’t read an inordinate amount of contemporary romance, but when I do, I want the story to grab me, the characters to live and breathe. The Fireman Who Loved Me does these things and does them well. I loved Nelly, the meddling grandmother, and the other firemen were great, too, but watching the antagonistic relationship between Melissa and Brody evolve was what made it all worthwhile. This is the stuff of daydreams.
Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without an ex-wife hovering in the wings, an old flame showing up, or other catastrophes dangling overhead ready to drop without notice. And just like in real life, Melissa and Brody almost let love slip away because of stubborn pride. Overall, a cozy, steamy, feel-good story you won’t want to miss.(less)
In all my years of reading historical romance, I’ve never seen dyslexia addressed in any of them even though it probably existed then. I was surprised to see it surface here, but it was presented in a sympathetic manner making the character even more endearing.
Lord Blakeney (Blake) is cursed with what we now know as dyslexia, but during that particular time in history, he’s simply considered stupid. It’s hurtful to be ridiculed, but for a Duke’s son it’s even more so. How’s he supposed to command respect when people think he’s an idiot? Eventually he learns to read, but it’s a painfully slow process. He manages to get through school by paying a friend to do his homework, which leaves him susceptible to all sorts of nefarious plots.
Minerva is his complete opposite—serious and studious with no learning problems. Her parents encourage her to use her brain and form her own opinions…one of which happens to be that Blake is an idiot. She decides it’s bad enough to marry someone you don’t love, but to be saddled with an idiot is worse. Though she’s well educated, Minerva hasn’t learned much about compassion. Without taking the time to get to know Blake, she treats him like an imbecile and misses no opportunity to insult him. In return, he avoids showing any emotion around her, figuring if he doesn’t reveal weakness, there’s nothing for her to use against him.
After a while, I began to wonder if these two had any chance of making it at all, and I wanted to smack Minerva for being such a snooty, spoiled brat. I must admit, though, she did have some redeeming qualities, and I actually felt a little sorry for her when she thought Blake had a mistress.
When Blake’s father dies unexpectedly, he starts to depend on Minerva to keep the masses at bay long enough for him to mourn and take the reins of his father’s empire. Little by little, they come to realize there’s a spark between them that could flutter into a flame if given a chance. And they almost miss it.
This book had me fussing and fuming at Minerva for being an unfeeling, spoiled prima donna. Blake needed to trust someone, and in order to do so he had to let down his guard, but with her condescending attitude, it almost didn’t happen. It took some time for both of them to show character growth, but by the end of the book, I was a happy camper. (less)
I’m going to tell you right up front that I almost didn’t read this book because the ARC I had was missing chunks of the story and it was frustrating to try to piece it together. I’m so glad I gave it another shot, though, because it was so good I didn’t want it to end. Once I got past the first couple of missing sentences or paragraphs, I was able to glean enough from what I’d read to piece the rest of it together.
The cover blurb tells it all, but without the spirit and fire and emotion that’s woven throughout. Charlotte is determined to rescue her father with or without help. It’s just dumb luck that she ends up at Bryce’s feet…with a clear view of what’s under his kilt.
Thinking she’s a boy, he rescues her from getting arrested and now she’s his property. Laboring under the assumption that she is a he, Bryce is determined to make a decent man out of her. Charlotte/Charles is more than up for the task and can outdraw most men with her bow. Together, they make a formidable team, teaching each other valuable life lessons.
When she’s finally outed as a girl, Bryce is shocked then goes into macho protective mode, which is ridiculous considering she’s saved his hide more than once. She refuses to be intimidated into dropping her father’s rescue attempt, and eventually leaves Bryce behind. But like any hardheaded man in love, Bryce follows her.
A touching, funny ruse that morphs into a love story, A Warrior’s Promise will satisfy the historical and the contemporary romance reader. Plenty of action keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, and the solid bond of trust that develops between Charlotte/Charles and Bryce is the basis for the love that transpires later. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.(less)
Stars: Doll Believer: 4 Stars Doll Suz: 1 Star Doll Kitt: 2 Stars Doll Noa: 1 Star Doll Day: 1 Star Doll Eowyn: 1 Star Doll Chrissy: 1 star Doll Mona: 1 Star - DNF Doll Lil: 1 Star - DNF Doll Alli: 1 Star - DNF
Kitt: See what had happened was... It all started with an innocent inquiry from Alli about Fifty Shades of Grey "Has anyone read it?" From there Day, dratted woman ;p, decided we should all read it. Most of us involuntarily volunteered, but what the hell, we're all game for the challenge. Except how to have one review with ten women that would be different - and short (ha! yes, this is the short version!) - hence the Q&A. All the Dolls were charged with reading Fifty Shades, once completed, were to submit two questions. Here's the result:
Did you finish reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? If not, how far did you make it and why did you stop reading? If yes, how did you rate it on Goodreads?
Day: Yes, I finished the first one. I had to keep reading. I kept thinking... "Okay. Any minute now something really amazing will happen and I will realize why so many women are obsessed with this book." That moment never came for me. I rated it a one on Goodreads. (Sorry)
Noa: Day, that was my reaction too! I kept telling myself "maybe the next chapter...maybe the second book...the third?" Then I realized it wasn't going to happen. This wasn't even a one star series for me.
Mona: I stopped at a point shortly after Ana’s graduation. My inner goddess told me she was going to kick my ass if I didn’t give her something less annoying to read.
Eowyn:Yes, I finished the book and felt I liked it a little more toward the end. I only gave it two stars on Goodreads.
BLVR: Devoured all three. I took time off whenever my feelings were too overwhelmed. The first book was particularly emotional for me.
Alli: I have as of yet not finished. It's not because I don't like it, it's just my pregnant brain won't allow me to read for more than 10-20 minute spans before zoning out and thinking about nesting!
Lil: I did not finish it. I tried repeatedly but could not do it. I stopped at Chapter 4 and decided to skip ahead (something I never do). I got through "basic training" and I couldn't keep going. I became angry because I have a TBR full of really good books I was ignoring them to be annoyed by head cocking, murmuring, and one really noisy subconscious. I reluctantly gave Fiddy 1 star because giving Minus Stars is not an option.
Chrissy: Yes I finished reading it despite the fact that I did not enjoy it.
Suz: Yes, I did finish it although I haven't rated it on Goodreads yet because I've been waiting to do this review first. I give all cliff-hanger endings a one star rating because I believe them to be manipulative marketing thievery. This book will get one star when I rate it for that reason. I read all three of the books, back-to-back.
Kitt: Yes, I did. I read the first two - both I gave 2 stars - and then I had other books to read. I may eventually go back to read the last, Fifty Shades Freed, just to see how it ends.
Suz: Did you begin reading FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY with preconceived notions, and if so what were they?
Day: Yes. Due to all the hype I was expecting the "grand poopa" of books. Something that is extremely well written with incredible character development and a new and unique twists on erotica.
Mona: No preconceived notions here. I tend to take every book on its own merits, but this one had more demerits than merits, IMHO.
Noa: I guess I did. It would be very hard not to with everything going on out in the media and social media world proclaiming it as the literary accomplishment of the year if not decade.
Eowyn: I began reading the book expecting it to be extremely racy considering all of the media hype. I must admit, though it is slightly racy, I found it quite tame to what I had been led to believe from all of the hype.
BLVR: Yes, I did. I had heard a lot of media hoopla surrounding this piece, "Mommy Porn" , "BDSM in the Burbs", "Publishing Phenom". I was very intrigued.
Alli: I had heard some talk of the book bringing sexy back to the bedroom on the radio and how all these women just couldn't put it down. I expected it to be amazing.
Lil: I didn't even know the book existed until Day brought it up. I live with my nose in books or at Swimmer Girl's practice or I'm working (not lots of book discussion there) so I missed all the media attention. But I trust Day's opinion so I did go in thinking I was going to regret it. Which of course made me feel guilty for not giving a new author a chance.
Chrissy: I had a few preconceptions. From what I'd seen online it seemed as if 50% of readers loved it and 50% of readers loathed it so I figured it could go either way.
Suz: Yes. I had heard it was fanfic of Twilight and that it also had a lot of BDSM. I assumed the quality of writing, or at least the editing, might be substandard and was therefore skeptical but tried to remain open minded. My biggest concern, however, was that BDSM would be presented as some sort of psychological and emotional work around for the deeply broken. I think that's how it was presented in the movie The Secretary and I was fearful I would find that to be the case here. In all honesty I had not really exposed myself to too much of the hype other than to be aware of its existence. I don't spend a lot of time scouring sources for controversy as I find it unpalatable.
Kitt: Yes, I believe I did. Even though, like Mona, I try to take every book on it's own merit, it's hard to ignore the massive amount of hype surrounding this book. Going in I thought "This must be one of the best erotic books ever"
Day: Have you read other books that are classified as Erotica fiction? If so, how does this compare? If not, will you now read more?
Day: Yes. This one is nothing spectacular when it comes to the genre. There are some that are much better and some worse. In my opinion, 50 Shades is just mediocre.
Mona: I’ve read a LOT of erotica. Heck, I even corrupted Kitt with my choices. FSoG doesn’t even register on my radar.
Noa: I have read Erotica fiction and many of its sub-genres. As with any genre there are books I enjoyed more and books I enjoyed less. If not for me forcing myself to finish it (see answer 1) I would have stopped in the middle and put it in the "Do Not Read" pile.
Eowyn: I have not read other Erotica books. I can't say that I won't read more after reading this but I'm not inclined to run out and check out all of the Erotica books. I have enough Fiction on my TBR list at the moment.
BLVR: Yes. I often read Erotica written by Emma Holly, Portia Da Costa and several authors who might bristle at being labeled Erotica but whose work clearly fits. I am not a huge fan of Erotica for its own sake, instead I prefer erotic themes or events that are part of a larger work.
Alli: I have not read any books that are classified as Erotica. It's just not my style typically, but doesn't mean I'm not open to exploring it as an option later.
Lil: I have been told over and over if I'm going to write then I had to read everything, fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, Archie and Jughead.... so yes I've read Erotica, I hated it in the beginning, it was torture for my creative juices. Then I discovered Lorelie James and Cat Johnson and what can I say, Giddy Up Cowboy ;). They opened me up to the world of Erotica where there is juicy story line and a plot that makes sense with dominant men and strong women, since then I have found other writers I enjoy but they remain at the top of my list.
Chrissy: Erotica is one of my favorite genres to read. I'm quite fond of the works by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Suz: Yes. This one had comparable heat to other erotica in terms of excessive quantity but the quality of erotica can vary pretty widely and 50 Shades is not exceptional in regards to the quality of the erotica. In fact, given that it was supposed to be kinky I found it to be more than a little tamer than I expected. In terms of quantity I suppose I would praise 50 Shades because the sex scenes were relatively brief and not over written with flowery prose. I did have trouble with suspension of disbelief because the protagonist was a virgin who became multi-orgasmic from her very first experience, but I suppose that’s a trope you could find in just about any romance novel. A wishful thinking trope. As for whether I'll read more, I read a lot anyway and much of what I read is "chick lit." There is often a lot of erotica in that whether it intends to be classified as erotica or not. So I don't think I'll read any more or less than I was reading of it before. I LIKE a bit of sex in my books, I just tend to prefer there to be a STORY with it, too.
Kitt: Mona is one of the worst book pushers! So yes, I've read my fair share.
Mona: After reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, do you think people will assume BDSM will magically revive sexual desire, and if so, will they be brave enough to try it? What happens if their partner is offended/disgusted by it?
Day: If readers are naive, they'll believe anything I suppose. The media sure would like us to believe that millions of women have revived their sex lives with BDSM, but I don't think it's likely. And if it has actually sparked a flame in their bedrooms, I think it will be short lived. Good sex has a lot to do with breaking the monotony and in my experience everything gets old after a while.
Mona: I had to ask this question after seeing a news program about the increase in women buying the 'toys' to spice up their marriages. I wondered if any of them actually had any idea what they were getting into, and what their husbands thought about them just coming up with this out of the blue.
Noa: Mona, I was wondering about that too. I have to agree with Day. I'll add a little bit of wisdom I got from my mom: Spicing up the sex life is awesomesauce. So long as both sides are happy with what's happening. But I doubt it will make readers decide to take on the BDSM lifestyle.
Eowyn: I honestly think it might spice up their sex lives but not with the BDSM life style. I think perhaps women are getting a little turned on from reading the book and perhaps making sex exciting again but I'm not so sure they are adding anything other than some possible role play to the mix.
BLVR: I wouldn't classify these acts as true BDSM but it doesn't matter I suppose. I would hope that a reader would be inspired to bring the themes that move them into their own lives and act upon them. Absolutely! Harry Potter can help children feel brave and courageous. There are countless examples of literary characters or scenes giving people solace, hope, courage and inspiration. If 50 Shades helps reignite a romantic spark - I'm all for it! These games are not for everyone and there will be readers who will stop reading or simply enjoy being voyeurs.
Alli: To be quite honest, a book shouldn't be the catalyst to revive someone's sex life. Reading about non-vanilla sex might make them desire sex more with their partner, but would it make them branch out and try something new? Probably not.
Lil: What Day said.
Chrissy: I'm sure that many readers will view it that way but both parties are not always apt to participate. If it works for them then great if it doesn't at least they can say that they tried. Although I agree with Alli, it shouldn't be the catalyst.
Suz: Although 50 Shades uses the correct shibboleths from the BDSM community and suggests the proper forms it’s not, in my opinion, a BDSM book. It’s a slap & tickle bedroom book in which the virginal, inexperienced female protagonist manipulates and controls the highly experienced but emotionally bankrupt dominant throughout. In the BDSM scene they call it “topping from the bottom.” Since there really isn’t any BDSM other than references and props and a bit of spanking and light bondage, I would say it’s not really a BDSM book. Do I think it will help people feel better about wanting to shake up their sex lives and try something “new and naughty?” Yes. It already is. Will that be BDSM? I doubt more than a very few people will find their way into a BDSM community or lifestyle from these books. As for partners that are offended/ disgusted – I suppose they will do what curious partners have been doing from the beginning of time: either forget about it or go exploring on their own.
Kitt: What is there really to add to this that hasn't already been said, except no, I don't think the majority of women will suddenly feel the urge to take BDSM into their bedroom. At least I didn't. However, I do think that this book is having the same effect of other erotic romances by giving the women the urge to have sex more often.
Chrissy: If you enjoy the overall storyline of a book, can you overlook the unnecessary reiteration throughout a novel or does it annoy you? Example: the continuing emphasis on the fact that Ana is a bookworm and that Christian is gorgeous.
Day: Yes. IF I enjoyed the overall storyline those things could be overlooked.
Mona: A book must be really good for me to overlook something that annoying. Oh, my.
Noa: I think it would be very difficult to say. There are just so many things that annoyed me in this book. Ana's inner goddess, Christian's hair, Ana's inner goddess, her other inner character, her inner goddess... See? annoying right? And the storyline didn't help.
Eowyn: I think perhaps I can overlook unnecessary reiteration if I'm really enjoying the book. For most of this book I felt it was strained and I was back in High School.
BLVR: I did overlook it eventually. I found that the character development and story arcs became increasingly interesting enough to make me more generous towards forgiving certain crutches the author employed.
Alli: Probably. I do get annoyed with repetitive themes being beaten into my skull, but if the story is amazing I tend to ignore the nagging voice inside my head.
Lil: No I can't. I tried. Really really hard.
Chrissy: For me, it takes away from the book and can be the difference between whether or not I like a book at all. Writing style is very important to me as both a reader and a writer.
Suz: It depends on the book and whether or not I’m getting properly lost in the story and characters and the world. Generally if it’s annoying me it’s also pulling me out of the “world.” There was a lot of annoyance factor with unnecessary reiteration in this book. In fairness, that does improve a bit as you move through each book but since we’re only talking about the first book I’d have to say it was above average annoying in this book, but not as bad as I have seen in some books by much more established authors.
Kitt: I'd have to really like the book. But like Chrissy, it can make or break a book for me. In Fifty in particular, I couldn't ignore it, like a little electric shock every time she mentioned her inner Goddess, her subconscious, every time she said 'Oh my'
Kitt: What are your thoughts on Anna and Christian in general? Were they well developed or one-dimensional? How about the secondary characters of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY?
Day: Unimpressed all down the board. More development with all characters would have been nice.
Mona: Paper dolls. Repetitive paper dolls.
Noa: There were characters in 50 Shades of Grey? O_o
Eowyn: Character development was lacking.
BLVR: Yes - I believe that James imbued her Ana & Christian with complexity. But Ana could have acheived a higher level of complexity without a doubt. I think James was exceptionally brave in the last book when she gives us Christian's POV of his first meeting with Anna. He is truly unappealing and a cad.
Alli: Like most of the other dolls, I felt that the character development was very one-dimensional. We learn about them at only the most superficial level. I had a hard time connecting to Ana and Christian, which makes me like the story a lot less.
Lil: I didn't really read enough to make an observation about character development. I can say the characters did not draw me in and I didn't find myself invested in them in the least. I guess that made it easier to put the book down.
Chrissy: I strongly agree that the characters were one dimensional.
Suz: It was fairly poor in the first book but improved a bit as you move through the rest of the trilogy, for both the protagonists and some of the secondary characters. In the first book there was so much reiteration and so much mind talk that seemed juvenile and insipid that it left the characters fairly flat. I think that time could have been better spent developing situations to put the characters in that would have shown us their characters.
Kitt: I'm going to agree with Suz here, and some of the other Dolls. As the books continue, we do get to see further growth from both Christian and Ana, but for Fifty Shades by itself, both characters were flat. <laughs at Noa>, I could see how you missed them.
Lil: How did you feel about the POV? Was the inner dialogue helpful to you as a reader or distracting from the story?
Day: My thoughts on Ana's inner dialogue? Annoying. Personally, I wanted to scream at her to shut up about her inner goddess. But that is just me.
Mona: My inner goddess kicked the crap out of her inner goddess….and her noisy subconscious, too. Just shut up and let me read.
Noa: Her inner goddess, her subconscious... I take it back, there were characters in 50 Shades, they were all in Ana's head.
Eowyn: I have to agree with the rest of you on the inner dialogue. I was so sick of her inner goddess! I wanted to scream at her inner goddess and it didn't even make sense to me the things her inner goddess would be doing. I mean really? I think inner dialogue can be helpful but in this book I wanted to scream at it.
BLVR: A-ha!!! I loved it! I really did! Those are the moments and devices that make literature great. A visual medium could not have done those moments justice. James chose a clever way to showcase her character's logic fighting with her libido.
Alli: I teeter-tottered between meh and annoyed with the inner dialogue. By the way, where's my inner goddess these days?
Since this is a short novella, there’s not a lot of time for character development, and some of you may find that detrimental. But if you’re looking for something different and hot, this might interest you. It’s definitely for those of you who like some spice in your books, but don’t have a lot of time to read.
A Blood Seduction hooked me right from the start with a different twist on the whole vampire trope, and I couldn’t put it down.
The protagonist, Quinn Lennox, knows she’s different, but after her mother dies and her father remarries she suddenly becomes an outsider in her own home.
When her baby brother comes along, she’s supposed to stay away from him so of course, she makes him the focus of all her love and attention. Years later when his girlfriend vanishes, Quinn is determined to help him find her, and in the process, the two of them embark on a terrifying journey through a strange dimension filled with vampires.
I’m fascinated by the different breed of vamps that populate the pages, especially Arturo, but I doubt he can be trusted. He appears to develop real feelings for Quinn, but then does or says something that negates them, and I’m right back to square one. Do I trust him or not?
Some of the horrendous acts performed on the humans were hard to read, but since the vamps feed on pain or fear, the acts fuel the progression of Quinn’s attachment to Arturo. By the last chapter, I was convinced Arturo really loved her only to have that certainty blasted out of the water. Now I’m on the fence and don’t know which way to turn.
The world building is wonderful, and I could visualize it as I read. The vamp hierarchy is interesting and contributed to my on/off appreciation of Arturo. Since few truly care for her, Quinn is fiercely protective of those she loves, and that could end up becoming her strength or her weakness. I’m curious to see how that plays out.
Yes, it was a bloody, violent, emotional book—that’s what made the vampire world so horrifying to imagine. It also gave Quinn a reason to fight back, and I can see where her ability to discover and hone her own talents will make or break future events.
Minor spoilers, possible... I've actually searched the internet on how best to describe Pamela Palmer's A Blood Seduction. Some refer to it as a paranormal romance, others as urban fantasy romance, others still as dark urban fantasy romance, but let me make this clear: A Blood Seduction is not a romance. Far from it, in fact. I personally think it would be best described as a horror.
Quinn Lennox, along with her half-brother Zack, fall down the "rabbit hole" into a parallel universe of Washington, D.C. circa 1870, aptly named Washington, V.C. or Vamp City. Everything in this alternate reality is exactly as it would have been back then except in disrepair... and filled with blood thirsty fiends. Though, it's not just neglect ripping this city apart, the magic holding it together is breaking down and letting the human world seep through its cracks bringing with it sunlight to brighten a world in perpetual darkness. After Quinn gets captured by Arturo shortly after her arrival, he soon discovers a secret about her that he hopes will save his world from being destroyed.
I have to hand it to Ms. Palmer, from the very first page, I was sucked into her world, compelled to keep reading even though every part of me was screaming for me to stop. Her world is harsh, violent, sickening and terrifying. I don't think I ever enjoyed one moment. Her vampires are the epitome of terror. Not only do they feed on blood, but the majority feed on pain, fear, and pleasure. After years of honing their skill, most take just as much delight in the chilling acts that they perform as the release given to them by it.
To feed, the vampires make slaves of the poor souls that they stole before their magic started failing or ones unlucky enough to fall through one of the many wholes between the two worlds that have now started popping up all over Vamp City. These humans are nothing more than cattle, no, lower if that's possible, rats to them. They think because they glamour them, nothing they can do will affect them, but most of what we see through Quinn's eyes.. you just can't come back from that. I found in some places it was hard to keep the nausea from rolling up at the things being described - This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.
It’s hard when reading a book not to look for that ray of light. That small glimmer of hope. You want, or need, a reason to fight, but in Vamp City, it isn’t just crushed, it’s obliterated. The vamps are so strong and adept that it magnifies how powerless the naïve and directionless Quinn is throughout the whole book, how she fumbles her way through, never making plans, and always relying on others to save her. To make matters worse, I found myself silently screaming at her repeatedly for making the same mistakes over and over and over and over – like with Arturo.
Normally, I root for the anti-hero. He has always been my favorite. Is he good or bad? Can he be saved? Never before have I ever wished so much for a heroine to grow a pair and kill the hero. This is a first for me. Arturo has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Every time Quinn starts to trust him, he shows her another reason why she shouldn’t have. He’s a snake, a liar, playing on Quinn’s vulnerably and loneliness. The crux is she knows this! But lets him continue to get close to her so he can do it again all because of the burning desire that rears up every time she gets close to him! Sex? Or survival? Sex? Or survival? Hmmm… I pick survival, but that’s just me.
A friend of ours described A Blood Seduction perfect for me – it polarizes the reader. On one hand, this book will have you ranting and raving, shocked and appalled, or just plain irritated by the shear helplessness. On the other, Ms. Palmer seduced me, kept me reading, and fighting for Quinn. Her world building was fantastic and her writing keeps you in abject horror, but you’ll continue to read until that very last page. I think fans of Laurell K. Hamilton will find it to be a perfect fit, especially those intrigued by Queen Andais like myself. I’ll be reading the next in Pamela Palmer’s Vamp City series.(less)
Imaginative world building, unlikely allies, and the hint of a love story keep this novel moving at a brisk pac...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Imaginative world building, unlikely allies, and the hint of a love story keep this novel moving at a brisk pace. Sydney’s rough around the edges and hovers just outside of respectability, and her on again-off again lover, Zared, makes the reader wonder if he’s to be trusted.
Arrested for stealing from a Guild official, she’s sentenced to hang, but at the last minute, she’s taken to the edge of the forest and tied to the Wizard Tree where, in years past, scores of Tuatha were put to death. She’s rescued by a wizard named Oryn and taken to his castle to meet his granddaughter Vadnae, a knight named Gregor, and Brother Erik, the monk.
This unlikely foursome sets out to defeat the Guild and bring Willem, the bastard heir apparent, to the throne. But the Guild has a terrifying enforcer named Schrammig who is determined to see Sydney hang, and cuts a swath of destruction everywhere he goes.
As they elude Schrammig, a connection between Sydney and Willem develops and grows. She can help him in ways the others cannot, and it’s up to her to get him safely through the underground tunnels in order to fulfill his destiny.
While I enjoyed the story, there were times it needed a little more tension. Sydney’s showdown with Shrammig needed a smidge more intensity, because during that final confrontation, I wondered how she subdued him with a few well-placed kicks to the body. All in all, it was an entertaining read, and I feel that as Ms. Young-Turner pushes past her comfort zone her writing will sparkle. On the plus side for many of you….it didn’t end with a cliffhanger.(less)
This is the sort of book I keep in reserve for when I’m burned out and need a break. I know there will be romance and an HEA, and somewhere in there will be the doubt and conflict needed to keep it interesting.
When I downloaded The Cowboy Takes a Bride, I’d just finished back-to-back-to back PNRs. Needless to say, my vampire meter was warped and needed rest. I figured a contemporary romance was just the thing. I settled in and read it in one evening, and it did the trick….total mental palate cleanser.
While I enjoyed Mariah and Joe, he aggravated me by ignoring the fact that his late wife’s sister, Ila, had the hots for him. Most men seem to have built-in radar for that sort of thing, and I got annoyed more than once when he treated her like one of the guys—oblivious of her attraction to him. He also tended to put his late wife Becca on a pedestal when she was far from perfect.
Mariah’s father had deserted her and her mom for the cutting horse scene when she was very young, and because of this, she has a hard time believing Joe could really be a family man.
Both Mariah and Joe seemed to indulge in an unusual amount of angsty internal dialogue, but they’d both accumulated more than their fair share of emotional scars, so I guess they were entitled. At times, I feared they would completely talk themselves out of falling in love, but in the end true love won out.
Overall, it was a pleasant diversion, and gave me a chance to recharge my mental batteries. After all, a girl can’t live on dark, wicked supernatural beings alone.(less)
Minerva Highwood is a geologist at a time when it’s a forbidden occupation for women. That isn’t all that’s forbidden to her…Lord Payne also falls into that category. In her mother’s estimation, he’s reserved for her much nicer, much prettier sister, Diana.
Bespectacled, intelligent, and socially inept Minerva discovers a fossil belonging to an heretofore undiscovered species of giant reptile. Determined to leave her mark on the world, she secretly enlists the aid of Lord Colin Payne to escort her to the Royal Geological Society symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Lord Payne is attracted to Minerva, but he’s stuck in this Godforsaken castle until his birthday….or until he marries. Then he can claim and manage his own life. Until that time, he’s at the mercy of his cousin, Lord Rycliff. He’s also at the mercy of his personal demons.
After witnessing the brutal deaths of his parents at the age of eight, he’s haunted by nightmares and the memories of abuse by his fellow classmates.
As a child, Minerva was considered stupid until someone realized she needed glasses. To compensate for years of feeling stupid, she threw herself into books of all kinds completely shutting out the rest of the world.
How can two such emotionally crippled people possibly work together long enough to get to Scotland? It’s not easy, but bit by bit, mile by mile, they discover unknown strengths in the other that help offset their own weaknesses. They also discover a weakness for each other.
Tessa Dare is one of my favorite authors. Her characters come alive on the page, displaying all the foibles that make them live and breathe. I caught myself rooting for the unlikely couple to make it to Edinburgh, help each other, and find the love they both deserved. At turns, funny and sad, this is a tale that will have you cheering Minerva and Colin on and hissing the naysayers.(less)
I have a confession to make. I’m really on the fence about this book and I hate that. On one hand, it had all the right ingredients for a topnotch historical romance, but on the other, it missed the mark.
The characters were sometimes mere shadows of themselves, while the protagonist, Emily, often seemed bi-polar. I looked for more depth in the former romantic relationship as well as in Emily’s sisters, but it kept slipping away, never quite taking shape. Francis was a man tormented, yet it never seemed quite real.
The story is set in England in 1811, still a somewhat prudish time; however, at one point the author has Emily and Francis waltzing close together, which we all know simply wasn’t done. Not only that, but while she’s attending a ball, Emily’s white knuckles are mentioned…when it’s generally accepted that women didn’t appear in public at that time with bare hands. Another point that bothered me was the author’s reference to Francis turning off the light as opposed to extinguishing the lamp or candle. In my mind, I kept seeing this man in breeches flipping a light switch. Needless to say, it totally pulled me out of the story.
Emily would have been better served by eliminating half the inner dialogue and sharpening the prose. The reader is smart enough to complete some actions on their own without detailing everything. For instance, if, during a conversation about someone named Dave, I were to say, “He is the noblest man I know,” you could correctly assume I meant Dave. Such was not the case in this book. References were detailed to the point they became annoying and I wanted to shout, “Yes, I get it!” And unless the color of a ribbon has some bearing on the story, I don’t give a flip about it the first time much less the other dozen or so that it’s mentioned.
Anyone who’s read my previous reviews knows that I love books of all kinds, and I can usually find something redeeming in nearly everything I read. I’m sorry to say this was the proverbial straw for me. I truly believe Ms. Barnes has great potential as evidenced by the imaginative premise of the story, but unfortunately, she’s not there yet. Even more disturbing is the fact that the editor let the story ramble and thereby risked alienating future readers. (less)
If you’re looking for a good laugh, you’ve come to the right place. J.B. Lynn has given us the next Stephanie Plum in the form of Maggie Lee.
What’s a girl supposed to do when an accident leaves her sister and brother-in-law dead, her tiny niece Katie in a coma, and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses? As a claims representative for Insuring the Future, Maggie doesn’t make the kind of money needed ensure her niece has the very best care, so she has to figure out how to cover the costs before the hospital turns Katie over to another facility. She also has to take care of Katie’s very small anole lizard named Godzilla….God for short. Oh, yeah, he talks. At least, he talks to Maggie.
After being rudely accosted in the hospital hallway by a sleazy jerk, Maggie decides to give him a piece of her mind and follows him into a patient’s room only to discover that he’s smothering the patient. She does the only thing she can think of—hits him with a plastic chair—thereby preventing a murder. She later learns the man was Alfonso Cifelli, son-in-law to mob boss Anthony/Tony Delveccio. (Delveccio is a twin. Their not-too-bright mother named them Tony and Anthony and Maggie has no idea which one she’s dealing with.) The person she saved turned out to be Anthony/Tony’s grandson…Alfonso’s son.
Anthony/Tony makes her an offer: Kill Alfonso and he’ll pay her one hundred thousand dollars—enough money to keep Katie right where she is. But since Maggie has no skills and only a week to do the job, Anthony/Tony arranges a meeting with someone who will train her. That someone turns out to be police detective/hitman Patrick Mulligan.
The path of the story is never straight, never what you expect, but always darkly funny. Maggie’s three weird aunts, incarcerated father, and mother in the loony bin make it seem she’s the only sane person around. But after talking to God (the lizard), she begins to doubt her own sanity.
The secondary characters are as bold and quirky as Maggie Lee. You’ll fall in love with her co-worker, Armani Vasques, who gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘smart ass’ and Paul Kowalski, who may or may not be a dirty cop. Fifty-something Aunt Leslie, who’s usually higher than a kite, is twin to Aunt Loretta, the sex kitten.
This dark comedy is great entertainment, and I hope Lynn plans to make this into a series, because I can’t wait to read more.(less)