I didn't especially like the first book in this series. But I adore this one. The author hit his stride somehow with this one. Sports never meA Winner
I didn't especially like the first book in this series. But I adore this one. The author hit his stride somehow with this one. Sports never meant anything to me, so for me to read an entire book about basketball is quite laughable. But I did, and I'm admitting to it. The characters of this book were so vivid, those we were meant to adore and those we were meant to despise. Warts and all, they were so real that I had to keep reading to see what happened next. From one page to the next I was really never sure what was coming next. It was nice to watch Danny grow and mature and come into his own over the course of this story. John Goode has delivered another winner with this book....more
Anything by Amy Lane is dependably solid. This one was well written, had lovable characters, which surprisingly extended to the secondary characters aAnything by Amy Lane is dependably solid. This one was well written, had lovable characters, which surprisingly extended to the secondary characters as well. I cannot recall another book I've read lately where there was such a rich cast of supporting players who were vivid and very much part of the story. This book is a textbook example of how to do that well.
I was unclear on why the thread about the French maid was even part of the book, just as I was unclear about the entire break-in thread. The story would have been stronger without them. I know they were a vehicle to make something happen that was central to the plot, but I would have eliminated them and made the story tighter.
Overall, good marks. She never disappoints....more
All I can say is wow! This one packs one hell of a punch. This is the first book by this author, but I want more! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll beAll I can say is wow! This one packs one hell of a punch. This is the first book by this author, but I want more! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be tempted to throw the book across the room occasionally shouting something like "Don't do that!", but all the time you'll go on because the story is just so engrossing. This story is a story of life, with all the ups and downs that come with it. ...more
There are not enough good things I can say about this book. The premise was superb. The characters were so real that you could practically see them blThere are not enough good things I can say about this book. The premise was superb. The characters were so real that you could practically see them bleed right on the page. There was a richness to this story, the writing, the characters, that was incredible. For a long time I've wanted a really good book that blended spirituality and sensuality (not sexuality, necessarily) together - I've now found that book.
The author clearly has done her homework on all of the right wing fundamentalist Christian arguments, right down to the particular verses they pick and the ones they conveniently omit. But she goes beyond that by presenting the ongoing struggle Isaac is enduring as he wrestles with what he knows deep down in his heart to be true, regardless of how much it goes against everything his father has tried to indoctrinate him in just the opposite direction.
Page after page I could see Isaac struggling, gaining and then losing ground, in his seemingly never-ending struggle to figure out who he was and where he belonged. But right along with him, on a separate track, Colton is fighting his own battles with his past. Each man sees in the other something they crave, something they desire, but both are scared to go after it for entirely different reasons.
The struggles in this book are real. The angst is absolutely not manufactured. I read a lot and in 98% of romance novels (including my own), the angst is usually forced, to one degree or another. But not in this book. This is one of those rare books where the angst is plausible, realistic and completely in keeping with the story and the characters.
I could go on, but I'll stop by simply saying read this book. I give it top marks. Thank you to the author for giving us such an incredibly powerful story. ...more
Real engaging writing style. The book summarizes several years spent talking with Tea Party conservatives in rural Louisiana to find out why they go sReal engaging writing style. The book summarizes several years spent talking with Tea Party conservatives in rural Louisiana to find out why they go so heavily Republican while at the same time valuing much of what Democrats have secured for them. For example, environmental protection in a state where industry has for decades simply dumped toxic waste, ruining creeks, streams and bayous for fishing for an entire generation if not longer.
It seems to come down to what Bill Clinton had as his mantra while running for President the first time: "It's all about jobs." They keep falling for the same promises over and over and over again that if you give industry lots of incentives they'll come in and bring with them lots of great paying jobs. Sure, industry will move in if given ten years of tax breaks. But industry today is more automated than ever before.
While there is short-term need for people to build an oil refinery, for example, the actual people needed to run it are fewer than 100, and most of them have to be imported because the locals simply do not have the knowledge or ability to do the few jobs available. And instead of pumping lots of money into the communities, the vast bulk of corporate profits go out-of-state and never hit the Louisiana economy. Profits are paid to share holders who by and large do NOT live in Louisiana.
The book touches on the demise of the American dream, the feeling of white Americans that they are being pushed to the back of the line behind everyone else, the deep suspicion of conventional news sources (e.g., CNN), the deep devotion to Fox News, and an intense dislike of the federal government (despite the fact that 44% of the Louisiana state budget comes from the federal government). There remains a surprising amount of residual "anger" over the fact that the South lost the Civil War. The level of misinformation that people portrayed in this book believe as gospel is simply shocking.
Overall, the premise of the book was good. The data collected was good. The writing style was very engaging. My chief complaint with the book was simply that it was twice as long as it needed to be. The author told us the story completely in the first hundred pages, and then seemed to repeat much of that story in the latter half of the book. I read the first half very carefully, but when the story started to repeat I found myself skimming more....more
Delightful read that was not the standard cookie-cutter romance. Interesting approach that I wasn't sure about initially, but it worked remarkably welDelightful read that was not the standard cookie-cutter romance. Interesting approach that I wasn't sure about initially, but it worked remarkably well in this author's capable hands....more
I recently finished reading the book Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg. This was the first book by this author that I had read and I have to say I want moreI recently finished reading the book Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg. This was the first book by this author that I had read and I have to say I want more.
I was quite pleased with how engaging a story she has given to us. The two main characters, Kell and Gethin, have a chance encounter at a birthday party for a friend. Both Kell and Gethin were extraordinarily engaging, likable, and endearing in quite different ways.
I could practically feel Gethin's grumbling as he had to help out a friend by working as a waiter at a huge party his friend was catering. Gethin's observations, his reluctance, his griping -- it all was terribly real.
Kell was a different case for me. I came to like him as much, but it took me quite a while to get there. Part of this was because he was undercover so the Kell we meet initially is not the real Kell. But that turns out to be a good thing when we see how his "boyfriend", Marek, misuses him. Marek is Eastern European muscle hired to work security at the same club where Kell worked. Kell had been selected for the assignment for two reasons: he was gay, and he was good looking. He hated Marek, but he needed to get close to him to get closer to mastermind of the entire operation. It was imperative that Kell learn how extensive an operation he was trying to take down.
The first time Kell and Gethin got together was not an overwhelming success, but the second time was far better, and the third time was knock your socks off hot. Before either of them knew it was happening, they were becoming very taken with the other, but that connection came with entirely too much baggage for Kell and went against Gethin's very nature.
The writing was clear, the story was well plotted, and the characters were lovable. I give this book probably a 4 out of 5 and would have no hesitation recommending it to someone else to read. The adventure sequences with Kell and Gethin were griping and kept me on the edge of my seat. I could not put the book down during those scenes - they were so vivid I felt like I was right there with them.
The only reason I didn't give the book five stars was that I found a couple of weak points. The first point is simply that if Kell is so deeply undercover, he would never have gone to see his brother, called his father, and he most definitely would not have gone to a friend's birthday party along with hundreds of other guests. Had he truly been undercover, this simply would not have happened. Those who go undercover go deeply undercover, severing all ties with their real lives and completely assume the character of the person they are pretending to be. They do not take breaks to go back to their real lives, even briefly, and certainly not publicly. Kell is trying to take down a criminal ring that extended far beyond the doors of the club where he worked, so he could not risk being seen by anyone who could recognize him and get work back to the club owner and/or Marek that Kell was really a cop.
I found the entire storyline with Jonnie to be cumbersome and annoying. In my view, he could be deleted from the story and it would be improved by making the story flow better. Every time the narration shifted to him I groaned.
The storyline involving Dieter was good, but Dieter could have been given a bit more of a personality. He was a bit of a cardboard cutout and could have been much richer since he played a somewhat pivotal role in one part of the book. Also Dieter went through an amazing transformation going from sheltered high school student to slutpuppy stripping in a gay club - I would love to have seen a bit of the progression of how he got from one to the other.
I close on a positive note. I absolutely adored Angel and Henry and their two dogs. Angel was a perfect combination fairy godfather/mother/father/dirty old man for Gethin. I loved him. When he and Henry were getting Gethin into the leather harness so he could go into a gay club on BDSM night, I laughed. Seeing how Kell helped Gethin use that harness later was smoking hot. Want to know more? Read the book.
I'll be honest - I hesitated reading this one. I felt put off by it. But all of the other stories in the series had been so good I finally decided toI'll be honest - I hesitated reading this one. I felt put off by it. But all of the other stories in the series had been so good I finally decided to give this one a try as well. I'm glad I did. Anytime there is a hint of someone being able to "convert" a gay man into a straight man, it rubs me the wrong way. While that seemed to be what was going on in this story, part way through the book it became apparent that this was not the case.
The storyline for this book is fairly straightforward. Taylor Fitzgerald's father is a total dick. The story opens on the eve of Taylor's 25th birthday. When he happens to stop by his father's house to pick up something, he just happens to hear his father on the telephone talking about how easy it was to dupe his son out of his $50 million inheritance that he's expecting on his 25th birthday because he has failed to fulfill the requirements of his grandfather's will.
He rushes home and reads the will, baffled. He reads it again and notices a footnote buried several pages back - to inherit on his 25th birthday, he must marry a woman out of love. Well, hell. Big problems abound: (1) Taylor is gay, right down to tattooing this statement on his butt, (2) he turns 25 in less than 12 hours, (3) he doesn't have any friends who can help him out by marrying him.
He flies to Vegas, hires a high end escort to marry him, but when she doesn't show he's convinced its over - he's lost to his father. But then when the hotel maid brings towels to his room and he hears her singing, he's entranced. They talk and he asks her to marry him, telling her exactly why. She flat out refuses but comes back, having reconsidered and they marry.
But surprise! Ally May isn't a girl, she's a guy. And surprise again! Ally's father is the son of one of Fitzgerald's biggest competitors who will stop at nothing to bring his son home and ship him off to Brazil to marry and cement an important business relationship for his company
With a set-up like that, this is a story that never runs out of adventures, cloak and dagger things that rank right up there with the adventures of Lucy and Ethel, and a couple of determined and lovable characters. Generally nicely done, well written, nicely drawn characters. ...more
It is quickly becoming apparent to me that Ariel Tachna creates some of the most vivid, richly-drawn characters out there today. Every time I read oneIt is quickly becoming apparent to me that Ariel Tachna creates some of the most vivid, richly-drawn characters out there today. Every time I read one of her books I am so sucked in by the characters. I can picture them, I can see them, I can practically smell them -- and yes, since this story deals with a stable and with horses there are smells that go with the characters.
This is a great story. Two characters that project ability but really are scared just beneath the surface by their pasts. They each have to struggle to overcome what happened to them before, but for the other they can and do. I love this series and I loved this story. Very nicely done and highly recommended....more
This book had some of the incredibly well-drawn characters I've found in quite a long time. The author did a phenomenal job of making the characters rThis book had some of the incredibly well-drawn characters I've found in quite a long time. The author did a phenomenal job of making the characters real. Their anger, admiration, respect, distrust -- all of it -- leapt off the page. This one was a real page turner for me. The only real flaw I had with the story was that the transition of the two main characters from hating one another to loving one another was a bit too fast. It felt a bit jarring and could have taken place a little bit slower, but that is not a major flaw. This is still a first class story that I thoroughly enjoyed and would gladly recommend to anyone looking for a good book to read. The entire Dreamspun Desires series has been great, this one included....more