Frigid, is a stand alone novel written by J. Lynn. A pen name of well known author Jennifer Armentrout. I have never read work from this author underFrigid, is a stand alone novel written by J. Lynn. A pen name of well known author Jennifer Armentrout. I have never read work from this author under any of her published names….a mistake I plan to rectify immediately. Every now and then, I find myself in the mood to read a simple love story, lacking any “out of the realm of normal” elements. Lucky for me, as I would not have discovered this novel otherwise.
It is Winter here in the good ol’ North Country. And so, being the season that I find myself curled up next to my wood stove with snow falling outside–I figured this was the perfect time of year to read a novel based upon two people finding themselves stranded at Snow Shoe around the holidays. Having became friends with my now husband of 11 years, at age 16, my interest was piqued by the story arc of two best friends since childhood, discovering their unrequited love for one another. Let me just say, although I need to read like I need to breathe…I am perhaps the pickiest reader in the world. If a novel doesn’t grab my attention immediately, and keep hold, I lose interest; and have no choice but to move on to the next book. It takes something really special to captivate me, especially in a “normal” romance story. So imagine my surprise to have read Frigid, cover to cover, all in one sitting. I could not put this book down; proof that if it is a good story, its a good story. Period. When an author gets it right, it matters little what genre the book comes from.
J. Lynn shows us the journey of Kyler and Sydney seamlessly. We begin this journey with our hero and heroine secretly pining after one another during a gathering between friends. It becomes clear rather quickly that these two friends view the other as “out of reach”, even as they continue to share the deep friendship that is second nature to them. It isn’t long before readers discover that Sydney views herself as the polar opposite of Kyler’s type. Which is of course the truth. It is fact, as he has never shown even the slightest interest in Sydney as a woman, or as more than a friend.
Let me pause here for a minute and express that I typically do not enjoy first person point of view. There is just something about being allowed to only see through one character’s eye, that feels incredibly stifling for me. However, I really enjoyed Frigid, because of the alternating perspectives between the hero and heroine. Upon our first visit into Kyler’s psyche we learn about his troubled, and difficult upbringing. We learn about the losses, and suffering in his life that has shaped him into the man he is today, and we learn how these altering circumstances spawn his behavior. Syd, as Kyler calls her, is far too bright a light for him to ever approach. It isn’t long before we discover that Kyler has never shown interest, because from where he is standing, a woman like Sydney is far beyond the reach of a man like him. Interesting how these two people that know each other better than anyone else in their world….somehow…are complete strangers when it comes to what exists within the heart.
The story progresses with a planned skiing trip between their group of friends. Kyler and Sydney decide to travel towards Snow Shoe in a separate vehicle than the rest, and arrive just ahead of a massive Winter storm. They find themselves snowed in at the cabin. Alone. And with no power save a generator. Their friends are unable to make their way in, and Kyler and Sydney are left with no way out. Cut off from the group, and holding no links to the outside world, these two best friends are left with no place to hide, including from each other. The literary thermostat kicks up a notch, when an effort to stay warm goes horribly wrong…or wonderfully right…whichever way you choose to see it. Many of you have probably heard me state that sex in a story is not what I necessarily define as “romance”. Well…let me just say (and coming from me this is pretty significant) the chemistry of this couple is off the charts. It is sizzling, and just plain hot, in a way that you need to read in order to understand. As a reader that thrives on the emotion of a story, this book gets stars all across the board…but few authors have ever made me literally fan myself…and then go searching out my hubby. (Josh thanks you Ms. Armentrout. *snort*)
However, what really grabbed me with this story, is that is isn’t all pretty and wrapped in a bow when these two face what they have been keeping inside. It isn’t fluffy and white like the snow which has entrapped them. It is raw, unhindered, and unrepentant. It is staggering when all the pent up emotion, long denied attraction, and uncontrollable love entwines, and is unleashed. Communication is jumbled, horrible misunderstandings occur…and feelings are deeply hurt on both sides. Can the soul deep friendship, and new bloom of love between our hero’s withstand such a cataclysm? More important by far….when strange happenings lead to the realization that someone is stalking their every move–will they even make it off the mountain alive?
This book was very fast paced, and current. Filled with humorous banter, and crazy, off the wall scenes that literally had me laughing out loud at times. The characters were very well developed, flawed as we all are, and simply wonderful. Such an endearing, and relate-able storyline, with a sprinkle of darkness and mystery mixed in. A Perfect read for the holidays, and one that has been added to my annual list of classic’s that I re-read every single year at Christmas time…if I can wait that long. I highly recommend this book!
Pleasantly surprised with this one, upon reaching it's conclusion. I did not expect the author to be able to establish a tangible connection between tPleasantly surprised with this one, upon reaching it's conclusion. I did not expect the author to be able to establish a tangible connection between the hero and heroine by the end. One would think that impossible after waiting over 150 pages for the two characters to come face to face in a less than 400 page novel. Nor did I expect to feel emotionally invested in these characters.
For a debut novel I found it witty and entertaining. McQuiston has a wonderful sense of humor, and is clever in the delivery of this story. If you are a fan of author's who take their time building the romance slowly, instead of providing instant gratification; you should definately try this book. ...more
I try to approach any novel I have yet to read with an open mind, even if it is compiled of a style I am unused to reading in. Despite knowing that thI try to approach any novel I have yet to read with an open mind, even if it is compiled of a style I am unused to reading in. Despite knowing that the book Chasing Atlantis; written by new author Kelly Coughlin, appeared to be out of my comfort zone, I sat down; made myself comfortable, and began. I came away from the completion of the book pleasantly surprised in some ways, and in other ways, exactly how I was expecting to feel. Moving on to the review….
It is easy to tell that teenagers who enjoy the Fantasy genre will love this book. Amy, our heroine is full of vibrant energy. Although as an adult, I could not relate and connect on a personal level with her fierce, opinionated nature, I found myself amused at her antics, and thought processes. I struggled a bit with the first person perspective, as I tend to prefer receiving third person P.O.V while navigating a novel. However, Chasing Atlantis had a nice steady pace flowing from the introduction of the heroine, (and her humorous breakup of her current boyfriend) to the location of where our journey will take place.
In no time at all, I found the fantasy buff within me intrigued with the mystical ”beings” of Ms. Coughlin’s world. It was piercingly clear once Amy arrived at her Mother’s home, that things were not as they appeared. Including her Mother, and her stepfather, Steve themselves. Feeling out of sorts and an instinctual need to put space between herself and the parents who feel like strangers…Amy gets into her vehicle and drives. Finding herself inexplicably drawn towards the beach.
What would any YA premise be without a mysterious, darkly handsome boy? Enter Ty and his two brothers. Patrick, the eldest, silent and brooding by nature, and Henry, who is quite the jokester. All three present a veneer of civility to hide their secrets, and all three seam to know exactly who Amy is. How could these brothers know her when she only just met them? And why does Ty feel familiar? It is only a matter of time before our heroine finds herself in the middle of personal agenda’s, coming at her from many different directions.
I enjoyed attempting to discover who was friend, and who was foe alongside our female lead. The backstories of Ty, Amy, the brothers, and the frightening Adam, was well written. Yet I found it all a little too far on the vague side. It feels as if this was deliberate on the part of the author? Perhaps there are plans for more adventures with Ty and Amy. By the end, I felt as if I lacked a complete grasp on why Amy was caught between the power struggle.
Despite no specific “Ah-ha” moment; where all the pieces of the puzzle fell in place for me, the ending was filled with action, and suspense. Thank you Kelly Coughlin for showing me that sometimes it is okay to step outside of my literary bubble and look around. I will be keeping an eye out for Ty and Amy in the future.
River of Dreams, written by Lynn Kurland, is the highly anticipated 8th installment into the fantastic Nine Kingdom’s series. It is Book # 2 of the thRiver of Dreams, written by Lynn Kurland, is the highly anticipated 8th installment into the fantastic Nine Kingdom’s series. It is Book # 2 of the third trilogy; following the quest of Runach of Ceingail and Aisling of Bruadair. If I could describe this caliber of writing in only one sentence, I would state that these books are like music…a rhapsody not for the ears, but for the eyes. Lynn Kurland is perhaps the only author I have ever contemplated buying the audio version, over the written–simply so I can listen to her phonetic style of pen being read aloud. I have never come across such lyricism before, and therefore cannot accurately describe. It is a signature stamp of authenticity, if you will, for the old world feeling one receives upon visiting a series such as this, and something a reader must personally experience, in order to fully understand.
For anyone who has ever wondered at what the “romantic” side of the Fantasy genre has to offer, I urge you to pick up these books. And furthermore, I dare you not to love every second you spend reading them. As a long time patron of Fantasy…I cannot get enough of this series, and would recommend them to any, and all types of readers. Although it could be said, that this novel differed from the non-stop action level found in some of the other work of this series, Ms. Kurland maintains a superb balance with intriguing mystery, heart rending emotion, and tenderness. While I found myself laughing more so with the previous installment Dreamspinner, than with any other novel of the series…in contrast, this book took me in the complete opposite direction.
While River of Dreams held an abundance of humor filled banter between main, and secondary characters–it wouldn’t be a novel of the Nine Kingdoms without such moments after all–this newest addition tugged continuously, and mercilessly at my heartstrings. It showcases what I find to be the most profoundly emotional scene since the second installment; Mage’s Daughter. And may I just say, if books were to be nominated for categories like we see on the big screen…the award for first kiss, goes to Runach and Aisling–hands down. Such a raw, endearing, beautifully romantic moment. My toes curled a little, not gonna lie. I have always been a reader that feels drawn to the emotion contained within a story, more so than with any other element. The Nine Kingdom’s series is teeming with sentiment…one of the many, many reasons this particular series is amongst my most treasured.
With each release, there is something new brought to the table, and River of Dreams was no exception. It can best be defined as a journey to self awareness. Our hero Runach–is a character readers have come to know since the first trilogy of this series. Yet in this installment, we see a transformation, that not even he, himself thought was possible. I must say…I suspected way back upon our first meeting with Runach, and yet this author cleverly derailed my theories at every turn. How ironic to find my suspicions were correct all these books later…and yet the delivery of such, was done in a way I NEVER saw coming. Like our Runach, there is nothing I love more than a good mystery. Kudos for keeping me guessing Ms. Kurland–when I consider myself a veteran at following clues. *laughing*
Which leads me to our female lead, Aisling–who is fast becoming my most favorite heroine of the series. Admittedly, Morgan (from the first trilogy) is a tough character to overthrow. However, Aisling is unique in a way I have come across very rarely in literature. Our first impression of Aisling can be compared to the location with which we first meet her. Like Buel, our heroine is bereft of color, light, and emotion…bereft of life. She is essentially a blank canvas, with which Ms. Kurland gradually adds lines, shading, and contours. Once her character begins to take shape, we glimpse subtle changes here, and there. At first, seeing only minute sprinkles of color, until it morphs into bold, glittering splashes of paint. With each page we turn, Aisling simply….comes to life before our very eyes.
In closing, River of Dreams finally provides a culmination of answers, to many long running questions. How will our hero protect himself, and the woman he has come to love, now that he lacks the magic that once ran within his veins? Who was responsible for our heroine’s dire escape from a life of slavery…and why she was enslaved in the first place? What profound knowledge do Runach’s villainous half-brother’s believe they can filch from within his mind? Many more questions come upon the wake of these answers. What roll could a simple weaver from Bruadair, and a self exiled, elven Prince–possibly play within the nefarious game of darkness that has begun in the Nine Kingdoms? Perhaps most importantly, who…or what is Aisling herself? Together, our hero’s will work towards unearthing the secrets of who they once were, and will define who they have presently become. Both struggle to come to terms with what their places will be in the future. And readers will bear witness…as the fresh bloom of their love is tested against such a cacophony.
Time after time, book after book, Lynn Kurland crafts a tale vividly alive with imagination. Like the power with which her character’s wield, she weaves stories with a magic that could only be conjured from dreams. I look forward to learning where the third and final installment of Aisling, and Runach’s harrowing journey will take us
Shards of Hope, written by Nalini Singh; is the 14th installment in the widely popular Psy-Changeling‘s series. It is difficult to articulate the satiShards of Hope, written by Nalini Singh; is the 14th installment in the widely popular Psy-Changeling‘s series. It is difficult to articulate the satisfaction I feel as a reader upon completion of this novel. Ms. Singh continues to dazzle with her phenomenal imagination, and unparalleled characterization. Shards of Hope is a stunning exploration of the Psy-Changeling World; post Silence, and is an incredible culmination to the Story Arc we have received from this author, thus far. Full of twists, and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end. Time after time, book after book; Nalini Singh has proven herself a master at teasing us with tantalizing secrets, and weaving webs of mystery.
I will begin by stating that each couple, and storyline we receive, compels a new reaction within me. It is difficult to put into words the magic that is conjured, when reading this series. A magic I believe one must experience, in order to understand. It is as though Ms. Singh can shift skin as an author, every bit as effortlessly as the Changelings she created. Ever materializing into something greater, and more profound. With each unique journey, we are transported, and fully immersed, traveling farther than we could have thought possible. Oft times it feels as though two Worlds exist into this one realm, that is like no other in Fiction. In one of these parralels, we travel alongside the wild Changelings. Readers can expect an explosion of warmth, and color. Vibrant textures, and sound. In contrast, the mood following the controlled Psy; is cold, and dark. Subdued, and veiled in darkness.
While a large majority of fans seem to gravitate towards the vibrancy of a Changeling point of view, it is seeing through the eyes of a Psy; that affects me more as a reader. I have many favorite Changeling characters, and appreciate each book for what it is individually….yet the Psy devastate my heart, and drag emotion out of me in ways I have never before experienced with any other book or series. There is just something about the multiple faucets that compile this race, as they struggle to break the chains cast upon them. Powerful…deadly. Brutalized as children, and forced to extinguish all emotion. It is incredible to read the wonder, and near innocence of their exploration of the World. A World where previously they only existed. It moves me beyond words at times, witnessing each Psy Character learn to live. As the pages turn, we gradually see the dark, shadowy canvas of the Psy World, morph into a rainbow of color every bit as brilliant, as their Changeling counterparts.
In regards to this particular installment, I immensely enjoyed the dynamic between the hero, and heroine. I loved how these two phenomenal characters; changed the game on us. Historically; we have seen the women as the beacon of light, shining in the dark for the men. In Shards of Hope, Ms. Singh presents readers with a Psy female who considers herself broken. Pairing her with a Psy male who possesses a core of strength as stable, dependable, and immoveable as a mountain. With Zaira and Aden, we discover a tangible, unbreakable bond of loyalty, commitment, and trust. One that began as children, and continued into adulthood. Rarely do we find a couple that has seen each other through nearly all stages of life. Zaira in my opinion, is one of the most finely crafted, layered female leads of this series. A woman who long ago accepted the damaged side of her psyche. In fact, she has embraced it. Utilizing her nature, in order to hone her skills as a soldier, and best ensure survival. Zaira makes no excuses, or apologies for who she is, or what she has done. Love her or hate her, Zaira simply is. And her sheer, single minded drive to protect Aden at all costs, endeared her to me right away.
And finally I am brought to Aden. Our seemingly less than spectacular hero. I always, always enjoyed him as a side character. However, if you would have asked me several books ago if I thought him a strong enough presence to be the lead male in his own book, I would have said a resounding no. The obscure, vague, shrouded scenes he was part of throughout the later books in the series, just didnt project that vibe for me. Little did we know, that the Author created this illusion purposely. Little did we know that Aden has made it his goal in life, to appear weak. Clearly, he was meant to fly under a readers radar. I can assure you that in Shards of Hope–he will smack you in the face with a ginormous blip! Not only is he 100% strong enough as a character to drive this book forward, but it is made blatantly clear that Aden has an intregal value to his people, and to this entire series. Aden Kai is truly a force to behold, and everything a reader could hope for, in a hero of a story. Deserving so, so much more credit than I am providing, but I will only elaborate with this….
Book after book we have wondered at his “gifts”. The scene with which we finally, fully understand the truth about the leader of the elite Arrow Squad…gives. Me. Chills.
Fans of this series will NOT be disappointed on any level. Cameos featuring beloved previous characters abound, and we even meet a few new friends along the way. Fantastic news for those like me who NEVER want to see the finale of this series! What else can I say? I cannot get enough of Ms. Singh’s writing, and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next! ...more
Finally sat down to read this today. Nearly unheard of with me and this author. A testment to how hectic life has been.
Quick rundown of thoughts....
ThFinally sat down to read this today. Nearly unheard of with me and this author. A testment to how hectic life has been.
Quick rundown of thoughts....
This was a solid story written by one of my all time favorite authors. I am immensely enjoying the furthering of the lore, and backstory to this new world of the "warrior's". Christiana was a wonderful, likeable heroine. Compassionate, selfless, driven in her purpose to take on the evil living within her twisted brother Torquil.
Unfortunately I nearly rated this novel a 3. While the plot, and Christianna's gifts were fascinating, Chase Noble was a one dimensional character for me, much as it pains me to say that when Melissa is so talented with her characterization. I still cannot say who he really is, or the type of man he is aside from honorable, and desended from the Fae.
Where Melissa typically hits it out of the ball park with her relationships between the main couple, Christiana and Chase sort of never connected for me on a soul deep level. I know they were in love because the author tells us such, but I did not FEEL it. And where is the ending??? The closure between the main couple that leaves us sighing in contentment? I turned the page, and was shocked to realize there was no more story! Dissapointing for me personally, as years ago, Ms. Mayhue was the phenomenal author which reminded me of my intense love of reading, when I thought never to pick up another book again.
Mostly, this was Still signature Mayhue. Complete with likeable characters, teeming with action and danger. A healthy amount of Humor spinkled into the original, interesting plotline. Likewise I loved hearing about Fenrir, and Odin mixed into these bloodlines, as they were some of the first tastes of fantasy I received as a youth. I simply missed the poignant emotion I felt within some earlier installments this time around.
The factor that tipped the scale to a 4 star rating you ask? Halldor O'donar. Love. Him. Need to know more about him now now NOW. What a phenomenally likeable, charming,, hysterical, mysterious, intriguing, curiously secretive man. Perhaps I wouldnt have found Chase so one demensional if I could stop looking for Hall with every page I turned. :)
Overall, well done Ms. Mayhue. Cant wait for the next installment....please be Halldor...pretty please? With sprinkles? ...more
I do not even know how to start this review so I am just going with my thoughts are reactions. Dark Wolf is one of the most intricate, multi-layered,I do not even know how to start this review so I am just going with my thoughts are reactions. Dark Wolf is one of the most intricate, multi-layered, beautifully written story lines…not just in the entire Dark series, but in all of literature. I have been reading Christine Feehan’s work for over 11 years, and it is novels like Dark Wolf that keep me coming back for more. If you want to know why this author has one of the longest, and most successful running series in Fiction–Dark Wolf is a prime example. I simply could not put this book down.
Although Dark Predator is a personal favorite of mine, and still holds the title of the most emotionally charged novel of the series, in my opinion, Dark Wolf destroys any other previous installment in regards to plot. Finally we are back to the type of writing that hooked me years ago. Finally we are back to a seamless transition from beginning, middle, to end. Finally we are back to an entire cast of fleshed out, wonderfully diverse, finely crafted main and secondary characters. Showcasing a signature, delicate blend between action, tragedy, humor, romance, and emotion–that I have come to expect from the ONLY author I read from the PNR genre.
At this point, those reading this may believe I am simply among the legions of Skyler and Dimitri fans, that have waited anxiously for years to read this story–and that is why I enjoyed this book so greatly. To that I respond. A year ago I was amongst the very small minority of readers who held absolutely NO interest in Skyler’s character. Did I want to learn that she was happy, and continuing to move forward from her childhood traumas? Absolutely. Did I believe I would ever enjoy a nineteen year old, traumatized heroine paired with an ancient Carpathian male? Nope. Not a chance. How wrong I was, and if you find yourself reading this, and are hesitating to pick up this novel for a similar reason….I implore you. Read Dark Wolf, because you cannot possibly fathom the phenomenal reading experience it has to offer.
In addition….one name. Dimitri. He is by far, one of the greatest heroes this series has ever seen, and it only took us 25 books to reach him. As a unit, Dimitri and Skyler are one of the most incredible couples this series has seen. Their bond was somehow different, more profound, and beautiful than any other Carpathian couple of this series. The length of time Dimitri waited for, conversed with, and provided comfort for her, attributed to this. I will say that that Skyler Rose, a character whom I never truly anticipated the culmination of her journey, has become one of my most favorite heroines in literature. Simply for the personality, compassion, elegance, and beauty of her spirit.
I have but one gripe in regards to the flower ritual. While I appreciate the symbolism of fertility in the power this flower presents, while I find the description of the field in which they bloom in the Carpathian mountains, beautiful. Please. I cannot handle another comparison of male anatomy to that of this flower. I do not find it erotic, romantic or sexy in the least. That moment thrown in at the end, detracted slightly from the profound connection I felt between Skyler and Dimitri. However, I am not what many would consider a “true” romance reader, and perhaps this is why I felt the disconnect.
Regardless, The Queen of Paranormal is back. And now that I know my theory on Zev is in fact correct, I anxiously await the next, and final installment in this wonderful trilogy–Dark Blood. Happy reading all. :) ...more
The Third Kingdom, written by Terry Goodkind; is the non stop. Action packed, second installment in the trilogy named after Richard & Kahlan. AdmiThe Third Kingdom, written by Terry Goodkind; is the non stop. Action packed, second installment in the trilogy named after Richard & Kahlan. Admittedly, I came into this novel quite apprehensive. When reading the blurb from the publishers...I spent the next several months waiting for this release, debating whether or not I was even going to purchase the book. Shocking, as I have been reading Terry Goodkind's work for half my life. The blurb simply states...."If you wanted Richard and Kahlan to live happily ever after, you should have stopped reading at Confessor." Instantly my brain went into overdrive and I am thinking that Mr. Goodkind is ultimately going to pull an RA Salvatore, or GRRM move on me. Killing off one, or both, of the characters with which he has built his astounding career. For as long as Terry Goodkind has been at the top of my favorite author list....for as long as I have sang praises for the world & character's he has created...killing off Richard, Kahlan...or even Zedd & Cara would be a deal breaker for me.
I have discovered something about myself recently. I have immensely changed as a reader since I began the journey of Sword of Truth so long ago. Ironically, it was this beloved series that changed me. I never needed a love story in my literature before learning the soul deep connection between Richard and Kahlan. A bond that readers have come to learn Can. Not. Be. Severed. No matter the obstacles they face. We all want to believe such love exists, the kind of love that when never surrendered, triumphs over any, and all things. We all want to believe it does not only exist in stories. This is why I claim the World of Sword of Truth to contain one of the most Epic love stories of all time. This is the type of love Richard Rahl, and Kahlan Amnell possess for each other, and in my perception....it is the entire foundation with which this world was built.
For this reason I do not want to believe Goodkind will destroy everything he has created. Despite this cryptic line, I do not want to believe that the dust will never clear one last, final time. I do not want to believe there will never be peace for Richard and Kahlan, because truly, if this is to be the case....what have they been fighting for across the time of 12+ books? Why have we all been coming back novel after novel--our hearts having been broken, left bleeding for these two outstanding characters--who are just trying to have a life together? I for one hope for, and look forward to the ultimate reward, upon the finale of Richard and Kahlan's harrowing journey. I not only want their Happily Ever After, I demand it, as someone who has spent time, money, and emotion on what will become of them. I read fiction as an escape, because in reality, there is not nearly enough happy endings. If the desire to someday see my two most favorite, fictional characters safe & happy, means I am no longer a "true" fantasy genre reader, then so be it. Now that my rant is over, I will move on to the actual review. :)
Long time veterans, and newcomers to the world of the Midlands alike, will find many elements of enjoyment in the Third Kingdom. Because we all experience books differently, I offer a little breakdown information for those attempting to decide whether or not to embark on this new journey. Readers who were not keen on Terry's last two works (what is wrong with you *kidding*) will be happy to know that the Third Kingdom presents a style of world building, greatly similar to Terry's earlier work. To put it simply...if you have missed Richard in all his "classic" glory. If your favorites were books 1-4. If you are a fan of Terry's meticulous attention to detail. The way he repeats himself often, and painstakingly adds each individual thread until we can see the whole tapestry--this book is a must read.
I will take this moment to mention that those who have not read The First Confessor, Legend of Magda Searus, may find yourself somewhat confused throughout your navigation of The Third Kindgom. It isn't necessary to read this novel prior to TTK, but I would highly recommend you do so. Without spoiling too much, I will say that Mr. Goodkind produces a unique take on evil beings that go bump in the night, and their origin can be found within The First Confessor. In Terry's own words. "The road beyond is unimaginably dark and fraught with danger." This description is a tangible entity while reading.
The story begins very close to where the Omen Machine left off, and yet everything has changed. Much like how Richard himself feels upon coming to, readers are met with a situation that is abstract, and produces great confusion. Through Richard's addled wits, we grasp a broken conversation between two strange men. Richard struggles to rouse himself, taking in several facts consecutively. He and Kahlan are alone in the back of a wagon. Kahlan is non-responsive. And the soldiers of the First File, along with their friends; are nowhere to be found.
It is here, as our hero struggles to get his bearings, that things take a drastic...and gory turn of events. Richard soon discovers that even though his desperation is great...he is without the ability to summon his magic, in order to protect himself and the unconscious woman he loves. Unbeknown at the time, Richard's actions to save both he and Kahlan from the bloodthirsty Hedge Maid in the end of Omen Machine, has produced unforeseen, and severe consequences. From this moment on, Richard is equipped with only his staggering intelligence, his instincts as both a warrior & woods guide, the Sword of Truth, and the young, powerfully gifted (yet untutored) Samantha; to survive.
Richard learns through an ancient message left for him alone, that once again, the fate of the World will be decided by his actions. Somehow, he must save all of life, or be destroyed along with it. In signature Goodkind fashion, Richard must separate from Kahlan in order to ensure her salvation. In more ways than one, The Third Kingdom showcases a race against time, as Richard attempts to stop the conclusion heading towards him. If he fails, his people, friends, the woman he loves, himself...and the very existence of the world; will succumb to darkness.
I have said it before, and I will say it again. Character driven stories are held within a league of their own. The Third Kingdom is full of heart pounding action, endless intrigue, terrifying villains...and yet it is Richard whom breathes life into this story. After half my life of watching this character transform, ever morphing into more....something magical and unexpected happened for me in this book. Stripped of his political power, without his lethal magic as a War Wizard, we see Richard devolved back to where it all began. Once more he is simply the Seeker of Truth. No more, and no less. This book resonated so profoundly within me, because Richard has only what is within his heart, and soul to utilize. Like many times before, he is considered by everyone around him; to be the most important person who walks among the living. The weight of the entire world rests upon his broad shoulders. Yet he still the type of hero who would lower his sword, and provide comfort for a terrified, young girl in need, rather than save himself.
It has been a long while since we have seen Richard the man, instead of the Lord Rahl, and I personally found this element so brilliant in it's delivery. Regretfully there are only a few glimpses of our heroine within the entirety of The Third Kingdom. Like with Richard, Kahlan comes to her senses with the realization that her gift is no longer at her disposal. Kahlan, stripped from her magic as the Mother Confessor, is powerless to prevent herself form being moved from the secure location with which Richard left her. Finding herself the unwilling guest of a man with dark, and nefarious motives, Kahlan must rely upon her wits, and finely honed skills in combat to escape.
In classic, TG style, the ending of the Third Kingdom was a massive orchestra of conflicts, danger, action....and heartbreak. Yes Mr. Goodkind...indeed you walked a fine line with me on this one. In some ways, I wanted this characters happiness more than Richard and Kahlan's. I understand the fuel you needed in order for your characters to ultimately triumph in the end, made this devastating blow necessary....but I am still mad at you. *sigh* I look on to the third novel, and reported conclusion of the Richard and Kahlan trilogy with mixed feelings of anticipation and anxiety. Over all, Mr. Goodkind delivers a phenomenal read with the finesse that few authors can achieve. Bravo.
To begin my review of Leopard's Prey, written by Christine Feehan; I would first like to take a moment to point out that I am not your typical romanceTo begin my review of Leopard's Prey, written by Christine Feehan; I would first like to take a moment to point out that I am not your typical romance novel reader. It wasn't until about 11 years ago, that I found myself exploring this genre. However, the style of books in which I strictly read before; did often contain a love story. In a sense, the Epic Fantasy genre, has forever shaped my definition of "romance". What I am attempting to convey, is that I may not view romance, in the same manner as other's do in today's literature. Not to be critical towards the enjoyment of those who read romance for the sensual side. In fact, for those of you who love one, two.....or ten *cough* scorching sex scenes between the main couple, this book will make you VERY happy.
Moving on...I will admit, Christine Feehan is one of very few authors I read in the paranormal romance genre. So in essence, perhaps I am not the best judge on what is considered a great PNR novel. Sex, which is a huge part of most books contained in the romance genre--is not what I neccessarily see as intimacy. When infused with emotion, sex can certainly enhance the connection between the main couple...yet for some, I find it can become a major hinderance. For me personally, true romance has always been, and forever will be, defined by the emotion an author builds within me, and the journey of the characters themselves, to reach the destination of love.
Getting to the actual book, Leopard's Prey follows the character of Remy Boudreux . The oldest of five brother's to the heroine of the previous installment; Saria. This was a very highly anticipated release for me, because from the moment Remy burst onto the pages in Savage Nature, I was fascinated with his sheer, primal intensity. The nuance of a hunter very high up on the food chain, made him memorable to me as a reader. So...one can imagine my disappointment, a quarter of the way through his story; upon encountering the same issues I have had with other installments of this particular series.
In summation, the foundation of the relationship between our hero and heroine, seemingly based upon sex--left me feeling disconnected. In fact, Remy is so astute (yeah right) in his perception of the "pull" he feels towards his woman, that he even states this to her. I grasp that we as readers are suppose to recognize that what they have goes beyond sexual chemistry, but I always look for an author to SHOW me, not tell me that it is so. Due to the large amount of intimate content within this book, I found myself questioning their bond right along with the heroine. I have always said you can Take the most action packed novel in the world, and if the characters lack depth; the book goes nowhere in my opinion. The same rules apply for highly sensual storylines. It is all about balance.
Dont get me wrong. I do not mean to imply that there are no high notes. There are some great elements to this story, and a massive amount of potential. Most importantly I feel, being the history between the main couple. This backstory is very well done, and packs an emotional punch. I loved that the hero was the single contributing factor to the salvation of our heroine, Bijou or more specifically "Blue" as Remy calls her. The female lead is the daughter of a famous singer who was adored in life, and could do no wrong in the eyes of his fans. What occured behind closed doors tells a far darker story...
As a child, Bijou was labeled a rich, entitled snob by classmates in school, including our hero's own brother Gage. It was only Remy, a young cop at the time; that knew the hell with which her life entailed. As with all children whom experience a horrible upbringing, there comes a pivital moment in Bijou's adolescence where she could have given in. Following down the same drug laced path of depravity her father had walked. Yet because of Remy, Bijou's world changes in a single moment, and she breaks the viscious cycle with which she was raised. It is a moment where our hero shows her something she has never before understood. Caring. It is at this fork in the road, that Bijou realizes one individual in her dark existence gives a damn about her. This powerful revealation is presented to us in the platform of a blazing memory of Remy's, and is very moving. This scene struck me in the heart when I read it. It created an instantaneous connection for me, and these characters. Their bond was a tangible thing I could feel.
Which brings me back to my earlier statement of how sex, delivered by an author as a platform in which "romance" is built--can be a hinderance for some literary couples. To put it frankly....there was too much of it in Leopard's Prey. Yes, this is a series interwoven with the animilistic urges of shapeshifters who are equal parts beast, and man. True. But this under current was not balanced out properly with the addition of other concepts, in regards to plot. Due to the lack of balance; the emotionally profound connection that was built between the main characters--stalled; and never grew into something memorable for me.
It isn't that I lack the ability to understand Ms. Feehan's take on shapeshifter romance. As I said above, these character's are written with a duality that pushes for visceral urges between the couple. I do grasp the concept. One of my most favorite series presents shapeshifters amongst its characters. My problem with the shifters of THIS series; stems from the fact that they have always held an underlying implication that the female's--once their Leopard emerges--could be drawn sexually to a male who is not their intended "mate". Like I previously stated in the opening of my review--this has been an ongoing struggle with me and this particular series. For me, a mate means there is only one. So the way with which this beastial plot thread is woven into the storyarc of the Leopard series--is off putting at times for me personally. *shrugs*
Despite this, I will say that the ending action was very well done. The "twist" was creatively written--although I did see it coming--and I love that it was the heroine who came to the rescue of her dangerous, lethal Leopard. I also immensely enjoyed seeing Drake Donovan again, and the familial banter between the entire group. Definately worth reading...but Leopard's Prey is not one for the record books in my opinion.