**spoiler alert** I'm re-reading this whole series in honor of #4 just having been released, and I have to say I'm SO glad I re-read this one. I read...more**spoiler alert** I'm re-reading this whole series in honor of #4 just having been released, and I have to say I'm SO glad I re-read this one. I read these first two books not long after I first discovered M/M, and it seems that my appreciation of some of the subject matter has increased since. I originally rated this 3 stars, which astounds me, because I LOVED this book this time through.
Joey is an amazing character! I enjoyed him in the first book, as he was basically the comic relief in between all of the drama and angst of Noah and Cameron. But Joey in this book just was incredible and sweet and unbelievably caring and kind and optimistic. However, my favorite thing about him was how frequently he broke the stereotype of the happy-go-lucky bottom who lives to please his partner.
Aaron was fascinating. I could definitely sympathize much more with him than I could with Joey. I have long found it interesting how differently people can react to challenges in their life. Joey was able to move on from being left in a toilet as a baby and become this incredibly cheerful, caring, loving person--which boggles my mind. Aaron's reaction to how unfair life can be is one I understand much better. Especially because underneath all of his abrasiveness and stand-off-ish-ness, he really is just a big softie who enjoys taking care of people and is secretly looking for someone to take care of him in return.
I ADORED the two of them together. They brought out things in each other that made them seem like whole people. I loved seeing Joey's reactions to Aaron's mothering, and getting to see little sweetheart Joey standing up for himself. I also loved watching Aaron--almost against his will, it seemed at times--give in to Joey's sweetness and become softer and more open.
And I have to say, for being a book about a cynical, jaded character like Aaron is at the beginnnig, this is a beautifully romantic book. So, perhaps it's to do with the timing of my re-read, because I don't always like that much romance. But I LOVED it this time. LOVED!
I've read reviews that say that both Aaron and especially Joey are in book 4 a lot, so I'm off to read that. I can't wait to spend more time with these characters!(less)
I just re-read this, and I have to say how much I adore books that are every bit as good the second or third time through.
Ms. Vaughn managed to captur...moreI just re-read this, and I have to say how much I adore books that are every bit as good the second or third time through.
Ms. Vaughn managed to capture in the most beautifully spectacular way the emotion and excitement and vulnerability of first love. Both Jonah and Laurie are delightful, endearing characters, and I loved that we got to spend time in both of their heads. Knowing just how much the relationship meant to both of them, but how uncertain they both were about how the other felt just added to the youthful, first-love vibe.
This is such a fun read! Still one of my favorites from both years of the M/M romance group's summer events!(less)
It might have had to do with my having read several really dark, depressing, painful-to-read books lately, but this book was just so light and fun and...moreIt might have had to do with my having read several really dark, depressing, painful-to-read books lately, but this book was just so light and fun and refreshing I couldn't help but love it.
It's just a very sweet story. Yes, disbelief must be suspended by more than just the time-travel premise: Alexander has a stranger appear in his house and says "hey, you look just like my lover who disappeared! What's that? You're from the future and you're in love with me? Well, shucks, you better hop right on into my bed, then!" It wasn't enough to pull me out of the story, just made me chuckle a little at the time.
If you're in the mood for a light, sweet, improbable romance with a little dash of historical. This one is definitely fun.(less)
**spoiler alert** I just re-read this to remind myself of the story before I start book 2. I have to say that I enjoyed this story so much more the se...more**spoiler alert** I just re-read this to remind myself of the story before I start book 2. I have to say that I enjoyed this story so much more the second time than I did the first. I enjoyed Lio and Griffin the first time, but this time I adored them! I'm not sure why the difference, it might be that I knew the end this time so I could relax and enjoy the story the way I often can't do the first time through.
This time, I couldn't get over how beautiful Lio and Griffin are together. How they've been in love for all these years, but it took something like Lio's slavery to make them willing to explore it completely.
The vision that Lio, Alexander, and the priest share at the end had me in tears this time. Having Lio realize that if he'd taken a different path in life, he wouldn't be where he was was so powerful. It just fully brought home the theme of timing that had been building through the book. Yes, they'd loved each other before, but neither was ready for what that meant until they'd both had the experiences that they did. It was beautiful!
I really liked that even though it's set in this fascinating universe that we're given glimpses of, it focuses more on the main characters and their relationship than on anything else.
I enjoyed the exploration of strength/weakness and submission/dominance and the evolving viewpoints both men had on these themes. I loved the tender moments between these two, and how they came to trust in and rely on each other both physically and emotionally.
I loved how they both came to realize that they weren't just brought back to what they had before, but that they were brought back to something much stronger and more honest than what they'd had before.
I know the end seemed abrupt to some, but I thought it was perfect. The story was about Lio and Griffin, and ends with them safely returned to their new home. Any further exploration of politics or family relationships or anything else would--in my mind at least--take away from that.
A powerful story, beautifully told by one of the most fascinating 1st person narrators I've yet come across. This story has definitely earned a spot in my comfort reads shelf.(less)
Okay, so I know I shouldn't have liked this book as much as I did. I just loved it! I would've never thought I would have a thing for the enemies to l...moreOkay, so I know I shouldn't have liked this book as much as I did. I just loved it! I would've never thought I would have a thing for the enemies to lovers theme, but with these two it just worked so well. It was obvious how they each felt about the other--even when they both did their best to deny it and to be oblivious. Their journey to admitting that how they felt was really not just the spell was sweet and beautiful and sexy and so much fun to read.
I'll definitely be reading this one again and again.(less)
I loved this story just so much! I think the thing that made it work was having it be in 1st person from Al's pov. He's just so sweet and innocent and...moreI loved this story just so much! I think the thing that made it work was having it be in 1st person from Al's pov. He's just so sweet and innocent and sincere. I adored Al's character, and how perfect he and Larry were for each other, even though it might not have looked it from their appearances.
I really needed a fun, light-hearted read this week and this hit the spot perfectly! I will definitely be re-reading this one.(less)
This was definitely enjoyable to read. No crazy angst or huge conflicts, just a nice, sweet story about college boys falling in love. There is a littl...moreThis was definitely enjoyable to read. No crazy angst or huge conflicts, just a nice, sweet story about college boys falling in love. There is a little bit of angst as Chris has to come to terms with what he's feeling for Peter, but I love the way both of the boys deal with their situation.
Chris freaks out a little as he's worried initially about people finding out about him and Peter, but he doesn't run and hide or lash out at Peter or any other of the juvenile things that I've read characters do in that situation.
This one was fun enough it might just get added to my guilty pleasures shelf... I'll have to re-read it to be certain though.(less)
Sweet indeed! Delightfully so! I adored both of the MC's, loved the small-town setting--especially the candy shop!--and thought the premise was... wel...moreSweet indeed! Delightfully so! I adored both of the MC's, loved the small-town setting--especially the candy shop!--and thought the premise was... well, sweet.
One of my favorite poems is by Sir Edwin Arnold and goes: "Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours For one lone soul another lonely soul, Each choosing each through all the weary hours, And meeting strangely at one sudden goal, Then blend they, like green leaves with golden flowers, Into one beautiful, perfect whole; And life's long night is ended and the way Lies open, onward toward eternal day."
The characters in this short story personify that poem beautifully! They each had a secret crush on the other in high school. And each has unconsciously been preparing himself for the other over the 13 years they were apart. When they meet again in the candy shop, they're both finally ready to be honest with themselves and with each other. So beautiful! And so very sweet! (and I have to add that Basil's inscription ranks among my favorite things done by one MC for another!)
I've long held that Ms. Derr is a genius, and this short story firmly settles her among my favorite authors ever.(less)
Megan Derr never ceases to amaze me. She can consistently create worlds and characters that both fascinate and enthrall me. And she does it in just ab...moreMegan Derr never ceases to amaze me. She can consistently create worlds and characters that both fascinate and enthrall me. And she does it in just about every sub-genre possible.
I adored Dance with the Devil, but it had been long enough since I'd read that that I was afraid I'd have a hard time with this one, so I kept putting this one off. I'm not sure what made me finally give in and open this one the other night, in spite of my goal to go back and re-read the other one first, but I'm so very glad I did.
This one is set in the same world as the first book, and we do get to see Chris and Sable for a scene, and some of the minor characters from the first appear here, but I didn't need to remember much beyond that. The main characters in this one are all different, and most of the action happens on the opposite coast from the first.
I think one of my most favorite things about this series is the world. Huge and intricate and filled with all of my favorite elements all in one world: witches, shifters, vampires, angels, demons, sorcerers, and fairy tales coming true. It's fantastic fun and just the most amazing ride as I wonder where I'll be taken next or what sort of being or creature I'll get to meet next.
And the fact that I'm being shown this world through the eyes of wonderfully delightful characters just adds to the experience. Even though I'd guessed a few things pretty early on in the book, getting to live in that world and spend time with those characters was such a delightful experience that I just sat back and waited to see how everything would unfold.
LOVED this one! Luke is adorable, and just so very well written. He's got a huge crush on Cameron and stares at him every time Cameron comes into the...moreLOVED this one! Luke is adorable, and just so very well written. He's got a huge crush on Cameron and stares at him every time Cameron comes into the diner where Luke works. Luke has also started having songs anonymously dedicated to Cameron every Friday night. Luke's angst as he and Mitchell go back and forth over whether Cameron might or might not be gay is so authentic without making Luke come off as girly.
I also loved Cameron, how idealistic he was in spite of the way he was starting to be treated by his teammates.
This was a delightful read, sweet and fun and hopeful. I can't recommend this enough!(less)
Okay, so it came as no surprise to me that I loved this book. As soon as I read the blurb: Kim Dare writing a friends-to-lovers! I knew I'd love it. M...moreOkay, so it came as no surprise to me that I loved this book. As soon as I read the blurb: Kim Dare writing a friends-to-lovers! I knew I'd love it. My only question is how it took me so long to hear about this book!
I loved both Rigby and Brennan. Their friendship seemed believable, and I loved getting to read about that friendship developing into something more.
I think my absolute favorite thing about the book is that Rigby doesn't immediately discount all of his years of enjoying sex with women and declare that he's now officially gay for his best friend. I liked that he chose to call himself bisexual and that he was introspective enough to discover that it was likely his close friendship with Brennan that kept him from discovering the second half of his bi-sexuality earlier. And I cannot say how much I loved that Rigby was able to fit in the "No, but my boyfriend is" line when asked if he was gay. I think that line alone would have earned this book five stars from me.
I loved also that Brennan struggled so much to believe the Rigby was really serious. It made the whole story seem much more believable to me.
Probably the sweetest historical m/m I've read yet. The characters are endearing and well-written. I loved that they both consistently had the other's...moreProbably the sweetest historical m/m I've read yet. The characters are endearing and well-written. I loved that they both consistently had the other's best interest in mind. Whether they would agree on what was in their best interest, however, is what drove the story, and I found it very well done.
I thoroughly enjoy books like this, where there is no outside threat or menace introduced as the conflict. Where instead the relationship and its formation becomes the "conflict." Mostly because I love getting to spend as much time as possible with the characters I enjoy, and in this sort of story, that means that the characters are together much more often.
Cavin (one of my few negatives about the book is his name... I kept struggling over how to pronounce it) was adorable and so sweet, and I loved that Benjamin recognized his constant insistence on putting everyone else's needs before his own and that Cavin needed someone to make sure his own needs were being met. I loved how kind Cavin was, in spite of the life he'd had growing up, and how well he took care of Benjamin initially.
I also adored Benjamin and his courage in making the decisions he did and in realizing that Cavin was special. I loved his balance of pride and humility. And I appreciated his generosity, both with physical things like money and food and employment, and with more ephemeral things like overlooking class boundaries, believing people can change, and giving second chances.
A beautiful story with lovely characters. I am very much looking forward to the next books!(less)
This was every bit as cheesy and sappy and implausible as the rest of the series, and I loved it every bit as much. This whole series feels more like...moreThis was every bit as cheesy and sappy and implausible as the rest of the series, and I loved it every bit as much. This whole series feels more like I'm reading fairy tales than contemporary romance. And I LOVE it! I love that the characters get to be happy nearly the whole way through, and have very little angst to work through as their dreams all fall neatly into place.
I love that a character can complain about his friends' pda when he's the only other one in the room with them, and then go on a date that night and hold hands in public. And I love that Quinn was amazing enough that I didn't for one second question Las's sudden change of opinion.
I love that we get to keep seeing how happy Evan and Jesse, the original fairy tale Conquest couple, are together.
Most of all, I love the feeling I get as I read these books. Exactly like a fairy tale, I know that everything will be perfect in the end, that the heroes will all be happy and everything good that can happen for them will happen.
Another beautiful addition to the series, and I'm already looking forward to rereading it!
P.S. I also love the whole new appreciation for kilts that I developed while reading this!(less)
A fabulously entertaining book! Hilarious and heartwarming, sweet and silly and so much fun to read. The characters all seemed not only like real peop...moreA fabulously entertaining book! Hilarious and heartwarming, sweet and silly and so much fun to read. The characters all seemed not only like real people, but like people that I would like to be friends with. They all had their issues and their own stuff to deal with, but they were all happy and loving and forgiving. It made the whole vibe of the book come off as a nice, warm, literary hug, and I loved it!
I really did love all of the secondary characters (even Adam ended up winning me over in the end, which I didn't expect), but my favorite scenes were the ones with just Tim and Matt. Now, that might seem like a given, considering this is a romance, after all. But it's not. There are many other books where I've liked the secondary characters more than the MC's. Or at least liked the way the MC's act more when there's another with them. But right from the first scene when Matt falls into the shop, I loved every second of him and Tim together. I adored how slowly their relationship built, but that all along you could just feel how attracted they were to each other and how they were both falling for each other. And I loved that they both tried so hard to be clueless about how the other felt, it was adorable.
A beautiful, warm, comforting book. I'm sure I'll be re-reading it many times.(less)