This was really good. I enjoyed it about as much as I did the first book in this trilogy - much more than the second. It is set in the same world, and...moreThis was really good. I enjoyed it about as much as I did the first book in this trilogy - much more than the second. It is set in the same world, and we encounter the same characters, so that was satisfying, however this book definitely had its own plot arc. I think the best thing about it was the quirky heroine. Rosemary is something of an outsider to the group we have been following the last two books, whereas Wes, the male lead, is a part of Adam Temple's kitchen staff. But her quirky genius, bumbling, dorky, romantic persona was just great. I mean, she wears Star Wars T Shirts, she speaks directly, she's honest and open, and I just loved that about her. Not to mention... a Browncoats shirt? Really? Gold Star, Ms Edwards. :)
My gushing aside, the love story here has depth, intensity, connection - really everything I want in a love story. Not only that, but we get to follow through to the conclusion of Jess and Frankie's story and I was quite interested to see that work out, after the mess it was left in in book 2. So, happy endings all around! Sorry if that is a spoiler... but what do you expect from a romance novel?! Really, the overridingly interesting dimension these books had for me (besides interesting, well-rounded characters I could care about), was how all the main characters are obsessed with food. In this book even more than the others, the preparation and enjoyment of food was a pivotal aspect of the romantic relationship. This fundamental connection rings true to me... can't wait for more of these books.(less)
3, or maybe 3.5 stars for me. I usually love Cole's IAD books, they are fun, adventurous, high-stakes paranormal romance in a fun setting - always wit...more3, or maybe 3.5 stars for me. I usually love Cole's IAD books, they are fun, adventurous, high-stakes paranormal romance in a fun setting - always with a lot of humor along the way. So when I found out she was going to write YA, I thought, of course, I will give it a try. And it was easy to read, hard to put down, very engaging... but ultimately, it was a YA book, and this was just not as appealing to me.
The book follows 16 year old Evie Greene, a spoiled, rich, "but always nice!" 16 year old in rural Louisiana. Evie has been dealing with some serious stuff - visions of an apocalypse to end the world, being shipped off to the funny farm. AND of course all the regular BS that teens deal with - should I have sex with my boyfriend? What outfit should I wear to school Monday? What is on ANTM this week? Oh and let's not forget, why do I have to be history partners with that lowlife poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks who makes me uncomfortable? And then lo and behold, Evie's visions start to come true. All hell breaks loose, the world ends, etc etc. And spoiled little rich girl don't know a thing about taking care of business in this post-apocalyptic world.
Well, at least the depiction of how a real teenager would act in this situation is pretty real. She wouldn't know what the hell to do, she would avoid issues as much as she could, she would rely on others to look after her. But - for me, just because it's realistic, doesn't mean it's fun to read. I can appreciate that Evie was not just totally a victim, she was learning to think for herself, evolving into a survivor. I get that. It just galled me sometimes how weepy she got. Then we have Jackson.
Jack is the poor kid from the Bayou who Evie never could quite get along with (although sparks flew) - and now that the world has ended, Jack is the only one who is keeping Evie alive. Of course, Evie has no idea why... (view spoiler)[ even though it's obvious he's bananas for her. I spoilered this in case any actual young adults (who are new to this kind of dynamic) might be reading this... I think it's completely obvious to most readers that both of them are clearly besotted and insecure/fighting with themselves - this is a dynamic which I found a little tiresome. (hide spoiler)] Jack is utterly competent, with skills far beyond what a normal teen might have for survival - a sexy Cajun accent. My thought is that Cole got around the device some YA authors use, of having a female teenager who is equipped with all kinds of unrealistic survival tactics, by giving Evie Jack, who just does everything for her. I am not really complaining, just noting it; it's not a stroke of brilliance in terms of plotting but it works.
The actual plot of the series centers around the Tarot deck. There are teens out there in this post-Apocalyptic world who each represent the major Arcana cards of the deck, and they are heading towards some kind of clash. This is one of Cole's strengths - also evident in her IAD series with the "Lore". She is able to take something occult or paranormal enough to be interesting with lots of fun attributes and roles, and flesh it out into a cool worldbuilding convention. It's accessible and recognizable, but also cool and provides a pattern for the characters to follow. In this way she can give them each a destiny and simultaneously develop them as characters, with something to knock their head against as they struggle to assert their identities. It's not mind-boggling, but as a device it clearly works and she employs it very well.
A lot of reviewers seem to have been captivated by the romance in this book. Cole writes romance really well! The characters pine for each other, clash verbally, come together seductively and explosively. The romance was very well represented but clearly YA. My taste runs a little more adult (wink wink). What I did like about this book that is different from IAD is that it seems she has chosen to focus on Evie and Jack, and the group of folks who they've managed to come together with by the end of the book, through the whole series. Which yes, if you're reading into this, means that the romance and the plot are not prettily resolved by the end of the book. Which is -ARGH!- unsatisfying! But, handily ensures we'll ALL be buying the sequel.
For my part, I enjoyed it but didn't love it. I wanted less YA. I was annoyed with Evie for being unsure of herself - although it makes total sense, she is 16. I just wanted her to own her power, to take what she wants, to barrel forward into the unknown... the good news is, I feel that she evolved as a character in this book and I think she will continue to evolve as the story continues. I feel that Jack was under-served in the character growth department. I do hope Ms Cole gives him more of his due in future books!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I just finished this and while I did like it more than the last book by Julie James, A lot like love, it still was not on par with my favorites by her...moreI just finished this and while I did like it more than the last book by Julie James, A lot like love, it still was not on par with my favorites by her. I think the reason it worked better is that James wisely returned to writing a lawyer heroine. Clearly, her knowledge of law and affinity for witty, sexy banter is her strong suit and that is where she should stay! The last book, where the heroine was instead a wine shop owner (and heiress!) just did not work for me. Anyway, about this book!
Rylinn and Kyle have a sweet story. They met one fateful night and both were very interested, but life got in the way of their first date. Ten years later, she is assigned to be his prosecutor in a high-profile federal case against him. Sparks fly, and pesky prosecutor/ex-con ethics get in the way a bit, but they are indeed destined to be together.
What I liked about the book: Kyle. Kyle. and Kyle. What a winning sense of humor, my only laugh out loud moments in this book were from Kyle's internal musings. He was dashing, sincere, and just plain funny. I did not like Rylinn quite as much. She is methodical, very planned out, logical. I appreciated that Kyle brought her out of this a little, but I just wasn't that inspired by her. I did enjoy their banter together though.
If I'm rating my favorite Julie James books, then here they are in order of my preference: 1. Practice Makes Perfect 2. Just the Sexiest Man Alive 3. Something About You 4. About That Night 5. A Lot Like Love
So there, this one is my my favorite, but not my least favorite either!(less)
This was an awesome novella to introduce a new series by Courtney Milan. Although I have read one other full-length novel by her, this shorter piece w...moreThis was an awesome novella to introduce a new series by Courtney Milan. Although I have read one other full-length novel by her, this shorter piece was superior - in my opinion!
Hugh is the man of a petulant boor of a duke, and he's desperate to use his position to get himself settled in the world- to prove to his dead father that he really is worth a damn. Known as the "wolf", he's ruthless in getting what he wants.
Serena is a former governess who's been cast out of her position and who's come seeking something from the duke. All Hugh knows is, he has to get rid of her. Unfortunately, he hasn't counted on her spirited arguments being quite so irrestistable.
What made this short work such a winner for me were all the sparks between these two. Well before there was anything physical, it was clear from their arguing that they were perfectly matched. Throw in a truly memorable and character-driven love scene, and this little book was damn near perfect! I only wish it were longer. I will definitely look for more of Milan's full-length books!(less)
After finishing Tempted, the story of Anne, Jamie, and Alex's three-way romance that held unexpected emotional, somewhat twisted depths - I was left s...moreAfter finishing Tempted, the story of Anne, Jamie, and Alex's three-way romance that held unexpected emotional, somewhat twisted depths - I was left so unsatisfied by knowing only Anne's perspective throughout the book. Sure, Anne as a character I was committed to, and I cared about the resolution she received, but what about Jamie? What about Alex? WHERE WAS THEIR RESOLUTION?!?!
Cue book 2, this book, where we get to hear Alex's side of the story, from inside his own head. And for all the lack of emotion that Alex displayed in Tempted - such a lack of emotion that he clearly was hiding - well, this book really delivered. Yes, indeed, Alex felt a lot. Clearly he is conflicted about Jamie - he fools himself about it, but less than Jamie does. He is not as conflicted about his feelings for Anne, although he refuses to steal his best friend's wife... as we know after finishing the first book.
This is a short little satisfying book. It definitely whetted my appetite for book 3 - Naked where supposedly Alex gets his very own love story, instead of being a pawn in someone else's.
Warning: if you are freaked out by the cover - you probably shouldn't read this. It has some brief M/M action which is physical but completely devoid of emotion... it's definitely part of Alex and it deserves a place in this book. But Megan Hart has a way of writing erotica (is it really erotica? I don't think so) that draws such a clear distinction between love and sex, and you always know which one or two of those is in the room at any given point. Her writing is so very aware of those distinctions. It's a distinctive trait.
Once again, I applaud Megan Hart while at the same time giving her stink eye for making me feel so conflicted!(less)
Not a terrible book, my first by Sarah Mayberry. It's a friends-to-lovers romance premise. The characters were decently engaged and I did feel for Del...moreNot a terrible book, my first by Sarah Mayberry. It's a friends-to-lovers romance premise. The characters were decently engaged and I did feel for Delaney, pining away for her BFF like that as he's totally oblivious. But ultimately it just felt self-indulgent and I can't get very excited about characters who are so completely unself-aware. Plus, although there is a HEA (surprise!) it came right at the very end of the book - after all that dancing about and not loving her, Sam finally admits he loves her and then there is only 2 pages of denouement? Puh-lease! Guess this was just not quite psychological or twisted enough for me!(less)
Read this in one sitting. While I definitely enjoyed it, I'm on the fence with 3/4 stars. I landed at 3 because I just don't feel this is ultimately g...moreRead this in one sitting. While I definitely enjoyed it, I'm on the fence with 3/4 stars. I landed at 3 because I just don't feel this is ultimately going to be a very memorable book for me. I wanted to read something of Howard's because she is so popular and this book was so well-liked by others. It was also readily available at the library. I can see why it's so popular, really, it's incredibly appealing in a very mainstream way. There is a hot romance, some suspense, and a happy ending. What's not to like?
Well, for me, it just didn't POP too much. The romance was great but I knew from the start she was going to fall for him. I did enjoy their verbal sparring very much though, and the sex scenes were really well-written! The suspense was just ho-hum for me. I figured out the twist really early on so that was disappointing. The whole "List" concept that the 4 ladies come up with was really not that interesting. I had a hard time with all the attention they seemed to get from it. I wonder how much times have changed in America since 2000 when this was set to have me thinking that?
Howard does write good (if predictable) characters. Even though I never really got Jaine's supposedly sharp, amazing sense of humor, I felt the other character's connections to it in their interactions. Jaine herself was fun and reminded me not a little of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum. Her romance with Sam definitely reminded me of Stephanie's with Joe Morelli (though it actually went somewhere, thank god!). The one big difference is, this book didn't have me laughing out loud nearly as much as Evanovich's!
I liked it, it was a solid diversion for the 4 or so hours I read it in. But I don't feel the need to go find her other books right away or anything.(less)
I didn't actually finish, so much as I just got bored and disgusted with this and quit reading it. I could just care less where it's going, I am not i...moreI didn't actually finish, so much as I just got bored and disgusted with this and quit reading it. I could just care less where it's going, I am not interested!(less)
I wasn't sure what to expect with this, and I was pleasantly surprised. The author has a very strong grasp of how to draw the reader in. She did a gre...moreI wasn't sure what to expect with this, and I was pleasantly surprised. The author has a very strong grasp of how to draw the reader in. She did a great job with pacing the reveal, alternating between the present, when the 2 main characters hate each other, and the past, when they fell head over heels in love, but then some awful betrayal occurred to throw them into such discord. Over the course of setting up this reveal, we become quite endeared of the 2 leads, who are wonderfully flawed and who have really put each other through hell... but of course who we're rooting for to end up back together. It played very well as a historical romance, with nods to the societal pinnings of works by Austen, et al, but had enough naughty parts to remind you, well, it's actually a modern book. (Not too naughty... just right). Thomas also has a great sense of humor and the banter is very enjoyable.
Probably my biggest complaint was that after all that drama, the happy ending seemed a little pat and trite. I would have liked a little more denouement, some more references to them being happy together after all the hell they went through to be together. It felt a little short. But otherwise I have no complaints about this novel. I understand it was Thomas' first and it's a very strong first novel. I'm interested to read her others... when I feel the need for some historical romance again.(less)
This was a quick little read, and I liked it! If you have read Talk Me Down by Dahl, the main character Molly in that book writes erotic bestsellers u...moreThis was a quick little read, and I liked it! If you have read Talk Me Down by Dahl, the main character Molly in that book writes erotic bestsellers under the name Holly Summers, and the book that spurs some of the dramatic tension in TMD is one that she wrote about her long-time ex and hottie Sheriff Ben Lawson. Well, this book is Dahl writing as Holly Summers, and I do believe it's supposed to be that book of Molly's from TMD. Which is a neat idea! And, since we now know Molly writes like Victoria Dahl, we now understand why she is a bestselling author! :)
The plot of this short e-book is pretty slim. A recent English widow moves to the wilds of colonial Wyoming and takes up with an upstanding Sheriff who lives next door. She is a sexual submissive, and he is a closet dominant, and together they discover lots of hot BDSM sex, while establishing a real emotional connection (of course!). When the Sheriff gets injured, potentially lying near death, they realize they just can't live without each other. Awwww.
So, the real content of this book of course is not the plot, but the sex. As I have come to expect from Dahl, she keeps it totally scorching while still keeping real honest connection and mutual respect at the forefront - not always easy I think when part of the sexplay involves tying up/spanking/playing at humiliation. I am not really into this kind of thing, but as with Start Me Up by Dahl, I found it a wonderful way to illustrate the trust and respect, oddly enough, between the two characters. So one of them is spanking the other and this is demonstrative of trust and respect, you ask? Well, I don't think it always is, probably in books or in real life. But in Dahl's books, it is, and I really love the way she puts that respect and trust at the forefront. This book did not have quite the profound level of connection and character development I felt SMU had, because that book was (longer and) about long-time friends falling in love, but it did echo the theme of the female character discovering things about both her life and her expectations of it, as she explored her sexuality.
This was fun. Very, very light reading. Felt exactly like a romantic comedy movie that transports you to happily ever after-ville for 2 hours, then en...moreThis was fun. Very, very light reading. Felt exactly like a romantic comedy movie that transports you to happily ever after-ville for 2 hours, then ends as expected.(less)
I liked this but not as much as the first one. Devon and Lilah Jane are all right but they don't throw many sparks for me. The unexpected highlight of...moreI liked this but not as much as the first one. Devon and Lilah Jane are all right but they don't throw many sparks for me. The unexpected highlight of this book for me was the relationship between Frankie and Jess. How often in a contemporary romance book with a straight (hetero) H/H do you get meaningful subplot love stories about gay men? Hmm, not very. Tastefully done in a mainstream way, in that the steamy parts were all straight as an arrow, and Frankie and Jess just do alot of cuddling. But their relationship felt much more authentic and reasonable (and relatable!) than the main attraction here. Anyway. Pretty fun light read.(less)
I was surprised by this! First book I read by this author. Very entertaining, and the love story just smoked right off the pages. I guess I am biased...moreI was surprised by this! First book I read by this author. Very entertaining, and the love story just smoked right off the pages. I guess I am biased by the characters... you have a sharp, closed off smartaleck writer/critic and a passionate, down-to-earth, extreme chef... sparks definitely flew! Plus I really enjoyed the fact that it's set in a kitchen of a 5-star restaurant. All the personalities of the chefs were really well drawn, I felt very ensconced in their little world. The pacing was great, the love story so very sweet. And I liked the subplot of Miranda's brother, Jess, getting swept off his feet by the older, punk rocker sous chef Brit who calls everyone "wanker" (ha). That dynamic worried me alot from the start, before I got to know Frankie, which was great and worked as a plot device when you got into the story. I went on to read the 2nd in this series and wasn't as engaged, but I'll keep reading Edwards. She's good!(less)
My first historical by Dahl and I definitely enjoyed it. This is not a straight-up bodice ripper. There are serious themes above and beyond the usual...moreMy first historical by Dahl and I definitely enjoyed it. This is not a straight-up bodice ripper. There are serious themes above and beyond the usual impoverished nobility or headstrong young noble girl (though that is also included). It also deals with abuse and the long-standing psychological trauma that results from it, not something commonly found in historical romances. But it was well-done. I appreciate that in many of Dahl's books, her characters are well-rounded and have considerable depth. It's easy to dig into these characters. I plan to read more of Dahl's historicals!(less)
This was an enjoyable historical romance. It was my 2nd read by Sherry Thomas and I am coming to have an appreciation for her work. It's historical, a...moreThis was an enjoyable historical romance. It was my 2nd read by Sherry Thomas and I am coming to have an appreciation for her work. It's historical, and well-placed (this one is in a richly drawn India) but the relationships feel very real. So far both books have been about people who've fallen in love as young adults, made some pretty crappy mistakes, and years later, find each other again and get a 2nd chance. I appreciate that the characters evolve. They feel blinding passion and all, sure, because it's that kind of book, but they are thoughtful about their choices and there is an abiding theme of trust and faith that I found really current and refreshing in this book. It was a nice book.(less)
My least favorite of Thomas' books so far. This story relied more on a plot device - the Cinderella type story... in a romance book, I don't enjoy so...moreMy least favorite of Thomas' books so far. This story relied more on a plot device - the Cinderella type story... in a romance book, I don't enjoy so much when the leads are subject to such "whims of fate"... where external forces dictate so much of their story. It feels a little immature to me. I prefer Thomas' other 2 books because the evolution of the story is only about the interactions and feelings of the characters, as opposed to some external force sweeping in and either destroying and/or restoring security. The buildup around the reveal of Verity's identity was enjoyable but the denouement was weak. After all the twists and all the agony of her years of hiding, we only get maybe 10 pages of resolution. It felt pat and pretty weak to me. But there were enjoyable bits. I won't give up on Thomas' work but I definitely likes this the least of her books so far.(less)