**spoiler alert** An all around enjoyable contemporary romance. It's not the most sophisticated or complicated of stories, but it's a great light-read...more**spoiler alert** An all around enjoyable contemporary romance. It's not the most sophisticated or complicated of stories, but it's a great light-reader. I wouldn't necessarily call it a flighty beach read, but it's fairly low on angst, high on romance, and just overall a good light-hearted story.
I enjoyed the characters and the romance. Both kept my interest. The very slight suspense aspect added a little spice to the story. And Andersen has a nice flow to her writing that makes the book very readable.
This is a good book to read if you like the lighter side of romance, fun, romantic, nice storyline. I'd recommend reading it.(less)
**spoiler alert** As always, Anderson's book thoroughly engage me. The characters, the emotions, the storyline...the book just sucked me in completely...more**spoiler alert** As always, Anderson's book thoroughly engage me. The characters, the emotions, the storyline...the book just sucked me in completely. So I ended up giving it the highest rating despite the fact that there were a couple issues I had with it.
There was such a sad element to this story. Anderson definitely does not shy away from non-traditional heroines. Annie is supposedly the "idiot" girl...not right in the head with the mentality of a small child, but that's not even close to the truth. It's fascinating to see how the characters deal with the situation, how they grow and change and adapt. How Alex and Anne developed a relationship. It was so emotional and wonderful to read. Anderson just has this amazing knack for pulling me into her characters and stories. I just fly right through her books, and this one was no different.
My two complaints about this book...first, I had some issue with the realism of the story. Though I loved the situation and how it worked out, I had to wonder how likely any of it was. The local business mogul marrying a girl everyone thinks is a total and complete moron. It was a little questionable. Since I'm not familiar with Annie's true...affliction...I can't particularly comment on how Anderson dealt with that. I suspect some would have complaints. I also felt that there was some phrasing and situational stuff that wasn't historically accurate.
I was bothered more by how insular that story was. The book was entirely focused on the main characters, very few supporting people, and two locales, and that's it. It was just very segregated and lacked depth in that respect. This was a problem because an issue that was brought up in the story was how the townspeople would shun Alex for marrying Annie because of her problem. During that period, the handicapped were not accepted and were often treated badly, along with those associated with them. This was a big deal and it was mentioned...but then never dealt with. After he married Annie, we never once got any sense of how it was seen outside the home. The entire book from that point on was pretty much just Annie, Alex, his two servants, and his house. Nothing else. I wanted to know how this issue affected everyone in the real world, how Alex was seen and treated, and there was just nothing of that. It sucked some of the realism from the story. It didn't kill the book in any way for me; I still love it, but the story would have been enriched if that aspect had been properly explored.(less)
I always like to reread a favorite book around my birthday every year, and since this is probably my all-time favorite book, I picked this one this ye...moreI always like to reread a favorite book around my birthday every year, and since this is probably my all-time favorite book, I picked this one this year. I also decided to write a new review since the one I'd written before was rather short and boring.
In Phantom Waltz Bethany Coulter is a young paraplegic woman working at her family's ranch/farm store when she meets wealthy rancher Ryan Kendrick (brother to Rafe from Baby Love). The moment Ryan sets eyes on her he's smitten. It's virtually love at first sight for him so he asks her out on a date....and then finds out that she is paralyzed and in a wheelchair. First instinct is to find a way to back out, but he can't do that to the beautiful young woman. So he takes her out. They have a fabulous time and Ryan is left with a lot of thinking to do. Pursuing a relationship with a handicapped woman isn't something to go into lightly. It doesn't take him long, though, to decide Bethany's worth it.
But when he tries to begin a relationship with her, Bethany shies away. She's been hurt before by someone who couldn't handle her disability, and she's not even sure she can have a relationship with someone...sex, babies...she doesn't believe it's possible. As hard as she tries to keep Ryan at arm's length away, he weaves his way into her heart. Nothing is easy for them, though, with Ryan leading and outdoor, ranching lifestyle and a myriad of other pitfalls. They have to really struggle to find out if the forever they wish for is even possible.
Phantom Waltz is a classic Catherine Anderson book. It's packed full of emotion that brings you to tears and breaks your heart more than once. No other author I've read can write an atypical heroine like Anderson. Actually, very few write heroine's as atypical as hers, which is one of the reasons I love her books.
Bethany is such an amazing character to read about. She's a mixture of strength, courage, innocence, vulnerability, and selflessness. Anderson really brings her character to life in this book. As a reader, I just had a really great sense of who Bethany was, what she felt, what she wanted and the dilemmas she faced.
And Ryan...well, he was one of those heroes that every woman hopes to meet in real life. He was so patient and giving with Bethany. He had a hint of bad boy vibe, but at heart, he was a truly nice guy. The romance between him and Bethany was so sweet and tender, and had it's hot moments as well. Reading this book, I was completely sucked into the romance. It's so vibrant.
This book just has everything I love about a good romance. Lots of emotion and a storyline that tugs your heartstrings. Characters that are likable and realistic. A romance that makes you sigh and cry and smile and think about long after you finish. There are even some great humorous moments that bring on a chuckle or two, like with Cleo the cat and T-Bone the bull. There was just nothing about this book that I did not like.
I read some criticisms a while back about the realism of Bethany's paraplegia and how it was portrayed, but for an average reader with limited knowledge on the subject, I didn't have any qualms. Maybe someone with personal experience with the subject would find some issues, but the way I look at it is that with such a complex subject, it would be almost impossible to write an absolutely perfect story. As far as I know, Anderson wrote the book solely from research so mistakes aren't unexpected. Plus spinal chord injuries are so complicated and vary so much from person to person that trying to write a perfectly correct story is almost impossible. And that's the way I look at it. But as I said, from just an average readers perspective, the story made sense to me with regards to Bethany's paraplegia.
No matter how many times I read this book...and I think I'm up to 5 times now...the story never fails to capture me. It's a quintessential romance story. For any Anderson fan this is a must read. And for anyone who likes sweet, tender romance featuring a very atypical heroine, then I'd definitely recommend giving this book a try.
SERIES NOTE: this book is part of Anderson's Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series...it's the 2nd contemporary book. The books pretty much stand on their own, but I would definitely recommend reading the books in order if possible. It helps with the continuity of everything.(less)
**spoiler alert** A good book...not one of my favorites of the series, but good nonetheless.
Molly is such a tragic character, but not in the tradition...more**spoiler alert** A good book...not one of my favorites of the series, but good nonetheless.
Molly is such a tragic character, but not in the traditional way. Her emotionally abusive relationship completely destroyed her entire sense of self. Anderson did a nice job of showing that and using Jake to help her see who she really was. Jake and Molly don't have that explosive chemistry you sometimes see in books, but they work well together. The progression of the relationship is well-done.
The little bit of suspense involving the ex-husband is good addition. It adds a bit of a twist to the story.
I think my one overall complaint about the Coulter books, now that I've read all of them, is that Anderson does a poor job of bringing the other characters/events from previous books into the current stories. She gets by by only giving very small mentions. It's rather disappointing. Like in book one, you have the epic romance between Bethany and Ryan, where one aspect was whether or not Bethany would be able to carry a child to term. That issue is never really resolved. In Sweet Nothings, you're simply told that Bethany just gave birth, and she has only one direct scene in the entire book. It deserved more. And it would truly tie the books together if there was better continuity. Throughout the whole series, the books don't interrelate very well. That's about the only thing I think could have been done better.(less)
**spoiler alert** Summer Breeze is an absolutely wonderful book. I'm glad I decided to buy it after looking at it about 4 different times. At that poi...more**spoiler alert** Summer Breeze is an absolutely wonderful book. I'm glad I decided to buy it after looking at it about 4 different times. At that point, I'd only read 1 of Anderson's books, about a year previously, and wasn't too sure if I liked her stories. Since then, I've grown to love them.
This book is sort of set in the Coulter family series. The main Coulter books are set in the present, but she has now set a sub-series in the past that tells the stories of some of the ancestors. This book is the 2nd one in that sub-series - I haven't read the first.
Anyway, I love this book. The storyline was fabulous. Very emotional. You're just sucked into the story and the characters' trials and tribulations. Rachel's pain and fear is very real, and a very plausible reaction to what she experienced. I enjoyed the introduction of Joseph into her life and how she dealt with that, and how he insinuated himself in her life. It was a very sweet, yet tragic, story. Everything that happened just worked, from the characters to the romance, to the plot.
This is actually a frame story. The beginning starts off in the present, with the remaining unmarried Coulter son, Tucker, finding a journal in his parent's attic; Rachel's journal. He and his mother decide to read it and that's when the story shifts to the past. The last chapter moves back to the present and ends with Tucker's mother showing him a letter that had been passed on to her. The letter was one that Joseph had written to Rachel shortly before his death, after they'd been married for like 50+ years. It was an incredibly beautiful letter. I was pretty much sobbing. I usually don't like epilogues that jump way in the future and tell me how things ended with the couple. I don't like knowing how things end in that sense. I can't say I loved having it happen in this book, but it was still beautiful, and a wonderful representation of the love Rachel and Joseph found during the story.
I think the only thing I can criticize a little about the book as a whole was that at times the historical authenticity seemed suspect. I can't say for sure. I'm not all that familiar with social-historical aspects of that time period. But a few things just didn't quite fit. It didn't take all that much away from the story, though. I could look past it.
All in all...great, great book. I highly recommend it.(less)
**spoiler alert** A nice, quirky contemporary romance. Squeeze Play is a good light-read...and I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just a good b...more**spoiler alert** A nice, quirky contemporary romance. Squeeze Play is a good light-read...and I don't mean that in a negative way. It's just a good book when you want something that's light-hearted, funny, and romantic...not something that's an emotionally wrenching and getting-through-tragedy type of deal.
I really enjoyed the characters (most of them). Jacy was great. I loved how quirky she was and how she went her own way. She and Risk were a nice match. The supporting cast was great too. I like Stevie and Zen, and the Bat Pack - those guys (the Bat Pack) cracked me up. They were a great addition to the book. I could have done without Aaron, and definitely without Natalie, but I suppose the were necessary to the book. As for the romance, Angell played it out nicely. Having Risk and Jacy have to spend weeks together without being able to have sex was a great way to strengthen the bond between them. The secondary romance with Stevie and Zen was nice as well.
Squeeze Play was a good read If you like light-hearted romance, you'll like this one.(less)
**spoiler alert** I don't have a strong opinion one way or another about this book. There wasn't anything I adored, but also nothing that made me want...more**spoiler alert** I don't have a strong opinion one way or another about this book. There wasn't anything I adored, but also nothing that made me want to throw the book across the room. It was pretty much just average. The book as a whole was one of those historicals where characters basically just flit about each other. There's nothing going on in the story aside from the characters various interactions and personal dramas. Those kind of historicals always seem to bore me a little bit. I like a meatier story.
The romance was average. A little too...platonic? if that makes any sense. I just didn't quite feel the love or the passion. That could be because I wasn't entirely enamored with the characters. Lauren was a bit dull, and I found Kit to be kind of...contradictory, I guess you could say. At times I just felt his personality didn't match the image the author was cultivating. I don't really know how to explain it. Something about his character as a whole just irked me.
An interesting aspect of the book was that it was the prequel to the Bedwyn family series - which is six books (I have them and will review as I read them). So in this book, the family is introduced for the first time. I found Balogh's use of them a bit odd. She doesn't make any of them particularly likable. Frejya Bedwyn is portrayed as a complete bitch, Wulfric a heartless bastard, Alleyne and Rannulf leacherous creeps...to me it was odd to introduce them that way. The way they were in the book didn't particularly make me all that interested in reading their own stories. In my personal opinion, the future series would have been better served if she'd written even just one scene to soften the image just a little, to make the reader care a bit more about them. I already have all the Bedwyn books, but if I'd read A Summer to Remember before I bought them, I probably wouldn't have cared enough about the characters to go out looking for the books.
Anyway, to sum it all up, the book was average. Nothing special, nothing all that awful. Probably not worth the $7 to buy it new, but fine to buy used.(less)