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 yeI 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....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 tradition**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....more
**spoiler alert** I love Brockmann's books. I read anything of hers that I come across. Her SEAL series are fabulous.
Heartthrob wasn't a bad book, but**spoiler alert** I love Brockmann's books. I read anything of hers that I come across. Her SEAL series are fabulous.
Heartthrob wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't really typical Brockmann story. It wasn't a suspense at all. It was more of a romance/drama story. The book was mostly about Jericho overcoming her past and trying to become a better person. And about the romance between Jericho and Kate. It was a good story, but not overly exciting and suspenseful. But I enjoyed it for the most part. It just wasn't quite what I expected....more
This book might not appeal to many Brockmann fans. It's a different type of book than her Troubleshooters and TDD series. Embraced By Love is more ofThis book might not appeal to many Brockmann fans. It's a different type of book than her Troubleshooters and TDD series. Embraced By Love is more of a traditional romance about two people in love who find their ideals and goals for the future clashing and almost destroying their relationship. If you're a Brockmann fan looking for something suspenseful and similar to her popular books, then you may want to skip this one....more
**spoiler alert** I actually read this book first over a year ago. It was one of the first few non-Nora Roberts romances I read. After reading Bright**spoiler alert** I actually read this book first over a year ago. It was one of the first few non-Nora Roberts romances I read. After reading Bright Eyes and Blue Skies, I figured I'd skim through it so I could catch some of the connections that I'd missed the first time around from not having read the preceding books. Instead, I pretty much ended up re-reading the entire book.
My Sunshine is a wonderful romance. Anderson has a real knack for these kinds of stories. It's a real change of pace to read about characters with problems such as brain damage or blindness. It's nice to read a story that shows that just because tragedy has forever changed someone's life, they still can find happiness.
Laura and Isaiah are a great couple. There friendship is a great base for a romantic relationship. You're just really drawn to these characters throughout the story. The bit of suspense is a nice addition to the story. It's adds a little extra meat.
The first time I read this book, I liked it, but I didn't fully appreciate it. I was still pretty new to the overall romance genre, and was too focused on certain story aspects. But now that I've spent a year reading all different kinds of romances, I can look at this book more objectively. And I ended up liking it more. Definitely a great read in the romance/drama category.
I know that there have been some criticisms of this book, along with Blue Skies, and Phantom Waltz (the 1st Coulter story) about their realism in dealing with disabled characters, but the fact of the matter is, unless you suffer from the affliction yourself, you are going to have a hard time in making a book truly realistic. You can do all the research you want, but you're still going to miss somewhere. Maybe Anderson's books lack a little realism, maybe not, but for the average reader, everything works. ...more
Once again, a wonderful read from Catherine Anderson. Her books never fail to capture me. She has a wonderful way of exploring characters and emotionsOnce again, a wonderful read from Catherine Anderson. Her books never fail to capture me. She has a wonderful way of exploring characters and emotions, thoroughly engaging the reader. I didn't find this book as thoroughly enthralling and emotional as some of her other books, like Phantom Waltz and Summer Breeze, but I still loved it.
Lots of wonderful dynamics in this book. I loved Ben's character. As an animal lover myself, I loved his compassion for the animals he cared for. I just wanted to give him a big hug sometimes. The romance between him and Chloe is nicely done. There's a slow build-up that makes it more realistic than if they just jumped into bed with each other. I liked that they got to know each other first. They complemented each other well.
There was a minor suspense plot aspect that was a nice addition to the story. It gave the book some kick and some meat. And the reason behind the antagonist's action fit well with the story. But the story was mostly about the characters, their situations, and the romance, as with all Anderson's books. Just a good all around romance....more
As usual, another wonderful book from Catherine Anderson. She almost never fails to capture me with her fabulous stories. And I'm glad I finally got tAs usual, another wonderful book from Catherine Anderson. She almost never fails to capture me with her fabulous stories. And I'm glad I finally got to read this one. From the Kendrick/Coulter set of books, this was the only one I hadn't read, and it was the first one from the series. So after reading so many books that had Rafe and Maggie as side characters, it was great to finally get to read their story. It was well worth reading.
The story is a dynamic romance/drama with great characters, great emotion, great storyline, and a great romance. It was just an all-around two thumbs up book. I didn't have any complaints from reading it.
Basically, if you've read any other of Anderson's books and enjoyed them, then you'll like Baby Love....more
**spoiler alert** Anderson's books are pure romance and drama, and always very poignant. She tells people-stories, and Blue Skies is no different. She**spoiler alert** Anderson's books are pure romance and drama, and always very poignant. She tells people-stories, and Blue Skies is no different. She really draws you in with her multi-faceted characters, all the angst, and emotions. These types of stories generally aren't my favorites, but I have enjoyed Anderson's books.
Hank and Carly had an instant chemistry. Their story definitely keeps you reading. It was interesting to read how the characters changed and grew, learned from their mistakes, and tried to build a trust between them. Carly's struggle with her eyesight adds a whole other dimension to the story that makes the book a great read. You end up really feeling for the characters. At times in the beginning Carly kind of pisses me off because she is a bit unfair to Hank, but you kind of understand where she is coming from.
I enjoyed reading the book. It's a great love story that goes through trials and tribulations that are a bit atypical of other romances. If you want to read a poignant romance, then I definitely recommend this book....more
**spoiler alert** Bright Eyes is a little different in tone than the other two of Anderson's books I've read. It's not quite a poignant, but it's stil**spoiler alert** Bright Eyes is a little different in tone than the other two of Anderson's books I've read. It's not quite a poignant, but it's still an interesting romance. I enjoyed seeing Zeke's perceptions and desires shift. His relationship with Natalie's son was wonderfully done. I liked how that was the initial focus of the connection between Natalie and Zeke.
One of the things I liked most about the book was the more traditional romance of it. Natalie and Zeke meet, are attracted to one another, engage in a relationship, fall in love, and decide to get married. So many romances in books are chock full of angst, denying feelings, breaking up, getting back together, etc. It's nice once in a while to read a book where there is a more natural flow to two people getting together and staying together. So I really enjoyed that aspect.
Another great part of the book was that there were some truly hilarious scenes. I couldn't stop laughing at a couple of them. It's always great when some humor is surprisingly slipped into a book.
All in all, a good read. It's maybe not a serious and dramatic as Anderson's other books, but I liked it....more
**spoiler alert** As with every single Catherine Anderson book I've read, this one was excellently written and very engaging. I've not yet read a book**spoiler alert** As with every single Catherine Anderson book I've read, this one was excellently written and very engaging. I've not yet read a book of hers that didn't capture me and that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. She's a very vibrant and talented writer in the general romance genre.
Even though I enjoyed Sun Kissed a lot, I'll be honest and say that there was just something missing in it. I'm not quite sure what. The book was a quick read for me; it kept my attention and I couldn't wait to finish it, but it was lacking a certain spark that's existed in most of her other books. I think it had something to do with the balance between the characters & romance, and the plot of the story. Anderson usually has a very nice balance in her books. Sometimes they are more purely character and romance dramas, and other times, they're characters & romance with a mildly suspenseful plot added in. Either way, they're just nicely balanced, but in Sun Kissed, the suspense plot seemed to overwhelm the story.
I wouldn't go so far as to call the book a romantic suspense...it didn't have the frenetic pace of a suspense book, but the storyline of what was happening with Sam's horses was the purveying theme throughout the book. Pretty much every scene related to the horse situation and to me it just seemed to take away something from the book. It kept the characters and the romance from standing out like they do in most of Anderson's books. I would have liked a better balance there. I think it would have given the book more of the poignant sentimentality that you find in her other stories. Most of Anderson's books have been known to suck me in, chew me up and spit me out on the emotional-angst level, but Sun Kissed didn't. The potential was there, but the horse storyline just sucked up all the book's energy.
My only other gripe with the book is one I've had with Anderson before: that she doesn't utilize her past characters and storylines enough. Sun Kissed had guest appearances from a few of the past characters, but most of them were given only passing mentions, and that's just disappointing in such a family oriented series. I wanted more cameos from them and wanted to know more about how they were doing and what's been going on with them. Anderson created such special characters in her past books that they deserve a little more in her latter books.
Overall, it was sill a good/great book. I wasn't really disappointed in it, just found it lacking a bit of the magic I loved in her other stories. But I did like it. Tucker and Sam make a good couple. There wasn't a lot of physicality between them because the plot took up so much time and there was the religion issue, but oh well. I also enjoyed how, as she does in most books, Anderson drops in unexpected humor every so often. Some of the lines just crack me up. So if you're a reader of Anderson's books, especially the Coulter series, you'll probably like Sun Kissed....more
Catherine Anderson is one of my favorite authors and I usually love her books, but I have to admit that this one was a bit of a disappointment for me.Catherine Anderson is one of my favorite authors and I usually love her books, but I have to admit that this one was a bit of a disappointment for me.
At the core, I liked the storyline - Loni, a clairvoyant, has a vision that a young boy is lost in the wilderness and only horseman Clint Harrigan will be able to save him. There's also the fact that the boy is Clint's biological son - which Clint doesn't know. After some disbelief on Clint's part, the two head out on horseback to rescue young Trevor.
I enjoyed that part of the book. It was a very low-intensity story, but it still kept me reading and wanting to see how things with the boy turned out.
But the rest of the parts of the book just didn't do much for me. The thing I disliked most was the heavy reliance on religion. Usually Anderson uses religion a little in all her books, but in this one, you couldn't go a page without reading God-this and God-that. It was just irritating - more so for me because I'm a true-blue atheist.
Plus, both main characters were Catholics. Clint is sort of a born-again virgin and Loni a true virgin. There's all kinds of talk about sex before marriage being a sin and all that. Throughout the book, there is only one sexual, intimate scene. Which is kinda boring. Maybe I wouldn't have minded it so much if it weren't for the fact that the last book, Sun Kissed, was the same way. Too much religion, not enough intimacy. So all that was a turn-off for me.
I also didn't really care for how sappy it got at times. All kinds of talk about "you're the one I waited for" and how perfect they are for each other and other sentiments like that. It made me roll my eyes.
I don't know, this book just didn't really seem like a Catherine Anderson book to me. Her stories are usually so emotionally charged, with relationships that suck you in and stick with you long after you finish the book. This one didn't have any of that for me. The characters were just kind of there and didn't stand out in any way. I can't see this as being a book that I'd want to reread.
And one last note - once again, I was disappointed by how much Anderson under-utilized past characters from this series. Samantha and Tucker (Sun Kissed) get small cameos just in the sense that they are part of Clint's family, and a couple other characters get negligible mentions. If it weren't for the fact that I knew this was part of set of connected books, just reading Morning Light wouldn't have clued me in. It's just disappointing to see much-loved characters left adrift once their books are done.
So yeah...by far not one of my favorite Anderson books. It's probably my least favorite out of all the books by her that I've read. But it wasn't horrible. It's probably worth reading for those who enjoy the Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan books, or Anderson's books in general....more
I have to preface this by saying that my blah opinion of this book is probably a lot to do with it being time-travel. I just don't like time-travel boI have to preface this by saying that my blah opinion of this book is probably a lot to do with it being time-travel. I just don't like time-travel books, at all.
Odd book. And honestly, though I didn't hate it, it bored me most of the time. I was glad to finish it so I could move on and read something more interesting.
I'm not saying it was an utterly horrible book. It's more like...the phrase "lost in translation" comes to mind. Something got lost in translation between McCall's concept of this book and the final product. I understand what she was trying to convey, but when I finished, the message was garbled, so to speak. I just wasn't buying into the story she was telling.
It didn't work for me that the entire romance between Amanda and Jefferson was based on her interactions with Nokose, and at the very end, when she and Jefferson were cuddling up together for happily-ever-after, the two had hardly spent any time together at all. I know the whole point is "soulmates" and "lovers across time" but like I said, it just didn't work for me in the way she told it.
It took me a while to get into this book. I think I was about halfway through before I started to really get into the story. That's probably partiallyIt took me a while to get into this book. I think I was about halfway through before I started to really get into the story. That's probably partially because just before that I'd been reading a Lora Leigh book (so completely different) and also because the vibe of Virgin River is rather different than your typical romance novel.
This book is about people and life, the vagaries of small-town living, growing and healing, and, of course, love. Like the town it's set in, the pace of the book is on the slow and meandering side, with a lot of mundane but interesting details. Which took me a while to adjust to. But once I got used to, I rather enjoyed the story. I can't say that I absolute adored it, but it did keep me up reading even though I was tired.
The characters were great and the setting enjoyable. I look forward to reading Preacher's story in the next book.
The only real complaint I had was that I really could have done without the Ricky/Liz sex scene. Considering their ages, it kinda tripped my WTF?-meter. And it was rather unnecessary.