While the physical attraction and relationship between Lilia and Christus are undeniable, they hide some main issues with the overall story, namely thWhile the physical attraction and relationship between Lilia and Christus are undeniable, they hide some main issues with the overall story, namely the characterizations. Yes, Lilia is meant to be a strong, independent woman with a touch of sympathy and softness. However, I never got an impression that she was entirely intelligent. She was obviously very trusting, especially in her master who basically sold her out and knew about was happening in his own ludus. I found that last point somewhat incomprehensible only in the sense as a prize commodity, Lilia would have been better protected. In fact, all of the vilians in the story are one-dimensional and almost cartoonish in their depiction. By the mid-way point, I was really hoping for less sex and a pending conclusion cause I was rapidly growing bored by the emperor's brother. If one only concentrated on Lilia's and Christus' relationship, then it was fine. However, the rest of the story was less developed and was almost added as an afterthought. Hence, the story is more 2.5 out of 5 than a 3 but since I did manage to read til the very end, I am forced to give it a slightly higher nod. ...more
Summary recap. Hero conquers foreign land and captures heroine. He holds her captive while he faces a moral dilemma whether he wants to continue waginSummary recap. Hero conquers foreign land and captures heroine. He holds her captive while he faces a moral dilemma whether he wants to continue waging war or "retire" to live a life of peace. Meanwhile, heroine resists captivity but due to her captor's kindness, she eventually resigns herself to her fate and falls in love. Throw in a villian and a dangerous plot where the couple have to overcome and there you have it, your typical romantic novel.
Why the story didn't work? Partly because so much of the story seemed "forced." The biggest problem I had seems to be the growing romance between Marcus and Ademeni. I understand physical attraction but aside from the fact that Marcus getting a hard on everytime he thinks about her, I don't see why he felt the need to protect her. Ademeni brings almost nothing to the relationship. Describe all you want about her spirit and determination and how she seemingly likes small children. She is basically a very one-dimensional character who occupies the role of a foreign "victim" who needs someone to protect her constantly because she is not politically savvy enough to save herself. Mind you, Marcus doesn't seem to be portrayed any better as it takes forever for him to realize that Tertullian is plotting against him even with all the signs pointing him to this conclusion. Equally puzzling is why Marcus' mother-in-law in so enamoured with Ademeni and starts giving her the jewels and clothing from her deceased daughter. Unless Ademeni looked like Julia, there is no good explanation. In fact, Marcus' relationship with all of the women in his life seemed confusing, especially with his sister Druscilla. If he knew Tertullian was such a bastard, one would assume that Marcus would have done more to get rid of him if he cared about his sister at all. His inaction just shows how contradictory his character is. In the end, an okay romance but not one I was totally in love with....more
Set roughly around 844/845 AD, this historical romance is more of a mixed bag for me in that I liked the premise where the hero is viewed as a cowardSet roughly around 844/845 AD, this historical romance is more of a mixed bag for me in that I liked the premise where the hero is viewed as a coward and social outcast but must protect someone who is in a even more precarious social standing. While the circumstances leading up to Einar's injuries and his initial meeting with Wida were plausible, the subsequent story seemed really forced. For example, Einar/Toki (as he is now known to the villagers) is disabled and mute. His silence is due to wanting to protect his younger siblings but somehow I am led to believe that the addition of a cursed amulet worn by Bausi, the main villain, is also the cause of Toki's silence. Perhaps if would have been easier to accept if the author simply got Bausi to cut off Toki's tongue. In fact, I am still confused why Bausi did not kill Einar when he was injured. Equally perplexing is how Wida ends up being captured by the same Vikings who previously destroyed her village. I think the story would have been more plausible if she had been captured as a child and grew up in the Viking settlement. Equally implausible seems to be Sigdir's convoluted scheming to get away from Bausi's influence by marrying Wida.
I liked the characterizations of Einar/Toki and Wida but I was not in love with their romance. Too many forced plot devices were used to draw them together or apart that I felt the story was like a practice before another the author wanted to tackle the actual story between two other characters. That being said, I have to give this book a marginal 2.75 rating which means 3 stars for Goodreads--enjoyed it enough to read from beginning to end but will likely not read a second time. ...more
Set in 11th century Wales(I think), this historical romance novella featured two attractive and compelling characters who take a chance on love and enSet in 11th century Wales(I think), this historical romance novella featured two attractive and compelling characters who take a chance on love and end up reaping the rewards. Mercia is typical of the younger and less attractive sibling with a yearning for adventure. Rhodri is the typical hero--highly attractive and powerful warrior with a head wound resulting in mild amnesia. What more can you ask for in a romantic novella? At least the author doesn't get bogged down in trying to make Mercia grovel when Rhodri catches her in her lie. Rhodri is the "I know what I want and I am not going to stop until get it" type of guy so desperately needed in a novella since there is little time to analyze or self-reflect how they got into their situation. A nice quick romantic read to tide one over until you want to read a full-length novel. ...more
I felt this medieval romance between a warlord (Finn) and wanna-be warrior princess (Lara) to be...romantic but wholly uneven. The growing mutual admiI felt this medieval romance between a warlord (Finn) and wanna-be warrior princess (Lara) to be...romantic but wholly uneven. The growing mutual admiration and romance between the characters in the first part was interesting especially as it centered around chasing down the villian. But by the time the couple finally reach Finn's estate, somehow the romance between the two characters seemed kinda boring, particularly as the characters take on their traditional roles as lord and lady. Aside from the brief interlude where Finn's men spy on the couple's training session, the re-appearance of the villian and Lara's subsequent mild amnesisa seemed like heavy-handed plot devices to spice up a rather bland marriage. In retrospect, I think I would have preferred if the characters got married at the very end because they were much more romantic and appealing when they were tip-toeing around each other. ...more
Set in 12th century Ireland, this anthology features some of the MacEgan children as they come together to celebrate the winter holidays.
In The BleakSet in 12th century Ireland, this anthology features some of the MacEgan children as they come together to celebrate the winter holidays.
In The Bleak Midwinter - 4 out of 5
I love how Arturo is patient enough to tread carefully with Brianna as she struggles to come to terms with the death of her husband the year before. Their romance is more like friends gradually falling in love with each other, except their story is sped up as opposed to being told over time.
The Holly and the Viking - 4.5 out of 5
Easily my favorite story in the entire anthology. I love the character of Kaall who is so determined to live on his own as an blind man and regain his daughter that you cannot help but not root for him. My heart nearly broke when he thought no woman would ever love him because of his disability. Hence, it was not too surprising when he told Rhiannon that her former would-be suitors were too weak and were simply not worthy of her. Sigh! So happy for Kaall as he deserved to find love and happiness after so much sorrow. My one quibble is that Rhiannon's and Kaall's story deserve a full-length novel.
A Season to Forgive - 2.5 out of 5
It probably would have helped if I had read the novella Lionheart's Bride prior to this anthology as my main complaint with this story is the lack of background regarding Liam's and Adriana's romance. I had a hard time trying to figure out why they were in love with each other. If anything, this story is more about Liam's ill-conceived notions about leadership/kingship that really could have been cleared up if he simply sat down and discussed his fears with his father, Patrick. Oh well. A missed opportunity. ...more
I freely admit that I don't quite recall what happened in the first two books of this series. Having being warned by a friend that this book was not oI freely admit that I don't quite recall what happened in the first two books of this series. Having being warned by a friend that this book was not one of Quinn's better books, I am a little surprised by how I stuck to it after reading the first 40 pages. Neither Hugh or Sarah are memorable characters. In fact, Hugh seems too indifferent and Sarah is too much of a ninny that I was at a loss at how Quinn could even contemplate them as a potential couple let alone write about them. It took another 60 pages before I could start liking them as friends before their "romance" officially took off. Once they realized they were attracted to one another, Quinn upsets her storytelling by adding a "monstrous" villain with a nefarious plan that still baffles me (e.g. Hugh's father wants a heir even though he has two sons already. What's the big deal? Is their a large inheritance involved? Is the land going to be given to someone else?)
Anyway, I give this book 2.5 stars that pushed it slightly towards the 3 mark. I don't think the characters in this series are as interesting and delightful as the Bridgertons, but at least, they are entertaining at times.