Sunday, 4 October 2009
The first reason was the mention of a ‘double cab black pickup.’ Just rolls off the tongue don’t it. I did a search on those words. Apparently Toyota make a model they call the ‘Intimidator.’ The inside is nice enough comfy but to be honest the ‘pickup’ part of it looked a tad small…barely enough to hold an average size hound dog. What I’d really like to know is..is it a gas-guzzler? Are there still people who drive vehicles like that without a thought to cost?
Another reason was the portrayal of the bad guy, Johnny Grace. You mean a guy can dress up as a woman, walk into a detention centre, and not be laughed out of the place?!! But all in all he was an excellent home-grown traitor. I seem to remember one of the mothers of the Mai-Lai soldiers wailing ‘I gave the army a good boy. They brought me back a killer.’ Well. Here. The army gets a twisted human being to begin with. Johnny is supposed to be intelligent, he owns a successful small business…yet he hatches a plan that involves slitting someone’s throat, selling nuclear missiles to potential tangos, keeping a million dollars all for himself, and staying safe in his small town. All because he hates James ‘Dawg’ MacKay, the hero of this story. To whom he is related to in some shirttail southern way. Plus. This is the first novel I have read that features 4 gay ex-soldiers. All young too. Not just ordinary soldiers but all ex special ops or snipers or some special specialism.
I also liked the way the story started. With the heroine Crista Ann simply an innocent person caught up in a warehouse shootout through no fault of her own. And from there the plot and the romance slowly unwind. I particularly liked that Crista had a fairly uneventful childhood and hadn’t been attacked or abused like so many heroines in borderline erotics. It was the hero Rowdy who had the difficult family relationships. But I wasn’t fooled. Rowdy had quite a bit of inherited wealth. So well done Crista Ann. Although I don’t usually comment on the details of a hot erotic romance readers might like to be aware that the ‘innocent’ heroine accepts anal on her first night with the drunken hero. And likes it too. But don’t let that put anyone off from reading the story. It ends with some really cute heartwarming dialogue between the main couple as they affirm their feelings for one another.
On the cautious side. Readers should be aware that the whole earthshattering plot takes place in a small Kentucky town in the middle of nowhere where there are some really strange and some really poisonous family relationships. Happily there was not much screaming melodramatics and absolutely no hysterics between the main couple. But yes, the hero and his ‘special forces’ friends still come across as lunkheads seeing how they let Johnny play them for far too long. I even liked the set-up for the next book in the series…obviously featuring Natches. But I wasn’t too taken by the glimpses of his intended, Greta Dane. Who actually undergoes a name change to Chayna in the Natches book.
Now we come to the tough part.
I admit to reading the first novel in the Nauti series, Nauti Boy. About 9 months ago. I couldn’t review it at the time I read it. I didn’t have enough mental strength for that. It’s not that it is a bad book. It’s just that you have to have a strong belief in the Goodness Of Mankind in order to take the relationships presented to you on the pages. A. very. Strong. belief.
Here goes. There is a guy in it called Ray. He is the father of the hero, Rowdy and also the stepfather of the heroine, Kelly. That’s fine. Kelly is never harmed by Ray or Rowdy in any way. Except of course adult Kelly and Rowdy are the main couple. But at one point in the story Ray wishes he had married Kelly’s mom before she married Kelly’s dad because then Kelly would really be his daughter. So where would that put the relationship between Kelly and Rowdy? What’s more, Ray seems to have been involved in a threesome with Kelly’s mom and dad on more than one occasion. I just thought ‘Yuk.’ Or even ‘Poor Kelly. What chance does she have of forming a normal relationship with anyone.’
And in the beginning Kelly comes under a lot of pressure to be part of a ménage with Rowdy and his two cousins. And yes, Kelly IS one of those erotic heroines who has nearly been brutalised. I read with all the fascination of watching a cobra sway in the sand. I was quite amazed when Kelly, after a few awkward encounters with the three guys actually chose to say no to the ménage and yes to just being involved with Rowdy. In fact it was the character of Kelly that kept me reading. Although a lot of what she did was to compensate Rowdy for not sharing. The constraints of the novel meant she had to put out but really, she should have been given more time to regain her confidence after quite a nasty experience with the bad guy, particularly by Rowdy who kept saying he wouldn’t rush her. But he did.
A big deal was made in the novel about how Rowdy and his two cousins, Dawg and Natches were these really ace ex-marines who would protect Kelly from her homicidal stalker. But again the lone stalker who turned out to be a total geek kept getting the better of Rowdy and his friends. In fact in the end it was Kelly who distracted the killer whilst Rowdy, Dawg and Natches could recover from all three having been laid out cold by this lone geek. That was just ridiculous. Because the geek had only brief mentions in the story I felt cheated by the plot. His character should have been depicted a little more in the novel. He wasn’t a ‘Mr Big,’ just another crazy inhabitant of a tiny southern town. Crazy but very sly and cunning.
The word I would use to describe Nauti Boy is ‘interesting.’
So there it is. Two reviews in one posting. A bargain really.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
However. I bought the novel only after the disappointment of Dangerous Passion. And after all I was a Steele Street fan. So there's no stopping me...
The question is. Why did the Crazy series stop and the Loose series begin? At first I thought it was because the publishers thought the Steele Street guys were getting too old. They were all settling down, getting married...at last count, Superman had 3 kids with Katya.
So a new generation of SDF had to be found. And they came along. Guys and gals. Nice enough. But all completely anonymous. I didn't really like the South American settings either.
So suddenly we got Loose and Easy, the Johnny Ramos story which was such a weird tale. What with it all taking place in one night. And in that night Esme and Johnny were supposed to fall in love forever! How could you have a Johnny Ramos story without a Skeeter appearance? Never mind the fact that every crazy character within 10 km of Denver did in fact manage to feature in the story. Including the local gangbangers (who turned out to be nice boys really...I personally have big objections to criminals being made out to be community leaders...though not from personal experience...just the idea of bullies running the neighbourhood makes me shudder.) Of course with all the characters that were pile-driven into the plot there was very little room for character development of the main couple or their relationship. But maybe that is just a style of writing. After all Creed and Cody's book could be said to be similar. Except that it wasn't because that was the story where Dylan first showed Skeeter his feelings about her. (So it could be said to be written in the Brockman style...another feature that was dropped with the Loose series.)
The point I am making is that Ramos was a character from the Steele Street series. So already the Loose series is backsliding. But at least Ramos was a young guy so at some level the polka-dot style of writing was understandable. And the JT thread made a reappearance.
So now we come to Breaking Loose. Featuring Suzi Toussi. Who is Superman's age, twice divorced but still supposedly hot. I have nothing against older heroines. But they fall in love in a different way to a 20 year old. That must be true. And an author has to portray that for a romance to work. Surely. It just doesn't happen here.
The main reason for reading this story is to follow the JT thread. And to see how it all pans out. I might join a fanfiction site and continue the series myself…featuring only the SDF crew. No Smith or Dax. I like Zach though. Probably not even Creed or Kid. I wasn’t much taken with their stories either. I liked Red Dog though. And Travis, her bitch. btw Whatever happened to Cheryl and Red Dog’s brother, Gabriel? I felt sure they were being set up for a story of their own.
There are quite a number of plots going on in this book.
There is a tango sleeper cell in Texas. Erich Warner knows who they are and will give that information to the US government in exchange for a magical statue called the Memphis Sphinx.
Dax Killian is in Paraguay to get the Memphis Sphinx for Warner on behalf of one bunch of US government good guys.
Suzi Toussi is also in Paraguay to get the Memphis Sphinx for another bunch of US spies.
But. Another bunch of US spies actually sent the Memphis Sphinx to Paraguay to flush out a rogue US spy called Conroy Farrell.
Farrell wants to kill Erich Warner because Warner funds the development and manufacture of some very very nasty psychopharmological drugs…..
…the same drugs that were used on Dylan Hart and Farrell himself. And yes. Dylan Hart is in Paraguy, with the SDF team, with orders to kill Conroy Farrell….who is probably J T Chronopolous….GEEZ! That’s the guy Superman named his first born son for.
Actually. My first Steele Street novel was Dylan’s story, Crazy Love, which was publicized as Skeeter’s story. At the time I originally read the book I thought it was a bit ick that the first time Skeet and Dylan got down to business he was actually spaced out on those nasty psychopharmalogical drugs. But I suppose without those drugs he would never have made any moves on Skeeter. I thought it was also a bit weird how Dylan kept going on about the age difference between him and Skeeter when she was about 21 and he was about 33. I figure that she was maybe originally written younger and the publishers changed her age up.
Anyway. I never thought then that those drugs were an ongoing thread. Says a lot for Dylan’s head strength that he was able to work his way out of drug dependence. Without much character change other that he allowed himself to fall in love. Because everyone else who has had those drugs had become completely changed in a totally murderous manner….J.T and Shoko step forward.
Who would have thought the J.T thread would turn so dark? Who would have thought Dylan’s experiences with Dr Souk in Indonesia would have an ending in Paraguay. ‘The world is indeed a village’ as Hillary once said.
I have read so much dnf dross recently. Maybe that’s why the story captured my interest. Also I knew where all the threads were coming from. Because I have read every single book in the series! However in the end I refrained from getting too excited because I suspected the ending would probably disappoint.
Thinking about the plot. I have no idea why anyone with any brains would send Suzi Tousi into a situation like that. The problem with having a heroine like Suzi is that the publisher will say ‘Oh but we must have a young person in the story.’ And so a completely irrelevant teen character is introduced. And we get detail about her back story, her looks, her attitude….all of it completely irrelevant to the story. We get the waste of space called Scout. When really the reader might want more of Suzi and Dax developing a relationship. Or in my case, more of Dylan and the SDF crew.
There’s nothing wrong with Suzi. She’s just not that interesting. That’s mainly because she and Dax don’t have enough pages…in their own book! Skeeter and Dylan were all over Crazy Love. No way could Suzi be an agent. She falls apart on viewing a dead body. Her only strategy to get info from a guy is to dress like a cheap hooker.
If I had written this story. I’d leave out Ponce, Jimmy Ruiz, the shakedown cops…the author is often putting in too many people in her novels. I understand that South America is full of very strange people…I don’t necessarily want to read about them all in the one novel. All I know about Paraguay is that this is the country that scared Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell when they were filming Miami Vice. And how many countries are there that don’t worship Hollywood movie stars? It’s the sort of place where women with independent attitude probably get kidnapped off the street in broad daylight. Suzi Toussi wouldn’t last one single minute in that place really.
I actually enjoy the simplicity of romances. One guy, one girl. And mostly told from the girl’s point of view. None of that here. This novel is told from nearly every characters pov. My poor brain can’t hardly keep track. And of course. Not enough Suzi and Dax. I'd have liked to have known more about how the death of Suzi's little girl precipitated her into risking her life for strangers. Suzi did have an interesting back-story...it was just left untold...in favour of endless uninteresting insights into the minds of people who appeared for only about 2 pages. (That just reminded me of how much I enjoyed Zach’s incredibly implausible story.) And as always there is so much time wasting running around for nothing. The reader is told quite early on that Con has the Sphinx. So why waste whole chapters on Suzi and Dax finding out for themselves the Sphinx is no longer at Berenger’s. I hate it when denouement action has to unfold in one single end chapter leaving no room for thread tie-ups. And I still didn’t see why twice-divorced Suzi fell for never-before-married Dax. Without even asking him if he swings both ways. (See what I mean about how older women behave?)
As always recently. The plot goes round and round in circles. Suzi and Dax looking for the Sphinx. And I realise that the book is just running out of pages. There just isn’t enough room for Warner to get killed by Con, for Shoko to get off her pills, for Suzi to get the Sphinx, or for its magic to be demonstrated. The Texas tango thread has also disappeared. The paranormal thread just peters out. It should have been edited out. Nothing explains why Warner wants to own the Sphinx. (Nothing that makes sense anyway.)
It’s stupid to give up reading a 400-page book at page 300. But I felt seriously tempted. Nothing was happening. There was no progression. The main couple were still looking for the statuette same as they were on page 40. And they’d only kissed once.
Another thread from Steele Street is how much they were into their weapons. I loved all that. Totally absent from Breaking Loose of course. Suddenly no-one's worried about america being destroyed by terrorist groups anymore. Is that down to the passage of time or have all those lost lives really done some good?
Anyone who's managed to read through my rambling review might as well read the book itself. Just to show solidarity with a working author.
And you know what else. From what I read of JT, I didn't like him either.
Having done nothing but complain and reminisce I wish to state that I will be reading the next book. Basically any mention of Dylan, Superman et al will keep this poor sap tapping out the numbers on her debit card. Can't blame ol' Suzi for trying hard.
First. This book is a total scam. Despite the title no way is it part of the 'Dangerous' series. As far as I know, both Dangerous Secrets and Dangerous Lover were original stories. There is nothing original about Dangerous Passion. It was published previously under the title 'Secluded' in 2003 as part of the Red Sage 'Secrets' anthology. So it was written before Midnight Man which is the story it most closely resembles (particularly in length)....except that MM is the better story even.
What I liked about DL, DS and even Woman on the Run was that as well as all the hotness all 3 books contained a mulitiplicity of fantastic themes. Like...great driving skills. Like...transforming a dying small town. Like...the human cost of mineral mining in a completely different country. Also. In each of the above novels the females do something heroic. Julia agreed to testify against a mobster; Caroline gave up normal living in order to nurse her brother; Charity also gave up her hopes and ambitions to care for elderly relatives but still didn't hesitate to risk her life to
gain incriminating evidence against a delusional russian gangster. Even Suzanne in MM makes a stand against a criminal. All of the above named females showed they knew Right from Wrong.
There is none of that in DP. Grace does nothing for anyone. In fact she brings death to her elderly sponsor. I'm particularly annoyed about the hero. Why is he presented as Drake when his name is in fact Viktor? So basically this is the story of a gangster and his unthinking (but talented) moll. That is very different from 99% of LMR's other erotic novels. Why does 'nice' Grace give up living legally so easily? There are arms dealers who sometimes feature in newspapers. They claim they are respectable businessmen. None of them seem to go in fear of their lives like Viktor. So just what has he done that is so terrible? I'm with another reviewer who questioned why Grace so readily accepted Viktor's affirmation that he'd never dealt in drugs. And anyway. There's equally horrible trades to drugs and arms going on in the world.
This story was probably retitled and brought out purely to cash in on the author's growing popularity. Unfortunately going by Lara Adrian, Laurell K and JR, I don't suppose it'll affect sales. But I mourn the passing of a talent that was able to transform a lightweight genre into something outstandingly pleasureable to read.
I'd have liked to have realised what was being perpetrated before I paid out dollars. So in my public service capacity, I am letting everyone else know. I thank you.
Friday, 14 August 2009
The story is ok. But it cannot be compared to the 'masterworks' that are Dangerous Lover, Dangerous Secrets or even Woman on the Run.
The simple reason is the length of this novel. It seems incredibly short. Little more than an erotic e-novel. Where neither the situation nor the characters are much developed. And how weird is it that Viktor chooses the name Victoria for Grace. Where did Grace's crazy dream come from? I think an editor left half the story on the publisher's floor.
The novel is also full of Russkies. Whose fascination seems to have passed me by. Viktor is one those 'bad guys' who seems to leave a lot of traitors alive. Both Shota and Andrew should have been dealt with harshly. There is quite a good voyeurism scene though.
Grace doesn't really seem to have a mind of her own. Other than 'Yes Victor', 'Thank you Victor.' She is very different from the other 'Dangerous' heroines. Julia bravely agreed to testify against a mob boss, Caroline nursed her brother for many years and Charity bravely chose to put herself in harms way to bring a mike into her admirers mansion. Grace is just a pale shadow compared to the aforementioned marvellous females.
I can't believe I waited 6 months for the book to be published. What's more. The net buzz is that it is basically a rewrite of a previously published work. So why couldn't it have been longer?
tbh it's hardly worth the effort of reading. I can't believe neither Grace nor Victor won't expire of boredom in their tropical paradise after a few years.
A short indifferent review is all this book deserves ...from everyone.
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Unusually, I suppose, the hotness has a purpose in the novel. Presumably to show how much the married main couple really trust and love each other. What also comes across is the enormous amount of respect they have for each other. But Merrick was taking Chloe's respect for granted. So whenever Chloe says to Merrick, "I love you but I don't want to go back to living with you just yet" all the readers know it is only a matter of time before she does.
Actually I applaud Chloe for holding out for as long as she did. Even though it got on my nerves a little, seeing how she gave Merrick everything else...including her ass. It's like she was saying, "Yes, we have great sex but....our marriage problems are about more than that." God bless her. She sticks to her principles until she sees Merrick making some changes in his workaholic lifestyle. Yes, she listens sympathetically both when he explains the reason for his driven workstyle and his promises to change. But she waits until she witnesses that change before she goes back to living with him. And even then she persuades him to attend marriage counselling with her. In so many ways Chloe is such a sensible person who knows exactly what was going wrong in her work/life relationship with Merrick and is going to do her sensible utmost to see that it doesn't happen again. I loved the mix of eroticism and total grounding in the story.
Merrick does everything Chloe wants of him. He even shares his Business with her. What does he gain. Well. He misses out on the serial marriages of many successful guys...he gets to stick with the woman who he's happy to admit he loves forever. And of course he gets a family of his own even though he's quite nervous about having babies. We're talking beautiful planned pregnancy in this book. Rarer than snow in July when it comes to erotics and especially series romances.
Words fail to describe how unsordid the hotness truely is. The hero's little quirk in this story is that he likes to gaze at his wife's genitals and admire their beauty. Isn't that lovely? Everything else I've read many times before. Chloe is never in any sexual peril from anyone in the whole novel. Isn't that the function of a caveman? To protect his woman from unwanted advances. Merrick is completely able to fulfill that role. I loved how he was attracted to Chloe from the first time he met her...and knew she would come to mean a lot to him.
Chloe and Merrick are a lot more straightforward than Neely and Sebastian from SDM. But their romance is way more satisfactory. Mind you. I should tell Chloe and Merrick that the most uptodate response to making out in public is not "Get A Room!" but "How much would you like me to pay so I can stay and watch the show?" (I got the impression that despite their little effort both Merrick and Chloe would be totally scandalized by such a reaction. tee hee)
At only 72 pages, a great 2 night read.
A word of advice about the epilogue. Do Not Bother. It is horrendous. All the reader needs to know is that Chloe is going to have Merricks baby and they are both very very happy together.
The remainder of the epilogue is pure set up for the romances of the secondary characters in the story. The trouble is the reader is supposed to care about people who are given no character build up whatsoever. Grace, Nick, Jackson....isn't a bit weird how all the workers in Merricks Company fall for one another?
I am going to read Candy's story though.
Final conclusion for anyone who has any doubts...................................................................................
Good. Good. Good. Hot. Hot.Hot. Hot. Excellent. Excellent. Very fine. A+
......happily another crime free novel.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
Well. I enjoyed this novel. But, boy, does the heroine suffer.
First. Her live-in boyfriend of one year just vanishes off the face of the earth. That's the hero by the way. He's a secret agent and he returns to her about 18-months later because he gets into trouble and remembers that he loved her. It doen't change the fact that Kate was living with a guy who lied to her on a daily basis for over a years. Kate goes through emotional agonies when Luke disappears. Lots of people telling her he's an adult and maybe he just wanted out of the relationship.
Next. Completely unconnected. Kate is driving the car which is hit by another vehicle. And Kate's passenger, who is her heavily pregnant sister-in-law, dies! Of course, Kate suffers more agonies of guilt. With the result that she completely changes her lifestyle and appearance, apparently. She quits being a successful artist and becomes, like, a punkish barkeep! However I thought that her relationship with her brother was somewhat unbelievable considering what he lost. But he's probably being set up for a sequel. It had better be a minimum of 5 years in the future. That is the appropriate length of time to mourn the death of someone who you swore, before God, to "love, honor and obey for as long as you are alive."
The book is about how Luke returns to Kate and has to convince her that he loved her despite the lies and the fact that his spy boss is gunning for him because he saw something he shouldn't have. tbh Luke doesn't have to work very hard to win Kate back. Particularly once she's seen his spectacular houseboat in Tennessee. Because, yes, Luke is one of those spys with lots of money.
And finally. In the denouement. Kate takes a shot to the gut for Luke. And has to recover from serious surgery. Surgery that will probably affect her for many years to come. Of course he asks her to marry him. Jeez! What else could he do without looking like a total heel?
Why did the author do that to the heroine? Was it because she was safe in the homeland while Luke was being tortured in South America? In the book there is no description of Luke's torture. So the reader basically has to take his word about the beatings. Except that Luke's experiences hardly seem to affect him at all. Apart from anger that he was betrayed into the situation by his boss. So Kate seems to have had all the trauma and not Luke.
The spy story that Luke and Kate get involved in is pretty fantastical in all honesty. But that is the legacy of Ms Plame coming into the romance market. I found it quite entertaining even though it reaches deep into the beltway.
So after all. I enjoyed this novel....but not as good as Obsession. (Because Obsession is a lot more personal than Deception.)
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
This is a fantastic fantastic story...if you like romances about high-income good-looking main couples. The plot is excellent. There is no criminal activity whatsoever. No blood-sucking, murder, stalking or thieving. That makes a nice change. Also missing is the hotness. I was going to say that does not matter but that would not be the truth. Especially missing is the language that goes with the hotness. I actually enjoy reading that. But all that is missing from this novel. Just because the main couple are middle class doesn't mean they can't talk dirty about bump and grind.
The spice in the story comes entirely from the two times the hero, Sebastian, turns into a Complete Asshole. The first time is in Chapter 7. Brother! He is such a bastard to the heroine, Neely. He makes an accusation that comes entirely from his own sexism and professional prejudice. The only reason he gets away with it is because Neely puts him right straight away and he immediately apologises in a believable way. The second time is in Chapter 9 when he tells Neely that the condition for continuing their relationship is that she never works for his father. Believing that she betrays him if she even talks his dad. I just totally applaud Neely for the way she dealt with both situations. Sebastian is a very complicated character indeed. I can't make up my mind whether he actually likes all his shirt-tail relations at all or whether he is just determined to be as unlike his father as possible.
Sebastian has a couple of scenes of profound depression. The first when he's lying in the dark when Neely plays the violin. And then it was Completely Wrong how he was marginalised at his sister's wedding. Neely was right. Sebastian should have walked Vangie up the aisle. That was the most fitting way his family could have thanked him for all he'd done for them. I wanted to cry for Sebastian as I read that scene. Real high income extended families don't care a fig about normality. The clever author though immediately turned Sebastian into the bad guy when he resented his Dad making some moves on Neely during the wedding despite her going to so much trouble to communicate verbally and through her body language that she was 100% loyal to him alone.
I'm giving the impression that Neely doesn't have an interesting back story. She does. But she understands it better than Sebastian does his. And she had some happiness when her mom married John. Sebastian was always on the outside. Sebastian returns to Neely because he feels lonely without her. I also wanted him to realise that it was his relationship with Neely that would stop him turning into a carbon copy of his serial womanising father.
What I didn't really understand is how come Neely had so much less money than Sebastian. She is an award winning architect! Surely she could have afforded to buy the houseboat. Also. Is Neely really going to marry a guy who himself says that he is proud to be a carbon copy of her workaholic Dad? That is a conversation she should have had with herself...definitely. A bit less Lara and Max...a little more of Neely dealing with some insecurities would have been lovely. Although I think Sebastian will commit to his children.
The writing is very good. (Yes, its a series romance so it does have the usual quota of ickness...like Neely giving out mixed messages about her relationships with the older men in the story...like Sebastian not asking about what the other tenant in the houseboat was like...like Neely secretly going to work for her long-lost dead-beat Dad...and please...she ditches Sebastian and moves into his Dad's house. What kind of behaviour is that??? In a way. This story should have been about Neely. So really, unlike other reviewers I didn't think she was 'too sweet' at all. Plus. Let's face it, the way she off-loaded her pets onto people she hardly knew at all was pretty ruthless. To say nothing of the fact that she must have known Max had kicked Sebastian off the Carmody project because he wanted to promote his daughter's skills on a touchstone design commission. btw Sebastian is a millionaire in all but name. Happily though, no secret baby.) I'm putting it on my recommended list where it will stay unless I read it a few more times and decide the HEA is too fragile.
I bought it as an e-book from the Harlequin website. It downloaded in about 3 seconds flat. I was at first very suspicious of the speed but everything worked lovely. You need adobe digital editions though.
p.s. I haven't deserted print. I've got a big package on the way. Can't wait!
Sunday, 12 July 2009
The story is set in France. Unfortunately not Paris but some tiny hick village. Why does a guy with 'big hands' and presumably more than enough cash, drive a tiny BMW Mini? They are gross. Only short short people can use them with any kind of comfort. The hero's vehicle of choice only reinforces the fact that he is not alpha-male material. However he is totally lovely all-in-all. Also. I had to keep checking Mr Butler's bio on IMDB. Just in case this story really was written by one of his legion of fan-girlies. That would just be too cringe-inducing for me to continue reading.
The heroine, Emma, from the get-go decides to try for a 'more personal relationship' with Gerard. So on their first date he pushes her dress up to her waist. Then she pulls it off over her head. But then...then she worries about doing the business with a criminal. (Please go figure) Happily those qualms don't last long and the next minute she's nicely enjoying herself. (Him too.)
I actually found the plot quite exciting. The pacing is excellent. Especially once it is revealed that Gerard knows exactly who he is dealing with in Emma and he turns out to be not what he is supposed to be. It's a pleasure to read of a guy who is not the least bit put out by a heroine who he admits can 'outfuck him.'
Sometimes it got a bit confusing as to when Emma was the undercover cop and when Emma was the masked jewel thief.
Other than that this e-book is great fun...it might even be called an enjoyable romp. The main couple are totally at ease with one another. And at ease with who they are despite both of them having challenging back stories. I loved their joie-de-vivre. Even when Gerry is asked to do something nasty to Emma, he tells her all about it ...after a little persuasion. I snorted at Gerry thinking he served in Afghanistan to 'help people.' (There's many explanations of the Nato presence...but 'helping people' is just simplistic. Let's hope they all come back safe like Gerry though.)
Lots of energetic normal bump and grind. tbh there are no surprises. And all problems are solved in the blink of an eye. No-one is in the slightest bit ruthless or psychotic. But I do wonder how those two will keep their relationship going. Part-time MI6...my left foot! Female inspectors in Interpol?! Never come across that before.
The cover is just slightly misleading in a 1970s Harlequin sort of way. Read the description of Emma and you'll see what I mean. Why do publishers still do that sort of thing?
Ok. So Charles, the virgin, because he's getting married soon to a beautiful girl decides to get some practise in with his best-friend's chosen hooker. Fine. That is his decision to risk getting a dose of syphilis to pass onto his intended. However. He has one night with the hooker. Then the hooker slashes his face...and gets murdered. For some reason Charles thinks he did the deed and takes the hooker's baby to secretly raise it as his own!! And he gets incredibly possessive about the kid when in fact the little boy's rightful father would actually like to love the child...in his own particular way!! That is way too weird.
If ever a guy chose the wrong 2 best friends it has to be Charles. One is a sadist and the other commits murder because he is secretly in love with Charles. And Charles has absolutely no idea what is going on! He lets his home turn into a hovel...and basically vegetates in misery for the next seven years. (Lovely for the little boy I'm sure.) That guy is as dumb as a post!
I thought everyone in the story was more interesting than Charles...he is such a sap. Vivian basically has to give him some amateur psychoanalysis before he can understand what is going on...but it took her about 2 mins to sumise the true situation. I have to say. It was not very nice of Charles, to kick Martin off the cliff to his death. However then of course, there is no-one to claim Harry for his own. Unfortunately Charles now really is a murderer. (though I'm sure he's not capable of realising this.)
Vivian is just incidental...just the catalyst for the three stooges, Charles, Martin and John to work through their poisonous relationship. But who wins out in the end? The titled toff of course. Even though he's a few fries short of a happy meal. Pshaw! And what will happen when Harry is a few years older and he asks 'Who is my real Dad and what happened to him.' Don't try to tell me that Ashworth will make him his heir over any son he has with Vivian. That is unbelievable.
But what I say to Vivian and her mom is this. Trade, trade, trade. Don't believe the history books. Trade was always an option in those times. Just a lot of very hard work. But some people prefer an easy life...which was probably why the mom stayed with her violent gay husband.
A word about Martin. Yes. He's a repulsive slimeball. But what exactly does he do that's criminal? Vivian seems to have submitted to his disgusting attentions more than once. She should have run away a little sooner to successfully play the violated heroine. She wants Ashworth to solve the problem of Martin for her...but then gets cold feet..sort of. Nowadays women can get jailed for how Viv got Charles to kill Martin.
I laughed at Catherine and her bewilderment at Ashworth's attraction to Vivian. (It's called "youth" dearie.)
This novel features plenty of anger driven violence and general disrespect. And some bump and grind from the bad guy. But only minimal foreplay between the main couple. Mary obviously taught Charles a lot in that one night. More hotness between Vivian and Charles might have put all the lip-curling soullessness of the other relationships more into the background. At around 140 pages this story is much too long for what it is. It is also a bit retro in its portrayal of gay men all being nasty.
A very weird and miserable read that did absolutely nothing for the quality of my life. But it's quite interesting in a cold fish eye sort of way.
Monday, 6 July 2009
Basically this is a reconciliation story. Cassie ditched Brody to earn a living as a rodeo rider. Two years later she's lonely and wants a home and family...with Brody. He of course is understandably bitter and will only take her back if she's totally subservient to him. Happily for Cassie, Brody is a thoroughly decent human being who she basically knows she can twist around her little finger. He isn't really cruel or hurtful to her in any way...even while he's angry about her behaviour. What Cassie doesn't tell Brody is that she's obviously made a pile of money from being on the circuit. After all. She buys the ranch next door to Brody's. (The little minx)
I like how Cassie is described as being free-spirited and beautiful. She acknowledges she made a mistake in leaving Brody and is prepared to grovel for a while. But Brody should also have apologised for being pig-headed when he didn't ask Cassie to marry him 2 years ago. In actual fact Cassie did nothing wrong. She obviously is a very talented and skilled rider. She made her fortune doing what she does best and decided to return home to marry her first love. How many times have I read (and enjoyed) romances where the male hero does just that??
Lovely sweet story without being in the slightest bit cute or cheesey.
p.s. I think e-romances are turning me into some kind of addict. They are so easy to buy and read. I'm not even reviewing all those I buy...just buy another if I don't like one.
p.p.s. I have also joined the re-reading gang. I have re-read (with total glee) Cold As Ice and Kiss of Midnight. I am totally bowled over by the complete political incorrectness and sky-high ick factor in both novels. Maybe that's what makes for obsessional love of a particular novel. Do you know. I actually spent a portion of yesterday trawling the net for 'news of zsadist and bella;' 'news of peter and genevieve.' I haven't yet got to the stage of 'news of superman and kat;' or 'news of dylan and skeeter;' but could easily do so with very little encouragement. I hereby state. I am totally at ease with my life at the moment. (Just absolutely aching for publication of Dangerous Passion though...august 4th....august 4th.)
Being the sort of person I am, I really appreciated the descriptions of the Black Death and how it was utilised by Europe's Vampires. I didn't really understand all the Vampire tribe variations but that is completely irrelevant. The only scenes that I thought were a bit silly were the gay scenes between Jackson and Adin. They seemed out of place in the quite intense relationship between the main couple.
The heroine actually has friends, is unashamedly in the habit of having one night stands and doesn't seem to mind being pierced by 'the nail' for her blood. The hero is not fantastically rich...he earns a living as a translator..oh and he was originally born a jew. I have no idea why that fact was included in the story. Actually. I thought they were a very attractive couple.
Friday, 3 July 2009
It doesn’t help that the heroine, Rae, in chapter 14, as good as admits she let her abusive husband hurt her because she hated him and felt guilty about it. That’s the definition of a doormat surely.
And throughout the whole of the previous 13 chapters the hero, Conn, goes on and on about how he will do nothing to Rae without her knowing consent. And he doesn’t. Even by page 110 of a 170 page e-novel these two haven’t consummated their relationship. So what’s the point of the novel? To make up for the fact that he is aware he behaved inappropriately by giving her a spanking while she was his college student? Jeez. Give me a break! Suddenly I felt like saying. ‘Get on with it you two!’ No crime was committed. There’s such a thing as overcompensation. Plus. To be brutally honest. Conn groomed Rae in college and then he gets his granny to pay her 40 grand a year to be a ‘Property Manager.’ Hur hur. When basically he’s just treated Rae like she could be bought like some hooker. (or slave)...and he didn't get her consent for that either. So the only difference between Conn and Dick is that Conn is a very effective control freak whilst Dick was useless. And maybe both are what Rae likes.
The reader is treated to endless reminiscing from Conn about his Daddy, his brother, his sister. Miss Belle verges on the border of being voyeuristic. One salacious scene is constantly referred to but never actually depicted. This book reminds me of the fuss about Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Very controversial but when you read it, it’s B.O.R.I.N.G.
I was going to write a good review of this story. And then I got to Chapter 14, realised the main couple still hadn’t got down to it so I stopped reading. I felt I’d been hoodwinked into reading vanilla cack.
The cover is better than the story. Sniff.
p.s. I am of course being slightly unfair. It's a very good story with a nice happy ending. Lots of teasing sensuous scenes before at long last the main couple get down to it. Personally I really didn't understand the tying of the silk rope. I just really expected the novel to be something else entirely.
1. Actually I don't really like the name 'Ian' for a romance hero.
2. Red haired guys do nothing for me.
3. Too many big shouting brothers too early on in the novel...so obviously being set up for sequels.
4. The sheer fantastical coincidence that Beth goes to Paris to paint and meets another Mackenzie brother.
5. Beth gets emotional about opera.
...and generally the whole noise and presence of what seemed like enormous numbers of characters made the novel seem more like a version of the rumbustious Pickwick Papers than an emotionally involving romance.
...but that's just my opinion.
Remember. I am not a professional reviewer. No way would I finish a book I don't like. No matter how good the reviews are. That's school stuff.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
The story is about the reconciliation of husband and wife, Alex and Tessa. No other people involved. Just some heartache and job pressures. Initially Alex came across as an unfriendly sulker but once he learned that Tess had not divorced him, he did seem to calm down and become a whole lot less defensive.
Tess can say what she liked about how they didn't discuss their baby's death but when she was nearly raped, Alex gave her what she seemed to need. Which was silent time to get over what happened without him putting the moves on her until she was ready. I really liked that. No 'You've nearly been raped now lets have a threesome.' Which is what happens in so many other so-called erotics. This story is not an erotic. So yes. It is just a little 'woman's fictionish.' Particularly the scene where Tessa doesn't mind that her sister has named her newest baby after Tessa's dead daughter. Shannon was just a total bitch for doing that. But at the heart of the novel is the romance between Alex and Tessa and that's what I enjoyed reading.
The epilogue was also a little too cute for me to totally appreciate. It seemed that Alex got himself into pretty much the same situation as what drove Roger to deal. i.e. Lots of kids and only one income. Not that Alex would ever do anything illegal or even immoral. He didn't seem at all like the kind of cop to cut corners. And that's a nice change too. The other thing was. Ok. Alex is probably an hispanic in name only and maybe he doesn't speak spanish at all. But really. He could have given just one of his kids an hispanic name...just to carry on his traditions..not just Tessa's.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
Whenever the main couple met I couldn't detect the slightest spark of emotional feeling between them. I struggled to maintain an interest for 2 chapters and then gave up.
I got to about page 273. And I put the book in my bag knowing full well I probably wouldn't be finishing it.
The story is basically killed stone-dead by its well-intentioned pc-ness. The heroine is a cripple with a facial scar. So under no circumstances is the hero allowed to be mean to her. Except that making her ride for two days did actually cause her a great deal of unnecessary pain. (And that was down to the author) I had no idea who Mary Summers was, or Christian or Mr Fortune...other than they had appeared in previous novels or were being prepared for sequels. And because of that we have absolutely no written characterisation of these people...they are just there.
But what finally killed the novel for me was the ludicrous scenario of these 5 people living in a big house with no servants....and none of them can cook. So instead of all helping each other, they split up cooking duties one by one. The sheer monotony of each person's attempt at preparing a meal just alienated me from the story. How did they manage bathing? Or washing clothes? Or emptying chamber pots? I could see how the scenes would work on tv. Very funny. But on the written page it just seemed pointless. Even the main couple didn't help each other out in the kitchen! What was the purpose of the cooking scenes. There was absolutely no character development between anyone. Just to pad the story while waiting around for the bad guy to make an appearance? Most probably.
I lost interest completely...
dnf...but probably will one day when I'm too infirm to leave my bed.
Sorry. Women's fiction and chick lit. Where guys are always in the wrong...I don't read them.
...actually. I only read 2 pages. Which is a record even for me.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
1. For a contemporary urban vampire fix. Gregor and Alex are happy unashamed blood-suckers who will co-opt any male or female as their food supply.
2. The bump and grind. Totally good.
I quite liked the mom too. The heroines are both incredibly easy. The heroes hardly have to bother with even the slightest courtship. They basically just turn up and do. What evens out the score is that both the heroines are fairly standard modern females in that they let they guy in with minimum fuss and then proceed to give him a hard time. Helena in particular really puts Alex through the grinder.
The one with Gregor and Maddy is the better of the two. Mainly because they have some difficulties to overcome. Although in some ways its a bit far-fetched to imagine a female with a battery pack dressed in a basque and deep-throating. Helena is a cop's worst nightmare. She calls to report a stalker, then has a relationship with said stalker. You can bet she wouldn't hesitate for one second to sue the cops if the stalker turned out to be nasty. That's why I dislike heroes or heroines who work in show-biz. They are total users and ball-breakers. Even government funded show-biz.
I hope Misha's girl is an assertive fellow-vampire who doesn't just lay down and open. But I doubt it.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
I should have enjoyed this story.
Nick's younger brother Adam, who is presented as an amiable playboy makes a joke to Nick's beautiful secretary, Jasmine. He suggests that carnal relations should be added to her job description...in front of Nick. Is that funny? Or is that generic harassment? If he wants to go out with Jasmine, just ask her and be prepared to accept 'No' as an answer.
More importantly. Essentially. Both Jordan and Nick, grown-up adult people, allow their respective fathers to control their lives....including their sex lives. The novel actually features a controlling Dad who has a heart attack, so his daughter Jordan changes her behaviour to Nick. That so reminds me of all those appalling 1980s romances where the heroine was basically pimped out by her family. But this is set in New Zealand...a very small island. Maybe the younger generation down there don't understand the concept of self-determination. That's why I gave up reading series romances. And discovered the independent hard-working heroines in JAK novels.
Ugh..my flesh crawls...dnf on principle
Oh well. Lovely lovely story. Basically a medieval road-movie with a couple of chapters of intense loving bookended by lashings of stolen kisses and smouldering looks.
I will hear no criticism of Elizabeth. After all, she is just 17 yo and likes to give some attitude. So what she has a number of TSTL moments. She’s allowed them. The story features another divine ‘Peter.’ Why does he fall for Elizabeth? Because she’s tall, beautiful, has lovely red hair, helps deliver children, and can run a large house. Nuff said. But if ever a heroine had a m.v. it is Elizabeth. (She on the other hand has absolutely no idea of her own appeal.) I mean, Peter has been a penitentiary monk for seven years, but he's just entranced by Elizabeth from day one. Too much is written about Elizabeth's lack of looks mainly because the reader sees her through Peter's eyes and to him she is always beautiful. I really enjoyed reading her feelings of confusion, awe and pain as she fell in love for the first time. Assertive ladies beware though. I don't think Elizabeth ever helps Peter throughout the whole story although he saves her life a number of times. (On the other hand she doesn't place herself in unnecessary danger either.) And as far as Peter is concerned, Elizabeth is so easy.
There’s a secondary couple. Presumably because in 2004 every romance had to have more than the main couple. Adrian and Joanna were ok, except that sometimes Adrian spoke with the same voice as Peter, and actually they both seemed to have a better HEA than Peter and Elizabeth. Peter had given all his estates to the church. So where would he and Elizabeth make their home? How did Peter get away with killing the King’s son? He’s a very very lucky man.
I recognised that Peter was the good-guy right away. But that didn’t spoil the enjoyment one iota. I kept asking myself, ‘So when’s Elizabeth going to find out the truth?’ The poor dear.
A very simple plot about a knight-monk pretending to be a degenerate prince while the evil handsome prince pretends to be a simple monk. And they're all going on a journey to a shrine so the prince can confess his sins and be forgiven. On the way the group pick up a maiden travelling to join a convent and 'a professional mistress.' Unfortunately the monk and the prince have a history and some mayhem ensues. A reader could imagine forever what William truely would like his relationship with Peter de Montselm to have been...even back in their Crusade days.
All the protagonists are single with no romantic bagagge. And that is probably why I liked it...a lot.
The fundamental problem is the characters of the main couple and their relationship with one another. When the heroine, Susannah, had money she came across as a selfish stuck-up bitch, who believed herself in love with the nobleman she was engaged to. Early on in the story, she becomes penniless…and is promptly jilted by her fiancé. Who then turns up later in the story to offer her a place as his mistress. Although Susannah rejects his insulting offer, she seems happy enough to fulfil the same role for the hero. In fact the whole novel is too full of kept mistresses who come to sad or sordid ends. As much through desperation as anything.
About two-thirds of the way through the book the hero, Kit, himself admits that a carnal relationship with Susannah would be nothing more than a ‘delightful interlude.’ Is that because he knows that not only is she destitute, but she’s also illegitimate. Obviously in the end he admits he loves her and marries her…but that’s too late to make a good romance. Also. When Kit isn’t hankering after his first love Caro, he’s fixated on returning to his liaison with the married countess.
Susannah meanwhile just drifts into ‘loving’ the nearest nobleman. And as the writer says. The way Susannah still clings to wearing her clothes in the style she used to when she was wealthy is frankly, a bit sad. Who was washing all her lovely dresses?
I kept reading for a while because I was somewhat interested as to how Morley would be revealed to be the traitor he was. Because there’s an issue in politics today about elected officials being happy to give state secrets to groups dedicated to destroying the freedoms of the western way of life.
Actually I stopped reading when the main couple go at it for the first time. The heroine was too desperate to find someone with money and the guy should have had a higher moral code than to take advantage of a vulnerable young woman who more than anything seemed on the verge of depression.
But this is written by a successful author so I’m probably in a minority.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
The heroine is basically 'sold' into an arranged marriage with a corrupt degenerate because her younger brother has built up enormous gambling debts. And she doesn't hate her brother's stupid guts??!! And she doesn't despise her parents for accepting the guys disgusting proposal??
That should be the story of this novel. Not. Oh, actually she ends up marrying the slightly less degenerate hero who's really a good sort of guy at heart. I'm sure they'll be very happy ever after.
Apart from that major misjudgement by the author this book is lovely. It features a Miss with Money who plots her hardest to get the man she was friends with when they were children to fall in love with her. And it works really well. Lots of lovely steam. I really liked the hero. Despite being practically broke he refuses to marry the heiress his father has searched out for him. (Who is not the heroine I hasten to add.)
The title makes the book seem really lightweight but I thought some serious issues appear in the story. Like the issue of being a traitor to the Crown. Like the issue of what good Lucien could do for his estates if he had found the treasure. Like the issue of being a slave in Roman times. Like how Lucian saves Daisy's life when his own father tries to shoot her dead! That's how much he loves her. Also the story is set in times when people wore wigs and the guys 'showed a leg' as a courtesy. So the cover is a load of old hokum again.
The story features some characters from previous novels which I had not read. And I couldn't really work out if Lady Wexford was one of those characters.
Thursday, 4 June 2009
The story, such as it is, is nothing original. ‘Special’ person chosen and trained to fight evil. Actually I love that theme. But this version was just….crap. Recently I’ve watched a number of movies in which I so wanted the ‘hero’ to just Die…Hot Fuzz (whoever heard of a slasher movie with an HEA!!), Wanted (in which the hero is fooled into killing his own father by a wealthy cult but of course he decides to stay with them because....they gave him his self-respect??!!!), Terminator:Salvation (why did all those people sacrifice themselves for the charisma-free John Connor??). And reading this novel I felt the same. “Please, Gia. Die in vain and do Not be resurrected.” But I don’t think that happened.
I got to page 71 and checked out due to utter boredom and disinterest.
Saturday, 30 May 2009
What I liked most about this is the memories the main couple have about their times together when they were first young lovers. No idea why EC put book in the their 'Taboo' niche.
I almost accepted Alex's reason for leaving Gabrielle but was surprised that she didn't seem to have moved on emotionally. But this is what a poor guy has to do in order to marry the rich man's daughter....work hard and grab every chance he can get.... Ten years isn't that long to make it as a magician in showbusiness imo. Some people work all their lives and never get to make it really big.
I thought Alex was quite honorable despite his behaviour with Gabrielle all those years ago. Although some honesty from him at the time would have helped the situation. But let's not forget that the story is set around show-business so normal codes of behaviour don't really apply.
Quite a joyful little novel really. Both the main couple essentially ready to give their relationship another try without harboring too many resentments. I loved the fact that Gabrielle's first job was being a magicians assistant...and then she settled for marketing. Ha!
The story is well written but the plot makes no sense. Either Robert Winslow despises Alex or he doesn't. What actually happens is that he seems to change his mind half way through the novel.
...and yes, some might say this story is very hot...takes about an hour to read through.
I'd also sorta forgotten just how steaming hot Dangerous Lover was. Totally fantastic. And how raw the language used by Deaver and Sanders was. I just love the fact that Deaver was essentially jealous of Jack and that fueled his resentment of him. And I'd forgotten how Caroline dedicated herself to her brother for so many years. She certainly deserved her happiness with Jack.
What a gobsmacking wonderful read Dangerous Lover was. btw I must one of the few LMR fans who didn't really like the Midnight series. It was Woman on the Run that started me gushing about LMR.
I hope Dangerous Passion isn't too 'romantic' (at the expense of eroticism) as she says in her interview. Decide for yourself. Available here.
Monday, 25 May 2009
A really interesting book although not for everyone. Because it features a political intrigue sub-plot. From a really boring period of history. Of another country even. Very well written. Or the book could be viewed as a mild 'Bourne' wannabe seeing how the hero is misinformed as to the true nature of his mission by his superiors and has to figure out the truth for himself. Mind you he was a bit thick about the horticultural letters that Crane was writing. The romance was so good there seemed to be too little of it. Fortunately the two threads in the book dove-tailed nicely towards the end of the story. Although I did struggle as to who was who in the resolution chapter which tbh features the generally reviled deux ex machina plot device...something which, like magic vaginas, I personally have no problem with. (Listen, if adults can go for Potter magic wands in their millions why quibble about shoe-horned HEAs?) Again only sporadic hotness. I could care less about Brandon, Angelique and Ian.
The trouble was both the hero and heroine were on the wrong side. I looked up 'Cato Street' on Wiki. As far as I could tell the conspiracy had its roots in ordinary people protesting about protectionism and political corruption. As is hinted in the story, significant numbers were starving. So why was Harry on the side of the establishment? How could he possibly accept Doncaster's offer of a 'pocket borough' when that is exactly the sort of thing people were protesting about?
Anyway I really enjoyed the portrayal of the heroine Mariah. She falls in love for the first time and lets nothing come between her and her chosen one. I liked how she saw through Harry's disguise as old Lord Wroth. Some great 'stolen moment' kissing. I'm so used to heroines in other novels regretting their first romance and moving onto a series of new guys that I really appreciated this portrayal of a young woman's trust and loyalty to her first love. Plus. There is a touch of realism in that I believe Mariah behaves exactly like a young heiress...not bothered who she hook's up with knowing parental money will sort everything out nicely. I think she'll make a great politician's wife. Harry however is bound to become disillusioned with the political process within 5 years imo.
Terrible cover again. The heroine has too modern a profile and looks to be about 10 years older than the hero. Who seems to have an unfortunate problem with his right eyelid.
I keep re-reading the 'good' chapters....ie all the scenes where Harry and Mariah meet and talk. And then all the chapters where the plot climbs to its climax! (Amazingly) Yes. The book has flaws (but who wants a perfect story); for instance, Harry loves Mariah because she's so very beautiful and I'm not sure Mariah would appreciate that. And yes. Harry is ambitious. But it also has excitement (the bomb under the carriage). I love a book where bits of it stick in my mind.
...I've got a little confused...suddenly I've read 2 good historicals in a row...I just hope my high standards (or my hormones) aren't slipping.
Nothing. NOTHING. Has come anywhere near the perfection that is Cold As Ice. I still absolutely love it. Although it has been at the top of my recommended list for nearly 2 years.
Currently I'm loving it because of the heroine's little death wish that makes an appearance in the first half of the story.
All girls know. Love and death go hand in hand...something very few authors are capable of writing about in a non-threatening kind of way.
Plus. I think I've got the postage thing worked out. Forget abe. Their people often send out the wrong books which is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Don't bother with amazon. It takes too long. Use amazon marketplace. Much faster than amazon. (Because I read old romances from other readers favorite lists I'm not too fussed about the condition of the novels.) That's what works for me.
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Much better than the shameless Meg from the previous rubbish novel. However. There's no hotness in the story....
Wow! This is a really good historical. Totally because some thought has gone into the character of the heroine. Although she lives with the hero's family Mira still has some pride and basically looks forward to the day she inherits her father's money and can buy a little cottage and invite all the family who have shared their home with her for so long into her own little home. Ahh! Isn't that sweet. What is really enjoyable in the story is the initial verbal sparring between the main couple and how they manage their truce. I loved all that. I also completely empathised with Mira's shame at the venality of her uncle's life and her worry of how it would affect her relationship with Whit. I loved the passage where Mira allowed Whit his principles because he was rich but acknowledged that others less fortunate might have to compromise their values at various times. That probably explains why she had pre-marital nookie with Whit.
The 'heroine in danger' scenes towards the end of the book were also convincing. Unusually this novel contains a mother who wishes for nothing more than that the main couple should fall in love. But the way she goes about plotting the development of their relationship is truly astounding. As is the number of suspicious characters who turn out to be good-guys.
Mira's uncle was a disgusting piece of slime. Not because of any criminal activities (non-existent)...but because he impoverished his young niece and 'sold' her off to a creep. That's what life could be like for single females in those days. And Mira suffered real violence from Eppersly and Hartsinger. Poor girl. For much of the novel I got the sense that Mira balanced on the cusp of complete degradation and that provided more than enough tension and danger for me. (Even though thankfully she mostly remained unaware of her predicament.)
I've hardly mentioned the hero Whit. But what I liked about him is that once he realises he loves Mira, which is about two-thirds through the book, he immediately thinks of her as his wife. And that justifies the pre-marital relations between Mira and what is supposed to be an honorable man.
The main strength of the story though is the many and varied conversations and encounters between Mira and Whit. While I may bemoan the lack of hotness, in fact any more hotness would have actually been out of place within this story as it was written. The trouble is. Without 'hotness' many novels just end up being bland and I'm not sure that this isn't true for this story also.
This is an out of the ordinary historical with an unfortunately boring cover. I bought it because it popped up on my recommendations list on amazon. Imagine that!
At the end of the year this romance may end up on my recommended list. My only hesitation is that there is a power element in this relationship that Whit just doesn't acknowledge...although on the whole he also doesn't abuse it either.
Friday, 22 May 2009
Let's just say that once Meg goes to live with Cade and his family the game of chess never makes another appearance. She started out as a fairly interesting independent heroine. That impression changed when she agreed to perpetrate the fraud on Cade's family and then when she agreed to let him buy her tons and tons of clothes. So she was hardly in a position to say no when he crept into her bedroom night after night to introduce her to 'new positions.' All that was just tawdry. Unfortunately the author also has Meg humiliated both by Everett, who basically said she was easily fooled, and then by Cade, who said she was an easy lay. Poor Meg. I felt her shame. But also I agreed with both the comments made by the guys. And then the author has her almost commit murder for the sake of the guy who had just insulted her. Meg still gives Cade her unconditional love!! In God's name, "Why?"
The trouble is that Cade doesn't actually talk that much to Meg during the novel. He escorts her to parties and shops but it's hard to see how the relationship develops. He is also a blockhead who doesn't seem to realise how much he hurt Meg with his words; and he is also too easily provoked to violence and led up the garden path by the so-called villain. No way could a character like Cade have been any kind of successful spy with the type of temperament he displays in the novel. And then there's the fact that even after he does her for the first time (due to 'loss of control') he states he can never marry Meg because of his guilt about Calida...pathetic cop-out.
Also. Didn't Meg have any friends of her own? Whatever. She never seems to look them up once she is esconced within the Byron family home. btw It is unimaginable that a dowager Duchess would allow a second son to install a woman who is effectively his mistress into the family home. I've never read that in a historical before.
Originally I stopped reading around Chapter 6. That's when the heroine, a single female in cod-regency times, goes into the bedroom of a man who is almost a stranger and let's him molest her ...because she likes him. Not a thought to call the servants to help Cade in his nightmare. And then when they consumate their relationship for the first time he lets her wake up alone the following morning to preserve appearances. Very sordid, although the penny never dropped for Meg. Still she got what she wanted. Marriage to a good-looking rich nobleman. Unfortunately the humiliations and general disrespect made it all seem decidedly unromantic to this reader. It's no big deal to marry a pig.
btw. There is no such word as 'shined.' The past tense of 'shine' is 'shone.' Anyone who's ever sung hymns knows that.
Very poor overall.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
So let's go. This novel manages to reference Gerard Butler (written before he gained '300' mega-stardom despite the fact that he has appeared in so much appalling cack both before and since), Tupac...and gob-smackingly astoundingly some character called 'Sambo' (a true wtf moment seeing how's I personally have never ever come across him in any fiction book in my whole life...other than when reading scathing tracts about life pre-MLK cornerstone speech...and I'm not too happy that I read it in this story either.) all in the space of a couple of pages towards the middle of the story. So on that level the book fails for me. Then later on there's this conversation that includes the words 'watermelon' and 'fried chicken' in the space of half a page. I didn't appreciate that either. I'd love to know the intended audience for this book.
The story just sags interminably for the middle half. The hero Blue is just too happy being maudlin and more importantly is basically irrelevant for much of the plot. Although I liked the detail about pets, music, orchids, it too is completely irrelevant to anything. Too much time is spent on repeatedly detailing Ellie's 'plainness' when actually her looks are also irrelevant to the successful life she leads. (Although with hindsight I think the author was trying to give the reader clues as to the outcome of Ellie's personal search.) What is the point of writing a love story where the heroine tells the hero that if he doesn't want to be with her she will keep an eye out for someone who does? Is that anything other than a notch on the bedpost of life?
Mabel gave up her baby son to the mother of the lover she shot dead. That would make sense if the lover had been some kind of upstanding citizen...but he was a total dog. Did she want her son to turn out the same way? And she gave up her music too!!! Fine. But then she continues living in the same small town under a different name! Childless and unmarried for 30-years. Without being bitter? I didn't get that either. Of course her story is potentially 100-times more interesting than that of serial lover Ellie. Also unfortunately I tend to totally loathe 'I'm having your baby and I can raise the child on my own' story-lines or even 'I'm having your baby and I'll run away so you can chase me' story-lines. The former is selfish, the latter is a form of bullying..neither are appropriate to a romance. And why did Blue go after Ellie...Marcus told him to and drove him there. So even as a romance this novel just died for me.
There is a lot of emotion in the novel but it's based too much around Ellie's particular issues about her previous love-life. A few conversations with Blue might have helped her and helped the reader see more of the relationship between the two of them.
And watching Ellie cast around for potential candidates to be her father turned out to be almost as boring as the never-ending cyphers featured in the Da Vinci Code. Just too many appetizers not enough real plot.
I could never recommend the Dave Brandstetter books by Joseph Hansen because although they are well-written many of the ethnic characters are basically kind stereotypes. And this novel is quite similar to that.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
I just didn’t get Morgan all round. She didn’t escape Richard. He conveniently got killed one day by a drunk-driver. If not. Morgan would still be in the marriage with him. And it struck me that what Morgan was looking for with Nick, was another abusive relationship. Well. She certainly chose a likely candidate. Actually. Morgan is like Zsadist. She doesn’t need a lover. She is in desperate need of some serious, serious therapy. Six years of an horrendous abusive marriage and she’s going to commit to another guy after just months of being single. Jeez. She’s like an addict looking for her next hit, so to speak.
One big reason Morgan needs a therapist is to teach her how to say no through her mouth not just in her head. There is one scene where Nick wants to make love in the morning but Morgan doesn’t. But she doesn’t tell him. She leaves it to Nick to guess from her expression that she’s too sore for the act. Sorry. That’s just too much self-martyrdom for me to understand. Why should Nick have to guess what she wants?? That constitutes unreasonable behaviour imo. Let’s not even go there about why she stayed with the husband for six years of hell. The week after the honeymoon is when she should have left him.
So the big question is. Why was Nick attracted to Morgan? Is it because she’s been scarred and abused like his rescue horses? And that’s where his particular talent lies…giving self-respect back to victimized beings? (I sure hope it’s not because having relations with abused horses is not acceptable unlike it’s very worthy to fall in love with an abused human being….I mean let’s not forget that Nick has done serious time inside…hur hur.)
I think what the author was trying to say is that Richard’s actions were only wrong because he did not gain consent from Morgan. And those same actions could give pleasure to Morgan if she gave the consent she withheld from Richard, her abusive husband. But that is plainly rubbish imo. Come to think of it, this story reminds me too too much of Ben’s Wildflower!!! And that is not a good thing at all!!!
I used to know a woman who told me up front she divorced her husband because he wanted too much from her in the bedroom. Even though he had a good job she was happy to walk out with nothing more than she brought in.
In the end I can’t recommend this novel. It’s just too gross-out weird. Yes. There’s a happy ending but there was too in Ben’s Wildflower. Plus. This is one of those erotics where they guy does all the ‘work’ so to speak…like he was a servant or something. He’s supposed to be happy that he gets his girl to scream. That’s hokum.
I would also like to say a word about abused animal sanctuaries and animal charities. Where was Nick’s funding coming from? Looking after groups of animals just eats up cash. And who is the biggest destroyer of unwanted animals…animal charities of course. Just be very aware of what’s going on. Good luck to Nick though. I sure hope his love for Morgan doesn’t conflict with his love of horses. She’s a very very needy person as far as I can tell.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
The story features an evil female relative of the heroine, Allie. As a reader it gets just a little annoying that 90% of relatives featured in many romances are just so all-fired supportive of one another. Is it too much to ask that a couple of the wives of the BDB or the Breed might not like one another? It seems the answer is yes. (One of the many reason why I stopped reading both series ages ago.) Anyway, Olivia, the selfish sister in this story is a truly nasty piece of work. Why, she’s willing to get an innocent man hanged rather than see the heroine, Allie, happy. Boo!
Unfortunately. The story also features a device which I am glad to say most authors have abandoned. Although all relations are consensual, I couldn’t rid myself of the suspicion that what Allie experiences is a form of transference, or even gratitude. She is generally living such a dry life where for years she has sublimated all her emotions that really, anyone could have come along, shown her some affection, and she would probably have ‘fallen in love’ with him. Allie basically goes from being her sister’s go-for to being a housewife for her husband. Not that the husband isn’t a very nice hero indeed. But I wasn’t too sure that when times get tough, Jeff lacks some backbone. Whilst Allie, on the other hand is a person who delivers 200% when it matters most.
I quite enjoyed this romance. Not least because neither the hero nor heroine are hypocrites which is so often the case with historical romances. Not much hotness though.
…if this novel had been written in 2009, what would have happened is that Jeff would have been entranced by Olivia, leaving Allie free to pack up her carpet bag and head for the nearest big city where she would have become a successful shop-keeper, then fallen in love and married a mining tycoon’s drunk wayward son who’s feeling guilty because he thinks he caused a cave-in where miners died.
But that wouldn’t have made this romance any better though.
Tuesday, 5 May 2009
But the saddest thing in the story is how the heroine, Lyssa changes. For most of the novel she's an arrogant, low-minded piece of nastiness. With her own home. Lots of nice cars and clothes too. Jeez. She even has her own territory where she offers sanctuary to other vampires. By the end of the book she has absolutely none of those things left. Basically homeless, without clothes, running wild in the deepest Appalachian forests. And often fearful.
Much of the novel is full of chatter between her and Jacob; mostly her telling him what to do. She talked to him through her mouth and through her mind. In the final chapter this once proud powerful female has almost no voice at all. All the author has her do is listen to Jacob's stupid prattle about how deep his love for her is.
Jacob doesn't even ask her permission to change her back into a human form. He should have! And the roles are reversed. Now he's the powerful vampire.While Lyssa is....well. Ordinary I suppose. Tears came to my eyes at how far she had fallen. Why would she, formerly a thousand year-old vampire queen, be happy with that for more than a microsecond? Anyway. Here's hoping the baby will live...unlike her first one.
The characteristic a reader needs to read this book is 'fortitude.' It takes forever for the plot to run its course. And why on earth choose the charisma-free aussie couple for the sequel??!! Australia is a land of light so how can it support a culture based on darkness??!! The author should have bit the bullet and gone wholly oriental. (You know I love the imagery of Throne of Blood...and that's even nothing about vampires.)
dearauthor.com have produced a much better review of this book than me. Although I'm not surprised it's absent from Mrs Giggles's site. She probably would have an apoplectic fit at the ending.
Not for everyone. I've ordered two very gentle romances as a result of reading MoVQ. Plus the prequel. (Oops. Should I have admitted that.)
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
The truth is. Of course. Tate is a complete neurotic psycho. And a latent control freak. As evidenced by her own admission that she cannot make friends outside her own family. (And how weird is that?) To be honest though. Who can blame her with the type of upbringing she had. I loved reading her story but I'd run a mile if I met her in real life.
The families in the novel are reverse-stereotype. So the family of the dirt poor drunk and slut ie Tate's parents, all turn out to be fine upstanding adults with not a hint of bro poking sis in any way whatsoever. Plus Tate herself, for sure, would probably have three kids all by different men in reality. None of that. She's single and over thirty. But Matt's family were somewhat interesting. Two of his sisters-in-law have dated brothers they are not married to. I thought that was a bit weird.
I loved the food thread running in the book. Tate knows all about preparing delicious food. Her derision of processed cheese and pressed turkey from the supermarket was truely sublime. She has so many quirks. The 'not eating pie' was totally believable. As was the need to have her own space after a bout of parental abuse. I hope Tate and Matt end up happy with loving children of their own. I strongly suspect that in the end Tate will totally wear Matt down. Because. As is often the case. When she isn't being a victim Tate often comes across as highly manipulative. Bless.
Thank you to the author for not only writing a strong story but keeping the romance h-h-hot!
I also loved the blonde on the cover. The look in her eyes! Attitude, experience, personality. What a woman!
In the space of 4 days I read this novel about 2 times and kept dipping into various chapters whenever. Absolutely definitely recommended.
Friday, 13 March 2009
This is basically a terribly nice and sweet romance, with omg! some pre-marital nookie. (Shame!) A lot happens in the story. The heroine is menaced by a rabid wolf, cattle-rustling, a homestead is attacked, a wicked step-mom is murdered a barn is set on fire, our heroine is kidnapped by thugs, the hero is drugged but his good friend conveniently steps in to save the day. But at no point in the novel did I feel either the hero or heroine was in any kind of danger. There was no actual evidence that Sager was in fact a 'hired gun'.
Both Rachel and Sager have had difficult early lives. But their emotions are entirely straightforward. Nothing twisted and certainly no bitterness. Take Sager. At one point he discovers that he'd been the lover of the woman who'd had his native american adoptive family murdered. I didn't get any sense of shame or guilt. Actually he should have been seriously ashamed that he'd done the dirty with his step-mom and that maybe his step-bro was actually his son!!! But there's none of that in the book. I liked Rachel. Because although she knows she's been brought home to marry the son of a local rancher, there is no question at all that she loves Sager and has no intention of allowing her family to pimp her into a loveless marriage. See. It's easy to be honest. In fact. I failed to see too much of the supposed enmity between Sid and Old Jack. I really enjoyed the scene where naked Sager teaches naked Rachel not to be afraid of swimming in a river.
Rachel is actually some kind of superwoman. She cooks, plants vegetables, shoots guns...and never feels a shred of fear. The characters of the main villains, Cassandra and Tom are very thinly written. The author is one of those writers who seems to have had no experience of nasty backstabbing people and so is unable to portray that kind of person with any degree of reality. tbh that made a nice change and its part of the reason why I liked the book. However the story did take me about 3 weeks to read through because there is absolutely no tension to drag the reader from one chapter to another.
There were some obvious series setting scenes towards the end of the book. (Julian, the two weird women, etc) The most unrealistic scene of all was were Sager and Sid basically give away 150 head of cattle like they were worthless beads.
Don't for a moment think this story is in any way comparable to the mind-blowing Only You (Willow and Caleb) or even the masterly Spanish Stirrup. But all in all. An ok read. Just strangely emotionless and superficial.
Monday, 2 March 2009
I loved this. Because it was short with minimal padding. And the writing is just so much better imo. The theme is basically the same as Vengeance In Death. Namely; a parent twisting their child to become a murderer. Don’t know why. I just like that theme. If you broaden it out, you get Jim Jones, David Koresh and innumerable cults. I think therefore I am. None of the misguided children in Vengeance or Interlude seem to have done any thinking or questioning for themselves. No vampires either. Just human people gone wrong. Fantastic. I actually like how Roarke skates around legality. And I like how Eve doesn’t dress like a hooker but is still attractive. Unlike Diana in the previous p.o.s. that I read. More nookie too in this one. However I’m sure I remember in the first few In Death novels there was usually a scene where Eve for some reason either took her clothes off or ended up naked in front of strangers. That’s missing from this story. As, thankfully, are Nadine and the needy singer, whose name I’ve forgotten. There’s a supposed photo of Eve on the back cover. Looking incredibly like a young Nora. Personally I’ve never thought of Nora as anything other than a writer. Actually I much preferred the photos of the Dickinson look-a-like posed as Eve on the cover of the earlier editions of the In Death novels.
Midnight In Death.
I’d read this before. Which is always the danger when you buy an anthology of previously published work. I didn’t like it the first time around and nothing has changed. Basically the plot although not too graphic is far too nasty. A serial killer who likes to torture his victims before he murders them. And suddenly he wants Eve as his ultimate victim but oh, he’s going to kill 3 other people as well. That’s where McBain’s (aka Sal Lombardo!!) 87th precinct stories started going wrong for simple me. When he invented perps who wanted a personal relationship with the cops. David Palmer, the serial killer fixates on Eve who put him away. I’ve never heard of such a case. It just seems too illogical to me. Most criminals seem to understand that it’s their crimes that result in their incarceration….not the boring detective that headed the investigative team. Dave succeeds in kidnapping Dr Mira but oh, unlike all his previous victims he doesn’t torture her while he’s waiting for Eve to show up. He leaves her unharmed. That didn’t make sense. Nor did the fact that he was able to single-handedly take down Mira’s protective team of 3 trained officers. And just what did he expect to do to Eve once he’d made the exchange? Seeing how he knew she had a back-up team waiting directly outside the house. So basically none of the denouement scene made sense in the light of the build-up he’d got in the early part of the story. Just as well. But Eve didn’t come out of it too well either. Seeing how too many innocent people died before she solved the case.
Haunted In Death.
This story is just ok. Nowhere near enough romance between Eve and Roarke. The plot is interesting for the fact that Eve is amazingly unsympathetic about the murder of Bobbie Bray many years ago. This is the same woman (Eve) that felt obliged to leave no stone unturned when searching for the murderer of her abusing former foster-mom, even though it resulted in another child she had mistreated going to jail forever. So in Eve’s self-righteous world being a junkie is worse than mistreating kids. I feel obliged to add that in a couple of recent In Death books I felt that Eve was wrong to catch and jail the murderers. Both of whom had been terribly abused by the so-called victim. Some people are so evil they deserve to die. But Eve doesn’t seem to have the humanity to see that. Eve has been around some 20 years now. She needs to show she has mature views of the world. Not just the same opinions she had when she first joined the NYPSD.
Great rom-sus...but not a romance.