"An absolutely pitch perfect romantic suspense! This story hits all the points required to warrant 5 stars. A riveting story that is unique, flows well and keeps the reader anxiously turning pages. What makes this particular story stand out among the plethora of contemporary romantic suspense, however is that the main characters aren't the usual late 20 to early 30 something military/special ops. we are used to. This story deals with a 50 year old CIA operative who has been around the block, with a lifetime of regrets to deal with and the woman who has loved him through it all. Their story was amazingly rich as well as heart-breaking and while some may take exception to the abundance of reflective moments, it would be impossible to create such a deep and believable love story without them - this is not first time/young love, for heaven sakes, there is 20 years of shared history to work through! It is rare that I tear up while reading and this story did it to me - repeatedly!
While the book can be read as a stand alone, to really understand and experience the depth and emotion surrounding the story, at least one of Cross's previous "Suspense Series" is highly recommended. All the characters carry through and much of the background needed to truly understand Luke and Emily's journey, as well as, the danger faced will be found there.
* For clean readers: There are a couple of long steamy scenes that can be skimmed but because the couples problems are explored during these scenes, completely skipping would be hard."
The rating for this book is based solely on personal preference and not on any shortcomings in the writing or the author.
Jill Shalvis is an author many adore and have encouraged me to read. This was my first attempt and I'm afraid I may have picked up the wrong book to start with. The synopsis sounded perfect - right up my alley... small town love story between the owner of the local kennel and an ex-military pilot with lots of animals and humor added in. What's not to like, right? The problem for me was in the fact that I couldn't find much of an actual story.
The book starts with Lilah (h) accidentally rear-ending a total stranger's truck. He offers to give her a ride home, she accepts and they end up in a long and heated make-out session within minutes (reality check here... what intelligent woman would jump into a stranger's truck then immediately start making out with them... OK, without it being her profession?!?!) At this point, Lilah decides it's been awhile since her libido has had any fun so why not enter a no-strings-attached month long fling with said stranger. What follows is 275 pages (of a 295 page book) of sex. Now, for those who are looking for and enjoy reading about nothing but sex, this is undoubtably the perfect book and would rate a rousing 5 stars. For those - like me - who skip or skim the graphic sex scenes, or are story driven readers and require some kind, any kind of feelings or emotion before diving into the sexcapades, this book shouldn't even be considered. There just isn't much else there - well until the last 20 pages where, of course, they realize it hasn't all just been fun and games.
Again, let me reiterate, I have absolutely nothing against those who bow at the alter of Shalvis. I totally understand. I even admire her for keeping her characters honest to their natures, she never suggested her heroine was anything other than what she was. She didn't yammer on about the heroine being a "strong, independent woman who would never consider anything but a deep, meaningful relationship", then strip her brains and toss her into bed the minute she sees a hot guy. What she writes, she writes well. This particular premise just isn't my cuppa."
"Hooray! With the first three books of the Hustable Quintet, Ms. Balogh has finally and beautifully acknowledged the fact that sexual tension before marriage can be just as exciting, if not more, than the consumation - especially in 19th century England. This fits so much better with factual history than her other works where she imposes 21st century morality on 19th century society. Her writing is just as wonderful and these stories are just as riveting while actually being historically correct!"
"Yep, the fun just keeps going! This is a seriously addictive series, begin at your own risk!
This time around Samantha and Rick find themselves in New York City. While at a Sotheby's auction, Sam stumbles upon a dead man - her own dad - in the shadows and undoubtably breathing! What follows is an unwanted, yet seriously thrilling, descent back into the criminal life as Sam is blackmailed into pulling off one more huge heist.
While their relationship is stretched to the limit in this installment, Rick is once again a large reason the we love these books. He does whatever it takes to keep his woman safe, happy and in one piece. Their relationship is the stuff dreams are made of (sigh!) It's absolute yummy, scrumptiousness set against the back-drop of a high-octane caper!"
"It's not perfect but within the realms of light, easy historical romance, it is close. The portrayal of a tortured, abused and unloved hero has seldom been written better. Sin, the bastard son of an unloving father and hateful mother had such a horrendous childhood that no one even considered the possibility of redemption. Callie does not know this, however, and having never heard of the infamous Sin, chooses to look past his reputation to find the man underneath. This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. One thing is for sure, it is undoubtedly and completely sigh worthy"
"This was a very sweet Christian read with a Mormon twist! Kelly has become a beloved author through her mainstream romances so this, her switch to inspirational, will either be a delight or disappointment depending on ones point of view.
Her easy, engaging style, lovable, believable characters and down to earth warmth are wonderfully present in this Western romance. The character of Julia Darling is a graduate of Fannie Farmer's school of cooking in Boston and prides herself in being able to cook culinary masterpieces, so when she accepts a job cooking for a large ranch full of men in Wyoming, one can imagine the plethora of predicaments she gets herself into while trying to heighten the cowhand's palettes. Her relationship to Mr. Otto, her employer is absolutely dear. In fact this whole book reads like a warm fuzzy on a cold night.
If there are drawbacks it would be in two areas. First, Kelly's attempt at incorporating everyday "Mormonism" into the storyline seems somewhat clumsy in the beginning, almost as if Ms. Kelly is trying a little too hard. It does level out as the book progresses and develops into a more subtle yet integral part of the development. Second, with a "sweet" romance, (NO sexual graphics whatsoever) the emotions of the relationship become paramount to the believability of the romance. When we finally work up to that first kiss, we really want to know how it felt! What was it like? Unfortunately here, there was litle more than a mention, then on to cooking dinner.
Still, for a wonderfully clean, delightfully engaging, sweet romance, "Borrowed Light" goes to the top of the list!"
"Here is one of those rare books that is almost impossible to definitively rate.
Emotional rating: 2.0
Analytical rating: 5.0
How does one meld the two when splitting it right down the middle just doesn't do either justice?
From the emotional perspective:
There are few things I HATE more than an emotionally exhausting journey that ends abruptly. This story takes the cake. If you take the word "emotion" - on steroids, add a hero/villain so vile as to leave one's nails chewed to stubby bits and a heroine in so much humiliating danger one hardly dares turn the next page, drag the heart through to the excruciating conclusion then shove them off a cliff, you have the gist of it. I guess it is better than hanging off that cliff - but not much. After all Miranda - and the reader goes through, at least a few pages of seeing that the redemption worked is imperative to one's peace of heart and mind, let alone one's love of the book!
From the analytical perspective:
To get a reader's emotions so invested that they even have stubby bits is an incredible feat in itself and Ms. Stuart is the genius all-powerful, undisputed queen in this area. She deftly weaves a web that catches the reader so subtly, one isn't even aware they are holding their breath and crying until they are free falling off that cliff as they close the book. WOW! Talent doesn't get any better than this, folks! It is not the lyrical prose, painted descriptions or meditative meanderings that usually garners praise. It is just down and dirty, bare bones human nature unearthed in all it's horrific or angelic glory.
That's it. That's the best I can do at pin-pointing the infuriating perfection of Breathless."
"Again, it must be noted that this book, like the first in this trilogy, is NOT a stand-alone read. All three books must be read in order if one expects to truly enjoy them. "Cascade" would make little sense if one picks it up without having first read "Waterfall", and, like "Waterfall", it doesn't have an ending. It just quits - mid-stream, expecting the reader to continue to the third book to find the answers and reach a conclusion. Annoying as that is, it is such a heart-pounding ride that, instead of chucking the book at the wall in anger and frustration at the author for such blatant machinations, I'm actually going to give in and find that last book.
In this installment, Gabriella and company are once again bouncing back in time, fighting for their lives and their loves. All the excitement is ratcheted up, as the sisters find themselves both hailed as heros and cursed as enemies with a bounty on their heads so high that danger awaits at every turn. The attempts at teenage dialogue is still as cheesy as in the first with words such as "lame" and "stress-o-rama" ("stress-o-rama"...really?!?!?) peppering the dialogue. The overall story is still as engaging and the ride so much fun, one can overlook those few flaws in an otherwise superbly written, clean YA romantic-suspense."
"While this second installment in "The Mortal Instruments" trilogy is just as engrossing, just as creative and just as well written as the first, I found I had major problems with the turn of events that leave the H/h as brother and sister rather than boyfriend/girlfriend. While the problems dealing with their romantic feelings despite the situation may be entertaining for some, I found it disappointing and even with the very subtle "hints" that all is not as it seems, I consistently had to pull myself back from the overwhelming "ick" factor.
The huge cliff-hanger endings are also a minus. It's very annoying when one is required to read the next book. I prefer choosing to pick up a book because I love the writing (which I would do in Clare's case) to having to pick a book up because of a ploy."
""City of Bones" is a YA urban fantasy that is delightfully creative while (just barely) hanging in the realm of reality. Clare uses the backdrop of modern day New York City to introduce us to all kinds of fantastic beings, from the run of the mill vampire to squishy, wormy demons. The main characters are written true to life and with love ( translation: they are teenagers, ya have to love 'em or they would drive you to ripping pages.) I tend to steer clear of YA because of that very problem. This story is so well written, however, that even adults forget the age issues - with one major glitch: The relationship between the 15 year old heroine and the 17 year old Hero. For an adult, no matter how compelling the feelings of the characters are, the fact that they are so young just keeps niggling in the back of the brain when trying to imagine an HEA.
Overall, and even with the hesitancies, this is a great book - especially for the young, but not ONLY for that group. Anyone of any age who enjoys a good, clean get-away from reality will absolutely love this story.
*Warning* It is a serious cliff-hanger, so if one doesn't want to invest in the next two in the trilogy, beware"
"Braden MacAllister is so heart-stoppingly handsome, devastatingly charming and passionately perfect that every woman who sees him either swoons or chases him down and demands he let them have their way with him ( 10 at once even). He, of course obliges with abandon, admitting anything with two legs wearing skirts will do and proceeds to prove it through much of the story. So is it any surprise I find it hard to believe when, at the end of the book, he pledges eternal fidelity to the rather dowdy childhood friend he never even noticed before? Although I understand why so many others rate this book highly, I just couldn't bring myself to like Braden enough to believe in his happy ending.
Knowing this is totally a personal preference and not wanting to judge a good author because of it, I may still try the next in this series (besides, Sin, the brother, was much more intriguing to begin with.)"
"This being the first Cassandra Clare book for me, I had no idea what to expect. I was mildly surprised and very impressed! While there are some obvious similarities to other books like the Harry Potter series, "Clockwork.." does a very nice job of keeping it fresh and interesting. The setting of 19th century England creates a unique and creative twist to the glut of fantasy/paranormal plot lines. The characters are young, acting annoyingly irresponsible at times - as teenagers of any age would do - and the suspense, while not completely surprising, keeps one entertained and reading. The biggest downside is that all is left somewhat hanging with over a year to wait for the sequel."
"As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't nudge this story to a 4 star. The believability factor was just to great to overcome.
Consider the premise: A young civilian woman is caught in a terrorist bombing, kidnapped, then recovered by U.S. Navy SEALs. Despite her complete lack of training or experience, she is asked to join the special ops team to help capture the man responsible for her abduction. While posing as a belly dancer/prostitute, she is allowed to be taken into a room with the terrorists and left to wing it. Later, she follows the team into battles, bombings and again, is dropped of by herself ( NO back-up whatsoever) with a suspected terrorist traitor. Now, does this sound like anything even remotely realistic... really????? Either the author believes our military stupid to the point of insane or believes the reader to be so.
IF (and that's a very big if) one can overlook that HUGE glitch, the book is very good. It is exciting, enlightening and incorporates everything a great romantic suspense should."
"What a great way to catch up with all the characters we have come to love in the "Dark" series, so far. With 16 different stories under one's belt, those characters were getting confusing and a Christmas story to re-acquant is perfect! Each chapter concentrates on a particular couple as Mikhail, the prince, oversees the preparations for a huge Christmas celebration instigated by Raven,his lifemate and embraced by everyone. While the feel is still very much Carpathian, there are actually many moments of lightness and humor in this particular installment, such as the plan to have the groups resident "bogeyman", Gregori, play Santa Claus. This story is just the ticket for a series that continues to enthrall and entertain for years to come."
"After 16 books, what can one say??? Ms. Feehan is somehow able to keep this series fresh with every single book while staying with a tried and true formula - NOT an easy accomplishment. The basics that we all fell in love with (strong, stalkerish alpha-males searching, then finding their lifemates while fighting vampires and assorted other nasties) still runs strong while the particular personalities and situations are unique and entertaining enough to keep us coming back for more.
In "Dark Demon" we follow Vikirnoff and Natalya - both characters we have seen before in previous books, but never together. She has been running and he has been following - well, he finally catches and she is NOT happy! I'm not sure I particularly liked Natalya's personality but I sure enjoyed the infusion of the dragonseeker plot-line along with the mages. It added a new and exciting perspective that will undoubtably keep this series fresh and alive through many books to come"
"With "Dark Possession," Feehan continues the storyline of the DeLaCruz brothers, this time focusing on Manuel (Manolito). Back in Brazil, after a near fatal attack, Manuel knows he has a lifemate but cannot remember what happened or where she might be. MaryAnn Delany, the counselor for battered women that we have seen in previous books, has agreed to accompany the DeLaCruz family to their home to try and help a brutalized young jaquar girl, but she is totally confused at her overwhelming grief over the near death of Manuel, a man she doesn't even know.
With this installment, we are back to the excitement and volatile love matches we have come to adore in this series. Both Manuel and MaryAnn are characters we can love easily. Of course, as a DeLaCruz and a Carpathian, Manuel exhibits an overabundance of obnoxious, chauvinistic behavior. MaryAnn is also the stereotypical strong woman who fights that dominance but here, there is a unique twist that draws a whole different storyline into play. It's fun and interesting to read about yet another great line of species being introduced, this time one we all know and love!
*For those not prone to steam, this one will require sections where skimming 3-5 pages at a time in advised.*"
"This one would have been stuck on three stars if not for the awesome climax, probably the best so far in this series!
In this installment, Feehan finally addresses what we have all been wondering about... what if the strong, domineering, alpha male didn't care if the woman wanted to be his lifemate? Rafael De La Cruz, answers that question in spades. He is an ancient, super powerful and used to getting his way - always and without complaint. If there is any question, he just takes what he wants. That is how he handles the woman he discovers is his lifemate. It is of little consequence what she might want. If she disagrees - and she does - he compels her and takes it anyway. It makes him a very hard character to like but kudos goes to Feehan for exploring the side of the Carpathian male we all know is there.
Colby is the perfect foil for this plot-line. She is independent, incredibly headstrong - she has to be, as she has had the responsibility of caring for her younger siblings and running a ranch since she was seventeen years old. She is responsible yet loving and fiercely protective of her life and family. So, when Rafael enters the picture, demanding she submit to him, turn her siblings over to his care and follow him to his home country of Brazil, one can imagine the response. It results in great reading but not necessarily enjoyable reading. Rafael's character is never given enough depth to overcome our disdain of his actions. He never just sits down and explains things to Colby so she is able to understand and accept everything that is pummeling her world. The reader becomes as infuriated as Colby with this confusion, keeping those stars from climbing despite the great writing.
Things take a drastic turn for the better, however, as the climax hits. It comes out of nowhere and, again, explores an area that we often wonder about concerning those almost indestructible males but have never really experienced to this extreme (notice how hard I'm trying not to spoil?!?) It was the perfect twist needed to bring redemption to Rafael and acceptance to the reader.
*The steam factor in this book is high and somewhat uncomfortable. It is also hard to skip and keep the thread of the plot consistant.*"
"The thing that stood out for me in this book was the author's beautiful writing style. The storyline caught the readers attention immediately, then held it rapt through all the twists and turns of the plot while keeping an almost lyrical feel to the words being written. The only downside was some of those twists and turns were a little beyond the fray of even suspended belief. [possible spoiler alert] Repeated situations such as the "kidnapping" where nothing was done about it, when any normal person would be tearing the world apart until proof was found, made parts of this otherwise delightful read a little hard to accept."
"In the first 100 pages of this story, we see the heroine, Essie Spreckelmeyer, win a national fashion contest, incite a riot,successfully run Texas's 2nd largest oil company, found and take charge of a ladies bicycle organization, teach classes on how to properly shoot guns and play soccer (not at the same time, thank heavens), She's saved the life of a young girl bit by a rattlesnake and cooked up an award winning dinner. She's Wonder Woman!!! In fact the only thing keeping her from total perfection is a hidden secret from long ago - one which has shaped her very life but when uncovered is brushed over so lightly, we are never allowed to even understand the circumstances. IF those two things don't annoy you to distraction, this book is a lively, fun, enjoyable romp."