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From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review
One of my ex-boyfriends is in love. He called Christmas Day to say that he's never been so happy (and in case you're wondering whether that touch of insensitivity was characteristic -- it was). An on-line program managed to find a woman whose ambitions, background, job, and habits match his precisely. After one date, they were a couple, and, after one month, they were sharing a front door: "We speak the same language," he purred. But not all relationships arrive with an easy click or two of the computer keys. According to the novels in this column, the best relationships might be hard-won, those in which partners find each other (at least initially) incomprehensible.
Robin Kaye's Yours for the Taking puts an urban twist on a classic tale of marriage-for-convenience: Ben Walsh needs a wife or he'll lose his inheritance, and Gina Reyez could really use the money he offers. She's not worried about intimacy issues, because it's patently obvious that Ben is gay: he's incredibly well-dressed, owns an art gallery, cooks like a dream, and decorated his own apartment. Gina, on the other hand, is a fierce Latina businesswoman who wears five-inch heels and lots of red lipstick. He grew up in a loving family; her mother was a sex worker and her father was an abusive drug addict. They don't have class, education, or gender in common -- and even after Gina figures out that her gaydar has malfunctioned, their inability to understand each other almost leads to heartbreak. Yours for the Takingis a treat to read, and a sweet, funny way to start the New Year.
Laura Lee Guhrke's Wedding of the Season puts together a hero and heroine matched by class, but little else. Lady Beatrix Danbury was betrothed to William Mallory, the Duke of Sunderland, but a few days before the wedding, Will jilted his fiancèe, broke her heart, and left on an archaeological dig. He did his best to impress Beatrix with the allure of King Tutankhamen's tomb, which for her remained merely "clay pots and cylinder seals." Six year later, Beatrix is on the verge of marrying another duke when Will reappears in England. But they still have no way to talk to each other: she thinks the life of an archaeologist is madness; he thinks the life of a duke is meaningless. Beatrix puts her finger on the main problem: "To be married -- happily, at least -- two people have to want the same things, share the same view of their life." When Beatrix and Will finally find a way to bridge the chasm between Egypt and England, between a dig and the Ascot, the relief is delicious. Happiness between two people who have to learn each other's language is hard won and, I would argue, all the more joyful for the turmoil that precedes it.
The hero and heroine of Vicki Lewis Thompson's A Werewolf in Manhattan would never be paired by a respectable matchmaker. Aidan Wallace wears an $800,000 watch, and Emma Gavin takes the subway to save fossil fuel. But this couple is separated by more than class: they have physiology against them as well. Emma is a bestselling writer of paranormal romances about werewolves -- and Aidan is the son of a rich and powerful werewolf pack leader. Add in the fact that sexual tension makes Aiden sprout hair on his hands (and other places), plus a rogue werewolf threatening to tell Emma the truth, and A Werewolf in Manhattan spins into a delicious fantasy about a woman and a werewolf with absolutely nothing in common. Thomas's hilarious story pops with funny references to big white teeth, fur overcoats, and possible puppies. But in the midst of all that laughter, this tale of people from utterly different worlds -- and gene pools -- is fascinating.
Ava Gray's Skin Heat poses a similar type of problem to that of Gina and her werewolf, but with a darker edge. Zeke Noble has escaped from a secret medical facility where he was the subject of reckless and immoral experiments. Once free, he discovers he can no longer read, and words come to him slowly. On the good side, he's much stronger, can hear a whisper miles away, and feels unnervingly able to understand and to connect to animals. Geneva Harper also has an instinctive connection to animals -- but no more than any other vet. She's the daughter of a mill owner, who grew up in luxury and fought for the right to have a career. Zeke is the child of a drunk, whose mother committed suicide; as a boy he mowed Geneva's family lawn. More importantly, perhaps, she's normal and he -- isn't. When things go awry, their perspectives are worlds apart. But when Zeke tells Geneva that he "cares so much I don't have the words," it's a deeply romantic declaration of love between people whom no one would believe had a chance at happiness.
Christina Henry's Black Wings brings together the most antithetical pair of all: an angel (albeit an earthly one) and a devil. Madeline Black is an agent of death, which means that she gets a white envelope every Friday giving her a list of souls that she's supposed to convince to enter "the Door." Maddie narrates her adventures with jaunty wit: to her, death is "just another bureaucracy." She takes a break from filing to rent her downstairs apartment to "a handsome devil," according to her pet gargoyle. As it turns out, Gabriel Angeloscuro is indeed a devil (not to mention gorgeous). Maddie not only doesn't understand him or his motives for moving into her house, but she soon finds that she herself is manifesting some baffling powers. Christina Henry takes the situation in which a man and woman don't understand each other a step further by broadening the areas of potential misunderstanding to heaven and its opposite.
Match.com and its brethren promise that their computer programs will find the perfect person, leading to meaningful, deep, and long-term relationships. And maybe that's true. But these novels tempt one to leap in at the deep end: to believe that people who have nothing in common, and can't understand each other's motives, ambitions or actions, can fall in love -- and that love so hard won will be hard kept.
Posted November 23, 2010
Paranormal romance author Emma Gavin writes novels starring werewolves. However, she becomes concerned when a fan begins sending her letters claiming he is a bona fide werewolf. Frightened by the disturbing correspondence, she obtains a bodyguard Aidan Wallace.
As heir to a powerful affluent Manhattan werewolf pack, Aidan was assigned as her bodyguard because his leaders fear Emma knows too much about their concealed species and that someone is betraying them by informing her with the facts. His hidden agenda is to learn how much she really knows. Aidan quickly concludes she is totally ignorant except for some lucky guesses. However, he has a new problem besides what she knows. Aidan is attracted to Emma who he risks his life to keep safe when she comes under attack from one of his kind. Torn between his love for her and his loyalty and love for his pack, Aidan has a complicated choice in which he will hurt someone; if not his Emma than his chosen bride and his family, but regardless definitely he knows himself.
This is an entertaining urban romantic fantasy with some intrigue caused by inter and intra pack rivalries. The story line is fast-paced in the boudoir and out as the seemingly star-crossed lovers cannot get enough of each other. Although the ending is abrupt and facilitates issues too easily, readers will enjoy Vickie Lewis Thompson taking a bite or three out of the Big Apple.
3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 9, 2011
Emma Gavin is a best selling author. She makes her living off of writing romance novels about werewolves. Not that they are real or anything like that, but she has been getting creepy emails from a guy that is claiming he is a werewolf and would love to get his hands on Emma. Aidan Wallace is the crowned prince of the Wallace werewolf pack. He has been given the duty of watching over Emma ever since her books raised some red flags. The pack thinks she may have a source telling her things about werewolves. No one can be that accurate with no reliable source... or can they? Aidan is a huge fan of Emma's he owns, and has read every single book she has written, but even more than that her scent is driving him crazy. Not that he can act on it though, he has duties as a prince that keep him from mating anyone but Nadia, a she-wolf that belongs to another substantial werewolf family. Merging the two packs is important and Aidan is going to keep his word to his family... even if it costs him his heart. The minute Aidan hears about the email that Emma received he offers to do some investigating to help figure out who is sending them to her. It's exactly as Aidan fears... a rouge werewolf that is ready to expose all werewolves in order to get to Emma, even worse is that he is next in line to be alpha of a very prestigious werewolf family. With Emma going on tour and with Aidan bound to protect her.. he will be accompanying her on her tour. This trip is going to test both Aidan's loyalty to his pack and if he is willing to risk his heart... I am in love with this book. Right from the get go you get pulled into Emma's life as a writer and how Aidan has been watching her from afar. I could tell from the first few pages of the book that this was going to be a deliciously fast paced book. Not once was I bored with the story line and never did anything feel rushed or cut short. You can tell as the book progresses how Emma and Aidan are beginning to form a really strong bond and how much they care about each other. The author didn't skimp on anything. Everything is very well described in fantastic detail, I could envision exactly how everything was meant to look, right down to Aidan's expensive and flashy watch. I loved how the two main characters were always hitting heads because Emma is so stubborn. It made for a funny and engaging read. This is a book geared for the 18 and over crowd, just for a heads up. There is a lot of explicit sex scenes, which when reading the book are perfectly placed. I just think if you are teen reading this review you may want to choose a different book due to the sex scenes.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2013
I love the carecters and how there diferent but thay still cant ceep away from echother, plus that little ginedik disorder that Adain has is funny and I knew from the first menchon of it he was going to have a tuff time keping it in cheek. Overall wonderfull and creative ideas. If could have I would have given the book another star, the bigining was good and slid right into the story line wich for some books dosent hapen. : DWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2012
Posted June 15, 2012
I actually used to read this author when she wrote category romances, however I hadn’t read anything by her for a while. I read a lot of paranormal romances, but I mostly buy online so I don’t do much browsing. I saw a book called A WEREWOLF IN SEATTLE at the grocery store and was intrigued. I am a stickler for series order however so I ordered this book online. I like the author’s world view and think she has set up a plausible world in which werewolves mingle unnoticed in society. The romance was nice, though I am not generally a fan of books where the hero kidnaps or imprisons the heroine. I am intrigued enough to order the next book in the series to see if I will become a serious fan.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2012
Posted May 26, 2012
Weres do Wealthy
To start out, I won A Werewolf in Manhattan (and the second book in this series, Werewolf in the North Woods) in an author contest through Fresh Fiction. While I have never before read one of Ms. Thompson’s book, they have been on my radar for some time. Due in a large part to my ungainly TBR pile tho, I never gave into the urge to read one until now. Thanks to my good luck, I was given the opportunity to read through this book without the ticking of my conscience for buying another book to add to my already bursting TBR shelves. (I found a way around the guilt cycle, and I received two personalized and autographed books! I love winning contests!) So now on the book…
This was a cute and fun read. In places it did delve into a bit of the absurd, and make me laugh-out-loud (not a bad thing) while in others it was sweet and cuddly. The plot was a bit done, tho I will admit that I have mostly seen the writer-too-close-to-reality thing used with vampires, it was still a bit predictable. I was not a huge fan of the family dynamics thing, nor was I big on the throw-back arranged marriage concept. It felt that for a contemporary light paranormal it just dragged it down a bit. I did however LOVE the “quirk” of genetics that made our hero shift into wolf form if left sexually frustrated. I found it hilarious, and a great plot device, not to mention a yummy excuse for steamy-time, which this book had loads of. Ms. Thompson knows how to write steamy-time.
I liked the characters in this book a great deal, the bantering and the playfulness were fun to read, and the push and pull between personalities and circumstances was a nice, if at-time uncomfortable, tension. Some of the secondary characters were quite memorable and I would love to see future books that had Roark’s or Nadia’s HEA. (I haven’t read the blurb on the next book to see if that is likely, but I think it would be fun.)
The plot in this work was a tad-bit contrived, and I will admit in places disappointing for me. I don’t know if it was the wealthy angle that is just not my style, or the hot and cold relationship, but in either case it almost reminded me of an old musical where I wanted to yell into the screen to avoid further mishaps. This book would make on heck of a screw-ball comedy. It did eventually pick up for me, about two-thirds of the way in, when we had less secrets and the oblique family presence was more pinned down to actually personalities. It is then where I really feel we got down to telling a love story. The wrap-up of which, coming as it did so late in the book, was a bit quick. An epilogue that included acceptance, new in-laws, adoring and contributing Weres and white lace was a bit of a cop-out to me. I am hoping that in the next entry into this series I get a little more culture, and a little less lying.
All that said—I still plan to dive right into book two, and give this title a shiny three stars.
Posted January 29, 2012
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Posted December 4, 2011
The book draws you in and I could not put it down. I enjoyed the story line, characters, and the attention to detail. Recommend reading if your into Hunky Werewolf.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 16, 2011
Posted May 25, 2011
I think this was a great book, it had a decent plot and some pretty good romance. The only thing that disappointed me was at the end finding out the next book in the series has a different main character. I would love to be able to read more about the existing characters. So if you are someon who enjoys reading a series of books maybe skip this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 24, 2011
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Posted August 28, 2011
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Posted March 6, 2011
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Posted July 16, 2011
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Posted February 3, 2011
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