I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are well developed and there's never a dull moment with Liada and Tin Tin Ban Sunia. This book kept me up at night because I was intrigued and I wanted to know what would happen next. I was definitely intrigued by Tin Tin Ban Sunia. The scenic depictions, the terms used and the events that occur are true to the time and place in which this story takes place: in a camp near Carthage, in North Africa, year 229 BCE.
Liada is a brave girl who is about twelve summers old. Despite finding herself on foreign territory and despite having lost her memory, she thinks for herself, she's not afraid of adventure, and she does what she believes is right. She values the friendships she creates and she is selfless, which is not a common trait.
I love the characters of this story. Hannibal is born to be a leader and he's not full of himself like the soldiers he commands. He's an honourable man (at only the age of seventeen/eighteen!) He's believable, and so are the other characters, a number of which are quite young and yet they have to grow up so fast. I don't think I'd be clever enough to bargain for trades at the age of twelve. I also think I would be scared out of my pants if asked to mount on an elephant.
The story mentions slavery and war, but it is the themes of family and friendship that prevail. The author warps readers effortlessly into a different time period, and yet the story itself may well be timeless.
I can't say I really enjoyed this book, but I can't say I disliked it either. Reading a story about modern witches and demons is a first for me. Characters in this book use a lot of magic, but I think most of it is not visible; it's all in the mind with one's magic being able to elicit physiological symptoms and bodily reactions, whether these are desirable ones or painful ones. Magic is used to push, to pull, to guard, to take over... there are all sorts of neat tricks.
Despite Alexandrine and Xia's initial feelings for each other, their attraction for one another starts off as a physical one, even a magical one. They're shallow and call each other names, but their circumstances make it a bad idea for them to be separated. They then depend on each other for their own survival and go out of their way for the other. Their relationship moves forward, but I find there's something lacking in their romance, and I'm not even talking about the love-hate scenario that we come across rather often as readers and movie-goers, and even in our own lives.
I personally didn't like some of the language being used. There are some terms and expressions I might need to look up on Urban Dictionary and some swearing which I find is sometimes overdone. It may be appropriate for action scenes or the "all-guy" scenes, but it takes away from the romance. Expressions like "move it, buster" or "righty-o" just seem misplaced and even unnecessary, especially when characters are in a crisis. The wording of some passages even made me raise an eyebrow. The pacing of the story is very good, but I find the characters lack a certain depth to them. I'm saying this because while I was reading, I didn't care for Alexandrine and Xia as much as I could have (ouch) but learning more about how their magical world kept me reading, but that's just me.
My Forbidden Desire is actually the second book, following My Wicked Enemy. The cover of this book has been seen in the blogosphere quite a lot. If you like paranormal romances involving witches and demons, give this one a try.
The Calling by David Mack is filled with action, purpose, and there's a femme fatale too. Some scenes should not be read by the faint of heart. Tom is your average guy, thrust into the darker part of the world. He's quite the handyman, except that he can hear prayers, and he answers them. Upon hearing a girl's prayer, he has no choice but to answer the call. Seven words strike him like none other: "Please God, don't let them kill me."
Erin is a looker, the femme fatale if you wish, but she is smart and with a sense of humour. She knows how this world works in the darkness and she has a good idea about the people in it too. Sounds like a good student and teacher relationship, with a twist and with Tom graduating pretty quickly if he wants to survive.
Even though the author takes care in describing the setting, giving a good sense of the where and when, The Calling is fast-paced and spell-binding. The author delivers a satisfying end with room for what may be another Tom Nash story. There's still quite a bit left to learn about this darker world. I can see this story turned into a movie. For some reason though, I have mixed feelings about the cover art.
Action and romance work very well together in this collaboration by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love entitled Phantom of the Night. The story starts off with Nathan Drake's disturbing past as a special ops officer and leading into the biggest sacrifice a brother could ever make for another. As a special agent working for the Bureau of American Defense, Terri Mitchell must also repress her memories of her past as she had lost her partner and mother.
When a rumor starts going around that a phantom ghost is killing off the people Terri is investigating about to bust some organized crime, not only does she become suspiscious, but she is inevitably lured towards a dark attraction with a man who only lurks in the shadows: Nathan. He won't allow her to see his face or know his name, and yet they are forced to work together to save innocent lives and each other. Nathan works best alone, but with Terri around, lets just say that lives are at stake -- and secrets. Even when Nathan refuses to have his face seen and recognized, that doesn't mean that a romance can't get hot.
I wanted to read a few pages into Phantom of the Night before I would finally get some shut eye, but after the first chapter, I had to read the next one, and the next one ... The story simply takes readers on an exciting ride. The prologue and the first chapters were unexpected with immediate twists and turns. After reading the prologue, I was left wondering if this story was still a romance; I just had to read more. With all the action, Nathan could be a superhero if he wanted to. If Terri ever met Lois Lane, they'd be pretty good competitve friends.
Readers only get a glimpse of Anya in The Darkest Night and I wasn't sure what to think of her, but in The Darkest Kiss, she's fun to follow. She's Anarchy. There's some sort of chaos wherever she goes.
Anya thinks Lucien is hot despite how other women see him and what he thinks of himself. I love the verbal plays between Lucien and Anya; they misunderstand, then understand, and they lie to each other in hopes of shielding themselves, then to protect the other from a certain fate. They tug at each other's emotions while slowly revealing each others secrets and intentions. The chemistry between them is unique and incredible.
The kissing scenes are sexy. There is a whole lot of passion, wanting and surrender despite the ticking clock. After intense kissing, we know what happens next. I'm dying to read what happens in The Darkest Pleasure, the next installment to the Lords of the Underworld.
The Darkest Night is part of The Lords of the Underworld series. The cast of characters are very well written and the story is pumped with action. The romance is sensual, hot, and darkly beautiful. Maddox and Ashlyn's passion for each other can't be denied. I'd bite my own lip while reading. I also have to admit that the way Maddox speaks in English is entertaining -- only because I'm imagining his speech to be accented. There's just something captivating about a tortured hero. Despite their own hells, love does conquer all in this story. I don't have any negative critiques for this book. Showalter's Darkest Night is highly recommended.
If you like paranormal romances with demons, Greek/Roman Gods, and other aspects of mythology with a twist, this book series is for you.
Up next after The Darkest Night: The Darkest Kiss, The Darkest Pleasure, The Darkest Whisper
There's nothing like reading a book and being captivated by a tortured hero. There's just something that lures us to these mysterious souls who think of themselves more demon than angel. Reyes is a wonderful character that makes you wonder if men like him actually exist -- without the demon part. I find The Darkest Pleasure a more enjoyable read because the pain Reyes feels is immense and all kinds of conflicts get bigger. (Did that sound right?) I also find the other two Lords of the Underworld books before this have been written to lead up to this story. Reyes goes out of his way for Danika while she is trying to figure out which groups of people she should trust and what to do to save her family. She tries hard to be a strong person for Reyes and for her family that is in hiding and on the run.
Reyes and Danika don't actually meet in person until chapter five, but that didn't bother me. The story stuck with me long after I had finished reading it and I think this is reason enough to say The Darkest Pleasure is better than the previous two (three if you count the prequel 'short story' entitled The Darkest Fire that can only be downloaded). Why did it stick with me? Because Paris, the Keeper of Promiscuity, makes an incredible sacrifice. Yes, there's blood involved, but that's not it. I almost cried. Gosh, this guy deserves a happy ending but I'm not hearing it, not yet. Maybe in another book...
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Yes, it's an older Harlequin book, but action and romance work very well in this story and passion doesn't die that easily. When Glenna becomes a hostage on Rocama island, Rafe does absolutely everything he can to protect her, even beyond what is asked of a soldier on a mission. Both characters are believable and layered as individuals. Both their pasts play a haunting role concerning who they are and what they do. There is a lot happening, like hostage situations, guns and weapons ... and the more romantic scenarios.
I like Sergeant Marek because he is honourable and worthy of love, and yet he believes he is undeserving. He's a man of his word. As for Glenna, she has a temper. Even though she's a city lady and forced to rely on whatever survival skills she may have -- no matter how little, she is strong in character and she's in control. She's not a wimpy heroine, but both characters have trouble mediating between what their head wants and what their heart wants due to their circumstances. I also like the passages about trauma psychology, how it's applied, and how it makes a lot of sense. As for the bad guys in the story, they're as good as faceless. Since it's a romance story, they're not that essential to the book (except for the plot), but Glenna and Rafe's internal and external struggles are.
The story is well written and I enjoyed it. It's an easy read and it can get pretty hot. The story seems to be over midway and I was a bit shocked -- there is more to the story than I expected. All the information about the Delta Force is believable too and I find this to be a plus. I got more than what I expected from this book. I admit that the cover could have been better, but oh well.