Tag: Lynne Connelly

Guest Review: Learning to Trust by Lynne Connelly

Posted January 5, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of Learning to Trust by Lynne Connelly.

Socialite Bellina Mazzanti Forde was the ultimate party girl—until she disappeared with Byron Brantley five years ago. Determined to find his brother, Jonathan Brantley has tracked Lina to a café in Naples and demands answers. Certain she’s hiding something, Jonathan vows not to let Lina out of his sight until she agrees to help him, even if it takes all night. Though he doesn’t trust her, he can’t deny that he wants her—has always wanted her…

Happy in her new, simpler life, Lina didn’t want to be found. Now that the past has caught up with her in the form of the sexy tycoon, she’s torn between exploring the passion he arouses in her, and facing the secrets that caused her to flee New York. The tension between them soon leads to a scorching affair, one they both know can’t last. But when their search for Byron finds them tangling with the mob, Jon and Lina learn they have no one to trust but each other.

Money can’t buy happiness and being rich doesn’t necessarily translate into being able to live in peace and harmony. And no matter how wealthy one becomes, the presence of trust in any relationship far outweighs the presence of financial resources. These factors are at the heart of this story of hope lost, love gained, and the pain of self-discovery.

It is also the story of two people–one is the heroine of the story and one is the shadowy lover/friend who was her companion when both of them chose to exit their pampered lifestyle and to drop out of sight of family and friends. For five years they had been sought to no avail. After three years the friends went their separate ways and it is at this point that Jon, Byron’s brother, finds Lina at her neighborhood cafe in Naples, Italy.

This is a rather slow-moving novel but it is compelling none the less. There is that sense from the very beginning that something is going one that still smacks of intrigue. Lina, as she is now called, is reluctant to trust Jon. Her last five years are something she really doesn’t want to share while at the same time she doesn’t want to drive Jon away. She is happy where she is. Can she really allow any love affair between them when she has no intention of resuming her lifestyle in the United States?

This novel also explores some of the criminal factions that can reach into someone’s life even when they innocently pique the interest of a crime organization and the far reaching effects of that interest. It is a story of the pain of discovery when the Brantley family must face the truths about their own life, the destructive factors that have impacted both their sons, and the reality of the damage they must all life with. Without giving anything away, this story is raw in many ways and brings in strands of others’ lives whose presence in the story don’t make sense at first but who are eventually an important part of the resolution.

This is one of several Connelly works I have read and reviewed. I first encountered one of her novels with a book she wrote for the Tempt the Cougar series for Ellora’s Cave. This is a more complicated story but it still bears the indelible mark of her writing expertise. It is a novel that begins in one locality and ends up quite differently than the reader may expect. It is a terrific read and one that I think romance fans will thoroughly enjoy.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Carina Press. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Red Inferno by Lynne Connelly

Posted March 12, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith‘s review of Red Inferno by Lynne Connelly.

One kiss was all he wanted.  And one kiss was the only thing she denied him.  Dragon shape-shifter Ricardo wakes in a sweat, knowing he has telepathically contacted a woman in trouble.  the same trouble he got into a year ago.  With the help of STORM, he tracks her, the latest victim of the evil Dr. Bennett.

But Kristen is no pushover.  A bodyguard for the first openly Talented senator, Ricardo’s brother Sandro, she is used to looking after herself and doesn’t wait for someone else to rescue her.  She escapes, and Ricardo finds her naked and shivering on a crowded New York street.

Need sparks between them;  they can’t resist each other.  They set the night on fire and Kristen loves Ricard’s sizzling passion, even as she resists loving him.  but Bennett wants her back–which means the lovers could lose everything.

Fantasy fiction is usually not my bag, but having read some other Lynne Connelly stories, I wanted to read and review Red Inferno.  That being said, I have to admit that the first time through, I was a bit put off by all the telepathy and mind invasion.  I’ve never felt very comfortable with that, and I didn’t like it much here–at least that was my first impression.  So I let the story “sit” for a while and then I took the time to re-read the novella.  I speed read and thus I can get through some pages with a minimum of effort.  But I decided to take the time to do the word for word, old-fashioned method of reading in order to get the full scope of the story.  I don’t know why;  I really don’t do that very often.  I think I just wanted to give one of my favorite authors another chance.  Anyway, I’m glad that I did.

Ricardo and Kristen are two scarred and devastated individuals, both considered “Talents” with extra-sensory perception, telepathic abilities, and who have used those abilities in the effort to keep evil geniuses like Dr. Bennett neutralized.  Ricardo is an artist who was kidnapped and imprisoned by Bennett for months, with the result that his ability to create, to feel, to respond to his world is deadened significantly.  He hasn’t even sketched anything forever.  Kristen was kept naked, drugged, alone, cold, incommunicado from any other human contact for months, until a telepathic probe–an accidental probe from Ricardo–puts her in touch with him and others, resulting in her freedom.  But what are evil geniuses best at?  Manipulation, of course.  And so it appears that is the purpose both of Kristen’s kidnapping and her “freedom”–it turns out that the connection with Ricardo was foreseen, anticipated, and used to ensnare all of STORM in Bennett’s plan to cure his leukemia and insure his longevity.

It seems to me that the core of this story is the journey that Ricardo and Kristen must make toward wholeness as characterized by their relationship–from a purely sexual attraction to a far deeper, riskier emotional involvement.  Kristen just doesn’t enter into any intimacy with anyone as demonstrated by her refusal to kiss Ricardo.  She can go skin to skin with him, but for her the kiss is an indication of a deeper intimacy.  Ricardo slowly begins to realized that with Kristen he is beginning to come alive, to feel alive, to be responding to the world, to be willing to let someone significant into the deeper levels of his mind and heart.  When the evil plan of Bennett becomes fully known, it puts these two at risk, both their love and their lives.  That they have become willing to be vulnerable to one another, to own up to their love is demonstrated by their insistence on being married before Kristen returns to Bennett, a return that was brought about by blackmail and fear for the life of another STORM member.

This turned out to be a very good reading experience for me, one that put me in touch with these two people who needed to be healed emotionally as well as physically.  I got a sense that both were so very alone, the kind of loneliness that really hurts and I sensed that through Connelly’s writing.  I felt that she used words so well in bringing the reader into the story.  Even good writers find that a challenge.  I still had to struggle with some of the story aspects but that is more about me than the story itself.  In the end, I found it to be a deeply moving and satisfying romance and one that I enjoyed a great deal.  The crafting of the tale was also a good experience–I really hate to read stories that are not well-written, whose authors are sloppy in their sentence syntax and who use words inappropriately.  Lately I have come across a number of writers whose use of the past tense of words has really be bad, and that bothers me a lot.  Connelly does a great job with the language and it shows.

So I recommend this to romance fans and those who enjoy fantasy romance.  There’s lots to like here.  I give this novella a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr. J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can here in e-format.

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