Tag: Series Reading

Bookish Thoughts: Series Obsession, Kristen Ashley and Print Reading

Posted January 12, 2017 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 13 Comments


I binge-read Ilona Andrews’ backlist in November. I took a break from F/UF/Sci-Fi for a couple years, so I’m pretty behind when it comes to some popular authors. My latest obsession is the Innkeeper Chronicles. I’m totally in love with Dina, Gertrude Hunt, Sean Evans and the entire world. Now that One Fell Sweep is out, I have no idea what to do with my life.

ComplicatedKristen Ashley is releasing a new BDSM erotic romance series with St. Martin’s. The Honey Series revolves around The Honey Club, a BDSM club and features her typical alpha-males. Book one, The Deep End, releases in March. Although I’m a huge Ashley fan and her books really work for me, I’m on the fence about this new series. Part of it is my aversion to BDSM novels, but a larger part is, I think, the idea of Ashley doing erotic BDSM. I’m jonseing for a new release from her, which is why this is on my mind. Do you plan to read it? She also has an audiobook exclusive releasing in May. Complicated will be available only in audio. I’m not a fan of audiobooks, but I’m kind of tempted by it.

Fire TouchedFire Touched is out in MMP this month. Both the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series are fabulous, but I don’t own them in print, because as with Ilona Andrews, I came late to the Briggs party. Even though I’ve been downsizing my print collection, I feel a compulsive desire to purchase Fire Touched – and the rest of the series – in print for my personal library. Since my J.D. Robb collection is gone, I have shelf space. But I already own them in digital and I doubt I’ll ever read them in print. I just want them because they look pretty.

 

 

In November I gave a book from Linda Howard’s backlist away in our Monthly Reads giveaway. The winner said she couldn’t choose and asked us to pick one for her. How are we supposed to do that? Do we go for a classic goodie like Duncan’s Bride, or a thriller like Heart of Fire? That’s like asking us to choose our favorite kid. Which book would you choose?

 

Series Review: The Drake Sisters by Christine Feehan

Posted December 20, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Series Review: The Drake Sisters by Christine FeehanReviewer: Holly
Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan
Series: Drake Sisters #1, Sea Haven
Also in this series: Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Water Bound, Spirit Bound, Air Bound, Fire Bound, Bound Together (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart, #6)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 27th 2005
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General
Pages: 112
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

First in the Drake Sisters series from the "reigning queen of the paranormal romance"--#1 New York Times bestselling author of the Carpathian and Sea Haven novels.
The story of Sarah, the eldest of the extraordinary—and magical—Drake sisters, now rewritten and expanded, in this very special collector’s edition…

“Sarah Drake has come home.” Ever since Damon Wilder sought refuge in Sea Haven, he’s heard the same breathless rumor pass the lips of nearly every local in the sleepy coastal town. Even the wind seems to whisper her name—a reverie so powerfully suggestive that it carries the curious Damon to Sarah’s clifftop home, and seeks to shelter him there.
But Damon has not arrived alone. A killer has tracked him to Sea Haven, and into the shadows of Drake House. But Sarah has her own secrets, and danger—as well as a desire more urgent than either has ever known—is just a whisper away…
Magic in the Wind previously appeared in Lover Beware.
Christine Feehan is the author of Dark Wolf, Dark Lycan, Air Bound, Leopard's Prey, Samurai Game, and numerous other bestselling novels.
From the Paperback edition.

Holly‘s review of The Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan (books 1-7)

I recently re-read the Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan. I have a love/hate relationship with this series. The sisters are amazing to read about. I adore their relationship with each other and the paranormal elements (they’re all psychic in one way or another). But there are things I hate, namely the heroes. I hate how controlling and quasi-abusive they are. Only..I don’t hate them. At heart, they really only want what’s best for their woman. Which is kind of hot. But the way they talk to them sometimes is just..wrong. I can’t explain it, except to say I hate how much I love them.

Magic in the Wind (Book 1)

New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan presents the story of Sarah, the eldest of the extraordinary-and magical-Drake sisters, now rewritten and expanded, in this very special collector’s edition.

“Sarah Drake has come home.” Ever since Damon Wilder sought refuge in Sea Haven, he’s heard the same breathless rumor pass the lips of nearly every local in the sleepy coastal town. Even the wind seems to whisper her name-a reverie so powerfully suggestive that it carries the curious Damon to Sarah’s cliff-top home, and seeks to shelter him there. But Damon has not arrived alone. A killer has tracked him to Sea Haven, and into the shadows of Drake House. But Sarah has her own secrets, and danger-as well as a desire more urgent than either has ever known-is just a whisper away…

It’s been many years since I re-read this novella. I remember liking it, but not really loving it, the first time around. I have to say that’s still the way I feel. Though I enjoyed quite a bit of it, I didn’t absolutely adore it.

One of my biggest problems was the inconsistent way Sarah acted. she was supposedly a bodyguard, one of the best in security, but she often deferred to Damon, the man she was supposed to be protecting. Similarly, Damon knew he needed protection but refused to accept it from Sarah, because she was a woman.

Otherwise I did enjoy their relationship. They worked well together outside of their professions. I liked that both Damon and Sarah really cared about the other, wanting them to be happy and needing to be near one another.

The suspense plot was just ok. Considering the page count, I suppose I can’t complain too much, but I would have liked to see things explored a bit more on that end.

3.5 out of 5

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

Twilight Before Christmas (Book 2)

Bestselling novelist Kate Drake is one of seven sisters gifted with amazing powers of witchcraft. Returning home in time for her northern California town’s annual Christmas pageant, Kate catches the spirit of the season and decides to open a bookstore in a charming but run-down historic mill. Decorated former U.S. Army Ranger Matt Granite, now a local contractor, doesn’t mind working in the undeniably eerie house — not if it means getting closer to Kate. There’s something about the quiet, sensual woman that powerfully attracts him.

 

When an earthquake cracks the mill’s foundation and reveals a burial crypt, Kate senses that a centuries-old evil has been unleashed?and that it’s coming after her. Though Matt vows to guard her from dusk till dawn, Kate knows she will have to summon all of her and her sisters’ powers to battle the darkness threatening to destroy both Christmas and the gift of soul-searing passion her hometown hero wants her to keep forever….

I only re-read the Drake story in this collection this time around. I do plan to re-read the other novella soon, though. I can’t remember my feelings about this book the first time around, but I really enjoyed it the second time.

I love that Sarah and Matt have both been lusting after each other from afar for years, without the other realizing it. I also loved that each of them felt clumsy and silly around the other. It was cute watching Matt turn red and Kate stumble along.

The storyline was one I enjoyed as well. I like watching the sisters come together to fight evil, especially when it’s really difficult for them. Yes, yes, I’m a sadist. I know.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Jove. You can buy it here or here e-format.

Oceans of Fire (Book 3)

The third daughter of seven in a magical bloodline, Abigail Drake was born with an affinity for water and a strong bond with dolphins. After she witnesses a murder, she flees right into the arms of Alexsandr Volstov. On the trail of stolen Russian antiquities, he’s a relentless Interpol agent–and the man who once broke Abby’s heart. But he isn’t going to let the only woman he’s ever loved slip away again.

This is my least favorite book in the series. I always start off hating the hero, Aleksandr, for what he did to the heroine, Abbey, in the past. Then I start hating Abbey for pushing him away and making up lame excuses for why they can’t be together.

I understand her being scared of his ruthless streak, but why continue to sleep with him, lean on him and lead him on? It isn’t until later in the book that we realize why Aleksandr did what he did to protect Abbey, so most of the book they both annoyed me.

There are some good parts. I love the dolphins and the interactions between the sisters. I also love the glimpses of Jackson and Ilya.

The main relationship frustrates me. In the end, I’m not sure I fully believed in their HEA.

3.75 out of 5

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

Dangerous Tides (Drake Sisters, Book 4)Dangerous Tides (Book 4)

Dr. Libby Drake is sensible and practical. To her more adventurous sisters, she’s always been the “good girl”. Certainly not the kind to attract the attention of a genius like Ty Derrick—until a tragic accident leaves the handsome biochemist at her mercy.

 

Acting on her uncanny ability to heal, she stirs in the reawakened Ty his own long-suppressed desires for the woman who saved his life. But he’s not the only man with designs on Libby Drake. Her miraculous and selfless power has also captured the attention of a dangerously influential admirer. He’s pursuing the elementally gifted beauty for his own wicked purpose. And he’s willing to go to deadly lengths to make it happen.

This book drives me absolutely insane. Ty annoyed the every lovin’ crap out of me. I have no idea why Libby liked him so much. He was cynical and overbearing in the worst possible way. He’s a skeptic – a man of science – and doesn’t believe Libby and her sisters really have magical “powers”. That’s fine – I’m somewhat of a skeptic myself. But he constantly belittled Libby, putting her down and making her feel bad about herself. And yet she stayed with him – which makes her just as much of a tool as him.

Plus, this is the book I call The Great Editing Fail Book. There are so many little inconsistencies and mistakes I wanted to pull my hair out. Libby is wearing a skirt walking down the stairs, but jeans walking up it. Jonas isn’t driving a Jeep, but two minutes later it’s a cruiser. Things like that drive me nuts and this book was riddled with them.

I do love the interaction between the sisters, though.

2 out of 5

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

Safe Harbor (Drake Sisters, Book 5)Safe Harbor (Book 5)

One of seven daughters in a line of extraordinary women, Hannah Drake has been the elusive object of affection for Jonas Harrington for as long as the young man can remember. If only the stunning super-model was driven by a passion other than her career. But Jonas isn’t the only one with desires for Hannah.

From the shadows has emerged a vengeful figure who stalks the beauty with one terrifying purpose: to strip her of all she is and destroy her. Only one man was destined as her protection. Now, out of a storm of danger, Jonas must guide the woman he loves from a sinister darkness that threatens not only Hannah, but the entire Drake family.

I’m starting to think re-reading this series back-to-back isn’t a very good idea. The things I loved about it the first time around are being overshadowed by inconsistencies in the storytelling, poor editing and the caveman tactics of the heroes.

Those issues aside, this is a hard book to read at times. Hannah has always been the most beautiful of the Drake sisters. She makes her living as a supermodel. Getting stabbed 20-something times and almost dying was a very traumatic experience for her, especially since it ruined her beauty. I don’t mean to imply that she’s shallow, but it was a hard thing for her to deal with.

I liked the way Jonas supported her through her recovery. It was good that they understood each other so well, and were able to offer each other comfort and support. But prior to that he really skirted the line of verbal abuse. He constantly put her down and made fun of her. His reasons for doing so were mostly alturistic – he understand that Hannah was only a model because she wanted to please her sisters, not because she truly enjoyed it. He wanted her to see that she was more than just a pretty face. Plus, he was concerned about her having an eating disorder.

But good intentions pave the road to hell, and Jonas’ good intentions didn’t make up for the fact that he was a jerk to Hannah. What was supposed to feel like sexual tension and verbal foreplay between the two was ruined by how terrible he made Hannah feel about herself. She truly thought Jonas looked at her as nothing more than a Playboy centerfold. Her already low self-esteem feel even farther after her attack. This is where Jonas redeemed himself.

I did think parts of her recovery weren’t dealt with. More of the inconsistencies from above. She was physically in pain, yet able to make-out with Jonas – with him lying on top of her. She could barely walk, yet could stand for long periods on her balcony. Things like that.

The major issue I had with her recovery was her eating-disorder. It’s mentioned several times in previous books that she has an eating disorder, and it’s mentioned in this one that she doesn’t eat. But that isn’t ever addressed. Other than a few throw-away thoughts or comments from Jonas and Hannah about it, it was completely brushed aside. Eating disorders are a very serious thing. The recovery is long and hard, yet Hannah was just magically cured?

I think Feehan could have explored that aspect more and backed off on the suspense plot a bit, which I found rather boring.

Aside from my issues, I enjoy the emotional aspects of the book. The way the sisters come together to support one another is fabulous. Though Hannah and Jonas both frustrated me at times, I was emotionally invested in both.

4 out of 5

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

Turbulent Sea (Drake Sisters, Book 6) Turbulent Sea (Book 6)

The star: Joley Drake was born with a legacy of unexpected magical gifts, but it was the gift of singing that made her an overnight sensation—a rock and roll goddess trapped by fame, fortune, and ambition. Heated by the flush of success, Joley could have any man she wanted. But there’s only man who can give her what she really needs.

 

The bodyguard: Ilya Prakenskii, cool, inscrutable, dangerously sexy, and working in the shadow of his infamous reputation—that of a secret Russian hit man on the payroll of a notorious mobster. He’s the last man Joley should get close to, yet when her life is threatened on tour she has nowhere left to turn. But in the seductive safe keep of Ilya’s embrace, is Joley really as secure as she imagines?

This was the book that I started my re-read with. There was a scene I wanted to read and I only meant to skim through it – then found myself full immersed. This book has always been my favorite of them. Until this last re-read.

I still liked this book, but the small inconsistencies bothered me a lot more this time around. The way Joley kept getting distracted in the beginning bothered me. It seemed liked her safety was important some of the time, but mostly a non-issue. Considering there’s someone trying to kill her and Ilya is her bodyguard, that didn’t jive for me. I was also frustrated by how easily she “forgot” about the young girl who went missing in the first chapter. She gets agitated about it and vows to question the band members and the crew, but weeks – and several cities (she’s on tour) – later, nothing has been done.

I still enjoyed their relationship. Ilya and Joley were great together. Joley’s resisting frustrated me some, but I understand her reasons. I loved Ilya the first time around and that didn’t change with the re-read. He’s fully invested in Joley right from the beginning. He knows she’s the one for him and he doesn’t waver from that. He only wants what’s best for her – mentally, physically and emotionally. I love how he supports her and stands behind her.

While I enjoyed this, I would have to say Hidden Currents was better.

4.25 out of 5

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

Hidden Currents (Drake Sisters, Book 7)Hidden Currents (Book 7)

From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.

This is Elle’s book, the 7th and final sister. It’s hard to read in the beginning, because Elle has been kidnapped. Feehan is very graphic about her abuse at the hands of her kidnapper for the first 100 pages or so. After that it settles down into the meat of the romance. I adore those parts. There are many things that bother me, though. Like Elle’s physical recovery. Within days she’s completely healed? Really? She spends a month being raped and tortured, but doesn’t even need to see a doctor or go to a hospital? Really? I could pull my hair out just thinking about it.

In previous books, I was unsure about Jackson. He seemed closed off and..almost cold. I knew there was something in his past that had scarred him, but I had no idea what. Finding out really just added another layer of depth to his relationship with Elle. I expected him to be domineering and cold, but instead he was tender and sensitive, staying strong for Elle and yet giving her space.

Elle was a very strong woman. Though she suffered at the hands of a monster for months, she did her best to work through her pain and trauma. She didn’t just lie down and die. Her need for Jackson scared her at first, because she was afraid to rely on him completely, but after awhile she came to value him and appreciated that he was constantly with her.

The connection between Elle and Jackson was strong right from the beginning. Watching them heal together and learn to trust one another was the more powerful part of the story, I think. In the face of their relationship, the drama of Elle’s capture and subsequent torture took a back seat. Therefore I don’t think Stavros seemed as much of a threat as was intended. I was so focused on Elle and Jackson that Stavros seemed more an annoyance than anything.

Definitely the best of the series. I was really surprised at the direction she took the story. Although tough to read at times (because of the content) overall it was very well done. Kudos to Feehan for closing out the series in such a great way.

4.5 out of 5

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

Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the series as a whole. There are many things that bother me, but there are just as many things that I love. If you enjoy this type of paranormal romance (psychic powers), I recommend this series.

four-stars

Series Review: The Mackenzies by Linda Howard

Posted November 16, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Holly‘s review of The Mackenzie series, Mackenzie’s Mountain, Mackenzie’s Mission, Mackenzie’s Pleasure, Mackenzie’s Magic and A Game of Chance by Linda Howard.

Linda Howard is, by far, one of my favorite authors. I’ve read and re-read her books so many times they’re starting to fall apart. With the exception of her two earliest releases and a few of her later ones, I adore everything she’s written. Her earlier category romances are some of her best work. Especially the Mackenzies.

I recently re-read the series. Rather than doing a full review for each book, I thought I’d just review the entire series in one post.

Mackenzie's MountainMackenzie’s Mountain (book 1)
A small Wyoming town is about to learn a few lessons — from a new schoolteacher with the courage to win the heart of a man who swore he had nothing to give….

Mary Elizabeth Potter is a self-appointed spinster with no illusions about love. But she is a good teacher — and she wants Wolf Mackenzie s son back in school. And after one heated confrontation with the boy s father, she knows father and son have changed her life forever.

Still paying for a crime he didn’t commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming. But prim-and-proper Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn’t see Wolf as the dangerous half-breed the town has branded him. Somehow she sees him as a good, decent, honest man. A man who could love…

Wolf s not sure he — or the town of Ruth, Wyoming — is ready for the taming of Wolf Mackenzie.

At its heart, this novel deals with prejudice, acceptance and letting go. Having grown up in the upper mid-west and dealing first hand with Native Americans, I think Howard pretty well nailed the general mindset of the average white American during this time period. It was easy to believe that people would automatically assume the worst about Wolf simply because of his heritage. I’d like to say we’ve learned our lesson since then, but I don’t know that we have. But that’s a post for another day.

It’s been ages since I read this book. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Wolf and Mary. Esp the way Mary stood up for herself and those she cared about.Wolf’s past and the opinions the town had of him did nothing to stop Mary from caring for him. She believed in doing what’s right, and she knows nothing is more right than loving Wolf and his son Joe. 

Wolf and Joe were both over-the-top characters. I liked that Wolf was determined to protect Mary from his reputation – and from herself – but couldn’t stay away from him. It was interesting to watch him fall. 

Of all the books in the series, I think this is my favorite. And, as GrowlyCub recently said on Twitter, the best of them all. 

4.75 out of 5 

Mackenzie's Mission Mackenzie’s Mission (book 2)
HIS MISSION…

Night Wing–the revolutionary test plane with a top secret weapons system–was Colonel Joe “Breed” Mackenzie’s number-one priority. And weapons expert Caroline Evans was his number-one distraction. True, the stubborn blonde was giving him the cold shoulder, but Joe hadn’t become the best of the best by giving up. Then he discovered someone on the inside was sabotaging Night Wing, and with her late hours and specialized expertise, Caroline seemed the obvious choice. Now Joe had to choose between allegiance to his country and love for his prime suspect…

 I remember really enjoying this novel the first few times I read it, but I had a harder time letting some things go this time around. Maybe because I read it directly after I finished Mackenzie’s Mountain, but Joe seemed like a different character. He wasn’t the same boy I’d come to love in the first book, and it wasn’t just because he’d grown up. There was something fundamentally different about him. I can’t put my finger on just what.

Caroline was a good match for Joe. She’s strong willed enough to not let him get away with anything, but caring enough to get him to open up. My heart broke for her when she realizes Joe doesn’t trust her or believe her.

Joe was determined to keep Caroline at a distance, the same way he does everyone. He doesn’t want her to get close because he knows he’ll have to give all of himself to her, even the darkest parts he’s kept hidden from even his family. When all evidence points toward Caroline as the one who’s sabotaging the project, it sends him into a tailspin. He was beginning to open himself to her and he feels like she betrayed him, not just her country.

Even though I wanted to beat Joe over the head a time or two, I still loved this book.Howard is really a master at capturing the reader and pulling an emotional response from them. 


4.25 out of 5

Mackenzie's Heroes: Mackenzie's Pleasure\Mackenzie's Magic (Hqn Romance)Mackenzie’s Pleasure (book 3)
Navy SEAL Zane Mackenzie was a pro. No mission had ever gotten the better of him—until now. Saving the ambassador’s gorgeous daughter, Barrie Lovejoy, had been textbook—except for their desperate night of passion. And though his job as a soldier had ended with her freedom, his duties as a husband had only just begun. For he would sooner die than let the enemy harm the mother of his child.

 I’d forgotten that Linda Howard was anti-birth control in the early days. Of course, society as a whole wasn’t as concerned with it as we are now, so I can’t say too much.

This book begins with a prologue from Wolf’s point of view, detailing the happenings of the Mackenzie clan since the end of Mackenzie’s Mission. Approximately 20 years have passed since then and there were a lot of things that happened for the Mackenzie’s. I think it’s important to read this book and the prologue before continuing on, because it explains a lot about the family as a whole, as well as each individual sibling.

I’m not sure I ever read this book before now. I thought I’d read it, but the details were very hazy. I enjoyed both Zane and Barrie, though I do wish there had been a bit more to their story. The long separation between them didn’t allow for enough in the way of the romance. 

4 out of 5

Mackenzie's Heroes: Mackenzie's Pleasure\Mackenzie's Magic (Hqn Romance) Mackenzie’s Magic (book 4)
Meet Maris Mackenzie and the sexy stranger she woke up to find in her bed! Unfortunately, she had no memory of Alex MacNeil, the previous day…or the prize Thoroughbred she’d apparently stolen…

This is the least satisfying of all the Mackenzie books. Because of the length, both Maris and Mac were shortchanged. Though Howard did a credible job with the limited word count she had, the story would have been much improved if it were 50pages longer.

All-in-all not a bad novella, it was just too short to have the same emotional impact as the other books in the series. 

3.5 out of 5

A Game Of Chance (Bestselling Author Collection)A Game of Chance (book 5)
A Mackenzie story from New York Times bestselling author Linda Howard.
One the trail of a vicious criminal, agent Chance Mackenzie had just found the perfect bait for his trap. The solitary agent discovered that the elusive evildoer had a daughter no one knew about. And so Chance made himself the only man vibrant courier Sunny Miller could trust — and then arranged for her long-missing father to find out about them.

What Chance hadn’t foreseen was that Sunny had reasons of her own to be hiding from her father — and now Chance’s deception had brought them both one step closer to the end of everything they held dear . . .
My heart breaks for Sunny every time I reread this book. Although Chance tried to justify his actions, it’s hard for me to accept that he did what he did. I didn’t dislike him, but I had a hard time letting it go. I think Sunny forgave him too quickly.

I liked her enjoyment in life and the way she made the best of every situation. I liked Chance’s intensity and the way his emotional ties baffled him.

He needed to grovel more.  Simple as that. 

3.75 out of 5 

As a whole, this series is just as endearing as I remember. Though I found more flaws with it this time around, I still thoroughly enjoyed them.  If you haven’t already, you really need to read them.

Total series grade: 4 out of 5

The series:
Mackenzie's MountainMackenzie's MissionMackenzie's Heroes: Mackenzie's Pleasure\Mackenzie's Magic (Hqn Romance)A Game Of Chance (Bestselling Author Collection)

This series is available from Mira. You can buy it in bundles here or here in e-format.

Author Spotlight: The Beginning of the Series

Posted February 16, 2010 by Holly in Features | 8 Comments

We’ve kind of been slacking with the Author Spotlight posts this month. Sorry about that. I guess we’ve just been wrapped up in our hatred of Casee who’s in Hawaii right now with other stuff.

I promise to work on some reviews/posts. In the meantime, here’s a quick question:

Do you think Fantasy Lover should be included as part of the Dark Hunter series? I’ve never thought so, but someone told me the other day that it has to be read first. Which doesn’t make sense. Sure, it’s kind of a teaser, but there isn’t any real DH info imparted.

I guess it does kind of lead into the rest of the series, but still…I’ve always thought Night Pleasures should be the book you start with.

What do you think? Does Fantasy Lover need to be read as the beginning of the series?

Series Review: Celta’s HeartMates by Robin D. Owens

Posted October 27, 2009 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Series Review: Celta’s HeartMates by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
HeartMate by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #1
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, Heart Change, Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Secret, Heart Legacy
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 2006
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Fantasy
Pages: 340
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

All his life, Rand T'Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough, now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds—and attracts—his wife…

Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T'Ash's shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, placing her at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T'Ash. But T'Ash refuses to accept her rejection and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T'Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?

Last year I read and reviewed Heart Fate, book 7 in Robin D. OwensCelta’s HeartMates series. It was the first book I read in the series and I adored it. I started glomming her backlist shortly after that, but held off on reading the rest of the books. Recently Azteclady reviewed Heart Mate, the first book, and it reminded me that I needed to catch up on the series.

I read these books, with the exception of Heart Dance (it didn’t load properly on my e-reader and I haven’t fixed it yet, so I skipped it and plan to go back to it later), back-to-back. Ames and I reviewed Heart Mate together, but I decided instead of reviewing each book in the series separately, I’d just review the remaining books lightning style in one post.

Heart Mate, Book 1

T’Ash survived the slums then avenged his family’s death. He knows Danith is the future of his clan. Danith knows T’Ash is noble, powerful and dangerous. Not for her. The prophecy: A woman surrounded by peril…

Read the full review here. I definitely enjoyed it, though there were parts that frustrated me. The world-building was fantastic and made me want to continue on with the series.

I loved Zanth, T’Ash’s Fam.

4 out of 5

Heart Thief, Book 2

The story of a man without psi powers on a world where they’re prized. An outcast, Ruis must overcome all society to survive, pursue his passion for restoring ancient Earth technology, and win his love — Judge Ailim D’SilverFir.

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it. Ruis Elder is a Null, which means he has no magical Flair. I wasn’t sure how that would work in this world, but Owens pulled it off brilliantly.

I really loved both Ruis and Ailim. Their conflict – she is a Judge and he a Fugitive – was interesting and worked well. I really liked that the setting was something new. I especially liked that the council was taken down a peg or two in this book. It showed that they, too, are vulnerable.

Samaba was a great Fam, too. I literally laughed out loud at her antics.

4.25 out of 5

Heart Duel, Book 3

Holm’s a fighter; Lark a Healer, their Families are at war. Holm knows one thing bone deep. Nothing will prevent him from claiming Lark. Not the feud. Not his Family’s condemnation. Not his own flaws. And not Lark herself.

Generally the characters capture me as much as the world they live in, but that wasn’t the case for the heroine of this book. Lark was selfish and bitter for 99% of this story. I didn’t connect with her and, to be totally honest, had a hard time even tolerating her for most of the story.

The fact that she hurt Holm again and again without thought was bad enough, but she was a Healer. It didn’t speak well of her, IMO, that she could be so callous in disregarding his feelings for her.

I did love Holm, though I think he took too much upon himself and should have let go of his guilt sooner than he did. Also? He should have held out longer against Lark in the end. She deserved more punishment than she got.

I really liked the additional conflict created because their families were enemies. Especially since it caused something major to happen to Holm’s father, T’Holly.

I liked both Meserv and Phyl, Holm and Lark’s Fams, but they didn’t stand out against some of the others.

3 out of 5 (although I hated Lark, I thought the book had redeeming qualities)

Heart Choice, Book 4

Straif Blackthorn is back. To claim his title, restore his home, love his woman. And to fight the enemy who wants all three.

I think the conflict in this book was one of the better of the series so far. I really wasn’t sure how they would resolve the main issue between them.

I really liked both Straif and Michella. I wasn’t sure about Mitchella going into this novel because I disliked her in the first book, but she really worked. Straif was wonderful, though I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to overcome his past for Mitchella.

Their romance was well written and the issues they were dealing with were real and heartbreaking.

I did not like Straif’s Fam, Drina. At all. Which is unfortunate because I’ve really enjoyed all the previous ones.

4.25 out of 5

Heart Quest, Book 5

Trif Clover is searching for her HeartMate. But Guardsman Ilex Winterberry has already found her. He has reasons of his own — and for her own good — to keep to the shadows of her life. But there’s a killer on the loose, stalking those with unstable psi power like Trif’s. Facing his most difficult task yet, Ilex must reveal the truth of their destiny or leave Trif vulnerable to a vicious murderer.

I liked that the characters in this novel were of the lower nobility. It was a nice change from the previous entries in the series.

I understood Ilex’s reason for wanting to keep Trif away from him, especially in the beginning. I really liked the way the story progressed and the overall arc of the romance.

Trif really matured as the story progressed. I loved the way she pushed for what she wanted.

I can’t remember the names of the Fams in this story, but I remember that Ilex’s is a fox and I really liked him. Trif’s Fam is a cat who decides she wants to get “painted” and she cracked me up.

4.25 out of 5

Heart Dance, Book 6

Dufleur Thyme is a scholar determined to master time itself – and clear her father’s name as a mad scientist. Neglected-boy turned nobleman Saille Willow has other ideas. He wants to claim Dufleur as his own, but he has tougher family problems than he thinks. Both must reveal their secrets.

Review to come at some later date. I will say I’m very intrigued by their story based on things that happen to them in Heart Quest.

Heart Fate, Book 7

With Lahsin D’Yew’s husband giving chase after she runs from an abusive marriage, she finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

See the original review here. I wanted to do a re-read to see if it held up as well as I remember. It did.

I’d have to say this is probably my favorite of the series to date. I love that both characters have suffered greatly and aren’t ready to jump into anything. The both need time to mend and heal. Seeing their relationship grow is beautiful and lovely.

Lahsin bothered me more this time around at the end. Only at the end, though. I still understand her reasons for not wanting to rush into anything, but I felt she took too long about it.

I understood things more this time around, too, especially in regard to Tinne and the things he suffered in the past.

If you’re looking for a sweet romance, I’d highly recommend this one.

4.5 out of 5

Overall I really enjoyed this series. The world is fantastic and the characters are interesting. Reading these is like being transported to another world…one I would love to live in.

This series is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars