Stacy's Place on Earth
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Monday, September 15, 2008:
Weekend reading....sort of
Done reading

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket (September 1, 1997)
ISBN-10: 0671019716
ISBN-13: 978-0671019716

Roanna Davenport was raised a wealthy orphan on her grandmother's magnificent Alabama estate, Davencourt, where she had a passion for horses, a genius for trouble, and a deep love for her cousin, Webb. But everyone expected Webb to marry their ravishing cousin, Jessie. When he did, Roanna's desire became no more than the stuff of dreams -- until the night Jessie was found bludgeoned to death.
After the shocking murder of his wife, Webb left for Arizona, abandoning the legacy that he had once believed was all he wanted. But then an all-grown-up Roanna walked into a dingy bar in Nogales to bring him home; the mischievous sprite he had known ten years earlier was no more. Gone, too, was her fire. In its place was ice that melted at his touch. Webb is drawn back to Davencourt, to Roanna, and to the killer that once destroyed his life and waits only for the chance to finish the job....

When I was in San Fran this past summer for RWA, discussion turned to Linda Howard's books, and how beloved they were by so many readers. LeeAnn confessed to never having read anything by Howard (gasp!) so immediately my roomie Beth had to straighten her out about this lapse in her reading education. Several suggestions were made. One of them, "Shades of Twilight", was a book I myself hadn't yet read. Beth rhapsodized about the glory that is Webb & Roanna's love. So of course I felt compelled to discover it for myself.

Let's just say I enjoyed the book, but it didn't quite capture the standard that I feel Howard can aspire to. Let me explain. I thought that the romance was solid, filled with intense emotion and a larger than life hero. The dynamic Davenport family provided the perfect foil for the dramatics going on in the family, especially those of the pampered princess Jessie, Webb's first wife. She was a nasty girl, in more ways than one, but the matriach of the family, Lucinda Davenport, doted on her. Webb wanted nothing more than to possess her as the queen of his empire. Poor Roanna was the ugly, unwanted, clumsy one, and Webb seemed to humor her more than anything else, amused by her obvious hero worship. All these elements come together for an enjoyable, suspenseful read.

But Webb didn't wow me with his magnificence. That was probably the biggest issue. The hero fell short of my expectations. I wanted him to be so incredible that I would have wanted him for myself, and I didn't. One thing I didn't like was how Roanna was always so loyal to Webb, always taking his side, and when he was accused of killing his wife, instead of taking comfort in Roanna's support, he turned against her. Yeah, that really ticked me off. His reasoning for that didn't sit well with me. Another thing that kinda bothered me was that because Roanna was such a meek heroine, especially in the beginning, and overwhelmed with her love for Webb, he really pushed to have sex with her. Even though she wanted it, loved him so much she would have done anything for him, their first time left me feeling a little cold.

Some readers don't care for Roanna's character, describing her as weak and dependent, but I actually found that to be part of her appeal. What, you ask? I'll tell you. She lost her parents at a young age, and just about everyone in her family made her feel unwanted, unloved. The only things she lived for were her horses and the rare moments she spent with Webb. She was yelled at, reprimanded, disapproved of at every turn. When Webb left after the death of his wife Jessie, it was Roanna that ended up taking over and running the business. It literally almost killed her to lose Webb, but she persevered and shut out everything in order to move on. Some may find that to be weak, but I found it to be an amazing undertaking on Roanna's part. I believe in the end she proved to be stronger than Webb or any other member of her family. Maybe her strength isn't obvious and in your face, but it's as real as her love of horses is. She ended up being my favorite character in the book because of it.

I'm glad I read it, but by no means is it my favorite by Ms. Howard. I would still choose "Mr. Perfect", "Open Season", "Dream Man" and "Death Angel" over this one. Or how about her novella "White Out"? My first ever story by her. Now that's classic Linda Howard. Yum.

Rating: ***1/2 out of *****


Currently reading


Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Forever (June 20, 2008)
ISBN-10: 044640103X
ISBN-13: 978-0446401036

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .

She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul . . .

Maybe I'm PMS-ing, because it took me awhile (about 200 pages) before I could really get into this book. I admit that I'm not the biggest fan of paranormals, but I do enjoy them from time to time. I'm hoping this one grabs me and I end up really liking it in the end.
I mean, this one has all the elements of a strong, sensual, intense world, with a kick-ass heroine and a sexy, earthy hero. Of course they are from two different worlds, and they totally hate each other. But that doesn't stop them from being overwhelmingly attracted to each other. Srsly, what's not to like?
I'll let you know my verdict once I'm done.
Ever not like a book everyone else was raving about?

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  1. Pleasure Unbound was almost a DNF for me, but Ione turned things around for me by page 100. And the funny thing is, that is usally my cut off when reading a book it I do not like it. LOL

    I can't get into Lara Adrian. I think it is because I am such a big Ward fan. Also Jo Goodman. I feel her romances are just so-so.

  2. Wow! Two books I love!

    I love Shades of Twilight and re-read it at least once a year. I love how dominant Webb is. Sure, I'm sure there are gonna be tons of readers who think he's a d*ck. But me? I just love him. Would I put up with him in real life? Probably not. But I still get a kick out of him.

    I hope you stick with Pleasure Unbound, but maybe I steered you wrong. I dunno, I just thought the chemistry between the two leads was so steamy. Plus, I liked the demon angle -- something new, you know?

    Books everyone else loved that I didn't? Well, Private Arrangements. I think I'm the only person on the planet who disliked the book. I just couldn't connect with the characters.

  3. i have read two book (To die For and by Howard and i must say i am not a big fan .
    there were not bad but nothing really special so i am not to keen on reading another book from her .

    JR Ward books (apart for lover eternal) are nothing to rave about (IMO)

  4. to die for and dream man from Howard

    sorry sorry

  5. I would probably be interested in the LH book if Roanna and Webb weren't cousins. How close of cousins are they? If it's first cousins, I'm going to have to skip it.

  6. Dev - they're third cousins.

  7. See I really liked Shades of Twilight :o) But then it’s my only Linda Howard.

    A book that I read this year that while I really did like it, I think I’m the only one who didn’t love it was Blue Eyed Devil. I just wasn’t able to connect to it like everyone else did.

  8. It took me a while to get into Pleasure Unbound as well but it ended well and I liked it a lot!

  9. Kate, I try and finish a book no matter what, especially when a few people whose reading preferences are similar to mine really loved it. I'm finally getting into the whole story and am glad I stuck with it. Yes, yes, finally someone else who doesn't totally adore Jo Goodman! LOL. I've read 2 stories, and I really enjoyed the first one but didn't care for "If His Kiss Is Wicked" (?) - I kept wondering what was I missing.

    Kati, my friend Beth rhapsodized about Webb too (she reminds me a lot of you actually) so I figured it had to be good. I didn't hate Webb, or find him too aggressive, I just was "eh" about him. And I know for a fact you weren't the only one who felt that way about "Private Arrangements".

    Pidute, I love your honesty. I adore Linda Howard's books, but they don't work for everyone. Why I don't know LOL. JR Ward - crack. I don't always love her books but I still want more.

    Dev, that was my worry at first too, but no, they were distant" cousins. First cousins, uh uh. That's a huge no-no for me. I even have a hard time reading about that in historicals, when it was more commonplace.

    LeeAnn! Only one LH? Didn't Beth teach you anything??? LOL. And I'll forgive you for BED, even though I loved it.

    Tracy, that's good to know. I'm definitely sticking with it :)

  10. Stace, finish Pleasure Unbound. I read about it from one fo the people who comment on your blog and picked it up. It took me a little while to get into it but I ended up really, really liking it. I can't wait for his brothers books, both Shade and Wraith.

    As for Howard, I've only read one of her older ones, Sarah's Child. I have Dream Man and keep meaning to read it because of all the wonderful things I've heard about it I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    On Ward, what is it about her? I'm kind of the same as you, I don't always like her books but I can still promise I'll buy the next one and devour it. Why??? I loved the first four. V's book totally pissed me off and Phury's book wasn't even an romance in my opinion, but still will I be buying the next book? Yep. I have decided though, if I don't really like the next one I'm not buying anymore (I think). Three books in a row that I really didn't like is too much. Not sure if I'll get it in hardback though. We'll see.

    You don't like Lara Adrian? Oh, I love her books. she's up there with Kenyon as one of my favorites in paranormal.

  11. I love that Linda Howard--although not as much as After the Night :) Or All the Queens Men.

    I'm not a huge paranormal fan either, except KMM's fever series.

  12. Oh no! LOL
    I loved this book (Pleasure Unbound) from the first page... I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts. Even if they are very different from mine. Unless you liked it so little that you don't want to talk about it? O_o

    You can always Twitter me your grade.... I'm a big girl... I can take it. But I still want to know... ;-)

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