So let see if I can do this... two-fer review :) These two books don't have much in common except that they've both slipped away from me when it was time to review them. I got both of them before their release date, devoured them and just never got around to review them although I wanted to.
Since my reviews will only add to the praises everyone is lavishing on these two books, it will be somewhat shorter (or at least, that's the intention LOL).
Too Good to Be True by Kristan Higgins
published by HQN Books in February 2009
When Grace Emerson's ex-fiance starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she's seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone...exactly "unlike" her renegade neighbor Callahan O'Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.Genre: contemporary romance
Whoa. No. Callahan O'Shea is not her perfect man Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so...right?
The Story: Grace Emerson was going to marry Andrew in three weeks... till she caught the glint in his eyes that told her he wasn't completely in love with her... and perhaps, his great love could be another woman... her younger sister, Natalie.
One year later, Grace has given her blessings to Natalie and Andrew to be together. However, she has become the pitiful girl in the family and everyone is trying to encourage her, but it just further annoys her. After her cousin's third wedding, Grace decides it's time to make up a boyfriend so everyone would just stop... and it's not as if she never made up boyfriends - she has experience. However, when Natalie and Andrew announce their engagement...
My Opinion: So I didn't mention Cal in my summary, because this is really Grace's story. Like I said in my previous reviews of her books, I think that Ms Higgins' style is more chick-lit than contemporary romance. Good chick-lit, but chick-lit nonetheless.
As usual, I really like Grace as an heroine. Ms Higgins really has a knack at writing the heroines. There's this confidence in themselves that sets them apart in my opinion. Actually, they're just comfortable in their body and settle in their careers. In addition, since there's no mystery, everything allows Ms Higgins to focus on the relationships, dynamics and interactions and it results in good books.
Okay, I digress. So what I really want to say is I enjoyed Grace's character :) She was fun, brave and strong. Some think that perhaps, she was too nice - giving her blessing to her sister and Andrew. In my opinion, it was well explained and it fit her personality. To Grace, Natalie is very special... and when you love someone, you want them to be happy, even at the price of your own happiness. I liked Grace's interactions with her best friend, her family and Cal :) and LOL, imagining boyfriends isn't so bad :P In Dear Author's review, the reviewer pointed out that all of Ms Higgins heroines are similar and have the same voice. I agree; however, it works well and these heroines are really refreshing :)
There were tons of funny situations in this book :) Starting with Grace's best friend signing them up to a course to find happiness. LOL, when the motivation speaker was speaking to them about the techniques to get people's attention and when he wasn't so sure it would work on a gay man LOL :) Or when Julian had to fake to be Grace's boyfriend and he was stuck in the bathroom's stall. All of Grace's mother's women parts scultures that they had to bring out from the cellar when the mom came up unannounced. Finally, I really love the last quarter of the book, from the moment Grace finally gets together with Cal.
My main complaint about this book was Grace and Cal's relationship. Again, as it is usually the case with Ms Higgins' books, I wanted more of the H/H together. Especially once they became a couple. They were adorable together!! However, I was a bit uncomfortable about Grace's reluctance to get involved with Cal. I'm not totally sure of her reasons... Part of it was prejudices because Cal was a convict... which I thought was unfortunate really. I mean, I understand her position and I guess that I would react the same in real life... but in fiction... I still prefer to believe that Grace thought he wasn't going to be THE guy. Anyway, it doesn't matter much since they do get together at the end and like I said, adorable :)
I really liked how Ms Higgins wrapped things up between Grace and Cal and the three sisters relationships at the end. I'm actually curious to know what happened to Cal's grandfather ^_^; I know, I know... very small details LOL.
My Grade: B. Overall, this was a very good and solid book... However, I do think that Just One of the Guys and Fools Rush In were better :) Also, I'd like for Ms Higgins to try her hand at contemporary... a bit more between the H/H would be greatly appreciated :D
Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
published by Simon & Schuster in January 2009
His Obsession...Genre: paranormal romance
Sabine, Sorceress of Illusions: the evil beauty who surrenders her body, but not her heart.
Rydstrom Woede: the ruthless warrior who vows to keep her at all costs.
They were never supposed to want each other this much...
With each smoldering encounter, their shared hunger only increases. If they can defeat the sinister enemy that stands between them, will Sabine make the ultimate sacrifice for her demon? Or will the proud king lay down his crown and arms to save his sorceress?
Series: Immortals of Dark, Book #7
The Story: Rydstrom Woede is the king of some demon kingdom, but lost his throne to an immortal sorcerer. He along with his younger brother, Cadeon, have been trying to get the kingdom back, but it's not easy to kill someone who can't die. However, his chance has come... Rydstrom is on his way to meet Cadeon whose mission was to exchange the Vassel for a sword that can actually kill the sorcerer... when he is kidnapped by Sabine, the Queen of Illusions, sister of his mortal (immortal) enemy. Sabine has her own agenda though, which would be getting her and her younger sister out from under their brother's thumb... and although Sabine knows that she is supposed to borne Rydstrom's child according to a prophecy... she just wasn't prepared for this mutual passion.
My Opinion: Okay, so the timeline of Kiss of a Demon King actually overlaps with the events in Dark Desires After Dusk and I'm not really a fan of overlapping books, but it actually worked real well for this book. I've been a fan of Rydstrom ever since he appeared in the series, but from the glimpses I caught of Sabine in Dark Desires After Dusk and her effects on Rydstrom, I wasn't sure I would liked her.
Oh boy, was I wrong. I ended up really liking Sabine. She was a very fun character and that, from the beginning of the book :) Sabine really wasn't what I expected. I mean, first she's a sorceress and then, she's Rydstrom's enemy's sister ^_^; I was imagining a wicked, evil heroine and didn't know how she would match Rydstrom. Anyway, long story short, she was a fun character and I liked her :) I'd like if she has shared more with Rydstrom... I liked her loyalty to her younger sister as well :) As for Rydstrom, well he WAS everything I was expecting. I was still uncomfortable about the two brothers' relationship - Rydstrom blaming Cadeon for the loss of the kingdom and Cadeon feeling guilt. Sure, it's adding angst, but in the end, I'm not really satisfied with the resolution of their issue. I guess I would have liked more closing.
What else I didn't like? Hmmm, the first part of the book when Rydstrom was Sabine's prisoner. I thought it was boring, Sabine trying to have sex with Rydstrom to get pregnant. Wasn't really involved in that part. Luckily, it all picked up when the roles were reversed :) That part, me likey. I thought that Sabine showed more of her true face to Rydstrom and they had more interactions. Rydstrom started to learn more about her, he opened more as well.
I felt that this book was a bit more stand-alone in the series and I liked that. It didn't have too much connections to the earlier books. It wasn't sequel baiting either, so that was a plus. I've always felt that Ms Cole's books had a primitive feel to them, but the two last books were a bit smoother and suited more the storylines :) What I don't like though is that there are a lot of paranormal creatures in this series and it's starting to get confusing. The structure of the world building doesn't seem solid... I feel it's very flexible and when you have so many creatures and storylines going on, it'd be better if it was a bit more ground in my opinion.
My Grade: B+. Very fun book. So far, all the books with non-vampires H/H have been more enjoyable to me :) Also , great for Ms Cole to keep this series open so no anticipation and expections for the next H/H.