on May 12, 2012
I took a chance to buy the book despite having no reviews to encourage me (or not). And I am so happy with the decision that I felt like I should help other readers discover it.
I appreciate a lot the emotions and "substance" that Ms Yates is usually putting in her books. No fluffy stories, heroes that spend the entire book acting like absolute jerks and stupid heroines. With her is mostly about discovering the bound between 2 people who deserve each other, people who had some difficult times in their life. This particular book it's an interesting angle on the "Beauty and the Beast". Zahir is the only member of the royal family that survived the attach which killed his parents and his brother, the future sheik of the country. He is left with disfiguring scars, but the worst scars are those in his mind and soul (these inner scars are those that make him see himself as a Beast too). Katherine is a princess that fought her entire life to prove herself to her father, doing what was requested for her country. Both are strong, but in the same time very much alone and buried in the weight of their responsibilities. This is a story about how they help each other to discover a new life, to accept who they really are and how much they have to offer to another human being, not only to their country & duty.
It is one of those rare books in which you see much more of the male internal battle than the female and the way Zahir is emerging out of his own drama is impressive. This is one of the very few books in this category that I'm convinced I will read again. I sincerely recommend it!
on February 18, 2013
Don't get me wrong, if you're inclined to read a Harlequin Presents (and you are realistic about what to expect from a HP!) then definitely this is not a waste of money. This is my first Maisey Yates novel and I thought it was very good.
I liked that we explored the hero and heroine's issues, and that there was some depth and substance to the story, other than two people hot for each other but fighting over ridiculous things and stupid misunderstandings. (Which is how the majority of HPs go.) The writing was very good. The characters were sympathetic and interesting. I especially loved the heroine, who wasn't "too stupid to live" (a common trait in HP's heroines). She stuck up for herself and didn't back down. And didn't hesitate to call the hero on his b.s.! Loved that. The hero was good too, with lots of baggage that he was overcoming, and that the reader will find sympathetic. He isn't a typical arrogant alpha-male d*****bag who gets his own way all the time. We *want* him to succeed, because he's been through a lot. He deserves a happily ever after and we're glad he gets one with such a lovely and remarkable heroine.
The reason why I'm giving the book four stars is that at the end I started to feel, enough already, it should end. There was too much blah blah talk when we could see it was happily ever after and revving towards the end.
Another thing that I noted (but I wouldn't rate less for) is that the sex scenes kinda went a teensy bit "too" hot compared to what I'm used to in my favorite HP authors. I'm not griping too much as each HP has varied levels of hotness and as a regular reader we need to realize that, right? But I'm just saying. I completely understand that it's a matter of personal preference.
on March 28, 2013
It had its' good parts and its' bad. The bad was that he spent the first 1/2 thinking about the woman he had loved before his accident. I cannot stand those who have loved before. I am not sure if he was really in love like he thought or was just in the moment back then and really loved the heroine. Loving someone with "all your heart" that is not the heroine or hero, negates the love that I am supposed to be reading about. It makes it feel fake and that ruins a book for me. The OW left him when he was hurt and he turned off his heart to another. She never made a reappearance and her name was not mentioned in the last 1/2. Nothing was resolved about her, it was just he loved her and she left him. I do not like that at all. Also, the heroine mentioned having met a man she thought she wanted to be with before the car explosion happened. You never learn anything more than that alone. It was an empty, throw away statement that was unneeded. I do not feel love but a mutual liking and respect between these characters. They make great friends and potential lovers but I was not into their romance. Towards the end, there were a lot of sappy speeches that did not meet my expectations. Also, his argument to drive her away was about as convincing as my 5 year old telling me he does not like me anymore because I will not buy him candy. The heroine actually cried over his "harsh" words...that was pathetic in itself. Anyways, I like this author a lot but this book was only just okay for me. I will not go out of my way to recommend it but if asked, I would say that it was a good lazy afternoon read!
on June 15, 2016
Review originally posted on Reader's Edyn (Blogspot) ~ Please visit for full review!
Katharine in a princess and has known her entire life that she would have to marry for political gain for the good of her country. She is ok with that, knowing that it is her responsibility. But her betrothed was murdered in an attack against his family, so she went about doing what she could to be useful. She isn’t a man, which makes her of little importance, but still she finds a way to help; her family, her people, her country. She discovers that her wedding contract has a rule stating that should her betrothed not be able to fulfill his commitment, she would then have to marry his successor. His brother, Zahir. Badly scarred in the same attack, Zahir has come to be known as the Beast of Hajar. His reputation isn’t the best, but Katharine has a job to do, a duty to fulfill, a contract to uphold. She will offer him a proposal that he can’t refuse and she will not back down until he relents.
Zahir is fine with his beastly reputation. People leave him alone and he gets his work done. He doesn’t even have to go out of the palace very often because he has someone take care of that as well. He is on a strict schedule and it is necessary. It allows him to maintain control, to keep the nightmares of the attack at bay – usually. Everything is as he wants it … until Katharine walks in and knocks his entire world upside down. His control is slipping and he isn’t sure he will be able to harness the monster within when that happens. He doesn’t want to hurt her. She brings in light when all he saw was darkness. Desire when all he knew was loneliness. Challenge when everyone else around him avoids him. When he acts the beast he is famed to be, she doesn’t cringe. Even his scars don’t phase her. She is allowing possibilities he hasn’t entertained, possibilities he doesn’t deserve. He lived and his family died. Why should he allow himself a future? But Katharine could change all of that – if only he lets her.
This was a very good book. I was a little annoyed about the bad editing job. I have seen worse, but come on Harlequin – I expect more out of you. That said, I can’t complain about anything else. The editing was a small issue that several people would probably not even notice. This book is about redemption and second chances with a solid storyline. A modern day take on Beauty and the Beast, Katharine’s stubborn streak and love the magic that opens the door for a future where anything is possible. Katharine realizes a lot about herself, while Zahir struggles to accept that he can have happiness and a future. Katharine and Zahir, while both incredibly stubborn end up complimenting each other. I enjoyed how they came to trust each other and depend on one another. Overall, this was a very good book with steamy sexual content. I am highly likely to read Ms. Yates again, just hopefully without the editing errors.
Kindle version purchased for personal library
on March 24, 2014
HQP that I picked up for free on amazon, I was in the mood for a good little category romance - which, yes can be formulaic and sometimes really kinda bad but like junk food, sometimes you just have a craving. Plus, I had read another Maisey Yates book (Crazy, Stupid Sex) that was adorable, so it was a chance to explore more of Ms. Yates’ backlist. What I got was a surprising little gem of a story that really well developed characters in a reimagined Beauty and the Beast setting.
Zahir is the prince of Hajar, the only survivor of a terrible attack that left brother and parents dead, and Zahir badly injured and scarred. Katharine is the fiancee of the Zahir’s dead brother, and she has spent her whole life looking for ways to be considered more than a marriageable girl to her father. She has to protect her country from her ruthless relative who threatens to take over since her father is ill and her little brother is too young to assume the throne, so she heads to Hajar to confront Zahir and hope that he will honor the marriage contract in his brother’s stead.
Dealing with Zahir’s physical disabilities (he was left partially blinded and badly scarred), survivor’s guilt combined with legitimate PTSD, as well as Katharine’s complicated relationship with her father elevates what could have easily been a stereotypical romance. There are overwrought moments and your typical misunderstandings, but overall a very enjoyable read. I’d recommend it and I’m going to look for more Maisey Yates books.
on December 28, 2013
I think Maisey Yates will be my new go-to author when I need a Harlequin Presents fix. I hadn't read one of her books before. And I don't tend to read Harlequin Presents either. We all sort of know what to expect from one of them: rich hero, virgin heroine, probably some good soap opera passion too. This had all of that but it was really well done, in a crazy, awesome sort of way.
Zahir is a Sheik, so obviously rich and powerful, but he's been scarred by the terrorist attack that killed his brother and parents five years ago. He lives in a palace where the floors are made of jasper, jade and obsidian. All the surfaces are marble and gold. Even the walls are made of gold and onyx. I don't think there were any silk robes shot with gold, so you know he could still be richer in the future. But he's damaged inside and out and only the love of someone as strong-of-spirit as Katharine could wake up his cold, dead heart.
Unlike many of the Harlequin Presents I've read, Katharine was this totally strong, in your face, independent woman. She sees the ways people have used her and the way they intended to sell her body as a commodity and it sickens her. She grows, chooses how to live her life and owns her soul always. It was wonderful to see and worth giving more of these books a shot if they can hold on to the soup opera without making the heroine innocent and sub-human with no power of choice.
There was a lot of cliched moments and if you ever do the Romance Workouts from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, you'll get quite a workout from this book. But it was all fun and enjoyable without boxing the heroine into a supporting, her-love-and-body-are-the-only-important-things, role.
So, Maisey Yates is now on my list when I need passion and opulence with strong female agency.
on December 21, 2013
Princess Katharine of Austrich has come to Sheikh Zahir "Beast of Hajar" to convince him that a marriage between the two would be essential in protecting their kingdoms. She needs Zahir to take the role of "Regent" for when her father passes, since she is not able to lead, because of the fact that she is a woman under her father's old fashioned views. Since her brother still has many years before he can fill in this position, this leaves her in a position to bargain for the safety of her country and by extension Hajar; who they heavily trade with. She will do everything in her power to prevent the oldest male relative in her line from taking over and bringing only tragedy to everything her father has kept in order.
Katharine is head-strong. She is stubborn, determined, intelligent, and passionate. She partakes on many charities and problems in the hopes of proving that she is more than an object of beauty that can only resolve conflicts with her looks and not her words and mind.
Katharine in many ways is lonely and keeps her mind busy as a way to block her unhappiness. A trait she shares with Zahir. She often looks for the meaning in what she does; a way of deceiving herself into thinking that what she is doing is truly important or truly matters, when many times she does no care. She hopes that if she can get this marriage, one day she'll be free to do what she pleases. She is a prisonor to other's ideals. A trait which she also shares with Zahir but in a different manner.
Zahir has always been more of a strategist; a warrior. However, he is now a damaged shell of what he once was. After an attack on the royal family from a neighboring country, Zahir is left with only himself to rely on. He is badly scarred and many of his people think him insane. He has become a sort of recluse/hermit and rarely makes public appearances. He has huge self-esteem issues. He is a prisoner to his perception of self and because of that he keeps himself hiddden and pushes people away. He feels he will taint those who get close. He is unfeeling or so he tells himself. He lives with the pain that took his family away and he fears his reactions when he is forced to live this reality daily. He is scared to be rejected as he has been rejected once before. He cannot love until he is introduced to Katharine' s actions. She opens up a new world for him. One he fights every step.
I loved the rapor between Zahir and Katharine. It was full of wit, pain and a beauty of self-discovery between the two. The plot was well paced and the author did a fanastic job evoking true emotions. The characters were extremely believable as were the events that introduced them. It was a very grown up version Beauty and the Beast. In many ways much more complex. It was potrayed beautifully. I sympathized with both leads. It's hard to develop character's as well as the author did when there isn't always huge amount of interactions between the two.
This was a marvelous story and I highly recommend.
on March 23, 2014
The h is a princess of some mountain kingdom, her father is in poor health, her brother is only 16 (can't rule until he's 21), and because she's a female she isn't allowed to rule. Nearest male relative is a POS, so she needs to marry in order to secure a Regent to rule the country until her brother comes of age so that the POS relative can't destroy the kingdom.
The H is king of another country, horribly scarred from the attack that killed his parents and older brother 5 years ago. Older brother and the h had been engaged before his death, but it was a political MOC instead of love. The h realizes that the contract states that if her fiancee is unable to become king, she is to marry whoever takes his place. So, she heads off to the H's kingdom to hold him to the contract.
H is known as the "Beast of Hajar" because of his scars and the fact that he is commonly thought to be mad (PTSD will do that to a person). He hides away in the palace because crowds make him have flashbacks, avoids everybody because of his scars, has awful nightmares, and is a hollowed-out shell of a person with no feelings anymore (again, classic PTSD).
H and h affect each other right away, and the story is really a slow unfolding of how they come to know and admire each other, fall in love, and eventually heal each other (h didn't even realize she was damaged). The h is possibly one of my favorite HP h's ever, and she takes no nonsense from the H.
This was not a light and fluffy read, and I felt the author did a very good job of dealing with some serious issues in a way that was realistic and respectful. I enjoyed it immensely.
on December 2, 2013
Zahir I love you but your such an arse at times, "you want marriage, Katherine?" he asked, his voice a low growl. "You want to be my woman?" He's protective and risks his own comfort to make sure that Katherine is safe, "it's the crowd," he said, his voice tight. "I saw...I thought you were in danger." He flexed his fingers before curling them back into a fist, "I'm not insane," he ground out." He doesn't want to admit it but when he doesn't get a daily dose of his girl's smart mouth he does miss it, "well, you haven't invaded my bedroom or my gym in nearly two weeks, and it's been the same amount of time since you've invaded my office. Not only that, but you haven't taken Lilah out for a ride. You've been hiding." He also gets possessive of his girl, "how about if I learned to dance like that?" He turned his head sharply, his expression fierce. She smirked. "Not in front of other people. For you." She let her fingers drift over his thigh, up higher."
on April 8, 2014
At first I thought this book was taking place along time ago, because being from the USA, it's hard to think women are not even close to being equals with men, in many parts of the world. It was shocking when the story was talking about planes and phones, that I got a wake up call this was a romance story for now. I personally thought Hajar's reaction to his trauma was right on. People had a hard time looking at him, so of course, he would feel like the beast. I also liked the spunk of Katherine. My heart ached for her, on the reaction of her father, just because she was a women. I truly can't believe this book is free, I liked it that much. There is love making, but not the erotica type. The romance builds, which I also liked, they just don't fall head over heels for each other and have sex right away. (ljb)