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87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2010
Water Bound (A Sea Haven Novel) by Christine Feehan
Paranormal Romance- July 27, 2010
5 stars

Water Bound is a spellbinding romance that will sweep you away and never let you go! I was mesmerized by the beauty and moving romance in this new paranormal series set in the same world as the Drake sisters' series.

Rikki has a talent for water. It soothes and comforts her and she is able to manipulate it. But Rikki is troubled. Her parents were murdered and disaster after disaster has followed her since their death. She has finally found a small place where she can find peace with a band of adopted sisters who have their own special brand of magic. When she decides to go out to a dangerous part of the ocean to hunt for the precious sea urchins that support her living a freak disaster causes the water to nearly kill her. But in the water she finds another human set adrift, a man who draws her. She saves him and instantly regrets it. Although he is handsome and magnetic she realizes he carries secrets and they will disrupt the hard earned serenity she has finally found. But for some reason she is unable to abandon him.

Lev Prakenskii is a man without a past or an identity. He has killed, lied and seduced for his country. A country that feels he is expendable. But since he was violently taken from his family and indoctrinated by the Soviet government he has no other purpose. That is until he meets the courageous and eccentric Rikki. She draws him and only with her does he feel human. Lev knows Rikki is his only chance at humanity and he wants to stay and love her. But his government is set to exterminate him and an evil from Rikki's past threatens to tear them apart.

This was a highly emotional and poignant story. This book was unusual in that while Rikki was attracted to Lev she really did want to get rid of him since his presence disrupted her own mental health. He is a complication she doesn't need or want. But Lev immediately realizes a good thing when he sees it and although Rikki has many quirks only he sees the true woman who can accept him when he cannot. Rikki is his salvation. Reading how such a fierce alpha male is determined to be gentle and strong enough to fight for their relationship was very moving. As Christine Feehan explores their love I really felt I knew each of these individuals and I became so invested in each of them that I craved for them to be together. These characters were intensely 3 dimensional. I really got the feeling that they were the only ones who could truly understand each other.

In addition, the author seamlessly adds touches of her Drake series by introducing beloved characters which adds a feeling of coming home that devoted readers will be sure to embrace.

This is a book to cherish. I loved this story and only regret I read it so fast that I didn't get to savor it more! I only hope her future books will have more mesmerizing Prakenskii brothers featured!

Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 28, 2010
Rikki has felt isolated from the rest of humanity since she was young. Bound to the element of water, she has unique gifts that allow her to control it in whatever form it takes. But in Rikki's case, having fantastic, mystical abilities doesn't translate well towards being a "normal" member of society. At a loss to really fit in except with her family of adopted "sisters", she turns to her best source of comfort: the sea, where she makes a living diving for urchins. Then one day, she rescues a man from drowning in the ocean, and nothing can be the same again.

Lev is a damaged hero with emotional pain to rival Rikki's. His memories are broken, but he knows that he is an assassin. His mission and how he ended up being cared for by the element-tied woman remain a mystery to him, but he does know that he has never before experienced a connection like he has with Rikki; able to read her thoughts and communicate with her telepathically, he is perhaps the only man truly able to understand her as she needs to be understood.

These are both very unique characters; I know the idea of characters having special, element-associated abilities has been played with before, and an assassin-hero is nothing new, but Feehan has given a lot of depth to the concepts. Rikki is far from perfect, but so is Lev, in a different way - together they complement and strengthen one another, understanding and reassuring each other in spite of their own failings.

Though a little slow to start moving, plot-wise, the book takes a lot of time to introduce the characters and the dynamics between them, and it really helps to develop the romantic aspects of the story. This is bolstered by excellent descriptions, especially of the settings, which really color this book and give it life; it's easy to get caught up in her world and picture it, which adds so much to the story.

Set alongside Feehan's "Drake Sisters" books but still standalone, "Water Bound" should be picked up by anyone looking for a romance well-based in emotion and interaction between the characters -- this isn't just for paranormal fans. I really like this start to her new series and I look forward to seeing more of these books.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2010
This was a very good read. I am always looking for something different. The heroine here is a very high functioning autistic. Plus she has a magical power. The hero was briefly in the book about Elle in the Drake sisters series. He is the brother of Ilya who is married to Joley. He is one of seven brothers who all also have some sort of powers.

He seemed to be more damaged than Ilya. But once he discovers Rikki he leaves his old life behind and never looks back. He does a very good job coping with someone who is different. You know that he will continue to do everything he can to make her life easy. I loved the way he loved her.

She is very well written. I'm sure it might have been easy to make her a stereotype. You could see her OCD/autism but you could see how she learned to function around it. She was a flawed yet very strong character. I enjoyed reading about her.

Here and there the writing was a bit heavy handed when the author kept mentioning for example that she had no people skills. Once would have done it with some follow up showing scenes. But that is a pretty minor quibble. There were 3 rather lengthly love scenes that for me held up the action. They weren't bad or anything but I guess I was so interested in the story that they dragged the pace down.

This one avoided the overly sweet feeling that some of the Drake books gave me. I really enjoyed it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2010
Mild Spoilers:

What I Loved: This book delivered with everything that I expected! Christine has a knack for writing about love between a man and woman (often how it is unexplainable) but also a love between families (born to or formed). This book is no exception! This book is not only the love story between Rikki and Lev but also the story of how she began to trust because of 5 other special women in her life. Her sisters, not by birth, but by heart!

What I Liked: I really liked how she wove in the past Sea Haven stories without making it about them. There is a point where you know later in the series, Lev is going to have to deal with something between him and Jackson (that is my mild spoiler) but I liked that she left that till later. I also love that Christine tend to write where the men need the women just as much(if not more) than the women need the men. I like how they just accept each other for who they are and work through it!

What I thought was So-So: Nothing

Why I gave it a 4: To be honest, I hovered between 4 and 5 while trying to decide. The only reason it ended up a 4 was because I felt it took a little to long in the middle to bring in the rest of the family. Other than that, it pretty much rocked!

Who I would recommend this too: I recommend this to PNR readers and even some romance readers. It is not about vampires, werewolves, ect but it is about "magic" for lack of a better term. Also, I have found that people either love Christine's writing or don't! This is a very typical (stellar) Christine Feehan book. I loved it but I love her writing so keep that in mind!

Received the book from: Bought on Amazon

Author's Website: [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2011
No SPOILERS or plot summaries. Recommendations included.

HIGH LEVEL: Book 1 of a new para-romance series that builds off of Feehan's "Drake Sisters" series. I recommend you read the Drake books first. It isn't entirely necessary, but many of the supporting characters were introduced there first. This world is steeped in the magic of nature in addition to the varying psychic skills of the characters. The only monsters you'll find are the same ones we see in the world at large- except here they can read your mind.

ATMOSPHERE & MAGIC: If you read the previous series, this will feel very familiar to you. I was a HUGE fan of the Drake series and am finding myself completely enthralled with this new Sea Haven one as well. The magic is refreshing and the importance of the ocean and the environment makes me feel right at home. There is an abundance of wildlife featured in this book- from the ocean creatures to the gardens to the woods to the skies. The landscape plays a big part in this story.

CHARACTERS: The characters here are both damaged- with serious psychological injuries, some that will heal and some that won't. Watching them heal each other was a joy. I have to say that I REALLY, REALLY appreciated the care that went into creating Rikki- a woman who manages her independence in spite of autistic handicaps. As a person who edges close to some of those symptoms, I found her a wonderful character to relate to and watch others have to work around her strength. There was no pity, no need for rescue. It was an interesting- and HIGHLY insightful- angle on romance when the man has to work to be noticed "as a man" to a woman who clearly has no need of him at all. I am very impressed with this character.

It was a little confusing at first trying to work out how much Lev, the male lead, actually remembered versus how much he was trying to keep hidden from Rikki. From the middle of the book on, I felt we got almost too much of Lev's inner thoughts and not enough of Rikki, but it certainly cleared up any confusion around him from the early pages.

PLOT: Pretty simplistic overall, but just enough components to keep you interested. It felt a little too thin by the end as the resolutions came a little too easily.

BOTTOM LINE: I loved this book- it wasn't perfect, but it was worth any small complaints I might have around the plot to get to know Rikki and watch Lev work his butt off to win her over. It was also fun to get a lingering glance at a town and a few characters that I had already come to love.

RECOMMENDATIONS: (hard to find something very similar... these have something of a similar atmosphere)
1. Christine Feehan's Magic in the Wind (Drake Sisters, Book 1)
2. Anya Bast's Witch Fire (Elemental Witches, Book 1) - light para-romance
3. Nora Roberts' Dance upon the Air (Three Sisters Island Trilogy) - light, healing magical romance on the opposite coast
4. Moira Rogers' magically diverse romance series Crux: Southern Arcana, Book 1
5. Nalini Singh's Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings, Book 1) - romance series which features weres and psychics, but also carries plotlines with some substance
6. Eileen Wilks' procedural crime featuring werewolves and romance Tempting Danger (The World of the Lupi, Book 1)
7. Christine Warren's somewhat inconsistent, but often awesome series featuring werewolves, demons and vamps Wolf at the Door (The Others, Book 1) - skip the one about werecats, it had a weak female lead
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2011
This is a must read if you've read the Drake Sister's series. The hero is a brother to Joley's husband Ilya Prakenskii. I was disappointed that the two brothers were not reunite in this book but perhaps that will happen at some point in this series.

Having said that, this book is a great read completely on it's own. A major attraction for me in this book was the fact that the heroine is autistic. The way the author manages to work with the difficulties experienced by the two individuals drawn together in this romance thriller is nothing short of miraculous. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone and this book speaks to that fact. I can't wait for the next book in this series to come out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2012
I usually like Feehan's books, while they're all very similar, character and story-wise, they're still good books, with good, likable characters. This one just didn't do it for me. I guess Rikki's behaviors were just odd. It was nice to see the details on autism, and they were accurate, but it was just strange how all of a sudden they go away when Levi is around? Or she's suddenly able to deal with them easier? Not sure about that.

It was still a good story, and it's good to read if you're planning on reading the rest of the series, but it's not my favorite.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2011
I own every single Feehan book ever written. Some have been lackluster and some wonderful. This was lackluster, I'm afraid. Way too repetitive. The heroine was just not likeable to me. It had nothing to do with her autism or OCD...she just wasn't a nice person & came across as way too child-like to be considered sexy. Lev didn't do much throughout most of the book except try to get memory back. The fact that he never stopped Elle's rape (in final Drake Sisters book) was disturbing, and his lack of interaction with Ilya was disappointing too. And, as others have pointed out, too much info repeated regarding sea urchin diving, boating equiptment, etc. I hope the next in the series is better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2012
Feehan is a new-to-me author. This series, Sisters of the Heart, revolves around six women who meet during grief counselling and are all victims of violent crimes. The women are drawn to each other and decide to jointly purchase a 130-acre farm in Sea Haven, where they share the responsibility of taking care of the property in addition to pursuing their own interests. They work to restore the farm so that it is operational, and each of them receives five acres to herself. They all work together in building each other's homes. Each of the women also has a psychic gift: They all appear to be bound to an element. Their love for each other also binds them together. Although they may not be related by blood, their affinity for each other binds them in their hearts.

Rikki, the protagonist, is a sea urchin diver. She loves the water and is drawn to it. Her autism makes every-day life a challenge: She cannot buy groceries because fluorescent lighting has a negative effect on her, she needs her routines to give her stability, her diet is very limited because she doesn't like certain food textures, and she does not like anyone in her personal space. However, when she is in the water - her element - she is free. There is nothing more calming for her. Rikki cannot create water that isn't there, but she can manipulate the water around her - directing the rain to beat down faster or slower or making the waves increase or decrease in intensity.

As if her autism was not challenging enough, Rikki has had a lot of tragedy in her life. At the age of 13, her parents were killed in a house fire. Rikki was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and two of the foster homes that she lived in were also destroyed by fire although there were no casualties in either incident. Even her fiancé was killed in a fire on her houseboat. Although never criminally charged for any of the crimes, Rikki's biggest fear is that she somehow caused the fires or started the fires while she was asleep! How can it be merely a coincidence to have been affected by fire on so many occasions?

When Rikki rescues a man during a storm at sea, her world is turned upside-down. This man has no memory of who he is or what happened to him. He tells Rikki that his name is Lev and that he is in danger. She wants to take him to the hospital for treatment of his concussion, but he insists that it would not be safe for him there and that she take him back to her home. Although his first instinct is to act defensively and in self-preservation mode, Rikki is not scared of him - not even when he grasps her around the neck as if to choke her in his confusion while drifting in and out of consciousness. What is it about this man that Rikki feels driven to defend and protect?

Rikki's world changes with Lev in it and, while recuperating, the two begin to fall in love. Lev gets his memory back, and we learn that he and his brothers (the Prakenskiis) were taken from their parents as young children and trained by government operatives to be spies/assassins for their country. They learned to withstand pain and torture, and each also developed psychic gifts. Lev's gift is that he is able to communicate with animals.

On the day that Rikki rescued Lev, a yacht owned by a wealthy man went down and his bodyguard was presumed dead. Lev, working undercover, is that bodyguard and his presence puts Rikki in danger when a "cleaner" (someone who is sent to "clean up" messes by way of assassination) is sent to Sea Haven to determine whether Lev really did perish in the accident.

I could not help but fall in love with Rikki. She is such a unique and unusual heroine. Feehan has a way of writing that immerses you into the character's world. Her insight into autism makes me wonder whether she is autistic herself or has a loved one who is. Despite her autism, Rikki finds a way to make a life for herself where she not only copes but thrives. She truly is a remarkable woman!

I enjoyed the effect that Rikki had on Lev, and I enjoyed how their relationship developed. I love the way that Lev accepts Rikki's boundaries, but he also pushes her a little out of her comfort zone all the while giving her stability to ground her. I really couldn't help but fall in love with Lev, too!

Rikki's and Lev's steamy scenes are totally hot! One scene went on for one whole part of the audiobook, which was over an hour! I am glad that I wasn't driving when I was listening to that part, but it sure made doing the laundry a whole lot more fun! I think that this book is the most explicit that I have listened to.

During the story, we learn that the Drake Sisters of Sea Haven also have special powers and that one of Lev's brothers is married to a Drake sister. Well, imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is an entire series for the Drake Sisters! Not only do I plan to continue reading the Sisters of the Heart series, but now I simply must read the Drake Sisters series as this one seems to be a spin-off of that one.

I became so sucked into this series that I just had to host a Reading Challenge for it on my blog!

The narrator, Angela Brazil, suited Rikki perfectly! She is an absolute pleasure to listen to. I loved her Russian accent for Lev's voice at the beginning, although I wish she would have continued it throughout the book. Unfortunately, once Lev assumed the identity of "Levi," he no longer used his accent. Sometimes it can be hard for female narrators to successfully pull off narrating male voices, but not so in this case!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! Loved it!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2012
This book picks up right where the last Drake Sisters novel left off, on the day of the mass Drake sister wedding. Rikki is a sea urchin diver with an affinity to water. On the day of the wedding she is out at sea farming for sea urchins when the huge wave that the Drakes sisters combated back knocks Rikki off her boat and back into the ocean. Thankfully, she still had all her gear on. While in the ocean a large man is being knocked around in the aftermath of the waves, Rikki grabs onto him and pulls him back onto the boat. When Lev comes to on a boat, he realizes that he is not sure who he is entirely but he does know that there is life threatening danger surrounding him. When he realizes there is someone on the boat with him instinct takes over and he goes for the throat, literally. When he comes out of his haze he realizes it is the woman with the eyes that pulled him out of the water. Rikki has no idea what to do with this man, she pulled him out of the water so she feels responsible for him, his life is depending on her and something about that resonates with Rikki and she knows without her he will probably die. He is severely injured and is convinced there is someone out there trying to kill only he doesn't know who or why. Rikki takes Lev back home with her under much duress, after 4 fires and the death of 3 loved ones she is not entirely sure she isn't setting those fires herself, so she has become paranoid about anyone being in her home. Lev quickly learned that Rikki is a very unique person and does not like anyone messing up her routine, but something about her stirs his protective instincts, which he never knew he had. He doesn't know much but he knows that he is a killer, but not in what capacity. As time passes Lev becomes stronger in body, remembers more of his previous life and knows it's not good. He also knows he wants to start a new life with Rikki and starts to build a new identity. Rikki is autistic with sensory problems; simple things like fluorescent lights cause her severe pain. After several fires and 3 deaths, Rikki found her "sisters" and same to Sea Haven where she has managed to carve out a peaceful existence for herself. Letting Lev into her life has been extremely difficult for Rikki, but his presence also brings her some sort of calm she never had before. She comes to accept his existence in her world. Lev recognizes Rikki as a water element and under his encouragement she starts to explore her talents more. She finds that she can do a lot more than she always thought she could, she can actually command the water in all its forms. Lev is not without his own talents; he can plant memories, see through animals eyes, and heal to some extent. But with all their talents combined can they combat the two forces that threaten the peace that Lev and Rikki have managed?

I have read some reviews where people didn't like how eccentric Rikki is, I disagree with that opinion. I really enjoyed her eccentricities (well I don't have to live with them, so it's easy for me. LOL). People come in all forms even autistic ones. Not all heroines are going to be perfect with no bad habits. What I like about Rikki is despite her disabilities she has she has found a way to live her life the best she can. I can't even imagine not being able to go into the grocery store because the lights cause her pain. Yet Rikki has managed to become a productive member of the community as well as on the farm with her "sisters". Lev is a government agent for Russia and is tired of living in the shadows, once he starts remembering things he realizes this is his chance to get out, for Lev to die and Levi to live. He knows that he wants to start his life over with Rikki, when she looks into his eyes he feels like she is looking into his soul. He knows he's met someone that he can really start over with, someone that accepts everything about him including his past. It was so sweet to see this hardened killer, really accept someone that would realistically be very difficult to be with. He is willing to do what it takes to keep Rikki stable and able to manage within her personal limitations. You get the feeling that these two are the only two that could possibly make it work with each other for the long haul. I do want to note this novel is more of an emotional story there is very little "action" and what little "action" there is, is at the end. What I did not like about this novel was Ilya did not make any appearances, which was one of the reasons I picked this book up. He was my favorite male from the Drake sisters. I waited the whole book for some sort of reunion and there wasn't one. That was a bummer! And the cover if this book is terrible! So please don't judge this book by its cover. Lol!
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