I've read other Jennifer Haymore novels, but not from this series. While this is the second book in the series, and I haven't read the first, I was not disappointed.
Olivia, our heroine, is a really great character. Her weakness is quickly apparent - she's "sickly." She is not the traditional sickly, though, but it somewhat rules her life. The big thing that made a difference for me: she doesn't let her semi-frequent illness define her life. She remains active and doesn't let anything get to her; she's moved on with her life and refuses to let it get the best of her. She's very quick-witted and clever. Most of all, though, she knows exactly what she wants - until she begins falling for Max.
Max is one of the best heroes that I've had the pleasure of reading about in a long, long time. He's sexy and strong (both physically and emotionally). My favorite thing about him was that as soon as he saw Olivia, he knew he wanted her. Not in a completely sexual way, like many heroes in romance novels these days, but he truly felt something for her. He was drawn to her in a way that he couldn't explain. I think this is, largely, what made me love him as a character. He doesn't see Olivia as "less" than she is, just because of her illness, but is truly interested in helping her live her life normally - as long as he's part of it.
The plot is truly just as excellent. There's a ton going on, but it just adds to the story, rather than taking from it. There's the villain who really did make my skin crawl. He is well written and you know pretty much right off that he's the enemy. This plot escalates, finally culminating with tons of exciting action. The romantic plot was well done and completely believable. The subplot with Jessica and Beatrice is interesting and ties in well with the rest of the plots. These plots don't just happen to be taking place in the same location with related characters - they're all related and build off of one another.
Jennifer Haymore was already firmly in my to-read pile, but I think with this book, she jumps straight to auto-buy. I've purchased the first book in the series and look forward to reading Serena and Jonathan's story very soon.