I liked the Love By The Numbers series just fine, but I thought this was a cut above that. A minor quibble of there being a bit much "I am Bad and sheI liked the Love By The Numbers series just fine, but I thought this was a cut above that. A minor quibble of there being a bit much "I am Bad and she is Good and then there is Ruin Ruin Ruin" angst, without much context as to what that actually *means* (nuance is perhaps not this hero's strongest suit), but I dug the set-up, the setting (heeeeeey den of iniquity, hey), the specificity of the relationship between these characters, and I do love a story about the overthrown boring good girl getting exactly what she wants. ...more
How unfortunate that this is the second Kate Noble I've had to nope out of in the last few months. There's so much here that I usually enjoy, especialHow unfortunate that this is the second Kate Noble I've had to nope out of in the last few months. There's so much here that I usually enjoy, especially with characters that are very distinctly themselves and blend less into the general background noise of historical romance sameness, but the problem is that I genuinely want bad things to happen to several of those very distinctive characters for whom I'm supposed to be rooting. I know, I know - it's all about them getting their comeuppance, growing as people, etc etc, but I'm not interested in spending my time on characters who spend large chunks of the book waltzing through life blithely unaware of their impact on other people's lives, even as they swear they're master manipulators. I mean, I suppose I should've known that the story about an earl who swears everyone loves him for *him*, not his title/wealth was not gonna be for me. He might not have been born to *quite* so much privilege, but I have no desire to spend chapters and chapters of slogging through his realizations of how much he takes for granted/how poorly he has treated those of lesser rank even as he presumed he was being awesome. I find myself entirely uninterested in how the heroine is going to overcome that moment of sick realization when she realizes she's fallen for the person who helped ruin her father, even if there's ultimately some reason why he didn't *really*, or whatever. ...more
In which Sarah deserves nice things, and even if I quibble a little with what she wants (them? really?), I am delighted to see her get it. And, actualIn which Sarah deserves nice things, and even if I quibble a little with what she wants (them? really?), I am delighted to see her get it. And, actually, this is one story where I wanted *more* epilogue; I wanna see what their long-term happily-ever-after looks like a few years down the line. I think I'd enjoy that as much as the story about them getting together in the first place. Mostly I am delighted by a very nicely balanced F/F/M threesome, especially in a historical. ...more
Points to Balogh for making me buy into and even root for a relationship dynamic I generally loooooathe. This is all I-hate-you-so-much-I-love-you, exPoints to Balogh for making me buy into and even root for a relationship dynamic I generally loooooathe. This is all I-hate-you-so-much-I-love-you, except when it's I-love-you-so-much-I-hate-you, and I genuinely believe that the protagonists enjoy (get off on?) angering each other, at least for the first chunk of the book. I mean, it's sort of dynamic I find personally abhorrent (and have a hard time reading sometimes), but Balogh sells it.
It makes for a snappy read, right up until the heroine stops walking the line between crazy-like-a-fox and too-stupid-to-live and jumps right on over into the land of unforgivably, self-centeredly dumb. I mean, I do enjoy when a historical heroine rails against the restrictions placed on her by virtue of her gender, but when that railing takes the form of (view spoiler)[placing herself in the middle of a battle, where she has no real means of defending herself, despite stealing a gun, showing complete lack of awareness of how she is needlessly endangering people - yes, men - who have been ordered to ensure her safety, just because she would - and. I. quote. - "die of boredom" if she couldn't see what was happening in the battle firsthand (hide spoiler)], well, I'm outtie.
And once she's done that, for me all the other dumbass things she's done in service of her revenge quest, which I was able to buy when I was enjoying the chemistry between the protags, to look like time after time, the heroine made the choice to do things for the lulz, rather than in service to that quest, her ostensible motivation for pages and pages. Then my enjoyment of the chemistry between the two fades entirely when the heroine articulates how much pleasure she takes, not just in arguing with the hero, but in his misery. She demands things of the hero without ever considering the situation from his perspective and shows little inclination to change. This would be an excellent opportunity for the rare heroine grovel, but she explicitly won't do that, because reasons. (Gender-based oppression is real, particularly in historical settings, but inconsiderate dickbags can be *any* gender.) This particular happy ending makes sense with how Balogh structured everything, but they better hope they continue to want to bone each other senseless for a long, long time, because I am *highly* dubious about the domestic felicity they will find in their particular brand of sparring.
Saved from a one star by the intriguing setting. ...more
Hawk's romantic dynamic is not my favorite (too much pining of the I'm-not-worthy variety; I love a good pine but not of the pedestal-placing sort), aHawk's romantic dynamic is not my favorite (too much pining of the I'm-not-worthy variety; I love a good pine but not of the pedestal-placing sort), and there's a certain...muchness that is lacking in the characterization and world-building, but goddamn but I enjoy the raw ideas she has. I also love the historical-romance-fantasy blur she's got going on.
Basically, I want a million and one fanfic stories that play with the idea of familiar-and-witch mashed up with other canons, sort of like how Sentinel!fic has become A Thing that happens in other universes. ...more
Very much not my usual fare, but I picked it up because a) the heroine is fat and described unashamedly as such and b) New Orleans. Still probably wonVery much not my usual fare, but I picked it up because a) the heroine is fat and described unashamedly as such and b) New Orleans. Still probably won't be my usual fare, and the characterizations were a little thin for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the utter lack of fat shaming and mention of familiar places. ...more
Serviceable prose with hints of more, but too much time spent on describing details of multiple guns over fireplaces that are never drawn, much less fServiceable prose with hints of more, but too much time spent on describing details of multiple guns over fireplaces that are never drawn, much less fired. Also the last page and a half of the epilogue was wildly frustrating. ...more