Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and heSynopsis
Proper young lady, Celine Fairweather is summoned to stay with her pregnant sister, Penelope, Duchess of Blackthorne, keep her company, and help run her household through her final month of pregnancy. Shortly after her arrival, the dashing Lord Adair asks the ducal couple if his second cousin, the roguish George Rodrick Irvin, Viscount Elmer, who is apparently hiding from pirates can stay with them since he's going out of the country. Celine is nursing an affection for a very bad poet by the name of Philbert Woodbead, and the bored Viscount is eager to help her reconnect with him to keep his mind off his own situation of being Public Enemy Number One with a vicious group of pirates. With his checkered past and happy-go-lucky personality, Viscount Elmer brings life and chaos into Celine's ordered existence. He makes her realize the difference between a temporary affection and true love, but is Viscount Elmer here to stay or is this just a temporary diversion while he's in hiding from his enemies?
Seeking Philbert Woodbead has the slapstick humor tone of its predecessor, Penelope, but unfortunately, it lacks its charm and the cohesiveness. Celine doesn't have the presence and doesn't captivate (and bewilder) the reader as thoroughly as her sister Penelope. That was a shame, since I really loved Penelope, her personality and her antics. I perceive that the author wanted to flip the page with this book, and have a serious heroine with a silly hero, but George isn't as funny or as lively a main character as this book needed.
While there are some humorous moments, they didn't feel organic. The silly tone felt contrived, as if the author was trying a little too hard. The biggest issue was this book doesn't have the energy and spirit a story of this kind needs. When a story is played for laughs, it needs to own its absurdity, and I didn't feel that needed sense of abandon to silliness that makes Penelope such a delightful read.
Overall, Celine is likable, although a bit bland. I didn't connect with her as much as I liked, and I hardly felt any connection with George. For a hero who supposedly had his sense of joie de vivre, I didn't feel it. The pirate storyline could have been a bit more prominent and better integrated into the storyline, because a lot of the humorous potential within this plot was left undeveloped.
It was great to catch up with Penelope and her duke again, and their scenes were some of my favorite parts. Penelope is now a married woman who is heavily pregnant, and seeing her and the duke deal with some of the aspects of pregnancy and marriage was a lot of fun.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Seeking Philbert Woodbead after being so captivated with Penelope. This is a decent book, and if I hadn't loved the first Fairweather series book so much, I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It just doesn't hold up as well in comparison. I'm still looking forward to continuing this series, because I do enjoy Anya Wylde's writing and her desire to make the reader laugh with sweet, fun Regency romance.
I can't believe Goodreads ate another review of mine! This sucks! I guess this is an opportunity to better clarify my thoughts this time.
I was very exI can't believe Goodreads ate another review of mine! This sucks! I guess this is an opportunity to better clarify my thoughts this time.
I was very excited about reading this book, and I snatched it off the library shelf. I have a fixation on assassin main characters (don't you judge me!). I also liked the idea that the heroine might fall in love with her would be assassin and vice versa (no judging!). Unfortunately, I was disappointed with this book. I'll try to start with the positives and then go to the negatives, because that seems fitting.
What I liked:
Ananna was an interesting lead character. I loved how distinctive her background as the daughter of pirates was. The author kept her characterization true to her origins. Her narration was uneducated sounding and her actions and beliefs showed the ethics of a person who was raised on a pirate ship. She was believably down to earth, and I liked that while she could hold her own and was a capable fighter, she wasn't amorally bloodthirsty.
The background on the pirate factions was intriguing. I also liked the magical aspects of this book, although they could have been better described.
What I didn't like:
Naji's characterization palled in comparison to Ananna. While this was a 1st person point of view, that didn't necessarily have to result in such an obvious lack in definition that his character had. He felt more like a background character, which doesn't work for this story, due to the intimate connection they share.
Speaking of, I think the curse could have been better described. I understand the author was trying to keep some suspense about why Naji had to protect Ananna, but it wasn't very well explained. Also Naji's magic was cool enough for me to want more explication.
I think the plotting could have been better. The beginning was catchy and I was sucked in, but around the last third of the book, I started losing interest. I couldn't decide where she was going with the story, but I didn't really care after a point. I just wanted to finish the book.
The magical aspects had a lot of potential, but after a while the different magical factions sort of ran together and lost distinction for me. I couldn't understand where she was going with the story overall.
Speaking off, I am heartily sick of cliffhangers. I think it's a dirty cheat to write a story that ends abruptly, just so people will keep reading. There are rare circumstances where a cliffhanger makes sense, or if the book is just really long. This was not the case in either way with this book. I truly believe the book could have been longer and the story could have been wrapped up to a satisfying conclusion without sacrificing tension for a series. When it ended, I was like, "What the What?!" like Finn on Adventure Time. Not cool! I don't want to turn this into a rantview, so I'll leave it at that.
While I don't regret reading this book, I wasn't satisfied with it overall. There were enough things I liked to propel me to read the second book in the series from my library. I hope that the character and story development are improved in the forthcoming books, since it has a lot of potential.
Retribution Falls took me on a journey where I was continually required to reevaluate everything-- from the story itself, the world in which it takesRetribution Falls took me on a journey where I was continually required to reevaluate everything-- from the story itself, the world in which it takes place, and not the least, the characters. Great worldbuilding, and surprisingly multi-faceted characters who seemed to be archetypes, but proved to be much more. It was complex, intriguing, and ultimately very enjoyable.
I have to hand it to Meljean Brook. She created a wonderfully-detailed and fantastical world in this book. If a reader is wondering what 'steampunk' iI have to hand it to Meljean Brook. She created a wonderfully-detailed and fantastical world in this book. If a reader is wondering what 'steampunk' is, I will definitely point them towards this book. I was very impressed how she integrated nanotechnology into her world-building, and the nanotech fit very well in this universe. There are some aspects that seem rather dystopian, despite the fact that this is a Victorian-like setting. The use of robotic technology has some great applications, but some are rather horrific. In this story, a large degree of the world, particularly Europe and associated continents, has been subjugated by the Horde, which I intepreted to be the Mongols (as in Genghis Khan). Many of the major cities of Europe are under occupation or have been razed to ruins. Zombies roam the unoccupied territories, humans who were infected by nanobots that caused them to become vicious, cannibalistic monsters. However, many regular humans are infected with nanobots that enhance them in many positive, and some negative ways. The problem is that the Horde can control those humans, called buggers, with radio signals. In this world, the Horde are hated and despised, which creates a lot of problems for the heroine, Mina. She is the product of a Horde "frenzy" in which control of her mother's body (via control of the nanobots by radio signals) was overtaken by the Horde, and she engaged in a Horde orgy, resorting in Mina. She was so horrified at the sight of her half-Horde baby that she gouged her eyes out. Yeah, right away, I knew this story was going to be kind of dark.
I was very impressed with the meticulous world-building and attention to detail in this story. In addition, there are several major players who all want a say in the future of England, and the rest of the world, grabbing any kind of power or edge they can to gain that. This book has everything: mechanically-enhanced humans and animals, pirates, zombies, giant sea monsters, airships, you name it. However, it was so well-done, it never came off as over-the-top. While this book probably wouldn't work for straight romance fans, or even some fantasy/science fiction fans, I loved it, because I got a kick out of how imaginative and unique this Victorian world was. Despite my enjoyment, this wasn't an easy read for me. I often had to reread certain passages to make sure I was getting a clear understanding (that's not due to Ms. Brook's fault, but to my inexperience in reading a lot of science fiction-type literature and not having a head for political intrigue storylines). That's okay, because I wanted to get a full grasp of this book, and it certainly enhanced my enjoyment.
In my opinion, Ms. Brook didn't let her romance fans down. The love story between Rhys and Mina is equally important. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Iron Duke when I started this book. When he showed up, I was not disappointed. He's a very unique character, which some aspects that I had not encountered in a hero thus far. I loved his vitality, his ruthless nature, his determination. Mina has a pull on him that compels him throughout this book. He is the kind of man who will move mountains to get his woman, which definitely works for me. Even outside of that, I respected him for his strength in enduring a very rough past, his determination to do what was necessary and to protect others. He might have seemed self-absorbed (he put importance on protecting what was his, whether it was his ship, the sailors, on it, or his properties and subjects as the Iron Duke). He didn't really like the ceremony of being a Duke, but he took the responsibility seriously, because that was the kind of man he was. He wasn't a smooth, refined character, which is fine with me. When he considers his feelings for Mina, they are described in a very rough way, but the emotions behind them are pure, and he definitely shows his love for her, not just physical infatuation.
As for Mina, I couldn't have liked her more as a heroine. She's tough, really tough. But she's not hard or frustrating. Any armor she has, I can't fault her for it. Because of her heritage as half-Horde, she is despised by many in London. They try to attack and harm her physically, so she has to have a bodyguard at all times, the hulking but gentle Constable Newberry. Those who don't hate her, fear her because her features remind them of the Horde. This aspect of the story hit home with me. Prejudice of any kind always does. Being judged by your features, your heritage, the color of your skin is wrong. Even if there are many of your heritage who are bad, that doesn't mean that you are. Because of being a woman and half-Horde, Mina has to work four times as hard just to be respected for her abilities as a Detective Inspector, and she's not afraid to do that. Rhys determined pursuit is a huge problem for her. She knows that their involvement is just going to cause more fodder for the distrust and lack of respect that the public holds for her. Even if she's very attracted to him, and he reaches her carefully guarded heart.
The relationship between Rhys and Mina develops very well. They start out as untrusting allies, with a reluctant attraction. As the story progresses, they come to respect and understand each other, and the love blossoms between them naturally. And their passion is red-hot. Rhys is a primal, demanding lover. However, he doesn't force Mina. Understanding what her issues are about being in control of her passions, he patiently works past those issues, and it's a beautiful thing to read. He won't be the kind of guy who whispers sweet, elegant words in a woman's ear. But he shows and tells a woman how much she means to him in simple, but effective ways. That definitely speaks to me. As for as Rhys and Mina getting their HEA, just being in love wasn't enough. They had to deal with the issues that they faced with their enemies, and the society they lived in. Although the romantic in me loves when a couple can easily surmount obstacles and be together, the realistic knows that's not always a simple thing. I like that Ms. Brook didn't allow their problems to just blow away in a puff of smoke because Mina was a "great person" and Rhys was the powerful "Iron Duke." However, I was completely satisfied with the romantic conclusion in this story, which I am very glad to say.
My experience with steampunk is fairly limited, but I love the ideas and the concepts of this genre of fantasy/science fiction. I highly recommend this novel to a reader who wants to experience this genre. Although this is not a simple world, there's a very fascinating world here that Ms. Brook created. The complex textures--Victorian setting, science fiction, fantasy, pulp fiction, adventure, romance, seafaring/pirate elements--just made this an even better read for me. This was a thoroughly enjoyable, engrossing book, and I will be looking out for the forthcoming books in the Iron Seas series with great expectation....more
This was a delightful read. Just what I needed, to get immersed into an escapist story that kept my eyes glued to the page. I think that Josie and WesThis was a delightful read. Just what I needed, to get immersed into an escapist story that kept my eyes glued to the page. I think that Josie and Westman are such a great couple. I love how Westman's determination to be a better, more sober man is juxtaposed with Josie's impish desire to be free and do what she wants.
Normally, I'm not a big fan of the hoydenish historical heroine, but Galen does it very well with Josie. Her desire to be a free woman is very understandable and I respected her for it. I liked how she was out and out propositioning Westman in the desire to take a lover with no strings attached. Yes, I hear the record scratching for all the folks who know me. But it really did work for this book. I could see that Josie wasn't anachronistic. She understood, although somewhat naively, that her choices weren't the typical. But after a being in a family where her scary mother holds her on a very tight leash and dealing with the double standards for females, she is determined to live her own life and make her own decisions. She has never gotten over her childish wish to be a pirate like her grandfather.
Westman seems like a good partner, despite the fact that their families are sworn enemies and he's avoiding his old rakish ways, and he's arrogant, bossy and domineering like other men. She's drawn to him in ways that don't quite make sense at first. But as this story unfolds, Josie realizes that there is no way she can keep her heart unattached, and she really doesn't want an uninvolved (other than sexually) lover.
I think Westman is a super sweetie. I really felt respect for him that he had faced how ugly his actions were before he shipped off to India. He wanted to be a better man and make amends. He desired Josie, but in his mind, she was just the kind of woman he'd loved to get involved with when he was a conscienceless rake. However, Josie is different. She's ready to meet him as an equal. She might be inexperienced in comparison, but she's a passionate woman and the only woman for him.
The love scenes are very steamy and well-written. Josie and Westman have great chemistry and you could see that love wasn't far behind. The ending was very romantic. Westmore's gesture turned me into a buttery puddle on the floor. I really needed a strong romance story this weekend, and this fit the bill. I loved how even though their family issues weren't fully resolved, they made a united stand as a couple who were deeply in love, together and fully committed to each other.
I love the camaraderie between Josie and her cousins. They are all different foils for each other, and great partners in crime. If you haven't checked out this older series, you should if you like fun, sexy, exciting, adventurous historicals with heroines and heroes who are perfect for each other, but don't find out until you do about that.
The adventure aspect is a crucial part of this story, and I liked how Galen intersperses letters and correspondence from the history of their grandparents. I still have a fascination with pirates and while this is past the golden age of piracy, it fits well in this story through Josie and Westman's familial heritage as grandchildren of pirates.
There really is much to love about this book. I'm being more picky about giving five star ratings, but this is very close. It was the right book at the right time. Looking forward to continuing this series!
This is a book that would probably not get published today because of the un-PC content. There is a (in my opinion) fairly violent rape scene, becauseThis is a book that would probably not get published today because of the un-PC content. There is a (in my opinion) fairly violent rape scene, because the heroine was being flirty and the hero didn't like it, and because he thinks she is a spy for her native French countrymen, which are his enemies. I cringe when I think about it.
I enjoyed this book as a fiction book because it's really a great adventure book, and it really immerses you in the history of that time. It's been so long since I read it, so I'm not sure it's a great romance, from what I remember. I think it's more of a saga in which you see a spoiled young woman go through some really tough circumstances and mature into a woman who can take care of herself, no matter what life throws at her. Because I love reading about different parts of the world in a fiction setting, this book also found favor with its vivid descriptions of traveling/living aboard ship and on the various Caribbean islands. The villain (who is the heroine's stepbrother and is completely lusting after her the whole book) was memorable and I felt a little sympathy for him in some parts, although at the same time he deserved what he got.
I don't think I liked the hero very much (probably because of his actions toward the heroine), and the fact that they spend a good amount of time apart.
So I give this a higher rating because it was a very interesting historical book. The romance wasn't the highlight in this one....more