I had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and iI had trouble getting into this book. I should have loved it. I'm a sucker for marriage of convenience theme, I love tortured/angsty characters, and it's set in Scotland. But I had trouble connecting to the characters. Even in spite of the major angst the hero and heroine were feeling, I felt like I was viewing them through a thick glass instead of being plopped right there in the action.
I'm not saying that Kaye isn't a good writer. That's evidently true. I like how honest and authentic she is about women's issues and what it was like being a wife in the 19th century. In that sense, I did feel for Ainsley. I can imagine how difficult it must have been in her marriage, seeing her husband drive them into economic ruin and having her needs unmet and feeling like she was disgusting to her husband.
I guess my disconnect was that I didn't quite believe in the romance between Ainsley and Innes. Innes never won me over and I never formed an emotional connection to him. I think he was really cruel in some ways to Ainsley, even knowing how bad her first marriage had been. I felt the grovel at the end could have been more authentic. I don't know that I would have taken him back so easily after the way he ended things.
So sadly, I have to give this one three stars. I hope I that I enjoy her other books more, because I do see some promise in her descriptive writing, authentic heroines, and sensual romance....more
I don't get too excited about this author's writing, but it was a nice read. The banter was fun and it reminded me of something along the lines of OscI don't get too excited about this author's writing, but it was a nice read. The banter was fun and it reminded me of something along the lines of Oscar Wilde as far as situational comedy. It's up the alley of a historical romance fan who likes a light, banter-filled read.
I loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two boI loved this book from beginning to the end. I was so excited to get this as a review ARC, even though I haven't had a chance to read the first two books in this series yet. Alexander is a scoundrel, but you definitely want him to catch Sophie. Great chemistry, and wonderful romance. A five star read!
Ms. Archer has written another lushly sensual historical romance that entertained me, but also made me think. It was more suspense than action-orienteMs. Archer has written another lushly sensual historical romance that entertained me, but also made me think. It was more suspense than action-oriented outside of the romance, but readers who like espionage fiction will probably enjoy that. I liked the depth she gives her characters with quirks like Marco cursing beautifully in Italian and teaching Bronwyn rude Italian hand gestures, as well as Bronwyn's incredible violin-playing skill. It's worth a read.
I was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. ThI was so enthralled with this book, I didn't want to put it down. It has the intensity that I crave in a historical romance with excellent writing. The characters had a complexity that made them real people, and not always in good ways. Our hero lives up to the scoundrel name for sure, but his path of redemption makes for delectable reading.
I have to give this one 4.5 stars, because it's just that good. I am adding Juliana Gray to my must read HR author list.
A pleasant read, but not much conflict other than 'Will they, won't they?" A lighter historical romance with plenty of dialogue and conversations. AboA pleasant read, but not much conflict other than 'Will they, won't they?" A lighter historical romance with plenty of dialogue and conversations. About a couple who knows they aren't right for each other, although they feel so right together. Samuel is a really sweet guy, the kind of hero you can't help but love.
A historical mystery that seems tailor made for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but are looking for a more edgy character and different angle on the relationA historical mystery that seems tailor made for fans of Sherlock Holmes, but are looking for a more edgy character and different angle on the relationship between the detective and his sidekick. The mystery was pretty well developed and the story has some nice twists.
Ruse is a graphic novel series that is perfect for readers who love the Victorian-set adventure vibe. There is a paranormal element that felt very ligRuse is a graphic novel series that is perfect for readers who love the Victorian-set adventure vibe. There is a paranormal element that felt very light in this volume, but it's there for readers who like a bit of the weird (admittedly myself). For readers who can't get enough of the sometimes obnoxious Sherlock Holmesian character, Simon is going to appeal. At the same time, with this edition, we see more vulnerability and the less confident person beneath the know-it-all exterior. Emma's loyalty to the often maddening Simon is much like Watson. It serves to make you like Simon more because you feel that if Emma likes him, then there must be something to like/love about him. Emma is definitely long-suffering. Simon gets her into many a dangerous situation, and he isn't very nice to her. Much like Watson is treated by Sherlock. The arch-nemesis adds a twist that reminds the reader of Moriarty, but takes the character in a much more interesting direction, although I admit I am rather tired of that character. At the end of this volume, the author teases at a game-changer, so we'll see what happens next.
The chapters in this volume have some interesting story-arcs, especially the small village that our two leads end up staying in. That was really kind of cool. Not what I expected at all. The other stories tie closer together to the overarching theme of this volume, and they bring to mind the high adventure classics of Victorian literature in a very pleasing fashion.
The art is well-done, but as I said for the previous volume, I find the panel progression confusing. Instead of moving left to right down the page, they often go willy-nilly from page to page and often across the page. I find myself having to backtrack and catch the flow of the story, especially last night, when my brain was fried. That is the major detractor for this series.
Ruse is a graphic novel series that I count as a major find, as such a huge fan of Victorian genre literature, and know-it-all sleuths and their long-suffering companions. The action is really good and it keeps me guessing what will happen next. I'm excited to keep reading this series. ...more
I've really been into Sherlock Holmes lately. Well, at least more than usual. Yes, you can rightly blame that on the BBC series Sherlock. So when I saI've really been into Sherlock Holmes lately. Well, at least more than usual. Yes, you can rightly blame that on the BBC series Sherlock. So when I saw this graphic novel series at my library, based on a super-sleuth along the lines of Mr. Holmes, and his trusty sidekick (in this case, a woman), I couldn't resist. After finishing this book last night, I would definitely recommend it to Holmes fans.
*Simon Archard is arrogant, has poor people skills, and extremely well-developed deductive reasoning skills like Holmes. His flaws nearly balance out his strengths, and he manages to be endearing because his sidekick clearly thinks so much of him. That sympathy brings you along for the ride. *His assistant, Emma Bishop, is long suffering and often mal-treated by her friend, although her skills do come in handy in solving their little cases. Bishop is also the narrator. *And yes, there is a Moriarty-like arch-nemesis in the making.
*Emma is far from ordinary. She has some very special powers that she must hide or suffer dire consequences. It provides for hairy moments because she has to resort to her instincts and intellect to get Archard and herself out of tight situations instead of using her powers. *Unless you're a Johnlock (Sherlock and John Watson shipper), there is a subtle undercurrent of romantic tension between Simon and Emma that the story plays on. Of course, this isn't a romance, but I think that there's a 'will they or won't they' question hanging around. *In this situation, the world is a created Londonesque city that has a potential for supernatural happenings.
I enjoyed this graphic novel. Good adventure and good mystery stories. The illustrations are gorgeous. The detail of the characters' features kept my eyes drawn to the page. Each story had some good plot twists. On the negative side was the fact that it was hard to read. Normally, the graphic novel panels go from left to right and down the page. In this book, their progression varied, even from page to page. I got confused a few times and had to retrace my steps. Also, the lettering for the character thoughts was too small, hard to read. That's the main reason I didn't like this more, was the confusion I felt in its organization and setup. Overall, it's good for fans of action-adventure comics, and of course Sherlock Holmes fans. I liked the fact that in this case, Mr. Watson's role is taken by a woman, who has something yet to pull out of the rabbit hat. Like Watson, her narrative voice kept me pulled into this story and inspires more sympathy for the arrogant Archard that I probably wouldn't have felt otherwise. I will continue this series....more
George Mann and thirteen other writers provide new mystery-solving fodder for the famous duo of Holmes and Watson. I say well done over all. A coupleGeorge Mann and thirteen other writers provide new mystery-solving fodder for the famous duo of Holmes and Watson. I say well done over all. A couple of the stories were a bit dry (and I fell asleep reading those), but I enjoyed most of the stories. I liked how unique each one read, yet Holmes and Watson are true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations. You wouldn't think an author could combine them with Martian aliens and Lovecraftian monsters, but you'd be wrong.
I'd recommend this overall to Sherlock Holmes/Watson fans.
Crystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the conceCrystal Gardens is for readers who enjoy their historical romance with strong paranormal elements. In this case, a huge part of the story is the concept of 'psychical energies.' Both Evangeline and Lucas have paranormal abilities, and they are drawn to Crystal Gardens, Lucas' deceased uncle's estate by no accident. In the case of Lucas, he comes to investigate his uncle's murder. Evangeline comes to soak up the atmosphere and work on her series of serial novels, and also to investigate the place that her father (a man who studied psychical energies and invented machines that ran on these energies) was obsessed with. Evangeline is also fleeing a murderer and ends up running right into Lucas' arms, which is a very good thing! Lucas is just the knight in tarnished armor to keep her safe.
I enjoyed listening to this book on audio but it did fall short overall. The narrator has a very dramatic way of reading it. Sometimes, her voice sounded a little odd (especially when she narrated the male characters), but I loved her British accent, and that each character sounded distinctive. I think that Quick's books lend themselves very well to audiobooks. Her style is very focused on the mystery components, and the romance seems to take a bit of a back seat at times. This would probably bother me more if I was reading than when I listen to books. That is not to say that the romance wasn't good. It was. I just could have used more than I got. I do feel that she emphasized the paranormal elements too much. She used the term 'psychical' excessively. I think that the reader gets the point about the paranormal energies and she could have spent time on building up the story in other ways. I do think Quick excelled in her descriptions of the Gardens and its otherworldly atmosphere. I felt like I was there in the Gardens, which might be a very strange experience indeed.
Unfortunately, the characters didn't feel as well-developed as I would have liked. I found Evangeline and Lucas likable and intriguing, but I don't feel that I knew them as well as I wanted. I feel that Quick did more telling about them than showing. Maybe she could have caused their characterization come to light more organically if she had spent more time on revealing who they were than explaining about the paranormal elements of the Crystal Gardens. At the end of the story, I could feel their attraction and feelings for each other, but I didn't get to explore this powerful love that supposedly had developed between them. Since this is a romance, that is crucial. I found the love scenes well written and passionate, and I really liked this about the book. I did feel the attraction between Evangeline and Lucas, although Quick sort of stole its impact by implying it was related to the psychical energies. Lucas is the kind of hero I love, strong, intelligent, compelling, and dangerous in an appealing way, but something was missing from his portrayal. Evangeline was a good person, a sweet woman who is independent and intelligent, and I wanted things to work out for her, but she wasn't distinctive as a character. The secondary character were barely fleshed out. I did like Evangeline's friends Clarissa and Beatrice, as well as Lucas' siblings, Beth and Tony. I also like Molly, Evangeline's maid, and Stone, Lucas' manservant, but they weren't as vivid as I would have liked. Judith, Lucas' stepmother seemed more lively in her characterization, especially with her feelings of antipathy towards Lucas and the reasons for them. The way Lucas treated Judith endeared me to him. He was respectful and he took his responsibilities for her very seriously even though she had never treated him well. The villain was quite cardboard, and his motivations were shallow. He shows up just in time for a thrilling climax, but he spends very little time in this book overall.
I guess it's clear I wanted to like this book more than I did. I liked it, but I think that this author is capable of writing a better book than this. I say that with all respect for her. I hope that the next books in the Ladies of Mystery have the spark that this book was lacking, because I think this series really has potential. And I am a sucker for the Victorian Gothic romance! ...more