4.5 stars In Barbara Erskine's latest novel the lives of a modern woman and the daughter of King Caractacus, dead for more than 2000 years, become entw...more4.5 stars In Barbara Erskine's latest novel the lives of a modern woman and the daughter of King Caractacus, dead for more than 2000 years, become entwined, connecting the past with the present. Erskine's descriptions of everyday Roman life during the final years of the emperor Claudius's reign and the early years of the reign of Nero are well researched and contain details of homes, domestic duties, city life, friendships, brutality & political intrigue. I have loved all Erskine’s previous novels, none more so than "Lady of Hay" and those with an interest in Roman and Celtic history will enjoy The Warrior Princess. Another suspenseful plotline with more than a touch of the supernatural. I would have given this novel 5 stars but for the similarity in story line to all Barbara Erskine's books. As a stand alone novel, this is definitely a winner but when read after all Erskine's novels there is an element of 'sameness' which diminishes the surprise component.(less)
Mistress Jacqueline Wren, illegitimate daughter of an infamous courtesan & chatelaine of Dragon Caern has been kept busy running the Drake estate...moreMistress Jacqueline Wren, illegitimate daughter of an infamous courtesan & chatelaine of Dragon Caern has been kept busy running the Drake estate and raising the five precocious daughters left by Lord Drake’s deceased brother. Pirate Captain Gabriel Drake, returns to his home after purportedly being lost at sea, to find nothing is as when he left. His father & brother have passed on and Dragon Caern is in a woeful state despite Jacqueline's administrations. "Jack" is determined that Lord Gabriel will do what's right by his family & tenants, and sets about finding a suitable heiress for Gabriel to marry thereby assuring the salvation of Dragon Caern and saving all from an uncertain fate.
Pleasuring the Pirate was a lively, fun read; a romance with more than a splash of adventure & just the right amount of steamy love scenes between the hero and heroine. The dialogue between Gabriel and Jacqueline is saucy, heated and often amusing. I was a just a little disappointed that the ending was so obvious early on in the novel and I was hoping that more of Gabriel's pirating days would evolve as the story unfolded. I know it's a little thing but I felt like I was missing something, which lead me to thinking perhaps this was a sequel (when I knew darn well that it wasn't.) Emily Bryan does a wonderful job with characterisation in this novel, the minor characters are an intricate part of the story & certainly not overlooked. I fell in love with Gabriel's nieces; very mischievious and completely adorable little monkeys and I thought Meri a lovable old salt, his description of a smugglers hole left me giggling and gagging "When the tide is out, a crew brings its cargo in through the sea cave. When the tide comes in...Slick as snot, the door is closed."
Definitely looking forward to reading Distracting the Duchess & Vexing the Viscount.(less)
"I'm going to have to shorten his willie." With such witty promise in the opening sentence, Distracting the Duchess does not fail to deliver....more4.5 stars
"I'm going to have to shorten his willie." With such witty promise in the opening sentence, Distracting the Duchess does not fail to deliver. It is an amusing romp through the world of art, romance & espionage.
Lady Artemisia, widowed Duchess of Southwycke, shocks polite society in her passion for painting nudes. She is independent, sassy & smart. Knowing society's intolerance of females in business, Artemisia conducts her dealings behind a nom de guerre, Mr. Beddington.
When Trevelyn Deveridge, the youngest son of an earl, arrives at the Duchess' home masquerading as Thomas Doverspike, Artemisia mistakes him for her new life model & commences work on Mars, the God of War. Looking for an entre to the Duchess' man of business, Trevelyn figures this is as good a way as any to get information but he may just have met his match in the Duchess of Southwycke.
Emily Bryan's characterisation in Distracting the Duchess is delightful, also a strong point in her 2nd novel, Pleasuring the Pirate (my first read from this author.) I thought the secondary characters were well developed & enjoyable. My one small criticism was the language used to simulate Ambassador Kharitonov's Russian accent; I found that annoying but a small irritation in the scheme of things. The intimate scenes in Pleasuring the Pirate may be a little more polished but I loved the humour & innuendo in Distracting the Duchess. The witty banter between Artemisia & Trevelyn had me laughing out loud & Artemisia's 'naughty' thoughts at the most inopportune moments were downright hilarious & refreshing.
I'm not knowledgeable enough to cast an opinion on whether Distracting the Duchess' historical details are accurate (as other reviewers have) & I don't particularly care. I read Emily Bryan's novel for the pure, light hearted entertainment value that I'm sure the author intended & the fact that Trevelyn pops into my thoughts after the last page has been turned means the author has done her job and well!
Sizzling romance, suspense & intrigue made this one a winner for me. Can't wait for my copy of Vexing the Viscount to arrive. (less)
I got the 'happy ever after' I was wishing for and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. Predicting (or hoping for) much of wh...more*Warning - Spoiler alert*
I got the 'happy ever after' I was wishing for and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. Predicting (or hoping for) much of what happened before I started the book did not in anyway lessen the riveting read. I didn't find it disappointing or contrived or fluffy, the tearing pace & excitement made it easy to overlook the odd spelling error and cheesy cliché. Breaking Dawn was my favourite of the series, obviously it wouldn't be my favourite without the others in the series, (they were essential building blocks to create suspense and enhance the storyline) but for me, Breaking Dawn had everything I could have wished for and more! Bella joins the Cullens in immortality and comes into her own as a vampire with the ultimate gift - the ability to shield and protect her loved ones. Reading about vampire 'gifts'; those from visiting covens and the vampires of the Volturi was fascinating. Bella's pregnancy was the curve ball that I didn't see, the impossible physiology of this really didn't bother me, after all we are reading a paranormal love story. I loved the whole graphic, indepth view of Bella's pregnancy and the vampire C-section birth of Renesmee human/immortal/hybrid. Jacob imprinting with Nessie made sense to me, in a bizarre way and explained Jacob & Bella's odd dependence & infatuation with each other. I loved the themes of 'vegetarian' vampires becoming more family less coven orientated, enemies becoming allies & friends and I would have been severely peeved if the happy ending had not eventuated. I think after the saga & angst of 2500 pages the Cullen family deserved their HAPPY EVER AFTER and so did I. (less)
Without doubt, another page turner! After reading a lot of reviews it appears that readers either love or hate Eclipse. I thought Stephanie Meyer ampe...moreWithout doubt, another page turner! After reading a lot of reviews it appears that readers either love or hate Eclipse. I thought Stephanie Meyer amped up the passion and the action in this book. I loved reading more about the Cullen 'family' dynamics, the stories of how Rosalie and Jasper became vampires and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey into werewolf folklore. I bought the whole love triangle scenario; Bella torn between her love for Edward and her friendship and love for Jacob and her fleeting vision of a more 'normal' life with Jake. Yes, Bella is at times selfish, hurtful and irritating, but what teenager isn't? Yes, the romantic angst is prolonged but even in my 'mature' years I remember my late teens revolving around this, albeit without the vamp/wolf bonus. Who of us have never had the choice of two paths and been riddled with indecision or wanted both at the same time. I have loved the series to this point and I now have a date with 'Breaking Dawn', please let it have the ending I am wishing for. (less)
Totally Addicted...what can I say. I was prepared to be disappointed, prepared to point out that I couldn't see what all the hoo haa was about but I a...moreTotally Addicted...what can I say. I was prepared to be disappointed, prepared to point out that I couldn't see what all the hoo haa was about but I am hopelessly addicted to Bella & Edward's story. I must admit I was just a tad devastated that Edward featured so little in this book but I also understand that New Moon was a building block for what was to come. A bridge if you like, to Eclipse. As someone who has felt broken from loss, I felt a kindred spirit in Bella and found her climb out of depression very relatable. While disappointed over the absence of one hot vampire there was plenty in New Moon to keep the heart rate up and the pages turning. Bella finds strength in her friendship with Jacob Black and pulls together a semblance of her life while Jacob phases into a werewolf bringing the Quileute legends to the fore. New Moon has a very different edge to the suspense & passion, one that leaves you wanting more, wishing for things to happen while hoping that the story drags on, to draw out and savour every moment.(less)