Read: October 22, 2013 – October 25, 2013 Read: July 19, 2010 Read: January 15, 2009 – January 17, 2009 Read: November 2008 Read: April 2007 Read: January...more
Read: October 22, 2013 – October 25, 2013 Read: July 19, 2010 Read: January 15, 2009 – January 17, 2009 Read: November 2008 Read: April 2007 Read: January 1, 2005
Love, pain, loss, blessings, death, reunion, sacrifice, torture, happiness, parenthood, responsibility, darkness, evil, honor, goodness, determination, and redemption are just an itsy-bitsy list of the themes with which Night Embrace is gonna rock your world. You're gonna laugh, you're gonna cry, you're gonna face-scream and applause pretty much throughout the entirety of this awesome behemoth. Put simply, Bilbo had it right - this book's gonna adventure you so hardcore. And, this loveliness starts, of course, with Talon of the Morrigantes.
Basically, he's the epitome of a bad-ass. A Celtic bad-ass, even. However, in my not so important opinion, while I adore Talon (because c'mon, how could you not?) I find his back-story, while heart breaking, less so in comparison to other tragic Dark-Hunter stories. Mind you, this could be my being a picky-ass, but Talon's personal tragedies were often brought about by his own choices. These choices, and while understandable, put a distance in my adoration of him. I fully admit, though, that my wanting to slap him upside the head with a crowbar, on occasion, did contribute to making him a fleshed out character.
(*Grins.*) Joking aside, Talon is unique among the DH boys for, while scrumptious and tortured, he frequently allows his emotions to get the better of him, thus making him seem more human than any other Dark-Hunter. I like Tally, but there exists an element that makes me want to throttle him right before I hug him. Still, while bodaciously adorable and likeable, it's Talon's sense of humor that wins him All Of The Loves. His dynamic with Nick, Acheron, fellow Dark-Hunters, hell, even with frenemies like Zarek, will undoubtedly leave your face muscles aching from laughter. Of course, speaking of laughter, we can't neglect Sunshine Runningwolf.
Yep. I admit it; I totally love her with much love. Of all the heroines that could be written, she is the single most memorable. Without question this girl struts on the page with bucket-loads of personality that grab you be the shirt and ask, "Who IS this chick?" A flibbertigibbet artist who is unquestionably a refugee from a hippie camp, what makes Sunny so adorable is, yes, her forgetfulness, yes, her love of life, but most importantly her heart. While Talon is her antithesis in the small things, the two share a kindness for others that is remarkable, and down right adorable.
Oh, by the way, did I mention the plot?! Holy-crap-stick, THE PLOT! This baby comes in at a whopping 408 pages, and that's a bit long for a standard mass market paperback, but trust that this sucker doesn't lag. We've got pissed off gods, renegade Dark-Hunters, an "let's-avoid-the-apocalypse" story line, not to mention a most excellent cast of supporting characters. Interestingly, while the plot does take a backseat to the romantic buildup and relationship of Talon and Sunshine (we'll get to that in a minute, friends), when this sucker arrives for the climax, it busts onto the scene with TNT. The surrounding plot threads make this book unquestionably fun, mind-blowing, and definitely worth the read. As for the actual romance between Talon and Sunshine? Well...
I know, I know! (*Ducks behind couch to avoid the rotten tomatoes.*) Sadly, I'm not really in the Fangirl Camp for these two awesome characters. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love them as characters, and while I do believe the HEA at the end, I never really felt the connectivity between them as their story was unfolding. I think this stems largely from the soul mate aspect (you'll see when you read), but because of this it made their romance difficult for me. I still heart them, I did love the book, and I enjoyed Talon and Sunshine interacting, but as for the love-story itself? Gotta say no. The book kicks copious ass, even outside the lovey-dovey element, if for no other reason than climax, the supporting cast, and the universe around Talon and Sunshine. These elements make this book so frakking good.
You request it, Night Embrace, and you damned sure get it.(less)
Read: January 2, 2014 - January 8, 2014 Read: March 22, 2010 - March 23, 2010 Read: January 22, 2009 Read: December 2008 Read: April 2007 Read: August 3, 2...moreRead: January 2, 2014 - January 8, 2014 Read: March 22, 2010 - March 23, 2010 Read: January 22, 2009 Read: December 2008 Read: April 2007 Read: August 3, 2005
You know that particular (show/book/movie/character/actor/song/etc.) that people are always going on about, the one that accumulates so many fan-girl screams that Helen Keller herself could hear the piercing level of awesomeness? You're inevitably thinking, "This (insert relevant item here) can't POSSIBLY be that damn great!" Well, you're wrong. You're so ass-tons wrong that Jabba The Hut's back-end looks like Miley Cyrus' posterior. That is, you would be if you're referencing Sherrilyn Kenyon's book, Night Play.
So, a plus sized heroine who is sweet, kind, giving, and a beautiful human being is pretty much the definition of OH YES-GOD, PERFECT HEROINE for any leading lady. And, let's face it, this is Bride McTierney in all of her win. She's one of the few characters that makes you simultaneously want to be both her, and her best friend. However, as much I heart her face, if Night Play had one criticism against it, such would be the fact that it's difficult to find a discernible personality in the character that is our heroine. I know, I KNOW guys, I shouldn't say it. I love her, I do! *Dodges the rotten tomato.* C'mon, just...Oh for heaven's sakes.
*Laughs* Okay, my passive aggressiveness aside, I'm not saying that Bride isn't a believable fleshed out character, because realistically not every individual has "This Is Their Personality" stamped across their face. I still adore Bride, but nowhere near as much as I adore the ever lovin' behemoth-crap-ton out of Vane. Mr. Adorabs-Level-High Kattalakis is probably one of the most beautiful heroes ever written, and not because his face is gloriously divine, and not because he falls for a plus sized woman, but because his love for those he cares about is so quintessentially a defining aspect to his character. His platonic adoration for his siblings and friends, and his romantic love for Bride, are basically the most beautiful effing things on the planet. They paint the picture of a hero whose life has been one cluster fuck after another, and they make the reader want to love him all the more.
...*Blinks.* Okay, so maybe I'm just an itsy-bitsy bit in love with the crafting and execution that went into the making of this book's lead character, but! While that amount of epicness might even rival Kim K's ass-hat-ness, it nowhere compares to the shit-tons of amaze-balls enjoyability that exists within the plot! Deceptively slow building, be warned that your brain and heart will frequently explode with warm fuzzies throughout the book's duration. While heavily emotionally driven in its writing, Sherrilyn Kenyon still manages to go all bad-ass on us with delivering the well deserved external conflict that gives Night Play one hell of an entertaining punch. Reader, know that this book comes with some serious awesome characters like Fang, Fury, and Tabitha (not to mention Ash, Simi, and the Peltier clan) and it will pretty much make you spaz all over yourself with euphoria.
The drama in this novel is intense, and while a lot of it is internally emotional within the cast of characters, much of it deals with some pretty intense topics. Family hatred, revenge, desire for acceptance, self hate; c'mon, topics like these can't get any more hardcore! Of course, that's not even broaching the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" level of shock-awesome that goes into the romance storyline. I mean, really. Your feels will be all over God's creation with this story, like whoa-damn.
So! This book? READ IT, DAMMIT! I don't care if you're not a genre fan; read it! I don't care if you're not a subgenre fan; read it! Romance, and paranormal romance haters out there, c'mon, do it for a stranger on the internet that is desperate to spread Good Book Noise all over the place? Please?...No?!...Well.
So, this book? Yeah, it's like that. Except more. Like, ginormously exceeding the outer limits of awesomely awesomeness and exploding hardcore into th...more
So, this book? Yeah, it's like that. Except more. Like, ginormously exceeding the outer limits of awesomely awesomeness and exploding hardcore into the I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT BUTTER excitement. Except, of course, with more book, and less butter. There is so much wonderful I'm-so-thrilled-this-novel-exists-just-please-let-me-fangasm-a-moment that I'm kind of a bit Helen Keller right now. As is, to be honest, my brain is sort of just...
...right now. So! Basically, this book is everything right in the universe of writing. Like, everything. A historical romance novel with a hero who's simultaneously Scottish, and bat-shit crazy? A heroine with a tortured past who is a well rounded strong female character without embodying the definition of "bitch?" So much yes! The amount of realistic detail encapsulated by Beth and Ian allowed these two to feel like exceptionally real people, which makes my Fan Girl go all kinds of happy and crap.
Any half-assed monkey can sit at a keyboard and handbang words into Microsoft Word (hell, Stephanie Meyer proved that one), but it takes a true level of talent to construct not only characters that pull at the heartstrings like a 'roided out Nicholas Sparks, but to also make a pretty thin plot seem thick. Overall, if I had one criticism against The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, it would be how truly narrow the story line is...but surprise, I don't have that critique! (Bet you weren't expecting that one, huh?) Yes, the entire book is kind of one big build up to a nice satisfying plot-point-surprise, this is true. Strangely, I've seen many authors fall on their keyboards while trying to use this writing device, and it was a disaster. However, the reason this works so well here is because Ashley puts much effort into making the reader both care about the character tensions and internal conflict of the lead couple, all while padding the novel with enough back-story and exposition to make the reader INVESTED!
(And yes, even Batman approves because HELL YEAH!) What amazes me like-whoa, even further, is the fact that Ashley is so not afraid to just GO THERE with her book. This novel definitely touches on some pretty heavy topics, and does so both believably and respectfully, both from the viewpoint of the modern eyes, and the historical ones. We've got everything from two distinct cases of homosexuality in the Victorian era to some pretty taboo sexual fetishes, back to prostitution and insanity. That's, of course, not even noting the issues of murder and illegitimacy.
Yep! So, with all that going on, plus believably unique characters, plus wonderfully descriptive writing, plus perfectly balanced exposition with current-book-events, plus tropes and topics not seen in many novels, let alone genre specific ones...the summation I arrive at is SO MUCH WIN! I literally struggle to find a legitmate crique with the writing, pacing, and quality of The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. And, okay, while it may be true that the plot kind of does this upon the start of the book...
...it's quick initial pace still allows for a genuinely enjoyable story, and slows down appropriately after the story-ball gets a'rolling. The book has so much going on in it, not the least of which is a hero who makes panties immediately fall off, and a heroine who every woman secretly wishes they were IRL. The level of thought and talent that went into this book blows my mind with so much whoa-damn that, at the end of the day, when it's all said, done, and finalized, I'm just left with the sentiments of the following GIF...
Hmm-mm. It's like that. Read this book, peeps; your brain needs it.(less)
A book that can take you from interest, to ecstasy, to boredom, back to holy-shock-wowness has some serious props going for it, in my not so humble op...moreA book that can take you from interest, to ecstasy, to boredom, back to holy-shock-wowness has some serious props going for it, in my not so humble opinion. Having never read Kathryn Smith before, I can definitely say I've been missing out.
When Seducing A Duke was probably one of the most dynamic books I've read in approximately sixteen billion years. Such reality isn't so difficult to pull off in a paranormal, or even contemporary romance, but in historical? Yeah, that's rare like a virgin whore.
Smith had my interest initially predominately because, within this novel, she utilized some of my favorite book tropes. Specifically, unrequited love. But, while tropes pick the books that are read, they don't determine book quality. Luckily, in this case, they so did, because this book wowed me extensively. From the first few chapters, I was immediately fascinated how Smith utilized not so atypical story points in a very atypical manner. This is especially poignant during the first developing story aspects in the beginning pages.
Aside from being unique in her structure of a story, Smith wowed me in a more subtle, yet very notable arena of her writing. While I adore romance novels, there are certain cliches I abhor. Specifically, the writing of men as being unlike males. Smith doesn't shy away from her male characters utilizing vulgarity (time appropriate) when among themselves, or during internal thought dialogues. A seemingly non-significant factor, perhaps, but its existence ties in seamlessly with the fact that Smith is very talented in creating realistic characters, both in their technical aspects as well as emotional.
When perusing my last status update pertaining to this novel, I noted, and recall, my sentiments being dissatisfied with the emotional on page writing of the hero, Grey. Such wasn't a lie, for as of page 252, it felt as though the story were collapsing in onto itself, along with his relateability. The plot was a bit dry by that point, the unrequited love of both Grey and Rose seeming a bit then-boring, and a tad pointless seeing as to where the story had developed. And then...magic.
Smith's ability to recreate a story mid-book had me in jaw-dropping awe. This author literally took one story line and bypassed it into another, with small tangible hints of such about-face peppered in the first half of her novel. While the plot had previously been at a 2-3-4 star teetering by that point, it eclipsed such by the impressive high-gear plot and character development. The story morphed from a simple romance tale to a commentary about life and love. About the decisions we make when we are young and dumb, about the realities of consequences, and the pressure we feel from those on the outside, looking in.
As noted before, Smith doesn't shy away from realities in her fiction, at least by this book's indication. Such was refreshing not just in the existence of male vulgarity, but in emotion itself. The heroine and hero are presented as sweetly perfect together, prior to marriage, though when the drama arrives on scene, real human emotion and response are put directly on page. Neither the hero nor heroine respond in Mr. and Mrs. Perfect ways, nor do they turn into Ass Hat #2 and 3, respectively. Walking the fine line of characters seeming realistic, though not negative, is an ability that few authors, I feel, harbor.
The characters, like the writing, became living, breathing entities. This was not done from page one, to final word, but rather as a developing journey. As their story evolved, so too did they. As their emotions and heartaches and experiences were related, so too did they feel and become more as people than as characters. This is impressive to say the least, talented to say the most. The evolution this story undergoes corresponds perfectly to such same as the characters, secondary as well as primary.
To say that I shall be continuing Kathryn Smith's novels is obvious. I merely count myself as being blessed to learn that When Seducing A Duke not only counts itself among a series, Victorian Soap Opera (apropos, no?), but finds itself as being book one. Add that to the fact Kathryn Smith apparently writes other romance genres, and perhaps it could be fair to say that I've found another favored author. Only time, and potential book quality, will tell.
Lastly, can I be the only one who found that Smith's decision to forgo the use of an epilogue was not only refreshing, but specifically as to this story, ideal?(less)
As always, Sherri constantly out-does herself each and every time with every new book she w...moreAwesome! Awesome! Awesome!
This book was just plain awesome!
As always, Sherri constantly out-does herself each and every time with every new book she writes. Needless to say, the plot was perfect, and the characters were entertaining as always!
I -LOVE- Nick as a young adult. He is truly classic Nick and it is so much fun to read this series as a DH series fan! I adore seeing Tabitha, the Adams, Peltiers, Simi, Acheron, and Kyrian as they were before the DH books. I am utterly and completely shocked at some of the seeming tid-bits to this book, and am fascinated in relationship to "Ambrose" and what the older Nick really went through. It is apparent that Sherri is writing this series with a very unique time line, and in a fascinating way! I am THRILLED with this series, love all the new characters of Bubba, Mark, Nekcoda, Casey, Madaugh, the list is truly endless. The excitment I feel for this new spin-off series, even being YA, is truly parallel to the Dark-Hunters and I can't WAIT for book two!
Praise Sherrilyn Kenyon, the TRUE Author Goddess! (less)
HOLY FRIGGIN' CRAP! - This book was mindbogglingly amazing! The second installment to the Dark-Hunter spin off young ydult series, Chronicles of Nick,...moreHOLY FRIGGIN' CRAP! - This book was mindbogglingly amazing! The second installment to the Dark-Hunter spin off young ydult series, Chronicles of Nick, the plot of Invincible was just as amazing as Infinity's.
I couldn't help but fall in love all the more with this amazing character, Nick Gautier. He had captured my adoration and love all the way back to the first novel of the Dark-Hunter series, Night Pleasures, and he continued to do so off-and-on throughout the twenty three books of the series, thus far.
The witty writing, still amazing. The cohesive, understandable, and entertaining plot, still amazing. The character development, still amazing. The expansion of the characters, still amazing. The dialogue, setting, and description, all still amazing. Sherrilyn Kenyon is continuing to prove, as she always does, that she is a phenomenal author and creative genius.
Invincible absolutely blew me away with taking yet another fascinating angle, necromancy, and maintaining a unique storyline throughout. I'm so excited about this series, and can't wait 'til next years installment!(less)
What in the serious hellish effing fandom did I just read?! Of all the exceedingly weirdish books I've dived into feet-first, this has to be one of th...more
What in the serious hellish effing fandom did I just read?! Of all the exceedingly weirdish books I've dived into feet-first, this has to be one of the strangest explorations into "What The F!" that I have ever willingly endured. To say that I enjoyed this book would be a strange lie, for its partly true, though only because there was so much ouch-my-brain wrong with it, really! While I won't sullen Shannon Hale's name enough to compare her to Stephanie Meyer, sadly I must admit she was treading dangerously close to my Oh No You Didn't shit-O-meter.
Speaking of God-awful I'm-gonna-shank-my-brains-out-of-my-skull heroines...Bella and Jane; they're kinda sisters. With Jane, we've got pretty much the very definition of a blank as hell slate, and not much more. After having spent 193 pages with good ol' Jane what's-her-face, I know exactly two things; her obsession with finding the perfect man, a product of her Jane Austen fandom, has made her shittastic at finding a good man...and she likes to/used to paint. Yep! That's it, the makings of a kickass heroine who totally is spunky and apparently so awesome that we need not delve into any further characteristic traits at all!
Don't think about it too hard, there, Mr. Jack Skellington, you'll hurt yourself! Put bluntly, I'm hardcore bummed that Jane-chick was written in such a lackluster manner because, above all, this fact did a good job at single-handedly screwing this book in the anus for me. Oh, don't get me wrong, there's plenty more criticism coming for this novel, but when an author chooses to write from the first person omniscient, and the reader still leaves the book knowing jack-crap about the personality, identity, or characteristics of the lead, that's some pretty effed up crap to get past.
While admittedly I frequently had the aforementioned violent tendencies towards Jane's head, she wasn't irredeemably irksom. While her uber relationship-obsessed mentality was violence-inducing (and please keep in mind I read romance novels obsessively!), to say Jane was written without personality would be a lie. Throughout the book there were moments of enjoyable spunky attitude, and she did have an individualized witty nature that came through on occasion. This, coupled with the fact that a train wreck is still entertaining, no matter how unspeakably terrible, is probably why I kept on a'trucking with this novel.
Yeaah...So, a heroine who's a whole lotta nothing, what more we got? Lots! While Jane was a blank slate, at least she had occasion to be all, "Hey! I'm a person!" with her character...not so much for every other animal, vegetable, and mineral that appears in Austenland, the book. I literally can't even recall the cast of characters within the story, other than the Martin dude and the discount Mr. Darcy. Hell, with one character of the story, the only one who demonstrates any identity at all, (I call her Big Tits because apparently, that really is her identifier in the book, and I'm only just-barely joking there), she disappears after the second half of the novel entirely! It's like, "Oh, here's a character who's an obvious entertaining airhead, wonder where this is gonna go?" And, alas, the answer is nowhere, ass-faster than a Kony 2012 Facebook post.
So, now that I've bitched and moaned enough about all the characters and caricatures in this book, let's change the subject before this shit gets old. As bad as the people in this story were, nothing could compare to the god-awfulness that is the technical elements of the novel. Again, no one can be as bad a writer as Stephanie Meyer, not even Shannon Hale, but oh...the similarities. The pacing and rhythm of a story can make or break a book, and in the case of Austenland, such broke it harder than a non-lubed condom. During the scenes that didn't fly by so quick I swore they were dosed up on PCP, I was bashing my brains into crushed glass enduring scenes that felt slower than a dead body, driving. There literally was no constant pace throughout the entire book, and holy-cheese-balls this was irritating!
In all seriousness, and with all bad-joking aside, I could forgive all the book's painful sins noted thus far if the story itself had been believable. The setup, the existence of Austenland, the place itself could have worked as a genuine character within the story as a whole. The big damned problem was the fact that, despite being THE FRAKKIN' TITLE OF THE STORY...Austenland never once felt legitmate. I could suspend my disbelief and see it as a realistic vacation spot, but I could never buy into it as being a true setting. No attention to detail was paid to the landscape of the estate, both inside and out, after the initial "here's Jane walking into this place for the first time" scene. Aside from the more refined dialogue of manor's actors, this book could have been set anywhere and the Austen element completely removed for all the good it did. Hell, the "Darcy" obsession felt more like a code word for a modern "Mr. Perfect" than anything regarding the Regency era!
Likewise, Scarlet! Hell, even the plotting of this book couldn't save it from the WHY MUST THERE BE SHITTY BOOKS rage I'm feeling. If ever a novel needed an external conflict in the history of all books ever written, it's this one. Sometimes I bemoan novels for copping out and leaning too heavily on outward plot devices because I find that to be a lazy writer's method, but shit-fire! Here is a perfect example that, sometimes, on occasion, some crap needs to happen outside of the lead character's "first world problems" mentality.
In all honesty, while I have some ye ole big-time issues with this novel, overall I don't consider it to be as bad as Twilight, despite my book-rage noted earlier. While not a blissfully blissful book, the novel wasn't a collasal waste of time because there were some nice moments of enjoyment to be had in the story. And, if for nothing else, I was, as a reader, intrigued enough to continue to finish the story, train wreck and all. Any piece of fiction that doesn't get thrown against the nearest wall isn't book-burningly bad.
So, yes, while I'm certainly not a fan, I will admit that I'm still going to see this book-to-film adaptation. Overall, I can see how Hale's story might actually work better as a movie, assuming they cram in some more external conflict, or get one kick-ass narrator. So, indeed, I'll see the movie...but not in theaters. I can more than wait for the DVD release. 'Cause, c'mon, Jane was okay, but damn those flashback chapter opening sequences proved she is kind of a bitch. A boring bitch, at that.
HOLY AWESOME-SAUCE! Yeah, the CAPS were necessary, because this book rocked like Ozzfest!
As always, and as unsurprising as ever, this Sherri-novel was...moreHOLY AWESOME-SAUCE! Yeah, the CAPS were necessary, because this book rocked like Ozzfest!
As always, and as unsurprising as ever, this Sherri-novel was a five star in every capacity possible. Firstly, the characters, because WOW! While technically speaking, almost all the cast of Infamous have appeared in previous novels, this year's release was probably the first time that Sherri delved deeper into the identities and personalities of the CON peeps than ever before. Aside from the fact that Caleb and Nekoda are truly individual forces on their own, Infamous did such a wonderful job at depicting Nick in a truly vulnerable light that, as a reader, I've never witnessed him in before. Additionally, I was so thrilled that a closer examination of Nick's relationship with his mother was undertaken, as well as Cherise's character developing under the reader's eyes than ever had been previously seen in other series or novels.
While it's true to say the plot of Infamous was phenomenally well structured, almost impossibly well balanced between external and internal conflict, and interesting as all get-out, it would be even truer to say that Sherri delivered, hardcore. The amount of on-page emotion dealt herein was mind blowing! Despite dealing with some VERY heavy topics (i.e. bullying, suicide, prejudice, etc.) the novel never once felt melodramatic or overblown in its execution. Additionally, what's equally fascinating to me is the fact that this story was written, and is classified as such, for a young adult audience. As such, it did in fact deal with some pretty hard-hitting "adolescent issues," operating as both a message to its intended audience, and yet remaining passionately true to its genre and relevant story! This is seriously an impressive accomplishment by Sherri. An author capable of writing a story that is entertaining and loyal to the characters, as well as deliver some unbelievable "teachable" moments, both to young people, and older, all the while not losing the essence of the book? Yeah. WAY amazing!
Lastly, ummmm, HELLO?!?!?! Some pretty friggin' amazing stuff happens in this book! Without delving into Spoiler Territory (because I hate that crap), let me just say, for those wanting some more development as far as the series is concerned, book three of Chronicles of Nick MORE than serves up that order, plus some. The amount of entertainment I got from this story was epic-lots, even to the point that I found myself enjoying the Epic Cliffhanger To End All Cliffhangers! (Yeah, it happens.) Sherri, dear, you're a goddess, a true, rockin', hella-talented-like-whoa goddess!
Ummmm...is it wrong to literally flip off a novel for sucking so terribly? I mean, insanity is relative, right? No, of course it is; when a novel suck...more
Ummmm...is it wrong to literally flip off a novel for sucking so terribly? I mean, insanity is relative, right? No, of course it is; when a novel sucks to the level of All Suckdom, all bets, questions, and straight jackets are entirely out of the question! Put simply, Lisa Kleypas is an awesome writer, but holy damn, one could not tell that fact from the atrocity that is Lady Sophie's Lover. (Fact: The novel's so terrible, I just typed "Sohpie's," rather than "Sophia's" and I can't even care.)
Ironically, the above GIF applies both to the aforementioned title error, and to the novel itself. Aside from the fact that the story was forgettable to warrant a mistaken title, the novel additionally contained so many "I'm-Just-Gonna-Bash-My-Skull-In-Until-Sanity-Returns" elements that I'm almost positive Kleypas utilized a Ghost Writer for this project! Never would there have been a day that I thought Lisa would fail so miserably at writing dynamic, interesting, engaging characters, but oh Me From The Past, how wrong you were, truly! Like genitalia piercings wrong!
Pictured above? THESE CHARACTERS! I don't know what kind of crack Ms. Kleypas was smoking while writing this book, but it was NOT the good kind. Aside from the nails-on-a-chalkboard irritating reality of the underdevelopment of Ross (had to fact-check if that was indeed our hero's name, AND I JUST FINISHED THIS BOOK TEN MINUTES AGO!), the heroine Emma?...No, no...Julie?...No, Sophia! (That guessing-game wasn't a joke, sadly.) This heroine was the very example of a literary blank slate. Justin Bieber's V-jay-jay has more personality and identity than this Sophie-Sophia whatever chick.
(We've only just started, Sansa!) ... Oh, oh, and that's not even touching upon the terribly thin set-up or back-story given to Sophie-what's-her-name! This chick rushes on scene like Rocky Horror, starts off with some laughably thin revenge what-the-serious-hell-is-your-plan-again plot that dissolves instantly, all while our Hero Dude runs around trying to hide his boner over Heroine Chick. Seriously! That is the extent to which I can place any description on our lead! For Hitler's balls' sake, the novel begins with Ross' arousal for said chick! No initial buildup, no character introduction, no exposition! Nothing!
Wow. I really deviated just there. Okay, okay; back on track. Heroine's got zero identity, hero's got zero identity, so what about plot? Hahaha, you're funny, internet, with your hypothetical assumptions. Wrong there too, buddy! This book struggles in every feasible manner to have some form of a story. And, oh, how it fails! This book bombs miserably as a legitimate novel because, one, the plotting time-jumps more than Dr. Who in a Delorean with a flux capacitor, and two, because it contains zero plot! If the romantic elements were well written, with solid build up, believable tension, and fully explored character interactions, I wouldn't bitch so loud. In that case, the emotional elements would have a good exploration, and pay off. But...
Nope! Didn't happen. What so-called plot did exist (haha, you funny!) meandered the frack out of itself! Oh, and if that weren't enough to call this one a major shot in the face, how about the randomly rushed character realizations for NO apparent or logical reasons? Or the exceedingly insulting manner in which the secondary cast of characters felt like set pieces rather than people? Still no? Okay, fine, how about the over utilization of the "tell them, don't show them?" Or, maybe, just maybe, if all that's not enough to make this book an Epic Face Palm, what about the fact that our "hero" not only apparently has a dead wife in the past (the he shows NO genuine emotional realities over!), but who is a hero that turns into Mr. Rapey Guy in a very random-ass scene midway in the novel? You still thinking this book is good? Really? Well!
Yep. That about covers it. I'm honestly amazed that this book survived my reading it, truly. And, yes, okay, it managed to -not- attain DNF status, which is a mark in its favor. The novel felt entirely forced, and had epic-epic issues, but admittedly it did hold my attention like a cat with a laser pointer; I knew it was going to end in disappointment, but I HAD to see where the train wreck was headed. So, if for no other reason, those two facts allow for a two star rating for this novel. And, much like said cat and said laser pointer, there were a few smile-worthy moments throughout, but I'm just thankful that crap is done and over with, like whoa-damn happy. |
Lisa Kleypas, hon, I don't know what happened to you while writing this book, but please endeavor not to let it happen again. Do less of this...
Some books are orgasmic-good, some are brain-'sploding bad, and some...some exist squarely in the land of I-Have-No-Frickin'-Clue. Guess which categor...more
Some books are orgasmic-good, some are brain-'sploding bad, and some...some exist squarely in the land of I-Have-No-Frickin'-Clue. Guess which category Proof by Seduction falls into? Yep, you're such a good little Sherlock, because obvious bad joke is obvious and dear fluffy bunnies, this book is one ginormous complicated little beyotch.
So, let's go ahead and put it on the table that this book doesn't suck. There are a many likable components within it that will make ones brain all kinds of happy. The characters, at times problematic, are likable. The hero doesn't make you want to go munch on a bullet, and the heroine doesn't spark homicidal tendencies. They're both believable with solid motivations, are unique and uniquely damaged, not to mention intensely fascinating. That said, while Jenny is a very complex individual, and Gareth is definitely individualistic in his characterization, there be some hella huge problems with the two of them, I can't lie.
This book's biggest "Are You Kidding Me?!" stems from the fact that the hero's most distinct and fascinating attributes (his Mr. Darcy-ness, his awesome nerdy nature) are also what make him so damned difficult with which to connect! He is frequently an unintentional ass-hat and he's very socially awkward, and while this all plays like an analogous Air Freshener commercial in the land of Romance-ville, such have consequences. These same distant characteristics, the ones that illustrate Gareth as a unique character, sadly also transcend when the writing turns to the introspective POV of our hero. His very personality, aspects that spark a lot of the story's internal and external conflict, are ones that make him hard with which to relate to, and emotionally engage with as a character.
It kind of is, really. What's more, as a reader the inability to delve further into the emotional depths of Gareth isn't helped by the fact that this book is VERY heroine-dependent. And, much like the intravenous injection your mind inevitably jumped to with that phrase, such is painful and has some serious repercussions. The reader spends hella-lots of time in Jenny's point of view, which is nice in that it makes her the strongest, most fleshed out character within the novel. It's not so nice in the fact, despite believing in the HEA at the book's conclusion, having that faith in the characters love takes a bit more effort than would have been necessary if adequate time was given to both lead characters.
Oh, and yeah! The romance of this story? Seriously flawed! Yes, I did believe in reality of their emotional journey at the book's culmination, and I honestly think the two both cared for and needed one another. But, in some respects, the journey felt lost in the interim of the novel's conflict. I wouldn't go so far as to say Milan utilized "insta-love," the genre trope that is in serious need of a decapitation, but the pacing of the story's conflict was written in such a hurried non-stop way that I struggled to "see" the characters falling for one another. In many respects, their evolution of feeling for one another felt pushed to the background, so centered on the "Ned/Jenny is a fraud" conflict.
So, yeah, it isn't great when a romance novel kind of makes you question the validity of the character's romantic journey. And, yes, there are some pacing issues and character problems in this book, but if anything proves that good writing can save a blemished story, it's Courtney Milan. Even in spite of all the issues surrounding this novel, there is such a damn fine story to be found in Proof by Seduction. You truly empathize with Gareth and Jenny, and you want the two to resolve their troubles; you care for these book people, dammit. The plot's conflict is simplistically believable, and demonstrates that mutual love for a shared friend can be a powerful central story point. The secondary cast of characters are all well written, and the emotion that IS present in the book is pretty damn good.
Alas, while I doubt this book will rend your feels asunder with fiery explosions of emotion all over the place, it contains its own level of niceness. The story feels nice, the conflict feels nice, the characters feel nice...in that non-kinky kind of way. Unless, you know, you're into that kind of thing. Then by all means, have at it. Both your kink, and the story I mean.