For months, I've seen posts and widgets about this particular book all over the web-- it seemed like everyone had it on their list of books they were...moreFor months, I've seen posts and widgets about this particular book all over the web-- it seemed like everyone had it on their list of books they were waiting for. The cover caught my eye, and then the title, and by the time I got to the blurb/summary, I thought "This sounds like a good book-- I'll have to add it to my list as well!". Unfortunately, after all the hype, the months of waiting for it to come out, when my copy finally arrived a few weeks ago (Thanks to Hachette Book Group!), I never would have known that I would soon find myself a bit disappointed.
I'd like to start out by saying that Seducing a Scottish Bride was not a terrible book, nor does it rate a 'Never Read This Book' tag, but, for me at least, it fell a bit short of expectations. That being said, I'll move on to trying to explain why this book was only mediocre.
The story started out a bit slow--- not always a bad thing, I've seen plenty of books start that way and then pick up considerably, and by the end of the book, I have very few complaints about how it all started. But in this case, I didn't feel like the story ever reached the peak speed until it was too late, and the end was in sight, barely three or four chapters away. I feel ashamed to admit this, but there were many times in the book when I would merely glance at the page, skimming it, before flipping it. It just couldn't hold my attention, and I would sometimes end up flipping through 10 pages at a time before I'd stop and actually read it, word for word. It wasn't the writing itself, so I can't blame the author, but the interaction between characters and the plot line were not very concrete. Usually, if you skip that many pages in a book, you become lost. I didn't, or at least, not that I know of. I still kept up with the basic story. Again, I can't stress this enough-- this is all just my opinion, and I have to be honest! Please, don't try to take it as rude or insulting, I would never want it to sound like that.
A story about feuding Scotland clans should be really interesting, right up my alley... right? So then why did this one fail to pull me in to the story? I honestly can't say... Nothing really stands out about it, good or bad. There were no red flags along the way that screamed "I hate this because.." but there were also no flags that said "Stop-- I loved it, go back and reread it!". I read the book, I finished it, and I can't say that I regretted it, but...I don't think it will be reread anytime soon either. Would I recommend it? Possibly. Depends on the particular reader, and it wouldn't be my first choice as recommendation, but it's definitely not on my 'never read this' list either. The easiest way to describe it is average. That makes it sound horrible, but I don't' know of any other way to say it.
The romance between the two didn't seem to be there for most of the story-- again, not a bad thing, I've seen it happen before, but when it finally showed up, I kept thinking 'Where did it come from?'. Usually you can see the love evolving and building, but I can't really say that I saw it in this one. (Maybe I somehow missed it while flipping through the pages, but I don't think I could have skipped something that important...) It was like one moment they hated each other, didn't want to be married, and the next thing you know, they are living happily ever after. I just would have liked a bit more in between those two! Not just physically love, but all the little things that add up as well; conversations, glances, fleeting caresses, etc.
3/5 stars! It could have been better, but for what it was, Seducing a Scottish Bride wasn't half bad. It had it's moments where I got into the story, and there were a few tender 'awe' moments between the H/Hr, but over all it was lacking...something. I can't put my finger on what that 'something' is, I'm sorry, but I do know that it was missing. If you enjoy historical romances, put this one on your list anyway-- it was a fairly quick read, and some readers may fall in love with it from page one. I, however, only fell for it momentarily, and then it switched to 'I liked it'. Who knows-- I may change my mind later on, and I have her other books in my want to read list... maybe this book just wasn't the one for me, but one of her older ones could change my opinion. We'll have to see...(less)
My first impression of this novel upon beginning it was "average". From the characters to the story line, nothing really stood out to me--- it sounded...moreMy first impression of this novel upon beginning it was "average". From the characters to the story line, nothing really stood out to me--- it sounded like something we've heard countless times, both in books and real life.
Kristy, our heroine for Love Is a Battlefield, has your average life. She's been in her dream job for most of her life, and loves it. She falls for the 'perfect' man, only to later find out he's the wrong guy for her-- after being left at the alter and broken up with through a note, of all things. Now her life isn't so perfect, she's been replaced at work by the good-looking new guy, and her mother's trying to play match maker already.
Haven't we seen this before? And if not, doesn't it seem like the sort of thing you'd see in your own town? Personally, when I pick up a book, I want to escape from the real world, not jump into the slightly fictionalized version of the same thing! Then again, I've always had trouble getting into contemporary fiction/romance, especially Christian Fiction such as this. But no matter my own genre preferences, I simply felt like this book needed something more, something new.
All the characters seemed a bit common, not particularly strong in development. Despite being the main character, Kristy almost seemed to take a back seat to Ace at times, and even he wasn't as forward of a character as I would have liked. Plus, for more than 3/4 of the book, we knew next to nothing about him-- he just kept eluding to some "to be announced" reason why he came to take this new job, and I was hoping it would be something good that added to the plot, but in the end, when you find out, it's a big let down. I won't ruin it, but let's just say it adds about as much excitement to the book as watching grass grow.
From the conversations between the characters to the flow of the story line, everything just seemed a bit too predictable and bland to me. Honestly, I could practically tell you what the characters were going to say even before it came up-- it should not be that easy to predict! It wasn't a horribly written novel, but it didn't have any real "pop!" to it either.
And then there was the fact that, despite this being a Christian Fiction, I couldn't see, nor appreciate, the romance that was suppose to be in it. I know, it's suppose to be chaste-- but must it be invisible and fake too? That's my one problem with CF novels--- it's not that there may be the occasional undertone of religion in the novel (though, at times, that too can get annoying), but the fact that most authors in this genre seem to think that the romance must be as clean as the new snow! Come on, even the most strict of religious couples are not that boring in their relationships! Is there anything wrong with a bit of lust, a kiss or two? Unresolved sexual tension, when written well, can be just as sexy as the most erotic romance scenes!
3 STARS! Despite the mediocre story behind this novel, I can't say I hated the book-- not by any means. However, it was lacking in excitement, and romance, which are my only real criticisms. Otherwise, the book was a quick, and at times charming, read-- not too heavy, but a very light fiction novel. If you don't mind the brief mention of religious beliefs in your fiction (aka, Christian Fiction), then by all means, pick this one up when you get some spare time, but don't move it to the top of your wish list. (less)
Anyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the poi...moreAnyone who's ever read an anthology knows that there's almost always one problem with the book-- the stories are too short. And though that is the point of having an anthology, it's still hard to tell a story, develop it, and end it well. This one flaw is most of the reason behind my over all rating for this book.
The Healing Spell and Other Stories is a collection of Kiki Howell's short stories and novellas that have been published before in other anthologies. The nice thing about this anthology is you get to see what her writing it like (wonderful, but more on that later). The only down fall is that the romance story itself doesn't get to develop and pull through as strongly as in a full length novel. But, despite the page constraints, Howell does do a good job at telling a story... especially the sex, since this is an erotic novel!
Howell has a wonderful way of blending the words together, weaving them into a story, and really, she can easily 'paint a picture' in your mind, as they say. I had no problem with the writing style, the word choices, etc. In fact, I thought this was very well done, and it did grab my attention and help pull me into the stories....
...Only until the story was suddenly over, and it was time for the next one. But again, this is a problem you'll always find in an anthology. You want the story to keep going, but in reality, it's time for it to end and the next one to begin. Because of the shortness of the stories, I'm even more interesting in reading more from Howell-- I want to know if a full length novel from her will be just as amazing as I picture after reading this.
The story lines were interesting enough, and I wish we could have learned more about the characters, their stories and world-- especially the Wicca theme in the stories. I would have loved to hear more about the culture in the stories themselves.
3.5 STARS! Over all, a great introduction to a new to me author, and one that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a good erotica novel. The Healing Spell and Other Stories is quick, but fairly satisfying, and leaves you wanting to read more! Always a good thing in a book, right? Fantastic, flowing writing, Howell has a gift for describing the scene to viewers-- I only hope that we'll get to see more of the description in her future novels, hopefully a full length one? (less)
For a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered the...moreFor a quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt wasn't half bad. However, I can't say that it was my favorite either.
I think the main thing that lowered the rating for me was the lack of connection between the characters. I know, this is an 'erotica' novel, not straight romance. But, for me at least, romance is still a key part of erotica novels as well. Maybe the sex takes a front seat for a while, and it's much more explicit, but the romance should still be there. Right?
Despite this flaw, the writing in general was good. Howell does a nice job at describing the setting, allowing the writing to flow, et cetera. However, the one thing I would have liked a bit more detail on is the magical world this was set in. I wanted to know so much more about the 'Watchers', what they are, and especially a bit more about Luca's past. There's so much potential with this plot line, but it was like we only got a skim from the surface of it, when I wanted to submerge myself in the world instead. If this part of the book had been expanded a bit more, with a lot more details -- and characters too (really, I don't remember any besides h/hr!) -- I'm sure my rating would have gone up more.
Even though it was a novella (short novel), I felt like the basic plot for the book was a bit too rushed. The build up, the back ground information, it didn't quiet flow as smoothly as I would have liked. Maybe it would have worked out much better if this had been a full length novel instead.
BUT, I still liked the book, and I'll still look for Howell's future books. A few flaws here and there won't throw me off the author for good. And it could be that I was looking forward to more of a romance novel at the time that I picked this up-- it's an opinion only, so I can't say the problems I had with the book are completely the author's fault.
3 STARS! If you like to read erotica novels, then maybe you should put this one on your next wish list. A nice, quick read, Modern Day Witch Hunt manages to tease your interest, but in the end, it leaves you wanting more-- maybe a future book about the Watchers introduced in this one? If only Halloween wasn't over, I'd suggest this as a good one to read that night.