Derek Prince's night on the town takes a sexy turn when he meets a mermaid. No, not a real one, but one of the nearly legendary beautiful, virginal women who entertain Manhattan's most prominent men. Entranced, by her beauty and charm, he follows her into the infamous nightclub, Fathoms where he discovers how the other half really live!
I really liked this sexy, contemporary adaptation of The Little Mermaid. Although there is no actual magic or mermaids involved, this erotic short still tinged my nostalgia for the Disney film even as it turned up the heat.
What I loved about Immersed in Pleasure was that the hero, Derek, doesn't try to sweep Xenia off her feet and take her away from her life. The heroine is not some damsel in distress, but a strong woman who can take care of herself. Unlike many popular romances today, Xenia doesn't just throw her life away for her man. I won't spoil the end for you as it has an interesting little plot twist, but I enjoyed it very much.
I also really loved that the narration of the story unfolded as Derek told his guy friends about how he and Xenia met. The funny little interruptions of his buddies asking for more info had me chuckling and added to the fun tone of the book.
Recommended for those looking for a sweet and spicy short!...more
Dominic Paget awakens in the home of Julianne Greystone where he has been taken to receive care after being ghosted out of France by Julianne's smuggler brother, Jack. Dominic was shot in the back by an assassin, because, you see, Dom is an English spy working to help end the threat of the French Revolution. Unaware of his location, and the sympathies of the household, Dom pretends to be an officer in the French military, appealing to Julianne's Jacobin leanings. Will the love that forms between them survive his lie? Can two people on opposite sides of a war make their love work?
I didn't like this one as much as i thought I was going to. The prologue was very exciting and the concept intriguing, but the first half of the book really ruined it for me. The development of Julianne and Dominic's love while he is masquerading as Charles comes across as silly, fake, and over the top. Julianne's character is so naive. I get that she is innocent and doesn't really understand the world around her, but her thought processes come across very childish. Unfortunately, she makes for a very wimpy heroine and when paired with the very alpha Dominic, she just looks pathetic.
The second half of the book made this book more enjoyable for me because once Dom was no longer pretending to be Charles, I like him a lot more. I loved his uber alpha male attitude, for some reason, that cold exterior really did it for me. Plus, he doesn't baby Julianne at this point. I ended up enjoying the book just for him and the intrigue.
Speaking of intrigue, there wasn't much to begin with and I almost gave up and put this in the silly romance pile. However, the second half of the book makes up for this and brings to the table all sorts of plots, betrayals, and blackmail.
Even though I didn't like the heroine, I did enjoy the book as a whole. It was a very quick, and fun read once Dominic was unmasked. You could also see the author pulling the strings of characters who will star in books to come. Although this wasn't a great read for me, I will still be looking out for the next book. Sometimes, the first book in a series is just ok, but the rest ends up being amazing. I can see that being the case here. Plus, I want to read a romance staring the Greystone brothers! They sound dreamy! Lucas' blonde hair and grey eyes, Jack's roguishly charming demeanor! Oh and, Dom's ex-fiance, Nadine, just so happens to be lonely and in need! There is definitely lots of potential for future great reads there. ...more
This book was well written, well played out, and I believe will be well loved by romance fans of all kinds. I'm sure there are many amnesia themed romances out there, but this was my first one and I really enjoyed it. I felt like this book really stood out from the masses of historical romance out there in that the characters were wonderfully developed and the circumstances keeping our heroine and hero apart were more realistically observed. There was no magic solution. Society doesn't just look the other way like they do in most historical romances. Georgia actually has to work and make sacrifices in order to be with the man she loves.
I loved the incorporation of classic literature. It completely endeared the hero to me that he woke up from his accident thinking he was Robinson Crusoe. I respected the hero. Once he got his memories back, he didn't have a miraculous change of character. He was the same basic person who happened to learn some lessons about life and love. He didn't delude himself that he could make the ton accept lower class Georgia. He didn't say "Oh, what the hell!" in the name of love. He unselfishly considers the ramifications it would have on Georgia's happiness and well being. This wonderful fact gave Georgia the opportunity to be one of the strongest heroines I have ever read. I was so proud of her by the end. She never swooned and got her way. Everything she got, she had to bust her butt for.
Aside from the main characters, the supporting characters were also well written and well loved. From the hilariously creepy neighbor suffering from a bought of unrequited love, to Georiga's rough and tumble son-in-law, I found myself loving every character in this book.
My only complaint is that the ending was rushed. The majority of the book was fleshed out perfectly, engaging readers in the lives and circumstances of the characters. Georgia's plan to inflitrate the ton was such a fun idea. I really thought it could have been its own book, but wouldn't have minded Marvale making her book a bit longer to incorporate more of how Georgia and Roderick deceive the ton together. I felt cheated out of that part of the book.
Recommendation: Get cozy, make your favorite beverage, and get ready for a romance read that will take you across the emotional spectrum and leave you cheering for a strong heroine. No wilting violets here!...more
Tess and Jack haven't seen each other for 10 years, but when her father's disappearance brings them back together again, they must overcome their turbulent past and join their roguish skills once again for the greater good. Will Black Jack be able to deny the fire that still lingers between them? Will Tess find the strength within herself to love him once more?
Much Ado About Rogues is the final installment in the Blackthorn Brother's series as Michaels has run out of brothers to write about! I have to admit, this series will not be added to my favorites list, however it still holds its own unique charm. I enjoyed reading about each of the bastard brothers and felt Michales wrapped up the series quite nicely, leaving no loose ends and offering a satisfying solution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these books, all are well written, witty, and charming; I merely feel they were an "ok" experience for me.
In this last book, we meet some new faces and get reunited with some old favorites. I couldn't force the silly grin off my face when Puck made his grand entrance. His infectious personality had me adoring him since the second book in the series and I felt he made a perfect fit within the plot of this book as well.
Our heroine Tess is a woman to be admired as she is no damsel in distress. We first meet her wearing buckskins and a linen shirt , looking very much like the lady rogue she is portrayed as. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and her subsequent training by her father and Jack. These were by far the most interesting portions of the book as I just couldn't get into the rest of the story for some odd reason. In all honesty this should have been the ideal story for me as the heroine is kick-ass, the hero is dark and broody, and it takes a sharp turn away from the traditional historical romance formula. All of these are usually elements for a sure fire winner in my book, but it just wasn't working for me this time and here's why.
Jack and Tess have been together before. They have already experienced those first heady moments of discovery with each other off the page and the excitement of the chase and the sparking of the flame just wasn't there for me. Sure they still have chemistry and they have definitely both matured since the last time they were together, but I honestly just didn't feel the heat between the two of them. The sex scenes felt very mechanical and been-there-done-that to me. I didn't get that great build up between the characters like I'm used to. Sure there was emotional tension between the two. They've been keeping secrets from each other for over 10 years, however the physical tension was just not there. I think I almost have to have this in a romance novel or else it just doesn't do it for me.
While this formula may not have worked for me, I think many historical romance lovers will find it does work for them. Jack and Tess are a well-matched pair and the adventurous nature of the plot sets readers up for an exciting ride. The part of the book that touched me the most though was the Blackthorn family's reunion and ultimate resolution of the tension between the brothers and their father. Michaels does a superb job emotionally involving her reader at this point and giving them the ending they didn't even realize was possible.
Overall an enjoyable read for historical romance lovers, but just ok for me. ...more
Allison Sekemoto has spent her life surviving day to day in the Fringe of New Covington, a sprawling vampire city. When she is ravaged by rabids, Kagawa's version of zombies, she is given a choice between death and becoming what she hates most.
This first book in the Blood of Eden series was a likeable read that fell a bit short of my expectations. The idea of mixing dsytopia with vampires caught my interest right away, but while The Immortal Rules is set in the future, it's dystopian aspects mirror another popular series a bit too closely. The beginning of this book is very similar to The Morgainville Vampires series by Rachel Caine. Vampires have contracted with humans to provide them with protection, food, and work in their cities in exchange for keeping the vamps supplied with blood. The exact same statement can be made for Caine's YA vampire series, except the vampires' power extends to the boundaries of the city of Morganville. There is also another key element to Kagawa's vampire lore that is also exactly the same in Caine's series, but it is a spoiler for both so I won't discuss it here. The likenesses between The Immortal Rules and The Morganville Vampires series will be painfully obvious to fans of the latter. This could have ruined the book for me, but thankfully the core structure of the dystopian element isn't the focus of the novel. The story Kagawa tells once Allison leaves the city is one worth reading.
Once Allison gets past New Covington, the story becomes more unique and enjoyable. She spends some time surviving in the outside world alone for a time, but it isn't long before Allison meets up with a wayward group looking for the legendary Eden, a sanctuary for humans devoid of vampires and the threats they bring. This was by far my favorite part of the book. Allison is constantly covering up her vampire nature as she tries to maintain her tenuous alliance with the people and their formidable "man of God" leader. I definitely bonded with these characters and experienced some heart-wrenching moments throughout their journey.
Allison is a breath of fresh air in the YA heroine category. She isn't your average sweet, but misunderstood, pretty princess. Allison begins her journey by becoming what she most hates and proceeds on a progressive and satisfying character arc. This girl is tough and often times stoic in her need to disguise her nature. The best part about her is there is not once an instance of whiny, pathetic damsel in distress syndrome! She is hardly perfect, but she soldiers on and doesn't rely on others to save the day. I'm looking forward to future books staring this badass, lone wolf heroine.
My only complaint about Allison? There is a scene at the beginning of the book that was so cliche I cringed. Allison's vampire sire asks her to pick a weapon from an abandoned museum and what does she pick without fail? Of course! the Asian girl picks a katana as her weapon of choice even though she has no identification with or knowledge of her Japanese heritage. Given, a katana is a generally perfect weapon of choice for any situation, I thought this was just way too obvious and was left shaking my head.
Finally, the book's version of zombies suffer from an unfortunate title. Rabids and rabidism remind me too much of Raving Rabbids.
I couldn't help but imagine a bunch of these crazy cute little guys every time the "rabids" appeared in the book, regardless of their vicious and frightening natures. This is obviously hardly the author's fault, it was just something that messed with my overall enjoyment.
The Final Verdict
The Immortal Rules is a decent start to a new and exciting dystopian series. While the painful similarities to The Morgainville Vampires series are unfortunate and a bit off-putting, the characters, running plot, and lethal heroine will keep readers coming back for more. This could be the start of something beautiful if Kagawa keeps up the excellent character writing and puts a more unique spin on her dystopian world.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for stating any of the above views. All opinions are my own. ...more
This was just ok for me. Nothing really special honestly. It just seems to be another drop in the historical romance bucket that has been dumped overThis was just ok for me. Nothing really special honestly. It just seems to be another drop in the historical romance bucket that has been dumped over my head this year. I enjoy historical romance very much, but so many of these books are the same. The plotlines, concepts, and scandals seem to meld together in one big gooey historical romance fondue pot, giving me the constant feeling I'm pretty sure I've dipped my bread in this cheese before. ...more
When I first started reading this, I was a bit put off by how rushed it felt. Much of the time the characters spend together is off page leaving weeks unaccounted for. I felt disoriented, almost like there wasn't enough thought put into the actual events of the book, but once I hit about a third of the way through, the story really opened up to me. Details about the world, the catastrophe it has suffered, and its characters are revealed slowly as Avry travels, a bit against her will, to heal a sick prince who could save the fifteen realms, but has left a scar on more than one aspect of Avry's life. Her traveling companions must convince her that Prince Ryne is worth saving, and worth giving up her own life for.
I was intrigued by the magic woven throughout Avry's world and ultimately how the rare healers came to be. The mystery of the Death and Peace Lillies kept me interested, and when I finally found out what they had to do with the overall plot, I was pretty impressed. Some aspects of this book were easy to anticipate, but I seem to get that with almost every book I read.
The thing that really makes or breaks a book for me are its characters and Snyder does not disappoint. Avry's band of misfits were so endearing, especially Poppa Bear. Their interactions with Avry and slow but satisfying development are what really invested me in this story.
What I genuinely appreciated about this book is that it wasn't focused on forcing the romance between Avry and Kerrick. It just fell into place while Snyder focused on the goal of saving the realms, introducing fantastic characters, and offering the reader a genuinely enjoyable experience. Although the book could have stood on it's own, I can say that I am truly looking forward to further installments of this series. ...more
Puck is quite literally a sexy bastard. Women want to bed him and men want to be him. However, after returning to London after a long stay in Paris, Puck finds the English are a bit more concerned with his bastard status than his Parisian fanbase.
Regina is the daughter of a status seeking merchant who intends to profit off of marrying her to a title. Only seen as a commodity by her father and left to fend for herself by her alcoholic mother, Regina just wants to have a little fun before she is sold off to the highest bidder.
This was a very quick and entertaining read. Puck was charming and completely lovable living up to his namesake nicely. His interactions with Regina were fun, but I felt she gave into him a bit easily. I was also irritated that she seemed to obey whatever he said without much of a fight. I like my heroines to be a bit spunky and not so easily attained, but I guess if my dad were about to sell me off like a horse I would run off with Puck in an instant too!
The two meet at a masquerade ball which was a bit cliche and common in these types of stories, however there was an interesting plot twist. Regina's cousin Miranda is kidnapped at the ball and she must find her with the help of Puck before Miranda is sold off into the sex slave trade. Pretty different for a historical romance, but still very predictable. If you don't catch on to who is behind it all almost immediately I will be surprised.
Recommended to romance and historical romance lovers. Fairly typical, but with a delightfully fun hero. Let's just say Puck will make you love life!
Beldon Stratten is the epitome of the perfect English gentleman and he just so happens to be in the market for a bride. He knows exactly what he wants, a perfectly proper English rose, that is, until Lilya Stefanov waltzes into his life and takes him for a wild ride. Liliya is the bearer of a rare diamond that many dangerous men would kill to get their hands on. Now Lilya must choose between protecting her family's legacy or embracing a happily-ever-after with the man she loves.
I don't feel like the title does this book justice. It suggests that Lilya is scandalous and improper. Her character is actually quite the opposite. She is sweet, intelligent, and courageous as she secretly protects her family's legacy from those who would use it to gain power. Of all the Harlequin titles I have read, Secret Life's heroine has to be my favorite. She was such a strong willed, unselfish model that I couldn't help but like her. Beldon's character came across like a weak cup of tea for most of the book, until near the end when he faces losing Lilya. He really steps up at this point in the story and takes charge of things. Beldon isn't the alpha male I usually enjoy, however he does have his sweet English charm.
The story is really what sets this book apart from others within the Harlequin-Historical lineup. The romance feels like it was built to fit around the story, instead of the story facilitating the romance, which was really nice. Many other books like this have left me feeling like the author created the situations in this story just to give the couple an excuse to get steamy. Scott manages to make every encounter between Lilya and Beldon feel spontaneous and realistic; loving and sultry as their relationship grows through the dangers hey encounter.
Overall, this was an engaging quick read with a memorable couple and a very sweet romance. You can pick up a copy for your reading pleasure September 6th. ...more
I was graciously provided with a copy for review by Netgalley for Harlequin. Having never read this series before with the exception of a short story, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book could easily be read on its own. I absolutely loved the setting, characters, and sultry situations the couple gets themselves into.
Bennedick Rohan is in the market for a new wife after the loss of his previous two to childbirth. He is also in the market for a mistress. Rohan knows what he wants, a subservient wife to provide him with an heir, and an adventurous mistress to please him in bed. When he meets Melsande Carstaris, widow and good Samaritan, he finds neither, and both.
I love the contrast of these two characters. Melisande is sweet and naively virginal to the pleasure of the flesh as her first marriage was to an elderly man. She spends her days helping former prostitutes find a better life for themselves by teaching them a trade and giving them a place to stay while they get on their feet... and off their backs. Sorry couldn't help it! Benedick has set out to dedicate himself to experiencing all the pleasure and depravity he can until he meets Melisande and finds himself annoyingly infatuated with her. These two are so different from each other that they are absolutely perfect together rattling off dry quips and finding themselves in compromising situations.
This was a great read. It really had it all, humor, romance, and a few thrills towards the end. I will most definitely be starting the series from the beginning so I can find out more about the Heavenly Host, a secret deviant society. I also am interested to read the stories of some of the couples briefly mentioned in this story. So I guess while I wait for the next installment to come out, (I hope it's about Brandon and Emma!), I will be catching up on what I missed out on! ...more
Sir Mark Turner is the very picture of respectability. He's the most eligible bachelor in London and a celebrity for writing his practical guide to chastity. Behind all the fame and fortune, Sir Mark longs to be seen as the man that he is, imperfect just like everyone else. When he meets fiery Jessica Farleigh, he gets just that; Jessica despises him for his fame and Mark is determined to make her like him. Behind her beautiful facade, Jessica has a secret, she is actually a courtesan tasked with seducing the virginal Sir Mark and ruining his reputation, but will she find love instead?
Unclaimed is an absolutely delightful twist on the tale of seduction in the 1800s. This time, the man is the virginal, innocent one and the woman is set on bedding him. This was very well written with a unique take on regency style historical romance. You will get your silk and scandal style romance fix with a few surprises. First off, there is so much depth behind both Mark and Jessica's tales. They have each suffered society's demands in their own ways and have survived their dark pasts.
All Jessica knows how to do is survive, but Mark shows her something completely different and it frightens her. I have to say I liked Jessica a lot. Have you ever noticed that the majority of characters named Jessica in literature and film are all either stupid, bitchy, slutty, or a combination of the three? I was so happy when I picked this book up and found a Jessica who is intelligent, courageous, and loyal. Yay! I finally have a literary Jessica I can look up to!
In summation, the passion between Mark and Jessica made chills run down my spine throughout most of the book and that's saying a lot as they don't actually do anything but kiss for 3/4 of the book! Their chemistry is smoldering and their shared painful pasts will make your heartache. A wonderful tale for any romance lover. ...more
While perusing the aisles of my favorite local used book store, I came across this one and picked it up because of the pretty cover, but bought it because the words "highland" and "rogue" appeared on it. Lately I've found I can't resist anything promising me a roguish alpha male with a Scottish accent and Highland Rogue, London Miss delivers a fairly decent portrayal.
The basic concept of this novel is finding out what happens when you take an opinionated, virtuously headstrong women, and a freewheeling handsome rogue and place them in a situation where they must pretend they are married. As you can imagine, it's a tough situation as it is, but then place them in 1800s England and Scotland and it becomes scandalously interesting.
The plot behind the romance is a bit weak and seems to be forced in order to set up steamy situations for our hero and heroine. Besides this flaw, it really is just a quick read with fun characters and decent love scenes built up with sexual tension fueled by what is or isn't proper. Don't get me wrong, that can be a great formula when it comes to 1800s romance, but it is only so-so in this particular case. ...more
I have been eagerly anticipating Pride & Passion ever since I finished its predicessor Seduction & Scandal this summer. The characters are endearing and the plot promises to always offer Masonic excitment. Charlotte Featherstone has quickly become one of my top authors to watch! Her smooth and scintilating way with words is sure to captivate and please readers of romance.
The Duke of Delicousness does not dissapoint! Adrian is absolutely wonderful and his back story connection with Lucy was so sweet and heart wrenching. This book focuses more on the romance between our hero and heroine more than the developing series plotline. I actually felt it was a bit lacking in that part. I got the sense that this was really a book written to bridge the series plot over to the next book. Not much happens here in the way of Masonic doings, but the romance between Sussex and Lucy makes up for it. I was actually pretty greatful to just sink into the romance and take a break from all the running around and investigating.
Pride & Passion leaves us with a cliffhanger that will leave fans of the series dying to get their hand son the next book. Temptation & Twilight which will be Elizabeth and Iian's story! I love me some highland rake and will finally get the chance to indulge when the next book comes out in July 2012!...more
Danika is on the run from the Lords. Bloodlust crazed Aeron, keeper of Wrath, has been tasked by the gods to slay her and her family. While split up from her grandmother, mom, and sister, Danika gets into trouble and is kidnapped by hunters. Reyes, who has come to desire her, and the other Lords rescue her and take her back to their fortress in Budapest. Reyes is the keeper of Pain, yet he desires to bring Danika her pleasure....
Reyes and Danika's story is, so far, my favorite in the series. You get to see that Reyes is actually a real sweetie and as a heroine, Danika is the best so far. If you are not familiar with the series, the main premise is that each Lord is possessed by one of the demons that was trapped inside of Pandora's box. Kind of a neat little idea there. I'm enjoying seeing how each Lord overcomes his own demon in order to be with the women he loves. One thing I really like about the LOTU series is that the Lords never have to change who they are at their core, the women they are paired off with always offset them perfectly and each partner in the couple makes the other a better person. Too many women and young girls are under the impression that they can find a sexy bad boy, and fix all his problems, by molding him into what they want. I think we need more fiction like this that enforces accepting and loving our partners for who they are, faults and all.
Reyes and Danika showcase this well in that, once Danika falls for him, she doesn't try to change Reyes' pleasure from pain self, she embraces it. I enjoyed the pull of attraction here that Danika struggles with. Who doesn't love a story about resisting your sexy enemy?
We also get a good look at what's happening with Paris in the background. His side story has been an interesting one, and i can't wait to see where it goes once I get to his book! Sabin makes some cameos here in preparation for the next book The Darkest Whisper, in which he is the star.
The core plot is pushed a bit farther, revealing one of the Artifacts of the gods, making for a very nervous Cronus, and the Lords are directed to Egypt! The next book should be lots of fun! ...more
Kathleen Strong is down on her luck and in need of a new job after false rumors ruin her career as a governess. The newly established Heavenly Host, a debauched mens club, offers to pay her well and send her home to England in exchange for her virginity. Handsome rake Alistiar Rohan, founder of the club, has a slightly different proposition for her, one that she can't refuse.
I read this in preperation for the ARC copy of Shameless I recieved from Netgalley. I haven't read the previous books in the series and wanted to get a feel for the world I would be stepping into. What better way than to read a short erotic prequel to the series?
This was very short, but well planned out unlike many other short stoires. There isn't much time to set up the characters and the situation, however Anne Stuart does a remarkable job pulling you in and not letting go until the end. I loved Alistair and Kathleen's characters and hope we see more of them in the full length stories. All in all, this was a fun, quick, sultry read that I would definitely reccommend. ...more
Finley Jayne, a young commoner girl, displays a serious case of the Jekyll and Hydes when she is attacked by the rakish son of her employer. Frightened by the violent darkness within her, Finley makes a run for it and is hit by a velocycle in Hyde Park. The operator just so happens to be His Grace the Duke of Greythorn, who has a habit of taking in peculiar strays. Finley soon finds herself in the midst of the grand scheming of the villainous Machinist and discovers the truth about her father and his shrouded past.
While I enjoyed my read of this book, there were a few things working against it that cost the book some serious points.
The first 30% of this book suffers from sluggish pacing. It really shouldn't take that long for me to get into a book, especially one with as much potential as this loosely based Jekyll and Hyde steampunk adventure. The idea is certainly appealing, but takes forever to get going. Once it finally does, the plot twists are so predictable and simplistic that I had the villain and his master plan figured out by the half-way point. Hinting is essential to peaking your reader's interest and keeping them engaged in your story's outcome, but such obvious foreshadowing dumbs the story down. To be perfectly honest it is downright condescending to your reader.
Now, I understand that steampunk is all about the crazy gadgets and technology mixed in with the delightful drama of Victorian era novels, and I love that. However, the first 30% of The Girl In The Steel Corset is over wrought with gadgets, tragic backgrounds, and special abilities. This portion of the novel was really just an info dump wrapped up in shiny gears and cogs that leaves the rest of the novel feeling rushed and empty. Most of the gadgets, back stories and abilities could have been woven throughout the bulk of the novel to make it feel more complete and leave a little mystery to the characters, rather than dumping it all in the reader's lap at the very beginning.
Even though these aspects meddled with my enjoyment, once I finally got to the meat of the story, I couldn't help but be caught up. The best things about this novel are its vibrant side characters and the admirable camaraderie they develop for one another. Although the plot of this novel didn't work for me overall, I definitely found I cared for the characters and looked forward to seeing what happens to them in the next book, which I hear is more satisfying than this one.
My favorite character was without question Jack Dandy. This sleekly charming crimelord stole my heart from the moment he stepped onto the page! Now, I'm not a fan of love triangles, but Jack made this one amusing rather than frustrating with his dark charisma perfectly setting off Griffin's more earnest gallantry. I really hope to see more of him in the next book.
One final thing. I couldn't decide whether the whole "mandroid" thing worked for or against this book. Sam, is referred to as a "mandroid" rather than a cyborg in a completely serious manner. This term sounds hilarious to me and the fact that it is said with absolute seriousness makes it even funnier. Nearly every person I related this to had the same thing to say, "Sounds like some kind of sex robot."
The Final Verdict The Girl in the Steel Corset is an attractive concept that gets messy in its execution, but still retains an endearing quality in its charming characters. The Steampunk Chronicles may very well be a series that suffers from the 'first book" syndrome. Giving the second book, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, a chance could be a good investment.
FTC Disclosure I purchased a copy of this book to read in preparation of my review for its sequel. I received no compensation for the views stated above. All opinions are my own. ...more
This second installment of the Study trilogy very much mirrors it's predecessor. In fact the whole experience of reading this book felt almost identical to my experience with Poison Study. The book is slow to start, a bit more so than the first book, and introduces quite a handful of new characters. Once I did get into the meat of the story though I got caught up pretty quickly and soared through large chunks of chapters at a time. Just like the first book, this was an overall enjoyable, adventurous read.
My problems with this book revolve around the great many times Yelena gets captured, beaten up, bullied, tortured, etc. I understand she has made herself an impressive following of enemies, however abduction isn't the only plot device there is to hammer this point home. You cannot base your entire story on and carry the plot solely on having your heroine abducted three to four times throughout the length of your book. It just gets annoying! Yelena is by no means a wimpy heroine! We know this girl can take care of herself! This stops being an exciting, "Oh no, Yelena!" moment the second time around. There are so many ways Snyder could have carried her plot. I guess she was just really feeling the whole "Yelena get's kidnapped by a disgruntled acquaintance" thing while writing Magic Study.
The other thing that really irked me was that Yelena seems to think she doesn't need anyone's help and can solve the world's problems all on her own. Even after being expressly told numerous times by Irys and her other magical superiors to ask them for help, she just surges on ahead alone constantly. This really isn't one of those things where you agree with the hero/heroine of the book and feel they are just being held back. No, Yelena is just being stupid half the time, continuously putting herself and others needlessly in danger. WTF Yelena? Help is literally a telepathic signal away and she just decides, "Nah! I got this!" By the end of the book, I was shaking my head and sighing. I have definitely lost some respect for Yelena because of this.
Something interesting I noticed throughout my read was that many of the magical elements of this story, including Poison Study, seem to appear in Snyder's new Healer series. The ability to heal a person by taking the damage onto your own body is the power of the heroine of the Healer series and also makes a substantial appearance in Magic Study. Snyder also used the same romantic development from Poison Study in Touch of Power. I just thought this was interesting as the comparisons are starting to pile up the more I read the Study series. Many authors use the same formulas in their books, but in this case, I was stuck by the more substantial resemblances. I guess what I'm trying to say here is I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but it definitely hasn't deterred me from continuing to read Snyder's books.
Even though there were two major things that got under my skin, Snyder again wowed me with her masterful world building, rich characters and strong narrative. Yelena's ability to connect telepathically with horses was another delightful addition to the mix, and an appearance of our favorite assassin does not disappoint! I look forward to wrapping up this series with Fire Study....more