Um I usually love Jamie Samms but I feel like an alien took over her writing and this is the result. I’m struggling with this book pretty mightily andUm I usually love Jamie Samms but I feel like an alien took over her writing and this is the result. I’m struggling with this book pretty mightily and considering I’ve had a rash of bad luck with books I really don’t want to continue with this because I’m pretty confident it’s not getting any better. Then I’ll have invested a lot into a book I got no enjoyment or entertainment from. YMMV.
To start with I can’t believe that the plot got this far – I’m at page 100 – without someone pointing out the numerous inherent flaws. I worried that I was alone in my frustration and anger at the story until I skimmed reviews to see that thankfully others feel the same way. To start with the plot should be fine, if only it was executed well. Twin country music stars are being stalked and hire a bodyguard firm to keep them safe. Predictably twin one, the main stalkee, falls for said bodyguard and after much angst and sex, happiness ensues. Unfortunately I just can’t ride out the angst and I don’t like the couple anyway.
Initially I thought this book was a sequel since there are numerous references to something that happened to Bruce, but no one will say exactly what happened. Instead it was as if the reader should already know, from a previous book I thought, and the story wasn’t rehashing the information. Instead this is supposedly the first book so I don’t understand the need to refer to secret information constantly without giving the reader the details. It just annoyed me. Most likely a sequel will go into whatever happened to Bruce but I don’t think –this- book needed so many constant references when that information isn’t going to be offered, at least it wasn’t yet.
Furthermore, Gregor, the owner/lead bodyguard, is incompetent. There are so many holes and flaws in his “protection” that it’s not surprising the twin being stalked, Coby, is basically on his own the entire book. For starters someone breaks into his trailer because apparently Gregor only has 3 bodyguards, including himself, protecting this incredibly high profile music star. No one can be spared to watch the trailer apparently. So the stalker also gets the drop on the bodyguard and knocks him out with a two-by-four when of course no one but the bodyguard and Coby are around. Then the stalker gets away without anyone seeing him. No one calls the cops because why would they? No one apparently covers the post when Gregor goes to the bathroom either. It’s just left open for Coby to get assaulted. Then let’s discuss how a stalker gets close enough to gun down both twins, Coby and Bruce, but everyone tells Gregor it’s not his fault. The truth is … it IS his fault!
I started ranting about these circumstances almost immediately and then kind of went off the rails when Gregor has Coby walk down three flights of stairs in a hospital when he’s released from the hospital. Apparently some paperwork means the hospital will ignore their liability claims for someone famous. I get really annoyed at books when authors have to justify and explain something they know readers will dislike. Any reader will balk at Coby walking down stairs to an alley before being discharged but hey, the book explained it so it’s ok.
All of this was bad enough but honestly the BDSM stuff out of nowhere is where I really lost the book. Coby does not come across as submissive to me, at all. He feels overwhelmed because he’s being stalked and perhaps a little mentally slow, given that he sees music as colors nearly constantly, but not submissive. So this random scene where Gregor suddenly dominates Coby, fresh out of the hospital and still hurting, seems out of nowhere and simply, wrong. It feels wrong. Coby even says he thinks Gregor needs to dominate so he’ll give in.
Honestly it just all added up to a book I wasn’t enjoying and didn’t want to slog through to the end. I’m only a third of the way in and the thought of reading more depresses me sadly. I’m passing. ...more
I’ve come to the conclusion this series just isn’t for me. I never really connected to it and though I’m curious about what happens, I don’t actuallyI’ve come to the conclusion this series just isn’t for me. I never really connected to it and though I’m curious about what happens, I don’t actually want to read about these characters anymore. This installment fits very well with the series and it’s definitely well written. I just struggle to engage with the characters, as I dislike them all. This part turns up the heat on the relationship between Gabriel and Dorian and they go off in an entirely new and erotic direction. It remains to be seen how they will eventually fit together and what role Michael the ghost will play but the story is setting up all the elements.
This time Dorian receives a threat from an old, and thought dead, friend. Almost immediately Dorian is in trouble. This forces Gabriel to really acknowledge the truth he keeps hiding from himself. Dorian is not like other people, magic aside, and Gabriel finally has to come to grips with that information. Unfortunately Gabriel continues to play the innocent, naïve and frankly too stupid (in my opinion) character that grate on my nerves.
I accept and don’t actually mind the fact that Dorian is not meant to be a likeable character. He’s charismatic and likely evil. He’s not a good person, in just about every way. He’s selfish, self centered, whimsical, arrogant and egotistical. He plays people and doesn’t stop to think about other people and their choices. He reacts in very selfish ways, even when he’s attempting to do something nice for others; it comes from his own selfish emotions. He wants to protect the people he loves because he doesn’t want to feel guilty. Instead of allowing those people to make informed choices, he orders them about. Thus, I’m not bothered he’s unlikeable. It’s just that I don’t particularly care about him. He could die (for real) and I’d barely be moved.
Similarly I don’t really care for Gabriel. My feelings are more intense dislike for him than for Dorian and it’s to the point I actively wish him harm. He’s just too stupid for my taste. He ignores any kind of good sense, claiming sexual lust, but really when does that excuse become too weak? When does the sexual thrill wear off? It bothers me intensely that Gabriel doesn’t seem to make any of his own choices. He chose Dorian but after that he lets Dorian make the choices. He follows meekly wherever Dorian choses without any reason. I guess I don’t see the connection nor feel engaged in the couple to buy any sort of love (not that it’s been mentioned) and the sexual thrall doesn’t seem enough to compensate for all the real issues.
The writing is top-notch and that’s what got me through this installment, as I didn’t care for the mild BDSM scene due to my dislike of the characters. Those that have been enjoying this series will want to definitely keep up as the action is fast and furious and changes always happening. The development of the characters is slow but steady and the supporting cast is excellent. I may have liked the series if I could connect and engage with the main couple but they simply rub me the wrong way. Sadly not for me. ...more
I admit I chose this book due to the cover and thought it’d be a sweet historical. Well it is a sweet historical story with no real truth to the timefI admit I chose this book due to the cover and thought it’d be a sweet historical. Well it is a sweet historical story with no real truth to the timeframe except the utterly dry writing and bland, boring plot. I struggled to get through the first 100 pages and almost gave up several times before committing myself and getting through the book. The prose is wordy, awkward, and uninteresting while the characters are very classic stereotypes with only outside influences to create artificial tension. The book struggles significantly on how to keep the characters interesting while London society has no issues with homosexuals. Although the warning has said these stories specifically don’t deal with realistic historical repercussions, I found the obvious and overt support for their lifestyle to be over the top, even with the warning.
Loel Woodbine is a classic rake who is happy to spend his stipend lazily while whoring his way through the male population. His wealthy, dying aunt decides that Loel must get married to the daughter of an old family friend. Loel agrees easily and without qualm because he knows his aunt controls the money and this will ensure his inheritance while he can continue his sexual escapades on the side. Unfortunately the intended bride loves another and decides to send her identical twin brother, dressed as a woman, in her place. Well given Loel’s persuasion, he’s only too happy to keep the pretty, innocent young man around yet all around the two murder, chaos, and thievery abounds.
Here the characters start as very classic and familiar stereotypes. Loel is the rake who’s never been in love and can’t wait to ravish the innocent, virginal Valentine. Valentine has been raised by monks in the countryside and is completely gulliable and simplistic. Loel predictably falls in love immediately, proclaiming his love within a few chapters as the two immediately set upon deflowering Valentine’s virgin status. Everyone accepts the ruse of Valentine as a woman except one man who is determined to ruin both Loel and Valentine. The characters are staid and predictable from their declarations of love to their overly wordy dialogue. About halfway through the story, the characters take an abrupt change when Valentine starts to have a rapier wit, sharp tongue and clever intelligence that has been completely lacking up to that point. The sheltered young man who can barely speak without blushing is then exchanging bawdy comments, figuring out complicated schemes, and engaging in vigorous and frequent sex. The complete change in character is ridiculous and nothing is offered as the catalyst except sex. A few months of good sex erases 20 years of teaching.
Furthermore the story uses the antics of one villain, known early on in the story, to set up problem after problem for the happy couple. Each problem is presented causing the two to run off here or there with a great deal of sex and action. Then the problem is either ignored or forgotten until the very end with a somewhat ridiculous court scene. This final resolution wraps up all the problems with a predictable bow even as the antics of all involved are over the top. Here again all the consequences of homosexuality at that time are ignored, but that’s expected in the warning. However, I didn’t expect the story to go further and actually have almost everyone support and promote the lifestyle. There is not any question of hiding the relationship or a single disapproving person. Everyone encountered is either a closeted homosexual or understands how deeply the two men are in love and think it’s wonderful they are together. I would have preferred the story to stick to more historical lines and instead of adding a specific consequence, it could have at least kept the relationship somewhat quiet.
Unfortunately for me the biggest problem for the story, not counting poor characterization and a predictable plot, is the actual writing. The dialogue is awkward and overblown, trying very hard to be in a perceived historical style but ultimately delivers a dry, boring narration. The story is punctuated by never ending dialogue tags, which could be forgiven if the actual words weren't so awkward and unwieldly. The point of view changes arbitrarily from person to person and the prose choices jump from modern to antiquated. Often the sex scenes would be one long paragraph with no breaks until a sentence or two of dialogue and then back to one long paragraph.
Since the villain is told early, the story is really about the two men as they have sex and navigate the problems the villain sets for them. There is no tension about their relationship or what will happen, merely how they will find the time to chase said villain between bouts of sex. The character of Valentine is more entertaining once he’s started talking back and trading quips with Loel, but too often the story then throws yet another ridiculous, easily solved problem to give them something else to do. Valentine’s maturation and growth from a cloistered innocent man to a worldly, sophisticated man would have been much more interesting and compelling, even with such a common theme. The instant love between the men took away any potential conflict between them and thus relied on the one evil person to orchestrate the action in the book. Considering the villain is very flat without much to add complexity to the character, this ultimately ruined the story.
Although I didn’t find much redeeming about this offering if you think this sounds interesting and delightful, this book could be to your liking. The characters are familiar and the action common for a regency-type romance so perhaps those who like easy, breezy, predictable historical romances may find this book more fun than I did. Unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend this book, even with its beautiful cover. ...more
Vance Keith is a successful advertising executive in New York City and has been having a passionate, intense relationship with his latest lover, Jake.Vance Keith is a successful advertising executive in New York City and has been having a passionate, intense relationship with his latest lover, Jake. Jake and Vance have been sending cards, letters and gifts to each other through a messenger service, owned by Vance’s neighbor Dillion.
Jake and Vance break up after Jake takes a new job in LA, prompting Vance to send one last package to his now-ex lover, but it ends up on Dillion’s desk as undeliverable. Dillion uses this as a chance to meet the man he’s been fantasizing about since he started to voyeuristically watch Jake and Vance through his window into Vance’s apartment.
Dane’s strengths are clearly seen in the immediate chemistry and connection between Dillion and Vance and their interactions are engaging and interesting. Unfortunately, the plot involved some very loose supernatural elements as well as a quickie mystery involving Jake and Vance’s past.
Neither of these elements were needed and ended up being distracting to the main characters and the development of their relationship. The somewhat ambiguous timeline, where it was unclear how much time passes between events, lent a very unreal characteristic to the new budding relationship, which is unfortunate as both Vance and Dillion are attractive characters and their connection was evident.
Jake, Vance’s ex, was a troubling character as it was unclear if Dane intended him to be a selfish, uncaring lover who easily abandons his partner for a new job without consideration or a sympathetic, passionate, charismatic man who simply made a mistake and was later unable to rectify it. Dane seems to fluctuate between both jarringly leaving some confusion as to her true intent.
These problems aside, it was a quick, easy read with a nice pace. Dillion and Vance were likable and appealing characters lending a sizzling air to the holidays....more
I may write a full review but this was just really really bad. The first one was decent but now the plot is plodding and incredibly boring, the characI may write a full review but this was just really really bad. The first one was decent but now the plot is plodding and incredibly boring, the characters are idiots that literally do nothing. The plot twist is implausible - well the entire plot is - but the addition of the female character halfway through (trying not to give spoilers) is even more ridiculous. I like the concept but the execution wasn't there.