While Joanna Bourne is a critically acclaimed author, and loved by many, I just don't think her style of romance is for me....more3.50 stars/2.75 sensuality
While Joanna Bourne is a critically acclaimed author, and loved by many, I just don't think her style of romance is for me. It took me 10 days to read a book when normally I can read a romance in three to four days. Just couldn't get into the story or excited enough about it to elicit any kind of reaction except for relief that I finished it :)(less)
This is the first book that I’ve read by author Kristin Miller, who has written a couple of books for Harlequin, but is also self publishing some of h...moreThis is the first book that I’ve read by author Kristin Miller, who has written a couple of books for Harlequin, but is also self publishing some of her own works.
The story begins with bold, independent, and self made successful business woman Elizabeth Scott dining first class aboard the Titanic next to Lady Isabelle. Our first impression of her is as a thief as she steals the silverware from the table, and then the clutch purse of her dining companion after befriending her. When an officer of the ship, our hero Thomas, notices what she has done he pursues her in order to arrest her for theft.
Thomas eventually catches her and then takes her to his cabin for questioning. Which is not at all what a by the books honest officer should do. Yet he does, and they quickly succumb to their mutual attraction and have intimate relations after knowing each other no more than a few hours (and that is being generous) even though she they are on opposite sides of the law. Keep in mind that this is 1912, not 2012.
This is where the first of my problems started. I had an extremely hard time understanding these characters and their motives, and why after so short an acquaintance we are to believe that their connection is one that is "worth dying for". The reader unfortunately learns very little about either Thomas or Elizabeth. We don’t know why each of them are on the ship for instance. Of course they are passengers, but what other reasons do they have? We are told that Elizabeth grew up poor which is supposedly the only reason why she steals from the rich and gives to the poor; a la Robin Hood. On the one hand, I can understand her desire to give back and help those less fortunate since she has become somewhat wealthy and successful (I’m guessing at that), but what I could never comprehend is why she felt that need to steal from others to accomplish that. Was there some experience in her past that compelled her to act so recklessly and carelessly towards both herself and others? Why didn’t she just give back from her own earnings if she felt that passionately about equality between classes. By not giving her own money (basically keeping and building her own wealth) isn’t that a bit contradictory?
Thomas is also a mysterious character. We are told basically nothing about him except that he is a police officer with a heart of gold, who’s honest and hardworking, and seems to be taken in by the beauty and the charm of a thief. Yet, he is able to quickly overcome his moral scruples to seduce the thief in his cabin? The only question he seemed to contemplate was, should he take the handcuffs off or not? He doesn’t, but does decide to let her go free of punishment. This just didn’t seem true to the even minimal portrayal of his character we are given. Is there a reason why he sympathizes with what she is trying to do? He is a man of the law and takes his duties seriously, but put a seductive woman in a tantalizing red dress in front of him and all is forgiven? It made Thomas seem manipulated by the seductress, especially when he pays back the money that Elizabeth stole from the noblewoman from his own pocket, rather than turn her in, even though it represented more than a month’s salary and most of all of the money he had been saving. I thought he was more foolish than gallant at that moment. If she could afford a first class ticket than why not force her to pay back the sum from her own monies, otherwise face criminal charges? I doubt she would have risked that no matter how devil may care she may be. Why?Why? Why do they do some of the things they do?
I think the author had an interesting premise and conflict between the two characters, but then squandered it by having Thomas, who at times comes off as a weak hero, and other times supremely heroic, let her go. Why not have Thomas really debate the decision of choosing a woman when the only thing he really knows about her is that she steals and is passionate and apparently not very selective in her sexual partners, vs his own moral code? The only answer I could come up with is that the ship is about to sink so there really isn’t time to explore the more interesting aspects of their relationship (if you can even really call it that). Elizabeth just comes off as selfish, despite her "altruistic" activities as a thief.
I felt that this story was more a vehicle for the author to write about her passion, the Titanic, than it was a love story that just so happened to have taken place on the Titanic. You learn very little about the characters, their motivations, or what could possibly have them acting on their attraction to each other considering the circumstances, let alone consider the “L” word (love). There were just too many contradictions and questions that are left more than just unanswered...more like unexplored, which was very disappointing.
When I first read about this book I was pretty excited to read it, after all who didn’t love the movie Titanic especially if this time you could have the happily ever after romance story too! But in the end, I think the author’s scope of a love story and the sinking of the Titanic, told in less than 20,000 words, was the demise of her own ship/short story “One Night to Remember” After all, it took James Cameron over 3 hours to tell his story (longer than it took me to read this e-book)...and his didn’t even have a happy ending :(
Overall 2.75 (Just too much missing from the story for me to get attached to the characters. I was more enthralled and emotionally attached to the sinking of the ship and the nameless passengers, than I was Elizabeth and Thomas...not a good thing. To top it all off, the formatting of the PDF I had was horrible, but I didn’t factor that into my overall rating)
Overall: 2.75 stars (Just too much missing from the story for me to get attached to the characters. I was more enthralled and emotionally attached to the sinking of the ship and the nameless passengers, than I was Elizabeth and Thomas...not a good thing. To top it all off, the formatting of the PDF I had was horrible, but I didn’t factor that into my overall rating)
Sensuality level: 3.25 (Two loves scenes which is surprising considering how short the book is, but then again the loves scenes are also brief with very little emotion...)
An ARC of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, and was initially reviewed for the Seductive Musings blog.(less)
Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea is the first book I’ve read by Sophia Nash and is it also the first book in her new historical romance Royal En...moreBetween the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea is the first book I’ve read by Sophia Nash and is it also the first book in her new historical romance Royal Entourage series.
The story begins with the heroine, Roxanne Vanderhaven, having fallen off of a cliff and hanging on for dear life, while her husband leaves to seek help....supposedly. But, as long minutes turn into torturous hours she realizes that her husband is not coming back for her; that he has left her to her fate....almost certain death. Just when she begins to contemplate her demise after some lighthearted reflections of her life, a stranger happens upon her dog, who much like Lassie, leads her hero to save her...just in the nick of time.
Her rescuer turns out to be the disgraced his Grace, the Duke of Kress, who has been banished from London by the Prince until he can redeem his reputation by marrying a young, respectable heiress.
I found Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea to be a bit at odds with itself, almost as if the story has a split personality. On the one hand it wants to be this fun light hearted witty romance where the hero and the heroine trade amusing barbs, dialogue, and banter, and eventually fall in love and have a happily ever after despite the seeming insurmountable circumstances. On the other hand you have a heroine who has been emotionally controlled, dominated, and ignored by her aristocratic husband who holds her fortune in higher esteem than her person. As is illustrated when he leaves her to her fate on the cliffside. As well as the addition of other potentially emotional and serious issues, that in normal circumstances would lead to character growth and a deeper connection between the reader that the story.
Roxanne’s husband, the Earl of Paxton, is cruel in a passive aggressive sort of way. After eight years of marriage, where she is isolated from her past and everyone that she loves and has become a person she no longer recognizes, where she feels that she has lost herself in her desperate attempts to please him and become a Countess worthy of her station and rise above her common “tin” birth. Because of this realization in the face of death, you would expect her character to have a re-birth or awakening...a new beginning, to celebrate her second chance at life, but surprisingly all she seems to do is play dress up, and hide and seek from her past life in order to plan a new one in Scotland. It’s as if she finds herself at a country party by a happy accident and just goes on with her life. I found this to be unbelievable and a little disturbing...that even if she didn’t love her husband (though it is intimated that she at one point did have feelings for him) that she would have stronger emotions surrounding his actions and her circumstances. Her. Husband. Tried. To. Kill. Her. for goodness sake! And all she could do while hanging on the cliffside, as gets closer and closer to death is kind of laugh it off ?
I don’t want to sound pessimistic and rain on the sunny day of this book, because there were parts of the story that I thought were unabashedly enjoyable. For instance, I loved the scenes where the Duke torments the Earl with practical jokes to exact a bit of revenge on him for trying to kill his wife. And the Duke’s Aunt is no holds barred fun. But with the story set up the way that it was...an attempted murder, an ex-French spy for Napolean turned English Duke, animosity between commoners and the nobility, and an actual murder, it can’t be all fun and games. But the heroine Roxanne, seems to just shrug it off and shows more emotion at the thought of trying to begin a new life with very little money and leaving her dog behind, than leaving the man she’s “falling in love”. Really? How are we supposed to believe in a love like that? These are some serious issues that the author introduced to the plot that deserve some emotion to make the characters, and the plot as a whole, feel like more than just a bit of frippery.
I read somewhere (I think it might have been the publisher's website) that they compared this book with the movie "The Hangover", but set in England’s Regency period. I think this explains a lot of why couldn’t like this book like many others have, because that is just not my sense of humor. And while the hero and the heroine do fall in love and get their happily ever after, the story was an emotional void. I found the marriage of these two improbable types of stories, a flippant diversion, as well as a story with unexplored deeper issues, to be a complete and utter mismatch. Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea is the case where opposites may attract, but they clearly don’t belong together. And while the premise of the Royal Entourage is intriguing, I don’t think I will be tempted to party with the Dukes again.
Overall: 3.00 stars (Clearly you either love this book, or you don't...I was kind of in the middle. Liking parts of the book separately for different reasons, but as a whole...it had more problems than good points.)
Sensuality level: 3.25
A copy of the book was provided via the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review. And was reviewed for the Seductive Musings blog.(less)
On the whole was your average, good romance. It's the heroine that really made this story more than a 3 star read. I enjoyed it, but the hero, which i...moreOn the whole was your average, good romance. It's the heroine that really made this story more than a 3 star read. I enjoyed it, but the hero, which is crucial in a story was almost just an accessory to the heroine's story.(less)