This novella was so much fun. Stubborn heroine, a hero based on the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (guh), arranged marriage,...moreThis novella was so much fun. Stubborn heroine, a hero based on the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (guh), arranged marriage, a meddlesome mother-in-law...
I loved it.
I wasn't thrilled that the hero was such a manslut, but hey, it fit the character (and honestly, wasn't as bad as it first seemed).
I finished the last page with a smile on my face, which was enough to earn it a 4.5/5 (less)
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A Author...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: April 17, 2012 Publisher: Samhain Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://haileyedwards.net/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the Author Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Araneae Nation Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
While I admit that I probably would’ve fared better had I had a map of the clans or perhaps a glossary with my copy, I absolutely adored this story. Had it not been for the multiple instances where poor Lourdes’ bosom was exposed to all and sundry, this would have been rated higher, but even with the abundance of that major pet peeve of mine, this was a very solid read.
The originality of the universe Ms. Edwards has created along with the multi-faceted characters grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. I know it sounds cliche, but I quite literally couldn’t put it down. Rhys is easily a favorite hero of mine, and the well-paced developing romance between him and Lourdes had just the right hint of steam.
Recommended for fans of dangerous (yet awesome) heroes, headstrong heroines, and fantasy adventure with just a dash of heat.
This one had such great potential, but the ending is what killed it for me.
I love arranged marriages in romance, especially when there are culture cla...moreThis one had such great potential, but the ending is what killed it for me.
I love arranged marriages in romance, especially when there are culture clashes, and this was no exception. D'Minicah is an alpha heroine, from a matriarchal world where men take what we would consider to be "stereotypical female" traits, such as being physically smaller and weaker, subservient, and something to be protected and cosseted. Toran, on the other hand, comes from a world that is the exact opposite -- women belong in the man's bed and are considered to be less intelligent and certainly not warriors.
Neither of them is looking forward to the marriage, and are surprised by the attraction and chemistry they have (when they're not at each others' throats, of course).
The frustration of the culture clash, of being forced into an intimate relationship with someone they hadn't chosen, and the angst of not only rejection, but of D'Minicah's realization that in marrying, she may legally be giving Toran far more power in their relationship than she'd anticipated, were wonderful.
However, the ending felt very rushed, and the ILY's came far too quickly to be believable. I think had the story had another maybe 50 or 100 pages or something, I would've felt as though these two could have reasonably reached the point where they were actually falling or fallen in love with each other. Instead, the almost abrupt appearance of emotions deeper than anger, rejection, and frustration, really pulled the final rating down.
Lighthearted, with an occasionally TSTL heroine, a hard-headed(but sweet) hero, just a pinch of heat, lots of hijinks, with enough heartache and angst...moreLighthearted, with an occasionally TSTL heroine, a hard-headed(but sweet) hero, just a pinch of heat, lots of hijinks, with enough heartache and angst to keep things interesting.
Princess Katharine of Austrich has always known that she was destine...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.com.
Princess Katharine of Austrich has always known that she was destined to have an arranged, political marriage. Having been seen as nothing more than a commodity by her cold father, she’s always striven for her every action to matter – attending parties brings rich tourists to her country, agreeing to a political marriage cements trade agreements and gives protection to her people, and remaining a virgin to appease the traditional rulers of other countries ensures that she always has a bargaining chip if the original agreement falls through. Cold blooded, true, but Katharine knows that since a female can never rule her country, she must do whatever is necessary to make sure that she can contribute in any way to the well-being of her people.
When her intended husband and his family are killed by insurgents of his country, leaving only the younger son Zahir to rule, Katharine is saddened by the loss but not heartbroken — after all, while she certainly liked Malik, theirs was by no means a love match.
Now several years later, with her father quickly approaching his deathbed and her younger brother too young to ascend the throne, Katharine must approach Malik’s younger brother and convince him to enter into a political marriage with her, or else her beloved country would be placed under the rule of a power-hungry man who would surely destroy everything her family has worked for.
Sheikh Zahir of Hajar is as reclusive as a monarch could ever be — choosing to address his people via radio from the security of his palace walls, and delegating whenever possible. Horribly scarred, both physically and emotionally, by the attack that took the lives of his entire family, Zahir has well earned his reputation as The Beast of Hajar.
When the lovely Katharine first approaches him with the idea of their marriage, Zahir expects her to flee in terror when faced with both his scars and his temper, but the beauty surprises him with both her tenacity and her pleas for him to think of the good of both their countries.
Reluctantly agreeing to a temporary marriage to protect Austrich until Katharine’s brother reaches the age at which he can legally rule, Zahir waits for Katharine to turn from him, but the infuriating woman not only refuses to be intimidated, but insists on trying to break him out of his self-imposed isolation.
Having agreed that their marriage will be a temporary one, both Zahir and Katharine soon discover a blistering attraction that has the power to leave them both burned…
Anyone who knows me already realizes that I am a Maisey Yates fangirl, so I pretty much fell over with joy when this arrived in the mail, and I was so happy to discover that it more than lived up to the hype.
Ms. Yates has such a talent for writing heroes who can be ruthless jerks and yet we readers cheerfully forgive them for their behavior because they’re so beautifully damaged. Zahir was absolutely delicious, even with his physical imperfections, and Katharine proved that even a perfect outer appearance doesn’t always protect one from internal scars.
Perfect for fans of tortured and scarred heroes, arranged marriages, and of finding that sometimes protecting those you care about just means loving them with all your heart.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2001 (Reprinted September 1, 2010) (Avail...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: June 1, 2001 (Reprinted September 1, 2010) (Available Now!) Publisher: Penguin Group Imprint: Jove Author’s Website: http://www.ameliagrey.com/ My Source for This Book: Amazon.com Part of a Series: No Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Steamy
Mirabella Whittingham is engaged to be married. Unfortunately, her would-be husband has been gone for six long years, making his fortune in the Americas. An arranged betrothal, she’s never actually met her wayward fiance, but overheard him speaking to her father years ago, saying that he would return for her when he was “old and gray”.
Mirabella’s best friend and cousin has quietly taken her own life after discovering that the man she thought she loved had discarded her and left her not only ruined, but also with child. Determined to find the vile man, Mirabella sets out on a personal quest to discover his identity. The only clue she has, however, is that the man in question has a thick scar on the right side of his neck — a part of a man’s body that no proper miss would ever have the opportunity to observe outside of marriage.
Having resigned herself to the fact that she will never have a chance to marry, especially not for love, she has little care for her reputation, and seeks out the culprit in the only way she knows how — by narrowing down a list of possible suspects based on clues from her friend’s diary, and allowing these gentlemen to kiss her in the garden. These chaste and occasionally distasteful kisses allow her to discreetly slip her finger inside of their cravats to see if they have the scar in question.
Meanwhile, her missing fiance finally returns to England. While initially intending to break off the match, Camden soon realizes that his family’s financial situation gives him little choice but to continue on as planned and marry the chit. Resigned to his fate, he approaches Mirabella’s uncle at a ball and request an introduction. Unfortunately, Camden’s timing could not be worse, for Mirabella is in the gardens with yet another suspected seducer, and is caught in a passionate embrace.
Disgusted by her behavior, Camden initially berates her, but Mirabella is unapologetic — after all, Camden has exposed her to gossip and ridicule for six long years with his absence, so if anyone should be explaining their behavior, it would be him.
The two soon agree to continue the pretense of a legitimate engagement, for not only would her reputation suffer if her engagement was broken so soon after Cam’s return to England, but his family is in debt and cannot risk having creditors panic with the realization that the money from Mirabella’s dowry will never materialize.
Undaunted, Mirabella vows to stop kissing gentlemen in gardens out of respect for Camden’s reputation, but refuses to stop her secret investigation into the man behind her friend’s suicide. But when she soon finds herself falling for Camden’s heated glances and delicious kisses, will the cost of her investigation finally be too much?
Overall, I found this one quite enjoyable. While it was a bit predictable at times, and honestly, Mirabella needed to be locked into her room for her own good on occasion, I couldn’t help but admire both her spirit and her courage. I also liked that Camden was willing to own up to his own mistakes, despite a bit of occasional arrogant male blustering, as well as the fact that both were willing to make sacrifices for their families.
In then end, this was a fast, fun, and tasty read, and I would highly suggest that fans of regency romances snag this one while it’s still free on Kindle.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Aut...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 19, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Mira Author’s Website: My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, The Three Graces Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Hot
This is my first "Tudor" historical that I've ever read, and I have to say, it was a nice change of pace.
Lady Isabel Milton has lived a life of relative security in a time where women are treated as both pawns and possessions. Following a series of coincidences, she and her friends have bandied about a tale of a curse supposedly afflicting her and her two sisters -- that any man married to them without love was destined to die.
Forced into an arranged marriage with a man who is far beneath her socially, Isabel is incredibly resentful of her new husband, but unfortunately, the alternative could be even worse.
Rand is baseborn, and befriended the king during the king's exile. In reward for his service to the crown, he's been awarded not only his biological father's land, but also the delectable Lady Isabel, whom he simply cannot wait to bed.
When their wedding is interrupted by charges of child murder, Isabel and Rand are taken before the king, where their marriage vows are completed and they await investigation into the charges. Reluctantly, Isabel gives into Rand's incredible sensuality, and finds not only great pleasure but true affection for her unwanted husband, and is stunned when a shocking turn of events causes Rand to be imprisoned in the Tower, leaving her impotent to avoid a fate that would not only cost Rand his life, but would also in turn ruin hers.
Overall, it was enjoyable. While I was a bit put off by how quickly Isabel's lust for her handsome husband overcame her qualms and reservations about the marriage, the storyline itself was absolutely captivating. The court intrigues, politics, and dangers, especially as concerns a woman in those times, were completely fascinating and kept me glued to the pages. Despite my dismay at Isabel's easy capitulation, I must be fair and say that the chemistry between Rand and Isabel was delicious, as were their various trysts. Ms. Blake managed to weave an incredible tale that beautifully balanced romance, lust, intrigue, mystery, and danger, and blended in some very interesting secondary characters as well.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harleq...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: Available Now! Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: Harlequin Presents Extra Author’s Website: http://www.maiseyyates.com/ My Source for This Book: eHarlequin Part of a Series: Yes, Kings of the Desert (sequel to An Accidental Birthright) Series Best Read in Order: Works well as a standalone. Steam Level: Hot
We met Princess Isabella very briefly in An Accidental Birthright, also released this month from Harlequin Presents. Raised knowing from a young age that love would play no part in the arranged marriage that she’d been groomed for since birth, Isabella has never known any freedom. From what to wear, where to go, what to eat, she’s never been allowed to make her own decisions. Two months before her arranged political marriage to a man she’s never even met, she escapes to Paris, desperate for even the smallest taste of freedom and a chance to discover who she really is before falling back into a role that dictates she live to please everyone but herself.
Her freedom is very shortlived, however, when the sexy Adham appears on her hotel doorstep, sent by her sheikh fiancée to retrieve her before she can cause a scandal that will shame him and put their political alliance at risk. Adham wants absolutely nothing to do with the spoiled principessa, whose “poor little rich girl” attitude makes his blood boil. Unfortunately for Adham, it’s not only anger that he feels for the runaway princess, but also a fierce attraction that he must fight, for she is destined for his brother…
As with any Harlequin Presents, there’s a lot of avoidable angst, but I really do love a Poor Little Rich Girl story. Add to that Adham, with his intense code of personal honor and his struggles to avoid falling in love with her, and I was in melodrama heaven.
This is only the second Maisey Yates book that I have read, but from my experience with both this and An Accidental Birthright, I can confidently say that I will be reading more of her in the future. A very cheerful 5/5 Stars, highly recommended for fans of Sheikh HP novels.(less)
Lovers of steamy romances may wish to pass this one by. While I wouldn’t...moreThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Lovers of steamy romances may wish to pass this one by. While I wouldn’t qualify it as YA by any means, as there is some third-base action that is rather skimmed over, there is no actual consummation.
Overall, this was a rather average, albeit enjoyable, read. Once I warmed up to Prudence a bit, it turned out to be a decent read. Despite Cate’s unfortunate name, he was a good, honest man who managed to be endearing without being a total Mary Sue. While at first it looked as though there wasn’t going to be much to base their relationship on past their first stolen kiss, they both gradually began to warm to each other and find a sweet love together.
I'll be honest. I had this book for quite some time before I actually finished it. Even though the premise appealed to me, I had a hard time getting into it, especially at first. I'm not certain if I was simply not in the mood for historical erotica, or if it was something about the writing that put me off, but this is probably the longest it's ever taken me to review a book in years. However, once I got into it, I was pleasantly surprised.
Sacred Vows by Amanda McIntyre - 2.5 Stars
I had a hard time getting into this one. To be fair, it was the first book in the anthology, and as such, had to set up both the mythology of the Garden, as well as stand as its own story.
Overall, I hate to say it, but I really wasn't very impressed. I did like the author's writing style, and the love scenes were very tasty, but I never really connected with the characters themselves. I think my biggest problem may have been that I simply wasn't into the time period, or the conflict between English and Gaelic at that time. Unfortunately though, even though I enjoyed the writing style, since I wasn't really able to get into this one, I have to say 2.5/5
Perfumed Pleasure by Charlotte Featherstone - 4 Stars
I enjoyed this story much more than the first one. Charlotte Featherstone has such an amazingly lush writing style. All of her works that I've read are so earthy and rich, and the chemistry and angst between her main characters are always incredible.
Between the forced betrothal to Edward, and Joscelyn's scars and feelings of unworthiness, the romance felt the strongest and the love scenes were delightfully erotic without being crude. 4/5 Stars
Rites of Passion by Kristi Astor - 5 Stars
I can honestly say that this one was my favorite of the entire book. I'd not read any works by Kristi Astor before, but I can confidently say that this one will not be my last.
While this book as a whole got off to quite a shaky start for me, once I got into it, I was very pleasantly surprised with just how much I enjoyed it overall. All three stories were very hot, and I thoroughly enjoyed the recurring theme of the May Queen and the Green Man in the garden. Even though the first story wasn't really my cuppa tea, the next two more than made up for it, settling in for 4/5 Stars overall.(less)
The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously await...more The year is 1902, and Winnifred Percy is tired of being the proper, polite, boring daughter of a prominent New York City family. She's anxiously awaiting her 21st birthday, still two years off, when she will gain access to a trust fund that will finally allow her to live. She wants to travel the world, have an adventure, and most decidedly not turn into her boring, staid, proper mother.
All of those dreams are shattered when it's announced that her father has sold her into marriage to an English Earl she's only met once -- without even asking her!
It's simply too much to be borne, so Winnifred hatches a plan to shock the Earl's sensibilities so that he won't have her!
Unfortunately for her, Sir David Knightsbridge, Earl of Wolshingham, desperately needs her money to pull the family estates back from the bankruptcy his scapegrace father has almost forced them into. When Winn tries to shock the Earl, he informs her in no uncertain terms that even if she is the whore she is acting like, there's no escaping the bargain made between David and her father, so she'd better get used to it!
Realizing her plan is foiled, she reveals that she was only trying to drive him away, and that her biggest fears are turning into a Proper Society Matron like her mother. David, however, surprises her by encouraging her to enjoy life, so long as he's the one by her side when she does it.
Just when the young lovers think that things will work themselves out, gossip turns to scandal, threatening to ruin the love they've only just begun to discover.
What worked for me: *I'm a big fan of arranged marriages in romance. Something about being forced to be together and yet working things out for a happy ending greatly appeals to me.
*I adored Margaret. :D
*I liked that Winn's father was very much in love with his wife, and never partook of the pleasures offered at the brothel run by one of his biggest clients. That was quite refreshing, especially since he was one of the "bad guys" so to speak in the story.
*I literally laughed out loud when Winn read the naughty French diary to David while her mother was in the room (never fear -- her mother couldn't understand a word of French)
What didn't work for me:
*I'm not a big fan of crude sexual language in my romance, even in erotic romance. It's just not my thing. Kitty cats, roosters, words that rhyme with "punt" all abound in this story, and I personally could've done without it.
*I really did not like David in the beginning. He comes across less like an "alpha male" and more like a big bully. I don't like when heroes grope the heroine the first time they meet, especially when it's a case of asserting their authority rather than both of them being overcome with lust.
My view of him did change, however, as he began to become entranced by Winn and when he decided that he wanted her to be happy with him.
*There was at least one (I say two, really) Too Stupid To Live moments that really annoyed me. The first is how one of the rumors got started and the last was right before the end.
Overall, I was quite pleased with the story. It was a fun time period to be set in, what with Coney Island, "horseless carriages", and crank telephones. I haven't read many stories set during this time period and found it to be quite enjoyable. As I mentioned, I could've done without David's initial bullying, and without the crude language, but I did feel as though the characters were well-developed and that there was genuine caring and chemistry between them, especially towards the end.
Another typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as wel...moreAnother typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as well as pretty much every hero from the "Born In" series under the Kenyon name, and so forth.
Did that stop me from enjoying it? Of course not lol I'm a Kenyon/Macgregor/etc. fangirl, so of course I eat that crap up with a spoon ;) It can get overwhelming if you've decided to glom her writing though, so I find they're better read with a few other books in between.
What worked for me: *I actually went back and forth on whether this was a pro or con for me, and settled on pro -- I like how our heroine didn't really fight the marriage to Sin past the inital "WTF you can't tell me who I have to marry!" reaction *Two words: Virgin Hero :D *This was a heavy book, what with all of the mess Sin had gone through, but it had a lot of hidden humor that rather took me by surprise
What didn't work for me: *Did NOT like the epilogue -- I found it hard to believe and just too bloody "tidy" for my tastes.
Overall? A very angsty read with a lot of references to lifelong rejection and abuse, but with a sweet love story and just enough "intrigue" to keep things interesting. Solid 4 Stars(less)
"Beauty and the Brute" by Virginia Henley *** Not really my cuppa. 13 year old (rather plain) girl and 18 year old (rather asshatty) boy are forced to...more"Beauty and the Brute" by Virginia Henley *** Not really my cuppa. 13 year old (rather plain) girl and 18 year old (rather asshatty) boy are forced to marry in an arranged marriage that is to be "a marriage in name only", then she's to go to finishing school and he's to go on a Grand Tour of the Continent. They absolutely despise each other on sight and are quite nasty to each other in the very short time they know each other.
Three years pass and she's turned into a gorgeous (of course), refined young lady (who still hates her husband of course) and he's grown into a (hunky) man with a conscience and who, thankfully, seems to have reformed his nasty ways (and again, thankfully, doesn't seem to have spent his entire Grand Tour whoring it up -- I despise that sort of thing btw).
He comes back to London and sees her, not knowing she's actually his wife, and is immediately in love lust with his estranged wife. She, on the other hand, still hates him and wants revenge, and plans on making him fall in love with her so she can then toss him aside and let him feel some of the hurt and humiliation he dealt her when they first met.
Now, remember, she's 16 and he's 21. That right there is the first strike against them in my book. Yes, yes, that's common in those days and she's probably lucky he didn't demand to consummate the marriage at age 13, and blah blah blah but still. Yuck.
Second, there was a LOT of "cock" and "mons" talk that really threw me off, because for some reason I wasn't really expecting more than maybe a "rod" or "secret place" reference lol Totally my bad, but still, threw me off.
Third, the revenge bit just seemed ridiculous to me. I get that she's 16 and has been pissed off for three years, but I can't help but feel as though she should've just refused to let him share her bed rather than screw his brains out and then be all like "I don't want anything to do with you and was just waiting for you to say you loved me so I could rebuff you and make you feel stupid. So nah."
Yeah, like I said, just not my cuppa. Three Stars
"How to Seduce a Wife" by Kate Pearce ***** This story was SO familiar -- has it been published elsewhere before? I swear to you I've read the whole "pirate fantasy at a brothel" thing between a husband and wife.
I think this was my favorite of the three stories.
Hero and heroine have been married not quite a year, and the hero's dad was a total womanizing/gambling ASSHAT, so despite the fact the hero used to be a hoar himself, he's 100% reformed his ways and become boring as hell very respectful, especially where it concerns his wife and the marriage bed.
She, on the other hand, thought that marrying a man with a reputation like his (that is, one of a total man hoar), would be delightful, especially in regards to the marriage bed.
So the story opens with our hero preparing to very politely visit his wife's bed (having already let her know ahead of time, because, like I said, he's super stuffy and boring considerate like that). Only, things don't go as planned, for when he enters her room, he finds that not only is she not ready to receive him, but she's deep into a gothic novel (where a dastardly pirate is about to ravish the innocent lady HEY-O!) and is quite frankly a bit annoyed at being interrupted.
The conversation that follows is not only hilarious, but REALISTIC to me -- I can easily imagine during those times, a woman who entered a marriage with a man of a certain reputation with the ladies, being a bit disappointed at the lack of enthusiasm and enjoyment to be found in the marriage bed. I mean, c'mon ladies, if you married a man who known for his sexual prowess, and he never even bothered to disrobe you or engage in ANY foreplay, wouldn't you be put out (hehe pun intended)?
So presented with the revelation that his Wife is also a *gasp* Woman, our hero sets out to seduce and please her, even going so far as to take her to a bawdy house where they can engage in the pirate/lady fantasy straight out of her favorite gothic novel.
LOVED this story, even if there was the slight squick factor in being taken to a "pleasure house" that your husband used to frequent before you got married (IDK, that just woulda bugged me -- even knowing he had "a reputation", I don't think I'd want it rubbed in my face that he used to go to these places, but that's just me). 5 Stars
"Not Quite a Courtesan" by Maggie Robinson **** Not as good as "How To Seduce A Wife", it was still a good story.
Our heroine is a buttoned up, older (late twenties) widow, who'd had a VERY bad experience with a fortune hunter -- in trying to escape her oppressive life, she ran off and eloped at a young age with a fortune hunter, who was not only lousy in bed, but who also ended up getting himself killed climbing out of his mistress' window (and having been shot by the irate husband).
Her young cousin has eloped with a young scoundrel fortune hunter, and while Pru (our heroine) is desperately trying to protect her, it seems that nobody wants her help or even wants her around (ungrateful chit).
The fortune hunter's brother is a dealer in erotic antiquities, which result in some absolutely hilarious discourse, and there's a ruby ring made to look like a vajayjay and an ivory dildo, hay fever, and just a lot of fun all around. Very enjoyable story. Solid 4 Stars
So, overall rating for the anthology? I say 4 Stars. I could've completely skipped the first, but the second and third make it a worthwhile read.(less)
I swear I have no words, but dangit I'm going to try!
This book has a little bit of everything. There's steampunk, romance (the heartfelt kind, not the...moreI swear I have no words, but dangit I'm going to try!
This book has a little bit of everything. There's steampunk, romance (the heartfelt kind, not the steamy kind), swashbuckling adventure, horror (complete with gore), politics, religion, family issues, intrigue, betrayal, all wrapped up int a giant ball of awesomeness.
What worked for me:
*The whole secret identity of Greyfriar. I actually had a hard time deciding who I liked better -- "Greyfriar" or his alter-ego, (view spoiler)[Prince Gareth (hide spoiler)].
*The "sex talk" had me rolling, yet oddly disappointed that it wasn't discussed further :P I'm truly dying to learn more about the physiology and culture of the vampires. Which brings me to
*The vampires. I. LOVED. how they managed to put a new spin on the "same old same old" vampire stories. Some of our commonly accepted vampire lore is fact (such as vampires being able to fly), some is only based on fact (such as the idea of vampires being unable to tolerate sunlight -- this is true, only not because they turn to ash; rather because they simply function better in colder temperatures), and some is purely fiction (such as vampires not having a reflection in a mirror). It kept things fresh while still appealing to fans of the "original" vampire mythologies.
*The romance -- for once, I loved the fact that the "romance" wasn't in the forefront of the whole story. The Greyfriar is NOT about the blossoming affection between the hero and heroine, but rather is about this incredible world perched on the cusp of a terrible war, the nasty politics and prejudices boiling behind the scenes, and a small resistance desperately trying to set things straight. And yet, even with all of that, the romance felt REAL -- it was a slow build of affection, set back by betrayal and mistrust, but ultimately culminating in a love (rather than lust and chemistry) that I as a reader could actually feel.
*I love the cats. :D
*I really enjoyed watching Adele mature throughout the story, as her prejudices and preconceptions were constantly both reaffirmed and destroyed.
*I admit, I like Flay, despite the fact she's one of The Bad Guys.
*The "Steampunk" elements felt natural rather than being forced or simply used as window dressing to ride the wave of popularity that the genre is currently enjoying. It wasn't the "Victorian England only with automata and aviator goggles" feel that a lot of steampunk has -- this is a war-ravaged people with a whole different set of technology. Yes, there's steam engines, and yes there are airships (and even goggles lol) but there's also a strong emphasis on chemical weapons rather than clockwork. It's a VERY refreshing twist to the genre.
*I also liked that even though this is OBVIOUSLY the setup for a series, it didn't feel bogged down with all the extra baggage that typically comes with pilot novels, AND more importantly, it ended at a satisfactory place. Yes, I will preorder the next novel just as soon as it becomes available to do so. However, I'm not left screaming my dismay at even a partial cliff-hanger ending, which is nice.
What didn't work for me:
*The fact that the rest of the series isn't out yet! GAH!
*The writing got a little odd at times.. Not "bad", just.. odd.. It was in third person, so it would refer to Adele by her name (as in, "Adele walked to the window."), but then it would turn around and refer to her as "the princess" or "the young woman" or whatever, which got a bit confusing at times.
*The price. $10 on kindle is outside of my normal purchase range -- as a matter of principal I tend to stick to my $6.99 price points unless it's an author that I've read and enjoyed previously. All I can say is THANK HEAVENS FOR AMAZON GIFT CARDS because that's the only reason I bit the bullet on this one and trust me, this is one purchase I can honestly say is worth the extra.
Overall? This one gets the honor of going on my Yes It's Really THAT Good shelf -- I would give this one WAY more than 5 Stars if it was possible.
lol How's THAT for "having no words"?? :P["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
**spoiler alert** I'll be honest -- this was a very boring book. Both the hero and the heroine are so perfect it's disgusting -- they're both loving,...more**spoiler alert** I'll be honest -- this was a very boring book. Both the hero and the heroine are so perfect it's disgusting -- they're both loving, giving, completely understanding, devoted to each other even though they just met, blah blah blah. Neither one of them felt "real" -- even the nicest, most Christian people I've met in real life still have uncharitable moments or times of anger or complaints, but not Mary and Dave, and this left them feeling like such paragons that you wanted to nominate them for sainthood rather than continue reading their escapades.
The romance scenes felt forced and technical, with pretty much no sizzle at all...
There was no angst outside of the reminiscing about how "plain" or "ugly" the heroine supposedly was, and then the initial meeting with Neil where he was cruel to Mary (and even then, Perfect Mary just let him off the hook with nary a sniffle or indignant remark).
Even the climax where she's kidnapped felt like watered-down soup, with the villain completely non-threatening and non-confrontational. He lets her go without any sort of confrontation or excitement, just a "well shucks I thought about it and I guess what I'm doing is wrong" type of thing! It's actually a bit ridiculous.
The plot summary had such potential, but in execution, it fell very very flat.
1 1/2 stars only because I always feel bad giving a single star to self-published authors. (Sorry) (less)
I feel like it had a lot more potential than was developed, though that could simply be a matter of m...more**spoiler alert** Didn't love it, didn't hate it.
I feel like it had a lot more potential than was developed, though that could simply be a matter of my tastes not matching the writing style.
I enjoyed the angst of having everyone manipulate Carrie's life -- I could imagine how utterly helpless she had to feel, especially with all the gossip going on in town.
Justin, however, was too perfect. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't looking for a "bodice ripper" story or anything, but he just seemed so.... weak? He was very non-confrontational, and honestly came off a bit whiny to me..
I find it a bit ridiculous that every unmarried character in the story was a virgin.. Okay so they're virtuous and Christian. I get that. But even the 40 year old uncle was still a virgin. I just don't find that realistic at all, especially since it was turn-of-the-century South where, while illegal, houses of ill repute were common. I would've been able to more easily let that slide had it just been the hero who'd never lain with a woman.
Also, despite the fact that everyone was a virgin, and these were supposedly upper-class anglos, it seemed like every time you turned around, people were making very blatantly sexual comments -- her brother even went so far as to tell Carrie that he would send her some chocolate since chocolate has been known to increase sexual desire -- and this conversation occurred at the dinner table in the middle of a party!!
Carrie also forgave everyone way too easily in my opinion.. Not only did everyone conspire to force her to marry Justin, but her best friend betrayed her with the man she'd just started courting (before the whole Justin thing), how Justin was constantly cancelling their engagements at the last minute due to business (whether it was in his control or not), and her brother freaking bust up in her house and tied her to the bed and told her she'd have to stay there until she had sex with Justin! *shakes head* And yet, she just laughed everything off and went on like nothing had ever happened.
Overall, it was a very easy, light read. I didn't find it as humorous as I think it was intended to be, though, and instead felt as though the characters were all pretty flat and, well, not very interesting.
I just feel like there was so much more potential than was actually fulfilled. Everything that happened could've been so much more meaningful had Carrie shown signs of being more upset about the way everyone (including Justin) was treating her, because then as a reader I would've felt that Carrie and Justin really did fall in love. As it was, they were together a week or two and she just decided she loved him despite the utter unfairness of the whole situation. It would've been a more satisfying read had she resisted a bit longer, or Justin had been less "perfect" and more realistic (occasionally showing anger, frustration, or really anything other than mild lust and disappointment)..
The one explicitly sexual interlude felt out of place with the rest of the book as well. Sure, Justin had kissed Carrie several times up to this point, but all of a sudden there's some very explicit third base action going on, sliding right into home. As much as I love me some smut, I prefer when sexual situations match the tone of the rest of the story. I really feel as though a PG or "fade to black" situation would've fit much better in this story. Instead of feeling as though their love was being gloriously celebrated by their consummation, I felt as though I'd been watching a Disney movie that had a naked chick thrown in to make it more "hip" or something.
I have nothing against the presence of children or babies in my romances. In fact, I can think of several stories off the top of...moreHonestly? I'm annoyed.
I have nothing against the presence of children or babies in my romances. In fact, I can think of several stories off the top of my head that feature children or babies as major characters that ended up in my favorites pile.
However, there's nothing to indicate that an infant plays a big role in this story, and yet, he does.
At the very beginning, we find out that our hero has fathered a bastard son with a whore (who has subsequently died), and he, instead of claiming the child as his rightful son, tells everyone that he "found" the child. He doesn't even name the boy!
Don't get me wrong -- I understand his motivation for these actions, and would think many other readers would as well.
However, I would've liked to have known going in that he had an infant son because that completely changes the story dynamics, and transforms it into something distinctly other than what I'd set out to read.
Overall, however, it's not a bad story. It did drag at times, since by the middle, pretty much all the major players knew the other major players' secrets, but thought that their secrets were safe. The whole thing ended up being one giant cluster****.
Not to mention there's the sudden appearance of Gavin, and the kind of "secret" identity of the bounty hunter..
Overall it was alright. If you can pick it up used or at the library, it's not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
Very typical of Michele Hauf's novels, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
Personally, it just didn't do it for...moreVery typical of Michele Hauf's novels, which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
Personally, it just didn't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, the love story was great, and the us vs. them mentality that they ended up with was just delicious.
I just had a lot of trouble identifying with our heroine. A supah hottie werewolf princess with an attitude problem, a psycho ex-boyfriend, and a penchant for colorful wigs -- not really my thing.
Had everything that all the Hauf novels I've read have had -- starcrossed lovers, tons of (annoying) grudges being held by pretty much everyone, wild sex with shape shifters and/or magick all over the place, a good chunk (no pun intended) of violence, and at least one TSTL moment.
Overall not a bad way to pass an afternoon, but I'll likely pass it on rather than keep it.
But, I've had friends on my back to give her a second chance, and since this was short (it really felt like a novella not a novel), I figured I'd give it a go.
It was short and sweet. No villain or anything trite like that -- just a very straight forward, mildly angsty love story.
There's a distinct "twist" but I had it figured out in the first third of the book, so no real surprises, though it did make me smile nonetheless.
I will likely pick up another book or two and see if my dislike for her as an author came strictly from disliking a specific plot vs her writing (any recommendations? feel free to leave them in the comments!)
**spoiler alert** I'm mildly ashamed to admit that I liked this book lol
First things first, let's get the major point of contention out of the way.
The...more**spoiler alert** I'm mildly ashamed to admit that I liked this book lol
First things first, let's get the major point of contention out of the way.
Their first sexual encounter, if not strictly "rape", was most definitely "dubious consent"... Honestly I'm leaning towards the "rape" designation, as seen in my keywords. He doesn't physically force her, but when a man tells you to get naked and get in the bed or else he'll have his men come and forcibly undress you, that's rape.
I still liked the book *hangs head in shame*
It was nice to find out that while Alex hadn't been a saint, that a lot of his previous reputation was exaggerated, and it was plain to see that he was actually devoted to Natasha...
Of course, it earned a spot on my notorious "oh noes u saw me nekkid" shelf, which is, as some of you may know, a pet peeve of mine... I can't stand when a hero sees a heroine naked without her knowledge or consent -- drives me bonkers but it seems to be so popular in romances for some reason. Get a clue authors -- that's not sexy!
*clears throat* Er. Sorry. Soapbox issue and all that..
Anyway, Natasha earned a place on the TSTL shelf because she actually went along with her brothers' scheme to begin with *facepalm* Yeah sooooo wouldn't have happened in real life, but hey, it's an HP -- that's why we read them, true?
And yeah, I guessed what the sister's deal was waaaaaaaay back in the beginning, though I didn't have the specifics quite worked out in my head.
Yes, it was contrived. Yes, it was melodramatic, and yes, the ending was way too neat and pretty, but that's all part of being an HP. You wouldn't read them if you didn't enjoy a bit of a literary soap opera, now would you? :D
So despite all the negatives, I have to say that overall it was an enjoyable read.