I loved the idea that Selah was unable to deny healing to anyone who asked, even if it was to her own detriment. Combine that with the fact that she h I loved the idea that Selah was unable to deny healing to anyone who asked, even if it was to her own detriment. Combine that with the fact that she had to keep her powers a secret out of necessity, and that made for some very interesting situations.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the tangled web that Selah wove when she first thought up the deception of having Henry pose as Samuel. Henry wasn't some pushover, and he wasn't always on board with keeping up the pretense of being someone that he wasn't.
When I started this story, though, I didn't realize that this was a "sweet" or New Adult romance, and I admit, I was a bit disappointed that the strong chemistry between Selah and her new husband was never actually consummated. I was also very disappointed that while we got hints as to Selah and Henry's future in England, we never really got a full-on Happily Ever After for them. I'm not sure as to whether this is because the story was intentionally left open for a sequel, or if the author felt that the ending was sufficient, but either way, it left the ending far to vague for my tastes.
Despite these things, I still enjoyed this story, though the open-ended way that it closed did bring down my enjoyment as I turned to the last page.
In the end though, this was an entertaining way to pass an evening, and recommended for fans of magic, false marriage, and good chemistry.
This book was a wonderful blend of actions and angst, and a perfect addition to the St. Croix series.
It’s been a long time coming, but Cherry’s addictThis book was a wonderful blend of actions and angst, and a perfect addition to the St. Croix series.
It’s been a long time coming, but Cherry’s addiction to opium finally brought her to rock bottom in the last book, and the painful journey towards recovery wasn’t always easy to witness, but really brought out another side of her character. The title itself is perfect, because to temper steel — that is, make it stronger — you have to heat it and cool it to extremes, and that’s exactly what happens to Cherry in this book. She’s knocked down, raised high, and forged into something stronger than she was before.
Honestly the only thing I didn’t really care for about this book was that Cherry has sex with someone who is not her Happily Ever After. I know, I know, that sounds awful, and to make it even worse (or better?), it was hot. I just prefer that when reading romance, when a couple has sex (especially hot, angry sex — guh!), it’s because they’re going to end up together. Not judging or anything, it’s just a personal preference of mine. That said, I’m actually kind of relieved that things worked out the way they did, because I’m greatly looking forward to the next book.
I did figure out the “twist” fairly early, as one of the very first questions that popped into my head when reading the first chapter was actually one that answered by the revelation of the twist towards the end. Even though I rather suspected it early on, I have to say that the reveal was still wonderfully, shockingly done.
I also really enjoyed that “magic” aka alchemy comes to play a larger part in this story. We’ve had hints and teasings, but this is the first time that Cherry has actually embraced alchemy and the mysticism that comes along with it, with fantastic results.
In the end, this is probably my favorite book of the series. Though I was (and to a point, still am) a little bothered by Cherry using no-strings-attached hot sex to distract herself from the other major issues that she was experiencing, the action and emotional turmoil in this story made it an incredibly enjoyable read (and did I mention the really hot, angry sex? Yum!)
Expected Release Date: July 29, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster ImpriThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: July 29, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Star Author’s Website: http://www.jessepetersen.net/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 2, Monstrosity Series Best Read In Order: Probably, but would work well as a standalone Steam Level: Chaste Pet Peeves: Too Stupid To Live Moment Favorite Tropes: Monsters! (Including a Cthulhu!), Unique Premise
This series is so much fun, that even though I tend to prefer traditional romance with steamy hot lovin’, I still couldn’t put this one down.
Light-hearted while still being full of action, betrayal, and drama, Monsters In Your Neighborhood had so much to love. We’re introduced to some new characters who really help round out the support group, including a rather unassuming Cthulhu and Dr. Frankenstein’s original assistant, Igor (who, thanks to modern medicine, no longer sports the hump thank-you-very-much).
I loved the Twitter angle, as well as the surprising twists in plot, and the horror of what is done to some of the monsters is perfect.
Highly recommended for anyone looking for a fun, action-packed escape full of humor and action.
I realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but justI realize that by now, the majority of people considering this book have already been "spoiled" as to the names of the hero and the heroine, but just in case there are still some readers holding out for the surprise, I'm making this a spoiler-free review. As such, it will be noticeably shorter than it would be were I allowing myself to give away their identities.
One thing I really liked about this one was the fact that even though it would certainly be helpful to have read at least the most recent installments of the Psy-Changeling series, I think that it's focused enough on our main couple and the civil war brewing amongst the Psy, that newcomers might be able to get through it without issue.
Similarly, I really enjoyed the focus on the couple. I've been anticipating this particular pairing for years now, and I was very glad that so much time was put into developing their characters and their relationship, rather than focusing too much on many of the past couples from previous books.
The chemistry was wonderful, and I've always had a bit of a soft spot in my heart for dangerous, almost frightening heroes, especially when they come with both murderous tendencies as well as intense protectiveness over a woman they have claimed as their own.
The ending was perfect, and I sincerely hope that there will be many more installments to this series to come.
Expected Release Date: April 29, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster ImprThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: April 29, 2013 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Imprint: Pocket Star Author’s Website: http://www.jessepetersen.net/ My Source for This Book: Edelweiss Part of a Series: Yes, Book 1, Monstrosity Series Series Best Read In Order: N/A Steam Level: Chaste Pet Peeves: No Smexin’ Favorite Tropes: Physically Imperfect or Scarred (Heroine), Secret Identity
Though certainly not what I would call a traditional romance, this lighthearted tale of a group of misfit monsters was fresh and entertaining. Of course, I wish there’d been a little more focus on the romance, especially since there seemed to be a promising bit of chemistry between two of the characters, but even without any steam, I really enjoyed it.
A very lighthearted, easy read, and a series that I will definitely be keeping an eye on.
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2013 Publisher: Self-Published Imprint:This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.
Expected Release Date: January 11, 2013 Publisher: Self-Published Imprint: N/A Author’s Website: http://www.ptmichelle.com/ My Source for This Book: Gift from the author Part of a Series: Yes, 0.5, Brightest Kind of Darkness Series Series Best Read In Order: Prequel can be read before or after Book 1 Steam Level: Chaste Pet Peeves: Not a Self-Contained Story, Cliff-Hanger Favorite Tropes: Male Point-of-View, Tattoo
Even though I've read Brightest Kind of Darkness, it's been a long time, and a lot of books in between, and so while I remembered that I enjoyed the book, I honestly didn't remember the specifics of what it was about. As such, I read Ethan almost as a newcomer to the series, and so the only real drawback to this novella was the cliff-hanger ending. This was a rather minor point, since I knew going into it that it ended at a specific point, but I do think newcomers to the series should be aware that this is not a self-contained story in and of itself.
Overall, I loved getting Ethan's point of view, as well as a taste of his back story. While I would have been a bit disappointed at the lack of actual "romance" in the book had I not already read BKOD, I did enjoy seeing Nara through Ethan's eyes.
While Ethan can be read either before or after reading Brightest Kind of Darkness, I think I would personally recommend reading this second. However, the good news is that at the time of this review, Brightest Kind of Darkness is free* on Kindle. I honestly have no idea how long it will be available at that promotional price, but I reviewed that story when it first came out and gave it 4.5/5 Stars (WHICH YOU CAN READ BY CLICKING HERE), and would highly recommend picking it up while it's still available on this promotion.
4/5 Stars, and recommended for any fan of the series.
*Always check the price of any book before purchasing it. ;)...more
Expected Release Date: November 29, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: HarleThis is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic
Expected Release Date: November 29, 2011 (Available Now!) Publisher: Harlequin Imprint: HQNBooks Author’s Website: http://www.nicolacornick.co.uk/ My Source for This Book: Netgalley Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Scandalous Women of the Ton Series Best Read In Order: Works well as a standalone but benefits from being read in order. Steam Level: Steamy
Tess Darent, the Much Married Marchioness has wed and buried three husbands, and has earned the reputation of a very wicked widow. Said to have exhausted her previous husbands to death with her demands in the bedroom, she appears to enjoy a life of frivolity and of courting scandal.
There is, however, much more to Tess than anyone in the ton knows — she’s a staunch supporter of the radical cause that seeks reform in government, and contributes to the cause by sketching inflammatory political cartoons of those in power.
Now her hidden life is threatening to catch up with her, and her beloved stepchildren from her last marriage are in danger. Needing the protection of a respectable marriage, Tess searches out a very specific type of husband — one incapable of actually consummating their union.
When Owen Purchase, Viscount Rothbury, joined the government investigation to seek out Jupiter, the infamous cartoonist whose drawings are beginning to incite the masses, he never imagined that his search might lead him directly to the parson’s mousetrap. Suspecting Lady Darent of sedition is one thing, but proving it is a much trickier endeavor. When the lady herself actually proposes marriage, Owen can’t help but be fascinated with the idea of marrying the beautiful and enigmatic woman, especially after he discovers that her carefully cultivated facade of a featherbrain is hiding a very intelligent and cunning mind.
In a marriage of convenience, Tess hopes to find the protection of her husband’s name will extend to her stepchildren, and she soon realizes that she and Owen could actually be friends. But when it becomes obvious that a case of mistaken identity is responsible for her belief that he poses no sensual danger to her, can Tess overcome a traumatic past and allow herself to trust the potent and sensual man whose name she now carries?
I’d previously “met” Tess in earlier books in the series, and at the time, I honestly didn’t like her. A total spendthrift with a reputation for fast living, gambling, and carousing with all sorts of unsavory sorts, she’d been married several times and widowed soon after. A completely featherbrain with only a head for fashion and partying, Tess wasn’t someone I ever thought I could fall in love with as a heroine.
Oh how wrong I was.
Tess was an absolutely incredible heroine. Having suffered through a horrible marriage, her only experience with passion and the physical side of marriage was a traumatic one, and as such she has focused not only on bringing justice to society through her support of a rebel cause, but hides her own wit and intelligence behind a facade of scandal and stupidity so that no one will ever guess at her real depths.
Enter the delicious Owen Purchase. An American sea captain and almost-pirate, he let his temper and sense of righteousness get the better of his logic, and practically ruined his life. Now determined to keep his passions checked, Owen values his own personal control. Unfortunately, the beautiful and intriguing Tess challenges him at every turn, and he simply cannot resist her charms.
The courtship between the two was absolutely beautiful. Tess was so damaged from a previous relationship that had Owen been even an iota less patient with her, their relationship wouldn’t have felt believable. As it was, however, the progression of not only their affections but of their physical relationship was paced perfectly, and the resulting love between them was incredibly satisfying.
Overall, this was an incredible tale of a damaged woman learning to trust not only her husband but also herself, and of a hardened man realizing that sometimes it’s not only acceptable, but marvelous to allow yourself to lose control.
Recommended for fans of damaged heroines learning to give in to passion, of honorable and patient heroes, and of finally allowing yourself to let go. A very solid 4.5/5 Stars...more
This ebook was provided to me at no cost by the publisher.
From the moment I read the blurb about this story I was intrigued. The idea of phsyically knThis ebook was provided to me at no cost by the publisher.
From the moment I read the blurb about this story I was intrigued. The idea of phsyically knowing without a doubt the identity of your "fated mate" greatly appeals to me. I also thoroughly enjoyed the "starcrossed lovers" aspect of it, with Anaria and Kalil being on opposing sides of a multigenerational war.
What worked for me: *I am a huge fan of both "fated-to-be-mated" stories and the "enemies to lovers" concept. Throw into it a touch of kidnapping, prejudice, sabotage, and a thirst for vengeance, and you've got the ingredients for an intriguing story.
*I enjoyed the twisty "secret" that completely rocked Anaria's world. I did figure it out fairly early on, as I think was the author's intention, though I admit the names of the different worlds did get confusing on occasion so I did go recheck them against the prologue as the story progressed.
*I also enjoyed Kalil's psychic friend, Lyon, though I was disappointed that he didn't have a larger role in the story. I would hope for a sequel starring Lyon, but being described as seven feet tall might make it a bit difficult to cast him as a hero in a future story.
What didn't work for me: *The writing was quite choppy. There simply wasn't a lot of flow between the sentences. For example: Kalil awoke alone. His body did not glow. Anaria was nowhere in the vicinity. He had a sinking feeling. A simple rewrite would make it all flow together better, such as Kalil awoke alone. His body was not glowing, indicating that Anaria was nowhere in the vicinity. With a sinking feeling, he... and segue into the next action or something.
*I'm not really sure I was feeling the chemistry between Anaria and Kalil. She went from hating him to wanting him to kind of hitting on him to being ready to destroy the ship they were on to screwing him in the supply closet, followed shortly by an experiment in light BDSM.
Plus, there was the whole "forced to be naked in front of other people thing" or the wedding orgy, both of which are SO not my kink, so that was a bit of a put-off as well. To be perfectly fair though, I'm biased against that sort of thing in erotica unless the female happens to enjoy her public nudity (and preferably knows this predilection ahead of time). I also think this is an inherent downfall in novellas; when a story is shorter than novel length, there simply isn't as much time to build as great a depth and chemistry in the major characters as one might hope for.
*I was also a wee bit confused as to why the secret needed to be kept a secret to begin with. Perhaps it was simply a matter of one side of the war not yet being strong enough to really do anything about it, but I still can't help but feel that had they revealed their secret earlier, some of the neutral worlds might have taken their side.
Overall, I love the storyline. Had the text flowed a bit better, I would've rated it a higher, but as it is, 3 Stars....more
Another typical "Kenyon" tortured hero. As one of her earlier works, I definitely recognized later characters in Sin -- my boyfriend (Acheron), as welAnother 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...more
This book was well and truly awful. I mean not just bad, but really and honestly horrible. It started out great, great premise, showed lots of promiseThis book was well and truly awful. I mean not just bad, but really and honestly horrible. It started out great, great premise, showed lots of promise, but things just went way downhill. A ruffly penis, waist length GORGEOUS curly hair, purring, magic semen (called "snard" for crying out loud), the constant dripping of "coronal fluid" crazy dress-code, nose f*cking (yes, you read that right), public sex, partner sharing, you name it lol
And, to top it off, it was written in a very rambling first person narrative -- it was rather like when you're telling someone a story and you get sidetracked and go off on a tangent for ten minutes then remember what you were talking about in the first place and come back to it.
So, why the 3-star rating?
Because it wasn't just bad. It was Rocky Horror bad lol It was so ridiculous (and absolutely NOT sexy) that I finished it solely for the camp factor.
I really enjoyed this one -- it wasn't her "usual" (that is, it seemed to have nothing to do with the Night HuNight's Darkest Embrace - Jeaniene Frost
I really enjoyed this one -- it wasn't her "usual" (that is, it seemed to have nothing to do with the Night Huntress series, at least not that I recognized), but it was still quite good.
What worked for me: *Wings. Oh mama, I love me some wings *sigh* *I liked the world building -- it was thorough enough that you got the basic gist of things without bogging the story down with superfluous details that made you want to throw the book at the wall. *Hot sex and betrayal. I do love me some hot sex and betrayal. *smacks lips* *I really liked Raphael's mama lol
What didn't work for me: *The whole eating the souls of lesser demons thing was a little hinky for me.. I mean, how long does that last? Is it like me, who needs a chicken sammich or a mochachino every 3 hours or I feel like I'm starving, or is it more like a "holiday feast" deal where you can get away with munching on them a couple times a year? That needed to be cleared up to me a bit because, yeah, population issues, especially since full-blooded demons are rather rare.
Overall though, I honestly forgot it was a short story as I was reading it, which I say as a compliment, since most short stories feel rather rushed to me, especially when they're not already part of an established series. 4 1/2 Stars
Mated -- Shayla Black -- part of the Doomsday Brethren series.
SO not my cuppa tea. Hero is a manwhore, knocks up the heroine, abandons her knowing she's pregnant, continues to be a manwhore, and then tries to be all like "but I did it for your own good"?? Yeaaaahhh. No.
What worked for me: *um... hang on, I'm thinking.. yeah, I got nuthin.
What didn't work for me: *Hero is a manwhore, knocks up the heroine, abandons her knowing she's pregnant, continues to be a manwhore, and then tries to be all like "but I did it for your own good" lol
*I do NOT like the whole "sex recharges magic" theme in my romances because that invariably leads to rampant promiscuity on pretty much everyone's part, which is really REALLY not my thing.
*Obviously a part of a series, I was pretty lost as to who was the bad guy, who were the good guys, and why the hell they were fighting. Probably much better if you've already read the series though, so keep that in mind.
Overall: 1 Star BUT I'm not a fan of the series -- I think fans of the series would appreciate this MUCH more simply because it's a major character that they've already been introduced to, and will be desensitized to the slut-factor.
This is apparently part of a series (Moon Chasers) but I feel that it did fairly well as a standalone. While it certainly did its job as a "teaser" of sorts and made me want to read the series further, I don't feel like I missed anything in not having read the series.
What worked for me: *I liked that the heroine is emotionally strong. I agreed with the hero that most women would've been a big watery mess of self-pity, but she wasn't, and I enjoyed that about her. She certainly had a lot to pity herself over -- mother with Alzheimer's, best friend was brutally murdered in front of her, she's bitten by a werewolf, kidnapped by a nutcase vigilante, and now locked in a basement with the understanding that in a month when she "turns" at the next full moon, she'll be killed.
*LOVED that when she was about to be killed, she emphatically stated "My name is Lily" -- humanizing herself which is exactly what you're SUPPOSED to do in that type of crazy situation, but an action that is almost always ignored in novels.
What didn't work for me: *They fell right into bed VERY shortly after meeting. I know, I know, it's a short story so the timeline is often rushed for things like this, along with the fact that lycans/werewolves/whatevertheycallthem are very sexual beings and that's part of this series' schtick, but still, not really my thing.
OVERALL ANTHOLOGY RATING: 4 Stars, despite the atrocity of the Shayla Black one LOL ...more
It was alright I guess.. I don't know why, but I don't think I was expecting it to be erotica, so take that into account when you look at my rating.
WhIt was alright I guess.. I don't know why, but I don't think I was expecting it to be erotica, so take that into account when you look at my rating.
What worked for me:
*I love "fated to be mated" stories.
*I also love stories where the hero/heroine was turned against their will.
*I liked that the rest of the pack accepted her so easily
*The secondary romance between Stephen and Alex made me smile.
What didn't work for me:
*Holy cow they jumped straight into the ILY's! I prefer for my FTBM stories to have at least a little more than a 5 minute resistance to the whole "mated for life" thing, kwim?
*I wish there'd been more hesitancy about sex for Hilary -- she lost her virginity in a brutal gang rape (which, sensitive readers should be aware is lived out in mildly explicit detail) that left her so traumatized she hadn't so much as gone to dinner with a guy for four years, and yet, had absolutely no issues with jumping right into the sack with our hero. AND, Zach whispered the exact same words to her that her rapist had whispered, both during the act of sex, and it didn't even phase her? Yeah, that was a little hard for me to swallow (no pun intended *snerk*)
*The confrontation with "the bad guy", even in the words of Hilary, was anticlimactic.
*The kid. There was absolutely NO POINT to having her in the story AT ALL, and then to make her an "empath" was just too much.
Overall? I'd say not a total waste of time, but not something I'd suggest running out and spending money on. Wait until it goes on sale.
As another reviewer pointed out, the problem with novellas is just when you get into it, BAM it's over.
Other than the length (hahaha oh my inner 12-yeAs another reviewer pointed out, the problem with novellas is just when you get into it, BAM it's over.
Other than the length (hahaha oh my inner 12-year-old boy had to snicker at that, sorry), I really enjoyed this. Told in the first person, this little gem of a story had everything I like in a romance -- lots of angst (without sinking to a bunch of emo melodrama), a bad (and mostly undeserved) reputation, some weirdness thrown in for flavor (and yes, I had to Google "ocelot"), the initial dislike the heroes held for each other.. and did I mention the angst? I swear my heart broke for poor James at least three times before it was all over with.
I would have probably said 5 Stars if this had been a full-length novel and things didn't feel so rushed in the end. Thus is the nature of a novella, however, so I will say definitely a solid 4 stars. :)...more
Since this is an ARC, I will do my best to avoid spoilers, including in my shelf tags, so please keep in mind that this book would be categorized in at least three extra shelves than are listed (and yes, it's killing me to do that because I know I'll forget to come back after the novel has been released and fix them) :P
What worked for me: *As the back cover says "Her methods may be scandalous" -- scandalous, perhaps, but hilarious. It reminded me in ways of At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker (which is an under-appreciated novel in and of itself). I also loved the push and pull between Tristan and Tessa as each attempted to keep the upper hand in the proceedings.
*The UST between the two was delicious, and the carriage scene was smoking!
*I thoroughly enjoyed the girls that Tessa had chosen to vie for Tristan's hand, and especially enjoyed how several of them ended up being much more developed characters rather than the caricatures that Ms. Dreiling could have turned them into.
*The Duchess was awesome! I always enjoy the scheming old "dragons" of the ton, and I also liked how multi-dimensional she was. Ms. Dreiling could've easily played her off as a caricature as well, but chose to give her many sides to her personality rather than the requisite "disapproving relative".
What didn't work for me: *There is indeed a TSTL moment, though not nearly as big a one as some stories might have. Let's just say the heroine is a bit too independent for her own good at times.
*I did figure out what Tessa was keeping from her friends fairly early on, though I suspect with the vast amount of clues given, that was intentional on the author's part.
*The obligatory consummation scene felt just that -- obligatory. It felt like a quicky -- all main event and no foreplay lol As a reader, I like to drowned in UST before a couple gives into their passions, but the final love scene felt much more like Ms. Dreiling was re-reading an edit and said "Hmmm. They're together now officially, so I guess I have to make them scrump." I almost feel as though it would've been more appropriate to have lowered the sensuality rating a wee bit and done everything fade-to-black, though I admit I would've missed the **CENSORED FOR SPOILER** scene had that been the case. ;)
*There were a few instances where Tessa seemed much more experienced or knowledgeable than she should have. Specifically, in one instance, we'll just say she seemed to know a bit more about the mechanics of things than I would've expected from her.
Anything else of note that don't really fall into the "worked/didn't work" categories *The ball at the end was a bit syrupy and almost over-the-top. On the other hand, however, who doesn't dream of a "grand gesture" from their beloved? And I admit, the very last paragraph of the novel made me grin and say "Awwwwww" out loud. Yes, my family thinks I'm insane now :P
*I kid you not, Tristan mentally referred to his wang as "the bad boy in his drawers" (page 255 if you don't believe me lmao). Now, I'm all for creative euphemisms, because I'll be the first to admit that reading the word "penis" in a romance novel makes me twitchy (and not in a good way), but really? Bad Boy?
There were several moments that had me chuckling such as the quote I mentioned in my status update where he chalked the fluttery feeling he got when touching her hand up to indigestion, or when he waved the white flag in the drawing room.
Overall? A very enjoyable, light and easy read. I was actually smiling when I finished the book, and therefore I give it a solid 5 Stars....more
What worked for me: *Lone wolf being forced back into the pack, and being too stubborn/alpha to come back like a good little puppy. *The whole bittersweWhat worked for me: *Lone wolf being forced back into the pack, and being too stubborn/alpha to come back like a good little puppy. *The whole bittersweet "I love you but we can't be together" thing that lasted over 100 years.
What didn't work for me: *Too much sex. Yes, you heard me. Too much sex. It seemed like once they got in bed that first time, that's ALL THEY DID for like 8 chapters or something. It was obnoxious.
*The neighbor was obnoxious, Henry or Harry or whateverhisname is was TOTALLY underutilized as a plot device (oh man I saw a sequel just crying to be written with him as a hero), and them always getting caught naked all irritated me.
*The identity of the killer. I won't say more so it's not a spoiler, but I felt like she took the easy way out with the killer's identity.
*I don't like that she was a virgin and he had been making free with the (human) ladies in the meantime. Yeah yeah I know realistic blah blah blah but I get so sick of the women who are in love with a guy and so keep their legs firmly closed while the man who is supposedly just as in love with her sleeps with others but it's okay because it didn't actually mean anything *rolls eyes* I'd much rather have had them BOTH take lovers in the meantime, even if in the end it was the cliched "nobody was ever as satisfying" deal.
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to reWell color me disappointed. :(
I had high hopes for this book, because I really enjoyed Gabriel's character in The Lover, and was looking forward to reading his story. Unfortunately, it fell a bit short in my opinion. The twist, while surprising, was a bit contrived (even moreso that "the man" in The Lover), and again the technical jargon during sex was a put-off for me. I don't know if it bothered me more in this book because it was more prolific, or if it was merely my getting bogged down from it having read three Robin Schone books in a row.
What worked for me: *Oooh the twist as to why Gabriel hated Michael *falls over* Even though it falls under the "contrived" description I mentioned above, it was still a "Say what??" moment, in a good way.
*The concept -- gutter born bastard who's been raped and abused and prostituted all his life to the point that he hasn't touched another human being in over a decade falls for a spinster governess who's fallen on such desperate times that she's auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder. Would've been better had they not had the whole "second man orchestrating everything solely to ruin his life just because of the mess that went down in the first novel with Michael", but hey, I'm not all THAT picky
*How Victoria refused to give up on Gabriel, and how Gabriel longed to find a woman who would accept him for what he was, good and bad, light and dark, and make all that he'd suffered worthwile *swoon*
*Unlike other reviewers, I DID feel that there was love between Gabriel and Victoria. I admit it wasn't the sappy, besotted kind, but was instead the I-don't-WANT-to-love-you type, but still, I felt the love :)
*Still got that issue with the servants I mentioned in my last review, but not NEARLY to the point of the other novels, so I'm counting that as a favorable point :)
What didn't work for me: *Sex reading like a technical manual. Again. All this talk of vaginas and clitorises (clitori?), and vuvlas and penises and so forth are just flat out not sexy.
*I swear, if she'd referred to the electrical lights as "blinding", or the flyaway hairs on Gabriel's head as "areola" ONE MORE BLOODY TIME, this book would've been in the DNF category rather than read. It's called a thesaurus. Use it.
*The buttsecks made me laugh. I don't think buttsecks is supposed to be funny, but I'm not kidding you, it wasn't until almost a chapter after everyone was done orgasming that I was actually certain that buttsecks had even occurred. I mean, yeah, I knew they'd scrumped, but for an author who's so determined to use the word "vagina" in every third paragraph, you'd think she could've made it a little more clear of what was actually going on. Though, I suppose on further reflection, the absence of the word "vagina" should've been enough to confirm that it was, in fact, buttsecks.
*What the hell is up with the modiste? Just. Really. And forcing Victoria to be naked all the time, from the first undressing to the appointment with the modiste, to the being clad only in a towel while Gaston was in there, to the final twisty bit of being spied on during sex with Gabriel. I swear I was starting to think this was a Jaid Black novel or something. Oi.
You HAVE to read the first book in the series or you won't know wtf is going on. This is more like "Part II" of The Lover rather than a standalone sequel.
So, not to the standard of her other books that I've read, but not quite a wall-banger. 3 Stars...more
Holy cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy litHoly cow I've got mixed feelings on this one! It was DARK and gritty and horrifying and sexy and sweet and romantic, all wrapped up into one crazy little package.
What worked for me: *Male prostitute hero and a spinster heroine. Oh yeah, I'm a sucker for stuff like that *I would liken Michel/Michael to an Anne Stuart hero -- tortured, earthy, at times very cruel, while at the same time both resistant and deliciously befuddled by the feelings elicited by the heroine. I was especially reminded of an AS hero by the hatpin bit. *Gabriel. Oh my word. I'm reading his story next, and I hope it lives up to my expectations because WOWZA is he a tortured man or WHAT? *The sex. Holeeshizz there was some hot loving in this book! *The murder mystery. I can honestly say the whole bit with "the man" was very intriguing and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story, and I didn't even guess the twist until it was revealed.
What didn't work for me: *Technical language is a turn-off for me in erotica/romance. Vagina, clitoris, penis, and so forth get old after a while. Not saying that it should be all "purple-headed warriors" and "quivering mounds of love pudding" or anything (10 points to anyone who gets the reference on that btw), but still, I tend to go for euphemisms in general with a light sprinkling of technical/crude speak *One trend I'm noticing with her books is a tendency to have the servants be two-faced and easily bribed, to the great detriment of the main characters. While I'm sure this is quite accurate historically, it's still depressing as hell to think you're not even safe from the people you live with. *The gore, specifically in descriptions about Michael's childhood. Seriously y'all, don't read that chapter while eating *gag* *The banana. All I could think was "wow, that's an infection just WAITING to happen!" LOL
Other minor points of note: *There's a tiny bit of backdoor luvin, but with hands only and a bit of talk about the possibility of more. *There is a lot of talk of child abuse, child molestation and child prostitutes (by modern definitions). The point is made in the book that back then, the age of consent was 13, but that doesn't lessen what actually happened.
Overall, I really liked it. Be warned this is NOT a straight-up erotica story. It's very dark, very earthy, and very angsty, but overall, I'm going to have to say 4 Stars....more
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylu**spoiler alert** Guh.
What I liked: *True-to-the-times attitudes about women and sex, including the idea that she could be committed to an insane asylum for "nymphomania" just because she wanted to experience passion and *gasp* orgasms. *The UST. Oh holy HELL the UST *falls over* So yeah, this is erotica. There's a looooot of explicit sex. However, the whole first half of the book is positively dripping with UST (yes, that pun was intended lol) *The smexin once it did get started. I liked that it was definitely erotica without resorting to a lot of the just plain gross words and descriptions that a lot of other stories do. While technical words (such as the one that starts with a V and rhymes with angina) abound, there's no seeyounexttuesday's or kitty cat references, which was a nice change of pace. *It was a love story!!! So much erotica is pure smut (which hey! it has its place!), but this story was, in the end, two lost, hurt, and unfulfilled people finding completion (not a pun!) in one another.
What I didn't like: *Infidelity. I know, I know, it's almost different when it's justified (and boy howdy, if adultery was ever justified, I think this would be the case), but it still squicks me. I'm able to forgive it, though, because there's no other premise that would actually have thrown these two together for these "lessons" unless it turned into some strange The Story of O type deal *I think I would love a sequel. There are several loose ends that I would love to have tied up (heh. tied up.) Specifically, I would love to see a reconciliation between our hero and his father, or maybe even better, a reconciliation between the hero's parents. *Not really comfortable with the whole "bathing with the future mother-in-law" thing lol *What happened to Richard. I understand fully why it was included, but that broke my heart.
Violet Brantford has always longed for the passionate embrace of Adrian Winter, the wealthy Duke of Raeburn. Problem is, he’s set to marry Violet’s viViolet Brantford has always longed for the passionate embrace of Adrian Winter, the wealthy Duke of Raeburn. Problem is, he’s set to marry Violet’s vivacious, more socially polished look-alike twin sister, Jeannette. But when Jeannette refuses to go through with the ceremony mere minutes before it is to begin, soft-spoken Violet finds herself walking down the aisle and taking vows in her sister’s place. Soon shy Violet is a high-society wife, trying to keep her real identity a secret while living out the fantasies of her wildest dreams.
Adrian thinks he knows exactly what he’s gotten himself into: Jeannette may be flighty and, well, a bit self-involved, but she’s the picture-perfect wife to carry on the Winter name. Yet this marriage of convenience brings the groom more than he bargained for when he finds his sweet, innocent wife surprising him at every turn. And though he never planned on true love, Adrian is definitely in danger of losing his heart.
What worked for me: *Maybe the heroine is not a true "plain jane", but she's a bookish wall-flower anyway -- I like that type of story a lot.
*The whole "reveal" scene -- everything surrounding that worked for me :)
What didn't work for me: *Marriage based on deception -- while it makes for an exciting read (just WHEN is he gonna find out?!), it still irks me to see someone who claims to be "in love" base their entire relationship on a very big lie.
*The second switch -- while I understand the reasoning, that annoyed me, especially when she got all butthurt over the results.
Overall, a very enjoyable, quick read. The sex was hot without being blistering, the romance was sweet, especially when our hero was surprised to find himself falling in love with his wife, and the climax/resolution was very satisfying (and no, that's not a dirty pun lol)
Hero and heroine have a past -- she had a crappy childhood and at age 18, hooked up with the hero (also much younger at the time) anMeh. Just alright.
Hero and heroine have a past -- she had a crappy childhood and at age 18, hooked up with the hero (also much younger at the time) and they had what he thought was a summer fling -- only for her it was much, much more serious. When she told him, right after they made love for the first time, that she'd been a virgin and that she loved him, he was horrified, and in true clueless male fashion, told her not only that he didn't love her, but that if he'd known, he never would've slept with her.
She runs off in tears and high-tails it out of town.
Fast forward a bit (I forget how long) and she's a famous diver/photographer (think National Geographic sort) and he's a retired.. military something. I forget. And divorced. But regardless, he's sheriff now, and she's back in town for her aunt's funeral.
Wellll her mama was a bit of a ho, and so our heroine was never really accepted in town when she was younger, and now that she's back, things haven't changed all that much.
While she's there, a body is discovered in the local quarry (big body of water btw), and things go downhill from there for our poor heroine.
What worked for me: *I do love an unrequited love story -- even when that love was in the past. The angst and the guilt that arise from those situations have always done it for me. *I like that she's "made something of herself" and isn't the poor unwanted outcast that she was when she left town
What didn't work for me: *I felt like the hero fell in love with her way too quickly. *Vegans don't eat cheeseburgers, even "to be nice". At least, none that I know do lol For real, I have NO PROBLEM telling people when they ask "how do you like your burger?" that I'd rather just have a wrap or salad instead. None whatsoever. So yeah, that irritated me lol
Overall, it was a very light, entertaining read. It was a quick read, that had just enough angst and character development to keep you interested, without being too deep and heavy, despite the murder mystery and the past history between the hero and heroine. Worth reading, but probably not on my keeper shelf.
"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"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....more
**spoiler alert** See, I'm supposed to be painting, and yet, here I am reviewing this book instead lol
Alrighty lemme just jump right in:
What worked fo**spoiler alert** See, I'm supposed to be painting, and yet, here I am reviewing this book instead lol
Alrighty lemme just jump right in:
What worked for me: *Unrequited love plus a revenge plot = epic win in my book
*It was set in the states, and on the east coast, which is a refreshing change for a historical novel
*It. was. angsty. as. faaak. *falls over*
*The writing itself is beautifully done. Rich without being flowery, deep without being dragging. Even when I didn't necessarily agree with where the plotline was going, I was glued to this book.
*The push and pull between our hero and heroine, who desperately didn't want to fall in love with each other but couldn't help but do so. The fact that they both felt guilty about what they'd done/were doing to the other, and the fact that they HAD developed a friendship before they got married in the beginning was lovely.
What didn't work for me: *Plus size heroine loses all the weight and becomes incredibly hot before she gets her man. Bah. Once, JUST ONCE, I'd like to read a book where the hero is initially turned off by the fat chick only to fall in love with her despite her physical appearance not being what he's normally attracted to. Anybody know of a book like that? Bueller? Bueller? Anybody? Bueller?
*The twist with the grandfather -- I really think that WHOLE subplot could've been left out without hurting the story, and it would've shortened it quite a bit.
*I admit, I'm stuck on the divorce. Especially since in those days, divorcing a woman was as good as proclaiming her a harlot and stitching a big fat A on her bodice -- there is no way that he didn't know that divorcing her would hurt her worse than a marriage of convenience. Srsly, this book makes me wish I wrote fanfiction so that I could change the plot so that they never divorced, but that he merely abandoned her or disillusioned her or hell, fell for her chubby arse shortly after marrying her. Or something lol
And yet, despite those things, it was a really fanfrickintastic book. There was just enough comedy to keep things from getting too heavy, and just enough immaturity and angst amongst the main characters to keep me reading.
I'm gonna say 4 1/2 Stars (it'd be five, but dangit just once I want the fat chick to get her man while she's still fat lol) ...more