It always sucks to read an author who comes with a lot of good press and have reasonably high hopes for a great romance, and then be bored to tears (s...moreIt always sucks to read an author who comes with a lot of good press and have reasonably high hopes for a great romance, and then be bored to tears (see Laura Kinsale, Carrie Lofty). I gave up on pg 192 when the banal dialogue, too-numerous typos, and persistent "telling, not showing" made me throw it at the wall.
The plot is almost a textbook example of "contrivance." Former dissolute rake and adulterous bottle-baby Eli Grayson has a newspaper that's up to its banner in debt, and GW Hicks, a magnate from the East, comes to look at it with an eye to injecting some needed cash into it to keep another black newspaper afloat. OK, so far, so good. However, Hicks thinks that unmarried men are unreliable (umm, ok) and asks Eli if he's married, his marital status completely overshadowing Eli's record of having a unique and useful voice in the struggling black press. Makes sense, doesn't it? Eli panics and says, "Hell yeah!" Hicks suggests a dinner to talk over things and insists on Eli bringing his wife. Whoopsie cuddles! Thing is, Eli's a bachelor, but he decides to get his stepsister Jewel to pretend to be his wife for the private dinner. However, Hicks messes it all up by leaving the private dining room and announcing to the ENTIRE restaurant that he's agreed to take on the paper and asks them to congratulate "Eli and his lovely wife." Naturally, jaws drop and gossip rages throughout this little East Butt-F-istan within hours, including the rumor that Jewel's already knocked up. Well, her father won't have his little girl gossiped about! So off to the altar they go. Eli's all assured and stuff, Jewel's PO'd and intent on divorcing him after a seemly time. Because, you know, it's easier to do that than say, "Hey, you all have got it all wrong!" However, those hormones kick in and they fall in love. Eli's getting a sudden attack of monogamy and Jewel's nether parts persistently swell to the size of Karl Rove's head at the slightest glance from the husband she's crushed-on-since-the-age-of-14-but-now-whom-she-hates- omg-I-am-so-not-kidding-you-guys.
So much didn't make sense. Jewel's father & stepmother (Eli's mother) are intent on not having scandal, yet Jewel is good friends with Maddie, who is a former streetwalker and globetrotting mistress to a millionaire, and, later, brothel madam that goes around wearing buckskins after she gives up the whorehouse and becomes a responsible citizen. If you're going to kick up a fuss over your daughter getting speculated about when a straight-forward explanation would do, but then let her fraternize with former whores, it doesn't wash. And since Maddie runs a library and is a valued member of the town, this sudden attack of the town hive mind about Jewel and Eli isn't logical either. It's just a weak way to get them married and the "tension" to start. Also, once they start to thaw out with each other, she and Eli make out on a wagon as they drive around the town. Sorry, but macking on each other in public wasn't seemly back in Small Town America 1881, married or not. Jewel's sexual innocence (at the ripe-for-the-time age of 24) is also prey to plot convenience. Any families with daughters her age always left the town! So she was never able to talk and giggle with them about boys and sex! They always left! Always! Isn't that so believably weird?
Combine all these clunky contrivances with equally clunky dumps of peoples' back stories whenever two characters share a scene, and it finally met the wall. All these characters did was smile or grin at each other (seriously, there was a LOT of grinning), make some comment that indicates a backstory, and off we went on some exposition expedition. All telling, not showing, very boring. The "historical" information I saw about the black press would have fit on a couple 3x5s after a glance at Wikipedia. I'm honest to God hoping that her other books are better, because I already have several of them.(less)
There once was a plain and plumpish blubbery waste of space girl with tons of money called Calpurnia, who never got married even though she had some s...moreThere once was a plain and plumpish blubbery waste of space girl with tons of money called Calpurnia, who never got married even though she had some suitors. We're told she's a pragmatic girl who has dreams of marriage, house, home, and children, but she's turned everyone away because they're not the same as that handsome guy she once talked to for a couple minutes a decade ago about how her quaintly Classical name isn't really cause for eternal shame and contemplated suicide.
So in the meantime, she's beaten herself up emotionally about how she'll die the same fat and lonely sow she's always been. Occasionally she faps to Homer and his romance of Odysseus and Penelope, but then feels ashamed that a megaton heifer like herself should even entertain such thoughts. Because as she is entirely all-too-aware, pretty babies abort when a plain girl even considers sipping from one of these:
But then one day, after she's been reminded by herself and others once too often that she's a dusty loser of the Youth, Beauty and Happiness Game, she decides to Fuck That Shit and makes a list of racy and scandalous stuff to do because who cares what an obese and homely water buffalo like herself does anyway? She's going to pick herself up and fly free, dammit!
So one night, drunk on sherry, she arrives at the house of her decade-old object of pathetic pining with the intent of getting a kiss from him. Of course he soon has those Inexplicable Feelings for the hefty cow with the massive milk bags and is Fiercely Protective of her, to his sudden bewilderment and confusion.
But now that they're in closer quarters because his Italian half-sister future series heroine needs a Professor Higgins to make her presentable in Society, this most notorious rake in London blah-blah-blah-lame-cliche and Two Ton Annie will discover that what they've been looking for, all along, is each other.
I didn't get far. Page 150. Such self-abuse is biblically abhorrent, and I felt lightning starting to crackle around me, so I bailed. But from what I did read, it was every Regency romance cliche packed into one book. (Marriage wager! Making out in a carriage!) I tried to read this because of the raves, but there was absolutely nothing in it that I haven't read in books like this before. There was the ugly duckling heroine who eventually becomes a swan, paired with the bad-ass rake who is really a slightly risque playboy with media savvy. Blah. The heroine was really ridiculous, the heaps of abuse she put on herself and got from others such a blatant attempt by the author to get me behind her.
It gets more than a little wearying to read a heroine who has the attitude of
when my attitude is
If these are the awesome romances of today penned by Ivy League-educated authors, then I'm going to stick with the trashy rapefests of the 70s and 80s by Midwestern housewives, thankee very much.(less)
Regency historicals aren't my thing, although I'm always wanting to like the next one I read. There's got to be a good one out there. Somewhere.
This o...moreRegency historicals aren't my thing, although I'm always wanting to like the next one I read. There's got to be a good one out there. Somewhere.
This one was of the "super lite" variety, to the point where I think the story got dropped on its head as a baby. Or was born a few chromosomes short.
It's got a twee set-up of 7 Scottish siblings that personify each of the Seven Deadly Sins and just enough detail that says, "Regency!" (namely on dit and ton repeated lots with the standby premise of a wager that sets ALLLLL of London abuzz). There's also a little history lesson about the Parthenon sculptures, and our H/h leave their DNA samples on one of them after knowing each other a matter of a few days.
As the fine Scottish sibs would say in a Scots-identifying way, Och, it was bluidy boring and dull. The saving grace was that the "crafted for your blind 8-year old" font was therapeutic for my poor eyes, which needed rehab after a book with microscopic type.
I've read much better Harlequin Regency historicals, but I'm still hoping to find a non-Harley Regency that doesn't suck. Needless to say, I won't be reading the rest of this series.
Even though I only read 89 pages of it, I read enough to know that it would have ended up just as wretched and boring an experience as Anne Stuart's R...moreEven though I only read 89 pages of it, I read enough to know that it would have ended up just as wretched and boring an experience as Anne Stuart's Reckless and Breathless. I know I'd have given it 1 star, but since I didn't reach pg. 100 (my minimum for rating anything), it's not getting rated.
The setup here of shy, wary virgin and emo-goth hero simply ain't for me; I think it's dull as three-day-old dishwater. I know it's just me (it usually is when it comes to these catnip neo-gothic romances), but the banter seemed forced and repetitive, the hero was cartoonish (seriously, the black motif on everything down to, I suspect, his BVDs to keep him in the proper "I'm curssssssssed!" mood got to be a bit much), and the heroine was, of course, saddled with a fiance whose academic pursuits immediately pegged him as boring and a butt of ridicule for everyone in the heroine's smart set. (But that goth kid down the block who looks all dangerous, he is sooooooooooooooo cool!)
I've read all this before in other books and there was nothing else in this particular title that compelled me to soldier on through it. I've heard that Featherstone's language is poetic. Didn't see that in evidence here. Believe me, I've read really crap books because of slim saving graces, like The Wolf and the Dove and Savage Ecstasy. I thought the prose was rather ordinary. Not beautifully fancy, not strikingly simple, not beautifully simple. But rather of middling plainness.
I was hoping that the mystery aspect would hold my attention (a theft of three missing Templar treasure items which, when brought together, are supposed to create a supreme power), but the setup of it was a massive dump of exposition and throwing together of the pieces that it seemed like a complete rush job to get to the "important" stuff. You know, like the hero jamming his gloved thumb along the heroine's bottom lip and whispering about "Quid pro quo, Clarice Isabella" which in turn makes her all hot and wet for him after less than an hour's acquaintance. Oh, and of course the dimbulb heroine thinks that the missing women in Spitalsfield are his handiwork since a black coach and four black horses (the same as the hero's!) was seen in the area. Come on, since all of London is apparently crawling with black-obsessed goths (if you go by what passes as "dark romances"), it could be ANYONE. I'm sure that little assumption was going to get spun out as long as possible. Even if not, what I did see was by-rote "spice". Yawn.
If there was to be some action-mystery in the story, I think my interest would have been grabbed right out of the gate to have actual action start the story. Begin with a prologue with the actual stealing of the Templar treasure, start with some of the hero's back story there. Then switch to the introductory scene with the heroine and her cousin Lucy where Isabella reads to Lucy from her writing journal and Lucy squees that she's such an awesome writer and babbles on about the hot guy in the neighborhood and then they trot off to the ball where Isabella's writing journal (which she inexplicably brought with her in a tiny purse) falls out in front of the hero during a dance and he picks it up and reads it and the "romance" is off and running. Wait, never mind. I'd probably have begun to wonder if this was going to be actiony or YA tweeny romance. As it stands, it really read like the latter and seemed to be a mess of genres.
Since this is apparently more on the historical romancey side compared to Featherstone's other titles, I'll still give her another try, but consider my expectations suitably dashed and lowered.
Copy received via Netgalley. Looks like that little dabble into free stuff has ended with a sputter.(less)
Pros: * A Regency without a stupid wallflower/spinster heroine * A Regency without a stupid "most notorious rake in London" who wouldn't know s...more2.5 stars
Pros: * A Regency without a stupid wallflower/spinster heroine * A Regency without a stupid "most notorious rake in London" who wouldn't know selfish manwhoredom if it stepped on his dick * A Regency without a marriage wager * The heroine has a lavender arrangement with some guy to beard his gheyness. Neat twist there. * Naval gazing was at a minimum. Thank Fucking Christ. I hate it when the H/h disappear into their belly buttons in an inner dialogue masturbatory frenzy for pages at a time.
Cons: * Where the hell was Scotland? They didn't even go there. * That scandal was pretty damn lame. It was more like an embarrassing discomfort, like hemorrhoids or farty indigestion. * I got tired of the heroine's "ass" getting mentioned. Too much of a contemporary feel to the language. * I was teased with spanking, but the hero pussed out. * That obligatory series scene with every sumbitch and their sister that is pointless, shallow, and bloody fucking confusing. FFS. Stop it. * Sex in a carriage. Yawn. * Lame villain. * The last 36 pages are the first chapters of other books in the series. Amazon's "Look Inside" for this book is confined to the prologue and ALL OF THESE TEASER CHAPTERS. Nothing in between. Have you no shame?
A typical wallpaper historical series installment. This one just happened to not entirely suck and my boredom was minimal.(less)
The Goodreads Giveaway really thumped my ass this time. My greedy mass entries landed me yet another Avon title (out of 4 wins, 2 have been Avon fluff...moreThe Goodreads Giveaway really thumped my ass this time. My greedy mass entries landed me yet another Avon title (out of 4 wins, 2 have been Avon fluff), and yet....I read this one with much optimism. Surely - yea, surely - my choices have simply been unfortunate happenstance!
And for the first 120 pages or so, I thought that I had finally found a good Avon title. The heroine...not a blubbering spinster! The hero....not a pathetic woobie manwhore who sets aside 20 hours of each day to navel gaze! I nearly peed my pants in eager, albeit cautious, delight. Sure, there's nothing about when this takes place apart from a mention of William Wilberforce and the public opinion of the slave trade is turning to one of condemnation. It's absurdly wallpapery, but the leads were relatively engaging and the story seemed to be on pleasant trajectory.
And then....The Big Mis. It grew and grew. And grew. With all the time the hero and heroine spent saying that they needed to talk, they could have actually SAID what the hell it was that needed to be said.
And I know what you're saying: "Oh that kind of thing happens all the time in romance."
No, you don't understand. It was really really dumb here.
The hero puts the heroine off by saying he should really run home THAT EXACT MINUTE to put on a clean shirt. (I am NOT kidding.) Wait til lunch....then wait til dinner....wait til the party....
And the heroine goes through these ornate little schemes to get the hero to see that she's a STRONG WOMAN and WOMEN ARE STRONG and WOMEN: WE HAZ STRENGTH, and yet she can't blurt out "So, are you the one who knocked up my half-sister?" and "I'm not a crazy insane woman throwing her money away. I'm spending my slave trade fortune inheritance on good causes."
Seriously, that's what she keeps bottled up for over 250 pages and what keeps getting fobbed off on the lamest of pretexts while each one frets and ponders and wonders if he is an impregnating bastard and she is a silly little goose with money. It really meets a Trifecta of Retard in piss-poor storytelling and tension.
And then when she DOES finally ask, she indeed blurts it out, but only after she's sunk down on his rod after a weird light bondage/role play session. And then in between groin thrusts and pumps and gasps, the whole story comes out.
Avon, WTF? Srsly.
And Lavinia Kent? Thanks for the autographed copy and you gave me a little glimmer of hope for awhile there, but it simply didn't work.
3 stars for that first 120 pages, 0-1 for the rest.(less)
I thought I was being so cute when I took a GR buddy up on a dare to read this one if she would read Led Astray by a Rake by Sara Bennett. We're not e...moreI thought I was being so cute when I took a GR buddy up on a dare to read this one if she would read Led Astray by a Rake by Sara Bennett. We're not exactly sure who got the short end of the stick in this affair. I think the Bennett book probably has bigger font, so I got shafted this go-round. When we meet next time, GR Buddy, it will be YOU at a disadvantage.
As I read this, I thought it was a lot like a Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedy, except in costumes and with little of the wit and charm and a fraction of the plot. It could have also benefited from a drunk Thelma Ritter and Tony Randall providing the funneh, but maybe that's just me.
The Characters: Susanna Finch is a tall and freckled "spinster" who has taken it upon herself that she knows what's best for all shunned and awkward little ducklings like herself. She's a controlling mother hen of the worst sort, and has converted the rugged seaside fishing village of Spindle Cove into a tea-sipping, non-threatening duckling haven with every ounce of testosterone squeezed out until all the native nutsacks resemble empty coin purses. Because of a bad experience with common medicine of the period (bloodletting, leeches), she's a loud advocate and self-taught local trailblazer of alternative healing methods (including aquatic physical therapy) and has herself concocted a potion to handle asthma. A typical wallpaper heroine, feisty and speshul who is rearwy vewy fwagile inside.
Victor Bramwell is a soldier with a bum knee, back from the battlefield but he wants to go back. His knee hurts. He rubs it a lot. A lot of things remind him of his knee. So he rubs it a lot. He's like Pavlov's dog that way. He's a manly man who likes guns and the manly life. Which includes remaining a soldier. Godammit, that knee hurts. (And guess where a boring and prolonged scene of aquatic therapy comes in? G'wan....GUESS!)
The Hero's Cock: God, he wanted her so fiercely. She could have no idea. With every erotic splash of her lithe body undulating in the water, his imagination ran wild. He pictured the two of them, linked in all manner of strange, salty embraces. His cock stiffened to a painful degree, jutting out in front of him despite the cold, carving his way through the water like the prow of a ship. The HMS Priapism.
If it weren't illegal (and just plain gross), I would beat Tessa Dare to death with Patrick O'Brian's corpse.
But instead let's have him glare at her in an Intimidating Old British Guy way for awhile until she might feel a smidge of shame:
The Dialogue: “Come along. Before I arrived in this village, you and your muslin-clad minions had them reduced to mending lockets and piping icing on teacakes. You don’t understand. Men need a purpose, Susanna. A worthy goal. One that we feel in our guts and our hearts, not just in our heads.”
“Men need a purpose?” She sighed, exasperated. “Can’t you understand women are the same? We crave our own goals and our own accomplishments, our own sisterhood as well. And there are precious few places we can find it, in a world ruled by the opposite sex. Everywhere else we are governed by men’s rules, live at the mercy of male whims. But here, in this one tiny corner of the world, we are free to be our best and truest selves. Spindle Cove is ours, Bram. I will fight to my last breath before I let you destroy it. Women’s needs are important, too.”
The Battle of the Sexes has never been so stilted, soapboxy, and boring.
The Contemporary-In-Petticoats Dirty Talk: “God, I think I’m going mad. You can’t imagine how much I think of this. All the time, everywhere. Yesterday, I stopped in the shop for ink, and all I could think of was you, spreading your legs for me on the countertop. Or bent over the display case. Then slammed against the storeroom shelves, skirts hiked to your waist and one leg propped on a crate. Every waking moment, I’m thinking of this."
He blocks the scenes of imaginary ravishings like a 2nd Unit Assistant Director. Hawt.
My Main Gripe: After reading several very recent titles, I feel like I'm tilting at windmills at this point, but it's still frustrating Every. Single. Time.
Each development in the plot and characters hits the reader with all the subtlety of a low overhang. When the hero thinks, "This woman was changing him," I feel more than a bit insulted that the author feels I have to be fed every single, incremental step in both the H and h's thought processes. Leave these characters a bit of mystery! Make me think a little and make my own conclusions! Then maybe, just maybe, when turning points come in the characters' relationship, it will be - oh I dunno - a bit more exciting, hmm? Let the characters' actions speak for themselves.
In other words, get out of their damn heads for a second. It's not interesting to watch them pick at their belly buttons and muse over the lint every other page. Hey, dummies, NEWS FLASH: it's a funky color, it smells bad, and it's the same thing you contemplated five minutes ago. Stop it.
I'm NOT asking for deep psychological drama, but good God, it really seems like the authors who do this are very lazy when so much of the story is spent on repetitive idiocy. Here, the hero has about three thoughts that he constantly chews and rechews: 1) the h's hair/eyes/teeth/freckles/skin pores, 2) his mission and duty vs. his turgid yearning to plumb the h's depths, and 3) his hurty-ouchy knee that threatens to ruin his entire life and sense of self-worth, because he's that extreme kind of woobie, damaged hero. God, I can't imagine the pissing and moaning he'd have done if they'd actually amputated the damn thing. (And he has a total PTSD freakout when some minor character's foot gets shredded by malfunctioning artillery. Everything in the "plot" ends up coming back to the hero's and heroine's fears, needs, and insecurities.)
When the same naval-gazing is done over and over, it really takes on the dimensions of filler. And boring filler at that. Just sayin'. Maybe the emphasis on a character's self and his/her thoughts is a product of this self-help/self-esteem/self-analysis era in which we live. It's part of the culture today, and so it shows up in the literature. However, rather than feeling like I'm getting to know a character, I feel like I'm being held hostage by someone who, after five minutes' acquaintance, thinks I'm their new best friend, their life and experiences are of monumental interest, and they try to drag me into their problems about their looks, their life's direction, their childhood issues, their choices and decisions, etc., and it's all I can do to not crack them over the head and run away.
This guy was yet another in an interminably long line of poor woobie heroes with an owie in need of a hug, and the heroine was yet another pathetic, self-deprecating, extreme overreactive twit. The sex was dull, the tension meh, the conflicts small and/or uninteresting, the dialogue....ugh. It wasn't all that remarkable, merely more of the same flatly-written, cranked-out dross (which is apparently the norm for Avon's titles nowadays).
If one were to remove the repetitive filler of endless head-hopping and naval-gazing about the same old subjects, it could have been shortened by 100 pages or way more with nothing lost. Seems like the critical reviews of Dare's other books mention the same thing about substance-length ratio, so I'm not going to bother reading more of this author. If I want to read a category style story, I'll read a category length book. Diane Gaston and Carla Kelly have far more interesting soldier-heroes and they deliver tight stories and good characters within their word count constraints. Sure, it's still wallpaper, but it's an eye-catching wallpaper. Dare's wallpaper is a plain white with a slight texture, maybe a tiny fleck pattern. Books like this little turd-nugget are the worst sort of wallpaper fluff: totally inert.
I was contemplating giving this 2 stars because of the fact that the hero is a Napoleonic-era soldier. I'll read to the end of any romance with that character type, and the fact that I did when I have bailed far earlier in other books gave me brief pause. I actually agonized about it for a while, but in the end Dare's style was simply too damn boring without a hint of nuance and mystery, the biggest sin a book can commit IMO.
(My Magic 8 Ball says that later books in the series will have pairings of gruff Corporal Thorne & Kate Taylor, and the surgeon Daniels and Diana Highwood. Bring on 2012 & 2013!)
Oh, and for the lone, positive in this book, I did like the first chapter with the sheep. They were awesome, and the antics there were pretty funny. However, once the sheep left the story, so did the charisma.
I don't even know how to begin with this one. The stupidity made my brain seep out of my ears. The characters' immaturity made me seriously consider t...moreI don't even know how to begin with this one. The stupidity made my brain seep out of my ears. The characters' immaturity made me seriously consider throwing my ereader at the field stone chimney in my living room. I wish I had a bottomless pit in my backyard to chuck this badly-conceived, idiotic, repetitive, anti-climactic, boring piece of crap.
Pitch A Bad Regency. Save a Persian.
I wasn't too keen on the Mr. & Mrs. Smith premise tease because, well, it seemed cheap and tricksy.
But then imagine my surprise when I got not too far into it and it was apparent that it was just a cheap gimmicky bait & switch! Shock, I tell you.
Once I got a ways into the story, I was beginning to wish that it had been more like the Brangelina flick, because at least I'd enjoyed that. This one, not so much.
It's really rare when I can say about a book that I liked nothing and hated everything. In the interests of space, I'll keep it confined to the biggies:
1) The constant bickerfest between the leads. Once Adrian and Sophia learned they were both secret agents, it was constant oneupmanship. And it wasn't charming and it wasn't witty. It was petty and relentless and had all the maturity of sticking tongues out at each other on an endless loop.
They argue over dead bodies. They argue about anything and everything. A tone, a word, a glance...and they're off! And the heroine's predictable hands-on-hips "This is 1815! Women have rights!" speeches didn't endear her to me, nor did his "Chicks as SPIES??? Go home and cook me a steak!" asides. Ooooh, Battle the Sexes Pavlovian Reader Response! *claps and flails* Quick! Choose sides! Get completely emotionally invested!!! Cheer or boo at the appropriate cues!
How about you lazy clichés both die in a fire?
2) The heroine's friggin' itchy nose. This was her dog whistle that danger be lurking, that she gets a weird feeling about this or that person just from hearing their name spoken. Her femanun intoowishun is her main asset as a spy, apparently, because she's a lousy shot, and even though she can throw a dagger accurately she always sneaks around in long, cumbersome dresses to get up close and personal so she can stab her targets. But she doesn't like killing! Very important! Her Teh Kickbuttness OMG! was so erratic and fake, especially when....
3) ...her multiple miscarriages turn her into a wreck at the mere thought of them. The sight of a pregnant woman transforms her into a fragile and completely useless object. (And until the scene where she sees a preggers she's avoided all pregnant women for several years in her work and social life. Convenient, that.) OK, I guess this was the "human interest" part of the plot, but it was wedged in there and the emotional gears kept switching whenever the author felt it convenient.
4) Which the author did again in a scene that gave me whiplash. The hero divulges the fact that he was forced to watch his traitor daddy drawn, quartered, and disemboweled when he was a tender five years old and then, within seconds, they're trying to one-up one another on how many wounds they've gotten ("I got that one in Prague." "I got that in Brussels." "I had an inner thigh wound all throughout the rest of that Haydn opera because I got shot in the ladies' room. I told you the blood was jam." "And I couldn't see well that night because I'd had chemicals thrown into my eyes in Munich." No really, that's the jist of the conversation.) Then they have to compare how well the wounds healed and their respective self-suture skills. And then they go down on each other in her sister-in-law's backyard. The ereader nearly flew at that point. The cutesy nyah-nyahs evolving into thoughtful, grudging respect was so obvious and irritating. I've got some personal pet peeves about the clunky ways authors tend to do this and Galen hit nearly every single one.
I know that a main staple of the romance formula is a variation of Fuck-Wangst-Argue, but this one did it really badly. There was nothing to offset it. No pleasing characters, no tight plot or pacing, no historical background and atmosphere. I don't know about you, but there is nothing I like more than watching two people snipe at each other for hours on end and look for excuses to prolong the bitchery by affecting shock and disbelief at something he or she said.
5) The "mystery." What a lame, piss-poor, anti-climatic whimper. No payoff! The entire mystery plot thread was a meandering Q&A session with suspects who act suspicious but have nothing to do with it at all. And the evil mastermind is around to be defeated another day! (I smell series bait.) But the hero and heroine get to trade delightfully witty barbs! (Not.) Engage in fisticuffs and knife fights with unlucky thugs on the street in broad daylight! (Puh-leeze!) Have sex in a carriage three times! (That cliche needs to fucking die already!)
I hated it. Hated hated hated it. My expectations weren't that high, but I wasn't expecting to feel such homicidal thoughts towards a BOOK. I didn't care about any of the characters and their emotions and angsts were cheaply contrived. The sex was lengthy and not that interesting. The grrlpower element made me hurl. These super-awesome "spies" blew their cover at every opportunity and could barely hold their shit together. It wasn't a Regency wallpaper, it was historical fantasy. It wasn't just banter, it was a bitchy bickerfest. (Imagine listening to Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" for 12+ hours straight.)
ETA: This story could have desperately used a long separation, a device completely UNTHINKABLE nowadays, but it might have cut down on my homicidal rage towards the characters.
Hands down and bar none, it was the most obnoxiously unentertaining romance I've ever read.(less)
Critics Say: "I laughed. I cried. I wanted to kill myself. No, seriously...where's the cyanide?"
Not Quite Much of Anything A Husband
FEEL your mind expand with hot atlas action!
It was 370 miles from Gilgit, where he’d been peacefully minding his own business, to Leh, that much again back to Gilgit, then 220 miles from Gilgit to Chitral.
QUAKE with excitement as the hero and heroine play chess!
Her king knight leaped over the four pawns that had neatly lined up in e4, f4, g4, and h4. His king knight joined the battle. Her king knight dashed back and took out his king knight pawn. He removed her king pawn. ... She picked up her king rook, set it down, picked up a pawn, set it down, picked up her queen, and set it down.
SCREAM with the triumph of the feminist spirit as a wife goes frigid because repeated sleep rape makes her horny and unable to concentrate on her day job as a successful female surgeon!
TREMBLE to the heated desire of oral sex and handjobs in a world gone mad!
THRILL to the sighting of flares as hordes of the rebellious colonized swarm outside the fortress!
The hospital assistant came back a minute later. “The flare has been lit.”
“What flare?” Leo and Bryony asked in unison.
“The Khan of Dir’s men promised to light a flare from their position in the hills to warn us of an attack.”
And now the flare had been lit.
Here's your flair flare!
WEEP with sorrow as letters are written and read!
SIGH with relief as you get that high school anatomy lesson at long last!
“I know a great deal about the penis,” she said. “I can name its every last component, from the fundiform ligament that anchors it to the pubic bone, to the fascia that covers and binds the entire structure.”
She laughed. “Now, the column of the penis is composed of three cylinders—a pair of corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum, which is this ridge along the length of the penis.”
She rubbed her finger along that ridge. His poor captive member jerked with the stimulation. “Blood comes down the aorta, flows into the internal iliac artery, passes under the pelvic bone via the pudendal artery, and finally enters the common penile artery for engorgement. Then, through the corporoveno-occlusive mechanism, the veins are blocked and the influx of blood kept in the penis, thereby maintaining the firmness needed for penetration.”
EMERGE from this epic story with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart!