Harold Henry 'Demon' Cynster, keen to escape the Fate that has influenced the other Bar Cynsters into strolling down the wedding aisle, takes himself...moreHarold Henry 'Demon' Cynster, keen to escape the Fate that has influenced the other Bar Cynsters into strolling down the wedding aisle, takes himself off to Newmarket and the sanctuary of his racing stud. Only to discover all is not well in paradise and trouble is encapsulated in the form of Felicity 'Flick' Parteger. A beauty whom Demon has know since her childhood, currently masquerading as a jockey in his stables. Flick, a skilled rider, is attempting to gather information that will assist her guardian's son, Dillion Caxton in clearing him of a race-fixing scandal. Demon's Cynster instincts are awoken and he has no choice but to assist the young but brave Flick in her endeavours. I really liked the character of Flick in this novel, as a young and daring heroine and also admired her adept horse riding ability. The relationship between her and Demon was also interesting, him being more mature and experienced. I personally liked the horse racing story line and the sneak peak at Dillion Caxton as a wayward youth. (less)
**spoiler alert** Richard 'Scandal' Cynster, is a member of the dashing, powerful and matrimonially-adverse Bar Cynster. He is also the illegitimate c...more**spoiler alert** Richard 'Scandal' Cynster, is a member of the dashing, powerful and matrimonially-adverse Bar Cynster. He is also the illegitimate child of the previous Duke of St Ives and thus half brother to Devil. Richard is summoned to the lowlands in Scotland to claim the inheritance from his late birth-mother. There he meets the red-headed, green-eyed local witch and lady of the vale, Catriona Hennessy. It becomes apparent that his mother's necklace is not the only inheritance that the will has left Richard, but also a caveat requiring him to marry Catriona. As a strong-willed and devout leader Catriona is extremely opposed to the proposition, as the last thing she needs is a formidable Cynster husband to override her authority. Yet she does need to continue her lineage through Richard and she achieves this through underhanded and distinctly witchy means. Richard counters her actions by agreeing to marry Catriona, but also promises not to interfere with her jurisdiction. After a tricky start to the marriage, with uncertainty over each other's roles and true feelings and overcoming hostilities from some locals, both Catriona and Richard realise they are destined. This novel slightly strayed away from the formulaic romance structure, with Catriona as the dominant land owner. Richard magnanimous promises to protect Catriona and be her consort, whilst surviving numerous attempts on his life. Although I like Catriona's steadfastness, I strongly disagreed with her decision to drug Richard and seduce so he would father her child. If the roles were reversed, I can't help feeling that this would be rape. However she did improve and progress to trust and let Richard have a role in the vale (the compromise reminded me of Edward as a consort, in The Young Victoria ). Catriona's focus on spirituality wasn't too overbearing. I really enjoyed the Cynster gathering and having all those characters visit the vale and be a part of the story. (less)
This novel sets up Sylvester Sebastian 'Devil' Cynster and Honoria's relationship, battle of wills and their establishment as the sixth Duke and Duche...moreThis novel sets up Sylvester Sebastian 'Devil' Cynster and Honoria's relationship, battle of wills and their establishment as the sixth Duke and Duchess of St Ives, the powerful head of the Cynster family. After discovering the strong-minded governess Honoria Anstruthers Wetherby assisting his dying cousin, Devil is later obliged to announce their engagement, in order to protect her reputation after spending the night with her (unavoidably) under the same roof unchaperoned. However Devil has other motives, heedless of society's strictures, in deciding that Honoria will be his wife. Although Honoria's continued obstinate character is frustrating, she is a good counterpoint for Devil's imposing strength. The murder subplot carries some action, but the murderer's identity is predictable.(less)
Spencer Archibald 'Vane' Cynster, is the second Bar Cynster to succumb to Fate's edict that all Cynster males will give their heart's to a (strong) wo...moreSpencer Archibald 'Vane' Cynster, is the second Bar Cynster to succumb to Fate's edict that all Cynster males will give their heart's to a (strong) woman. He comes across Patience Debbington who is staying at Bellamy Hall with her younger brother (an aspiring artist), among many other assorted guests. There are strange happenings going on at the Hall, including thefts and a spectre stalking the churchyard ruins. It falls to Vane to extend his visit and sort out the mysteries while also achieving the goal of dallying with Patience. When the party decamps to London for the Season, to flush out the culprit, many more things are revealed. Patience initially thinks Vane is a notorious rake (not untrue) and a bad influence on her susceptible brother. However she is soon corrected to understand that Vane, as a Cynster, is also an honourable, protective and family minded gentleman. Although satisfactory, the mystery plot and the romantic relationship between Vane and Patience doesn't quite carry enough oomph. (less)
The story (a prequel to The Kommandant's Girl) follows Margot Rosenthal, the daughter of an advisor to the German delegation at the peace talks in Ver...moreThe story (a prequel to The Kommandant's Girl) follows Margot Rosenthal, the daughter of an advisor to the German delegation at the peace talks in Versailles post WWI. I find these war climates very interesting and this one hasn't been done to death in the historical fiction genre so it was good to see it approached. The suspense produced from the book is created through the main characters decisions to become involved with the background happenings at the conference and the woes of her personal life. She befriends a woman who has connections to artists and activists, some who have communist and espionage interests in Paris. She also decides to actively assist a charming German Naval officer, Georg, in his plans for the future of the country, partly out of a sense of duty, boredom and an undeniable attraction to him. Although secretly engaged to her childhood friend and war veteran, she can't help falling in love with Georg. There is familial stresses, when Margot's close relationship with her father becomes strained and discoveries about her mother's true identity were interesting but seemed redundant once they were made apparent.
Although a good plot and unique setting, the books does lack some depth. There appear to be a lot of issues, perhaps too many to be explored in enough depth? Then again any less and the book could be at risk of being bland. The heroine although intelligently flawed, her lack of resolution is frustrating. Walking head long into situations that quite clearly going to have disastrous results? But its perfect for a summer beach read (or on a plane flight like I did) and will keep you engaged enough to keep reading. What keeps you going is needing the 'How will this end?' question answered. (less)
Jude and Lucy's relationship picks up in Clash where Crash left off and the emotional roller coaster ride continues. Jude and Lucy have made it to co...more Jude and Lucy's relationship picks up in Clash where Crash left off and the emotional roller coaster ride continues. Jude and Lucy have made it to college and Juilliard, but like most (guilty indulgence) angsty YA novels the relationship is plagued by trust issues. Here, its in the form of Adriana Vix, the usual gorgeous, manipulative, cheerleader type trying to worm her way in to Jude's pants. Lucy feels threatened by this and her lack of trust in Jude almost tears them a part.
The sequel, I enjoyed better than the first novel. I think its because Jude and Lucy feel a lot more mature and have a stronger connection. More relatable and somehow less dramatic than a forbidden high school romance.
Lucy's crisis of uncertainty about the longevity of their relationship, half-way through was irritating to say the least. What the heck is a 'break' anyway? I get that she wanted space from the continuous emotional roller coaster, but its all or nothing Lucy. All or nothing!! I felt like sitting her down and saying: 'ok girl its simple, you've got this hot, awesome guy that loves you. I know its hard work, but something isn't worth having unless its worth working hard for. Duh!' Thank goodness her mum stepped up in this novel (not just the stereotypical cold, insensitive, absent work-aholic mother) and did finally drum this advice into Lucy for me.
Poor Jude, continues to think his is a screw up, although thankfully with not as much vehemence as in Crash. Perhaps his relationship with Lucy and the college football scholarship has made him realise he does get stuff right and helped his self esteem. He patiently puts up with Lucy's lack of faith and continued doubt, all tortuous I'm sure. He remains unwaveringly committed to Luce and desperately tries to keep her from leaving.
And boy can Williams write delayed gratification! Theres about two books worth of sexual tension building up to one moment. Just when you think they've finally got there something pops up and prevents them, ensuring that you keep reading. Well played Williams, well played.
As is a given in this genre, there is no lack of sexy, romantic and painful moments. Hopefully, in the next book Jude and Luce can start their relationship and stop all the 'on and off' nonsense. (less)
Lucy Larson moves with her dysfunctional parents (still troubled by a past family tragedy), to live in their beach house which also includes a switch...moreLucy Larson moves with her dysfunctional parents (still troubled by a past family tragedy), to live in their beach house which also includes a switch to a new high school. Lucy is a strong young woman with ambitions to dance her way into Juilliard. Although as soon as Lucy sees him she is aware he screams trouble, she can't resist the transcendent connection with a boy at the beach, a bad boy named Jude Ryder. Jude is an infamous law breaker on a one way track to jail, with the amount of crimes committed, stints in juvenile detention and girls he's bedded running into the double figures. However, Jude is redeemed when he falls for Lucy and uses the intimidation of his reputation to protect her in anyway he can, even from the danger and hurt he causes. Their relationship barely finds it feet before they hit trouble. With Lucy's disapproving parents, Jude's tendency towards violent tempers, the damaging influence of a high school jock and Lucy's lack of trust and mistaken belief about Jude's past, all threaten this violatile relationship. They eventually seem to have sorted out all of their demons, when the most shocking and insurmountable of all rears its head from their past. After all, being named after Beatles songs isn't the only thing that Jude and Lucy have in common, in a twist ending they are also linked by a tragic event in their past.(less)
Well, Kellan and Keira are finally a couple. But they don't have long before the band, the D-Bags are recognised as a promising talent and picked up t...moreWell, Kellan and Keira are finally a couple. But they don't have long before the band, the D-Bags are recognised as a promising talent and picked up to front line a famous band's upcoming tour. Although Keira is happy for Kellan, its not surprising that she is a little hesitant about him leaving. After some seriously hot bathroom sex at the celebration party, he leaves on tour. However, their relationship is plagued by insecurities and secrets that both Keira and Kellan keep from each other, which threaten to end them. Finally they have to face their fears, in order to overcome their pain and trust in each other.
Its great to finally see Kellan and Keira as a real couple, without hiding. Trust, or the lack of it is at the centre of this story. So its not surprising that the relationship struggles under separation, considering it's foundations were built on deception.
Keira's insecurities about Kellan's chick-magnet status, her continued propensity to loneliness and their recent heart-breaking struggle to be together, leaves her feeling uncertain about their relationship. Kellan's own family-related secret, which he refuses to tell Keira doesn't help matters. Keira's refusal to inform Kellan of the reappearance of Denny further exacerbates the situation of dishonesty.
Kellan remains a sweet and upstanding guy, performing wildly romantic gestures and helping Keira grow into a stronger and mature person. And I guess she is good for Kellan, being the first real source of love he feels in his life.
Like the first, this second novel continues to be filled with humour, as well as beautifully romantic and explosively passionate moments. (less)
love, passion, pressures and perks of rockstardom, weddings, pregnancy, sex tapes, scandals . . . you get everything you want and more with this final...morelove, passion, pressures and perks of rockstardom, weddings, pregnancy, sex tapes, scandals . . . you get everything you want and more with this final book!!(less)
'Thoughtless' is the perfect adjective to describe the heroine Keira. Keira moves to Seattle with her Aussie-born boyfriend Denny for his new job, and...more'Thoughtless' is the perfect adjective to describe the heroine Keira. Keira moves to Seattle with her Aussie-born boyfriend Denny for his new job, and she picks a college nearby so they can be together. They move in with Denny's childhood friend Kellan, a sexy, charming musician with a damaged past, who plays regularly at the local bar. Sexual tension hums in the air when Keira and Kellan first meet, but they begin their relationship on the grounds of solid friendship. Keira gets a part-time job at the bar as a waitress, which allows numerous interactions with Kellan and his wild and hilarious band mates. The status quo is disrupted when Denny takes a promotion, which is in a different state, leaving the slightly co-dependant Keira for a couple of weeks. Keira becomes reliant on Kellan and their relationship steps up from friendship to 'innocent' (Keira's term) flirting. Kellan sweetly takes care of Keira, managing to walk the very thin line of disloyalty to Denny and being supportive to the girl he is attracted to, not that Keira makes it easy for him. Yet the sexual tension is so overwhelming that its almost a welcome relief when Keira and Denny have a fight, about him permanently accepting the position and Keira gets drunk. Keira and Kellan finally give in and sleep together (well portrayed through the method of remembering it the next day hung over). Although Keira is obviously guilt ridden, especially when Denny rocks up the next day (choosing Keira over his job) she still doesn't take the honest route. Instead looks at it as mere indiscretion in her relationship with Denny, oblivious to the hurt she causes Kellan by making the whole thing into a mistaken one night stand. Cue the classic love triangle. Two great guys, one indecisive girl. Keira continues to hurt Kellan throughout the rest of the book as she flip-flops between feeling committed to Denny (her first boyfriend) and being undeniably attracted to Kellan. But who will she choose? And will it be too late?
After the build up of angsty sexual tension, the getting together happens. But its the figuring out how to stay away from each other which is at the heart of this tale.
My first thought when I read the blurb for this book was 'how the heck is Stephens going to navigate this moral minefield?' The fact that she achieves this without completely alienating the entire readership, shows skill. Against my better moral judgement, I was eager for the two star-crossed lovers to get together. Despite their obvious betrayal, neither Kellan nor Keira come across as totally the 'bad guy', just two people struggling with an impossible love. Perhaps its because the reader is so involved in their story, that we're so forgiving.
In my opinion, Keira's moral philosophy is seriously skewed. I mean, setting rules like: Kellan caressing is ok as long as there are clearly designating no go zones, is suppose to be perfectly reasonable? I know that she was torn between not hurting Denny and not rejecting Kellan, but there comes a point when a girl has to suck it up, grow a pair and picked a guy. Her constant infuriating indecision is extremely frustrating, especially when she is supposed to be an intelligent and honest person. There is a clear double standard in Keira's behaviour, she can continue to hurt Kellan (a guy who is so long suffering and patient with her, especially considering all that he's been through) but when he even breaks under the emotional torture and gives her some of her own medicine she acts like an innocent victim. The best way, I think I can describe Keira is a mass of coherent contradictions. She's innocent, unfailingly virtuous, insecure but also spirited, stubborn and incredibly blind.
The reason you keep reading is summed up in one word. Kellan. He definitely makes the list as a great romantic literary hero. Its hard to convey the true essence of him, through just the usual adjectives of charming, tortured, sexy, talented. His struggle to admit and then hide his love for Keira makes the guy even more of a saint. Pretty difficult for me to get passed a girl and his best mate screwing over a decent bloke, let alone an Aussie but I'd be heartless if I didn't admit that I was Team Kellan all the way. The guy is all sorts of hot, but also has a heart of gold.
All in all, its a great young adult read. With tons of angst, sexual tension, love, sweet moments and heart-rendering ones. (less)