Just as good this reading as the first time. This book is hard to describe. It's a historical romance that's not really a historical romance, if that...moreJust as good this reading as the first time. This book is hard to describe. It's a historical romance that's not really a historical romance, if that makes sense.
The hero's behaviour borders on reprehensible at the beginning, if he had been written even a smidge differently he would have been unredeemable. As it is, it takes a lot to do it, but the author puts us front row and center so we see it happening just as Sebastien does. Rachel is beautifully drawn as well.
The way the book is written - switching from his pov to hers is fast becoming a favourite of mine (Anne Stuart did it in "Reckless")and it pulled me right into the story. Which, again, was completely necessary given Sebastien's behaviour at the beginning of the book.
It was unlike any HR I've ever read, and I loved it.
(Original comments: 4.5 stars -- this book blew my doors off. Wow. )(less)
I enjoyed it, but it didn't seem to set up the "Heavenly Host" club with a whole lot of detail that wasn't included in Ruthless as well. An...moreToo short!
I enjoyed it, but it didn't seem to set up the "Heavenly Host" club with a whole lot of detail that wasn't included in Ruthless as well. And who was Rohan? And what about her brother (his friend)? And what happened? Did they make it? And isn't this roughly the same story as Ruthless?
It sets the tone nicely for the series -- I'm going to re-read Ruthless because of it. I have to say though if I'd read this first I might have been disappointed that there is no mention of these two in Ruthless. I wanted to get to know them!
One of the problems with reading a very popular romance novel after everyone on the planet has already read it, is trying to find something t...more4.5 stars
One of the problems with reading a very popular romance novel after everyone on the planet has already read it, is trying to find something to say about why you loved it that isn't the same as everyone else. Everyone has already talked about story, the depth, the meaning, the writing, the Beauty and the Beast angle, the main characters, the steamy scenes - what's left?
I loved this everything about this book. It's going on my favourites shelf - where I keep the books that I re-read and love most of all. There is something about it that enables me to lose myself in the story, feel the attraction, feel the tension between them, fall in love with Edward and wish I was Anna. One of my favourite scenes is one where Edward has bet Anna that she can't make his dog answer to a name she has just given it, and the forfeit is a kiss:
Anna began to tremble. He bent his dark head toward hers, and his warm breath caressed her lips. She closed her eyes. And heard the dog clatter into the yard. Anna opened her eyes. Lord Swartingham was frozen. Slowly he turned his head, still only inches from hers, to stare at the canine. The dog grinned back, tongue hanging from his mouth, panting. "Shit," the earl breathed. Quite, Anna thought.
Part of the appeal for me is in the way that Edward and Anna are portrayed. Neither is "stop-traffic" gorgeous. It takes a second look before you appreciate the beauty of Edward's eyes, for example, or the shape of Anna's mouth. There is so much more depth to a person, imo, when their wit and their personality is part of what makes them attractive. This is what attracts me in real life and I suppose it follows me into my reading. Plastic, barbie-doll beauty has never held any appeal for me - either in men or women. (Unless it's Halle Barry. That woman is so beautiful she exists on a whole other plane.)
Anyway. That's what I liked the most about this book. Elizabeth Hoyt forces you to look past the scars and the grumpiness to see the serious hottie hiding behind them. Oh all right, and the lonely man convinced no one will want him because of those scars. (That's the touchy-feely part. I just thought Edward was seriously sexy.)
So no matter which romance trope is your favourite -- Ugly Duckling, widow/spinster, Beauty and the Beast, boss/secretary, this one has a bit of everything. Throw in some hilarious secondary characters (I'm thinking of Edward's valet, Davis), an intriguing fallen woman, and an excellent introduction to The Princes, Leopard and Serpent, and you end up with a book that was, for me, almost perfect.
I like this author, I liked the story, I even liked the premise - both virgins. I was surprised how sexy she was able to make Simeon -- and how sensib...moreI like this author, I liked the story, I even liked the premise - both virgins. I was surprised how sexy she was able to make Simeon -- and how sensible his decision to remain chaste was. Their scenes together were well done but the dirty girl in me would have liked it a bit steamier. I wondered too, how the author would explain Simeon's knowledge of things like oral sex and where his fingers should go, when the author told us next to nothing about him. Guess he was born knowing; this is fiction after all, lol!
I liked both characters very much. The whole water closet subplot was very amusing as well. I also really like Eloisa James' writing style - I hadn't read any of her books until A Kiss at Midnight, which I loved. As much as I liked this book I probably wouldn't re-read it (and that factors into how I rate them) unless I start the series at the beginning and need to re-read the parts about Jemma and her husband.
Jemma, Villiers and her husband - their storyline is my only real complaint about the book. I know it's a series, and I should have known better, but if you're standing in a book store it doesn't SAY it's a series. I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out what was going on with them. Hard to care about them when you're left with cryptic passages about affairs, lovers, weak hearts and asking your former best friend (until he let your dog die, WTF?!) to woo your wife. Huh?
That starts another lament of mine, called "why can't anyone write stand-alone romance novels anymore?".
3.5 stars - again, when will they get 1/2 stars?!?!?
I enjoyed this book a lot -- Eloisa James is fast becoming one of my favourite HR authors. She wri...more3.5 stars - again, when will they get 1/2 stars?!?!?
I enjoyed this book a lot -- Eloisa James is fast becoming one of my favourite HR authors. She writes delightful, whimsical romances with laugh-out-loud moments, witty repartee and charming heroes and heroines even snarky old me can identify with. Her heroes are more eccentric than anything else - a bit tormented, but honorable and handsome as well. And, of course, her love scenes are pretty good too ;).
I enjoy the world she has created with this Desperate Duchesses series, and look forward to reading them all.
This book had some great things going for it -- a handsome Duke, lots of history and political unrest, and some fairly steamy love scenes. And...more2 stars
This book had some great things going for it -- a handsome Duke, lots of history and political unrest, and some fairly steamy love scenes. And it's set in Ireland - so the thought of the hero's accent fairly captured my imagination.
Alas, for some reason the author decided the heroine (herself politically active, and with a history with the Hero) needed to be 18 years old at the time the book takes place. The Hero is in his late 20s/early 30s I believe, and had a run-in with the heroine 2 years earlier. That would have made her 16. BLECH.
The story itself was fairly entertaining - a love story set against the formation of the United Kingdom in 1800. There is some intrigue, lots of adventure and a scheming villain or two (one of whom is the hero of the next book - which, after the way he acts in this book, is kind of weird).
If you love history and Ireland, you'd probably like this one. I got hung up on the age difference, but I think I'm probably just getting old. :)(less)
The slums of Georgian London. Close your eyes and you can picture the buildings - tall, grey and sooty, so close together they look to be leaning inward towards you. The claustrophobic feel of the small rooms, narrow alleys lit only by feeble lamps. The smell of the slaughterhouse in the air. The grinding poverty. The abject despair. And the gin.
Far removed from the ballrooms and carriages of Regency London, this version of the same city is infinitely more interesting. I loved it. I think I liked the setting more than the actual story, to tell the truth.
When I first read this book a couple of months ago, I absolutely loved it. I finished it in almost one sitting, and couldn't put it down. Unfortunately, when I re-read it this week, it didn't hold up quite so well. I'm going to rest most of the blame for that on my own shoulders. I usually wait to read reviews until after I've read a book, just to make sure I don't spoil the book for myself. I must have thought I was safe in this case, having read the book already. Nope. I read a couple of reviews, by reviewers I usually enjoy but neither of them liked the book. At all. And some of the things they had problems with, I actually hadn't noticed the first time I read the book. So when I re-read it, they fairly jumped out at me.
I am the type of reader who, if you can hook me with the characters, or the narration, will swallow almost anything that you throw at me in terms of the story. I take it all in as a whole, then dissect it later for the parts. If I really enjoyed the book, I won't care about small things that make others crazy -- like that some of Caire's dialogue could be taken as melodramatic and OTT, and that throughout the book everyone's cloaks were swirling or flapping or twirling around their ankles, legs, enveloping them everywhere. (Pretty dangerous things, those cloaks.)
Anyway, back to the story.
I didn't connect with the heroine very well, but I liked Lord Caire. A LOT. (The more I read historical romances the more I think I'm just in it for the men.) Another reviewer talked about how he reminded her of Anne Stuart's heroes and I have to agree. The sly humour that AS brings to her heroes is missing, but otherwise Caire is very similar.
Other parts of the book I didn't care for nearly as much: the Ghost of St. Giles, for example. What the hell is up with that? It might just be me, but I thought the book was fine without him. His popping up here and there was just distracting, as was his costume. And the red herrings about who he was just annoyed me. I thought the ending resolved everything just a little too neatly, including Caire's revelatory 180 degree change into a regular Lord of Romancelandia, who likes to be touched, tells his mommy he loves her and Temperance he can't live without her.
Hmmm. I've just read this over. Maybe I didn't like this book as much as I thought I did!
Well, here's how I break it down, in case anyone is interested:
Setting:5 stars Writing:5 stars Story: 3 stars (the Ghost and all the goofy names they gave the orphans brought this down) Hero: 5 stars (1 simply for him having white hair -- that's ballsy! The rest for having him like to tie women up - you don't see that very often) Heroine:2.5 stars -- she was kind of a hypocrite, and she hurt Lazarus' feelings :( Steam: 5 stars - a bit dark, definitely hot
All in all, 4 stars.
PS There is nowhere to fit this in the review, but the "fairy tales" that begin each chapter are brilliant. They are one of the best things about Elizabeth Hoyt's books. (less)
When I was reading The Raven Prince I found myself posting quotes from a prostitute named Coral Smythe.
"I can get you a night with an accomplished ma...moreWhen I was reading The Raven Prince I found myself posting quotes from a prostitute named Coral Smythe.
"I can get you a night with an accomplished male whore or a virginal schoolboy." Coral's eyes widened. "Famous libertines or ragpickers off the street. One very special man or ten complete strangers. Dark men, red men, yellow men, men you've only dreamed of in the black of night, lonely in your bed, snug under your covers. Whatever you long for. Whatever you desire. Whatever you crave. You have only to ask me."
And how happy I was when my GR friend Rane (waves) told me about Coral's HEA on Elizabeth Hoyt's website. I was even happier when I found it on Amazon for kindle, because frankly I'd forgotten about it.
But I digress.
This story was excellent. The perfect way to give us Coral's HEA, nicely wrapped up in the form of Captain Isaac Wargate, who "wins" Coral for seven nights in a card game. One of the things I love the most about historical romances is that deliciously sinful bargains and wagers abound. Who wouldn't want the man you've craved for years to win you in a card game???? (*shivers*) Yum.
We get a little bit of history, a whole lot of tension, and a believable story of how two people can fall in love over the space of a week. All wrapped up with an awesome happily ever after, course.
Oh! And with another beautifully done fairy tale opening every chapter. Hoyt is a MASTER at this, and one of my favourite things about her.
I mean, I love historical romances, love dark, brooding alpha heroes, love spine-tingling horror novels. I love the...moreI always thought I liked gothics.
I mean, I love historical romances, love dark, brooding alpha heroes, love spine-tingling horror novels. I love the covers - pretty English women in filmy white nightgowns, running about foggy castle grounds in the dark. I used to read Victoria Holt, Phyllis A Whitney and Mary Stewart (my parents subscribed to Reader's Digest Condensed so I also read Jaws, Airport and The Boys from Brazil way too young, but what can I say?). So when I saw the blurb for this book I was pretty enthused. A gothic! With sex! Yeehaw!
Well, it has all the requisites for a good gothic: "heroines alternately swooning over or being terrified by scowling Byronic men in possession of acres of prime real estate and the appertaining droit de seigneur" (thank you, wikipedia!)
The story is pretty standard gothic (widower, hires governess, needs wife also, creepy hijinks ensue), it's just the execution that perhaps isn't very good. It's in the first person, which, although I think is normal for these books, I don't care for. I wonder if it isn't harder to do than the regular third person.
This book felt choppy and abrupt, and I kept backtracking to see what I had missed. The dialogue seemed stilted at times and the characters, well, you have the Brooding Lord and Master, the Virginal Maiden, the Creepy Servant, the child, the Slutty Neighbour with Designs on the Lord and Master and the Russet-Haired Ghost (dead wife? secret sister?). It's a novella rather than a full-length novel, and it's a cliff-hanger! Sometime in August one can buy the second part on Amazon, if one were to want to find out what happens.
Gianetta is hired as a governess, sight unseen, by Gawain. She travels to his home and on her first night there she is woken by the Creepy Servant and taken to meet her new boss. He talks about his wife, who has died two months hence (GRRR. Glaring editorial error, one of many and more on this later). This happens a few more times, they never speak more than for him to make creepy pronouncements and tell her she will be his wife and she needs to be taught the same way she will be teaching his daughter. Then we meet the Slutty Neighbour with Designs on the Lord and Master and there is a quickie wedding. Gianetta (I think) falls in love with Gawain, although for what reason I can't imagine - except that she will be homeless and destitute if she leaves. Then some gothicky occurrences, then the cliffhanger.
I'm not sure what to say about the sex in the book. I think this author also writes erotica, which is fine, but when you throw sex like that into a book like this, where there is no tension, no chemistry, just some weird middle-of-the-night summonses, a quickie marriage and a creepy introduction to Gawain's cock, it didn't work for me. (After he's stuck it right in her face, he wants to know what she thinks of it, urges her to touch it, "hold it in your hands. Do as you will with it," to take her time, see if she likes it. Then of course, "Now darling, I want something more from you. Take me into your mouth." She's a virgin and they've never done more than kiss. She's all panty and wet and calling him "husband" while she goes down on him, but...)
Blech, blech, icky icky blech.
Which brings me to my final bit, and this is what might have made me review this book so critically.
This book is set in 1782. I read a lot of historical romance, and there is a certain flow to the language that you use when setting a story in that period.
Here's an example from page 7: "Either he eschewed a wig, or had just taken his off for the evening." Ooh, old word, I thought -- she's been doing research!
Until I got to page 8: "Do you know my wife, Eleanor, died two months hence?" HUH? Doesn't hence mean in the future? Aww, she's just throwing these words around, she hasn't researched this at all.
And again at page 24: "Oh I'm Elsie, miss. I'm a fairly new maid here and sort of have to float around at Greta's command" Fairly new? Sort of? Float around? WTF???
And another at page 70: "I think you're okay..." Who the hell said okay in 1782?!?!?
And the big one, page 71: "Master says he is taking Willa into town for the day and that she will stay with a cousin tonight for a sleepover." Not just the word (which wasn't used before 1965 FFS, and if I could find that out in 5 seconds why couldn't the author have looked it up as well!?!?!?) but the action -- I dunno how many English children got schlepped over to their cousin's place to spend the night.
And again, page 96: "It's okay. I'm going to make you want it. You're mine, after all."
I would say that I don't care enough to buy the second installment, but I am vaguely curious whether she got a better editor for the second one.
Maybe I'm just not meant to read gothics. I'm waiting for someone else to review this book (with words, not just stars) so I can see what they thought.
Original entry August 7/11: Going to start a new shelf called "Stinkers", I think. Review to come.(less)
Well, she says (she being me, what the heck, let's try this in the third person), this one was a little different. And so much more than I expected.
Th...moreWell, she says (she being me, what the heck, let's try this in the third person), this one was a little different. And so much more than I expected.
This book showed up on my updates recently (I know, I said third person, but that POV switch is hard!) when some friends started talking about it so I snagged a copy to see what was up.
The cover itself is a little deceiving - contrary to what I would have thought from the image this is actually a historical romance. An erotic historical, to be sure, but a very angsty one.
I won't say much about the story other than to say that it was unique and unlike most romances I've read. (The only book that even comes close is The Fulfillment by LaVyrle Spencer, but that one is only remotely similar.) The situation the characters found themselves in was believable, and the solution they find to the problem they face is believable as well.
Where it really turned from an enjoyable, steamy way to while away a couple of hours to an angsty, unforgettable story for me was mid-way through. (view spoiler)[We discover that the reason that Angus knows Emily so well is because he was to have been betrothed to her, and the reason that he wasn't was that her father and brothers were killed at Culloden where he fought beside them. He was captured, his lands and title stripped from him and he was sold to the Earl of Callender as an indentured servant. (hide spoiler)] That cranked the book up a couple of notches in my estimation. The "twist" overcame any problems I was having with the characters being a bit two-dimensional.
I really enjoyed this one -- it made my heart hurt a bit.
(And because for me these books are all about the men, Angus is seriously hot.)
One of my very favourite HR storylines is that of the long-gone fiance. You know, the one who is betrothed to the heroine while she is little more tha...moreOne of my very favourite HR storylines is that of the long-gone fiance. You know, the one who is betrothed to the heroine while she is little more than a child, and comes back years later to discover how much she's grown up in his absence.
I REALLY liked this book. I was predisposed to like the story, but the writing was what clinched it for me. The detail, the clothing, the descriptions, the dialogue. Oh, the dialogue! It is simply WONDERFUL. The expressions used by the characters, their turns of phrase and slightly flowery language evoke the time period beautifully. The Georgian period is my favourite and it has been sadly, sadly neglected with the current glut of Regency romances. You can tell how much knowledge of/research into the period was done here; the author has done an excellent job.
The Hero redeems himself quite nicely (and I must admit that I didn't really like him at the start), and the heroine is likeable and very clever. They have nice chemistry together and the steamy bits are, well, pretty steamy. Ms. Vane has a way with those scenes that was a bit different and quite refreshing, imo.
There were a couple of parts I found a bit clunky right at the beginning, where it looked like the author was setting up her story within the confines of the novella format. Does that make sense? It seemed that a character did one of those speeches where they have to info dump to the reader while talking to someone else (who already knew the info because they were there). Happily, it was only at the beginning. I think if ABoP was a novel the author could have taken the time to show us the history, but because this was a novella she couldn't. The quality of Ms. Vane's writing and the story itself took over shortly after that and I was hooked.
I can't wait to read Ms. Vane's next book, A Wild Night's Bride, which comes out in April. I'm also hoping there's a full-length novel in her future. She's definitely an author to watch.
Thanks to Victoria Vane for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (less)
Viscount Ludovic DeVere is bored. When his old friend "dull dog Ned" appears in London after years spent in mourning, Devil DeVere finds a project to...moreViscount Ludovic DeVere is bored. When his old friend "dull dog Ned" appears in London after years spent in mourning, Devil DeVere finds a project to spark his interest. Together with a Covent Garden actress named Phoebe (who has some secrets of her own), he makes a scandalous wager with the Prince of Wales - risking Ned's and Phoebe's hearts in the process.
Once again, Victoria Vane has whisked me away to Georgian England, this time in the company of an indolent rake, the likes of whom aren't often seen outside of an Anne Stuart novel.
No doubt about it, I LOVE Victoria Vane's writing. Her prose is GORGEOUS, her use of language is so evocative of the era it is an absolute pleasure to read. It is incredibly easy to lose oneself in her writing; it really is that good. She captures the era so completely that for those of us who love it, it's like coming home. Ms. Vane also publishes historical romantic fiction under the name Emery Lee. Anyone wanting to read more beautifully written (but not steamy) romances in a Georgian setting need look no further.
This novella is the first of a series, and I must say the set up was subtle and nicely done. It will be treat to get to know Devil DeVere better; I can't wait to read The Virgin Huntress!
A clever, sexy, romp with captivating characters in a delicious Georgian setting, Victoria Vane sets the bar higher with every outing.
Once again, thanks to Victoria Vane for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. (less)