It all started with my GR friend Catherine, who almost NEVER steers me wrong, who said "You gotta grab this."
The other thing was that it was free yest...moreIt all started with my GR friend Catherine, who almost NEVER steers me wrong, who said "You gotta grab this."
The other thing was that it was free yesterday on Amazon. (If those aren't also magic words, I don't know what are.)
So I was a good little girl and I grabbed it, and I inhaled it all today, and now I'm going to tell all of you: YOU GOTTA GRAB THIS. :)
It's pretty steamy, it has a relatable heroine, the Hero (of course) is super hot and who wouldn't like a fairy tale like this: you want to get rid of your pesky virginity, so you hire a hot guy to do the deed. He teaches you everything you need to know about sex, he's gorgeous, he's smart, he's funny, and he falls in love with you. What's not to like?
The writing here is good enough that it didn't bother me that a romance writer didn't have any sexual experience (I know, that's actually a groaner) or that hearing about Lori's channel got a little bit old after a while. So what!? There is no head-hopping here; everything we know about Ander we find out the same time Lori does. You don't see that too often in romances anymore, it was refreshing. It faltered a bit towards the end, where I felt as though the author had a finite number of pages and was running out of room to tell her story. Not a huge niggle, though, I was strapped in and along for the ride throughout.
If you're looking for a steamy, feel-good Pretty Woman in reverse, this will do the trick quite nicely. It's going on my favourites shelf.
I frigging LOVED this book. I'm sorry, I can't think of any other way to put it.
I was trolling my kindle for something to read the other night when I...moreI frigging LOVED this book. I'm sorry, I can't think of any other way to put it.
I was trolling my kindle for something to read the other night when I happened upon the title. As I remembered exactly nothing about the book (other than that I really liked it) I figured what the heck and re-read it.
Now I'm gonna gush.
I love Christine Merrill's writing. An author of some wit, her books are infused with a sense of it, both in the prose and in her characterizations. Not all authors have this, and when I find one who does, I glom their backlist like RIGHT. NOW.
It doesn't hurt, of course, that The Inconvenient Duchess has one of my favourite plots ever - a marriage contrived by a scheming relative bringing together the stuffed-shirt Hero and an upstart heroine. This Hero stomps about yelling at the staff and slamming doors, just the way I like 'em. He isn't so much of a boor that he doesn't recognize what a jackass he is, and this is his saving grace. The heroine is another favourite type of mine, the ruined/poor/spinster with a temper.
I laughed out loud at some parts, grinned to myself at others, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of reading it.
One of my favourite quotes from the book is here:
"I know that you must have certain...needs," she almost whispered the word. "If you might wish to visit your mistress...I would not blame you for it."
He choked on his tea. "There are a few things we need to make clear, lady wife. Firstly, I do not wish you to discuss such things at all, but, if you must, you will not do so over the breakfast table. Secondly, if and when I seek to visit my "mistress" I will not ask, or for that matter, need your permission to do so. Thirdly, you should not even know of such things, and if you do, I'll thank you to keep the information to yourself. The last thing I want to do is discuss "my needs" with my wife." The last seemed to him so ridiculous a statement that he was momentarily struck dumb. No wonder, with an attitude like that, he'd sought to avoid the married state for so long.
A couple of things kept this from being a 5 star - perhaps it was a little rushed, but that might be due more to the fact that this is a Harlequin Historical than any other. In any event, it's going on my "favourites" shelf, and is a perfect feel-good regency keeper.
And I'm off to glom Christine Merrill's backlist. :) (less)
The POV. I rarely like first person, but this -- well. For some reason I loved...moreSo here are my thoughts, in no particular order:
What I liked about it:
The POV. I rarely like first person, but this -- well. For some reason I loved Ana's voice. I must have identified with her quite strongly, because I even found her "inner goddess" amusing. She seemed very real to me (with the exception of her complete sexual inexperience. I found that to be a bit of a stretch), and I liked her very much.
What I LOVED about it:
The smouldering tension throughout the entire book. It kept me sitting in one spot virtually all day long. Well, sometimes I was squirming, but that was only during the really hot parts. That's a pretty impressive feat for an author. The keeping me in one spot reading all day, not the squirming. :) James set the tone right from the get-go and didn't let up for a second.
Those EMAILS. Sigh. I once had a very intense love affair that began with notes passed back and forth at work (alas, it was before email) and I was reminded of that when I read this. I loved them. And it is so much easier to say things in writing that you are much too afraid to say to someone you care about in person. I loved that Ana was able to be so saucy to Grey, and that he was able to show a more light-hearted version of himself, 'twitchy palmed' CEO that he was.
Referring to each other as Miss Steele and Mr. Grey. More of the same saucy flirting as in their emails. Sigh.
It goes without saying that I fell like a rock for Christian Grey. He had me from the beginning; the elevator scene sealed the deal. He has all my favourite romance hero traits rolled up into one gorgeous gazillionaire package: the stuffed shirt, the alpha, the bossy bastard, the tortured, the gamma. You name him, he's in there.
Ms. James has created some electrically compelling characters in Ana and Christian. I loved them both, I identified with them, I cared about them. They were so, so good together - so good for each other without their even realizing it. And the chemistry between them was palpable - another testament to how well James was able to create and maintain that tension I talked about throughout.
I'm not going to talk about the smoking hot parts of the book other than to say that James very definitely delivers on the chemistry and tension she set up from their first meeting. I believe this book is marketed as erotica/romantica and imo it very definitely is.
What I noticed about it:
I could tell right from the first page that the author is British. Frankly, I wondered why she'd set her book in Seattle when it could have quite easily been set in London. Both main characters (but especially Christian) used words, expressions and turns of phrase that would only be used by a Brit. It also showed up in the prose. I'm not complaining - I simply put the American settings in the background and pretended everyone was from England - but I did notice, and until I adjusted it pulled me out of the story a bit.
From time to time throughout the book I noticed little things with the writing - a GR friend referred to it, I think, as "unpolished", and I would agree. However, the story James was telling and the characters she has created far, far outweighed any issues I had. So much so, in fact, that all I can remember now is that there was something - but not actually what it was.
What I DIDN'T notice about it:
When reading GR reviews of this book I kept coming across references to Twilight fanfiction, and that this had previously been on the internet under another title (which I haven't read).
Now, I don't know anything about fanfiction, and even less about Twilight fanfiction, but how you could call this story derivative of that one is completely beyond me. I've read Twilight, and for the record thought it was silly, over-rated crap. I suppose you could draw a really long bow and say Christian was similar to Edward in that he was older and possessive and domineering and that Ana is similar to Bella in that she is quite young and inexperienced (but not nearly as vapid and shallow as I found Bella to be) but really? Should you have to work that hard when you're reading? Most romances are similar in characterizations, archetypes and storylines - there are only so many ways to shake them up. If you want to look for romances with character types similar to those twits from Twilight you'd be hard pressed to find one that didn't.
And if the author started this book as an homage to Twilight, well, whatever floats your boat, I guess. The fact that it's now unrecognizable as such (to someone like me, anyway, thank God) can only be a good thing for Ms. James. For every squealing Twilight fan, there's at least one like me who doesn't get the appeal.
Would I recommend it?
If you love steamy, steamy stories with a strong romance and can handle a little bit of naughty sex, then YES, YES, YES!
(In terms of naughty sex: there wasn't anything really extreme in here, more the suggestion of it. Nothing worse than a couple of spankings actually happens. And it's all quite tastefully done.)
Adele Ashworth is a new author to me, and if this book is any indication, she will soon be one of my new favourites. This book has almost ever...more4 stars.
Adele Ashworth is a new author to me, and if this book is any indication, she will soon be one of my new favourites. This book has almost everything needed for a perfect historical romance read:
An excellent sense of the era: No wallpaper here! From beautifully detailed descriptions of the Duke's home, their clothing and lifestyle, to the depictions of class differences (for example, the tea served to the heroine when she attends the Duke's residence is "a wonderfully strong Lapsang Souchong. Somewhat unconventional for standard fare, especially when serving to a guest of the lower class.") The distinction between the classes plays a large part in this book.
An excellent Hero: The Duke of Trent resides at his country estate. He is a virtual recluse there, shunned by society after being acquitted of killing his wife. Will is gorgeous, noble and LONELY. A bit tortured too, with a sad, sad history.
A just-as-excellent heroine: Vivian lives in an exile of sorts as well, except hers is of her own making. She lives quietly as a widow in the village of Penzance and makes her living as a florist. Her secret is that she is not a widow at all. Her story is just as sad as Will's.
A scandalous bargain: He has something she needs, she has something he wants. A deal is struck, and the tension and chemistry between the H/h is palpable.
Chemistry, chemistry, chemistry!!!!: And teasing, flirting comments. And funny, sexy pillow talk.
Some excellent steamy bits: WHEW. 'Nuff said.
A bit of intrigue, blackmail and danger: Because you have do SOMETHING other than just have sex, right?
The prettiest declaration of love I've read in quite a while: I know I shouldn't, but I can't help myself -- here's part of it, hidden by a spoiler tag. (view spoiler)["Every breath I have ever taken," he maintained softly, "every trying season of my life, has been merely a bridge that has led me to this moment with you." All together now, "Aaaaaawwwwwwww" (hide spoiler)]
It also had a bits and pieces of the following (dammit!), which pulled my rating down:
A few cheesy bits of sexy dialogue: I'm not going to tell you here, you'll know the second you read them which ones they are.
A stupid, contrived misunderstanding + Hero behaving like an asshat: Part of this was necessary to the story, but I'm not sure the rest of it served much purpose other than giving the author an opportunity to introduce her Heroes for the rest of the trilogy. Great couple of guys - they figured out what was going on when the Hero couldn't, and thus saved him from further asshattery.
All in all this was a wonderful book -- I'm keeping it, I'll most likely re-read it, and I'm eagerly anticipating the rest of the series.
(Adele Ashworth also has a decent-sized backlist, which is always good news when you find an new author you like.) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
First things first -- this is without a doubt, hands down, shout from the rooftops the best romance I've read this year.
Second thing - you have to ign...moreFirst things first -- this is without a doubt, hands down, shout from the rooftops the best romance I've read this year.
Second thing - you have to ignore the cover, because it's HORRIBLE. (That babe holding the handcuffs looks like Paula Abdul -- **shudders**).
Oh, and another thing - chuck the synopsis. Doesn't really do the book justice. All that sex they're talking about happens (hoo, boy, does it EVER!) but imho this book is a love story, plain and simple.
Beautifully written, this one grabbed me at the first paragraph and kept me up till 3:00am reading it all in one sitting, with tears in my eyes when I got to the end. I re-read it again today, and again, I'm blinking furiously and sniffling when I get to the words "the end". I want my own Hunter Anderson, dammit.
Now that we have all of that out of the way, I'm out of words. Thanks to my friend, Uniquely Moi Dhestiny, for writing a kick-ass review that got me interested.
And because I can't find the words to describe how very good this book was, I'm going to point you to some ladies who said it better than I ever could (including Dhes, who's up first), and all I can say for each one is, "What she said."
A few months ago one of my groups (Bodice Ripper Readers Anonymous) started a thread called "First li...more"Damn, damn...there it goes, the frigging thing!"
A few months ago one of my groups (Bodice Ripper Readers Anonymous) started a thread called "First line of the book you are reading", and this line was one of them. I was hooked as soon as I saw it -- I possess a well-practiced and finely honed potty mouth and it's not very often you read a historical romance where the heroine possesses one as well.
I have stayed away from Lisa Kleypas' books almost on principle. She is so prolific, and her books are so gushed over that not reading her has been almost a knee-jerk reaction. After reading the first line and the synopsis though, I had to try it.
Once I got about two chapters in I realized I had in my hands one of my favourite tropes -- the uptight, repressed Hero who needs saving from himself. And Kleypas did a good job with the Earl of Wolverton, I really enjoyed Alex. ;) I think I'm in the minority here, but I really enjoyed Lily as well. She's another of my favourite romance types -- the feisty heroine who needs rescuing (but doesn't know it). She is exactly what Alex needs to rescue him from himself, and Alex is the only man that Lily will allow to take care of her.
Of course, when they meet, they detest each other (Yay!! Another favourite trope!) The first half of the book was fabulous -- they snarked at each other, they glared, they snipped, they sniped:
In spite of the throbbing of her ankle, she was almost enjoying her stroll with him. That disturbed her so profoundly that she was compelled to stir up another argument.
Lily then demands to know why he is walking so fast - she feels as if "we're in a frigging footrace. Blast it!"
He throws her clothes and suitcase out the window; she kidnaps his younger brother, knocks Alex over the head with a bottle and ties him up. (And what a scene THAT was, let me tell you. Whew!)
Unfortunately, once Alex realizes that he actually loves Lily, the book lost a bit of its lustre for me. I know, I know, you can't maintain that conflict through the entire story, but what Kleypas did was have Alex do an abrupt 180 degree turnabout that I didn't really buy into. It wasn't enough to ruin the book for me, but it did knock it down to 4.5 stars.
All in all, a good treatment of some of my favourite romance tropes. It's going on my keeper shelf with the rest of my uptight alpha Heroes. ;) (less)
I would recommend this to anyone who has read (and loved) Carolyn Jewel's writing. She is amazing - the m...moreWhew! I thought my Kindle was going to melt.
I would recommend this to anyone who has read (and loved) Carolyn Jewel's writing. She is amazing - the mood she creates and the emotion that fairly jumps off the pages of her historicals is unlike anyone else I have read. And her love scenes are smoking hot.
I usually don't care for short story romances (I always end up wanting MORE!) but in this case I will make an exception, simply because it's another chance for me to experience the writing style that made Scandal one of the best romances I have ever read.
Here's what I wrote in April, 2011 after finishing this book:
3.5?? 4??? I'm stuck. Liked the story, liked the ending (another big AWWWW one) but I di...moreHere's what I wrote in April, 2011 after finishing this book:
3.5?? 4??? I'm stuck. Liked the story, liked the ending (another big AWWWW one) but I didn't really connect with either the H/h.
Like I'm finding with lots of books I inhaled read last year, it has definitely benefited from a re-read. Judith Ivory's writing is beautiful; her prose is so descriptive, her phrasing so witty and her grasp of the period - especially in terms of the vernacular - so precise, it's difficult to come away from one of her books without feeling as though you've been in a time machine.
I found myself laughing out loud from time to time at the interplay between the H/h, especially Stuart's advice as to where Emma could stuff his bank note (view spoiler)[up her very nervy bum LMAO! (hide spoiler)] after she writes to him demanding repayment for a lamb run over by his carriage.
And it just got better after that.
Stuart was earthy, a bit bawdy, and a complete charmer under a somewhat imposing exterior. I was completely enraptured this time around. I had a bit more trouble connecting with Emma, but in the end the decisions she made were in keeping with her character. And did I mention Stuart? ;D
Oh yeah - and this is the book with the "chair scene". Whew!
Loved the heroine, who had watched and wanted the hero from afar since she was a girl. Loved how...more5 stars.
Loved this book. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Loved the heroine, who had watched and wanted the hero from afar since she was a girl. Loved how she found him beautiful, how she lusted after him, how she tried and tried to wear him down.
But most of all I loved Rhys. He is one of my favourite hero types -- strong, silent, tortured. Reserved and quiet, but with wit and humour and depth that he shows only to the heroine. Determined, almost dogged in his pursuits - most of his life seeking death, and more recently seeking the hand of Meredith. He won't settle for a simple toss, he wants it all. Oh yes, and completely gorgeous. Tall, muscular, battle-scarred and wondrously handsome.
Here is what Rhys says to Meredith as to why he won't sleep with her:
"Meredith, you're my future wife. When I make love to you for the first time, it is damn well going to mean something. To me, at least."
"I've torn apart a lot of things in my life. Too many. I've been in the business of death for years now, and there's only been one thing I've never successfully managed to destroy. You're looking at it....This body has survived blows, musket balls, bayonets, grenades and whatever else God and Napoleon could find to hurl at it. I'm simply fated to live. There's no other explanation. And now that I've come to terms with that, I'm done tearing things apart."
He reached for her hand. "It's the same with us. I mean to build something with you. Something that will last. Much as I want you, I don't want to rush and bollocks it up. We're meant to be together, and -"
"And I know you don't believe that yet." He squeezed her hand. "It's all right. I'll keep building - stone by stone, plank by plank, kiss by kiss - until you do. And yes, I'll wake up stiff and aching for you each morning. But it's worth it." He heached out and tilted her face to his. "You're worth it."
Her eyes went wide. "You're unbelievable."
He stood and reached for his waistcoat. "What I am is indestructible. And I'm not going anywhere, Meredith. You're stuck with me now."
Tessa Dare is becoming one of my favourite authors -- I like her style immensely. She writes an engaging story with compelling characters. She doesn't do fussy physical descriptions of them, her historical details ring true and add to the atmosphere of her books, and her love scenes.....oh, her love scenes. They are vividly written, full of chemistry and sexual tension, and you are right there for them (if that makes any sense).
This book is a bit darker and more angsty in tone than One Dance with a Duke, the first book in the trilogy. It suits the characters and their story - Rhys and Merry would not have been well-served with a light, frothy book.
The other thing I liked about this book was that it could have been a stand-alone; the Stud Club was only mentioned peripherally throughout and Leo's murder didn't really come into play until the end of the book. I mention that because the endless series that abound in romance fiction drive me crazy. Give me a love story with 2 characters - don't give me a book that is 1/4 recap, 1/2 love story and 1/4 setup for the next book. This book is the former. (less)