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 toViscount 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. ...more
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.
ThWell, 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.)
Holy smokes, this book had some hot parts. Yes, that pun was completely intended. ;D
My GR friend Tammy sent this book to me (thanks, Tam!) because shHoly smokes, this book had some hot parts. Yes, that pun was completely intended. ;D
My GR friend Tammy sent this book to me (thanks, Tam!) because she thought smutty old me would like it. And boy oh boy, does she have my number.
Where to begin? For anyone who hasn't read the back of the book, it's written by two women -- one a contemporary romance author and one a historical romance author. I'd never read either before. I could tell there were 2 different people writing, and although I definitely preferred the historical writing to the contemporary the switch didn't seem to be jarring. (Except for the love scenes -- the differences there jumped right out at me.)
It's the story of a mousy, repressed museum curator (and one of the biggest romance stereotypes I've come across) named Piper, and her discovery of the secret diaries of Ophelia Harrington while preparing an exhibit. The book flips between the past and the present -- we get to read a book about Ophelia inside of a book about Piper.
After Piper reads the diaries, she enlists her best friend to help her reinvent herself. She gets a makeover then re-enacts the diaries -- having a virtual fuckfest with a seriously hot Irishman on loan to the museum for six months. (They have a history, of course, he was her prof or something and she got drunk, peeled off her clothes for him and he bailed, which then completely retarded her social/sexual progress.)
You might be able to tell, the contemporary part of the story was almost a complete fail for me. While the story itself was novel, the execution was like a dirty Harlequin romance. It had a promising start but it didn't hold me. I didn't buy the love story, the sex scenes were tawdry compared to the historical and I thought the "makeover" was predictable.
The historical section of the book was AMAZING. Oh, how I liked it. I liked the tone, the writing, the story, the depth of the characters and I especially liked the steamy parts (which was most of the first half of the book). WOW. The story was fascinating, and I found myself skimming through the modern day part of the story to get back to the story of Ophelia and "Sir". I tend to like courtesan stories anyway, so this one was right up my alley. I would have loved to read an entire book about Ophelia.
I don't know that I'll read any of Susan Donovan's work, as the contemporary part of the story didn't thrill me, but I'm thinking I should be picking up a Celeste Bradley. And soon.
I think I might possibly be one of the last people in the western hemisphere to read this book. Thanks to Kristen, who read it last week and recc'd itI think I might possibly be one of the last people in the western hemisphere to read this book. Thanks to Kristen, who read it last week and recc'd it to me. She convinced me to move it up on my tbr and dive in.
Here goes, I thought, and then spent the better part of two days scowling. Mostly at my Kindle as I tried to decipher the meaning in Robin Schone's prose, but sometimes at my husband, who insisted on chatting with me the whole time I was trying to read this. To be fair we ARE married, and I'd complain if he never talked to me either, but for cripes sakes, sometimes a girl just needs to read!!!
Anway, back to the prose. Yikes, what a style to get used to! I referred to it as terse, and spare, but I've seen it described as staccato too, and that works. Short paragraphs, cryptic references, lots of show, hardly any tell (dammit! I prefer to be spoonfed!) make a skim-reader like myself have to work REALLY hard to get through.
The story itself was intriguing, and for those of us who love the "Pretty Woman in reverse" trope, this is an excellent, if dark, example. I could have easily loved Michael if I'd have gotten to know a bit more about him. :)
Anne is 36. An only child, isolated and friendless, she nursed her parents until their deaths ten months before the book begins. She uses her dowry to retain the services of Michel des Anges, an exclusive stallion she has been infatuated with since her debut season, to relieve her of her virginity and show her what passion can be.
Michel (or Michael, as we discover his real name to be) hasn't had a patroness for more than five years, since a fire ravaged his home and destroyed his once-beautiful face. He accepts Anne's money and promises her a month of pleasure such as she has never known. (With his nine and one-half inches, no less - who knew hearing a man simply give his measurements could be so, um, arousing?)
So two tragically tortured souls are drawn together by need. Enough angst there to sink an ocean liner, but Schone throws in a cryptically (if seriously annoyingly) described plot involving Michel, his "friend" Gabriel, and a villain known only as "the man". It involves Anne too, and the underlying theme is that death is waiting for both of them at any moment. It is only at the end of the book that we discover what the plot actually is, who is involved and how it all ties Anne, Michael and the man together.
In addition to setting the pace for the novel, the prose sets the tone - dark and sensual, with a sizzling tension that is almost electric, right from the opening lines of the book. The chemistry between Anne and Michael is palpable.
At the end of the day, I'm still not entirely sure what I thought about it. Two days scowling as I read every word - I would describe the experience as similar to trying to read something without your glasses on - brings the rating down automatically. I enjoyed the story and the intimacy between the lovers. It was fast-paced, compelling and hard to put down. One niggling detail was the amount of time Anne spent talking down to herself - it got to be tiresome. Other reviewers have commented on the "I'm a scarred whore/I'm a spinster" repetition and I can certainly see where that comes from.
I'm going to call it at 3.5 stars, and reserve the right to change my rating later. This is a book that might require a re-read. ...more
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 maWhen 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.
A few months ago I said I didn't like erotic historical romances. That I didn't like dirty words and porny love scenes in myOk, I've changed my mind.
A few months ago I said I didn't like erotic historical romances. That I didn't like dirty words and porny love scenes in my HRs; that I preferred my smut to be contemporary. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it wasn't the genre that was the problem, it was just that I'd read a crappy book!
That was NOT the case with Everything Forbidden . OH MY GOD THIS WAS GOOD.
There was a bit of everything that I love in here -- a scandalous (and deliciously sinful) bargain, exquisite chemistry and tension between the Hero/heroine; a Hero who is bad, bad, bad (but only on the outside); a heroine who is believable and oh-so-human, a great plot, even better writing, and just enough angst to leave me once with a lump in my throat.
See, this book was so good I forgot to mention the sex. YOWZA. Sexual tension you could cut with a knife. Oh-so-steamy (I coined a new shelf in honour of this book), sexy without being lewd, beautifully written. I loved it.
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 t4.5 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.