It has a spinster, a rake, a tryst that begins with mistaken identity, a shotgun marriage, a mouthy heroI loved the name, and liked the book. Win win.
It has a spinster, a rake, a tryst that begins with mistaken identity, a shotgun marriage, a mouthy heroine, a clever Hero, some witty dialogue, lots of banter. London does a really good job of it that part. I enjoyed the book almost all the way through.
I was skimming towards the end, though, and that was because of this: too much tell, not enough show.
INORITE? Anyone who has read my reviews knows how much I usually like to be spoonfed. In this case, though, I wasn't choking on pablum so much as I was needing to SEE what was going on, not just be told about it.
And the ending seemed a teensy bit convenient, but what the heck. It's a first book.
There was something here good enough that I'm going to keep reading the series. I believe London will get better - and when she does, she will be great.
I have no idea how I even heard of this book. I'm usually too embarrassed to pick anything up that has a cover like this:
And the title: Seriously? I cI have no idea how I even heard of this book. I'm usually too embarrassed to pick anything up that has a cover like this:
And the title: Seriously? I cringe even typing it. This book was released under a different title at one point: A Night of Scandal. Besides having nothing to do with anything in the story, it probably wasn't nearly sexy enough for the rest of the series.
Here's the premise for the series: Eight (count 'em, EIGHT) siblings. Some full, some step, some half, all obscenely wealthy and successful, all of them "50 shades of fucked up" as a result of a horrific upbringing. An angsty, Harlequin version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, each written by a different author.
That did for me - I had to have the whole series.
The Tortured Rake (sigh. It's. just. so. bad.) is the story of Nathaniel Wolfe, uber-sexy mega-talented actor and, I believe, the youngest of the Wolfe clan. Oh yeah, and he's an emotional cripple, but just like in real life we don't find that out until a bit later. Bring on the angst, I say!
Said angst angle enters in the form of Katie Field, a wardrobe designer on the play Nathaniel is starring in in London, and so begins one of my favourite fairy tales -- the regular girl snags the movie star. I love these stories, especially when they are done well.
I really enjoyed this - it was much better than I was expecting it to be. The writing was good, both characters were believable and they felt real. I could identify with Katie and see exactly what she saw in Nathaniel.
There were a couple of clunky moments (view spoiler)[like where out of nowhere when they get down and do the nasty we discover that Katie was a virgin. HUH? (hide spoiler)], and an instance or two where I had to remind myself that I was reading a Harlequin and the author didn't have 500 pages to work with, but overall I liked this quite a bit.
It'll go on a new shelf with my other movie star/regular girl books -
3.5 stars A quick, enjoyable read with a really hot guy on the cover. :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I cannot say enough about Eloisa James' fairy tales. I love them. They are whimsical, lyrical, beautifully written. I fall into them immediately and aI cannot say enough about Eloisa James' fairy tales. I love them. They are whimsical, lyrical, beautifully written. I fall into them immediately and am completely immersed in the tale - so much so that when they end I look up and around, blinking in surprise to find myself still sitting on my couch.
No surprise then, that I loved this story. Yes, it's yet another take on the tall, beanpole-ish wallflower and the breathtakingly handsome suitor - but it is wonderfully written, with enough differences to keep it interesting.
My GR stats tell me I've read 27 books so far this year. Of those, I've given 5 stars to only 6 of them. A Tale of Two Lovers was one of those books.My GR stats tell me I've read 27 books so far this year. Of those, I've given 5 stars to only 6 of them. A Tale of Two Lovers was one of those books.
Maya Rodale is a new-to-me author, but damned if she isn't going to become an autobuy. She is seriously good.
There are a number of really good reviews already on GR, so I'm not going to outline the plot (which was a novel spin on the gossipy ways of the ton and the strictures of 1820s England) or gush about the Hero (although he was extremely gush-worthy) or prattle on about the strength and wit of the heroine (what else can I say about a woman who shoots at drunken Hero when he won't quit singing dirty limericks outside of her house?).
I won't go into the pages of verbal sparring (which was fast-paced and entertaining), or how enjoyable it was to watch the Hero and heroine sharpening their wits on each other and falling in love in the process.
Did I mention the chemistry? It's not just their wits they are sharpening on each other -- they strike sparks from their first meeting. Delicious.
The author handles the switch from dislike and distrust to attraction, to passion, then love with a deft hand. I genuinely liked both characters. When they quit trying to ruin each other and started working together they were a force to be reckoned with.
This book is second in a series, but can be read as a stand alone - the characters from the first book appear here, but only peripherally.
A rollicking, entertaining battle of wits with just enough angst to add some depth, a little mystery to keep me guessing and enough steam to hold me in my chair for the better part of a Sunday.
5 stars -- and thanks to my GR friend Eastofoz for the recommendation! ...more
Once when I was a kid and before the advent of Tylenol, I had a super-bad headache and took too many aspirin. My ears rang for almost a whole day afteOnce when I was a kid and before the advent of Tylenol, I had a super-bad headache and took too many aspirin. My ears rang for almost a whole day afterward. A high-pitched, buzzing, annoying "ching"-like noise that drove me bonkers.
Dylan Moore has heard that same noise continually for years. A fall from a galloping horse, a smack of his skull against a rock and presto! The doctors tell him the bells shall ring in his brain for the rest of his life. For a piano virtuoso/composer/conductor this is catastrophic. He can't sleep, he can't compose, he can't drink, smoke or whore the noise away. For a tortured hero affliction, this one kicks ass.
Our story opens with our Hero, desperate to end his agony, holding a pistol under his jaw in a theatre that used to play his symphonies. He is interrupted by the charwoman cleaning the theatre who persuades him not to do it; she will have to clean up after him, she says, and that sort of mess doesn't come out of wood. She leaves the theatre, taking with her his pistol and the impetus for him to end his life. He doesn't even know her name.
Cut to five years later. Dylan sees her playing violin at a ball and recognizes her immediately. He believes her to be his muse -- for only when he sees her can he hear anything other than the endless ringing in his ears. She is the key to unlocking the music in his head, he thinks, and pursues her.
The heroine, Grace Cheval, was ruined in the eyes of her family when she eloped with a famous French painter at 17. Years later Etienne is dead and Grace is eking out a meager existence by selling oranges and disguising herself as a man to play violin in a quartet. She has never forgotten her encounter with Dylan at the theatre, but had already spent years putting up with a tortured artist. Being a muse to a painter was quite enough, she thinks. The muse is blamed when the creative spark is gone, and she has no desire to be put on that pedestal.
Dylan's life as a self-absorbed, self-indulged artiste takes another turn when he is presented with an 8-yr-old daughter he never knew existed. Her mother has died and Dylan finds this a perfect way to have Grace -- a governess to his daughter, a muse for his talent, and a mistress for himself.
Their story is a quiet, emotion-filled one of love and redemption. It wasn't all sweeping, grand gestures and flowery speeches. For all the excitement of new love, there is the bittersweet goodbye to love that has died, and the dreams that died with it. There is jealousy, and cruel words, and heartbreak. There were a couple of scenes in the book where I was pretty sure I didn't like the Hero at all. Then it occurred to me that his behaviour was the closest to real life that I've read in a while. That's what their relationship was -- real. Most of us IRL don't realize what we have until we've lost it; nor do we recognize our flaws until it's almost too late to fix the damage we've done.
A much more serious book than the first in the series, (Guilty Pleasures), this one is definitely worth-reading - especially if you like tortured types and a bit of an angsty read.
One last thing: although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. Guhrke is doing an OUTSTANDING job of loosely tying the characters together - they slip in and out of each other's stories, always on the periphery, never intruding into the main book. I'd love to give the book 5 stars just for that.
The more I think about this book, the less I can figure out what the hell I thought of it.
On the one hand, it's a Laura Lee Guhrke. She has become one of my "go-to" authors. The Guilty series was outstanding, Abandoned at the Altar is shaping up to be even better, and the first book in this series, And Then He Kissed Her, is one of my absolute favourites.
The writing is great, the H/h are well drawn, and the cast of supporting characters (especially the ladies at the boarding house) are either charming or exasperating, depending who they are.
I just didn't really like Rhys. I'm not even really sure why, because, within a chapter of meeting him you know exactly what he's about. Charming, insincere, self-absorbed, dissolute and irresponsible. When we meet him he is wondering if he could talk Prudence into a tup; he saves a maid from being raped by a peer, but sleeps with her himself immediately afterward (mostly because she's cheap and he can't afford to keep a mistress). He comes by his character quite honestly; his title is hollow and his estates are in ruins, mostly due to 6 generations of dukes before him who behaved exactly as he did. Creditors are banging on the door and he's reduced to dining-and-dashing at gentlemen's clubs and couch-surfing at his friends' residences. He needs to marry money. Huge money. And fast. I actually felt like Rhys was probably quite historically accurate. His description to Prudence of what peers did with themselves was hilarious:
"Darling, most duchesses are like most dukes. And marquesses and earls, etcetera, etcetera. We don't do anything. We lead terribly lazy lives in which we give and attend fabulous parties, gamble away our fortunes - if we have them - eat outrageously rich food, drink excessive amounts of champagne and port, travel the world, accumulate massive amounts of debt, and engage in outrageous exploits. All because the lot of us suffer from terminal ennui....Peers are the lilies of the field, my sweet. We toil not, neither do we spin."
Heh. Maybe I did kind of like him. See what I mean? I can't even decide what I think about the Hero. Towards the end of the book all bullshit he's been slinging comes home to roost (oops, mixing metaphors here), he realizes that he actually meant all of it, and that Prudence was the one good thing he'd managed to finagle and he has to try to figure out how to keep her.
it was Prudence I didn't really like. I did at first - she was independent and sure of herself, but then she became besotted with Rhys and inherited gazillions of $$ and lost her marbles. Her ideal of marrying for love seemed anachronistic (HUH, you say? Bear with me, I'll explain). During the time the book is set, marrying for love was the exception, not the rule. Arranged marriages happened ALL the time - for money, social position or bloodlines - that's just the way it was done. It was expected that your dowry would bail out whichever peer offered for you. So for Prudence to be so set on marrying for love (and a penniless DUKE, nonetheless) and for her to be so outraged and vocal about her hurt when she finds out seemed wrong to me. For us 21st century women, sure. For a late Regency/Victorian miss? Uh-uh. And crossing the class lines seemed too simple in this story as well.
I've swallowed bigger loads of baloney in a historical romance, but I need to be able to lose myself enough in the story so that I don't notice myself choking on it.
it was the ending that clinched it for me. I know it's a historical romance and we all need our HEA, but for these two to get past the big lie would take YEARS, not a week. Years of him being in love with her to prove to her that he means it; years for her to accept that even if he didn't love her from beginning he loves her now.
AND ANOTHER THING!
The fact that Rhys' terrible childhood (oh, those poor little British kids shipped off to Eton and abused by their wicked, wicked mothers and evil Uncles) and his relationship of mutual dislike with his mother seemed to be thrown into the mix for good measure, instead of being used with any depth for what it was most likely intended. Wow, did that make sense?
Hmm. After all this I'm still not sure what I thought of this one. I guess I'll call it at 3.5 stars. Liked the writing, the premise and the supporting characters, didn't like the Hero or the heroine all that much. ...more
These books are the literary equivalent of Cracker Jacks for me - light, tasty and I inhale the whole thing in one sitting.
Julie James is eas3.5 stars
These books are the literary equivalent of Cracker Jacks for me - light, tasty and I inhale the whole thing in one sitting.
Julie James is easy to read, her characters immensely likable, the stories familiar, the dialogue quick and funny, and the steam level sits right around the mid-mark. Just like I've rated this book, as a matter of fact.
This one is about the daughter of a billionaire who owns a wine shop. Her brother is in federal prison for hacking into Twitter and one of her customers is mob connected. Inconveniently for her, this means the FBI shows up on her door offering a deal - get the agent in with her customer and her brother goes free.
Of course, nothing goes as it should and what follows is a couple of hours of enjoyable fluff.
My biggest complaint? Tons of cultural references that are going to date this book REALLY badly quite soon. Her brother looks like Sawyer from Lost (which is a good thing - remember Josh Holloway??) but references to that series, Twitter, other movies, music and Dancing with the Stars are glaring even now. I can't imagine how dated they will be in 5 years.
Unlike Rosemary Rogers for example, whose 70s contemps were huge and in-your-face slices of that decade, this book felt more like name dropping and product placement.
It wasn't enough to ruin the book, but I definitely noticed.