I've just re-read this one for the first time in recent memory -- it' still my all time favourite historical romance. BUT...I can sure see why so many...moreI've just re-read this one for the first time in recent memory -- it' still my all time favourite historical romance. BUT...I can sure see why so many people don't like Shanna. She's a spoiled b**ch and I would have slapped her silly before the end of part 1. And I don't quite understand why Ruark fell so deeply in love with her - she doesn't show many redeeming qualities until the last quarter of the book.
What I love about the book I think is the sweeping saga of it all. And Woodiwiss' writing. What's that phrase - "evocative prose"? It fits. From the opening pages I could visualize everything she was describing like it was a movie - the carriage travelling over the cobblestones through the foggy, wet streets of London on the way to Newgate gaol. I was in the carriage. And when she meets Ruark for the first time in his cell, I was there too.
It remains that way for me through the entire book. I love the descriptions, the language, the detail, even the dialogue. I consider most KEW’s books more Georgian than Regency (mid to late 1700s) with powdered hair, shoes with buckles and ruffles on men’s shirts so I don’t mind the flowery turns of phrase. It’s all part of the way KEW takes you into the story.
Shanna takes you from London, across the Atlantic to Los Camellos, on a pirate ship bound for a hidden island in the Caribbean to the untamed wilderness of Virginia. The descriptions are vivid and her characters fully fleshed out and well-drawn (for me, anyway) so that by the end of the book you feel as though you know them all. You certainly get to know Shanna and Ruark – KEW shows us each of their POV so that you know how much Ruark loves Shanna (although unfortunately not why) and you can see how much Shanna struggles with recognizing and admitting her love for Ruark (that love being the only good thing about her through much of the book).
The book takes place over the course of a year or so following Shanna’s return from London to Los Camellos. It felt realistic to me – there are stretches of time where Shanna tries to stay away from him and there are other happenings on the island that keep them apart (mostly due to Shanna’s unrealistic expectations of Ruark and what she wants from him) but their arguments are realistic and their assignations very sigh-worthy. (Lots of sneaking into each other’s rooms at night). Except for Shanna’s stubbornness, which is much more apparent reading this as an adult.
I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a chunky (666 pages), historical romance. The prose is descriptive, (oh all right, PURPLE) the story is epic in scale and hero is to die for. I fell in love with Ruark Deverell Beauchamp when I was 11 years old. His book is still my all time favourite. (less)
Believe it or not, I liked this one better than Lord of Scoundrels. (Well, except for the scene in LoS against the lam...more4.5 stars **Mildly spoilerish**
Believe it or not, I liked this one better than Lord of Scoundrels. (Well, except for the scene in LoS against the lamppost in the rain, but I can't have everything, can I?)
I loved the whole book -- loved Alistair and his "dandy-ish-ness", loved Mirabel and her penchant for jumping his bones whenever she could, (view spoiler)[including climbing a ladder into his room (hide spoiler)] got a charge out of the story, smiled at the secondary characters and all the references to Alistair's brain box being not quite right.
Loved how they spoke to each other,
She began unbuttoning her pelisse. "I am one and thirty years old," she said. I should like to gather my rosebuds before the petals shrivel up and fall off."
Of course I'm vexed," he said. "You're alone, the ground is still slippery from last night's storm, and I know you hadn't much sleep. It is a dangerous combination."
"Have you come to look after me?" she said.
"I am your betrothed, not your nursemaid," he said.
loved the things they were thinking, (view spoiler)[especially when he was so distracted by her horrible clothes and hair he could barely function. And then when she figured out what was happening and deliberately made her clothes and hair WORSE, well... (hide spoiler)]
I guess what it comes down to is that I love Loretta Chase's style. It keeps me hugely entertained. I love her characters, the sparring, the humour. I find myself sitting in my chair with a silly grin on my face occasionally snorting with laughter.
"If I could have run, I'd have run away screaming, like a girl," Alistair said, his heart lightening.
"I would have been right behind you," Gordy said, "screaming louder and at much higher pitch. I have not your manly basso, you know."
Light without being frothy, interesting storylines, terrifically amusing characters and a writing style that allows me to visualize the story in my head so it plays like a movie. Can't ask for much more from a book.
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...moreOk, 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.
When I finished this book I honestly didn't know where to shelve it.
It didn't feel much like a romance, but underneath this was all about love. I did...moreWhen I finished this book I honestly didn't know where to shelve it.
It didn't feel much like a romance, but underneath this was all about love. I didn't really think it was PNR or UF, but where else do you put a tale about werewolves? It starts in the present, with a murder and a family secret, but quickly flashes back in time to France in 1897. A thwarted assassination attempt sets up the whole story.
The world building (is that what you call it when you make up the history of a new race?) is richly worked, painstakingly detailed and, um, bit boring after a while. Thank God I'm a skim-reader.
The first two thirds of the book plays like a light Regency/Victorian, with our heroine as ward of Alexander Devoncroix - werewolf extraordinaire. I was soldiering through, minding my own business (getting a bit frustrated and vaguely wondering if there was going to be any depth to the writing whatsoever) when
It got serious, it got dark, it got compelling and suspenseful and tragic and beautiful and dammit I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
I don't get affected like THIS very often, I must say.
And now having said that, I don't know how to rate it. The first 2/3? A 3.5 or thereabouts - I was skimming a fair bit, to be fair. The last 1/3, though - that part gets 5 stars simply for emotional punch Ms. Boyd smacked me with. (less)
A historical mystery/adventure with a couple of really steamy love scenes and a deftly handled romance (that actually took a ba...moreThis book was AWESOME.
A historical mystery/adventure with a couple of really steamy love scenes and a deftly handled romance (that actually took a backseat to the story and I DIDN'T. EVEN. NOTICE.) The writing is crisp, the story is fast-paced, the romance is subtle, the tension palpable, the whodunnit surprising, the ending satisfying...what more can I say?
Ok, so after reading this one, I have six words for y'all:
Holy shit, this series is good.
If you like intricate world building, reinventing human histo...moreOk, so after reading this one, I have six words for y'all:
Holy shit, this series is good.
If you like intricate world building, reinventing human history so that werewolves have been in our midst since the beginning, suspense, drama, angst, angst, angst and a doomed love story, look no further.
Boyd's style of telling this story is much the same as The Passion. For those who haven't seen my review of that book, it means that that I got drawn in immediately, then skimmed for a bit, then got a bit um, complacent, and then once again WHAM! the book began to fire on all eight cylinders and kept me captive right until the end.
Then, of course, because my kindle happened to be charged up, as soon as I finished the last page I looked up the third book on Amazon. Renegade, it's called, and to the detriment of my book budget I clicked "Buy" and paid almost $7 bucks for it.
Just so you all know, the 5 stars are simply for the sex. The story didn't interest me much, but holy crap the sex was hot. (And so were the men she w...moreJust so you all know, the 5 stars are simply for the sex. The story didn't interest me much, but holy crap the sex was hot. (And so were the men she was doing it with.) Whew!
I've also read The Harlot by the same author. It's probably not a fair comparison, as that one is a historical and is also a full length novel (I think), but I enjoyed the story of that one much more. (It was just as hot, though.)
Warning: m/f/m, extremely explicit and includes a seriously hot 3-way. No m/m though, but if the book had been any longer that probably would have happened too. ;D(less)
Oh, my GR friends who've read and recc'ed this book, I think you're on to something.
This was fantabulous. I could argue, as always, that it was too sh...moreOh, my GR friends who've read and recc'ed this book, I think you're on to something.
This was fantabulous. I could argue, as always, that it was too short, but it really wasn't. You get to drop into Makenna and Caden's lives on the night they meet, you stick around for a day or so, then you're gone. You see them just long enough to know that they've found something special with each other, and it's ok to leave them because you know they'll make it. It was short, it was intense, it was awesome.
I was hooked from the first line and I didn't put down my kindle until I was finished. There was something about the writing that I liked very much -- very direct, rich, and without wasted words (unlike my reviews, where if I can use 5 words instead of 2 I will, lol). The H/h ("Good Sam" and "Red" is how I think of them now) are so believable, and so real. Laura Kaye's writing had me right there in the elevator with them - I could virtually smell Caden's cologne. And I was right there in the kitchen, and right there in the bedroom....whew. I was right there for all of it.
I loved it, I'll definitely re-read it, and I wish it was out in paperback so I could look at that beautiful cover All. Day. Long. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.
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."
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....moreMy 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! (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.)