I had a lot of fun reading this book. There were a few things that I would have liked to have more depth, but overall it was a lot of fun. I really thI had a lot of fun reading this book. There were a few things that I would have liked to have more depth, but overall it was a lot of fun. I really think this book could have done with more pages. I wanted more focus on the relationship, but I would have hated to lose any of the details about the investigation.
Has anyone played clue? I, personally, love Clue. (I also loved the movie version they made of it.) I think the premise is fun. A group of strangers are all staying in a house (or an inn) when there's a murder. Suddenly everyone is a suspect! You learn complicated little plots and side dramas while you hunt for the answer to the larger question of who the murderer is. I just find it a blast. So, this book was already a winner for me in that regard.
Christian got involved in the investigation while they were snowed in and dragged Kate in too. They ended up being the sole investigation team so a lot of time was spent running around discovering clues. It really made the book seem like a romp. There was funny dialogue and an assorted mix of characters to add to the fun. The murder plot wasn't very complicated, but I still had fun watching it unfold.
I really love the way that Anne Mallory writes her characters. They just seem like such likable people. Christian was a fun character with hidden depths. He had some issues caused by his childhood but he never really sat around and moped. When he was an ass he would admit to it and apologize. Unless he was intentionally trying to irritate Kate, of course. I really liked him and thought he had a great sense of humor.
Kate was a very levelheaded, cautious person. There was no useless hysterics or drama from her. She was suspicious of Christian and was the straight man to his funny man role. She was the polar opposite of Christian in terms of fathers, but they complimented each other.
My favorite part of the relationship was the sense of camaraderie and friendship they had. It got to the point where it felt like they knew each much longer than they actually had. When I actively recalled the time frame it was a surprise to realize everything had happened that quickly.
That's actually where my issue with the book comes into play. I think I would have been more satisfied with the relationship if it had stretched out longer and if there had been more of a passionate feel to it. I have no doubts that they cared about each other and that they were great friends, but the actual passion felt a bit missing.
It was a small gripe overall. I had too much fun with the book for it to have bothered me too much.
One other thing that I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It alternated from Christian's father to Kate's father. It really helped me get a good picture of their childhood without having to be told.
This was an enjoyable, quick read, but it didn't really wow me. Mallory usually has a very distinctive style to her writing, so I was surprised by howThis was an enjoyable, quick read, but it didn't really wow me. Mallory usually has a very distinctive style to her writing, so I was surprised by how anonymous this one seemed. It was pleasant, but rather bland, and was missing that spark that I'm used to feeling with her.
I thought Patience's overactive imagination and her inability to keep her foot out of her mouth in social situations was fun. She felt a bit silly at times, but I enjoyed her. The same goes for the hero, Thomas. I think the title of the book is completely out of place though. The hero is far, far from wicked. He's a regular, nice guy who is very easy to like.
There were a lot of red herrings thrown around and it left the final reveal of the villain feeling a bit underwhelming. All that build up and that was it? It was a little disappointing.
I thought the interactions between Patience and Thomas were cute. I liked when they'd have breakfast together and he'd relax and open up. It was amusing how he'd act grumpy and cold again and sweep out of the room when someone else joined them. Mustn't let them know he's a nice guy, after all. ;) ...more
What an absolute sweetie this hero was! Wow! He was just perfect. He was funny and cheerful, and he was determined to win the heroine and end a familyWhat an absolute sweetie this hero was! Wow! He was just perfect. He was funny and cheerful, and he was determined to win the heroine and end a family feud. He dreamed of living his life by the honor and principles of the knights of old. He lost his way there for a while and stopped making an effort to live up to his own expectations, but after he met the heroine and they began a friendship it quickly kicked back in.
Tristan made the story for me. Everyone else contributed to my enjoyment, of course, but it wouldn’t have had quite the same charm with a different hero. He was so cheerful and determined that it was hard not to love him. He took quite a few knocks in the story, but he just kept getting back up and continuing on. It was very admirable.
At times Tristan came off as a little sexist. But it was just a stray comment here and there and the heroine was quick to call him on it. Once he saw her point of view he was quick to adapt and agree with her. Isobel was a strong character and she wasn’t willing to be treated like a delicate flower. She didn’t run around playing warrior, but she was the rock that her family depended on. She had to play mother to most of her brothers and with no one else to keep food on the table, she had to labored just as hard as her older brother Patrick to keep the family fed.
There was quite a lot of humor in this book. It wasn’t over the top humor, but there were multiple times that I giggled over scenes. Especially when Tristan comes to visit Isobel’s family! Hilarious! That visit was not easy on him. Every time he turned around some other calamity was befalling him. One of my favorite quotes comes from that part.
"Clearly, they did not want peace. He had to escape their demented clutches, but he couldn't even think without a wave of nausea threatening to overtake him."
The heroine was not perfect for me although she didn’t irritate me to the point that I disliked her. Quite a few times she would say or do something that came off as a bit hypocritical. I started to get exasperated because it seemed like she was behaving that way just to be contrary. Luckily the author didn’t let her characters act like this was acceptable. Tristan was quick to point out when she was throwing stones in a glass house. That definitely made it easier to take.
There wasn’t a very strong sense of period in the book. Occasionally something would be mentioned about a political event, but honestly it all felt very vague. That isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I know it is irritating for some, so be warned.
One of my pet peeves is faux Scottish brogues. I cannot stand hearing “wee lassie” and “dinna fash yerself” and the like constantly. There was some of that here, but it managed to blend into the background and not irritate me into getting an eye twitch. Maybe because it was consistent and not just thrown in haphazardly? I’m not sure, but it worked for me here.
I was all set to give this a 4 grade, but the end made me drop it down to a 3.5. I am not a fan of cutsie and the end was full of it. There had been a few moments in the story where the sweet aspect had strayed close to the too sugary line but it never actually crossed it. In the end it did. The last couple chapters seemed to be there for no reason other than to show how happy Tristan and Isobel will be and to give everyone and their brother a chance to mend fences and be BFF’s forever. Some people really dig that sort of thing, but I’m of the mind that sometimes less is more. So less sweet and cute at the end would have been a boon for me.
Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book. I think it might even end up being a great book for people who like their romances a little sweeter than I personally prefer.
The beginning of this book was pleasant, but that was about all. I felt that the attraction between the hero and heroine was a bit ham-handed and abruThe beginning of this book was pleasant, but that was about all. I felt that the attraction between the hero and heroine was a bit ham-handed and abrupt. I also became very nervous when the author whipped out a competition and elimination a la The Bachelor. I am definitely not a fan of things like that.
But somehow I forgot my concerns as I got more and more into the story. Tristan and Tessa had a great dynamic together and I had a blast giggling over some of their interactions. The bride competition wasn’t focused on in the manner I feared it would be, so that was a plus too. It wasn’t ignored by any means, but I didn’t have to watch blow by blows of the hero interacting with countless other girls either.
I really liked all the side characters, especially Hawk and Tristan’s mother. I felt that they really added a lot to the story, especially as Tristan became more and more frazzled by his growing feelings for Tessa. Watching them slyly wind him up was hilarious for me!
Tessa had some moments of inner awareness that really surprised me. I was extremely pleased that the author had her honestly look at her actions and behavior toward Tristan, even though it didn’t always change her future behavior. The way she didn’t spare herself from the truth really bumped her up in my estimation.
I was extremely pleased that the author didn’t have the Tessa and Tristan constantly groping each other while he was supposed to be finding a bride. There was tension there, and they did slip up a time or two, but for the most part they both were aware of their roles and knew that they couldn’t just do whatever they wanted to.
This book was not stunningly original, and the bride competition was a weird setup, but it was fun and readable. The setup with Tristan being a rake and Tessa having a big dark secret were things I really felt could have been cut from the book. The draw here was the interactions between the characters. I felt there was enough of a hook there without including those things that were token at best.
So, overall I was very satisfied with this book. I even ended up getting so hooked into it that I stayed up until 1:30 am to finish it—and that was on top of being sick and having to wake up at 5:30. I just couldn’t help it, it hooked me.
Pg. 56: "Your Grace, I must be honest. Ladies expect gentlemen to display some tenderness. Thus far, you've demonstrated a sad lack of the finer feelings. I know this embarrasses you."
"Dash it all. I am not embarrassed."
She gave him a pitying look. "You needn't pretend with me. I'll instruct you in the ways to please and attract a lady."
Pg. 213: “Think of a time when you did something you knew was wrong. Tell me what happened.” He hoped it had nothing to do with little lambs.
“Not long ago, I did something very bad,” Sally said. “I stole my sister Sarah’s love letter and read it.”
Julianne’s eyes lit with mischief. “What did it say?”
Sally wrinkled her nose. “It was all nonsense to me. The gentleman signed himself as Lord Randy. He said he wished to plunder the treasure in the bush and claimed he carried a candlestick in his, er, unmentionables.”
This book was a nice change from my usual fare. It was light, fluffy, and sweet and made me laugh. I can't say that it would be something I'd like toThis book was a nice change from my usual fare. It was light, fluffy, and sweet and made me laugh. I can't say that it would be something I'd like to read on a regular basis, but occasionally is nice.
Gillian is the funny man to Noble's straight man. She, with the best of intentions, wreaks havoc in his perfect life. They have an extremely short courtship before marriage, but they both can't resist each other.
Noble has had a bad relationship in the past, so he tries to resist his feelings, but he just can't hold out against the eternally cheerful Gillian and her antics. Gillian is determined to save Noble and his son and spends each day working toward that.
The side characters--even the dogs!--were fun and hilarious. The servants and the mistresses and Gillian's cousin Charlotte cracked me up. They were helpless to resist Gillian recruiting them into her schemes and, in Charlotte's case, Gillian didn't even have to ask.
I wouldn't recommend going into this expecting good relationship development and character depth. That's not what this book is about as all. Go in expecting to take things at face value and be ready to laugh!
I plan to try another book by this author when I'm in the mood for a good laugh. Let me leave you with a scene that cracked me up.
Pg. 284 - 286:
"Yes, yes, I see your point, Dickon. Very well. We shall have a watchword. Any suggestions as to what it might be?"
"Testicle!" piped up Charles.
Noble frowned at him.
"'E means tentacle, m'lord. 'Ad 'is 'alf day yesterday and saw one of them octopantses at the zoological gardens."
"No, I mean testicle," argued Charles.
Noble considered his footman. "Is there any reason why you wish the watchword to be testicle, Charles?"
The younger man sucked in his cheeks and bounced on the balls of his feet. "No, my lord."
"Just like the word, do you?"
"Yes, my lord."
Noble stopped pacing in front of the footman and narrowed his eyes at him. "There's nothing you should have told me that you haven't, is there, Charles?"
Charles's eyes widened. "Me, my lord?" he squeaked.
"Mmm," Noble said, giving him a close look, then continued his pacing. "Very well, our watchword is testicle. Should you encounter someone who does not answer your cry of 'Halt, who goes there?' with a snappy 'testicle,' you will restrain him and shout for assistance."
"A lady wouldn't say it," Charles said.
Noble spun around to face the interruption. "What's that?"
"You asked me if I has a reason for choosing the word testicle, my lord. I thought of one. A lady wouldn't say it. Therefore, any lady villains we encounter wouldn't say the watchword."
"Er...quite right. Are there any other questions?"
"They'd say something else," Charles said. Noble ignored him and gazed down the line of footmen.
"Like whirlygigs," Dickon said with a nod. "That's what my mum used to call them."
"Dusters," said Crouch. "Jenny Hills. Flowers and frolics."
"Yes, quite. Are there any--"
"Gooseberries," said one of the Runners.
"No, they's jingleberries, they are," said another.
Noble rubbed his still-aching head. The pain seemed to be increasing again.
"Les accessories," said Tremayne Two in a perfect French accent.
"Orchestra stalls," offered Crouch.
"Twiddle-diddles. A lady would surely say twiddle-diddles," Charles suggested, looking up as the door opened. "Oh, my lady, could you answer a question? if you were asked to say the word--"
"Charles!" Noble bellowed. "That will be all! You are dismissed, all of you."
"If I was asked to say what word?" Gillian asked as the footmen filed out. Noble glared at the men and dared them to answer her.
"Whennymegs," Crouch muttered as he closed the door behind him.
Gillian turned to Noble. "Whennymegs? Oh, testicles. What about them? Are yours all right, my lord?" She turned her attention to the front of Noble's buckskins, concern writ across her face. "Did you damage them last night? You were quite enthusiastic, husband, but I thought everything looked hale and hearty this morning. Shall I check them for you?"
She started reaching for the buttons on his breeches. Noble caught her hand. "Everything is fine there, thank you. Did you do as I asked?"
Wow, this book turned out to be quite the dark horse for me! It had a pretty rough start. It took me days to get pas*Orginally Read 11/4/10 - 11/6/10*
Wow, this book turned out to be quite the dark horse for me! It had a pretty rough start. It took me days to get past the first three chapters. I just kept setting it down for something more interesting…like cleaning. I know, right? Buuuut somewhere before page one hundred things seemed to click for me. Even though I wasn’t rooting for every character whose pov I read (yet), I finally understood their motivations and cared about their storyline.
The first chapter was incredibly awkward. If you read the first chapter while browsing in a bookstore and set it back down because it didn’t seem like it was well written, you might want to give it another chance. It was almost like the author had this great idea but didn’t know how to start it off. So the beginning felt forced and awkward. Don’t despair, it didn’t stay like that forever!
Fantasy is not my genre of choice. I like the ideas in it, but it usually comes off feeling more distant than most of the other genres I read. Maybe it’s a symptom of having so many pov’s? I know it’s not just because it’s not focused on romance. I felt the same way in C.L. Wilson’s Tairen Soul books and those were romance… Anyway, I have a problem connecting with them. I felt that same thing in the beginning, but somewhere along the line it went away. I may have had a hard time getting into the book, but I had no problem finishing it! I hit my stride around page one hundred and read the rest of the book in one gigantic gulp.
The book focused on three people. There was Sorcha, the Active Deacon, Merrick, the Sensitive Deacon, and Raed, the Pretender. Sorcha was the hardest of all of them to like. The two guys had more mellow personalities, and even though they had a strong sense of self they were more willing to bend than Sorcha was.
In the very beginning Sorcha came off as hard instead of strong. She reminded me of a warlord in a way. All rough edges and hard and in control with no real care for anyone else’s say in the discussion. She’s the boss and what she says goes. You either agree or get out of her way. She grew and softened the more she got to know the people she was stuck with and she became more likable without losing any of her strength. I’d actually venture to say that she became stronger as her worldview expanded. It may have taken a while for me to truly like her, but she grew on me to the point that I wouldn’t have changed a thing about her.
We met Raed right off that bat, but his story didn’t actually intersect with Sorcha and Merrick’s for a while. It was interesting getting to see how difficult it is to be him. I wish we could have gotten a bit more history about his family and how they lost the throne, but I suppose we’ll learn more as the series continues. We did get enough information about Raed’s past and curse to keep me satisfied. I rather like the thought of getting to know him slowly.
Merrick was quite the surprise to me. I liked him in the beginning, but I expected that the author would just have him fade into the background and become the “sidekick.” He ended up being a very compelling character. I liked that something specific about his past was revealed at the end. It just helped bind them all even closer. I really liked his love interest and all the secret potential I sensed there, but ended up shocked by how some of those things turned out. I wish I had my hands on the next book!
The world was interesting but it wasn’t given to you in one big dump. We learned new things as the characters experienced something that brought it up. I liked that the author didn’t overload us all at once. The world was important to the story, but I felt that the author spent more time focusing on the characters and developing their relationships and connections. Some might be bothered by that, but I consider that a boon. There’s nothing worse than having an intricate world with flat characters. I’d rather have a slightly less detailed world with richer characters.
Just as a warning: Sorcha is married to someone other than the guy she falls for in this story. Some of you may be giving me the fish eye because of my previously stated hatred of cheaters. I still don’t like them! I really wish she hadn’t been married, but my rules for Romance are different from my rules for other genres. I didn’t expect a romance going into this one, so it was just a sweet bonus for me. It wasn’t a very in depth relationship, but I have hopes for it.
I would have given a higher grade for this one if only the beginning had been smoother. I think that I’m definitely going to have to reread this one before reading the next book. I’ll need to be fresh on all the reveals and machinations that happened in this book.
My favorite quote was on page 194:
"I've been running all my life, Sorcha--I shouldn't trust anyone, and yet I have already given my life into your hands twice this week."
Sorcha's lips twitched upward in a beautiful and cruel smile. "I'm just that sort of woman, my lord Pretender."
I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. It was still interesting, but I was very much aware that I was reading a book instead of being suckI had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. It was still interesting, but I was very much aware that I was reading a book instead of being sucked into a story. About the time Nathan and Astrid started to open up to each other was when I started to get into it. I don't know why, but I couldn't seem to connect to their characters. Their past tragedies and their budding connection with each other wasn't resonating with me. I knew about them because I was told about them, not because I was really feeling it.
This book seemed to have a different tone than the previous two. I had it pointed out to me by a friend that there was less humor, and she was right. The tone was more quiet and somber. The characters were falling in love, but they both were rather withdrawn so their connection was quieter.
Other than the obvious factor of Astrid being a member (or prior member) of the Blades of the Rose and Catullus showing up, this one didn't seem strongly tied to the previous books. Perhaps it's because we never met Astrid before, we only heard about her in passing. Whatever it is, I think this one would be able to stand on its own well without having read the previous books.
In the beginning as we were getting Astrid's thoughts about her husband I saw a lot of grief there, of course, but I also noticed some stray thoughts here and there that seemed to subtly be grooming the reader to see the new love interest, Nathan, as a better match than the previous spouse.
Few possessed enough spirit to gain her respect. Even Michael, much as she had loved him, wavered at times. Not Lesperance. He was her equal. In many ways. A frightening prospect.
See? That was only on page 66 and there were a lot of little comments like that. (Lesperance is Nathan's last name by the way.) Possibly the comments weren't meant that way, but after years of reading romances I am particularly sensitive to the habit authors have of devaluing the previous relationship just enough to make the new guy not have any competition. How can you have a competition with a dead man, you ask? I don't know, I've been wondering that for years.
Another thing that I noticed in this book was that even though we saw a lot more of Catullus than we did in the previous two, we didn't have as many steampunk gadgets as we did in the previous books. It's not a huge negative to me, it's just something I noticed.
Despite liking it less than the previous two books, I still thought it was a fun book. It isn't going to be a favorite of mine, but the action was a lot of fun and Astrid was a strong heroine. I also liked that Nathan's magic opened up an unexpected avenue in the author's world. I didn't think that we'd see any of that in this series, but it was definitely interesting to explore.
After getting to know Catullus a little better here I am even more excited to read his book. Hopefully we'll be able to end the series on a high note....more
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started rReview originally posted at Fiction Vixen.
I have to be upfront and say that I am not this book’s target audience. I didn’t know this until I started reading, but within the first 16 pages it was glaringly apparent. I hate reading about cheaters. If I hear a book has infidelity I’ve learned to just skip it. Otherwise I usually spend the whole book pissed off. It is a rare day when I believe in the relationship after they’ve cheated on one another. It has happened a time or two though, I have to admit, but those I liked despite myself. On the other hand, I am nuts for second chance romance stories. I love watching people work out their problems after they’ve grown wiser. I love knowing that two people love each other enough to put themselves out there even though they know they’ve already been burned once.
I struggled through finishing this book. To be honest, the only reason I read the whole way through was because I have a little OCD problem where I’m compelled to finish. It drives me insane to not have resolution! I spend way too much time wondering what happened and if the book got better. It’s better for me just to grit my teeth and finish it. Yes, I know I’m weird.
My biggest problem with this book was Charlotte. I thought they were both pretty shabby people, but because of how the plot of the book was set up my ire was focused on her. Because Philip was trying to win Charlotte back he was much nicer than she was. He just took whatever she threw at him and kept trying. It actually made me feel really bad for him, even after I learned about their past together. He was like that dumb little puppy that kept trailing behind someone even though it had already been kicked multiple times. You just want to save it from itself, you know?
I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to be on Charlotte’s side. I think I was supposed to look at her behavior and think Yeah! Girl Power! but I didn’t. Philip’s wrong (and it was a really bad thing to do) did not excuse her behavior in my eyes. I can see how she got to that point, but that doesn’t mean I like her and want to read about her. Maybe if I had gotten to know her before her antics came into play? I might have ended up more sympathetic. As it was, it was really hard to like her when I spent most of the book disgusted by her behavior.
Charlotte used men. She was very upfront about using her looks and seductive presence to manipulate men. She flat out reveled in her power over them. Whenever she was in a tough spot she turned on the seduction and tried to control people with it. It was very off putting for me. I don’t like modern girls who use their sexuality as a weapon, why would I like it in a historical? I find it pretty shady, and it really makes me sad for the character. Her behavior to men everywhere makes her just as bad and manipulative as Philip was.
Her constantly turning on the sex kitten routine made her look pretty slutty because she did it to everyone. The book opens with Philip coming and peeling her out of some guy's lap. Her insolent sex kitten act when he did so was not a good introduction for me. Then he tries to take her to their country estate and when they stop at an inn she runs in first. When he catches up to her she’s offering to strip for all the men in the place and even starts to before he stops her. This all happened by page 18, by the way. I’m sorry, but debasing yourself because you think it’ll hurt your husband is the dumbest thing ever. I’m sure it happens, but I don’t want to read about it!
Philip is really no better than Charlotte. I had more sympathy for him, and I finished the book pitying him, but he was the one who screwed his own life up. He was screwed over in the past, there’s no denying it. But his revenge was a really, really jerk thing to do. It was also illogical because he trapped himself too! I’m not surprised by the current plots he cooked up—although those are pretty dumb too. I really think he needs to hire someone to come up with some plans that actually have a chance of succeeding!
I can see why he was constantly scheming though. When he was upfront it still didn’t work! Charlotte was just so back and forth about him that it made my head spin. She would do the exact same things that he did—like try to make her jealous—but then when she found out, it was just more proof of him being a controller. Even though she did the EXACT SAME THING! I just really think these people would have been better off apart. There was one “big reveal” about Charlotte that I think was supposed to make me grateful and relieved by the truth. (I can’t specify because of spoilers!) It didn’t work. I just shook my head over it.
One thing that really bothered me is the way Charlotte behaved. She went around cursing constantly in public and making insulting obscene gestures toward Philip. I just find it hard to believe that a squire’s daughter and a duke’s wife would run around comparing his head to a “horse’s testicles” in public. At the end there was a slight mention of the “stodgy” members of the ton and the “self-righteous matrons” making her feel like an outcast for her behavior. I honestly think that she would be a pariah everywhere, not just with the sticklers. Especially when all of society knows she’s estranged from her husband, so being nice to her won’t win them any points with him. Maybe there were duchesses running around like that, I could be wrong.
Ignoring the characters and the plot… I see a lot of potential for the author. She had a smooth rhythm to her writing. Pages turned quickly for me, even when I was irritated. She also had quite a few funny one-liners. One of my favorites was on page 95:
"You must not stalk around the room--"
"Stalk?" His brow wrinkled.
"--as if you were a lion and everyone else is your prey."
"Do you really think I stalk? I must say, that is quite a stroke to my ego. I assume I appear quite dangerous when I do it?"
There isn’t a very strong period feel at all, the setting felt kind of tacked on with no real depth. I believe people refer to those as “Wallpaper Historical.” But I’m okay with that! Not every book has to be like that. I enjoy a lot of books that would fall into that category.
This was a very nice follow up to the first book, The Lover. Any time I saw Gabriel in that book he stole the scene. I was fascinated by him and wanteThis was a very nice follow up to the first book, The Lover. Any time I saw Gabriel in that book he stole the scene. I was fascinated by him and wanted to know who he was, how he thought, and what led him to the point he was at today. I didn't understand how he could love Michael and seem to hate him at the same time. I just needed to know why.
This was very much a story about Gabriel. I know it's advertised as an Erotic Romance but just like with The Lover, that wasn't the appeal for me. I liked the darkness and mystery of both of the books more than the actual romance. If I had to classify it I'd probably call it a love story at the most. While they both involve two people falling in love, the way they are executed and the rules that they follow are completely different. A love story is a side concern in the overall story whereas a romance is the main focus of a story. I'd say the main focus here was Gabriel's growth and healing.
Even though the focus wasn't necessarily on Victoria, she still managed to shine. Her desperation and her conflicted view of her sexuality really captured my attention. I found her very interesting and enjoyed watching her gain confidence in it being okay to desire someone.
Learning the truth about Gabriel didn't disappoint me. I was shocked and fascinated to learn the truth about his complex feelings for Michael. His fear of intimacy and the reason behind it was heartbreaking. I wish I could have just reached through the book to give him a hug. Although knowing him that probably wouldn't have gone over that well...
I found Gabriel's past interesting and sad. I can't tell if his feeling or lack thereof was a blessing or a curse in his line of work. How sad that he longed to feel what he could give.
The tone in this book was just as slow and repressed as in the first book. The author once again strives to write in riddles and half-speak to keep the reader confused and in the dark. It does get a little irritating after a while, but I was willing to ride it out just to see how it would all unfold.
The only major irritation I had with this story was the constant use of the term "angels." Michael and Gabriel are names of angels, yes, I get it. It was used incessantly in the first book too, but for some reason it just irritated me more in this one. ...more
This was an excellent follow up to the fabulous first book, Warrior. I was pretty stoked about that, because it gives me confidence about how4.5 Stars
This was an excellent follow up to the fabulous first book, Warrior. I was pretty stoked about that, because it gives me confidence about how the rest of the series will turn out! Sometimes an author just cannot live up to how excellent the first book in a series is, and it is such a disappointment to the reader. That's not the case here!
I think the author made an exceedingly smart choice by moving the location of this book. We aren't in Mongolia with this one, we're in Greece and the islands nearby. I loved the Mongolian scenery, but by having this one in Greece I didn't even have the slightest urge to stop and compare it to the first book.
We didn't get quite the same sense of culture and information about Greece that we did about Mongolia in the first book, but that's understandable. The characters were on a ship for most of the book and weren't visiting the islands enough to give a well developed sense of the people there. We did get a glimpse of them now and then, but they did feel more like scenery than full robust characters.
I really liked getting to watch the romance between the secondary characters on the ship. We didn't actually dwell on their relationship from their pov, we just got to watch it from Bennett and London's pov. I liked that because I never felt that it took away time from London and Bennett's relationship (as I sometimes do with secondary romances that have half of the book devoted to them) but I did look forward to a glimpse of their relationship progress now and then. I loved that they felt necessary to the book even if it wasn't their story. I especially enjoyed watching Athena come into her own with her powers. It was really nice getting a glimpse of someone who has gifts that they were born with. Although I do still wonder about Bennett's affinity with shadows...
I really enjoyed watching London move past her initial restrictions. Not only was she the daughter of the enemy trying to fit in with a group who hates her family, she was raised as the traditional delicate English rose. She didn't have adventures and she didn't know how to take care of herself in a fight. It was nice that she wasn't magically a Xena-like character right out of the gate. I enjoyed watching her become someone stronger and more confident in herself. I also liked watching the joy and verve she had for every new experience she came across. Here was a girl who had longed for life and finally she got a taste of it.
I really enjoyed the initial struggle and anger London had over the reveal of Bennett's past with her. It added some much appreciated tension. I also enjoyed watching Bennett circle around her trying to find a way to insert himself into her regard. He wanted her to look at him and see someone she wanted to spend time with. I also really liked that London did not cast aside the life that she had known at the drop of a hat. I found her behavior much more realistic and interesting than if she had known Bennett for five minutes and believe him right away. Then I would have just thought she was an idiot!
Bennett was such a fun character! I really enjoyed being in his head. Just like with the first book, his internal dialogue kept me giggling. I really enjoyed his life outlook. He was such an in the moment guy. I don't mean that he didn't have the ability to think long term, I mean that he could take pleasure from the little things that he encountered daily. He didn't need much to stay happy.
I really felt for both of the characters when they had that discussion about what love meant to them. I liked that London wasn't willing to settle for less in the long term, but didn't dismiss his view as foolish. She never dismissed his belief, she just made it clear that it didn't mean the same thing to her. My heart broke for them later when he kept saying something and she kept ignoring it. (vague on purpose to avoid spoilers!) Then when they talked about the "monkey hats..." I couldn't help but sigh. :)
The only reason I gave this .5 stars less than the first one was because I wanted a bit more struggle on Bennett's part winning London. Where I loved the first one for its lack of drama, I really would have appreciated a bit more here. I just felt that everything came easily to Bennett and I would have enjoyed watching him work for it more. Like he did when she was ticked at him on the ship originally. He kept sticking a hand out hoping for her to give him an opening and she just kept slapping it away.
Other than that tiny little niggle I enjoyed the book immensely! I can't wait to get my hands on Rebel!...more
Wow, I am so pleased that I picked this book up! It was EXCELLENT! I loved the world and the characters so much.
You know how most romances show the poWow, I am so pleased that I picked this book up! It was EXCELLENT! I loved the world and the characters so much.
You know how most romances show the pov's of both the hero and heroine? But even then the focus is on the heroine's pov with the hero's pov sprinkled in occasionally? This book had the reverse and I loved it! We spent most of the book firmly in Gabriel Huntley's head. I'm so glad, because his narrative voice and the innate goodness in him made that the best seat in the house.
I loved both Thalia and Gabriel, but I have to admit that Gabriel is my favorite. Being in his head gave me an empathy and love for him that I get with very few heroes. I really wish more authors did this! I loved watching him and Thalia evolve from the people they were in the beginning. They weren't unlikeable early on by any means, but they were different.
Gabriel was a man at loose ends, unsure of his future. He found himself following a path his friend proposed for him because he didn't have anything better in mind. But he jumped at the chance to have a purpose over the one proposed for him and ended up meeting Thalia. He was unsure of himself around "ladies" and was awkward and uncomfortable until he couldn't help but be himself.
Thalia was more Mongol than Englishwoman. The people and most attitudes were so much a part of her that she was a delight to read about. In the beginning she was a woman on a mission to prove herself. She had an opportunity to possibly acquire the status she longed for and she jumped at it. Along the way she and Gabriel became a unit and were much stronger together than they ever were apart. Neither of them would have made it to the end without each other. I thought that was nicely demonstrated by the village contest for the honor of guarding their treasure.
The sense of culture in this book was FABULOUS! I seriously wanted to be there with them enjoying the feeling of being "at home" no matter what ger they were in. The details of the Mongolian people and their traditions were very appreciated. I never felt that the land was "wallpaper" or the people were "caricatures," included only to be a token nod to the land the English people were occupying. The details of their lives down to the details of their wrestling really made me impressed with the author's ability to research and include details without info dumping.
Another thing that I loved about this book was the actual relationship between Gabriel and Thalia. Too often I find the "does he/she love me?" of the main characters to be tedious and forced. I like it at times, but sometimes it's nice to meet a hero and heroine who don't fight their feelings for each other. They embrace them and count themselves lucky to have found each other. That was the case here. I never doubted their attachment to each other, and they both knew they were in love even when they didn't speak of it. The conflict came from the circumstances they were in, not internal angst. It was so refreshing.
I cannot leave this review without mentioning the world. Katyana was completely right when she spoke of her difficulty labeling this book as any one thing. It was a mishmash of things, but it worked perfectly for it. I loved all the steampunk inventions that were brought up. Catullus has a quite brilliant mind, and I cannot wait to get to his book to have a peek inside it. The Heirs were an interesting enemy. I think I liked them more because I can see how their cause can come off as understandable in the beginning. It's only when you get to the deeper motives that you really see how shady it all is.
I CANNOT wait to get my hands on the next three books.
Luckily I already own the second book, so I can jump into Bennett's mind immediately!
This wasn't a bad book, but I wasn't really wowed by it either. My favorite part of the book was in the beginning before they hatched that stupid plotThis wasn't a bad book, but I wasn't really wowed by it either. My favorite part of the book was in the beginning before they hatched that stupid plot. The friendship and connection felt way more genuine than later in the book. Perhaps that was because there was no focus beyond them interacting together.
I liked Meg in the beginning, although I was taken aback by her out of place mothering over a relative stranger. I just found it odd that she would have the gall to bring up her host's drinking and eating habits when he didn't even invite her to his home. Other than that she felt earnest and helpful and it was easy to like her.
That all changed the further into the book I got. Apparently Meg decided the book needed a village idiot and decided to elect herself. I just cannot believe how many times Meg decided that something couldn't be accomplished without her help and jumped in only to foul it up. It got repetitive and boring and I missed the early Meg.
Cade had a serious past tragedy that I was surprised to see. Usually the author will assign a hero or heroine a tragic past with no real tragedy occurring. It just makes the person seem silly and dramatic instead of tortured and sympathetic. Here the tragedy was actually tragic.
The issues in this book were dealt with using a light hand. No real concern was evinced over the fact that Cade and Meg had a relationship even though they weren't going to be married. Shouldn't that not have been treated as lightly as it was? I don't know, it just seemed like a big deal to me.
Despite my complaints I still found the book pleasant and engaging. It had a very readable style that made the pages turn quickly. I've heard good things about the later books in this series so I still plan to read on. Here's hoping that I'll like those ones a bit better....more
I am so pleased with this final entry in the Lords of Intrigue trilogy! I liked the preceding two, but they were missing the c*4.5 stars to be exact.*
I am so pleased with this final entry in the Lords of Intrigue trilogy! I liked the preceding two, but they were missing the click that I usually have with this author's work. That could very well be because my first tastes of her were with her more recent works, and this trilogy was her debut.
After having quite a bit of back and forth conversation with my friend, Katyana, I've drawn a few parallels in my mind with one of Anne Mallory's other books. It's not that they're similar storylines, but there are some similarities, and differences, I want to draw between the heroes and their behavior toward the heroines.
The book that I'm referring to is Three Nights of Sin. The hero of that book, Gabriel, was very closed off and manipulative. He played his little power games with the heroine and always held himself apart. The hero of this book, Marcus, does exactly that too - although it's to a lesser extent.
I had an extremely hard time with Gabriel's relationship with Marietta. She was so in the dark and rather like a sexual puppet most times. It all felt very uncomfortable to me, and I railed against Marietta's passive attitude and unfounded trust. A dead body could have been in her path and she would have just stepped over it without looking down. That's how oblivious she was.
The big difference in my feelings toward that book and my feelings toward this book is simple. Isabella had an awareness that Marietta never had. Isabella knew that Marcus was playing his games with her, maneuvering her around like a chess piece. She knew that he danced around answering her questions and tried to distract her with her feelings for him. But she consciously chose to play the game with him in the hope that things would play out in her favor. That's all I need, awareness. I never felt like Isabella was a dim victim - as I sometimes did with Marietta - because she had the strength to choose. Marcus could only manipulate her for as long as she chose to let him.
I really loved Isabella's character. What most people would see as pitiable actually opened her up to her biggest strength. I'm referring to her secret love of Marcus, of course. She had the strength to reach out for what she wanted. Even when she was knocked down by embarrassment she was strong enough to pick herself up and try again. Because what she was reaching for mattered too much to her to not give it her all. She was willing to forgive Marcus's occasional jerk moments and his stoic attitude because the potential pay off would be worth a little tweaked pride. Usually I see characters in this position as people to pity, but I just couldn't feel that way about Isabella.
Marcus caught my heart and squeezed it even when he was irritating me. The more I learned about him the sadder I was. His friendship with Isabella has been a rock for him throughout his life. He's known her since she was 7 1/2, and she has always been a bright spot for him. Especially after he was changed by an event when he was 18. That was when Marcus closed himself off from the world. He has existed as an island. He has friends, but he never lets them get too close to his personal life. He trusts them, but he doesn't trust them, not with the deepest parts of himself. There are things about himself and his future that he had hoped to never share with anyone. Things have started to come to a head for him though, and it's the slight vulnerability that it created that really seems to have made Isabella's change of behavior hit him so hard.
I had so much fun watching Marcus pace around the shadows getting edgier and edgier with each new dress Isabella wore, and each new man she was friendly with. It was especially entertaining watching Marcus interact with his friends during this! At times Marcus's attitude became a little tiring, but on the whole I stayed sympathetic rather than frustrated.
I just wanted to make a quick mention of how surprisingly hot some of this book was! The tension and anticipation worked extremely well for me. I've quoted one of the scenes in one of my status updates if anyone cares to have a look.
I knocked down a half star because of the ending. I don't mean the very end, because I actually liked that it was a realistic happy ending. I ended it a little sad for the eventual future, but very hopeful of certain things and very confident in their relationship no matter what happened. But before that there was a section that was resolved way too quickly. I wanted to be a fly on the wall as realizations were made and courage was gathered. I felt a little cheated that it was all so abrupt.
Other than that little thing I enjoyed this book immensely. I cannot wait to read more by my new addiction, Anne Mallory!...more
I had so much fun reading this book! It was lighthearted and fun without being too fluffy. I had a lot of fun with the characters and can't wait to reI had so much fun reading this book! It was lighthearted and fun without being too fluffy. I had a lot of fun with the characters and can't wait to read the next book!
Calliope was such a great character. I swear, that girl wasn't afraid of anything. She was confident enough in her wits to boldly step into situations that had the potential to turn out badly for her. I never thought about it, but it would make sense that someone of her profession would need to be in close contact with members of the ton. How can you mock them if you don't even see them?
I had certain assumptions about this story when I read the summary. I thought that most of the book would revolve around Calliope trying to keep her true identity from James. Once again this author has turned my expectations on its ear! I was very pleased with how things ended up developing between them.
I also really liked the little bits that were devoted to acting. I felt that the author portrayed Calliope's roles very well with how things were phrased.
There were so many parts where I giggled to myself. The banter was fun, although it doesn't compare to her more recent offerings. I loved all the side characters we were introduced to! I wanted more of Stephen and more hints of Roth and a certain lady. Luckily I have their books on hand too.
One other thing that I really, really liked about the story: The situation with Salisbury. The resolution of it felt very realistic. Sometimes you don't get to tie everything up with a neat bow and make rainbows shoot through the sky. Sometimes people get shafted and there's no fix for them.
Now, on to the issues I had...
There were a lot of side characters running around. I had trouble keeping some of them straight, especially when they were only referred to by their designation. Like "Mr." or "Sir" or even a title. It was just confusing a times.
The rhythm of the events had a slightly choppy feel to it. It just felt like things needed to be tightened up here and there, and even clarified sometimes.
I thought the class difference would have a bigger significance than it did. It was brought up, and it was an issue a little, but there didn't seem to be any real depth to the very real problem it would have presented.
I felt that I didn't get to know James quite as well as I wanted to. He stayed brooding in the shadows a little bit too long for me. There was just this feel of something missing to both him and their relationship. I can't put my finger on it, but I could feel it nagging at me a bit as I read.
But those few problems I had didn't make the read unenjoyable for me. I plan to keep this book and reread it at a later date. Now, on to Stephen's book! Yeah! ...more
Once again, there was something missing for me in this book. I honestly think it's because it's one of this author's first books. It felt a*3.5 Stars*
Once again, there was something missing for me in this book. I honestly think it's because it's one of this author's first books. It felt a little smoother than the first at times, but it was still missing the spark I usually feel with this author's work.
I picked this book up immediately after finishing the first, Masquerading the Marquess. Stephen seemed like such an interesting character that I couldn't wait to read more about him! Luckily, he didn't disappoint and his heroine, Audrey, lived up to my expectations too.
Audrey by turns impressed and irritated me. I loved all the details about her career. It was absurdly easy for Stephen to catch her, but luckily the author gave us the excuse that this was not her plan to explain that away. This enabled me to still be able to accept that she had been too slick to catch a year ago.
I loved how mature and strong she was. She had confidence in herself and was always planning. It was very nice. But I also found her lack of growth and closed off attitude toward Stephen to be irritating. I know she didn't trust easy, but I got tired of it dragging on for the whole book. I needed to see her give something back to Stephen. It felt rather one sided as it stood.
I loved watching the teasing and banter develop between the characters. This is where I feel the author really starts to polish her later style.
I felt that once again things started to feel a little shaky as the plot came together. It was a little too abrupt and felt somewhat convoluted at times. The book could do with some tighter plotting and fewer characters running around.
I really wish that more detail had been explained about Audrey and Stephen's past. I felt that things were alluded to in her thoughts that were never resolved. I also wanted to know if her retirement tied into another event. The timing seemed to match up a little too well for it to be otherwise.
These first two books will not go down as favorites of the author, but I don't regret acquiring them at all. If you read this and felt that it was just a bit lacking I would recommend trying one of her newer books before making up your mind to write her off!