Too sick to read anything meaty so ploughing my way through the Bridgerton series between naps and feeling intensely nauseous. This pregnancy businessToo sick to read anything meaty so ploughing my way through the Bridgerton series between naps and feeling intensely nauseous. This pregnancy business is really cramping my reading style. Quickly reaching saturation point with regency romance fluff, hoping to feel well enough to sit up and knit/listen to audiobooks soon. :P...more
No, no, no. Not what I wanted. I remember liking the first book (Nine Rules) quite a lot, and was eager to read its sequel, but this was just not to mNo, no, no. Not what I wanted. I remember liking the first book (Nine Rules) quite a lot, and was eager to read its sequel, but this was just not to my taste at all.
Sickly sweet passages of lurve interspersed with a heavy dose of regency erotica and a lot of angsty misunderstandings about feelings. Ugh. I barely managed to finish.
Not sure exactly how to pinpoint what bothered me the most but both hero and heroine seemed terribly needy and insecure and I just could not empathize with either of them.
The supposedly highly independent women of Minerva House seemed to fold like a deck of cards whenever a nice strong man showed up to take control of the situation.
There were a few passages I really balked at, the one that leaps to mind being the section where heroine is telling hero about her childhood dreams and imaginings and says she imagined herself as a princess in a tower waiting for a prince to come rescue her.
Sure, fine, whatever - but then this exchange happens... Hero: "A princess?" Heroine: "Yes, well, pretending to be a queen seemed too much. A girl must know her limitations."
WTF? Women! Know your limits! Don't aspire to true power, just get wistful and hope for a life with no meaningful work where you don't have to make decisions. Argh. The feminist inside me died a little reading that passage.
Anyhow, if you are looking for a solid I-touch-myself fapfest, this book has enough steamy moments to cook a pork bun. Look no further! You have found softcore ladies-first porn heaven. Sing it with me: "It's getting hot in here / so take off all your corsets / she is / getting so hot / she's gonna rip his cravaaaat off!" (Sorry, I had to do it)
If you're jonesing for consistent, three-dimensional character development or a plot that doesn't hinge on self-esteem problems, this may not be for you....more
I like Tessa Dare, but this one did not tickle my fancy. Having been raised by British parents, I have trouble with excessive displays, and Toby's relI like Tessa Dare, but this one did not tickle my fancy. Having been raised by British parents, I have trouble with excessive displays, and Toby's relentless flirtation and overtly sexual courtship of Isabel was over the top for me.
The "innocent savage comes to London seeking a husband" felt overdone at the start, and got me off on the wrong foot with this pair. Also, the dogged determination on the part of both hero and heroine to set themselves up for failure by both expecting too much and giving too little to their partners actual life goals resulted in much head shaking and teeth sucking on my part.
There are better Dare novels out there, this isn't going to put me off reading her, just a couple whose happy ending seemed very overwrought and was made difficult for no reason other than obstinacy and idiocy. Meh....more
Meh. I usually love Mary Balogh, but this was not her strongest effort. Even taking into account that there's inevitably a fair bit of setup and backMeh. I usually love Mary Balogh, but this was not her strongest effort. Even taking into account that there's inevitably a fair bit of setup and back story to establish a series when you are writing the first book, such as introducing all the characters and cementing them as "the beautiful one", "the plain one", etc. this felt disjointed, formulaic and stilted.
Signature Balogh style is to steer very close to the rocky shores of severely aggravating communication breakdown and then pull back before the crash, by having a good sit down talk between hero & heroine that resolves issues that are keeping them apart. In this instance, it was done with a heavy hand, and I found myself sympathizing with the woeful sighs of the hero as he felt himself drawn into yet another Talk About FEEEEELINGS from the heroine. Same deal with the big declaration of undying lurve at the end. Too mushy, even for a die-hard romantic like myself.
The whole tenor of the book is over-the-top. Don't just say a thing is lovely; declare it to be the loveliest, bestest, most gorgeousest EVAR! Don't settle for moving up the social chain from Baronet to Viscount; go all the way for Seekrit Duke! Don't just gather a bouquet of flowers; decimate the entire field! I have no patience for this much unironic hyperbole and soap-opera dialogue, sorry....more
Hmm. Not perfect, but not awful. I liked the plot-to-romance ratio in this book; the story moved along at a decent pace and the spy drama kept me intrHmm. Not perfect, but not awful. I liked the plot-to-romance ratio in this book; the story moved along at a decent pace and the spy drama kept me intrigued enough to pull me along despite some painful TSTL revelations by both hero and heroine. No matter how pithy the dialogue between two people, it's difficult to overcome the thing that originally drove them apart when it is as hard to swallow as "a guy said she cheated... and I believed him!" as the root of what has driven true love apart. Come on people. I can't stand breakdown in communication problems when they go beyond 'Simple Misunderstanding' into 'Absurd Willful Stupidity'. This was one of those latter cases.
Nevertheless, good points include: decent weaving of actual historical events into the plot, plenty of diverting red herrings, acceptably hot sex scenes, a sweet little "nations divided, joined by love" subplot romance between a spy informant and former military man, and a cat who saves the day.
Bad points include: hero musing about whether he might be capable of raping heroine because his blueballs are just soooo bad (not okay, way to ruin the moment, author), ongoing excruciating lack of communication between all parties (I know it's a spy thing, but seriously), and some over the top "our love is magical and forever" talk in the closing chapters where hero manages to heal the painful wounds of heroine's dreadful past with a marriage proposal and a solemn promise that he won't sleep around anymore. Because reformed rakes make the best husbands, natch.
I'll keep reading the "Fallen Angels" series, but this was not my favourite. Too many things that made me go "eww", alas. ...more
This was a much more serious read than I was expecting - almost Marian Keyes-esque, but set in Regency times, and with perspective shifting from heroiThis was a much more serious read than I was expecting - almost Marian Keyes-esque, but set in Regency times, and with perspective shifting from heroine to hero to show both sides of the story. Reggie, the antihero, is a rake who is reaching the end of his misspent youth and looking for a new path. He's an alcoholic with a gambling problem who is experiencing blackouts and brutal hangovers. Careening down a spiral of self-destruction, struggling with denial, he's not a happy guy.
Alys, the heroine, is repeatedly described as "an Amazon". Extremely tall, very capable, she intimidates those around her. Which is good, since she's chosen a career where you need a plan and the strength of will to have it carried out by those under your command. Although she's painted as "a Reformer", I saw her - thanks to watching too much Game of Thrones - as a brunette Brienne of Tarth. Which is pretty awesome.
This story is complex and detailed, but moves forward at a great pace. There's a lot of talk about farming, there are mysteries of birth, gossip, jealousy, houses of ill repute, righteous men of the cloth, horses, children, shootings, battles, cats and dogs. It's a veritable Princess Bride's worth of adventure stuffed into a tidy little Regency. I devoured it in two days, with one notable 3am readfest that left me hyper and tired the next day (Note: Start on a Friday if at all possible).
Several of the scenes involving Reggie's drinking problem are depicted with such gritty realism that they made me need to take a short break before proceeding; if you have endured such problems within your family or group of friends, be prepared for some difficult moments. In my mind, these make the fiction better - a step up from the usual Disney-prince you get as your alpha male. The dialogue was snappy and intelligent, and while the story veered very close to the edge of believable period-behavior, it stayed inside the lines.
Worth it's reputation as an enduring classic of the Regency genre. Too bad about the title, which is misleading and plays down the more serious moments in the book. Recommended....more
Home to the most cheerful heart-of-gold prostitutes since Julia Roberts and her roommate in 'Pretty Woman', the quartet of women of ill repute in thisHome to the most cheerful heart-of-gold prostitutes since Julia Roberts and her roommate in 'Pretty Woman', the quartet of women of ill repute in this story makes it a vastly entertaining, completely unrealistic read. They struck me as "Disney hookers": fairy godmothers, cunningly disguised as sex workers. Witnessing their inevitable 'My Fair Lady' charade of transformation into respectable ladies was a hoot.
I also enjoyed how Balogh had Alleyne Bedwyn be one of the naked men stripped of uniform and earthly belongings on the field of war, with his discovery by Ms. York presented as a brief cameo in the preceding novel, tying the series together. Nicely done.
'Slightly Sinful' could be used by aspiring authors as reference material when it comes to cliched romance plot tropes. Amnesia? Check. Fake marriage? Check. Heiress in disguise? Check. Handsome man with mysterious past who is secretly a lord? Check. It's tried and true territory, but it is done with gusto and that makes it a fun romp.
If you can turn off your rational mind and allow yourself to gloss over the many, many dubious events in the plot - (view spoiler)[how an heiress comes to stay in a brothel, how she decides to have sex with a total stranger who doesn't know his own name, how he's totally pissed off to discover she's not actually a whore giving away her goods for free, how a bunch of hardened streetwalkers blithely hand over their money to a man of the cloth bound for another country, how a soldier hands over his savings to a man with a head injury so he can gamble it away... (hide spoiler)] then feel free to sit back and allow your brain a little holiday.
The most awkward parts of the novel are the set-up of "why H&H cannot be together" at the beginning, with lots of misunderstanding and very unsatisfying sexy times. If you can push through those irksome moments, you'll win the reward of sweet family reunions in jolly olde England at the end, which are undoubtedly the most moving parts of the book. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
More story and historical "did you know" than your average romance. You will learn a lot about Methodists, Welsh coal mining, billiards, and Gypsies.More story and historical "did you know" than your average romance. You will learn a lot about Methodists, Welsh coal mining, billiards, and Gypsies. At times the text wandered into an almost educational textbook tone, but there was a good strong focus on the man/woman relationship and steamy progress on the passion front with points for creative use of pool tables and good kissing. Lots of drama, bad guys, a touch of tragedy with a satisfying conclusion. Fun, well paced read. ...more
Meh - not awful, but felt stilted and awkward. Also, while steamy scenes were certainly hot, the alpha male's tendency towards "tender violence" slidMeh - not awful, but felt stilted and awkward. Also, while steamy scenes were certainly hot, the alpha male's tendency towards "tender violence" slid too close to the non-consensual for my taste. As another reviewer put it: "a bit rapey". Had a hard time reading the parts written out phonetically in Cockney and Italiano, ick. Would rather have seen heroine end up with casino dude than his lordship....more
Egypt. A rich smart widow. A handsome bighearted oaf. A papyrus. A missing brother. Hijinks and sexy times ensue. Well-written, well-paced, enjoyableEgypt. A rich smart widow. A handsome bighearted oaf. A papyrus. A missing brother. Hijinks and sexy times ensue. Well-written, well-paced, enjoyable escape read. Nearly too steamy - I kept wanting to get back to the chase to find Miles and escape the clutches of the competing Egyptologists - but then, it is a romance. Fun for fans of Elizabeth Peters, those who like the movie `The Mummy`, and anyone who enjoys stories where dominant females are matched with men who are comfortable loving a woman who is richer, smarter, and prettier than they are. Good times all around....more
Of course I have been ploughing through the entire 'Simply' series just to get to this book as my sweet reward. For me, nothing but the alpha male stoOf course I have been ploughing through the entire 'Simply' series just to get to this book as my sweet reward. For me, nothing but the alpha male stories really satisfy, and who could be more alpha in this pack than the head of the Bedwyn clan, Duke Bewcastle himself? A wily mashup of Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice', Browning's 'My Last Duchess', and Shakespeare's 'Othello'; this book plucks all the thorny problems away from those tales and surrounds the lovers with happy families (for the most part), waltzes, proposals, sexy times and happy endings. A villain is served just desserts, a misunderstanding is resolved, and an icy heart is melted. Again, it's Balogh's signature pseudo-Disney style of romance where all the rules go out the window and you get the ending you're hoping for, no matter how unlikely. The buildup of family connections and stereotypes creates a nice chorus to recap what's happening and lend support to the lovers. I enjoyed this and am glad to see Wulfric brought to smiles and laughter at last. ...more