I think I like this book more than the first, as Tess becomes a more complex character.
In The Decoy Princess, all of the action takes place quickly. T...moreI think I like this book more than the first, as Tess becomes a more complex character.
In The Decoy Princess, all of the action takes place quickly. Tess discovers that her entire life has been a lie, and has to outwit and outfight trained soldiers in order to save her kingdom from a deranged younger son. Before she is even able to process her identity, she is told about the world of "players" and "pieces", the true powers behind the throne, and her actual importance as Kavenlow's apprentice.
As Princess at Sea opens, Tess has had time to figure out what this all means, what she wants, what her life will be like. Life as a player means constant danger, no childbirth, and loving people will only leave them in danger as well. These thoughts make Tess much more interesting to read.
When I first read this book (I think when it first came out), I was annoyed by the major plot twist ((view spoiler)[ Duncan's betrayal (hide spoiler)] , but during this reread, I looked for it from the very beginning and agreed. It didn't feel out of character now, although I still would have liked it to be gentler. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Not really a "housekeeper" book, if that's why you want to pick it up. They're already friends and attracted to each other when he offers her the job...moreNot really a "housekeeper" book, if that's why you want to pick it up. They're already friends and attracted to each other when he offers her the job as a favor. There's an almost Betty Neels feel to it, as Sarah is unappreciated and overworked by her well meaning but self centered family. Would have done well expanded rather than as a HP title, but that's more my preference. I like the stories longer. The misunderstandings were reasonable and I loved that single mother Sarah was able to keep her pride AND allow someone else to help her. None of that romance heroine illness where she would rather die than be in anyone's debt. (less)
Oh I love this book so much. I wanted to be Blossom Culp as a kid, so self assured, so self reliant, so sassy, so smart mouthed and well spoken. As th...moreOh I love this book so much. I wanted to be Blossom Culp as a kid, so self assured, so self reliant, so sassy, so smart mouthed and well spoken. As the poet says. (less)
I almost didn't request this book from NetGalley, because the premise sounded so silly, and not at all like something I am into. But I did anyway, and...moreI almost didn't request this book from NetGalley, because the premise sounded so silly, and not at all like something I am into. But I did anyway, and I started reading it because I thought it would be something light and silly for me to read while I also read a book of short stories. A few hours later, I was so deeply involved that I wouldn't go to bed.
I knew Megan Hart was a pretty big name, and have had several of her books on my radar, but hadn't gotten around to reading them. I'm glad that this is the first, though, so I had no ideas going in. There's a lot about this book that is literary fiction, the erotica bits are very good, and necessary in many ways, but if the publisher wanted to, they could probably easily be toned down and have this sell to a larger audience. It shows the commitment to the genre that it wasn't (or maybe just shows that romance sales continue to skyrocket even when other genres sales plummet). There are some clear ties to other major works, most of these ideas aren't new at all, but the book acknowledges that and moves past it in an enjoyable way. I don't read much erotica compared to the amount of romance I read, so I do love when there is still a clear focus on the relationship and the romance. Emm and Johnny were a good couple with real problems and real reactions. He seemed like a genuinely good guy who worried about being too old for her and worried about his newly connected family.
I think I may have liked Emm as much as I did because of the way she talks, just like me. It became almost embarrassing that we say so many of the same phrases, "for realsies" and other cutesy crap. This sort of realistic speech can often get to be too damn much, but it stayed on a reasonable level for me, again possibly just because it is how my friends and I talk. The only issue I had was with how often Jen said "girl". And not even just "hay gurl hay", which is another thing that everyone I know says, but "GIRL" all the time in a way that made me feel like she was a stereotype, even though her skin color is never mentioned and there is a good chance that me assuming that Jen is black and therefore all of this is offensive probably just makes me racist.
At the end of the day, the back of the book blurb about a woman who has blackouts and is in the seventies is pretty inaccurate. There are big chunks of the book that are of the "I went to work. I came home and made some tea. Then I went to bed" variety, but I was interested and engaged the whole way through. The romance between now-Johnny and Emm was beautiful, but almost incidental to the story of a woman fighting her blackouts, feeling betrayed by her body, alternately wanting her parents to let go but still need her, etc. I will very likely buy this, and I would recommend this to people who don't like erotica as a great book anyway, provided that they aren't the type to faint at the word "cunt".(less)
The copy of the trilogy omnibus I purchased from England us a discharged library book from the Nottinghamshire County Council. I wonder if they send a...moreThe copy of the trilogy omnibus I purchased from England us a discharged library book from the Nottinghamshire County Council. I wonder if they send any Robin Hood books there to be stamped so that Americans like me can feel cool. Or, it does make sense that they would have a large Robin Hood collection anyway.(less)
In Wedding of the Season, you knew that Beatrix didn't belong with Aidan. He was clearly the "Baxter" of the situation, he was so straight laced and s...moreIn Wedding of the Season, you knew that Beatrix didn't belong with Aidan. He was clearly the "Baxter" of the situation, he was so straight laced and stuffed shirt-ed and everything. But you still liked him. He was sympathetic. So, while many romance heroes are just "the perfect guy and anyone would be lucky to be with him", this one definitely shows you why some people belong together. Aidan is paired with "wacky" Julia, and while I rather disliked her in Wedding of the Season, here she is rounded out so that the reader understands why she acts the way she does. Her scandalous behavior is not just her being ignorant of social mores, but neither is it a giant middle finger to society. It is protection.
The straight laced guy and manic pixie dream girl with secret pain combo has been done a million times, but this never once falls into those cliches. Julia doesn't bring Aidan out of his shell or anything, because he doesn't need it. Aidan doesn't provide Julia with stability and a calming influence because she doesn't need that. What they need is somebody that they can show their true selves to, and I was caught up in that like no other. My one complaint is that I wanted more time of them together happily at the end. Liking both of those characters made me want to see how they acted together and who they became when they had an every day life of happiness together and I felt a bit cheated at not seeing that. If this series continues, I have hopes that Julia and Aidan will be side characters in other books and I can get some of their happy ending that way.(less)
As much as Abigail loves her parents, she is not willing to marry the man they chose for her. Twice her age and thirteen children? No thank you. Lucki...moreAs much as Abigail loves her parents, she is not willing to marry the man they chose for her. Twice her age and thirteen children? No thank you. Luckily, she has a tidy little inheritance and has caught the eye of a man who truly needs it; Andres, the Barón de Vasconia. Andres and Abigail elope, neither one pretending emotions are involved, but both promising to try to make this a real marriage.
That is what I loved about this book. There were no (real, important) lies, neither pretended it was a love match but neither doing that romance cliche of "I love him but we decided it was a marriage of convenience only so now what do I do, woe is me". At every point, they are considerate and caring of each other, eager to back down unselfishly if the other needed it. It is almost surprising how little these things happen in romance novels, often the plot of the book hinges on the hero being hard headed or the heroine too shy to reveal her feelings. While the passion and tension between these two was sizzling, I was mostly enthralled by the amount that the couple acted like basically decent human beings who deserved love and worked for it.
It doesn't hurt that the whole thing was swoonworthy! (less)
I really wish there were more couples like this in romance novels, particularly the heroine. She is flawed, but admits the flaws and is trying to chan...moreI really wish there were more couples like this in romance novels, particularly the heroine. She is flawed, but admits the flaws and is trying to change (although the hero finds the flaws relatively charming)and never lets her weaknesses get the best of her. The hero runs into the woman he cared for before this marriage of convenience, and his thoughts all run toward being honorable and faithful to his wife. The wife sees them in an embrace, and while she is hurt and emotional, she is mature and sympathizes with her husband for not being able to help or comfort the woman he loves/loved. They act maturely and reasonably, more of a partnership than in many novels, and that is what I enjoyed. They did seem to fall in love because they were both open and had some delightful shared experiences.
Four stars instead of five just because I'm unsure of the re-read potential. (Bumped up to five after my first re-read. It's a keeper and is just as good the second time)(less)
A good two book series, better, I think, than the Truth series, which I read first. I would love for the author to return to these, but it seems as th...moreA good two book series, better, I think, than the Truth series, which I read first. I would love for the author to return to these, but it seems as though she's found a lot of popularity under her Kim Harrison name, and I doubt she will look back.
Due to a prophecy, Princess Tess is more versed in self defense than the average princess. She's clever and a good shot with poison darts, but she is still fragile and empathetic, and caring for her people and desperate for love as any other gently raised woman. It turns out that she is merely the princess' decoy, chosen because she was the one of three infants to survive an assassin attempt, and her mentor, Kavenlow, actually raised her for a different, more dangerous purpose.
I read this a few years ago, and just read it again. It took me this time to realize just how good it is, especially for a first novel. So good, in fa...moreI read this a few years ago, and just read it again. It took me this time to realize just how good it is, especially for a first novel. So good, in fact, that I refuse to read the sequel because I know what happens and I don't want to get into it.
It's hard not to compare this to Jennifer Cruisie, because I just finished reading Bet Me, and there are definite similarities. Heavy heroine who believes no one could be interested in her because of the weight, getting out of a relationship at the beginning of the story, sex issues, difficult to love pet, sexy thin best friend who doesnt have these problems. Cruisie, however, writes romance and the focus is on the couple, and this is chick lit, where the focus is on the woman and her journey, even though there is often romance involved.
There are so many things that could have gone wrong with this book. Cannie meets a film star and they become friends. How cliche and silly, right? But it is handled so well and naturally that the reader believes it could happen. The ex boyfriend is neither a villain nor a good guy, and Cannie is not blameless either.(less)
A very good one, would have liked the heroine more if she was a bit feistier, but she's still pretty good for a Neels heroine. I do so masochistically...moreA very good one, would have liked the heroine more if she was a bit feistier, but she's still pretty good for a Neels heroine. I do so masochistically love it when the "rival" girl is absolutely horrid.(less)
Very, very good. Not my usual type of romance novel, but easily one that I would hand to someone who looks down on them. I know next to nothing about...moreVery, very good. Not my usual type of romance novel, but easily one that I would hand to someone who looks down on them. I know next to nothing about Georgia, particularly Georgia in 1941, so I am not the best judge of this, but I found the setting and diction to be spot on and well "illustrated". Writing realistic speech so easily comes off unrealistic, but I found myself mouthing Elly's words. The language FEELS spoken. That is very unusual. This also seems "meatier" than most romance novels. There is some sex, but not much and those are easily the worst written bits of the book, the heft is in more "slice of life" situations and several plot elements. The plot elements could be cheesy, but are not, possibly because they are contrasted with slice of life, baking pie, harvesting honey, washing diapers elements. It runs deep, exploring trust and self esteem along with love, Will needs a mother as well as a wife and lover, and his dynamic with Elly fulfills that. This is a need that comes up often with men, and yet, doesn't it sound creepy if you explain it wrong? I suppose the theme is more "need" than "desire".
I would read again, and definitely recommend to others.(less)
I have an odd relationship with this book. Like every other devotee of the Hunger Games, I eagerly awaited the release date. I had an Advanced Reader...moreI have an odd relationship with this book. Like every other devotee of the Hunger Games, I eagerly awaited the release date. I had an Advanced Reader of Catching Fire, so it had been absolute ages since I had new adventures in Panem and I was rabid that Scholastic didn't give out ARCs at ALA Annual 2010. They really didn't need to in order to get the buzz going.
So, I should have been excited as hell to get my book in the mail from Amazon Preorder, I should have sat there reading (with no breaks) until I was done. Instead, my mother died. My entire world shattered, and I didn't enjoy anything to do with life for a really long time. Especially not reading. Especially a book about death. I am really good at avoiding spoilers, and I managed to do so, possibly the only thing I actually managed to do whatsoever that entire year. I handed the book off to my husband to read, as he was tired of waiting for me.
Finally, I was ready to read again, and I re-read the series finishing with Mockingjay in May 2011. And I loved it. But I will never, NEVER be able to separate this book in my mind from the fear, anger, and overwhelming desperation I felt on August 24, 2010. It felt like a cosmic joke, that I had been looking forward to the day for so long, couldn't wait for it to arrive, and it became the worst day of my entire life. I almost can't forgive the book, as if that had anything to do with it.
I am telling you all of this, because books affect your life. There are experiences tied to every word and sense memories. I can remember where I was sitting when I first found out who murdered Roger AckroydThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and I can tell you what I was frantically eating to keep me sane during the stress of Into Thin AirInto Thin Air. This is a good thing, usually. And in this case, I sympathized with Katniss as her world came crashing down. I felt bad for her, because as my world fell apart, I was able to cling to my husband, and she didn't have any one person she KNEW was hers. I understood the desire to die in order to save and protect the ones you love. In the madness of grief, I felt one with her.
Some people didn't like this book. I agree that it is not my style as much as the other two, since I prefer the survival stuff over the political stuff, but this 2012 unemotional reread really helped me see how well crafted it is. (view spoiler)[I think many people were angry at Prim's death. I wasn't, I kind of expected it. It makes sense, thematically, that Katniss entered this entire situation not to start a rebellion, but to save her sister and in the end, needed to lose her sister in order to save the rebellion. I was never too emotionally attached to Prim, I was much more upset by Finnick's death. If things had gone a different way, and Peeta died, I would have LOST IT. (hide spoiler)] I still think the epilogue sneaks up on you and goes too quick, but it does kind of make sense in Katniss' voice.
Possibly my favorite Neels. Cassandra and Benedict have a great chemistry and relationship, and that is why I forgive a lot of sins in this book, ther...morePossibly my favorite Neels. Cassandra and Benedict have a great chemistry and relationship, and that is why I forgive a lot of sins in this book, there are quite a few plot threads that are silly and don't go anywhere (and in the case of Jan, may actually contradict themselves). I am very forgiving of a book that makes many mistakes provided that you are so invested or enthralled in the story that you don't notice the mistakes until long afterward.
The only thing that does bother me is that Cassandra and Benedict are so perfect for each other, so clearly flirting and attracted to each other, that I find it hard to believe that they don't realize it. Betty Neel's usual conceits of "he can't love me! he must love that glamorous lady he's friends with" ring so very false in this book. The teasing, loving, stealing kisses relationship feels very real that I am annoyed that they cannot feel it too.(less)
I loved, loved, loved, this book. I can't even really describe why, it just had the main characters acting like decent people who didn't do anything s...moreI loved, loved, loved, this book. I can't even really describe why, it just had the main characters acting like decent people who didn't do anything stupid and deserved to fall in love and were perfect for each other. It's actually kind of difficult to find this in a romance novel anymore.
Not much about the concept "sounds" too original, but it is handled in a wonderful and new way. The heroine wants to do these risky, adventurous, unfeminine things, but at no point does she go about them in a stupid way. She actually does her research, accepts help when it is given (or somethings thrust upon her), and never goes running into trouble just to be a brat. Her family is supportive and sweet, there are definitely two books that will be coming out of characters we meet here (not counting Nicholas' story, which I did not care for) and I am wildly looking forward to them.
The hero is supportive and very sweet in that he helps out the heroine with her list and asks very few questions. He doesn't badger her or force her to tell all of her secrets when it isn't his business. This happens all the time in romance novels and DRIVES ME CRAZY.(less)