When Kensington’s Zebra historical romances died, they didn’t go quickly (actually, Zebras are still around, but they’re not the same). Before their HWhen Kensington’s Zebra historical romances died, they didn’t go quickly (actually, Zebras are still around, but they’re not the same). Before their Heartfire and Lovegram lines ended in the late 1990’s, the iconic, colorful covers became dull mockeries of the past, with no lush illustrations, just cheaply photo-shopped images of flowers or castles. In many cases the covers were nothing more than the title and author’s name. Zebra dumped most of their best authors (some briefly moved on to Dorchester, which had their own problems) and churned out new lines like Zebra Ballad, Splendor and Precious Gem Historicals, all of which folded quickly. With books, like Jo Ann Ferguson’s “An Offer of Marriage,” it’s easy to see why.
Young Brenwyn Gunnarsson’s family is slaughtered and he vows revenge. He poses as a lowly freeman to deceive the English and aid the Viking invasion. English Lady Cyndra, the daughter of Ealdorman Edgar of Manor Saeburgh, is taken by caerl Brenwyn to wed his master, Thane Morcar of Manor Darburgh.
If you were irritated by that last sentence do not read An Offer of Marriage, because those phrases will be repeated ad infinitum. Such is the thrilling dialogue in this book:
“I am Lady Cyndra, the daughter of Ealdorman Edgar of Manor Saeburgh.”
“Ealdorman,” he gasped. “That is the highest rank in England, except for the king.”
“And I was betrothed to Thane Morcar of Manor Darburgh.”
“Morcar? Is he Edgar’s father? You said his father was dead.”
“I thought Morcar was dead.”
“Yes you said that. That Thevkil told you. Thevkil the Strong?”
“How did you come to speak to that Viking chieftain?”
“I spoke with him when I was with Edgar’s father to his court…Edgar’s father’s name was Under-Chieftain Brenwyn Gunnarsson. He was a Jomsviking and captured Manor Darburgh. Part of his prize was me.”
Actually, don’t read this book, regardless. I’m not trying to boss anyone around by saying this. I’m just trying to do romance readers a service by having them spend their precious time reading books that don’t suck. I don’t know why I feel the need to finish books that suck. Especially old ones, that nobody GAFF about. It’s my cross to bear, I suppose. (That came across really self-important, didn’t it? Sorry, didn’t mean to.)
Besides the writing, another terrible thing about this book is its title. An Offer of Marriage sounds way too Regency-ish. It should have been “My Beloved Enemy” (pg. 253) or some similar crap to go with the medieval/Viking theme. Oh well, that was the least of this book’s offenses.
Sucky, passionless books like this are why the historical genre lost their popularity to paranormals. And paranormals seemed to have lost their popularity to New Adult/50 Shades of BDSM. Wonder what’s the next thing? Perhaps well-written, sensual yet tawdry, plot-and-action driven, non-wallpaper historicals with amazing, painted covers will make a comeback? (I kid, I kid!)
When I read a sucky historical romance published in the 21st century, I shrug it off. The new style isn’t my thing. But when I read a sucky historical written when old-skool historicals were in their death throes, it makes me sad.
I used way too many words to describe this book. Simply put, this was dull, dull, dull.
But don’t take my word for it. Let’s ask others what they feel.
Baby what did you think?
And kitty, how about you?
Puppy, do you agree?
That’s it, a full consensus! All the pics I’ve stolen off the net agree. This book was:
Bride at Whangatapu includes the hallmark of almost every one of Robyn Donald's books, as it intimately details the natural environment of New ZealandBride at Whangatapu includes the hallmark of almost every one of Robyn Donald's books, as it intimately details the natural environment of New Zealand. Whether her books were set on a sheep station, on a yacht in the Pacific or just a tropical backdrop, you could see the bright green grass, feel the ocean spray on your face or smell the hibiscus blossoms (which don't even have much a scent, do they?).
Also present in this, RD's first published book, is the other hallmark of Donald's writing: an ultra-jerky hero who bullies his way over the heroine. Right from chapter one, when Logan finds that Fiona is the mother of his son after a one night stand many years ago, he demands she marry him. He blames Fiona and her dead parents for not having told him the truth. However he was a pig about their lovemaking, calling Fiona a slut and a promiscuous bitch for sleeping with him (she was an 18 year-old virgin, he was a more experienced 26) so Fiona left and never looked back.
Donald's heroes are odd, as they are incredibly cruel, yet sometimes that meanness makes them so appealing. Not so much here in her first HP. I guess it took a bit of practice to master that fine line.
Tomorrow I was due for a long, boring car ride and needed something to pass the time. I perused the boIt was late and I needed to find a book to read.
Tomorrow I was due for a long, boring car ride and needed something to pass the time. I perused the books on my shelf. There were countless of paperbacks: trashy bodice rippers and old-time historical romances, mixed in with a plethora of newer Harlequin Presents and Science Fiction anthologies. There was “UC Davis’s Book of Dogs: A Complete Medical Reference for Dogs and Puppies” or “The Seven Language Dictionary” (with French, German, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian words translated into English). There lay a copy of Anne Tyler’s “Breathing Lessons,” for which she had won a Pulitzer Prize. Next to it was “If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor,” by the renowned thespian Bruce Campbell. Of course I might yet again read "The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre.” No? Perhaps then Paulina Simons’ “The Bronze Horseman,” a thick 800+ page epic in World War II Russia with even a Q & A reading section at the end.
Hmm? No. None of them would do. I would require audio for this lengthy trip and knew that thanks to the mighty technical wizards at Apple, I would be in good hands.
I sat on my faux-leather Staples chair at my scuffed, pressed-board desk and turned on my ancient HP desktop with a flickering 15" Dell flat-monitor. I perused the web with my cordless Microsoft mouse and wireless keypad. While the mouse took AA batteries, inconveniently the keyboard took AAA which I did not always keep in stock.
I connected my three-year-old metallic green 16 GB iPod to my iTunes account to look for something I could listen to on a long monotonous road trip. My iPod had a capacity for up to 4,000 songs and up to 24 hours of audio playback on a single charge. It had a 1.54-inch (diagonal) color TFT display with 240-by-240-pixel resolution (220 pixels per inch). Support for AAC, Protected AAC (iTunes Store), MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV audio formats. It had only come with a one-year limited warranty. I had not taken advantage of the extended warranty and was worried something might go astray.
I had wanted to use my husband’s newer iPod, the Apple iPod nano 16GB Green (7th Generation) with a 2.5-inch Multi-Touch color display with 240-by-432 pixel resolution. This was only 5.4-mm thin making it the thinnest iPod ever and had easy-to-use controls to quickly adjust volume, or play, pause, and change songs. Accessible to Bluetooth 4.0 and weighing in at only 1.1 ounces and 3.8 x 3 x 1.9 inches model, it was compatible with MD478LL/A Windows XP (SP3);Windows Vista; Windows 7;Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later.
Unfortunately since I could not find the specialized adapter for that particular iPod, I was forced to use the older model. I logged into my iTunes account and downloaded Steig Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” onto my older, yet still efficient, iPod.
The iPod had been developed in 2000 but not placed on the market until 2001. I was born in 1977 so I would have been 23 or 24 back then. Now, the time was late summer of 2014, and since I was born in autumn of 1977 I would be 37 in two months.
I grew up in Port Jefferson Station, NY but was born in the neighboring village of Port Jefferson as Port Jefferson Station had no hospitals, while Port Jefferson had two: Mather Hospital and St. Charles. I was born in St. Charles Hospital, as Mather Hospital did not tend to natal needs (neither pre- nor post-), and is now renowned for both its cardiac and bariatric surgery centers (fortunate, no?)
Incidentally, an American Rock Star named Elvis Aaron Presley donated some funds to St. Charles Hospital’s many years back, as attributed to him on a 1x4-inch plaque located on the wall near the back elevator. (I would insert a joke here, but Larsson’s writing doesn’t allow for much humor. He was very serious. Before I ever saw a picture of him, I knew he’d be a dough-faced man-boy, with steel rimmed glasses.)
Port Jefferson was called Drowned Meadow back in the days of the American Revolution. It lies on the Long Island Sound, and on a clear day you can see Connecticut several miles across the water. The Port Jefferson, NY/Bridgeport, CT Ferry line has hundreds of travelers each day, thousands more during the busy summer season. My parents once took the ferry from Port Jefferson to Bridgeport soon after they married. They were married in 1976. As I was born in 1977, that would have made me negative 18 months old at the time. I don’t remember much of it.
NO! I can’t do it! I did not like this book enough to get that snarky about it. It bored me. And then angered me, and then bored me, and then angered me because it was boring me. I’m not that talented a reviewer to skewer a book I hate by launching into an insightful parody.
I will however launch into an inciteful tirade!
I found BR Meyer’s “A Reader’s Manifesto an Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in the American Literary Prose” to be a useful gauge in analyzing the Girl w/ the Dragon Tattoo. No, TGwtDT was not published in the US, but it did become a blockbuster-literary-phenom here, so I feel using that book is appropriate. What differentiates books like “The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo” from other lengthy blockbusters like, say Gone Girl is that the former takes itself much too earnestly to be appreciated. TGwtDT is a bestseller, yes, but it deals with a serious topic that NO OTHER BOOK has touched: violence against women!
I read a review of TGwtDT that derided readers who complained the book was too slow, and chided readers for not knowing how to skim over the unimportant parts! That’s how REAL readers read, don’t you know! Look, I’m no speed-reader, but I’m a believer in that words have meanings. They exist for a reason. If I skim a lot, it’s a sign that the author has lost my interest.
This belief seems to be confusing for some. Like the literary critics in Meyer’s manifesto write: “‘If anyone has earned the right to bore us for our own good, it’s [NAME REDACTED],” writes Salon Martha Russo. “Since [HE] is smarter than we are,” intones John Leonard in the New York Review of Books, “trust [HIM].”
Such is the early 21st century mindset about LITTER-A-CHORE.
Since I do not own the physical version of TGwtDT, and don't intend to everagain listen to the audio, I cannot quote verbatim from his book. So I will borrow from Myer’s manifesto when he criticizes Cormac McCarthy’s tiresome writing from one of McCarthy's later works:
“He ate the last of the eggs and wiped the plate with the tortilla and ate the tortilla and drank the last of the coffee and wiped his mouth and looked up and thanked her.”
Replace eggs and tortilla with sandwiches and bread and add in even more copious amounts of coffee, and there you have about 10%-15% of Larsson’s book. It’s tedious.
As TGwtDT deals with rape and murder, it’s not unusual that there would be explicit scenes depicting this. (view spoiler)[ Lisbeth Salander is raped by her social worker two various times, one orally in his office and the second time anally in his home after he has tied her to his bed. (hide spoiler)] These scenes are written in a slightly horrific, yet detached manner. It’s not these scenes that I question; it’s the revenge scene that follows. (view spoiler)[ Lisbeth turns the tables on the social worker when she returns to his home, ‘promising’ another night of sex for pay, then tases him, ties him to his bed and rapes him. But the way the scene is written is done in an oddly titillating manner. Lisbeth stands at the foot of the bed, dressed all in black, wielding a whip, with her dyed-black hair, tattoos and piercings giving her a dark dominatrix look as the man struggles against his bonds and ball-gag. Lisbeth proceeds to rape him with an anal plug without the use of lubrication. She then tortures him by tattooing a message across his abdomen. Lisbeth finally ends his torture by showing the man a video that she recorded from the previous encounter when he had raped her. For an hour and a half she forces him to watch this!
Frightening stuff, one would think, but the way it’s written is done in such a kinky manner, that I—a long time reader of subtle kink—can spot it when I see it. (hide spoiler)] This scene is supposed to be critical to the novel as it shows the true nature of Lisbeth and the depths she is capable of. (view spoiler)[But to me, it reads as a writer’s fantasy of being dominated by a tough woman. It's more like, “Yes, I am a bad, bad, evil man. I am a filthy dirty man, and I must be punished. I understand you will stick painful things up my bum without lube. Oh, it hurts, oh it’s painful...but…now…I am in a quiet, almost hypnotized state of ecstasy at your masterful female dominance. Oh…yes I will do whatever you say. I will be your slave.” (hide spoiler)]
Many years ago I read Jane De Lynn’s Some Do where a similar scene is portrayed. (view spoiler)[After a friend is brutally raped and dies as a consequence, several women avenge that savagery by raping her attacker. However in Some Do, the scene was disturbing. The man is assaulted in his office, blindfolded and gagged, and there is not even a sniff of subtly or eroticism; it was pure female anger at masculine "oppression," replete with horror and a lust for vengeance. (hide spoiler)] Some Do was written by an American woman in the 1970s and TGwtDT was written by a Swedish man in the 2000s and there was just a vast difference in the way the parallel scenes were depicted. One was written with a raw anger beneath it, filled with a sentiment of “We’re not taking this anymore! We will fight back and hurt you worse if you hurt us!”
Larsson, it seems, wrote his book as an aggrieved male figure for all the violence committed against woman by men as a dark-revenge fantasy. (view spoiler)[The initial rapes of Lisbeth were crude, but didn’t disturb me. That sort of sexual violence is de riguer in murder-mystery books, sad to say. But it was Lisbeth’s scene where I had my “epiphany.” (hide spoiler)] As a person, I can’t judge Larsson, but as a reader judging an author, I certainly can. His character of Lisbeth is not a true woman: she is an amalgam of all that is cool and “ballsy” about women in media: a cartoon/manga/movie/porn version of what a “kick-ass woman” is. Ironic that in a book originally titled "Men Who Hate Women" Larsson used a female protagonist who is a caricaturized version of post-modern ideal femininity to conquer all the bad evil men. (Or perhaps Larsson WAS so smart he knew exactly what he was doing? Maybe. Even so, I didn’t care.)
Eh, if you’re going to market a mass-murder/rapist book as feminist theory, at least make it a teeny bit based in realism. And interesting.
And I apologize to Dan Brown for all the mean things I said about him. I won’t take them back, because they’re true! But in the literary sense, I should have kept it all in perspective. There’s being a hack who knows he’s a hack, and then there’s being a hack that’s pawned off as some literary genius. And then there’s the fact that he died relatively young, so like Kurt Cobain, no one can EVER complain about Larsson’s talent. Ok, that last part WAS cruel. But I won’t take that back, either.
Awful, awful and boring. ½ star ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I HATE being disappointed by books that start with a bang but end with a lifeless whimper. Bodice Rippers s***Placeholder for longer review to come***
I HATE being disappointed by books that start with a bang but end with a lifeless whimper. Bodice Rippers set in Russia are my siren song! This should have rocked!
Drusilla Campbell's "The Frost and the Flame" was everything this book should have been.
One woman, three men who love her, and this dumb twit, Kirsten, goes for the very old Russian general who she says treats her like a daughter even though he's terrible in bed, then brutally rapes and beats her and she forgives him because he's like her daddy?
Two great rivals for Kirsten's love who spend more time together and have more chemistry with EACH OTHER than the heroine has with either of them? Plus, she spends maybe 40-60 pages tops with both of them, while the rest of the book is marching into Russia or getting raped by "Daddy!"
And on the last page she reunites with her "true love" whom she met very briefly? If that's the kind of bodice ripper you're going to write, it has to be meaty and fun.
I am sure that were I given an opportunity to converse with author Orson Scott Card regarding the vast empires, rulers/kings and militaryMINI-REVIEW:
I am sure that were I given an opportunity to converse with author Orson Scott Card regarding the vast empires, rulers/kings and military leaders that the world has seen rise and fall, from Alexander the Great to the great Caesars, from Charlemagne to Charles V, from Napoleon to Hitler and Stalin and Churchill and Roosevelt, we’d have an engaging time. I’m boring that way (in fact that that’s how I once caught the attention of a former, handsome--yet equally boring--boyfriend, with a long conversation about Napoleon and the Roman Empire). But an enlightening dialogue is not the same as reading this mind-numbing book by Card; it’s the most tedious of sequels to a brilliant spin-off of a modern-classic science-fiction novel.
Shadow of the Hegemon is filled with awful characterization, soporific pacing and annoying futuristic slang. It was such a miserable experience and I’m not sure why this happened. It’ s like there are two Orson Scott Cards who write: one who creates masterpieces like “Ender’s Game” and “The Worthing Saga,” and the other who writes awful military-fantasy dreck like the Empire series or this dull crap. I will not go over the plot points; anyone interested in then can view my notes for my details.
I wish I could come up with a more erudite way of putting this... (but simplicity has a beauty of sorts, does it not?):
Funny...I thought I already read this book way back when, but such was not the case. This book was more about Spain, the essence of it, its nobles, peFunny...I thought I already read this book way back when, but such was not the case. This book was more about Spain, the essence of it, its nobles, people and artists during the Golden Age: Philip II, Cervantes, Quevedo, El Greco, more than just about that Monster of Nature, Lope de Vega. It was written in such beautiful prose, so redolent and filled with that forever-dreaming, quixotic, passionate yet pious Spanish spirit.
When I FINALLY get my computer running I will give this and many other books the reviews they deserve. I've been without it for 2 months and typing on my phone stinks! But at long last I'm out of my reading slump. Mixed up non-fiction with historical fiction and romances that I know I will enjoy, rather than trying new stuff just because it's new. I stopped reading the same genre over and over and I've found JOY in books again! This was an A- read!
Hope for more good reads for the rest of this year....more
**spoiler alert** Frozen Fire was one of the strangest HPs I've ever read. It's not Charlotte Lamb's worst, by any means; actually it's quite well-wri**spoiler alert** Frozen Fire was one of the strangest HPs I've ever read. It's not Charlotte Lamb's worst, by any means; actually it's quite well-written and if it was a two part story I would have loved it. But as it stands, the book focuses way too much on Helen's relationship with her husband and not with the hero.
Helen was married to Paul for many years and he cheated on her time and time again. They had to move to a new town various times whenever his affairs caused too much trouble. So here they are again, in a new town with a new job for Paul and Helen is sticking around, but she she's not sleeping with her husband. Still she's faithful to Paul even if he isn't, because she's the kind of person who keeps her vows, even though her husband doesn't. Plus he's super, super hot. That's it. They guy treats her like crap, but he's so good looking she won't divorce him.
Enter Paul's boss, Mark. There is a strong attraction present, and when Mark realizes what's going on in Helen's marriage, he pursues her with a vengeance. Mark's a great character: a wonderful man who's dominant, but sensitive. But he's always on the fringes. Paul is the main guy in this story.
It was unsettling how Helen so was committed to her terrible marriage. She was the ultimate martyr and refused to divorce her adulterous, emotionally abusive husband. But it's the end that's REALLY bizarre.
***MAJOR ENDING SPOILERS*** * * * * * Helen falls in love with Mark and spends Christmas with his family. At last she realizes her marriage is over. But there's no major declaration of love, no final showdown between husband, wife and potential lover. What happens is this:
Helen and Mark walk home together on Boxing Day. Paul, in an angry fit, tries to run Mark over with his horse. The horse bolts and Paul is thrown and killed.
"Helen looked at Paul, her ears hearing nothing more. She put out a shaking hand to stroke back the smooth golden hair from his damp forehead. He lay so still and tranquil in the cold wintry light, all the glitter of sunlight in his hair as it gleamed. His face had smoothed out into beauty again, as it did when he slept. Paul was beautiful, Helen thought, gazing down at him. He would always be beautiful now. The slow stain which had begun to eat up that beauty had been halted forever. All that Paul could have been lay in that peaceful face. The ruin of his life was now behind him. Helen put her hands to her face and wept."
That's the grand finale to Helen and Mark's love story? What an awful way to end a romance novel!
Nevertheless, the book did keep my interest and I rate it a tepid three stars because of the wonderful hero and the unusual circumstances surrounding the love story, even if it's not handled in the most creative manner.
**spoiler alert** Wow…what an experience! “Edin’s Embrace” by Nadine Crenshaw is a Zebra Lovegram romance published in way back in 1989. With a shimme**spoiler alert** Wow…what an experience! “Edin’s Embrace” by Nadine Crenshaw is a Zebra Lovegram romance published in way back in 1989. With a shimmering Pino Daeni cover featuring a muscled guy who looks a lot like Fabio, embracing a blonde on a Viking ship (spot the horse on the cover!) this could just have been another ho-hum romance.
But it’s not.
This is how the tale begins:
“The world was a colder, darker place then. It was an axe age, a wind age, a time when men didn’t dare give mercy, and a time when the powerful exacted what they could and the weak granted what they must.”
Ok, that definitely piqued my interest.
However, the affect is spoiled in the next paragraph with a glaring misspelling (the word hardier instead of heartier). There are a lot of typos in this book, which is a shame, as such a good book deserved more cautious edition. Crenshaw diligently tries to portray the authenticity of the Viking era, and sticks to historical facts. This book borrows heavily from the Icelandic sagas... setting the stage for Vikings as pitiless warriors. The heroine is a lady, not the clichéd young girl trained by her father as boy in the arts of war. I’ve never read a Viking book with such authenticity…making sure that it was noted which helmets were worn when, the importance of bathing, the treatment of slaves. Slaves are to have their hair shorn, and they are to be killed if they try to escape. When Thoryn has neither of these things done to Edin, it is a cause of strife amongst is peoples.
What I really appreciate is that there is no other woman for Throyn (except for a brief encounter with a prostitute), no other great love of his. He is a primal force of a man, and love is not part of his mentality. “What is love?” Is a phrase often queried here. Sometimes this book gets quite philosophical about the nature of man and woman and their bonds together. Women are a biological need for Thoryn, but they before Edin came along, they offered little in terms of mental stimulation and affection. With her he becomes a better man and a better lover.
There is a scene where Thoryn approaches a Viking friend and asks him if women enjoy sex, and if they do, how can men go about pleasing them? Despite’s his friend’s poor advice, Thoryn learns how to please Edin and he she in turn pleases him. Their passion however soon turns into what could be a doomed love.
There’s a lot of introspection than action here, far more than I usually enjoy, but somehow in Edin’s Embrace it works. Edin and Thoryn are two very deep individuals whose lives and souls are drawn together.
One thing I wasn’t crazy about was Edin’s failure to accept her place in the violent Viking world. At the end Edin convinces Thoryn to basically say, “Hey, let’s eff this Viking pillaging stuff, and move to Constantinople to become merchants.” That might seem a bit odd, as I have no qualms when a gunslinger hangs up his guns and becomes a rancher, or a pirate stops raiding and becomes a plantation owner. But when a one of the most hardcore Viking heroes I‘ve ever read about hangs up his sword, it made me a bit sad. I knew it would ensure for Edin the stability she required, but it made the ending less perfect for me.
Despite its authentic, violent, stark Viking feel, I do have to admit that there were a few anachronisms. The mentions of potatoes and squash threw me out of the authenticity for a moment. When a Muslim trader mentions that Constantinople was founded in the year 300 AD (Anno Domino, In the Year of our Lord Jesus Christ), I wondered why he just didn’t say it was founded about 600 years ago, instead. And as I said, there were so many typos for a book printed and edited in 1988. These are minor gripes, and I fault the editor in this. Crenshaw did try her damned best to make this as accurate as possible.
As a reader of historical romance, I have always been searching for that great the great Viking romance. I still rate Johanna Lindsey’s “Fires of Winter” a 5 star read, because for that 13 year old girl who read it, that was a 5 star read. I’m not the kind of reader who looks back at books she enjoyed and said well, I don’t like them now. However, 23 years later, I’ve changed as a person and a reader. I need something different. Something more hardcore. While "Edin’s Embrace” comes close, but it’s not perfect. Nevertheless I loved it.
This is the scene that won me over in this book, and made me realize I was not reading another tame, ho-hum Viking book:
There he held her. She felt the sword point keenly. She became aware of her ribs beneath it, how delicate the bones were how easily they could be pierced.
“I’m waiting thrall! What say you know?”
She whispered, “I-I am free, a nobleman’s daughter.”
Why was she doing this? He had no scruples against murder—he’d already murdered Cedric before her very eyes!
“You suffer from unnatural belief in your own immortality,” he answered softly...Quickly another sword appeared. She looked from Thoryn to the sword Rolf held out to her.
“Take it!” The jarl stepped back half a pace, removing his sword point from her breast, yet not removing it.…She took the sword from Rolf with both hands. Even so, as soon as he released it, its point fell almost to the floor. She struggled to bring it up again, but couldn’t raise it even to the height of her waist…
“Lift it!” he said. He waved his own weapon as if it were a twig. “All it takes is a good arm.” She saw the sinews in his forearm, the muscles rippling. “It’s Rolf’s own sword, a good killing blade…If you aren’t my thrall you’ll lift it and defend your claim. I say your mine, my property to dispose of as I see fit. Prove to me I’m wrong!" She stood as she was, her arms and shoulders and back trembling in effort of keeping the heavy sword point from falling to the floor completely.
“Well?” He was like a dragon in his fury, rending and unreasonable. Those who resisted, he would always mercilessly overcome, if not with his muscles then with the tremendous strength of his mind and purpose.
“You know I can’t fight you.”
“Come,” the jarl said dryly, lowering his sword. “Take it; charge me with it. I know you can kill if you want to.”
“You killed Ragnarr.”
He made a sound of contempt. “You are a race of slaves, you Saxons.”
Her gaze dropped to somewhere near his feet. She wanted to cry, but somehow kept the sobs held in.
“I’m challenging you—fight me, my lady!”
“I can’t fight you, Viking, as well you know.”
“Aye,” he said slowly, lowering his weapon at last, “as well I know.”
Her gaze lifted again, all the way to his face. “But I will never be your slave,” she said stubbornly.
This time he reacted with immediate anger, the most parlous kind of anger, the kind born of frustration. The jerk of his head told her of his ire, and her breath froze at the cold flare of temper in his eyes. In an instant, he became fearsome, furious mad. His mighty sword swung again, and he closed in. There was an ice storm rampaging in his eyes. The flat of his sword lifted her chin, until she was looking at him down its long gilt and silver length. All he said now was, “Slave or sword point?”
The flames snapped in the fire pit behind her. The cold, steel point pricking her throat never moved the slightest. For an immeasurable extent of time she stood perfectly still, living in a state of strain. She searched for an answer. And impaled on his gaze, feeling all those wild and hungry eyes on her, something of her pride broke inside her. In the end she could only whisper: “Slave”
Oh Jackie...you used to be the best in trashy reading. But time takes a toll on us all, even the greatests.
I can never give a Jackie Collins book oneOh Jackie...you used to be the best in trashy reading. But time takes a toll on us all, even the greatests.
I can never give a Jackie Collins book one star...even when she's bad, she's bad, and that's part of her charm...but even with all the sleaze, "Lovers & Players" was so boring!
I disliked the heroine, Liberty, who was not pictured on the cover (Lib's biracial, so the blonde on the cover must be boring-assed Amy). She started out as a cantankerous, lazy waitress who bitched at her customers for daring to want to place orders and I was supposed to sympathize with her?
Anyway, Lib's dream is to be a singer, and along the way she becomes a rap video ho, a magazine model and potential mistress to Mr. Damon P. Darnell. That's right, Damon P. Darnell, the hip-hop mogul, who can only be called by his full name Damon P. Darnell, cuz that's how he rolls. (Oh, Jackie!)
The story line is this: evil, overbearing, billionaire Red Diamond demands his three sons show up in New York for a very important announcement regarding their inheritances.
Oldest son Max (who I kind of liked because he was a decent guy) needs the money because all his investors are pulling out of business deals, and he's a got a Russian ex-wife, a virginal bride-to-be and a spoiled five-year-old daughter to care for.
Middle son Chris (also somewhat decent) needs money to pay off a gambling debt to mobsters, but can't, even though he's a super lawyer to the wealthy mega-stars.
Youngest son Jett is a hunky, brainless, walking hard-on of a male-model who falls in love (unknowingly) with Max's fiancee, Amy, a virgin who's saving herself for marriage, but of course fucks Jett on the night of her bachelorette party and doesn't share names, but it's instant lurve for this Ken and Barbie couple.
Jett and Amy what a BORING couple. That cannot be stated enough...just awful and uninteresting.
There is the usual cast of raunchy characters, villains and idiots, and lots of filler. A crap lot of it.
What happened to the sizzling page turners like "Hollywood Wives," "Chances," "Lucky" and "Rock Star" where the action happens over months and years and where the characters were actually unique and entertaining? Now, all her books take place over a span of a few days or weeks, detailing boring lunches and vacations where nothing happens (sure sex, drugs, some tawdry stuff) but no exciting twists or drama.
And the ending...
Jackie's books always end in a seeming cliffhanger, then the epilogue cleans everything up neatly, and it's fun to see what happens to who and where and why. This...was just a mess, as if she really did not give a flying fuck and just had her assistant type out a summary of what they thought should happen.
The last few Santangelo books were so bleh, I was freaking disappointed! One thing I could always depend on was for Jackie to entertain, no matter how cheesy or offensive or crazy! Now reading her books is like watching a boring reality show where the same dull crap happens over and over. All glitz, but that's it.