Book provided by publisher through Blogging-for-Books for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Pros: This is an attractive cookbook containing a lot of seasonal recipes that sound delicious and taste great, for the most part. I made a couple dishes based on the recipes in the book, but I rarely follow recipes to the letter unless I am baking.
I made Walnut-Stuffed Acorn squash and really enjoyed the clever addition of curry and walnuts to the squash filling. Since the acorn squash are not in season, and are very hard as a result, I found removing all but 1/2 inch of flesh as the recipe requires pretty impossible. I also substituted carrots for the parsnip as a matter of preference and regular mushrooms for shitake.
The resulting squash was delicious and filling, and was a winner with my husband who I have a hard time getting to eat acorn squash. The recipe contains walnuts, but not so many that my diet-minded self was not upset.
I also made the egg noodles with wild mushrooms and spring greens. I added fresh fava beans to get a little more protein into the dish. My husband and I both really enjoyed how delicious and savory this recipe turned out to be and how easy it was to make. Sadly, I have a hard time finding wide egg-noodle type pasta that is gluten free so I used GF Tagliatelle.
I can imagine feeding a family wholesome food when one is a vegan could be extremely difficult, so I admire that Veronica Bosgraaf came up with so many delicious ways to feed her family.
I cook pretty much unprocessed foods because it is easier to know there’s no gluten if I make something myself. I had always wondered exactly what “pure” or “clean” eating means to people because those terms are bandied about so much. The truth is, the terms mean what you want them to mean.
Living in a place where we pretty much eat produce from outside New England a huge portion of the year, the seasonal approach doesn’t really work for, or make sense to me. Sure, when there is something in season at the Farmers’ Market I love it. But, I have pretty much come to grips with stuff being transported great distances.
Bosgraath offers a lot of unsupported statements about the health effects of certain foods, and the detrimental effects of others. For example, on page 146 she says, that tomatoes are: “…Packed with lycopene and antioxidants shown to help prevent cancer and protect skin from harmful UV rays,…” I unfortunately can not say whether this information is fact-based from her own reading of studies or simply hearsay. Yes it may be true, but I have lived through a lot of food fads which are later proven wrong. And they usually arise from unsupported hype.
She also states, on page 186, that cumin is “…a very healthy spice for women because it is a good source of both iron and calcium. ” First of all, men and women both need calcium and iron. And, the recipe it is mentioned in the notes for contains a total of one teaspoon for four to six servings.
One Tablespoon of cumin contains 4 mg of iron, which is a good amount since it is about 22% of the amount we should consume daily, but one teaspoon spread over several servings contains barely enough to mention. It does contain nearly 56 mg of Calcium (nutritional content information http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/s...) about six percent of the suggestion daily consumption. but again, that’s per Tablespoon not the recipe’s teaspoon split over 4 to six servings. I wouldn’t suggest we think of the amounts of vitamins offered in spices as a great source for most of them.
I did not check each recipe for completeness, but I was looking at the recipe for Quinoa with Leeks, Apricots and Toasted Pecans on page 110 and it’s ingredient list contains no leeks. It does contain onion and I suspect that since they are similar veggies, that the leeks go where the onions do. But, maybe both are called for, I just don’t know. The recipe sounds delicious and is full of great flavors.
I looked all over my Whole Foods for the buckwheat called for in several recipes but was unsure whether it should be milled like rice cereal or in its groat form. And, I could not find something that explained it.
This is not a bad cookbook, but it could have fact sources and should have been checked for ingredients. Most of the recipes sound delicious and are pretty easy to make, but I found at least one ingredient hard to figure out. The book’s design and layout are attractive. The author is the creator of a product called The Pure Bar, but fully admits she didn’t have the qualifications for starting a business like this.
She deserves applause for developing a cooking style that she and her family like and sharing it with us. It took time and ingenuity!
Audiobook purchased by blogger. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
I had heard that Mal’s book was really funny and this was a great addition to the series. In the end I agreed that this story was occasionally funny, sweet and sad; it was also “hot” and at times frustrating.
Let me explain:
Frustrating: Mal is the drummer in the band Stage Dive. Apparently people overlook the drummer so when he is recognized, it’s cool. We first met Mal in LICK when he rescues a damsel in distress and is considerate and funny in doing so. Mal seems bipolar, generous, goofy, selfish and immature, even adolescent, throughout the book. He is under a lot of stress with his band mates and with a family problem, but the Tasmanian Devil from cartoons comes to mind. How can a character be both generous and selfish? He is happy to give monetarily, but when he is backed into an emotional corner he can be irrational and selfish. Anne, is not willing to compromise and make a promise she may not be able to keep and that causes problems.
The sweet, sad, funny and hot are not so contradictory: in the course of any length of time we are likely to feel all of these emotions regardless of what is going on. Mal is funny and manic even as his heart is breaking and he is filled with despair. But, I found Mal too immature, too goofy, and too crazy to imagine any sane woman would allow him to let into her life and heart.
I am pretty sure the degree of goofiness is an artifact of the audio narration; it imbues characters with all kinds of personality the writer may not have intended and which my mind may not have come up with if I had been reading the book.
When the hook ups do finally happen they are undoubtedly hot and bothering, although often interrupted by humorous incidents. I like how Scott brings the attraction level to the fore and then makes us a little unsure of whether Mal really is interested. Sometimes, Mal seems a little preternatural in sussing out how to get past the full-stops and set people up. That’s another thing: Mal is Puckish.
I have to admire that Anne is willing to take the stand she does; after all, Mal starts off calling her a door mat, so when she realizes she has been one and refuses to go along to get along.
If this were being filmed the antics would be hilarious. They are funny to hear, and I think they would have been funny to read as well. But, add in visuals and it would be slapstick.
But, in this band, Stage Dive, Mal is actually the guy with the normal family life, the funny, and usually decent guy. So refusing to fess up to what is troubling him so deeply is temporarily understandable but not to the extent it went on. I was left with the feeling that because he had had such a happy life, he had fewer resources to handle adversity when it really comes into his life.
And Anne has been a little mother since she was a child. She is a naturally nurturing individual who has finally come to the end of the shitty things she can bear, but she has almost forced herself to get herself to that point.
The story paints an interesting picture of completely untypical characters who are a mix of immature, manic behavior and startling compassion. I find myself thinking I would have preferred it as a read, versus audio, book due to the portrayal of Mal as Kooky and wacky. The most beautiful man would not be attractive at the degree of crazy with which he was voiced.
A great part of the series, although I admit I preferred LICK to PLAY. While the drummer in a rock band may occasionally be overlooked the beat is what defines rock and roll. It is also the most primordial of sounds: from the sea, to the womb, to the heart monitor. The beat goes on....more
Audio provided by Tantor Media for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Here’s something weird,I received this book and THE DUKE IN MY BED (review 5/28), both published by St. Martin’s, releasing within a week of each other, and both involving deadly curricle racing at the same time. Is there some kind of timed release by theme in the publishing industry?
The story is very interestingly begun, with a narrative from the murder victim. Usually if we are given this kind of first person narrative the person is not really dead and so I kept waiting for him to pop up. The question is left open throughout.
The female character and her friends are all early feminists and fans of Mary Wollstonecraft. Her father is a little loose in restraining his daughter so she has had a less sheltered and restricted life. Her feminism is at odds with societal norms, and made a good excuse for her begging off marriage to Lord Frederick years before. Her unconventionality is belied by her occasional archness and adherence to custom. She might be a feminist but she is not a wanton!
At some point the couple have to feign a sexual relationship and end up not just feigning it. But, I did not get the motivation for Leonora’s capitulation on this count. Nor for her obtuseness in realizing that her decision not to marry the man who loves her and who she loves in return without explanation is as wrong as how society limited women.
I have to admit, I do not like Anne Flosnick’s narration, and it seriously colors my reaction to every Anne Flosnick narrated book I listen to. Everything is read in a sing song modulation and her tone swoops up and down. Her accent is rather plummy and delicious, but that rhythm just annoys me to no end.
What will happen in this story is not too twisty and the climactic events, after which we expect the winding down of the story occurs earlier than expected, so you know something else will arise. But the second climax is a little ho-hum.
Then, there’s an actual lack of justice which results in a woman who is either guilty by association or abused having to stay in an abusive relationship. I really found this, and other aspects of the ending unsatisfying and in one case completely contradictory to the character.
This is not my favorite romance this year. I thought there were conflicting statements in the story (hard to specify without revealing over much), and the whole thing felt weak and a little dated in style.
<1>Audio Library Download. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Written in the first-person as a diary, this is an amusing take on the life of Mrs. Lydia Wickham, née Bennet after Wickham dies at Waterloo. Never a girl to be restrained by social convention, three years as the wife of the very bad man, Wickham, has not improved her morals. In fact she’s a bit of a sociopath: willing to cheat and steal as needed to get what she perceives herself to deserve, wealth and independence.
And, yet, her sister Mrs. Darcy, wife of the extremely wealthy and uber restrained Mr. Darcy, has had just enough influence on her to give a little niggle to her conscience now and again.
I believe the author wrote this not so much after the book’s Lydia as much as the A & E TV Series version. At least I could very clearly see the character as portrayed in that program by Julia Sawalha. Particularly her indecorous behavior.
With some very unvarnished tales of life, and travel in the period, Burnett gives what I felt is a good idea of the cage a free-spirited young woman would find forced into the life required by the ton and at the sufferance of her morally strict brother-in-law. And, as a widow with a speckled past, and a need for cash, her ideas of how to get ahead are neither moral nor correct at any time.
I downloaded this, because I love Jane Austen themed stories and I simply adore Davina Porter. Without an OUTLANDER book on my i-pod I am always searching for a narrator as amazing as she is. What I found is again her excellent reading with the voices of characters extremely similar to those from the OUTLANDER series. But, she does a marvelous job bringing Lydia with all the joy, all the scheming and all her frustration to life....more
Looking to get called back to the Majors, pitcher Caleb Hart runs into Sadie Merritt, the assistant to the mayor of the town where his team, the Catfish is based. They both have secrets and are on the hurting side of injustices.
E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except otherwise noted or if I am relating information from a conversation with an author.
I have been chatting with Jennifer Bernard on Facebook and when she visited my area recently I asked if we could get in touch and talk about her work. She was nice enough to get together with me in a small cafe and we had a lovely lunch and, I think we both left feeling like friends. Honestly, we had so much fun that I kind of took crappy notes and I am relating this via memory (I also forgot to take a picture – >>face-palm<<).
Jennifer is wicked (a Maine term indicating “really, really,” amazingly, or cool!) intelligent, a Harvard graduate who has made a living in writing since graduation. Her mother is a poet and her father is a professor. Being academics, her parents are a little stymied by her love of romance novels. I asked her if she ever feels pressure to write loftier fiction. Smiling she replied, that her parents do have her books (although in the basement book shelves perhaps, she suggested, showing a little ambivalence for her career). Love and relationships are a huge part of our lives and if she can make people happy through her books then as far as she is concerned there isn’t much she can do that’s loftier than that.
Another blogger suggested I ask Jennifer whether her own relationships drive the relationships about which she writes. To me this is the alchemy of fiction: Creating characters and then putting them in stories, situations and relationships, and I am in awe of it. Jennifer said that she hasn’t done everything her characters do. But that there’s a little of her in all her characters. Strangely, she finds it easier to write male characters and get in their heads.
Jennifer told me that the series themes are a backdrop for the story and the relationship. Sometimes, though, she says she doesn’t know what the story is really about until she starts rewriting and editing the first draft. That’s when she realizes she is writing a love story and more.
Are her bachelor firemen stories just about getting it on with hot firefighters? Not just — each of those firefighters and the people they fall in love with have to overcome some major physical, psychological or family issue. Coming up against their jobs and the plot is where the characters work out their issues.
Jennifer is a big baseball fan (Go Sox!) and her new series takes her into the heart of the game. We all love the majors, but the “farm teams” the minor leagues are where people often start and end their careers. If a major league player gets off-track or injured they often get sent to a farm team to figure out why or to do their rehab. Caleb is a major league pitcher whose family life suddenly got really complicated. It threatened his career. First he got traded and then he got sent down.
His head and his heart haven’t quite gotten the message that he has to be all in for the game. He can’t play fro the wrong reason and he can’t hide from the public. When he meets Sadie, somehow that changes his life. Being with her, working on a project with her gets his game back on track.
The attraction between the couple is instant, exciting and Sadie thinks getting together is a bad idea but she is just too drawn to him to not enjoy it, at least for a little while.
Sadie’s issues are very au courant – she’s from a town run by one powerful family and she’s gotten on their bad side. They’ve bullied her so much that even her mother has suffered from it.
I was kind of amazed by how well Jennifer has translated the feelings of being bullied into this character’s life. The shame, the injustice and the frustration are all there and very palpable. She is “slut-shamed” [completely false allegations] in person and on line, and this felt very “pulled from the headlines.” I felt rather indignant on Sadie’s behalf. Both characters are very responsible but each needs to gain some emotional maturity to handle their relationship as it becomes complicated by their family issues. It is as if their emotional growth was put on hold by having had to become responsible too young.
Also palpable is the way Sadie feels a little guilty, as if she maybe acted in a way that prompted the behaviors of her ex and his family. And of course, Cal has feelings of guilt for being his father’s rube and evading questions about him. Guilt is such an unproductive emotion but it’s very human. I think the only people who don’t feel guilt are the people who probably should be feeling it.
Most of the other characters are developed to the extent they need to be; the less important characters are less fleshed out. Cal’s father is very interesting and complicated: he’s a grifter but I felt he really did love his family as far as he can. His identity is self-created, I enjoyed the allusion Jennifer makes to a certain TV show with it.
In any event the heat between the characters is instantaneous and just about melted my e-reader. Jennifer writes super hot stuff, but in all the work I have read the relationships are affectionate and respectful.
I really enjoyed the book, and I can’t wait to see what kind of ball Jennifer will pitch with the next book! It’s one pitch I do not want to miss!...more
A couple of mainstream-published authors I know have said that the publishing houses rarely fact-check or do much continuity editing. This would account for the several major errors I have found in mainstream published books. I speak of major errors: when a plot hinges on something and it changes (like a murder is solved by someone seeing something, but that thing could not exist at that time), when a term is misused over and over or, as in this book, when the wrong term is applied by characters who are supposed to be experts.
In this case one archaeologist is explaining the personality of another archaeologist on a dig, to the main character and often first person narrator, Lorina. This appears in my galley and in the finished copy.
“He’s the salt of the earth and a damned good archaeologist. Just don’t get him going on about the stone age or hells spend all day teaching you how to map flints.”
“Map, like draw?”
“No, in this case it means to chip away at a flint until you have a pointed end that cab be used as a tool or weapon. ” Katie MacAlister A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S ROMP pp. 25-26
Eeep! flints are not MAPPED they are KNAPPED. If this were a simple typo, well, that’s sloppy but herein it is a compounded error because when Lorina asks a clarifying question the arhaeologist digs herself deeper.
Why does this error make a difference? Short answer: It affected my experience of the book, and if I hadn’t known this was an error, it would have perpetuated false information to me.
The longer answer is because I had to stop reading to check my elementary knowledge of the profession against the book. I had to search the term and then dig several layers of results to see if there is any reference, any at all, to flints being mapped. I got a lot about the city of Flint, MI, but nothing about stone age tools. Also, the expert’s creds are downgraded and so are those of the authors and publishing house.
I had to check my finished copy, and I had to check with the publisher, maybe it was a red herring (it was not)?
I could make a big error too, but, no one pays me for this stuff. Especially not the $7.99 list for the paperback of this book. I am writing this before the book is released so it is possible the digital edition is changed.
Otherwise, the story and characters are unusual. I liked Gunner’s sharp wit and Lorina’s guilty conscience (although I thought she was unnecessarily guilty). I liked the banter between them as sexual tension builds, is dispersed and rebuilt. I thought Lorina’s lack of appreciation for her own physical assets is very sympathetic to how most of us are about our bodies. And, usually men like us a little healthier than a starved waif. Gunner certainly does. The plot is a little far-fetched and some very strange medical treatment is suggested.
I even enjoyed the crazy antics of Gunner’s teenaged daughter Cressy who just about bounces off walls!
I have had issues with some of Katie’s paranormal romances in recent years. This is a little less off the wall. There are some instances of wild places for romantic interludes; places I would not EVER have sex, but I’ve never been in that situation so who knows.
There is a Puckish director, a wise and fey grannie, and two ne’er do well characters but while a few characters act like asses no one gets turned into one. Maybe there’s a little to do with the the play the book’s title is a riff on, but it is very little. It is not a Shakespearian mash-up.
I found myself a little distracted by the mistake at the beginning of the story which I felt was pretty big, but perhaps, forewarned you won’t be. I enjoyed the rest of the book, which moves very fast....more
This series is a little Dickensian with its themes of guilt, loss and redemption and a little nineteenth century BIG BANG THEORY. It’s also a little weird in that I just read a Tessa Dare novel with a rather geeky female character. In the Tessa Dare novel the young woman was the heroine’s sister and seems to have some degree of what used to be called “Little Professor syndrome.” Here, however, she is the main female love interest and slightly more socially appropriate.
This story does have a bonanza of unusual features for the genre:
The heroine, Pippa, is super smart and so is the male character. They are both math and science wizzes, one trapped in an emotional prison and the other is trapped by her gender limiting her options. The heroine wears glasses. Do boys still not make passes at girls who wear them? Did they ever not? She is very practical and except for a little sophistry in her logic regarding why she is marrying the somewhat uncomplicated Castleton, very honest with herself and others. When rescuing is needed it’s a scheme she launches that allows the mandatory HEA. The young woman wants to learn about sex and passion before her wedding, yet is willing to marry outside of those qualities.
On the other hand, Cross, is in his own aforementioned prison. He believes that his brother died and his sister maimed because of him. Considering his intelligence this is a little illogical. While I can understand some survivor guilt, hanging on to that for over six years, with your friends aware of the situation, is a little hard to believe. It is a commonly used trope in the genre, but so used it has come to ring untrue for me.
The gaming hell central to this series allows people from varying classes to mingle in ways they normally would not. And it is a very interesting location in which to place two math geeks. It allows the loftiest peers to sink to the lowest point in their world. As such it is also interesting, but the prevalence of these in romance is akin to there being a casino on every corner in modern London.
Pippa on the other hand is about to enter into a passionless, but not unfriendly, marriage with Castleton. He is not her intellectual equal, but is willing to let her have her scientific pursuits and welcomes her aid in running his estates. She is doing so because he asked and she recognizes the necessity of marriage for a woman of her time. Also, she is marrying him because she gave her word and hates deceit or dishonesty. Oddly, she doesn’t see the logic in other societal norms (like walking unescorted through London) and flouts them. And, the idea that it would be deceitful to marry a social equal when you are in love with someone else (also your social equal) takes a long time to sink in.
What bugged me a little bit is how once the character has sex she is a kinder, gentler science geek who now understands the idea of love and its transformative nature. It’s as if the loss of virginity bestows some sort of chemical change in the woman’s brain.
Ah well, such is the nature of the historical romance genre: It doesn’t matter how smart you are, love makes us all a little dumber in some respects and a little wiser in others.
While I enjoyed this as a library book download, I don’t know if I would pay just under $20 or so dollars it seems to cost on Audible.
There are hundreds of reviews of this fine piece of literary fiction around, most of them written by critics more erudite than I. I am not going to tr
There are hundreds of reviews of this fine piece of literary fiction around, most of them written by critics more erudite than I. I am not going to try to create a review of this story that would be considered for entry in the NYT Book Review or even that of my local newspaper — it’s not what I do for genre fiction and I am not going to do that for literary fiction either.
Looking at other reviews is not something I do unless I am confused by a story. I did here though and found reviewers had had a personal experience with the book. One thinks it is about mortality, one about family saga, another about memory coloring stories.
For me, this book struck a couple of chords.
I was impressed by repeated assurances that this family felt special in its stories and quirks. But the omniscient narrator lets us know they are actually very ordinary, and this begins with the house. After all, it is not some grand palace that the builder covets, but it is viewed as special to this family.The family has an interesting, if very short, history on the paternal side. In that it is a bit unique, but then it’s start is at a time when the country was remaking itself through depression and war. A lot of families came up from nowhere and not much.And, in the way Tyler describes the history and the characters and the personalities I was constantly reminded of my own experiences of family and people. I am struck by how Anne Tyler describes people so clearly and with such depth that she points out types of people we recognize in the same way I experience Jane Austen doing so.I think much of my experience with A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD is that it is about the ordinariness of life and family and the special nature of the ordinary.
There really is no “ordinary,” but at the same time no one is seriously that special. I was also surprised often by how fluidly Tyler moves back and forth through decades and generations. At times, I found this confusing, or maybe, unsettling – like being on a large boat in rough seas. I am not certain, but this might have been because I was listening to and not reading the story.Not that the narration wasn’t excellent, because it was — Kimberly Farr may be to the American voice what Davina Porter is to the voices of Great Britain. I just find that when there is a lot of motion between time and characters that audio may be a less effective format than print or e-book.As I listened and pondered this trans-generational novel, I wondered if maybe the story is being told from the house’s point of view — is the narrator the house?
Original Post May 14, 2015: A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD: On the Ordinary Family
Audiobook provided by request from publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
As always, I want to understand the title in relation to the story. Often in genre fiction it is merely about being catchy, but in literary fiction I always feel there should be meaning. There is a spool of blue thread, but also, a spool of thread is of course symbolic of connection and flow. A blue is fluid, like water, bright like the sky, dependable, like a pair of jeans.
Anne Tyler is certainly one of America’s great authors, especially that of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She is skilled with translating her own observations and experiences into narratives that connect us through the beauty of her prose, and the commonality of the experience. But, she doesn’t weigh us down with pedantic condescension and grand ideas. She speaks about the ordinary and the special and helps us see the beauty in the common experiences of humanity. In this she reminds me of a painter, like Morandi, who took everyday objects and painted them in such a way that we can see the exquisite nature of the ordinary....more
E-Galley provided by Publisher for Review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
This was a fun story about a man who starts out interested in one -- maybe two, things in regards to a woman (sex and winning), but ends up with an altogether different state of affairs. The heroine is avoiding love so hard that, of course, it finds her. I do confess that the climax of the story, was confusing to me, but I decided to simply accept the hero and heroine had outwitted the bad guy and, of course, won the day. And the story holds a few twists and turns I found unique and surprising. Revealing them would certainly spoil the story.
The thing I recall most is a lovely time in a cherry orchard. Cherries are pretty much my favorite food so that is what the story will be remembered for in my mind. But, I also like the dilemma Madeline faces, her cheeky maid, and the utter silliness of the hero as the pair fall in love despite best intentions! Of course, the heroine also has a nice cat so it gained points there too.
I love that Madeline has the pluck to forge her own fortune as her husband left her in dire straights, rather than immediately setting out to find another spouse. I always think what a cage the life of a society woman could become with or without funds. And the boredom of it must have been appalling!
So, the upshot is that I liked the story and plan to read the upcoming LOVE IN THE TIME OF SCANDAL (releases May 26) as soon as I may....more
Audio provided by TANTOR MEDIA for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
I loved this book from Nalini Singh. I was so excited to get the audio download from Tantor, and I put it on my ipod as soon as it came. I listened to the entire book in one day while I worked in my yard!
Maybe it’s just this “thing” I have for rock star books. Rockers are like the untamed and unexplored planet. Almost anything goes, almost any behavior is excused for them; in the public eye they are made out to be the last frontier of artistic wildness and yet most are probably as normal as any other person would be with lots of money and a free pass on their behaviors (for the most part), and people whose job it is to keep them happy.
It was great that the book is partly set in New Zealand; it’s always like a little vacation to read a book where people are traveling to other places. I was a little confused as to why some of the characters in the New Zealand-based part the book, like Molly’s neighbor, had accents but the main character and her best friend did not. On the other hand, that was also a bit of a relief as it enabled me to focus on the characters and not the accent. But, if British characters get British accents, why wouldn’t characters from other English speaking countries get similarly accented voices?
I thought the interplay between the characters: Molly with her rigid control over her emotions and desires, and Fox with his quick temper, was explosive. I did find their initial contact hard to justify as she was so rigidly controlled, so buttoned up, that it’s hard to imagine her being quite so easy to get into bed. I also found Fox’s temper a little out of control and thought he could do some work on that. Or maybe it felt too out of proportion and the author could pare it down.
The characters worked worked through issues using the amazing tool called communication! Perhaps Singh’s characters could loan it to characters in other romance novels. Too often the characters in romance have a lack of communication as the biggest issue and don’t face the elephant in the room.
I liked that Molly had such a great best friend in the person of Charlotte, but there was a lot of back story to her character and unless there was a prequel I felt the lack annoying. The back story for Thea, Molly’s half sister, is also lacking but less of a mystery.
How Molly gets past her fear of being in the public eye, of being exposed — the risk inherent in being a rock star’s girlfriend, to be with Fox is a story of personal growth, of realizing that we shouldn’t let other people stand in the way of what we want, and that people are not necessarily defined by their parents’ stories.
Fox’s experience, his self-assuredness and his normal emotional composure were occasionally at odds with his temper. Molly’s personal experiences had made her timid but also very attuned to other people’s feelings and compassionate. They make a great tumbling composition of complex individuals rolling around in the sheets, against the wall, in the elevator,…
You get the idea.
This is one hot story with a lot of substance and very little substance abuse (none of which is tolerated). There’s a lot of hot, plastered against the wall stuff within the covers of ROCK ADDICTION from superstar story teller Nalini Singh!...more
Library Book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own, except as noted.
With a “runaway bride” theme, Susan Elizabeth Phillips explores finding oneself while pretending to be someone else while adopting another persona. This is essentially about finding one’s self: and of course that’s the source the line in the header and the title for the post both come from.
There are a few story lines through which this happens, each requiring in its own way, that the characters come to a personal realization in order to solve the problem or advance to the next stage in life; do what they really want.
There is missing back story from another book in the Wynette, TX series; it’s obvious the backstory regarding the bride’s adoptive parents is available in FIRST LADY, the book stands well enough on its own.
The story may be a little obvious, but is not without enough twists and surprises to keep it interesting. The characters are sometimes appealing, sometimes cranky, and some seem a little two-dimensional. But, even then they are not necessarily typical.
And the variety of situations in which we find them were varied enough to keep me guessing as to how they would react.
I enjoyed the narration: The reader had a pleasant voice and effectively changed voices without over acting. One character, did seem a little overly bored, or tired, sounding.
The love scenes were not too steamy, but were effective in imparting a little of the crazy way the characters felt about each other.
I particularly liked how Lucy’s character recognizes the positive characteristics of others and is accepting of who they are. She is not as adept at understanding herself though – not uncommon. And she learns that changing her clothes and hair doesn’t change who you are inside. Very enjoyable listen – I highly recommend it....more
Book provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Wow, this book is hotter than __fill in the blank with something really, really hot___ . I don’t really like criminals. But sometimes there are mitigating circumstances, and when both characters have done things in their past that are survival driven it is a little more interesting.
Here Cole sets up a character dynamic with two proud characters with pasts, and in Cat’s case, the present. Even as she wonders how he’ll get past her being an escort, he is worried about how she’ll get over his own past.
That she never thinks to call the police when they have been victimized; that our criminal justice system is perceived as so effed-up that guilt and innocence are matters of perception rather than fact, is kind of sad.
The chemistry Cole builds between these two characters, both of whom seek control over their own destinies is one of the aspects of the book that made it simply, unputdownable. The other is it’s gritty edge that makes it just a little dark. It does wrap up in little too cleanly, and a lot of blurry points about crime and the past makes the ending feel a little glib but, still, I wanted more of the interaction between to mob boss and the hooker with a heart of gold.
I’ll be reading more of this series as soon as I can!...more
E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Got a short flight? This is the perfect duo for you then! I was really entertained by the way Chase turns social standards in Dueling and Honor and Jilting, traditionally reserved for men to take the offensive role, on their pointy heads.
LORD LOVEDON”S DUEL asks an important question of when and to whom is honor important. The the gender of the person offended make the slight or slur any less offensive. And is a woman defending her sister’s honor any less justified in its seeking than a man?
That was the favorite of the two stories, although the second is more darkly passionate. The Jilting of Lord Rothwick looks at a woman having the power of refusal in a relationship, and also turns the old adage about falling in love with a rich man being as easy as falling for a poor one around both ways. And, the near miss demonstrates the importance of communication.
With amiable and sexy characters this kept me happy from Tampa to about halfway to Newark. I even giggled a few times, which is more than I can say for folks watching the in-flight entertainment. At ninety-nine cents it’s a pretty good value!...more
Running time 9 hrs 28 min Also available in print/e-book formats (384 pages) from Penguin/Signet
Audiofile provided by Tantor Audio for review. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Other than Kendall being a little to naive for a counselor/social worker — she apparently never had to take a human sexuality course — and a few other technicalities that felt fluffy, I enjoyed the story behind this romance. The idea that really, really got me is that a man just over a head injury bad enough to require pressure relieving cranial surgery, an induced coma and cause severe loss of math and numbers would be okay to stay alone on a mountain and work on a roofing project without a helmet or supervision. It was not as if the even had happened months before; it was fairly recent.
Given her history of one nearly asexual, boyfriend-fiance I would expect Kendall to be naive in the bedroom, but it doesn’t jibe with her counseling history nor her penchant for romance novels.
But the romance that develops, as much for her good cooking in the kitchen as in the bedroom, is off the charts hot-pockets!
I liked the narration of this short novel. Sometimes the reader sounded as if she might “Hab a cowd” which can become annoying because I want to give the reader a tissue and a decongestant, but it wasn’t too obvious and wasn’t complicated. The New Hampshire accent was a little more South Boston than New Hampshire, but it did offer a little flavor to the snowy scene. With its wintry overtones, it was a good way to pass the last few wintry days at home as I worked on a painting project. It was so engrossing I hardly noticed I had been working all day.
It’s one of those romances where it’s sexy enough that you want the characters to get together and can ignore most of the technical flaws.
I could see enjoying the wintry chill and hot cabin nights on a warm summer day just as easily as I could inside in chilly weather. ...more
Wow, I probably bought this novel right around when it was first released and I JUST got the chance to read it. A reader had enthusiastically recommended it to me recommended it to me but it languished on my Kindle for a while.
This is quite literally a a “New Adult” novel as it starts on Evelyn’s twenty-first birthday and it is Las Vegas. Now Las Vegas seems to be a city for either retirement or youth but in any event it’s a place where it seems nearly anything goes.
And, apparently it went.
The couple, Kylie and David are not exactly the same age, but bot are young. David is a little more savvy as to business, if not to financial planning. And, Kylie is young, has been led to an educational trough but her parents and forced to drink the architectural kool-aid. Her parents are caring, but careful and controlled.
There are a few holes in the story (time and connecting with her control freak parents) and I scoffed about Kylie’s understanding of custom architectural plans for $350,000 houses. But on the whole, I was attracted to the characters and the story.
How can a couple thrown together by happenstance, with a dearth of anger management and communication skills, family issues and a wealth of immaturity ever keep a marriage going? Should they even try to save a marriage born in a bottle of tequila? I was only a little older than Evelyn and my husband younger than David when we got married, so maybe I identify with the story there.
But, I think what made me attach to the story was Evelyn; she is super vulnerable and young, but she has a real strength and backbone. Having been the good daughter at home, she is remarkably unwilling to take a lot of crap from a guy. She can’t remember the events that led to her marriage but knows she is very attracted to David.
Like a lot of men his age, and a lot of guys who have become wealthy in the entertainment industry, he has issues. Lots and lots of them. He’s been mistreated and it return lashes out whenever anything cuts too close.
But the couple is very attracted to each other, and David seems committed to making a go of the relationship. So when it gets messed up, painfully, it is interesting to see each person grow towards adulthood through the relationship issues.
I really wanted to sit down and read or listen to additional books in the series because they have that kind of heart and heat that makes them totally lickable. Like Ice cream. At the same time that the story was hot, it conveyed the angst of youth and made me feel nostalgic.
This sexy book was hard to put down but its steaminess belies some darker issues that Neville uses the foil of the Regency Romance format to explore.
Having read the other books in the series, I was surprised by the depth and humanity bestowed upon Denford by his creator, Neville. Cold, notorious and normally not very nice, Neville humanizes and rehabs the thorn in the side of the characters in the previous stories. But, that cold and nasty man was no doubt a very good cover for the guilt he felt in his youthful forays in art trading in Paris around the time of the Terror.
Jeanne/Jean is searching for the man who betrayed her family resulting in the deaths of all of except her. She believes that he and Denford share a family name. She is nearly driven to madness by survivor’s guilt and what she had to do to survive.
The questions of guilt and responsibility are two of the issues explored by Neville here. It is a fascinating look at the mental and emotional processes driving both Denford and Jean.
There’s another level of story that is slightly weaker here but is pulled forward from LADY WINDEMERE’S LOVER; that of the involvement in international espionage of the British at the time. Classics like The Scarlet Pimpernel deal with an attempt by the British to help French Aristocrats escape. I don’t know how deeply the story matches the truth, but it is a romantic backdrop upon which to paint a plot and scandal ranging back to the first book in the series.
It is also moving: Jean cares for Denford’s young charges who, of course remind her of her own lost family. Through the young ladies she comes to feel less crazed, but more conflicted about her resolve.
Denford’s family life helps Jean to regain a smidgen of sanity and human feeling; but is it enough to keep her from a tragic date with fate?
The state of Jean’s virtue is also a theme in the book, as it has been throughout the series which has looked at the virtue of a married woman, a widow, a virgin and now at Jean who did what she had to to escape the guillotine.
Neville is one of those writers who goes beyond the nature of the genre to make us think about issues. This story is exciting o its own but it is not quite a a stand-alone. I think it is best read as part of the quartet. But, I highly recommend the series and this entry in the series....more
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
Seriously, I gave up on this smashing series by J. R. Ward after THE KING. It had gotten too crazy and had too many story lines – and that wasn’t an uncommon complaint.
I gobbled up the earlier books once I discovered them. They were over the top some of the time, and the brand-name dropping (or product placement) got annoying, but they were exciting, with a fairly tightly constructed world. Then, scratching-record noise, angels got involved and Ward started to go off the deep end with creative creation myths.
With THE SHADOWS JR seems to have dialed down some of the crazy! And, brought in a giant well of emotive content that had me weeping as I listened to the book, usually while painting trim.
In THE KING I was interested in Trez’s and Iam’s story and their people, Indeed, it was probably the best part of THE KING. Here, Ward brings them back, further ties them to the BDB and then wraps it up like a big sad present. Seriously! Kleenex are absolutely necessary.
Ward’s almost, but not quite English, naming concept doesn’t work terribly well when the extraneous “H”s and extra vowels are inaudible in the spoken word. That’s not the narrator’s fault and he does a great job with stuff that has to feel a little silly to say at times. I do feel he makes the more feminine women sound like idiots. But I feel that with most male narrators.
The story here focuses on Trez, the Chosen, Serena, Iam and the crown princess of the S’hibe. The story for Trez and Serena is sensitive, heart wrenching and well-done. The sillier bits are worth it just for this story.
There is a very, very shocking bit that almost made me stop and DNF, but it was brief and there’s justice. It seems to violate one of those taboos for Paranormal Romance, but, Ward has never been too concerned with those.
I think if you have lost a child, you may want to skip the book or a few pages at least when the Queen’s executioner is in a room alone. Maybe that’s an over reaction, but, as they say, Fair Warning. Or, you might just want more kleenex.
I found the story emotionally gut wrenching. But, Rhage’s wondering why he and his Mary were spared and other couples made to suffer is hard to take; the big nasty dinosaur goes kind of soft. And it seems a little inconsequential unless he dies in the next book.
All in all, most of the book is good and chock full of feels. Ward does introduce some additional storylines and falls back on name-dropping, product placement.
There are some extraneous stories about the Band of Bastards that I think we’re so over by now. Women’s rights seem to be making headway in Vampire society, but someone’s going to get bloody and someone will break their heart.
If you like the series it is a must read; especially Trez and Serena’s story. If you want to read the series do not start here. I think this is a read in order series. Don’t forget hankies!...more
Book provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
The plot to this book feels like a cross between a Julia Roberts or Sara Bullock movie, and a period, “costume” comedy with heart.
I fid Tessa’s books often have that modern vibe with enough historical accents to give it a period feel. I think, at times, they are two modern in the characters’ voices, but then I think, were people really so different then.
(Then I start listening to a classic audio book and I think, yes, they were so different.)
I really enjoyed this story, the perfect vacation reading, for its sheer entertainment value, the self-discovery of the heroine, Clio, whose inheritance as an unmarried woman opens vistas impossible for a married woman of her time. Even if her fiance had not been absent and neglectful, it would give a woman pause to reconsider her prospects.
I felt the title was a little misleading – not in the sense that the novel is totally about something else, but when it becomes obvious that Clio will not marry Piers, the Marquess, how can she say yes to his brother who is not? In a book I read last year, one brother dies in the end which passes the title to the brother and everyone is happy. But the guilt is already established because Clio and Piers’ brother, Rafe, have always been attracted to each other.
The great thing about the story though is Clio’s capacity for business and her knowledge of beer. That she is a Lady, with a capital L, should preclude her from consuming all but small beer. But she has developed a taste, and a nose for it that impresses Rafe, and me. Her ideas about business, and marketing, are also quite smart and modern. I wanted to go and work for her!
Tessa often pairs the Lady with a somewhat coarser man; a blacksmith or, in this case, a prizefighter. But, she also describes them in a way I can get a great feeling for their looks. I don’t often find that is the case.
I also enjoyed learning about Clio’s sister who seems to be a savant of some kind.
The story left me with a good feeling; amused and with warm affection for the characters, even though I am still conflicted anout the title. I highly recommend any of Tessa’s books and really enjoyed this story!...more
Disclaimer:E-Galley, quotes and promotional information provided by author, publisher and/or publicist for review and tour post. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented in my review is my own unless otherwise noted.
This novella offers a very sensitive portrayal of a relationship between two people who happen to be men, Charlie and Jeremy. It is emotional and tender, filled with internal fears about acceptance and rejection. These emotions come just when Charlie, the computer geek whose military father rejected him, feels as if he belongs for the first time. Jeremy also faces fears that he is not good enough to help in a perilous situation and that people died because of his need for help, fear of mortality, and fears of entering a serious relationship with another man for the first time.
There’s no stereotypical portrayal of a relationship between two guys; it’s just a relationship between two people who are falling in love.
As always Laura writes her characters’ story with heart, and from the inside. I don’t read a lot of M/M romance so, I noted expressions tenderness that I feel expanded my view of two guys together (Yes, I admit, I don;t think a lot of two guys together and so am open to expanding my horizons). For instance one of the men pulls the other into his arms. This is something I would normally read a man doing with a woman, so I don’t know why I wouldn’t think of a guy offering the safe affectionate embrace; and feeling of protection to anyone and not just to a woman. It did make me wonder about the safety of anal penetration with a “Prince Albert” Piercing and that cock piercing’s effect on a condom.
I did feel the novella did not contribute to, or advance, the series story lines. It occurs during an interlude of peace and quiet in a very active, violent and dangerous series. As such, it felt like it was presented to answer a will they or won’t they question about an attractions between a popular character and an enigmatic one.
The best kind of book is one that expands the reader’s mind and mine was expanded by HARD TO BE GOOD. If reading about two men together in bed makes you uncomfortable, then this may not be for you. But if you like to read about heart-felt, emotionally uplifting and steamy romantic relationships between people and you don’t care what their genders and orientations are, then you might enjoy this novella.
This is not a stand-alone story as there are many allusions to back story; I think you will get the most out of reading the series in order....more
Doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you – so the saying goes. Gin Blanco’s life, and the attempts on it and her friends’ livelihoods and businesses, proves the adage. Someone’s going to have to die and it’s not going to be Gin (because that would bring the series to a screaming halt).
Proof and or Finished copy provided by publisher, unsolicited, for review. No remuneration was exchanged. And, all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
When a character, or a person, has a problem and the means to solve the problem I get annoyed. I am starting to have this issue with Gin Blanco, AKA The Spider. She has really close friends, they almost all have money, none of them want the senseless violence they have to deal with, so why don’t they just move???
…They don’t all have to move at once. …They can figure out a way to move their money. …And, then they skedaddle.
Yeah, the area in which they all live is pretty, but it is also corrupt and it doesn’t sound like the rest of the world is quite as bad.
Gin, AKA The Spider, is the least of the evil magical creatures of Estep’s creation roaming the area in which this series occurs. But there are only so many excuses for reacting with violence, or for remaining in a violent situation when you do not have to. You can’t be the anti-heroine forever and stay sympathetic, the violence and corruption keep Gin and friends in a stasis as far as relationships go, and Gin has good reason to be paranoid because nearly everyone actually is out to get her. This story is partially about Gin’s apparent neuroses and attendant paranoia; is she justified or off the deep end?
The town goes back an forth on the evil-o-meter as does the main character; sometimes it feels like Gin is good and sometimes it feels like she is Tony Soprano. Seriously, this woman is a stone-cold killer. She doesn’t steal, she is not corrupt, but she does kill without feeling guilt.
I’m not saying that Jennifer isn’t writing an excellent series with great characters and stories. I have found few writers who give such clear and perfect voice to their characters as Jennifer gives Gin, Finn and the rest. And, even though it is written in the first-person it is not that camera-on-the-shoulder-present-tense I don’t like. Plus, Jennifer does it with a lot of skill. I think it the story becoming stuck because of the situations of the characters. So much that Jennifer seems to be recycling the characters to some degree; or at least the arch-villain, Mab Munroe.
I would like to see how much “The Spider” really wants to retire by getting her the heck out of Ashland. Would she and her friends stay clean or would they find trouble. Or, would it find them??
I say this entry in the series still works, but it is getting to the point where a major change has to happen: the magnetic poles keeping Ashland as the center of magic and baddies have to change, or Team Gin has to move along. I don’t feel there’s much left to explore in this situation, but I would like to see all the idea of the assassin-for-good tested somewhere where everyone isn’t out to get her....more
Yesterday I reviewed the first book in Miranda Neville’s WILD QUARTET series, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED(TIoBW), and I used almost the same iconsYesterday I reviewed the first book in Miranda Neville’s WILD QUARTET series, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING WICKED(TIoBW), and I used almost the same icons at the top of the page. Women’s issues are still important; The themes are the same, but the characters introduced as secondary in the first novel.
I did not know that Marcus would be the main love interest herein; I couldn’t imagine him as a rehabilitated character since he is actually presented as nearly criminal in TIoBW. I could see Anne as being interesting , but her character requires being lead astray since on her own she would, she believes, lose her resolve and be a dutiful ward.
In the interest of not marrying a self-and-family-inflated nabob, she does end up showing some gumption. And when Marcus hurts her feelings she acts with quite a lot of that commodity. Yay!
The character of Marcus is harder to bring into line. Like the child who had no chance to grow up on the straight and narrow, Marcus is presented with a paradox, win the woman but probably lose the chance at a normal life wherein his innate but buried decency can thrive, or lose both but hold on to some property.
I always enjoy reading about a woman ahead of her time, and Anne is thus both in her interest in and pursuit of archaeology as well as in how she practices it (that is, carefully, and with respect). Having always found this field fascinating, I enjoyed her exploits looking at ruins and even trying to read about the at a time when it was scandalous to even look at a male nude.
Phalli (or phalluses) abound in the study of Roman ruins though she seems benignly unaware of the graphical representation of the erect male member!
I much prefer the narration by Charlotte Anne Dore to Anne Flosnick’s and I like that a different voice has been chosen for the two books which are focused on two different female characters. The production is fine; there are no extraneous noises. It’s fairly easy to follow the cast of characters and the plot throughout the narration. I did not like the accent ascribed to one character as I don;t believe he would have had the accent given to him. Instead of sounding like the gentleman he would have had to at least presented to he comes off as more Covent Garden-ish — like Eliza Doolittle’s father in the film production of My Fair Lady.
It does help to understand the series in order, as parts of this story are predicated on TIoBW, and several relationships are better understood for having read/listened to the first book. But, this could stand on its own in a pinch and be facilitated with taking a look at Miranda Neville’s website.
I read LADY WINDERMERE’S LOVER last year (in print) and would have found that helpful, but found each novel well-researched and even learned some interesting history.
I like the series and this novel, although I struggled to put the naughty and fun-loving Anne together with the duty-bound picture she has of herself; for at no time does she seem to behave dutifully! I guess we all might delude ourselves about our characteristics
Although we’ve never met outside cyberspace, I consider Dani a friend so, of course, that has some impact on how I feel about her work. But, I have given her work both favorable and unfavorable reviews so I am not just a sycophant.
Tomorrow, Dani will be by with “Fae Facts ” and an audiobook giveaway exclusive to Fangs, Wands & Fairy Dust readers!
In this story, Dani does the unusual and flips the gender of the character who has been turned into a grim (death dog). That’s interesting because it gave me, as a woman, more insight into what that kind of creature would feel.
Grims have an advantage of having lived through the centuries since having been changed and so, when one becomes human again, as in each of the three stories in the series, they aren’t astonished by all the modern conveniences. And, they have learned the hard way to have a healthy fear of the fae.
On the other hand, Liam has built a wall of anger and hurt around himself that only a hurt animal, and a seriously huge storm, can undermine. It takes some time but the wall comes down, and when presented with enough evidence he realizes what is happening around his farm is real and not just a by-product of the major concussion he suffered.
It feels like a real conversion from unbelieving to skeptical acquiescence, which is a tough feat to pull off in this genre; it is often the downfall of the paranormal romance.
And, Dani also possesses the skill to portray the fae in a way that strips away every Disney-Princess fantasy. I have a healthy fear of ever meeting one.
The physical relationship develops quickly with the situation, musical sympathy and undeniable attraction between the characters overcoming a lot of obstacles like dating, disbelief and that wall of anger. Dani writes some nice steamy scenes with respectful language and emotional content. The musical sympathy is vital to the characters and the story and their sharing of the love of their music is the glue that holds the characters and the story together.
The story includes a suspense aspect as well; I was always wondering whether the story would have a happy ending; and whether the villain would “get his” in the end. Dani doesn’t telegraph the ending ahead of time. And the villain is very strong, evil and heartless — a female Maleficent without the mitigating circumstances. I enjoyed seeing the fairy queen stiffen her resolve and I got the feeling the character knew the story would lead to this outcome from the first book.
Dani writes a huge, extremely believable, storm into the beginning of the book. Only someone who lived through such a maelstrom could have written it!
The character that actually seems the most important to me is Ranyon, who I first met in STORM WARRIOR. Aside from his curious manner of speaking, which I found kind of annoying, he is a darling and powerful creature. Dani calls him an “Ellyll,” and I have found that pronounced as Essiss (http://www.forvo.com/word/ellyll/). According to the online Dictionary of Mythology:
Ellyll (Welsh): A small fairy or elf. In some accounts, ellyllon are fiends or ghosts, the souls of druids which are destined to roam the earth until the day of judgement. http://www.mythologydictionary.com/el...
I’ve also seen ellyll translated as “troll” and “elf.” To find out more about the fae come by tomorrow for Dani’s guest post, Fae Facts!
Ranyon is the character who makes the story, the magic, and needed repairs, work. I found him so important to the story that I spent a lot of time looking for a picture I could share with you after asking Dani whether he resembled a mini Groot. So now, in my mind he’s the Dsiney dwarf, Sleepy, mixed with Groot! I have found one picture I cannot figure out how to ask permission to use so I will give you this link to LEGION OF PAGANS, More Faery Lore instead: http://static.sgv2.com/img/183924/asp...
Oddly, except for the head and size it is pretty much how I saw him in my mind’s eye. Dani has done a lot of research into the fae and Welsh.
The story offers excellent continuity and inclusion from the first two books in the series. It was interesting that Dani doesn;t include the other Ex-Grims in this book, but refers to them and includes one’s mate and friends. This offers the continuity but the book can stand on its own.
I recommend the entire series, in order, for the best experience. It has a lot of heart and is another winner for Dani Harper!...more
I found a personal resonance with this book. I think any woman who dated someone their parents did not like, or who was outright objectionable will understand the difficulty admitting to herself, or to anyone, that the love interest was not perfect, they weren’t suited or that it was a downright disaster, will understand what Caro is coming to grips with. That and the pile of debts; debts still coming out fro under the powdered wigs of the stuffy British Ton. Still Caro is a free-spirit; she and her late husband always were.
I liked how Caro works this all out in her mind so she can carry on with living. Having run off to marry at 17, she is still young and still maturing. Coming to grips with the decisions of adolescence is a big aspect of adulthood. Plus, she has to get rid of the legacy of debt with which he left her so she doesn’t end up on the street. Miranda Neville brings us the British Ton in all its uppercrusty silliness and “wrong-headed” social mores. But she gives us heroines who are smart, spunky and who, after a while, don’t really care about what the ladies of the Ton think or whether they’ll get into Almacks.
Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has to determine how he’ll come out from under the weight of his father’s very impressive debts to support his mother and sisters in the style to which a duke’s family is expected to have. And, he must find Ducal dowries for his twin sisters. The amount mentioned would be more than the equivalent o a four year, Ivy League education with tuition, living expenses and books without student loans or scholarships.
It’s a lot of pressure.
So, Thomas follows his family tradition of looking for a well-off heiress to handle the family debt. Caro’s cousin is the perfect choice. But he and Caro are really attracted to each other, despite the gaps in their standards.
There’s an interesting conundrum: Thomas’ family tradition is off finding rich heiresses. His father broke tradition, marrying for beauty (not love) and the marriage didn’t really work out. But, Thomas realizes that he and his wife must actually have something in common besides money. He’s all about duty and doesn’t question it until he starts courting Caro’s cousin Ann who is staying with Caro.
How incredibly selfish would it be to marry a wealthy woman just for money when it was a lifetime commitment and you knew you would not be happy together?
Neville looks at the differences in standards for men and women regarding sex, marrying for money, and entering into a liaison for the purpose of paying off debt.
Caro’s Mother and brother are real pieces of work who wrote her off when she married her late husband and who refuse to assist her. Reading historicals always makes me wonder if the British aristocracy was actually as effed up as it is written! Then I look at actual history and think, maybe more!
I enjoy this series which has just started to come out on Audio. This one is well enough produced: the narrator is not my favorite because she tends towards a sing song cadence, but neither was she objectionable and there are no extraneous noises.
I recommend Neville’s series; I like her writing, the issues, and her very flawed, very human, characters. Come back next week when I look at THE RUIN OF A ROGUE, the next audiobook in the series. It presents us with another unconventional heroine....more