Original Post: THE EARL’S NEW BRIDE: A Miss and A Mystery! http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... A young lady, knowledgeable in herbal remedies, isOriginal Post: THE EARL’S NEW BRIDE: A Miss and A Mystery! http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... A young lady, knowledgeable in herbal remedies, is determined to marry her father’s successor so she can remain in the family home. The Earl is determined to marry a woman he does not love.
Alison Larkin narrates this one with a sweetly tittering voice, and outstanding accent that charmed me. The main characters also charmed me me with their insecurities and quirky personalities. There’s a good plot set up that gives the young ladies some problems but will not be left destitute if their marriage quest doesn’t succeed. I hate it when the woman’s entire future: social and financial, rides on one instance of finding a husband.
There’s a lot of slapstick humor at the beginning of the book, and there’s a hint of a mystery which is more of a cozy than a procedural. It’s not a murder but it was fun. And the book isn’t filled with instance after instance of “sexual congress;” it’s only a little steamy.
There’s a sob story here: The “Black Earl’s” betrayal by women from youth to lovers, a disfigurement of which too much is made. Henrietta is good — a born healer, with all kinds Hippocratic-concern for anyone in need, even her rivals.
I enjoyed this book; I listened a second time to make sure there wasn’t something I could pick apart. It may not feel entirely historically accurate, but at least the author got the herbs right!
Again, “Like” and “enjoyment” are subjective and can be based on all types of factors. Often those variables are inconsistent. I suspect my enjoyment had a lot to do with the narrator, and the sweetness of the heroine. ...more
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
There are bad mothers and then there are selfish, terrible women who have children to serve some agenda other than motherhood. In this book we see two half-sisters. When Lucy undergoes a public humiliation and a break up her barely known to her sister invites her to stay with her in England. Mi casa is sort of your casa. The inn in question is in a small village and since Lucy is actually British, Juliet fixes her up with a job. At the job, Lucy makes friends.
Where Juliet’s experience of her mother was terrible it seems to have turned her into a hard, mirthless woman. Her Mother left her to go to the US with Lucy while she was in high school. Nevertheless she goes into the hospitality industry. This was a sticking point to me; Juliet is nearly anti-social. If she were the keeper of the inn where I was to stay, I would leave.
On the other hand, Lucy has grown up with their showy, self-aggrandizing mother. But she is much sunnier, given to ignoring what she doesn’t like, and fickle about her path.
The two together form a shaky alliance, bound to collapse on some front. Juliet resents Lucy because of their mother. There’s a big revelation that actually cements the two as sisters, and even friends. It takes time to get there.
This story is well-written and a sensitive portrayal of two people recovering from the failure of the most primal of life’s relationships: Mother and Child. Their shared mother gives them common ground but also sets them up for division. While Lucy’s open nature and willingness to give her all brings Juliet forward, Juliet’s steadfast nature gives her the support she never had maternally. It’s interesting that both characters suffer the same parent and grow up damaged, but one from abandonment and neglect and the other from a different kind of neglect.
I liked the description of the area including the use of local Yorkshire dialect.
I like the way the relationships develop; the way Juliet’s small town accepts Lucy even before Juliet fully does. Juliet’s anger is finally allowed to come out and its release allows her to grow into a kinder and gentler person. The only thing that really bothered me is how skewed Juliet’s personality is; she is barely socialized.
The pace is slow, like the pace of life in a small town.
Having difficult sibling relationships I felt I understood the story and that it “spoke to me.”
ORIGINAL POST: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... loved the word-smithing in this short novel; the language sounds beautiful. I liked the look iORIGINAL POST: http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201... loved the word-smithing in this short novel; the language sounds beautiful. I liked the look into Eilis’s mind. I liked the attention to detail in time, place and the issues of that time and place. What I didn’t like was that time, place, and the issues therein are what takes up most of the story. Should people of colour be allowed to shop in the store where Eilis works, is she too fat to go to the beach, did the baseball team get robbed the previous season? These looks at the issues of the 1950s are not looked at analytically just through Eilis’ mind and as such don’t move the book forward.
This is also a character study for a bright young woman, who despite her intelligence and drive to study and understand business is a bit like Forest Gump in that she allows other people’s agendas and circumstance to direct her life. Where Gump didn’t have the mental faculties to make better choices, Eilis does – but her choices are not made better by her intelligence.
There are two stunning surprises in the book and one is heartbreaking. But, the upshot was that while the character study was intense, the character, Eilis, seems dissociated and a girl who expects nothing from life and who is without depth. I can imagine many immigrants were and are dissociated as the react to losing their home and culture; suddenly cast into America’s melting pot where not all the elements within have melted. And, who is in NYC post war; a time when anything was possible in the Big Apple. The book felt short on plot and the ending left me flat; feeling like the author lost interest in the story and manufactured a forced ending.
The narration is excellent: Potter overs good accents and lends character but doesn’t over act. I think this may be a better movie than a book but I have not yet seen it.
Tracy has really and truly come into her own with this series. And this novel in particular addresses a great concept in really becoming and adult: re-evaluating our childhood dreams in the face of reality.
In Lori’s case her dreams were partly constructive, naive and headstrong. The naivete and stubborn streak made her dreams destructive. She sought apoproval from a parent thinking it would make her life perfect and happy. But like many dreams that depend on an idealized view of another person, this one is more detrimental to her life than not.
Miles’ dreams are good dreams. The reality of achieving them, however, is not. Is he willing to achieve his dreams and yet sacrifice his principles?
We all have to reevaluate our dreams, maybe hold then a little less tightly. After all a childhood dream may be childish. That doesn’t mean we failed, or that we’re giving up; we may realize we were plowing our row regardless of whether we were planting anything. Dreams change based on circumstance. Lori’s dream nearly destroyed her life. Now she is living with the consequences of dreaming that her father’s approval equaled love.
At first, Miles is a total asshat. He is attracted to and pursues Lori even though he doesn’t trust her. This really bothered me and reminded me of a guy sleeping with a woman for all the wrong reasons. But, in his case his heart is in the right place even if his brain has reverted to cave man. Tracy subtly brings the two organs, along with one other, together to allow Miles to reevaluate his feelings about Lori. When they go from an offensive stance; a proactive position to protect his mom, to defensive you know he has just gotten a HUGE dose of whatever he needed to grow up and grow a pair.
In fact Miles’ behavior is so nasty, I found it a little hard to believe any of the chemistry between him and Lori. The word “Prick” came to mind rather often – and not just in his behavior to Lori.
In holding onto an unrealistic dream Miles almost loses his way.
The plotting is complex, bringing together story lines from other books in the series. A couple of other characters also have some story and resolutions. And, the story is rational, well paced and tight.
I liked this book a lot. And, it makes me want to take a trip down the coast to Chance’s Inlet....more
If you can totally ignore the way businesses with a board actually function in America then you might ignore the confusing mix of a guy who runs a business and a guy running for office. This CEO, Camden, spends his days at public events like a politician, not running a business. Bull Hockey.
The premise of this story is that the father – who holds enough shares to make a majority, but who doesn’t know crap about business, wants his son to marry a cheating bimbo to stabilize his life. Well! There’s a plan destined to work out. Seriously, a man with a terrible marital history wants his son to follow in THOSE footsteps. And Camden is the only person who has run the company well enough to make it profitable. WHY then does he need to show stability?
The female love interest has a “secret daughter” whose existence and parentage she holds close to her vest. Lots of Children’s Services laws getting glossed over here. And the author throws in some armed forces patriotism; A Hero father killed in battle.
And, because I didn’t see any of the story as realistic neither did I believe the relationship or sex. And the couple might mess around but “real nookie” doesn’t happen until halfway through the story.
Liking a story is extremely personal and can be based in the tiniest part of a story – like when the hero says something nice to the heroine. As such, these opinions present only what I feel about a story, and to some degree about my perceptions of the quality of the book.
If you like, or don’t mind, fantasy in the bedroom and the office then my caveats are immaterial. We can say THE PENTHOUSE PRINCE is light and fluffy and doesn’t require care in the writing, but, if you are paying money for it, you deserve a quality story. If, as is said, the difference between porn and erotic romance is the story. then this is sitting on the fence. If you can get past these things, okay. But, I think you deserve more....more
Okay, how did I not know that Jessica Sims = Jessica Clare = Jessica Myles? I've enjoyed most of the Billionaires titles by Jessica Clare, and I enjoyed this story as well despite a few funky word choices or pronunciation issues.
The "person out of time" theme here; with a vampire waking up 600 years after being disabled, but not killed, is amusing and neither over done nor overlooked. I mean, "Wow! Cars, TVs and computers!" but it takes longer for the character to accept that the common folk and women are no longer slaves.
I enjoyed the friendship and the levels of love, tolerance and introspection between the two friends, Gemma and Lindsey is heartwarming; especially Gemma's tolerance for Lindsey's bossiness. Gemma either acts the bimbo or is truly not too bright in some ways, but her loyalty to a friend who treats her like an untrustworthy assistant is saintlike. And, Lindsey's coming to see this in the mirror provided by Rand's anachronistic character is great.
Lindsey's knowledge and education seemed unbelievable when I considered her youth and not seeming to have the kind of education or experience required to know the difference between different styles of obscure pottery. She grew up in the foster care system in Nebraska; where did she get her appraisal and identification information?
Rand's accent, as narrated is hard to figure out. Clare/Myles/Sims explains it via the crusades but, still for a man who traveled a lot and ended up in the UK it's pretty heavy. Clare/Myles/Sims also handles the first person narration — it's not quite immediate present tense, but she stays firmly in the character. I didn't feel like I am watching the action via a head cam.
This is an enjoyable novel; part of a series but it felt fine as a stand-alone too. I think it is great for a vacation read, a plane or road trip, or when you want something with a great balance of light, humor, sexy and action. The ending is quite different — a new take on vampires I had not previously encountered.
It gets a solid thumbs up, or would that be "a fangs down winner?"
What would it be like to be a highly sexual, independent woman of the gentility in Tudor England? Well, Elizabeth Moss paints it as a rather stifling place where a woman’s happiness, safety, and even the food in her mouth were entirely dependent on the whims of the males of her family. Women were treated as chattel, and for a few, like Susannah, who would rather be independent it’s a rather dangerous and impossible place to be, somewhere between being a slave and being a person with rights.
You might note I don’t say that Susannah is a woman of great intellect or maturity. This character’s bullheadedness and immaturity cause all kinds of issues, dangers and idiocy. Do I mean that she should have lain down and allowed her father to sell her to another man? No. But life would have been miserable for her if she stayed under her father’s roof; if indeed he did not kick her out. Of course, Susannah has her sister, from the first book, who would probably take her in.
On the question of forced marriage, a serious feature in the plot, I had some questions. According to HISTORY EXTRA “The express consent of the partners was necessary to make a valid marriage.” http://www.historyextra.com/feature/t... on the other hand, according to THE DAILY MAIL, in an article by Caroline Mcguire for MailOnline about Life for Tudor Women entitled: Child brides and lethal labour: Forget the jewels, banquets and gowns of Wolf Hall… the reality of life for Tudor women was far harder :
In the 16th century, women were owned by their father until they were married, when they then became the property of their husband.
While they could inherit property, it was immediately passed over to their husbands if they married.
Very few women would have rallied against any of these restrictions as they were taught from a very young age that men were the superior sex.
So, I don’t know what to think. But I will give the author the benefit of the doubt.
Henry VIII is portrayed as very hard on the couple, yet he himself tried sleeping with everyone in the book and is known for his Bacchanalian nature. But, he expected everyone else to be above board. Droit de seigneur and all that.
This double standard is a common feature of royal courts in historical romance.
I also find it hard to believe he had not, by the time of this story, elevated Hugh to a position as he had served the King in an important function for some time.
REBEL BRIDE occurs around the time of the disgrace and execution of Anne Boleyn, and partially concurrent with the first story in the series WOLF BRIDE. I found WOLF BRIDE enjoyable, but not compelling as I felt the tension between two themes politics and relationship vied hard for position (review: WOLF BRIDE: Terror, Treachery, Tudors & Tupping http://fangswandsandfairydust.com/201...). But, I am a glutton for series and so opted for the next book when it became available. Rather than having two distinct themes, I found Susannah’s headstrong rush into certain danger and disaster again and again to be supremely irritating. (view spoiler)[And, at the end of it all a Monarch Ex Machina pulls her fat out of the fire. (hide spoiler)]
If idiotic young women, rapacious cads and intemperate Tudors are your thing this might be a good choice for you. ["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
Paperback provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
In her afterword, Eloisa James discloses how she played with history to create this story, particularly in the way wealthy, young American women were taken to England to trade wealth for title. I was momentarily confused because I know about the the young American women searching for title husbands later in the 19th century, and I kept thinking about the upcoming war of 1812. I was confused, but Eloisa gets a lot of leeway because she crafts such wildly romantic, heart and flowers hotness that makes me want to jump into the pages, or jump my husband. Plus, I knew that she does meticulous research, so I assumed there was a reason.
I found the horticultural and landscape design aspects of the book fascinating and wrote about them earlier this month in It’s A History Thing: Pineapples.
Of a newly birthed country, which broke free of the very country in which she is shopping, Merry is seen as too outspoken and too rough for the Ton. I loved that the heroine is an American from a very new country and how much the culture has diverged from the British. I just loved that the woman is an American — silly me, it helps me feel like part of the story!
While we might look at some to what are considered gaffes in Merry’s behavior and think they’re silly, Eloisa takes the time to explain how and why some of the Ton’s protocols make sense and protect people like hostesses. But, she also shows up the rules that were just silly.
Eloisa’s books almost always include a terrible argument, a split — even if it is just emotional. This story has that, but marriage was a lot harder to get out of then than it is now. And, Merry, having already cancelled two engagements is all too aware that a screwed up marriage will not help her reputation. I did not see how Eloisa would get her heroine out of her predicament. It was very inventive!
So, Eloise admits she took artistic license with history, but the wild romance and gardening make up for it. I always enjoy a romance from Eloisa and hope you will as well. ...more
There are things I like in this book and things I do not.
I loved how great a father Ryker is to his children whose mom decided to hook up with a former team mate and leave them all with Ryker. He knows so much about his girls and is so involved with their needs. I also like how he is totally non-sexist in his actions involving Gray. He recognizes her career as just as important as his. This is totally in conflict with the more cave-man side of his -personality where he beats is ex’s beau up for sleeping with is wife and in the way he defends Gray’s honor. I like how Bennett gave him this complex personality.
I kind of like how Gray is not deferential to men; she doesn’t apologize and she doesn’t give up. And, I sure like how she and Ryker fall into their relationship through mutual respect and serious physical attraction!
When I entered the management workforce in the 1980s it was often said that women were our own worst enemies. That is the first thought that came to mind as I read this story about, Gray, the first female GM of a hockey team and daughter of the owner, falling for the goalie in the same team.
We hear all about her amazing education, her status as an Olympian and so on. Yeah, folks she’s the second-coming of smartness and is using metrics to make sports team decisions! Oooh, statistics! what are those?
Then we hear how she is dressed and how she chose her outfit for impact. We hear her clothes choices for meetings over and over again; to the point where I felt the author and character were more concerned with fashion than function.
Eventually I just started laughing when the clothing references came up. As women we worry too much about how we look in our clothes, and what they say. Men just put their clothes on according to their dress code. They might prefer a designer over another and may notice what another guy is wearing but it is not the first thing on their minds. They don’t depend on their clothes.
Read a novel about business written by a guy — They do not regularly, I wore a so-and-so suit because it shows off my pecs and that will intimidate or impress the other people at the meeting/press conference. They might think – this suit looks better because I gained/lost weight, but the guys I know in business are not like this..
I think we hurt ourselves by focusing on clothes and appearance, versus skills and education. And granted, society judges women on appearance more than it does men. But we feed that monster when the message in a book is” I have degrees and a an Olympic medal but what’s really important is what I am wearing. “
I felt like Gray was an athletic, well-educated Barbie doll. Appearance is important, but while men wear their work clothes as a uniform in this book Gray wears hers as a statement, to impress or impact others with a show of her fitness, or a show – or not – of cleavage.
Also, I didn’t think she was terribly smart in thinking she and Ryker could keep their relationship a secret, and in the end, it was an easy fix. I guess this is a demonstration of how love and lust makes one temporarily less bright than normal.
I liked Ryker more than I did Gray. But this book bugged me because of the clothes thing. The heat and relationship parts of the story still resonate and Ryker is a great character!...more
In recent volumes of Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood we had a big governmental shakeup and a massive attack by the Lessers killed many members of the vampire species. The hereditary King, Wrath, reorganized the governance and dismantled the monarchy but he was elected to head up the society anyway. The brothers have decided to open up a training school for the younger vampires, including women. Now, in this society there are commoners and the nobility. The women of the nobility are treated like fine china by everyone other than the Lessers. But there are two women in the BDB already.
I like the feminist consciousness raising, in the old generation and the new one. It is happening with the commoners and nobility, the male and female characters. I like how they aren’t pulling any punches with Paradise’s training. She is super smart and is already becoming a good investigator. The young are coming into their own; preparing to take on the mantle of responsibility.
I am not crazy about the tough-guy posturing of all the male characters. They all behave, I think, like adolescent males. They talk tough, act tough and really what’s it all about? I believe it is about not having to develop the finer points of the characters. We’re told about Butch’s religiosity, but the faith doesn’t show through the bravura.
On the other hand, Ward spends quite a bit of time developing the female characters, and to some degree makes the younger men a little less attached to the “shit-kickers.” The non-BDB males in the species, like Paradise’s father are pretty much assigned effeminate vocal characteristics in the audio book.
And, the BDB old guard is still around to give you your fix of BDB hotness. It will be interesting to see how the youngsters work the name dropping for which the brotherhood is famous. In some of the BDB books, Ward seemed to be losing the thread of her story with philosophical rationalizations of the world she built. I didn’t find that here, she seems to have gotten back on track.
Jim Frangione did a perfect narration of the book. When narrating a woman speaking Frangione didn’t make them simper or sound like the vocal equivalent of a Barbie doll; he gave the female characters dignity and power.
I am interested in this new series spin off; it’s an interesting time for the world JR Ward has imagined and I think it has provided a renewal for the series.
I have been waiting soooo long for this sequel to Laura Kaye’s HEARTS IN DARKNESS – three years in fact. Laura wrote what might have been, as I said at the time, the hottest book ever, but this one allows the relationship between McKenna and Caden to bloom from that one epic experience in a stuck elevator. I am participating in a release day blitz for this book. Laura is one of only a couple writers for whom I participate in any kind of event.
McKenna is solid, aside from a little self esteem thing, she has a family who loves her. Caden has no biological family left since his mother and brother, and later his father, died. As an EMT he does have a First Responders family of which he doesn’t realize the importance.
Due to the accident which took his mom and younger brother Caden suffers from survivor’s guilt and PTSD. Kaye does a great job describing this and bringing those problems forward with compassion. If you have read her military series you’ll know this is something at which she excels.
Other than a semi stalker-asshole-creepy ex McKenna’s life is pretty good with friends and a very loving family. She doesn’t know how to give but all the way, and honestly. In the face of this goodness Caden just can’t face feelings of inferiority and being undeserving.
Now, make no mistake, both Caden and McKenna undergo tremendous growth. McKenna’s family helps her in a sticky time, but Caden really needs professional help to understand his issues.
It’s a complicated situation. Much of it has to do with Caden’s unwillingness and inability to communicate his issues with McKenna. While I normally get aggravated by poor communication being the biggest problem in a relationship is this story, the difficulties arise from Caden’s psychological problems. I like how Laura used his love for McKenna as a good motivator for Caden to come to grips with his issues.
I enjoy Laura’s writing; seeing her skills grow and become more sophisticated. This story is an example of that – I felt a difference in her writing – making the story even better.
I highly recommend this super hot book and series!...more
Audiofiles provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
I enjoyed this story even though it has a pretty gory beginning. I am not big on gore. I found the mystery pretty transparent and the story felt contrived. It is also similar in its outcome to another book in the series.
What’s interesting is the way these two gents on the island have protected and booby trapped their home for so long, have stayed on the island almost their whole lives, and yet, they have no friends in the town Seriously, the guys are strange, but they are also part of a community where everyone is in every one else’s business all the time.
Even with the booby traps I think someone would have suggested the place was a giant hazard and done something. Another facet that bothered me was a scary trek through the brothers’ home with it’s incredible hoarding.
Some of the series loose ends are getting less loose which is nice – I would like to see some resolution.
Allyson does a great job with her narration; perfectly projecting Lyndsey’s wry humor as well as giving voice to the many characters uniquely and consistently.
This is an “okay” entry in the series with some advancement of underlying story lines. It is my least favorite book in this series.
I L.O.V.E.D. Unidentified Redhead Series series by Alice Clayton, but wasn’t too crazy about the author’s Cocktail Series. However, I thought the cover for this book was gorgeous and I like culinary fiction so, when an ARC wasn’t forthcoming I bought it.
It is a classic quest story with a Xena, or Diana instead of a Jason, or Parsifal, etc. I didn’t realize that until I began to write this post. While the inception of the tale is a little over the top, it does provide the impetus to make our heroine start off on her quest. What is the quest for? A stable business, a resolution of her past? Or, is her quest just to keep going in a tough profession despite the caprices of her clientelle?
But her quest is essentially finding herself. Her business in LA is dependent on the caprices of wealthy women who enjoy playing with the lives of their servants. In the magic of the story this happens at the same time as the call to go home. It’s a small town, where there have been few changes since she left. It’s almost been magically preserved (but not). That’s the problem with going home after many years: in one’s mind the people, the town and the gossip all stays the same. In reality however, even if every building is the same color it was when one left the community usually changes.
As the heroine arrives on the east coast, the quest takes a back seat to a romance. Or, does it? Clayton strikes a balance between the contemporary romance and the quest theme. It is a very loose relationship between the archetypal story and the contemporary one.
The story heats up as the heroine finds the hero wildly attractive. But like a fairy tale of old, there is some kind of mystery: the hero brings her magic beans, berries or something, but she doesn’t know where he lives. Is he the beast? Is he making dancing slippers, does he have to return to his tower every day until he is rescued. Yes, well, No, well, kind of.
So the story has a home town feel, deals with sex, relationship and parenting issues, and a big surprise. One I didn’t see coming.
The narration was good too with the narrators seamlessly providing a listening experience that defined and portrayed the characters.
I loved the story, loved the Catskill setting, loved the characters in all their hot summer glory. It is definitely a winner in my book, and brings back the magic of the Unidentified Redhead Series. It was all L.O.V.E. all around! ...more
Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The issues in IRRESISTIBLY YOURS are the “taming of the man whore through the love of a good woman” and “office romance.” And the romance between the couple is reasonable and believable! And, hot – quite hot!
The characters are interesting; not cookie cutouts with anatomy. Cole is surprisingly sensitive and devoted to his family, but fails to pick up on his brothers abilities; focusing on his disabilities. Penelope is probably the perfect woman for him – or any decent sports-loving guy. If they didn’t get together well, that would be a shame. Why are guys such jerks about relationships?
One thing I didn’t get was that Cole writes freelance and is up for a job he really, really needs at the place he does most of his freelance work, but doesn’t seem to try for any other jobs or have an agent. That felt a little inconsistent to me — if you needed a job wouldn’t you be doing everything you could do to get one?
I haven’t worked in an office for a really long time so I don’t know if office romance is a big deal and if it is likely to be a big deal when the milieu is artistic/writing. Seems like artistic/writing workplaces might be a little different because, well, artistic temperaments.
The narration was good — with a decent rendering of both male and female voices.
It was interesting to read that this is a spin off of another series; I didn’t feel any lack of backstory. So, if you like sportscentric romance IRRESISTIBLY YOURS might be a good choice for you! ...more
This short story is very touching in how this couple come together and in the chemistry between them. Adrian is an expert at bringing reluctant mates together. But I never really understood the solution to the crime, or the motive behind it. The Breed is now in the open at sometimes at odds with humanity. But, as we learned a few books back, there is a bigger threat. I don’t think that was in play here.
Is it me or is Adrian putting out more of these shorts? I’m not sure; when the whole group moved to Maine, I kind of lost touch with them. She does do a great job, in a short time at developing a situation and characters, with a good feel for atmosphere as well. As is often the case, though with a short story and a relationship shy woman who seems to hate everything the man is, the switch occurs too fast.
If you like the breed you will probably find this fun. But if you haven’t read any other stories in the book you don’t want to start here – there’s too much back story. ...more
Sometimes I think MJD is brilliant, other times I think she is just wacky. This book is silly, funny and advances the story line while allowing the characters to grow and change. Betsy, who comes off like the dumbest, the flakiest monarch ever, is actually hiding some smarts under her designer clothing. She has learned from her experiences.
Saying that, it is also one of the most stream of consciousness, crazily written books I have ever gotten through – which means it has just enough whatever it takes to be cohesive enough to allow one to, more or less, follow the story. I think it is written this way on purpose; as a piece of absurdist fiction.
I even enjoyed it and thought it was clever. I really liked what MJD does with the characters, especially Betsy, Sinclair, Jessica and her family. And, Laura, well the Antichrist learns a few lessons.
I feel like she is tying up loose ends and moving the series to the finish line or to a junction. I see there is one more book listed on Goodreads but haven’t been able to find out how many other books are planned. MJD’s website is not being updated. And this book is not even listed on her site so I don’t know if my impression that the series is winding up is correct. I think it would be a good thing to wind it up as the books have been quite uneven.
But this one is a good entry in the series and made it fun and interesting again.
This is an interesting idea, not that it hasn’t been previously explored, but almost every Austenite wonders what happened after the wedding in P & P.
In many of these sequels, the characters feel misconstrued or off-kilter; sometimes they are written comically, or kinky. This one more or less maintains the characters. And, the pace of life in the Regency, and in the country feels right on even if the book is more diary than linear plot. The couple is very sensual, and they make the most of their leisure time.
What feels off and made my eyes roll was the language; full of florid proclamations like this one on page 32* “How I love you. I am yours and you are mine for all eternity.” It is like eating something too sweet, for too long. It made my teeth hurt. The language is jejune, so full of exclamations of love and beauty by the characters that it feels like it was written by a sentimental, teenage girl.
The narration is well done, although I could hear the sounds of a dry mouth as she read. Perhaps it was the sound of the narrator’s eyes rolling as she tried to wend her way without laughing through the overly affectionate and flamboyant prose.
I generally liked this book. The story had really good bones and the potential to focus on issues that are all too real. Things like war in the Middle East, women in war zones, men’s paleolithic protective instincts, for a start.
KB does a great job with Beaux’s dangerous mystery. I had an inkling but the plot twists really threw me.
I thought KB got the atmosphere: the particular location, the situation right to convey the important parts and let me taste the dust in the air and feel the thudding of the “boots on the ground.”
But there are several things that just didn’t do it for me, and I found myself reluctant to finish the story.
1. Tanner’s character is just angry, stubborn, and foolish. We don’t really find out much other than he wants to avoid his feelings and thinks he knows pretty much everything better than anyone.
2. Guilt Trope: He has misplaced and seriously ridiculous guilt over his partners death. I can’t spoil it but it got a major eye roll from me.
3. The first person narrative: I get why K did this with her early work, but it is time to move on to something other than a character narrating his own life in the present. And, since he looks back a lot it gets confusing. The POV gives the telling an amateurish feel.
4. TITS: I don’t see an educated male always using this word as his first choice for a woman’s breasts. To me it is a crude man’s choice.
5. Animal death: An animal dies cruelly in the book which, regardless of reality, puts me off a book. It wasn’t gratuitous, but it still bothers me.
6. Camera person versus photographer: Tanner is a TV Journalist but doesn’t have a camera person, he has a photographer. I listened carefully to hear about video-feed but didn’t find any. I found this curious and unlikely.
The audio narration is good, with the narrator giving the character a voice that fit the situation and his age.
Taking these things in perspective – they are my particular point of view, along with the positives for the book, I can tentatively recommend the book....more
I don’t know how a person gets a role or job narrating a particular book, but in this case you might start with one question: Can you do a Scottish Accent? Pike’s accent often sounds more Irish than Scottish and she sounds quite sing-song in the non-dialogue narrative. By the end of the book however, I had become accustomed to her style and it ceased to bother me. Another point about narration is that there are a lot of words I was unclear on, in particular one article of clothing I cannot figure out.
But, for me, the relationship between the love interest in this story was unbelievable from the start although the hero was nobler than your average laird. It gets somewhat more believable although I kept thinking that the captive women, at the time considered plunder, were falling prey to Stockholm Syndrome. Some of the other characters are middle-ground noble in their behavior and others are downright nasty.
As far as I could see, at least one important factor, Howell seems to have done her research: There are no kilts; plaids are mentioned more as cloak, shawl, and blanket. The major characters seem to come through an awful lot of fights without injury – of course, this is a necessary convention of the genre.
The story is timeless; involving how war affects non-combatants, how it is often impartial in its collateral damage and personal in its motivation, how even the wisest ruler can fall sway to poor advice. In the midst of a battle, which side one is on can become immaterial, and men are less like humans and more like the beasts we claim to have evolved away from. Except for concept of plunder, and (sometimes) the rights of women, the story could be written about wars and battles today....more
I loved this book, and this series, by my friend Jennifer Bernard. One great thing about her books, and this one especially is that there’s always a story where it is everyday life and love, but in this case it shows how the everyday decisions we might make, or those we might make thoughtlessly, can have a real impact on the lives of others. Another big issue is using others as either an excuse or a ladder.
Jennifer doesn’t use these themes pedantically, rather as I read, I just began thinking about what the actions and dialog in the book really meant. In between my life lessons I got to read about an incredibly hot relationship.
In between, Jenn takes om some really tough and tragic issues – serious weepers. And, she does it well. The plotting is clever; justifying events with commensurate causes.
So, I really loved Mike’s and Donna’s story – two people in crises who manage to work through their issues. They work through the issues through communicating with others and each other! What a surprise!!
An interesting thing in the series is the development of the personality and situations around the team’s owner, Crush Taylor. He is a shaky bedrock but he’s there for his players: a fallible fixture.
Mike Solo is an awesome character: a modern day Jamie Fraser. Mike does the right thing, not the easy thing. He is the loyal type, the family guy, the guy who takes responsibility for his actions and the consequences. Mike loves his brother, but has a tough time with his parents who don’t accept his parents who reject the brother because he is gay. Through MIke’s loyalty and steadfastness, and maybe a few moves in and out of the bedroom, Donna gains the strength she needs.
I really enjoyed this entry in the BETWEEN THE BASES series. And it comes out at midnight! ...more
Jaci Burton’s characters have a very hot and very, very merry Christmas indeed during a surfing competition and vacation over the holidays in Hawaii. Jaci shows great skill in researching and understanding the sport and gives us just the right amount of relationship, character development and action. At no point did I roll my eyes while reading this very hot and very merry holiday story.
I also liked how she explored the ideas of having confusing feelings in a romantic situation that could turn sticky. I also liked how Tori’s open sexuality doesn’t come across as creepy or so open that it doesn’t mean anything. Tori also takes time to mentor a young sports aficionado in her career and romance goals.
I am not looking for the same experience, but it definitely made me want to pack our bags and hop on a plane to Oahu for a romantic getaway.
This is a great short story and a great last minute treat to send someone who loves a steamy, sort of kinky romance....more
Let’s see, an Italian-American cop, a Latino security specialist and an Italian-Hungarian bond agent walk into a viewing,… Of course I’m talking about Joe Morelli, Ranger, and Stephanie Plum. Regular characters along for the ride in this book: Lula, Grandma Mazur, Stephanie’s Mom, and Connie Rosoli.
Indeed, in this story Stephanie, Lula and Grandma Mazur and her mother do something completely different. I don’t think I don’t think they have ever done it in a book before, although they might do this all the time off page — who knows what characters get up to outside of the books!
There are a couple of twists in this book. They would be spoilers but, let’s just say the game may change.
We still have the eternal love triangle between Joe, Ranger and Steph, but I got the feeling there is some resolution possible other than a threesome living situation that would probably cause Joe’s evil Nonna to curse Stephanie all the way to the cemetery. I mean, Stephanie knows that Ranger ain’t the marrying type, and there is just something about him that she doesn’t find in Joe. Is it just that he’s really hot, or that she knows there will never be a commitment with him? If she gave him up entirely, would she just be settling for the easy thing, the expected thing?
And, it’s the first time Steph goes to college. Well, she doesn’t go to college as much as she has to find a fraternity brother who’s skipped on his bond. She gets seriously into the Greek system.
I really enjoyed the twists — I was honestly quite surprised by a couple. I was so turned around I thought that Ranger might do something completely un-Ranger-like. And Lorelei King IS Stephanie Plum and all the other characters, she is entirely awesome.
If you follow the series, you will want to read this one. You don’t have to have read them all, but it would be good to have read a few to get the lay of the land....more
Erin Knightley’s THE VISCOUNT RISKS IT ALL is story about how people can learn to find their way back to happiness after tragedy.
When I was much younger, I just fell out of love with someone like a light switch turning off. When I broke up with him, he was really angry (as nasty letters from him showed) and I thought he never really got his life back on track. Perhaps it is some sort of narcissistic tendency, but I always felt somewhat responsible. Later in life my husband and I were tenuous friends with this man, but right now I don’t know where he is. This story reminded me of him and told about the influence one person can have on another and how we all need to treat each other with care.
It has a happier ending than the story of my old relationship.
While this story offers a lot of sexual tension there is no sex, so it is a good choice for someone who prefers clean romance, or as a “mental palate cleanser” between more torrid tomes. It is pretty close to chaste.
Quite a lot of time is spent in developing relationships according to the customs of the time. It offers a lot of detail, and that is fun. I love reading about a time when merely touching a woman’s ungloved hand was “sweet torture.”
It’s hard to imagine how Felicity, with a sick, and then dead, mother and a very cold, unaffectionate father was able to become such a lovely person. And then with her young widowhood, aftre so much trauma, in an area where she had no family, it is easy to understand how she would have become such a recluse. Gavin’s ebullient, fun, party-boy personality is easier to understand, he stuffs unhappy emotions and distance into the short-lived type of interactions. It’s also unusual in the genre as the men are usually “Ugh, the Ton,” and seem, always to dislike parties.
And Gavin, in particular seems very introspective. Felicity, a little less so as her life, has recently become so bleak and easier not to examine. I wonder if that is a function of having less media distraction (or, in fact, NO media distraction).
The book read a little slowly for me, and I attribute it to my recent traveling, and the things I need to do that do not allow me to read; I am listening to books more now than I ever have. It may also be attributable to the lack of sex in the book. Lacking sex, and any real action other than running through the woods, the book did not get my heart pumping and hands turning the pages.
But, it is nicely done.
As these friends work a convoluted route back to each other, it could be easy to dwell on the time they lost and the man she lost, but I think the characters can look on it more as a way to gain life experience so their childhood friendship can develop into something more mature. Both characters experience the tragedy of lost love, which makes finding new love more cherished.
I have enjoyed this series — especially the audio books; but also the stories. Like the others this story features people [mostly] in their twenties in Edinburgh. Most of the characters have some combination of a bad family situation and/or youthful poverty but regardless of that they are:
hard workers with strong values, intensive devotion to remaining parents and siblings unless they are bad actors, And all the men have really amazing bedroom skills.
They do all have something different going on though. And this one has an interesting change of location and little “Roxanne, You Don’t Have to Put on the Red Dress” action.
It’s nice when a series has a framework, and it’s good that Young isn’t afraid to let a story run its course whether that is a full-length novel or novella.
My problem is that the characters are starting to run together and are becoming a bit formulaic. I get that — give the readers what they want, right?
After a while though, it’s gets a little tedious, especially if it is about linked characters each finding romance in a dramatic setting. I think comedic settings for romantic series work a little differently – the formula is a structure for romance and laughter and I am willing to overlook a lot for laughter.
Here, Rain is one of two sisters who own a clothing company and one of them has hared off to Australia after being mistreated and humiliated by her boyfriend. Rain seems to spend very little time working, especially considering how her sister is not really carrying her part of the business at the moment. She also has an intention to “get revenge” on her sister’s ex, which feels like a very soap operatic thing to do. Seriously, these days any kind of revenge could result in a civil suit or arrest.
Craig, on the other hand, works really hard as a handsome and flirtatious bartender. I think Rain went to college and am fairly certain Craig didn’t finish school because he had to help his mom after his dad passed away.
While quite attracted to each other the only thing they have in common is a sense of responsibility to their family. It is an overwhelming sense of responsibility for both of them and a little misplaced.
As much as I felt the series formula in this one, I wasn’t feeling the connection between the characters outside of the bedroom. But is sexy and it is short (at around 5 hours). It was an amusing diversion as I worked on leaf clearing last month....more
As this is a erotic romantic fiction, we know the main characters are going to end up hooking up. Additionally we know that at least one of the characters is not quite ready to get on board with a real relationship.
There are things I liked a lot in this book and things I did not. Let’s get the thing I did not enjoy out of the way.
Beyond Billionaires, I think even more than Billionaires, one of the most common tropes in erotic romance is the concept of “no strings attached,” friends-with-benefits, sex. It has been explored in so many stories you would thin it was dead, or that it had a chance of working out with no one getting hurt.
I have yet to see a book, or a real life instance, where someone did not end up with a broken heart. I am not talking about your casual one night stand. Sometimes that works. But seriously, in my whole life, in any book I have read where the people weren’t robots, it has not.
Inevitably, in the books I have read the woman ends up being the injured party, sometimes the guy gets hurt in the end though as well.
But, like they say, Love forgives all.
What I don’t like about this part of the book is not how she wrote it; it’s more that it is over used and creates an inevitable series of events and outcomes, and it limits twists and surprises. She does handle it well and it is not contrived. I did keep thinking “sexual harassment suit!” as I read.
What I did like about this book ad the other in the series I have read, was how the writer tackles, tough relationship issues. In GARRETT it was cancer, and she did a great job keeping it sexy while looking at that as a relationship problem and developing fully blown characters who struggled with the issues.
In this, Zack is dealing with feelings of guilt both over his late partner’s death and the lack of full commitment he had towards her even though they had a child together. In this way Kate, a newly minted child psychology graduate, is the perfect choice for his first foray into love. She is also the perfect choice for a nanny for his son. She’s kind of a super-dorky Mary Poppins (except for the whole banging her employer part). If anyone can help Zack move on, it is Kate.
Of course, in the story it didn’t seem like Gina had passed away so long ago that he really should be moving on. Funny, how it used to be people gave themselves a good year to mourn before they thought of moving on. This book starts four months after her death — of course he wouldn’t have processed it all much less be ready for a new relationship.
But, then again he doesn’t dive right into one, first he has to learn not to resent Kate as his son’s caretaker. Then learn to respect her. Then he has to stop being a total asshat. At one point he treats her like she is part of the downstairs staff at Downton Abbey.
It is a good thing Kate is such a mature young person, or she would maybe have stayed a while taking care of the child, but she would never have been able to handle the issues Zack allows ot complicate their relationship. Nor, could Zack have ever made it through the guilt swamp he was living in.
For the exploration of the hard things that happen to people in stressful circumstances, as well as some pretty hot hook ups, this is a good bet.
The narrators also do a great job with the accents and the parts they read. I especially liked how Cris Dukehart voices Kate – very sweetly, with a bubbly voice that well represents Kate’s effervescent personality....more