After putting it down, I had quite a mixed feeling about this book. As a romance fiction, it's quite subpar. The dynamics are so imbalanced I couldn't...moreAfter putting it down, I had quite a mixed feeling about this book. As a romance fiction, it's quite subpar. The dynamics are so imbalanced I couldn't see the couple would work in the long run. We were left off with the impression of the hero boiling mad at the heroine from the previous installment in the series then he became a complete pushover in this book. What can I say, with this type of extraordinary heroine (or shall we say abnormal?), I expect her hero to be more. Sebastian is a good-natured type. He's perfect in every way except he's too submissive for a woman of tremendous intellect like Violet. They produce zero spark. The suspense is all hanging on when she's going to come around and notice her adoring/loyal friend and that's not quite exciting. About other aspects though, the book is very well written. The author didn't shy away from some uncomfortable situations that would require quite difficult dialogues. The main topic involved is captivating. The effort put in to it is undeniably substantial. If nothing else, picking up a Courtney Milan's book always guarantees me a worthwhile read, not a fluffy one. 3 and 1/2 stars
I was a fan of Sherry Thomas' historical romance. Now I am a fan of Sherry Thomas, period. This is quite an ambitious project, not just a venture to a...moreI was a fan of Sherry Thomas' historical romance. Now I am a fan of Sherry Thomas, period. This is quite an ambitious project, not just a venture to another genre, but also a fantasy no less. Overall I like the world building, the mesh b/w real and fantasy sides and of course the protagonists to die for. Ionlanthe, our 16-year-old heroine, the main protagonist, is an elemental mage which has become obsolete in magic world like cars with stick shifts. She can manipulate three out of four elements and is content to be a professor one day. Then comes the hero, Titus, our best supporting actor, a puppet ruler of the Domain, the imaginative, mage country. Their faiths are bound by the prophecy made by seers, one of them was Princess Ariadne, Titus' mother that one day her son would die helping a great elemental mage topple an Atlantean regime ruled by the Bane. Ionlanthe, unfortunately for her, is the one. Together, they escaped several attempts of capture, mind-crusing torture, and a bunch of mythical creatures while trying to navigate normal student's life in Eton school. Yes, the heroine has to disguise herself as a boy. Well, I'm a sucker for all those tropes mentioned, so 4 stars for me. However, there are a couple things that prevent me to give the book a wholehearted, shouting-off-the-roof recommendation. Apart from being too rushed, the romance is tinged with heavy air of lusting. You can smell the romance genre wafting from the page. Considering there are still two books to go, I think the pace is too fast. Besides, the action scenes are a bit confusing in description. I can't quite get the lay of the land of who's where and I can't fully get excited as the author probably intended because of it. The side characters are caricatures with not much of personality. They're there to facilitate or just mobilize some scenes. They act as generic characters of their professions are expected to act. It's like looking at two super HD people placed among off-focus, black-and-white, cut-board scenary.(less)
I never read this author. I find her style to be straight to the point and masculine. The mystery itself is intriguing but only to the point of i...moreCrash
I never read this author. I find her style to be straight to the point and masculine. The mystery itself is intriguing but only to the point of its resolution and then it goes WTF for me. I don't feel the romance and I don't like the stuffy, incapable hero. He contributes nothing in this book, except kissing the heroine. And those moments are not even hot.
I hold Laura Griffin to be a golden standard now in this genre. She rarely disappoints. Anyone hasn't read her, I highly recommend you pick up her full-length novels. They are even better than this one and this one is not bad at all. The blend between romance and suspense was nicely done. The characters are dynamic and appealing. I am hooked.
The verdict: I'll be buying the next book and give Moreno and her new lover another try since I usually buy anything with Laura Griffin's name on top anyway. 3 and 1/2 stars(less)
It was going so well, folks, until the truth was revealed. It reads like an almost light romance, but the resolution begs for another type of book. On...moreIt was going so well, folks, until the truth was revealed. It reads like an almost light romance, but the resolution begs for another type of book. One with lots of references to Freud, perhaps?(less)
**spoiler alert** Another favorite trope in romance, pretend marriage. Considering it comes from Kristan Higgins, I expect a mad fun nonstop of comedy...more**spoiler alert** Another favorite trope in romance, pretend marriage. Considering it comes from Kristan Higgins, I expect a mad fun nonstop of comedy, a touching romance and adorably quirky characters. Unfortunately, it is just not meant to be. What can I say about the joke? Coming from a single woman's perspective, the supposed joke can be construed as self deprecating. Coming from a married woman (apparently sitting on high perch looking down on those single pathetic losers), the view is nothing but clueless, shallow and obnoxious. It discounts other accomplishments a woman may accomplish as less significant and treasures the ability to catch a husband above all else. This is not the first time I notice this particular trait in the author's writings, but it is more subtlely implied, not explicitly spelt out like this. The way single women are portrayed in the book is denigrating, if not downright insulting. Aging eggs. Shrinking ovarians. Barbarian Horde. Need I go on?
I love a few earlier books by the author. I've been a fan ever since. Not as avid as I used to be lately after more of the same jelly-spine, doormat heroines, same old jokes, same old recycled set of characters, but I bought and collected all of her books. I'm loyal that way. This book turns me out for good. So long, Ms. Higgins. May one day her heroines get out of their small towns, grow up (at least grow spines) and gain a wider perspective of the world. 2 stars
P.S. Note to self. If you don't want to do a real hard work, don't ever venture into unknown territory like this author did with her 'mechanical engineering', or you'll look totally ignorant. (less)
Sherwood Smith has a rare talent hardly found in these days' other authors. She can create a lively cast of multiple characters with unique interests...moreSherwood Smith has a rare talent hardly found in these days' other authors. She can create a lively cast of multiple characters with unique interests and traits and can handle the juggling superbly. The plot, although loosely centered around the two main couples, is well distributed to encompass other characters' plights and situations also. All in all, this book is a very refreshing read. All four leads are immensely easy to root for. On the other hand, the villain is very deliciously sketched and portrayed, so much so that at the end I almost felt this person was the actual leading character of the story. Or how could I explain why by the end I didn't care one bit for what would become of the protogonists but only wanted to satisfy myself of seeing this person punished? The answer could only be that other characters pale in comparison to such vivid colorfulness of this character. 4 stars.(less)
Quite an apt description made by a reviewer, Any Duchess Will Do is a blend of Cinderella and My Fair Lady with an erotic twist. The strength of the l...moreQuite an apt description made by a reviewer, Any Duchess Will Do is a blend of Cinderella and My Fair Lady with an erotic twist. The strength of the lead characters, not only carry, but sweep me through the whirlwind of this book. The majority of the story takes place over a period of one week, but I don't feel like so. The way the relationship is developed is so believable and heartfelt I thought they're at it for a year. I've been told the characters fell in love spectacularly, eternally in many romances I've read, but rarely have I been shown how. I think this is one of the hardest parts of creating a good romance, believability. With all the improbability of the premises (duke hero and serving girl heroine for one), this book has the believability in abundance. I love Tessa Dare's debut book. The follow-ups, not so much. I wasn't going to pick up this book at all if not for all the lofty reviews I saw here and thank you all for it. Although, I feel the ending is overlong and loses focus a bit, the book is beyond 'good'. 4 stars(less)
First up, I can't state enough how much I find this book entertaining. I've been suspecting for a while that I become too jaded for this genre, that I...moreFirst up, I can't state enough how much I find this book entertaining. I've been suspecting for a while that I become too jaded for this genre, that I wouldn't ever feel excited about any of it again. This book at least breaks the spell for me. It's pure one POV book, the hero's. That's quite rare enough, but the author went full out to try to make it not at all like a woman's holding the pen. I personally think she even went over the top because no guy could be such a pig, could he? I mean I, as a female, have my own imagination of what a cad would be like, but this hero is just too outrageously right on the money he is almost cartoonish. At least he is in a good kind of way, abated by a very smart, smooth and insightful delivery. The romance doesn't do anything much for me. The marathon love scenes are hot, but take too large portion of the pages to establish believability for the strong devotion of the characters. This is a new author I'll keep an eye on for sure. But with her nack of witty dialogues, I think she's capable of doing much better by establishing their relationship through them rather than the bed scenes. 3 and 1/2 stars(less)
Courtney Milan is a hit-or-miss author for me as her novellas are usually hits while her longer ones the opposite. The Heiress Effect is a solid hit....moreCourtney Milan is a hit-or-miss author for me as her novellas are usually hits while her longer ones the opposite. The Heiress Effect is a solid hit. Regardless of some DNFs of this author in my past, I always find all of them interesting. She doesn't write cardboard cutout types of characters. The protagonists in this book, flawed they might be (the hero, more so as some might find), are upstanding people with rich backgrounds and convictions. They might not make a perfect pair of romantic couple as the hero has his own ambition and cannot see beyond the convention to think outside the box, but I just can't false him for it when one of the reasons, short and yet achingly-beautifully written I should add, is revealed. As romance goes, while I can believe the main couple, the secondary one? not so much. I put the blame on little air time they have, but secondary is just that. Secondary. I guess it needs to be there for the end plot, but it serves more as a token piece than as a delightful interlude. However, the delightful way that Jane ditches out her 'innocent' insults alone should worth no less than 4 stars. I'm preordering the next book, Countess Conspiracy, as soon as they let me.(less)
Plot-wise, the book sounds interesting enough. The execution, though, is off somehow. We are introduced to a hero who gives out an impression of a whi...morePlot-wise, the book sounds interesting enough. The execution, though, is off somehow. We are introduced to a hero who gives out an impression of a whiny, horny and not at all likeable guy. The first meet-cute encounter between the protagonists is manufactured and the instant chemistry seems forced. The way they insult each other one minute then pratically jump each other the next is not at all sexy as the author intends but more confusing. I have a lot less time and a lot more books to read these days to soldier through a book that can't pull me in within first 50 or so pages since my first impression usually never fails me anyway. Wild Child is a DNF.(less)
After reading hundreds of romance books, I have to confess I'm a little bit jaded. Not quite over it I would say, but it's become harder to be impress...moreAfter reading hundreds of romance books, I have to confess I'm a little bit jaded. Not quite over it I would say, but it's become harder to be impressed. As all romance fans would know, they all follow a certain same formulaic structure. First meeting, adversarial interactions, conflicting attraction, sexual tension, mating, blissful period, big misunderstanding and then making up and ever after happiness. The trend now is to add some types of mystery into it, but I never find one that is satisfying in this genre. I don't think a good romance needs it anyway since all are pretty much in balancing/pacing all those sections, believability of each transition and dialogues. Rarely did I find a book hit those trifecta though. Sarah Mayberry's books are miss-and-hits for me. When it's good, it's really, really good. When it's not, it's just another generic forgettable romance. Her favorite rival falls in the latter category. I was excited when I first read the blurbs because I'm a sucker for this trope, enermies-turn-lovers. The book start out promising too, up until the point the protagonists jump into bed together then it's not quite 'Favorite Rival' anymore more like 'My Perfect, Sappy, Perfect Boyfriend'. The workplace dynamics that have been set up so well are completely abandoned. Quite a disappointment because I so hoped this book would pull me off my romance funk. No such luck. 3 stars.(less)
A very in-dept, thorough read about one of the greatest, if not the greatest, racehorse of our time. I saw the movie, heard some people complained abo...moreA very in-dept, thorough read about one of the greatest, if not the greatest, racehorse of our time. I saw the movie, heard some people complained about inaccuracy so I picked up this book. And I am glad I did.(less)