I don’t usually read contemporary romance novels, but I’ve read Claire Gillian before and enjoyed her work. So when I saw that she had a new novel outI don’t usually read contemporary romance novels, but I’ve read Claire Gillian before and enjoyed her work. So when I saw that she had a new novel out, the temptation proved to be more than sufficient to get me to buy the book.
The concept of the job position that the two main characters are fulfilling in the story isn’t one that is familiar to me, and it took me a little while to get my head around it, but once the story actually switched the setting of the ship I was much more comfortable.
I really enjoyed the story. It’s not serious and more importantly it doesn’t take itself seriously. There are a few plot points that aren’t expanded upon as much as I would have liked (most notably, Mark’s reappearance, which just served to stir up trouble, was explained away in an offhand manner that didn’t fit with the feel of Paul’s way of working up till that point.)
The relationship between the characters is pretty heavy-handed as of the get go, but it’s still allowed to smoulder enough to not only keep the reader interested all the way through, but also get them invested in the outcome of all the revelations that still need to be made.
Boss Overboard cements my status as a fan of Claire Gillian… now I’m tempted to go back and reread The P.U.R.E.....more
Before I get into the story, I want to note that William Brown, this story’s hero shares a name with Just William(BroSomewhere beteen 2.5 and 3 stars.
Before I get into the story, I want to note that William Brown, this story’s hero shares a name with Just William(Brown). I’m not sure if this was done purposely (considering the fact that Just William isn’t exactly popular anymore, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was just a coincidence.)
What we have here is a time travel story where the 21st century protagonist is sent back to the Victorian era (1873) to repair a rip in the time and space continuum (not sure it was actually called this). She accepts the mission to be sent back in time thinking she’ll get to play the part of a lady of the ton, but instead finds herself cast as a maid in William Brown’s household.
At this point, the reader doesn’t just have to suspend their disbelief, but actually turn off their brain in order to keep from nit-picking the story apart. Eliza is just too 21st century, and she doesn’t make an effort to tone things down (swearing, calling her master by his first name, singing 21st century songs, etc.). The slang that was used and the songs that were referenced really made me think that this lass is still caught up in 2005 rather than with the rest of us in 2015. (Side note: I don’t know what the enduring popularity of My Chemical Romance is like in the USA, but in my area they made a little bit of a splash when pop-punk was a popular wave, then receded into obscurity very soon after that.)
Furthermore, there are a lot of events that take place that are not believable. Foremost, an American heiress would never have invited a mere maid to a ball.
Despite this, so long as my brain was taking a nap, I enjoyed the story to a certain extent.
It should be noted that this story’s “hero”, William Brown, is an extreme case of Beta-maleness. The title “Not Quite Darcy” is very misleading. William Brown is the opposite of Darcy. It was interesting to read about a male romantic interest other than an Alpha male, but the comparison to Darcy isn’t in his favour – it creates expectations that he does not fulfil....more
Four words: Beauty and the Beast. If it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I’ll usually try to buy it no matter who the author happens to be. In thisFour words: Beauty and the Beast. If it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I’ll usually try to buy it no matter who the author happens to be. In this case, the book was also very cheap, which meant that I didn’t even mull it over, I just went straight to the check out.
There are a number of plot points that lend themselves to the Beauty and the Beast tale: “The Brooding Boss” has sent himself into exile living away from prying eyes and wagging tongues; “Beauty” is sent to live with him due to a problem within the family. The two get off to a rocky start but slowly come to understand and accept each other, becoming closer in the process. A certain event happens that drives a wedge between the two and that they have to come to terms with / overcome in order to get their happy ending.
The story is on the very short side – only a couple of hundred pages of large print (the large print edition was cheaper than the smaller print edition) and as such did not really allow for as much development as I would have liked to have seen. It felt like everything just remained at the surface and wasn’t explored to its full potential.
I get the feeling that this story was just meant to be a quick read that leaves the reader with that content, fluffy feeling that the characters were able to put the past behind them and overcome the obstacles in their way, but personally I found myself wanting a lot more from the book than it was actually offering. When I turned the last page I felt like I’d only actually read half of the story that this could have been. It’s a shame because I felt that the author’s style really lent itself to this type of modern day retelling very well. Thought not particularly unique, she has a grounded narrative voice that I enjoyed. I just wish that the actual development hadn’t been side-lined so much....more
It started out well, caught my interest pretty quickly, and I liked the concepts that were introducedI'm afraid that this one just didn't work for me.
It started out well, caught my interest pretty quickly, and I liked the concepts that were introduced... However it all unravelled a short way into the story and it ended up feeling more like a chore to drag myself through the book rather than a reading pleasure.
I'm not sure what it was that I found so off putting. It could be that I felt I, as the reader, was being told a lot about how amazing the two main characters were, but I wasn't so much being shown it. What I was being shown was an awful lot of mush. When the sex started it became pretty dominant and unfortunately the rest of the story suffered for this.
It's a shame that I felt this way about the romantic side of the story as the author had some very good steampunk ideas....more
A very touching story about loving someone with special needs. This person, even though they love you, can never make their brain work the way your owA very touching story about loving someone with special needs. This person, even though they love you, can never make their brain work the way your own brain works and have trouble understanding your emotions. But the person is worth the heartache they elict in you and you have to fight for them. That's what this story is about.
My only small issue with it is that at times it was written as a commentary to the reader rather than as a narration of events. As such, at these points in the story it came over as tell rather than show....more
This was a good, solid story. It was a quick read and it had me attempting to read it in the car because I didn't want to put it down (never a good idThis was a good, solid story. It was a quick read and it had me attempting to read it in the car because I didn't want to put it down (never a good idea for me and I ended up making myself feel like I was going to throw up).
However, one the romance really gets going, it does get a bit ridiculous. It was so melodramatic that it started to lose me. What's more, the ending seemed a bit too wrapped-in-a-bow perfect, so the story failed to recapture me there.
I'm currently on the fence about whether or not I should continue with the series....more
A couple of years ago I discovered Kate’s first book, The UnTied Kingdom, and soon came to the conclusion that sleep is for the weak and I needed to fA couple of years ago I discovered Kate’s first book, The UnTied Kingdom, and soon came to the conclusion that sleep is for the weak and I needed to finish that book. It quickly became one of my favourite books. In fact, I felt so enamoured of the book that I have it in both paper and digital format and have made a gift of it to several friends. So Impossible Things had big shoes to fill.
To me Impossible Things didn’t feel as tightly plotted as The UnTied Kingdom. For one, the world is confusing. It appears to be a fantasy creation yet there are Latin terms (medici, prior servio), Scandinavian / Norse names (-dottir / -son), mythology taken from our world (the Hunt), as well as modern slang. By the end of it I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be.
Furthermore, there were certain inconsistencies, such as how Kael is sent on a mission to discover the origins of a dangerous drug, but when he fails to uncover anything it’s just dropped. Really? After the Emperor goes so far as to get the most feared Warlord involved the whole matter of this dangerous drug it’s just conveniently forgotten about? Not to mention that the villains are pretty generic and don’t have much substance to them.
The world building is interesting, with a couple of very detailed societies to discover. I would have liked to have seen more of the school where Ishtaer is to learn about her gods-given powers, instead most of her time there is glossed over. I liked the depiction of Skjulfjel, a village seemingly based on those of the Vikings.
Both main characters are flawed, damaged by their pasts / fears and have a long road of development ahead of them – Ishtaer especially, as she is little more than a cowering skeleton when we first meet her. She needs to find confidence in herself again, relearn to stand on her own. Her past is shrouded in mystery, both memories and sight lost to her time spent as a slave.
Kael was just… not for me. I never warmed to him like I did with Major Harker. He’s not the sort of hero that appeals to me, which was an additional reason why I didn’t like Impossible Things as much as I wanted to. After The UnTied Kingdom, this book was a disappointment because I know that Kate can do better. I won’t give up on her, though, and will definitely be reading her next sci-fi / fantasy release....more
This book is billed as a retelling of two Russian fairy tales, one of which is the Russian equivalent of Beauty and the Beast, which is a sure-fire waThis book is billed as a retelling of two Russian fairy tales, one of which is the Russian equivalent of Beauty and the Beast, which is a sure-fire way of getting my attention.
The story starts out working with BatB: Natasha gets caught in a snowstorm while on her way home from delivering one of her mother's works of art. Just as all seems lost, she spots a light in the distance. The light turns out to be a castle that at first seems empty, but when Natasha accidentally destroys the beautiful rose growing in the garden she finds herself a prisoner of the mysterious residents until she can pay the debit she has incurred.
About half way through the story things part drastically from BatB and switch to the other fairy tale retold here. Now Natasha finds herself crossing the continent in pursuit of the man she's fallen in love with, who happens to have been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer.
The story is set in a fascinating fantasy equivalent of turn of the 20th century-ish Europe. There are many similarities to our world, but in this one magic and magical beings exist and are part of the norm, even if they aren't accepted in all countries. We meet a couple of these magical beings, my favourite being Old Bony, the lady of the forest, who takes it upon herself to teach Natasha self-restraint.
The magic system isn't delved into in detail but it's treated in such a way that the reader is able to build up a good picture of it, to the extent that Natasha herself understands the magic. The setting is also nicely drawn, relying on things from our world where necessary but deviating enough to make the distinction between our world and this one worth it. The descriptions are well written and help to transport the reader.
Natasha herself wasn't always likeable. She had an annoying habit of giving her word she'd act in one way and then immediately doing the exact opposite as soon as backs were turned. Additionally, she falls in love after only a couple of conversations, which was a bit of a disappointment. The story would have profited from more time spent fleshing out the budding relationship between Natasha and "Ivan". As it was, I just went with the flow and recognised that the story was changing gear, but it meant that I wasn't as invested in the relationship as I wanted to be....more
Keeping going with my fairy tale retellings spree (4th in a row now), I decided that it was high time for some Cinderella action. I was drawn to EmberKeeping going with my fairy tale retellings spree (4th in a row now), I decided that it was high time for some Cinderella action. I was drawn to Ember in part because of the synopsis and in part because of the praise it received from another reviewer whose opinions I highly respect.
This is a very different version of Cinderella. Sure, all of the elements of the story we all know are present: the orphan girl, the stepmother and the two stepsisters, the ball, the shoe, the search for the girl Prince Charming has fallen in love with Yet all these elements are warped so that it’s possible to recognise Cinderella but view this story as being a very different telling.
Ember revolves around sex and yet it does so in a tactful way. It’s not there on every page, though it is introduced as of the first few pages, and it’s not full of purple prose-isms. It doesn’t overwhelm the plot of leave the reader wondering when things will get back to the story at hand. Many authors could learn from Bettie Sharpe!
Here Prince Charming isn’t Charming because of his looks and personality but because he was cursed with Charm by a witch. Now, instead of earning his people’s love, they cannot help but freely give it, something which Ember wishes to avoid. In order to resist his Charm, she cuts off a digit and freely feeds it to one of the elements, becoming a witch herself in the process. Of course, as the only person able to resist his Charm, the Prince becomes even more interested in Ember, determined that she should love him for who he is, and not because of his Charm. In his quest to make Ember his own, they both weave a tangled web of lies that could cost them their happiness as those webs start to unravel.
This is a short novella but there’s so much packed in to it that almost as soon I finished I went back and read it a second time. A week later I was contemplating going for round 3 (this actually took place a few months later). The story had me absolutely enraptured. For something so short that’s an incredible feat! Ember is far from perfect, but that’s not an issue here for me personally. The story affected me in a way I was not expecting. It’s definitely one I’ll be revisiting in the future....more
I can understand why some Heyer fans didn't enjoy this one as much as some of her other work, but Lady of Quality worked really well for me. In this cI can understand why some Heyer fans didn't enjoy this one as much as some of her other work, but Lady of Quality worked really well for me. In this case, I liked that the relationship was cemented part way through the novel, thus allowing for some exploration of "post courtship".
A different secondary relationship, between the younger characters (a staple part of Heyer's novels), was explored here as well.