"Office Romance" by Tamara Allen (4.5/5): I really liked this one, though I always like Tamara Allen. The plot jumped around a little and the ending w"Office Romance" by Tamara Allen (4.5/5): I really liked this one, though I always like Tamara Allen. The plot jumped around a little and the ending was rushed, but I enjoyed the interactions between the characters and really like her writing in general.
"Introducing Mr. Winterbourne" by Joanna Chambers (3/5): Very trope-y Regency fare, which isn't a bad thing. The story moved along at a decent pace and I stayed engaged to the end.
"The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh" by KJ Charles (3.5/5): This one was pretty hot, though admittedly light on the plot. I'm interested in her follow-up trilogy about the Ricardians (a different set of Ricardians, alas, than the carpark people, though hopefully no less wacky.)
"Unfair in Love and War" by Kaje Harper: I haven't read this one yet. Kaje Harper isn't usually an author I really like.
"Carousel" by Jordan L. Hawk (3/5): I've only read the first Whyborne & Griffin, but this story was easy enough to follow. It was a serviceable little mystery, though things resolved themselves very quickly and it never really caught my attention.
"Deliverance" by Aleksandr Voinov (2/5): I found the main character frustrating and unpleasant, and wasn't really able to get into the writing, to the point where I started to skim. This author never really works for me, and I don't usually read his stuff, but since it was in the anthology, I wanted to try it out....more
I liked this one. It was interesting and well-written, though even if the execution hadn't been good, I'm not going to say no to supernatural femslashI liked this one. It was interesting and well-written, though even if the execution hadn't been good, I'm not going to say no to supernatural femslash set in pseudo-ancient China. I also enjoyed the hints of a larger world that Ottoman included. I do wish it had been a little longer, though-- it would have been nice to see more moments of intimacy and connection between Jing Wei and Zi Yong....more
The writing was strong on the whole, and though it felt a little clunky at the beginning, it smoothed out as the book progressed. The author obviouslyThe writing was strong on the whole, and though it felt a little clunky at the beginning, it smoothed out as the book progressed. The author obviously knew an enormous amount about sailing, and the story was immersive and realistic. It went on kind of long; I didn't have a problem with that at the time, but I do think there were places that could have been trimmed down a bit.
It fell apart a little near the end, which wasn't as strong as the rest. Things seemed a little rushed, plot lines were left dangling and unresolved, and the last few scenes felt kind of unrealistic to me, particularly (view spoiler)[Griffin's abrupt return, ship and all, as an honest man, because they were just handing out pardons like candy, apparently (hide spoiler)]. It wasn't that I didn't buy what happened at all, but it was less natural, because there was just so much less space devoted to the end and things were hurried along quite a bit. A little more editing and more balance in terms of the pacing would help with all this. Otherwise, an enjoyable book.["br"]>["br"]>...more
Weird jumps in the narrative-- specifically the text's tendency to leave one scene in the middle and go to another scene, disparate in time and locatiWeird jumps in the narrative-- specifically the text's tendency to leave one scene in the middle and go to another scene, disparate in time and location-- made the plot feel clunky and disjointed. It seemed as though there were places that Brazil had abandoned halfway through, meaning to go back to them, and just never got around to actually doing so, which did nothing for the quality of the book. Otherwise, the writing was acceptable if occasionally a little sloppy, though there were glaring anachronisms and a lot of printing errors, both of which threw me out of the story. I got pretty tired of Victor calling Nicky "brat" all the time; it stopped being cute immediately, but relentlessly continued to appear. Too many epithets, as well: "the big man," "the saucy brat," etc. etc.
In terms of characters, I found it quite hard to like Victor. He was a very classic regency hero (tall, dark, brooding, and extremely manly), and unfortunately I've never been fond of that archetype, but I had trouble with him beyond that. His internal narrative bothered me, particularly (view spoiler)[his plan to get a "complacent" wife who would have to accept his gay extramarital affairs, since it showed no concern for the feelings of anyone else. Was it fair to the woman he planned to marry to be forced to endure such pain and embarrassment? Would Nicky really like being Victor's "mistress"? It didn't appear that Victor cared much one way or another, as long as he got to have his cake and eat it, too. (hide spoiler)] Victor was also uncomfortably domineering, constantly believing that he knew best for Nicky regardless of what Nicky said or did. (view spoiler)[This includes forcibly kissing Nicky after Nicky tells him not to, frotting against Nicky while Nicky struggles to get away, and continuing to penetrate Nicky with his finger after Nicky says no. The text portrays all of this as acceptable, as Victor "knows" that Nicky wants it and Nicky does, always, eventually acquiesce and enjoy the experiences, but it was still very borderline in terms of consent. (hide spoiler)]
Nicky was less egregious, but he vacillated between being a seductive minx and a blushing ingenue. His opinions about Victor went back and forth as well: when he needed to be loving, he was loving, and when the story needed drama, he was defiant, heartbroken, and obsessed with Victor's duty re: siring an heir. He had no consistency, and often felt like multiple people.
The plot was very rote-- they went to balls, they hung out in townhouses, irrelevant characters were introduced and dropped without the plotlines being wrapped up-- until the end, when it took a turn for the bizarre. None of the characters behaved like real people, and their motivations didn't make much sense. Things needed to happen to wrap the story up, so they happened, regardless of whether it was reasonable or natural for them to do so. The ending was dissatisfying as well.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Enjoyable but relatively forgettable. The two main characters have sex a lot, brood a lot, and fight a lot. They go to balls a lot. I found Anderson tEnjoyable but relatively forgettable. The two main characters have sex a lot, brood a lot, and fight a lot. They go to balls a lot. I found Anderson to be a little obnoxious, but it wasn't particularly damaging to the story. The writing is good, though not spectacular. In all, I just don't have that much to say about this book, which I think indicates the core problem: a plot like this requires UST and sparks, and there just weren't any....more
Overall I enjoyed this, though it's not a standout. Don't be misled by the blurb; this isn't Ben and Obie's story so much as the story of Temper and LOverall I enjoyed this, though it's not a standout. Don't be misled by the blurb; this isn't Ben and Obie's story so much as the story of Temper and Larry, two ranch hands who work for Ben. Interracial historical gay romance isn't that common, to say the least, and this is a fairly good offering, despite the fact that it never really feels as though it moves beyond a cautious "pretty good."...more
Product Warnings: Contains wounded heroes, bibliophilic tendencies, orchid obsessions, a right bastard of a marquis, and gay men who get happily-ever-Product Warnings: Contains wounded heroes, bibliophilic tendencies, orchid obsessions, a right bastard of a marquis, and gay men who get happily-ever-afters.
Also contains child rape. Lots and lots and lots of child rape. It's not a bad book, but if Samhain is going to add warnings to their blurbs, it might behoove them to be a little less twee and a little more serious about what they warn for when the book revolves completely around raping children.
Besides that: it was all right. Wes was a milquetoast, Michael more outgoing but still forgettable. The writing was good though not stellar, and the plot had a few oddities. Average; not spectacular.
Also, a niggle: (view spoiler)[Okay, so the marquis was bad because he molested/abused children-- including Michael, one of the MCs-- but somehow Rodger was not bad, despite the fact that he pimped children himself? He was a "nice" pimp, so that made it okay? He was "careful" with the customers that got to purchase the adolescent boy he was selling? My issue isn't with that aspect of his character-- fiction doesn't have to be nice, and even protagonists can be ugly and troubled people-- but the weird hypocrisy inherent in the contrasting portrayals. Why was one shown to be negative, and the other, if not promoted, at least condoned? (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Incest, treason, and a desperate need for family counseling. I loved every single one of the characters, though, and the setting was wonderful, too. HIncest, treason, and a desperate need for family counseling. I loved every single one of the characters, though, and the setting was wonderful, too. Highly, highly recommended, though, seriously, a nice long meeting with a trained professional would do everybody in this book a world of good....more