2.5 stars for the possibilities the intriguing premise offered, which Ms. James unfortunately did not take advantage of.
My main problem with the stor...more2.5 stars for the possibilities the intriguing premise offered, which Ms. James unfortunately did not take advantage of.
My main problem with the story was the tokenism of our peripheral character - Lady Laetitia, who was not our heroine, but our hero's intended. So of course Ms. James spent way more time drawing up the hero/heroine's characters, convincing readers that these toe were meant for each other. In contrast to our vibrant heroine, Laetitia's dismal qualities only served to show is how unsuitable she was for the hero.
I was not amused. She was basically a prop, not much else, instead of a person, a character with feelings and hope and dreams, just like our hero/heroine.
And then when Ms. James focused on Laetitia finally, it was a disaster: some fake, silly, contrived, utterly insipid storyline about how dumb, unintelligent, dismal, shy Laetitia was a misunderstood genius who only appeared unintelligent because she was under the thumb of her controlling harpy of a mother an found herself in a society that didn't understand dyslexia. She understood medical intricacies immediately she met the kind-hearted, gentle doctor, and immediately began to think of medical inventions to improve his work. Utter nonsense.
Nope, nope, nope.
Frankly, I rather wished Laetitia and the hero had fallen in love - it appears it would have made a more interesting (and different) historical romance. But whatevs.
I was not amused by the hero's sometimes cutting and deliberately cruel words to the heroine, fo...moreInteresting enough story.
However a few major issues:
I was not amused by the hero's sometimes cutting and deliberately cruel words to the heroine, for no reason other than he was jealous of her former husband. I mean! How is that any excuse? Nonsense.
As for Temperance, sigh. She was an okay heroine. But her big secret, her deepest and most enduring shame, the one that makes her do penance by working at the orphanage, is that se slept with a man other than her husband.
Really?! Ms. Hoyt couldn't come up with any other story? Because lemme tell you- this one was as fake as heck! You live in the worst of the worst slums, where humanity is at is abject lowest day in day out. Prostitutes ply their trade in the streets in broad daylight and are dying daily of STIs; murders and thefts, maiming and beatings and muggings are common sights in St. Giles; children are being abandoned, turned out of homes because of too little money and too many mouths to feed; whoremongers and beggar syndicates and human traffickers vie daily to capture helpless young children and enforce them into a life of slavery; people work and are paid too little to live on; the most downtrodden, poorest of the poor, as well as the scum of the earth live among you. You see all these atrocities everyday, day in day out and you want me to believe you think adultery is an unforgivable sin by comparison?! Please, gthohwtbs! Gimme a break!
Yeah- so that completely ruined Temperance for me. I can't abide such foolishness. I mean, how?!
So you will really find zero objectivity with me when it comes to Dragos, Pia, and Liam Cuelebre. I love them. Love. LOVE! Everything about those char...moreSo you will really find zero objectivity with me when it comes to Dragos, Pia, and Liam Cuelebre. I love them. Love. LOVE! Everything about those characters works for me.
I loved the growly and bad-tempered dragon and his scenes made me giggle, being fully aware that if some other character had behaved like that, I'd be spitting mad.
Pia and Dragos' struggles with his amnesia made for quite a tender and heartfelt narration - and I thought exploring the full ramifications of that would have made a terrific full-length novel. As it was, while I loved it, I did feel it was too short to fully explore the story and also to cost $2.99 pshh!
Graydon! He makes me smile and he was in the book, so that was the cherry on top. I will say however that I got a jolt of alarm when Pia was thinking that had Dragos died, Gray woulda made a great regent (all true) and a wonderful dad. I was like - "oh no you don't woman! Dragos is the only dad Peanut is ever gonna have" Lolz!
What didn't work as well for me was Liam's growth spurt at the end. Eh. I have been struggling with this aspect of Peanut's mythology/development and actually, I think some of the explanations some readers gave (in my "review" of Peanut Goes To School - offer a better scenario/explanation than this. But whatevs.
Love, love, loved it. But then I always do when it's Pia and Dragos. (less)
Welcome to another one of my long and meandering reviews. Here goes:
I haven't had the best of luck with this series- in fact, after the superb series...moreWelcome to another one of my long and meandering reviews. Here goes:
I haven't had the best of luck with this series- in fact, after the superb series debut, all the others went bust (except mebbe book 5), and Ms. Harrison couldn't seem to recreate the magic she had with her initial characters. I have been swearing I am done with this series, but Dragos, Pia, Graydon, and now Liam, keep drawing me back.
So now for the thoughts:
Aryal: like BamaGal said when she was still on here, this book was going to be a sort of a quandary: Aryal's been written as such an unsympathetic character in previous books that to read her as she was wouldn't be very fun, but to make like she is a misunderstood soul who's really sweet on the inside would be a cop-out... And I agree.
After reading I will not say the Aryal we saw in this book was a cop-out, but I will also not say Ms. Harrison was faithful to the character she had previously created; it was somewhere intermediate.
Quentin: Eh. He was okay, I guess. I didn't take to him like I have some of the other characters, but he was....aight. Not the worst hero in this series- actually one of the better ones, come to think of it.
However, after finding out that it was he who outed Dragos and Pia to Urien in book 1, I wanted someone to tell Dragos because I wanted a smackdown!! But alas- no one cares about my wishes, so no one did.
Supporting cast: Dragos! Liam! Pia! Graydon! Oh, my heart sang whenever these people entered the plot. I loved their mini appearances, loved it!
Grym- we haven't seem much of this sentinel in previous books, but I really enjoyed what I saw of him in this book: his levelheadedness and his tenderness for Aryal.
The love: I do not know that I bought the love (or even the kink), but I will admit there was something there. Actually I think it mighta been more believable/awesome had Aryal mated with Grym. But oh wells.
The story: Eh. Because the main characters were 'eh', the plot was 'eh.' But even so, I was more interested than I have been for a while in this series.
While I wasn't that invested in our main characters, Ms Harrison did a fantastic job of interesting me in just about everyone else: Gray, Bayne, Constantine; Ferion, Linwe (even Beluviel, who only gets a throwaway sentence); Alexander, the new Pegasus sentinel, Eva, and of course, my Dragos, Pia, and Liam.
What also surprised me was the (platonic) tenderness and sensitivity shown all throughout the book. Aryal for Liam, Grym and Graydon for Aryal, Dragos for Aryal, Aryal for Dragos, Alexander for Quentin, Quentin for Linwe....all throughout, and it was heartwarming.
So with a sigh of resignation, i will be coming back, just cos I wanna know what happens to these ppl, dammit.
In conclusion: not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but not an excellent entry either. The whole was less than the sum of its parts, but not by much.(less)
This is one of the best historical romances I have read in a whole- over 2 years, I believe.
I wasn't going to give this baby here 5 stars, but it mad...moreThis is one of the best historical romances I have read in a whole- over 2 years, I believe.
I wasn't going to give this baby here 5 stars, but it made me teary in certain places, and just for that, it deserves full accolades.
I really enjoyed the story, which overflowed with tenderness.
The protagonists were a delight.
Coming off twitter and several conversations delineating how men are socialized to be these hard, unfeeling creatures, to not show emotion and to regard nurturing, empathy, and child are as effeminate, inferior qualities, women's qualities; and thinking about how much more strictly these norms must've held for men in years past ( yes I know this is a run-on sentence, but work with me here), I adored how Ms. Hoyt flipped the script with our hero.
Winter Makepeace embodies the stern, cold, impossibly self-controlled paragon of masculinity society so loves. But he is also, and it is plain for all to see - not hidden somewhere where only those closest to him can observe - he is as well nurturing, and has of his own volition dedicated his life to raise the kids in his orphanage. The care and worry and obvious love he has for his job and the kids under his care is evident in every page.
And of course, it also helps that Winter is our 'ghost of St. Giles' - a caped crusader who goes about vigilante style, righting the wrongs done to the poor, oppressed inhabitants of the dangerous slums of St. Giles.
It helps even more that due to his swashbuckling activities, Winter is a good male specimen - having lean muscles in all the right places.
It helps tremendously that Winter had a job and was a commoner, not nobility (As I read more about the aristocracy I am more appalled by them: how can anyone NOT be expected to work, because he/she happens to be gentry/nobility? Mind boggles).
I loved that Ms. Hoyt took time to explore a character who is so completely different from society's expectations and who was so secure in being such an anomaly.
As well I loved the heroine, who also bucked the trend. Here was a woman who was not nurturing in the least when we first met her. Of course there was a reason for that - barrenness. And for a time when bearing children must have been so important to a woman's identity, we get precious few stories about women who want to but cannot bear children. The emotion of Isabel's story was very moving for me.
And oh yes, I liked that Isabel was self-assured and knew what she wanted and would not apologise for living life on her own terms.
These two were people I really enjoyed meeting. I was entranced by their love story, which was so exquisitely tender, and by its resolution. I will say that while the ending a rather pat - it was still very believable for this couple, and managed to provide and excellent solution for the children issue while not taking away the sting of Isabel's barrenness.
There were a few flaws, but who cares about what the book got wrong/coulda done better after all this goodness?
Love, social justice, unusual characters which are unusual in an unusual way (not the standard for a romance novel at all); simple and tender story.
What more could you ask for?
But this book is a jewel. Really, really liked it.(less)
This series for me would have been fabulous if only it could get out of its way.
The books are so short they feel like novellas,...moreNot quite four stars.
This series for me would have been fabulous if only it could get out of its way.
The books are so short they feel like novellas, but the stories they contain are too expansive to be contained by novellas.
Also the smex: yes, yes, yes, I get this is supposed to be erotic romance, but the smex took up too much space, dammit. With these books being so short, spending time on sexual gymnastics took away valuable space that coulda been used to expand the world or deepen characters. Womp.
Good enough series, but I was looking for so much more. (less)
Erotica/Erotic romance is not normally a genre I gravitate towards. However, Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers' characters and world building seems to really wor...moreErotica/Erotic romance is not normally a genre I gravitate towards. However, Kit Rocha/Moira Rogers' characters and world building seems to really work for me. Wilder's Mate is the first of the books in their Bloodhounds series, and said world building also happens to be the best/worst thing about this book.
The world itself is quite interesting and has this dystopian Old, Wild West, danger-lurking-in-the-shadows vibe. Immediately, I wanted to know more about this setting. That was the plus.
However, it was very vague. I spent more than half the book trying to figure out exactly what it was that a Bloodhound was, which, IMO, is a fail, considering that our hero is supposed to be one. Additionally, I would have liked to know a bit more about the world. Vampires exist. How/Why/Where? What exactly is the Guild? Why/How did they start? Just how powerful are they? None of this was made clear. That was the minus.
Satira and Wilder were interesting and vivid, but I didn't spend too much time invested in them because I was trying to figure out what exactly the stakes were and the lay of the land.
Oh, and the use of the c-word startled me, even more so when Satira would use it (to denote anatomy, that is - not as an insult).
Conclusion: it was interesting. I just needed a lot more information. But the story I read was good enough to make me want to read the next book. (less)
Jostein Gaarder's novel is a thinly veiled attempt to teach the basic history of western thought and philosophy. He succeeds doubly b...moreI love this book.
Jostein Gaarder's novel is a thinly veiled attempt to teach the basic history of western thought and philosophy. He succeeds doubly because the work he produced is both didactic and interesting. The plot of the book, i.e., Sophie's story, doesn't matter very much. They're just a vehicle - a transition, if you will, between the chapters discussing different philosophical movements throughout the western hemishpere. There is a bit of discussion of how the schools of thought differ from each other thrown in also. From Aristotle, Socrates, to Descartes, the Epicureans....it's all in there.
Of course, Mr. Gaarder is not able to fully explore and unpack each philosophy mentioned in the book, but he does an excellent job of laying down their basic principles and giving some context as to how these tenets arose. What he did especially well was to situate these movements in their history - so that one could follow these great thinkers/movements and understand how/why they arrived at various philosophies. And from time to time, historical people and facts would pop up to make said context and even 'realer' - I do even believe there was a mention of Paul of Tarsus in there somewhere! (view spoiler)[ It had me so shocked I reached immediately for my Bible and lo and behold - Paul was quoting the Epicureans! (hide spoiler)]
Totally recommended for lay students of philosophy. Heck, for college students taking Philosophy 101, I'd venture to say this book will help a great deal and probably be more interesting than your assigned reading. Also recommended for anyone really. In fact, for such a pedantic book, the narration is simple, clear, informative, factual, and interesting, a fact that cannot be overstated.
This book got me thinking about the fundamental and unquestioned theories that directed my life and our societies in general- at a time when I wasn't interested in Philosophy or theories. I was looking for a good time when I picked it up, and I got that and so much more. .
A very remarkable book, whose whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. Surprising and outstanding. Made of win.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I haven't been able to stop thinking about these characters, so I read through a second time and here are a few brief thoughts:
- the authors have a d...moreI haven't been able to stop thinking about these characters, so I read through a second time and here are a few brief thoughts:
- the authors have a done a stand up job in creating their characters. Everyone is interesting, and complex beneath the hedonistic facade. And compelling too.
- the dystopian world in this series isn't unique, but it is arresting. The concept of Eden doesn't work too well for me. However the brutal, barbaric nature of this land, divided into sectors and ruled with iron fists by what are essentially feudal warlords makes for some vivid and interesting reading - and also turns criminals into heroes. Fab.
- Lex and Dallas are my favorite characters, I think. they are vibrant, intense, passionate, perhaps more so than the others, and I enjoyed their story even more 2nd go-around. I still contend though, that I wanted more for/from them. The authors spent a lot of time developing/expanding the world they'd created, and the opportunity cost of this world building was Lex and Dallas' story. There was/is so much more to explore with them, as individuals and and as a 'couple' (backstories, for one thing) that even though what we did get was great, it didn't feel complete.
Looking forward to the next book.
------------ I rather expected more from Dallas and Lex's story I think.(less)
Hmmm. I am not sure my rating accurately reflects how I feel about this here story, so lemme attempt an explanation.
Joss, business man extraordinaire,...moreHmmm. I am not sure my rating accurately reflects how I feel about this here story, so lemme attempt an explanation.
Joss, business man extraordinaire, enters into an arranged marriage with the stepdaughter of a mogul from the Middle East. The guy gets to use Joss's influence and in return Joss gets some land for oil fields that he'd been eyeing. Leila agrees to the marriage because she wants to get away from her controlling stepfather, who's emotionally abusive.
Most certainly the best thing was the heroine, Leila. When Joss called her a survivor or a fighter or a strong character, I could believe it. She stood her ground, and would not allow herself to be disrespected by Joss, or anyone else, at anytime. And even in the situations where she was helpless, took ownership of her circumstances. She agreed to marry the stranger, instead of waiting another year or so before she could legally come into her own. She chose her life as best she was able, and that alone makes her magnificient.
Less good was Joss. He was most definitely less of a douchebag than a great many HP heroes have been, but was a curiously flat character. Perhaps I can talk like this because I've never experienced it, but it was sooooo weird to hear him deride all women because his mother was selfish and swear off family because his parents were horrible. I didn't see him pop off on men because his dad was a douche- it was just women (because his mom was a douche). I also found it strange that in this whole wide world of 7 billion people, he hasn't come across any couple or any family that made him want one, or at least made him understand that happy families exist, or that good men and women populate the planet too. He inner-monologued about how untrustworthy and mercenary women in his past were, but never demonstrated to me any reason why they wouldn't be. If you only seek out women for flings and give them stuff (read: money and expensive things) later, why should I be sorry that you only met women who were interested in financial remuneration? You weren't offering them anything but money in exchange for a good time, why should they offer you any more? You ain't worth it, dude.
Additionally, St. Leila. I love Leila's character, but she was the sole paragon in the book. Joss's mother was mean; his poor helpless sister we're told, became anorexic; the other rich men's wives were trophy wives and plastic human beings, not worthy of respect. All but St. Leila. Eh.
Finally, while I liked the initial period of adjustment Leila and Joss had, I do think the declaration of love and ensuing scenes were a little rushed. We definitely needed more time to let it sink in. But then, there's only so much you can do in 192 pages.
I quite enjoyed myself, even if my rating doesn't reflect it. Too many problems to let it slide by on just enjoyment. But still recommended :)(less)
For me, the series is getting old. Ms. Jones does not appear to have a direction - there is no sense of an...moreA whole lot of nothing happens in this book.
For me, the series is getting old. Ms. Jones does not appear to have a direction - there is no sense of an overarching plot moving forward, except for a rather silly scene with Garrett, Reyes, and Charley the omnipotent. Eh.
Additionally, the levity in times when seriousness is required is not funny anymore. It is annoying.
As things are, I might read the next book in series. If it is more of this same-old, I will say goodbye to Charley Davidson and her world. It isn't worth it.