So I have been without power since just after 9am on Sunday the 28th, thanks to Hurricane Irene. As a result, I am tired, cranky, and frustrated. AllSo I have been without power since just after 9am on Sunday the 28th, thanks to Hurricane Irene. As a result, I am tired, cranky, and frustrated. All I want to do is yawn and glare at things. Don't expect great revelations from this review. Fair warning.
Anyways, I really liked this. I've been on a sports kick lately, and I went to another baseball game last night, so I was in the mood for something good. This is an ebook from Carina Press. The hero, Brett, is a former NFL star, now a high school football coach. Chris is the heroine and she is a former tennis pro, now the tennis coach & math teacher for the school (I think it's supposed to be a public school, but it reads like a private). The story is already unique for featuring two star athletes as protagonists.
Game of Love is not really about sports so much as it's about dealing with your past and the value sports can have. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm inclined to agree that sports often take precedence over the arts in high school, but that's not the point of this story. The point is that Chris is gun-shy after getting out of an abusive relationship with a NHL star. She's immediately inclined to think Brett's a misogynistic meathead. Rather than be turned off by her man-hating ways, Brett's intrigued because she's clearly not a 'pro-ho' and she's strong enough to stand up to him.
That, by the way, is the main reason I loved this book. I'm a strong-willed person and I need a guy who has the balls to tell me no. I broke up with my last boyfriend because he was too nice. I walked all over him. So to read about a hero who purposely sought out a strong woman? Hot. Add on the fact that Brett cares about his students and is willing to learn from his mistakes? Scorching.
Another sign of a good book is an immediate desire to seek out more by the author. While reading Game, I wanted to go read Jared's & Katie's story. Also, anything about Brett's brothers. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only book by the author. I wouldn't be surprised if Murray had the manuscripts in a drawer somewhere, but they were too raw for publication. Carina Press is intriguing me lately with its ability to sniff out strong contemporary authors.
In conclusion, I'm giving this a five star review because I felt it was a strong story that would appeal to a wide variety of contemporary readers. Also because it distracted me from my grumpiness for a while. It's not quite Holy Shit worthy, but I still highly rec it. Would appeal to fans of Shannon Stacey and Jaci Burton....more
Well, crap on a cracker. I'm on page 33 and I think I've said WTF about five times already. The plot is that romance writer Amber has inherited a housWell, crap on a cracker. I'm on page 33 and I think I've said WTF about five times already. The plot is that romance writer Amber has inherited a house in the boonies from her great-aunt and it comes complete with a hick vampire. Amber discovers the existence of said vampire when she finds what she thinks is a dead body in the bathtub. It's actually the hero, Rusty Nipple (I swear ta God), and he's not too pleased about her intrusion in his life. Amber, on the other hand, thinks this is the greatest thing since sliced bread and immediately starts plotting ways to turn Rusty from a hick to a more traditional vampire & peppering him with research questions.
Yes, she wants to dye his hair black and convert him from drinking deer blood to drinking human blood. WTF, WTF! She wants him to start eating people?!? What the hell kind of heroine is she? Then, THEN, the reader discovers that Rusty is impotent, the assumption being since he's been converted. But wait! He thinks about Amber and bam! Little Rusty is back and we're treated to this:
A single tear rolled down his cheek and disappeared into his beard. “Buddy, you’re back!”
In the next scene that Rusty and Amber share together, Amber begins to enlighten Rusty about all the things he's doing wrong, and Rusty basically tells her that he's the vampire & she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. You said it, Rusty. I mean, if Rusty was an ethnic character, Hispanic or Black or whatever, and Amber starts 'educating' him on how his 'kind' is supposed to act? Readers would band together and trample this book into the dust.
And it doesn't stop! Amber just keeps being a, a, species-ist? racist?, JUDGMENTAL, person to the point where she shaves off his beard while he's sleeping because
"Vampires weren’t supposed to have beards."
This chick is insane. And Rusty apparently likes the crazy because little Rusty keeps making appearances!
Then there's a scene in a bar where Amber proceeds to sneer at every aspect of the local culture and doesn't believe that Rusty could've gone to college because
"Rednecks don’t go to college."
It's only until she's confronted with Rusty's sire, a 'traditional' vampire, that she says, hey, maybe a vampire who prefers animals isn't that bad after all.
I don't know what happened here. I mean, Mays is a good writer. And it's not like the book was littered with grammatical errors or typos. Really, it's all Amber's fault. She's an awful, awful person and Rusty is quite sane, despite his vampirehood. Why on Earth would you be attracted to her, Rusty? WHY?
I'm giving this two stars because maybe it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek and I just completely missed that. Or maybe Amber should just be beaten with a tolerance stick. You decide, or just save your money and read the Ellora's Cave 'Heat' series instead....more
I'm giving Hot Finish 3 stars. It would probably have been less, but I don't want to torpedo the book's rating. The main reason I feel this way is theI'm giving Hot Finish 3 stars. It would probably have been less, but I don't want to torpedo the book's rating. The main reason I feel this way is the book's very first sex scene. I didn't like it. I would go so far as saying it affected my opinion of the characters. It's not that I thought they weren't a good match, but I didn't want to hang out with them. I didn't have a problem with Suz or Ryder in the first two books, but their interactions here rubbed me entirely the wrong way.
Ryder calls Suz a 'sexy bitch' after oral sex and McCarthy writes:
"And he used to call her sexy bitch all the time. It was a term of endearment some women might not like, but she loved it. It had told her that Ryder got her and her sense of humor, and he always said it with a grin, a satisfied smile, or an indulgent exasperation." -page 110
This is one of those times when I understand what the character is trying to convey, but I don't get it. I don't understand it. I think it's demeaning and it doesn't even happen again, although they have sex multiple times later on in the book. So why include it at all?
In addition, I found the sex scene between pages 113-119 to be jarring. I think the problem was that Suz and Ryder are basically an established couple. Sure, they're trying to find their way back to each other, but they already have a comfort level as a couple that allows them to be, um, a tad more raunchier than you would expect to find in a non-erotica romance.
Their communication throughout the book was awful. Suz was very defensive and seemed to treat Ryder worse than he deserved. Ryder seemed bewildered most of the time, like he had no idea what would set Suz off or what to do about it. And I'm sorry, and maybe it's because I'm single, but (view spoiler)[the big climatic fight with that blog column? Suz was running scared and latched onto the column as a pretext to extricate herself. I found it to be rather immature behavior. She was quite aware he was seeing other women because they were supposed to be divorced. Way to be judgmental and a bit of a hypocrite. (hide spoiler)]
Hot Finish follows the other two books chronologically, so it takes place during NASCAR's off-season. I didn't know NASCAR had an off-season and I also don't know what "intensive training for Daytona" (pg.39) entails. I would've liked to find out. Aside from Ryder's profession as a driver, there was really no other 'sporty' element to the book. It's disappointing all around, but I'm willing to acknowledge that maybe after the awesomeness that was Hard and Fast, Hot Finish simply couldn't measure up. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I have mad love for this book and it boils down to one thing: the hero, Ty, has dyslexia. He can barely read. Ty has created workarounds to hide thisI have mad love for this book and it boils down to one thing: the hero, Ty, has dyslexia. He can barely read. Ty has created workarounds to hide this fact and relies heavily on his assistant to cover his ass. Yet it's crystal clear, just by virtue of how logical his workarounds are, that he's intelligent. He just can't read. The only other book I've read that featured a hero who couldn't read is Skin Heat by Ava Gray and that hero had mad scientists muck around in his brain (Percy Jackson doesn't count because he can read in Ancient Greek). No, Ty is just a famous, sexy, modern-day NASCAR driver who simply can't read that well.
Ty hides this fact because he's ashamed of it, which I totally understood, given his fame in this day and age. However, I felt like he doesn't dwell on it. He accepts it and moves on with his life. Part of Imogen's (the heroine) appeal for him is her intelligence. Ty feels his dyslexia makes him her inferior, but he goes for her anyway! He doesn't let his disability stand in the way of something he wants. His insecurity regarding the dyslexia does eventually trip him up, in true romance novel fashion, but in the end, he handles it like a man.
Imogen is indeed crazy smart and I could relate to her, especially her angst over her thesis. I loved how honest she was and her disdain for any kind of game-playing. There were several points where McCarthy could've fallen into romance cliche, but she skillfully avoids it by having Imogen using logic and good communication skills. There have been countless times when I've rolled my eyes at some spectacularly boneheaded move on the heroine's part, like not telling the hero about that phone call from that guy or pretending she can do something when she can't. Imogen is better than that.
I would have liked to seen just a bit more on behind-the-scenes on the NASCAR front, although I loved the scene where Ty takes Imogen to the garage to see his car. In addition, the only real conflict comes rather close to the end of the book and, therefore, gets wrapped up fairly quickly. Still, I highly recommend this book. ...more
Okay, I admit that historicals aren't my favorite books to read. I'm a paranormal girl all the way. So the four star reviews are probably closer to thOkay, I admit that historicals aren't my favorite books to read. I'm a paranormal girl all the way. So the four star reviews are probably closer to the mark if you prefer historicals.
I gave it three stars because it didn't grab my attention right out of the gate nor did I love it. I thought it was a nice way to pass some time, but I doubt I'll ever re-read it. First off, a lot of the nuance was lost if you hadn't read the previous books. I'm pretty sure I've read Verity's story, but not the other ones in the series. I was able to muddle through, but I don't think I was able to fully appreciate the characters' relationships to each other.
Secondly, I wasn't sure, and this is going to sound weird, I wasn't sure who the story belonged to. Was this Castleford's story of redeeming his manwhore ways? Daphne's story of overcoming her past? Castleford didn't so much change his way of life, as it was his bad habits simply disappeared. Was I supposed to assume he wasn't as bad as the ton thought he was? His own friends were flabbergasted by his sobriety, what am I supposed to think? Also, Daphne acted more like a woman who had a secret rather than a woman who'd been traumatized. I could easily buy that Margaret and Katherine had been abused, Daphne not so much. I don't want to give the impression that I believe victims should be readily picked out of a crowd, but it wasn't until Castleford commented about how she went stiff beneath him that I started to think she'd been attacked. (view spoiler)[Her interactions with Latham also didn't indicate rape. She seemed angry with him, she hated him, but there was no fear of him. I would think there'd be at least a trace of it. (hide spoiler)]
And the end? The part where (view spoiler)[she produced the daughter no one knew she had? Where the frak did that come from? She spends all this time in London, and the reader is following her POV for a good chunk of that, and not once does she think about the kid? But now Daphne wants to keep the kid with her for always? Really? And then Castleford is all, by the way, I love you? I hate it when we don't see the hero's realization of his feelings. It feels like a cheat. (hide spoiler)]
After writing all of that, I would drop this review to two stars, but I don't want to bring the ranking down, just because this is not my cup of tea. Let's just leave it at 2.5 stars. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I preferred Slow Heat over Double Play. The heroine, Sam, and the hero, Wade, were prominent in the first book so I already had a good understanding oI preferred Slow Heat over Double Play. The heroine, Sam, and the hero, Wade, were prominent in the first book so I already had a good understanding of who they were. The pretext for them to get together was also established in Double Play. You could probably get away with not reading Double Play first, but I feel like you won't enjoy Slow Heat as much as you would.
The main reason I liked this book was Wade, pure and simple. He's funny and charming in Double Play and he's even better here. I adored the imagery of this hotshot baseball player, dressed in a luxury suit, sitting on the lawn and eating a Big Mac. What we learn about his past adds to his complexity.
Sam, by contrast, isn't as well drawn. We are supposed to feel she is struggling to form her own identity separate from her father and her family. However, she already feels like a pretty distinct character so the tension there is lost. I did love the relationship she develops with her nephew as well as Wade's interactions with the kid. I think I would have also liked a skosh more of Sam and Wade as an established couple, especially since they'll be raising her nephew together.
It doesn't appear, at time of writing, that Shalvis is adding another book to this series. That's a shame because too many sport romances concentrate on football or hockey. I found another book at the library, Extra Innings: Extra Innings\In His Wildest Dreams, that I checked out, and I still have Changing the Game to read. I've opened Changing the Game once or twice, but something about the opening chapter is putting me off. I think I don't like the heroine. In the meantime, I'm revisiting Erin McCarthy's NASCAR series. I'm going to another baseball game next week so I'll probably finish the baseball books then! ...more
Double Play is more, how do I put this, serious-ish than Kate Angell's Richmond Rogues books. Angell's books have a more light-hearted tone than ShalvDouble Play is more, how do I put this, serious-ish than Kate Angell's Richmond Rogues books. Angell's books have a more light-hearted tone than Shalvis's books.
Double Play focuses on two of the more potentially negative aspects of baseball: the relationship between the players and the media, and the usage of performance-enhancing drugs. The heroine, Holly, is a reporter/blogger doing a feature on the hero's team. The hero, Pace, basically wants nothing to do with her. *gasp* Conflict!
Angell does a better job of incorporating baseball scenes, but Shalvis demonstrates that the media can be a double-edged sword for the media. I liked the fact that Holly made friends with the players, but she wasn't about to compromise her ideals. I would've liked a bit more emphasis on her isolation so that when she finally decides to set down roots, it had more impact.
Pace doesn't want to talk to Holly and feels the need to hide pieces of himself from her, but, by extension, he is also hiding them from the reader. As a result, we don't get to know him as well. Shalvis touches on his relationship with Tucker and Redd, but Pace's strongest and clearest relationship in the book is with Wade. (view spoiler)[I wanted to see how Tucker and Redd were woven into the fabric of Pace's life to heighten the tension of the eventual revelation that Tucker and Redd were supplying the players with the drugs. Tucker was indirectly responsible for the black mark on Pace's record and I wanted the sense of betrayal to be dripping off the page. (hide spoiler)]
I'd classify Double Play as a bit better than Angell's books, just because it focuses on one couple and has more of a linear story. However, it's worth nothing that despite their common baseball theme, Angell and Shalvis are very different authors. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Forgotten is an odd book. It doesn't really have an ending, but that's the fault of the main character, London, who only remembers the future. So thisForgotten is an odd book. It doesn't really have an ending, but that's the fault of the main character, London, who only remembers the future. So this book is really about the beginning. I think Forgotten is a bit of a cross between the movies 50 First Dates and Back to the Future, with a YA flair. There is a romance of sorts, between London and the hero, Luke. I say 'of sorts' because it doesn't exactly develop the way you'd expect. How can it when London doesn't see Luke in her future until halfway through the book and therefore only remembers him from the notes she writes each night?
I enjoyed this book because it was something completely new and Patrick played with structure of story. However, it wasn't a four or five starred book for me because I thought it had a bit of an identity crisis. Was it a romance? Was it a mystery? Were there psychological or paranormal overtones? Everything is left mostly open-ended as I stated before. Sure, London knows what's going to happen, but the rest of us are still very much in the dark. Does she ever regain her ability to remember the past? Does she go to college, do she and Luke stay together? Does the fallout from the mystery get resolved?
I'd recommend this book just because of how it's written rather than the story itself. Patrick has already ruled out a sequel on her blog, which is unfortunate, because, in my opinion, a second entry into London's world, would help provide a stronger foundation for Forgotten. Forgotten will appeal to fans of Lisa McMann's 'Wake' series. ...more
This was a re-read for me. I saw it at the library when I went to pick up Strike Zone and I figured, 'Eh, why not?' Now that I've read it directly aftThis was a re-read for me. I saw it at the library when I went to pick up Strike Zone and I figured, 'Eh, why not?' Now that I've read it directly after Strike Zone, the improvement in Angell's writing is clearly evident.
Once again, there are two couples featured in the book. Kason and Dayne are the primary couple, reinforced by the cover blurb. The secondary couple is Revelle and Rhodes. In Sliding Home, Angell does a much better job of keeping the couples apart and of allowing the primary couple to be at the forefront for most of the book. I really liked the male characters. The antagonistic relationship between Psycho and Kason was excellent. It was nice to see them act like adults to get the job done, but not automatically become buddy-buddy.
The strongest parts of the books are, in my opinion, the baseball scenes. This time around, we get a look at the promotions office and a small glimpse on how an athlete ends up advertising for a company. The owner of the team cracks the whip a bit and how injuries affect a team. I also liked the fact the team spent most of the book on a losing streak. It felt real, given how many 'veterans' were injured. In addition, it was a clever way to introduce a new batch of characters.
I have a total craving for more baseball romances now. I will have to see if the library has the Jill Shalvis books and I found Boys Of Summer on Amazon. Changing the Game is also in my TBRs, but maybe I'll re-read Erin McCarthy's NASCAR series. The one good thing about losing my job at Borders is that I have a lot more time to read now......more
I have a weakness for the trope of celebrity hero falls for ordinary Jane heroine. These days, that's most commonly found in sport romances, where theI have a weakness for the trope of celebrity hero falls for ordinary Jane heroine. These days, that's most commonly found in sport romances, where the hero is some superstar athlete. Kate Angell specializes in baseball romances.
Strike Zone is the third in Angell's Richmond Rogues series. Somehow I missed this one when it first came out and I picked it up from the library the other day. Angell is unique in that she seems incapable of just writing about one heroine and one hero, and the duality of the books are never evident by the cover blurb.
In Strike Zone, the main couple, and the one featured in the blurb, is Taylor and Stryke. Taylor is back in town after leaving Stryke at the altar years ago. Stryke is engaged, but thanks to an abruptly ended plot device, he's single again by page 135 and his fiancee is neatly tucked out of the way. Time passes in the book by way of 'three weeks later,' and the reader is told that Stryke and Taylor are rebuilding their relationship. However, while there's nothing to contradict with that statement, the reader doesn't get to see it either.
The secondary couple is Taylor's sister, Eve, and Stryke's teammate, Sloan. Sloan and Eve were much more interesting to me than Taylor and Stryke. First off, Sloan is a bit of a manwhore and doesn't attempt to hide that. Watching him deal with his growing feelings for Eve is quite enjoyable. On the flip side of that, Eve knows she has feelings for Sloan and isn't particularly happy about that. She has no desire to be one of his groupies and stands firm on the issue. While the chemistry crackled between Eve and Sloan, I would have liked to see Sloan's realization that he is head over heels for Eve. They go on three dates, he screws up big-time on the third one, she cuts him out of her life, and he spends the next chunk of the book trying to get her back. When Sloan finally convinces her to talk to him, the reader finds out that he's now super-serious about Eve to the extent he now knows she's the 'one.' After three dates. Yes, this is a romance novel and all, but I can't help think that this is why so many famous athletes get divorced.
What saves this book, quite frankly, is the baseball. Full disclosure, I go to one baseball game a year with my dad and pretty much ignore the sport the rest of the time. So while I suspect there are a few 'that would never happen' moments in this book (the mascot fight, perhaps), there was nothing that stood out to me with my limited knowledge. As a result, I loved the baseball scenes. I felt like I was right there on the mound with Sloan and Stryke. I liked how Angell underscored the fact that yes, these guys are celebrities, but one bad injury and their careers are over. While Stryke came off as a little too perfect, Sloan started off as the arrogant hot-shot I'd expect a star athlete to be.
I think, overall, Angell would benefit from either treating her books like anthologies and doing two distinct stories or keeping the focus on one particular couple. Sweet Spot, the fifth book in the series, is scheduled to be released in May 2012, but there's no info yet about the plot or publisher. Unfortunately, with Angell caught in the Dorchester quicksand, I would imagine Sweet Spot is likely going to be the last Richmond Rogue book.
There aren't a lot of baseball romances, but if you like the Richmond Rogue books, I recommend you check out Jill Shalvis's Double Play and Slow Heat. ...more
This book gets four stars because it's perfect. I know that sounds counter-intutive, but it was really too perfect. I felt like it was the basis for aThis book gets four stars because it's perfect. I know that sounds counter-intutive, but it was really too perfect. I felt like it was the basis for a teen comedy starring Emma Stone. I mean, I'd pay $9 to see it, but it was a glossy version of normal.
There's a lot of emotion thrown around. Dec is angry at his mother's death. Neilly is overwhelmed by all the changes in her life. Dec is horny and Neilly has a crush. Things could go horribly awry, but how do these teenagers deal with this intense feelings? They talk about them. They go to therapy. They are self-aware and they think things through. They are the most adult, mature, teenagers ever.
Despite the unreality of teenagers who understand and conceptualize exactly what they're feeling, it was a good read. I admit, part of the initial appeal of this book for me was the assumption it was a stepbrother/stepsister romance, which is a favorite trope of mine. Blender avoids that. There's still romantic elements, but overall, it's a light mostly angst-free read.
In short, it's for fans of the movie 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist' and anyone who wants to believe these are the kind of teens that are going to be the future of our world. ...more
When I was a kid, somebody in my family handed me Erma Bombeck. Without delving too much into the psychology behind my reasoning, my career goal as aWhen I was a kid, somebody in my family handed me Erma Bombeck. Without delving too much into the psychology behind my reasoning, my career goal as a kid was to be a mom. I wanted six kids and I had the names all picked out. I actuallly don't remember the names at this point, but I do remember there was a heavy floral motif. Reading Erma's books, it was like getting a behind the scenes glimpse of a world I wanted so badly to enter. However, her books were published in the 70s and now that I'm actually old enough to raise a child, the world, and my goals, are very different.
Lisa Scottoline reminds me of a modern-day Erma Bombeck with this collection of newspaper columns. I confess, I've never read any of her mysteries nor do I have any desire to, but I thought this was a terrific book. I noticed her first book, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog solely because it was in humor and not in mystery. When I saw the review for My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space in Publisher's Weekly, I added it to my TBR.
Scottoline doesn't talk about her writing very often or what it's like to be a New York Times bestselling author. Instead she mainly talks about her house, her pets, her mom, and her daughter. She has a wry, snarky, sense of humor with a deft hand for descriptions. As indicated by the title, the book begins with her 24 year old daughter moving out. The book isn't actually really about that. It's about mice and bats, about dying hair and buying TVs. It's about life, about how the little things keep you going after your world's been altered, and how some things don't change at all.
When I started the book, I was thinking I would lend it to my mother, despite her deserved reputation as a spine-cracker, because my little brother just got married & moved out of the house we all lived in and now lives in Florida. I thought the 'Adults Only' chapter would particularly resonant with her. Then I got to the end and changed my mind. Scottoline talks about discovering the joy of having her house be only her house. Over the course of the book, she's made the adjustment to being a telecommuting mother and found it's not so bad after all. Since I still live at home, this is not something I want my own mother to embrace. I'd come home from work and find an eviction notice taped to my bedroom door.
Scottoline's daughter, Francesca Scottoline Serritella, contributes some very funny chapters to the book as well. My favorite is a tie between the hilarious 'How to Talk to Moms' and the unexpectedly chock full of wisdom 'Crash.' Incidentally, if you're wondering why I will never try Scottoline's mystery novels, it's because I'm the type of person who wondered if Francesca was married and if so, would we meet her future husband in the book? And then when I finished the book, I googled her (Her bio says she lives alone with her dog so Francesca most likely has her dad's last name). You can keep the whodunits, I'm quite satisfied with my happy endings, thank you very much.
In conclusion, rec'd for fans of the late, great, Erma Bombeck, and anyone else who enjoys hearing humorous stories over coffee or a margarita....more
It's like Jim Davis got his staff together and said, "hey, draw me some fanart, will ya?" I read a review of this somewhere online. Hijinks Ensue, perIt's like Jim Davis got his staff together and said, "hey, draw me some fanart, will ya?" I read a review of this somewhere online. Hijinks Ensue, perhaps? In any case, I thought it looked interesting and I got it from my local library. The premise is simple: Garfield in nine different genres, each representing a different 'life,' arranged in loose chronological order. The book was published in 1984 so some of the stories are a little dated at this point.
Two of them stand out. 'Lab Animal' reads like an early precursor to Grant Morrison's We3. 'Primal Self' is disturbing in its open-ending-ness. It makes me think of the TV procedural cliche of cats munching on corpses. The representation of Garfield in this stories are so far beyond how we would characterize the orange fat cat of newspaper fame. However, the craftiness and voracious hunger we associate with Garfield today is readily apparent in those stories, which is why they are so interesting.
I'd recommend this book for Garfield fans with an interest in psychology. ...more
I find Carly Phillips books are usually hit or miss for me, but if there's one thing my years as a Romance Expert have taught me, it's to keep an openI find Carly Phillips books are usually hit or miss for me, but if there's one thing my years as a Romance Expert have taught me, it's to keep an open mind. I found the blurb a little off-putting because I thought this was going to be a tale of a spoiled brat who is redeemed through hard knocks and heads back to her childhood home where she faces the boy she done wrong. It's not, at all.
Faith is immediately presented as an innocent bystander who was just as much as victim as those who were conned by her father. Ethan is the stereotypical bad boy who made good, but he didn't escape without his share of consequences. I enjoyed watching the two of them find their way back to each other. Their relationship gets a bit derailed when Ethan's half-sister is dropped on his doorstep, but they handle it like adults. I also liked the brief glimpses we get of Kate and Nick, and I hope we see their story down the line as well. Phillips does an excellent job of setting up Ethan's brothers for their own stories. Serendipity ends with a scene from Nate's point of view and it's quite clear who his heroine is going to be. I'm definitely looking forward to reading Destiny when it comes out next winter.
However, there were two things that bothered me about Serendipity. First off, the backstory was given in drips and drabs. Ethan's brothers HATE him and the reader doesn't find out why until page 165. We also never find out how Faith's father was caught. It's a minor thing, really, but given how things shook down with Bernie Madoff, his son's suicide, the scandal surrounding his wife, I wanted to know what set the house of cards tumbling.
Secondly, I didn't like how Tess's appearance was disparaged when she first shows up. I think Phillips' intention was to have her outer appearance reflect her mental walls, but it came off like having streaked hair and an eyebrow ring meant Tess was a Teen in Trouble. To me, being a teenager means figuring out who you are or, at least, who you don't want to be. That state of flux is why adult influence is so important at that age. It is entirely possible for a happy, well-adjusted, kid to try a different hair color every week and not also be a casual drug user. I would have preferred a greater emphasis on Tess's defensive attitude and body language, rather than her appearance.
Rec'd for fans of Susan Andersen's Bending the Rules, Burning Up, and Playing Dirty trilogy. ...more
Picked it up for free somewhere. It wasn't a bad read, but the pace dragged and it was predictable. Charles has talent, but the book would have benefiPicked it up for free somewhere. It wasn't a bad read, but the pace dragged and it was predictable. Charles has talent, but the book would have benefited from some better editing. The author's note at the beginning of the book made a point of saying she uses Canadian spelling. Aside from that, it displayed nice on my iPad, with very few errors. I don't know if I would purchase the next book in the series, but I would read it. ...more
This is my favorite Julia Quinn title ever. There's no one specific reason I love it, I just generally adore it. I like that Penelope gets the man sheThis is my favorite Julia Quinn title ever. There's no one specific reason I love it, I just generally adore it. I like that Penelope gets the man she wanted, Colin, after being a wallflower for so long. I love the whole Bridgerton family and the humor sprinkled throughout the story. No matter how many times I've read it, I always giggle at pages 345-355. Sometimes, I try to picture the dialogue in those pages being said with a British accent and I just lose it a little more. I wish I could be a little more articulate in my love, but alas.