If you took a sci-fi Twilight, played up the Jane Eyre factors, swapped the vampires for bio-people and made the heroine a violent sociopath instead o...moreIf you took a sci-fi Twilight, played up the Jane Eyre factors, swapped the vampires for bio-people and made the heroine a violent sociopath instead of a pathetic klutz you would have this book. Fairly enjoyable, particularly the world building.(less)
I wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excited...moreI wanted to like this book so much. I have worked in the law for ages and I am studying (very slowly) for my law degree - you can imagine how excited I was to see that the heroine in this was a Regency female lawyer!
What let this book down for me was the attitude towards intelligence, beauty and traditional gender roles. The story revolves around law-obsessed Esme, her solicitor brother and his friend and associate Quintus as they attempt to investigate a mystery. Esme was from the very first shrill, annoying and constantly "proving" her knowledge by telling her lawyer brother and his associate what the law was. When she and the hero are sent on the quest, she is ambivalent until the hero points out that she should be grateful to her brother for letting her do so much in the firm.
And that was when my head exploded. LET HER do all his drafts? She's saving him a fortune! Yes, sure, it is fortunate for her that he has non-traditional ideas about her value as a woman, but he still just gives her housekeeping money, not a wage, and saves a fortune by not having to hire a junior or a clerk to do all the drafting work Esme is doing.
But anyway, Esme and Quintus pretend to be married and she wears prettier clothes and they go to some parties, all the while Esme tries to hide both her intelligence and the fact that she secretly loves wearing pretty clothes. She occasionally slips because of the force of her personality but she's falling in love with Quintus and being a Lady so that makes things easier. *sigh* And Quintus talks a good game about being attracted to her intelligence, but there's an awful lot of word count spent on what she's wearing and her boobs and how these two things make him feel. And then at the end I feel that while lip-service is given to her dream, she has willingly accepted a far more traditional gender role that undermines a lot of who she was to begin with.
I felt during the whole novel nothing much needed to be done by the characters to solve the mystery. Sure, the protagonists undertake tasks designed to help them gather information, but (without going into too much detail) in the end they could have done nothing at all and the only thing different would be they wouldn't have been forced into close proximity long enough to fall for each other.
So I would say that while there was nothing wrong with the writing per se, I didn't enjoy the book overall. Some of the lines were brilliant and I actually really liked Quintus (though I would have liked a little more of his and his family's back story). 2.5 stars. (less)
I read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and the...moreI read this straight after The Devil Earl and I enjoyed it much more. I loved the hero and I loved the relationship that develops between him and the heroine as she attempts to solve the mystery of the missing necklace. In particular, several parts of the book made me laugh out loud.
But it wasn't perfect. In particular, the heroine at the beginning of the book says she is a devotee of Plato, giving the impression that her methods of deduction are all about logic. And then she goes on to try and solve the crime based solely on intuition, leg-work and things she was fortunate enough to overhear. She complains that no-one takes her seriously - I had trouble taking her seriously. I was also fairly ropable when at the end of the book (view spoiler)[ she decides that her life-long dream to be a famous detective and be known for her "expertise" in solving mysteries was completely satisfied by being respected by the man she loved. Look, I have love and it's great. But it's not the be-all and end-all. I hate to see women in books put down their dreams because a guy enjoys their company. But it's completely cool, gals, because there will be heaps of domestic mysteries for her to solve at his estate. In the very last paragraph there's a suggestion that she will continue doing what she does, but I felt sad that she seemed to give up her ambition. (hide spoiler)] In addition, it was frustrating how she completely ignores the obvious solution for about half the book.
But the problems weren't overwhelming and I enjoyed this for being sweet and for having the relationship develop because he found her unusual and started wanting to make her happy by helping her achieve her goals, not just because he wanted to see her with her clothes off. A nice romance. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
As mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with George...moreAs mentioned by several other people, the hardest thing to get over in this book is the constant comparisons you keep drawing in your head with Georgette Heyer. It did feel like the author said "You know what would be awesome? If Sylvester had more explicit sex scenes and smugglers!"
That said, on the whole I enjoyed this book. It definitely made me interested to read more by the same author. (less)
I find it really hard to give this book a star rating.
I didn't like it as such. It wasn't, to my mind, an enjoyable book. But the characters were eng...moreI find it really hard to give this book a star rating.
I didn't like it as such. It wasn't, to my mind, an enjoyable book. But the characters were engaging and once the author got past the whole "Look how clever I am with my literary conceit of DEATH narrating a novel!" I found the writing quite good.
The book made me cry for a good half of it, but it felt structured to evoke a tearful reaction. I guess my real problem was that I was never able to forget the author - the writing was so self-conscious - and therefore I never really got lost in the events and the characters.
(view spoiler)[ And what was with the ending? The entire block she lives on is destroyed by a bomb and she is the only survivor. After all the hints through the book, it felt as though the author had been leading up to something big and meaningful but then rocks fell and everyone died. I suppose he was trying to comment on the futility of war and the pointlessness and unpredictability of death, but honestly it felt like a cop-out. I was disappointed with the ending even as I was bawling my eyes out. (hide spoiler)]
I should add that I've never been keen on "literary" books. A lot of them feel pretentious to me. This was a little along those lines, but the I did fall for some of the characters so I can't say I wish I hadn't read it. So no star rating, just a mass of confused feelings. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was a freebie from Harlequin - usually I would never buy a racing romance, but this was actually really fun...more3 - 3.5
My first book of the new year!
This was a freebie from Harlequin - usually I would never buy a racing romance, but this was actually really fun. All the characters were strong and clearly defined, though a few minor characters fell into heavy stereotype regions. The pace was good, but I felt there were a few too many sex scenes bogging down the plot(but then I read and write sweet mostly so I'm probably a little biased ^_^).
My real pet peeve was stupid. (view spoiler)[ I was fine suspending my disbelief for the long lost twin, for the fact that NO-ONE immediately thought it was an inside job (you need a code to get into the garage Beverly!) and that two adults could be all like "Oh, I can't possibly think about the kiss we shared" in this day and age, but I drew the line at a 20-something intern at an ad company being given a $50 million account after pitching one slogan in the elevator. That just would never, ever happen. The boss at the ad firm would have fired her ass for pitching, sure, but then he would have used her slogan anyways and pointed out the contract she would have signed saying any intellectual property she created working at the firm was the property of the firm. Or if he was a nice boss he would have given her a job. But in no possible realm of existence does her boss say to the client "hell no we're not using that awesome slogan because an intern thought it up", fire the intern and then the company director calls her out of the blue and says he's taken his huge account away from the firm and now he's going to trust a girl who's been in the industry for five minutes to do EVERYTHING on the account because she came up with a good one-liner.
Okay, there was one other thing, and that was that when the brakes were cut on the car they went "oh crap, head for the freeway". Really? Surely you'd just take your foot off the accelerator and let inertia work its magic. I know, I know, they do that next, but next isn't the same thing as first and these people are meant to know cars. (hide spoiler)]
But those were two really minor things. I really liked the story, the characters and the tension. The character arcs were satisfying, especially for the MC, and it left me actually wanting to read another racing novel! Good fun read.
**Stop the presses!** I forgot something I really wanted to say. There was one thing that made me so happy - (view spoiler)[ Chelsea is caught doing something suspicious. Her BF calls her on it and asks her if she's got anything to do with the stalking/murder thing going down - she's upset that he could think that about her and (oh man, here come the tears and the you don't understand mes and...) then he apologises and she accepts his apology and that's at end to it. YES! They still have problems, but they're not How DARE you problems and that was so refreshing. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
This was an excellent overview of the Regency period, told in an engaging fashion and covering most aspects of life at the time. There was a great...more3.5
This was an excellent overview of the Regency period, told in an engaging fashion and covering most aspects of life at the time. There was a greater focus on the political than I was expecting and I learned a lot about some of the riots that occurred around that period.
If I had one issue, it was that details were not pinpointed enough in time. This would probably not be an issue if you were reading for enjoyment, but if your novel is set in a specific year you will need to look up almost everything to see when it started/finished.
If you have ever thought "Oh, writers in the past were so droll! Where is that comedic talent today?...moreI have read obituaries with more humour in them.
If you have ever thought "Oh, writers in the past were so droll! Where is that comedic talent today? Maybe we lost it - if only I could go back in time!", read this book then be glad you were born today where the worst you have to put up with is There's Something About Mary and Two and a Half Men. Both of those offerings are actively offensive and unfunny, but I laughed at least once in the former and I assume something funny happens in the later or it wouldn't have gone on for however many seasons when they cancelled Firefly like that.
Okay, maybe I got a little side-tracked there.
If you want an overview of what people from Lancashire found HILARIOUS about 150 years ago, this is your book. Otherwise I wouldn't bother. (less)
It's funny to see the same arguments people use about having TVs and the internet in prisons used in the 1800s about books and clothes and food.
Overa...moreIt's funny to see the same arguments people use about having TVs and the internet in prisons used in the 1800s about books and clothes and food.
Overall an interesting read, but I felt that the chaplain was an unreliable narrator. For example, he lets some very bad things happen so that he doesn't break the rules so he can have a clear conscience, but he spins everything to make himself look wonderful and the prisoners look like model human beings under his tutelage, who only become violent when political machinations take away their religious instruction etc. (less)