**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this conclusion to the Hathaways series well enough. As the heroine, Beatrix is as delightful, innocent and charmingly fla**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this conclusion to the Hathaways series well enough. As the heroine, Beatrix is as delightful, innocent and charmingly flawed as ever. Her leading man, Christopher Phelan, isn't a dashing rogue like the others in this series, but rather a stubborn, brooding pessimist; a traumatized war hero who hates all the attention he's getting for saving a commanding officer; and the unwilling heir to an estate he has no idea how to run.
Both characters, as well as the rest of the returning Hathaways, are realistic and genuine, and the plot is decently contrived. I especially liked the part of the story told through the exchange of letters between Bea and Christopher. However, once the truth comes out that Bea, not Pru, wrote to Christopher, and the pair admit their feelings, the story falls flat. It's like the climax was in the middle of the book, and then the author prattled on for another 100 pages without saying much of anything. Yes, there are a few twists in the second half that I didn't see coming, but their placement felt like the author was trying desperately to hold the reader's attention until the final resolution. If someone had taken a red pen to the majority of the second half, tightened up the action, rearranged a few things, and just generally shortened the story, it would have been a much better read....more
**spoiler alert** When I pick up a book with a cover like this, I'm not really anticipating anything more than a light, predictable, happily-ever-afte**spoiler alert** When I pick up a book with a cover like this, I'm not really anticipating anything more than a light, predictable, happily-ever-after love story. "That Perfect Someone" by Johanna Lindsey contains all the elements I would expect, but a suspenseful plot and a few surprises set this book a notch above the typical paperback romance.
Initially, the reader doesn't know much more about Richard (as Jean Paul) than Julia does, and I found myself just as charmed, and curious about his past, as she was. I couldn't help snickering out loud as one fiasco after another throws Julia and Richard (as Jean Paul) together but keeps her from clearly seeing his face and recognizing him as her detested fiance. I have to say, when they each finally realize who the other is, their vehemence toward one another seems excessive but it makes a little more sense after learning about all their childhood confrontations. And of course, it doesn't take long for that anger to transition into another type of passion. As a result, the action gets pretty steamy in a couple of spots, which resulted in my four-star rating instead of five. They weren't long, but they still seemed superfluous and overly detailed. Plus, I don't care at all for those kind of scenes anyway.
As for the characters, they were pretty average on the whole: a feisty heroine; a mysterious, tall-dark-and-handsome hero, and a well-rounded cast of supporting characters. The antagonist was the most well-written. Milton Allen, the Earl of Manford and Richard's father, is entirely and appropriately despicable, an arrogant liar and greedy, selfish manipulator. As Julia said, "There was no room for pity for someone like him." And ooh, when justice was served generously in the final confrontation, I wanted to cheer!
I also enjoyed the voice of the narrator, Laural Merlington. Her range of tones and inflections, her careful accents when reading as Jean Paul, made the story even more interesting. Additionally, although I know this book is the tenth in a series, I didn't feel as if I was missing anything by having not read any of the previous volumes. Her vocal abilities help the transition between regular changes in points of view, too.
Julia and Richard's eventual plan to steal and destroy the contract that has bound them almost since birth is unexpected, daring and, even better, full of potential for things to go wrong - which of course they do. The classic scenario of "I love him/her but he/she doesn't love me back" isn't a surprise in a novel like this, but the added complication of the Earl's greed makes the story more intriguing, though. And the truth exposed just before the very end was truly astonishing. I honestly never saw it coming and it was a brilliant conclusion....more
**spoiler alert** Although it has a decent plot and there are a few twists that caught me by surprise, overall this book was just okay.
I definitely p**spoiler alert** Although it has a decent plot and there are a few twists that caught me by surprise, overall this book was just okay.
I definitely preferred the first half to the last. The beginning is full of action and lively debates, and the characters are given a strong foundation, but the further I read into the book, the less I liked it. Too much of the dialogue does nothing but repeat the rest of the text, or vice versa. The descriptions that were once vivid and intriguing become dry and flat.
The characters deteriorated as the plot wore on, too. Take the main character, for example. I liked Constance's stubborn spirit and sense of adventure during the kidnapping and soon after, but once she and Lachlan admit their feelings for one another, she stops asserting herself as an individual and appears wholly dependent on Lachlan. Her attitude becomes almost hesitant, like she's trying to win everyone's approval, and later when things go wrong she shuts herself in her room and cries for days. The Constance I met at the beginning of the book would have found a new purpose, put her energy and passion into something new, rather than throw herself a pity party.
I finished the book because I did want to see how things would work out in the end, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else....more
The basic concept shows promise: Derek Corwin's fear of a centuries-old family curse kept him from marrying Gabrielle, his high-school sweetheart. YeaThe basic concept shows promise: Derek Corwin's fear of a centuries-old family curse kept him from marrying Gabrielle, his high-school sweetheart. Years later, divorced and struggling to connect with his pre-teen daughter, Derek is caught between fear and passion when Gabby comes back into his life, determined to de-bunk the curse and renew their relationship.
But between immature characters, flat dialogue, a weak resolution and the disturbing, rampant misconception that lust equals love, this book was sorely disappointing. I was interested enough to finish the book, but more out of curiousity for how the villian would be exposed (it's obvious from the first few chapters who the 'bad guy' is).
Throughout the book, an abundance of explanatory sentences seems repetitive or unnecessary, and the dialogue was horribly stilted in many places. A lot of the sentences were choppy, and the constant mention of brand names was just plain annoying. The side story of Gabby's best friend Sharon, who's being blackmailed in order to ruin her fiance's political aspirations, would have almost made a better main storyline if it these characters hadn't been even more shallow than the leads.
The worst part, though, was that all the adults sounded more like teenagers when it came to physical intimacy. The instantaneous, overwhelming attraction between Gabrielle and Derek, the constant mention of sexual tension, and the beyond-steamy bedroom scenes were unrealistic, overblown and entirely unnecessary. Gabrielle especially is obsessed with her goal of sleeping with Derek, equating lust with marriage-quality love, and has no sense of modesty.
I wonder if an editor actually went through the book carefully before publishing, or just skimmed it before giving it the green light, relying on the author's name to give it credence. I give this book one star total - half a star for the original plot idea, and another half for the one character I did like, Derek's loveable daughter Holly. I won't say I regret reading this book, but I will think twice before picking up anything else by Carly Phillips....more
The first Jennifer Weiner novel I read was "Good in Bed." I didn't think I would, but I enjoyed it, so I took a friend's recommendation and read "TheThe first Jennifer Weiner novel I read was "Good in Bed." I didn't think I would, but I enjoyed it, so I took a friend's recommendation and read "The Guy Not Taken" next. I was sorely disappointed.
I'll contend that part of the problem is that I'm not a fan of short stories in general, but these (especially the last few) are just plain too short. They are inconclusive, the characters and themes are yawningly repetitive, and the writer's tone, while engaging, is not varied enough to keep a reader interested for a significant amount of time.
It just seems that, as she alludes to in the final pages, Weiner herself struggled with many of the same issues such as divorce, an absentee father, depression, etc., that her characters do, and writing is a way to work through those issues. Here's hoping that she's almost done, and will soon move to a wider range of characters and emotions....more