I'm not big into HR's anymore, but I really enjoy Milan's short stories. She manages to pack a lot into these eBooks and I love that she goes outside...moreI'm not big into HR's anymore, but I really enjoy Milan's short stories. She manages to pack a lot into these eBooks and I love that she goes outside of the typical tropes found in the genre.
In A Kiss For Midwinter, Dr. Jonas Grantham has let the harsh realities of his profession turn him into a cynic. When he decides to pursue the cheerful Lydia Charingford, who hates his guts, he makes a deal with her. Give him three days to find a situation where even she can't find a bright side. If he succeeds, Lydia owes him a boon. If he loses, she'll never have to talk to him again.
I really enjoyed both the main characters here and I loved the glimpses of Lydia's relationship with her father. However, there were moments of the story that didn't work for me. In particular, the sex education monologues from Grantham. I know that Milan was attempting to portray Grantham as the kind of guy who would always tell you the truth and never sugar coat it, even if it's uncomfortable to hear, but something about his speeches about how sex works just really pulled me out of the story.
Additionally, I would have liked to have seen Lydia really address the passive part Grantham played in the opening scene with her five years ago. I liked that Milan showed how the experience was still affecting Lydia, even five years later, but I thought that the part her parents played in the aftermath and Grantham's quiet witness to it, could have been addressed more directly. Maybe it’s because I found it strange that Lydia didn't seem to have any real reactions to finding out that her parents might have knowingly poisoned her five years ago in order to ensure that her reputation remained intact.
Other than that, I enjoyed watching the relationship between Grantham and Lydia slowly evolve. This was a nice short story for the season. (less)
I ended up skimming most of this one after about page 30. I couldn't get into the storyline and Kleypas seemed to be extremely heavy handed with some...moreI ended up skimming most of this one after about page 30. I couldn't get into the storyline and Kleypas seemed to be extremely heavy handed with some of her foreshadowing. Plus, Hannah was annoying me to death with her self-righteous attitude in the beginning and then her martyr complex towards the end.
I also felt like a lot of the story between Hannah and Rafe was sacrificed in order for Kleypas to play catch-up with what some of the previous characters from the main books in the series have been doing since they hooked up with their respective partners. If you're a huge fan of this series, you'll probably enjoy this one. If you're not, I would skip it. (less)
Well that was... unsatisfying. The main romance didn't interest me at all. I was more involved with what was going on between the minor characters, Vi...moreWell that was... unsatisfying. The main romance didn't interest me at all. I was more involved with what was going on between the minor characters, Victoria and Andrew, so the fact that their relationship was resolved rather half-ass-ly was a major disappointment. Additionally, a major plot thread revolves around the mystery of who is robbing people near the town but the big reveal kind of came out of the left field. Not in an "Oh so that's who did it" sort of way but in a "Who the hell is this character?" way. So all of that, plus the slow meandering feel to Noble's writing left me feeling pretty "meh" about this book. I might give Noble another shot and read the next book in the series, but I won't be chomping at the bit to get it.(less)
A nice short story, but Jewel's writing style is not really my cup of tea. Her characters seem a little too wrapped up in their own heads and there ar...moreA nice short story, but Jewel's writing style is not really my cup of tea. Her characters seem a little too wrapped up in their own heads and there are moments of odd...nostalgic whimsey that rang a little too campy for me.
This story is basically long time friends become lovers. That's it. Its entirely character driven, which is something that I usually love, but it just didn't work all that well for me here. I think its because there isn't any real character conflict, its just two people slowly making the decision to change their relationship. Honestly, the way this was done made the story feel like something I would've written for a character study in a creative writing course. Its not bad, its just kind of...boring.(less)
Very cute short story from a "new to me" author. Parts of this story moved really slow but the sweet feel of two friends rediscovering each other and...moreVery cute short story from a "new to me" author. Parts of this story moved really slow but the sweet feel of two friends rediscovering each other and becoming something more made up for the pace. I only wish that Harris would have made up for his callous behavior towards Felicity in some way. I got tired of her always being the one pursuing him. I would've liked to have seen some effort on his part. I'll probably be checking out one of the authors full length novels in the future.(less)
**spoiler alert** I'm in the minority for my rating of this one. Milan has a wonderful writing style, but honestly I can't abide the plot of this stor...more**spoiler alert** I'm in the minority for my rating of this one. Milan has a wonderful writing style, but honestly I can't abide the plot of this story.
Serena was fired from her job as a governess after a duke rapes her. Now she is determined to passive aggressively blackmail him into providing some support for the child that resulted. The hero, Hugo, is in charge of ensuring that the duke keeps his head above water financially, so when Serena appears and threatens to rock the boat, it is his job to dissuade her. I hated the premise of this story. Why? Because I hate when rape is used purely as a literary device to strengthen a heroine and that's what its used as here. Serena shows little to no emotional reactions to having been raped unless it a) helps progress the relationship between her and Hugo or b) is used to display Serena's unselfishness through the unswerving commitment and love she has for her unborn child that resulted from the rape.
My problem with this is that the overall tone of the story (verging on comedic) is not equipped to properly deal with the seriousness of rape. So, when reading this story, rape comes across as either inconsequential or a circumstance that offers new-found strength to women. This ignores most of the emotional impact rape has on a survivor and, by ignoring it, works to trivialize the experience. However, I would like to state that I'm not accusing Milan of condoning or intentionally trivializing sexual violence in any sense. What I am trying to get across is that creating a light-hearted and near comedic story where a rape is the main component of the plot just does not work. And I feel that there are other reasons that Serena could've lost her job and then set out to blackmail the duke that would've worked much better for the tone of this story. (less)
Connor Brice, is hellbent on revenge against his half brother, Sir Robert. The first step in his revenge? Steal Sir Robert's fiancee, Adelaide Ward. T...moreConnor Brice, is hellbent on revenge against his half brother, Sir Robert. The first step in his revenge? Steal Sir Robert's fiancee, Adelaide Ward. The fact that Miss Ward is the same woman Connor had been fascinated with, while sitting in prison, is just a bonus. For her part, Adelaide is trapped. She doesn't want to marry the condescending Sir Robert, but her brother's gambling habit has left her with little choice. Its either marry him for his 5,000 pounds a year or go to the poor house. Things begin to spin out of control though when Connor interferes with her plans and Adelaide gets sucked even further into the brothers' revenge schemes.
Johnson has an interesting revenge plot going on here. Connor's drive and focus on gaining vengeance is believable and I agreed that Sir Robert needed to be taken down a peg or two. The guy was horrible. Poor Adelaide just has the misfortune of getting swept up in the tide of their animosity. So then, what was my problem with the story? The elimination of Adelaide's choices and power. Was she given the choice between Sir Robert and Connor? Yes. Is this more than what the typical historical romances with compromised heroines get? Yes. But honestly, she still didn't get to decide. Sir Robert was painted so horribly that Adelaide would've been committing suicide if she chose him.
Adelaide herself was a pretty good HR heroine. She was practical, smart, and didn't take much crap from Connor. Yet she fell into the innocent "I know nothing what-so-ever about sex" trope that I so loathe. Yes, it's so integrated into the genre that it's practically a requirement, but her extreme naivete about sex still annoyed me. I actually ended up skipping the sex scene between Connor and her, because I just wasn't interested in reading another HR deflowering scene where the more experienced hero shows the heroine the ropes.
But I'll admit that most of the issues I had with this book was a "It's me, not you" situation. An Unexpected Gentleman has a wonderful hero and heroine, a fairly original plot, and some great supporting characters. Most of my problems stemmed from the tropes in the genre.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Elizabeth Hoyt and Lisa Kleypas. Johnson has a writing style that fans of those two authors will enjoy immensely.(less)
The hero in this book is based off of the character Gregory House from the tv show House M.D. This made me really unsure of picking up this book. I lo...moreThe hero in this book is based off of the character Gregory House from the tv show House M.D. This made me really unsure of picking up this book. I love House, but I was afraid that this book was going to read like some really awful fan fiction. But luckily that wasn't the case. The book is very light and humorous and the characters are all engaging. There's a few homages to the tv show casually thrown in (such as the mention of a patient with the last name Cuddy) but they weren't as annoying as they could have been.
The thing that really made this book enjoyable for me was the amount of time the two main characters actually spend together. Its a nice change of pace from most of the other historical romances where they're forced into a marriage and then spend half the book trying to avoid one another. Instead, Linnet and Piers spend a lot of time together over the course of the book and you get a sense of why they would be drawn to each other. Also, the way Piers didn't have a real sense of personal space boundaries was pretty amusing. The morning scenes when he'd come to wake her up to go swimming where probably my favorite parts of the story.(less)
Catherine ran away from home to avoid marriage with a sleazy jerk and after a lot of bad luck, accepts some tea for what she believes to be a kindly o...moreCatherine ran away from home to avoid marriage with a sleazy jerk and after a lot of bad luck, accepts some tea for what she believes to be a kindly old lady. Only to have that kindly old lady slip a mickey into her tea while she’s not looking. Catherine then wakes up completely nude and in a whore house with her first customer on his way on up. After a minor freak out, Cat gets to work on running through her options of escape and can’t think of any that wouldn’t end her up in a worse position then she’s already in. Since she has no other options she decides to throw herself at the mercy of her first customer and hope like hell he believes her story.
Luckily for her, Cat’s first customer is Lord Rand who’s three sheets to the wind and decides that his she's kind of amusing so… what the hell! He’ll bust her out of here and take her home with him. After a minor squabble about clothes and fees on their way out, Rand takes Cat home to the ratty apartment he’s been staying at while he’s been out carousing for the past month or so. Since Rand’s living in a rat trap, Cat assumes he’s a commoner and has a bit of a surprise when she finds out he’s just been out gallivanting for a few months. After a bit of convincing Rand decides to take her home to his sister who pretty much recognizes her and takes her in as her ward.
Since Cat likes to handle her own life and her answer is usually to just run away, we get a lot of scenery changes in the story, which I really liked. We go from brothel, to upper class parties, back to the seedier parts of London, then back to upper class and so on. For me, that kept the story from getting stale and helped to hold my attention. Plus it introduced a couple more interesting characters.
I don’t think you’d necessarily have to read this story in order to read Devil’s Delilah like I was told, but eh why not. (less)
After being ruined by a vengeful guy, the heroine decides to offer her services to the crown by helping to crack the French's code. I was kind of bore...moreAfter being ruined by a vengeful guy, the heroine decides to offer her services to the crown by helping to crack the French's code. I was kind of bored during parts of the story, especially the sections where the villain is plotting her evil deeds. I'm starting to get really annoyed with stories where the villain is a "loose" woman who uses men like tissue paper. At least the heroine, Juliet, was interesting, she liked men and she wasn't afraid to admit it. But the characters weren't developed enough IMO and the heroine had several to stupid moments that contrasted with her intelligence a little too much.(less)
**spoiler alert** This book is one of those unexplained mysteries to me. On a bunch of levels I should’ve hated this book and dropped it into my “did...more**spoiler alert** This book is one of those unexplained mysteries to me. On a bunch of levels I should’ve hated this book and dropped it into my “did not finish” pile. But I just couldn’t seem to do it. Even though Westin’s style is a little more melodramatic than I usually like and the story seemed to have a lot of historical romance cliches, this book still managed to keep my attention until near the end. And by then I had less than 100 pages to go so I figured, "What the hell. I might as well finish."
When we meet Lady Anne in the book she’s being a naughty bird, by sneaking off for a little heavy petting with her fiancé. But that plan goes down the toilet when she overhears her fiancé telling King Charles that he can have Anne’s virginity in exchange for land and money. Anne isn’t happy about this so she flees to her father’s house where she tells him everything she heard. Her father is, of course, pissed at this news and immediately starts to devise a way to get Anne out of her engagement.
His brilliant plot? Hand over his precious daughter and her virginity to John Gilbert, a handsome highway man known for his bedroom skills. Daddy is obviously a genius. So he dashes off to stop John’s hanging and offer him a deal. In exchange for a reprieve from the noose John has to keep Anne out of danger until the engagement is all cleared up. So John decides that dealing with Anne is better than death so agrees and takes her to his Robin Hood-ish hideout in the forest.
What really bothered me in this book was how linear the problems were all solved. Towards the end I got bored with how neatly John and Anne were dealing with all these problems, even though they all where related to each other and could lead back to one thing/person. But some how they managed to never touch each other and were all solved one. At. A. Time.
I also had some minor pet peeves within the story. The biggest one of those being how John and Anne had whole conversations with only their eyes. It went something along the lines of ‘Because they were so well connected they needn’t words to talk. Anne looked at him and her eyes said “I love you” and he looked at her and his eyes said “I know. Don’t worry.”’ And the “conversation” didn’t stop there. They actually had a whole dialog going at one point during a ride in a carriage.
Anyway, despite all my complaining about this book I still enjoyed bits and parts of it and the characters were fun. (less)