Originally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. I adore a good historical, and Tessa Dare is quickly becoming a favourite of mine in this romance genre.Originally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. I adore a good historical, and Tessa Dare is quickly becoming a favourite of mine in this romance genre. Say Yes to the Marquess is the second novel in the Castles Ever After series, and although not as steeped in fairy tale romance as the first novel, this was a delightful read.
Clio is a character I liked very much. She has been waiting around eight years for her engagement to become a marriage and she is, at long last, done with waiting. Seeking to break the engagement, she seeks out her fiancee's brother, only to become embroiled in her own wedding preparations. Because Rafe will not hear of her not marrying his brother. Even though he secretly wants Clio for himself.
I liked Rafe. I liked his impulsive and yet, controlled nature. He only lost control if he was very upset, and that didn't seem to happen too often. And it was often in Clio's defense, which was sweet, if at times, not always the most prudent behavior. It was understandable, and made him a hero you could really admire. He and Clio fit so nicely together because both of them thought of themselves as not enough, as less desirable in the eyes of society, of their families. But where others saw perhaps only flaws, or failings, each saw in the other strength and good character and desirability.
I enjoyed this story of the heroine falling in love with the wrong brother, and I laughed throughout the novel as the humor and fabulous storytelling make this one enjoyable novel very easy to love....more
Originally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. I think I read this in two or three days. I had been eagerly awaiting Stenfax's romance because I was intOriginally reviewed at My Devastating Reads. I think I read this in two or three days. I had been eagerly awaiting Stenfax's romance because I was intrigued by his past history, and this book certainly turned into something of a whirlwind romance. I wasn't expecting some of the events to unfold as they do, especially in relation as to why Elise threw over Lucien, the Earl of Stenfax.
I can't say much as to why Elise did suddenly break their engagement, but I can say that Lucien and his family were not the only ones who suffered because of her choice. Elise was a character I found both interesting and unique--she had bravery, but it was also was self depreciating thanks to her past choices and it made her both interesting and confusing until I understood her emotions and thinking. I'm not sure I found her as likable as the previous heroines in this series, but I empathized with her choices.
There's a bit of intrigue in this story that will lead nicely into Felicity's novel, and I have to say, I found it shocking! So I cannot wait to read more of the series. It hit Lucien hard, but everything in this novel sends Lucien reeling because all of it is unexpected. And I must say, for a man who's constantly being thrown a loop by fate, he deals with it all with resilience and even dignity. Most of the time. I didn't always like his interactions with Elise, but I understood they came from a place of pain and also, love.
A second chance romance that features a couple very much in love and trying to rebuild their lives, it reminds us that sometimes we need to build a life with someone. Jess Michaels blends romance and intrigue into a sensual story that was a joy to read.
I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ...more
I decided to read The Shattered Rose because I love medieval romances. It sounded like a story of loss and betrayal, but promised romance and redemptiI decided to read The Shattered Rose because I love medieval romances. It sounded like a story of loss and betrayal, but promised romance and redemption too, so after a rather dry reading spell, I thought this would be just the pick me up I needed.
And just look at that cover. Who could resist it? Definitely not me. But, I digress. Cover love aside, I thought this was a really good read. The plot goes much deeper than a couple being reunited and learning to forgive and move forward with their lives. Jehanne is a woman who has sinned, not only in the eyes of the Church and society at that time, but in her own heart, and not only because she betrayed her husband, but also because she doubted God, and let herself down. In the progress, she has hurt others and that weighs heavily on her.
Her husband was harder for me to understand. He's furious at Jehanne but at the same time, loves her far too much to be angry for long or to punish her. At first, it confused me as he didn't seem like the typical medieval husband, and I wasn't sure what to expect from him. But, after some contemplation I came to realize that Galeran is a good man, and that the Crusade he'd been on, and what he had seen there had made him a stronger man. That new strength with his already innate goodness and sense of right and wrong allowed him to really see what had happened and why, and to forgive and forget.
The one thing that I didn't really enjoy about this novel was the subplot of Raoul and Aline. Their romance was a bit more sizzling, more fraught with the emotions of first love and while I liked that, I did feel it took over the story a little bit. I think that this couple got more than enough romantic page time and wish that Jehanne and Geleran's romance had one or two more scenes of the kind of emotion we got for Aline and Raoul. They kinda stole the romance-light from the main couple I thought.
A well written, novel with a meaty plot and characters that are very well portrayed. I found this book hard to put down, and I'll be reading Jo Beverley again.
Kate Quinn's writing is always beautiful and her characterization is great. Characters in her novels are constnatly evolving, but it's subtle and gradKate Quinn's writing is always beautiful and her characterization is great. Characters in her novels are constnatly evolving, but it's subtle and gradual, ever shifting until at the end where something momumental happens and you realize how far the characters have come since you first met them. Yet somehow, they are always fundamentally unchanged. Such growth and consistency in character development is true artistry and I applaud Quinn for it.
On to the characters I loved in Empress of the Seven Hills. Vix is the barbarian solider. We first met him in Mistress of Rome and I was dying for his story. I love it too, Vix is rough and tough but ambitious. Stubborn and a tad insensitive at times, he is solid and reliable and a good man at heart. He doesn't let down those in need, and he has a heart. I can't get enough of his story. I'm so glad it's going to continue.
Sabina: I'm not exactly sure I like her. I was expecting more from her. Intelligent, independent, she surprises me at times because she's not really loyal. She makes a stupid choice in marrying Hadrain and it's for a selfish reason. She talks about duty, but she shriks her duty to others to please herself, so she comes across as hypocritical. She says she loves Vix but I don't believe her and Vix surely doesn't. Yet she's not a bad person. She goes her own way and I admire that about her. I guess I just didn't like the way she did it sometimes.But Sabina's got nerve and a lot of it, and that makes her an interesting character. But I'm glad she didn't marry Titus though, he deserved better.
And on to Titus...I love these quiet intelligent male characters. Always underestimated, never quite in the lime light but in the end, the strongest, the one that catches you off guard and you realize you loved all along. Titus is like that.
Overall, this story is about unexpected destinties. We all expect life to be different than it turns out for us, and this is what all the characters in this novel are confronted with. Sabina expected to be able to have adventures, and while she does, in the end her freedom is pulled out from under her feet. Vix had his dream come true for about three seconds. He had his own legion, his Tenth, and it was yanked away from him before he could even begin his command, Hadrian takes it away and makes him a Preatorian guard, a job Vix certanily does not want. Titus thought to be a dull paper pusher but he'll end up Emperor after Hadrian. His destiny is greater than he thinks. I like that the novel reminds us that life takes us on unexpected journeys, and I can't wait to see where these characters are going in the journeys to come.
I really like Kate Quinn. Her books are easy to read, the prose flows like melting wax and the story is told so beautifully that you're just sucked inI really like Kate Quinn. Her books are easy to read, the prose flows like melting wax and the story is told so beautifully that you're just sucked into it. Because for me, this read started slow. But then before I knew it, I was invested in these four Roman women and their lives. I felt sorry for them, but my admiration for their strength of character grew as the story of the Year of Four Emperors was told.
Cornelia at first, came across as the fussy, prudish ever do right of this foursome. I was a little dazed by her husband's death, and slightly indifferent to her grief, but that's only because I didn't know Cornelia then. Later, when she takes Drusus as her lover, and she starts to leave behind the conventionality of bring a patrician, Cornelia grew on me. A woman seeking her own happiness? Putting aside the dangerous politics of the times and her family's good standing to turn down suitors to honour herself and the memory of her husband? I got to respect that. Reinventing herself with Drusus? Beautiful. Love this strong woman. Because this is a story about strong women, I discovered.
Lollia, the flirty, empty headed trollop of the family comes next. That's all she is in the beginning, a woman too busy with her love affairs for her own child, buying a slave for her own sexual pleasures. And she becomes the character I admire most. She is, oddly enough, very kind, non judgemental. Lollia gives to the poor during the flooding of the river Tiber, comes to love her body slave, and just becomes that wise woman of the world all young women should talk to once in their life--at nineteen, mind you. she protects her child and slave from her barbarous husband, and she's just nice. I like her. Quiet strength is often the strongest.
Diana the huntress, I was so curious about her. Shunning suitors, loving horses, learning to drive a chariot. I thought she'd find some grand love but I laughed when I realized that love was her horses, and probably only them. I should have realized that she was too much her own person, too independent to end up any other way than making her own way in the world. And I smiled with triumph when she unravelled Marcella in the bath house. Utterly brilliant, and beautifully timed by Quinn. And highlighting that Diana is far more intelligent than anyone has ever really bothered to notice.
Marcella. The beautiful, but rather ignored intelligent woman of this foursome. Not destined to be Empress, not able to really be a historian, with nothing to occupy her time or her insightful mind, I felt sorry for her at first. She was just so unimportant to her family. To everyone almost. But then I watched her mind slowly snap with her own bitterness and plotting, and I'm not sorry for her own anymore. By the end, when she's still underestimating her sister and cousins, she comes across as slightly mad. Marcella becomes Empress of Rome, a fate she never wanted or sought after with all her plotting. It's a fitting end for this author of history. I don't like Marcella much, but I'm sad to think it was her lot in life as a woman, that drove her to such an end.
Why only four stars? I missed Thea and her gladiator. I know Vix's story is next, but that just shows you how much I loved Quinn's first book.
I think I'd give this book 6 stars if I could. It was that good. I have to praise Dray's writing. Polished, moving, and just plain lovely to read. SheI think I'd give this book 6 stars if I could. It was that good. I have to praise Dray's writing. Polished, moving, and just plain lovely to read. She draws you into this story instantly.
The characters are very vivid and real. I feel as though I know each of them intimately, and their burdens and at times I felt like I was watching the dialogue between them rather than reading it. Of all the characters I loved Selene, Helios and Octavian the most.
Octavian is twisted, but intelligently so. And yet he plays into Selene's game at the end, becoming her Caesar in a way he never intends. I have to admire Selene's courage and strength, not to mention intelligence, to out wit the greatest master at political intrigue like that. If she is that part of her mother, daring and intelligence, then Helios is her passion and fury. I love his defiance of the Romans, I love how he defends his parents good names and his sister's honour. And I love that those two parts of Cleopatra are combined in her children, Helios the sun, and Selene the moon. I thought that symbolism was fascinating. And lord, does she ever shine once Helios runs away. I'm only sad that we won't see anymore of Helios in this series.
I had to stop reading this book. It's beautifully written and the plot is gripping, but I had real objections to the main character. I'm pretty open mI had to stop reading this book. It's beautifully written and the plot is gripping, but I had real objections to the main character. I'm pretty open minded about what I read but Beatrice was just evil.
Spoilers ahead!! Her character seems to have no real human feeling. She claims to love Ralph, but she tries to brutally murder him. She's disgustingly involved in a sexual abusive relationship with her own brother where she seduces, manipulates and abuses her brother for her own gain: for power over the land. What is this woman's obsession with her land about? Even Scarlett O'Hara, a character a lot if people dislike, never went to such odious lengths for money as Beatrice Lacey does. I had hoped once John came I to the picture that Beatrice would improve, instead she takes this wonderful man who loves her, lies to him and then tries to break him down emotionally and mentally. She was perfectly willing to destroy his good name just to put her son (fathered by her brother) in line for the land. She steals from him, lies constantly to Celia and its all for Wideacre. I finally just got fed up after she murdered her own mother of hoping that this book would go somewhere and just stopped reading ( especially since I skipped ahead and knows it was only going to get worse). I usually love Gregory's books but this was just too much. I wish she had made Beatrice a strong female character willing to stand up for her rights without making her twisted and wicked. ...more
I read this because it's been nominated for the Red Maple award by the OLA's Forest of Reading program. I thought it rather good. The story centers arI read this because it's been nominated for the Red Maple award by the OLA's Forest of Reading program. I thought it rather good. The story centers around a girl from the lower classes of London who has the most deplorable mother.It's a murder mystery involving ghosts and the characters are realistic as is the plot. I thought the ending could have used a bit more work. I understand why Violet's story with Colin wasn't tied up a bit more neatly as the story was more about discovering Rownea's murderer, but I felt that everything was wrapped up rather quick once that discovery was made. Regardless, it was a good read and I think the target audience for this novel will be very happy with the book. ...more