While Hoyt's writing is usually engaging enough to keep me going even when I'm not enjoying the characters and/or story, I jI'm done with this series.
While Hoyt's writing is usually engaging enough to keep me going even when I'm not enjoying the characters and/or story, I just can't anymore.
There isn't a book in this series (of seven so far) that I can definitively say I loved. I liked Megs and Godric's story best of all seven, but still had some issues with that book.
I'd been hoping that Hoyt was going to match up Apollo and Phoebe in this story---imagine the opportunity for conflict with a blind heroine and a hero who couldn't speak!---but, alas, she introduced a character from completely outside of the "Maiden Lane" world (even though we haven't been in Maiden Lane for ages); a character who was insipid at best, annoying at worst. And, in this book, she also reintroduced the device of the Plot Moppet in the overly precocious and overly annoying Indio and his Italian greyhound, Daff. (And for a precocious seven-year-old, at times he talks suspiciously like a three- or four-year-old)---a plot device that I have never liked in any book I've ever read.
As with many of the other books in this series, I never felt/believed any existence of chemistry (other than sexual) between the main characters. Apollo never lived up to the potential of being a "wounded warrior" character with PTSD the way he was built up in the previous book, which was really disappointing.
I almost quit reading early in the series, but then I got Megs and Godric's story and regained the hope that the rest of the books would improve from there. Unfortunately, this didn't happen. So it's time to cut my losses and give up on the series.
I was really excited to see Ashford McNab back as the narrator of this book. She's one of my favorite audiobook performers, and I'd enjoyed her narration of the first four books. However, she (or the author or the director) made a couple of very disappointing decisions in two of the characters.
The worst was with Lady Phoebe. It's bad enough that the character has gone completely blind over the course of the series. Did she now have to develop a severe speech impediment to rival Sylvester the Cat? I almost quit listening halfway through Phoebe's second scene, it was so bad. Phoebe has never had a speech impediment (this was more than just a simple lisp) in the other audiobooks, and it's not referred to in the book. So this was a poor, poor decision.
The other, not quite as annoying (because she has little page time) is the way Artemis sounds like a bad send-up of a bass-voiced drag queen. The vocalizations of her dialogue were pitched lower even than Trevillion's or Apollo's, making it especially confusing when she was in a scene with a male character.
While this doesn't put me off as a fan of McNab's talents, it didn't help any in a book I was already having trouble enjoying....more
A space western that has promise, but lost me in the end with no cohesive plot, just a loose conglomeration of vignettes that seem like ideas for episA space western that has promise, but lost me in the end with no cohesive plot, just a loose conglomeration of vignettes that seem like ideas for episodes of a TV show, but which never really came together and gelled for me. Also, after having read the descriptions of the other books in this "series," I can't see how this one fits in with the master story-arc at all.
Audiobook reader was wonderful, creating a multitude of characters with many different varieties of accented English, as well as mannerisms and tones. 4 stars for the narration....more
The only thing that kept this from being a 2-star review for me was that I did like the hero, Johnny, for what little I actually got to know about himThe only thing that kept this from being a 2-star review for me was that I did like the hero, Johnny, for what little I actually got to know about him in the story. He was a genuinely nice guy. Way too nice for someone like Chelsea.
Pretty much everything about her annoyed me. From her feminazi attitudes (and I'm a feminist!) to her lack of appreciation for anything Johnny did for her, to her insistence on calling him "John," when his name was Giovanni and he introduced himself to her as Johnny. Also, if you're a vegetarian (or vegan?) and you move into SOMEONE ELSE'S HOME, you don't immediately demand that meat can never come out of the kitchen (i.e., to the dining room table). She didn't even care enough about him that in the few weeks of the timeline of the book---including flying with him to Vegas, from Vegas to the Caribbean, and then back to Boston---to ask him what he did for a living.
What I don't like about Johnny---he's a total pushover for her. He's apparently becoming a culinary star in Boston known for his veal and lamb dishes. In the epilogue, he's now making stuff with tofu. Really? Also, he's turning down an opportunity of a lifetime to go study in Paris for three months because she doesn't want him to leave her. This is the same man she told to go away, that she didn't want to see him or get to know anything about him, when they were on their honeymoon. This is the same man who offered her all of the money he'd saved to go toward his own restaurant in order to help her move her office (a start-up computer security business or something) to a nicer/safer part of town. The same man who agreed, even though they were supposed to be married in name only, for her to move into his place because she was planning to put her house on the market in order to start paying her business loan back. The same man who agreed to stay married to her for a full year so that she could get her inheritance.
Men: It's a huge red flag when a woman has few to no female friends and doesn't get along with her own family at all. Stay away. Stay far, far away.
Poor Johnny. Hopefully he got a good settlement in the divorce (or took her for everything she had), given what she probably ended up putting him through in the three to five years he was able to put up with her....more
This was my first time reading one of Shirlee McCoy's books, and I found it entertaining and enjoyable. I did have a few quibbles with it, though.
FirsThis was my first time reading one of Shirlee McCoy's books, and I found it entertaining and enjoyable. I did have a few quibbles with it, though.
First, it sounded like the author has never spent a winter in Maryland or on the east coast because of the many, many times it was mentioned either in the narrative or by the characters how much colder it was in Washington than "back east"---and this is set prior to Christmas. I lived in Northern Virginia for four years and can attest to the fact that it gets bitterly cold in that part of the country every fall/winter.
Second, on the first page, it says it's "three weeks before Christmas." However, it seemed like enough time passed in the book for it to have actually been four or five weeks and for us to be in mid-January.
Third, when Aunt Gertie broke her "leg" . . . again I had to shake my head all the way through that part with the idea that the author has NO experience with this type of situation at all. It's never clearly said what bone she broke in her "leg," but from the way Gertie (a 70+ year old woman) was maneuvering around on crutches and getting up and sitting down with her "leg" being in a cast, it sounds to me like it must have been a minor fracture in either the tibia or fibula, possibly the ankle. It must have been extremely minor for a woman of that age to have been released from the hospital within 24 hours and for her to have not needed surgery.
Fourth, the resolution of the storyline of the angel statuette. Highly implausible resolution.
Fifth, not a ton of relationship development between the main characters, but a lot of that is because they'd grown up together so they already knew each other pretty well.
However, there were many things I liked, too . . .
I did like the fact that Tessa and Cade had grown up together---and yet their relationship wasn't perfect in the present. A couple of times, she made off-hand, snide remarks that really stung him or made him angry. So I appreciated that their relationship wasn't all "sweetness and light."
I liked that Tessa wasn't mired down with grief and guilt the entire story, but there was enough emotion shown to make it seem realistic.
I love small-town settings like this where there's a wider cast of characters (even though some were very obvious setups for the next book in the series). This aspect was well handled, because I never felt overwhelmed with the number of named secondary characters---and they had an active role in the story.
The one major thing that really worked well for me in this book was the overt sexual tension with a couple of hot-and-bothered kissing scenes but no actual sex scene. I really like the fact when authors realize that they can show the characters' love and attraction to each other without making them jump into bed every other page.
I'm looking forward to Charlotte and Max's story in Book 2....more
This was a freebie on Audible last month, and it was SOOOO good, read by TV's Ichabod Crane, Tom Mison. For the first time in this English major's lifThis was a freebie on Audible last month, and it was SOOOO good, read by TV's Ichabod Crane, Tom Mison. For the first time in this English major's life, I wished this story was longer! :-D (Story: 3.5 stars, Narrator: 5 stars) ...more
Plain Young Woman in 1850s New York is a severe disappointment to her wealthy, Narcissistic Physician Father. Plain Young Woman mSummary of this book:
Plain Young Woman in 1850s New York is a severe disappointment to her wealthy, Narcissistic Physician Father. Plain Young Woman meets handsome, worldly older (she's 18, he's around 30) man in need of money. Plain Young Woman has the potential of a large dowry/inheritance. Scheming Young Man schemes to get Plain Young Woman to marry him by convincing her he loves her and isn't a Scheming Young Man. Narcissistic Physician Father sees through Scheming Young Man's scheme. Tells his daughter. She doesn't believe her father. Plain Young Woman agrees to marry Scheming Young Man. Scheming Young Man draws out the scheme (won't set a wedding date) until Narcissistic Physician Father relents from withholding Plain Young Woman's inheritance if she marries Scheming Young Man. Narcissistic Physician Father tells everyone (including Scheming Aunt) how stupid Plain Young Woman is and that she will eventually come around and realize Scheming Young Man is scheming. Narcissistic Physician Father takes Plain Young Woman to Europe to force her to get over Scheming Young Man. Narcissistic Physician Father insults Plain Young Woman one too many times and she is more determined than ever to marry Scheming Young Man when they return to New York. However, Scheming Young Man decides he doesn't want to marry Plain Young Woman for a livable income (which is what she will have without her father's fortune) and tells her he can't live with himself if he causes Plain Young Woman injury by keeping her from her father's inheritance. Plain Young Woman becomes Suspicious Not-So-Young Woman. Narcissistic Physician Father dies and Suspicious Not-So-Young Woman inherits part of his fortune. Scheming Now-Balding-and-Even Older Man returns and tries once again to convince Suspicious Not-So-Young Woman to marry him (obviously having discovered that a livable income is better than no income at all). But Suspicious Not-So-Young Woman has pretty much had-it-up-to-here with all men and sends Scheming Now-Balding-and-Even Older Man away for good.
And thus continues my hate-hate relationship with most American "literature" from the late 19th/early 20th century for its focus on unhappy endings. (Looking at you, too, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sinclair Lewis.)...more
Almost as enjoyable as the first in the series, and it follows almost the exact same pattern for a "plot": there's something mysterious going on out iAlmost as enjoyable as the first in the series, and it follows almost the exact same pattern for a "plot": there's something mysterious going on out in the Far West. Eff happens to fall in with the group going out to investigate and, wouldn't you know it, Eff figures it out, saves everyone, etc. She was a bit more Mary-Sue-like in this book, which is what kept it from being quite as enjoyable as the first one.
And I'm still shipping her with Wash, even though I'm probably not supposed to....more