Karla's Reviews > Lord and Lady Spy

Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen
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I don't even know how to begin with this one. The stupidity made my brain seep out of my ears. The characters' immaturity made me seriously consider throwing my ereader at the field stone chimney in my living room. I wish I had a bottomless pit in my backyard to chuck this badly-conceived, idiotic, repetitive, anti-climactic, boring piece of crap.



Pitch A Bad Regency. Save a Persian.

I wasn't too keen on the Mr. & Mrs. Smith premise tease because, well, it seemed cheap and tricksy.



But then imagine my surprise when I got not too far into it and it was apparent that it was just a cheap gimmicky bait & switch! Shock, I tell you.



Once I got a ways into the story, I was beginning to wish that it had been more like the Brangelina flick, because at least I'd enjoyed that. This one, not so much.

It's really rare when I can say about a book that I liked nothing and hated everything. In the interests of space, I'll keep it confined to the biggies:

1) The constant bickerfest between the leads. Once Adrian and Sophia learned they were both secret agents, it was constant oneupmanship. And it wasn't charming and it wasn't witty. It was petty and relentless and had all the maturity of sticking tongues out at each other on an endless loop.



They argue over dead bodies. They argue about anything and everything. A tone, a word, a glance...and they're off! And the heroine's predictable hands-on-hips "This is 1815! Women have rights!" speeches didn't endear her to me, nor did his "Chicks as SPIES??? Go home and cook me a steak!" asides. Ooooh, Battle the Sexes Pavlovian Reader Response! *claps and flails* Quick! Choose sides! Get completely emotionally invested!!! Cheer or boo at the appropriate cues!

How about you lazy clichés both die in a fire?

2) The heroine's friggin' itchy nose. This was her dog whistle that danger be lurking, that she gets a weird feeling about this or that person just from hearing their name spoken. Her femanun intoowishun is her main asset as a spy, apparently, because she's a lousy shot, and even though she can throw a dagger accurately she always sneaks around in long, cumbersome dresses to get up close and personal so she can stab her targets. But she doesn't like killing! Very important! Her Teh Kickbuttness OMG! was so erratic and fake, especially when....

3) ...her multiple miscarriages turn her into a wreck at the mere thought of them. The sight of a pregnant woman transforms her into a fragile and completely useless object. (And until the scene where she sees a preggers she's avoided all pregnant women for several years in her work and social life. Convenient, that.) OK, I guess this was the "human interest" part of the plot, but it was wedged in there and the emotional gears kept switching whenever the author felt it convenient.

4) Which the author did again in a scene that gave me whiplash. The hero divulges the fact that he was forced to watch his traitor daddy drawn, quartered, and disemboweled when he was a tender five years old and then, within seconds, they're trying to one-up one another on how many wounds they've gotten ("I got that one in Prague." "I got that in Brussels." "I had an inner thigh wound all throughout the rest of that Haydn opera because I got shot in the ladies' room. I told you the blood was jam." "And I couldn't see well that night because I'd had chemicals thrown into my eyes in Munich." No really, that's the jist of the conversation.) Then they have to compare how well the wounds healed and their respective self-suture skills. And then they go down on each other in her sister-in-law's backyard. The ereader nearly flew at that point. The cutesy nyah-nyahs evolving into thoughtful, grudging respect was so obvious and irritating. I've got some personal pet peeves about the clunky ways authors tend to do this and Galen hit nearly every single one.

I know that a main staple of the romance formula is a variation of Fuck-Wangst-Argue, but this one did it really badly. There was nothing to offset it. No pleasing characters, no tight plot or pacing, no historical background and atmosphere. I don't know about you, but there is nothing I like more than watching two people snipe at each other for hours on end and look for excuses to prolong the bitchery by affecting shock and disbelief at something he or she said.



5) The "mystery." What a lame, piss-poor, anti-climatic whimper. No payoff! The entire mystery plot thread was a meandering Q&A session with suspects who act suspicious but have nothing to do with it at all. And the evil mastermind is around to be defeated another day! (I smell series bait.) But the hero and heroine get to trade delightfully witty barbs! (Not.) Engage in fisticuffs and knife fights with unlucky thugs on the street in broad daylight! (Puh-leeze!) Have sex in a carriage three times! (That cliche needs to fucking die already!)

I hated it. Hated hated hated it. My expectations weren't that high, but I wasn't expecting to feel such homicidal thoughts towards a BOOK. I didn't care about any of the characters and their emotions and angsts were cheaply contrived. The sex was lengthy and not that interesting. The grrlpower element made me hurl. These super-awesome "spies" blew their cover at every opportunity and could barely hold their shit together. It wasn't a Regency wallpaper, it was historical fantasy. It wasn't just banter, it was a bitchy bickerfest. (Imagine listening to Irving Berlin's "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" for 12+ hours straight.)

ETA: This story could have desperately used a long separation, a device completely UNTHINKABLE nowadays, but it might have cut down on my homicidal rage towards the characters.

Hands down and bar none, it was the most obnoxiously unentertaining romance I've ever read.
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Reading Progress

01/21/2012
19.0% "Ahhhh, I love it when the H and h have such scintillating back-and-forth exchanges. :-\

"
01/21/2012
28.0% "These cutesy "Battle of the Sexes" roms may not be for me...
Her: My vagina makes me better.
Him: My penis makes me better.
Her: Vagina!
Him: Penis!
Her: VAG!
Him: PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!
Her: vag. *smirk* I win! Hee!
" 1 comment
01/21/2012
35.0% "I just noticed that the description gives the heroine's name as Bridget. In the book she's called Sophia. Nice catch, y'all. :P"
01/21/2012
39.0% "So this chick started training as a secret agent when she was 12? And now all the wheels are coming off her emotional wagon at once? Real firm, professional grasp she has on herself thar. Ye gods, this is stupid.
" 4 comments
01/21/2012
46.0% "What?? The heroine didn't sew up her inner thigh bullet wound with a pine needle and pubic hair? Sheesh, and I thought she was capable and resourceful.
I think I should go fetch a proxy wallbanger. My ereader's starting to tremble in fear of its life."
01/21/2012
50.0% "Sex in a carriage? In a Regency wallpaper?
" 16 comments
01/21/2012
54.0% "These two bickering knuckleknobs would bitch at each other over a dead body. Oh wait, they're doing that now!

SRSLYOMGSHUTUPSHUTOMFGWILLYOUFUCKINGSHUTUP.....

" 6 comments
01/21/2012
90.0% "Looks like we're winding down to the Big Reveal and Confrontation with the Murderer...
" 2 comments
01/21/2012
100.0% "I can't believe I stayed up til 10:30 to finish this thing. But I'll sleep easy tonight knowing the piece of shite has been BAH-LEETED off my ereader." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-50 of 62) (62 new)


Karla Which is the same as "Why am I doing this to myself?" and my old (forgotten) shelf "for a flagellating mood."


Karla Touché. :D


message 3: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie WHY???


Karla Same reason. Waiting for you and letting you have a couple days' head start since you're busy with classes and stuff. :P


message 5: by Rachel (BAVR) (new)

Rachel (BAVR) Ooh, I read this one. You'll want to throw it against the wall a few times, but it isn't horrible. The heroine reads like a 21st century implant a lot of the time, but I like that she and the hero are already married. It cuts down on all the "I'll take your virginity and you'll be mine" angst. :D


Karla Well so far I wish that the story was a little more of a rip-off of Mr. & Mrs. Smith instead of just using it as the hook on the back cover, because it's kinda dull. Packed full of the same lame romance tropes. Heroine's irritating, and the hero's got wangst overload.


message 7: by Rachel (BAVR) (new)

Rachel (BAVR) Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Well so far I wish that the story was a little more of a rip-off of Mr. & Mrs. Smith instead of just using it as the hook on the back cover, because it's kinda dull. Packed full of the same lame ro..."

Yes, the Mr. & Mrs. Smith tease was just wrong, and the plot's incredibly far-fetched. If current regency books are to be believed, every other member of the aristocracy was a super-spy! :)


Karla Rachel wrote: "Yes, the Mr. & Mrs. Smith tease was just wrong, and the plot's incredibly far-fetched. If current regency books are to be believed, every other member of the aristocracy was a super-spy! :)"

And I wonder if the opening scene with Napoleon's super-secret spy aide Ducos is a reference to Napoleon's super-secret spy aide Ducos in the Sharpe series.

Anyway, looks like I have a lot to look forward to! ;-)


message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Oh, I can't WAIT for this review. Bwahaha. >:)

Love the new immature shelf, btw.


message 10: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Sarah wrote: "Oh, I can't WAIT for this review. Bwahaha. >:)

Love the new immature shelf, btw."


My hopes weren't high when I started, but OMG is it ever worse than my direst expectations. O__o The bickerfest...it's UNENDING. I want bury these two in the ground up the neck, douse them in honey, and set loose the fire ants.


message 11: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Oh noes. :( I actually bought this one way back when, too! I might cover my eyes for the bloodbath.

But, P.S., your updates were HI-LARIOUS. :D


message 12: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla I would save this one for when you're in the mood for pure idiocy and don't mind an eternal bickerfest. Srsly, most relentless one I've ever read. Makes Steve & Ginny Morgan look calm, reasoned and open to dialogue.

And the "mystery" was soooooo lame. I kept thinking up who could be the murderer and made it far more complicated than it was. Figures! Try to the give the plots of these things a bit of credit....


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "My hopes weren't high when I started, but OMG is it ever worse than my direst expectations. O__o The bickerfest...it's UNENDING. I want bury these two in the ground up the neck, douse them in honey, and set loose the fire ants. "

Yikes. Are we talking DAZZLING BRIGHTNESS bad? Or just SPINDLE COVE/LED ASTRAY bad?


message 14: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla It's hard to tell. I think all are bottom of the barrel bad in different ways. However I honestly didn't want to HARM those books, just the characters in them.

I really want to find a deep pit - maybe Leonidas' backyard well into the center of the earth - and throw this story in it. Chuck a Regency, Save A Persian.


message 15: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Well, this just sounds lame... as if the Brangelina film tease concept wasn't enough! It boggles my mind that this one has gotten any high ratings, but if a person's steady diet is illogical, immature, fluffy wallpaper gruel, it starts to look normal. Or something.


message 16: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla This definitely has been a prime exhibit of dumbed-down romance. Won't be bothering with this author's books ever again.


message 17: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie And if I ever find you venturing into this territory
Cloudy With A Chance Of Marriage (Impossible Bachelors, #3) by Kieran Kramer If You Give A Girl A Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, #4) by Kieran Kramer
I will jump on the next plane east and personally slap you silly.


message 18: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Have nooooooo fear of that.


Taiyesha-Duchess of Indiana LMAO!!! @kerrie i tried to read those and i died. my soul left my body and slapped some sense into me


message 20: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla I think those Kieran Kramer books are the kind of icky things that even bottom feeders won't touch.


L. (Climbing Mt. TBR one page at a time) If you would like to continue punishing yourself in the same theme as this, then I would recommend Seduction is Forever (Lady Spies Series, Book 3) by Jenna Petersen, only instead of ripping off Mr. and Mrs. Smith it pays homage to Charlie's Angels. You can't lose with an Aaron Spelling/Regency mashup.


message 22: by Karla (last edited Jan 22, 2012 09:19AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Oh HELL TO THE NO! And it's Avon, too. Hmmm, why am I not surprised? I'll cop to being rather shocked that Lord and Lady Spy had a more intense level of formulaic lameness than the worst Avons I've read. Aim high!

I read your review for that, and the whole talk vs. doing was the same here. These two morons were supposedly the best of the best in the service and each one admired the other by their code names (except he/Wolf wanted to congratulate her/Saint on her work, whereas she/Saint simply wanted to dance with and be fawned over by the oh-so-handsome (in her mind) Agent Wolf. Gag me.) HOWEVER, their super-awesome skills at intelligence and interrogation aren't on display for the reader because they're bitching at and sabotaging each other. We just have to accept being told that they're super-spies without peer in execution of duty and professional behavior.


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I wish I could 'like' this fifty times over. You GO, girl! :D Extra lurve for the 300 pit & Keaton sadface photo op. Bwahaha.

And you're right - they're all variations on the same bottom-level of suckitude.


message 24: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Heh, this review is more like an email rant but who the eff cares. It's from the HEART, baby!

I should resize that Buster pic. He be way too small. :(


message 25: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Indeed, it's the very definition of "gut reaction." But with such a huge-ass market of this crapola, gut reactions serve an important purpose for others -- i.e. you've spared several people the agony of brain diarrhea.

Who says you're not a humanitarian at heart? ;)


message 26: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie You mean there's no Long Separation in today's romances? (I don't read 'em, so I don't know.)

Why???? I always like those. Otherwise it's just the H and h together all the time 24/7....


message 27: by Karla (last edited Jan 23, 2012 05:51AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla No, none! Readers want to see the hero and heroine be monogamous together the entire book. Let it be written, so let it be done. I hate it. >:(

Therefore, when I read these things, the H and h have to be pretty damn good for me to want to see their ugly mugs together in the same room for the entire book (since today's roms have an unspoken rule for them to meet by pg 10 or the end of the first chapter AT THE VERY LEAST.) No wonder romances have become so friggin' cookie cutter with restraints like that. I have yet to read a newer romance and feel like it's a take-my-breath-away ADVENTURE.

When they're cardboard fucktards like Lord and Lady Smythe, omg, it's excruciating.


message 28: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie I guess Monogamy does have that soooooothing quality to it... ;)

I think I can say with total and utter conviction that I will never pick up any of these newer romances. So I will be counting on your awesome ranty reviews. :D


message 29: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla That Adele Ashworth book was good, so I'll stick with her. But that's the only one I can say I honestly enjoyed. Not good averages for however many I've attempted to consume. >:P


message 30: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Now I'm extra curious to read the Ashworth you mailed over. :P I also picked up a Virginia Henley on PBS, so I'm hoping that one goes better. But VH started writing a long time ago, so I've way more faith that she'll include an actual STORY amongst the purple prose.

(since today's roms have an unspoken rule for them to meet by pg 10 or the end of the first chapter AT THE VERY LEAST.)

It blows my mind how restrictive that is -- and how people continue to demand it. If a romance slips through the publishing cracks that doesn't follow the standard H/h rules (not that it happens often :P), readers complain that it's boring. Apparently it stretches their avocado masks too much for the H/h to develop characters before they begin to interact. W.T.F.


message 31: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla You're making me nervous about you reading the Ashworth. Don't want to get your hopes up too high! But read it like a Scooby Doo mystery mansion kinda thing and it should go well. :D

Yeah, these "rules" make so many of these romances read like character types going through the same old paces. I simply don't have a feel for the character as an individual because the "meet cute" deadline is ticking. The H and h always end up seeming more like a two-headed thing, not two separate people. Blech.


message 32: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Nah, I trust your judgment. ;) I'll treat it like a pulpy gothic & look to enjoy the Scooby Doo aspects. :D

What kills me is that I'm not looking for Wilkie-esque finely tuned awesomeness when I open the new HRs (despite what Lol Cats nay-sayers think). I always feel my expectations are sufficiently lowered...yet the damn things continue to get worse. How is that even possible?!


message 33: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Sarah wrote: "I always feel my expectations are sufficiently lowered...yet the damn things continue to get worse. How is that even possible?!"

Same here! But I'm fast moving into the territory of simply reading these things knowing I'll hate them and do it as a way to scratch that MST itch. The wide-eyed optimism has been ground into the mud way too often.


message 34: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Maybe we're just hardcore picky readers.

*checks recent list*

....Naaaah. :P The books blow.


message 35: by Elle (new)

Elle I love the my-iq-just-barfed-100-points shelf--and you have 11 books in it!


message 36: by Karla (last edited Jan 25, 2012 03:22AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla And I'm reading another one right now! :P Thanks, Janelle Taylor.


message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "And I'm reading another one right now! :P Thanks, Janelle Taylor."

Haha. That made me think of Family Guy, when Peter says "Thanks, Geritol." :D

I'm planning to binge on shitty bodice rippers as soon as I'm finished with FEAST (which will be tonight, woohoo). Having just read a good book will help my ruthlessness. *halo*


message 38: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla I need a palate cleanser after this one. Will probably be a Bertrice Small oldie.


message 39: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant This story could have desperately used a long separation, a device completely UNTHINKABLE nowadays, but it might have cut down on my homicidal rage towards the characters.

BIG SMOOCH. I love it when you virulently hate a book. :) Great review!


message 40: by Tammy (new)

Tammy Walton Grant Kerrie wrote: "And if I ever find you venturing into this territory
Cloudy With A Chance Of Marriage (Impossible Bachelors, #3) by Kieran KramerIf You Give A Girl A Viscount (Impossible Bachelors, #4) by Kieran Kramer
I will jump on the next plane east and pe..."


ME. TOO.


message 41: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "I need a palate cleanser after this one. Will probably be a Bertrice Small oldie."

Is that all? :P I'd have thought your current turdy trend would require Falconhurst WTFery as balm.


message 42: by Karla (last edited Jan 26, 2012 04:31AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla @ Tammy: Those two characters desperately needed to be AWAY from each other for awhile. They had such a good thing going when they were living separate lives. :P


@ Sarah: Wellllll, I DID pull this one from the shelf.
Passion's Sweet Sacrifice by Melissa Hepburne

It looks godawful, but in a FUN way. Plus the dude on the cover is Laurence Oliver from The Prince and the Showgirl, so that's some cover art WTFery right there.


message 43: by Sarah (new)

Sarah That does look awesomely bad! And WW1, no less. If nothing else a change of setting should help soothe your ruffled feathers.


message 44: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Yeah, I'm in the mood for some kinky, nasty-ass Huns ravishing pale Belgian flesh.


message 45: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Haha. Let us know if that pans out. :P


message 46: by Susan (new)

Susan Karla - you shouldn't be so shy in writing your reviews :D

Will stay well away from this one, though it didn't really sound that interesting to me, and now that I've read your entertaining review, will avoid. Like your movie clips, though!


message 47: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla Heh, some books make me come out of my shell. :P I agree, the plot doesn't sound interesting...and it wasn't. It all played out the way it was supposed to. No surprises. I tend to like getting shaken and tossed about by a book, whacked in the head by a WTF boomerang or something!


message 48: by Jen (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jen I think I would rather pay for your kind of entertainment fodder reviews. Although I didn't hate the book quite so passionately, it did irritate me aplenty—as nearly ALL Regency romances these days do. It's usually the hyped up chirpy pseudo-British dialogue that pisses me off so bad.


message 49: by Karla (new) - rated it 1 star

Karla LOL Thanks. :P I get what you mean about the dialogue - it's so relentlessly snarky but VERY civilized and stilted and dull.


Elizabeth (Liz) The Book? Sucked golf balls. (Me: 2.5 stars)

Your review? A fantabulous masterpiece of loathing!!

Brava! Brava!!!


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