Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lisa Kleypas: Mine Till Midnight

Mine Till Midnight: B-
Amelia Hathaway & Cam Rohan

A little spin-off of the Wallflower series, Lisa Kleypas takes us into the world of chaos and of the Roma.

The Hathaways are a family of misfits, with four sisters (Amelia, Poppy, Beatrix, and Winnifred), one brother (Leo), and a gypsie (Kev Merripen). They are truly a strange bunch, with Leo cynical and bitter from losing his first love to the scarlet fever, Beatrix's problem of stealing things - albeit accidentally and her curious collection of animals, including her pet ferret, Dodger; Win's weakness as a result from contracting scarlet fever; and Kev - the wordless and almost menacing gypsie.

In charge is Amelia, practical and steadfast Amelia, spinster but too busy worrying about the state of the family to truly think about herself. Besides, she had given her heart away before, only to have it be smashed into a thousand pieces.

She meets Cam when she searches through brothels for her brother, Leo, who is a complete mess after the death of his first love. He saves her from drunken fools, fighting for her, because he is attracted to her, for some strange reason. She is unlike the other women he's had, perhaps the reason why Amelia is so intriguing to him.

He then shows up on the Hathaway estate - the estate that had not been taken care of for years - and offers to help Amelia out.

She is attracted by his different, part Roma looks and his suave way of handling difficult situations.

Cam Rohan is a hero unlike any other. He is ridiculously wealthy, but it is wealth that he has no desire for because of the bad stigma the Roma associate with money, especially a white man's money. He is in the strange limbo of not being accepted by the British and yet not being accepted by the Roma because of his mixed bloodlines. Trying to figure out his identity - who he really is - is an endeavor, and he finds himself at peace with the Hathaways, who are all far from being conventional.

I loved that Cam was the hero for Amelia; he was her knight in shining armor, even though she was fully capable of handling things on her own. Not to say that all women need men to save them or any foolish things like that (*grin*), but sometimes, it's nice to have someone take care of you, even if you can do it yourself. It's always nice to know that someone is watching out for you.

I wasn't as into the Hathaways as I'd hoped, but it was a good read, full of surprises and laughs. I'm especially excited for Win and Kev's book, which is next in the series - and also the next review for LK week!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lisa Kleypas: Scandal in Spring

Here is my review of the fourth Wallflower novel from a couple months ago, being reposted for LK extravaganza!

Okay, I really want to do a reread of it now. ASAP.

Scandal in Spring: A
Daisy Bowman & Matthew Swift
The Wallflower series 4 (last)

“I want you to do everything you’ve ever imagined doing with me…” With those scandalous words, Daisy Bowman, the sole “Wallflowre” yet to be married, seals her fate with the last man she ever expected to tempt her.

After spending three London seasons searching for a husband, Daisy Bowman’s father has told her in no uncertain terms that she must find a husband. Now. And if Daisy can’t snare an appropriate suitor, she will marry the man he chooses – the ruthless and aloof Matthew Swift.

Daisy is horrified. A Bowman never admits defeat, and she decides to do whatever it takes to marry someone…anyone… other than Matthew. But she doesn’t count on Matthew’s unexpected charm…or the blazing sensuality that soon flares beyond both their control. And Daisy discovers that the man she has always hated just might turn out to be the man of her dreams. But right at the moment of sweet surrender, a scandalous secret is uncovered…one that could destroy both Matthew and a love more passionate and irresistible than Daisy’s wildest fantasies.

Since I’ve been proclaiming my love for Lisa Kleypas, I’ve decided to write a haiku dedicated to her.

Oh, Lisa Kleypas
Please write your novels faster
I love your stories

I should become a poet, you say? So I’ve been told my entire life. I’m kidding. But I do love 99% of Ms. Kleypas’s stories, and Scandal in Spring was a fabulous end to the Wallflower series.

Daisy is romantic. She loves to read. She is also very short. (At this point, I’m thinking I can substitute in Daisy’s name and put in Alice.) Her father is a mean hag. (What’s the male form of hag?) He orders that she marry – soon. Or else she will have to marry the self-made super-wealthy American Matthew Swift.

It can’t be too bad, right?
It isn’t, except for the fact that her father ordered her to do it.

So her lovely (but kinda naggy and kinda bossy) older sister Lillian (book 3: It Happened One Autumn) hosts a hunting/fishing/ some-sort of a cool party where lots of eligible gentlemen (and few ladies) are invited for Daisy’s choosing pleasure. It’s been three years since Daisy has last seen Matthew, and to her, he remains an awkward but ambitiously avaricious type of fellow, one who reminds her greatly of her own unpleasant father.

But when she finds out the mysterious man who has been on her mind is Matthew – her mind is opened to a world of possibilities. She and …Matthew…!

I love how Daisy and Matthew meet – it’s a bit of a tease and sigh-worthy.
I love how there is chemistry in the air between them – you can practically hear crackling.
I love how she seduces him – hot hot hot!


The whole locking-the-door, dropping key-down-bodice was so hot. Seriously!! Ingenious of Daisy and something I so would not have the guts for, unfortunately.

End notes

I love how he’s loved her ever since way back when – aw!!
I love how he tries to stop himself from loving her because he’s so damn honorable. Okay, I don’t really love this, but it’s still endearing.
I love how they love each other.
I also love the little cameos of the other Wallflowers.
I don’t particularly particularly love it when the scandal explodes since it was a little predictable, but I still kind-of love it because well… I just do!

Read this book and the other Wallflower books. (Well, you might be able to skip the first because I remember not being so fond of it, but I might have to re-read it. I might have been delusional.)

The Wallflower series

  1. Secrets of a Summer Night - Annabelle
  2. It Happened One Autumn - Lillian
  3. The Devil in Winter - Evie
  4. Scandal in Spring - Daisy

Have fun reading! Cheers to good friends and great books.

Lisa Kleypas: Devil in Winter

Devil in Winter: A
Evanegeline Jenner & Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent

A devil's bargain

Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!

Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.

But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts -- which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions...or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.

At the end of the last book - It Happened One Autumn, we discover that Sebastian is in need of a bride - the wealthier the better.

Evie's father is seriously ill and her awful relatives treat her like a pile of cow dung, so she escapes and proposes to Lord St. Vincent, hoping that marriage will grant her the freedom to tend to her ailing father.

Sebastian finds the proposal is highly comical. Evie is the shyest Wallflower, with the painful tendency to stutter when talking. While she is unconventionally beautiful with her flame-red hair and freckled face, speaking with her is known to be a trying ordeal. So to have her propose to the cynical Sebastian is unheard of!

However, she asks that they not do the dirty deed in bed, a condition that Sebastian isn't hard-pressed to agree to.

So off they go to Gretna Green!

It is the months after the marriage that is completely fun to read. St. Vincent needs to manage Evie's father's famous gaming business - Jenner's - and look over Evie. He is surprised to find that there is so much more underneath her stuttering and he is strangely attracted to her tenderness.

When I first read the Wallflower series, I loved this Evie and Sebastian's story the most. LK stays true to Evie's shy nature, while bringing out the core of who she (and he) really is (are). One can really see the dramatic change in Sebastian and when they both make their love known to each other - oh, it's grand!

A great read, I'm always thrilled to snap open their story and reread it, just for old times sake.

Lisa Kleypas: It Happened One Autumn

It Happened One Autumn: A
Lillian Bowman & Marcus Marsden, Lord Westcliff

Continuing with the Wallflower series, is Lillian Bowman's story.

The Wallflowers are back at Stony Cross, the home of Lord Marcus Marsden, a duke with bloodlines greater than any other's. A progressive peer, he is the definition of conventional and honorable, with a small dash of 'uptight' mixed in.

He is horrified, absolutely horrified, with Lillian Bowman. She's loud, rambunctious, and hell - he's seen her playing rounders (baseball) in her undergarments! He's convinced she's in England to wreak havoc. And the more they come across with each other, the more she gets on his nerves. Why did she have to talk and walk so funny? Why couldn't she be like everyone else? Spectacularly, Lillian feels the same way about Marcus as he does for her.

When he loses self control and kisses her, she uses it as a means to trap him into agreeing to get his mother to sponsor her and Daisy into society. After all, it means nothing that they are mega-rich; their social graces are atrocious.

Frustratingly, Marcus grows increasingly attracted to Lillian, and is upset when she catches the eye of the ultimate devilish rake - Lord St. Vincent, a gorgeous but cynical peer. And when he finds her completely and adorably drunk in his library, one autumn afternoon...

Read on to find out!

I love that LK's characters are flawed and realistic, and yet, readers grow to love them. Lillian is bossy and impulsive; Marcus high-handed and domineering - and yet when they are together, they soften each other by first infuriating the other person (LOL) and then bringing out the side of the person that is hidden from the world.

I loved the scene where Lillian unknowingly seduces Marcus, I also love the perfume motif in the story.

And of course, I loved seeing them fall in love. Their 'hatred' for one another (the hatred that each freely express towards each other) is full of chemistry and tension, and while they bicker like cats and dogs, it is so adorable how they cannot get enough of each other.


more Lisa Kleypas

I guess when I wrote that it was going to be Lisa Kleypas week, I failed to mention that it was going to be Lisa Kleypas weeks.

I hope your Christmas went well and that it was as hectic as mine - lol.

Trekking onward, with our LK glory: It Happened One Autumn.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Lisa Kleypas: Secrets of a Summer Night

Secrets of a Summer Night: A
Annabelle Peyton & Simon Hunt
The Wallflowers Series #1

Annabelle and Simon's story is the first in the Wallflower series. I read it ages ago and didn't like it because I didn't like Annabelle. whom I viewed as a shallow, greedy, money-grubbing punk.

But in honor of I-love-Lisa-Kleypas-week, I re-read it and to my surprise, loved it.

How could I have not liked it the first time around? There must have been a misunderstanding!

Annabelle Peyton is a gorgeous on-the-wall spinster at twenty-five years of age. Without a dowry and the poor economic state of her family, she finds it impossible to find an adequate suitor.

It is at a ball that she finally speaks with three other young ladies who have also been labeled as "outcasts" in the ton. They choose to call themselves the Wallflowers and agree to help themselves find husbands. Of the young ladies, there are the Bowman sisters - Lillian and Daisy, whose family is ridiculously wealthy but to everyone's chagrin, the Bowmans are American and uncultured. The last is Evangeline Jenner, the daughter of the man who owns a famous gaming house in London. She has flame colored hair and a freckled face; unconventionally beautiful but is horribly shy and speaks with a stutter.

When Annabelle realizes the dire situation she, her mother, and younger brother are in, she decides to marry wealthy and a peer, no matter the cost.

Unfortunately for her, she has caught the eye of Simon Hunt, a son of a butcher ...from the working class! He is handsome, tall, and arrogantly aggressive. His alpha attitude intrigues her, but she knows she cannot marry him because he is of the working class.

Simon Hunt has worked his way up, amassing ludicrous amounts of money as a businessman. He finds himself in a limbo when he realizes he is neither accepted by the ton (because of his family origins, and because he works for his living) nor his true middle-class peers (because he is so wealthy and he interacts with the British peers).

He sees Annabelle and immediately falls for her. He senses that she is the one for him... except for the fact that she continuously rejects him.

The Wallflowers decide that since Annabelle is the oldest, they ought to work together to find her a husband first. They all venture to Stony Cross, Lord Marcus Marsden's country home.

Annabelle meets Simon there and is horrified. But excited.
At Stony Cross, Annabelle deems Lord Kendall to be the best candidate as her husband, knowing that he is all wrong for her and her for him.

And things get serious when Lord Kendall develops an interest in Annabelle....

What I love about LK's novels is that usually the heroes are self-made. They're from ordinary background and make something out of themselves. Simon is an excellent example of this. He works his tail of, knowing that he would never be satisfied as a butcher's son.

Another characteristic I love about Simon is his determination in making Annabelle his. He genuinely cares for her and expresses this to Annabelle. He speaks to her and shows her that he knows who she is.

Annabelle is another story; she cares for her family and therefore decides to marry wealthy, however, her stubbornness and pride prevent her from pursuing her attraction to Simon. Even after they are together, she seems to be embarrassed of Simon's humble origins.

However, this is remedied and she redeems herself when.. *spoilers - highlight to read*

she shows her love for Simon by risking her life for him. She redeems herself 1000%

*end spoiler*

... how can you not love her and Simon both?

The end of the story is fabulous. All the lead-up to the ending is worth it and wonderful.

All I can say is: Secrets of a Summer Night is what a love story ought to look like.

Is it May yet??

On a non-Lisa Kleypas note...

I just finished Elizabeth Hoyt's To Seduce a Sinner. It was just okay.

But!!! I am so excited for the third in her The Legend of the Four Soldiers series, To Beguile a Beast.

It. Sounds. Amazing.


...I just want May to come. Is it May yet?

Do you think if I emailed Elizabeth Hoyt profusely, she would pity me and send me the text or send me an ARC?


Lisa Kleypas: A Wallflower Christmas

A Wallflower Christmas: A
Hannah Appleton & Rafe Bowman

The Wallflowers are four young ladies in London who banded together in their wild and wickedly wonderful searches for true love. Now happily married, they join together once again to help one of the world’s most notorious rogues realize that happiness might be right under the mistletoe.…

It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts... (amazon)

YAY for Lisa Kleypas!

It's a little strange singing praises for Ms. Kleypas, especially when I haven't read all of her novels. However, she has become one of my most favorite authors, who is unlikely to disappoint through her charming and sensual novels.

A Wallflower Christmas is perfect for the HOLIDAY SEASON (and upcoming Christmas, in a scant three days!!) and also perfect to start off my I-Love-Lisa-Kleypas extravaganza!

For those of you unfamiliar with the Wallflower series, it is a story of four young ladies who were the outcasts - the wallflowers - during their debut. They quickly befriend each other and strive to marry, and coincidentally fall in loooove.

The Wallflower series are as follows:
1. Secrets of a Summer Night
2. It Happened One Autumn
3. Devil in Winter
4. Scandal in Spring

Reviews for these novels will be here in the days to come, however, in A Wallflower Christmas, we are introduced to Rafe Bowman, Lillian(book 2) and Daisy's (book 4) eldest brother.

He is a magnetic "rake" from the United States, as is the rest of the Bowman family, and comes to London to secure a marriage that his parents have deemed worthwhile and pleasing to them and everyone else.

The chosen bride is Lady Natalie, beautiful but uninteresting. Rafe quickly loses interest in her, but acknowledges the fact that she would be a "good match" because of their dull compatibility.

He, however, meets her chaperone and a common woman, Hannah, and is utterly intrigued with her wit and personality.

They try to resist each other, however, sparks fly and the chemistry between them in intense.

Rafe is left to make a difficult decision: marry Natalie and live without the one whom he loves, or marry Hannah and be cut out from his family (aka parents).

It is surprising that I was able to relate to these characters since the novel itself is quite short.
Unsurprisingly, one of the qualms I had with this story was that it was too short. Too short too short too short! Boo!! If I have to wait another several months for her next contemporary release, she might as well have made the story some five-hundred pages, or something along those lines...

But I digress. In a meager two-hundred something pages, I fell in love with "common and plain" Hannah and the devilish Rafe.

I loved how Rafe loved Hannah and how Hannah loved Rafe.

And, ohmygosh, I'm a total sucker for heroes who write passionate love letters to or about the woman they love.

Rafe did so and the letter was magical.
If I was Hannah, I pretty much would have been like, "See ya! I'm going to elope with Rafe." or maybe even, "Sure Rafe, I'll sleep with you. Right now? Okay, let's go!"

(um.. TooMuchInfo? Sorry folks.)

Anyway, this story was beautiful and Christmas-y, so it left me feeling all gooey and mushy and all holiday-seasony. I also loved seeing all of the former Wallflowers (especially Daisy and Matthew) and how (unrealistically) happy they are in their marriages.

What a (sigh) delicious read.

It's Lisa Kleypas week!

I've declared this coming week (December 15-22) to be Lisa Kleypas week!

I know, I probably should have done this when one of her novels this fall (Seduce Me at Sunrise or A Wallflower Christmas) , but I like to be different and unique!

Regardless, I've decided that my task this winter is to glom LK's books, even though I'll probably be depressed after I finish. What will I have to keep me company if I fall into a book slump?? However, this glomming must be done!

So this week will be full of Lisa Kleypas reviews and probably love letters to the author, herself.

My wish is that she never come upon this blog. I would be mortified......and thrilled because I'm a punk like that.

Let the LK love begin!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Julia Quinn: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever: C-
Miranda Cheever & Nigel Bevelstoke, Viscount Turner

At the age of ten, Miranda Cheever showed no signs of Great Beauty. And even at ten, Miranda learned to accept the expectations society held for her--until the afternoon when Nigel Bevelstoke, the handsome and dashing Viscount Turner, solemnly kissed her hand and promised her that one day she would grow into herself, that one day she would be as beautiful as she already was smart.

And even at ten, Miranda knew she would love him forever.

This was the most disappointing read, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this book won the 2007 Best Regency Historical Romance in the Romance Writers of America's annual RITA Awards. (But then again, I don't understand how JQ won it for her novel, On the Way to the Wedding because that one wasn't too great either...)

The breakdown of the story, short and un-sweet. Miranda Cheever writes in her diary every day. (I like that. Yay, journals!) She is not a Great Beauty. She accepts this. She meets Nigel Bevelstoke, older brother of her best friend...and she falls in looove.

Years later, Nigel has gone through a nasty marriage and is now a widow. His wife was a total loser, cuckolder, and what-not. Unsurprisingly, he's grown bitter.

He sees Miranda when she hangs out with her still-best friend, Olivia. He doesn't really notice her, but she's having heart palpitations from being in his presence.

And then one day he notices her.
And then he marries her because, I can't remember the reason.
But then after the marriage - they have great sex.
And then some more time passes, and she's about to give birth and is having complications. (She might die)
He realizes he loves her... *yawn*

Definitely not one of JQ's best novels. Not very interesting and not too romantic. No post-reading obsession of the book. In fact, I do believe I read this book in September... and a mere three months later, I fail to remember the details. This usually never happens to me. (Perhaps the tears of boredom made the words blurry to me - too blurry for me to remember...?)

With that said, I shall leave with the unanswerable question: since TSDOMMC won the 2007 RITA..... are the RITA awards rigged?

Think about it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I don't think I've ever blogged about the sister-duo, Dixie Cash (Pamela Cumbie and Jeffery McClanahan), but let me just say that their books are wickedly funny. (By wicked, I mean "very." LOL)

The first thing that caught my eye was Cash's book's title.

My Heart May Be Broken But My Hair Still Looks Great, awesome!!

Intrigued, I checked the book out, giggling to myself. When I cracked open the spine and started reading - I laughed aloud at the hilarity of Debbie Sue and Edwina.

MYMBBBMHSLG (lmao) was fabulous so then I borrowed the 'prequel' to it: Since You're Leaving Anyway, Take Out the Trash. Oh goodness, who comes up with these amazing titles? It's a wonderful advertising ploy - the titles alone are enough to entice an innocent victim into purchasing the novel!

Their third, one that I haven't read yet, is called I Gave You My Heart But You Sold it Online. I have yet to read because the novel entails the antics of a 12-year old girl... and pre-pubescent teenagers tend to mildly irritate me.

However - here's the reason for the squeal - Cash's fourth novel is out (HOORAY!) and awesomely titled, Don't Make Me Choose Between You and My Shoes. Just for the title... just for the title, I shall read IGYMHBYSIO and then proceed to devour DMMCBYAMS.

So, readers, if you have a niggling for big-haired, hairdressers who also manage a private detective business (The Domestic Equalizers), or hunger for a light-but-hilarious romance, read Dixie Cash.

Note: I heartily recommend MYMBBBMHSLG (the second).
[A review will be coming shortly.]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Emily Giffin: Love the One You're With

Love the One You're With: A+

The New York Times bestselling author of SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE, and BABY PROOF delivers another captivating, straight-from-the heart novel. This is a story for everyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I'm with, when I can't forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy's marriage doesn't just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she's meant to live. LOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

Let me rave of a book I just recently finished that I love. It's the fourth novel of chick-lit writer, Ms. Emily Giffin. Giffin shot to the bestseller lists with her debut novel, Something Borrowed, and then Something Blue.

When my book buddy, Nance, told me about how much she loved Giffin, I quickly jumped onto amazon to investigate these amazing books. I was horrified when I read the synopsis of Something Borrowed. The heroine gets drunk at a party-thing and wakes up the next morning next to her best friend's fiance.

Adultery is a big no-no for Alice.
Adultery with your best friend's lover is an even bigger no-no.

"No, Nance, no way jose," I told her.

A couple months ago, she texted me, telling me how much she loved Love the One You're With. "You have got to read it, Alice!" LTOYW is a story of what happens when your old love - the one that got away - reappears in your life.

I agreed and told Nance I'd read it, if only to discuss with her. I read... and loved it.
I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down.
I got no sleep the night I started the story.

Ellen is a thirty-three year old newlywed. Her marriage to her husband, Andy, is perfect; he is a wonderful, wonderful man who is incredibly thoughtful, handsome, caring, and loving.

It's a couple of months into their marriage when Ellen sees her ex, Leo. The one with whom she had a flaming, passionate relationship. The one who she loved with everything she had. The one who was probably 'the love of her life.'

And it's after she sees Leo, after she start re-talking to him, that she starts to question her marriage - and the love - she has for Andy. She wonders if she made the correct decision in marrying him.

I was reading this, praying that she would make the correct decision. It's really a compliment for Giffin - as an author, you know you have talent when your reader is rooting for both Andy and Leo.

Oh, if only Ellen hadn't married Andy.
Oh, if only Leo had appeared sooner.
Oh, if only Ellen hadn't seen Leo.
Andy! Leo! Andy! Leo!

...see, it's chaos. Absolute chaos.
And I loved it.

Giffin's words are powerful and you can feel - almost tangibly feel - the love, frustration, aggravation, and confusion pouring out from Ellen. She is an excellent writer - a smart chick-lit writer (sorry, I kind-of think chick-lit authors write less-than-great, with all the italicized words and parantheses and what-not) and one whose words you want to keep on reading.

If you've ever had a 'the one that got away' type experience, or have felt the slow crumble of a relationship with one whom you've loved deeply - you'll relate to this story. And you'll love it.

In short: READ!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Catherine Anderson: Baby Love

Baby Love: DNF
Maggie Stanley & Rafe Kendrick
Kendrick/ Coulter series 1

Though I usually love Catherine Anderon's novels, I found this one to be most uninteresting. It is the beginning of her series (one with many, many novels - like eight or nine?) and I'm glad I read some of the other books in the series before reading this one or else I would have given up on the entire series.

From reading roughly half the book (approximately 160 pages), this is what I got:

Rafe lost his beloved wife and child.
He proceeded to lose himself and "ran away" from his home and duties, traveling around to different cities on trains.
He meets Maggie on one of these trains.
She's a damsel in distress.
He falls in love with her - almost overnight.
He takes care of her when she needs to be taken care of at the hospital.
He immediately makes amends with his estranged family - and they welcome him back with open arms.

..and then I stopped.


First, I hate second-love stories.
Like, when the hero or heroine has desperately and passionately loved XYZ and XYZ dies. They're heartbroken. Then the new hero/ heroine steps in and takes the place of the former love. (Ex: Susan Elizabeth Phillip's Dream a Little Dream, Lisa Kleypas's Where Dreams Begin..)
I am a huge advocate of first-love stories and therefore, losing one's first love only to move on and love a second love, though realistic, is not something I'm chum chum with.

Second, how unrealistic is this story?
Not that I look for realism in a romance, per se, but the whole journey of falling in love (aka the reason why I read romances) was lost in this story. Rafe falls in love with Maggie ...just there and then. No real explanations. And even after the story progresses with him loving her, it never really explains why he loved her. Bogus!!, I say.

Third, I flat-out lost interest. I put it down - in mild exasperation - and never wanted to pick it back up.

Sadly, this one is a no-go, DNF.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Joanna Bourne: My Lord and Spymaster

My Lord and Spymaster: C-
Jessamyn Whitby & Captain Sebastian Kennett

Bourne's latest espionage-based series historical (following The Spymaster's Lady) entices with subtle subterfuge and heated romance. Jess Whitby, daughter of suspected spy Josiah Whitby, is doing everything in her power to exonerate her imprisoned father. In order to free him, she must prove that someone other than her father is the Cinq, a notorious mole. But Jess has met her match in Capt. Sebastian Kennett, wealthy bastard son of an English nobleman, equally as clever at keeping tabs on Jess as she is at tracking him. Sebastian is responsible for Josiah's arrest; Jess believes that Sebastian may be the Cinq; their mutual attraction proves a lovely foil for their suspicious minds. (amazon)

I just know I'm going to be in the minority, but I didn't find much in this story that I really enjoyed.

The plot, after a while, became tedious, as did the characters. I felt like the plot moved really slowly and I lost interest half or a third-way through. I chugged along, hoping that the romance between Jess and Sebastian would outweigh the dullness of finding Cinq, going after the suspected Cinq candidates, and Jess's constant visitations with her father.

The romance was lukewarm. It was a lot of Sebastian trying to empower Jess, but Jess resisting, and then them showing their love for each other in dangerous ways. Example: Jess going off to her previous master (when she was a thief) so that Sebastian wouldn't have to go himself since the master is a feared and very dangerous slumlord, etc. Those and other kinds of actions that I would normally find sigh-worthy grated my nerves.

Then there was the suspicion between Jess and Sebastian, since Sebastian was one of the candidates who could possibly be Cinq. Then Jess trying to un-love Sebastian because of the uncertainty, and yadda yadda yadda...

Before I knew it, I wanted the novel to be over and I didn't care much if Sebastian and Jess ever did get together.

I hate to say it, since I did enjoy Ms. Bourne's debut novel The Spymaster's Lady, but I would have rather passed on this one.