Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adele Ashworth 'The Duke's Indiscretion'

Total Spoiler Review

Charlotte is the sister of an Earl, but she is also an extremely talented opera singer. Colin is the Duke of Newark, and he's been madly infatuated with the opera singer Lottie English for three years. She's managed to elude his attempts to meet her at the theater twice, but he comes up with the idea to sneak back stage during a performance. Oh finally, a truly smart hero. Once Lottie finds out how much he wants her, she decides to approach him as Charlotte and propose marriage because she needs money to be able to tour Europe singing opera.

These two marry despite Charlotte's ownership of a priceless piece of music that she could have sold to finance her singing and the rest of her life, for that matter. What a relief to have a smart logical heroine. The real trouble begins on the wedding night. Colin buys her a 'costume' lingerie thingy with super high heels to match. He then proceeds to mistake her attempts to dislodge him (She's sitting on his lap. How is she unable to dislodge him? But I digress) for extreme throws of passion and her cries for climax. Hmmm.

Truthfully this in and of itself would not have put me off of this book entirely. But she tells him the next morning how painful it was, he gets drunk (I assume feeling guilty) but he has to confront her again and ask if she climaxed. She further clarifies how yucky this was for her. Okay, I'm thinking from his "I am a god damned idiot." that he's now got the picture. So of course, a couple days later he pins her in a carriage, kisses her senseless, demands that she admit she wants him or he will make love to her right there and then. (They are now stopped in front of their home and he's slammed the door on the door-opening servant.) Hmm. Colin talks to his friends who tell him he's a total loser, he put a get-up on a virgin, hello! This is yet another revelation to him so he finally decides he needs to seduce her.

You get the picture. But what astounds me is the author continues to have this guy pursue his seduction with commands and coercive physical measures. Um, is this supposed to be sexy? And if that's not enough, after he's gotten her to the magical climax, he thinks to himself, maybe coming on to another woman would move this along a little. I'm soooo in love with this guy. And he gets all excited about telling her about his secret life as a master forger but decides he'll wait to tell her that he does it for the government until she truly trusts him by letting him penetrate her. Wow.

Okay, fine, I didn't like the book. Not only did I not like either character but their development was inconsistent on top of it all. And the plot feels completely contrived because of the lack of logic to her needing to marry him, etc. Skip it.

Historical Romance 2007: 1 out of 5 dastardly girl friends.

image from clip art of dot com

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jennifer LaBrecque 'Yule Be Mine'

Kate was talking about taking on a Blaze Harlequin book so when I saw Yule Be Mine in my grocery store, I could not resist. Can I digress and tell you some one actually requested All Night With The Boss from me on Paper Book Swap. *snort*

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. I've mentioned before the lower standards I hold for Harlequin's (without more exposure, I really can't say if this is deserved or not) and this book totally delivered. Giselle had the hots for her brother-in-law but never would have acted on it. Then her sister's marriage breaks up (sister cheated on hero, conveniently enough) and a couple of years later, Sam tracks Giselle (the journalist) down and gets himself assigned as her photographer. They head off to Sedona, AZ with the strangely uncontrollable sparks flying.

These are sort of like paint by numbers characters, not as complex as a real painting, but not badly done all around. Sam's sole mission in life seems to be fulfilling Giselle's every sexual fantasy, to wit he gets some help from a magical amulet. I could have done without the magic which was worked in pretty clunkily (hey, I love fantasy/magical books, this was just poor execution). But it certainly facilitated the sex that he had a direct report on her every sexual fantasy through said amulet. Strangely enough the fantasies were hotter than some of the actual sex depictions. Well, maybe not strangely enough. :)

Anyway, overall decent writing (mostly), quite decent characters, silly plot, lots of explicit sex and I finished it in one night. What's not to like.

Harlequin Blaze Contemporary Romance 2008: 4 out of 5 purple ribbed vibrators with a curved tip.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Crazy Lady on Campus

I haven't written a non-review post in a while and there's no time like the present. I can not resist linking to Jane at Dear Author's Romance Apologia Scale post and test, as it is hysterical. I'm an adult returning student (to college, not high school, although I've had that nightmare once or twice) and let me just tell you, I try to avoid bringing any additional 'crazy lady' attention to myself if I can help it. I read this post and had to put my head down I was laughing so hard, in the student union, during lunch time.

Really, if you are a woman and read at all, read this post. If you are a woman or man and you read romance (or any genre fiction) read the post and then take the test. And if you just miss the Cosmo quizzes, this one's for you too. You know who you are.

Let's just say I am such a Serious Sally and NO ONE wants to sit next to me in class! :) But I consider this an improvement on my previous Debby Downer status, so GO Sally.

Thanks to Jessica for the great link.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cathy Maxwell "In the Highlander's Bed"

Constance is unhappily enrolled in a girl's school in Scotland after she and her three sisters leave America to find a better life in London (who sold them that fantasy in 1808?). After her two sisters manage to become happily married, they farm Constance off to school where she gets picked on endlessly for her brash American ways. She determines to run away back to the Ohio Valley where life was good (other than the massacre that killed her parents of course.)

This heroine does not fall into the too stupid too live category, she actually includes money in her running away pack. And she doesn't fall into the angry category, she's mad about the hero interrupting her plans for an appropriate length of time but is rather reasonable about it. She actually falls into the too perfect to live category. I haven't seen one of these in a while. She gets kidnapped so this highlander guy can ransom her for a sword that will inspire the other highlanders to revolt against the nasty English. She's upset at her plans being disrupted for a while, then she decides their cause is noble, gets the women to clean up the camp, organize the cooking, take better care of the kids and generally whips this group into a useful army support organization.

The hero is slightly underdeveloped as a character, who has time when Constance is so damn busy, but I liked him overall. And the author just barely manages to navigate the difficulty of the Sure-To-Fail Scottish cause in the plot. Really the book isn't terrible but I found the characters , particularly the heroine, uninspiring.

Historical Romance 2008: 2 of 5 swords of inspiration.