Vermont | Member Since 2009
I hate to give this book a bad rating. There are so few lesbian PR's being written that every author is precious. Still, this had a kitchen sink feel to it, as in, let's throw in everything but the kitchen sink.
Women getting women pregnant. Hmmmm. That's where Raand lost me. I get that this is a fantasy, but shouldn't it be even remotely realistic so we can imagine the world is real?
I can get behind a female Alpha -- that's a great concept. But some of the other stuff just kept kicking me out of the story.
I admit I didn't get far, and this is a series so maybe it gets better, but with the starting premise being so bizarre, I just don't think I can go back to it.
It's a shame though. And a big disappointment.
I loved Annabelle. Her family is down on it's luck after the death of her father and everything hinges on her making a good ton marriage. Unfortunately, without a dowry, and with her clothes much worst for wear, attracting a suitable man is clearly impossible. But our plucky heroine is determined to keep her chin up and persevere, even if she has to trick some hapless peer into marrying her.
Then along comes a wealthy commoner, Simon Hunt, a butcher's son who's made his fortune in industry. Simon is welcome at some ton events only because he's got friends in high places. He's met Annabelle before, and finds that he's still attracted to the lady, but she won't give him the time of day. To put it simply, Annabelle is a snob.
There's an oily villain, some fellow wallflowers (who act as fairy godmothers), and lots of opportunities for romance and misunderstanding at the Duke's estate during a months' long house party. The characters from Again the Magic are also here, so the series gather's some steam as more are introduced.
LK hits all the right notes with this one, and it's clear she had fun writing it. Best of all, you end up cheering for the leads.
I bought this one quite some time ago (February, 2012), and I relistened this week because I love this series and wanted to start from the beginning. But the thing that bugged me about this book was the same thing that bugged me the last time I listened to it.
Still, this is a Lisa Kleypas book, so of course, it's great. And Rosalyn Landor is reading it, and she's great. It also has one of the best and most brooding of heros, McKenna, and I adore McKenna.
Tossed out of the manor for daring to love the Duke's daughter, he's made his fortune and now he's back. He's everything you look for in a leading man. And he's come back looking for revenge. I love that. I love that he isn't some heartbroken wreck.
But while he's plotting, he doesn't realize the lady has a secret of her own that could ruin his plans.
There is a great romance at the heart of this one, even though Lady Aline took her time coming to her senses. But so what -- it has McKenna.
Also, it's full of wonderful secondary characters that figure prominently in several books to come, including the Hathaways, so this first of many shouldn't be missed.
If this is your first foray into this world, I envy you.
It only get's better in subsequent books.
This is the closest thing to hearing Dicken's read A Christmas Carol you will ever experience! This particular recording is gorgeous, with Tim Curry's deep and lucious voice to bring the characters to life. It's also wonderful to listen to on a trip to grandmother's house through the snow, and I listen to it with my family on car rides every year.
As an aside, Tim Curry had a stroke in 2012, but is working his way back with physical therapy. I wish him all the best and hope to have more treasures like this from him in the future. Love you Tim!
This is one of those books that suffers greatly by comparison, but even if it was a stand alone book, I would hate it.
I enjoyed the first and third books so much, that this one doesn't really feel like it belongs in the line-up. The only thing I enjoyed was the opportunity to keep the secondary storyline going as it concerns the other wallflowers. This is a very, very small compensation though.
Olivia, the second wallflower, has been raised to be the perfect lady, something her mother never fails to trumpet at every opportunity. Lady Archer is so vocal and obnoxious that she manages to make a mockery of her daughter, destroying any chance she has of attracting a marriage.
Tired of Olivia's failure, her parents decide to settle the matter themselves and betroth her to a Baron. Unfortunately, gossip has saddled him with a very bad reputation. In fact, the ton believes he murdered his first wife, and there is a salacious book that dramatizes all the unsavory details, so of course it must be true.
When Olivia discovers what her parents have done, she feels betrayed. She regrets all the years of obeying her parents wishes only to be given in marriage to a man she doesn't love, and one who could possibly murder her. Believing he only wants her because she is a perfect lady, Olivia sets out to destroy her own reputation to get out of the marriage. This is when the fun is supposed to start, but it never gets off the ground.
This book is written as a farce, but the repetitious dialogue and the over-the-top paper-thin hijinks really ruined it for me. I didn't find it charming or even amusing. About halfway through I realized that this was the HR equivalent of an episode of Lucy. Yes, it's that bad.
I especially hated that the wallflowers, who were themselves victims of gossip, were so credulous when it came to this man's reputation. Especially as Emma's husband was working with him on his project.
Rodale isn't a great writer, but she is an entertaining one. She wiffs this one badly, however.
Read it, don't read it -- I'm not sure it matters. Book 3, however, IS worthwhile. I loved that one, and it is the best of the bunch.
Skipping this but worried you might miss something? Read on.
SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO WON'T READ IT -- BUT WHO LIKE THE SERIES:
Phinneas Cole, the Mad Baron, is a reclusive engineering genius who is in London to work with Emma's husband, Ashford. They are partnered in building a prototype of the Difference Engine. He is also ready to take a new wife.
The crux of the gossip about Phinn is that he killed his first wife, Nadia. He didn't. Though why he married her in the first place is a mystery since she was his dead brother's fiance. His brother died in a fight over her infidelity with another man. She is described as a narcissist who is easily angered when she is ignored. This causes her to set fire to Phinn's workshop, and die in the fire when she can't get out.
Phinn's guilt over her death is way too contrived to be believed, as is his refusal to explain it. instead he allows the gossip to persist. He's also way too slow to understand that his reputation is connected to Olivia's behavior toward him, a woman who is clearly terrified of him, even as he does nothing to reassure her.
Phinn also has a moron for a friend, who we are supposed to think is funny, but his scenes just made me cringe.
There are two moments that can be considered romantic, but they do not save the book. As a love interest, Phinneas Cole is an empty suit.
I suppose there are some people who will like this one, but for me this is not a credit worthy purchase. The misunderstanding went on and on until I didn't care one way or the other how it would play out.
I won't reread this one. There are too many better books out there, and at least some of them are written by Maya Rodale.
I really loved the first book in this series, and this one was just as good.
Prude Prudence is desperate to find a husband before the big school ball. As a last resort, she goes to Bath with her aunt to avoid the embarrassment of being the only graduate to not be married by her fourth season. There she meets a man who has no interest in being with a woman, but who also needs to marry. They run off together to do the deed, but the coach they are in is attacked by highway men.
Separated from her fiance, Prudence ends up walking for miles in the woods to escape. Eventually, she comes to a road, and meets Castleton, a young nobleman with a carriage, who offers to give her a ride to the next village. She can't accept his help. She really, really wants to, but she just can't. Why? No spoilers here -- this is Pru's story to tell.
Eventually, Pru finds her way to the inn where Castleton is waiting. He's been very worried, and hated to leave the well bred young lady alone on the road, but she insisted, and a gentleman always accedes to the desires of a lady.
As a powerful rain storm strands the couple for several days, they form a tentative friendship that naturally turns into love. The way this is written is beautiful and delicate and sweet, and I loved it.
There are villians and a HEA, and while Pru's friends eventually play a part, it is her relationship with Castleton that forms the basis of the story and I really enjoyed that. They are both beautifully written characters, but as a hero, he is superb. I hated to see this book end.
Carolyn Morris is rapidly becoming my favorite HR narrator. She does such a wonderful job with this series that I know I will re-listen many times in years to come. She and Maya Rodale make a great team.
Warning: SLIGHT SPOILER
My only caveat is a page long description of a remembered rape scene. I am fortunate enough to have never experienced that kind of assault, but for women who have that trigger, I would advise caution when you get to that passage. It's short, but it upset me enough that I fast forwarded over it. It went by quickly and did not detract from the lovely story of a young woman overcoming a traumatic event with the help of a caring man who understands what she's going through. Those moments between them are very special, and no to be missed.
I really loved the first book in this series and I guess that set a high bar. While this was well written, the characters just didn't grab me, and I found myself moving on to other, better books.
Could be the lack of magic or the absence of the sense of place so evident in book one, I'm not sure. In this one, they spend a lot of time traveling around, and the villain has too big of a role to make it a true romantic read.
2nd book slump? I'm going to read the third book, but really, I just want to go back and read the first one again. Still, I may revisit this one in the future, just to make sure I didn't miss a good thing.
For me, this romance was the perfect nexus of splendid parts. From beautiful plotting to perfect dialogue to intriguingly fleshed out characters to the gorgeous narration. Sensual and joyous and so very romantic, I didn't so much read/listen to it, as I reveled in it. It was my reward at the end of a long day, three nights in a row.
I love great stories, but when it comes to audio books, the story can be great, but without a great narrator, you might as well give it a skip. Eva Kaminsky is a revelation in this one. Her accents (and I don't pretend to know what Pauline's accent was), add so much to the texture of the story that I hung on every word. The nuance she added to the dialogue was also fantastic. I once said the Rosalyn Landor could teach a master class. Eva Kaminsky could as well.
I've enjoyed every book in the Spindle Cove series, but I LOVED this one.
With Tessa Dare and Eva Kaminsky on board, this was a masterpiece!
2nd half, not so much.
Hunter's Claim is a confusing book. Clearly, S. E. Smith knows how to write. The beginning of this book is so good that I initially gave it four stars. Then I got to part 2.
Hmmmm. What started as a sexy alien abduction novel (my favorite!) devolved into a boring romance with no zing. Oh the hero continues to fight the good fight -- he is a warrior after all. But the romance part fizzles out to a lovey dovey series of I love you's sprinkled with a few sexy bits and a couple of action scenes. Everybody is so freakin happy that it's the novel version of a hallmark card. Yawn.
The alien characters are never fully fleshed out or given anything interesting to do. We are given some promising descriptions in the beginning -- tall (of course), muscular (check), vampire strong! -- and with some leonine traits including eyes and nose. But if these guys are so great, why am I so bored?
We are taken to their world, which is nice and descriptive, but once we get there, we're just watching paint dry. Everybody loves everybody. There is zero tension as the aliens accept the earth girls with open arms. What? No xenophobia? Not one alien character questions the logic of interbreeding with people from a backward planet? (We know the girls are cool, but everybody else just takes it for granted.)
Where's the zing?
To be fair, I've been reading a lot of books in this sub-genre on my Kindle lately. I love Tracy St. John's Clans of Kalquor, and a new author, T. J. Yelden wrote a very good book, Karac, Kaldar Warriors #1, that I, and many others, really enjoyed.
So compared to those, Hunter's Claim really felt like a waste of my time -- except that it did relax me during my dental work today, so that's something I guess.
Still, I'll be keeping my eye out for more S. E. Smith. Who knows, maybe she get's better with practice.
I liked the first book in this series, so I decided to try this 2nd one. Unfortunately, it stalls out early and stays there. Even an array of "oil can Harry" villains and attempted murder couldn't give it any ooph. It was also a bore. I got 3/4ths of the way through it before it put me to sleep for the last time.
One issue I can point to is the author's belaboring that the h "couldn't possibly be lusting for a vicar!!!" It was repeated to the point of eye rolling hysteria. At least the hero figured out he didn't want to be a vicar!
The only interesting character was her father, who was suffering the effects of a brain injury, and he couldn't talk. (Maybe that's why I liked him so much!) His suicide attempt was just stupid though. Really, really unbelievable.
Experience tells me that, in the end, the h and H end up together. But in my mind, I've rewritten it so that he quits the church and finds someone, ANYONE else to love -- and I can live with that.
Note to self: Vicars are boring, and so are the girls who lust after them. (And Jane Charles is not a safe bet.)
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