I've been indulging in a lot of Lisa Kleypas lately. I find her books soothing and a great escape. Especially as read by Rosalyn Landor. This one was very much like the others, though it didn't stand out for me. I think the problem was the female protagonist. She was independent enough to become an actress to support herself at a time when that profession was scandalous, but not strong enough to realize she was in love . . . ?
That was just weak. A woman like that would know what she wanted and go for it. So much time was wasted with her in denial that it kind of ruined the whole book. And the male character was a neanderthal. Period.
Dear Ms. Kleypas: You have a good thing going. Stop making your female characters so stupid, and your male characters so one dimensional. Thank you, a loyal fan.
I recently read Everett's A Tryst With Trouble, and I loved it -- REALLY loved it. I'm just glad this book was my second Alyssa Everett, and not my first. If I'd started with this one, I'm not sure I would have bought another. I passed disappointed at the midway point, and by the end, I was just mad. This review is the result.
THE HEROINE: Roxana, is a renowned beauty. Gorgeous, with pale blond hair, a willowy figure, lovely face, and sweet temperament -- she is universally beloved in her county. And yet, she believes she is plain. Why? Because at some point in her life, her mother warned her against becoming vain. And because, when she was little, her big brother used to tease her, and call her mop head. Huh.
Her inner musings on her plainness went on, and on -- it was a major underpinning to her character, but it made no sense at all. As written, Roxana didn't ACT like she believed she was plain. She acted, dressed and conducted herself like a beautiful woman. So what, exactly, was the point of hammering her plainness into the book? The repetitious lack of logic took me right out of the story.
THE HERO: Alex is also gorgeous, and experienced, but because he is shy and tongue tied around the beautiful Roxana, she thinks he's dull and boring. Alex has been in love with her for years, even while she was betrothed to another guy. So when that guy throws her over publicly, and she is accidentally ruined, he sees his chance to have her, and proposes. Badly.
And while Roxana clearly understands what being ruined means, she doesn't immediately see the need to do anything to save herself, or her family, from scandal. Her mother, incongruously, and unbelievably (for the time), lets Roxana ruminate on her options until a neighbor gives her the cut direct. Huh. This scene had me wishing my Kindle was made by Fischer Price, so I could throw it at a wall without cracking it. Took me out of the story. Hard.
Alex and Roxana marry, but because he lacks self esteem, he doesn't tell her how he feels, letting her believe he's in love with another girl. Over and over again, these two come together only to pull apart over one low self esteem induced misunderstanding after another. If you like that kind of plot, this book is for you. I found that the mountain of illogical misconceptions only buried the characters in stupidity.
THE WEDDING NIGHT: This scene started out pretty good, and went downhill fast. Our inexperienced heroine goes after her timid man after a false start. After he turns into a sex god, she is surprised, impressed, and turned on. But when she starts to come, she stiffens up until the feeling goes away. She actually fights her orgasms, several times -- over several weeks of marriage -- to a man she's wildly attracted to. Huh. And why? Just to keep the misconceptions coming, I guess. To me, it just made both characters look stupid. And what did he do about it? He just looked down at her face and watched her while she did it, and said nothing. Nothing. He's supposedly experienced, while she doesn't understand what's happening to her body, but he says NOTHING. Took me right out of the story. Again.
The big reveal happens close to the end, after a serious blow up over another big misunderstanding. It occurs when the slimy ex confronts them in a ballroom, creating yet another scandal. To shut him up, Alex punches him in the face, right in front of the ton. And right on cue, Roxana throws herself into Alex's arms and says, YOU DO LOVE ME!
Seriously? That made me throw up a little in my mouth. And that's the point at which I got mad.
The epilogue had the requisite infant. BIG yawn.
There is a great book in here somewhere, but it seems to me that Everett tried to be too cute for her own good. The complex machinations I loved in A Tryst With Trouble, fell apart for lack of logic here, and left me feeling frustrated. There is no doubt in my mind that Everett is a talented author who can write wonderful dialogue, great sex scenes and really complex and witty plots. She just didn't do it in this one. I am amazed at the high ratings this claptrap received, but to each her own.
The biggest problem I had with this book is that it fell 2-1/2 big stars short of great, and I can only blame the author. It kept coming close, but each time the story would start to heat up, she'd take it off the boil, hamstringing her own characters with extra helpings of, wait for it,
IMHO, results may vary, but for me, this one is not worth a re-read. Shame, too.
Roz Landor is great, but even she couldn't make a silk purse out of this hot mess.
Callie has a secret. Years ago, she was in love with her childhood sweetheart, Trevelyan -- the handsome and spirited son of her aristocratic French neighbors. Together they engaged in wild passionate adventures, until her father discovered the two young people in a compromising situation. Furious, he drove the young man away, threatening to destroy him if he ever dared to return.
10 years later, the old Earl is dead, and disappointment has made Callie a bit odd. After being jilted 3 times, she's also a bit of a punchline. Her only comfort lies in taking care of her prize bull, Hubert. Determined not to marry, she gives up all pretense of being interested in another romance.
Then one night, Trevelyan returns, upsetting everything, and giving her hope again. She resents him for it, as it's a little too late. She also doesn't trust that he'll stick around this time. Her's hearts been broken too many times for that.
What follows is a fun, and sometimes funny, romance involving prize fighters, animal riots, disguises and a fancy dress ball. Trev pulls Callie into one misadventure after another, while they both pretend to ignore the smoldering spark between them. Initially a bit of dull stick, I was happy to see Callie come alive in Trev's arms. Their sensual scenes are blissful.
There are the usual misunderstandings and withholding of information prevalent in a book like this, and the resolution takes a while to come to light. There is also a sinister mystery waiting to be solved. But Trev is such a sexy hero, and so beautifully read by Nick Boulton that you'll be swept away by the romance of him. This is really his book.
The epilogue is very well done, and resolves all those dangling plot points not addressed in the main body of the book.
I look forward to reading this again. Highly recommended.
This is one of those books that pushed all my buttons. I'll admit I have a few pet peeves regarding some plot points, and this book has one of the big ones.
I hate this cliche with a purple passion. What in the hell are these author’s thinking? Endless pages of pregnancy symptoms — from the meant to be funny food cravings to hormones that make the heroine feel like she’s in heat. Seriously? Is this supposed to be sexy? Inevitably, the hero starts acting like a caveman because she has a bun in the oven. And the woman is incapable of common sense, loses the ability to stand upright, and cannot exhibit any sense of self preservation —and because she’s overly emotional, she becomes a punchline. Often, she needs to be carried from room to room by the hero, just in case she forgets how to walk.
What’s most disappointing is how these cliches are old saws from 50’s sitcoms, originally written by MEN, come back to haunt us in the writing of WOMEN.
The truth is, pregnant women are fierce. My aerobic instructor lifted weights and taught classes until the week she delivered. Pregnancy does not render a woman stupid, helpless or infirm. If anything it makes us stronger. We are never more powerful than when we are bringing life into the world. But you’d never know it from reading some of the stupid things that WOMEN writers write about the experience of pregnancy in RH’s. Sorry about the rant.
Which brings me to this book. After loving the first three books (though less and less with each successive installment) this book is an epic fail. Within the first 3 chapters or so, an MC comes up preggers after an awful one night stand. LIGHT SPOILERS:
After that, we spend the rest of the book watching this train wreck unfold. The girl is sweet, naive, and in lurv with a one dimensional victim of arrested development. The guy is selfish. Period. And however much we are meant to believe he undergoes a change of heart before the HEA, the fact is, he’s a withholding A-hole, and I regret having spent time with him in any capacity. Don’t tell me how gorgeous the guy is, or how much she loves him — I don’t care. I don’t have any respect for either character given the situation they were in and how they behaved.
But the writer thinks this is a romance because she made the girl pregnant in the story. That somehow makes it okay that he banged her and then ran out on her, and only came back when he realized — and this is important — that he couldn’t get it up with any other woman. HUH. “My dick thinks you own it.” were his exact words. Therefore, “we need to give this a chance.”
Really? If you find that romantic, enjoy. There’s plenty more where that came from in this one.
Not recommended unless you’re a pregnancy fetishist.
Oh Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. You were a sexy, complicated, high handed, nasty shit for a lot of this book, but Lena was your Waterloo.
The gorgeous lead singer for Stage Dive, is a certifiable Asshole with a capitol A. This assessment is universally agreed upon among his closest friends, and enemies alike. But when he gets clean and sober, he becomes even worse.
When the record company insists upon a sober companion for Jimmy, he complies -- but unfortunately, he goes through them like -- well, like the parade of groupies he's had sex with. When Jimmy fires his latest babysitter, the band is called to a meeting with their manger to discuss it. While there, he and the bad witness a curvy dark haired temp going toe to toe with their even bigger of an asshole manager. This catches the band's attention and they jump on the chance to hire the no nonsense woman as a new companion for Jimmy. Hey, they've tried everything else!
I don't want to give away a moment of this hilarious and touching story. Each successive book in the series gets a little more intense, and we come to care for the characters even more. This is a very well written series about four childhood friends who find love where they least expect it. And about the four very different and unique women who save them from themselves.
While I loved all the women, Lena is by far my favorite. The witty dialogue, emotional scenes, and of course, the sex -- are so well done, and held my interest throughout. I will admit I wanted to punch Jimmy in the face a few times, but Lena taught him a lesson he'll never forget, and I was more than good with that.
Loved it. Highly recommended!
Anne Rollins comes home from work to find her roommate has moved out, leaving her without the money she is owed. Depressed, and soon to be evicted, she's unsure where to turn. It's then that she is invited to a party by her sympathetic next door neighbor. Anne is not the partying type, until she find's out it's being hosted by Stage Dive.
Not really in the mood, and feeling at loose ends, Anne goes out on the balcony to make a phone call to her best friend. She lays out the whole mess, unaware she has an audience.
Mal Ericson, the drummer, is an ass. He's obnoxious, he drinks too much, parties too hard, and messes with people's minds. He's also a bit of a man whore. Hiding out on his own on the balcony, he overhears an unknown woman's tale of woe. Seeing an opportunity, he takes her inside, and proceeds to announces to everyone that she is his new girlfriend.
Anne is shocked speechless, and what happens next turn's her world upside down and sideways.
This was a fun, if intense, read, with a male lead unlike any I've read about before. At times I found him to be such an ass, one whose impulse control was worthy of a 9 year old boy. But by the time the book ended, I loved Mal. While he and Anne are the main characters of this book, it's Mal who will hold your attention.
We get to see more of David and Evie, too, as well as the rest of the band.
So good. Highly recommended.
I thought no one could match the Sinners series for great plots, and sexy characters. I was so wrong. The Stage Dive series is just as good, and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
Lick follows David Faris, the lead singer of Stage Dive, as he meets, marries, and then tries to convince his wife to fall in love with him. Evie is a hard sell. She doesn't remember him, or their marriage, and once she figures out who he is, she can't quite buy into the idea that he might actually want to be with her. Why would a rich and famous rock god want someone like her, when he could have practically any woman in the world?
Evie is a great character. She's strong without being strident, and has plenty of common sense, a rare commodity in romance novels. Her self esteem is not an impediment, and she knows love when she sees it, without dragging this part of the book out. Watching these two fall in love is fun and romantic.
The book also introduces the rest of the band members as side characters, but David and Evie are the stars of this book.
I'm so glad I picked it up, and have worked my way through the series quickly. I know I'll reread these over and over.
Highly recommended to romance junkies and fans of Olivia Cunning.
This one is written by a woman, and yet the whole time I was reading it, it felt like something a guy would write. The male is over the top macho, gun toting super trouper, and the woman is a damsel in distress. Yeah, their both flawed and needy and sexy time ensues, but I've had a belly full of this kind of plot in the numerous cop shows that crop up year after year. I read to get away from this crap.
Nothing new here.
Not a favorite. Dull plot and bland cliche TV-like characters made this a boring listen. There are much better books out there.
Narrator was good.
I've recently read three novels by Sherry Thomas, only to discover that they are all linked in a series that neither Audible nor Amazon describe as related. This book is actually the first of the three, followed by Private Arrangements, and ending with His at Night. I can't say that it mattered -- each book is fine as a stand alone, and the characters are only loosely mentioned in the other books, but I do plan to read them in order next time. I highly recommend them all, especially as read by Corrie James.
The Luckiest Lady in London has the same passionate and serious tone as the other two books in the series, and for an HR, the sex was hot!
In this one, our heroine, Louisa Cantwell, is devoted to her family -- especially to the future welfare of an epileptic sister. Once their mother dies, they will lose their income, and being practical, she knows that she must make the most of her season if she is to marry well.
Enter The Perfect Gentleman, an appellation our hero has given to himself, with tongue firmly in cheek. He has his reasons for being cynical and disingenuous with society, but one look at Louisa, and his cover is nearly blown. Watching him rationalize his attraction to her even as he uses all his intellect to lure her into a scandalously intimate relationship, was entertaining. And Louisa has a few surprising needs of her own, as well as an intellect to match his.
They are interesting, and in the end, endearing characters. And the sex scenes are steamy. There is a minimal amount of misunderstandings, all deftly handled by Thomas, so no eye rolling. I couldn't put this one down.
Corrie James did an excellent job since she completely disappeared inside the reading of this book. What more can be said for a reader other than that they were able to do that?
Lady Barbara is tall, red haired and buxom -- an amazon compared to her delicate, blonde, blue-eyed sister Helen. Convinced she is firmly nailed to the shelf, Barbara gives up hope of ever being married when she discovers that Lord Clibbington, a man whom she thought was courting her, was actually pursuing Helen. Hurt and a little jaded, Barbara has decided that no man will ever want her.
Enter the Marquess of Beningbrough, or Ben, a handsome heir to a dukedom, with deep seated issues of low self-esteem, and a big chip on his shoulder.
Ben and Barbara meet each other for the first time over the body of a dead footman. Initially hostile, they each have an interest in finding the culprit, and are soon forced to work together to unmask the killer. She finds him arrogant, while he thinks she's a shrew. They are both so damaged and thin skinned that communication is nearly impossible. The story really takes off when they begin to trust one another -- and their growing, mutual attraction.
It's important to note that the bickering back and forth between B & B is handled with a master's touch, as Everette deftly skirts the abyss of going overboard. She kept to the right side of witty and believable, and I found that very impressive. Too often, this kind of thing is laid on too thick, and can ruin an otherwise good book.
The plot is fast paced and filled with menace -- black mail, murder and murder attempts. It also has some sexy clinches in the drawing room, and a sweet, dawning romance that is very well done.
In particular, Ben's unusual -- for the times-- family drama was handled beautifully. Also Helen is an interesting character when her flaws are laid bare.
I would love it if this was the first in a series, as I'd enjoy watching Ben and Barbara solve more mysteries. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Nevertheless, this stand alone book held my attention throughout -- so much so, that I woke up early today and had to put my earbuds in and finish the book, before I even got out of bed! That's something that has NEVER happened to me before!
I enjoyed this one very much, and even though it's fairly obvious 2/3d's in, who the killer is, you won't mind. You'll be hanging onto your seat until the end, and that's pretty great for a HR!
This is my first Alyssa Everette novel, but I've since bought two more.
The reader, Lizzie Owensby, is a revelation, and she did an amazing job. I'll be looking for more books read by her.
Also, a shout out to Lady W for the great review. She's the reason I took a chance on this. Thanks Lady W!
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