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Search tags: Archetype-Martyr
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-25 20:36
The Governess Affair
The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan

Serena was fired from her job as a governess after a duke rapes her. Now she is determined to passive aggressively blackmail him into providing some support for the child that resulted. The hero, Hugo, is in charge of ensuring that the duke keeps his head above water financially, so when Serena appears and threatens to rock the boat, it's his job to dissuade her.


I hated the premise of this story. Why? Because I hate when rape is used purely as a literary device to strengthen a heroine and that's what its used as here. Serena shows little to no emotional reactions to having been raped unless it a) helps progress the relationship between her and Hugo or b) is used to display Serena's unselfishness through the unswerving commitment and love she has for her unborn child that resulted from the rape.

My problem with this is that the overall tone of the story is not equipped to properly deal with the seriousness of rape. So, when reading this story, rape comes across as either inconsequential or a circumstance that offers new-found strength to women. This ignores most of the emotional impact rape has on a survivor and, by ignoring it, works to trivialize the experience. However, I would like to state that I'm not accusing Milan of condoning or intentionally trivializing sexual violence in any sense. What I am trying to get across is that creating a light-hearted story where rape is the main component of the plot does not work. I feel that there are other reasons that Serena could've lost her job and then set out to blackmail the duke that would've worked much better.

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review 2014-01-24 17:16
Obsidian - Laurann Dohner

Dr. Allison Baker has a creepy fixation on one of her coma patients and is disturbed when it's decided that the patient should be taken off life support. Acting like the rational and professional doctor she is, Allison decides to kidnap her coma patient and hide out with him at a cabin in the woods. Luckily for her, Allison's crack-pot idea of how to wake her patient works and he develops a fixation on her.


I clearly have a problem. Every time I pick-up one of these New Species books I know that the main characters and inevitable kidnapping/rape attempt of the heroine is going to annoy the crap out of me... and yet I can't seem to stop reading this series. The writing can get repetitive and Dohner is bad about only telling and not showing, but I can't stop reading these books. This series clearly has some kind of mystical power over me because despite my multiple hang-ups with this installment I'm still looking forward to reading the next one.

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review 2014-01-21 21:22
"The Rich Buisnessman's Reluctant Bride" or "Forced to Marry for Revenge!"
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 2 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 3 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 4 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 5 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 1 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 7 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 8 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 9 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 10 - Maki Enjouji

Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with Hokuto Mamiya, a wealthy company president, in order to pay off her father's debts. Hokuto agrees to the arranged marriage because he sees Chiwa as another step towards exacting revenge on his family for their role in the death of his mother.


I was annoyed with so many aspects of the Happy Marriage?! series but I just could not look away. It's highly over dramatized with so many misunderstandings. All of which, could've easily been worked out if Chiwa and Hokuto had just talked a little to each other. Their refusal to communicate was so severe that they often used Hokuto's secretary to relay information or get information about each other. However, despite my annoyance with some of the elements involved in this series, I still enjoyed reading it. The over-arching revenge storyline was engaging, but it tended to take a backseat. Most of the time, when it was brought up (with the exception of at the very end) it was only as a tool to fuel Chiwa's insecurity about her relationship with Hokuto or as an excuse to get Hokuto to be a dick.


But hands down, Chiwa was the most annoying thing in Happy Marriage?!. She was an extreme mary sue and such a martyr. Every decision that she makes in the series is motivated by some other character's problems or what she thinks will make someone else happy. She only has one moment at the very beginning where she tries to take some initiative for herself and it gets smacked down pretty quick. I probably could've tolerated this a little better if she wasn't crying every other page. Chiwa cried so much in this series that it inspired me to create another shelf just for her called "Why you cryin?!" I was actually rooting for Hokuto's ex-lover at one point because she not only had personality but wasn't shown bawling over every little thing that goes wrong in her world.


As for Hokuto, he was a fairly standard romance hero that you can find in numerous Otome games (the distant "only your love can warm his cold heart" type). I did end up liking him a lot towards the end. Even though he managed to really piss me off, because for no real reason he back hands the heroine at least twice. These scenes were like watching an old black and white movie where the hero suddenly hauls off and smacks the leading lady and no one mentions or says anything about it. Way too over the top and I HATE when authors insert this into books.


All in all, this was an ok read. I would recommend it if you're in the mood for something along the lines of a harlequin romance with lots of melodrama.

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review 2014-01-18 00:15
Don't Mess with Texas
Don't Mess with Texas - Christie Craig

I had high hopes for Don't Mess with Texas. It seemed really cute and I had heard a lot of good things about it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into it.

Nicki Hunt needs cash because she's flat broke. If she doesn't get any money soon, then she's going to lose her art gallery. After getting a phone call from her wealthy ex-husband, Nicki goes to dinner with him thinking that maybe she'll be able to overlook his cheating ways for a reunion. However he vanishes in the middle of the meal on a phone call and doesn't return. Fuming, Nicki returns to her car only to find her ex, dead and stuffed in the trunk. Nicki is immediately the prime suspect with only P.I., Dallas O'Connor believing she didn't do it.

Craig has a light writing style that I typically enjoy in contemporary romances. However, a lot of the jokes here seemed like cheap shots; such as a gassy dog and birds pooping on nurses. Dallas also didn't work for me. I think he was supposed to be an angsty character who slowly starts finding some happiness, but this just didn't work with the slap-stick comedy tone of the story. The tone made Dallas seem pouty and a bit of a tool. I did like Nicki though. She was an entertaining character and I loved her relationship with her grandmother. Despite that, I probably won't be picking up another book by Craig in the future.

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review 2014-01-18 00:08
All I Ever Wanted
All I Ever Wanted - Kristan Higgins

It's always a bad idea to date your boss. No one knows this better than Callie Grey who has just been blind-sided by Mark, her boss and ex-lover, announcing his engagement. Callie has been in love with Mark for years and has always held onto the hope that he would eventually return her feelings. Having that dream crushed in the middle of work and on her 30th birthday is all Callie can take. Fleeing the building, she proceeds to have a very public meltdown in the middle of the DMV. Weeks after her meltdown, things have not gotten better for her. Mark's fiancée has made it her personal goal to torture Callie at work. Ian, the new veterinarian, thinks Callie is stalking him and all the dates she's gone on in an effort to get over Mark have ended in disaster.

All I Ever Wanted was a fun contemporary romance. Callie was annoying though. She seemed too perfect to be believable. (Who goes out of their way to offer homemade scones to their ex-boyfriend's new love bunny?) She was portrayed as mind-boggling sweet and without any character flaws, which didn't make her a very engaging character. After awhile, it just got old seeing Callie able to make everyone into her new BFF. Also, because of how sweet her character was, it made the fights she had with Ian, the hero, seem forced.

Ian was what really made this book enjoyable. What's not to love about a guy who's so shy he hides in his office from a group of little girls? I also loved how the relationship between him and his ex-wife was portrayed. It wasn't full of animosity and the ex-wife wasn't shown as a raging bitch. It was a nice change of pace to see a hero be on good terms with his ex.

Higgins also does a pretty great job of writing pets into the story. The two dogs involved in the plot felt just as much like side characters as Mark and the fiancée did.

I would recommend this to fans of Julie James or Jennifer Cruise.

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