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review 2017-02-17 21:38
Review: We, the Drowned
We, the Drowned - Emma Ryder,Liz Jensen,Charlotte Barslund,Carsten Jensen

I went into my reading of We, the Drowned with certain expectations. Not only was I anticipating an epic, gorgeously written story, but I was expecting a journey on the seas with one character to all ends of the earth. I don't know where I picked up this impression that We, the Drowned was largely about Albert, who searches the world for his lost father—even the novel's blurb alludes to a story much larger than Laurids and Albert—but that was what I expected nonetheless.

Because it wasn't what I wanted, I was disappointed in We, the Drowned. Now how petty is that? At least I'm honest. The story I wanted was nearly seven-hundred pages of a son searching for his father. There would be wonderful character building and a quest that would captivate me until its resolution. Also, there would be monsters and flying ships and unexplained occurrences because not only was I confused about the plot, but somehow I had it in mind that this was heavy in magical realism. Hmmmm. Expectations be damned. Let's just throw my expectations out and start over.

We, the Drowned is structured more like a novel in stories than a traditional novel. There's the episode of Laurids who nearly dies in battle, but miraculously survives unscathed. There is the story of his son, Albert, and his upbringing without a father who mysteriously disappeared. Then there is Albert's adventurous journey on the sea in search for his father. And then there are five hundred more pages. What I thought was the entire subject of the book is resolved in under two hundred pages. There's much more to this book than Laurids and even Albert. Each subsequent story is loosely tied into the stories that preceded it, but they span time and the globe. The thread that unites these stories have more to do with the town of Marstal and the oceans than they do with a singular event or character.

With its fragmented nature, We, the Drowned fails to be the huge epic I imagined, but that does not mean it doesn't succeed in other ways. Jensen's novel utilizes place and object how I expected it to use character and story. Not only are all these tales connected to Marstal, a town which inhabits the story as much as its characters inhabit it, but they're connected to the sea and the professional of seafaring. These are more vital to the story than any character. Once one has forgotten the names of Laurids and Albert, Klara, Knud Erik, Sophie, Herman, one still will recall the name of Marstal. They'll remember the journeys even if they've forgotten which crew sailed on them. And they'll recall the objects—the shrunken head, the boots, the vision of a bird—that outlast all but terrain itself.

It is the vivid settings and strange objects that truly occupy We, the Drowned and take the reader on an adventure. This isn't the timeless quest of a man looking for a father, it is the story of a town that strives to survive and a professional that is as old as time itself.

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review 2016-12-03 19:52
Sweet stories
Regency Christmas Spirits - Nancy Butler,Emma Jensen,Andrea Pickens,Barbara Metzger,Edith Layton

 

Task the Sixth:  The Hanukkah:

- Let the dreidel choose a book for you: create a list of four books, and assign a dreidel symbol to each one (Nun=miracle; Gimel=great; He=happened; Shin=there, i.e. Israel). Google "spin the dreidel," and a dreidel comes up for you to spin. Give it a spin and read the book that the dreidel chooses!

 

 

Not to sound all "get off my lawn!" but reading older published stories (they have their problems too) is sometimes very refreshing; it's amazing how much story can be created in favor of just hurriedly working to get the leads into bed. I like my sexy times but purpose and dialogue, y'all. These were all short, sweet, and nothing beyond kissing regency holiday stories.

 

“The Merry Wanderer” by Nancy Butler

 

3 stars

 

But as often as he'd willingly played the fool for his master or his mistress, he had never yet played the fool for love.

 

This one had a magical feel to it with Robin Goodfellow, Merlin, faeries, and an Arthur sighting. The heroine's family guards a very important faerie book and Robin visits to make sure the heroine is up to the task of guarding it. It was a bit slow moving but fairy tale fun.

 

 

“The Wexford Carol” by Emma Jensen 

 

3.5 stars

 

"Is that what you will wish for, then? My speedy demise?"

"Goodness. A jest. Very good, Captain."

As he watched, surprised, charmed, and increasingly warm, she removed another sprig of holly from her pocket, tucked it into a buttonhole on his coat, and briskly patted his chest.

"As you could easily guess, I will make a wish for Hollymore."

With that, she stepped back, draped an arm around the cherub, and surveyed her handiwork on Rhys's coat. She gave a satisfied nod. In that brief moment, Rhys was enchanted to his toes.

 

This was a super sweet and funny story but was little bit lacking in the showing the relationship build between leads (these were all pretty short stories). The hero and heroine spend a week together with the hero's cheeky nephew, mistaken identities, semi-villain relatives and a house with more character than stable walls. It was lovely and being set in Ireland, gave it a beautiful Irish Christmas spirit.

 

“High Spirits” by Edith Layton

 

4 stars

 

He'd never be thought of as handsome, except in a certain light and at certain moments, when anyone could see he was much more than that.

 

My favorite from the series because the author was able to build and create a relationship between the leads in the short amount of time allotted. The heroine is having her season but super nervous so her brother advises her to imbibe a bit for Dutch courage. Hero is sent by his sister and aunt to call on heroine to warn her away from his cousin who they want to marry someone else. Hero is charmed by her and calls on her during the day, falling love. At night he is shocked by her flirty different attitude at balls, figures out she is drinking, takes her to a pub to show her alcoholics, and gives her a come to Jesus talk. It sounds preachy but the heroine's shyness and the hero's melting stoicism makes this a very sweet story.

 

“The Christmas Curse” by Barbara Metzger

 

 

2 stars

 

" 'Til Death do you part, lad?" he said with a  smile and a wink for his own beloved. "That's not the half of it."

 

This one has ghosts for "spirits" with a medieval couple haunting a castle, able to actually affect things during the week of Christmas, because the husband in a jealous act jousted someone but died and the wife had made curse that if he didn't return her ring to the castle they would never rest. Their heir and hero is a battle scarred war hero and our heroine is a widow with a horrible aunt. There's guilt, shame, anger, fear, and love but the characters and story all felt a bit disjointed. We get great flushed out backstories for the heroine and hero but current scenes with them together were missing, I wanted to see them fall in love.

 

“A Gathering of Gifts” by Andrea Pickens

 

3.5 stars

 

Indeed, the more they spoke, the more intriguing she became.

 

This involved a Duke's daughter who started off a total spoiled brat and an ex-soldier who wouldn't give into her whims. Heroine injured her ankle so has to stay at the hero's manor, where they bicker and snark themselves into falling in love. The hero's sister, nephew, heroine's cousin, and others gave this a great fun cast of characters. I really liked how it was shown how the hero and heroine caused each other to grow and become better, very charming story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2014-01-26 18:24
Gingers! Redheads in Romance
Live - Mary Ann Rivers
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
The Unidentified Redhead - Alice Clayton
Never a Gentleman - Eileen Dreyer
Angels' Flight (Guild Hunter, #0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 3.5) - Nalini Singh
Devil in Winter - Lisa Kleypas
Timeless Moon - C.T. Adams,Cathy Clamp
Beast - Pepper Pace
The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie - Jennifer Ashley
The Chocolate Touch - Laura Florand

While we only make up only 1 to 2 percent of the world populations, were recently threatened with extinction, and South Park made us a very funny slur, we thrive in the pages of Romanceland. 

 

Jamie of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon fame being the most famous red headed gentleman and maybe Grace, The Unidentified Redhead  by Alice Clayton being the most notable leading lady. 

 

Redheads have plenty of stereotypes to contend with like all hair colors but I think what I like about Gingers in Romance (besides the self representation is the way, when done right, being redheaded builds the the character physically. We are easier to blush, tend to have freckles, for better or worse think a great deal about our hair as do other people, come in so many shades, and well then there is the more intimate of ginger touches.  

 

We will only show you if we really like you. 

 

I love the scene in Outlander where Claire gazes on Jamie while he is nude in the sun getting to see all those private bits of redheadedness.  This is my plea for please, please more ginger heroes in Romance. :) 

 

There is also a stunning scene in Eileen Dryer's Never a Gentleman (The Drake's Rakes series)  of discovery between the hero and the heroine. Wowza. 

 

I recently waxed poetic about Mary Ann River's Live (The Burnside Series): The Burnside Series and all the details of the heroine's gingerness through the hero's loving, lustblown (I stole this word from Charlotte Stein and I am keeping it) eyes. 

 

If you would like to see a great video on the Redheads, check this one out! 

All The Science Reasons Redheads Do That Redhead Thing They Do

 

And now for the lists! In particular order of favorites but my top ten none the less, skipping those already mentioned, 

 

 Ginger Woman: Redheaded Heroine in Romance

 

1. The Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers, Book 3) by  Lisa Kleypas

2. Timeless Moon (Tales of the Sazi, Book 6) by Adams and Clamp 

3. Frisco's Kid by Suzanne Brockmann

4. Wild Oats and Runabout by Pamela Morsi

5. Heart Choice (Celta) by Robin Owens 

6. The Chocolate Touch (Amour et Chocolat) by Laura Florand

7. Troll-y Yours, a fantasy romance (The Centaurs) by Sheri Fredricks

8. Entwined by Emma Jensen

10. Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss

 

Have a favorite? Vote for yours at the  Goodreads list: Ginger Women: Redheaded Heroine in Romance and please rec in reply. 

 

Now the fellows!

 

Redheaded Romance Heroes

 

1. BEAST by Pepper Pace

2. The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley

3. A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr

4. Angels' Flight (Guild Hunter) by Nalini Singh 

6. The Taming by Jude Deveraux 

7. To Seduce A Sinner  by Elizabeth Hoyt 

8. Lover At Last: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

9. Melting Iron (Cyborg Seduction, Book Three) by Laurann Dohner 

10. Laugh (The Burnside Series): A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Mary Ann Rivers 

 

 

Have a favorite? Vote for yours at the  Goodreads list: Redheaded Romance Heroes and please rec in reply. 

 

 

And some eye candy!

 

 

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text 2013-12-19 18:39
Best Romantic Gestures or Gifts
Heart Mate (Celta's Heartmates, #1) - Robin D. Owens
Stardoc - S.L. Viehl
The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat 3, La Vie en Roses 1) - Laura Florand
About Last Night - Ruthie Knox
Entwined - Emma Jensen
Lover Undercover - Samanthe Beck
On the Island - Tracey Garvis-Graves
The Ideal Wife - Mary Balogh
Yours to Keep (Hqn) - Shannon Stacey
Beauty Dates the Beast - Jessica Sims,Jill Myles

It is the season for gift giving and what better gift than one that represent love. Here is a list of of books with some of my favorite romantic gestures or gifts in them. I won't tell you what they are because that would spoil the surprise. 

 

Please let me know your favorite books that showcase the greatest ways a character has shown love. 

 

If you would like to vote for the best of best, go to this Goodreads list: Romantic Gestures 

 

1. Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens

2. Stardoc by S.L. Viehl

3. The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand

4. About Last Night  by Ruthie Knox

5. Entwined by Emma Jensen

6. Lover Undercover by Samantha Beck

7. On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves

8. Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims

9. The Ideal Wife by Mary Balogh

10. Yours to Keep by  Shannon Stacy 

 

 

 

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review 2013-08-03 00:00
Entwined - Emma Jensen 3.5 Stars.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I liked it quite a bit. Had I read it in 1995 when it was first published, I probably would have given it 5 stars. 18 years later, however, it's got a few too many "old school" attributes for me to love it.

The heroine, Isobel, is fantastic. She's plucky, smart and blurts out exactly what she's thinking. Her life isn't easy but she's doing the best she can to keep her family together despite being saddled with a couple of knuckle-headed brothers and foolish father. Enter the hero who is blind but keeping it a secret from everyone. Nathan is a spy who has been injured and retreats to his country estate to recuperate and hide from the world. Isobel's father is working for him as a secretary but when that doesn't work out, Nathan coerces Isobel into accepting the position provided she live with him at his estate. Only Isobel has figured out he's blind and he needs her assistance with some unresolved spy business.

The interactions between Isobel and Nathan are great. They are intellectual equals despite being from different social classes. He becomes instantly attracted to her and starts proposing marriage. She eventually accepts and the rest of the book focuses on how she falls in love with him and there is some spy/mystery/dangerous stuff thrown in for added conflict.

What didn't quite work for me was how Nathan fell in love with Isobel and how much he took her agreeable nature for granted. He wasn't an asshole but bordered on it at times. Also, I was a bit mystified as to how well Nathan could, despite blindness, ride a horse alone but couldn't eat soup without making a mess. The spy plot was trite and unoriginal (at least by today's standards) and except for setting up a couple of sequels, completely skippable.

What did really work for me was the romantic/sexual tension. The author does a great job of building it up and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough during the encounters between Isobel and Nathan.




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