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review 2018-12-09 01:46
The Hollow of Fear - Sherry Thomas


Great audiobook. I loved that the secret sister wasn't left hanging. I wish the main protagonists would commit to each other in a way that works for them. Really great series.

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review 2018-12-02 17:04
Exposed raw nerves
Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas
This comes close to visually representing how I felt reading this.
I'll let you soak that in for a sec.
What stupid children they had been, to cause each other such pain and then to hold on to their wounds so fiercely.
The book page count for this claims it is 341 pgs, my friends, I blew through this like it was an author newsletter free story. The first half felt like one huge exposed raw nerve. There are three main characters, Bryony, Leo, and India. The research! The scenery! The setting! I saw some reviews claiming they didn't like how much detail the author went into but I salivated over finally feeling the time and place of a historical story. 
The writing and feel of this is a bit different from most in this genre, I can't find the right words to describe it but we get an intense focus on Bryony and Leo with cut-ins to their past experiences that gives you the hows and whys of what they are feeling and how they've reached this place in their relationship. The time duration is actually pretty short of what we get from them together in the present time but with memories from the past relayed, it felt like they were together longer.
While the first half is a raw exposed nerve, the second half is the balm being applied to the wound, done slowly and carefully. The second half slowed down a little bit for me as Bryony's past and why her personality is the way it is never quite jived or fit for me. Young and impressible is going to have to extremely work for you here and carry any good will you'll want to show Bryony. Bryony is a tough one to crack and she is all those characteristics we see in some broody heroes, rigid, harsh, still waters run deep, and etc. Even though her personality was a little cold and I kind of head tilted at the reason given for it, I was still able to stick with the character. 
Now, the reason I'm giving this three stars is because of their sexual relationship. Leo has loved Bryony for a loooong time and just thinking about his memories, thoughts, feelings, and actions makes my eyes want to water, But, the majority of their sex scenes (mostly remembered but also a present time one) had me cringing away. I fall more on the side of reading romance for the sexual tension but, for me, sex is an intricate part of a relationship and theirs was off-putting to say the least. I'm going to put in spoiler tags why I cringed ..

During their marriage, Bryony keeps herself emotionally walled off to Leo and when he tries to be sexual with her, she does her best to not respond, obviously making the whole experience awful. He decides to then start coming to her room after she is asleep and proceeds to have sex with her while she is half asleep. Yeah, this falls into a non-consensual discussion for me because when she is fully coherent, she has made her wishes regarding intimacy between them well known. There is also a present situation where, albeit somewhat delirious, Leo grabs her and penetrates her in a move that felt, again, non-consensual. 

(spoiler show)
So, given how I felt about their sexual relationship, this couple had a cringe worthy feel to them and I couldn't feel the gushy fuzzies that put couples near and dear to my heart. However, like I said, on the other side of the coin, the writing is superb, addicting, and raw but when I will think back on this story, a cringe will probably be my first reaction but in the complexity of my own thoughts and feelings, second will be watery eyes over Leo's feelings and some of his actions.
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text 2018-12-02 04:38
Reading Update: 50%
Not Quite a Husband - Sherry Thomas

Damn, this story is raw.





He’d loved her since he was four feet high. Children would be lovely, of course, but children were not essential. She was essential. She had been alone her entire life. He would see to it that she was never alone again.




The Castle. He’d seen this expression far too many times during their marriage. The Castle was Bryony drawing up the gates and retreating deep into the inner keep. And he’d always hated it. Marriage meant that you shared your goddamn castle. You didn’t leave your poor knight of a husband circling the walls trying to find a way in.





Ever since he understood what sex was he’d wanted it with her, the girl who kept everything inside, who ached and yearned and mourned in complete solitude.





He had choices, and each time he chose to accept the one invitation that placed him in the same country as her, so that help, should she need it, didn’t have to be summoned across oceans.

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review 2018-12-02 00:00
Claiming the Duchess
Claiming the Duchess - Sherry Thomas I'm not even rating this. It was sweet, but not even a novella.
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review 2018-10-25 00:00
Tempting the Bride
Tempting the Bride - Sherry Thomas It's weird I don't have a jackass shelf, considering the jackass hero is one of my favorites. By jackass I mean in a fond, ridiculous way "selfish and / or immature asshole" *winks at Jack Talent & Joshua Templeman*

Friends, they are my favorite kind. The stupid, immature oddly sensitive yet super defensive heroes. (Or some of my favorite anyway). The ones with their who would die for their beloveds but make her think (or sometimes out of fear I suppose) his head is shoved so far up his ass he no longer makes good sense. Hastings was one of them. In fact, I haven't read many reviews past opening paragraphs, but if there's a problem to be had with the amnesia plot and it manipulation, that's not my problem with the hero. I have more of a problem that he lay in wait for Helena to screw up so he could pounce in the most self-centered way possible. But, I also don't blame him for it. It is his sheer and utter desperation for her-revealed bit by bit that makes you understand how heavy and bright the flame he holds for her is. And she hates him for it. We can understand that too-there were 1,000 different ways to solve a problem, and he took the one that most suited him.

And then she got amnesia. It sounds contrived. It sounds easy. But it most certainly did not feel that way. What it gave them was a clean slate. On that slate, he still drew their history (albeit a simplified version) and remained forthright. And underneath his jackass exterior, he was a marshmallow of a hero who'd been planning for her forever. Kind of creepy when I say it that way, kind of sad when you read how clueless she is and how she always assumed the worst of him (and that was his own doing since the worst is often what her gave her).

The relationships and family really made this book work and made it convincing. In isolation, Hastings wouldn't have come off the right way. And as usual, Helena is to die for-with a different kind of spirit and strength than the heroines of the prior two. In the end, much like the two I mention there above, his tender heart is revealed, and it is wonderful.
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