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review 2014-01-23 00:29
An Unexpected Gentleman
An Unexpected Gentleman - Alissa Johnson

Connor Brice, is hellbent on revenge against his half brother, Sir Robert. The first step in his revenge? Steal Sir Robert's fiancee, Adelaide Ward. The fact that Miss Ward is the same woman Connor had been fascinated with, while sitting in prison, is just a bonus. For her part, Adelaide is trapped. She doesn't want to marry the condescending Sir Robert, but her brother's gambling habit has left her with little choice. Its either marry him for his 5,000 pounds a year or go to the poor house. Things begin to spin out of control though when Connor interferes with her plans and Adelaide gets sucked even further into the brothers' revenge schemes.

Johnson has an interesting revenge plot going on here. Connor's drive and focus on gaining vengeance is believable and I agreed that Sir Robert needed to be taken down a peg or two. The guy was horrible. Poor Adelaide just has the misfortune of getting swept up in the tide of their animosity. So then, what was my problem with the story? The elimination of Adelaide's choices and power. Was she given the choice between Sir Robert and Connor? Yes. Is this more than what the typical historical romances with compromised heroines get? Yes. But honestly, she still didn't get to decide. Sir Robert was painted so horribly that Adelaide would've been committing suicide if she chose him.

Adelaide herself was a pretty good HR heroine. She was practical, smart, and didn't take much crap from Connor. Yet she fell into the innocent "I know nothing what-so-ever about sex" trope that I so loathe. Yes, it's so integrated into the genre that it's practically a requirement, but her extreme naivete about sex still annoyed me. I actually ended up skipping the sex scene between Connor and her, because I just wasn't interested in reading another HR deflowering scene where the more experienced hero shows the heroine the ropes.

But I'll admit that most of the issues I had with this book was a "It's me, not you" situation. An Unexpected Gentleman has a wonderful hero and heroine, a fairly original plot, and some great supporting characters. Most of my problems stemmed from the tropes in the genre.


I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys Elizabeth Hoyt and Lisa Kleypas. Johnson has a writing style that fans of those two authors will enjoy immensely.

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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 2014-01-15 00:25
Kiss of Snow
Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling, #10) - Nalini Singh

Like everyone else who reads this series, I was really anticipating this one. Hawke and Sienna's relationship has been brewing in the background of the Psy/Changling series since the very first novel.


Sienna is an X-cardnial Psy. X Psy aren't known for having long life spans, their powers typically cause them to die a fiery death long before they reach their mid-twenties. So, when Sienna feels her powers slowly slipping out of her control, she knows she'll eventually have to leave the SnowDancer pack or risk taking everyone down with her. In the meantime, she's determined to try controlling it, but the angst filled relationship she has with Hawke is not helping matters. Hawke, the SnowDancer Alpha, has always caused Sienna's emotions to erupt into chaos and the confusing signals he's been sending have only added fuel to the fire.

Hawke has been a favorite side character of mine ever since he showed up in Slave to Sensation. I really loved seeing the playfulness of his character expanded on, in this story. However, in the beginning of Kiss of Snow Hawke's stubbornness concerning Sienna was annoying. He had a "kid in the playground" mentality about her. He didn't want to play with her, but no one else was allowed to play with her either. This, combined with their relationship throughout the other books, made me really wish that Singh hadn't gone the virgin route with Sienna. Going into this book, I had hoped that she would've slept with someone before this story. It was such a damper to see Sienna able to match Hawke in everything and then suddenly play the shy and naive virgin in the bedroom. She eventually gets out of that, but it still broke the tone of the story to have to sit through the "first-time" scene. (I HATE first time scenes).

Aside from that aspect, my only other complaint is that Singh decided to cram a secondary romance plot in. This really did not work here, as it felt like Lara and Walker got short changed. Similar to Sienna and Hawke, Lara and Walker's story had been quietly building over the course of the series, but they got slotted as a secondary romance. While their relationship was nicely done, it faded into the background because of the other major plot threads that were going on.( Such as: Hawke and Sienna's relationship, the Psy attacks, and even Lucas and Sasha's baby.) Because of this, I really wish that Singh had put off Lara and Walker getting together until another book or at least given them a novella where their story wouldn't get overshadowed.

Kiss of Snow really needs to be worked up to in order to appreciate the relationship developments and the events that are at the center of this story. So I would recommend you only read this if you have already read a few of the previous books.

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review 2014-01-12 01:10
Emotionally Abusive Vampires are Not Sexy
Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #12) - Kresley Cole

Lothaire has found his Bride, the woman who brings his body back to life and is his destined mate. The problem is that two souls currently inhabit his Bride’s body. One is an evil goddess who lives for blood, violence, and all around nefarious deeds. The other is Ellie, a mortal hillbilly who is content to live-out life on her family’s land. Naturally, Lothaire assumes that his Bride is the evil goddess and begins planning a way to exterminate Ellie’s soul.

After waking up covered in other people’s blood, Ellie decides that the only way to stop the goddess from murdering is to kill the body they share. The problem with this plan is that every time Ellie devises a way to kill herself, Lothaire pops-up out of nowhere to stop her. After one close call, Lothaire decides that the safest place to keep an eye on Ellie is close by. With this in mind, Lothaire hauls Ellie off to his penthouse where she'll be prisoner until he discovers a way to kill her soul, so the goddess can assume total control of the body.

I had some major problems with the way the relationship between Ellie and Lothaire played out. The biggest one was the captive heroine storyline. I don’t usually enjoy stories where the heroines are taken captive by the hero and they fall in love. If done incorrectly (which it typically is) the romance takes on a creepy vibe that makes the relationship seem more like Stockholm syndrome. Despite that, I’ve read a couple captive heroine stories that I’ve enjoyed. This… was not one of those.

After taking Ellie prisoner, Lothaire immediately begins emotionally torturing her. He mocks, he threatens her family, he laughs, they boink, he has a violent episode, he sneers; wash, rinse, repeat until the end of the book. While the emotional torture is going on, Lothaire is also still hunting for an item to kill Ellie’s soul with. Eventually, he begins to realize that Ellie might actually be his Bride, which leads to a few tiny scenes where Lothaire regrets how he’s treated her. However, these moments are over in a blink of the eye and Lothaire immediately goes back to being a douche.
So, by the end of the book, I hated his ass. I was actually hoping that Ellie would gain a backbone and run off with a different character.


Yes, Lothaire had some really awful moments in his life and at first I did feel sympathy for what he went through, but as the story progressed (and he just kept getting worse) that sympathy died. He was horrendous to Ellie and he never atoned for his actions. In the final ten pages he finally comes around, but after 300 pages of him being a total dickhead I needed a hell of a lot more from him than what we got.

The saving grace for this book was Cole’s writing style. I love Cole’s use of mythology in this series and I give her huge kudos for writing these books as if all the plots are happening at (or around) the same moment in time. I imagine that takes some serious effort.

If you haven't read any of the other novels in this series, I would not start with this one. I think Lothaire requires more background knowledge (which you gain in the other books) to really appreciate and understand all the events going on in the story. Also, if you didn't like the first book in the series (A Hunger Like No Other) you definately won't like this one as it has a similar vibe going on.

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review 2014-01-11 21:37
When Beauty Tamed the Beast - James Griffin,Eloisa James

The hero in When Beauty Tamed the Beast is based off of the character Gregory House, from the TV show House M.D. This made me unsure about picking up the book. While I love House, I was afraid this would read like really awful fanfiction. Luckily, that wasn't the case. When Beauty Tamed the Beast is very light and humorous with engaging characters. There are also a few homages to the TV show casually thrown in (such as the mention of a patient with the last name Cuddy) but they weren't annoying.

The thing that really made this book enjoyable was the amount of time the two main characters spend together. It was a nice change of pace from other historical romances where the main characters are forced into a marriage and then spend half the book trying to avoid one another. Instead, Linnet and Piers get to know each other over the course of the story. So, you slowly start to see why they would be drawn together.


Also, the way Piers didn't have a sense of personal space was pretty amusing. The morning scenes when he'd come to wake Linnet up to go swimming where probably my favorite parts.


I don't think I'll read any more of the books from this series, but I would recommend fans of Historical Romance give this one a try.

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