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review 2017-02-08 05:50
Gearing up for my fave author's first MM!
Shadow's Claim - Kresley Cole

I think my love for this author's words are well documented. She's definitely one of my faves.

How? I'm still reading a series after how many years now? A decade? Little over, under?

I just open up the wallet and send over my ducats to anything remotely IAD related. I own the series, or the series owns me? Hmm...

So the Dacians...borne from one the best frigging vampires EVER, Lothaire. I will forever <3 this evil, diabolical creature. And the Dacians, his royal family are intriguing.

I finally got to this story so I can be prepared for Shadow's Seduction, Cole's first MM!

(I'm so ready)

So how was book #1? The Dacians, Salem and Lothaire saved this story.

Princess Bettina of demon realm Abbondae, half demon/half Soceri, pines for the unattainable, her childhood best friend, the demon man whore, Caspion the Tracker. They've just become immortal (that's how young these two are which helps explain why they acted so...young for lack of a better word). But Bettina's crush/love for Caspion is not returned nor will it ever be. And you can read between the lines from the start he was not attracted to her. He's the star of book #2 which answered the vibes I got from him. (The hints Cole wrote as well helped. ;P) Bettina is ravaged by a bunch of Vrekners and nearly dies.

Does she avenge her attack? No. She suffers from anxiety and PTSD. (This I had no issue with)

Prince Trehan of Dacia, is a cold blooded assassin that is the 'sword of Dacia'. Due to Caspion's meetup with a royal Dacian cousin, Trehan leaves to hunt the young demon down and finds his Bride who bloods him...Bettina.

Out of the entire Lore, the Soceri are one of my least favorites. Witches aren't normally my fave but my intro to the Soceri was Sabine, who is hands down my least fave heroine from the entire series.

Bettina is a close second.

Two heroines whose mates are too good for them, IMO. The only Soceri female who is worth rereads is Melanthe. I <3 her to pieces. Bettina was a doormat. She whines, rolls over for her guardians and lets everyone else rule her life. She is the next in line to rule the kingdom but she doesn't act like it. So soft.

Cole uses another 'immortal to the death tournament' plot device with virgin Bettina and her kingdom as prize. So it was like reading reused tea bag tea. Because you can read the same kind of tournament in the first bunch of books from Immortals After Dark with stronger female characters.

Granted, the tournament was entertaining with Bettina's guardians/ godparents as side characters. There is something about Morgana, the Queen of Sorceri that is funny to read.

And Salem, the foul-mouthed, cockney speaking, invisible phantom? I could read him all by himself, he was so entertaining. What a crass pervert! Loved him

We do get more of the vampire realm, Dacia. Their history is interesting. Trehan was a great hero - patient, calculating, confident and in love with an obstinate woman who thinks a crush with her uninterested friend is the best thing since sliced bread.

And Caspion was a dick and not worth the infatuation. I understand why Bettina was infatuated in the beginning, first crush, etc But c'mon...

he's sleeping with other people --they never made any promises

(spoiler show)

So the impossible becomes possible, hot near sex (and actual sex happens), Nix shows makes a cameo--doesn't say a thing but my Valkyrie loving heart was ecstatic for the bit role she played, and LOTHAIRE shows why he's KANG for like 5 minutes.

The story ends with a HEA, an obvious send off as to who will be the players in book #2.

I'm wavering between a 3 and 4, so I'll rate 3.5 stars

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review 2016-06-08 05:35
Kleypas historical is my happ place...
Cold-Hearted Rake - Lisa Kleypas

Before Reading : I am living for this book.

I am all about it.

All of it.


After Reading :

My 1500th GR read (TBH, I know I passed this number but with deleted fan fics, not logging all my previous GR reads, etc. the number's off)

Whatevs. Celebratory AC Slater:

(spoiler show)

4.5 Stars--It's been proven I'm a Lisa Kleypas fan.

So much so, I figured I'd give it time before trying her new historical after her years long break. I read her contemporary return Brown-Eyed Girl earlier this year and I could tell, it wasn't up to snuff. Close but no cigar.

But with Cold-Hearted Rake, the first of the Ravenel series...

I guess she was saving her magic for her historical.

"It's a sin."
"How do you know?"
"Because it feels like one," she managed to say.
He laughed quietly and pulled her hips farther toward him with a decisiveness that drew a little yelp from her.
"In that case...I never sin by half measures."

The Ravenel family as the magic like another famous LK family, maybe you've heard of them? They go by the name Hathaway. Every damn character in this book was just a joy to read, even the ones who were maddening, especially the ones who were brooding.

Kleypas hit a couple of tried tropes and she made it delicious to read. Kathleen, ginger haired Countess Trenear is a widow only after three days of marriage. The dead earl's cousin and now new earl, Devon is known to be a rake of the first degree. He and his rakehell brother, Weston inherit a massive debt, crumbling estate with a widow and their three female cousins (the former earl's sisters) and about two hundred tenants that are in desperate need. Devon did not ask for responsibility and he certainly doesn't want it in the tiny form of Kathleen.

Kathleen is a tiny force to be reckoned with. Her and Devon do not start on the right foot. In fact, they were combustible from jump. But you know what they say, it's a thin line between love and hate. All their arguments were just precursors to falling in love, flirtations if you will.

"You took Theo's title and his home," West continued in appalled disbelief, "and now you want his wife."
"His widow," Devon muttered.
"Have you seduced her?"
"Not yet."
West clapped his hand to his forehead. "Christ. Don't you think she's suffered enough?"

Devon and Kathleen write angry letters while Devon tries to fix the damn estate he didn't want. His drunk of a brother, West along with the rest of the Ravenels provide comedic relief and keep the momentum going. West, with his redeemed rake angle was just too awesome. He had some of the best lines!

"Has anyone been corrupted or defiled?"
"Since the age of twelve," West said.
"I wasn't asking you, I was asking the girls."
"Not yet," Cassandra replied cheerfully.

Lady Helen, serene, quiet and unassuming...I know still waters run deep. Can't wait to read her book. Marrying Winterborne See who she's paired with?

The twins! They are infuriatingly adorable with their antics - Ladies Cassandra and Pandora.

Devil in Spring Sebastian and Evie's SON

(spoiler show)

All of the Ravenel magic was mixed in the stubborn-enemies falling in love.

Good God, were Devon and Kathleen hard-headed. First it wasn't kicking the ghost of Theo out of the way, then it was them figuring out their fighting was because they had chemistry - though Devon was away in London for periods of time. I felt like his presence was still there in Hampshire with the girls. Add in a near death experience to slowly turn Devon's head in the right direction:

Brooding over the past wouldn't change the fact that Kathleen had belonged to Theo first.
But she would belong to Devon last.

And when they got together?


Tropey but I could care less.

“Time is what I'm giving you," he said, staring down at her. His hand curved beneath her chin, compelling her to look at him. "There's only one way for me to prove that I will love you and be faithful to you for the rest of my life. And that's by loving you and being faithful to you for the rest of my life. Even if you don't want me. Even if you choose not to be with me. I'm giving you all the time I have left. I vow to you that from this moment on, I will never touch another woman, or give my heart to anyone but you. If I have to wait sixty years, not a minute will have been wasted--because I'll have spent all of them loving you.”

Because Kleypas can trope with the best of them in my opinion.

So Kathleen was a ball buster and her pigheadedness got in the way at times. Didn't care.
So Devon wasn't as cold-hearted as the title suggests. Didn't care.

The reader could see they were meant to be together before they finally realized it. And these two crazy kids make their path to love entertaining to read.

There was a little OTT-ness in the last 15% or so but if made the story move. I'm for it.

As for The Ravenels #2: Marrying Winterborne, starring that broody, asshole-ish Welsh hero?

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review 2016-01-07 07:40
I love the Travises but Avery has got to be my least fave of the leading ladies.
Brown-Eyed Girl (Travises, #4) - Lisa Kleypas

I don't think I've ever rated a Kleypas book lower than a 4...well, there's a first time for everything.

This is swimming in the 3-3.5 range. All of the stars are for Joe who I love but I don't think this book did him justice. I waited all these years and nearly quelted myself when I found out finally he was going to get a book. Because if you ever ask to name some of my favorite series, the Travis Family, is cement shoes in there. I can go on for days about Liberty/Hardy/Gage because that was something. That love was bombastic. Or Haven and her hard wrought HEA. Or Jack 'Motherfucking' Travis who is hands down one of my fave Kleypas heroes - smooth like fucking butter. ;)

And throughout all of the awesome characters who were secondary characters to main characters, they got a deserving story and HEA. And there was the youngest Travis, Joe, sort of like Jack but more arty with his photography and the tragedy. Fans (including me) wanted him to get his walk onto the HEA covered sunset.

How did the awesome secondary character from the first three books read like a secondary character in his own book? Wait, like a tertiary character in his book!

Joe's a great man - he photographs for causes, loves puppies, his family, doesn't mind a full-figured gal and can charm the drawers off his woman but he could only carry the book so far when the heroine (Avery) was unsure of what she wanted to be. The story was weak, or maybe weak when the secondary characters and the Travis family reunion outshines the main love interests.

Because...I read this version of Travis hero before, in a better version called Jack. Joe was Jack 2.0, just the lighter model. He's still a Travis...therefore the panties go BOOM:

And from the start, Joe had that Travis single-mindedness when it comes to the potential 'one'. who was dowdy, slightly shrewish, sworn-off of love Avery but there wasn't anything in the beginning to point out WHY Joe even liked her. She was seemed like she was cool: a ginger, horrible fashion sense with a I-don't-give-a-frig sense of air (or maybe it was obliviousness) because she was a woman with a purpose. She had a career, she was trying to rebuild her life from the shambles of her dysfunctional background and create happy for others with her wedding planning business.

But she changed herself. :(

Joe was attracted to the oblivious girl (though I don't know why? Her personality wasn't all there.) And I don't mind the makeover but she didn't do it for herself. She did it to please others. Joe thankfully looked passed that and saw the the woman underneath. But Avery played games which I frigging hate. Don't act like you're not going to bone when hello! One Night Stand (which wasn't all that hot to begin with-- I think this was the second misstep).

So Joe pursues Avery and is charismatic, gives her space and is patient whenever he is featured. The story is told in first person present from Avery's POV. The girl needed to make up her mind. It was annoying. She made rash decisions without really thinking and didn't vibe what seemed to be her character. She wasn't very 100% shrew or career woman or modern Cinderella...what was she?

For me, closer to meh. And one of my least favorite Kleypas heroines. Her sister, Sofia had more spunk than Avery.

And can we talk about the haphazard plot twist and family crisis? It was so meh with a side of bleh sauce. Why even include it? Why couldn't we just be left with the happy Travis family memories. Why end it at that odd note?

Who wants to be ungrateful when they get a gift? Not I.

Man... this story lacked some of the magic from the first 3 books: Sugar Daddy, Blue-Eyed Devil, and Smooth Talking Stranger.

Thank you Kleypas for the follow up on the Travis family. I wish Avery was written stronger, I think there was a spine in there, she just needed to be fleshed out more.

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review 2015-08-31 02:41
Still one of my favorite books I've read...
Killer Queen - L.H. Cosway

I normally frown on companion novels. BUT I am so there for Vivica Blue.

4.5 Stars--This is a companion novel that didn't lose its luster.

L.H. Cosway has proved she can write. She's written an interesting hero in Nicholas Turner aka drag queen Vivica Blue and fleshed him out some more. He is hands down one of my favorites ever written: owns a dirty mouth, tows the gender bender line and damaged. Also, doesn't hurt that he fucks like a champ, eh?

"Killer Queen" is told from Nicholas's POV. Though this book could be read as a standalone, I think Painted Faces is stronger and the better choice to start with first. Killer Queen is like a condensed Painted Faces with new parts of Nicholas's past and HEA explored but I'll be honest, while I love him and enjoy being inside his head...it's Fred that I think sold it for me.

Fred aka Freda, the cupcake baking, smartassed heroine that I can genuinely say I like. I would like to hang out with her, I would definitely love be in her shoes and can say she's worthy of my respect. Is she a bleeding feminist? No, but to compared to a lot of tripe that gets passed for romantic heroines...she's cool. She had a few iffy moments but overall, she's a solid heroine.

Now "Killer Queen" read quick, maybe because I ate every single word of new parts of Nicholas I got learn: how his life before his mother died was, how he met Phil, how deep his drug use was, how he ended up in Dublin. Then we get his perspective of the pivotal Freda moments. (Hint: He's a horny and kinky little shit. Love it) Sometimes he read feminine, sometimes masculine but it's a mess of Nicholas and it works for his character. And it's not verbatim of "Painted Faces", if you're worried.

And then the future past "Painted Faces" HEA?! I should have guessed. I read the book and I still can't believe that happened. These are characters that I had in the back of my mind and Painted Faces is usually a book I rec to friends. So it was like revisiting a favorite trip in "Killer Queen" where a broken man and semi-broken girl become friends and find love along the way.

One of my favorite reads of the year. Love the cover too. :)

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