Wednesday, 26 March 2008

The Viscount's Addiction by Scottie Barrett

I absolutely loved this little romance which is currently available only in e-book format. Mores the pity. The story is quite old-fashioned, simplistic and sparsely written. But it's nicely steamy and basically the story of an unfolding relationship between two people. There are no minor side-plots or romances. And it features a virgin heroine who instinctively knows she likes doing it with the right guy. Who also happens to be her unjustly jailed for 5-years husband. Her name is Jessie. She's beautiful, hard-working and helps her husband to throw off his opium addiction. The hero is called Ryder and despite being unjustly jailed has not returned to his home mean-spiritied. Everything is 100% consensual. When the heroine tells the hero 'No' he completely accepts it. Unlike the ghastly Claiming the Courtesan which to be honest I should never have read.

I also like the fact that despite being an historical novel, the cover art features two very modern looking individuals. I hate 'six-pack' guys on front covers.

My only criticism is that Viscounts Addiction is of course much too short. Maybe more could have been made of the step-father's obsession with witchcraft. Also. It wasn't really clear why those women waited 5 years before coming forward to provide Blackwood with an alibi. Or why anyone would believe what they had to say at all. And anyway. Why on earth would a Lord of the realm be jailed for killing a common hooker in those days?

What makes this e-book interesting and attractive is the Newgate prison back-story. The ending is really quite sweet too.

I personally am a bit fed up with heroines who are on their 2nd or even 3rd marriage when they meet their hero. How can that be true love?

After all my worries about e-book readers in the end it was completely easy to get hold of this novel. Everyone has the free Adobe on their desk-top. And that's all I needed. I paid for the novel with a card and it downloaded in only a couple of minutes. Fantastic! I'm very pleased.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

The Forbidden Lord by Sabrina Jeffries

I thought this novel was tedious, trivial and twee. Which probably says more about me than it does about a story which so many other readers seem to like.

I can hardly remember anything about it. Other than that supposedly virtuous Emily scams her way around London like any hardened grifter and puts it out for a rich Lord with nary a thought for the consequences. I remember being unimpressed by Emily from the very beginning when she is described as bringing a 'physic' to her friend Sophie. I suppose in modern times she would be called Sophie's supplier. And oh. She might have left enough of her stash around to enable her mother to top herself. Charming.

The purpose of the whole stupid scam was to find out who Sophie's admirer was. It turned out to be Lawrence, Emily's prissy cousin. Too many scenes with men gossiping and standing off to each other like silly schoolboys. I also didn't like the co-instigator of the deception, Ophelia, the gaudily dressed matron. In effect she was Emily's other jailor but then seemed to transform into Emily's Dear Aunt. And Emily actually liked her.

There was never any doubt about the ending after page 2.

Highly unemotional and uninvolving for me. (I might read Pirate Lord though)

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

A nicely enjoyable read. With a superb frisson of naughtiness that lasts for just about a couple of pages but ends up almost being the defining memory of the whole novel. (Girl-friend the nicest possible way.)

The plot is fairly standard stuff. What I enjoyed about it was the international breadth. From Mongolia to Chicago to Denver. Lovely. All totally believable. As was the main bad guy. Dispensing painful and sudden death in the blink of an eye. And nasty enough to make a good girl like Regan scream with fear. I totally enjoy spy thrillers where the denouement takes place in a big warehouse. I had no trouble visualising the walls of flames exploding all over the place. Just like in the best bad-boy action movies. I also totally love heroines who despite living completely normal lives do not hesitate for one second to do what it takes to help their man when he needs it. Without him so much as hinting he could use the assistance. Perfect. And yes. I also enjoyed the romance scenes. Steamy and joyful. Which is how it should be. Nice to hear a heroine tell the hero to mind his own business when he asks about her failed marriage.

Quinn and Regan almost totally disappear from the series after this story. But many of the other characters appear in novel after novel.

I have read this series in a sort of reverse order. Thus experiencing all the weird relationships and plots before the relatively straightforward one in Crazy Hot. In the end. My current favorites are this one and of course. The One. The Only. Crazy Cool.

I deeply admire the structure of the whole Crazy series. Some threads persist through each and every one of the books. (J T's death, weapons, cars) Whilst others break up or start half-way through. Add in the minor plots in each novel. More than sufficient stimulation for this avid and sophisticated reader. Boy. Some women have come a long way since they wrote essays at school. More power to such authors.

I'll be trying the Troubleshooter series next.

Claiming The Courtesan by Anna Campbell

In the end I didn't like this novel. Mainly because I recognised the type of heroine Verity turns out to be. A good old-fashioned ball-breaker. You know. The kind of gal who puts her man through hell before she accepts his proposal of marriage. Give out some bump and grind then make the guy feel like a piece of dirt for accepting it.

The hero, Kylemore, proposes to Verity twice. Once at the beginning of the story where she declines and then again on the last few pages where Verity accepts. Inbetween there's endless miserable fleeings and sordid reunions. Just about one chapter of happiness. Pages and pages of completely insincere 'I'm not worthy' crap from the heroine which is just an excuse to further put the hero through the wringer. Poor sap.

I absolutely loathed the character of Verity's brother. At 23 years old, he's more than capable of earning an honest living. But what does he do? Leeches off his sister, the hooker. His oafish shenanigans force Kylemore to declare Verity his mistress in front of an unruly mob. The whole scene made me cringe. In fact I cheered when Ben, the brother, got the whooping he so thoroughly deserved. Why Kylemore gave him even the time of day defied any reason. Still. That's the sort of baggage that comes with marrying a hooker.

The novel is also inconsistent in the characterisations and motivations of the main couple. All Verity needed to say in order to get rid of the Duke was, 'Actually Kylemore, I think I may have a slight case of the pox.' Her 'I want to be alone' schtick was just a total tease. I much prefered the scenes between the manipulative, assured Soraya and the arrogant Kylemore. The few that there were. The dowager Duchess was a magnificent creation. Ah. What might have been.

Basically this novel is a throwback to mid 70s monstrosities. Thank goodness most romance writers have given up this type of drivel. Even Gypsy Lady by Shirlee Busbee is better. Which is not saying much.