A negative comparison

If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all…

Well today is opposite day for me then, because I don’t have the nicest things to say right now. A few of my recent reads just did NOT work for me.

Here is the problem, I just read one of the greatest books ever written, easily one of the best romance novels of all time. So now maybe the ones I read around it just pale in comparison?

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase is beloved by male mathematicians and ranks first with thousands of romance readers. You see, the Hero? Is perfectly wretched, and wretchedly perfect for our Heroine. And she? Is awesomely cool, and coolly (sp?) awesome.

lordofscoundrels

Original lusty cover in 1995 and gorgeous recent reissue

I lost my copy sometime in college between all the dormroom moves and just bought a new one and reread it as SOON as it came in the mail last week. So the 2 books I read before it and 1 book after it just did come come anywhere NEAR as good.

So that is my preface. For why. These books didn’t really work for me.

n292489Laced with Magic, by Barbara Bretton – It took me a while to get into this one since I hadn’t read the first book Casting Spells as I got Laced with Magic for free as part of a random pile at RWA. So for the first few chapters I gave it a break. Maybe it just wasn’t working since I missed the set up in the first one. But then as I slogged through 100 pages, 150 pages, and onwards and nothing got better? I came to the conclusion that the world building was really shallow. The characterization was really shallow. And the switching back and forth between THREE first person narrative point of views (H/H and random 3rd character) maintained that shallowness. This is a hidden magical town in the beautiful Vermont countryside and the “Heroine” Chloe was supposed to be a sorceress in training. But almost nothing about her craft, how she learned the spells, the history of magic in her family, how she conjured up her powers, how it felt to her was ever explained in detail. The non-magical Hero was secretly planning on moving back to Boston the entire book and I really never got a strong sense for why he should bother to stay, his romance with Chloe was also…well…shallow to me. The last straw was when one of those three people who was telling the story from their point of view was *Spoiler*

*

KILLED in the last chapter. And not only that, but guess what?!? The other two main characters barely gave it a second thought. The person who dies got ONE LINE of reflection from the others. They just said, “Oh well, they’re in a better place now.”

*End Spoiler* It was just so BLAH. I would only recommend reading it if you just adored the first book, but I already put this in my “to be donated to the library” pile.

38007395My Wicked Marquess, by Gaelen Foley – I adore Ms. Foley, heck I wanted to read her books so bad I borrowed them in large print from the library. But this one fell flat for me. Heidenkind’s un-review mirrors some of my thoughts, and as I commented on her post the real problem with this book was that I just couldn’t take it seriously! I was laughing AT it, certainly not WITH it, and I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be deep with a level of gravity given that the Hero was a trained, heartless, ruthless killer with razor sharp intellect. But his “secret club to protect the biggest secrets of Good versus Evil” a la Knights of Columbus seemed laughable to me. Their little club house reminded more of a little boys tree house with a “no girls allowed” sign. I mean Son of the Morning and The Da Vinci Code created a Brotherhood way cooler and more serious sounding that these guys. I was not impressed.

n306150Lord of Pleasure, by Delilah Marvelle – Have you ever taken a big gulp of soda expecting it to be Coke but really it was Root Beer? When that’s happened to me I find it just tastes HORRIBLE. I’m trying to explain how I expected one thing from Lord of Pleasure and when it wasn’t what I expected…I just didn’t like it.

So maybe if you check on my thoughts and know what to expect, it will be better for you.

I wanted to like this one, soooo badly for a multitude of reasons, number one of which being that I personally adore Ms. Marvelle. HOWEVER, I was expecting a traditional Regency with a bit of a naughty side, but instead this read more as a “fantasy historical” in that it such high fantasy beyond historical reality that I could not suspend my disbelief. Even though the heroine, Charlotte, is in Dire Straits, it still wasn’t believable enough for me why a Proper Woman of Society would work for a Not So Secret Sex School. The part that really seemed like fantasy was in her role as an Interviewer for the Sex School she got to ask the Hero all sorts of questions about his sexual history, about losing his virginity, threesomes, experience with toys, it was sort of a fantasy scene, like “don’t you wish you could ask your crush about his sexual past?” And the Hero’s family was CAH-RAZY sex obsessed, his mom was widowed and livin it up with lovers and “champagne parties” that her whole family knew about, she talked openly about sexual stuff in front her four daughters (teenagers and tweens), and they also know how cah-razy she had their dad had been when they were married with having THREESOMES with the lady who was running the Sex School now.

And YES I know some part of all romances are fantasy and don’t stick too close to reality, but what I love about Regencies is the “comedy of manners” and sharp drawing room dialogue fraught with innuendos while in public.

Lastly the word “snapped” was suuuuper over used. She snapped her hand up, he snapped his eyes to her, she snapped up straight, he snapped his hand towards her…Oy, enough with the snapping!

************

PHEW it felt good to get that out. /Rant

I really don’t like writing so much negative stuff at once, but these books have also gotten good reviews plenty of other places so I urge you to formulate your own opinions!

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13 Responses

  1. Okay. *pushes My Wicked Marquess to bottom of pile*

  2. Eeek! LOS is still waiting to be read by me. I started it, and then put it down and couldn’t find the darn thing! (At least I didn’t burn it *wink*) LOL! :P

    Anyhooo, I have to give that one another shot.

  3. The longer I read the more convinced that when you read a book is critical. There have been books I’ve picked up and put down a dozen times and then suddenly one day I pick it up and read it and it works for me.

    I too think that after reading a book that really works for you almost any book is going to suffer by comparison. Most of us don’t consciously compare books, but I think it happens anyway.

  4. I’m w/Rosie (unsurprisingly).

    I had to read LoS twice before I liked it. The first time I read it, honestly, I was all, “What the hell is the big deal about this book?!” But the second time I read it, I really liked it.

    I do think that the “when” of the reading is a big part of how much you enjoy a book.

  5. Aymless: who knows when you would’ve gotten to it anyway with your giant TBR!

    Barbara: you need to find LOS stat, Missy!

    Rosie: That is a great point, I don’t think I have really taken note of the timing with my reads in the past, this one was more blatant, but that is important to keep in mind

    Kati: so glad to hear similar thoughts on the “when” impacting your reaction to a book. i thought it was important to preface my negative reviews with that!

  6. WHEN is very critical..I totally see where you are coming from!!

    LOL – you were laughing AT Wicked Marquess..that is never good ;)

  7. Oh, I have never read Lord of Scoundrels- I’ll have to pick this up!

  8. There were some parts of My Wicked Marquess I did enjoy but I am so sick of these Lords of the Ton being spies for a secret society. The Order??? Give me a break. ZZZZZ….

    Once you read Lord of Scoundrels, it takes some time to find another worthy read. Dain and Jess are one of my all time favorite literary romance couples.

  9. you know how i feel about romance novels, but even *i* want to read LoS now!! :-)

  10. Mandi: nope, not good at all, it was laughter as in “really?!?! no really that’s what they’re doing? ridiculous, hahaha”

    Jill Pil: exqueeze me, you say that like you are a real romance novel reader, doth my ears decieve me?

    katiebabs: i def enjoyed *some* parts of My Wicked Marquess too! But yeah Order part (which was the premise of the book/series!) did not work at all.

    and i do realize i am totally spoiled by LOS, i am going to have to hold off on reading any historical romances for a long while

    Alice: i do know (sadness) but i think the reason i lost my copy of Lord of Scoundrels in college is because i lent it to a non-romance novel reading friend to break her into the genre and she KEPT it!!!

  11. You are the voice of reason in a world of delicious, delicious smut. But it’s still smut so I’d totally read it. I’m easy like that.

    P.S. I mean smut in the good way. Like when someone tickles under your chin and says, “Oh, what a smut!”

    P.P.S. That didn’t make sense.

    P.P.P.S. I think we’re done here.

  12. Uh-oh, I have Laced with Magic in my TBR pile. :( And I borrowed it from my mom, who will be all sad if I don’t like it. *sigh*

    I don’t think LoS ruined you for My Wicked Marquis–I think that book is just plain BAD! And great call on the “secret society” being like a little boy’s club house. It really is like they’re the Lost Boys in Peter Pan or something.

    Basically I just thought that book was completely nonsensical and ridiculous. Yeah, I did laugh a few times and enjoyed a scene here and there, but that book was just… eugh.

  13. […] further delay I present…my August reading list! I had a bit of a slumpas you may recall, but my discovery of Nalini Singh’s fabulousness made up for […]

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