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.
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.
Laced 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.
My 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.
Lord 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!
Filed under: Grade C, Historical, Paranormal/Fantasy, Romance in general | 13 Comments »