Tag Archives: romance

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Reese Brennan

unspoken I picked up Unspoken on a whim after I couldn’t find the book I was looking for. It is YA Gothic paranormal romance–all things I love.

Unspoken tells the story of Kami Glass–an aspiring journalist who starts a newspaper at her school in the small, sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Nothing much seems to happen in her hometown, until the return of the family who used be the ancestral lords over the people in the town–the Lynburns. Kami is determined to find out all of their secrets–until she meets Jared, the “other” Lynburn, who is part of a secret that she has been keeping about herself for years. And then there are the strange things happening all over town–attacks, ritual animal killings, strange weather patterns, the fact that the Lynburns actually still own the deeds to most of the town–including her own home. Kami will stop at nothing to uncover the truth–but what will this truth mean for her? Kami, who has been both an outsider and an insider in Sorry-in-the-Vale is about to discover her place in the great secret of the Lynburns.

I very much enjoyed Brennan’s rendering of the modern Gothic novel, set in England. At times I felt the story was a little too over the top–as much as I loved that Kami was a stop-at-nothing investigator, I felt that some of her actions were a bit too unbelievable. I enjoyed the tension and the relationship between Jared and Kami–their telepathic link. However, I think if I was Kami I would have long gone insane with having another voice in my head at all times. I don’t know if it was good enough for me to consider picking up the sequel, but I can tell you that I was definitely entertained.

 

 

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The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

The Duke and I CoverA few years ago I received a recommendation to read The Duke and I, saved it to my “Want-To-Read” Shelf on Goodreads (thank you Goodreads), and then promptly forgot about. However, as this is my last week of freedom before school (and massive amounts of required reading) starts, I took a gander through my Goodreads account to look for something I could read for fun that would require little to no brain cells. Sure enough–I saw the Duke and I. I’ve never set very high standards for romance novels–I mostly view them as pure enjoyment.

And sure enough–Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I was every bit as enjoyable and fun as I thought it would be! I knew right away I would enjoy the story because it is an Avon Historical Romance (I used to read the YA versions–some of them penned by Meg Cabot under a pseudonym) and it is set in early, 19th-century England.

The story revolves around a young woman, Daphne Bridgerton, who is always just the “best friend” and never a love interest, and a young man, the Duke of Hastings, who wishes to be left alone from the ambitious mothers of London society who scheme for their daughters to marry him. Together, they form a plan, which involves some deception, to get what they both want. The story is fast-paced, the banter witty, and there are some fairly steamy romance scenes. Overall, I would say it was JUST what I needed currently. Was the plot twisted, was the description mind-blowing and the dialogue or character development earth-shattering? No. But it was incredibly fun to read and it made me laugh out loud. In short, if you are only the occasional reader of romance (like me) or are looking to pick up a historical romance novel for the first time, this first book in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is a great place to start! I know I’ll eventually get around to reading the sequels!

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The Problem with Borrowing Things, in Particular your Best Friend’s Fiance: A Review of Something Borrowed

SomethingBorrowedSomething Borrowed by Emily Giffin

So, this is a short rant about what I found wanting in this novel, rather than a conventional review. I actually watched the movie based on the book long before ever reading the novel. I didn’t have very many positive things to say about the movie, either, but I decided to give the book a try–because it is my own personal belief that the book is always better (best). And for all the negative things I’m about to say about the book, I can say that it was a fast read, with fairly engaging writing. However, the following are the main three problems I had with this novel:

1. Darcy is as Flat as an Inhabitant of Flatland

Rachel narrates the novel and that means we are privy to her most unflattering thoughts of her best friend since childhood. So as a reader, our view of Darcy is already skewed. I had a problem conjuring up very much feeling for Darcy at all–in Rachel’s head she was constantly bitchy, shallow, and self-obsessed. There was one scene, the morning after her bachelorette party, that was supposed to add a little more depth to her character and make Rachel’s moral struggle with her affair more conflicting. However for me it just fell flat.

2. Please Stop Taking a Dump On Female Friendships

Do we all, at some point, feel jealous of our friends’ lives or their awesome accomplishments? Of course! But having an affair with their fiance just because they’re constantly “one-upping” you in life is drastic and absurd. Perhaps this was what really bothered me about the novel. Sure, Darcy may have a great paying job that she enjoys and an attractive fiance…but every one is on their own path in life.

3. It’s All Dexter’s Fault. All of it. Everything.

So you think this girl in your Torts class is cute, Dex, but she turns you down for a potential night of hanky-panky, which you only vaguely hint at–what’s the next logical move? Is it ask her on a real date? Make even more effort to speak to her outside of school and let her know you’re interested VERBALLY WITH YOUR WORDS? Nope. It’s actually to start a serious relationship WITH HER CHILDHOOD BEST FRIEND, ask the best friend to marry you, then FINALLY MAKE A MOVE ON THAT CUTE GIRL SEVEN YEARS LATER. Oh yeah, smooth move, Dex.

So guys, this was just not the novel for me–though I did enjoy all the food mentioned in the book. It had me craving pizza for three days straight. And just like Rachel, I’m not one to count the calories.

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Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Fanny Price

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore every body, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” ~Jane Austen (narrator), p. 482

“I am worn out of civility,” said he. “I have been talking incessantly all night, and with nothing to say” ~Edmund, p. 289

I’ve greatly enjoyed movie and miniseries adaptations of Mansfield Park, but when I first attempted to read the novel when I was sixteen, high off of the satire awesomeness of Pride and Prejudice, it was disappointing and I never finished the novel. Fanny Price felt like an anticlimactic, boring heroine compared with Lizzy Bennet. Still, after seeing the newest adaptation with Billie Piper, I decided it was time to give it another chance. Also, as I’ve just read A.S. Byatt’s excellent novel Possession, I was in the mood for something long and utterly 19th century British.

I was not disappointed this time. I think Mansfield Park is a bit more complex than other Austen novels I’ve read before. Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice are all the fun. But Mansfield Park is a bit more robust in themes and characterization. My impression of the novel as a whole is that this is a novel about unrequited love. Edmund is in love with Mary Crawford, who likes him well enough until she finds out he wants to be a preacher. Fanny is in love with Edmund, but her lower status as the “lucky,” poor cousin who gets to live at Mansfield complicates her feelings and her ability to express them (also she is not so great at expressing feelings in general–she’s pretty much on the Bella Swan/Anastasia Steele spectrum for blushing and crippling shyness). Maria and Julia love Henry Crawford, who likes to lead everyone on. Henry Crawford, however, gets a taste of his own medicine and ends up falling for Fanny (who is convinced, deep down,  that Henry has all the moral character of Joffrey of the house Baratheon; for those living under a rock and who haven’t watched Game of Thrones–basically medieval Justin Bieber with a touch of sadistic madness). What really and truly astounded me about this book was that Austen really made Henry fall for Fanny–of course, he gets caught up, obsessed, and wants so eagerly to please her. At first, he just wanted to flirt with her and break her heart the way had with the Bertram sisters. I think I truly felt for all of the main characters of Mansfield Park, except perhaps for Mary Crawford and Mrs. Norris.  Mansfield Park is now one of my new favorites–maybe I’m just a sucker for novels about unrequited love.

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Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge As you know from some of my previous reviews, sometimes I commit the sin of judging a book by its cover. And in this case, I’m certainly glad I did. The title and the cover itself drew me in. I also happened to purchase my copy from an awesome local bookstore, Book People, where it happened to be on display with a little recommendation card. I don’t remember the exact wording of the card, but I remember that it described Cruel Beauty as being a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with Greek/Roman mythology and the main character is an assassin. I like assassins, I like Greek/Roman mythology, and I LOVE Beauty and the Beast–so I knew immediately I needed to read it.

The description on the card was accurate. This is a story about a girl who has been raised to kill her future husband–The Gentle Lord. The lord of demons. He has been reeking havoc in Arcadia with his twisted bargains and his demons for as long as any of the people can remember. And now Nyx has the opportunity to save all of her people, everyone she loves. But can she move forward with her plan when there is bitterness and hatred in her own heart? And is the lord of demons really so…well…demonic as people believe?

I was enraptured by this book. I read it almost entirely in one night because I simply couldn’t put it down. I had to force myself to finally go to sleep because I had to accomplish things the next day. And after having read the book, the characters have stayed with me. Rosamund Hodge has created beautiful, complex characters in Ignifex and Nyx. I also loved the language and the imagery throughout the book. It is somewhat Howl’s Moving Castle-esque in its descriptions of Ignifex’s castle. In my opinion this is an extremely lovely, complex, and creative retelling of the tale as old as time. The bottom line is, the person who loves you most is the person who sees all parts of yourself, the cruel and the kind, the good and the bad, and still loves you. This is not a new lesson in literature, but one that was newly presented so well in Cruel Beauty. The only obstacle I see for this book is that it might not appeal to those who do not love fantasy or mythology, as it is heavy in both of these things. Another complaint: I kind of wish this had been a book written for adults. Some of the romantic scenes could have gone much, much further. However, if anything I wrote in this review makes it seem the slightest bit intriguing, you must read it–you won’t be sorry!

Also, I’m not sure if he could pull off the snark, but I could totally picture Kit Harrington (of Game of Thrones fame) as the Gentle Lord:

I mean, how could you say no to snuggling with this guy....even if he was the lord of demons?

I mean, how could you say no to snuggling with this guy….even if he was the lord of demons?

Fans of the book Grave Mercy  by Robin LaFevers would most likely also appreciate this novel.

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Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Claire Randall, an Englishwoman in 1945, is suddenly transported back in time to the mid 18th century through the Standing Stones near Inverness, Scotland where she had been on a delayed honeymoon with her husband. Now Claire must learn how to survive in 18th century Scotland with the Jacobite rebellion underway.

This was a great book to read after visiting Scotland! I greatly enjoyed the characters and the setting of the novel. In Jamie, Diana Gabaldon has created a completely irresistible character. I absolutely fell in love with him, as Claire does (though it takes awhile for her to admit). This book is rich in historical detail as well as romance and makes for a compelling, fun read: perfect for the summer (since imagining Scotland’s weather will certainly cool the reader off!).

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July 7, 2013 · 7:27 pm