dangermousie: (Default)
It is no secret I enjoy romance novels, but I largely do it in the same way I do cotton candy - it's sweet, quick, and forgotten as soon as consumed. However, there are some that escape that oblivion, that I adore and keep and reread and think are very very good. Below the cut are my 15 favorites, in no order.

Two notes: First, I didn't put any Georgette Heyer or Patricia Veryan on this because otherwise the list would be solely them. And the other note is that this list, like any list, reflects my personal preferences - I prefer period romances to contemporary ones, I like my romance explicit and also am very fond of h/c. The choices below rather reflect that.

List here of the 15 books )
dangermousie: (Default)
It is no secret I enjoy romance novels, but I largely do it in the same way I do cotton candy - it's sweet, quick, and forgotten as soon as consumed. However, there are some that escape that oblivion, that I adore and keep and reread and think are very very good. Below the cut are my 15 favorites, in no order.

Two notes: First, I didn't put any Georgette Heyer or Patricia Veryan on this because otherwise the list would be solely them. And the other note is that this list, like any list, reflects my personal preferences - I prefer period romances to contemporary ones, I like my romance explicit and also am very fond of h/c. The choices below rather reflect that.

List here of the 15 books )
dangermousie: (Default)
It is no secret I enjoy romance novels, but I largely do it in the same way I do cotton candy - it's sweet, quick, and forgotten as soon as consumed. However, there are some that escape that oblivion, that I adore and keep and reread and think are very very good. Below the cut are my 15 favorites, in no order.

Two notes: First, I didn't put any Georgette Heyer or Patricia Veryan on this because otherwise the list would be solely them. And the other note is that this list, like any list, reflects my personal preferences - I prefer period romances to contemporary ones, I like my romance explicit and also am very fond of h/c. The choices below rather reflect that.

List here of the 15 books )
dangermousie: (Veer-Zaara)
Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I do get some awesome anons and non-friends comments and after sleeping on it, I am less aggravated. I banned some people and from now on will flock any entries I think are with potential for drama, but the rest are staying open.

And now onto the topic of this post - latest romance novels I've been reading (in order from least-liked to most).

1. Gaelen Foley, My Irresistible Earl - oh, but sadly, quite resistible. Blahblah secret society, hero is an agent for same, heroine is fashionable widow and his first love. It was so boring - I never cared if both of them fell into a sinkhole and got eaten by an alien. Also, the hero is a major jerk - he is mad at heroine for not waiting for him but marrying someone else. After they were not engaged, he was gone for a year without contacting her in any way and she had a horrid family situation he knew about. WTF? Heroine didn't have enough personality to dislike.

2. Gaelen Foley, My Dangerous Duke - I am not sure how one makes a romance between an aristocratic killer for a secret patriotic order and the daughter of his enemies boring, but this book succeeded.

3. Laura Kinsale, The Shadow and the Star - everyone and their cousin recommended it. I liked it but didn't love it (and I wish the whole subplot about the cursed sword was dropped because pointless and I can see why some may think it orientalizing). Hero is a blond ninja virgin with major hangups about sex being evil who was adopted by English aristocrats in Hawaii. All it lacked was the author making him a vampire pirate. I liked him but I was all about the heroine, Leda, a very proper Victorian seamstress. I want to be her BFF in real life and for her to teach me when gloves are appropriate and how many inches one must have between self and gentleman friend when conversing. Book gets points for being the only romance novel I read which has first sexual encounter btw hero and heroine be more confusing and awkward than sexy as they are both virgins. I think Kinsale is a superior version of Foley for me - when I love her books, I really love them, but most of them don't leave me in exstacies. In case people need warnings for these things - mention/discussion of child abuse/rape, nothing graphic.

4. Loretta Chase, Captives of the Night - I met the protagonists of this novel, Leila Beaumont and Comte d'Esmond, as minor characters in Lord of Scoundrels, and have been panting to read about them ever since. Leila is a well-known portrait painter and d'Esmond is an agent on a mission, false identity and all. When her dissolute, criminal husband is murdered, they band together to discover who did it. It was a fun, solid novel. I prefer more angst in my romances (big shock, I am sure!) but this was v.v.v.v. good.

5. Gaelen Foley, The Pirate Prince - MY FAVORITE! And that is why I keep reading Foley books even though most of them range merely from 'meh' to 'OK' for me. When she writes something that works for me (this, The Duke) is really works! This combines pirates/sworn family enemies/hidden royalties tropes into one delicious, super-angsty mix. Prince Lazar of the tiny fictional kingdom of Ascencion (think Corsica) is the only survivor of the murdered royal family. He escaped when he was 13 and now, at 28, as a ruthless powerful pirate, he returns - not to rule the place or anything, mind you. He merely wants to complete his vendetta against the Monteverdi clan, whose head murdered his family and now runs the country. He plans the loot the place blind, execute all the Monteverdis, and make the Governor suffer by killing his beloved daughter in front of his eyes. And later, with his mission complete, he can finally kill himself. Yeah, Lazar is a dysfunctional suicidal mess. That is why I like this book. You know me and trainwrecks. Only his plans go awry when he meets Allegra Monteverdi - the target daughter in question - who is smart, fearless, is all about justice and reform, and with a hidden crush on the martyred boy-prince (and certainly won't believe this psycho is the same person, grown-up version). And so it goes, with them embarking on a passionate, dysfunctional, codependent relationship...Anyway, Lazar is mmmmm and Allegra is my girl-crush (she knifes the Big Bad in this and rescues Lazar, without bothering to dwell even for a second that she killed a man, how is that for a change of pace?) There are some tropes that may bother you that arise out of their dysfunction, but I had no problem with them (and no, I am not trying to obliquely indicate he rapes her). Also, Warning: mention/discussion of child rape/adult rape/drug use/suicide, nothing graphic. (That whole rape thing is a WEIRD trend in this latest batch. I wouldn't mind if it was short-lived).
dangermousie: (Veer-Zaara)
Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I do get some awesome anons and non-friends comments and after sleeping on it, I am less aggravated. I banned some people and from now on will flock any entries I think are with potential for drama, but the rest are staying open.

And now onto the topic of this post - latest romance novels I've been reading (in order from least-liked to most).

1. Gaelen Foley, My Irresistible Earl - oh, but sadly, quite resistible. Blahblah secret society, hero is an agent for same, heroine is fashionable widow and his first love. It was so boring - I never cared if both of them fell into a sinkhole and got eaten by an alien. Also, the hero is a major jerk - he is mad at heroine for not waiting for him but marrying someone else. After they were not engaged, he was gone for a year without contacting her in any way and she had a horrid family situation he knew about. WTF? Heroine didn't have enough personality to dislike.

2. Gaelen Foley, My Dangerous Duke - I am not sure how one makes a romance between an aristocratic killer for a secret patriotic order and the daughter of his enemies boring, but this book succeeded.

3. Laura Kinsale, The Shadow and the Star - everyone and their cousin recommended it. I liked it but didn't love it (and I wish the whole subplot about the cursed sword was dropped because pointless and I can see why some may think it orientalizing). Hero is a blond ninja virgin with major hangups about sex being evil who was adopted by English aristocrats in Hawaii. All it lacked was the author making him a vampire pirate. I liked him but I was all about the heroine, Leda, a very proper Victorian seamstress. I want to be her BFF in real life and for her to teach me when gloves are appropriate and how many inches one must have between self and gentleman friend when conversing. Book gets points for being the only romance novel I read which has first sexual encounter btw hero and heroine be more confusing and awkward than sexy as they are both virgins. I think Kinsale is a superior version of Foley for me - when I love her books, I really love them, but most of them don't leave me in exstacies. In case people need warnings for these things - mention/discussion of child abuse/rape, nothing graphic.

4. Loretta Chase, Captives of the Night - I met the protagonists of this novel, Leila Beaumont and Comte d'Esmond, as minor characters in Lord of Scoundrels, and have been panting to read about them ever since. Leila is a well-known portrait painter and d'Esmond is an agent on a mission, false identity and all. When her dissolute, criminal husband is murdered, they band together to discover who did it. It was a fun, solid novel. I prefer more angst in my romances (big shock, I am sure!) but this was v.v.v.v. good.

5. Gaelen Foley, The Pirate Prince - MY FAVORITE! And that is why I keep reading Foley books even though most of them range merely from 'meh' to 'OK' for me. When she writes something that works for me (this, The Duke) is really works! This combines pirates/sworn family enemies/hidden royalties tropes into one delicious, super-angsty mix. Prince Lazar of the tiny fictional kingdom of Ascencion (think Corsica) is the only survivor of the murdered royal family. He escaped when he was 13 and now, at 28, as a ruthless powerful pirate, he returns - not to rule the place or anything, mind you. He merely wants to complete his vendetta against the Monteverdi clan, whose head murdered his family and now runs the country. He plans the loot the place blind, execute all the Monteverdis, and make the Governor suffer by killing his beloved daughter in front of his eyes. And later, with his mission complete, he can finally kill himself. Yeah, Lazar is a dysfunctional suicidal mess. That is why I like this book. You know me and trainwrecks. Only his plans go awry when he meets Allegra Monteverdi - the target daughter in question - who is smart, fearless, is all about justice and reform, and with a hidden crush on the martyred boy-prince (and certainly won't believe this psycho is the same person, grown-up version). And so it goes, with them embarking on a passionate, dysfunctional, codependent relationship...Anyway, Lazar is mmmmm and Allegra is my girl-crush (she knifes the Big Bad in this and rescues Lazar, without bothering to dwell even for a second that she killed a man, how is that for a change of pace?) There are some tropes that may bother you that arise out of their dysfunction, but I had no problem with them (and no, I am not trying to obliquely indicate he rapes her). Also, Warning: mention/discussion of child rape/adult rape/drug use/suicide, nothing graphic. (That whole rape thing is a WEIRD trend in this latest batch. I wouldn't mind if it was short-lived).
dangermousie: (Veer-Zaara)
Thank you, everyone, for your comments! I do get some awesome anons and non-friends comments and after sleeping on it, I am less aggravated. I banned some people and from now on will flock any entries I think are with potential for drama, but the rest are staying open.

And now onto the topic of this post - latest romance novels I've been reading (in order from least-liked to most).

1. Gaelen Foley, My Irresistible Earl - oh, but sadly, quite resistible. Blahblah secret society, hero is an agent for same, heroine is fashionable widow and his first love. It was so boring - I never cared if both of them fell into a sinkhole and got eaten by an alien. Also, the hero is a major jerk - he is mad at heroine for not waiting for him but marrying someone else. After they were not engaged, he was gone for a year without contacting her in any way and she had a horrid family situation he knew about. WTF? Heroine didn't have enough personality to dislike.

2. Gaelen Foley, My Dangerous Duke - I am not sure how one makes a romance between an aristocratic killer for a secret patriotic order and the daughter of his enemies boring, but this book succeeded.

3. Laura Kinsale, The Shadow and the Star - everyone and their cousin recommended it. I liked it but didn't love it (and I wish the whole subplot about the cursed sword was dropped because pointless and I can see why some may think it orientalizing). Hero is a blond ninja virgin with major hangups about sex being evil who was adopted by English aristocrats in Hawaii. All it lacked was the author making him a vampire pirate. I liked him but I was all about the heroine, Leda, a very proper Victorian seamstress. I want to be her BFF in real life and for her to teach me when gloves are appropriate and how many inches one must have between self and gentleman friend when conversing. Book gets points for being the only romance novel I read which has first sexual encounter btw hero and heroine be more confusing and awkward than sexy as they are both virgins. I think Kinsale is a superior version of Foley for me - when I love her books, I really love them, but most of them don't leave me in exstacies. In case people need warnings for these things - mention/discussion of child abuse/rape, nothing graphic.

4. Loretta Chase, Captives of the Night - I met the protagonists of this novel, Leila Beaumont and Comte d'Esmond, as minor characters in Lord of Scoundrels, and have been panting to read about them ever since. Leila is a well-known portrait painter and d'Esmond is an agent on a mission, false identity and all. When her dissolute, criminal husband is murdered, they band together to discover who did it. It was a fun, solid novel. I prefer more angst in my romances (big shock, I am sure!) but this was v.v.v.v. good.

5. Gaelen Foley, The Pirate Prince - MY FAVORITE! And that is why I keep reading Foley books even though most of them range merely from 'meh' to 'OK' for me. When she writes something that works for me (this, The Duke) is really works! This combines pirates/sworn family enemies/hidden royalties tropes into one delicious, super-angsty mix. Prince Lazar of the tiny fictional kingdom of Ascencion (think Corsica) is the only survivor of the murdered royal family. He escaped when he was 13 and now, at 28, as a ruthless powerful pirate, he returns - not to rule the place or anything, mind you. He merely wants to complete his vendetta against the Monteverdi clan, whose head murdered his family and now runs the country. He plans the loot the place blind, execute all the Monteverdis, and make the Governor suffer by killing his beloved daughter in front of his eyes. And later, with his mission complete, he can finally kill himself. Yeah, Lazar is a dysfunctional suicidal mess. That is why I like this book. You know me and trainwrecks. Only his plans go awry when he meets Allegra Monteverdi - the target daughter in question - who is smart, fearless, is all about justice and reform, and with a hidden crush on the martyred boy-prince (and certainly won't believe this psycho is the same person, grown-up version). And so it goes, with them embarking on a passionate, dysfunctional, codependent relationship...Anyway, Lazar is mmmmm and Allegra is my girl-crush (she knifes the Big Bad in this and rescues Lazar, without bothering to dwell even for a second that she killed a man, how is that for a change of pace?) There are some tropes that may bother you that arise out of their dysfunction, but I had no problem with them (and no, I am not trying to obliquely indicate he rapes her). Also, Warning: mention/discussion of child rape/adult rape/drug use/suicide, nothing graphic. (That whole rape thing is a WEIRD trend in this latest batch. I wouldn't mind if it was short-lived).
dangermousie: (Default)
Because I really liked the two Suzanne Enoch books I read, I ventured onto a third, London's Perfect Scoundrel (it's a middle part of an extremely loose trilogy of which the other two books were the first and last part).

Normally the set-up (innocent proper young lady and a horrid seducer who decides he wants into her pants but reforms) would make me run for the hills but I really liked the two other books so I gave it a chance. My verdict? I liked it about as much as it is possible for me to like a book with this trope - I enjoyed it but it's not going on a favorites list. I did not feel like throwing it against the wall though and if you know my loathing of such a set-up, this is huge.

Why did I like it as much as I did?

Well, the book was doing the usual thing with hero was being absolutely intolerable, going all "I am going to kick orphans on the street and ravish you and instead of being normal and finding me a nasty scumbag, you, heroine, want to be sexing me up" when the heroine interrupted by having him hit over the head and locking and chaining him in the cellar (which used to be an army dungeon) for a week to teach him some manners and make him change his mind. I couldn't dislike either one of them after this or begrudge make-outs (heroine's reaction to him finally escaping was to go "oh well, let's have sex on the dungeon floor." I was very amused. :) I think heroine had a mild and unacknowlwdged taste for being a domme (especially in light of how much she enjoyed making out with him when he was chained up, precisely because he was chained up). :)
dangermousie: (Default)
Because I really liked the two Suzanne Enoch books I read, I ventured onto a third, London's Perfect Scoundrel (it's a middle part of an extremely loose trilogy of which the other two books were the first and last part).

Normally the set-up (innocent proper young lady and a horrid seducer who decides he wants into her pants but reforms) would make me run for the hills but I really liked the two other books so I gave it a chance. My verdict? I liked it about as much as it is possible for me to like a book with this trope - I enjoyed it but it's not going on a favorites list. I did not feel like throwing it against the wall though and if you know my loathing of such a set-up, this is huge.

Why did I like it as much as I did?

Well, the book was doing the usual thing with hero was being absolutely intolerable, going all "I am going to kick orphans on the street and ravish you and instead of being normal and finding me a nasty scumbag, you, heroine, want to be sexing me up" when the heroine interrupted by having him hit over the head and locking and chaining him in the cellar (which used to be an army dungeon) for a week to teach him some manners and make him change his mind. I couldn't dislike either one of them after this or begrudge make-outs (heroine's reaction to him finally escaping was to go "oh well, let's have sex on the dungeon floor." I was very amused. :) I think heroine had a mild and unacknowlwdged taste for being a domme (especially in light of how much she enjoyed making out with him when he was chained up, precisely because he was chained up). :)
dangermousie: (Default)
Because I really liked the two Suzanne Enoch books I read, I ventured onto a third, London's Perfect Scoundrel (it's a middle part of an extremely loose trilogy of which the other two books were the first and last part).

Normally the set-up (innocent proper young lady and a horrid seducer who decides he wants into her pants but reforms) would make me run for the hills but I really liked the two other books so I gave it a chance. My verdict? I liked it about as much as it is possible for me to like a book with this trope - I enjoyed it but it's not going on a favorites list. I did not feel like throwing it against the wall though and if you know my loathing of such a set-up, this is huge.

Why did I like it as much as I did?

Well, the book was doing the usual thing with hero was being absolutely intolerable, going all "I am going to kick orphans on the street and ravish you and instead of being normal and finding me a nasty scumbag, you, heroine, want to be sexing me up" when the heroine interrupted by having him hit over the head and locking and chaining him in the cellar (which used to be an army dungeon) for a week to teach him some manners and make him change his mind. I couldn't dislike either one of them after this or begrudge make-outs (heroine's reaction to him finally escaping was to go "oh well, let's have sex on the dungeon floor." I was very amused. :) I think heroine had a mild and unacknowlwdged taste for being a domme (especially in light of how much she enjoyed making out with him when he was chained up, precisely because he was chained up). :)
dangermousie: (Default)
After a sting of dreadful disappointments (I have finally decided to accept that the one Gaelen Foley book I loved was a fluke as the rest of them did not work for me at all), I finally found a romance book I am genuinely obsessed with - Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero.

Lucinda Barrett, the commonsense daughter of Gen. Barrett has decided on a life plan. With her two best friends married, she thinks it's time for her to settle down as well. She wants a peaceful life and a husband who is someone who is of the right rank, socially popular, and is also a military man who gets along well with her army-obsessed father. All of this leaves out Robert Carroway, brother-in-law of her best friend. Robert used to be a socially popular and liked army officer but that was before he returned from the Napoleonic Wars almost dead. Even though it's been three years since Waterloo, he never comes into society, barely interacting even with his loving an anxious family. He has never mentioned what happened to him, but seeing his awful PTSD, it couldn't have been good. But somehow, he strikes a conversation, of sorts, with Lucinda and the story goes from there...

Both the heroine and hero are pretty unusual - heroine is full of common-sense (no silly misunderstandings for her) and knows what she wants. She is so very practical - even when she falls for the hero she takes time to think whether he is the one she wants to marry because she needs to make sure the life with him will be the kind she wants. A heroine who actually thinks things through *gasp*! Hero is someone who suffers from horrible PTSD (a potential trigger warning here - while I have never had PTSD, I used to be prone to panic attacks when I was much younger and both the symptoms and the ways of coping so you won't start screaming in public that Enoch describes are very very accurate for my experience - it brought back some unpleasant memories) but there is no wallowing in what caused it (I think there is about a half-a-page explanation - unlike other authors - coughKenyoncough - Enoch sees no need to lovingly describe torture type stuff) and it's quite lovely to read about him climbing out of the pit slowly and realistically. Plus, he is just such a good person. I think romance novels are dreadfully bereft of heroes who are just good people, not someone in need of any reform. The love story is just so satisfying and with a slow steady progression and lovely. Nothing gets magically fixed but it does get better. I wanted to squish my Kindle to me by the end.

In fact, I loved it so much, I decided to check out another book of hers, despite the fact that both the title (The Rake - ugh) and the set-up (heroine seeks revenge on hero for seducing her out of her virginity as a result of a bet 6 yrs earlier to get her stockings - don't ask it's sort of complicated - short version is the bet wasn't for him to sleep with her) would normally send me screaming in the other direction. But the thing is - the characters of TR were secondary characters in EPH and I loved them to bits - she was burgling places and holding off gunmen at 8months pregnant and he was just so laid-back and a really good brother, so I decided to risk it. I am about halfway in and I love it. While the synopsis is not innacurate, it is misleading. Whatever happened 6 years ago (and it seems pretty clear hero was basically a young idiot who didn't think things through and he really did like her. He had no intention of sleeping with her either but they got a bit too into it. Also, nobody knows he won the wager except for the two of them - he claimed he lost it in public), inheriting an estate deeply in dept and a whole family to care for years and years ago has certainly matured the hero. In fact, he is in no need of reform - he's quite a lovely family person, laid-back, genuinely sorry to the heroine, and just generally a nice guy (I hate hate 'bad guy reforms for love of woman' plots - how long do you think it would stick?). And heroine is awesome and pushy and great. So I am not sorry I got it.
dangermousie: (Default)
After a sting of dreadful disappointments (I have finally decided to accept that the one Gaelen Foley book I loved was a fluke as the rest of them did not work for me at all), I finally found a romance book I am genuinely obsessed with - Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero.

Lucinda Barrett, the commonsense daughter of Gen. Barrett has decided on a life plan. With her two best friends married, she thinks it's time for her to settle down as well. She wants a peaceful life and a husband who is someone who is of the right rank, socially popular, and is also a military man who gets along well with her army-obsessed father. All of this leaves out Robert Carroway, brother-in-law of her best friend. Robert used to be a socially popular and liked army officer but that was before he returned from the Napoleonic Wars almost dead. Even though it's been three years since Waterloo, he never comes into society, barely interacting even with his loving an anxious family. He has never mentioned what happened to him, but seeing his awful PTSD, it couldn't have been good. But somehow, he strikes a conversation, of sorts, with Lucinda and the story goes from there...

Both the heroine and hero are pretty unusual - heroine is full of common-sense (no silly misunderstandings for her) and knows what she wants. She is so very practical - even when she falls for the hero she takes time to think whether he is the one she wants to marry because she needs to make sure the life with him will be the kind she wants. A heroine who actually thinks things through *gasp*! Hero is someone who suffers from horrible PTSD (a potential trigger warning here - while I have never had PTSD, I used to be prone to panic attacks when I was much younger and both the symptoms and the ways of coping so you won't start screaming in public that Enoch describes are very very accurate for my experience - it brought back some unpleasant memories) but there is no wallowing in what caused it (I think there is about a half-a-page explanation - unlike other authors - coughKenyoncough - Enoch sees no need to lovingly describe torture type stuff) and it's quite lovely to read about him climbing out of the pit slowly and realistically. Plus, he is just such a good person. I think romance novels are dreadfully bereft of heroes who are just good people, not someone in need of any reform. The love story is just so satisfying and with a slow steady progression and lovely. Nothing gets magically fixed but it does get better. I wanted to squish my Kindle to me by the end.

In fact, I loved it so much, I decided to check out another book of hers, despite the fact that both the title (The Rake - ugh) and the set-up (heroine seeks revenge on hero for seducing her out of her virginity as a result of a bet 6 yrs earlier to get her stockings - don't ask it's sort of complicated - short version is the bet wasn't for him to sleep with her) would normally send me screaming in the other direction. But the thing is - the characters of TR were secondary characters in EPH and I loved them to bits - she was burgling places and holding off gunmen at 8months pregnant and he was just so laid-back and a really good brother, so I decided to risk it. I am about halfway in and I love it. While the synopsis is not innacurate, it is misleading. Whatever happened 6 years ago (and it seems pretty clear hero was basically a young idiot who didn't think things through and he really did like her. He had no intention of sleeping with her either but they got a bit too into it. Also, nobody knows he won the wager except for the two of them - he claimed he lost it in public), inheriting an estate deeply in dept and a whole family to care for years and years ago has certainly matured the hero. In fact, he is in no need of reform - he's quite a lovely family person, laid-back, genuinely sorry to the heroine, and just generally a nice guy (I hate hate 'bad guy reforms for love of woman' plots - how long do you think it would stick?). And heroine is awesome and pushy and great. So I am not sorry I got it.
dangermousie: (Default)
After a sting of dreadful disappointments (I have finally decided to accept that the one Gaelen Foley book I loved was a fluke as the rest of them did not work for me at all), I finally found a romance book I am genuinely obsessed with - Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero.

Lucinda Barrett, the commonsense daughter of Gen. Barrett has decided on a life plan. With her two best friends married, she thinks it's time for her to settle down as well. She wants a peaceful life and a husband who is someone who is of the right rank, socially popular, and is also a military man who gets along well with her army-obsessed father. All of this leaves out Robert Carroway, brother-in-law of her best friend. Robert used to be a socially popular and liked army officer but that was before he returned from the Napoleonic Wars almost dead. Even though it's been three years since Waterloo, he never comes into society, barely interacting even with his loving an anxious family. He has never mentioned what happened to him, but seeing his awful PTSD, it couldn't have been good. But somehow, he strikes a conversation, of sorts, with Lucinda and the story goes from there...

Both the heroine and hero are pretty unusual - heroine is full of common-sense (no silly misunderstandings for her) and knows what she wants. She is so very practical - even when she falls for the hero she takes time to think whether he is the one she wants to marry because she needs to make sure the life with him will be the kind she wants. A heroine who actually thinks things through *gasp*! Hero is someone who suffers from horrible PTSD (a potential trigger warning here - while I have never had PTSD, I used to be prone to panic attacks when I was much younger and both the symptoms and the ways of coping so you won't start screaming in public that Enoch describes are very very accurate for my experience - it brought back some unpleasant memories) but there is no wallowing in what caused it (I think there is about a half-a-page explanation - unlike other authors - coughKenyoncough - Enoch sees no need to lovingly describe torture type stuff) and it's quite lovely to read about him climbing out of the pit slowly and realistically. Plus, he is just such a good person. I think romance novels are dreadfully bereft of heroes who are just good people, not someone in need of any reform. The love story is just so satisfying and with a slow steady progression and lovely. Nothing gets magically fixed but it does get better. I wanted to squish my Kindle to me by the end.

In fact, I loved it so much, I decided to check out another book of hers, despite the fact that both the title (The Rake - ugh) and the set-up (heroine seeks revenge on hero for seducing her out of her virginity as a result of a bet 6 yrs earlier to get her stockings - don't ask it's sort of complicated - short version is the bet wasn't for him to sleep with her) would normally send me screaming in the other direction. But the thing is - the characters of TR were secondary characters in EPH and I loved them to bits - she was burgling places and holding off gunmen at 8months pregnant and he was just so laid-back and a really good brother, so I decided to risk it. I am about halfway in and I love it. While the synopsis is not innacurate, it is misleading. Whatever happened 6 years ago (and it seems pretty clear hero was basically a young idiot who didn't think things through and he really did like her. He had no intention of sleeping with her either but they got a bit too into it. Also, nobody knows he won the wager except for the two of them - he claimed he lost it in public), inheriting an estate deeply in dept and a whole family to care for years and years ago has certainly matured the hero. In fact, he is in no need of reform - he's quite a lovely family person, laid-back, genuinely sorry to the heroine, and just generally a nice guy (I hate hate 'bad guy reforms for love of woman' plots - how long do you think it would stick?). And heroine is awesome and pushy and great. So I am not sorry I got it.
dangermousie: (Default)
After reading a bunch of romance novels and emerging with my sanity sort of intact, here are the four things I want all the romance novelists to note:

1. If I never see the word "rake" in the book title, it will be too soon. Unless said book is about gardening.

2. There were no turkeys in Medieval England. Just trust me on that one.

3. "Her core was molten lava" is never a good thing unless you are describing a mad scientist's doomsday devise.

4. Well-behaved, reserved, socially conscious and conventionally gentlemanly men can be attractive. More so then the undoubtedly syphilis-ridden bad boys with caveman manners you seem to prefer.

I did find two books I really like, which deserve their own post (Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and Lisa Kleypas' Because You Are Mine) so not all was wasted.
dangermousie: (Default)
After reading a bunch of romance novels and emerging with my sanity sort of intact, here are the four things I want all the romance novelists to note:

1. If I never see the word "rake" in the book title, it will be too soon. Unless said book is about gardening.

2. There were no turkeys in Medieval England. Just trust me on that one.

3. "Her core was molten lava" is never a good thing unless you are describing a mad scientist's doomsday devise.

4. Well-behaved, reserved, socially conscious and conventionally gentlemanly men can be attractive. More so then the undoubtedly syphilis-ridden bad boys with caveman manners you seem to prefer.

I did find two books I really like, which deserve their own post (Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and Lisa Kleypas' Because You Are Mine) so not all was wasted.
dangermousie: (Default)
After reading a bunch of romance novels and emerging with my sanity sort of intact, here are the four things I want all the romance novelists to note:

1. If I never see the word "rake" in the book title, it will be too soon. Unless said book is about gardening.

2. There were no turkeys in Medieval England. Just trust me on that one.

3. "Her core was molten lava" is never a good thing unless you are describing a mad scientist's doomsday devise.

4. Well-behaved, reserved, socially conscious and conventionally gentlemanly men can be attractive. More so then the undoubtedly syphilis-ridden bad boys with caveman manners you seem to prefer.

I did find two books I really like, which deserve their own post (Suzanne Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and Lisa Kleypas' Because You Are Mine) so not all was wasted.
dangermousie: (Chuno - plot)
My favorite romance trope is not the usual Cinderella one (you know - insanely rich/high status guy falls for a milkmaid/beggar/hooker/whatever) but the reverse - a rich/upperclass woman has a romance with a man who is poorer/much worse in status etc.

But, sadly, this is not nearly as popular because romantic stories (whether in dramas or romance novels) are usually directed at female audience and that is not a big female audience fantasy, compared to the Cinderella one.

I've come across a number of dramas which have this, but almost never a romance novel. So, basically, I get excited and check one out whenever I come across one. This led me to Gaelen Foley's Lady of Desire despite my author trepidation (so far I've read 3 Foley romances - one of which I loved to bits, one of which I was meh on, and one which I loathed with a passion. So very uneven).

Heroine of LoD is Jacinda - a well-off aristocrat who decides to run away when her family arranges for a marriage for her with a very suitable family friend. Suitable and nice he may be, but Jacinda has no interest in him at all - he is horridly old (almost 40, OMG), she has no romantic feelings towards him, and she craves adventure and excitement - she would looooove to meet a man like Byron's Corsair (because she's a very sheltered 18 and sort of a fanciful idiot, even if I love her anyway, remembering being this age myself). Not being prepared for the real world, she gets thwarted before she gets very far by a young pickpocket taking all her money. So she does what any sensible young woman would do - she runs after him into the nastiest, meanest part of London wearing her fancy dress and diamond jewelry and ends up right in the middle of a local gang war.

If this was real world, this would be a very short and unpleasant story - the various thieves, murderers and gang members inhabiting the area would rob her, rape her and murder her (or, in the best case scenario, hold her for ransom from her loving if overprotective family). But this is a romance novel, and the gang leader she stumbles across is a macho, sexy, tattooed 20-something Adonis named Billy Blade who takes her back to his hideout while he figures out how to make sure she does not report on him to the police and at the same time how to best return her where she came from before his men slit her throat either for her jewelry or for her sexy self.

I am basically a fifth in and am enjoying this hugely, without the least bit of guilt. She is all "OMG he is so sexy and rough and speaks with Cockney accent and mmmmm...tattoos. I wanna slum, this would be fun, as I never interacted with anyone like this before." And he thinks she is so pretty but also would be an awesome elevating influence and could bring him to the light of righteousness and other similar Victorian terms on the inspiration of virtuous yet sexy womanhood (though this novel is set a bit earlier).

I can't wait for them to hop in the sack (though if I were her, I'd check for STDs carefully - man who's probably done it with cheap 19th century hookers is probably not super safe) and get to the whole angst of "OMG I am not good enough for her" and "OMG, my family would never let me marry a brigand".

I peeked near the end and somehow, improbably, he turns out to be a legitimate son of some aristocrat or other - I guess this way our heroine can have her cake and eat it too. But that's fine, I don't mind. I'll take my slumming romance where I can find it :)
dangermousie: (Chuno - plot)
My favorite romance trope is not the usual Cinderella one (you know - insanely rich/high status guy falls for a milkmaid/beggar/hooker/whatever) but the reverse - a rich/upperclass woman has a romance with a man who is poorer/much worse in status etc.

But, sadly, this is not nearly as popular because romantic stories (whether in dramas or romance novels) are usually directed at female audience and that is not a big female audience fantasy, compared to the Cinderella one.

I've come across a number of dramas which have this, but almost never a romance novel. So, basically, I get excited and check one out whenever I come across one. This led me to Gaelen Foley's Lady of Desire despite my author trepidation (so far I've read 3 Foley romances - one of which I loved to bits, one of which I was meh on, and one which I loathed with a passion. So very uneven).

Heroine of LoD is Jacinda - a well-off aristocrat who decides to run away when her family arranges for a marriage for her with a very suitable family friend. Suitable and nice he may be, but Jacinda has no interest in him at all - he is horridly old (almost 40, OMG), she has no romantic feelings towards him, and she craves adventure and excitement - she would looooove to meet a man like Byron's Corsair (because she's a very sheltered 18 and sort of a fanciful idiot, even if I love her anyway, remembering being this age myself). Not being prepared for the real world, she gets thwarted before she gets very far by a young pickpocket taking all her money. So she does what any sensible young woman would do - she runs after him into the nastiest, meanest part of London wearing her fancy dress and diamond jewelry and ends up right in the middle of a local gang war.

If this was real world, this would be a very short and unpleasant story - the various thieves, murderers and gang members inhabiting the area would rob her, rape her and murder her (or, in the best case scenario, hold her for ransom from her loving if overprotective family). But this is a romance novel, and the gang leader she stumbles across is a macho, sexy, tattooed 20-something Adonis named Billy Blade who takes her back to his hideout while he figures out how to make sure she does not report on him to the police and at the same time how to best return her where she came from before his men slit her throat either for her jewelry or for her sexy self.

I am basically a fifth in and am enjoying this hugely, without the least bit of guilt. She is all "OMG he is so sexy and rough and speaks with Cockney accent and mmmmm...tattoos. I wanna slum, this would be fun, as I never interacted with anyone like this before." And he thinks she is so pretty but also would be an awesome elevating influence and could bring him to the light of righteousness and other similar Victorian terms on the inspiration of virtuous yet sexy womanhood (though this novel is set a bit earlier).

I can't wait for them to hop in the sack (though if I were her, I'd check for STDs carefully - man who's probably done it with cheap 19th century hookers is probably not super safe) and get to the whole angst of "OMG I am not good enough for her" and "OMG, my family would never let me marry a brigand".

I peeked near the end and somehow, improbably, he turns out to be a legitimate son of some aristocrat or other - I guess this way our heroine can have her cake and eat it too. But that's fine, I don't mind. I'll take my slumming romance where I can find it :)
dangermousie: (Chuno - plot)
My favorite romance trope is not the usual Cinderella one (you know - insanely rich/high status guy falls for a milkmaid/beggar/hooker/whatever) but the reverse - a rich/upperclass woman has a romance with a man who is poorer/much worse in status etc.

But, sadly, this is not nearly as popular because romantic stories (whether in dramas or romance novels) are usually directed at female audience and that is not a big female audience fantasy, compared to the Cinderella one.

I've come across a number of dramas which have this, but almost never a romance novel. So, basically, I get excited and check one out whenever I come across one. This led me to Gaelen Foley's Lady of Desire despite my author trepidation (so far I've read 3 Foley romances - one of which I loved to bits, one of which I was meh on, and one which I loathed with a passion. So very uneven).

Heroine of LoD is Jacinda - a well-off aristocrat who decides to run away when her family arranges for a marriage for her with a very suitable family friend. Suitable and nice he may be, but Jacinda has no interest in him at all - he is horridly old (almost 40, OMG), she has no romantic feelings towards him, and she craves adventure and excitement - she would looooove to meet a man like Byron's Corsair (because she's a very sheltered 18 and sort of a fanciful idiot, even if I love her anyway, remembering being this age myself). Not being prepared for the real world, she gets thwarted before she gets very far by a young pickpocket taking all her money. So she does what any sensible young woman would do - she runs after him into the nastiest, meanest part of London wearing her fancy dress and diamond jewelry and ends up right in the middle of a local gang war.

If this was real world, this would be a very short and unpleasant story - the various thieves, murderers and gang members inhabiting the area would rob her, rape her and murder her (or, in the best case scenario, hold her for ransom from her loving if overprotective family). But this is a romance novel, and the gang leader she stumbles across is a macho, sexy, tattooed 20-something Adonis named Billy Blade who takes her back to his hideout while he figures out how to make sure she does not report on him to the police and at the same time how to best return her where she came from before his men slit her throat either for her jewelry or for her sexy self.

I am basically a fifth in and am enjoying this hugely, without the least bit of guilt. She is all "OMG he is so sexy and rough and speaks with Cockney accent and mmmmm...tattoos. I wanna slum, this would be fun, as I never interacted with anyone like this before." And he thinks she is so pretty but also would be an awesome elevating influence and could bring him to the light of righteousness and other similar Victorian terms on the inspiration of virtuous yet sexy womanhood (though this novel is set a bit earlier).

I can't wait for them to hop in the sack (though if I were her, I'd check for STDs carefully - man who's probably done it with cheap 19th century hookers is probably not super safe) and get to the whole angst of "OMG I am not good enough for her" and "OMG, my family would never let me marry a brigand".

I peeked near the end and somehow, improbably, he turns out to be a legitimate son of some aristocrat or other - I guess this way our heroine can have her cake and eat it too. But that's fine, I don't mind. I'll take my slumming romance where I can find it :)
dangermousie: (Default)
(This is the last of the batch of romance novels I got, so you don't have to be flooded with these posts for weeks).

On [livejournal.com profile] scottishlass's recommendation, I got Kinley MacGregor's Born in Sin, as [livejournal.com profile] scottishlass promised me this is a "mad, bad, dangerous to know hero redeemed by love of heroine" done right.

I am about a third in and I love love love it to bits, despite it breaking two of my cardinal romance novel rules, both having to do with naming. The book is set in 12th century Scotland and England and the secondary characters have normal names, but hero and heroine? Oh my. The Scottish heroine is named Caledonia. Now, this is a fine name for a body of land but as a name for a 12th-century Scotswoman? You mean, her parents named her for the Roman name for Scotland? Bizarre. But that is as nothing compared to hero's name which is...Sin. Indeed. Let's pause for a moment while we digest it. Yes, he's a 12th-century English/Scottish nobleman with this name. To give MacGregor credit, she tries to justify it by saying he had other name(s) but this is the one he gave himself because he has ISSUES. I'd say he has issues, with a name like that! I promise you, author, naming him Robert or John would not have made him any less manly.

Anyway, despite the naming nightmare, I am really adoring the book - the heroine is strong-willed and smart and knows how to fight and is awesome. And I like the hero - he never inspires me with the slightest desire to smack him because issues/reputation or whatever is going on, he never treats heroine in any way but well and with respect.

[livejournal.com profile] scottishlass clued me in that MacGregor is another penname for Sherrilyn Kenyon, the author of the Dark-Hunter novels I used to really wallow in a couple of years back but I am beginning to think I would have figured this out even if she didn't tell me. Not only is Kenyon's obsession with tall heroes and heroines present (plenty of romance novel authors have tall heroes, but few like to have towering heroines as well) but there is the whole trademark Kenyon thing of giving the male protagonist a background horrifying beyond imagining. Her Acheron was the only romance novel (though tbh I don't even think it qualifies as a romance novel - 4/5 of it have no romance whatsoever) which literally gave me nightmares. I don't think I could have gotten through it at all if I started it after I had Baby Mousie. In fact, with Acheron, when the romance did start, it didn't really work for me because the previous 4/5th of the book not only left me shell-shocked but also with a firm conviction that what the hero needed was not a girlfriend but more years of therapy than immortality could get him and not to be touched by anyone in any fashion ever again. And maybe amnesia. And drugs. Though as the heroine was very vanilla and naive, this is about as good as it could get for him - if he fell for someone with even the slightest taste for kink, that would have been a disaster.

The hero of BiS doesn't have it as bad as the hero of Acheron but it's still plenty awful. Seriously awful. The preface to Acheron seemed to indicate Kenyon was an abuse survivor herself so I wonder if she's working her demons out that way. Acheron did seem horribly personal.

OK, this is sort of a digression...
dangermousie: (Default)
(This is the last of the batch of romance novels I got, so you don't have to be flooded with these posts for weeks).

On [livejournal.com profile] scottishlass's recommendation, I got Kinley MacGregor's Born in Sin, as [livejournal.com profile] scottishlass promised me this is a "mad, bad, dangerous to know hero redeemed by love of heroine" done right.

I am about a third in and I love love love it to bits, despite it breaking two of my cardinal romance novel rules, both having to do with naming. The book is set in 12th century Scotland and England and the secondary characters have normal names, but hero and heroine? Oh my. The Scottish heroine is named Caledonia. Now, this is a fine name for a body of land but as a name for a 12th-century Scotswoman? You mean, her parents named her for the Roman name for Scotland? Bizarre. But that is as nothing compared to hero's name which is...Sin. Indeed. Let's pause for a moment while we digest it. Yes, he's a 12th-century English/Scottish nobleman with this name. To give MacGregor credit, she tries to justify it by saying he had other name(s) but this is the one he gave himself because he has ISSUES. I'd say he has issues, with a name like that! I promise you, author, naming him Robert or John would not have made him any less manly.

Anyway, despite the naming nightmare, I am really adoring the book - the heroine is strong-willed and smart and knows how to fight and is awesome. And I like the hero - he never inspires me with the slightest desire to smack him because issues/reputation or whatever is going on, he never treats heroine in any way but well and with respect.

[livejournal.com profile] scottishlass clued me in that MacGregor is another penname for Sherrilyn Kenyon, the author of the Dark-Hunter novels I used to really wallow in a couple of years back but I am beginning to think I would have figured this out even if she didn't tell me. Not only is Kenyon's obsession with tall heroes and heroines present (plenty of romance novel authors have tall heroes, but few like to have towering heroines as well) but there is the whole trademark Kenyon thing of giving the male protagonist a background horrifying beyond imagining. Her Acheron was the only romance novel (though tbh I don't even think it qualifies as a romance novel - 4/5 of it have no romance whatsoever) which literally gave me nightmares. I don't think I could have gotten through it at all if I started it after I had Baby Mousie. In fact, with Acheron, when the romance did start, it didn't really work for me because the previous 4/5th of the book not only left me shell-shocked but also with a firm conviction that what the hero needed was not a girlfriend but more years of therapy than immortality could get him and not to be touched by anyone in any fashion ever again. And maybe amnesia. And drugs. Though as the heroine was very vanilla and naive, this is about as good as it could get for him - if he fell for someone with even the slightest taste for kink, that would have been a disaster.

The hero of BiS doesn't have it as bad as the hero of Acheron but it's still plenty awful. Seriously awful. The preface to Acheron seemed to indicate Kenyon was an abuse survivor herself so I wonder if she's working her demons out that way. Acheron did seem horribly personal.

OK, this is sort of a digression...

Profile

dangermousie: (Default)
dangermousie

November 2012

S M T W T F S
     1 2 3
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 01:50 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios