Thursday, March 27, 2008

Blue Eyed Devil


Since this is obviously a special book for me, I didn't want to do a normal kind of review. So instead I did the review in pieces as I was reading. I read this book in 24 hours. I started it the night before last around midnight and finished it last night around the same time. So without further ado - my thoughts

***warning, there may be spoilers***

also

***this is longer that most reviews I do***

Blue Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Well, I’m 102 pages into Blue Eyed Devil so far and whew has it punched me in the gut so far! This one, like Sugar Daddy is told in the first person rather than in the third person. While I didn’t used to like this style, the Stephanie Plum books softened me up and as you may (or may not) remember I loved Sugar Daddy.

This book is told by Haven Travis, Sugar Daddy Gage’s sister. It starts out with a bang as Haven mistakes Hardy, the hero/anti hero who didn’t get the girl in Sugar Daddy, for her boyfriend Nick in the wine cellar at Gage and Liberty’s wedding. She turns out the lights and kisses him only to discover much to her dismay that she has just locked lips with her family’s enemy. Although gob smacked by the kiss they share, she still goes on to marry her boyfriend.

This is where the book starts punching me in the gut. Nick, you see, is an abuser. Ms Kleypas (or I guess I should call her author Lisa) details it one step at a time how Haven is slowly stripped, one piece at a time, of her very self. It’s powerful, it’s real, it’s heartbreaking and it’s very believable! It’s superb!! Just the other day I read on DA that many romance books don’t tackle real life issues – which some authors just skim over tough issues. Not so this one.

But I’ve got past that part and now Haven is just starting to reclaim her life back – scarred and different, but she is on the road to recovery.

I have to take a break – one for relief and also ‘cause I’m having company and I have to get ready. But let me say, I am ITCHING to get back to this book!!!!

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I managed to get a few pages in before company came. I’m at the part where she runs into Hardy at the bar! So what the heck am I doing writing this instead of reading more of the book?!?!?! I don’t know – except to say Haven has herself between a rock and a hard place with her new boss. Now – back to reading!

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I’m on a bit of a break time (bathroom) I’m anxious to get back to the book but I stopped here to write a bit more. I am loving this book! Haven and Hardy have reconnected and not wanting to say too much and spoil it for everyone – Haven is very conflicted at the moment. She’s still very emotionally damaged, yet she is very attracted to Hardy – and it seems vice versa. And her brother Jack who’s also her boss isn’t to happy at the moment that they are contact with each other.

Now – back to the book!

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I had to take a dinner break – It was tough letting this book go I tell you! I’m over halfway done now and Hardy has entered Haven’s life with a bang. I don’t know Texas men at all, but if they are like Hardy – well – you lucky Texan women. He is one mighty fine hero. He’s after Haven and he ain’t takin’ no for an answer. Can I say I like that in a guy? She’s interested too, but she has a lot of baggage. What I’m really liking is the banter between them. It’s cute and it’s funny and it’s making me chuckle. And I hate, hate, hate her boss. Luckily I’ve never been faced with workplace harassment but I’m feeling for Haven. Her brothers though are bossy and adorable. If I had brothers like them I’d want to hug them, then brain them, then hug them again. They clearly love their little sister. And I like that we get to see Gage and Liberty again. They are integral to it but they aren’t overwhelming the story. But I have to get back the book now. Someone from her past has just made an appearance and I need to read what happens!

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She made it through that, but I have a feeling it’s not the last we are going to see of this person. I’m headed to bed – to read so this will be my last ‘thought’ for the night. But once again Hardy - *shiver*. He’s just saved Haven’s life and then turned her down for a night of hawt lovin’ ‘cause he thinks that she’s not in the right frame of mind and doesn’t want gratitude sex. I love it when a hero does this!

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Well – I finished it and I just had to turn the computer back on.

I’ll say this right off the bat. This one’s a fiver. At the end of Sugar Daddy – for those who haven’t read SD yet – read no further – Hardy did a pretty rotten thing to Liberty and Gage. One would think him unsalvageable at that point but Writer Lisa has a way of turning not so good guys into terrific good guys. She did it with Derek Craven. She did it with Sebastian St. Vincent. She did it with Nick Gentry. And she has done it with Hardy Cates. He is one heck of a good guy in the end, even if he did have a TSTL moment – the kind we usually equate with heroines. But she made me believe in the reason why he did. Now as wonderful and terrific Hardy is, because this is written in the first person, the one who we feel the most for is Haven Travis. Ms. Kleypas takes us on a wonderful and totally believable journey with Haven from a beaten down, unsure of her own thoughts woman to one who at the end of the book is strong, capable and ready to take on the world. This is really her story and a wonderful one it is. And for anyone wondering – yes this one is nice and steamy – very steamy.

For all those anxiously waiting for this book – for me the payoff is worth it. I loved it!

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OK – now it’s the next day and I’ve had time to ponder and absorb this book. I’ve been dwelling on it all morning now and I reiterate what I said earlier. Ms. Kleypas takes a real life issue and deals with it realistically. Although the book is told from Haven’s point of view only, she manages to make Hardy a real, larger than life character and we don’t even miss not seeing his point of view. He had his flaws – we saw that from Sugar Daddy, but by the end of the book we sympathise with and cheer for him. For those who loved Sugar Daddy, I’m thinking you will love Blue Eyed Devil just as much if not more.

15 comments:

Mollie said...

I just finished my review as well. I didn't like it as well as SD. I had quite a few things that really irked me about it. But over all, even with the things that bothered me, I really liked the book.

Katie(babs) said...

How steamy are we talking?
How much did you read during you bathroom break? LOL
I am the only one who hasn't read SD or BED.
I am lame.

MaryKate said...

Kristie - I *loved* this book. More than Sugar Daddy, and can I tell you that I pimped Sugar Daddy practically to strangers on the street. In fact, I finished it night before last, and could barely wait to get home last night to re-read it.

I thought Lisa addressed spousal abuse in such a real way. More than that, I loved Haven. I thought she was smart and stubborn and strong. Hardy is wonderful. He's nuanced and interesting, and has those laser beam eyes completely focused on Haven. He's just a super compelling guy.

This is easily thus far my read of the year, and I've read some *AMAZING* books this year.

I just can't get over how much Lisa delivered in this book. It exceeded all of my expectations.

ames said...

Great review format, Kristie. :P It's interesting to read your thoughts after Mollie's. I know I'm getting my copy soon.

Glad you liked it.

Kristie (J) said...

Mollie: *g* I read your review (and left a loooonggg comment - heh heh)) and again - a B- is pretty good considering your issues with this one. I can see your isses - I just didn't have them myself :)

Katie: We are talking very nice and hot :) And ROTFL - didn't read there. I never would have left otherwise. And you best get in gear and read yourself Sugar Daddy! 'Tis very good!

Marykate: Ditto!! I thought the author did a fantastic job in addressing spousal abuse. It was heartbreaking wasn't it? There isn't a shadow of doubt this will be one of my top picks this year too. Besides being a great romance, this is a thinking about the issues book isn't it? I read it real fast too and am planning a reread very soon. First of all though I'll reread Sugar Daddy *g*

Ames: It was interesting reading Mollie's thoughts. I can see where she's coming from with her issues and I'm sure she won't be the only one with them. I could see past them and understand where Haven was coming from though. I think Lisa did a good job in explaining why Haven allowed things to happen. I hope you like this one as much as I did!! I'll be looking forward to seeing other reviews as the come out.

Thea said...

Cool review format Kristie!

I'm so relieved to see these great reviews for Blue Eyed Devil. Hardy was a nasty ambitious guy at the end of Sugar Daddy, and I am extremely intrigued to see where Kleypas takes him in this book (along the lines of how I felt about Sebastian Lord St. Vincent after It Happened One Autumn!).

I love that more serious, dark issues are being addressed in this book, and happy to hear they are handled well. Can't wait to read this one!

Great review!

Mollie said...

Kristie,

I left a likewise lengthy response to your comment. Unfortunately wordpress doesn't have the handy e-mail comments. The bastards.

This is fun. :)

Rosie said...

Kristie, I just skimmed because I haven't read the book yet and I don't want anyone else's impression to influence me. I'm excited and anxious to read it. This weekend maybe? Fingers crossed.

ReneeW said...

I just got my copy from the library (I don't buy hardcover) and I need to finish Mine to Possess before I can crack it open. Can hardly wait. I enjoyed reading your thoughts in this format. I should have known LK could make Hardy a great hero. I wasn't so sure after the end of Sugar Daddy.

Christine said...

I'm in the middle of reading BED and absolutely love it so far. I'm pretty sure its going to be one of my favorite books ever. I love Haven and Hardy... and of course I love Gage & Liberty, Jack, Joe, and Todd! I'm going to be so sad when I finish this book... because already I don't want it to end!!!

.... I just wanted to also say that the dynamics of Haven's relationship with her NPD husband are very accurate. I sadly speak from experience as my father was (is?) NPD. Thankfully he hasn't been in my life for almost sixteen years. Anyway... I just wanted to put it out there that Lisa didn't dramatize it at all... it is realistic.

Did I mention I love Haven and Hardy? Oh! I did! LOL ... off to finish this amazing book!

Dev said...

I need to finish Sugar Daddy first. I bought it in paperback a few weeks ago. Perhaps I should dust it off?

I'm 5th in the queue at the library for this one.

Mos Stef said...

Man, I'm trying to stay on a budget and that means no hardcover books... but I just finished Sugar Daddy and now it's a keeper for me and one of my favorites. BED looks so good... Kleypas really can do no wrong. This blog is a blessing and a curse!! ;)

I know you don't know me, but I have to say I adore this blog. Thanks to it not only have I discovered North & South (which my mother and I both loved) but you've also opened my eyes to so many great books I've read and loved- most notably Lisa Kleypas (Dreaming of You... sigh!) and Elizabeth Hoyt (who also sent my book club a bunch of autographed bookmarks, I love when people are both sweet and talented :) Your back entries have both entertained me and touched my heart, and I hope this doesn't seem too strange coming from a stranger. The fun on this blog, mixed with the wonderful escapist books it's introduced me to, has really helped me in a hard time in my life. Please, please keep this blog going until we're all old and grey! :)

Kristie (J) said...

MoStef: THANK YOU for all the wonderful things you said!! Sorry for expanding your book budget *g* and *grimace* if you stay tuned Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I'm afraid I might add to it - I've something special planned. I do plan on keeping it going - how could I not? I've had so much fun doing it and it's been incredible *meeting* so many others like me out there and making such wonderful friends! I'm glad both you and your mother loved North and South - isn't it wonderful? And how cool that Elizabeth Hoyt sent book marks to your book club!!

Christine (((hugs)) It's good isn't it when a book can speak to you. I'll be looking to see what you think of it when you're done. I think she did a great job of still including Liberty and Gage in this one and then of course Joe and Jack now - I'm glad we got to see more of them.

Renee: *grin* she redeemed Derek didn't she (boy did she redeem him!!) so I knew she could do it with Hardy! Not that I ever thought he was so bad in SD - other than the deal he screwed up for Gage.
And while I enjoyed Mine Til Midnight, I enjoyed this one A Whole Lot More.

Rosie: I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you too! Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did!!

Mollie: *g* and I responded. It's interesting to debate books isn't it while recognizing we all have different tastes and come at books from different point of view!

Thea: It was fun to do it that way - except for having to take breaks rather than reading straight through. I'll be interested to see what you think of it too - having seen two different opinions.

Kristie (J) said...

Dev: Oops! Almost missed you! This one works fine without having read Sugar Daddy I think - but I'd say read SD first anyway since you have it *g* - just so you can get a feeling of where Hardy came from. He does figure in quite prominently and at the risk of a spoiler

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I wanted Liberty to choose him almost up to the end

Mina Wolf said...

I bought this book on Friday and did not sleep until I finished it (which is quite an accomplishment knowing I had a 10 month old that would wake me up at 6am for food). It was great! Not sure if I liked it better then SD but definitely as much. I really appreciated how Haven grew. There was a point in the book where I was wondering if she would ever be her old self again. Then at the end when she refused to give up on Hardy and I realized she got it back...it was awesome.