Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

Through talking books, Katie and I have discovered we have similar tastes in what we like and what we don't. We don't match entirely of course - I'm still shaking my head over the fact that she doesn't like Jo Goodman and she is much more of a BDB fan than I am. But overall we tend to agree more than we disagree.
(although at this point I have to say, recently a good friend sent me an autographed to me copy of Lover Eternal - Rhage's story which I loved and gave a 5 out of 5. It is now resting on my special books book shelf - but that doesn't have much to do with this - I just had to brag about it)
So when we were talking not long ago about a book we had both recently read, I said how much I enjoyed it and she said it didn't work for her at all I was a little surprised. And then I thought of a different kind of review. Then I thought it would be even more fun to exchange reviews and debate the book.
So with that in mind, here we go

Katiebabs and KristieJ- Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: May 2008
ISBN-13: 9780446406918
Series: The Legend of the Four Soldiers, #1


The Reviews

Kristie J

It’s no secret I loved Elizabeth Hoyt’s first three books. Also I think I may have mentioned that I came close to stalker-like when I ran into her in an elevator – thankfully I managed to restrain myself to save total and complete embarrassment.

I also thoroughly enjoyed her first effort with contemporaries in Hot by alter ego Julia Harper.

So when I started reading To Taste Temptation, I fully expected to love it. And guess what? I did. It's another winner for me for Elizabeth Hoyt.

But wait – this isn’t much of a review so I’ll continue. This is the first book in a series, The Legend of the Four Soldiers. The first soldier, Samuel Hartley is a self made man from the Colonies who fought in the war. He is haunted by what happened there and has come to England with his younger sister to track down a traitor. His next door neighbour and sister to his commanding officer is Lady Emeline Gordon, a titled lady who tutors young women in all the fine arts of the upper class.

Samuel is delightful! He’s brash, he’s honest and he really doesn’t give a damn what society thinks of his odd ways. He is Very Strongly Attracted to Emeline and pursues her relentlessly.

Emeline, for her part is Very Strongly Attracted to Samuel, but she’s a snob, she’s elitist, she’s prickly as a pear and I thought she was a hoot. I don’t think she will be everyone’s favourite heroine – in fact I can see many not liking her, but I did. She’s a product of her times and her upbringing.

I love seeing Samuel get her going and getting her mad as a wet hen. He takes great delight in doing that too. They are thrown into each other’s company quite a bit when he hires her to help with his sister Rebecca.

He finally wears down her resistance and when he does – wow – the steam level left my windows fogged up. Of course afterwards, Emeline being Emeline claims that’s it – their brief affair is over. But Samuel isn’t good at taking no for an answer and relentlessly pursues her until she give in again – and then again in a country house party.

Now at this point sadly the book gets a bit of a down grading. You see, Emeline is practically engaged to her brother’s best friend – a man she loves but only as a friend of her brother’s. At this point, she runs away from Samuel and she and Vale, her brothers friend formally announce their engagement. From this point on, I admit, I would have liked to smack her a good one. Vale and Samuel had established a friendship and of course that went very quickly down the drain. Her stubbornness caused a great deal of pain for Samuel who I really enjoyed. Then later they have a final ‘one for the road’ so to speak and I thought another harder slap was in order.

But, things got straightened out – this is a romance of course and I happily finished the book.

There was also an interesting secondary story between Rebecca and O’Hare, one of the footmen employed by Samuel. I don’t know if Ms. Hoyt has something planned for them or not – but I kind of hope so.

There was another interesting thing of note about this book. In her previous trilogy, Ms. Hoyt told a series of fairy tales. She does the same thing with this book at the beginning of each chapter. Normally I tend to skip over the italicized writing at the beginning of chapters, but here as well as her other three books, I found the tale enchanting.

Final grade - 4 out of 5 stars



When I heard Elizabeth Hoyt was releasing a new book, I did a little jig and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Ever since she has come on the historical romance scene, I have been a huge fan and is one of those authors you can always count on. But unfortunately, with To Taste Temptation, this is not the case. To be blunt, this book was a huge disappointment for me and is my first of the year so far. This came very close to a DNF and it took a lot for me to finish. Maybe I kept soldiering on because of the sex scenes, which Elizabeth can still write very well. Everything in To Taste Temptation was stale and a bit cliché from the plot, which was yet another murder mystery investigation by some American hunk, to perhaps the British heroine who is so uptight and cold that I really couldn't see the chemistry between the two. I have the feeling that To Taste Temptation perhaps was an old manuscript from years ago that Elizabeth worked and pushed to the side to go onto more creative things.

Emeline Gordon is the woman to go to if you daughter or sister needs help being accepted by the Ton. She helps these young ladies dress, walk and act a certain way so they can find the husband that is suited for them. The one thing about Emeline that is positive is that she is a widow and has experience with sex. At least she is not those types of virgin widows who haven't had sex until the hero comes along. She is the perfect persona of womanhood, or so we are told. But her precious stoicism is about to come crashing down because of the brash American who wears Indian leggings comes into her life.

Samuel Hartley is wild, because hey, he is from the wilds of America. He wears moccasins and leggings and is dark and dreamy. Emeline notices Samuel because of his dangerous mouth and she knows he has no manners because well, he is an American and wears strange footwear. She will have nothing to do with him, but will continue to silently drool because he is quite handsome. Samuel comes to Emeline and wants her to help his younger sister, Rebecca, become a superstar in London society. Samuel has urges for Emeline and his strange pants tend to become tighter around a certain part of his body because she smells like lemons. Yes, Samuel likes the way Emeline smells. Other than that he is not too keen on Em.

But Samuel is not totally honest with Em. He is using her for a cover. He is trying to find the person responsible for betraying his troupe during a battle during the war which became a massacre and killed many of his men. Samuel was the Corporal in charge and it is his duty and because of his guilt that he must find this person and bring him to justice! So, Samuel finds some buddies who fought side by side with him and they trek through London because the fiend must be there. But when Samuel is not busy being a detective or running through town in his moccasins, he is busy kissing Em which leads to some heavy foreplay between the two. I did say before that Elizabeth can sure write some nice steamy love scenes and there is one where Em and Sam are caught behind a curtain and can't leave because if they are caught, the tongues will wag. So one thing leads to another and some major loving commences behind the dust curtains. Honestly, this scene had a strange sense of déjà vu for me as if I read it before… *coughSecretsofaSummerNightbyLisaKleypascough* *doublecoughPassionbyLisaValdezdoublecough*

Other than more creative sex between Sam and Em and the mystery that will be solved in under 400 pages, I seriously can't think of anything else to recommend. Perhaps my expectations were too high for an author who has delivered extraordinary work in the past?

Final Grade 2 out of 5 stars


The Debate

KristieJ: OK first off - lets start with something we do agree with. She sure can write some hawt and steamy love scenes can't she?

KatieBabs: That is what kept me reading. Hoyt can sure write steamy sex. But again I had a problem with the chemistry. One minute Emeline is giving Samuel the cold shoulder, next she is about to be taken on the study floor.

KristieJ: I found it interesting that you mentioned Passion by Lisa Valdez cause I thought the same thing when I read it. Although I liked Ms. Hoyt's behind the curtain scene better

KatieBabs: That was my favorite scene in the whole book

KristieJ : I found her hot and cold nature interesting. I think she was fighting herself - as to what she really was as opposed to what society told her she should be

KatieBabs: Eh. I felt Emeline was too much of a cliché of many heroines I have read in the past. I am all for opposites attracting, but Em was just too cold for no reason

KristieJ: She shouldn't be so attracted to a rough Colonial - but she was. I do admit though she was a tad too cold, but then Samuel seemed to delight in ruffling her feathers

KatieBabs: How many times have we read about a British lady at odds with her feelings for the untamed American hero? I did like Samuel a lot. I felt he deserved a better woman

KristieJ: LOL for me not that many. I haven't been reading as many historicals these days as I used to

KatieBabs: This is going to sound harsh, but I kept thinking of Avonization when I was reading very much a paint by numbers read and Hoyt is so much more than that

KristieJ: Really? Interesting. I didn't get that and I am a huge opponent of Avonization. But then you read a lot of Avon books and I read next to none. There are only about 2 or 3 established authors who write historicals that I read. I've given up on many of them. Lisa Kleypas is the only one I read religiously

KatieBabs: Maybe my expectations are too high after reading Kleypas, Bourne and now Meredith Duran? To Taste Temptation was missing something to keep my interest. I also felt Hoyt was trying to make Samuel more tortured than he should be

KristieJ: I thought he was a pretty jovial guy. He had a good sense of humour and he laughed a lot. He did have a rather tragic time of it before, but overall I didn't find him too tortured - not in the sense that he was moody and sour anyway.

KatieBabs: Not moody, but guilt ridden.

KristieJ: LOL - aren't most heroes in one way or another? That's what makes them so darned attractive

KatieBabs: seems to be. Not sure which ones I find more appealing. But imagine if you had a moody, sour, guilt ridden hero who is good in bed?

KatieBabs: *THUMP*

KristieJ: ROTFL - it always comes back to that doesn't it? Are you thinking perhaps Guy of Gisbourne?

KatieBabs: oh Guy, yes.... Mister chesty moody sex on a stick

KristieJ: We aren't going to go there in case I can't hear you

KatieBabs: *looks innocently at Kristie*

KristieJ: Did you read the fairy tale that started off each chapter? And if so - what did you think of it?

KatieBabs: I do like the fairy tale idea.

KristieJ: I think it's kind of cool that she carries them through all her books - since romance books are kind of like fairy tales for adults

KatieBabs: I will say that even though To Taste Temptation wasn't a book for me, I am interested to see where she goes with the next three books planned

KristieJ: I really liked this one. It had me on the edge of my seat - but I didn't really see how it tied in with the story the way they did in her previous trilogy

KatieBabs: I wonder if Vale will get his own book.

KristieJ: I'm thinking he will. Along with her friend - forget her name. I also wonder what she has planned with Elizabeth and the footman if anything.

KatieBabs: I believe there are 4 soldiers who get their own stories, like the four on the fairy tale she has

KatieBabs: Samuel's sister Rebecca and her footman?

KristieJ: why do I keep thinking Elizabeth?? Oh right! That's the author's name

KatieBabs: Also I didn't understand the deal with Emeline's friend who wears brown and wants to be and look dull.

KristieJ: So - even though this one is a thumbs down for you, will you try her next book?

KristieJ: I'm sure we will find out *g*

KatieBabs: I will give her next book a go, but if it is like To Taste Temptation...

KristieJ: It's sad isn't it - saying goodbye to a former well loved author. I've done that more times than I care to remember. Gaelen Foley, Liz Carlyle, Mary Balogh to name a few

KatieBabs: Sorry, I give To Taste Temptation a big thumbs down and donate it to the library.

KristieJ): And I give it a thumbs up - with a couple of reservations about the heroine.


Ana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ana said...

I love the new feature girls, love the Thumbs up/Thumbs down thing :)

Now for the book proper, it is a major coincidence, I just bought it! I am not a fan of the author, I read the Raven Prince and did not like it at all. So I decided to give her another go with her new series.

I want to see now if I will side with Katie or Kristie!

Kristie (J) said...

Ana: *g* that's what we figured. We'd have some readers agreeing with both of us.

Tracy said...

K -love the new review system. I give it a thumbs up (the format, not the book). Actually I haven't read the book so I can't say.

KB - Who is Guy and why are you falling over when you speak of him?

Kristie (J) said...

Tracy: Guy is Guy of Gisbourne from Robin Hood aka Richard Armitage (see post two or three below for a good look see) Katie's been watching it on BBC America and knowing I don't get it, she is constantly telling me what I'm missing - isn't that just so sweet of her. Sadly - I can't hear what she's saying *Big Grin*

Jill D. said...

Very nice ladies! I am still planning on reading this book. I wonder who I will side with...

nath said...

I'm going to skip on this book. I'm not a great fan of Elizabeth Hoyt and was already put off by the back blurb.

by the way, that inside cover image is bad! LOL :) I don't know, a bit too explicit to my taste... I like the back embrace or the kissing the shoulder... but on the sofa with her dress falling away and him standing in between... ^_^; Luckily, it's not the cover... or the back cover.

Katie(babs) said...

Tracy: Guy is the lovely Richard Armitage and Kristie and my mutual lust from the movie North and South. Go see the "chest" video and you will see why. Also I have a nice video of him from North and South that will make you go woo-hoo!

Nath: This was a major blow for me since I was a big fan of Hoyt. So disappointed :(

Kristie (J) said...

Jill: Thanks! It was fun doing it.

Nath: and here I LIKE the inside step cover *chuckle* Since it's on the inside - explicit is GOOD!

Katie: LOL - lust is right all right!

MaryKate said...

I enjoyed Raven Prince -- some. I think I gave it a low-B grade. Sounds like this is one I should avoid.

I will say this though, that step back is GORGEOUS and hot!

azteclady said...

Well, I haven't read anything by Ms Hoyt, and now I don't know whether I should or not :grin:

Very nice going, gals, this is a cool feature.

Shannon C. said...

Woohoo, I love this feature.

I think I'm with Kristie on this one. I'd never read an Elizabeth Hoyt book before, and I loved it. I really could have dealt with a lot less of the heroine, but the hero... Oh yes I loved him. LOL. And I loved the secondary romance between Sam's sister and O'Hare. I hope more gets done with that as well.

Stacy~ said...

I did like Raven Prince, though the trilogy got progressively worse for me. Still not sure if I'll pick this one up. Might have to read a few more reviews before I decide.

Brie said...

I agree with Katie. This book was a major lat down for me. After reading The Raven Prince I was so ready to get my hands on To Taste Temptation, now I wish I would have left it on the shelf.

The answer to the mystery was simply glossed over. Emeline was way too up tight, and I didn't like the way that Samuel disregarded his sister. Rebecca idolized him and he was so whatever with her.

Yeah, this book was not my cup of tea.

Sarai said...

LOL you guys crack me up. Great feature. I will pass on this one the only one of hers I liked was the Leaord Prince. Other than that *shrugs* I could take her or leave her.

Jace said...

Great review, giving us two opposing views, which makes it balanced. :)

Although I've enjoyed Raven Prince and loved Serpent Prince, I'll give this new series a miss.

Rosie said...

I liked this book. I won't say as much as the first three, especially SERPENT PRINCE for me, but I liked it.

I felt a personal connection with the story though. In my impetuous youth I was seriously smitten with someone totally inappropriate in too many ways to list here.

I've wondered from time to time what my life would have been like if I'd taken a leap and continued the relationship on his terms.

While I know for certain that GG is definitely "the one" for me, I came sooooo close with the 'wrong' guy that I could really identify with Emeline's indecision and vacillation. Changing from what is known and familiar isn't that easy.

CindyS said...

Oh, I like. I don't think I will buy this one until I catch up on her others. I liked her first book but had some issues.

Now I think Rosie needs to spill about 'the other guy' ;)