Monday, March 29, 2010

Recent Reads

These next two books are great examples of "it could have been so much better if" type reads. Both of them for me, had major distractions that resulted in a lower grade than had to happen.

Enslave by Cathy Yardley

Why this one: I saw a review of it somewhere - can't remember where now and something about seemed interesting

Steam Level: It's an erotic romance so pretty steamy as you can imagine

Blurb: Nadia Bessonova’s career-criminal father has deadly enemies – and to save him, his devoted daughter is willing to strike a deal with the devil. She will surrender completely, body and spirit, to the dangerous Dominic Luder, and submit to his every whim.

Dominic, haunted by inner demons and hiding away in his dark, secluded manor, is mesmerized by his sensuous prisoner who inflames his bestial lust. But Nadia is no mere plaything. At once fearful, willing, and wildly passionate, she brings his most breathtaking erotic fantasies to life – and thaws his cold, wounded heart.

Nadia never dreamed she’d become a slave to her own desires in a savage game of seduction and revenge. And now that Dominic has tasted ecstasy, will this jealous, magnificent beast be able to relinquish his prize?

My Thoughts: The beginning of this book was a bit disjointed I felt. I started it a couple of times and was a tad on the confused side. But once I kind of figuratively shrugged my shoulders and kept reading, the book got a bit better although there I still had other issues with it.

This is an erotic type Beauty and the Beast type book. In order to save her family, Nadia Bessonova offers to be and do whatever Dominic Luder wants her to be and do. Another issue crops up here. Once he decides to take her up on her offer, she practically seduces him. I thought she kind of jumped the gun there as I got the feeling he didn't really have that in mind. But since - hey - he's a guy - he wasn't going to turn her down and he takes her up on her seduction - making it quite clear that he's the boss. I thought he was a rather good hero - a villain who wasn't really that much of a bad guy. Either that or I kind of like my heroes twisted on occasion.

Nadia was a different kettle of fish though. I know this is a Beauty and the Beast story and as such, the heroine sacrifices for her family, but I think the author went a bit too far in making the family incredibly useless. Her father never seemed to want to work to help his family, rather he sacrificed his daughters to prostitution of one form or another. What daughter in her right mind would want to help that kind of daddy out I don't know. And there was a secondary story with one of her sisters setting out to gain power in a sexual vein to try and 'save' Nadia, even though Nadia made it clear she didn't need or want saving from the rather scrumptious Dominic.

But what really distracted me in this story and would have been better without is Dominic insisted that Nadia hang around his house nekkid as a jaybird. Now it wasn't the nudity in itself that bothered me - this is a tale of the erotic after all. So no, it wasn't that. But all I could think of was - how can I put this delicately - um, ah, well, um, body fluids. She found Dominic quite 'stimulating' and was constantly on at least a low level of arousal. And I think that's all I can say on that without turning red. But I thought some type of clothing - even if it was skimpy to the max, would have been better. I know - silly thing to get hung up on, but that's the way it went when I read this book. But for a simple article of clothing it would have gotten a higher grade from me. It could have been so much better if she wore sexy underwear.

Grade: 3 out of 5

The Best Revenge by Justine Davis

Why this one: There was a day when I would have walked ahead of this author and covered puddles before she stepped in them with my cloak, but then something - and I can't put my finger on what - changed in her writing and I no longer want to ruin any cloaks. But it's been a while since I read any of her books and I wanted to see if the magic had reappeared.

Steam Level: Rather tepid

Blurb: Something in St. John’s intense blue eyes reminded Jessa Hill of her childhood friend. But Adam Alden was long dead....

The handsome stranger had vowed to help her defeat Adam’s father in the mayoral race. Yet St. John’s quest for revenge seemed too personal for a casual acquaintance. Could St. John and Adam be the same man...and would he disappear with Jessa’s heart a second time?

Dameron St. John returned home with a new identity and a score to settle. But he wasn’t prepared for the emotions that surfaced when he reunited with Jessa. Could he let her in once again...and together would they slay his demons once and for all?

My Thoughts: As mentioned above, Justine Davis/Dare wrote some incredible books!! Many of the Harlequins she wrote back in the 90's are among the best I've ever read and if you ever see any of them in UBS - snap them up - I insist. And her two Futuristics - Lord of the Storm and Sky Pirate are among the best that genre has to offer. But then her style changed and it was just too disappointing to keep reading. So it was with some trepidation that I started reading this book.

And this turned out to be a frustrating read. At times it had that quality that set her earlier books apart. I really liked the character of Jessa. She's running for the job of Mayor of her town, not because she wants to be mayor, but because of things she knows about her opponent. He is the father of her childhood friend Adam and she knows what a truly evil man he is - and how he hides his true character. She's smart and she's savy and I liked her.

And as for Adam/Dameron - what a truly tortured hero he was. As a reader my heart went out to him for what he went through growing up with a monster. Faking his own death was the only way out of a real nightmare. As a boy, Jessa was his only oasis and when he comes back to town to help her defeat his father (this really isn't a spoiler as we know going in who he really is) she still fills that role. Only now he sees her as an attractive young woman who is developing different kinds of feelings for.

So what's the problem you ask - sounds good to me. And it was good - except for one thing. As a child, Adam didn't talk a whole lot and that's carried through to adulthood. He doesn't speak in sentences!! He only says one or two words when he is communicating with anyone. One can't call it talking since he doesn't 'talk' to anyone - not even Jessa - and I found this very distracting. I kept hoping he's at least open up more to her. We know what he's thinking and feeling and we the reader get to see inside his head, but his dialogue is almost non existent! Nevertheless, I think I will track down some of her recent books and give them a read. It could have been so much better if at least part of the time he spoke in whole sentences.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5


Patti said...

I hate it when I'm looking forward to a book and end up disappointed! Nice honest reviews.

(I hate it too when they go on an on about the massive amount of body fluids!)

azteclady said...

Oh Kristie, I understand you perfectly!

I still buy Justine Davis/Dare's novels whenever I happen to see them, because of her old books--which are in my keepers' shelves. Some of those old books have been read over and over, to the point they look very tattered.

And even though at times I can barely finish the new ones, there is that niggling voice in my head, saying "what if this time..?"

So I buy them and read them, and feel sad each time it's not a return to whatever she had that gripped the reader by her heartstrings.

C2 said...

Gosh yes. I used to love Justine Davis' books! I can't read the stuff she's writing now. If I didn't have her previous books to compare the newer stuff to, it might be fine. As it is, I've been so very disappointed in her recent (well, last several years') books. I hate it when that happens. :-(

Cheryl St.John said...


Can you do me a BIG favor, please?

Over on the AAR boards, a reader signed in as gypsy/patricia asked about westerns. I tried to post but can't get signed in to the boards.

Anyway I'd like to ask her to send me her address, and I'll mail her some books.

I saw you had commented there, so if you don't mind, I'd love it if you could post that to her please.


orannia said...

Thank you Kristie. There's nothing worth that the anticipation far exceeding the payoff.