Apparently I only talk about two things on lj these days :)

I've read two romance novels since I last checked in: His at Night by Sherry Thomas and The Runaway Duke by Julie Anne Long.  And I think I had unfair expectations for both, because I was hit twice by the disappointment stick. 

Mild spoilers ahead:

If I were to chose, I'd say the Thomas books was stronger, if infinitely more frustrating.  In His at Night, the hero pretends to be a simpleton in order to hide his true identity as a spy for the crown.  Our heroine is in need of a husband to escape her abusive uncle.  She traps him into a marriage and he remains bitter about it for the next 90% of the novel, even though he knows the awful situation was in.  Though, I have to say that one big complaint I had was that the evil uncle never seemed that evil.  He just came across as kind of a dick, but I never felt true fear or hate when it came to his character.  Mostly, I just wanted to shake some sense into the hero, because he was a fool, and not because he was pretending to be.

When it comes to The Runaway Duke, I'm going to give Long a pass, because it was her first novel.  And I'd rather an author improve from a less than impressive first outing, than fade immediately (I'm looking at you, Sarah Maclean).  Our heroine is caught in a compromising situation with a fortune-hunting dandy, and rather than marry him she flees with the help of the family groom, who is secretly England's wealthiest duke (obviously).  The character never really came to life for me.  Rebecca, with her blunt honestly and drive to be a doctor, was better written than Connor, but not by much.  The main issue is that even though there were high stakes, it never really felt it.  It was painfully obvious that Connor would reclaim his title and everything would end happy.  Of course, this is a given with any romance novel.  But if you're going to have road trip story, it needs to be exciting (Lord Perfect is an excellent example of this, with multiple storylines that were great fun).

Over in kdrama land, my interest in Faith started fading over the last couple of episodes.  There is only so much political intrigue and poorly choreographed fight scenes I can take.  But episode 12 drew me back in.  We got some great interaction between our leads (and how wonderful is Eun-soo?  I love her) and some interesting story developments.

I'm toying with the idea of watching Arang and the Magistrate, since I've only heard wonderful things.  I just.. can't seem to get over my aversion to Lee Jun-ki at the moment.  :/

OH!  And I've started to watch Farscape!  I'm only partway through the second season but I'm really, really enjoying it. 
Having watched the first four episodes of Faith I'm cautiously optimistic.  It seems to be a pretty solid mixture of drama/comedy/fantasy.  I'm not in raptures over it, but I think the cast is pretty solid.  And while I find court politics endlessly boring the intrigue here is at least more high stakes than the snoozefest that was Rooftop Prince's modern day equivalent.  The mustache twirling evil of Gi Cheol has potential.  And I'm pretty psyched about the dynamics between the King and princess.  Lee Min-ho is doing a very nice job, though I'm not really clicking with his character quite yet.  I loved the back story we got in episode 4 though.  But I'm pretty sure most of my interest is geared towards Eun-soo who I'm really enjoying.  She's got great comedic timing and I'm enjoying the balance set between her non-chalance about random things (like giving the princess a makeover) and stress over going back in time.  It's pretty great.

I also started Rich Man, Poor Woman, but I'm only through the first episode so I'll reserve my opinion for the moment. 

Recently I emerged from a romance novel binge.  I absolutely inhaled Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal Green series.  They are an absolute BLAST.  Anyone who enjoys historical romances full of humor and sexiness, definitely check it out.  It's centered around two warring families, the Everseas and Redmonds (with a plotline that runs through all of the books that keeps getting built on) and features some truly, truly excellent female characters.  I'm eagerly anticipating the next installment in November.

Instead of plowing through the rest of Long's books I decided to venture out.  Unfortunately, there were a few missteps, like picking up a contemporary because it was written by a local author (AWFUL writing).  I also gave Eloisa James another shot, after absolutely despising Potent Pleasures.  But, I'd heard good things about the Desperate Duchesses series, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I read the first and fifth (because it dealt with a couple introduced in the first book) and just wasn't that enamored.  The problem, I believe, lies in James' writing style.  I just don't like.  At all.  She is so impressed with her own intelligence, dropping Shakespeare and French all over the place.  It's distracting and I don't enjoy it.  Besides, the retconning regarding Elijah and Jessa's relationship for the fifth book was distracting.  They couldn't stand each other in the first book, he hated everything about how she presented her in public (she was outrageous!  he was a stand-up politician!  his reputation would be ruined by her behavior!), but that was all horribly toned down by the time their book came around.  They were secretly in love the whole time, blah blah blah.  Didn't buy it.  The only reason I read it was because I wanted to watch them fall in love and that's not what I got.

I DID get that in Sherry Thomas' Ravishing The Heiress, which is all about two young people who are forced to marry, because he is an earl with no money, and she is an heiress who's father wants a title in the family.  The hero, Fitz, is of course in love with his childhood sweetheart and hates that he'll never be able to be with her.  Millie, our heroine, falls in love with him immediately, but hides her true feelings.  They make a pact to not consummate their marriage for eight years.  The books flashes back and forth between the present and important events in their marriage, showing how the affection they have for each other blossoms.  It's horribly romantic, though I didn't want to shake both of them.  But I thought it was a truly lovely story.  It's the second in a series, and I just loved it so much, the first installement paled in comparison to me.  Though from reviews I've read most people like the first better.  I'm excited to read the third, and final book.

Anyway, if you read romances, check out Julie Anne Long and Sherry Thomas!  



November 2012

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