Blog Archives

Again the Magic (Lisa Kleypas, Wallflowers Prequel)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is a great lovers-reunited tale. They were almost-lovers as young adults, were separated, and are now related, amidst many misunderstandings and (in their eyes) larger-than-life obstacles. There are some parts where you get a little frustrated; there are moments of: come on already, just tell them the truth! But still, Kleypas is a talented writer, and this is a believably moving lovers-reunited tale. What’s more, because you see the beginning of their relationship, and then pick up right where they left off, after the time jump, you don’t feel like you’ve missed any of the real love story. The cast of side characters is well developed (almost too-well developed, more on that later), the writing is crisp and clear, and the characters really draw you in… a solid read!

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When Strangers Marry (Lisa Kleypas)

0 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is my least favorite Lisa Kleypas book (one of her first as a romance author and I think her first with Avon). You’ve got a hero and heroine who marry early and are attracted to one another, but also a lot of things that are just overly dramatic (for the sake of being dramatic). There’s the suspicion that our hero murdered his first wife (of course not), the horrible stepfather who’s trying to force our heroine into a marriage, and rebellious teenaged sons the hero is trying to raise… there are just too many balls to juggle, all of them a little overdone, so that the romance gets lost.

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A Wallflower Christmas (Lisa Kleypas, Wallflowers #5)

1.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Bah. Humbug. I get that when romance authors have created a great series, there is the temptation to keep it going. Here, Kleypas had set out to do four books (you know, with each girl getting one season, like It Happened One Autumn, etc) and that’s where it should have ended. Each of the four Wallflowers books are excellent; this one, featuring the Bowman sister’s older brother from America… not so much. There’s just too much rehashing of what’s happening in each of the former Wallflowers’ lives, and not enough space to really develop either protagonist in this romance. Ultimately, you don’t care when they fall in love, they’re kind of just the excuse to revisit our former heroines, and though I love Lillian, Daisy, Evie and Annabelle, hearing about their babies and pregnancies isn’t enough to hang a book on.

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Love in the Afternoon (Lisa Kleypas, Hathaways #5)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Though I didn’t originally expect to like this book, it ended up being one of my favorite Kleypas novels.  Love in the Afternoon is a clever spin on the Cyrano de Bergerac tale: an eccentric animal lover takes on the identity of her beautiful, rather shallow friend and writes consoling letters to a lonely soldier.  It is an entirely engrossing and readily repeatable read – though the protagonists fall in love with each other rather quickly, there are the requisite mistaken identifies and assumptions to get through, and the main characters are so nimbly drawn and layered that you’ll be sad when the novel ends.
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Worth Any Price (Lisa Kleypas, Bow Street Runners #3)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I’ve been dreading the conclusion to this three-book series mostly because the first two were merely slightly above average.  Yet this entry, which features our quasi-villain from the second novel, was the best of the three. Nick Gentry is a very believably torn and tormented hero: he hates his past, himself, his brother-in-law, some of his clients…just life in general.  He’s the type who takes risks to feel alive, and his immediate attraction for Lottie (who is escaping from a past of her own) makes sense.  These are two people who have both made some tough decisions to stay alive and be independent, so their growing affection for one another logically makes them feel vulnerable in ways that are easy to empathize with.  Still, the best of a slightly-above-average series isn’t a hearty recommendation, and there definitely some scenarios in here that will turn off many people (see spoilers below).
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Lady Sophia’s Lover (Lisa Kleypas, Bow Street Runners #2)

3 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
A historical romance heroine who is neither a virgin nor a widow sets the scene of a very unique and creative regency romance.  Yet ultimately, though Lady Sophia Sydney is a headstrong, believable character and Sir Ross Cannon is a suitably evasive, worthy hero for us to vicariously lust over, there’s something not very satisfying about the novel.  Maybe it’s that the first half, where the characters are getting to know one another, and each is trying to overcome a seemingly blinding physical attraction for each other, where Lady Sophia believes she is seducing Sir Ross out of vengeance for her dead brother is just all so much more intriguing than the resolution, which drags.  I still enjoyed reading it, I just think there are better representations of this genre.
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Seduce Me at Sunrise (Lisa Kleypas, Hathaways #2)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Kev Merripen and Win Hathaway have practically grown up together, and though they are clearly intensely attracted and drawn to one another, they both seem to fight it – he because he doesn’t feel like he’s worthy (being a gypsy) and she because she’s always been too sickly to really commit to a relationship. They’re more brooding, inwardly driven characters than what I’m used to with Kleypas, and the overall effect is that this book a little darker and less entertaining, than usual. It’s still a well written, compelling read, just in a slightly more stereotypical Romeo and Juliet vein. I recommend it, just not quite as enthusiastically as some of her other works.

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Mine Till Midnight (Lisa Kleypas, Hathaways #1)

4.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Mine Till Midnight has all of the great things you would expect from a Kleypas novel – well developed characters who go through a believable internal struggle on their way towards finding everlasting love, flashes of humor, believable quasi-villains, enough details to really root you in the time period, and a delightful supporting cast.  More than that, it’s a wonderful introduction to the Hathaway family, a great opening novel featuring a strong, more mature female who’s used to being the head of the household, and, in a very creative well-done way, a male protagonist who’s not an earl, viscount or even strictly English.  With Cam Rohan, we have an untraditional gypsy hero, who really breathes life and vitality back into the more traditional regency romance.
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Somewhere I’ll Find You (Lisa Kleypas, Capital Theatre #2)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
I’m oddly ambivalent about this book – it was a quick and easy read with interesting characters, but, on the other hand, neither Julia nor Damon were compelling or engaging in the way I’d hoped.  There are a lot of intriguing, distracting plot lines that remain either half-developed or half-heartedly resolved, and ultimately it feels like everything comes too easily, which you never want to see in a romance, which is all about the journey rather than the foregone conclusion.  It’s not one I’d want to keep in my collection, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon.
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Because You’re Mine (Lisa Kleypas, Capital Theatres #1)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
Because You’re Mine is split into two parts.  In the first half, we have wonderfully believable protagonists (an innocent, overly optimistic girl of eighteen and a famous jaded theatre actor) who meet, are drawn to one another, and fall in love.  The characters are well developed, the story is engaging, and there’s just the right amount of side plot and theatre details to fill out the landscape. Then comes the second half.  After a two month time lapse, our engaging characters have somehow morphed into moody, lackluster characters being manipulated by exaggerated plot twists.  None of the wonderful tension or development we’ve seen in the first half pays off, giving us an unsatisfying conclusion for a very promising beginning.
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