Blog Archives

The Edge of Desire (Stephanie Laurens, Bastion Club #7)

0.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
The hyperbole simply goes too far in this book: the Vaux family are described as being so similar that they seem more like clones than individual people, and the members of the Bastion club are all suitably arrogant and all-knowing, but again… completely interchangeable. The hero and heroine struggle over who can be more managing (and often… more annoying), and there is Laurens’s usual sensuality and heaving. Yet this lovers-reunited tale just doesn’t work on too many levels. It’s long, the murder mystery is far too drawn out, and (though I hate to say it about Laurens), even the most sensual scenes feel repetitive and thus are a bit of a bore.

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All About Passion (Stephanie Laurens, Cynsters #7)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This had a more serious drive than some of the other Cynsters novels, but for any of us who are fans of the series, this was actually a good add-on. As an “honorary” Cynster, Chillingworth fits the mold of the Cynster-dominant-male-prototype nicely. The sex scenes are longer than usual, and almost get in the way of the love story here, but the characters are actually somewhat believable, and though the plot and characters are predictable, Laurens is a talented writer, and this was, overall, a worthwhile addition to the initial series.

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A Rogue’s Proposal (Stephanie Laurens, Cynsters #4)

2.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
My reaction to this book can probably be summed up in one word: meh. While all the necessary elements are there (the dashing rake of a bachelor who sees no use for marriage and desperately wants to escape the matchmaking mamas, the innocent and somewhat flighty heroine, the subplot that has elements of mystery)… there just wasn’t anything that I ultimately connected with or to in this book. Laurens is a talented writer, and I didn’t regret my time reading this book, but parts of it were definitely skim-worthy, and overall, it just felt kind of mediocre… and meh.

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Impetuous Innocent (Stephanie Laurens)

0 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is, by far, my least favorite book by Stephanie Laurens. Granted, I don’t read all of her new stuff any more, but I’ve read well over half her books, and this really is the worst: our female protagonist is not just naive and innocent but downright dumb. She’s annoying in most of the scenes she shows up in, I have no idea why our hero and heroine are attracted to one another (and he’s soooooo all-knowing that he’s almost unbearable as well). I had a lot of trouble finishing this book.

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Tangled Reins (Stephanie Laurens)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is an earlier work by Laurens that I really enjoyed! I do believe that Laurens only has a certain set of heroes and heroines, and so this was like seeing what they were like in the beginning (before endless iterations). Nothing is overly dramatic or prolonged, and the sensuality is somewhat toned down relative to  other Laurens works. It’s got a nice, feisty heroine who has kick and gumption throughout the novel, a managing hero who’s not actually an overly arrogant arse, and a well paced love story that’ll keep you interested throughout.

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Fair Juno (Stephanie Laurens)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is an earlier work by Laurens, and I think it shows. The characters are still really engaging, and you can kind of see the ways in which some of her later characters are here, but in less fleshed out, more skeletal versions. The male is a the powerful prodigal son who’s returned to reclaim the estates, and the heroine is a widow who was married to a very abusive man (who came to a mysterious end). They are attracted to one another right away, which means that this is a get-over-many-misunderstandings thing… which I don’t always love, and which lessens both of the characters a little. Still, totally enjoyable and worthwhile as a read.

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Four in Hand (Stephanie Laurens)

4 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
What happens when a womanizing rake inherits not one, but four beautiful young women as his wards?  Four interlaced romance stories!  This is early, early Laurens (before she became famous for her steamy sex scenes and intrigue-filled subplots), and in many ways because it’s not overwhelmed by sex (almost none!) and villains, it’s actually a very quick, enjoyable read.  Each of the four sisters chooses a different (until now) confirmed bachelor/rake, and each goes about getting her man with a different strategy (and for all of the younger ones, there is definitely a lot of not just love, but active strategizing about how to get their man to the altar).  It’s a fun read that I picked up years ago, and returned to recently… I found it just as good, if not better, than I remembered.  It’s soothing, fun, escapist romance, uncluttered by too much sex!
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Scandal’s Bride (Stephanie Laurens, Cynsters #3)

5 out of 5

Cut to the Chase:
This is my second favorite Laurens novel, and a bit of a guilty pleasure — I know she’s playing on stereotypes and glossing over details, but somehow I just don’t care. With our heroine Catriona, who is a healer and witch, there is an aspect of magic and fantasy that Laurens rarely explores and in Richard, the bastard son of a Duke, we have a noble hero who is nonetheless a bit of an outsider looking in. They are both people whose family situations have been defined for them; watching them discover each other and form a family is enormously engaging and enjoyable.
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A Secret Love (Stephanie Laurens, Cynsters #5)

5 out of 5 stars

Cut to the Chase:
This is Laurens at her best – an engrossing blend of mystery, an especially well characterized heroine, and of course, her trademark steamy sensuality.  Though Laurens’s characters are always attractive and intelligent, they sometimes feel a little interchangeable; this is one of the few examples to the contrary.  Alathea is a twenty-nine-year-old spinster who willingly sacrificed the possibility of marriage to become the titular financial head of the family and Gabriel, though he’s a little more of the stereotypical strong, protective, masculine trope, is nonetheless engaging enough to follow.  You need to take a small leap of faith at the set-up: that Alathea and Gabriel are childhood friends, but when she needs his help, she comes to him in disguise (one that he doesn’t see through).  Once you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well their dual day/night relationships develop, and be engrossed in what is a very enjoyable read.

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