Date: January 31, 2017

Moonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter

Moonspun Magic by Catherine CoulterMoonspun Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on May 4th 2004 (first published August 1988)
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 416
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She felt his tongue gently stroke her lips...and his hands, caressing her shoulders, moved downward to mold her hips. "No, please," she said, sobbing with desire...

Beautiful Victoria Abermarle feared and fled the imperious desires of handsome Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. But there was no escaping her own desires when she was rescued on the lawless highways of Regency England by Damien's identical twin, Rafael Carstairs.

Though Rafael matched the strength and daring, he was gentle where Damien was violent, caring where Damien was callous. The icy terror that Damien inspired melted in the flames of passion that Rafael ignited. And in a whirlwind of adventure, intrigue, and danger that set brother against brother and good against evil, Victoria fought to make the overwhelming power and glorious fulfillment of love the winner...

Trigger warning: Rape. 

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Twins square. 

I have to say that the third book in this trilogy is my favorite. Maybe because this book calls back a location from one of Coulter’s medieval books, I want to say “Fire Song”. I have to look it up. Either way, I loved the little Easter eggs that are dropped. Plus we get to see characters we have known now through two other books. I really did enjoy that Frances/Hawk seem very much in love. So you can kind of block out the horribleness of the first book now. Plus I really enjoyed the heroine/hero in this one. For those who are looking for “Virgin Best First Time ” square, you can use this book for that one as well.

Our heroine Victoria flees from her sister’s husband Damien Carstairs, Baron Drago. Yeah he apparently thinks that rape is not that big a deal. Do not get me started on Victoria’s appalling sister as well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, since it’s pretty apparent her marriage to Damien is awful and on some weird level she likes it. When Victoria runs away she ends up being rescued by Damien’s twin brother Rafael. Readers meet Rafael in the second book in the Magic Trilogy, so it was nice to see him get his own story-line. As good as Rafael is, we get to see though that Damien is awful.

Rafael is gentle and kind and decides he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep Damien from hurting Victoria. You can see that it pains him to see that his brother seems to just be “wrong” and not care. And Damien seems to loathe Rafael for having the same face. Yeah, there was some weird twin stuff happening in this book. There is also some grossness though with Rafael trying to control Victoria through sex.

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And there is some jealousy of Rafael believing his brother that perhaps Victoria was really with him sexually which I was wondering about his intelligence at this point. Rafael tries to play a trick on Victoria, but as we quickly find out though, Victoria is able to tell Rafael and Damien apart from each other simply by how her body responds. I guess if one man tried to rape me I would always be on edge around him.

There are some familiar and beloved secondary characters in this one. I absolutely loved Frances and Lyon’s aunt in this one. The men, meh to you. They were fine, but the women really shine.

There is a secondary plot going on with men abducting young women in the area and raping them. So yeah, stay away if you don’t want to hear some terrible men’s justifications for what they are doing. And weirdly this book made me think of Nora Roberts “Brotherhood in Death” which had that same type of plot in it.  I really wasn’t happy with the final resolution to that storyline, but I get it though, the times were that things like that were not seen as a great deal until a girl of quality is kidnapped. Apparently when it was the poor it was a hard shrug.

The writing was okay, but the plot with the gross club kidnapping and raping women take up a great deal of the book. I did like the love scenes. Give me a good love scene and I am usually all over a book.

I think the flow was okay too, nothing to complain about there. Even though I have read this book a million times (exaggerating) it always feels new to me. Maybe because this ended up being my favorite couple out of the three couples who are featured.

three-half-stars

Calypso Magic by Catherine Coulter

Calypso Magic by Catherine CoulterCalypso Magic by Catherine Coulter
Published by Signet on January 6th 2004
Genres: Romance, Historical Romance
Pages: 402
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-half-stars

His hungry lips met hers and the sensation built like raging fire...She wanted more...She wanted...

Diana Savarol vowed to stay away from her cousin, the rakish and hot-tempered Lyonel Ashton, during her visit to London—for she knew that Lyonel, the sixth Earl of Saint Leven, was a rogue who used women as playthings, and she would not be one of them. But she was homesick for the West Indies, and with only Lyonel to escort her on the perilous journey home, Diana's destiny became one with his as they braved the war-torn seas on a journey that would take them from glittering London to the tropical shores of Calypso Island. And, as the fires of battle raged around them, they found a love that burned more fiercely than any other. Diana surrendered to a passion within her that she could no longer deny...

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Rogue square. 

I was tempted to just say slavery is bad and be done with this review, but no, I have to elaborate. Honestly this is not as bad as the first book in the Magic Trilogy, but it’s still about a 3 out of 5 for me. Maybe because the whole slavery aspect of this book was so distasteful. At least this book introduces us to the hero in book # 3 (Rafael) who appears in “Moonspun Magic” who does not seem like a garbage person. We also get reappearances by Frances and Hawk (what she calls Phillip). Eh…they are not as terrible as they were in book #1. This also has another cousin romance which if I had to do it all over again, I would thrown in as a bingo, cause apparently this was something that happened a lot in historical romances.

Our heroine (Diana) comes to London to visit her family. She has grown up in the West Indies on a plantation (1813 timeframe I think) and so you know, there is going to be some discussion of slavery and is it wrong. Diana is in London looking to find a husband. I have to say that Diana’s asides about England’s weather and food was kind of hilarious. As someone who has only stayed in the country via airport I have zero opinions about the place.

Lyonel (or Lyon) who is Diana’s cousin, seems to get into fights with Diana every-time he lays eyes on her. There is some throwing together of them in London due to Lyon’s aunt forcing him to escort her to events. Of course there is some obvious match-making going on. Diana and Lyon eventually sail back to Diana’s home where a murderer is on the loose.

I can say that the two leads work very well in this book. They have a lot of back and forths with each other, but I didn’t get outright hatred/antagonism that I usually get with Coulter’s heroines/heroes. And the love scenes were great. We get one that takes place on a deserted island (don’t ask) that just worked for this book.

The secondary characters in this one are also in some cases pretty transparent about motives. I loved Lyon’s aunt. She appears in the third book and I loved the resolution of this character. Apparently interfering relatives is a theme in this trilogy.

We also get the reappearance of Frances and Hawk and I am just as shocked as you are that I liked them together. I don’t want to spoil for potential readers, but we get to see them at least I think two years into their marriage. I think the timeframes are a little messed up when I went back to book #1 and read book #2. And then I tried to do a flowchart and said forget it.

Image result for gif of women trying to do math

There is a murderer running about Diana’s home back in the West Indies, and I pinged them correctly when I was a teenager and of course walked in knowing who it was now as an adult. This is not an Agatha Christie novel, so there are really only one or two people who could be guilty.

I would say that the romance aspect was fine/good levels, but throwing in a murder was just weird. So the book felt like it switched on me mid-stream. The writing was okay, and the flow also worked.

The setting of 1800s England of course leaves one with very little options to talk about slavery that doesn’t make the hero/heroine look like monsters. However, that Coulter did what she could to make the whole slavery thing less appalling, but that was the only thing that seemed to not feel realistic to me.

three-half-stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels

All about the visuals: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books

So this is going to be good!

 

Here are my top ten graphic novels/comic books that I think you should definitely check out!

I have read some of these comics that are listed above, and others I of course know the bare bones story-lines. Considering what is going on right now in the U.S. I am going to make sure I finish “Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta.” I have always loved the “Dark Phoenix Saga” and Jean Gray is a favorite of mine. Let us not speak of that Emma Frost and Scott Summers nonsense.

So far I have liked issue #2 and #3 of the new Jessica Jones comic book. I was not really feeling issue #1, but now things are humming along. If you have followed my Goodreads reviews you have to know I have loved what is going on with “Ms. Marvel” right now. She’s the hero we need right now. I am always Team Captain America over Iron Man when it comes to “Civil War.” That is not going to change.

I do want to sit down and read “The Dark Tower” graphic novel as well as “Kindred.” I have heard great things about them.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah DessenWhat Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Children's on May 10th 2011
Genres: YA, Romance
Pages: 402
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move—four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself—whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017: Guy/Girl Next Door square.

Though I really did enjoy 2 out of the 3 Dessen books I reviewed yesterday, this one fell very short. It has classic Dessen moments (or what I consider classic). However, the flow of this book was pretty bad. It took me a while to get through it, and I am not going to lie, I started skimming a bit last night because I was seriously bored the whole time. I think the main issue was that I was not engaged with Mclean’s love interest (Dave) at all. He was just odd and lacking in so many ways. I actually did like Mclean’s father a lot, but her mother was problematic for me through the whole book. I feel like there was a side plot or something that should have been included to explain her perspective more. But honestly, she acted childish throughout and I ended up disliking her until pretty much the end. The secondary characters unfortunately really don’t shine at all in this one, and in her other books “Saint Anything” and “The Truth About Forever” I found the the secondary characters to be very developed.

The main character is Mclean. She is starting her senior year and dealing with being the new girl in town again. We quickly find out that Mclean lives with her father, whose job as a consultant for a huge restaurant corporation means that he is constantly moving around in order to fix or recommend closure for some restaurants. Mclean and her father have come to Lakeview, and she hopes they will stay long enough for her to enjoy her senior year. The biggest pain in Mclean’s life though, is that she feels lost and doesn’t know who she is anymore after her parents divorce. And we readers find out that this was a highly contentious divorce due to the fact that Mclean’s mother cheated on her father (with a man that her and her father saw as a hero) and quickly got pregnant. I don’t really know what to say about Mclean though. She definitely gets food and her and her father have a close relationship. But I never felt like I got what made her tick really. She’s obviously still upset by her mother tearing their family apart. And we know that Mclean chose and fought to stay with her father though her mother is angry about that. They have a blow up fight about halfway through the book, though Mclean is forced to capitulate to her mother or risk dealing with another court case to decide custody.

Secondary characters just felt too one dimensional for me to get an opinion on. Mclean’s dad at times seemed super wonderful, and then he would turn and be uncompromising. I don’t know if that was Dessen’s way of trying to show a bit of maybe what caused Mclean’s mother to cheat or not. Since the character of Mclean didn’t seem to mind I just didn’t know how I was supposed to feel as a reader.

Mclean’s mother was terrible. I really hate to read about cheating in romance novels anyway, but the woman acting like a spoiled brat through the whole book with her 180 in the end didn’t feel believable at all. You get that Mclean feels distant from her mother because it feels like she has created a whole new life and she wants her daughter there as well. But, she also doesn’t want to own what she did. And there was some sub-text there that Mclean’s mother and stepfather had some weirdness going on. Since Dessen doesn’t revisit characters in her books that I know of right now, this just ended up making the reading feel more muddled. I honestly didn’t get that Mclean’s mother loved her, she just wanted her in her new life and wanted things to be like they were. Obviously that can’t happen, hey you cheat, people tend to have feelings about it.

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And since the situation with the cheating and subsequent divorce was so messy, you think that Mclean’s mom would have some shame about it, but not at all. Eh. I don’t know what to say, you don’t want to be totally hard and not forgive, but I also would have dug a grave and put my husband in it (alive) if I found out that he cheated on me and was all laters baby I have an amazing new life.

Image result for fifty shades of grey laters baby gif

Yeah, I hate this phrase so much now.

Note: I am not married, do not be concerned for this mythical husband. I repeat, I am not married.

Other characters like Opal and Dave just read like cliches to me the whole way through. I honestly didn’t even get why Mclean was even talking to Dave at all or bringing him with her when she goes to watch a basketball game with her mother (something that the family used to love to do together) since he was honestly just the boy that lived next door to her and her dad.

Usually Dessen’s books have a more meaty plot to me. This one just flailed a bit too much for me. I also think Dessen rushed things a bit in the beginning of the book and then slowed down way too much. The flow was all over the place and the time periods kept jumping back and forth too much.

By the time we get to the ending, I had a sense of whiplash and we had some hastily thrown together information regarding where everyone was now (and happily I might add) that once again didn’t feel realistic.  Everything just didn’t fit. And since I thought wet noodles are more romantic than Dave and Mclean were supposed to be, her whole well maybe one day I will just follow him around thing just gave me a hard pause.

three-stars

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