Book Review: Queen of Swords

Book: Queen of Swords

Author: Katee Roberts

Recommendation: Worth a Read

QueenofSwords

Not sure I’m any more qualified than the next person to leave a review, but I’ll try to give it a shot with a book I recently finished.

No-Spoilers

All in, this sci-fi romance was a decent read.

World-Building

The world-building is spectacular. Seriously, this is by far the best part of the book. The world, the religions, the people. The aliens are truly alien. For example, I love how you can tell one alien’s feelings from how his fur shifts. These are not humans with pointed ears.

The author uses a Tarot deck throughout, and she seems to have really studied up on it. I also love how the force acting through the cars is simply the Lady. You decide if she’s a goddess or Lady Luck.

Sanctify makes a fabulous villain, and the torture techniques they use to “purify” are truly gruesome. Seriously bad villain.

 

Hero and Heroine

The hero and heroine have chemistry. The steamy scenes aren’t memorable, but they’re pretty good.

He’s been through hell and back, though he’s still clearly your protective alpha male. I liked him much more than I thought I would.

The heroine is not a damsel in distress. She is strong, competent, and feisty. Hellcat is used to describe her. More than this, I like the fact she’s comfortable with her sexuality, knows what she wants, and takes it.

 

Story

The plot intrigued me once we got over some plot holes large enough to drive car through trying to get the characters in a situation where they’re stuck together, but I was ready for the author to get on with it around the three-quarter mark. I felt like some of the middle was go-nowhere-filler as we ramped up for the climactic showdown between the hero and his half-brother.

The writing is a bit clumsy at points, particularly in the beginning as the author sets up the entire story line and gets the hero and heroine stuck being together. Sadly, this extends to the smack-upside-the-head way that the author introduces that the heroine is pregnant. Other parts, such as the heroine being able to hack a com terminal, should have been discussed before she actually hacks it.

This is all the more strange as other times the author makes a big deal out of things like sharp sticks being used in the heroine’s hair that never have any purpose.

I was disappointed with the end. I was expecting so much more. The big climactic ending. The heroine and hero standing up and defeating impossible odds together. While we got a happily-ever-after, I didn’t feel that fist pump moment when the hero and heroine win.

As a matter-of-fact, I was really disappointed with how easy the whole ending was and how little the heroine figured into it. I still don’t understand why the hero didn’t do what he did years ago and end the threat his brother posed back then.

The ending also left certain things unresolved. Either the author didn’t tie up loose ends, or she left them loose for the next book in the series. That seriously irritates me. Still, this is a romance, so the hero and heroine do get together.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: North of Need

Book: North of Need

Author: Laura Kaye

Status: Did Not Finish (DNF)

NorthofNeed

I normally wouldn’t post this, but as Ms. Kaye is already a NYT bestselling author, I’m not really hurting her any by not liking a book. I found the book from a very popular romance blog, and they liked it, so it could just be me that didn’t care for it.

I was looking for a nice Christmas romance to distract me from a rough patch at work. I so wanted to love this book as the premise sounded cool. I got to the 40% mark on my Kindle and decided I was done.

The premise is cool, but the author didn’t do it justice.

I figured it would be worth discussing what made me stop reading. Perhaps it won’t bother you, and you’ll love the book.

There were really three things that made me stop:

1.  Unrealistic Characters – The characters, frankly, were unrealistic. The heroine was a widow, and her grief was real and raw. I bought that. At no point did I really buy her connection to the hero. This is a romance novel, and that’s a must for me.

I gotta tell you, the heroine got over her fear and terror of a strange man far too quickly.  The author needed to work for this and didn’t. Seriously, if I give a stranger sanctuary in my house from a snow storm, then find him sleeping on my bedroom floor, holding my hand when I wake up, my response is not going to be to find it comforting.

The hero was already in love with the heroine before they met. Sure, the author has reasons for this, but I’d way have rather he fell in love with her on his own. Especially as I found those reasons a little creepy.

 

2. Where’s the Plot? – At the 40% point, there is absolutely no reason for the characters not to be together. The author has already given away all of the cool mystery surrounding the plot. Which was cool, but the execution of explaining it to us the reader was awful. Rather than dumping it on our laps through exposition, this could’ve been unfolded slowly through the story, used to add tension and drama as the characters come together.

Instead, we’re literally told why the hero loves her and why he agreed to this “mission”. We know the heroine lusts for the hero. Only thing keeping them apart is maybe her grief for her lost husband, but as we get direct permission from the great beyond by the 40% mark that the dead husband is okay with it, things seem resolved to me.

 

3. Weak Writing – After unbelievable characters and a missing plot, the prose itself follows suit. We have abrupt transitions, no real scene setting, and no real pacing. Not surprising, I suppose, as there isn’t much of plot.

 

All in, the only thing that might recommend this book is if you are actually a widow or widower. Perhaps then things will mean more to you. While the story is definitely a tear-jerker around the heroine being widowed and all she’s going through, I just can’t get through the rest of it to finish. As far as I’m concerned, we already have a happily-ever-after at the 40% mark, and that saves me from having to read the rest of it.

Book Review: Her Viken Mates

Book: Her Viken Mates

Author: Grace Goodwin

Viken

This is not my normal reading fare, as you may have noticed from my other book reviews. I am not entirely sure why I picked it up.

Okay, that’s not true. I do know. It was curiosity, plain and simple. It appeared in my Amazon feed, and while I was intrigued, but didn’t buy it. The book then intruded on my consciousnesses during my drive home, and as I had some digital credit with Amazon, I decided to give in to temptation and see what it was all about.

 

Characters

These are flat, one dimensional characters. Expect no growth because you’re not going to get any.

 

Plot

There was one. Somewhere. But it’s even less important than most other romance novels I’ve read. The plot is as one dimensional as the characters, and I’m actually somewhat surprised how contrived it was. I was shocked how quickly characters believed a heroine from another planet who was there as an interstellar bride. There is no real reason for them to do that. Nor is there a reason that the villain would do what they did or give their hand away as they did. But, you know, plot wasn’t what this book was about.

 

Steamy Scenes

This is why you’re reading the book. The novel opens with steamy scenes, and the steamy bits probably take up at least 50% of the story, maybe more. It does include multiple lovers simultaneously, and I have never read anything like it, though I know this is not uncommon in romance. Just uncommon to me. As far as I can tell, the author handled it well.

 

Writing Style

While the writing was just okay, it was relatively free of grammatical and punctuation errors. It was also properly formatted to the Kindle. When she did a jump in PoV, which she did often, she used a new chapter and labeled the chapter with the person whose eyes you were now seeing through.

 

Themes

Despite the fact that this was really just an excuse for steamy scenes, there were some pretty interesting themes running through a book that was mostly steamy scenes. Issues of trust came up time and again, but more than just trust, it was also about consent. This played throughout the book. I was pleasantly surprised by this. There was never even a hint of rape culture in the book, and while rushed, it did let the heroine explore her sexuality without guilt. Rather, her mates encouraged her to explore it.

 

 

 

Book Review: Nothing Like a Duke

BookNothing Like a Duke

Author: Jane Ashford

Status: Don’t bother.

This book was one in a series. It may have been better if I’d read the rest of the series, but I doubt it.

NothingLikeADuke

Premise: I’m sure there is a premise… Woman goes to a house party and the man she loves happens to be there, but she didn’t know he’d be there, and he didn’t know she’d be there. Yeah, I’m still not sure what the story was supposed to be about, and I read the book.

Plot: I couldn’t find one. The hero goes to a house party to forget the heroine for reasons. Didn’t read the other books, so I don’t know why. Heroine goes to the same house party for reasons. I never really figured out why she went. It’s not clear other than she wanted to see the ton, but why she does must’ve been in another book.

While nothing in this book was deep, the part that was very disturbing to me was the way the author treated PTSD. I don’t think she did any research on it, or if she did, it was very superficial.

  • The heroine was apparently captured, tied up, and helpless at one point in an earlier book.
  • We’re told this is a big deal toward the end of the book. We’re never shown her nightmares, her fear of men, her fear of being in tight places (which happens). Even her being caught in a brier bush is told to us from the hero rather than a very deep and dramatic scene for the heroine.
  • The “cure” for this was for her to be attempted to be raped by another man and for the heroine to escape on her own.

I know very little about PTSD. Maybe this would work, or maybe it would deepen her fears. I don’t know. But the way it was handled was not believable to me.

Romance: The hero, Robert, already loves the heroine, Flora, from another book. Flora also loves Robert and has no real reason not to want the romance to happen. I’m not sure why this book wasn’t over in less than 50 pages rather than the 352 it took.

Steamy Scenes: There were none. Not one. So this isn’t where the filler came from to get to the 352 pages.

Imagery: Nothing was ever really brought alive for me. Nothing felt sumptuous or beautiful. So, this isn’t what filled the 352 pages, either.

Characters: There is no character development. Robert starts out as Robert and ends as Robert. We’re told he’s celebrated by the ton, what all gentleman aspire to be. Perhaps we were *shown* that in previous books, but not this one.

Flora learns all people in the ton are people rather than caricatures, but that’s really not a lot of growth, either. We’re told Flora is smart so freaking many times I was ready to scream. And she’s beautiful. And she’s smart. And she’s charitable. And she’s smart.

One of the things I hated most about this book is that so much of it focused on a rivalry between the heroine and another female character over the hero. It started to boarder on the absurd, and frankly, I am tired of the trope. I prefer to see female friendships rather than competition over a man. It was such a blatant competition, the one woman literally called the other her competitor. Yuck.

 

All in, I’d rather do the dishes or vacuum than read this novel a second time.

Book Review: Mine Till Midnight

Title: Mine Till Midnight

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Status: Worth a Read

Mine

 

I listened to this as an audiobook rather than read it. I am still pretty new to listening to books, but I am starting to really like it. The experience is different, and while I still prefer to read rather than listen to books, this is a great way to get some “reading” in while doing boring tasks like cleaning the kitchen or weeding.

 

Summary: After the death of their parents, four sisters are dependent on their older brother who has a promising future as an architect. When the brother loses the woman he loves to scarlet fever, he becomes a self-destructive boar. This is compounded when the deaths of three distant family members drop a “cursed” title and admission to the peerage on this brother.  The story centers around the oldest sister, Amelia. She’s forgone marriage herself to see to her family, keep them together, and keep them safe. She encounters Rohan, the hero of the story, while rescuing her brother from a gaming club.

Plot: Plot is pretty sparse. It’s basically getting Amelia and Rohan together as she deals with the trials of her family. With a suicidal brother, a sister with weak lungs from her bought with scarlet fever, to a kleptomaniac sister, Amelia has her hands full. The fact that the estates that came with the title are falling apart, literally, doesn’t help. There’s enough going to keep the story moving forward and keep Amelia and Rohan together without feeling contrived. I don’t expect more, so this was fine with me.

Romance: It’s pretty standard that he falls in love with her, then must convince her that she wants to give up her independence to be his bride. He has a few issues along the way coming to terms with his feelings, giving up his own freedom as he feels tied down by her world, but he comes to terms with them. No real spoiler here as this is a romance novel, but he gets her to agree to marry him by the end of the book. Some of her objections in the last quarter of the book become annoying, and this was one of the only part that had me rolling my eyes.

Characters: Rohan is half gypsy, so this is a unique spin on any romance novel I’ve ever read. I can tell the author did research on the gypsy people of the time. Or if she didn’t, she faked it exceedingly well. Possibly helped by the fact that none of my history classes even touched on them. War of the Roses? Oh yes. Roma people? Not at all.

Rohan is your typical physically powerful very rich male lead. But the fact that he’s an outcast for his mixed heritage adds a different flavor.

Amelia is your standard pretty spinster heroine who has put independence and siblings first. If you’ve ever dealt with difficult or unruly children, you’ll feel for her. She has personality, but not nearly as interesting as Rohan.

One thing I loved about this book was that woman are shown as friends. The Countess of Westcliff is kind and understanding. As is Lady St. Augustine. So many authors, far too many, in my opinion, show other women as rivals. They discard all notions of female friendship and focus on a very unhealthy rivalry. Always over a man. This author did NOT do that, and I very much appreciated it.

The sisters were kind and snarky to each other, as sisters will be.

Steamy Scenes: These are quite good. Very good. Some worth rereading. This is one of the author’s big strengths.

Use of Imagery: This is amazing. Her descriptive prowess is excellent, and she does it succinctly using terrific metaphors and similes I don’t usually here. She makes things feel sumptuous and sensual. This is a huge strength for this author.

 

All in, this is a good read from an author I had written off after not being able to get through more than a chapter or two of another one of her books. Makes a case for giving an author a second chance. And I never would have if I hadn’t been able to get her audiobooks from the library.

Book Review: A Devil in Winter

Book: A Devil in Winter

Author: Lisa Kleypas

Recommendation: Worth a Listen

I haven’t listened to audiobooks in years. I live to close to work, so it’s not worth queuing one up for the short commute. However, we’ve recently been struggling with a toddler who can climb out of her crib, and who will the moment she’s laid in it. As we’ve been working through these nightly issues, it has meant a lot of time in a darkened room.

I decided to borrow an audiobook from the library, and this was one of the few available in the romance genre. I’d picked up two other of Lisa Klepas books in the past, and I didn’t get far in either of them as I didn’t much like the characters. I hated the heroine in one and the hero in the other.

But a bad book was better than no book, so I borrowed it without much hope.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The narration was quite good. It took me almost twice as long to listen to the book as to read it, but as speed wasn’t a concern, I was okay with it.

Plot

A wealthy heiress is desperate to escape her horrible relatives. They beat her, starve her, and otherwise abuse her. She has no recourse as she’s a woman and cannot control her fortune herself. As they plan to force her to marry her abominable and disgusting cousin,  she takes action. I overlooked the absolute heartless family. It’s such a trope in books, that you find it even in modern classics like Harry Potter.

The heroine (Evie) steals out of her house and manages to get to the house of one of the most notorious rakes in London. And, one who is about to have his debts called in. So desperate to find an heiress to marry, he had actually tried to kidnap his best friend’s fiancee. (I assume this is all in another book).

Evie proposes to him. Sebastian St. Augustine marries her, gets her fortune so he gets out of debt, and she gets her freedom. She knows he doesn’t love her, or care about her, so she will be able to come and go as she likes.

He agrees, and the rest of the story revolves around them going from a marriage of convenience to one of love, and all of the changes that both of them undergo for that to happen.

 

Characters

There are lots of characters who make an appearance that I believe are from previous books. If I’d read those books, it probably would’ve meant more to me. I didn’t, and it didn’t detract from the story.

Overall, I was pleased with the characterization. Both Evie and Sebastian had upbringings that shaped them. The reconciliation between the two as they fell in love was real. The emotional distance real. This wasn’t something a 5 minute conversation was going to fix.

Evie needed to come to terms with how her own family had treated her and her ability to care for another. Especially a man with such a jaded past.

Sebastian had to come to terms with the abandonment he’d felt as child, and how he’d responded to it.

 

Steamy Scenes

These were quite good. If I had the book in kindle form, I would go back and reread them. Study them for ways to make my own writing better. I may yet open up the two books from this author I have and find the steamy bits.

 

All in, I am glad they had the book at the library and that I gave the author a second try. I may even go back and take a look at the two books of hers I have.

Consume vs. Create

It’s so much easier for me to consume than to create.

I think we can agree that it’s easier to sit down to a delicious supper than it is to make one. Easier to wear a clean shirt than do laundry. And it’s easier to read a book than to write one.

You’ll note from the number of book reviews lately that I’ve been doing a lot of reading. As a writer, you’d think that would be a good thing. Maybe it is. Or maybe it’s a symptom of a much nastier beast.

The decision to consume someone else’s work rather than make my own. And, I’ve been consuming a bit of it lately. Some of it’s good, some of it’s not, and I have been trying to make a point of figuring out what works in the different novels I’ve been reading. That’s one of the reasons I write the reviews.

kyinc

 

I’d love to say that while I’m reading, I’m also taking time in the same day to edit. But that’s not true. I have a limited amount of non-work, non-kid time. If I’m reading a lot, you can guarantee its cutting into my writing time. Or devouring it altogether.

I could say I’m toying with ideas. That would be true. I have ideas for two more stories percolating. But that’s not what’s consuming my time.

yodaa

I could say I’m listening to my muse, studying steamy scenes, or any number of other things. But, they’d be lies. The truth is that I really don’t want to edit my story. The POV edit for a book is brutally hard. Harder than any other edit I’ve done, except the last POV edit. Does it need to be done? Probably. I mean, yes.

And maybe therein lies part of the problem. While my brain knows I need to do the rewrite, my heart is a little bitter. I still read authors who write with the POV I did on this novel, but they’re best-sellers, and I’m not. They get to do it, and I don’t. So does it need to be done? Yes. Do I want to do it? No. And there’s the difficulty.

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If we boil it down, it sounds an awful lot like procrastination dressed up as research. Because of course I have to read books in my chosen genre to become a better writer when I should be editing.

Yup. Procrastination.

Sneaky little sucker. Apparently, the brain can trick you into procrastinating, making you think you’re doing something else.

procrastination1234

But, this rewrite won’t write itself. I’ve already put so much into this book, I can’t leave it as electrons in my machine. The hero is one of my favorites I’ve ever written, and he deserves his story told and his happily-ever-after.

Back to the grindstone. Giving myself a deadline on Crowned Prince (possibly renamed to Dracor’s Chosen) really has helped. Perhaps I should draw a line in the sand and say I’ll have Knight of Valor’s POV rewritten by September 1st. There, I said it.

*gulp* Time to edit. Right after I finish Dracor’s Chosen. Still have until the end of June…

 

How about you? Ever had procrastination hide as something beneficial? Or do you always know when you’re procrastinating? Do you find it easier to consume than create? Maybe you like editing more than I do?

 

Book Review: To Charm a Naughty Countess

Book: To Charm a Naughty Countess

Author: Theresa Romain

Recommendation: Skip It

NaughtyCountess

Premise: A duke who is deep in debt due to his father’s indulgences needs a wealthy bride to save his lands when creditors come calling. He offers one of the most exalted titles in the land in return for a rich dowry. A rich widowed countess offers to help him. It just so happens that these two are still in love with each other even after the happenings of eleven years ago.

Plot:  Wait, there is one? Oh yes, they love each other. She’s rich. He’s titled. And…it takes a whole book for them to admit to each other their feelings. Yeah, there’s some filler as to why they can’t. Frankly, I started skimming sections looking for the plot. There was none. No murder that needed solving, no werewolves skulking around, not even a previous jilted love interest. Literally, just the two of them getting around to admitting their feelings. For the whole book.

Characters: I didn’t really see any character development on either the hero or heroine’s part. They do eventually get around to admitting to themselves and each other their feelings, but there’s no real driving factor to this.

Romance: The characters were in love with each other at the beginning of the story, though they didn’t yet know it. Or they knew it and wouldn’t admit it. This was fine, but as this was the entire story with no other plot to back it up, it felt thinner than it otherwise would have.

Steamy Scenes: There were two in the whole book. One about half way through, the other at the end. They were good, not enough to save the book, but good.

 

Overall, not a terrible read, but not one I’d recommend either. With all of the romance novels out there, you can find one with more of a plot, or more steamy bits to keep you engaged.

Book Review: Her Highness and the Highlander

Book: Her Highness and the Highlander

Author: Tracy Anne Warren

Status: Worth a Look

This book was isn’t going to knock your socks off, but it’s a nice afternoon read.

Premise: A princess (from a fictional country) and her entourage are attacked on her way from her finishing school to London. She is the only survivor, and in her bedraggled state, no one will believe she’s royalty. She’s far from friends and family, and completely out of her element. A Scotsman on his way home from the Napoleonic Wars takes pity on her, helps her out, and eventually agrees to take her to London. Along the way, they fall on in love.
Plot: It’s pretty thin. We need a reason for the hero and heroine to be together. So, despite the massive battle that killed her entourage, captain of her guard, her uncle etc. no one finds any evidence of it. I guess they must’ve really been on back roads, and the bad guys must’ve had a veritable army to clean up the mess. Oh, no wait, it was one guy that cleaned it up. *shakes head*

I didn’t find it believable. But I suspended disbelief as we couldn’t have good guys finding her if she was going to need the hero to get her to London. Alone, of course.

Romance: They fall in love along the way to London. They’re so in lust with each other, that they need to quickly marry so they can have sex. Par for the romance genre, if a bit unbelievable. The author did try to make the princess seem like she’d be okay giving up her extremely privileged life to live with a commoner.

Steamy Scenes: This is really where the author shone. The steamy scenes were steamy, the prose pretty without getting in the way of what was going on between them. She used none of my automatic close the books words, so we’re good there.

Characters: There is no character development. Not really sure how they would develop as both seem pretty perfect from the beginning. This is your typical romance fare, so neither character is going to grow or develop in the story.

 

All in, a decent read. I finished it on a blustery afternoon, and it wasn’t gripping enough I couldn’t put it aside with ease to make snacks for the kids. At the same time, it entertained and didn’t disappoint with the ending.

Character Analysis: Heroines 1.1

I am rescheduling my normal Monday book review to answer Mariah Avix‘s question: “What would have made you like these characters?”

That is fuel for thought and helps me better understand what I like to see in a character.

 

Stephanie Plum Series – I would’ve liked to see her become tougher, more bad*ss as the series progressed. I was on book four, and there had been absolutely no character growth. Part of the joy of a series is seeing the character grow into the challenges life has sent to them. Have her enroll in a fitness program. In a formal gun care and target practice program. Have her learn how to hide her family and friends from the bad guys. Let her become an amazing bounty hunter.

This changes who she is, and maybe she’s not entirely okay with it. But it’s part of her story. You have a series. Give her a character arc worthy of one.

 

Journey’s End – This is actually a really tough one as it basically forces a rewrite of the entire story. If it were me, I’d begin the story when she was already in the US rather than on the boat through Ellis Island.

I’d show her as a cold, ruthless woman that has done whatever it took to get to the top. All so she can tear down her grandfather. We’d see this through her actions. See her as a shadowy figure with a name that could be male or female so everyone would take her seriously. No one knows who she really is, but she is feared and respected. We see the wits and cunning she developed on the streets on London in her business dealings and take-no-prisoner behavior.

She has built this, done this, all so she can destroy the man that ruined her mother and left her to rot on the streets. He enjoyed wealth beyond imagine while she picked pockets to eat.

Let her be self-conscious of her low-brow accent and manners that she slips into even after years of trying to drill them out of herself.

Let us see that she fought for every scrap of knowledge she has. Yes, she can read, write, and is a numbers genius. But she fought for it. Every bit of it.

Give her a jaded eye on American upper crust society. People being foolish because a woman wore the same dress twice. Let her mock them ruthlessly. Let her be as cold and callous as someone from the streets would be over these “worries”.

As she is building up to finally being able to destroy her grandfather, to stepping from the shadows and revealing who she is as she takes him down, let her then and only then consider the price of revenge.

Is this who she wants to be? Is revenge worth the price to her, to the people who’ve come to depend on her? Will it cost her the man she loves? (Romance novel, remember?)

And if she does decide to put revenge on hold, make it cost her. She doesn’t get a happily-ever-after ending right away. She has to earn it.

After living her life for revenge, the sole driving force that got her through some of the darkest days of her life, she has to find a purpose and goal worthy to keep her going. Love will be part of it (this is a romance novel), but it has to be more. Perhaps jobs for those that were once in her straights. Perhaps education for the poor. Perhaps a crusader for workplace safety. Whatever.

You’re not going to convince me a woman like this will ever be happily simply as a top 1% wife.

 

Earl Next Door – I liked the heroine quite a bit, until she lost all of her personality and became the proverbial doormat in front of her mother.

I’d have liked to seen the heroine stand up to her mother, send the woman packing, whatever. But then the mother would’ve needed to be a more robust villain to continue to have a part after this. She’d have either needed something actual to use against the heroine, or she’d have needed to be far more scheming.

Perhaps the mother needed to arrange an “accident” for her daughter. Yes, murder is quite the villainy, but this author already had mustache twirling villains, so add it to the pile.

 

Mad about the Marquess – I liked the heroine until she started robbing coaches. Yup, she goes from petty theft to full-on armed robbery.

I think this was the author being in love with the idea of her heroine robbing stage coaches. Rather than earning this with an appropriate villain, back story and the rest, (think Robin Hood – you hate the Sheriff of Nottingham, and you’re fine with Robin Hood stealing given what the poor have been through), she just sort of tosses it in there.

Ruining both the heroine with the action, and the hero with how he responds to it.

She already had a perfectly good plot going on. She didn’t need to escalate to the nuclear option.

I’d have rather seen the conclusion of what happened after the hero figured out the heroine was the one stealing the bits and bobs at parties. Liked to have seen the author resolve that, have the hero force himself to learn why etc. Maybe respect her for it, and love her all the more for her compassion and ingenuity.

I mean, he had no actual proof he could bring before a magistrate (not that this appeared to matter later int he story w hen he knows she’s robbing coaches and still not doing anything about it). But he could’ve convinced himself he was looking for this proof as he learns more about her.

 

Study of Seduction – I have no idea how to reconcile a rape victim to her world and how to help her find happiness. So, I would’ve never had the heroine raped. There could just as easily be another reason that the gentleman who raped her had something bad happen to him.

Perhaps he attempted to take liberties, and that’s when her brother called him out. But then her brother wouldn’t have been banished, and that gets rid of the reason to have the hero with her. Of course, her brother could be otherwise indisposed all these years later, and the earl steps in for his friend. Wouldn’t take too much creativity to come up with something.

Or, perhaps something she inadvertently says or does gets him killed. whatever. Be creative, but make it something other than rape.

Than you can show me this effervescent, witty young woman who feels some guilt over the man’s death. That may have dimmed her a little, but it doesn’t become this huge and massive thing that ruins the rest of the story.

 

Deliver Me from Darkness – I hated this heroine  and hoped the author would find some interesting way to kill her by the end.

The heroine desperately needed to channel some Buffy. She needed to be as awesome as the author tells me she is. Maybe not at the beginning, but by the end? I want to see her staking vampires and holy-smiting demons. I want to see the rest of the Paladins staring at her in awe as she brings down the holy wrath of the One God.

This means no stupidity.

This means not tearing apart a guy’s apartment in a childish fit of rage and impotence. It means surveying your surroundings, figuring out what you can do to take him down. When he wakes up, she almost gets him. And this is the beginning.

When the rapey paladins try to mark her against her will? Let her tear the mark apart and leave the man that did it lying in agony on the floor. Let her tell them if any of them ever do it to her again, she will send them to the One God. Let her mean it, and let the threat be real. She is super powerful, after all.

It means no being dumb and going out after dark alone. Or if she does, let the demons that try hunt her learn just how much of her powers she’s come into. No being stupid and leaving her vampire bodyguard to go into the sunlight. Make the bad guys who want her earn it. Big losses as they throw wave after wave to take her down.

Better yet, don’t let them get her. Let her save herself and her vampire bodyguard.

If the author so desperately wants to make her a vampire rather than redeem the hero, this is the spot to do it. She saved them both, but she’s dying.

Given that this is a series about Paladins, I’d rather see him bite her to change her to a vampire and her blood redeem him. Once redeemed, he can now channel the One God to heal her.

 

Goblin King – I didn’t much care for the heroine in the beginning when she acted like a doormat to her controlling and abusive fiancee.

To get me to really like the heroine, the author needs to give me a better reason as to why she’s marrying the jerk. Maybe she was adrift after her father’s death and he offered the illusion of protection and love. An illusion shattered when she finds him with another woman. That could be the opening of the story.

Or maybe she’s marrying him because it’s who her father wanted her to marry him and she doesn’t want to disrespect him even in death.

Whatever. Just make it something that doesn’t make her look like an idiot. Also, make sure she graduated from law school. C’mon.

Give the heroine more in the solving her lover’s issue. Let her find the cure. Let some insight she has lead to the cure. The entire second half of the book is a lot of sitting around whining about their plight and doing nothing.

Make them do something, and give her an integral part in it. Then, let their actions resolve the curse.