Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Wicked Intentions" - Book 1 of the Maiden Lane series

Disclaimer: The version reviewed was a personal purchase.

Time and Setting: London, 1737


The hero, Lazarus Huntington's (Lord Caire) description immediately brought to mind a mental picture of Lucius Malfoy as depicted by Jason Isaacs in the Harry Potter films.  I thought the actor looked intriguing and very sexy and (to use the author's own words when referring to the hero a couple of times, "exotic").  And of course, Jason Isaacs in his natural form is very handsome to begin with.  I just couldn't help picturing Lazarus with those features, even down to the cape and the cane. *sigh*  Anyway, he's an Alpha hero, sometimes an outright jerk, and full of hidden depths.  I fell in love with him the second I started reading about him.

The heroine, Temperance Dews, is a woman with even more hidden depths.  She has been punishing herself for years (not going to spoil so don't worry).  However, even when the hero refers to her as his "martyr", I didn't really think of her as such.  She comes across as strong and brave, at least to me.  I liked her a lot, and felt for her, and I even related a bit to her.  I think she provided a good balance for Lazarus.

There is a secondary cast of characters as well, which of course include the heroine of the next book in this series, Lady Hero, and likely the hero as well, though I am just guessing at this point, as there is a rather mysterious character whose identity was not revealed (I have two "candidates" for that role though).


You can find the blurb here.  I find it's quite accurate, so you can rely on it to have an idea of what the story is about.

Though I don't want to gush, fact is that this book turned out to be a fantastic read.  I consider Elizabeth Hoyt one of my favorite authors, but a couple of her stories didn't hit the mark with me, which is pretty much why I usually try not to over-hype myself when I get my hands on one of her books.  However, this one is now among my top 3 favorite stories penned by her, and I would dare say, among my top 10 favorite historical romances read in 2010.

The first thing that hit the mark with me, were the main characters. And since to me it is all about the characters, this book was a winner from the very beginning. If the author manages to "hook" me with her characters from the very beginning, chances are that I will consider the book a good read.

This historical romance is one of the most sensual books I have ever read.  Take it from someone who discovered romance when she started reading erotic romance.  The sensuality and eroticism is so palpable that I was squirming on my chair.  Now mind you, the book is not much more explicit than other mainstream sensual historical romances out there, but the manner in which the author chose to build the sensual tension was nothing short of masterful.  It literally arouses the senses, and the book isn't an erotic romance at all.

I do have to mention that some things are off-the-wall unbelievable, and there definitely is historical "license" involved, particularly with the use of certain words.  However, none of this took from my enjoyment of the story.  I admit that I tend to be very forgiving because to me, a historical romance is something I tend to read as if I were reading a fairy tale.  I am too aware that what I am reading is fiction and frankly, I like things that way, so I am not a stickler for linguistic accuracy or historical detail.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2010 - A year full of changes for me

2010 turned out to be an eventful year for me.  Early on (January 26th to be precise) I was let go from the job that I had over the past 11 years.  It was my very first job in New York.  I started in that firm less than two months after I moved in with my now husband, back in 1999.  Although it was a bit of a shock as, for some reason, I deluded myself into thinking that there is such a thing as job "security", I had stopped being happy there for quite a long time, I would even dare say years.  However, I was "comfortable" and as I said, felt "secure", so why mess with things.  Fate had a different idea, it seems.

Though I spent two months and a half looking for a new job (a short period of time compared to what a lot of others are going through trying to find a job), I think I was lucky... and also have the very strong feeling that my guardian angel felt that I needed the kick on the ass for me to take action, and finally get out of a job situation I was unhappy with.  Though I am earning a bit less, my quality of life has substantially improved, and since I don't have to pay hundreds of dollars a month in transportation (railroad, subway, and gas), it all evens out and my take home salary is pretty much the same.   I also  have made some new friends among my new co-workers, which is a blessing as well.  I pretty much only had one true friend in my former job, and I have made it a point to keep in touch with her.  Finding her has been a blessing to me.

Later in the year, I also made the decision of leaving Just Erotic Romance Reviews.  My time to leave was long overdue, as I had stopped enjoying my role there a long long time ago and it felt more like a chore than something I was doing because it brought me satisfaction.  However, for some weird reason, I just kept hanging on because of a sense of responsibility.  I then realized that it was not going to be the end of the world if I left, that things would continue normally, so I finally let go.  I confess I enjoyed the first few years I spent there and it was an incredible experience, but my stay lasted more than it should have.

The closing of the year turned out to be on the crappy side though.  My husband spent most of December and a portion of this month dealing with pneumonia and I got a bout of bronchitis (the joys of coughing fits in tandem...).  Suffice it to say, I am hoping that is not an omen of things to come (keeping my fingers crossed).  Over the past 3 years we both seem to be getting some sort of major health issue at the beginning of the year, specifically around the Martin Luther King weekend.  Looks like this winter we got it earlier though. :P

In terms of reading, I found myself reading substantially more historical romance than paranormals, and it does look like the trend will continue on 2011.  I tend to avoid contemporary romance as well as romantic suspense, so I do not have anything to say on those two sub-genres.  I am happy to say that I discovered some new and new-to-me historical romance authors, and as to that respect, my list of auto-buy authors has increased.

As I decided to start this blog a few months ago, my one and only resolution for 2011 is to keep track of what I read.  I bought a gorgeous planner with that purpose in mind.  Hopefully I'll keep motivating myself to jot down what I read.  I only include date in which I started reading a book, the date in which I finish, and some notes as to if I liked it or not.  I read a lot but I truly have no clue how many books do I go through every month.

Let's see what this year will bring.  Hopefully a LOT of good reading material...