All tagged England

Smart & Satisfying: No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah Maclean

Or, in which Sarah reads a historical romance... and actually likes it!

My complicated relationship with historical fiction has been well-documented on this blog at this point, I believe. Despite that I'm a colossal history nerd, I just have the hardest time finding historical fiction that works for me--as a novel-lover and a history dork, I find that the balance rarely hits the right notes. 

Historical romance is even a harder genre for me. I'm an extremely picky romance reader as it is, and the settings (Regency England, primarily) and class issues (nearly exclusively featuring the titled classes) just don't appeal to me, and neither do the gender dynamics (power, female virginity obsession, etc.) endemic to the time periods popular in historical romance. 

However, I also try to keep an open mind and when so many people with excellent taste rave about an author, I'll give one of their books a shot, even if it's something I would normally shy away from. 

Such is the case of Sarah Maclean's No Good Duke Goes Unpunished, which surprised me with its awesomeness. 

Review: Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes

My expectations of thrillers and mysteries are pretty simply: intriguing characters, both good and bad, a mystery that tantalizes but isn't resolved until the end, clever language and a setting that's a bit real or surreal. This is not all that unreasonable.

I received an advance reader's edition of Elizabeth Haynes second novel Dark Tide. Eagerly, I opened it and dug into it with these expectations, as the summary promised all of this and more.

Dark Tide will hit the racks and e-readers March 12. I am glad I did not pay for the book as it would have felt like I'd not spent my money wisely. With that said, for me to have a copy from the library would be a reasonable way to access the book.

The characters did not intrigue me in any way. 

Genevieve, the central character, at best made me yawn and mostly irritated me. She's highly successful in sales at her London-based job but hates the work. Since she was a child she has dreamed of living on a houseboat–living on it and refurbishing and repairing it to her liking. This takes money, a lot of it. 

She finds a way to earn large sums in a relatively short time doing pole dancing, private lap dancing and chatting up customers at an exclusive gentlemen's club on the weekends. With that, comes the darker side of life which she believed she held herself apart from. Money flows, she quits both jobs with rancor from her employers, buys her boat and proceeds to live her dream. But, a dark tide follows her. She meets another guy, not the guy she truly loves, but there's an undeniable attraction.

Overhyped, Underwhelming. 

SPoLaFS has some really great marketing—the cover, the plot summary, all of that. I was thinking this would be Before Sunrise in novel form, but on an airplane (if you’re looking for a Before Sunrise-type read, check out Graffiti Moon, which I highly recommend). Because, you know, Before Sunrise is amazing.

Unfortunately, fairly or unfairly, those expectations weren’t met for me. And, to frustrate me further, there is a very sizable storyline about Hadley, the main character, and her father (a straight up cheater, who ran off with a woman he met while serving as a visiting instructor in England) that did not sit well with me and was far too tidily wrapped up.