Tag Archives: Stephanie Laurens

Some romance for cold winter days (or nights)

Stephanie Laurens: In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster

I’ve been following the Cynsters forever. πŸ™‚ I have to say I didn’t expect there would be more after the original Devil’s crew of rakes, but luckily, there are always other family members on the lookout for love (or not). πŸ™‚

This is the second book in the trilogy and we still have Angelica’s and laird’s story left (to come out soon, luckily for me). πŸ™‚
In this book, we get to know the laird much better and I really appreciated that, it made me eager to read his story when the time comes. As obviously the first 2 kidnappings of Cynster sisters (so he can marry one because of a complicated story) didn’t work out well for him.

I must say though, the lead male character Jeremy (a scholar turning half-warrior during the novel) is incredibly fun to read. He and Eliza go through some peril and a serious adventure during which both grow as people and fall in love (of course) with each other through their adversities. I particularly loved their theorizing as to why they should take advantage of the fact that she is obviously ruined (as she had to spend nights with only him as company). πŸ™‚
Jeremy is also one of the rare male characters in romance novels who, even though he could have the woman he loves without him declaring it, decides to take all the facts into account and state his true feelings.
In the end, they both grow as people and show their families their true worth. πŸ™‚

Sabrina Jeffries: A Lady Never Surrenders

This is the last novel of the Hellions of Halstead, the story of the youngest sister, Celia an Jackson Pinter, the investigator into the murder of her parents. The investigation starts in the first novel and runs through the whole year, which is how much time all 5 of them have in order to get marries unless their grandmother disinherits them.

Celia is the most fragile of them, not in appearance so much, but in emotions. Which is why her love story with Pinter (who has some problems of his own) is fraught with misunderstanding (and some heavy passion). I have to say, this seems one of the better S. Jeffries novels I read in a long time. She is always good, but this one made me react to many of the stories encounters. And that is one of the ways I know a story is good (any kind of story).
In the end, the manage to understand each other (through some serious misunderstandings and flounderings on Mr. Pinter’s part – of course, he is a man, understanding female feelings is a bit difficult for him).

As this is the last Hellion of Halstead to get her love story, of course that the murder of their parents is solved.

Linda Mooney: Captive Surrender

I find the premise of the story, even though it’s set in a future universe that doesn’t exist, a bit scary and unfortunately possible. Kidnapping people and forcing them to have sex in order to broadcast it all over the universe (in this case) in order to make money seems not so far fetched in today’s world.
Maurra is a member of Psi Police Corps and is kidnapped and forced into this by a guy she formerly sent to prison who got free.
And as the story is set in a universe full of different species, of course, her kidnapped partner is of another (much bigger) species. The problem is, it is forbidden to have inter-species relations and her a member of police force that uses their psi powers, she both needs to uphold the law as well as help the innocent, who is in this predicament because of her.

In the end, they break free and then a whole another set of problems occurs but the story is interesting, fast-paced and well a bit too short. πŸ™‚ I could have used a couple of more pages of this story. Especially as it’s a sci-fi romance, something I haven’t read in a while (I forgot how good they can get).

The only question I am left with is, is Maurra completely human in appearance or not? As there is a mention of her having 3 arms which are never explained afterwards. And I wondered where would you place a third arm on a human body… (as this was advanced uncorrected proof, that could account for this particular problem)

P.S. As I read this on my Kindle, I only now saw the cover – I have to say, Maurra looks much better (and smarter) in my mind than on that cover.

Stephanie Laurens: The Reasons for Marriage

One good thing that comes from my Kindle (well, there are many but this one is the important one for this post) is that I browse and get recommended some long lost titles. πŸ™‚

I’ve been a fan of Stephanie Laurens for a long, long time but not as far as 1995. (if I remember correctly  the year this was published).
And there are definitely some noticeable differences between this romance novel and the ones that came later. And the main character being a rake isn’t one of them. πŸ™‚

I’d say she drew on Pride and Prejudice when starting this novel. The main character, being a duke, is very, ha, can’t say egotistic because he is not intentionally mean, but being an extremely handsome and intelligent man (and a duke!) he can do and get pretty much anything he wants and love is not a word he recognizes as part of his vocabulary.
Honestly, he comes off so high-handedly aloof that I wondered how was SL going to show us he can fall in love. Because that’s what all good rakes do. First they gather enough sexual experience to last them a dozen lifetimes and then they fall in love with intelligent beauties and are forever their loving husbands.

In the meantime, you get a lot of easy, fun banter and steamy sex scenes.

Only, this time around, there are no steamy sex scenes in this novel. And that is the main difference between this novel and later works by Stephanie Laurens.
Not that I find the book lacking because of it, quite the contrary, it made me tear up due to emotion (which doesn’t happen when steamy scenes are involved for some reason). πŸ™‚

P.S. One of the families visiting is called Darcys. πŸ˜€

Stephanie Laurens: The Reckless Bride (Black Cobra Quartet)

With this book ends the Black Cobra Quartet.

Before I go on, I should warn you there are going to be some major spoilers ahead because I just cannot talk about the finish of this series without it. I really thought about that and I need to get that off my chest.

Anyway, we follow the path from India of the last of the 4 couriers and this one (unfortunately for him) had the original of the letter that is supposed to reach Wolverstone. I say unfortunately because his nickname is Reckless (as is his bride obviously πŸ˜‰ ) and he now can’t do anything that would be reckless and jeopardize his mission so when asked by a nice old lady (travelling with her great niece) to act as their escort, he accepts as that will of course aid him in camouflaging his mission.
So they set off by European rivers to reach Rotterdam and the English shores. Here is where you know how the love story develops. Which is in S. Laurens’ vein very well done.

Here is where I get to spoilers. As the story progresses through the books, you get the idea that 3 brothers are behind the Black Cobra criminal organization. So, imagine my surprise  when along you find out that two of them are also having a love affair. I thought, oh well, I guess that’s appropriate these days to incorporate in a romance novel as a side story.
Until this book where, what I thought by the half of the book when realization hit is, I’m so stupid for not seeing this before. πŸ™‚ The men employed by the cult never see who is running it, only the upper echelons know and there are like 5 of them. And the name of a cobra?! I really felt stupid for not realizing sooner that the third brother is actually a sister (and btw, they are all half-siblings, sharing only a father).
It seems that only the courageous gentlemen of S. Laurens’ novels are aware of the dangers the intelligent women posess, everybody else underestimates them enormously (me included obviously). πŸ™‚

Basic line is, it’s a typical Laurens novel (romance, intrigue, crime story, thrills…) I enjoy immensely. πŸ™‚

Pic by: www. stephanielaurens.com

Stephanie Laurens: The Brazen Bride (Black Cobra Quartet)

I’m almost at the end of the Black Cobra quartet, this was book 3 and I’m currently reading book 4. I must say I think the series is improving with each book (I was a bit sceptical with the first book).
Here we follow the story of  Logan who is shipwrecked on hir return journey from India and Linnet (who is a redhead which made me instantly like her) who nurses Logan to health.

Maybe this is a good time to say there are possible spoilers ahead. πŸ™‚

Linnet is really for me even more an intriguing female character than what is usual in Mrs Laurens’ novels. Of course they are all strong, intelligent and as successful as can be for that time period, and most of them discard intelligently the society’s notions of what a proper lady should behave like.

And then we meet Linnet who is even more modern than what we encountered so far. She really is brazen for that age but at the same time she had a life full of interesting happenings and is ready to take on life fully which is manifested at the beginning of the book.

I really liked this book and the honesty with which both Logan and Linneth approach their emotions and their relationship.

Of course, by the end of the book, the plot thickens and I’m eagerly anticipating the end of the quartet as evidenced by the fact that I immediately started on book 4 after finishing this one.

On an end note, I’m comparing this one with the book 4 and I’m very happy to say that the love story unfolds mush slower (the sexual part) in book 4 than in The Brazen Bride where it starts right from the beginning (not that I minded it in the least, I love the steamy scenes Mrs Laurens writes). What makes me happy and devotee of SL novels for life is that the love stories never unfold similarly.

Pic by: http://www.stephanielaurens.com/

Stephanie Laurens: The Elusive Bride

This is the second book in the Black Cobra Quartet and another one of the original four soldiers/spies is on a quest home to bring the scroll which will bring down the Black Cobra cult in India (which is of course run by evil Englishmen). I actually do not remember whether in the first book we realize there is more than one person at the top of the cult (I read so much, I cannot keep it all in my head).

Anyway, this time we follow our brave English aristocrate (of the warrior type – that’s what they usually are like) on his road home who gets followed by the woman who delivered the original scroll into their captain’s hands at the beginning of book one (we see it from her perspective this time around). She is on the lookout for her “one” (hearing a lot about that kind of a man from her married sisters) and since her first encounter with Gareth Hamilton who moves her senses, she decides to pursue him and see if that is the beginning of her finding her “one”. And now the adventure starts.

What struck me quite strongly in this, is again the warrior theme. All male characters in Mrs. Laurens’ books are these types of dominant, agressive towards bad guys, possessive males that fight against falling in love and thus being weak. Here it struck me as the strongest theme so far. Especially since they travel a part with Berbers where the separation between females and males is strongly enforced but the women know their men love them and protect them (and therefore show their love in such a manner).

But our female hero will have none of that male dominance crap, and wants to be seen as a partner, not someone to be saved who cannot take care of herself. She is actually quite brave. And of course in the end she gets what she wants. But what I find fascinating and admire a lot, in all these relationships and encounters, when one of the characters “wins” in a situation, it is never used as an advantage over the other and spelled out so. It’s a partnership and one that involves compromise. We could all use some of that kind of behaviour in our lives.

WoW: Stephanie Laurens and The Black Cobra Quartet, and… – a prize draw

The way I’m going, this writer of the week might turn to be every two weeks. It’s the end of the week and I barely made it. But I have a good excuse. πŸ™‚ I got offered a new book by Stephanie Laurens to read and review, so when it arrived, of course I left everything else and went to read it.

Well, what can I say. It’s a typical Laurens novel and that’s really good. The fact that this book comes with short info on all Cynster and Bastion club novels written so far has been some good thinking on someone’s part. It really made my reading much easier because it put into perspective what year each of the stories happened. You know, after, what? – 16 Cynster books and 8 or 9 Bastion, you kind of lose the details, so having them at the end of the book is really helpful. Especially so, as both Cynsters and Bastion club members feature in The Untamed bride and in the rest of the quartet to come.

I’m not going into the story and how the Black Cobra situation came about, but I’m happy to say that I can’t wait for the next book. The bad thing is those sequels never come soon enough. πŸ™‚

What I really liked about this novel is that I could relate with the main female character, she’s 29 (I’m 30) and her state of mind is in accordance with her age. At least from my perspective. Though it seems, the more stubborn you are, the more likely you are to burst into flame with the right man. And the older you are, the less likely you are to debate on the possible consequences for your social status if you decide to enjoy the man of you choosing. Like I said, totally in accordance with age. πŸ˜‰

I know that real-life love stories usually do not look like those in romance novels, but there are times I wish they would. At least for a while. I mean I can tell myself I can paint my love life in more romance-like way but in the end, it’s not really the same. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the time we live in, but I cannot imagine letting go the way you are supposed to for true love. And sometimes, I do wish I was the kind of person who can do that with the right man. You know, all those real virile, patriotic, handsome, honest, fit, large men are a girl’s dream come true. πŸ™‚

So, if I cannot have them/him in real life, I’ll live in the novel for a while and enjoy myself. You can certainly enjoy yourself while reading Laurens romance.

Now, who of you wants to enjoy yourself reading the latest Laurens romance? πŸ™‚ The lovely people who sent me my copy, also offered 2 copies to my readers (they’ve made me very happy, I have to say). The only unfortunate thing is the copies can go only to US, Canada or UK. If you’re interested in one, please say so until Thursday midnight and on Friday, I’ll announce the winners.

I do hope you will enjoy it as much as I have. πŸ™‚

P.S. This book made me realize the time has come to read some of the love stories from the beginning of the Cynster line. I’ve forgotten some of the stories but I know I enjoyed them very much. After all, I wouldn’t own all of them if that was not the case. πŸ™‚
Like I said, addicted.

WoW: Stephanie Laurens, Bastion Club

I finally finished yesterday the last book in the Bastion club series, Mastered by Love, the one dealing with the mysterious Dalziel (turns out he’s the Duke of Wolverstone – such a cool name). Anyway, there’s a new series by Mrs. Laurens in the making and I can’t wait to get my hands on that as well, since the Cynster series is coming to an end as well. Well, SL (in this case Stephanie Laurens and not Serge Lutens) is quite proliferous so I’m not scared there won’t be more of the same type of historical romance I got used to reading from her. πŸ™‚

She’s definitely one of my favorite historical romance writers (more will be featured in WoW as I go through them). Like I was saying the other day with Mary H. Clark, all novels follow the same structure but when you know what to expect and enjoy it, well, it is certainly fun to read them. My expectations are not big for such type of romance and I cannot understand all those people who get upset because sometime the writer is not up to the level of the previous book for example. I don’t understand such strong feelings regarding this type of literature but hey, I usually don’t get too upset in my life as a general rule (could be because I’m an Aquarian).

Anyway, I got my dose of steamy sex scenes, fun conversations, some crime and one-upping men (love that part). Although it’s always about partnership in relationships. That’s why she is one of my favorites among many I have read (some tend to talk about partnership but it leans more toward male partnership, that’s why I’m no longer interested in Johanna Lindsey although I still do read her novels as well).
The Bastion Club is a series revolving around men who were British spies during Napoleon wars and are now back and trying not to get caught in marriage by tonnish mamas. Eventually, of course they all fall in love but have a slightly hard time convincing their chosen brides they should marry them. πŸ™‚

Now, I’m very much looking forward to Black Cobra quartet by SL – first novel will be out at the end of October. Yeey!

Picture by: http://www.harpercollins.com

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