Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

The Kiss of Deception
The Kiss of Deception

 

The Kiss of Deception
by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Henry Holt, 2014
E-book, Purchased
492 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

A six-inch blade. I smiled. Did he buy it? It was actually just shy of four—but very nicely weighted—and as Aunt Bernice noted, a little exaggeration was always expected when describing weapons, victories, and body parts.

and

“We all have our different skills. You’re patient to a fault, which sometimes doesn’t work to your advantage. I, on the other hand, have the patience of a wet cat. Only on rare occasions does that come in handy.”

Cheers

  • I like that the reader knows a prince and an assassin are in the same town as Princess Lia, but she doesn’t know that and the reader doesn’t know their identities.
  • Lia discovers there are consequences to the decisions she makes–some are good, some are bad.
  • The idea of First Daughters and the “gift” is interesting. I wonder how many First Daughters pretend to have the gift!
  • The quotes from books of this world at the beginning of each chapter–nicely done! (For example, The old men shall dream dreams, The young maids will see visions, the beast of the forest will turn away, They will see the child of misery coming, And make clear the path. — Song of Venda)
  • Lia is a strong character and though she’s been raised as a royal, she doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty or doing manual work. In fact, she wants to get her hands dirty. She wants to matter, to make a difference and not be an object used by her parents.
  • All the different characters in the book are nicely described and are individuals.

Jeers

  • Cliffhanger…need I say more…LOL.

And a few thoughts

  • This is a really good book. I’m so glad I read it so soon after it was published (though that means I must wait for the next book!)
  • Book 2, The Heart of Betrayal is scheduled for sometime in 2015.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Review: The Silvered by Tanya Huff

I’ve had this book for several months so I’m counting it as a TBR book in the TBR Pile Reading Challenge and fantasy square in the Book Bingo Challenge.

the-silvered

 

The Silvered
by Tanya Huff
Series: None as of yet
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Daw, 2012
E-book, Purchased
454 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off defending the border, it falls to Mirian Maylin and Tomas Hagen—she a low-level mage, he younger brother to the Pack-leader—to save them. Together the two set out on the kidnappers’ trail, racing into the heart of enemy territory. With every step the odds against them surviving and succeeding soar….

 

He wouldn’t have been able to stop himself from pressing his lips against the top of her head had her hair not been so disgusting.

What worked for me:

  • Lots of action
  • The kingdom of Aydori is interesting with the were ruling and a very definite rule of manners similar to Regency England.
  • I liked the characters–especially Mirian. Mirian is dertermined to do the right thing against all odds.
  • Reiter was a good character–trying be a stoic military officer “just following orders.”
  • By telling this story from both sides of the war I could empathize with soldiers on both side…which made for lots of suspense.

What didn’t work for me:

  • Almost too much suspense.
  • It was hard to have so many characters I’d barely begun to know and like die.
  • The ending didn’t work for me.
  • I would like Tanya Huff to write some more books set in this world!

My thoughts:

So far Tanya Huff is saying she has no plans for a series or even a sequel. Even though the suspense was almost too much at times and the ending didn’t quite work for me I would love to read more about this world and the characters.

I like Tanya Huff’s books a lot and though I didn’t love this book I really liked many of the characters and the world. I hope she writes some more in this world. Have you read any of Tanya Huff’s books?

Review: The Arrangement by Mary Balogh

arrangementThe Arrangement
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors Club series, #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Dell, 2013
e-book, purchased
400 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.

At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?

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‘But how devoid of music our lives would be,’ he said, ‘if we allowed the making of it only to those of outstanding talent. Sing while I play.’

What I like about this book:

  • The two main characters–Vincent and Sophia (Sophie)–are interesting, flawed and damaged characters. They grow and change because of each other.
  • The marriage is a real marriage.
  • I thought the “arrangement” was an arranged marriage, but it’s not. They make an arrangement with each other before they get married.
  • Mary Balogh does a good job portraying a blind person–the feelings of panic he still sometimes has, his vulnerability, the early days when he was both deaf and blind, his desire for touch, the desire of his family to protect him, his desire for independence,
  • His family loves him, but also smothers him with their love and concern for his safety. He’s not an independent person when the book begins and he’s chafing at the dependence he let his family create.romance
  • Sophie is such a giving person with a great sense of humor. She has a great imagination and is able to put herself in Vincent’s shoes so she’s able to empathize and come up with ways to make him more independent.
  • Vincent realizes what’s important: Sophie’s fierce loyalty to him (not how she looks to others); that he and Sophie can trust each other; his loyalty to Sophie.
  • Vincent doesn’t regain his sight. I was afraid there would be a miraculous return of his sight.
  • Mary Balogh is very good at portraying loving families.

What I don’t like:

  • I thought the “arrangement” and accompanying unhappiness went on for too long.

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My thoughts: 

I think I liked the first book in this series–The Proposal–a little better (but not by much!), but I do like Mary Balogh’s writing. She’s very adept at portraying well-rounded, flawed characters who can grow and change, loving but stifling families and a great love story. And Vincent and Sophie are a great couple!

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: The Proposal by Mary Balogh

When I started this blog I wanted to write fairly short reviews…that’s why it’s called “Notes…lol. Anyway, I read a blog post at the On Starships and Dragonwings blog about doing list reviews so I’m going to try that with this review and see how it goes! I’m going to call it a bullet point review.

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The Proposal
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors’ Club, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Dell, 2013
E-book, Library
384 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her. Hugo is a gentleman in name only: a war hero whose bravery earned him a title, a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. Hugo doesn’t wish to court Gwen, yet he cannot resist her guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face. He wants her, but will she have him? The dour ex-military officer who so gallantly carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, Hugo captivates her more—with his desire, with his love, and with the promise of forever.

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Mary Balogh’s books are pretty much auto-buys for me (although I did get this as an e-book at my library)! This is the first book in a seven book series and the next book comes out at the end of this month. All the characters in the series…most of whom were soldiers…are wounded in some way. In this first book Hugo was psychologically wounded by his guilt for having survived without a scratch when so many of his men were wounded or killed.

What I liked about this book:

  • Gwendolyne, Lady Muir–I’ve read about her in a couple of other books–One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember–though I read those books several years ago. I meant to reread them which I forgot to do 😦
  • Hugo was awarded his title for leading “a forlorn hope” which is an actual phrase. I found it on Wikipedia, but there are also other sources. One meaning (and the meaning used in this book) is a band of soldiers–usually volunteers–chosen to take the lead in a military operation against a defended position where the risk of casualties is very high.
  • Both main characters resent the other for waking them from their inner turmoil (Gwen’s first husband died, she’s felt guilty about his death and never wanted to remarry); Hugo carries guilt both for the soldiers who were wounded or died during the forlorn hope and for his father’s death).
  • The humor in the book…that Gwen can laugh at herself and also find humor in Hugo’s proposal.
  • Hugo and Gwen both have to change in different ways to come to terms with their love for each other because even though they are in love there are real obstacles to their love.
  • Gwen realizes Hugo has made all the concessions in their relationship…entering her world, but she hasn’t entered his world.
  • Gwen is finally able to see below the surface of Hugo’s dour expressions and attitude.
  • Hugo is willing to change his mind about people–Gwen, his stepmother, his sister–when he realizes he’s made mistakes about who they really are.
  • I really do like both Hugo and Gwen. Hugo was the harder sell, but beneath his dour exterior is a very sensitive and caring man.

What I didn’t like:

  • Hugo’s attitude toward Gwen and other members of the aristocracy even though his friends in the Survivors’ Club are part of the aristocracy. Hugo inherited his wealth from his father (a merchant), but was awarded his title for his bravery in war.
  • Hugo is determined to marry someone from his own class and almost reaches the point of no-return with a woman who’s terrified of him and doesn’t love him.
  • The fact I didn’t read the other books Gwen was in I couldn’t remember much about her (but that’s my fault not Mary Balogh’s!)

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I hope you can tell I had very few quibbles with this book. I’m looking forward to the next one which is about Vincent who was blinded in the war. I’ve heard from a few people who’ve gotten advance copies of it that they like it better than The Proposal so that’s exciting!

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I’m going to use a list here, too…lol

  • What do you think about this method of reviewing?
  • I think I like it. It really makes me focus on what I did and didn’t like.
  • It was much faster to write this review.
  • I’m going to try it on a few more books before I decide for sure whether to adopt it for all my book reviews.
  • Do you as a reader of the review feel it tells you enough about this book to decide whether you want to read it?
  • Does it tell you too much about the book?
  • If you’ve read my paragraph style reviews which do you like better?