Thursday, May 28, 2009

REVIEW: The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne

Series: The Spymaster

Author's Website


Annique Villiers is the Fox Cub, the notorious French spy, while Robert Grey is the English spymaster. He had been ordered to bring the beautiful French spy and her secrets to England. They met in prison, and they forged an uneasy alliance to escape a common enemy.


The author captivated me from the start by the clarity of her prose and her use of unexpected humor throughout the story. Also, the setting is unique, a refreshing change from the usual ballroom and Society backdrop of most historicals. In most stories, sometimes the hero is a former spy for England, but we don't actually see him doing his spy stuff.

The heroine is true to her character, from her speech to her actions. She fought Grey every step of the way, being the enemy that she perceived him to be, despite the fact that she also desires him. She is also different from the other heroines I've encountered in romances. I know I sound like a cliche; after all, lots of heroes have fallen for their heroines because she was different from the other women he had seen. Well, Annique is different from the other heroines I've read. I like the unexpected ways she sees her world. A clever, engaging, yet very complex heroine. If I've read about someone like her before, they are very few.

A to-die-for hero, Robert Grey is depicted magnificently as the cunning spy who was more than a match for Annique. Yet, for all his hardness and suspicions of Annique, he was tender and caring of her, protecting her when she was officially their enemy. (Excellent hero qualities!) I, for one, would've loved to bring him home. Too bad I live in a different time period.

The pacing of the book was just right, with equal action and excitement and romance. I couldn't put the book down, and I even stayed up late to finish it, which made me sleepy for the DJ the next day. There is a lovely twist toward the end of the book that I won't spoil by revealing, which even I didn't suspect until in the middle of the book when Annique met a certain person.

I'm looking forward to Joanna Bourne's next book, My Lord and Spymaster, in which I hope Grey and Annique would have cameo roles.

Book Rating: 5 stars (A keeper! Yes!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

REVIEW: At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker

My first book by Olivia Parker. I read this because several bloggers had recommended it, and when an author whose books I love also recommended it, I knew I had to pick it up. I bought the ebook version from Fictionwise.


The Bride Hunt ball is for the Duke of Wolverest's younger brother to find a bride. Madelyn Haywood is the only one who doesn't want to be included in this scandalous bride-to-be elimination ball, but the duke finds himself very interested in her.


I love historicals. I don't know why I'm addicted to them, but I just love them and I've read a lot. A few stand out in my mind and others are forgettable. This one is somewhere in between.

I like the author's voice, which is light and fun. The heroine is refreshing and her actions are true to her words. I don't remember any laugh out loud moments, but my impression of the book was good, overall.

However, there were a few typos, but this is a minor point. I don't know if this is because I read an ebook version rather than the print one, but in my opinion, this shouldn't be the case. I mean, if a publisher would put out an ebook version, it should have the same quality as the print one.

There were also some parts in the story wherein I didn't understand what was happening, when the action wasn't fully described or explained. Like, after dinner, the duke suddenly left his guests and walked out of the music room. This came after he and the heroine spent a lovely time together. There also arrived a "rival" who had asked for the heroine's hand the Season before. One would've thought the duke would want to stay in the music room to keep an eye on this rival. But no, he left, all the while ruminating about how he didn't want to leave. Huh?

There was another scene toward the end, when the duke declared his love to her and offered marriage. But she wouldn't accept because he wanted to change her to fit Society's convention of a duchess. Then, miraculously, this wasn't a problem at all. During the night of the ball, we saw the duke thinking as to why he had said those words in the first place, when he hadn't meant them at all. I mean, hello! If he didn't mean them, why did he say them in the first place? To test her? And he should've told her right there and then, tell her he was joking or what, instead of acting all offended and waiting a few nights later until the ball before he thought to tell her.

These are just some things that marred my enjoyment of the book.

Book Rating: 3 stars
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