April 5, 2012 / 8:15PM 11 notes

The Bride, by Julie Garwood
Some of you may remember that I had an ambitious (for me) TBR list that included two SRS books, and The Hunger Games. It will surprise none of you that I made it through The Hunger Games before I decided that was enough heavy shit and people dying. I decided it was time for some lighter fare, or at least a book that didn’t prominently involve death. Enter The Bride by Julie Garwood and its 172 5-star reviews on Amazon. Because apparently the fanatically positive reviews for Sherrilyn Kenyon have taught me nothing. 
The Bride is a Highlander romance, in which a bonny and spirited English lass is wed to a menacing Highland laird and they learn to love each other in spite of their cultural differences, usually through nonstop newlywed fucking. Handy that kilts provide such easy access! That reminds me - there will be at least one joke about Scottish lairds being naked under their kilts. 
So anyways, the Bonny and Spirited English Lass (TM) in this situation is Jamie. Oh, we’re going to have a little chat about Jamie. Garwood apparently couldn’t settle for just one Spirited English Lass (TM) cliche, so she went for them all. Here’s a list of facts about Jamie: 
She can read and write
She speaks perfect Gaelic
She is an expert physician (the kind who can heal otherwise-fatal wounds with a few crushed leaves and a tincture)
She can shoot a bow and arrow with incredible accuracy
She can throw a knife with incredible accuracy
She rides her spirited horse bareback, with incredible skill
Her riding skills are so incredible that she frequently stands up while riding her spirited horse bareback
She can instantly charm even the most stubborn Scottish soldier
She is constantly saving small children
She is constantly being saved by her laird husband
She is flawlessly beautiful (violet eyes, streaming raven hair, etc)
She single-handedly unites the Highland clans
I kind of want to punch Jamie by now, don’t you?
She has a couple of token flaws: she has a poor sense of direction, and she’s an insufferable know-it-all (Garwood may not have intended that reaction, now that I think about it). Still, she’s doing pretty good for a woman in 1100! I know suspension of disbelief is important for all novels, but at this point I think the time-traveling nurse from Outlander is a more realistic. 
Her Highland Laird is Alec. Here’s a few facts about Alec:
He is very big
He wears kilts
He gets angry a lot
In the beginning, I was having a lot of fun. Alec and Jamie meet and get married and journey to Scotland, and it’s pretty good! The sex gets going early in the book (Alec sees Jamie bathing, which happens so frequently in romance novels I’m starting to think authors have Frequent Plot Device cards and are cashing in on hotels stays and discounted flights somewhere), and their sparring is fun, if not terribly inventive. 
Then they get to Scotland, and the whole book turns into a mess. I should have known it was coming. It was like going out on a bad date. You know the signs. The dude might order a Zima, or casually mention Ayn Rand. But you don’t REALLY know what you’ve gotten yourself into until you find yourself listening to him tell an obviously-exaggerated story about his spring break trip to Gulf Shores with his main brahs. 
The story gets to be episodic and kind of boring. In one day, Jamie is chased down by a wild boar, saves a small child, is almost burned alive in a cottage (somebody wants her dead or something I don’t even care at this point), and she probably starts a war or whatever (she’s always starting wars). And yeah, that’s STILL boring. There’s too many characters, I kept losing track of the action, and by the end, I started flirting with the other books on my Kindle. 
I have to say, it wasn’t unpleasant. There were a lot of redeeming moments throughout the book, and I even laughed out loud a few times. That said, there are so many talented romance novelists writing great books right now, and you don’t have to spend your time and money on a book that’s “not unpleasant.” 
Go check out Braveheart or Outlander if you need a kilt fix. I’d skip this. 

The Bride, by Julie Garwood

Some of you may remember that I had an ambitious (for me) TBR list that included two SRS books, and The Hunger Games. It will surprise none of you that I made it through The Hunger Games before I decided that was enough heavy shit and people dying. I decided it was time for some lighter fare, or at least a book that didn’t prominently involve death. Enter The Bride by Julie Garwood and its 172 5-star reviews on Amazon. Because apparently the fanatically positive reviews for Sherrilyn Kenyon have taught me nothing. 

The Bride is a Highlander romance, in which a bonny and spirited English lass is wed to a menacing Highland laird and they learn to love each other in spite of their cultural differences, usually through nonstop newlywed fucking. Handy that kilts provide such easy access! That reminds me - there will be at least one joke about Scottish lairds being naked under their kilts. 

So anyways, the Bonny and Spirited English Lass (TM) in this situation is Jamie. Oh, we’re going to have a little chat about Jamie. Garwood apparently couldn’t settle for just one Spirited English Lass (TM) cliche, so she went for them all. Here’s a list of facts about Jamie: 

  • She can read and write
  • She speaks perfect Gaelic
  • She is an expert physician (the kind who can heal otherwise-fatal wounds with a few crushed leaves and a tincture)
  • She can shoot a bow and arrow with incredible accuracy
  • She can throw a knife with incredible accuracy
  • She rides her spirited horse bareback, with incredible skill
  • Her riding skills are so incredible that she frequently stands up while riding her spirited horse bareback
  • She can instantly charm even the most stubborn Scottish soldier
  • She is constantly saving small children
  • She is constantly being saved by her laird husband
  • She is flawlessly beautiful (violet eyes, streaming raven hair, etc)
  • She single-handedly unites the Highland clans
  • I kind of want to punch Jamie by now, don’t you?

She has a couple of token flaws: she has a poor sense of direction, and she’s an insufferable know-it-all (Garwood may not have intended that reaction, now that I think about it). Still, she’s doing pretty good for a woman in 1100! I know suspension of disbelief is important for all novels, but at this point I think the time-traveling nurse from Outlander is a more realistic. 

Her Highland Laird is Alec. Here’s a few facts about Alec:

  • He is very big
  • He wears kilts
  • He gets angry a lot

In the beginning, I was having a lot of fun. Alec and Jamie meet and get married and journey to Scotland, and it’s pretty good! The sex gets going early in the book (Alec sees Jamie bathing, which happens so frequently in romance novels I’m starting to think authors have Frequent Plot Device cards and are cashing in on hotels stays and discounted flights somewhere), and their sparring is fun, if not terribly inventive. 

Then they get to Scotland, and the whole book turns into a mess. I should have known it was coming. It was like going out on a bad date. You know the signs. The dude might order a Zima, or casually mention Ayn Rand. But you don’t REALLY know what you’ve gotten yourself into until you find yourself listening to him tell an obviously-exaggerated story about his spring break trip to Gulf Shores with his main brahs. 

The story gets to be episodic and kind of boring. In one day, Jamie is chased down by a wild boar, saves a small child, is almost burned alive in a cottage (somebody wants her dead or something I don’t even care at this point), and she probably starts a war or whatever (she’s always starting wars). And yeah, that’s STILL boring. There’s too many characters, I kept losing track of the action, and by the end, I started flirting with the other books on my Kindle. 

I have to say, it wasn’t unpleasant. There were a lot of redeeming moments throughout the book, and I even laughed out loud a few times. That said, there are so many talented romance novelists writing great books right now, and you don’t have to spend your time and money on a book that’s “not unpleasant.” 

Go check out Braveheart or Outlander if you need a kilt fix. I’d skip this. 

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September 27, 2011 / 11:11AM 4 notes

Castles (Crown’s Spies #4) by Julie Garwood

In a nutshell

  • Genre: Romance, Mystery, Regency
  • Notes: A fun mostly sappy jaunt through a regency era romance between an over-bearing, but caring man and a naive but stubborn princess.
  • Recommended For: Garwood fans, Those looking for a light read and some sap.

When formulas are enough … I read this book a long time ago and forgot a lot of it and thought I’d re-read it for this blog. I enjoy Julie Garwood’s easy reads and while she reminds me of Kleypas’ plotlines her writing lacks the spunk and dynamics of Kleypas.

Before I get ahead of myself let’s get the basics out-of-the-way. The synopsis is as follows:

Orphaned and besieged, Princess Alesandra knew that only hasty marriage to an Englishman could protect her from the turmoil in her own land. To the amusement of her makeshift guardian, Colin, younger brother of the Marquess of Cainewood, the bold raven-haired beauty instantly captivated London society. But when Alesandra was nearly abducted by her unscrupulous countrymen, the fighting instincts that won Colin a knighthood for valor were kindled. Deceiving himself that he wanted only to protect her, Colin swept her into a union meant to be a marriage in name alone…yet Alesandra’s tender first kiss and hesitant caress ignited a wildfire in his soul. As the lovely princess dashed headlong into unforeseen dangers, Colin would follow, knowing he must claim her as his own forever. Now he would risk life itself before he would lose this sweet, tempestuous angel…

Things I enjoyed about this book:

  1. The mystery regarding the murderer who you get little snippets of his inner monologue continuously throughout the novel. I can honestly say I didn’t guess who it was until the end.
  2. I thought Alesandra’s sense of humor was good. The ways she gets around Colin while staying true to her promises was very cute.
  3. I liked that Alesandra found ways to utilize her ability with numbers and was shown to be intelligent, if at times common sense stupid.

Things I got tired of in this book:

  1. I found it obnoxious after a while when something would happen or something would be said and Garwood would take the time to explain what that meant. The first time was annoying the 10th time it felt like she thought I couldn’t read sub-text. Hel-lo we got it.
  2. While in romance novels (especially set in Regency times) I realize the men are more domineering and that women had/have fewer rights and little say. I also acknowledge that sometimes in these books its sexy when the man takes charge. But there is also a point where you go from in charge to controlling and Colin had moments where I wanted Sassy Gay Friend to come and let Alesandra know what’s what.
    1. For example, at one point Alesandra is coming down the steps wearing a necklace and  ”[Colin] didn’t like the idea of Alesandra wearing it. ‘I have a special fondness for this necklace,’ she remarked once they were settled inside the carriage and on their way to the ball. ‘But I can tell from your frown you don’t care for it. Why is that, Colin?’ ‘Why do you like it?’ Her fingertips brushed the necklace. ‘Because it belonged to my mother. Whenever I wear it, I’m reminded of her. The necklace was a gift to her from my father.’ Colin’s attitude immediately softened. ‘Then you should wear it.’ ‘But why did it displease you? I saw the way you frowned when you first noticed it.’ He shrugged. ‘I was displeased because I didn’t buy it for you.’ She didn’t know what to make of that remark.” I do. In the words of SGF, “Tina Turner? We need to private dance it outta here!”

I don’t want people to think I hated this book or that Colin was an abusive character. I just found that it hit one note for the majority of the novel and between the controlling Colin and the pedantic narrative I got tired half-way through and only finished it because I couldn’t remember the murderer. But Garwood has a system where she takes damsels in distress puts them with men-in-charge who have a vulnerability and makes a happy-ever-after with some sap and a litttle danger. It works.

I also acknowledge that I haven’t read this full series so there might be other aspects of this story that I’m missing out on. But I will say if you can’t pull me into reading a series from one novel then the series is damaged, in my opinion.

I wouldn’t go out and buy this book, but it’s a perfect beach read or I’m on the bus and don’t want to make eye-contact read.  

Garwood is still a good writer in my opinion and I am going to re-read some of her other novels I remember liking (like her Laird’s Series) so more on that later.

RATING: ★★★  

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