Review: Temptation and Twilight

Reviewed by Jen

I have some very mixed feelings about this book. I’ve been waiting and waiting for Elizabeth and Alynwick’s story ever since we first met them in book one of the trilogy.  The way these two clearly pined for one another was captivating and I was very curious to see the big explanation of what drove them apart all those years ago. One of the things that bothered me the most while reading, was the fact that explanation let me down.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I fully expected this story to pick up where the last one left off, but it didn’t. In fact, the first 90% of the book overlapped with the timeline of the other stories.  I can’t say it was redundant, because it wasn’t.  We see events and perspectives we weren’t privy to before. But it did have me off balance, trying to recall details from the other books that are casually referenced here.  Not only that, but I kept waiting and waiting for the big kidnapping that ended the last book. I was waiting a long time.

As the story begins, Alynwick is working to seduce a married woman with ties to Orpheus. He was hoping he could use his connection to her to unmask the villain working against the Brethren Guardians.  Watching our hero whore himself out did not endear him to me. In fact, I spent the whole story waiting for a redemption of his character that never came.

After being shot in duel, Alynwick comes to the realization that he is in love with Elizabeth and regrets discarding her after their love affair 12 years ago.  The thing is, she refuses his advances. She knows him for the manslut he is and will not open herself to trusting him again. So he pushes and she flees. Then he pushes more and she flees again.

I actually did like Lizzie. She is blind, but doesn’t want her infirmity to define her.  She is still hurt, but wants to keep living her life. She even tries to move on. But Alynwick won’t let her. I actually found myself rooting for Sheldon, the other guy courting her.  That’s not a good sign for the hero.

I didn’t feel like Alynwick properly atoned for his actions. He just kept trying to get in Lizzie’s pants. Even when she is crying over the hurt he caused her.  And then, when he gives his big explanation as to why he left her, instead of making me sympathetic, it actually made me dislike him more.

The writing is very good.  Featherstone definitely made me give a damn about what was going to happen.  And I was blown away by the villain reveal.  It was brilliant and totally unexpected.  It made perfect sense for anyone who has been following the series.  For a new reader, though, it probably would have been a WTF moment.

I don’t know.  I just couldn’t get past wanting to kick the hero in the ‘nads.  I never felt like he deserved his happy ending, so when all was said and done I was a bit unsatisfied.  Hard to rate, because what was good was very good, but what bothered me –really bothered me.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Temptation & Twilight
by Charlotte Featherstone
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Publisher: HQN

Review: Pride & Passion

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start out by saying how much I enjoyed this book. It spared me many of the frustrating tropes I usually find in historicals. The heroine isn’t a ninny or a virgin. The love isn’t instantatious. And there is no great misunderstanding. It was a solid romance, with good sex, and enough danger to kick it all up a notch.

We first met Lucy back in Seduction & Scandal. She is desperately trying to find her former lover Thomas, who she had thought died in a fire. But not only is he alive, but he is somehow wrapped up in a nefarious group, trying to obtain ancient artifacts of the Templar Knights. Adrian, the Duke of Sussex, even claims he saw Thomas kill someone. But Lucy holds out hope she’ll be reunited with the man she thought she loved.

Sussex is on a mission to make Lucy his own. It’s made very, very obvious from the beginning that he is hiding a secret. (And it doesn’t take a rocket science to determine his true identity.) But no matter how much he pines for Lucy, she doesn’t return his affections. It’s really kind of sad, but the thing is… she can’t love him because he hides who he really is. He presents himself with a mask of propriety, but once he begins to allow his mask to fall and his passion to shine through, Lucy doesn’t stand a chance.

Even though the “big reveal” of Sussex’s secret was no surprise, it was still very poignant. I just wanted to step inside the book and give him a great big hug. How could it take Lucy so long to see what was right before her eyes?? The love story is good… and the sex is hooooot. All this with the backdrop of the mystery set up in the last book. Who is trying to steal the ancient artifacts? And how far will he go to get what he wants? I feel very certain I know the identity of the villain’s lover, but I change my mind every five minutes about who the big bad really is.

I really liked the b-plot story surrounding Elizabeth and Alynwick. I’m already in a tizzy waiting for their book to come out! Especially since this one ended on a cliffhanger. How am I supposed to wait until July to find out what happens??

4 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon or The Book Depository
Pride & Passion
by Charlotte Featherston
Release Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HQN

Review: Seduction & Scandal

Reviewed by Jen

Isabella is a woman who fears passion. It destroyed her mother and compromised her childhood. Now she is living with her uncle and cousin Lucy and hopes for nothing more than a life a safety and security. She is dating a staid gentleman and hopes for a simple marriage.  But then she meets the Earl of Black. There is an instant, burning pull between them. For some reason that Isabella is unaware of, Black pursues her relentlessly. And no matter how much her head wants him out of her life, her body and heart have other ideas.

Black is a member of the Brethren Guardians… descendants of the Knights of the Templar, charged to protect ancient relics that could corrupt the world. He doesn’t want the responsibility. The only thing he does want is Isabella. But he can’t ignore his oath, so while he pursues her, he works with the other men in his order to track down the relics that have gone missing.

I had a bit of a hard time getting into the Templar stuff, but there was a lot of sexy in the story to keep my interest in the interim. The tension between Isabella and Black is fantastic and it was a great payoff, albeit in increments. And did I mention that Isabella is also a lady novelist? Her seductive story is interspersed throughout the book and I sure did enjoy it. Obviously, there are parallels between her longing for Black with the characters in her book and it all wraps up nicely in the end.

There are a lot of mysteries tied in the Templar storyline, and as the book progressed it did grow on me some. There are many threads left unresolved, but the love story is put to bed. And the author promises to answer the remaining questions in Lucy’s book Pride & Passion. I will definitely be reading that. 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Seduction & Scandal
by Charlotte Featherstone
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: HQN Books