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Where's My Hero? ... Anthology

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where's My Hero? (anthology)

Lisa Kleypas
Kinley MacGregor
Julia Quinn

Historical/Medieval Romance
Published in 2003

Read in May, 2011 (1st read, 2009).
My rating:

                                                                       [spoiler alert]


This review and rating is based on Lisa Kleypas's "Against All Odds" (4.5 stars) and Kinley MacGregor's "Midsummer's Knight" (4 stars). I've also read Julia Quinn's "The Tale of Two Sisters" (3 stars), which was just ok for me.

Note: People who have no idea about Derek Craven aka Sex-God-Extraordinaire aka my baby, his book is titled Dreaming of You, book #2 in the Gamblers series.

Lisa Kleypas, "Against All Odds"
Gamblers #2.5

H/h - Dr. Jake Linley/Lydia Craven
Setting: London, 1845.

I've read this LK novella at least twice but didn't do a review because I'm yet to do reviews for her other books. But, now I think I should add my thoughts on this one. The book is about Dr. Jake Linley, whom we've seen in some of LK's other books including Lady Sophia's Lover. Jake is a brilliant doctor and a womanizer, a rake of the first order but he loves only one woman, namely one Lydia Craven. Lydia is, of course, Derek Craven's daughter; a mathematical genius and not one of the conventional beauties of the Ton. But she is admired in the mathematical clubs and so on. Lydia has her vulnerabilities, being the 'odd ball' in every sense. Not many man can appreciate her skills in math.

When the story starts, Lydia's just got engaged to one of her colleagues and Jake's getting seriously drunk because of it. But the irony is, none of them know about each-others feelings. Lydia's quite crazy about Jake but there was a misunderstanding between the two which led her to believe Jake doesn't care for her in any way, he isn't even attracted to her. She also knows of his rakish ways. All these made her ignore Jake thoroughly and Jake thought that Lydia can't stand him for some reasons. Then, from a bit of a help from Lydia's meddling mother, the ever adorable Sara, they sorted their differences out in Derek's wine-cellar. ;) Derek, on the other had, had a taste of being on the other side of the situation; in this case, the 'overprotective papa', whose daughter is marrying a womanizer herself ... Well, can anyone see history repeating itself?! :p

And oooh meeh gawd, have I mentioned that a middle-aged Derek is as hawt and steamilicious as ever?? His and Sara's interactions were so good to read, I'll say the best in this novella. I believe this could've been a nice full-length novel, I'd read it only for Derek aka my baby.

"Against All Odds" has 6 chapters, including an epilogue and a prologue. No love scenes in that sense but there were plenty of touching and kissing and Derek (rwaaar!!). hahahaha :p

PS: I had a good laugh knowing Derek was still that Derek, who knows everything about everyone. And, he did his research well on Jake, including his bed partners. Damn that man takes my breath away! *swoons*
*************

Kinley MacGregor, "Midsummer's Knight"
Brotherhood/MacAllisters #5

H/h - Simon of Ravenswood/Princess Kenna 
Setting: England, in the time of King Henry II.

This is the story of Simon of Ravenswood, half-brother to the hero of Master of Desire, Draven. But, we've seen Simon in almost all the MacAllister books so far. In them, Simon was portrayed as a happy-go-lucky chap, a knight-errant who loves to have meaningless affairs with lady's maids and married women (in his own words, if his implications were anything). He was also a definite fun to read, I really loved him as a secondary character even though I didn't approve of some stuffs (you can guess!) he did. Otherwise, Simon was a man who loves to help and protect the ones he loves. In this novella, Simon proved that again but was this the Simon I really knew from the other books?

The story is quite simple but there are loads of information regarding Simon and the introduction to the Brotherhood of the Swords. We meet Stryder, who is one of the best English knights and also one of Simon's best friends. I didn't know that. I also didn't know that Simon were in the crusades with Stryder and had a bad experience. I mean it was really bad. He was imprisoned and tortured in Outremer, along with Stryder and another guy, Edward. While Simon has chosen to forget about his experiences and live his life, Stryder is broody and keeps to himself. That first scene was really funny; Simon being in his own element, saving Stryder from some crazy harpies, who can't get enough of him (his lands, skills in bed and body, in Stryder's own words!).

Then enter Kenna, Edward's sister. She's a Scottish princess, cousin to king Malcolm. But Kenna is a simple girl, by which I mean she has no complexity in her character. She knows she's not a beauty in the conventional sense. No man looks at her twice unless they know about her title and money. I really felt for her since she's very sweet and honest. She met Simon a year ago, after her brother died. Kenna originally wanted to meet Stryder but it's Simon, who's also Stryder's kind of a personal secretary (writes his letters and stuffs as Stryder is a busy first-class knight and illiterate), talks to her. Kenna asked him about writing to Stryder and then started the exchange of sweet letters. They come very close to each-other and at one point, fell in love. Kenna doesn't know it's Simon who writes to her. Simon thinks he'll never amount to Stryder's prowess as a knight and also, the fact that he's not a titled lord. Moreover, he's illegitimate. Simon is sure he and Kenna has no future together since Kenna, being a princess, has to marry accordingly.

The misunderstanding starts as Kenna comes to visit Stryder, thinking he proposed to her in his last letter. And, you can guess, Stryder is dumbfounded! Then, in confrontation, the truth comes out. Kenna is hurt thinking they made fun of her but Simon takes her somewhere out and proves her of his love. I loved seeing the fact that Kenna did love the man who wrote her those letters and she took it in easily that Simon is her man, not Stryder. But, as they knew, everyone expected Kenna to marry Stryder and when they return, they find both king Henry II and Malcolm present, not only for the jousting ceremony that's taking place but also for Kenna and Stryder's marriage. Oh damn!

This book did make me cry a lot in the end and it being a novella, I have to say a big feat indeed! Novellas are usually pretty rushed up, so no time for emotional turmoils. But, KM proved she can give you everything in a novella, too. Simon had to prove a lot in the joust, knowing he's no match for Stryder. Also, after the defeat, he chose to save Stryder from another assassination attempt (these attempts are like breathing for Stryder!) though he knew if Stryder is killed, he can easily claim Kenna. And, Simon got seriously injured. I'll leave the ending out for now and talk about some other points.

The background of the BotS was a bit too much to take in because it was a bit sudden for me. Simon had a nick too, the Wraith. Why? The explanation is in the book. I believe, for this reason and also because Simon was such an endearing character, he deserved a full-length novel. I also felt the book talked too much about Stryder. Just me! But, counting in the fact that he's the hero of the next book, I acceded. KM did squeeze in a lot of information regarding the BotS. Stryder proved to be a complex character, I'm really interested in his book. He and Simon, bound by their tortured past, vowed that they'd never marry. But, Simon relented for Kenna since he could not live without her. All in all, this novella did give me a feeling of completion, which I usually don't experience in a novella.

"Midsummer's Knight" has 8 chapters including a prologue and an epilogue. It has two sweet love scenes. :)
**************

Julia Quinn, "The Tale of Two Sisters"
Blydons #4

H/h - Edward Blydon, Viscount Burwick/Charlotte Thornton
Setting: Oxfordshire, 1816 (?).

This is the story of Edward aka Ned Blydon, who was featured in all the books in the Blydon series. I don't really remember much details about the story except that Ned was supposed to marry one sister but that sister was seeing someone else. The other, probably the younger and not-as-beautiful-as-the-elder-sister one falls for Ned. Then the younger sister tries to help the older one to elope at night and was caught by Ned, who was residing in their house. Then ........ they marry and fall in love etc. etc. ... I'll do a full review after I read it again and the rating may change but I remember there is a fun poem at the end of the novella, typical JQ stuff, worth a reading at least for that. :p

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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