Last night I finished Brenda Joyce’s Deadly Love – what a delightful surprise the book was! I loved the beginning of what I’m told is a fabulous series although apparently one that ends in a cliffhanger. I’ll most definitely be back to read more in the series, even knowing that.

Francesca Cahill is a 20 year old in 1912, she’s secretly taking classes at Barnard college and is a passionate bluestocking (dudes, I love this, I can’t tell you how much). Anyway, tragedy hits the couple next door and into her life comes the new NY police commissioner, Rick Bragg.

This is not a romance although it has a lovely romantic element to it as Francesca falls for Rick despite her growing knowlege of his past. There are moments when she’s very brave alternated with moments when she’s totally naive (but she’s 20 in 1912 from an affluent family, that’s like being 14 now so to me, it made sense).

I loved her internal emotional growth. I loved watching her realize all the people she’d idolized and admired weren’t perfect. It’s sort of like being that age all over again as you get your adult legs and see the world differently. I think Brenda Joyce did a marvelous job with her internal journey.

The subject matter, to a mom who had to walk out of the movie Ransom, was a bit harrowing but handled well I thought. It’s not overly graphic but a child in danger is still something difficult to read about.

Rick is just utterly delicious. I love his character and can’t wait to read more!

Next up – Wanton: Pack of St. James by Noelle Mack

I received an ARC of this next book in Mack’s Pack of St. James series from Brava (thank you Hilary Sares!)

I enjoyed the story, I like the world Mack has created with these Russian werewolves. I like that it’s a historical paranormal and certainly I think Mack has done a good job at writing the kinds of heroines I can believe in an affair with a man she’s not married to.

The details are rich and in this story, the story arc regarding young girls and prostitution takes center stage more than the romance did, IMO.

I liked Marko and I liked Severin. I didn’t like the sister Jehane at all frankly. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to but Severin loves her and I wondered why.

I was glad to see Kyril and Vivianne from Wicked in little glimpses – I like to know characters I’ve loved have gone on and experienced the fullness of an HEA.

Next up, the brother who’s been in Scotland. I’m quite interested to see where that one takes me

Lastly – Blood Noir by LKH

I was very disappointed in the book. I accept the direction LKH has gone in, it’s fine although I don’t agree that it’s erotica, the sex isn’t well written enough to have the story center on it. But overall, I thought the plot was weak. Generally, everything, every feeling, every concept, every conversation, had to be repeated four times. It was aimless for the most part when in fact, it could have been really dark if she’d focused on the whole Marmee Noir thing but she never gives it the page space it deserves and I don’t know why. She’s got the chops to do it justice.


The sex was brutal and disgusting in one place in particular – the hotel “rape” scene. The level of detail in the aftermath was sickening and also while marginally emotional, yet another fight with Richard and an extraneous pregnancy scare just took away from the scene. I felt it was TOTALLY unnecessary. It did nothing but add yet more characters and yet another story thread that got left dangling and left us with yet another scene with Richard that is a virtual carbon copy of the last eight of them.

The stuff with Jason wasn’t bad but I thought the beginning scene where she has a safe word with Nathaniel and he ignored it to be irresponsible.

The thing is, I think LKH has an interesting world, I just don’t know why she continues to stuff it full of characters that add nothing and simply make the story hard to follow. I’m sorry to say Blood Noir was not a hit for me at all.

7 comments to “Booktalking!”

  1. Charlene
    July 11th, 2008 at 11:40 am · Link

    I liked Blood Noir a lot better than you did. I liked that she took her anger back from Richard; gives me hope for both of them in the next story. And I like that Marmee Noir finally came back in, I’ve been waiting for that forever.

    And how did you score an ARC? Sniff.

  2. Mary
    July 11th, 2008 at 7:56 pm · Link


    I love the Brenda Joyce series and Rick is a wonderful character. I also love the Pack of St. James. I picked the first book in the series up at the book store out of despartion for something to read and then was glad I did. I can’t wait to read what Noelle does next.
    On Blood Nior I agree. This will be the LAST
    LKH hardback I purchase. I will still pick up the paperbacks if I hear she has gotten better. I have been disappointed with her books the last few times I purchased them.
    This I read while on vacation and honestly I did not like the feeling it left with me.
    I just wish I knew what she was trying to do with the storyline. my opinion only…

    Have a great weekend!

  3. Lori
    July 12th, 2008 at 12:06 am · Link

    OMG. As a parent, Ransom was perhaps the hardest movie I have ever watched… EVER. This sounds like a truly interesting book, though. Thanks for the rec!

  4. Lauren
    July 12th, 2008 at 8:43 am · Link

    Charli – I got a email from Noelle’s editor offering it to me. needless to say I snapped that offer right up most gratefully!

    The thing I think that disappointed me so much about Blood Noir was that it felt to me that she gave short shrift to Marmee Noir – I want more. She’s a fascinatingly scary character. But what we got was an eighth her and the rest what I felt to be totally pointless and repetitious conversations about nothing really. The scene with Richard’s anger was great but then it went on too long and we had to hear about him loving her and wanting kids and how he oculdnt’ take that she was a monster again. I’m just done with that.

  5. Lauren
    July 12th, 2008 at 8:46 am · Link

    Mary – I like the series too!

    I don’t think I’m done with LKH, but this book wandered around a lot. Lots of meaningless conversations. That scene in the bachelorette party when each woman said the exact same thing to Anita and apologized to her? It felt like something she just dashed off in a hurry. It wasn’t realistic, it wasn’t interesting.

    I like LKH and I don’t think there’s too much sex in her books. I just know she’s capable of more story

  6. Lauren
    July 12th, 2008 at 8:47 am · Link

    Lori – I had to walk out. I simply couldn’t take it. My blood pressure went up, I was fidgety, I just needed to leave because I couldn’t watch it.

    Hope you like Deadly Love!

  7. Tina S.
    July 12th, 2008 at 9:36 am · Link

    I like LKH’s books, but it does seem that since Incubus Dreams that there is more and more sex and less story line. I was a bit disappointed in BN because the dust jacket led you to believe that Marmee Noir was going to be a significant part of the story and it almost seemed as if she were mentioned as an afterthought. In addition, the changes in Anita are mentioned but never really built on. Where is she going with the fact that Anita is carrying 4 types of lycanthrope or that she seems to have the powers of a Master Vampire. LKH really needs to pick these threads up and build on them more.