#BookReview: Earl of St. Seville (3/5)

In a nutshell, Earl of St. Seville was fine. The basic premise includes a misfit, activist heroine and a brawny, goodhearted hero who is trying to save his estate. The story follows the earl as he gets involved in some of the seedier establishments in London and include quite a bit of prizefighting. It also shows Patience, the heroine, in her crusade to end the dangerous practice of prizefighting.

On the whole, the writing was inoffensive. It was not captivating nor did it ever make me feel the urge to actually finish the book. At times, I felt reading it was more of a chore than anything else. For reference, it took me about three weeks to finish this book. This past week alone I’ve started and finished four books.

The romance itself was rather lackluster and the attraction between the main characters did not seem remotely believable until about three quarters of the way through the book. The first interaction between the two reads as a clinical description of bodily appearance rather than a lust filled first encounter.

Initially I wondered if my apathy towards the title might be because I’m not generally drawn towards stories with the prizefighter bent, and yet I picked up a different Regency in that sub genre and found it far more enjoyable.

This book is one in a larger series and I think that was to its detriment. There were characters who showed up with larger backstories that were never expanded on and there were frequent references to events and history that didn’t make much sense.

Perhaps I would be more favorable towards this novel had I not read it as a standalone. That being said, they author’s writing style is not nearly captivating enough for me to find the energy to read the rest of the books.

All in all, give it a try but don’t be surprised if you don’t ever finish it.

I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher through NetGalley. This was done in exchange for an unbiased review posted to Amazon and my personal blog. 

#BookReview: Once Upon a Moonlit Path (4/5)

I’ve just finished reading Once Upon a Moonlit Path by Ava Stone. The story is a paranormal Regency romance, so get ready for some ghostly encounters!

On the whole, I enjoyed the story. The attraction between Cassandra (Cassy) and Jack is believable and fiery! Cassy’s little brother, Toby, humanizes Jack and provides us the opportunity to see the rake in a more caring role (never a bad thing!)

The story is set in a haunted castle with the reading of a will as the motivation that throws our characters together. We learn quickly that Jack has had his eye on Cassy for quite a while. The lead up makes it easy to believe his attraction to her, but her own attraction to him seems a bit more tenuous.

In keeping with the paranormal tag, ghostly hijinks ensue and between assignations around the castle, Cassy sees ghosts walking the halls of the house. Eventually, after facing down ghosts and unromantic parents, Cassy and Jack get their happily ever after.

In terms of romance, I found this book pretty satisfying. The romance was hot and the story moved at an appropriate pace. The paranormal tag seems a bit more of a stretch to me. There’s not nearly enough backstory for me to understand Cassy’s history of seeing ghosts and instead it comes off as a gimmicky way for Cassy to be seen as an ostracized member of the assembled characters.

Speaking of assembled characters, the book at times reads like a biographical listing. The characters and tangential side characters get an inordinate amount of screen time, perhaps appropriate given that this is the first of the series. I would have liked to have seen some paring down of characters. By the time the parents arrived on the scene, I had forgotten that I already knew them! A most disconcerting experience, indeed.

In addition, there’s a whole secondary plot point with gypsies that seems rushed and unnecessary.

You will enjoy this book if you are here for the romance and the romance alone. Do not expect this to be a larger paranormal adventure. Other than a few ghostly sightings, there’s no exploration of the implications of Cassy’s ability to see ghosts or any sign that these ghosts and her ability exist outside of their function as a plot point.

You will not enjoy this book if you’re looking for a paranormal/gothic novel. You just won’t. I think that labeling this story as a paranormal romance might be a bit of an overstatement.

It’s a quick read and low commitment. I most likely will not continuing reading the rest of the series. It’s well written and fine for a slow afternoon at work.

I was provided a copy of the book by the publisher through NetGalley. This was done in exchange for an unbiased review posted to Amazon and my personal blog.