Project Lisa Kleypas

[REPOST] One of my very earlier posts in this blog. I feel like re-reading these again! 

[Heads up:] If you do not like  stuff like romance , love or its related mushy stuff, this post is not for you 🙂 and it contains spoilers.

Due to heavy work pressure I resorted to taking up light romantic reads and nailed down on “Mine till midnight” by Lisa Kleypas around September end. I have never read a historical romance till date then, but to my surprise I really liked it. Since this was part of a series, I decided to complete the series. That is how I got introduced to Lisa Kleypas novels. After that I switched to Nora Roberts for a few books (all of them were a 2-3 hr read just to relieve my work related stress) but found that I preferred historical romance than contemporary romance at  this point of time. My all time favorites are thriller and mystery and when time and mood permits psychology drama. Romance was my least preferred genre with books. But may be I was not stressed out in life as I am right now. So at the beginning of last month I decided to do the “Julie and Julia” thing-Complete all the books of Lisa Kleypas. How about that for a challenge ;)..Good stress buster and to do something for a change (two birds one stone) compared from my mundane work.  And as of Saturday (24-Nov-2012) I completed all of them (except for Crystal Cove which isn’t released yet).

I am not going into depth on each of them, just some comments on some of them.

Historical Romances:

Series:

The Hathaways Series (****)

Among all the historical series of Lisa Kleypas, this is my favorite. Except for the A Hathaway Wedding (The Hathaways, #2.5) the rest were very nice and interesting. All the balls, courtship, corsets, peerage .. they were very new to me and it held me captive and gave me the much needed reprieve I was yearning for. The interesting part is how the women of the family try to not succumb to the pressures of the society (which must have been very difficult in 18th and 19th century especially for women) and the romance was very cute. Some very breezy and some very passionate. Coming from a family of siblings, it easily strikes a chord. And I found this series loaded with enough wit, humor and sarcasm (especially in Married by Morning). I especially liked Leo’s and Beatrix’s stories more than the others and Leo always get the best lines in this series 😉

If you are looking for a breezy romance with some passion to spice it up in the historical romance genre, this is definitely for you. I haven’t read much of historical romances to compare, but this is more than enough for me.

Vallerands(***)
I loved Vallerands because of Justin, the pirate :). I read his story first and then went to When Strangers marry, which has his father Maximilen’s story with Lysette. Among the two, I found Only With Your Love (Vallerands, #2) more compelling. After Jack Sparrow, Capn’ Griffin is my favorite pirate 😉

Wallflowers(***)
It starts with 4 girls who are the wallflowers (i.e. they do not attract any person to provide for them during the seasons after they have come out to the society.. ) and then extends it to a book where it tells the stories of the WestCliff’s sisters and also one of Rafe Bowman (rakish brother of Lillian WestCliff). So you have 6 books in this series. It also explains how the change of times and industrialization brings about change in the English society and how people accommodate it (very subtle and small here, but significant with respect to the thought process of the people involved) and this change also includes people from a very different culture like America (Lillian , Daisy and Rafe Bowman come from America)

It also introduces you to Cam Rohan (the gypsy in The Hathaways Series and his friendship with Vincent and later to WestCliff too).

Gamblers(***)
This introduces to Alex and Derek Craven and their love lives. Derek Craven is referred in almost all the series, if I remember correctly. Even though not part of this series, the story of Derek’s daughter is explained (in rather a short format) in Where’s My Hero?. Jake Linley, love of Lydia Craven, is referred in Bow Street Runners.

Stokehurst(***)
This series about two Russian Tasia and Nicholas and how they end up with the Stokehurst family. This has almost all ingredients time travel, witch craft, child abuse and many others apart from the love and passion. Especially Prince of Dreams (Stokehurst, #2) which is slightly dragging but much likable because of  Emma Stokehurst and her passion for animals (including a tiger :D) Midnight Angel (Stokehurst, #1) is simple and straightforward with the story travelling from London to Russia and back.

Bow Street Runners(**1/2)
This series of three books is about Grant, his boss Ross and Sophia’s brother Nick resp. They were good and do have their own charm in terms of stories. It is the series where in the Police force is involved. Even though they interesting, the others were more appealing 🙂

Capital Theatre(**1/2)
Somewhere I’ll Find You (Capital Theatre, #1) is about two people who were married when they were kids (child marriage) and never saw each other afterwards. How they end up falling for one another and what problems they face because the woman is an actress in the Capital Theatre. The 2nd one Because You’re Mine (Capital Theatre, #2) is about the owner of the Capital Theatre (Logan Scott) and how he ends up with Madeline. And as part of Wish List Andrew’s (Logan Scott’s half brother) encounter with Caroline (in a short story). I liked the first one and the short story more.

Berkley-Faulkner(**1/2)
This series is about Randall and Rosalie in the first book and then their maid of sorts Mira in the 2nd one. Both has its share of mystery and intrigue and compelling too. But when compared to the rest, they do fall short for me (I am not sure in which account though)

Individual Novels:

Suddenly You (***1/2)
This one is about a writer Amanda and her publisher Jack Devlin. I liked it because of the characters and their boldness and sometimes shameless. She, being a writer, gives the necessary angle for some smart lines. I liked this very much.

Where Dreams Begin(***1/2)
This story of Zachary and Holly (a widower with a kid but of a peerage), starts in a rather wicked manner but ends up well. Zachary is not of any peerage and he hires Holly to teach him and his sister all about the society so that he can be accepted among them, not for his money but for himself. But how they end up falling for each other and changing each other ..its sort of cute.

Stranger in My Arms(***)
Lara lost her husband Hunter (for good) but then he comes back from the dead (or is it really her husband ?). She feels in her bones that this person who has returned as her husband is a stranger, but cannot prove it because he is so much like him (or not like him in subtle ways..) How they both end up together.. if he really was her husband or not..that forms the story.. It has its own little mystery and it has a very small part in India too :). I liked it.

Love, Come to Me(**1/2)
This one reminds me of Gone with the Wind at times, I don’t know why. Heath wanted Lucy even when she was promised to another. But then fate favors him and she ends up as his wife. How they finally come to love each other in their own way is the story. May be because it happens during the war (the same time frame in which Gone with the wind was set) it did not attract too much just as the other two individual novels.

Give Me Tonight (**)
This is my least favorite of Lisa Kleypas, may be because this was her first attempt ? or was it the time travel ? I don’t know why I am not a great fan of time travel. I actually read this in a matter of 2 hrs.

Gifts of Love(**)
Surrender – a very short story about Laura and Jason and their love story. Simple one and a quick read.

After all these historical romances, I still don’t get the concept of the peerage and the hierarchy. Since they are no longer in existence (they aren’t are they ?) I don’t have to bother much.
Contemporary Romance:

Series:

Travises(***1/2)

With respect to the contemporary romance novels of Lisa Kleypas, I had actually started with the Friday Harbor series. But I ended up liking the Travises much more than the Friday Harbor. Sugar Daddy (Travises, #1) starts with a very young girl in Texas and it takes some time to get to the rhythm. Especially when she loses her mother and has to take care of her sister. This is a slow and steady one. Nothing on the fly and in the second. There were times when you feel ,”well may be this really wasn’t necessary to explain..” but its just a few seconds and then you are into the story. Hardy Cates – selfish , crude and yet attractive in a deadly way and Gage Travis – rough on the outside , stable and attractive in a safe way – both drawn towards Liberty in different conditions. How she ends up with the right guy (Gage :D). When I completed this novel, I wondered what would happen to Hardy.. I wanted him to calm down and change a bit in life.. Then the next novel came up in the series. Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2) – this is about how Hardy falls badly for Gage’s sister, Haven, who has her own share of domestic abuse and failed marriage. This one made a little upset especially where she goes through a lot to salvage her marriage and yet it wasn’t enough. But both of them had their own set of pain to share and overcome and they do just fine at the end. Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3) is the least favorite of mine in this series, even though Ella ends up with some very good lines and is really a very practical person of sorts. And how Jack, a womanizer of sorts, gradually falls for this woman. But since the other two made it to my favorites list, this got pushed down. Overall, in the contemporary romance area, this series is very good.

Friday Harbor(**1/2)

This series is about 3 brothers and has some fantasy added to it. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor, #1) starts something like Sleepless in Seattle (not exactly in that story line..but something very similar) where is kid is orphaned and is now the oldest uncle’s (among the three of them) responsibility. How the family of uncles and the girl get to know each other and how the first one Mark finds his soul mate in a toy shop and how they get together eventually. The 2nd book Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, #2) is about the 2nd uncle Sam, who find his soul mate through ‘magic’.  The third one, Alex, in the book Dream Lake (Friday Harbor, #3) , the most troubled one, because he is the one who was married and had to go through a bad divorce, finds his partner encountering  some near death experiences in the process. Not as captivating as the Travises, but good in its own terms.

Well those are the list of books (anthologies, novels and series) that I completed. I hope I did not miss out anything. There is still the Crystal Cover of Friday Harbor series, but it is yet to come out.

Some observations (I am not sure if I’m altogether right in these..)

a) Almost in every book, the men always tower the ladies (except for Lillian who almost matches her husband..but then he is of average height)

b) Most of the heroines are less than average height as per the books. What is the average height of a woman ? I thought it was 5 ft and 6 inch ? Non ?

c) Most of the heroines (I think 90%) are very strong characters. They know what they want and they know how to get it too 🙂 . It’s a good thing. One of the reasons that I kept reading all these books.

d) At least half of them are love / passion at first sight. It’s like a lightning attack.. I  so not believe in that.

e) All most of the men are wealthy. Either they become wealthy before they see the girl or they are wealthy by peerage.

Its been two months (with breaks and other novels in between before I got hold all these books) and I am happy that I got to read these. If you like love stories with some humor and lot of romance  along with some Victorian settings for a change, well Lisa Kleypas is one author who delivers it well (at least she did it for me)

Updating it today after reading the Crystal Cove

Crystal Cove:  Short, cliched, but sort of sweet story about Justine Hoffman, a witch who falls in love with Jason Black (who is introduced in the Zoe’s story), a gaming designer who has no soul. More than the story I liked the small small things that it introduced, like the Buddhism related spiritual stuff. Wizardry is not new to me and I like witches (Hermione!!!) and using that to show love, even though cliched, it will always be liked by me. Since all of the Friday Harbor series relies on some level of paranormalcy I guess this is ok.

Hope this is the end of this series. Wouldn’t want to keep adding to it, would I ?

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