Book Review

Lightning Reviews: Lisa Kleypas, Part 1: From Crap to HOLY CRAP THAT’S AWESOME!

Short, snarky vignettes on every published Lisa Kleypas novel to date. (Edit: Uhhh, actually, only goodly chunk of published Kleypas novels are covered in this entry, the rest are to be covered tomorrow.) Not sure how helpful this is for the reader, but savor it, y’all, this is one of the few instances of brevity from me that you’ll ever find. And of course, feel free to tell me how awesome and spot-on my opinions are or how completely full of shit I am in the comments.

Ready, set, GO!

Where Passion Leads: Kleypas’s debut novel, published in 1987, and, y’know, oy. OY. A rapist hero, a heroine so annoying I wanted to dip her in battery acid, Big Misunderstandings, and loads and loads of derring-do, a lot which did not seem necessary to the plot. Gah gah gah. D

Forever My Love: A secondary character from Where Passion Leads gets her own book, and she’s *lowers voice* French and masquerading as some impotent aristo’s sex toy, so it’s OK for the hero to treat her like shit. But it’s surprisingly entertaining. Some of it is inadvertent, like Mira rubbing herself like a horny kitten all over the hero’s very manly hairy chest. C+

Love Come To Me: Set in America, which is somewhat of a rarity with Kleypas. Completely unmemorable; all I can recall was that I wanted the heroine to get together with the hero’s best friend, who seemed like a really cool guy, vs. the hero, who was a jerkface. C

Give Me Tonight: Now we’re talkin’! Kleypas hits her stride with this one. Nice girl time-travels to the past to find herself in the body of an ancestor of hers who disappeared without a trace long before she was born. And this ancestor is a raging fucking bitch. Oh, and there’s this hunky ranch foreman who’s like, all, “I know you’re a raging fucking bitch, but you’re hot, and I want you despite my better judgement, so c’mere and let me seducerate you, rowr!” Rowr indeed. A

Only In Your Arms: This book is good only because it sets up Justin Vallerand for the next book. Oh, OK, it’s not bad, but it did run a bit long, and it’s a rather tiresome re-tread of the “cynical older man screwed over by dead slutty bitchwad of a wife meets pretty young ingénue who restores his faith in lurve” kind of a story. B-

Only With Your Love: Holy crap, I love this book. Evil twin seduces dead good twin’s widow and makes her fall in love with him. The weird thing is, Justin and Celia alone would annoy the piss out of me, but together, they’re dynamite. Deeee-licious, evil, sexy fun. A

Then Came You: OK, for that scene in which Lily ties up Alex in bed alone, this book deserves an A-. Oh, plus Alex’s abiding awe of Lily’s butler is, y’know, so CUTE.

Dreaming of You: Like all other Kleypas groupies, this is one of my favorites. Derek and Sarah are perfect for each other, and Derek completely broke the mold at the time—a big bruiser of a hero who’s from the gutter and doesn’t turn out to the illegitimate son of the Duke of Twitterpants? Quelle idée! A

Midnight Angel: A hero with a hook instead of a hand! A Russian heroine with psychic powers! A crazy, megalomaniacal villain who later gets his own book! Dude, definitely an A.

Prince of Dreams: OK, I liked this book, though I really, really didn’t expect the time-travel aspect of it, but I can’t help feeling that Nikolas cheated on his own wife… with herself. Weird, non? B

Coming tomorrow: Lisa Kleypas, the Crapper Years, during which she writes nothing but yawn-worthy books for a while.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    cw says:

    OOoooh, thanks for this. Now I’m going to go look up some of the older ones I’ve been leery of, with the rereleases and all.

  2. 2
    sybil says:

    Just read Then Came You – loved it and yes on tha cute of the butler love.

    Dreaming of You – is by far my fave.  Derek is obessive but I forgive him for it.  Why I don’t know. 

    I now need to get Only With Your Love.  And it is all your fault.

  3. 3
    Candy says:

    See, what’s so cute about Derek’s obsession with Sara in Dreaming of You is how HARD he fights giving in to his attraction because he’s convinced she’s too good for him, and also how he’s convinced he needs to protect her from himself. It could’ve verged into a mind-boggling amalgam of paternalism and self-pity, but Derek’s concern for Sara and his protectiveness are so real, that instead of being creeped out or annoyed I’m like “Awww! How sweet! Look at the big, scarred galoot struggle with True Love!”

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    Oh yes, when the hero is a scarred galoot struggling with true love, I am so hooked. That was one of my favorites, too. Gosh, I love men struggling with their emotional selves.

    And I know why, too – but it’s too sickening to share with everyone. Seriously, it’s more sugary than the bunnies.

  5. 5
    Candy says:

    Sarah: SHARE, BITCH! The bunnies have been banished to the aprilfools05 folder, where they cannot contaminate our hard-hitting *snort* commentary, so a little bit of sugar won’t hurt none….

  6. 6
    Samantha says:

    This comment comes very late, and perhaps you’ll never read it, but I just had to say – I don’t understand how you could possibly like Only with your love!

    It has rape-that’s-not-quite-rape AND a virgin widow! Argh!

  7. 7
    Candy says:

    Heh heh. Behold again the inconsistent ways I enforce my standards! But really, I can swallow the silliest cliche, even secret babies, as long as the author does it well and convinces me that there’s a good reason for the plot device.

    A few reasons why I love Only With Your Love even though it contains certain elements that would normally drive me nuts:

    - I read this when I was 16 or 17. I hadn’t been inundated with virgin widows yet; in fact, I think Celia was my first virgin widow. If I read it now, with much more jaded eyes, I probably would’ve rolled my eyes at that particular plot point, but Lisa Kleypas saves Celia from total cheesines because….

    - Philippe and she had been for only a brief amount of time before the attack on their ship, and given what we find out later about him, I find her virgin widow status a lot less hard to swallow. Now, if she’d been married for YEARS to Philippe and still remained a virgin widow, that would’ve engendered a lot more skepticism, and there’d better be a damn good reason why they haven’t bothered to boink.

    - Yeah, that first love scene is definitely a forced seduction, treading quite perilously close to the edge of rape. It does fit well with Justin’s character, though. That’s not to say I enjoyed reading it; it made me grit my teeth. But Justin more than made up for it later. (I also LOVE heroes who give heroines a bad time and then grovel for forgiveness after they realize what assholes they are.) And really, I think something about Justin would be changed if that scene were omitted; I think the scene serves as a good way to show what a brute he was, and how much Celia helps him transform and heal.

  8. 8
    Julie Blue says:

    I liked the Derek/Sarah story because of when he hires the whore that kinda looks like Sarah.  I found that to be very OTT (over the top) and in line with the darker side of humankind.  I think your review(s) are right on the money and you can pick stock for me anytime, Candy.

    Sure my comments are late now, but happy birthday anyway.

  9. 9
    Jodi says:

    O.k. this is a WAY late comment, but I think it was actually illegal to marry your brother’s widow at that time. I could be wrong, but I think I remember coming across that in my research. I’ll have to go back and confirm, but that kind of blows the plot unless they’re going to “live in sin” or something. Have to add, I’ve only read two Kleypas novels (the one with Alex and the one with Derek) and luurrved the character development in both.

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