Book Review

Lightning Reviews: Lisa Kleypas, Part 2: The Mostly Meh Years

You can find the first part of the Kleypas Lightning Reviews here.

Somewhere I’ll Find You: In one word: SNORE. C-

Because You’re Mine: In three words: SNORE SOME MORE. C-

Stranger In My Arms: Yes, yes, yes, this is very blatantly a rip-off of The Return of Martin Guerre with an HEA tacked on at the end. I still loved it, incredibly contrived ending and all. Does this make me some sort of pea-brained, intellectually bankrupt fan of bodice-rippers? (Wait, isn’t that a redundancy?) Yeah, whatever. Bite me. A-

Someone To Watch Over Me: Oh great. A book involving an amnesiac who’s apparently also a whore and the Bow Street Runner who’s all pissed-off because she refused to let him get in her pants. The second bit doesn’t bother me, but brain damage so severe that it causes somebody to completely forget all of their past, including their name, would very likely causes other problems too, like, ohhhh, incontinence and general drooling idiocy. But then I guess a heroine suffering from uncontrollable ass-pee who is capable only of gurgling incoherently when spoken to is not sexy, unless you have certain types of unspeakable fetishes. Regardless of the tiresome retrograde amnesia plot, it’s still very readable, so B-.

Where Dreams Begin: Derek Craven, a lower-class gutter rat who clawed his way to the top falls in love with a gently-reared… Oh wait. Wrong book. No, I assure you, Zach Bronson is a different hero entirely. Snort. And it contains yet another re-tread of Kleypas’s patented “Put either the hero or heroine in some sort of health crisis so the partner’s love is crystallized in a way it never has been before.” Oh, also features a Kleypas “Sexy and Significant Dream Sequence.” No, no, I swear any resemblance to Dreaming of You is purely incidental.  *snicker* Regardless: Loved, loved, loved the book, even though it features that most improbable of romance novel creatures, the Orgasmless Widow. My heartstrings were tugged at mercilessly, and damn her eyes, it worked. It worked. A-

Suddenly You: OK, I really, really dig how the heroine is a plain Jane and the hero still can’t keep his hands off her. But the conflict was contrived and the book lacked complexity and vitality. B-

Lady Sophia’s Lover: Book Two in the Bow Street Runner trilogy that started with Someone to Watch Over Me and really, what a terribly ho-hum book. The hero is too good to be true, the excuse for a conflict is pretty damn stupid, and the one plot twist could be spotted a mile away. This book’s still on my keeper shelf, though, and I don’t know why. Must be the hot, hot sexx0r. Gotta have my prurient sexual titillation on hand. (Hee hee, “on hand,” geddit?) C+

When Strangers Marry: A truly pointless re-working of Only In Your Arms. So pointless, this is the only Kleypas book I haven’t bothered finishing. D

Worth Any Price: Hero beats off to picture of heroine, there’s a flimsy excuse of a suspense plot, and everybody in the book sweats constantly and profusely. No, seriously: everybody seems to remain in a perpetual state of moistness in this book. There, I believe I covered everything of note. No, wait, one more thing: the hero’s excuse for why he has problems with physical intimacy? Incredibly stupid. So stupid, I actually said out loud “THAT’S IT? Get over it, ya goddamn pussy.” The third installment of the Bow Street Runner trilogy. C-

Again the Magic: I’ll repeat for the heroine of this book what I said about the hero in Worth Any Price: GET OVER IT, YA GODDAMN PUSSY. I really dug the prologue, though—pity the hero transformed from a genuinely sweet beta type into another cookie-cutter growling asshole alpha, indistinguishable from the ocean of growling asshole alphas that chokes romance novel-dom. The secondary romance involving the heroine’s younger sister single-handedly saves this book, despite its very, very modern take on alcholism. B-

Secrets of a Summer Night: I really, really liked this book, and I really, really liked the heroine. I don’t get why people were all, like, “OH MY GOD the heroine is such a bitchy snob!” How ‘bout this for an idea: people back then were incredibly, bitchily snobby about meaningless shit like social position. People today are incredibly, bitchily snobby about meaningless shit like social position. The heroine grew out of it and learned to love the hero despite her assheaded prejudices, which is pretty damn awesome. Also: I appreciated how the heroine likes pretty, shiny things. I am heartily sick of the swarms of saintly heroines whose complete lack of materialism is somehow an indication of superior moral fiber. Feh. B+ (verging on A-)

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Meljean says:

    It took me ten minutes to get past the “ass-pee”—I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get past it, and then couldn’t resist reading it again each time I sobered up. 

    *wipes away tears*

    Anyway, I haven’t read all of these, but I agree with your grades for the the ones I have—she’s been all A/B range for me.

  2. 2
    Rosario says:

    I’m reading Secrets of a Summer Night right now and it’s great. I adore Annabelle.

  3. 3
    Kristin says:

    Based on your lightning reviews, I have been reading Lisa Kleypas ‘til my eyes fall out.  I wholeheartedly agree with your grade for “Where Dreams Begin.”

    Personally, I am not sure why Ms. Kleypas felt the need to continue the book after the wedding scene.  I remember thinking “what else needs to be wrapped up here??” 

    I thought Zach had shown how much he loved Holly already…did we really need some sappy illness thing to make it even MORE apparent?

    But, this was my favorite so far of Ms. Kleypas’s books.  Thanks for pointing me in her direction…

  4. 4
    Julie Blue says:

    What did I miss!?!?!?  Ass-pee for the chick that loses her memory?  The only ass I remember is in Suddenly You when there is a badly-timed finger in the ass….or maybe that was were Amanda loses her baby and he does the OB/GYN thing with her legs over the arms of a chair. 

    Yay!  I just remembered that many Kleypas books were reviewed and I can keep obssessing over the hot sex in Suddenly You!  Yay!  Well, it was hot up to the ride home from the Xmas party.  Everything else was the sound of the Charlie Brown teacher for me.

  5. 5
    Ann Aguirre says:

    I read three of the Wallflower books recently, well, 2.5. The last book is so boring that I can’t make myself care if I finish it. I mostly hate when authors produce a hero who has had feelings for the heroine for years. They cheat us out of seeing the relationship develop; we’re just told this is how the hero feels. Uhm. Okay then. I think Liz Carlyle is the only is the only author who ever made that work for me, and it was because she showed me their history via dialogue and character memories.

    But I was wondering, did Lillian seem just like Lily to anyone else? I forget the title, lemme google this. Then Came You! That’s it. To me, It Happened One Autumn felt just like a rehash of Then Came You.

    Also Devil in Winter reminded me unpleasantly of Dreaming of You, except I loved the latter. Devil in Winter was better than the second Wallflower book, but it still felt like she was blatantly ripping herself off. I also didn’t buy how suddenly St. Vincent fell for Evie. It didn’t ring true. I hadn’t been given any reason why he would love her. Because she had red hair, freckles and round blue eyes? Because she was nice to her dad or she’d been beaten? C’mon. I hate to see an author ripping herself off.

  6. 6
    Kristin says:

    Ana, I’m with you on the last book in the series. I pre-ordered it because I was really excited by the thought of a romance with Cam Rohan (or however you spell his name) who worked in Evie’s club. I thought, “Cool!  Forbidden romance with a gypsy boy. This could be interesting.” And then when I saw the updated Amazon listing of the book and found out LK dumped poor Cam and jammed in some dull-as-dishwater smartypants, I was SO disappointed. I mean, the guy gains a few pounds and suddenly he’s attractive? The only issue he really has is that he took on a fake identity?  I mean, where is his angst?  A gypsy boy with something to prove, would have been much more interesting.

    And I HATE built in romance, too. I like it so much better when EACH of them has to discover love on their own. It was the worst ending to the little series that I could imagine.


  7. 7
    Ann Aguirre says:

    It was the worst ending to the little series that I could imagine.


    Amen to this. I liked the first and third books well enough, although the third one did remind me of Dreaming of You quite a lot. But I had high hopes for Daisy and Cam, I couldn’t figure out why she bothered including that kiss in Devil in Winter if she intended to jettison the idea. I call that bait and switch.

    They were also well-matched in age, I thought. I like this, actually. I am pretty tired of the May-December thing unless it’s flipped and the woman is older. I kinda like that. In fact, I think I will make that my blog of the day. The definitive older woman – younger man TBR list.

  8. 8
    Kass says:

    Hm. I must be a real freak. I loved the last Wallflower book (the only one I’ve read). But then again, I’m a sucker for long-time love stories.

    I was commenting to mention Kleypas’ novella “Surrender,” which I really enjoyed but didn’t see a review of here. Class issues with the Irish in Boston. Very nice.

  9. 9
    venus luna says:

    I really do love reading anything that Lisa Kleypas writes! at first i only read her contemporary but then i read some of her historical and i thought they where so good to. I totally agree with review for again the magic like c’mon get real the guy loved you since for ever and you really think that some scars on your legs are gunna stop him. oh please get over it but other wise i enjoyed the book. I also like annabelle too in secrets of a summer night i like the fact that shes after it all she wants money unlike every other goddam character in every freaking romance novel. I like the other wall flower series to i have read scandal in the spring yett but i cant wait to read it.

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