There are a couple of authors that are auto-buys for me – Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, JR Ward (only The Black Dagger Brotherhood series), J.D. Robb, Loretta Chase, and Tessa Dare. It doesn’t matter what’s being published, I buy it (if I haven’t pre-ordered it!) and read it almost immediately. For some reason, however; the latest Tessa Dare books haven’t made it onto my list of “read in 2013” books. They’ve been languishing on TBR list, waiting to be bought and devoured.
I don’t know why that is.
Okay, that’s a lie. I do know why I haven’t read her last novel and two novellas; it’s because I am only mildly invested in the Spindle Cove series. Don’t get me wrong – I love Tessa Dare. She wouldn’t be on my auto buy list if I didn’t love her humor and her skill with sexual tension, but for some reason this latest series just hasn’t been my favorite. I really can’t put my finger on why that is, but I have a feeling it has something to do with my over-hyping the books in my head. I do that a lot and then I’m disappointed. So I knew that the only way I was going to get at least one of the 6 books on my list (3 from the current series and her first trilogy) read, was if I made it one of my TBR challenge books. So, this month I read A Lady by Midnight.
First, the blurb:
A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .
After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she’d look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancé. He claims to have only Kate’s safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?
Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate’s happiness. He wants what’s best for her, and he knows it’s not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It’s the toughest battle of this hardened warrior’s life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose.
Second, did I like it? Yes I did. I thought it was funny, excellently written with numerous and memorable secondary characters and plotlines, and very sexy. All the makings of a good romance novel. Did it change my mind about the Spindle Cove series? Not really. Will I read the other books in the series? Eventually, I think.
I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words with this book. I read it pretty quickly and I didn’t have the urge to skip ahead to a better part, two things that usually indicate at least an A- grade. But when I graded this I gave it a B. Why? I think it was a combination of things. For one, while I liked Thorne and Kate as the hero/heroine, I found Thorne to be frustrating numerous times and Kate slightly childish. I really enjoyed the menagerie (really that’s an excellent term for them) of secondary characters and the plot twists they brought, I found those twists to be rather predictable and the ending to be slightly unsatisfactory.
I think it really was the ending the downgraded the book for me. I’m not sure I could have solved the problem any better, but I did find it unsatisfactory and too easy. I think I would have liked something more dramatic instead of all the loose ends wrapped up in a nice little bow. I won’t spoil it for you because that would spoil the entire book, so I’m sorry if that’s a little vague.
Overall, I did like the book and I found many parts of it to be excellent examples of why I love Tessa Dare so much. But in the end, some of the personality quirks of the characters and the way things wrapped up just didn’t quite do it for me.
Final Grade: B
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