Anna (_ocelott_) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 1 and 2

All links lead to the full review, so feel free to click through if you're interested in more than the short blurby version of my opinions.

A Bride Unveiled by Jillian Hunter
Series: Bridal Pleasures
Publisher: Signet, 2011
Genre: Romance
Sub-genre: Historical

The basic summary has shades of Wuthering Heights to it, but there's no brooding, no abuse, no tormenting of secondary characters simply because they can. Kit and Violet are both charming, primarily cheerful characters who make sensible decisions and who actually communicate with each other. Kit tells Violet up front and early on that he doesn't want to be her dirty little secret, he wants her to make a decision between himself and her fiancé and she takes this seriously. When she does make her decision, she's weighed the options and decided she can live with the consequences... and then everything just falls neatly into their laps without any real effort on their part. No real sacrifices have to be made, their lives just wrap up with a tidy little bow.

That being said, I did have a lot of fun reading the book, and found most of the secondary characters as delightful as the protagonists. Most of them aren't particularly complex, but they're lovely to spend a few light hours with.

Shattered Dreams by Ellie James
Series: Midnight Dragonfly
Publisher: St Martin's, 2011
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: Contemporary, YA

I have mixed reactions to this book. Parts of it were honestly suspenseful and compulsively readable. Other parts were trying too hard to be mysterious and just wound up confusing. There were a number of passages I went back and re-read, trying to figure out what was going on. Keeping vision apart from reality was somethings a bit of a job, but it was more some of the stylistic and narrative choices, trying to keep readers in the dark as much as possible. Writing a mystery is a fine art, and more than once James veered to the side of not giving enough information for a comprehensive narrative in order to avoid letting readers figure out the ending before the protagonist does.

Ultimately Shattered Dreams is full of interesting ideas but fails to live up to its own promise. If we spent less time with the alleged love interest and more time actively working on they mystery I might have enjoyed this more, but the constant attempts to keep the reader in the dark were more frustrating than effective.
Tags: fantasy, romance, young adult

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