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Ten Things I Love About You Mass Market Paperback – May 25, 2010
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Going into this read, I definitely had high expectations. That has often proven to not be a good thing for me when picking up a book but, alas, it was unavoidable. I've read five books in Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series and, though I have my favorites, I have enjoyed them all. Don't get me wrong - Ten Things I love About You is a cute romantic comedy of a Regency. There are some great moments and memorable characters (unfortunately they happen to be the more detestable ones and not the hero and heroine). I even thought the whole "I count in tens too" bit was cute. The romance between Annabel and Sebastian was sweet, if a bit too condensed for my tastes. Overall, I had a really great time reading this one. All of the following minor quibbles are just that - MINOR QUIBBLES.
Sebastian is a charming, rakish fellow. He has a good sense of humor and contributes to a lot of the story's more amusing moments. I especially like his good humor where a certain author, Sara Gorely, is concerned. **MINOR SPOILER** See, since his return from war, he has suffered from insomnia among other issues. The career that he has developed as a gothic romance novelist (Gorely) has helped him some, but he still struggles. **END SPOILER** He has cultivated a reputation as a carefree, but pleasant, rogue in order to hide his more deep-thinking writer-ish nature. Obviously the heroine sees right through this ruse where no one, not even his family, could. Aside from the random way that she jibes mentally with Sebastian (despite a 10+ year age gap), Annabel did not seem to have much of a personality. She is a character defined too much by others. Her feelings of obligation to her family and her longing for Sebastian are, pretty much, the only defining characteristics given to Annabel during the course of the story. I think that had Quinn's novel been a bit longer, this issue wouldn't exist. Of the five novels of her's that I've read prior to Ten Things there was no lack of character development in any of her heroes or heroines. If Ten Things had been longer, the problem could have been avoided. We don't get the opportunity to really know the characters as we should (especially Annabel) and their romance seemed to progress too quickly.
I also believe that Sebastian's residual issues with the war and its affects on his sleep were too easily glossed over in the end. Annabel supposedly helped him with this but, aside from recognizing the troubles behind the charm and asking a couple questions, I didn't see how she helped enough. In fact, after the declarations of love and resolution of the main conflict, Sebastian's issues seemed to disappear in their entirety.
Despite my quibbles with the story, it remains an enjoyable one. Julia Quinn has a knack for writing great feel-good romances. The story definitely had its funny moments and lines, especially whenever Lady Vickers was in the scene. Could it have been more? Sure, but any Julia Quinn book is a great read. Plus, I only wish the best books are longer.
Side note: This book contains characters from the previous Quinn novels, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and What Happens in London. I haven't read them yet and I didn't feel like it hurt my understanding any. That said, I might have enjoyed it more if I was returning to characters I loved in a previous read.
2. the nauseatingly overlong, obnoxious lists coupled with
3. the lack of a gripping plot and
4. characters that are 'nice', but not memorable would have served to forewarn me about
5. the failure of the author to measure up to her previous body of work, especially the early Bridgertons.
Then I would have realized that
7. the book would be a waste of time
8. and that I would forget it quickly, which explains why
9. this is such a difficult review to write as I
10.can't remember much about it!!
This was not just my favorite JQ book; this was easily among my favorite of the many, many, MANY (no, I don't have a life!) HRs I've read over the past few years. You know how occasionally you come across a book that seems almost custom written for your particular quirks and preferences? This was it. As someone who's semi-insomniac and who's forever compelled to list and rank pretty much everything I come across, I related to these characters scarily well...these were my kind of people ;) It's funny, because while I almost never *dislike* Quinn's heroes or heroines---something of a feat for me---I don't often connect quite as strongly to them as I do with some other authors' H and hs. They're often blandly likable but easily forgettable for me. In this book, though, I found myself absolutely adoring Annabel, our relatably flawed but very endearing heroine. Sebastian, while my clumsy attempts to describe him will make him sound like 'just another charming, amusing and underlyingly kind recently reformed "rogue"' catapulted towards the very top of my surprisingly selective Favorite Heroes Ever list. Seriously, he is THAT awesome. And it's not just that I happened to love them---it's that I totally bought THEIR compatibility, chemistry and soulmate-y connection to each other. That's more of a rarity for me than you might expect: many HR couples strike me as far more in lust than in love, or as having a sort of fiery but superficial passion and chemistry that's likely to fizzle out all too quickly, leaving them as one of those perpetually bickering, sniping, woefully ill-suited couples you dread having to go out to dinner with ;) But I truly, deeply loved Sebastian and Annabel and bought their love for each other.
Despite my fangirly adoration for this book, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it for those craving a lot of angst, a lot of sex scenes (there's only one main sex scene, which for me was a plus but for others will probably be a drawback!), a very brooding, dark and tortured hero and a lot of dark intensity in plot and tone.
If, however, you want humor, charm, razor sharp dialogue, mood-lifting joy that doesn't descend into eye-rolling sappiness and one of the most awesomely lovable (though endearingly imperfect!) heroes ever, I truly cannot recommend this one highly enough!
A/A- for objective quality; A+++++ for my subjective, off-the-charts enjoyment :)
Here are a few pertinent facts about Sebastian Grey: 1) he suffers horribly from insomnia, 2) he was a sniper during the late Napoleonic Wars, 3) he and his uncle loathe one another 4) he is his uncle's apparent heir, since the unexpected death of his cousin, 5) he is charming and beautiful, 6) he really likes women, and has been involved with many--the negative side of this never, ever enters our lovely story, 7) he is a man of honor, though this is not generally known, 8) he has a secret, 9) well, this one would be a spoiler, and 10) though he doesn't know it at first, he has met his soul mate.
This story is light, humorous, highly engaging, and very well done.