3 star review, DNF

August TBR Challenge 2016 Double Header – Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lyndsey & Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

TBR Challenge 2016

Topic: Kicking It Old School (publication date 10 years or older)

Defy Not the Heart

Reina seethes with rage over her fate: taken captive by the knight Ranulf — a golden giant of a man — who has pledged to deliver her to the nuptial bed of the despised Lord Rothwell. She will never accept such bondage — and Reina offers herself to her kidnapped instead, offering to make Ranulf a great lord…if he agrees to wed her.But the brave knight desires much more than a marriage of convenience from this proud, headstrong lady who treats him with scorn yet makes his blood run hotter than liquid fire. She must come to him of her own free will — or Ranulf will take her. For the passion that consumes them both cannot long be denied — even though gravest peril surely awaits them on the heart’s trail to a destines and turbulent love.

This one has been on my TBR for some time, and it seems to be one of the few Johanna Lindsey books I can not remember having read during my teen Lindsey binging period. It has been published and then republished (multiple times) since 1989-so it fits comfortably in the TBR Challenge parameters. And just this past fall it was brought to my attention again, and once again slipped off my radar-I even had it checked out from the library and forgot to read it. I was going to do a different book for this challenge, but I figured NOW is the time.

This should have been my jam. Heroine starts out in armor defending her home. Hero has a cat. I hear good things. But alas, by the 5th chapter I was STILL trying to force myself to read it. Even reading the last chapter didn’t entice me to continue reading. I didn’t even get to any of the good parts when I had to quit. Something about the was the author used language just put me right off and had me crinkling my nose and curling my lips into a sneer.

I tried, really I did. I don’t remember if this is the way Lindsey has always written, or if this is unique to this particular book, but it really didn’t entice me to go back and reread anything. And pleasure reading really shouldn’t be this hard, so I finally gave up.

Defy Not the Heart (Shefford's Knights, #1)
But, since I got an early start on this one and had the time, i went ahead and tried for a second one.
Cold Comfort Farm

This was another recommended read, it is the oldest book on my TBR (published in 1932), it was immediately availalble from the library, and I was hoping a change was as good as a rest.

When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex.

At the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation; their sons, lustful Seth and despairing Reuben; child of nature Elfine; and crazed old Aunt Ada Doom, who has kept to her bedroom for the last twenty years.

But Flora loves nothing better than to organize other people. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious and merciless parody of rural melodramas, Cold Comfort Farm (1932) is one of the best-loved comic novels of all time.

I don’t know exactly what I just read, but it was unexpectedly delightful. Somehow much of it puts me in mind of my childhood memories of the Anne of Avonlea series…though I read those so long ago anyone with current experience could likely rightfully dispute me. The rest of the book is filled with onomatopoeia and ridiculousness. Half the words aren’t really words, and the rest of the words don’t often make sense when put together….if you stop and think about it. So whatever you do, don’t think about a bit of it and let the imagery the paint pictures in your mind.

So what that the cows might lose legs, and hooves, and their horns? Just enjoy how Flora cheerfully goes about managing everything in her midst until everything is just so. She plots and maneuvers with the best of intentions until everything falls perfectly into place, and then is left lonely and bereft. So what is a managing female to do but fall instantly in love with the man who won’t tolerate her managing, and him with her?

I suspect that there is much I am missing in this. But it seems the type of thing one can either read surface or deep, and enjoyment is possible at either level. I am not in raptures over it as some seem to be, but it was cute. And while I won’t likely be re-reading it, I do think I will recommend it to others. It is definitely unique if nothing else.

Cold Comfort Farm

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DNF

Review – To The Moon And Back by Jocelyn Han

To the Moon and Back

After her father’s death, the last thing Ava Windsor wants is to leave Earth and move to an Elite colony on the moon for the next ten months. Nicolas Carter, a man she doesn’t even remember meeting, is to be her custodian until she reaches the age of twenty-one. Until then, she is not allowed to touch the money her dad has left her. Being the only child of a disowned Elite father and a common mother just got a lot more complicated.

But surviving among the Luna Six Elitists who treat commoners as servants should have been the least of Ava’s worries. Nicolas Carter is nothing like she expected. He condemns the Elite lifestyle, he is a lot younger than her father, and he is definitely way sexier.
Ten months on the moon seem like an eternity if you know you shouldn’t be falling for your guardian… but just can’t help yourself.

A sweet, steamy romance novella for lovers of New Adult with a hint of Futuristic.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I picked this up because New Adult is just insanely ubiquitous, and I figured I can’t keep avoiding it like the plague. It sounded interesting, and while the falling in love with you guardian trope is not my favorite, I do tend to tolerate it more when it is in a non-contemporary setting. I was also hoping that having the hero be a bit older might make it a good transition into NA for me, and since the heroine is almost 21, and age gap wasn’t likely to bother me.

Stop now if you’d rather not be spoiled……………………………………………..

I got two percent in and found something that absolutely did bother me. Turns out the hero is her uncle. An adopted one apparently, but I have too many adopted family members to not get squicked out. Heck, I’m not even a fan of the step brother trope. Adding this to the guardian trope was just not something I could tolerate. So I took a look at other reviews to see if there was anything that would ameliorate this for me, and it turns out that this is a reprint or amended version or something to a work originally titled Fly Me To the Moon, which was published December 2013. Going by the reviews, in the original story he may have been her half uncle, but adopted is still kin as far as I am concerned. I went ahead and skimmed, but it looks like the hero/uncle is dating someone else for a good chunk of the time too.

So this really wasn’t the right book for me at all. I hate to DNF, but I really couldn’t read this one. From what I did read, it seemed well written and there weren’t any obvious editing flaws. This is probably a case of it being me rather than the book, but it is a detail I wish had been included in the blurb.

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