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Lindareads



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Pennsylvania, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sanalaya, I really like what you said. You were able to expand on your feelings about Blue-Eyed Devil very well. And your feelings were exactly like mine.

I wanted to give the heroine a backbone transplant, B-12 shots or iron pills. She needed to toughen up. I have no patience with characters who don't take care of their problems themselves. Liberty, in Sugar Daddy was 180 degrees from that. She did what she had to do to survive, and I respected her for that. That fact was what probably made the storyline in Blue-Eyed Devil so hard to read. Let's hope for a better story and heroine in LK's next contemporary.

Linda
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1551

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lindareads wrote:

I wanted to give the heroine a backbone transplant, B-12 shots or iron pills. She needed to toughen up.


Isn't that what the book was about? Her learning what she needed to do to not be a victim anymore? Some people are more vulnerable than others. She left, she sought help, she endeavored to take care of herself. I think that's all admirable.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

willaful wrote:
Isn't that what the book was about? Her learning what she needed to do to not be a victim anymore? Some people are more vulnerable than others. She left, she sought help, she endeavored to take care of herself. I think that's all admirable.

Willaful, I think you're absolutely right. I understand many people were unhappy with Haven's character, but I felt Kleypas handled it realistically. Not every person is strong to begin with; certainly many women who have been abused will need time to grow and become stronger and more confident. The book worked for me because I felt that it reflected this process. If anything, it seems to me that in real life, many women in an abusive relationship are unfortunately unable and often afraid to get out and rebuild their lives. As for Haven being different than the heroine of Sugar Daddy, well, do we want Kleypas to write the same character in every book?
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Cyl



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 130
Location: Mississippi

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed both Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil. I had hesitated over buying SD when it was first released but bought it after browsing through it. I didn't hesitate to purchase BED when it was released. I think this style of story-telling works very well for LK in the contemporary setting.

I hope what I am about to write makes sense: Something that struck me after reading BED was how well LK developed the individual voices of Haven and Liberty. IMO, there was no recycling of characters going on here. Some authors who I love, seem to sound the same (to some degree) in every book. The characters we met through Liberty's eyes are COMPLETELY different when seen through the eyes of Haven. Both Liberty's and Haven's relationships and perceptions color the way the characters are presented on the page. For example, Churchill is kind of the rough but sweet, fatherly type to Liberty and Carrington, but his relationship with his own daughter leaves a lot to be desired.

Don't we all have something similar in our own relationships? The family member/acquaintance/co-worker others love and cannot understand why anyone else would have a problem with them? I am NOT saying Churchill does not love his daughter, but the way he interacts with her is hurtful to her and no one else can see it, but us because LK is letting us into Haven's world as seen only by her. The Haven I met in BED was nothing like I expected after meeting her through Liberty's eyes in SD because that was the world as seen only by Liberty.

I also liked seeing Gabe through Haven's eyes. I felt like I knew more about him because of how Haven saw him. It was easier to see why Liberty actually fell in love with him in SD after seeing a more personal view through the eyes of his little sister.

I can understand why not everyone enjoyed these books as much as I did (if at all), but I hope Ms Kleypas plans to continue with both her historicals and contemporaries.
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Kristie(J)



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1122
Location: Southwestern Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've posted this in other places too - but I absolutely adored both Sugar Daddy and Blue Eyed Devil. I too was a bit hesitant to try them having loved her historicals so much. In fact, I did start Sugar Daddy and then put it down for a while before trying it again. But when I picked it up the second time, I couldn't put it down and stayed up very late reading it.
The same thing with Blue Eyed Devil.
I can't say which one I liked better - they were both excellent IMO. The two heroines were totally different. Liberty was much more sure of who she was and was stronger through out the book. But Haven on the other hand, started out - not what I think of as a doormat - but more as a people pleaser. She never really got confirmation as a child that she was good enough as who she was so she went the extra mile and tried extra hard to please people. The scenes of her marriage were heartbreaking and I believe, very real for so many women. I completely bought into her character. And then later, we see her grow in strength as a person. I really was impressed with that.
I agree with what Cyl has to say about these two books.
I know many readers are fans of her historicals and may not be too happy that she is venturing into contemporaries - but don't let that keep you from reading these ones - they really are good.
I think with Lisa Kleypas we who liked genres other than historicals are getting the best of both worlds - great historicals and great contemporaries.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have greatly enjoyed almost all of Kleypas' historicals, and I LOVED Sugar Daddy. Liberty was a wonderful character. But it isn't a formula book, and neither is Blue Eyed Devil, which deals with the problem of spousal abuse in a far more realistic way than romance novels generally do. Actually, both books are far more "realistic" than romance generally is, though both have happy endings, and I gather that has been a problem for some readers and a bonus for others.
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nikkiphilton wrote:
LK is one of my favorite historical writers so I, too, was hesitant about reading her contemporary novels. But I really like both of them and found them to be fast reading and interesting. I wasn't bothered by the 1st person POV. The only complaint I might voice would be that I would have wanted the heroine in Blue-Eyed Devil to be a little stronger.



I'm reading Blue Eyed now, and I really like it. Actually, I have no problem with the book written in first person, and I think a really good writer can pull it off very well. I tend to read first person a lot though and feel very comfortable with it. A few chapters in...I forget I'm just getting one POV. Kleypas does a good job with it, however, I'm not far enough into the book to have an opinion of the story yet.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaneO wrote:
I have greatly enjoyed almost all of Kleypas' historicals, and I LOVED Sugar Daddy. Liberty was a wonderful character. But it isn't a formula book, and neither is Blue Eyed Devil, which deals with the problem of spousal abuse in a far more realistic way than romance novels generally do. Actually, both books are far more "realistic" than romance generally is, though both have happy endings, and I gather that has been a problem for some readers and a bonus for others.

I think it's a matter of expectations. By the time I read Sugar Daddy, it had been out for several months, and I knew from reviews that in many ways it was closer to being women's fiction than a contemporary. Blue Eyed Devil is obviously more romance, though I agree with you that the portrayal of spousal abuse is more realistic than I've come across in the genre. I've never been a huge fan of LK's historicals (as Randy Jackson would say, they're just ok for me Smile ), but I really enjoyed her contemporary "voice", and I hope she continues writing in both sub-genres.
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WandaSue



Joined: 29 Mar 2007
Posts: 277

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved "Sugar Daddy."

I was particularly impressed with Liberty, the heroine. A "Latina" -- as I am -- I was glad to see she was represented in a positive light -- hard working, industrious, smart as a whip, and backboned. Her looks, too, went against the the usual heroine grain: olive complected, dark curly hair (like me!), and represented positively. Thumbs up!

However ....

I did NOT like the fact that her father's peeps "changed their name" from Jimenez to "Jones."

What is wrong with "Liberty Jimenez?"

That didn't ring true to me. As a Latina, I'm proud of my maiden name (my married name is Italian, which is also fine). And I can't think of any hispanic families who anglicized their name.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen -- I'm just saying that it would've been nice to have a Latina heroine with the looks AND the name to go with it.
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sanalayla



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 284

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yulie wrote:
willaful wrote:
Isn't that what the book was about? Her learning what she needed to do to not be a victim anymore? Some people are more vulnerable than others. She left, she sought help, she endeavored to take care of herself. I think that's all admirable.

Willaful, I think you're absolutely right. I understand many people were unhappy with Haven's character, but I felt Kleypas handled it realistically. Not every person is strong to begin with; certainly many women who have been abused will need time to grow and become stronger and more confident. The book worked for me because I felt that it reflected this process. If anything, it seems to me that in real life, many women in an abusive relationship are unfortunately unable and often afraid to get out and rebuild their lives. As for Haven being different than the heroine of Sugar Daddy, well, do we want Kleypas to write the same character in every book?


Well, here's how I feel about this: I did not have an issue with the abuse storyline. I also didn't have a problem with how she dealt with Nick (her abusive husband). Yes, abuse happens to even strong women.

The problem was that she didn't evolve from that point onwards. That's where Kleypas dropped the ball, imo.

So, in the beginning, she marries Nick against her father's wishes & ends up in an abusive relationship. Then, she leaves him, and I expected her to - at that point - begin the healing process. To understand what made her take the abuse. To get to the point where she embraced her identity and grew as a character. But she never did. Who Haven was on Page One is exactly who Haven is on the last page. The difference is that she's in love with Hardy instead of Nick.

She hated being a rich girl. That's great. But why? Haven talks a lot about hating that she's got so much and wanting to help the "disenfranchised", but does she walk the walk? No. When the time comes to get a job, she takes a job that her brother offers her. She declines a management position, because she doesn't want to be the subject of "favoritism" but has no problem - at the same time - in accepting a luxury apartment that no other assistant would get. She also has her best friend (a designer) do her apartment and chances are quite high that she couldn't afford it on an assistant's salary, right? But she never pauses to ponder this.

Then, we're given example after example of how her boss - Vanessa - treats her the same way as Nick and she takes the abuse. That's fine, I can understand that it was kind of a 'test' where she had to prove to herself (and others, including the reader) that she wasn't the same person she was when she was with Nick. But, imo, she failed the test. At the very end, her "showdown" with Vanessa ended with Vanessa unjustly firing Haven and Haven saying, "OK, fire me, it's fine". The ONLY reason that Vanessa got her just desserts was because Joe (Haven's brother) heard everything and he took care of it for Haven. Well, I hated that. Because, to me, her character would have shown more growth if she realized that (1) She's rich and she needs to accept it; (2) Instead of whining about being rich, she can start doing some good with it; (3) Started taking ownership of her life and identity by waltzing into Vanessa's office and saying, "You know what? I'm done pretending to be a lowly assistant. Clearly, it's not working. You're fired because you're horrible." And that's that. But she didn't.

There is so much GOOD that Haven could do with her money and position in society & the thought NEVER occurs to her. In fact, she could have even worked towards establishing some sort of organization to help abused women. And, given Hardy's past, it would have been a natural plot point to have Haven/Hardy meet for this purpose, rather than show that Hardy is obsessed with Haven because they made out at Liberty's wedding and he hasn't forgotten her since then. Rolling Eyes

So, in short, I didn't have a problem with the fact that Haven was abused or that she was different than Liberty. I had a problem with the fact that she never grew as a character -- no growth and nothing to recommend her. I found her to be a spoiled princess, who had a hellish marriage. While I had sympathy for her character during her bad marriage, I couldn't muster up sympathy for all the other mistakes she made.

And Hardy? I thought that Kleypas makes the mistake of assuming we know about him from 'Sugar Daddy' so that should be enough. Honestly, if I had not read "Sugar Daddy", I wouldn't have thought Hardy was all that great, and I would have considered him just another generic male character.

Yeah, and I guess the argument could be made that it was more realistic this way. But it's a romance novel!! We're supposed to suspend our disbelief and watch the evolution of a character we can root for.... and I never get that with Haven. And if Kleypas was so worried about Haven picking up and healing so quickly, then she could have easily made some sort of statement like, "2 years later" or something to make the time go faster. That's easy enough in a novel.


Last edited by sanalayla on Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4224
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sanalayla wrote:
Who Haven was on Page One is exactly who Haven is on the last page. The difference is that she's in love with Hardy instead of Nick.

I think that was probably my problem with this second story of Kleypas'. Haven didn't really try to sort things out after she left her husband and before she moved on with Hardy. The Vanessa issue just reinforced that and it was becoming more unbelievable as it went on. I didn't really feel she had grown in her understanding of herself.

Actually, it was very difficult for me to believe that with her upbringing in such a wealthy world that she would take the abuse that she did in her marriage, especially financially. She had to know that the way she was living wasn't going to work. And even when she returned somewhat to her family, her behavior was raising red flags for me all over the place. It sounded so immature. Oh, well, having no direct experience with this kind of issue, I don't feel qualified to say much more except that which comes from my gut. She wasn't allowing herself enough time to adjust to the next relationship, which was Hardy, and who seemed like one ready to take over also.
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