Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TBR Day: After The Kiss by Suzanne Enoch

Ugh, I have a confession... I've been extremely lazy lately ^_^; Yes, I know, it's not a big surprise... still, I'm hoping that by confessing, it'll change. (Not that it helped with admitting I was addicted to Bejeweled... seriously, it sucks all my time away!! Like a black hole!) So yep, I'm lazy... I'm just not getting things done. It's not as if I don't know what I have to do... I knew TBR Day was coming up, but I didn't get ready for it - lucky, I did read some oldies this month... Of course, none of them fit this month theme, but when do my reads ever?

My dad is turning 60 y.o. this Friday!! Wooohooo... Only problem - need to go buy a gift!! Any suggestion? It's usually so hard, but this year, it's even harder now that he stays home ^_^; Then, my aunt and cousin are organizing my uncle 50th birthday surprise party - another milestone, another gift!! I keep telling myself I have time, I have time... well now, I'm running out of time!! I know, I'm a bad girl, sigh.

Then, I have a couple of buddy reviews waiting to be put together for Breezing Through! Ugh, I love discussing books, but when it comes to put the reviews together ^_^; So sorry Ames, Jill and Cindy!! I will get to them!! Eventually... at least one this week! Hopefully ^_^;

So let's get TBR Day out of the way first :D Let's get un-lazy!!

After The Kiss by Suzanne Enoch
published by Avon in July 2008
A Notorious Gentleman...

Sullivan Waring wants only two things: his rightful inheritance, and revenge against the man who stole it from him. By day, Sullivan is the most respected horse breeder in England; by night, he plunders the ton's most opulent homes to reclaim his late mother's beautiful paintings. His quest is going swimmingly... until the night he's discovered by Lady Isabel Chalsey. Clad only in a revealing nightdress, she's an entrancingly different kind of plunder, and how can a thief resist stealing a kiss?

A Curious Lady...

Surprised by a masked man in her own home, Isabel should be quaking with fear. Instead the sight of the sinfully handsome Sullivan makes her tremble with excitement. Who is this man, and why is he so set on this reckless pursuit? Lady Isabel loves a challenge, and she'll dare anything to uncover Sullivan's secret-but she may instead convince him that she is the greatest prize of all.

Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Notorious Gentlemen, Book #1

The Story: Sullivan James Waring was fighting against the French in Spain when he got wound in the shoulder. When it happened a second time, his good friend, Lord Bramwell Johns, decided it was time to go home. However, a very bad surprise awaited Sullivan at home: all the paintings from his mother - his rightful inheritance - has been taken away... by none other than Sullivan's father, Lord Dunston - the man who won't acknowledge Sullivan as his son.

Determined to get back his legacy, Sullivan has been robbing the homes to whom Lord Dunston has given the paintings. Dubbed as the Mayfair Marauder, Sullivan takes great pleasure at secretly shaming his father... that is, until he gets caught by Lady Isabel Chalsey. To escape with as little fuss as possible, Sullivan distracts her with a kiss... but she is not the only one distracted and as a result, Sully loses his mask, exposing his face. It wouldn't be too bad if he never saw her again... but of course, Sullivan and Lady Isabel cross path when she accompanies her brother to buy a hourse from Sullivan... She then blackmails him into working for her...

All Isabel wants is to keep an eye on the Mayfair Marauder till she decides what to do. Hand him over to Bow Street? The only problem is that Isabel is curious and wants to solve the mystery... Clearly, Sullivan Waring has a great reputation as being the best horse breeder, he doesn't lack funds... So why is her burglarizing Mayfair homes? Then, there is the kiss...

... and things only get more complicated when she realizes that the man courting her this Season is none other than Sullivan's half-brother - the rightful heir.

My Opinion: Two reasons why I picked up this book... well actually, three. The first is that Rowena enjoyed it and I didn't know what to read... So when I found it at the UBS, I picked it up. Then, for the Re-Read Challenge, Lori reviewed Ms Enoch's England's Perfect Hero and it sounds really good. Now, I've read Ms Enoch before and thought her books were okay to good. So I wanted to read After The Kiss before ordering England's Perfect Hero...

What really caught my attention was the opening scene where we see Sullivan along with his two friends, Phinneas and Bramwell (heroes of book #2 and #3 in the serise) fight the French. That scene was great! It was exciting and everything I expected from a battle. It showed the great friendship between the three men and I simply loved it. Too bad there wasn't more of it ^_^;

I thought that Sullivan Waring was a great hero. I'm actually surprised that there wasn't much emphasis on his career as a soldier.... but I guess when you're the finest horse breeder in London... people tend to forget about his career as a soldier. Anyway, I really like Sullivan. He was quite an ambiguous character. First, people don't know how to treat him because he's in limbo. He's not a commoner, because his father is after all a marquis... but at the same time, he's not nobility, because he hasn't been acknowledged. I don't think that is a fun position to hold, but he deals with it. At the same time, he's the best horse breeder and men would kill for the opportuniy of buying a mount from him... but then, he has a choice... He can decide not to do business with you. He's smart, determined, courageous and loyal... he can hold a grudge and he's also very stubborn. A very interesting man in my opinion ;)

Unfortunately, I didn't like the heroine as much. In my opinion, Lady Isabel is spoiled... Many times, I disliked the way she spoke to Sullivan, especially in the beginning where she keeps reminding him their positions, as in she's nobility and he's nothing, the fact that he works for her and she's the one who gives the order. I know it's a fact, but to keep harping the point was unpleasant... it just rubbed me the wrong way. I thought she could have been nicer... Of course, she's young and she's led a pretty sheltered life... However, she does redeem herself at the end. I liked the fact that she realized she didn't know much about real life... When she discovers that Sullivan is Lord Dunston's by-blow. That the life she knows, the things she knows from others are mostly a facade and superficial. I also admire her at the end, because of her loyalty. Helping Sullivan by sending for his best friend, hiding evidences... and willing to follow him wherever, not caring about circumstances and other people's view. It's a little bit naive, but at the same time... She's very passionnate and loyal and those are good quality. I also enjoyed her interactions with her family very much. Actually, her family was very well developed... I liked seeing the different relationships, the camaraderie and sibling affection between Isabel and her two brothers. How her father likes to indulge her... How her parents worried about the growing affection between Isabel and Sullivan. They were a real loving and caring family... It was well-done, not the stereotypicial families that most see in historicals (either too loving or too uncaring). I especially liked the scene where they realized that some bad gossips about Isabel were being spread during a soiree. My only question is, how come her older brother is the earl and not her father? Can the father pass down the title before his death?

The plot was quite interesting as well. Loved the scenes between Bramwell and Sullivan and I'm most definitively curious about Bramwell's character. I thought the first half of the book was stronger, especially with Sullivan and Isabel's banter. I kind of lost interest in the couple though once they became lovers. However, the Mayfair Marauder's storyline got really interesting at the end, so it saved the second half. I liked how that storyline ended, it was clever and interesting. I would rather Lord Dunston didn't acknowledge Sullivan at the end though, because seriously, I didn't believe it at all. After all that happened? He decides that he's proud of Sullivan? yeah, I think not. I felt like Ms Enoch wanted to wrap things a bit too nicely.

My Grade: B. Overall, I enjoyed After the Kiss. It was a good read with a solid storyline. If the heroine would have been more likable, the grade would have been higher... As it is, I'm definitively going to try to get my hand on England's Perfect Hero...


  1. But laziness is all part of your charm. LOL jk You know we love ya just the way you are. :)

    Ugh - my addicting game is Mahjong. I can play it for hours. ;)

    Happy bday to your dad and uncle. Hmmm... since I don't know either it's kind of hard to suggest a gift but maybe for your dad you could do something with him. Just the two of you. Maybe something out of his comfort zone...

    I read After the Kiss a while back and liked it more than you. :) I don't remember Isabel bugging me but I do remember liking Sullivan and his friends - need to read their books.

  2. Hey Nath,

    I haven't ever read anything by Suzanne Enoch. I don't know why that is because I have heard of her. Great review! This book is the first of the series? Hmmm... I think I will add it to my list. I want to read one by Enoch. I will be looking out for your review on England's Perfect Hero too!

  3. Leslie - LOL, true friends are great!! :D I go through phases... sometimes, I'll even play minesweeper for hours!! You play solitary Mahjong (as in match the tiles) or real mahjong?

    That's a good idea, Leslie... Do something with him... It's been a while I haven't (I don't count chores LOL :P)

    I'm glad you liked After the Kiss. Did you read Phin and Bram's books? I started Phin and I was meh... don't think I will read it, although I was really curious about him...

    Jill - Her contemps are okay. The Samantha Jellicoe series is about Samantha who is retiring from a career of cat burglar and has now become a security consultant. Her historicals... where I have a few, but After the Kiss is the first one I've really read...

    As for England's Perfect Hero, well it might take a while LOL :P There's only 1 copy left on the island of Montreal and it's across the island... think I will order it instead.

  4. I think this is probably my favorite from the series. I loved sully. Isabel also got on my nerves but she did grow up some.

  5. This is a good series all the way around.

    Jill, I liked the first contemp ok, but the rest of them got on my hot damn nerves, LOL.

    If you want to read one of her historicals, I recommend either this series or the Lessons in Love trilogy (if you send me your address, I can let you borrow it).

  6. Thanks for the review, Nath! It reminds me that I have Enoch's The Rake in my tbr. Sullivan sounds like an interesting hero, but I think I'll try the LiL series first. :-)

  7. Isabel - I'm glad that I'm not the only one :) yes, Isabel did get better as their relation progressed... but still :P

    So far, from the glimpse I got from book 2 and 3, this is going to be my favorite as well.

    Lori - Good to know :)

    Renee - He was an interesting character :D Let me know what you think of LiL!! :)

  8. Lori - I have her contemporary series in my TBR list, but haven't gotten to it yet. I have heard mixed responses in regards to it. I will probably get After the Kiss from my library. I am not sure when I will get to it though :)

  9. I've got this in my tbr pile but I think I'll hold off on reading it for now - the book I just finished had an annoying heroine and I don't want to be too harsh on the heroine in this book. LOL

  10. Hi Nath, good review! But I don't think I'll read this one. :) Thieves and young misses who think to keep an eye on them are not my favorite plot elements. Besides, I read one novel by Enoch (historical) way back and wasn't really all that impressed. It was an okay read but not outstanding.

  11. Jill - Regarding her contemp series, a lot of people compared the idea/concept to the In Death... Only, this time, the heroine is the burglar and the hero, the righteous person. Of course, it's not as good... but it had potential.

    Ames - Good idea :D

    Taja - Thanks Taja :D

    I was kind of surprised at how young Isabel was, 19 y.o. It seems to me lately, heroines in historicals are older. Ah well.

    LOL, my favorite part of this book was really the opening with the battle scene ^_^;

    What book by her did you read previously? This is my first historical by her...

  12. Nath, it was "A Matter of Scandal." I've thought about why it didn't really work for me. I guess it could be that it was just one too many with that kind of plot line. :)

  13. Taja - LOL, I actually think it sounds interesting :)