Wednesday, October 14

Review: Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

Nath is back from her trip to LA and what better way to celebrate than with a buddy review? LOL

Ever the bold adventuress, Lucy Waltham has decided to go hunting for a husband. But first she needs some target practice. So she turns to her brother's best friend, Jeremy Trescott, the Earl of Kendall, to hone her seductive wiles on him before setting her sights on another man. But her practice kisses spark a smoldering passion-one that could send all her plans up in smoke.

Jeremy has an influential title, a vast fortune, and a painful past full of long-buried secrets. He keeps a safe distance from his own emotions, but to distract Lucy from her reckless scheming, he must give his passions free rein. Their sensual battle of wills is as maddening as it is delicious, but the longer he succeeds in managing the headstrong temptress, the closer Jeremy comes to losing control. When scandal breaks, can he bring himself to abandon Lucy to her ruin? Or will he risk his heart and claim her for his own?

Genre: Historical Romance
Series: First in Tessa Dare's trilogy

Nath: So what did you think of Goddess of Hunt? I'll probably be in the minority, but I thought it was okay only... thing is Lucy annoyed me sooo much!! I don't know, there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way.

I was expecting to totally love it, because I thought it'd be my kind of story... but I was annoyed from the beginning. Ugh.

Ames: I enjoyed Goddess of the Hunt. I have to agree with you, Lucy annoyed me at the beginning. Like she was so stubborn and she kept embarrassing herself and I absolutely hate when characters do that. But she grew on me eventually the annoyance with her was only at the beginning.

Nath: Oh I hated it too, the embarrassing herself part ^_^; I also think that you shouldn't change yourself to please someone else.

Ames: But then - you know when Jeremy was telling Henry that he'd "undo it if he could" and Lucy totally thought he meant their being together? And so she was acting all hurt and Jeremy was acting like he had a stick up his butt (for good reason, he wanted to keep Lucy safe when all the people he loved in his life DIED) and I just wanted to shake both these characters and tell them to TALK TO EACH OTHER.

Yes, I felt strongly about that. LOL But I still enjoyed the book. Like you though, with all the blogger buzz I was expecting to be wowed and I wasn't, but I still had a good time.

Nath: Me too, I really wanted to shake Jeremy and Lucy in the second half of the book. It was like come on. Just sit down and talk it out, please!! Let's move the story along. It seems to me Ms Dare was done with her story too early and needed another conflict to extend the plot ^_^;

I thought the plot had potential - that the idea wasn't bad... You know, her wanting to practice on someone (which by the way, could have gone on longer, in my opinion). What bothered me is that she was going to seduce a man away from another woman. That was just wrong. It's one thing to seduce the man you've always loved so he can finally notice you, but it's another when he's in love with someone else and Toby definitively had feelings for Sophia... Perhaps this is a double-standard and I wouldn't have minded so much if it was the hero seducing the heroine... anyway.

What did you think of Toby and Sophia? Sophia wasn't what I expected and I thought the two girls were great friends from the beginning... and Toby, OMG, selfish!! He should have had a talk with Lucy!!

Ames: I didn't mind that at heart, Lucy would be trying to steal a man from another woman. Because I knew Lucy was going to end up with Jeremy so whatever could bring those two stubborn souls together was fine by me. Also, Lucy did love Toby. She's loved him since she was a young girl. Kind of backwards thinking, but we also know what Sophia ends up doing and frankly, knowing the 3rd book is about Toby? I'm not interested in reading that right now, because Toby was an ASS.

But yeah, it kind of is a double standard - we root for the hero to steal the heroine away from another man - I wonder if anyone else disliked Lucy a bit for turning on a sister? LOL

Nath: True, true, we all know she's going to end up with Jeremy, but still. I didn't like the idea and it's not just that she was going to steal him from another man, but that she was going to trap him into marriage.

I agree with you, at the moment, I'm not interested in Toby. He gave a good explanation, but it was still really selfish of him. As for Sophia, I felt we didn't really get to know her in this book. I also don't feel any great friendship between Sophia and Lucy. Poor girl, she must be very lonely if she considers Lucy her best friend ^_^;

Then, most of the time, when the hero steals the heroine away from another man, she usually is not in love with the other man. Most of the time... I'd be curious to see what is the general opinion on this.

Ames: Uh...who is Lucy supposed to be trapping into marriage? She was setting out to seduce her man, not trap him.

Nath: Well, seducing him is the same as trapping him into marriage in this case. She'll be compromised and she'll have to marry him. It's not like she wanted simply a fling...

Ames: I never saw Lucy's actions in such a negative way - she wanted Toby to see her in a different light and then fall madly in love with her. She didn't want to trap him - at least that was my understanding of her motives. Because Lucy is honorable.

Nath: From the beginning, that first scene where she kisses Jeremy for practice and then, he tells her that indeed, Toby is planning to propose to Sophia, she was like: Then, I have to act now and she was going to seduce him. Sorry, but that to me equals trapping him into marriage... Personally, I didn't think she was that honorable. I mean, she baited Sophia into writing that letter to Gervais and was going to then show it to Toby!

She thought about showing Sophia's letter to Toby, but she didn't do it! That's what an honorable person does...they have the temptation and then resist it.

Nath: True, she didn't do it... which saves her character in my esteem, but doesn't make her honorable in my eyes.

Ames: So what did you enjoy about the book?

Friends to lovers is one of my favorite themes and I'm glad with the way the story turned out. Jeremy was stuck in the past, the guilt of living while his brother (the heir) passed away and Lucy never really let him stay stuck in his depression. She livened up his life and that's what I liked about her in the end. She opened up Jeremy's eyes to what really went down and he somewhat tamed her wild ways.

Also, I liked that she didn't deny the fact that she found Jeremy attractive and didn't love Toby anymore for too long - she made up her mind and went after what she wanted. I like that in a heroine.

Nath: Oh, I do like how the story turns out - I much prefer Lucy to end up with Jeremy. Although I don't know, the two of them falling in love with each other? I personally didn't feel it. I do think that Jeremy kind of liked Lucy even when she was a young girl, that's why he's been staying away from her... but LOVE? I didn't totally buy it from both side. I really wonder what Jeremy loved about Lucy, besides the fact that she's become a woman... I don't really agree with you about her livening up his life and him, taming her wild ways. I agree that she did open up his eyes...

Well the thing is, she never loved Toby. Infatuated when she was younger, for sure... but really, what she was afraid was the changes in her life.

Ames: Ok, I felt the love for Jeremy and Lucy. All the important people in his life have died and here comes someone else he has to watch out for - someone else who might leave him and die. Only, Lucy is one hell of a strong woman and as she points out to Jeremy, she doesn't need him to take care of her because she's been doing fine on her own (her brother really pissed me off LOL). So Jeremy learns to lighten up a bit and to be a partner not a protector for Lucy.

And I thought we got to see enough of Sophia to intrigue me for the next book. She has some hidden depths. She is very inventive and tells fantastical stories and I don't think she considers Lucy her best friend, but maybe someone she can call a friend and one day that friendship will blossom. Because Lucy and Sophia have learnt a lot from each other. Sophia did something very daring at the end of the GoH and I don't think she would have done that if she hadn't befriended Lucy and had some of her daring and bravado rub off on her.

Nath: She definitively has hidden depths. Actually, her character was the one that surprised me. I didn't expect someone like her.

Lucy's brother was kind of weird. I mean, talk about an inconsistent character. I thought his nonchalant attitude towards Lucy was very annoying. Most of the time, he didn't care about her... I'm sure he loved her, but he didn't go out of his way to be a good brother or guardian. I felt it awkward when he said that Lucy didn't need to marry Jeremy and she would be a bad wife for him ^_^;

Ames: Lucy's brother was a jerk!

Nath: Totally agree with you and I'm glad we're not getting his story!!

And to answer your earlier question, I liked Jeremy's character, although I didn't totally buy his love for Lucy at first. Or perhaps, it was more lust and then love.

I liked the friendship between the guys, that tradition they have.

The writing and voice was good too... Just the plot I wasn't so fond of.

Ames: I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a cute story and you know how fond I am of friends to lovers. And tomboy to lady. I did expect more from the story all in all, but I did enjoy it.

Here are some passages I marked off. I love Tessa Dare's writing style and the imagery she creates.

I like this scene that takes place during a game of adult hide and seek.
His hands roved over her back as he ravished her mouth. Tiny ridges teased his fingertips. Laces.

The very thought was wicked and depraved.

Good thing he was not thinking.

He tore his lips from hers, slowly kissing his way down her throat as his hands wandered down the length of her back. His fingers lingered over each taunting eyelet of her dress, and his lips savored every delicious inch of her neck. She threw her head back and wove her hands into his hair. His fingers found the knot of lacing at the base of her spine and teased it apart while he teased the hollow of her throat with his tongue. He wrapped the end of the lace around his finger and slowly pulled as he ran his tongue up the length of her neck.

She sighed with pleasure, and the dress sighed loose from her body, and Jeremy thought he would be completely undone.
This takes place after they've slept together for the first time. I can totally relate.
She’d been branded. She was his. Wasn’t that what she truly feared the world would read on her face? Hadn’t his lips written it over her body and his touch burned it into her skin? Even now, she felt his mark, raw and itching under the fabric of her dress. Scored over and over across her flesh.

And this one made me smile, thanking her feet.
I love Jeremy.

Her whole body flushed with a giddy awareness. Lucy wondered which part of her had known it first. Her hand, when he’d kissed it that night in the garden? Her arms, when she’d pulled him into the wardrobe? Her lips, perhaps, when he’d kissed her under the pear tree? Or maybe even her feet, when they’d steered her to his door that night and not Toby’s?

She bent her head and grinned, flexing her toes inside her slippers. Clever, clever feet.
So final grade?

Nath: Hmmm, B-.

Ames: I’m giving it a B+.


Lori said...

Oh, I liked this waaaay more than you did.

Nathie, you are way too young to be so cynical. *shaking head* For shame. Really. LOL!!

And I love Dare's writing. Beautiful.

Jill D. said...

I have been hearing so much about Tessa Dare lately. I haven't read any of her books, but know I am wondering if I am mission out.

By-the-way, I think it is very interesting that women are held to different standards than men, as far as stealing a person away from their current love. Good point ladies :)

Monroe Dawson said...

Awww...I wanna read this!!!

~ames~ said...

Lori-I know, right?! Nath is on her way to jaded. LOL

I have the next two books for this series so I know I'm going to read them soon. :P

Jill-Thank you! There definitely are different standards - in both historicals and contemporaries.

Monroe-Yeah you do! It's a cute book, with my favorite themes.

Taja said...

I actually thought I would pass on this book because of some things mentioned in the back blurb ("headstrong temptress" for example). But recently I read two comments that swayed me to buy it despite that so I ordered the book last weekend. Now I read your review and I'm no longer so sure, LOL.

On the plus side: I love friends to lover stories and the based on the quotes, I think I'll like Dare's writing style. I'll just have to see for myself.

Thanks for your interesting review! :)

~ames~ said...

Taja-I truly did enjoy the book! The heroine is only a little bit annoying at the beginning.

nath said...

Lori - This is not the first time you're telling me this (the cynical comment), Lori... but I can't help it ^_^;

and LOL, you did seem to enjoy this one better than I did, so I'm glad :D

Jill - Whoever said that women and men were identical was wrong. There's a reason why there's even a term for it "double standards." I think it's normal that we have different expectations for women and men, but that's another topic, right?

I've seen a lot more positive than negative reviews on Tessa Dare, so I think she's worth a try for you :D Then, you can decide on your own ;)

Monroe - Tell Ames to bring it to you :D

Taja - Hmmm, there's some issues I feel strongly about. You might react differently to it... but since you've already bought it, why not decide for yourself? :)

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Well worth the read. Love your blog.
All the very best,

Nicole McLaughlin said...

I sped read thru all 3 of Tessa's books a few weeks ago!! I loved them all! They are all interlinked which i loved and all different and HOT!!! She really does some interesting scenes! wink

nath said...

Simone - Thank you Simone :D Glad that you're enjoying the blog :D

Nicole - I have the 2nd book in my TBR pile. Decided to wait till I read it before getting the 3rd one :D but glad you enjoyed it :D