Hilaribad: The Raider by Jude Devereaux

Jude Deveraux continues her beloved Montgomery saga in America with this dramatic, passion-filled tale of rebellion and love — a breathtaking adventure to be savored all over again — or discovered for the first time!

The Raider

In colonial New England, the British are hunting a fearless, masked patriot whose daring foils them at every turn. He’s known simply as the Raider.

Jessica Taggert, a proud-tempered beauty, thrills to the Raider’s scorching midnight embrace, but despises Alexander Montgomery, the drunken town buffoon.

In truth, the cleverly disguised Montgomery lives two lives…and only his triumph over the hated Redcoats will free him, at last, to know the full pleasure of Jessica’s love.

Source: GoodReads

This is sort of a weird one to read. Honestly, if we’re going to be objective it deserves one big fat star, if even that. It’s pretty horrible with bad characterizations, bad pacing, and a feeling of the book not being completely resolved—because I would’ve liked a little more fall out after the reveal—when it ended. BUT, BUT this is one of those cases the tropey goodness of the romance ran out and made it an enjoyable crack read. The thing is, I don’t know if I’ll be able to read The Raider again but for the couple hours I read it in total exhaustion. Man, it was hilaribad and the sort of book you’re not exactly proud about reading or enjoying.  But it’s such a train wreck and you can’t help but continue reading it.

So, the main premises of this story is that the hero is like a Zorro figure in the colonial days and disguises himself as a large dandy. Of course because of this hijenks occur, especially since he’s attracted tot the hot shrew in town.

Yeah, it’s about as cringe worthy as it sounds especially since I didn’t understand how the idiotic heroine would think that the hero was the complete moron he portrayed when she touched him and could obviously feel padding not fat—but, but, yes the it’s fiction excuse comes in here.

Honestly, it was a neat set up and I do enjoy these tropes but the execution was quite hideous. I think one of Devereaux’s issues which is why I can never completely get into her books is that her characterization is so weak. Give this to another author: Judith McNaught, Lisa Kleypas, etc. and it could’ve been a “wow” book for me. Not that the book has it’s fan base, I came across it several times in recommended books BUT the characterization really was lousy.

Jessica, our heroine, is probably one of the worst female leads that I’ve read about in awhile. She is whiney, mean, and cruel, and not in a loveable or redeemable way. I think her being thrown in dirty water was suppose to be her “punishment” for basically making Alex the town’s punching bag but it didn’t work. I still hated her. And for being portrayed as being such a shrew in the beginning, her revenge against Alex when she found out about his secret identity was weak at best.

Alex—uh. I hated him less than Jessica if that’s something. Well, I did until he made his little sex ultimatum—either have sex with me or be raped. Seriously. And his whole reason for keeping up the charade after they got married was weak. You know, the book would’ve been more interesting if he revealed himself to Jessica post wedding and they had to keep up the charade. But nope, the reveal was put off so long I actually didn’t really care when it happened.

Like I said it was bad. But very entertaining, this time around. I’m actually looking for some romance novels that handle this trope better than this one. Surely, they have to be out there. However, if you want to be entertained by pure ridiculousness give The Raider a try. You’ll at least be cringing and snarking for a couple of hours.

Overall Rating: A C/C- but a very entertaining one.  If it wasn’t so entertaining though it would’ve been a total flop.


We Can’t All be Lizzies: The Girl From Summer Hill by Jude Devereaux

The first book of a new contemporary romance series set in the mountains of Virginia in a town with full of family legends, romance, and secrets from New York Times bestselling author of the Nantucket Brides trilogy.

Sparks fly as fiery Casey Reddick and brooding Hollywood actor Tate Landers clash in the Virginia summer heat. A chef who puts her career first and her love life second, Casey doesn’t see what every girl in town is swooning over. She made up her mind the moment she met Tate—he’s gorgeous, but stuck-up, nothing like his ex-brother-in-law, Devlin who’s playing the Wickham to Tate’s Darcy in local production of Pride & Prejudice. Casey makes the perfect Elizabeth Bennett—how could she be star-struck when she’s heard Devlin’s damning stories about Tate? As they rehearse together, however, Casey finds herself attracted to Tate—he’s much more down-to-earth than she expected and any physical contact between the two of them literally gives her a tingling, electric shock. As opening night draws near, Casey has some difficult decisions to make. Whom should she believe? The seemingly sincere, slighted Devlin or Tate, whose rough, arrogant exterior may only be skin deep. She’s come to love that jolt she gets when they touch—but will she get burned?

Source: GoodReads

The Girl From Summer Hill is a book that I’m not sure would’ve been published if its author wouldn’t had already been a very successful romance novelist—the book’s by Jude Devereaux.   To be fair, the book isn’t a bad book per say, but it’s yet another Pride and Prejudice retelling and not a very clever one.

Full disclosure, I’ve only read a few Devereaux books before, The Summer House and one of them that involved reincarnation—not the knight one that she’s famous for, but another one (can’t remember what it was). They weren’t bad, but the style was a little stilted for my taste. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really like to get to know the characters I’m reading about. I feel with Devereaux books you only really see the superficial traits of the leads. And yeah, sometimes plot can make up for it but when you’re doing a Pride and Prejudice retelling you sort of have to nail your Lizzy and Darcy.

The set up, guys, wasn’t there. Oh, the opening scene was interesting. Casey (Lizzy) a successful chef spies Tate taking a bath outside naked. That can get the reader, reading it just—I don’t know—faltered after that.   I was hoping we’d get to know these characters. Because the barebones of them seemed interesting. The world of gourmet cooking isn’t an easy career, especially for a woman chef so I thought it could be interesting seeing how Casey dealt with the sexism that comes with such a career path.

However, other than listing the various jams, chutneys, and honestly banal sounding pies in the house that she’s staying out….we never hear anything about her apparently messed up work situation.

Same with Tate, he’s a movie star. But other than this so obviously giving him the part of Darcy at a community theater production of all things?!?!?!?!?!?

Community theater.

That’s right, I said community theater because a big movie star is going to want to star in a Podunk-ville production of Pride and Prejudice with green actors—not to mention that said big shot chef is going to be like the perfect person for Lizzy with no acting experience and…well, you can see where I lost it.

Yes, I know believability is something you don’t often see with these books but sometimes there needs to be a bit of a reality check and having the chef world versus the Hollywood world in my opinion would’ve been enough.

It would’ve also helped if the plot wasn’t as slow as molasses and I think that’s why I DNF’d it. Which is a shame because I have a signed copy of the book—Books a Million was selling them.

Anyway, if you’re a die hard Pride and Prejudice or Devereaux fan, you might like this better than me. But I’m just going to skip ahead to the next read.

Overall Rating: DNF.  Just not my style, and it really didn’t hold my interest.