Tuesday, January 31, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Rogue's Pirate Bride by Shana Galen

Release Date: February 7th, 2012
Publisher: Casablanca (Sourcebooks)
Page Count: 339
Source:Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)


The marquis de Valère escaped certain death in the French Revolution and is now an infamous privateer. Out to avenge the death of his mentor, Bastien discovers himself astonishingly out of his depth when confronted with a beautiful, daring young woman who is out for his blood...

British admiral's daughter Raeven Russell believes Bastien responsible for her fiancé's death. But once the fiery beauty crosses swords with Bastien, she's not so sure she really wants him to change his wicked ways...
What Stephanie Thinks: If you're familiar with my book preferences, you'll know that while I'm open to reading any sort of story (as long as it is fiction), historical romance is the one genre I try to stay away from. As displayed in my rather discouraging review of Carlyle's The Bride Wore Scarlet, I find it difficult to enjoy the remarkably cliché stubborn-heroine-attempts-to-resist-horny-but-foxy-as-hell-hero storylines, as well as the so-called "taboo" of very proper ladies behaving so improperly (that, my mindless little pigeons, was only exciting in The Other Boleyn Girl, and it stopped being exciting when "historical romance" actually became a mainstream genre) and find that the little bits of history in between aren't as interesting as they're intended to be. History is for textbooks, not romance novels. This ideology probably explains why I only enjoy one out of every five historical romances I read. Stop holding your breath, Shana, dear. The Rogue's Pirate Bride was that lucky one.

While the typical feisty heroine motif does annoy me a bit, Raeven comes off as a lovable, rather than bitchy, character, due to her vulnerabilities. She's mad clever—which is a trait I suppose comes along with sailing on ships full of men with her father from the age of four—but she's also tender, and like every girl, has had her heart broken once, and is fearful of opening it up again. The overly self-assured sexyass hero (here, he's a duke turned pirate—the kind of man a girl happens to capture the attentions of, only in a romance novel) also irritates me a bit, but Galen does a marvelous job of making me love him too. Swoon swoon sigh: that basically sums up my reactions to their heat-and-banter relationship.

Galen has a writing style that is entirely consuming; I read this in two sittings! The plot moves along quickly, so I didn't find myself getting bored (even within the typically dull historical tidbits) at all. The dangers of the life of a pirate in Bastien's case, and a rebellious admiral's daughter, in Raeven's, were a constant adrenaline rush. Swashbuckling brawls and heart-thudding suspense kept me at the edge of my seat.

On the other hand, there's a bit of a compassionate reflection in this book as well. Bastien's lived off his mentor and crewmates ever since he lost his family—poor victims of the Revolution—so the concept of family is something he's never really known. Raeven helps him realize what the true meaning of family is, and shows him that with enough hope, family is something he can once again have.

I didn't realize this book is the third in the Sons of the Revolution series. This implies that SPOILER yes, Bastien does have brothers, whose stories are told in the previous two books. However, I picked this one up not knowing the series' sequence, and I understood it just fine. It could be considered just a connected stand-alone novel, as the main characters of the first two books only play minor cameo roles in this one. I have a tendency of doing this—meaning, reading books out of order—with series(es?)... as demonstrated by my consumptions of Nicola Cornick's The Brides of Fortune and Maya Banks's KGI series.

Sorry... I tend to ramble when I really like a book. Consider this über-long review as praise for a scorching thrill of a novel full of sexual tension and cutting humor :^) I'm impressed by the buzz of Raeven and Bastien's rocky but tempestuous relationship (and blown away by the sex!), as well as the encompassing compelling drama of this regency-set novel. Speaking of which, it doesn't all take place in England, like most regency romances do. There's a bunch of France too. Oui oui. Shana Galen is an honor to the historical romance family; books like hers make me reconsider my distaste for the genre, and that kind of influence, to be able to sway me in that manner, is not, I repeat, not, an easy thing to do.

Stephanie Loves: "'There's nothing complicated about our relationship. I hate you and I want you dead.' After I kiss you half a dozen more times."  — ahh. Haven't we all secretly lusted over someone we promised ourselves we would hate?

Radical Rating: 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥