Monday, September 24, 2012

Pop Tarts Book Club: "Love Only Once" Chapters 1-5

Welcome to the first Pop Tarts Book Club. This is an experiement which will hopefully prove successful of Jen and Kel reading the same book at the same time and blogging about it along the way. Much like a book club. We are not sure at all how this will go, but we are confident that it will be entertaining for you, the reader.

Also, feel free to play along at home. You can read along with us and add your thoughts in the comments. Or you can not read along and add your comments anyway based on our comments. Or you can just enjoy reading our comments. Whatever makes you happy. But be warned, as this is a book club and not a book review, we will be spoiling the hell out of everything. Keep that in mind if you plan on reading any of the books that we book club.

We will also be taking suggestions of books to read for Pop Tarts Book Club. We are open to anything so long as it fits our one criteria: all books must be trashy. And by trashy we mainly mean genre fiction. We will not be reading "literature" or "classics" or pretty much anything you were forced to read in high school. The main goal of Book Club is to be entertained. If you have a favorite book that you want us to read and discuss so you can share your opinion also, suggest it! If you have a book that you have been wanting to read but no one else has read it and you want to be able to mock it with other people, suggest it! If you come across a book that looks ridiculous and want someone else to read it so you don't have to, suggest it! Anything is free game and will be taken into consideration. We are only limited by what we can get at the library (which for Kel is pretty much anything because Ohio is awesome).

Our inaugural book is Love Only Once by Johanna Lindsey, the first book in her Malory Series. It was chosen because Kel read the 7th book in the series, really liked it, and discovered that both of us could get the first book at our respective libraries.

Our first Pop Tarts Book Club discussion is about the first five chapters.

Summary of first five chapters - The Characters Meet:

We first meet Nicholas Eden through his current mistress Serena, Lady Eddington, as she worries that Nicholas is growing tired of her and is going to break up with her. Nicholas is actually thinking that because he is bored. Serena beats him to it by breaking off with him and pretending that she has a new escort to the biggest ball of the season. Nicholas knows that she is lying, but Serena goes with it.

Cut to Regina Ashton, niece to Lord Edward and Lady Charlotte Malory, preparing for the biggest ball of the season. Reggie is 19 and in her second season. She wants to get married, but her four uncles who have raised her tend to veto every man she picks. She decides to talk to her uncle Anthony to convince him to just have her uncle Jason pick someone for her. To do so, she borrows Serena's carriage, as Serena enlisted Reggie's cousin Marshall as her escort.

Nicholas happens to be in the park near Tony's house and spying Serena's carriage, decides to make her miss the ball by kidnapping her. He successfully does so, not realizing that it is really Reggie he has kidnapped. Reggie, after initially fighting to be free, listens to everything he says to his friend and realizes the mix-up.

After dropping Reggie at his house, Nicholas goes to the ball so that Serena will hear about him dancing the night away. However, he sees Serena and realizes that something has gone terribly wrong with his plan. While he is at the ball, Reggie takes stock of her situation and just hangs around and waits, knowing that Nicholas will figure out what happened and come back to let her go. When Nicholas gets back, he is freaking out, but Reggie just laughs it off. They start flirting and Nicholas ends up kissing Reggie, until she tells him to stop.

Kel's Thoughts

I came into this book "knowing" the Malorys already as I read book 7 of the Malory series. And even then, I was confused by the family description given in the book. It was two solid pages worth of family tree that I had to read twice to figure out who everyone was. But I figure once I get into the book/series it will all become easier.

I was slightly concerned in the first chapter because I really wasn't liking Nicholas. Serena is obviously a few different shades of crazy, but Nicholas is annoyingly bored with his life. He didn't come across very likable. But when the book cut to Reggie, I figured that I would be fine because I love Reggie. She wants to get married, but doesn't really care who to. Her uncles cannot ever agree on any guy who she likes so she has decided to just have them pick. She really takes everything in stride. I really liked when she was kidnapped she just kind of went with it when she realized that she wasn't really the one being kidnapped. She found humor in the whole thing and waited until Nicholas came back. Of course, her being so calm and cool intrigues him like no woman has done for a long time...because he is bored with life.

All this leads to some pretty fun flirting and a super hot kiss that Reggie eventually tells Nicholas to end. What I really liked was that Reggie knew exactly what she was doing the whole time. She could tell that Nicholas found her attractive and did not tell him no when she really wanted him to kiss her. She let him and then told him to stop so that she was not ruined, though she contemplated giving him her virtue, which is rather fantastic. Usually romance women are a bit more "Oh, what is this feeling? I could never act on this. I need to be perfect and pure." Reggie is more "Ah, so this is why my uncles enjoy sleeping with tons of women and why some women like to have affairs." Very refreshing in a romance novel.

I look forward to Reggie really challenging Nicholas. I imagine there will eventually be some ruining of Reggie that is brought on by or encouraged to happen by Reggie. She just seems to be the kind of girl who would be, whatever, ruined isn't terrible.

Jen's Thoughts

I agree with Kel that Nicholas isn't very likable in the first chapter. In fact, I was kind of thinking about what a major asshole he is. I am all for a naughty rogue, but he was just sort of obnoxious and completely full of himself. He clearly thinks he's doing Selena a favor by sleeping with her.

But, as Kel also said, things pick up when we meet Reggie! I'm not nearly as well-versed in romance novels as Kel, but from what I've read, women like Reggie are rare in those books. She isn't worried about who she marries - like, at all. She just wants to get married. Usually there are some standards, but her only standard is, "Please, for the love of God, let all my uncles agree on him." I suppose some of that is trust that her uncles only want what's best for her, but there's also just an annoyance that she hasn't gotten married yet and she wants to. I'm not generally a huge fan of that, but for Reggie it works (especially since, let's face it, we know she's going to fall in love and realize what she'd be missing out on if she married for convenience!)

The kidnapping, though, is absolutely the best thing about these first five chapters. Reggie is hilarious when she figures out what's going on. She's not worried at all, since she knows she's been kidnapped by a nobleman. Her reaction:
This was priceless. He would go to the Shepford ball - and voila, there would be Lady Eddington with Reggie's cousins. Oh, how she wished she could see his face. It was just the sort of prank she might have played on someone in her younger years. 
That really was the point that I really started liking Reggie, and really started getting a good feel for her character. It may be slightly problematic that she wants to marry just to marry, but at least she's a heck of a lot of fun. She sees the whole thing as an adventure!

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