Morsels [10]: Book Nos. 5 and 6 of the Bragg Saga by Brenda Joyce

Publication Date: April 1st, 1992
Avon Books
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 3 out of 5 stars
SUMMARY
The Scorching Saga of the Braggs Continues . . .

Heiress to the magnificent Bragg empire, lovely, headstrong socialite Lucy Bragg lives a life that flies in the face of convention. Dark and rugged half-breed Shozkay Savage lives an outlaw’s life on the edge. These two people inhabit different worlds–hers, opulent and privileged; his, dangerous and wild. But on the vast and sweeping plains of Texas, their worlds collide . . .

Abducted and held for ransom, Lucy despises Shoz for his arrogance . . . yet is drawn to the strapping fugitive by a bold, unquenchable desire. Sworn to escape him but betrayed by her own reckless passion, she will follow Shoz from the unforgiving wastland of Death Valley to the tropical heat of revolution-swept Cuba–braving scandal and heartbreak, risking life itself for an untamed and blistering love as perilous as it is forbidden.

This story has all the makings of a frustrating romance. Lucy Bragg was a character that one can be considered as progressive thinker. She didn’t have any qualms being involved with a half-breed outside of the marital bed. She was strong but not as opinionated as her activist mother, Grace Bragg but she’s no wilting violet either.

Shozkay Cooper is considered as a half-breed (like most of the men in this series) who found himself in lust enamoured with the socialite. Their lives couldn’t be any more different: he, a gun runner for the revolution in Cuba, and she, contented to live the life her upbringing afforded. She’s engaged to be married to the son of a Senator – a perfect candidate to extend the Bragg’s clout in the society.

Their relationship was, yet again, exhausting to read. I think I’ve reached my limit of bickering, snapping couples.

What I love about this book is the social and political relevance of Cuba’s revolution and how it directly impacted the country’s relationship with the US. Although this novel is predominantly romance, I think Joyce did an amazing job writing a book with historical importance.

~oOo~

Publication date: November 1st, 1992
Avon Books
Format: Kindle Edition
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Amazon


SUMMARY

Rebelliously independent Lady Nicole Bragg Shelton refuses to be constrained by the stifling rules of Victorian England. And now desire has impelled the beautiful heiress toward a shocking liason with Hadrian Braxton-Lowell, Duke of Clayborough.


Bound by the dictates of honor and duty to another woman, Hadrian is hocked by Nicole’s daring conduct, yet entranced by her fiery free spirit and breathtaking sensuality. Though resolved to making the raven-haired beauty his mistress, he will never agree to wed her. But Nicole is no man’s plaything. And she is prepared to risk heartache in order to satisfy her wild, uncompromising passion . . . and win the dashing Duke’s unwavering loyalty and undying love.

Oh dear. Book number six of this series was an explosive, tiresome bundle of fireworks. These two butted heads like a couple of rams in the wilderness. At one point, I came to the conclusion that being apart would’ve been the best for everyone’s sake.
Nobody likes two strong opposing characters finding kindred love with one another more than I but it was not the case with these characters. Frankly, their constant bickering annoyed me endlessly. The relentless push and pull of their attraction tired me out. This seems to be the general theme with the relationships in this series. 
Lady Nichol Bragg Shelton was supposed to be a head-strong, well educated, well opinionated woman of the time and yet, I couldn’t, for the life of me understand some of her spontaneous, impulsive decisions. She kept in pursuit of a man who had no intention of being caught at first. It got to a point where I was truly embarrassed on her behalf. She had no scruples at all. Her much too forward thinking was far from admirable, to be honest. It was too bad, because I was looking forward to reading about Nicole. I thought she was an independent woman who would pare down a man down to his size but because she gave too much chase, I didn’t like her at all.
The thing is I wouldn’t mind a woman chasing after a man if the man is worth the effort. But Hadrian is definitely not worth that. He’s conceited, boorish and chauvinistic, who sees himself as the master of all he surveys. And while I sometimes like that in a character, this man didn’t have a speck of any redeeming qualities in him. I didn’t get her fascination and ardor for chasing him.
Since I’ve been reading these books in the last few days, I’m just noticing the changes in the first characters from the previous books: their parents – which are the characters from the initial books – seemed to have changed for the worst. While most of them opposed to forced marriages, this time, they’re actually forcing their kids because they know what’s best for them. Give me a break. I don’t know about you, but I found them hypocritical.
Overall, this book ranks probably dead last in this series. It was not an enjoyable read and the characters were far from likable. 

This concludes my interest in this series. Really, I should’ve stopped at book #5 as book #7 is sitting in queue in le Kindle. Oh well. 

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Dark Fires [Bragg Saga #4] by Brenda Joyce

Publication Date: January 22nd, 2002
Dell
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
“He murdered his wife,” they whispered. Nicholas Bragg, Earl of Dragmore, was notorious–even after a British court found him innocent. Now they called him Lord of Darkness, as much for his rakish good looks as for his black reputation.

She was an innocent at passion’s gate. Arriving uninvited at the massive stone manor, she shivered with terror–and excitement. Jane Barclay was his ward. Her sunny, innocent nature was in violent contrast to his hot temper. He was wild, explosive, an uncouth Texas rakehell–exactly the wrong kind of man for an English beauty to tame. Together they would be swept into the dark storm of their passionate destiny…and wild all-consuming love.

So this story rings like Bronte’s Jane Eyre; except there was sex (lots of it) and there was no wife who’s mentally ill hidden in the attic – just a scheming beyotch who couldn’t handle a little bit of the savage blood in Nick Bragg. You’d have to read this book to see for yourself.
Nicholas Bragg, being the first born son of Miranda Shelton, inherited the title of the Earl of Shelton from the Duke, his grandfather. Displaced from the wild, Wild West to the sprawling greens of England, he didn’t have a choice but to commit to the title he assumed. Rumored to have killed his wife, he haunted Dragmore and kept to his moniker, The Dark Lord. He didn’t mind the tile at all until he was saddled with an angelic, seventeen year-old ward. As soon as he saw Jane Barclay, he’s reminded of his dark nature, how he came to be and his real identity. He resisted Jane’s innocent charms but couldn’t really deny the palpable sexual tension between them. It wouldn’t take long until he had no choice but to face his demons and accept the inevitable. 
Jane Barclay understood the earl’s stigma – but only to a certain degree. His dark temper was clear as soon as they met. The thrill of being around him however, didn’t dissipate with every fit of rage he displayed. What she saw was a lonely man intent on putting walls around him. One night of drunken trance and Nick gave in to his baser instincts. The morning after came with the ugly realization that he must perform his duty, proposing to Jane in grievance. Jane refused then ran away. Years later and Nick couldn’t stay away. Thus began the story of a man in pursuit of a woman determined to disappear. 
I liked the gothic Victorian themes to this book. Nick suits the dark, mysterious hero characteristic of the genre. I’ve been reading this series for the last few days and the difference in setting is quite startling. This book didn’t have any historical reference running in the background unlike the last three books prior. What it has was an account of the importance of propriety and Society in England. Who couldn’t be more inappropriate than a half-breed Indian Nick Bragg? He was a rebel who wouldn’t put up with it dictates. 

The romance was tumultuous and a little intense. I think the pairing suited well because the two was literally night and day. While Jane has a bit of a wild streak in her, she was still more formal and more proper than Nick ever was. 
This book wasn’t as violent as the three others in this series. There was no imminent war, no rapes or KKK hiding in its pages – a truly romantic book regardless of the dark tones that epitomizes the gothic genre.
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Firestorm [Bragg Saga #2] by Brenda Joyce

Publication Date: January 13th, 2009
HarperCollins
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Storm Bragg could outshoot and outride any man, but her family decided it was time she traded in her buckskins for a ballgown and made her debut in San Francisco society.Quickly pursued by every eligible gentleman in town, the young hellcat from Texas had eyes for only one, and he was no gentleman.Brett D’Archand was a self-made success — arrogant, impossibly attractive, blatantly sensual — and looking for a wife who would give him respectability.

Storm was completely bewitched by him, but she made him lose his head as well as his heart. And, threatened by scandal and ruin, they are forced to wed — a tempestuous union of free spirits, shackled only by the irrepressible bonds of love.

The second book to the Bragg Saga tells the story of the middle child, Storm. When her parents worried that she’ll never be the lady she’s meant to be, they shipped her off to San Francisco where she’s to spend the summer coming out to the society. It wasn’t easy; the girl-woman was wild with a penchant for speaking her mind and would rather be riding her horse Demon than hobnob with the society. With her unusual beauty and stature, it didn’t take long till men noticed. And when entrepreneur Brett D’Archand saw her, he was instantly bewitched. Too bad she was too rough for his taste. The two rubbed each other the wrong way but couldn’t deny their attraction. One compromising rendezvous led to a shotgun wedding. But what started off as a misfortune quickly turned into disaster as neither wanted to give in to the chemistry that’s palpable between them.  One way or another, their sham of a marriage would end…that’s if they don’t kill each other first.

The Bragg kids are all grown up and having lives of their own. I was excited to read this one because from what I briefly read about Storm in the first book. I just knew she wouldn’t be the wilting violet like her mother was. She’s named quite so aptly. 

I’m glad that there wasn’t too much violence in this one but again, the author has a thing with rape. I don’t know. Perhaps it was a thing back in the days but men can’t seem to help themselves. This book also had incest – which is kinda weird. I didn’t think people from back then would actually be involve in such impropriety. But I haven’t read too much Historicals so, what do I really know?
Scheming women is the name of the game of here instead of men killing each other. I think one of the things I can only complain about is the soap opera-level of predictability with these books. I’ve only read a couple, this being the second one. There was this brother/sister tandem that drugged the hero so and set it up so the heroine would find her beloved in bed with another woman. I think I saw that episode from Days of Our Lives before. Heh.
Storm was very quick to forgive Brett, in my opinion. I think in some ways, her heritage didn’t really shine through. She’s  half-Apache. I think, I’ll neuter the man if I’d find out he bedded his mistress on our wedding night. But I wouldn’t be so quick to judge, two sides to the coin and such. I was just hoping for more fireworks but as soon as Brett turned on the charms, Storm is quickly swept away.
Predictable though as they were, these books are so addictive! I have read the first two books in two days and am looking forward to the rest. 
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