A Midsummer Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels

November 30, 2011
Help me Obi-wan Kenobi!

Tell me the mysteries of the universe!  What is the meaning of life?  Why can’t they get the book covers right?  See the hunky guy on the front?  He’s the one without a shirt on.  Quite an eyeful, huh?  Not bad, not bad, except for one minor thing.  According to a sentence in the very first paragraph in the book, and I quote, “When he’d taken to growing his blond hair nearly to his shoulders…”  Yes, fellow travelers, our hero has long blond hair, and he has that long blond hair through the entire book.  In fact, his l-o-n-g blond hair is described numerous times and is part of his persona.  Now, I know that this happens all the time in the publishing world; however, it seems to me it happens an awful lot in Romanceland.  I don’t know why this happens, but I consider it an insult.  It is an insult to me, the reader, and to the writer.  You can’t tell me that Kasey Michaels, a veteran author who has been around for eons, didn’t present to her editor or whoever a description of the main characters in this tale.  Now, maybe the cover art was already done when she did this, but I grow weary of this old excuse.  It doesn’t take that long to use the tools in Photoshop to fix the hair.  I was especially disappointed that this was a Harlequin presentation – a publishing company that makes their bread and butter off romance readers.  Shame on your slip-shoddery.  If you can’t get the people correct on your covers, slap a flower on it.

Now, on to the book A Midsummer Nights Sin.  I was so excited when the second book in the Blackthorn brothers series hit the stands.  I loved the first book in the series and thought Kasey Michaels was in top form with her wit and humor.  So, except for the cover irritation, when I started reading this one, for a while I thought it was going to live up to my expectations.

Robin “Puck” Blackthorn is a wonderful hero.  He’s handsome, strong, and best of all loaded with Kasey Michaels’ trademark humor.  She’s one of the authors around who can really write funny dialogue.  And there is plenty of that in this book, because “Puck,” like his namesake, is all about mischief!

I really liked Puck.  In fact, the Blackthorn brothers are one yummy group of guys.

Then we have Regina, a rather headstrong woman, with one of the worst fathers ever created in a romance novel – he is a white slaver.  Now, I liked Regina in the beginning – she was smart and she was also a great match for our mischievous Puck.  There was some wonderful snappy dialogue between the two.

So, you’d think I’d be happy.  Great funny hero, headstrong smart heroine who can hold her own, and some wonderful sidekicks.  But about half-way through the book ,the story started to drag.

Remember the father – the white slaver?  Well, this has another kidnapping plot going on.  This time it’s Regina’s cousin Miranda.  I don’t know why authors I’ve read lately are doing kidnapping stories, but I for one am growing tired of this stale plot-line.  Especially when it turns the heroine into a TSTL woman.  She must must must go with the hero and his undercover brother through the dark dregs of the London underworld.  Of course, she needs to dress in male clothing to do this.  And of course, there is the standard “no you can’t come, yes I can, no you won’t, if you won’t take me I am going by myself” discussion.  This happens more than once and it became rather tedious after a while.  I wish just once when the heroine starts to whine, using the tired threat of going by herself into the dark smelly bowels of London or Paris or Upper Sandusky, the hero would say, “Fine, see ya.”  Then we would get a new heroine, one who stays home and doesn’t get into trouble or get anyone else killed in her perky adventure.

There was too much covert stuff going on – I would have been happier with a character-driven snappy dialogue, school of manners style book.  There were just too many people to sort through – the creepy father, the drunk mother, the weak uncle, the silly aunt, assorted secretive aristocrats, a brother, a number of sarcastic servants and a plethora of villains.  I couldn’t keep track.  I’m just a simple person; all I require is a simple story.  I don’t need all the rigmarole that was surrounding these two delightful characters.

So, I was a little disappointed with this story, especially since I loved the first in the series so much.  The characters of Puck and Regina were such a great couple.  It’s too sad that they didn’t get a better story.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Melanie said...


Are you sure you're not a stand-up comic?! If you're not, you should be :)

That was a great review. I liked it a lot, though. Puck was such a cuty-patooty. The only person I didn't like was her cozn.

I'm looking forward to Jack's story, and his should be a bit darker....For some reason I think she's going to make them all legit, and THAT I wouldn't like. I would rather the mother end up marry the Marquiss and have another baby son, who inherits....Alas, she won't do it and it will turn out that he was ALWAYS married to her, and not the Aunt...What are your thoughts on it...

Oh, and while on the subject of Romance Covers. I have noticed this trend as well! It's like they pay no attention what so ever (the pub's not the artists)! I think some dingbat 18 yr old is in charge and she's too busy chewing her gum!...BTW: I have JON PAUL the artist on b2b today, rounding up the month long celebration. You should stop by..He's gifting one commenter with a signed copy of one of his covers :)


SidneyKay said...

Melanie: Yes, I thought the cover art was executed just fine...too bad it was wrong.

I am waiting for Jack also.

Tracy said...

I just got this one and am looking forward to reading it. I admit I didn't read your review as I wanted no spoilers but definitely looked at your rating...not bad. I'll have to let you know what I think after I'm done. :)

SidneyKay said...

Tracy: Looking forward to your opinion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your comments about the book; I agree with your grade, for the most part, for most of the things you mentioned-- most of the dialogue, the characterization, the damnable daddy. But I found different I didn't mind the kidnapping plot nor the cloak and dagger stuff. My comlaint was that there was too much that was farcical, including in some instances, the relationship of th h/h. After a very brief exposure to it, farce ceases to be entertaining, for me at least, even in those passages of dialogue in which Puck played his namesake to the hilt.


SidneyKay said...

Dick: I agree with you on the humor, sort of. However, I love over the top humor, so, I can last a long time before it starts to bother me. When I read a book, I like to keep an open mind and I try very hard not to let's the things going on around me influence my opinion (doesn't always happen.) I had read three kidnapping stories in a row and when I read the kidnapping in this book my inner sigh escaped. I know I said to myself, "not again." Now, that was not Kasey Michaels' fault, just the luck of the draw. I believe I would have had the same reaction if I had read her book first and, I'm still tired of kidnapping being used as a romantic plot.

Hey Dick, a question for you. If you didn't see the name of the author on a book, could you tell whether it was written by a woman or a man?

Anonymous said...

@ Sidney Kay: Re your question. Probably depends on the author. I think though, that women writers usually give more descriptions of dress and surroundings than male writers do, so if the dresses in the book were described in detail, I probably could. For one thing, I doubt that most men even know some of the terms used to describe dress; I certainly didn't until I looked them up in a dictionary. But, you know, while reading, I never think about that.