Monday, June 24, 2013

Blue-Eyed Devil - Lisa Kleypas

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Travis Family #2
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 25, 2008
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

His name is Hardy Cates. He's a self-made millionaire who comes from the wrong side of the tracks. He's made enemies in the rough-and-tumble ride to the top of Houston's oil industry. He's got hot blood in his veins. And vengeance on his mind.
 
She's Haven Travis. Despite her family's money, she refuses to set out on the path they've chosen for her. But when Haven marries a man her family disapproves of, her life is set on a new and dangerous course. Two years later, Haven comes home, determined to guard her heart. And Hardy Cates, a family enemy, is the last person she needs darkening her door or setting her soul on fire. (from Goodreads)

There are the books that you read once, love, then set aside in anticipation of the next one. And then there are the books that you read multiple times over the years, still reveling in their stories and falling madly in love with their characters. Blue-Eyed Devil is one such book to me, having been a contemporary romance that I go back to time and time again when I'm in need of comfort, familiarity and that handsome fellow Hardy Cates. (This is co-signed by Raquel.)

How do you write a review for a book that you've read many times and still love to pieces? I cannot even tell you how many times I've read Blue-Eyed Devil, as I've lost track at this point. But I can assure you that each and every single time, I have absolutely loved it. You'd think that reading the same story and becoming intimately familiar with every heart-racing moment and every swoon-inducing line would eventually lead to the novelty wearing itself out. But because of some magical ability that Lisa Kleypas possesses, I read this story as if I've never read it before each and every time - and I fall in love.

Haven Travis is, of course, one of the Travis kids - and that means she comes from a family of good breeding, money and power in Texas. Growing up with all these things meant that Haven has had to be cautious and proper for all of her life, at least until she managed to escape to a college out-of-state. Early on in the novel, she's face with a lot of difficult situations; but majority of this story tells about how she comes out of them on top.

The reason I love Haven so is because I understand her. She loves her family, especially her brothers, but she doesn't want to be trapped by them into a certain lifestyle. She wants to work hard to prove herself, to make her way in the world, and I completely admired that. She's strong, stubborn, determined and still utterly naive in a number of ways, which makes her completely lovable to me

This novel is really Haven's story, and that's great. But Hardy Cates, the blue-eyed devil himself, is the man who swoops in and steals the entire show for most readers. (Raquel also co-signs this.) Hardy's a self-made millionaire, who has business smarts, life experience and social skills that make him an incredibly powerful force to be reckoned with. He has gone through so much and made such a good name for himself out of so little - and his sheer will and drive are certainly very impressive. He had a bit of a skirmish with the Travis family (which is pretty clear in the previous book, Sugar Daddy), which definitely does not endear him to them at the start of Blue-Eyed Devil.

Hardy... I have been staring at my screen for a good ten minutes now, and I still cannot find the perfect words to describe him. He's one of the finest male characters I have ever encountered in a romance novel. He is the perfect balance of brute strength and pure physicality, with a stunning sensitivity that catches you completely off guard when it's revealed. It's my perfect combination, and one that causes me to fall for him every. single. damn. time. Every moment he appears in Blue-Eyed Devil, he steals the scene, as all Haven's (and the reader's) senses go into high alert whenever he's around. Honestly, he is everything in this book - a good friend, a fair boss, a competent rescuer, a broken man, an absurdly perfect male specimen. Hardy Cates is one of the few contemporary males I fell hard for - and I don't think that'll ever change.

(This is slightly off tangent, but not by much. Kleypas dedicates the book to her husband, and the description she uses - "A gentleman, a gentle man" - just describes Hardy so perfectly. Raquel deserves the credit for mentioning this to me.)

(Clearly, I could fangirl over Hardy for the rest of this review. Raquel would approve.)

So, Haven and Hardy are certainly strong characters as individuals. But their relationship is also a big part of why this book is so darn enjoyable! The spark between them ignites fairly quickly, and the chemistry leaps off the pages as their relationship deepens. Readers are treated to a mix of sweet, tender moments and the flush-inducing heat of their passion -- and trust me, you're going to absolutely love it. Nothing makes me smile more than reading about a couple I can really root for, and Haven and Hardy are definitely one such couple to me. Every moment they share, every development in their relationship, I basically await with eager anticipation as I'm turning the pages.

The story is rich and full, as their relationship is not the only thing that this book is about. It touches on Haven's relationship with her family (particularly her father), as well as the personal growth that she must accomplish and the challenges she faces because of the circumstances that face her at the start of the book. We also get a brief glimpse into Hardy's past, particularly the things that haunt his conscience, and also how the real estate and oil businesses flourish in Texas. This clever addition of other elements to focus on apart from the romance is definitely key in making this book just a bit more than your typical contemporary romance.

I completely loved this book. I've returned to Blue-Eyed Devil time and time again, and I have no doubt that I'll continue to do so. The novel is like a pair of favorite, completely worn in jeans - it's a comfortable, perfect fit every single time I read it. If I haven't said it before (and if Raquel hasn't said it enough), this book just deserves to be read, savored and enjoyed completely. (And I may or may not be talking about Hardy Cates too...)

9 comments:

  1. Don't you just love this books you continue to return to, no matter how many times you've read it? I have a few books like that, and I guess I'm going to have to add this one to my list to see if it becomes a part of that list, too! Thanks for the wonderful, flawless review, Alexa :)

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  2. I've been recommended this book multiple times (well, this series actually) & I honestly have no idea why I haven't read it yet! It definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy :)

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  3. Oh Alexa - I'm not even sure where to start, except to say I just added the first book in this series to my GoodReads TBR so I get to it someday. I've been wanting to get lost in some really good adult contemporary romance. And Hardy sounds DREAMY. I love it when you can read a book so many times and STILL love it. I'm that way about a very few books. :)

    Fabulous review, girl!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

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  4. Hmmm, interesting. I've never heard of this series/book, but it sounds pretty good. Especially if you can read it over and over again & still love it? I have to check it out. I definitely want to know more about Hardy! Great review!

    Vi
    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

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  5. All right, you've convinced me. Between you and The Book Barbies, my interest has been more than piqued into reading this particular book. There's only so many times I can see a glowing review before I get the hint :P

    Would you say that it's necessary to read Sugar Daddy first in order to most appreciate Blue-Eyed Devil? I rarely see reviews regarding the first novel in the Travis Family series and I wasn't sure whether it was worth reading first in terms of context, etc.

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    1. YES! While Blue Eyed Devil could technically be read as a standalone, a lot of things would make more sense if you read Sugar Daddy first. Plus, you get to see a lot of Hardy, when he was a little younger, in Sugar Daddy! And having that background knowledge of him makes his impact in this book even stronger.

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  6. This is hands down one of my favorite Kleypas books. Excellent review!

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  7. Umm....PURCHASED. Sugar Daddy AND this one. Sounds so good!

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  8. Ohhhhh I have Sugar Daddy YAY I am glad I swiped that in a book sale. Also, I just saw Angieville gave this one a good review and OMG I need it nowwwwww. I mean, I need Blue Eyed Devil now.

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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