Belladonna (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #2)

Rating: 2 Stars

Synopsis via Goodreads:

In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent.

So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself.

Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time?
Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all.

First off.


What the hell is that name? I had to swallow down a little immature giggle every time I read his name. But seriously . . . Falco? Of all the names in the book . . . Falco.

Part of the reason I’m having such an issue with his name is due to me having previously known a kid named Falcon. I kid you not. That was his full name. Falcon. I’ll wait as you laugh . . .

I do not remember Falcon, because according to my family, I knew him when I was in elementary school. And, now, I wasn’t the most outgoing of kids, but I did okay. Falcon reminds me of Falco. Why? Because Falcon was seriously broody for a little kid, who was overly protective of me, had a slightly possessive crush on me for a kid, and liked to wear a long, heavy black cloak to school everyday, one that was so long the ends dragged along the ground when he walked. Falco (with Cass) is broody, myyyssstteerrriiioouusss (can’t forget that annoying factor), dark, and has the moral compass of an elementary child.

First off, I don’t like the tall, dark, and mysterious type. I find them inconceivably annoying. If I read a book that uses any of those adjectives to describe the love interest, there’s a pretty good chance that book just lost a star in my eyes.    

I cannot put into words just how much I hate it when guys are so smug in books. And just to be clear, there’s a fine line between smug and tall, dark, and mysterious. One that gets crossed far, far too often in books.

I like characters like Luca. He loves Cass, comes from a good family, and is all around adorable. Personally, I prefer my fictional guys more adorable than smothering hot. Now, you’re probably going, “Hannah, it doesn’t matter that Luca comes from a good family and Falco doesn’t. Falco and Cass are in looovvveee and that’s all that matters.” And yes, I do agree with that. TO AN EXTENT. Now, should Cass marry Luca because of his money and good standing? Of course not. But here’s the thing: she obviously has some strong feelings for Luca, all the while still daydreaming about Falco, WHO LEFT HER.

Girl – if a guy tells you he loves you, and then leaves without any warning practically the next day, HE’S STUPID AND NOT WORTH IT. But nooooo . . . Cass has to be forever blinded now by Falco’s Falco-ness and can never see how great of a guy Luca is. Should she marry Luca because he’s a “good guy?” No. But it’s one of those scenarios that makes me think that had Cass meet Luca first, gotten feelings for Luca first, she wouldn’t be this smitten with Falco.

Also, I know everyone loves to talk about how money is no object and you should marry only for love, and that’s completely true, but the thing about Cass marrying Luca is that that would ensure she and her Aunt would be taken care of. There seems to be a good chance of her nephew kicking her and her Aunt out once he comes of age, but marrying Luca with ensure that will never happen. This is not me saying Cass should marry Luca just for this reason, but if I was her, and I had to choose from the stable, steady guy who very much loves me, and who I do have some intense feelings for and the guy who I don’t feel like I can count on, who every time I see him all he wants to do his get his hands under my corset and is constantly whining about how I always deserve better because he’s not rich (when I don’t care but its his own pride getting in the way), who do you think I’m going to choose?

Here’s the thing girls, choose the guy who you can actually have conversations with. Having an intense and smothering relationship is great and all, but I’d rather marry my best friend than the hottie next door who can’t keep his hands to himself.

It annoys me to no end when guys push a girl away for no other reason than his own pride. And that’s why Falco pushes Cass away. He doesn’t feel that he can provide for her, so he leaves her to go away and make more money. Cass has made it blatantly clear that she couldn’t care less what class he is, because she loves him. But is that enough? Nope. Instead, being able to provide for her and giving her “everything she deserves” comes first in his mind. And while that does all matter to an extent, and while I understand that line of thinking, if it came down to it, I don’t believe Falco would marry Cass without those things involved. If he had to choose, he would leave her before he married her with no money to his name. And to me, that’s him saying their love isn’t worth it.

Not all the blame falls to Falco. Cass is just as stupid, making me think at times maybe she and Falco did deserve each other, because I’m not sure she deserves Luca anymore.

“Her fiancé had spent the night alone, in a cramped cell, possibly being starved or tortured while Cass had been drinking ale with Falco.
Kissing Falco.
What was the matter with her?”

I wonder that as well, my dear.

She kisses Luca, then kisses Falco. I don’t get it. I believe that it’s possible to be in love with two different guys at the same time – I do – but you don’t just kiss both of them!! Especially not when you’re encaged to one of them.

I don’t feel like this should have been a series. It would have been much better to have just ended it with the first one. Because this just does not compare to the first one in any way.

Also, I get it that Cass is a time-period gal and all that, but COME ON. Why is she about to faint. Every. Stinkin’. Minute???? I get that the corset is unbearably tight, but seriously?? Can we just take some scissors to it when no one is looking, please?


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