Wednesday

The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

December 5, 2018
Even an adventure can be a quiet tale.

https://juliaquinn.com/
The Other Miss Bridgerton is part of the Rokesby series by Julia Quinn. This series is connected to the Bridgerton series, but it is about the generation before the characters we all know and love.

The Other Miss Bridgerton was a delightful holiday treat, but it could be read any time of the year. Our heroine is Poppy Bridgerton and she is a mighty curious person. Our hero is Andrew Rokesby, aka Captain Andrew James, and he is on the receiving end of Poppy’s curiosity.

I loved Poppy. As I said before, she is a curious person. Some people might classify that as nosy but there isn’t anything negative about her snooping. She’s just a unique person who doesn’t quite fit in. She has an inquiring mind, she’s open to adventure and she isn’t always careful as to where that adventurous spirit might lead her. For instance, her curiosity might get her transported to a pirate ship.

You see, one day Poppy wanders into a cave which turns out to be where some privateers have hidden their loot. Unfortunately for her, two of the privateers – Laurel and Hardy – discover her, bundle her up in burlap and take her aboard their ship with a rag stuffed in her mouth. The rag is there because she just keeps talking, talking, and talking. They take the rag out of her mouth once she’s on board, however, she won’t shut up – so, they put it back in her mouth. Then they leave her and try to decide who is going to tell the captain. By the way, they aren’t really named Laurel and Hardy. It just seems as if they are.

The ship sets sail and by the time the captain is reluctantly told about their captive guest, it’s too late to return her. Captain James is not a happy camper. He is on a secret mission, he has a deadline and much to his chagrin he discovers he has a Bridgerton on board. Even more upsetting to him is that his older brother is married to a Bridgerton. He has a big problem. Not only does he have a mission to complete, he has an innocent woman to get back on shore without anyone finding out. He tries to keep his distance, but it isn’t long before Poppy wiggles under his skin.

The romance slowly builds in this story. A lot of the scenes in the book are more sensual then sexual and it’s a slow burn until their relationship finally explodes. There isn’t a ton of token whankee-roo scenes – which is nice for a change. We have two likeable characters who have a tender relationship which slowly blossoms before our eyes.

I enjoyed this story quite a lot. While it didn’t contain some of the bells and whistles of some of my favorite Julia Quinn stories, it was a very charming story, filled with humor, banter and lovely dialogue. The characters worked together, the romance slowly bloomed from friendship to lovers to a couple who respected each other and one we have no doubt will last a long, long time. A gentle story, which I recommend. 


Time/Place: 1700s English Channel
Sensuality: Warm

Friday

Seduced by a Scot by Julia London

November 30, 2018

Lots of mean people
https://julialondon.com/

Spoilers! Enter at your own risk!
Seduced by a Scot is the sixth book in the Highland Grooms series and I wish I could say I liked it. The story started off on a high note, but by the second chapter I started to hear rumblings of disenchantment in my little brain. Sometimes a book works and sometimes it doesn't. For me, this book didn’t work and here’s why – mean people.

Our heroine is Maura Darby. She is beautiful beyond words. She attracts men like flies to honey. She is the ward of Calum Garrett.
 

Mean People House I. Let's see who inhabits this house. The mean characters here all seem to be women - so much for sisterhood. We have horrible Mrs. Garrett, jealous Sorcha Garrett, and the wife of a maybe future business-partner, the pretentious Mrs. Cadell. Mrs. Cadell is the mother of the weak weasel Adam Cadell who happens to be Sorcha's fiancĂ©. That is until Adam kisses Maura - then the household erupts into chaos. Everyone blames the beautiful-beyond-words Maura. The women screech, yell, berate, and bully everyone in the household. Everything is allllll Maura's fault. The women insist that Maura depart and since Mr. Garrett has no backbone Maura is dumped on Garrett's distant cousin - David Rumpkin. 

A ponder moment. The fact that Ms. Darby is beautiful beyond words is of course allllll her fault. She is loathed by almost all of the other female characters in this story. Sorcha is portrayed as homely; she is described as having a bulbous nose and slightly crooked eyes.  Is it any wonder that all the men flock to lovely black-haired Maura instead of the big nose Sorcha? This particular narrative was all in the beginning of the book, and it was at this point I started to have an issue with the story. Do you know why I started to have issues? Because my itty-bitty brain started talking to me about our perceptions about what we value. Why is it that we have a problem with women who are not attractive being the heroine? Even when heroines are plain, there is usually a scene written in which all of a sudden in the moonlight they become beautiful or the sun captures the golden highlights of the hair or their gray eyes turn to sparkling diamonds. Why does the inside of a person have to match the outside? What's wrong with having a large nose? Why are a large nose and crooked eyes cliches for mean-spirited? Why shouldn't Sorcha and Maura have bonded when they were younger? Why did they have to be enemies?  I am growing impatient with the use of physical appearance as an apparatus used to indicate good and evil. The times, they are a changin’ and it’s time our narratives quit encouraging this mind-set. Is physical beauty alllll that we value? I’m done with my pondering.

Back to the story - Mean House I. Maura is no longer around, but Sorcha has broken with her weasel boyfriend. Every one should be happy, right? Nah. Now the business deal between the Garrett's and the Cadell's may be in trouble. It's time for a "fixer."  Enter Nicol Bain – our hero.

For those of you who may not know it, Nicol has fixed problems in previous books and now it’s time for his story. He is here to fix the engagement problem, but mostly he’s going to fix the problem of what to do with Maura. Wellllll, Nicol is a pretty good fixer. It isn’t long before Sorcha and her weasel of a fiancĂ© are on again. Nicol of course has a Romanceland plan. Through some convoluted reasoning, he decides that the best solution is to gather Maura, take her nto the wilderness of Scotland and marry her to a guy by the name of Dunnan Cockburn – yes Cockburn


Mean House II. David Rumpkin, the cousin. We now jump to the second nasty person portion of the book. When Nicol arrives at Rumpkin’s house to pick up Maura he finds her locked in a bedroom. It seems that David Rumpkin is a mean drunk and has already made advances toward Maura. Which is why she is locked in the room and not eating. She refuses to talk to Nicol, so he breaks into her bedroom. Eventually, Nicol, Maura and Gavin (his groom) escape. Sort of.

Return to Mean House I. The, I-must-have-my-necklace scene. When Maura was forced out of the Garrett household, she had to leave without most of her property, including an heirloom necklace. Before Maura can be trudged off to the highlands they must go back to the Garrett’s house to get her necklace. Maura does not trust Nicol to help her. Maura now turns into a TSTL heroine and tries to escape Nicol by stealing one of Nicol’s two horses. This means that Nicol must send Gavin to a Baron McBain - because as we all know, Nicol and Gavin can’t ride a horse double. By the way, Baron McBain is Nicol’s brother. Nicol, our hero, jumps on the horse telling Gavin he will need to walk to McBain’s estate. Yes, walk. Gavin will walk through unfamiliar territory, to the estate of a man he doesn’t know, and tell him he needs to stay with him till Nicol returns. Did I mention that McBain is estranged from his brother? That means they don't like each other. So, Gavin is being sent into a situation which might turn disagreeable. But don’t worry my little Petunia’s, Nicol gives Gavin some last minute instructions on how to load and shoot a gun. Did I happen to mention that Gavin is fourteen years old?

Mean House I continued. Maura is headed back to get her necklace, Nicol is in pursuit of Maura, and a fourteen year-old Gavin is trying not to get lost in the wilderness. Nicol finds Maura, they go back, they get the necklace, and they leave and head north. Just so ya’ know, I left out a lot of things involved in the return of the necklace plot-line. Once Maura has her necklace, we have a road-trip romance as Maura and Nicol go north so she can marry Cockburn. But first they must pick up Gavin.

Mean House III - Ivan McBain. Another nasty person, this time of the male gender. Ivan McBain is Nicol’s brother. He is married and all through this part of the story he continually tells his wife to shut up. I don’t know why he’s such a rotten person, but he’s a rotten to the core. Then Nicol’s horrible father makes an entrance into the story. He’s on his deathbed. Of course, we discover that Nicol’s father really isn’t his father at all. This makes Nicol blue. To comfort Nicol, Maura and he have a session of hickory-dickory-dock. Then it’s off to the highlands to deliver Maura to her intended.

Mean House IV - the abode of Dunnan Cockburn, the intended. Maura’s intended has a gambling problem. He’s also odd. He also has a mean, domineering mother. When Maura and Nicol arrive, Dunnan’s having a party, and he’s invited a theater troupe. OMG, a theatre group! By this time, I just wanted the story to be over – but no. Maura’s intended, Dunnan Cockburn is just plain odd. He does strange things and it’s never fully explained as to what makes him tick. It is at this time that Maura decides she will join the theater troupe and act. Yep, she’s going to be a star! As I mentioned before Cockburn has a gambling problem. He owes a lot of money. Enter the man he owes the money to, Mr. Pepper. Mr. Pepper is not a happy camper, and it’s not because he’s named after a beverage. He wants his money and he wants it now! Somehow into this mix, Nicol becomes a hostage and Maura eventually saves him. Nicol, Maura, and Gavin all have their HEA. It was all very tangled, and disjointed.

To say I was disappointed in this book would be an understatement. There were just so many plot-lines piled on top of each other. I became dizzy just trying to sort them all out. All the different narratives did not transition smoothly. It is possible to have lots of twists and turns in books and still have a cohesive tale. There were just tooooo many mean people. The story eventually became farcical – and not in a good way. This story was loaded with waaaay too many unpleasant characters - it was all very depressing. Even the HEA couldn't save this story for me.


Time/Place: Scottish road trip 1750s
Sensuality: Warm

Tuesday

Holy Green Bean Casserole!!! Upcoming Historical Romance Releases!!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! December 15, 2018 to January 14, 2018. By the way, it is not my fault if a publisher changes the release dates - just so you know, they do not consult me.
**Book by an author who is either new to me or has fallen off of my list.

Historical Romance
Adrienne Basso**
http://www.adriennebasso.net
The Bride Chooses a Highlander
The McKennas series
December 18

Amy Jarecki
http://www.amyjarecki.com
The Highland Renegade
Lords of the Highlands series
January 8

Bronwyn Scott
http://www.bronwynnscott.com/
A Marriage Deal with the Viscount
Allied at the Altar series
Paperback - December 18, Ebook - January 1

Elizabeth Beacon
http://elizabethbeacon.moonfruit.com/
A Rake to the Rescue
Paperback - December 18, Ebook – January 1

Elizabeth Hoyt*
http://www.elizabethhoyt.com
Not the Duke's Darling
The Greycourt Series
December 18

Erica Ridley
http://www.ericaridley.com
Never Say Duke
12 Dukes of Christmas series
January 5

Eva Leigh*
http://evaleighauthor.com
Dare to Love a Duke
The London Underground series
December 24

Helen Dickson
https://www.hdicksonrnweebly.com/
A Vow for An Heiress
Paperback - December 18, ebook – January 1

Jenna Jaxon
http://jennajaxon.wordpress.com
What a Widow Wants
The Widow's Club series
December 18

Lara Temple
https://www.laratemple.com
The Earl’s Irresistible Challenge,
Sinful Sinclairs series
December 18

Lauren Smith**
http://www.laurensmithbooks.com
The Gentleman’s Seduction
Seduction series
January 7

Michelle Styles
http://www.michellestyles.co.uk
Sent as the Viking's Bride
Paperback – December 18, Ebook – January 1

Olivia Drake*
http://oliviadrake.com
The Duke I Once Knew
Unlikely Duchesses series
December 31

Paula Quinn
http://pa0854.wix.com/paulaquinn
Highlander Ever After
Highland Heirs series
December 18

Ruth Ann Nordin
http://www.ruthannnordin.com/
One Enchanted Evening
Marriage by Fairytale series
January 6

Stacy Reid
http://www.stacyreid.com
Misadventures with the Duke
Forever Yours series
January 5

Susanna Craig
http://www.susannacraig.com
The Duke's Suspicion
Rogues and Rebels series
December 18

Tammy Andresen
https://twitter.com/tammyandresen?lang=en
My Wicked Earl
Wicked Lords of London series
December 26

Virginia Heath
http://www.virginiaheathromance.com
The Uncompromising Lord Flint
The King's Elite series
December 18

Vivienne Lorret
http://www.vivlorret.net
Ten Kisses to Scandal
Misadventure in Matchmaking series
December 25
Historical Fiction

Clarissa Harwood
http://www.clarissaharwood.com
Bear No Malice
mystery/historical fiction
January 1

Gemma Liviero
http://www.gemmaliviero.com
The Road Beyond Ruin
mystery/historical fiction
January 1

Janie Devos
http://www.janiedevos.com/
The River to Glory Land
December 18

Jennifer Robson
AuthorJenniferR
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding
December 31

Julia Kelly
http://www.juliakellywrites.com
The Light Over London
January 14

Sofia Lundberg
http://www.salomonssonagency.se/sofia-lundberg
The Red Address Book
January 8

Monday

Tis the Season by Jennifer Ashley, Grace Burrowes, Christi Caldwell, Louisa Cornell, Eva Devon, Janna MacGregor, Jess Michaels

November  19, 2018

Just in time for the holidays! 


Oh by the way, most of these authors have upcoming books. This is the second holiday anthology I’ve read this month and much to my surprise I enjoyed almost all the short stories in this book. I will do a very, very, very short run through of all of them. There are 287 pages, seven authors, excerpts from upcoming books and author bios – so you do the math on how long each story is.

http://www.jenniferashley.com/

First is Jennifer Ashley’s A First Footer for Lady Jane. Get ready to enjoy the Scottish tradition of Hogmanay. Lady Jane is the heroine who is sort of engaged to a take-for-granted guy by the name of John. John is bringing his dark-haired friend, Captain Spencer to the festivities. Read the story and find out the importance of dark hair. Cute Story. Other than being placed in Scotland, this story doesn’t seem to be connected to any of Ms. Ashley’s MacKenzie stories. Oh by the way, The Devilish Lord Will, part of the MacKenzie series, will be out in November. A First Footer for Lady Jane is 41 pages long.

https://graceburrowes.com/

Second is Grace Burrowes, A Knight Before Christmas. While this one feels like the season, I couldn’t get interested in it. There were toooooo many characters being introduced. This one has Aiden Ferris, Chloe, a beloved bookstore, and a bank. It also has a lot of name dropping from what I’m assuming are other books. It mentions Aiden’s background, also assuming that's in another book, and it introduces Quinn Wentworth who has his own book, My One and Only Duke. My One and Only Duke is the new Rogues to Riches series. There were way too many names dropped in this story for me to enjoy it. A Knight Before Christmas has 40 pages.

http://christicaldwell.com/

Third is Home for the Holidays, by Christi Caldwell. This is sort of an epilogue to The Rogue Who Rescued Her, which is part of the Brethren series. We get to revisit Martha and Graham, aka Sheldon, to see how their happy ending is working out. For the most part it’s working out, except there are some loose ends which needed to be tied. Graham has a problem with his parents, who seemed to have attempted to break Martha and Graham's relationship apart in their full-length book. So, that is the plot of this little gem – to fix all of those nagging family issues. By the end, all is forgiven. There is a brother, Heath. Heath appears to be hero material, but I don’t know if there are any plans being made for this. This was a nice story and had 42 pages. 

http://www.louisacornell.com/

Fourth is Stealing Christmas, by Louisa Cornell. Ms. Cornell is a new author for me, but she appears to have been around for a while – at least there seem to be a lot of books in her back-list. This story also appears to be another epilogue in which we get to see how characters are doing with their HEA. When the story begins, it appears that their HEA isn’t going so well, since the heroine isn’t speaking to her husband and has just slammed a door in his face. The main characters are Sebastian and his I’m-mad-at-you-because-I-invited-your-hated-brother-for-Christmas wife, Minerva. Evidently their full length story was in a book called Stealing Minerva. There seems to be a number of crazy animals, conniving servants, bosom buddies – can you say future heroes, and of course the hated brother. This was a decent tale and it is sure to arouse your interest in future stories. This story is 30 pages long.

https://twitter.com/evadevonauthor?lang=en

Fifth is  Joy to the Duke, by Eva Devon. Another author I’m not familiar with, but I am interested in maybe checking her out her future books. I’m not really sure what this story is about, except there seem to be a lot of characters who are friends and they are all getting together for a Christmas party. Can you say group hug? We start with Robert Deverall, Duke of Blackstone who is returning home to his depressing home called –wait for it – Blackstone. Along for the ride is his wife Harriet, aka Harry. Evidently Robert had a horrible father, so he has to face his demons and throw a party at the same time. This itsy-bitsy story is jammed packed with people. I shall try to list them, but excuse me if I leave some out. There’s Mary (Robert’s sister). Mary has been in love with Richard Heath. Richard seems to be from the underworld. There is the Duke of Drake. Yes, my little Petunia’s the Duke of Drake – Damian, the Duke of Drake. That’s three Ds in a name. Aaaakkkkk. There is also Royland and Ravernton. I guess they are Robert’s friends. Don’t forget the Duke of Harley – yes Harley. There’s Eglantine – a woman not a bird. Marianne, Edith, and some mothers with no names show up. There are lots of lots of people. A sort of secondary romance which doesn’t go anywhere – probably a future book. This is 34 pages of people saying, “Hi, how ya’ doin’?” 

Sixth is The Earl’s Christmas, by Janna MacGregor. It’s part of the Cavendish series. Another group hug!!!???? We have Cameron (our hero), Julia (our heroine), March (a sister), Lara (a sister), Bennett, Dr. Mark, Faith, McCalpin, Maximus (a cat), Ewan (dead husband), Kinnon, Tavis, Dougan, another Ewan, and another Cam. It’s a story of second changes and it’s all crammed into 37 pages. But even with all of those people crowded together it wasn’t a bad story and it was a great set-up to other books in the series.


The seventh book in the series is Silent Night, by Jess Michaels. It is part of her 1797 Club series and it also seems to be an epilogue to a novel about Charlotte and her husband Ewan, The Silent Duke. We revisit them two children and five years into their marriage. Miss Michaels manages to pack humor, great characters and poignancy into just 17 pages. Not only that but she has a pretty hot climanism-orgasamax scene between Charlotte and Ewan. By the way, Ewan is deaf and that adds even more to this very, very short story. Even at 17 pages this is my favorite story in the book.


Overall, I really enjoyed most of these stories and if you like novella/short stories you probably should give this one a try

Tuesday

How the Dukes Stole Christmas by Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe

November 13, 2018
The holidays are here and you know what that means!!!!! Anthologies!!!!!!!!

How the Dukes Stole Christmas is an anthology which includes authors Tessa Dare, Sarah
MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe. And, do not worry, my little Petunia's, this anthology has a number of winners in it. They are all loosely connected by magical shortbread cookies. By the way, Ms. MacLean gives us the recipe for her family shortbread cookies - I don't believe her cookies are magical and hopefully they taste better than the ones in these stories.


Let's start with Tessa Dare's Meet Me in Mayfair
http://tessadare.com/

Remember these are short stories, which is why this first story pushes the plausibility envelope a tad bit because the hero and heroine do not know each other. We are talking time limit and love at first sight. Also, the story takes place in a single night. But the story also has some vivid winter scenes and a strong sense of the holiday season. I do believe my nose got cold reading it. There are also some very amusing sibling moments in the beginning of the story. Even if our couple had a short acquaintance, this story sparkled and was a lot of fun. Louisa Ward and Thorndale make a wonderful couple with some very heartwarming moments. This story will make you smile. 
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Sweet
Rating: B
 
The Duke of Christmas Present, by Sarah MacLean
http://www.sarahmaclean.net/

This story is about Eben, Duke of Allryd, and his neighbor, Lady Jacqueline Mosby. These two know each other and have loved each other for a long time, but because Eben thinks he's not good enough they have lost their way. Jacqueline, aka Jack, even left for twelve years hoping to either forget Eben or hoping he would chase after her. While this story was a nice read, it also has one of my least favorite story lines - the I'm not good-enough-boo-hoo theme. There wasn't enough space for that in this story. We also have a number of flashbacks, so we do get to see why their relationship is what it is. I wish there had been more insight into Jacqueline/Jack's head, maybe I would have understood her motivation more. However, even if I would have preferred more brain talk, this story had some delightful moments and a great I love you speech from the hero.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Sweet
Rating: B

Heiress Alone by Sophie Jordan 

https://www.sophiejordan.net/
This story has a bit of a Home Alone theme about it. Annis Bannister wakes up at the family's country estate in Scotland to find her entire family has gone. Yes, they forgot her. She doesn't get too upset; she believes her family will realize they are missing a member and return for her. But a snowstorm appears. And so does the Duke of Sinclair.

Now the Duke of Sinclair wasn't all that impressed with Annis and her Duke-hungry family - in fact he's downright rude to her. She's not all that dazzled with him either - so there a love-hate thing going on with them. But don't worry, my little Petunia's, because Sinclair has to save her and her servants from some brigands. Which means they have to travel through a snowstorm, which means that he has to warm her up when they arrive at his castle, which means he has to take off her clothes and his to warm her up. Needless to say there are some really hot scenes in this story. While I wasn't a great fan of the brigands, I am encouraged enough to check out some of Ms. Jordan's other stories.

Time/Place: Scotland 1840s?
Sensuality: Sweet
Rating: B-

Christmas in Central Park, by Joanna Shupe

http://www.joannashupe.com/
This was my least favorite story of the group, even with the cute name of the hero. Our hero isn't a Duke, he's named Duke. And, even though I kept thinking of a dog or John Wayne when I would read the hero's name, I still thought it was a clever idea. Now, maybe some people are too young to recognize it, but the storyline reminded me of the old Barbara Stanwyck movie Christmas in Connecticut. Similar to the movie, our heroine writes a newspaper advice article. She has given advice on cooking, throwing parties, entertaining, and sewing, and she goes by the name of Mrs. Walker. Her boss, Duke, is in a bit of a pinch - he needs to throw a party for the board members so he can make them forget a scandal his newspaper is involved in. He informs Rose (Mrs. Walker) that she must throw a party in one week’s time to impress the board. He wants her to bring her husband (which she doesn't have), and he wants it all to be done at her fancy house (which she doesn't have). So Rose has a week to find a big fancy house, a husband, furniture, food, servants, silverware, china, etc. and not be found out. So, there was a lot of slap-stick things going on and I wish Ms. Shupe had stretched that slap-stick further than she did. Instead she takes our hero down a seedy road. He propositions Mrs. Walker. He misunderstands what Rose's fake husband says to him and thinks he has permission to seduce Rose. Then he finds out the entire truth about Rose and fires her. Not a happy seasonal message. 

Time/Place: New York 1889
Sensuality: Sweet
Rating C-

Overall, How the Dukes Stole Christmas was pretty entertaining. It was a fast read and was filled with some wit, humor, angst, and poignant moments. Except for the less than noble actions of one hero, I do recommend this book.

A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal by Kelly Bowen – Small Glom project

November 13, 2018

And, just that fast it’s over.

http://www.kellybowen.net/

Now, we come to the end of my tiny glom project with A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal. Since we are talking small glom, it is only fitting that we end with a novella which also happens to be part of the Worth series. If you have read I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm, you may recall the character of Viola Hextall. She is the sister of Heath Hextall and in that book she tried to trick the Duke of Worth into marrying her. When this story begins, she has evidently pushed all of Heath’s buttons. Not knowing what else to do with her, he has shipped her off to America, along with a set of draconian chaperones. When this story opens, she is on board a ship grumbling about her fate and how life has treated her badly.

Having just read I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm, I found it interesting that Viola was the character who Ms. Bowen chose to write about. In my opinion Viola would be a hard character to reform. I thought she came off as a selfish, immature, spoiled brat who needed to be taken down a peg or two. Well, in this short story she doesn’t necessarily get taken down, but she does become a better person. Through the help and encouragement of Nathaniel Shaw she starts to find herself. She learns that she can be more than what she thought she could. Nathaniel taps into her potential and she becomes a perfect helpmate for him. She even likes herself in the end - and that's the important part.

Having said that I will also say I was not as impressed with this short story by Ms. Bowen as I was with The Lady in Red. I don’t think the two characters were given enough time to fully develop. Maybe it was the obligatory humpa-dumpa scene which took up some valuable character development, but I had a sense of rushed story line. I think Viola's character was too complicated for the short story format. Her voice deserved a larger platform.

While this story was a pleasant read, it had a rushed feel to it and even though I’m happy to have read it, A Lady’s Guide to Skirting Scandal felt like the short story it was. Too bad because I think Viola would have been the perfect complex character to give a bigger book to.

And, I have come to the close of my Kelly Bowen short glom and I have to say – it was a pleasure. I wish I could find more treasures in my TBR pile. There were just a few minor quibbles along the way - the treasure hunters and the too short of a story for Viola – but overall what a wonderful writer Kelly Bowen has become for me. She can now take her place among my auto-buys. 


Time/Place: Regency Atlantic Ocean
Sensuality: Warm

Monday

You're the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen - Small Glom Project

November 12, 2018
Now comes the problem with Glomming.

http://www.kellybowen.net/

Sometimes it is advisable to put some space between books – then again maybe not. You're the Earl That I Want is the third book in the Worth series, and while I liked it, I wasn’t as fond of it as I was the first two.

In You're the Earl That I want, we have Heath Hextall. Remember Heath? He is William Somerhall, Duke of Worth’s friend. Right away, one of my many pet-peeves made an appearance. Names. Let's ponder a moment. I have to say I wasn’t fond of the name Heath Hextall. There were so many things going through my itty-bitty brain when I would read his name; it became hard to concentrate. First of all, naming someone after a candy bar may not be such a good thing. At least it wasn't Toblerone. But my thoughts didn't stop at candy. Nah, my inside brain voice would pronounce Heath Hextall with a Daffy Duck inflection. Not a big fan of the double letter names like Vicky Vamp, Elrond Endor, Stephen Stump - you get my drift. Then there was Big Valley. You remember Big Valley? Well, maybe not. But a long, long, long time ago there was a cowboy show with Barbara Stanwyck as Victoria Barkley. Remember, she had a son by the name of Heath. Well, Heath wasn't really her son, he was her husband's natural son. And, you know what that means? Someone was playing fast and loose. This was in the days before Ned Stark - well, sort of. I am digressing. Anyway, Heath Hextall is a self-made man – a wealthy self-made man - and he’s on the look-out for a mate. He knows exactly what kind of woman he wants for a wife. He's made a list. He wants someone who is quiet, doesn’t have too many opinions, and will accept his opinions as law. Sounds like a good plan. He requests help from his friend Worth. Worth finds him a perfect candidate - Lady Rebecca Dalton and she is everything Heath Hextall could want. Except for one minor problem: Lady Josephine Somerhall.

If the name Somerhall sounds familiar that's because Josephine, or Joss as she is called, is Worth’s sister. She also grew up with Heath as a friend. She is not, nor has she ever been peaceful, quiet, or inclined to think that Heath is always correct. And, she is about to reenter Heath’s life again. Once she enters his life again, it is no longer the calm sanctuary he requires. In fact, he is almost killed on their first outing. Joss and Heath struggle against each other for a long time. They have a pretty bumpy road to contend with. He wants peace and quiet and she wants freedom – so there is an overlong stretch of will you/won’t you in this story. I found their back and forth struggles tiring. That was only part of my not liking this story as much as the other two.

Maybe because I’m glomming I became tired of Joss trying to right all the wrongs in the world just as the other two heroines did in their books. But, I could overlook that. Maybe. What I really had an issue with was the silly treasure-hunt-decipher-fanatic-Templar plot. It was just too far-fetched for me to buy into and I do admit I skipped over some of the parts in this plot.

Overall, I thought You’re the Earl That I Want didn’t quite match the power of the other two books in the series. Joss and Heath were great characters, but for me, I just could not get past some of the over-the-top hoops they were required to jump through. On top of that was the back and forth between Joss and Heath. And, let us not forget Heath Hextall (say it like Daffy Duck).

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot