Wednesday

Tempting the Laird by Julia London

July 25, 2018
Did I imagine shades of Jane Eyre in this story?
 

 
This was an interesting story, I liked parts of it, but there were some holes which needed to be filled. Let's start with some of the issues. First off, the heroine – Catriona. I don’t remember her from the previous books, so I don’t have a memory of how she was represented in those stories. But in the opening chapters of this story, she is written as a person who has a drinking problem. Why she has a drinking issue is never fully explained. Oh sure, she’s not happy with her life. But why isn’t she? She has a cause, she’s helping downtrodden women, women who have been abandoned by men. But this cause doesn’t seem to give her any fulfillment. She’s not really represented as a 18th century woman, but she’s Scottish, maybe that’s supposed to explain the difference. While I think Scottish women were given a lot of latitude in this time period, I think her freedom in this story may be a stretch. Anyway, she has a drinking problem which alllll through the book comes and goes. It’s a plot-line that never goes anyway and doesn’t add anything to the story, so I wasn’t sure why it was in there.

Then there was the brooding hero, Hamlin Graham, Duke of Montrose. The gossips say he murdered his wife. He’s never says anything about it, he never talks about what happened, he just lets the gossip continue – he broods. This is actually puzzling because he has political ambitions, so if he wants to be in politics why hasn’t he explained everything. No, he’s going to depend on other people to pull him out of the darkness he’s covered himself in. Then there’s Eula.


When Eula is introduced into the story, I started to see similarities between this book and Jane Eyre. We have a mysterious, brooding hero, a young girl who is being raised by the brooding hero, but it's never really explained as to how that came to be. There is also the case of the missing wife, and no explanations as to what happened. There is a difference between the solution to the wife problem, but still this book reminded me a lot of Jane Eyre – only this one had sex.


Back to Eula. The last few books I’ve read have had some wonderful children in them and Eula is no exception. Eula is a charmer; she knows how to get what she wants and doesn’t have any qualms about using her charms. She’s smart and cunning and she steals the show. If she is allowed to grow-up and have her own book, it should be quite fun to read. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed. 


The rest of the book was jammed-packed with loads of characters, plots and distractions. There was a rush to get alllll the strings tied and in so doing the romance gets shorted. This story is also an example of the female lead coming awfully close to being not likeable. The hero, Hamlin’s dark secret doesn’t really make sense and the solution seems rushed. Also, while we are told that Hamlin is a brooding, cold man, he’s really not. He’s a Beta guy disguised as an Alpha.


I do recommend this book, sort of. I was disappointed in some of the solutions to the problems which arose. I didn’t care for the heroine’s drinking problem, which came and went. I guess the solution to drinking is to get married - and, we all know marriage solves everything. The issue of all the fallen women could have been the heart of the story, but it disappeared into the background once Catriona left to find her Uncle Knox. The solution to the fallen women problem was also rushed. For me, there seemed to be so many problems to be solved in the book, but there wasn’t enough space allotted to these problems. And, they deserved more. But if you have been reading this series, you probably need to read this book.


Time/Place: 1700s Scotland/England
Sensuality: Warm Hot
Series: Highland Grooms



Tuesday

Holy Banana Peel!! It's Time for Upcoming Historical Romances!!!!!

Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see HEY DELIA!! August 15, 2018 to September 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. 

Historical Romance
Anabelle Bryant
http://www.anabellebryant.com/
London's Wicked Affair
Midnight Secrets series
August 28
Anna Harrington
http://www.annaharringtonbooks.com/
How the Earl Entices
Capturing the Carlisles series
September 11
Bronwyn Scott
http://www.bronwynnscott.com/
Seduced by the Prince's Kiss
Russian Royals of Kuban series
Paperback - August 21

Ebook - September 1

Caroline Linden*
http://www.carolinelinden.com
An Earl Like You
The Wagers of Sin
August 28

Charis Michaels
http://charismichaels.com/
All Dressed in White, ebook
Brides of Belgravia series
August 21

Erica Ridley
http://www.ericaridley.com
Lord of Vice, ebook
Rogues to Riches series
September 8

Harper St. George
http://www.harperstgeorge.com
An Outlaw to Protect Her
Outlaws of the Wild West series
Paperback - August 21

Ebook - September 1

Janice Preston
http://www.janicepreston.co.uk
Lady Olivia and the Infamous Rake
The Beauchamp Heirs series
Paperback - August 21

Ebook - September 1

Kerrigan Byrne
http://www.kerriganbyrne.com
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
Victorian rebels
August 28

Lorraine Heath
http://www.lorraineheath.com/
When a Duke Loves a Woman
Sins for All Seasons series
August 21

Louise Allen
http://www.louiseallenregency.co.uk
A Lady in Need of an Heir
Paperback - August 21

Ebook - September 1

Margaret Brownley
http://www.margaret-brownley.com
Cowboy Charm School
The Haywire Brides series
September 4

Nicole Locke
http://www.NicoleLocke.com
Reclaimed by the Knight
Lovers and Legends series
Paperback -August 21

Ebook - September 1

Sarah McCarty
http://www.sarahmccarty.net/
Promises Decide
Promises Series
September 4

Sophie Barnes
http://www.sophiebarnes.com
The Illegitimate Duke
Diamonds in the Rough series
August 28

Sophie Jordan
http://www.sophiejordan.net/
The Duke Buys a Bride
The Rogue Files series
July 24 - Yes, I missed it!

Syrie James
http://www.syriejames.com/
Summer of Scandal
Dare to Defy series
September 11

Tanya Anne Crosby
http://www.tanyaannecrosby.com
A Perfectly Scandalous Proposal

Redeemable Rogues series
August 31 - Ebook

Tessa Dare*
http://tessadare.com
The Governess Game
Girl Meets Duke series
August 28

Virginia Heath
http://www.virginiaheathromance.com
The Mysterious Lord Millcroft
The King's Elite series
Paperback - August 21

Ebook - September 1
Historical Fiction

Andrew Miller
https://www.fantasticfiction.com/m/andrew-miller/
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
August 23

Douglas Jackson
http://www.douglas-jackson.net/
Hammer of Rome
Gaius Valerius Verrens series
September 6

Kate Furnivall
http://www.katefurnivall.com/
The Survivors
September 6

Kristina McMorris
http://www.KristinaMcMorris.com
Sold on a Monday
August 28

Pat Barker
https://literature.britishcouncil.org/writer/pat-barker
The Silence of the Girls
August 30/September 11

Sara Alexander
http://www.saraalexander.net/
Four Hundred and Forty Steps to The Sea
August 28

His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls

July 24, 2018
"We must remember that art is art.
Well, on the other hand water is water isn't it?
And east is east and west is west.
And if you take cranberries and stew them like applesause
they taste much more like prunes than rubarb does.
Now uh...now you tell me what you know"
. - Groucho Marx

http://www.elizabethrolls.com/

Sometimes my quotes don't have anything to do with the story, I just like the quote.

I don’t know why Elizabeth Rolls isn't one of my auto-buys; what a fine writer. In His Convenient Marchioness, we have and older couple, with a slight age difference. Giles, the Marquess of Huntercombe has just turned 50 and Lady Emma Lacy is 32. Giles, or Hunt as he is called, has lost his wife and children. His younger step-brother has also just recently died and he is in need of an heir. He doesn’t really want to get married, but his sisters have persuaded him to start looking. His sisters, by the way, have actually, very strongly encouraged him to look for a mate. He has spent most of his life not rubbing his sisters the wrong way, they are rather strong-welled and very annoying. He is a nice guy and doesn’t want to cause too much trouble with anyone. Emma, our heroine, is a widow with two young children, one ten – Harry, one six – Georgina. Be warned these two children are adorable.

Hunt and Emma encounter each other in a book store and fall instantly in lust with each other. Hunt at first considers making Emma his mistress, but eventually decides she should be his wife. He’s very practical about the whole thing. He needs a wife and she fits the bill. His proposal is sort of like, Hey, why won’t you marry me and save me the trouble of looking for a wife. Pretty romantic. At first, she is surprised by the proposal, but after she is threatened by her father-in-law, she turns to Hunt for help. It is at this point that Hunt turns into a super hero. He solves allll of the problems. You got an evil father-in-law who is trying to take your children away from you – Hunt will solve the problem. You got someone who is trying to kill your eldest child – Hunt will solve the problem. You got a marriage that must happen fast – Hunt’s your man. You got a scandal that must be diverted – you guessed it – Hunt, Hunt, he’s our man! But if Miracle Man Hunt persona is a stretch and he seems to solve all the impossible situations, this was a wonderful book.


I loved Georgie and Henry. They were portrayed as real children. They fought, they scrabbled, they tricked each other, but they protected each other and comforted each other. The chemistry between Georgie, Henry and Hunt was well developed. The romance between Emma and Hunt had great pacing. Hunt’s proposal was in the beginning of the book, so we are treated to a marriage of convenience. And, this marriage of convenience was written really well.


Hunt does not want to love anyone again. He lost his wife and children all at the same time from smallpox. He just cannot be hurt like that again. But we know he is fighting a losing battle. It isn’t long before he’s falling for Henry and Georgie. And, then Emma. It was a pure pleasure to watch this marriage of convenience turn into a love match. There was even a great dog in this book, Fergus. Who doesn’t like a dog and kids?


There were also some great supporting characters who showed up. I’m assuming a number of them were from previous books, which I suppose I’m going to have to read now. I also suspect Emma’s brother-in-law will have his own book.  There were some creepy villains and Hunt’s awful sisters. This book had a bit of everything.


Overall, if you want to read a very good marriage-of-convenience story I recommend this one. Both Emma and Hunt are honorable, nice people and this book was a pleasure to read.


Time/Place: Regency England
Series: Lords at the Altar
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Monday

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean

July 23, 2018
Dysfunctional Family Alert

http://www.sarahmaclean.net/

Wicked and the Wallflower is the beginning of a brand-new series by Sara Maclean, the Bareknuckle Bastards. We are introduced to three the illegitimate sons of a creepy Duke. And, they all have nicknames. So, not only do I have to remember real names and titles, I have to remember nicknames. Spoiler: and when the book ends we are left with the impression that the one son is a villain. But, my mind thinks that we are being lead down a red-herring path with that suggestion. Anyway, the creepy Duke is desperate for an heir and gathers his three bastard sons and his legitimate daughter together. He makes it his priority to make their lives miserable and sows threads of distrust among them. He encourages them to compete with each other. I do not mean the good kind of competition. He is truly a horrible man. The siblings bond, but there is some kind of mysterious flare-up among them and two of the brothers and the sister turn against the future villain brother. But we never find out why. And, by the time the next book comes out, I will have forgotten just what’s going on. I’m not fond of loose threads or mysteries which aren’t wrapped up in one book. My brain can just not retain all that stuff. I wish the author had been more forthcoming with us, the readers. I know we will eventually find out what caused the riff, but it was all a big stinking secret. Regardless of that, I loved the romance between Devil aka Devon and Lady Felicity Faircloth, but I wished there had been more of the romance part.

If you read The Day of the Duchess, you will remember Felicity as one of the women who was vying to be the next Duchess of Haven. She did not succeed. Felicity was an interesting heroine, and I liked her a lot. She was strong female, but often times she was so very insecure. She wants to have friends but seems to have often made a lot of bad choices when it comes to picking those friends. She wants to return to her group of friends, the ones who hurt her. Eventually she sees them for what they are, a group of nasty bullies.  


There is a whole lot of machination in the beginning of the story when Devon and Felicity first meet and it’s all very intriguing. Felicity announces that she is engaged to Devon’s brother – she’s not. She leaves the party and when she returns home she finds Devon in her bedroom waiting for her. This was a very fun scene. Devon decides he’s going to use Felicity to get at his brother, of course it doesn’t take long for him to realize that he can never use Felicity as he originally planned.  I can’t really tell you too much of what went on in this story, because there was a whole lot going on. The romance in this book was wonderful and I loved it just bunches and bunches. Devon and Felicity were a great couple. Felicity was one smart cookie. If there was an issue I had with this story it was the mystery surrounding the secondary characters and the dark, deep mysteries plot which will be eventually brought to us in future books. Excuse me if I repeat myself.

Loved, loved, loved the romance, but didn’t love the incompleteness I was left feeling at the end. Sometimes an author can be tooooo mysterious. I do recommend this story, I suspect that there are some things coming which might surprise us with this storyline – I just want to know now.


Time Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Thursday

Society's Most Disreptable Gentleman by Julia Justiss - part of the Wellingford family glom

July 12, 2018
It ain't over til it's over - it's over

http://www.juliajustiss.com/

Well, I thought it was a good idea at the time. Maybe it isn’t such a great idea to glom an author, maybe a little time between books is a better idea. As much as I tried, I could not finish Society’s Most Disreputable Gentleman. Greville Anders is the brother of the previous heroine Joanna. You remember her, she drudged through the mud. Anyway, Greville was actually pressed into the navy and now he finds himself recovering at a house which has Amanda in it. Amanda dreams of life in the city, she thinks Greville is beneath her. This story has a Romanceland separation in it, a pretty lengthy one and for me lengthy separations do not work. Sorry to say I could not finish this book.

So, for me what started out with a bang with A Most Unconventional Match ended with a fizzle.


Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: didn't get that far

Wednesday

From Waif to Gentleman's Wife by Julia Justiss - Part of the Wellingford Family Glom

July 11, 2018
Missing Sparkle Alert!!! 

http://www.juliajustiss.com/

Welcome to the third book in the series and two of the nicest bland people in the world. From Waif to Gentleman’s Wife presents us with two people who are the same. Yes, the hero and heroine think the same, act the same, want the same and are both really nice people. And, they lack spark.

Joanna Merrill is a widow who is down on her luck, out in the rain, drudging to her brother’s house. She has just been fired from her governess job because she was caught in a compromising position by her employer’s wife. Now the person she was caught with happened to be Joanna’s employer and he was forcing himself on her. Of course, his wife believes Joanna was seducing her husband. So it’s out the door, in the rain, with no money. As she’s slogging through the rain and mud she is unaware that her brother is no longer at the estate he was supposed to be stewarding. He was either fired or kidnapped – a mystery for the next book. Instead, in his place is Sir Edward Greaves.

Now, Edward is disguised as just plain old Ned Greaves. You see he was attacked on his way to the estate by a bunch of people who don’t like aristocrats. So, he is keeping his true identity a secret. He is trying to find his attackers. This means that he must keep a secret from Joanna, which is a bad thing because she has trusts issues. But don’t feel too bad, because he’s sad he has to keep a secret from Joanna and he worries about it allllll the way through the book. He constantly thinks about what will happen when she finds out. In fact, there is a lot of thinking in this book.

Joanna thinks about Ned, Ned thinks about Joanna, Joanna thinks lustful thoughts about Ned, and then she feels guilty because of those thoughts. Ned thinks lustful thoughts about Joanna, and then he feels bad because he’s got a secret. He shouldn’t be thinking lustfully about Joanna. Of course, there is something nefarious going on in the village and Ned also thinks about that.

The problem with all the thinking going on between Joanna and Ned was, even with allllll that thinking, thinking, thinking, there wasn't any spark between the two of them. I started drifting away in this story. Yes, I finished the story but I was disappointed. This is one time when the main characters needed to be a little different. They were both really nice people, but there wasn’t anything about them that was interesting. And, all that thinking gave me a headache.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm

Tuesday

The Proper Wife by Julia Justiss, part of the Wellingford series glom

July 10, 2018
Two, two, two Unlikable Characters.

http://juliajustiss.com/
We continue our Wellingford family series glom with Clarissa and Sinjin, aka Colonel Lord
St. John Sandiford. In the previous book in this series these two characters were both pretty unlikable, so when I found out that they had their own book I thought, well, that’s interesting. Sure, sure Sinjin ended up saving our heroine from her TSTL moment at the end of The Wedding Gamble, but he made some pretty dishonorable suggestions concerning the woman he supposedly loved, so The Proper Wife comes with some built-in hills to climb. In The Wedding Bargain, these two were very unlikable. Clarissa was painted as a temperamental, spoiled, fit-throwing brat and Sinjin was shown to have dishonorable intentions. They were both in need of redemption. Did Ms. Justiss succeed? Not completely, but she could have.


When the story begins, these two immediately butt heads. Sinjin is looking for a proper wife, a calm wife, a woman who is not an aristocrat – some one quiet. Clarissa is none of these. Clarissa is quick to enter into numerous frays and scandals. She is a pretty heedless person, charges into things without giving much thought for the consequences. She is self-absorbed. She is everything that Sinjin abhors. I loved the beginning of this story when these two first encounter each other. Their banter and antagonism was a thing to behold. I had a lot of fun watching these two clash. I had a smile on my face through the beginning of the book. I wish it had gone on a bit longer. 

If the author had been able to keep the momentum between Sinjin and Clarissa going this would have been an excellent book. However, there were moments when our character did things which didn’t make sense, and I am becoming more and more fond of my characters' actions making sense. I find myself making notes as I read, asking “does this make sense?” Furthermore, what was a promising start to some pretty fun characters was soon replaced by that old Romanceland separation doodah. It’s hard to build a relationship if the couple aren’t together. Author’s - don’t separate your characters. How are characters supposed to banter if they are not together?

I was pleased to see the previous characters of Sarah and Nicholas make an appearance in this book. It allowed for some much needed loose end tying. There was also enough time given in the book for Sarah, Nicholas and Sinjin to forgive past mistakes and become friends. I was also pleased that Sinjin didn’t moan and groan over his lost love Sarah – at least not too long. When he falls for Clarissa, he really puts up a good fight. I just wish more time had been spent on the couple being together. They were just so much fun when they were together.

I liked this story better than The Wedding Bargain, but it still didn’t quite make it up to standards established in A Most Unconventional Match. I think if the author had given more together time to the couple, I would have found the book very delightful. As it is, it was pleasant but nothing earth-shattering. 

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Warm