Wednesday

Whoooo Haaaa!!! Upcoming Historical Releases!!!

May 20, 2015 
Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see Hey Delia!!! For: June 15, 2015 to July 14, 2015.
Alexandra Hawkins*

A Duke But No Gentleman
Masters of Seduction series
June 30
Ann Lethbridge

The Duke’s Daring Debutante
June 16
Erin Knightley

The Duke Can Go to the Devil
Prelude to a Kiss series
July 7
Isabella Bradford*

A Reckless Desire
Breconridge Brothers series,
June 30
Jane Feather

Trapped by Scandal
Trapped series
June 23
Jenna Kernan

Running Wolf
June 16
Johanna Lindsey

Wildfire in His Arms
spinoff of One Heart to Win
June 16
Kaki Warner

Home by Morning
Heroes of Heartbreak Creek trilogy
July 7
Louise Allen

A Rose for Major Flint
Brides of Waterloo series
June 16
Lynne Connolly*

Danger Wears White
Emperors of London series, ebook
July 7
Mary Wine

A Sword for His Lady
Courtly Love series
July 7
Megan Frampton

Put Up Your Duke
Dukes Behaving Badly series
June 30
Michelle Willingham

Warrior of Ice
Warriors of Ireland series
June 16
Rosanne Bittner

Do Not Forsake Me
Outlaw Hearts series
July 7
Samantha Grace

The Best of Both Rogues
Rival Rogues series
July 7
Vanessa Kelly

How to Marry a Royal Highlander
The Renegade Royals series
June 30

Victoria Morgan

Daughter of an Earl
Sequel to The Heart of a Duke
July 7

Tuesday

The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London

May 19, 2015
Time for a road trip

http://julialondon.com/

This book comes with a warning - you are either going to like this book or not. Why, pray tell, would that be? Well, because The Scoundrel and the Debutante covers a period of only four days tops - at least the road trip falling in love part. So, there is a bit of a suspension of disbelief involved in this particular story. While this book worked for me, it may not work for others. But hey! This is about me and I loved this story! Let's take a gander, shall we?

If you have been following this series, it is the third installment of the Cabot sisters and it seems that even though I purchased the other two books for some reason I didn't read them. Oh dear! Although, now that I go back and look at the covers, there seems to have been some adjusting of original covers vs. released covers and some last minute change of titles - which I didn't catch. So, I will probably go back and read those missed books and learn a valuable lesson about things that change. This also might explain why I couldn't recall a single thing about the previous books when I was reading The Scoundrel and the Debutante. I digress.

In this story we have Prudence Cabot, the straight arrow sister who is sad (sniff) because she's not married. She blames her scandalous sisters for this; she pouts, she crumbles, she resents. She just doesn't understand why men are not flocking around her - she is the beauty of the family after all. She actually sounds a little stuck on herself, doesn't she? Well, anyway she's decided to visit a friend in the countryside who has just had a baby, which will make her even more depressed because she doesn't like to be around happily married people. She is waiting for her carriage to pick her up. By the way, this was when I knew I would have to leave historical accuracy behind - a young unmarried woman waiting for a carriage unchaperoned, puleese. Anyway, she's waiting for the carriage and what should happen while she's waiting? The public coach pulls up and who should disembark? The biggest, brawniest, handsomest man she's ever seen, and he's lost. You see, he's American and he doesn't understand English, or at least the English that's spoken in England. After assisting him in finding his proper direction, Prudence has some kind of epiphany. This is not a small gentle epiphany, but more of a giant lightning bolt. She decides to chuck it all for an adventure with this man who has stunned her senseless, our hero, Roan Matheson.

By the way, isn't Roan another name for a horse? Ummm, I wonder - horse - stallion - big - ummmm. Roan Matheson is on a mission. He's searching for his sister Aurora who seems to be quite a bother. She's left her fiancé in America and come to England to - I don't know - hang out with the rich people and parrrrr-ty. Roan also has an almost fiancée back home, however, he doesn't really know her and she doesn't really light any bulbs, trip any triggers, send any shivers through him. Nope, when he gets back home he intends to marry her and seal a business proposition between her family and his. You see, Roan's family has money, but they want more. And, now he's in this country where the city of West Lee is actually Weslay and he's headed south when he should be going north. He's grumpy. Then he is saved by a gorgeous angel, Prudence, and thoughts of his sister seem to just fly out of his head.

Well, it isn't too long before these two people who are so wrong for each other are on a road trip adventure. A romp through the countryside where all the standard Romanceville things happen to them. Thanks to Julia London's remarkable writing this standard romance yarn rises above the rest. This journey seemed longer than the few days it actually was. And, even though Prudence did things that were not at all in her character, I didn't mind. Prudence and Roan shared adventures, they shared stories, they shared truths and they shared a good time. They even admit their love for each other.  The road adventure is bright, shiny, fun; but as they continue there is a growing bleakness that takes place because they know that when their adventure ends they will separate. This was one time when a marriage proposal is turned down, I found the rejection understandable.

There was a lot more to this book, but I'm not going to go into everything except to say Aurora was a really self-centered girl. There were some other secondary characters, but they really didn't overwhelm any of the storytelling. The Scoundrel and the Debutante is first and foremost a tale about Roan and Prudence. If you can get past the four day fall in love thing, you should enjoy this book. And, obviously you don't need to read the other two to read this one.

Time/Place: Regency English countryside
Sensuality: Hot

50 Ways to Ruin a Rake by Jade Lee

May 19, 2015
The plans of mice and men...

http://jadeleeauthor.com/
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake is the first Jade Lee book I've read and it was interesting experience. It is also the beginning of the Rakes and Rogues series. And, even though it is the beginning of a series, I believe some of the characters in this book are connected to her Bridal series. There were parts of the story I liked and there were parts that I was not too keen on.

This is a story about Mellie Smithson and Trevor. Mellie seems to be a highly intelligent woman - she has a very scientific mind, she works with chemicals and has created a new beauty product. The problem is her femininity. Her father, who she works with, and her uncle both use her brain and ignore it because she is a woman. She's close to being a drudge. She wants more for herself, but doesn't know how to go about getting it. There is also the problem of her uncle trying to force her to marry her cousin in order to keep all of her brain power in the family. Then there is Trevor.

Trevor is grandson to the Duke of Trimby and in line someday to take over the title. Here's the problem: Trevor's grandfather is a nasty old guy who wants his grandson to tow the line and get married. He has cut Trevor's funds off hoping that will force his grandson into doing what he wants him to do. Trevor has been subsisting off of food at parties and hanging out at the Smithson's place. Trevor has studied under Mellie's scientist father for a long time. So, Mellie and Trevor know each other. Mellie has grown up resenting Trevor's place in her father's heart and Trevor has grown up ignoring Mellie.

Well, Trevor has a plan. He knows Mellie doesn't like him so she is the perfect choice for him to present to his grandfather as his fiancée. His plan is that once his grandfather sees that he's engaged he will release Trevor's funds to him. Then after a certain amount of time Trevor and Mellie can break up. He believes Mellie will not be hurt by this because she dislikes him so much. Well, Mellie considers his plan, but adds some demands of her own. During the engagement, Trevor must help her find someone she can marry. She believes that only through marriage to the right person can she escape her irritating cousin, nasty uncle and oblivious father. So, they embark upon a fake engagement.

I might have enjoyed this book more if I had liked some of the people in the book better. First of all Mellie let people walk all over her for waaay too long. She found her cousin more than annoying, but never really puts her foot down. She doesn't stand up to her oblivious father and ignorant uncle. She lets Trevor maneuver her all over London so she can get some town bronze. But even with that I took a strong dislike to a rather obnoxious "friend" of Trevor's - Lady Eleanor. When Lady Eleanor is introduced to Mellie, her reaction is waaaay over the top. It's as if Mellie was some kind of backwater hick or monkey or someone who picks their nose in public. She treated Mellie as if Mellie had never seen the inside of a house or eaten at a dinner table or read a book. Eleanor was a mighty unpleasant person and I really wanted Mellie to stand up to her. If maybe it had been just one person pushing Mellie around, but no, everyone did. Occasionally there was a glimpse of temper and an explosion of words but not enough.

Then there is Trevor. He had big problems with his horrible family. What an atrocious grandfather, a real piece of work. Unlike boo-hoo-poor-me Mellie, he stood up to his family. And, I liked him for that. What I didn't like about him, was once again we have a so-called honorable hero who is going to end his engagement when he gets his money. But, he doesn't seem to have a problem with introducing Mellie to the facts of life. In fact he embarks upon this pretty early in the book, before any chemistry has been established between these two. He knows she doesn't like him, he knows it will not be lasting, but somehow he just can't keep his hands and tongue off of her. This was all introduced pretty early on and seemed to me to be rather tawdry.

Funny stuff. As I've said before funny is subjective and a lot of times when one is in a mood, one doesn't always see funny stuff as funny. All through the book, there was witty dialogue and things I was supposed to laugh at, but I was so irritated with the heroine and hero I was unable to see the humor in them. It wasn't till the very end when the turkey disguised as a Dodo bird is introduced that I laughed. In fact, I thought I was reading a different book and it dawned on me that probably there had been humor earlier on in the book but I just hadn't seen it. But, I have too many other books to read to go back and reread a book to find something I missed the first time around.

So, here's the dilemma. I didn't really enjoy this couple, but I did like the turkey and I thought that bird was pretty funny. I also had a major problem with Lady Eleanor because I think she’s earmarked for her own book and she has probably been in previous books. I’m thinking about going back and reading some of the other books to get a better feel for her, because she is really an obnoxious woman. Or, I could just read the next book in Ms. Jade's new series just to give her another chance. I'm always looking for new authors, and I also know that sometimes a book hits the spot and other times they don't. For me, this time this particular book didn't, but I'm willing to give another one a try.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

Wednesday

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander

May 13, 2015
Hey, Ms. Alexander, update the pedigree chart!

http://www.victoriaalexander.com/
This was a fun book. Ms. Alexander was at the top of her game with The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress, or maybe it's just because one of my favorite kind of heroes is in this one: the befuddled charmer. I was enchanted with both the heroine, Lucy Merryweather, and Cameron Effington, aka Fairchild. Lucy is spunky, but not t-o-o spunky, naive, but not stupid, and she has an abundance of energy. Cameron is a younger son, who really hasn't had to do too much of anything. He is a standard aristocratic rake, who tries to stand up to his father, but usually fails. By the way, his father has a book of his own, Let it Be Love. In fact this book is tied to almost all of Ms. Alexander's historical books. There are Effington's in this one and Millworth Manor people; if you visit Ms. Alexander's website, you will see they all seem to be connected in one way or another. So, don't even try to keep track of who is who. Also, something I found interesting was that the grandmother in this book had her own book, The Marriage Lesson. The Marriage Lesson was about her and Thomas Effington. In this book Thomas Effington has gone on to the great beyond and that was kind of startling. A dead former hero.


I loved Lucy Merryweather - maybe because she was so vibrant. She sparkled. She also has a purpose in life, and that purpose is to fulfill the bucket list her Great-Aunt created for herself and was never able to do. Some of these things on the list are normal everyday wishes, but a couple of them could only lead to disaster, or in the case of this book, fun. Posing naked for an artist being one of them. The one problem I had with the list was the fault of the editor or whoever released it to electronic format with itsy-bitty hard-to-read writing. So, I think whoever has the say on a final product should make sure everything is readable. That's my rant, but it doesn't have anything to do with the contents of the story, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In the previous book we saw Lucy's break with her fiancé, which for Lucy wasn't all that heartbreaking. They had been avoiding the walk down the aisle for years. So, Lucy is not boo-hooing, in fact she is thrilled to be on her own and doing the bucket list. At least she thinks she's on her own. Unbeknownst to her, her ex-fiancé has hired someone to watch out for her. And, here is where the misunderstanding comes in. Spoiler, sort of. Lucy knows that her fiancé might have someone keeping an eye on her; she just jumps to the wrong conclusion as to who it might be. Here is where the story gets a little convoluted. In a funny way.

Cameron writes for a newspaper rag and his father is disappointed in him. For most of his life he has been wandering around, moving from one occupation to another. He has unlimited funds, but he is unsettled - he is wasting his time. On top of that, instead of writing for a top newspaper, he is writing for a gossip page.  For some reason his father believes that writing a novel is more responsible than writing for a newspaper. Didn't quite understand that, unless he believed his son wouldn't be able to settle down long enough to write a novel. Anyway, Cameron now needs to come up with an idea for a book. Through the suggestion of his friend Phineas, he decides to write an adventure story based on the adventures of the American heiress Lucy Merryweather, hence the title of the book. So, he starts to follow Lucy around - and he thinks he's being very sly about it, but Lucy spots him almost immediately. Lucy jumps to the conclusion that he is the detective who was hired to watch out for her and when she confronts him Cameron doesn't deny it. And, the adventure begins.

All through this story, we are given silly fun Lucy adventures and a hero who just cannot say the right words. Most of the time he is consumed with jealousy - which in this book is funny. I found Cameron's stumbling, bumbling, out-of-control Lucy moments endearing. If there was one stumbling point for me, it was that I started to feel sorry for Cameron toward the end of the book. He tried awfully hard to be what Merry wanted, he just didn't know how to express himself and toward the end of the book I was asking myself "just what does she want?" It seemed to me she made Cameron suffer just a little more than he should have.

Overall, this is a fun book, which I can recommend. Nothing earth shattering, just a feel good book with no dark deep angst. Cameron and Lucy were an adorable couple. There were a number of great secondary characters that enhanced the book and I'm looking forward to some of them filling their own pages.

Time/Place: 1888 England Mostly
Sensuality: Warm/Hot


Monday

A Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell

May 11, 2015
"Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, whoa!
My Pony Boy"

 

http://annecampbell.com/
Well, it seems the first book I've ever read by Anna Campbell happens to be the fourth book in a series. The Sons of Sin series, by the way. I don't believe it is necessary to have read the others to follow A Scoundrel by Moonlight - unless, of course, you are interested in the back story of the people who bounce into the story to give their wise and learned advice. This one revolves around a misunderstanding.


A big misunderstanding. You see, our heroine, Nell Trim, is out to ruin James, Marquee of Leath. He's the hero, in case you didn't guess. It seems that Nell's younger sister was defiled, impregnated and then left to face the music alone. At first she told her family that a stranger had forced himself on her. But, after losing her baby in childbirth she makes a deathbed confession. The dirty culprit was not some passing stranger, but a scoundrel who seduced her and that man is - ta ta ta dah - the Marquess of Leath. And that is why Nell Trim is out for revenge against the Marquess of Leath. Does she have any evidence other than her silly sister’s word? Of course not. Does she do any investigation? Of course not. She hatesssss the Marquess - just hatesssss him. She worms her way into the Marquess' household pretending to be a companion to his mother. She is hoping to find some kind of incriminating evidence that will destroy him.

Then there is James, Marquess of Leath. He's got some big problems. It seems that his now deceased uncle had been working his way through the women of England; seducing, pillaging and keeping a handy dandy diary. I suspect that there was more about the uncle in previous books. By the way, his uncle used the alias of Marquess of Leath when doing his seductions. So, poor ol' James has been dealing with the women and babies that keep cropping up - in a good way. He's taking care of them. For some reason, he's been sent down to the countryside because of some scandal, which must have been in some other book. (Maybe this wasn't a standalone book.) One of the first things he encounters is Nell in the library snooping. He is of course immediately in lust with this snooper woman who he cannot trust. And, so it begins.

I enjoyed this story in the beginning, but about halfway through I started to become irritated by James and Nell, mostly Nell. First of all, as I said before, Nell hatessss James. We the reader know about the mistaken identity, but Nell doesn't. She believes he's responsible for her sister's death. But let me tell you, she caves in to his desires really fast. I struggled with this turn of events. I thought she should have waited until she no longer suspected James of being an ev-i--l man. So, I didn't particularly care for Nell's willingness to cadoodle-foodle with a man she despised.

Maybe I've read too many romances. I am getting dreadfully tired of: the woman/man not being good enough; the turning down of the marriage proposal - over and over and over again; the almost TSTL heroine galloping all over the countryside chasing a villain and the jumping to conclusions without investigating or even - dare I say it - asking!! Yes, I know there is/was a class system in (insert country.) But, I am really tired of Dukes-Marquess-Counts-Baron-Sirs singing that old song about the woman who isn't good enough for marriage because she's not an aristocrat. At least in this story, Nell didn't turn out to be a secret blue blood, which also irritates me.

And then there is the "ride" me moment. Yes, I giggled. Then I groaned (not the good kind). Then I rolled my eyes. Then I skipped ahead. Puleese, we are not ponies.

There is a lot more in this story: another misunderstanding, a villain, a regrouping of characters from other books, a temper tantrum, an unnecessary hurtful moment because of the stupid misunderstanding, and finally after some groveling that wasn't needed (in my opinion) an acceptance of a marriage proposal.

Sorry to say, I couldn't like this story. I actually came to dislike the heroine quite a lot. Her intentions in the beginning were understandable, but the honor she exhibited in the beginning was lost when she hopped into bed with a man she supposedly despised.


Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot

Friday

Sinfully Yours by Cara Elliott

May 8, 2015
Excuse me, wasn't your hand doing tricks just yesterday?

http://www.caraelliott.com/index.html

Sinfully Yours is the second book in the Hellions of High Street series. The stories focus on the misadventures of the three Sloane sisters who are not your normal, everyday Regency misses. They all three have dreams, schemes and flying machines. Well, maybe not the flying machines. The first sister writes about politics and the third, Caro, writes poems. This story is about the middle sister, Anna, and she writes Gothic adventure stories under the pen name of Sir Sharpe Quill. These stories are over-the-top-melodramatic-harrowing adventures; which by the way, are also highly popular. But, you see she has a problem. Her deadline is looming and she's stumped as to where to take her characters next. 

The premise of this story was pretty amusing. Anna is pulling her hair out trying to come up with "new" adventures for her characters Alessandro Crispini and Emmalina Smythe. I found the scenes where Anna and her sister, Caro, are expounding on what dangers they can put these people through very amusing. Caro was so funny in her exuberance that she almost stole the show. By the way, I chuckled over the name Crispini and the fact that Anna’s fictional heroine was an orphan. There was some pretty amusing insight into the writing of a gothic/romance book; I believe Ms. Elliott winked at us with some of it. Anyway, Anna’s profession leads to a rather comical misunderstanding between Anna and Devlin (mostly Devlin.) Anna is sneaking around doing covert things like looking at guns and hiding in dark places. Devlin on the other hand is investigating some kind of crime. He of course thinks Anna is up to no good, at least in the beginning.  This had all the promise of being a screwball comedy, but it didn’t quite get there – too bad.

We were introduced to Anna and her antagonist, aka hero Devlin, in the last book, Scandalously Yours. They were the main reason I decided to continue with the series. They were such a delightfully argumentative couple and I wanted to see how they managed their own book. I'm delighted to say they managed pretty well! I enjoyed both Devlin and Anna. They both have secrets, they're both strong and their banter is amusing. While I found them enjoyable, their chemistry was uneven. One moment they are secluded in an alcove doing hand puppet tricks, and I mean really hot hand puppets. In this particular scene, the innocent heroine is reaching her hands down our hero's trousers for a grand adventure with Mr. Toad. Of course, Devlin has to return the favor. Then the next time we see Devlin and Anna it's as if nothing happened. Oh sure, Anna thinks about it for a while, but it doesn't seem to be the earth shattering moment it had to have been. She is/was a pretty wholesome girl after all. She should have pondered that moment longer than she did. And, as for the not-so-innocent Devlin - well - it did seem as if it was one of the best encounters he'd ever had (of course). The next day he had a bit of a detachment from Anna – it was bothersome. Because I felt as if Devlin was disconnected from Anna, so when the actual first bedding occurred, it was a tad bit jolting.

Secondary characters. There is/was a great set-up for the future story, Passionately Yours, which revolves around the youngest Sloane sister Caro. Caro was pretty funny - she's sooooo dramatic, she's quite the melodramatic queen and she hatesssss the obnoxious Lord McClellan. I'm really looking forward to their book. Keeping my fingers crossed. You just never know how a great secondary character is going to translate when they are given their own book. I'm also enjoying the relationship between the sisters. They get along and there's not an evil one in the group.

There is also a house party and a mystery to solve; the house party is fun, the mystery easy to solve. I spotted the villain right away, I just didn't want it to be that particular person.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book, a light read with an endearing couple. I would have given it a higher rating if Devlin had been connected just a little bit more with Anna.

Time/Place: Regency England/Scotland
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Thursday

Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid by Suzanne Enoch

April 30, 2015
Do ye' ken? Anaither Scottish tale.

http://www.suzanneenoch.com/

This is like a broken record in more ways than one. Suzanne Enoch latest Mad, Bad, and Dangerous in Plaid is the latest in the Scandalous Highlanders series. This one is about
Rowena, the sister in the MacLawry family. And, as we are told 500 gazillion times in this book she's a fierce highland lass. The hero of this story is Lachlan MacTier, Viscount Gray, who, by the way, just may be in the running for the Bonehead hero award.

I have enjoyed the other stories in this series and I especially loved Ranulf's story. That's a good thing, because let me tell you Ranulf was a big pain in the bahooky this time around. Yes, I know he's a controlling older brother who has all the responsibilities of his land, brothers, sister, neighbors, clan, wife and sheep on his shoulders. Yes, he is not the only controlling older brother I've ever seen in a Romanceland novel, but usually there is also a gentleness revealed just below the surface in most of those guys which seemed to be lacking in this presentation of Ranulf. That's too bad, because it was one of the things that darkened my enjoyment of this book. Though that wasn't the only thing that caused a shadow here and there.

Let's start with Rowena. She's very young. I mean really young and not just chronologically but she's really, really immature. She has always luved Lachlan, followed him around when they were wee bairns, ye ken. He has totally ignored her. She is like a mosquito buzzing around his head. Well, when she turns seventeen she decides to run off to London, which is actually Ranulf and Charlotte's story. Well, now she has turned eighteen and she's allll grown up and she has men tripping all over her and she is going to return to Scotland to attend her brother's wedding and she's going to bring her London friends with her and she's not going to talk with a Scottish brogue and she's going to like totally ignore that big oaf Lachlan. Rowena was a real irritating character; she was, like, totally into herself, she was like embarrassed of the sheep. Ehmagawd! Being a highlander was totally uncool. It wasn't till she was kidnapped that I had any fondness for her, but, by that time I had only a few chapters left.

Then we have Mr. Bonehead - Lachlan. For years and years he ignores Rowena - she is nothing but a big irritate in his manly life and then she shows up with her London friends and bumps on her chest! Now he sees her! She's got gazongas! She's a fierce highland beauty! She's fierce, fierce, fierce and he must have her! He must sneak into her bedroom at night and coerce her into a kiss! He must trip up all the other guys so he will be the only one left. He must navigate around his best friends in the whole world, her brothers, take her innocence and then lie about it.

I've read Suzanne Enoch since the beginning of time and I will always read her books. I love a lot of her stories; if I didn't I wouldn't still be reading her. However, every once in a while there is one book that doesn't live up to the rest of the books in the series and for me Mad, Bad, and Dangerous falls short.

Time/Place: 1820ish Scotland
Sensuality: Warm/Hot