Then Comes Seduction by Mary Balogh

There are two things I want to say before I talk about Mary Balogh’s Then Comes Seduction. Number one, Mary Balogh’s has always been one of my favorite authors, however just because she is one of my favorites doesn’t mean that every one of her books is a winner. Number two, let’s talk about “rakes”, I have studied history quite a lot and when I run across a real rake in those long ago days, he is an incredibly horrible man. a drunk, a womanizer, sometimes doing things that would in these times land him in jail. Not someone that would ever reform, usually someone who dies young from a liver disorder. Our romance books have taken these rakes and cleaned them up.

Now, to the book. When I started reading the book I really had trouble getting into it because the two main characters Jasper and Katherine were so unlikable. Jasper was what I would classify as a real historical rake, really selfish, a drunk, a womanizer, really a creep. And Katherine was brain-dead.

Did I put the book down? Nope! This is a Mary Balogh’s book after all, she will save these two. And, she did, as only Mary Balogh’s can do. Mary Balogh’s can really write about emotions. She can turn unlikable characters into lovable characters.

Short plot description: Jasper wages on anything, in a drunken stupor, he wages that he can seduce a virgin in two weeks. Guess who that is? Katherine falls into his arms like a plucked chicken/ripe plum…whatever. The seduction scene is very memorable mainly because it’s so painful to read. The scene takes a surprise turn and I get to see Jasper's charm/wit and that Katherine isn't the push over we thought she might be.

Now comes the three year separation (don't get excited it's only a paragraph separation in real life.) It is at this point that Ms. Balogh’s writing swings into full gear and I get to watch them fall slowly in love.

Loved this book, I’m not sure if I’d give it as high a score as the first one, I found the pacing to be a little slow. However, don’t let that stop you from reading, especially if you like clever men that are too clever for their own good or I believe the term "hoist by his own petard" might apply.
And yes, you get to see an older Stephen and an even more mysterious Con. Really looking forward to those two books. The third sister’s story (Margaret) is next: At Last Comes Love.
Sensuality Rating: Warm


A View to a Kiss by Caroline Linden

A View to a Kiss was actually published in February, it’s just been in my TBR pile since then. And before I say anything about the book, let me say just one little minor rant. I am surprised Britain had any men in the army to do the actual fighting, because it seems that most of them were spies.
Now on to the book, Harry Sinclair is a spy. Lady Mariah Dunmore is the daughter of one of the men Harry is watching. He shares a house with other spies; which I would have been happier if more time had been given to the dynamics in the spy house. However, it wasn’t.
The first half of the books is filled with these two lead characters acting like they are 18 and 21 instead of 23 and 30. I found the character of Mariah hard to swallow. She’s is supposed to be a sophisticated woman, but comes off being an oversexed teenager, obsessing about a man that breaks into her bedroom while she’s asleep and hides in the shadows. I found these little encounters slightly irritating and totally unbelievable. I thought the heroine was rather goofy.
The book picks up after she discovers who he is and there is a really well written chase scene. The book is better when the mystery is the center stage and not the romance.
Do I recommend this book? It's not all that bad, really. If you like characters that are overwhelmed by passion, this book is for you. Plus the mystery and spy angle is very nice and in my opinion the best part of the book. I am also assuming that Harry's spy roommates will all have books, especially the very mysterious Brandon., who now has a scar (due to the bomb exploding.)
Sensuality: Warm


Never Romance a Rogue by Liz Carlyle

Liz Carlyle is one of my favorite authors and has created a world of characters that inhabit her novels. If you go to her website, she has even included pedigree charts for all of the families she has created.

The main characters in this one are Lady Phaedra Northampton and Tristan Talbot. Tristan is a lighthearted Duke of Slut and Phaedra is an adventurous heroine. But don’t groan at the typecasting, these two have depth. They are wonderful characters, and I especially like Tristan. There is strong emotion between the main characters and their interaction with secondary characters. Not all of the emotional problems (Tristan and his father) are resolved. There are hints in this book of the follow-up story, but not enough to distract.

A little bit of warning, there are darker elements in this book involving bondage, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, you may be a little squeamish while reading this book.

Liz Carlyle is a gifted writer and this book is one of her better ones or at least one her better later ones.
Sensuality: Really Hot


Love with the Perfect Scoundrel by Sophia Nash

What a disappointment. This is the third book in a series and I have to admit, as much as it pains me, that it wasn’t up to par with the other two. The first part of the book was very nice, with lots of sexual tension. The main characters, Grace and Michael were humorous, sympathetic and likeable while they were stranded in a snow storm. However, once they returned to London, the book went downhill. I wanted the story to end so much, that I started to do major skimming. This book would have made a better short story or maybe Ms. Nash should have rewritten the last half. There is a short story and a full length book coming soon which will continue the series. Which reminds me; sometimes the reappearances of other characters from previous books work and sometimes it doesn’t, this time it didn’t.
Sensuality Rating:Warm


To Romance a Charming Rogue by Nicole Jordan

You know usually I like Nicole Jordan’s books, but this one I couldn’t finish. I found it very hard to immerse myself in the book or give a rattus hindquarter about the two characters in the book. Here’s the plot through my eyes: Two years ago Damon and Eleanor were engaged, then she told him she loved him…as daffy duck would say: "what a maroon"…so, because he lost his twin brother to consumption when he was twelve and then his parents went down with the ship the next year, he can never never never ever luv anyone again. So what does he do you ask? He puts his ex-mistress in a carriage and parades her through the park so his fiance will see him and break off the engagement…which she does. Two years pass, Eleanor is trying to trap an Italian prince into marriage…by using the handy dandy “how to catch a man” book written by her friend the courtesan (no one knows that she’s a writer in secret)…Damon must come back and save Eleanor from the clutches of the prince, because the prince is …ta da, a WOMINIZER…OMG…and besides that someone is trying to off the prince…pushing him down stairs, carriage wheels coming off, ipecac in the punch, poisoned dart guns from South American Indians…it was at this point I put the book down. The only thing good was the actual writing style, which is why I will (like the dope that I am) buy the next book in the series.
Senuality: Hot


First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

Three good books in a row, I know that can’t last! Mary Balogh has done it again! One of my all time favorite authors, has begun a new series and if the rest of the books in the series are like this one, we are in for a treat. Most of the characters in the series are introduced in this book: three sisters Margaret (seems to be a bit of a martyr), Vanessa, Katherine and their brother Stephen. There is also a second cousin, Constantine, (spoiler here: he gets his own book). This story one of my favorite plots: the convenient marriage. This is the second sister Vanessa and Elliott, Viscount Lyngate’s story. As with all of Balogh’s books, this is a character driven story, with the love story developing slowly. The first meeting of the two main characters will remind one of Pride and Prejudice, but any similarities end there. There are some wonderful set-downs from Vanessa and amusing repartee between her and Elliott. I loved this book and I am really looking forward to the rest in the series, the next three books are following in April, May and June with Constantine’s story in 2010.
Sensuality rating Hot

Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

This book is not a light fluffy read. It’s is filled with poignancy and at sometimes almost unbearable sadness. The writing draws the reader into the book. For those that don't like flashbacks beware, there are a few in this book. However, in this case the flashbacks add to the story. This is a story of trust and renewal. The story is many layered and things are revealed piece by piece. There is no evil villain, evil woman, spies, amnesia or mistaken identities; this is a very realistic book. The only problem I had with it was the heroines slow acceptance of the hero’s reformation, but then she wasn’t reading the book.
The sexual content is scorching.


Connie Brockway's So Enchanting

Loved this book! Welcome back to historicals Ms. Brockway. Timeline: Late Victorian. Plot: Fanny Walcott can commune with animals, Greyson Sheiffield exposes charlatan mediums. They have a run in when Fanny is married to a man who is posing as a medium; then they met again six years later when Fanny is a companion to a young woman who believes she can communicate with animals. Anyway, the story is full of humor, poignancy and intelligence…and the secondary characters are adorable and the small village is filled with quirky characters. But I loved the hero…what a wonderful character.
The sexual content is mildly hot.