On My Radar...End of April...Beginning of May!!!

Isobel Carr aka Kalen Hughes
Ripe for Pleasure
The League of Second Sons series
date April 26, 2011

Madeline Hunter
Dangerous in Diamonds
The Rarest Blooms series
Release date April 26, 2011

Sarah MacLean
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Love by Numbers series
Release date April 26, 2011

Mia Marlowe aka Emily Bryan
Touch a Thief
Touch of Seduction series
Release date April 26, 2011

Mary Jo Putney
Nowhere Near Respectable
Lost Lords series
Release date April 26, 2011

Emma Wildes
One Whisper Away
Ladies in Waiting series
Release date May 5, 2011

For a more complete list of upcoming April/May releases see Hey Delia


How to Woo a Reluctant Lady by Sabrina Jeffries

March 28, 2011

I've heard excuses before but this one takes the cake!

How to Woo a Reluctant Lady is the third in the Hellions of Halsted series and if you're following that series, I think you'll be satisfied with this one...if you haven't been following the series, you may have trouble keeping up with some of the goings-on.

We are once again in the interesting world of the scandalous Sharpe family. Have you ever noticed that a lot of scandalous Romanceland families aren't really that scandalous. Anyway, the saga continues and for those of you that haven't read the other ones, there is a continuing mystery of the Sharpe sibling's parents death that is yet to be solved...and we have another red herring in this book...a flimsy one, but red nonetheless.

So, in this story we have Giles, who is a barrister. However, he has also done some covert work for the British home office (what a busy place that must have been.) It is during one of these stealthy times that our heroine, Minerva, encounters him rifling through a desk. Well, as often happens in Romanceland, this encounter leads to a broken heart on Minerva's part and a "she's not the little sister of my best friend anymore, I must stay away from her" awakening on the hero's part. Fast forward nine years. Minerva is being forced to marry and if you've read the other books you will know why. Anyway, she doesn't want to marry, she wants to be a writer in a she comes up with a plan. The plan is rather funny. Of course, the plan backfires and ends up with her being forced into marriage with Giles...and it is here that some of the issues I had with this book raised their ugly head.

Trust. Giles has trust issues...who'd have thunk it? A spy with trust issues!!! You know he cannot trust Minerva with the truth!!! Sigh. This trust issue of Giles went on w-a-y too long. Love. He also can never l-u-v anyone...and when the reason for his not wanting to fall in love is revealed I had a chuckle moment and I don't think I was supposed to. This had to be one of the silliest reasons I've ever read for not falling in love. Pretty goofy. And then there were the brothers!!! Giles is supposed to be best friends with the Sharpe brothers, so, I found it interesting that her brothers overreacted to Minerva's wedding him. There were some amusing moments in these confrontations, but I felt sorry for Giles in his choice of friends. If not for those annoyances, this would have been an excellent book. I absolutely loved Minerva, even if at times she exhibited some of those "wanting to charge into danger" moments...she was such a strong personality that these occasions were in character.

Overall, those were just minor things and I did enjoy this story...loved Minerva and I'm liking the mystery. And Mr. Pinter is a scene stealer. I haven't guessed yet who did it.

Time/Place: Late Regency England (ugly dress time)
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Seducing the Governess by Margo Maguire

March 25, 2011

What we need here is a Vulcan mind meld.

Where is Spock when you need him? Seducing the Governess was a s-l-o-w read and it shouldn't have been, because every once in a while there was some pretty emotional writing. However, it's always a bad sign when I can't tune out the nattering coming from the left side of the room. My husband's voice breaking through my Romanceland reading fog is my barometer as to whether I'm going to like a book or not.

The plot is an old one...the aristocrat and the governess, in fact, their meeting is a standard governess startles horse - ends up wet - muddy beginning. Nothing wrong with that, I find it rather funny actually. The problem I had with this book was the couple think! They think, they ponder, they ruminate...about each other...about sex and they do it (think), a lot. Over and over. Again and again. A gerbil might like to be stuck in a wheel that goes no where, but I don't. Without all that thinking there might have been room for some character development, to say nothing of all the mysterious whatzits going on. What really happened to Nash's brothers, where is Mercy's sister, why does the villain want the land, what's with the stewart, who's trying to kill Mercy, who's trying to kill Nash? While we are on the subject of all the mysterious happenings in Seducing the Governess, I want to speak about the very annoying detective. I suspect he is the hero of the sequel, however, I found his abrupt popping up/in/out throughout the story irritating. Very distracting!

There was a character in the book I really liked, the little girl, Emmy. When she was in the book, it took on a different tone and at times was very compelling, I just wish the rest of the book had matched that poignancy. It seemed to me that a really good tale was there, it was simply out of reach.

This isn't a bad book, it's just sort of average...and I think it didn't have to be.

Time/place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Invitation to Ruin by Bronwen Evans

March 21, 2011

Mr. Toad girth alert!

First of all, Invitation to Ruin is a trade size paperback, which means more money than normal paperbacks. Secondly, this book comes with a warning: there are some very disturbing scenes throughout this book. I would categorize this book as a Romantica/Erotica...low on the Romance, high on the Tica.

When I purchased this book, I thought it sounded interesting...a marriage of convenience story, one of my favorite scenarios. However, it didn't take long to discover that this wasn't going to be a pleasant read. This book had the feel of a short story, with a distasteful hero (Anthony) and an unemotional heroine (Melissa). Let the spoilers begin. Our heroine: I would think that if a man slithered his way into my bed and while I was sleeping stole my innocents with his gigantic Mr. Toad, I'd be screaming my head off. Nah...not here. She has almost no reaction except, maybe a little disgruntled, she was dreaming of him after all, so she probably asked for it.

Then there is the so called hero. What a piece of work. I do not like heroes who say one thing and do another. Oh, I don't mind the out of control jealous rakes, the ones that fall hard and don't know what to do about it. Read some very fine books with this theme. But this guy would make promises such as he would never hurt her, then precede to announce at the wedding party, in front of a group of people that he was going out for the evening...and not bothering to hide where he was going. And then we have the continual Rottweiler with a Bone Syndrome. (I use Rottweiler, because it doesn't work with a Lab.) Here is how this syndrome works, he is not going to be faithful to her and he tells her so, however, he expects her to be faithful to him, even though he is never going to have sex with her... b-e-c-a-u-s-e he's afraid he will have crazy children, b-e-c-a-u-s-e his father had a crazy dark side...come to the dark side Anthony...I, he expects her to be faithful to him and he tells her this over and over and over again. But, just let any other man so much as look at her and the accusations fly. This woman, who up to a few days ago was an innocent is having an affair; with his brother, a previous suitor, his best friend, the villain...oh, anyone. This is usually followed by stomping out of the room and then guilt. This happens numerous times. Sigh. What a creep. He also is endowed with a gigantic Timothy Toad, which the heroine has trouble getting her hand around; either she has tiny weensy hands or he's humongous...either way something went terribly wrong at the factory. I am troubled by visions of tiny hands.

And now my favorite people in the book, the e-e-v-v-i-l villains. Yes folks, two, three if you count the heroines disgusting brother. How do we know that these two people are the bad guys and not the hero and heroine in disguise? Well, for one thing the bad e-v-i-l woman uses a whip and likes to bite Mr. Toads, and the bad e-v-i-l man has a Mr. Toad just waiting to be bit. "Take me, suck me, bite me." Groan (and not the good kind.)

Sadly to say, this book was just not my cup of tea.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Scorcher!!


One Night is Never Enough by Anne Mallory

March 17, 2011

"Master, what is going on? "
"Patience, Grasshopper, all will be revealed in the end..."
"Ha, Master Po, a lot you know!

Where to begin...where to begin. Let's begin here, I read a glowing review on this book and boy was I excited, especially after Ms. Long's book. I thought, who'd have thunk it, two great books in a roll. Well, here's the deal, I had to struggle with this book and as I was struggling I read another review that said this book was for intelligent people. Well, G-O-L-L-Y, guess who didn't get it? I remember with Ms. Mallory's last book I wore a frowny face through most of it, and I had one again.

It's not that I didn't understand what was going on, it's just that the hero, Roman, was such a mysterious, enigmatic guy; always doing something in the background of the story that I'm never let in on. He's supposed to be playing games, but I never really found out what those games were, however, the heroine must have been one of those intelligent people, 'cause she figured it out. I think she was probably psychic. Roman's POV is hardly ever presented, and that's ok, as long as there is some clearing up of the fog that surrounds the story. I wish I had been invited into more of Roman's world, the glimpse I was given of it was quite engrossing! By the way, he has an equally mysterious brother who's story is next.

Now, to the heroine, Charlotte. Charlotte has a horrible father by the way. She also has chains, she wants to be free, she wants to fly away, break those chains, escape her cage...Roman wants her to be free, he wants her to break those chains...what are those chains? She's perfect! She's beautiful! Those are the chains? That's the cage she's in? She must be free! She must fly away! OMG! Somebody give this girl a pair of wings! You may have guessed, I found this oft repeated freedom flying to be a tad bit annoying.

So, what do I think about this book? A number of things. First of all, Ms. Mallory is a fine writer, she has an almost lyrical way of putting words together. However, for me, I needed to see more of what was going on behind the scene and especially behind Roman's mind. The card game toward the end of the book and it's aftermath were great!!! Roman could have been a really fantastic hero, if only I had been allowed to see what makes him tick. Oh sure, enigmatic hero's are wonderful...but I need to be let in on the secrets, 'cause shazam I am one of those dense readers. This is also going to be one of those books that you are either going to be in the love fest camp or the disappointed camp.

Even with all the struggles I had with this story, I do intend to read the next book in the series. I'm hoping all will be made clear, but I suspect I'll probably be frowning again.

Time/Place: Back streets of Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long

March 11, 2011


I truly loved What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long. It is a great addition to the Pennyroyal Green series! It had everything one could ask for: heartwarming episodes, funny banter, interesting characters, sexy hero and sensual tension. Oh sure, there were occasional moments where I didn't understand what Genevieve (heroine) was thinking, and there may have been a typo here and there, some interesting usages of titles when addressing people, and I hope the author didn't come up with the title of the book. But, these were just minor hiccups on the road to a wonderful love story.

And, that's what this tale is about. Love. All different kinds of love, all different depths of love. When this story begins our hero, Alex, has just caught his fiancee with Genevieve's brother (Ian)... in bed... naked. And it is with this opening scene that we are given a glimpse of a remarkable hero, who appears cold on the surface but underneath is seething with o-o-d-l-e-s of emotion. He lets Ian go, but promises revenge. And, yes fellow readers, his revenge is to seduce a sister of Ian's. However, don't get excited. This revenge doesn't go the way that most Romanceland revenge set-ups go. First of all, Genevieve is on to him almost from the beginning. Secondly, the revenge that Alex exacts on Ian is actually quite amusing.

Let's talk about Genevieve. She's in love with Harry, her childhood friend. Or she thinks she is. He's comfortable, they have a lot in common, they are used to each other. Imagine what happens when her world is sent spinning because her old comfortable shoe, Harry, lets her in on a secret: he's going to propose to their friend Madeline. Enter Alex. She is not comfortable with him; oh sure, she enjoys bantering with him but he makes her want things she shouldn't want. He makes her skin crawl, and in a good way, but she doesn't like that.

And then there is Alex, a manly man with so many sides to him. I really can't find the words to express what a wonderful character he was. In the course of the story, we find out he was married before and contrary to most Romanceland stories, he actually loved his first wife. Which is one of the things I liked, because I know that his love for Genevieve is just as deep as his love for his first wife. This is also something that you normally don't find in a romance book - usually it's "I loved my wife, but that was small in comparison to what I feel for you." As I said before, there were a whole lot of different loves explored in this book.

There is an age difference, which I had no problems with. Hiccup time: I got just a little irritated with Genevieve for being afraid of her strong feelings for Alex, and still wanting the comfort of Harry, but that was just a minor h-i-c.

All in all, this is a wonderfully written story with great insight, and one in the Pennyroyal Green series not to be missed.

Time/Place: Pennyroyal Green England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!


The Countess and The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Monday, March 7, 2011
Rashsomon you ain't! Nor Raymond's Tuna Juice episode!

I have always enjoyed reading Lynsay Sands. She is an author who I know what I'm getting when I pick up one of her books... usually something silly, be it vampire or human. The Countess, book one in the Madison Sisters series, is no exception. This story is combination slapstick and dark comedy with a little romance thrown in for good measure. The beginning of the story is a combination of Weekend at Bernie's and The Trouble with Harry, so if you like "hide the dead guy" stories, you'll like this one.

So, we have the dead guy, George, who is/was pretending to be his twin brother Richard and is married to Christiana, who has two other sisters. Of course Richard (the live one, not the dead one, who was George not Richard) has a friend, Daniel, who is attracted to Suzette, the other sister... their story is next. And then there are Robert and Lisa, and Grace, the disapproving maid. These seven people plus Dead George are together almost constantly, running back and forth, hither and yon, to Gretna Green, turn around, to London, turn around to a traveling inn, turn around. Is it any wonder this story is light on romance that grows? This is definitely a story without an angsty hero, no deep stuff here... not none, not nohow!

Of course, there were some things that irritated me. George for one. By the time they (the seven) got rid of him, I was glad to see him go. I did not find the hiding of the stiff to be funny, especially when there comes the moment of uncontrollable passionate whoo-whoo and Christina is being prodded in the back by the stiff (not the good one). They did not complete the whoo-whoo act, because of the stiff (not the good one), thank you very much! I kept thinking wouldn't Dead George be smelling by now? So, instead of a funny moment, I had a yuck moment.

And, while we are on the subject of whoo-whoo, let's talk about the amazing virgin/acrobatic/floozy heroine. You know what I'm talking about - she has sex once and turns into this woman who loves to give-give-give, orally speaking, to say nothing of the acrobatics... let's see, he's behind her, she covers the hand he has on her breast with her one hand, reaches back with her other hand and grabs his hair, then with her third arm, no it must be the first arm, she reaches behind her back to touch him, while she's bending her head back for a kiss... Eventually, because of all the pain these contortions create, they turn to face each other. Sort of. She's sitting on the bed, eye level with you know what on you know who, which leads to a little lip service. "Was that wrong?" she asks. Just once I'd love for the hero to say, "Yes! You didn't do it right." Of course, he doesn't say that and of course it leads to him not being able to stop himself from plunging in. He does, however, have to stop to put her one leg on his chest. So, she's doing splits of a sort, quite the little acrobat. I got a few chortles from this scene and I'm not sure I was supposed to.

Overall, this was a fast-paced silly book that romped over the countryside with hardly a guilt-ridden angsty person in sight and at times didn't make sense as to why they were doing what they were doing. The closest anyone came to being angst ridden is Christina, who was mentally abused by Dead George, so she has some trust issues with Dead George's twin brother Richard. If you are a Lynsay Sands fan, you will have a good time with this book.

Time/Place: Regency English countryside
Sensuality rating: Sort of hot

The Heiress

I have a fondness for books in a series wherein the storyline runs simultaneously. The first romance novels I remember reading that were written in this manner were Twin of Fire and Twin of Ice by Jude Deveraux. Some people are of the opinion that concurrent plots show a laziness on the part of the author. I on the other hand believe this takes a deft hand with storytelling, to say nothing of editing. The trick with this type of narrative is to keep the reoccurring scenes short!

Sad to say in The Heiress this didn't happen. It wasn't until page 215 our of 370, Chapter 10, when this book broke away from it's companion The Countess. Until that moment we get to read almost the same dialog. Oh sure, there was an occasional glimpse into Daniel and Suzette's mind, but because of the togetherness of ALLLLL the characters, these first 215 pages are downright boring. I found myself skipping ahead in these passages.

Now because the redundant part of The Heiress was so long, the second part seemed rushed and characters that wanted to be interesting turned into cardboard inhabitants of Romanceland.

The other irritation I found in this book was after slogging through 215 pages of something I'd read before, there was one chapter when the hero and heroine are together! The plot changed! We began to see some character development! But after an intense tumble in the hay, he goes off to get his mother and is shot, and the heroine is kidnapped. The couple is STINKIN' separated for the rest of the book as alllll of the characters ramble alllll over the countryside looking for each other.

Needless to say, this book was a disappointment. The simultaneous storyline didn't work, was too long and didn't allow for (what appeared to be) some lovely characters to develop. And it's because I liked Suzette and Daniel that this book is getting the high rating it's getting.

Time/Place: Regency English countryside
Sensuality rating: Hot


On My Radar - March 2011/April 2011

Friday March 4, 2011

Lecia Cornwall
Secrets of a Proper Countess
release date: March 29, 2011

n Foley
My Irresistible Earl...Inferno Club series
release date: March 29, 2011

Delle Jacobs
Lady Wicked
release date: February 25, 2011, trade size

l Ann Smith
The School for Brides...School for Courtesan series, debut
release date: April 5, 2011

n Ranney
A Borrowed Scot
release date: March 29, 2011

anie Laurens
Mary Balogh
Candice Hern
Jacquie D'Alessandro
It Happened One Season...anthology
9780061993374, release date: March 29, 2011

For a more complete list of March/April 2011 releases see Upcoming...Hey Delia!!!