My Lord Scandal by Emma Wildes

April 27, 2011

Be careful what you wish for...

You know all those time when we Romance readers - don't slide into denial mode, you know who you are - whine about wanting honesty between our heroine and hero or we say, "If only he/she would have said something sooner" or "He/she kept the secret w-a-y too long!" Well, my fellow readers, My Lord Scandal is a book that is full of honesty!!! Yep, the two main characters talk to each other right from the beginning. If anything happens, if any stumbling block is thrown out - at any point in the story, they tell each other.

It was interesting to read a book that was actually about a couple who fall in love, are honest with each other, never have regrets after sex, and when he proposes, she accepts. None of that you're-too-good-for-me, my-father's-crazy-my-children-will-be-crazy, my-mother-was-a-slut-all-women-are-sluts, I-can-never-love-another stuff here. I actually liked this story, or at least the love story of Amelia and Alex, quite a lot. Dare I say it... except for the really hot sex, this story was almost sweet. This is a very endearing couple who learn to care for each other very much. It was almost too good to be true - there's just no pleasing me! Anyway, I did enjoy their story and found it a refreshing change.

But... there's always a but, isn't there? I said earlier that this couple didn't have any secrets. This doesn't mean there aren't any secrets in the story. Yes, there is a secret in this story, a number of them in fact, and our so adorable you want to squeeze them couple join forces to solve all of these secrets, along with Alex's two spy/ guy friends. There is a Capulet/Montague family feud going on, a mysterious key, mysterious notes being sent, and old family secrets - and it was all these secret shenanigans I found irritating. I thought they were a bit of a distraction from the wonderful love story.

This also happens to be a book that was in my TBR pile, and once again it was there because of a bad review. And once again, that will teach me.

So, if you are looking for a book that is full of tension, suspense and mystery... this isn't it, even with all the secret hubbub stuff. However, this is a book with a couple who treat each other with respect (and also can't keep their hands off of each other) and I found it a very satisfying read. I'm looking forward to the other two in the series (also in my TBR pile.)

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


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

April 25, 2011

Elizabeth Boyle
Lord Langley's Back in Town
Stanton Widow series
Release date: May 31, 2011

Karen Hawkins
Scandal in Scotland

Hurst Amulet series
Release date:
May 24, 2011

tha James
The Sin
s of Viscount Sutherland
Lords of Sheffield Square series
Release date: May 31, 2011

Sally Ma
The Naked King

Naked Nobility series
Release date: June 7, 2011

Olivia Pa
Guarding a Notorious Lady

Devine & Fr
iends series
Release da
te: May 25, 2011

Julia Q
t Like Heaven
ith Quartet series
Release date: May 31, 2011

The Relu
ctant Vampire
eneau series
Release date: May 31, 2011

ie Sloane, debut
The Devil in Disguise

Regency Rogues series
Release date: May 24, 2011

For a more complete list of upcoming releases see Hey Delia!!!


The School for Brides by Cheryl Ann Smith

April 19, 2011

So you can put the blame on Mame, boys. Put the blame on Mame

I was so looking forward to The School for Brides by debut author Cheryl Ann Smith. The premise was a bit of a stretch - an illegitimate daughter of an ex-courtesan has established a school for women attempting to leave the "business." She is teaching them the respectable side of life, so they can get married and have what every woman wants: a home, family and children. I'm not sure where she draws on her wealth of information, since her upbringing was in a cottage tucked away from other people, but, hey this is Romanceland. Now, is this plot realistic? Get serious! For years I've accepted the saving of the world by the multitude of aristocratic spies - so, I'm open to a dating service for prostitutes/mistresses.

What I'm not open to are some of my hot buttons being pushed. We are about to travel down spoiler territory, I guess. Nicholas, our hero, is set on revenge - he is in a gigantic tizzy! And, an irrational tizzy at that! He blames our heroine, Eva, for the loss of his mistress. She up and married someone who Eva found for her. How dare she! No, no... how dare Eva! Honestly, after just a taste of his personality, I can't say I blame the mistress for running as fast as she could into the arms of a normal man. So, what does this fine example of manly heroes do? First of all, in a snit, he confronts Eva - rants, threatens and is totally unreasonable. Then revenge sinks in and he has her investigated. Now, our hero knows Eva is taking care of her mother. He knows that Eva is in desperate straits. So, what does he do? He buys up all of her debts, then calls them in and if you can't pay you are out on the street. But wait! You can select one of your trainee wife/whores as my new mistress. Oh, you don't want to do that. Well, I can see behind that spinsterish disguise that you are really one hot potato, so, if you submit to me and come to my bed I will wipe out all of your debts. A Snidely Whiplash moment.

Of course, Eva submits to his blackmail and ends up in his bed and has wild passionate sex. He takes her virginity, but oh what the hey. This is not the only time he blackmails her into his bed. And what about Eva? Well, she knows he is dominating but she can't seem to forget those sexual encounters. And let me say this, just because Eva cannot wipe the memory of Nicholas' sexual prowess from her mind, does not balance out his actions.

And, then we have another hot button moment. Why is it that finding out that the woman is somehow connected to nobility makes her ruined, a scandal? She's the same woman she was before he took her to bed - before he had his epiphany about aristocratic whores being a scandal.

Now, before I get carried away with my rant, let me say this: Ms. Smith's writing was not bad and I am not going to give up reading her. It was just that she managed to hit the wrong buttons with Nicholas and his treatment of women. If only he had an epiphany about himself halfway through the book, I might have liked the book better. As it was, I couldn't get past his actions or his attitude.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


TBR Challenge 2011: One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle

April 18, 2011

Ahhh, the TBR pile…one of life’s great mysteries!

I recently signed up for the TBR challenge 2011, hosted by The Misadventures of a Super Librarian. Sounds like fun! Mwahahahaahhaha!

Thanks to Tracy at Tracy’s Place for bringing this challenge to my attention...Now I have another reading challenge to do! How hard can another challenge be I thought? Then I went home and looked at my TBR pile. While I stood there staring, my mind started wandering (as it often times does.) Just why do books that I must have end up being shoved aside, forgotten…for months…sometimes years? In most cases I’ve never read a word in them, although some I’ve started then put back. In the case of One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle (it hasn’t been in my pile that long), the reason it was in my TBR pile at all was due to a bad review I read somewhere. Let that be a lesson to you…read those books, regardless of what reviewers say! (A DNF might be the exception to the rule!)

Anyway, in this case, I’m glad that I read One Touch of Scandal, because I liked the book quite a lot. And for those of you that are keeping track, this is an early Victorian romance with some paranormal elements thrown in to make the plot move. If fact, Ms. Carlyle has created another one of those ancient secret mystical organizations and at this point in the series I found all the hocus-pocus quite fascinating. Attention Ms. Carlyle: I wanted to have more of “Sibylla’s” story, but was given just a little…do I hear the sound of short story prequel in my ears?

If you are familiar with Ms. Carlyle, you know that most of her books are connected and when you visit her website take a look at all the ancestral charts she's created…I'm sure these are there so some of us don’t get lost in the plethora of characters. N-o-w, as often happens when I read authors that write with a "Cast of Thousands," my mind insists that I already know these characters, even when the author is creating a new series. True to form, I had a minor slow down while reading because I had to leaf through Ms. Carlyle's other books to try and find the connections. Of course there weren't any...I think. It would seem that One Touch of Scandal is a new series and a whole new world has been brought to life, filled with hunky mysterious men and smart beautiful women.

Here is the short plot: Adrian, the hero, has the gift of sight…saying he doesn’t like this gift is an understatement. Grace, the heroine, is in need of rescuing...you see...at anytime throughout the book she may be arrested for murdering her secret fiance. Adrian reluctantly comes to the rescue…and we are introduced to two interesting flawed characters. And there are some mighty big flaws to overcome! I found the whole journey toward that HEA to be very fascinating and engrossing. At last a hero and heroine who deserve each other and not only that, they make a perfect match!

This story has everything you could want…something to snuggle up to with that cup of hot chocolate or a day at the beach soaking up the sun. There is murder, mayhem, mystery, cute funny children, hot hot sex, great couple and almost no TSTL moments…and let’s not forget the tons and tons of secondary characters. So many of them that I wonder how we are going to tie up those loose ends in just a mere three books. There was a typo I caught on page 344, I’m assuming it should be planet Mercury not plant Mercury…hopefully next printing maybe it won’t be there. There was also some mushy soul mate stuff going on toward the end that could have been turned down a tad…but overall this was a pretty good read, a great start to a new series and I think you’ll like it.

Your history lesson for the day: Queen Victoria reigned from June 20 1837 to January 22, 1901. This story takes place in 1848, so I’m calling this early Victorian, the dresses were just starting to poof out and the hair was curled a lot. Fashion plates from http://www.marquise.de/en/1800/pics/1800b.shtml

One book gone from my TBR and it wasn’t as painful as I thought.

Time/Place: Early Victorian England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!!!


A Borrowed Scot by Karen Ranney

April 11, 2011

Can you say Surly?

Surly: "Irritable sullen and churlish in mood or manner."
Churlish: "Ill-natured. Peevish. Difficult to work with or deal with." see Boorish
Boorish "implies rudeness of manner due to insensitivity to others feelings and unwillingness and ungraciousness."
Loutish...and on and on.

A-l-l of these words describe our hero, Montgomery, one of the most unlikeable guys I've read about in a long time. He's silent, he broods, he turns his face away from the heroine, he goes for long walks communing with the ghosts of his past. He says hurtful things to our especially spunky, likable heroine, Veronica. And, this is really too bad because other than the TSTL moment in the beginning of the book, Veronica is a great character, deserving of a true hero. I think she is the first heroine I've seen who danced around the floor in happiness because she was being forced to marry a stranger and escape her horrible family. She was everything Montgomery wasn't.

Montgomery eventually comes out of his silent-guy persona in the last few chapters of the book, but by then it was too late for me. The only thing that kept this book from colliding with the wall was Veronica. I loved her. I loved how she stood up to Mr. Silent-Guy's rude antics; some of those foot-putting-down moments were quite comical. The only time this couple communicated was when they were having hot steamy sex, lots and lots of mindless hot sex! I guess if it was mindless they wouldn't really be communicating would they? S-o-o, the only time they came together was to have mindless steamy sex. Since Veronica is the strong person in the relationship, she eventually manages to pull Montgomery out of his Grinchland.

You know, I don't mind angsty characters, if they communicate...you don't have to talk someones legs off to communicate, an occasional grunt is allowed. A Borrowed Scot also had a rushed feel about it and along with Mr. Silent-Guy I'd have to say, for me, this isn't one of Ms. Ranney's better efforts.

Time/Place: Victorian England
Rating: Veronica: Montgomery:
Sensuality Rating: Hottt!!!


Secrets of a Proper Countess by Lecia Cornwall

What a great adventure!!!

Debut author Lecia Cornwall has written a winner!!! The plot of Secrets of a Proper Countess is an old one, traitors, spies, hidden identities, a heroine wanting excitement...but the writing in this book is above the norm and we even have some unexpected curves in the road.

I have to say right up front that book was full of well-written, three dimensional characters, even the villains. And we are allowed to see their flaws, which is a nice change from the omnipresent wise best friends/matchmakers/older brothers in other books. In fact, some of those flaws made for some very amusing scenes later on in the book, one in particular had me chuckling...and I congratulate Ms. Cornwall on her great visual comedy writing.

I loved both the heroine, Isobel and the hero, Phineas. By the way, great name for a hero! Now, normally I don't care for disguise stories, but this one sucked me right in. And, let me tell you I felt terribly sorry for the heroine, and the dilemma she found herself in...and this is one of the tense parts of the book...how was her dilemma going to be solved? And you are going to hate her family!

Phineas was one of those rakes that doesn't see it coming, his character wasn't written quite as strongly as Isobel's, however I just loved him. A quibble approaches. I had a small problem with the love story part of the book. The sex was mighty steamy and the lead couple could not keep their hands off of each other, at least when Isobel was in disguise. However, I didn't quite see why they fell in love with each other. Minor quibble.

While we are on the subject of minor quibble...authors, be careful with slang. The term "getting laid" was used. It popped right out at me from the pages and for a moment (only a moment) I wondered if we were visiting Sex in the City instead of a Regency ballroom. However, I was enjoying the book so much, I continued to read. I did go back after I was finished with the book to check it out. I couldn't find too much on it, except that it probably wasn't used to signify having sex, until the 1930's in America. Yes, there are references in the Bible to "lie with her/him", and even if that is from the same family of words, it wasn't used as such until later. At least according to my sources. However, who knows, maybe some rake did say it in the 1800's...who's to say. There were also moments of "if I'd have written this, I'd have done that"...but that's just me and then it would be my book not Ms. Cornwall's.

S-o-o, I could not put this book down! I stayed up really late reading Secrets of a Proper Countess!!! It was fast-paced, with humor, adventure, villains, suspense and likable characters. Oh, it's not perfect and there was what could have become a TSTL moment, however, it turned into a nail-biting adventure...and I have to say welcome Ms. Cornwall, job well done!

Time/Place: Regency England (French Bourbon restoration period)
Sensuality Rating: Hot!!!!


To Desire a Wicked Duke by Nicole Jordan

April 1, 2011

And the nomination for the heroine most likely to be strangled by an
irate reader is...


Yes, fellow readers I found the heroine of To Desire a Wicked Duke - Tess - to be one very irksome, unpleasant woman.

I'm not sure what happened to Tess. She went from a gentle, nice secondary character in the previous novels, to a scornful, mean, snotty woman in this one. I believe her motto may have the word "emasculate" in it somewhere. How or why she felt the need to resist Ian I'll never know. Ian is quite a hunk! He's rich, he's kind, he's handsome and sexy. Everything a sane woman could want! Her resistance to his appeal made no sense. And, while we are on the subject of not understanding - she was such a mean-spirited person, always digging that knife a little deeper - why he lusted after her, let alone loved her was beyond my comprehension.

And then there's the recurring character Fanny, the bighearted whore, never been kissed, adviser to virgins, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...whoops wrong character! She's in love with a bookish fellow, and she's writing a novel so she can become respectable and her childhood sweetheart will kiss her and want to marry her and "wiv wif her foe-evah and evah". Oh yes, I forgot, she's also there for the scooby-doo ghost tale that was thrown into this book. Thank goodness the ghost plot didn't last long!

Needless to say I was disappointed in this last of the series of "courtship wars". The characters were one dimensional, the plot lines rushed, the heroine spiteful and the hero in need of a better story.

Now does this mean I won't read Ms. Jordan's next book? Nah. I of course plan on reading the next new series...with my fingers crossed.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Extremely Hot!