Nooky Interrupt-us Warning
Patricia Rice has been around a long time and I've enjoyed reading her books since I picked up Love Betrayed back in 1987. As happens with all authors of her longevity, I find that I enjoy some of her books more than others. In the case of The Devilish Montague, I was torn. I absolutely loved the first part of her book, but was a little disappointed in the last portion.
I found both the heroine (Jocelyn) and the hero (Blake) to be wonderful characters. Let's start with Blake - what a fantastic hero. He made me smile from the first moment; he had no social skills, he was cranky, he was brutally honest and he was an honorable man. And, his passion for Jocelyn was something he could barely control. I enjoyed every moment of dialogue between he and Jocelyn.
Jocelyn was the perfect mate for Blake. She didn't put up with too much of his nonsense. She's smart, witty, and she protects those she loves. And she totally understands Blake's insecurities. Along with these two great characters there are some especially strong secondaries, from the overprotective mother, the autistic brother (wonderfully drawn), to the foul-mouthed parrot. In fact, I found the parrot to be hilarious, he almost stole the show.
Now, we are going to visit the problem I had with this book. Maybe it was my mood or maybe I'm just a little weary of every author interrupting major love scenes. It's starting to be one of my pet peeves. And, I have to say this was a really hot hot scene - and whammo, it's interrupted. There has to be another way to create sexual tension. When the actual consummation finally happened, it was almost an epilogue and I was underwhelmed.
I also had a problem with the villain resolution. All I can say is New South Wales is getting very overcrowded with Romanceland villains. What a dumping ground for e-v-i-l people it has become.
The Devilish Montague is part of a series, however, it does stand alone. It is a fast-paced, funny book with an awesome couple. I just wish the sexual tension had maintained its momentum to the end.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Could have been hot, wasn't
His Mistress by Christmas
Release date: October 4, 2011
A Beginner's Guide to Rakes
Scandalous Brides series
Release date: October 4, 2011
A Bride Unveiled
Bridal Pleasures series
Release date: October 4, 2011
His Last Duchess
Debut, Historical fiction, Lucretia de' Medici
Release date: October 1, 2011
In Total Surrender
Release date: September 27, 2011
Turner Brothers series
Release date: September 20, 2011
Cheryl Ann Smith
The Accidental Courtesan
School for Brides series
Release date: October 4, 2011
For a more complete list of upcoming releases, see Hey Delia!!!
A Night to Surrender
Spindle Cove Series
Release date August 30, 2011
Having a good month!
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton is the first book by Miranda Neville I've read, and it won't be the last. I also believe I must read the previous ones in the series. May be spoilers, depends on your interpretation.
This book had a number of my pet peeves in it (but what book doesn't) and it had some typo/grammar issues going for it, but what the hey. Sometimes you get distracted and sometimes you don't. Sometimes you rant and sometimes you don't. I guess it all depends on how much you're enjoying the book. And, I did enjoy this book, especially after I got into the flow of the writing.
This book has two distinct flavors. The road trip/kidnap/amnesia part and the after the amnesia part. I preferred the road trip. Ms. Neville has done some interesting writing, because flowing through both of these parts is some pretty witty dialog. I found the brain talk of both the heroine and hero quite funny and not always what one would expect from a couple falling in love.
We have a plucky heroine, but not irritating plucky, at least in the beginning. And, we have dapper dude hero, a leader of society, a coxcomb of sorts who denigrates those below his station. At least when he has his memory. You see, it seems that our dapper hero slighted our plucky heroine when she was coming out. He said she looked like a cauliflower. So, years later when she escaping from her kidnappers, she finds him unconscious and partially naked. Upon awakening she discoverers he doesn't remember who he is. So, she does what any self-respecting heroine does. She lies. She concocts this rather elaborate tale, in which she is his fiancee, he's going to be in the clergy and she tells him his name is Terence Fish. Some readers may have a problem with a heroine misleading an amnesiac (a very serious injury/illness) but I didn't. I found Celia and Terence/Tanquin's amnesiac adventure to be pretty humorous. Oh yes! The kidnappers are chasing Celia and we don't know why. There is a lot going on in this book. There's village people chasing them, a farmer trying to buy Celia, running through the countryside almost naked. And, that's all before Terence/Tanquin regains his memory.
Then he remembers and the tone of the story changes. There is still a lot of humor and I even had a laugh out loud moment. Watch for the explanation of how a baby is born, as told by the inebriated father Sebastian (previous novel). But, in this part of the book, both Tanquin and Celia have to confront some unpleasant truths about themselves. It was also at this point that I became a little irritated with Celia. Yes, I really understood her feeling so very alone and insecure when standing in a room of so called beautiful people/ton. However, I was disappointed that so spunky a heroine didn't have more of a backbone when confronted by these highfaluntin people. I wanted her to fight back more than she did, instead of doing the poor me routine. I also had a problem with the villains in the story; I thought they were a little weak and mostly silly. And even though there was hot sex, I felt that the sexual tension between the two main characters was weak.
But, overall I enjoyed reading this tale. I was impressed by the way the author hid some complex emotions behind humor. I am looking forward to more books by Miranda Neville.
Time/Place: On the road Yorkshire/Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot
The MacKenzie brothers are back! Yum!
I can't say how much I love the MacKenzie brother series. What a great series! And what a bunch of hunks! At last we have Cameron's story. And, I have to say Ms. Ashley has found the perfect match for him in Ainsley Douglas.
Now, because Cameron is one of the MacKenzies, he's a tortured hero; and what a horrendous past he has. Fellow readers, these women who are the MacKenzie brothers' soul mates must be some kind of super-heroines. These guys would give any normal person a headache - so many problems, so much to overcome. It's a good thing they're built! While I liked this book and loved seeing the others from the previous books, I did have a few issues. There were so many things going on that I felt not enough time was spent on the budding relationship of Ainsley and Cameron. There were the horses, the sleazy photograph guy, the blackmail of Queen Victoria, the story of the blackmailer, the creepy guy that owned the horse. I understand the letters/Queen Victoria/blackmail plot were the means for throwing Ainsley and Cameron together; however, I thought this was the weakest part of the book. I was irritated when Ainsley ran off toward the end of the book because of the Queen. I also had a problem with this incredibly strong hero, Cameron, putting up with the insane atrocities of his horrible wife. Yes, I understand he was protecting his son, but still to let someone who was obviously deranged continue didn't quite fit with what we know of him. He was such a strong, protective, alpha male, I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't have dealt with the problem of his lunatic wife differently. Minor quibbles.
Cameron was a wonderful dark, tortured hero and extremely sexy guy. To be in a room with the MacKenzie men would have been downright steamy. All that testosterone! Fan please! The sex scenes were downright yummy. Cameron and Ainsley make a wonderful couple. I did wonder about Cameron's Mr. Toad. You see, he is a large man, and mention was made that he had a rather long Mr. Toad. Now, whenever an author says the hero has a long one, my mind always wanders down that road. Long... how? Like freakishly long? Like Ichabod Crane long? Throw it over the shoulder long? And does the girth match? All these questions are important to me. I can only assume that since it is mentioned a number of times, that the girth was a match for the long... and Cameron didn't look like someone on steroids with a skinny long Mr. Toad.
Daniel. Was I the only one that felt like an overage pervert? What a hot sixteen year old - the scene when Daniel helps Ainsley with her dress was an eye-brow raiser. I can hardly wait till his book in 2013 - maybe then he'll be the legal drool-over age. We also get to have catch up with the other MacKenzie and a little sneak peak at Hart's story - coming to a store near you in April of 2012. I'm really looking forward to that one - it will be interesting to see how Ms. Ashley changes Hart into hero material and still leaves that dark edge to him.
I have loved all of the MacKenzie books but Ian's is my favorite. However, this one is a solid read and not one that should be missed. I think I'll go back and read the others before Hart's story comes out. This is not a fluffy tale, but dark, sensual and at times very disturbing. It is also a great addition to a wonderful series.
Time/Place: Victorian England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!!!Hot!!!Hot!!!
Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip! Saddle up those ponies we are off on an adventure!
Kasey Michaels has been around for quite awhile. In fact, a number of her older books are some of my favorites, but I've been disappointed in her newer offerings. I opened The Taming of the Rake with a little trepidation. Have you ever picked up a book and from the very first page, just knew that it was going to be a humdinger? Well, my fellow readers, Ms. Michaels' latest is that and I was more than delighted to find a little bit of the old Kasey Michaels hiding in those chapters.
This is the beginning of a new series about the three illegitimate Blackthorne brothers: Beau, Puck and Jack. The first story is about the eldest brother, Beau, and his nemesis, the heroine, Chelsea.
As I read this story, it became hard for me to say which of these two characters I liked best. I love Chelsea - she reminded me a lot of some of the women from a Preston Sturges movie - rapid-fire, snappy, smart dialog - quick witted and always one step ahead of the hero. This doesn't mean she's mean, it's just she has a wise-cracking mouth. However, she has a brain to go with that mouth. She also sees the frailties of the people surrounding her, especially our hero Beau.
Beau. What a wonderful hero. And the moniker of rake is misleading; he's more of a a bad boy. Beau's character is also loaded with fun dialog, but there seem to be more layers to him. And, after being introduced to his mother and father, a lot of his layers are explained. Ms. Michaels has created quite a fascinating dysfunctional family. I'm really looking forward watching the family dynamics unfold. Beau's brother Puck plays a large part in this book and while he seems a bit of a frivolous fellow, I suspect there's a lot that doesn't meet the eye. Jack has a smaller part in the book; however, his character seemed to be a lot darker. And wait till you meet the mother - what an appalling woman!
Back to Beau. I loved watching him as he fell in love - it was a mighty struggle, but pretty funny.
The is also a trio of villains, or as they end up, a trio of not very nice sleazy people. They were even interesting, but I doubt we will see them in the next books.
The Taming of the Rake was a great story of two people who have an adventure and along the way discover love. I was on my way to giving this book a really high rating, except there was just one too many adventures or maybe two to many. And even though there was an explanation given for the enmity between Beau and Chelsea's brother, I found it a little lacking considering how many lives were disrupted. But those were just minor quibbles in an otherwise wonderful book. For those of you who are fans of Ms. Michaels, you're going to like this one. And for those of you who have never read her, this is a good one to start with.
Throbbing, Twitching, Pounding, Thrusting, Spilling, Spurting, Sucking!
You would think this was an adventure story with all the action verbs being thrown around. But it just an anthology published by Brava with a plethora of descriptive sex verbiage. Whenever I buy an anthology I always keep my fingers crossed, because you never know what you're getting. However, in this case, since it was a hot Brava publication, I had a pretty good idea of what I was purchasing. Since this is a trade-sized book, the price was a tad bit higher than a normal paperback. In the back of my mind was also the apprehension that because this was a Brava anthology, the sex in the book might have a tendency to overwhelm the storyline. Short story+Lots of sex=Tiresome.
Talbot's Ace by Diane Whiteside
So, let's begin. Our hero and heroine: Charlotte and Justin. Yup. Sorry to say, this proved to be my least favorite in the trio of offerings. First of all, the storyline takes place in the American old west, my least favorite romance land. Yeehaw, yup and howdy ma'am moments are not my cup of tea. That aside, what could have been a good story just didn't work. The dialog was awkward, the plotting rushed and the sex overwhelmed the narrative. The whole thing had the feel of one of those old B cowboy movies from the 50's, but with oodles of sex. Interesting idea, just didn't grab me.
Time/Place: American Old West
Sensuality Rating: Scorching
To Match a Thief by Maggie Robinson
The second story. Hero and heroine: Simon and Lucy. After reading this story, I've decided to check out Ms. Robinson's upcoming full-length novel. Even though this was a short story, it still delivered. The characters were well-written and there was plenty of sexual tension. Even though it had tons of sex, some of it in unbelievable places, it still did not overpower the story. And, there were some humorous moments - always good in my book. This is also one of those stories that could have been so much better in full-length format.
Time/Place: 1820's England
Sensuality Rating: Scorching
A Knack for Trouble by Mia Marlowe
The last in the group and my favorite. Hero and heroine: Aiden and Rosalinde. This story is complete. It is a short story that had the feel of a longer tale. We have likable characters with funny dialog. We even have room for a red herring when it comes to solving our mystery. I would have liked to have known more about Aiden's supposed supernatural gift, but you can't have everything in a short story. I did have an EEEWWWW moment that threw me out of the story with a giggle and a raised eyebrow. (Spoiler: for some reason the mentioning of a hairy scrotum just doesn't do it for me...especially on the hero. My hero's don't have hair there and it doesn't stand on end. I don't know, maybe that's just me or maybe it's one of those words that I find hilarious and not romantic. (And, I'm not talking about the word hairy).
Time/place: 1820's England
Sensuality Rating: Scorching
In the end the book turned out to be pretty much what I expected. Short on character study and long on sex (so to speak). Some of the stories handled that better than others and I found a new author that I'm going to check out. I already have Mia Marlowe on my list. If you don't mind the higher price for a trade book, this is a fair read. Also, remember Improper Gentlemen is not a light-weight fluffy historical read, but a Brava scorcher - be prepared to have the fan on.
Giant boobs alert!
Perplexed. After looking at the cover of this book I have come to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with me. When I lay down flat on my back I do not have what appear to be two giant scoops of ice cream sitting on my chest. Or maybe two giant perfectly shaped Jell-O molds. Or maybe two silicone objects that look mighty hard. And what's with the red satin sheet wrapping/tucking? Looks like a prom dress.
Now to the inside of The Bed and the Bachelor. Another spy. I have read about 50 kilzillion spy stories this year. How can so many authors be thinking the same thing? Not that I'm complaining.
Evidently this is the first Tracy Anne Warren book I've read, although I seem to have a number of them at home in my TBR pile. And, when I started reading this book I thought I recognized the characters. Must be some other series. Oh well, can't keep them straight. Sigh.
This is the fifth book in the Byrons of Braebourne series and I guess I'm going have to dig into my pile and read the others. Even though this was a spy story, sort of, I did enjoy it. Actually, it really wasn't a spy story, it's just that our hero, Drake, is creating a cipher that will be used by spies. And once again the French are the bad guys. Is there a book out there with a French hero? Anyway, this book was an enjoyable read, a fast read and with a very likable couple. It only took a day to finish. There was nothing dark, not much tension...a light read. Which is interesting, considering we have a villain, but also a heroine sneaking around the house disguised as a housekeeper. Light.
I really liked Drake. He is a well-written beta hero. It was nice to see a guy who wasn't angsty, didn't have a "I hate women" complex or any kind of dependency to overcome. He was a nice guy. He did have a tendency to become distracted by his mathematical problems, but I found that endearing. For those of you that ever watch any reruns of Leave it to Beaver, you might see a bit of the father in Drake's character. Nothing seemed to bother him, and he seems to have all the right answers. He also seemed to have the scary ability to find someone in a different country - without knowing their correct name - in a matter of days. Like a super hero with weird powers. Almost everything in this book was taken care of right away; all the problems, solved just like that and even the moment of misunderstanding is over in the blink of an eye. The falling in love part - fast - Whamo!
Sebastianne, our heroine, disguises herself as the housekeeper Mrs. Greenway in order to infiltrate Drake's household and steal the cipher. She was an interesting character. She is being forced to steal to protect her family. However, she has a lot of trouble lying to everyone. She grows to like all the servants in the household, befriends a number of them and finds herself attracted to their employer, Drake. She constantly struggles with the guilt she feels while sneaking through the house searching for the cipher. She does get over the guilt long enough to drug Drake and make a copy of the key that accesses the cipher.
This is almost a lazy book. Every problem, every stumbling block is solved and solved almost immediately. But, I didn't really mind that; what I did raise an eyebrow to was the startlingly rapid time it took for Sebastianne to realize she was in love with Drake. I know, I know - this is romance, they're going to fall in love. But, gee willikers this was mighty speedy. Thankfully, Drake took a little longer to realize he'd fallen.
So now having read The Bed and the Bachelor, I'm going to have to read the other ones in the series. Even though everything was solved really, really fast and Drake was an amazing magical beta hero who didn't let too much bother him, I did enjoy this story. It was a nice breath of fresh air.
Oh by the way, the title was a bit silly. Reminded me of that old Gary Grant movie The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, which is a pretty light-weight entry, but with a giggle here and there.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot
"Trust: reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence. " Dictionary.com
The Sinner who Seduced Me is the third in the Regency Rogues series, and according to Stefanie Sloane's website, three more have been added to the series for future publication. This was a distressing book for me to review, because I believe Stefanie Sloane is a very talented writer. I was looking forward to The Sinner who Seduced Me with antici...pation. It was the first book I grabbed when my new shipment came in. However, I had some problems with this story and it turned out to be my least favorite of the three Ms. Sloane's written to date.
Spoilers follow. This is a second chance at love story, Clarissa and James were at one time in love, lovers and almost married...and then they broke each others hearts. And, here is where I started to have trouble. It seems that Clarissa's father is/was also a member of the spy group James belongs to. And it appears that her father is having an affair, but not really. Clarissa's mother is deeply hurt, hence Clarissa is hurt. Now, Clarissa expects James to side with her in this matter, but he sides with her father because he knows the truth. However, he can't tell Clarissa because it's secret stuff. He does however, expect her to trust him on this, without telling her anything. And she expects him to be on her side. So, this drives a wedge between them. I thought their reaction to this issue was a tad bit over the top. Now, I believe that when you love someone, there should be trust; however we are human after all, and one should also be realistic with trust. To trust a person you love doesn't mean that they are always going to do what you want or that they are never going to do something that will be hurtful, so to break off a relationship and hate each other for five years because of something that should have been resolved between someone else (parents in this case) seemed to be somewhat excessive to me.
However, I read on. Five years pass, they are thrown together once again and they're still growling at each other. Both of them acting like children. Try as I might, I could not find any sympathy for these two characters. However, if I gave up on my couple, I still have the intrigue in the book.
Good ol' intrigue. And, it was here that a pet peeve reared it's ugly face. It seems that the French need money, so for some reason they are going to force an artist to paint a portrait of a rich Canadian's daughter and then they will get money to do some nefarious deeds. Well, as luck would have it, our heroine, Clarissa is there the day the bad guys come to the artist's studio. The bad guys accidentally break his arm. His painting arm. Well, it seems that Clarissa can also paint, so she decides to disguise herself as a man and with the help of a petulant James, they journey back to England, where the rich Canadian is staying with his beautiful daughter. Ok, I can suspend belief and accept Clarissa as a guy (pet peeve), but, then we are introduced to one of the most irritating obnoxious secondary characters ever, Iris.
Iris, the beautiful daughter of the rich Canadian. Iris, encroaches her way into this book and almost takes over the whole story. She tries to seduce James, she throws tantrums, she wants adventure; they take her to a Cyprian ball, get her out of trouble, to a boxing match, get her out of trouble. They don't take her to the gambling hell. Doesn't matter, because she goes on her own! Clarissa, disguised as a boy and James get her out of trouble, again. Oh, by the way, Iris is dressed up as a boy when she goes on these adventures. So, we have two females disguising themselves (double peeve).
I was also disappointed that Clarissa and James decided not to tell her mother about the infidelity that didn't really happen. So, at the end of the book her parents still remain separated and there wasn't any hint as to whether that problem was going to be taken care of.
I was disappointed with this story. I wanted to knock Clarissa and James' heads together - they were just very irritating. There was way too much bickering from a couple who (in my opinion) didn't have a good reason to be mad at each other. Then there was the dreadful Iris, a distraction to the story and given way too much line space. I was s-o looking forward to this book! Now, this doesn't mean I won't read the next in the series, because I fully intend to...however, I may not pick it up from my pile as fast as I did this time.
Time/Place: Napoleonic France/Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm!!
Stefanie Sloane is a trickster! Spoilers! If you read the endings of books like I do, beware, there is a surprise...and things are not what they seem - or are they?
Quick note: I did not find the number of typos that were present in the last Stefanie Sloane book...they may have been there, but I didn't see any. So, it appears that Ballantine does support their authors.
Now, to the The Angel in My Arms. Here come the Young Corinthians, Romancelands latest group of hunky manly-men spies. We follow Marcus, the Earl of Weston as he infiltrates a group of smugglers in search of some stolen emeralds. Along the way he meets Sarah Tisdale and her animals. Yes, we have cute animals, in fact her dog Titus is a contender for the Gus award. Although, the peacock was pretty funny also. The animals almost stole the show.
As with the first book in the series, there were some moments in the book that I really liked - some brilliant writing. And, then there were moments that I would scratch my head wondering if I was missing something. To say nothing of the suspending belief moments. So, let's explore.
Sarah Tisdale. I really enjoyed Sarah, I found her to be a refreshing heroine - outspoken, honest, tenderhearted and a lover of profane words. Her interactions with her young brother Nigel are some of the best parts in the book. They seemed like real siblings, arguing, playing tricks on each other; but also having a strong loving bond. You know what, I am having a problem lately with parents in historical books. Aren't parents the heads of families? Don't they have the last word? Wouldn't they be concerned when their twelve year old son is out gallivanting with smugglers? Especially when two of his closest friends are murdered? It's too bad that historical romance parents are little more than background and frankly I'm getting tired of those shadowy parents. I digress, Sarah...she is a fun heroine and there are a number of amusing scenes involving Sarah and her mouth. A chuckle out loud moment occurs when she tells her best friend Claire, in great detail, about her first sexual encounter with Marcus. I also found it amusing that she thought she wasn't a virgin anymore...until she was told differently. Oh sure, she has a TSTL moment toward the end of the book, in fact, I found her very irritating when she was trying "help" Marcus save Nigel. Why didn't she stay where she was told to stay? This was one of those suspension of belief moments. For the most part, Sarah was a delightful heroine, only occasionally traveling down the P-u-l-e-e-s-e road.
On to Marcus. I found Marcus to be the weak part of the book. He mostly seemed to be a cardboard character only there to be Sarah's straight man. I also thought the sexual tension between the two was almost non-existent. Oh sure, there were a couple of sexual encounters, but there wasn't any building of tension prior to those moments. (I did like that Sarah was the aggressor.) Rant coming on: why do historical couple take off all of their cloths when they are supposedly in a sexual frenzy? Let's get serious here, we have a couple who can't wait to do the hoochie-coo and what do they do? They take the time to take off all of their clothes. And, we are not talking about a bra and undies here...we are talking chemise (boned or not), with a ribbon or lace of some sort. The corsets, the garters, the hosiery. Then there are the petticoats, one or more depending on what the final look is that one is going for. And, then let's look at the male...he has that long shirt, depending on whether it's early or late 1800. That long shirt by the way also doubled as underwear, because until the late 1800's men did wear any. EEEWWWW. It wasn't till later that the brief (with strings, flap or button) made it's appearance. Now, what I've always thought was rather funny was that women didn't really wear bloomers/underwear/panties until the later part of the 1800's...which to me would mean easy access! I just wish that once in awhile, when a couple was in a sexual flurry, they would erupt with all their clothes on. Wouldn't that be more of an indicator of uncontrollable lust? Then they would be all rumpled, but who cares, it would make for a more interesting story, maybe even provide a few laughs. While I'm digressing, it must have been an fascinating time for women without underpants...I wonder if they were cold in the winter? And what about that mother-nature time? EEEEWWWW.
Where was I? Oh yes, Marcus and Sarah, I didn't feel any sexual tension. I did understand why he fell in love with her however. Didn't quite understand why he felt unworthy, his character needed to be explored just a little bit more. I felt like I was missing something when it came to Marcus.
I would have to say that this is a mystery book with romantic elements in it. And the skulduggery is actually pretty good. There were some things I didn't see coming. I was also surprised that Ms. Sloane had some very young victims in her book and it was this part of the book that I found very poignant. Some excellent writing on the loss of someone you love.
So, this book is light on the romance, heavy on the intrigue and has a number of silly adventures with TSTL moments. But, it also has a delightful heroine (most of the time.) This was a good book, (not earth shattering) and I will continue to read the series...there is a mysterious antagonist that has been introduced, we will see where that leads us.
Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Medium Warm