Mistress by Marriage by Maggie Robinson

September 30, 2011

Did someone turn the heat up?

Maggie Robinson, Maggie Robinson, Maggie Robinson - hot! And, before I begin, let me just say I'm mighty interested in how you, Ms. Robinson, are going to turn Andrew into a hero. Really looking forward to that.

Spoilers all over the place.

Well, not too long ago I read a short story written by Ms. Robinson that was included in the anthology Improper Gentlemen. I knew right away that I needed to check out one of her full length books. And, I'm glad I did, I really enjoyed Mistress by Marriage. Did I mention this was a steamy book? Now, that's not necessarily the reason I liked it so much. I liked the couple, although I'm not sure why, because they both had some major problems and at times were not very likable. Especially Caroline. However, this had one of my favorite themes - the marriage of convenience or in this case marriage of inconvenience aka marriage gone wrong. This is also a story of opposites attract! Big time!

Once I got past the making your wife a mistress part of the book (a stretch for me), I really enjoyed the story. I loved the humor and sarcasm that played a big part in the book. One of the funniest continuing bits involved Caroline. You see she is an author of erotic romance, and she keeps killing off her husband in different gruesome ways in her books. I enjoyed the way her mind worked, it was a wonder to behold - the sarcastic thoughts that keep running through it were quite funny. Now, I did have a problem with Caroline, I thought she needed some Valium. She had no control over her temper, and a few times she turned into a nasty-spoiled-temper-tantrum-ugly woman. I would have liked for her to have had more control over her outbursts earlier in the book than she did. I'd have to call Caroline high maintenance.

And, then we have Edward - totally opposite of Caroline. Uptight - everything in its proper place - no scandals. Although how he thought that installing his wife in Courtesan Court wouldn't be scandalous was beyond me. Most men of his time period would have shipped her off to the country - so, that was another stretch. Anyway, all these stretches seem to work - Edward who can't keep his hands off of Caroline, doesn't like her, she gets on his nerves, she does things that embarrass him. And, Caroline is tired of the attraction she feels for Edward - she wants it over. You see, even though they live apart, he's visits her once a year - so there is always this reminder for both of them. I loved watching these two struggle, and it was a struggle...there are a lot of good-byes in this book. I also loved Edward’s list of what he expects his wife to be.

If Caroline had been less of a fit thrower, I would have enjoyed this book even more than I did. But overall, this is great fun and I'm really, really, looking forward to Andrew’s story. Great job Ms. Robinson!

Time/Place: Post-Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Yipes!!!


The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell

September 28, 2011

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the Glen...

Spoilers ahead. If you are at all familiar with Cathy Maxwell, then The Seduction of Scandal will hold no surprises for you. This is the story of spunky Corinne who doesn't want to get married, so she decides to run away in the back of a carriage. Since there is a highwayman in this story, the carriage she's hiding in gets robbed by our Robin Hood aka the Thorn aka Will Norich, the local minister. I'm not going give too much away, other than to say our intrepid heroine blackmails our highwayman/minister/hero into hiding her. And, they fall in!

There were parts of this book that I found humorous, and I liked Corinne a lot. I thought she was a pretty forceful woman, however, there were some things that bothered me about Corinne. She didn't seem to have an understanding of the word "hide." According to Websters: Hide is "a. to put out of sight: secret. b. to conceal for shelter or protection: shield c. to keep secret." No where in Websters does it say anything about going outside, going into the village or attending church services. She had an odd way of hiding. I also had a problem with the use of some modern phraseology or, at least, I was thrown out of the story. I just couldn't visualize a woman of the 1800's expressing herself with "How heroic was that?" That phrase just seemed too modern for me, might as well be "What's up with that?"

And then, toward the end of the book another character shows up to save the day. It seems he has been looking for Lord Bossley (or at least the person posing as Lord Bossley) for years. Now, why he had so much trouble finding Lord Bossley or the fake Bossley I don't know - because, unlike Corinne, Lord Bossley/fake Bossley wasn't hiding. He was in plain sight, maneuvering himself through society with a wife and son. So, I didn't get it.

Overall, there were parts that I liked and it had Cathy Maxwell's trademark humor, but it wasn't one of my favorite Cathy Maxwell.

Time/Place: Regency England countryside
Sensuality Rating: Warm/Hot


On My Radar for Late October, Early November

September 27, 2011

Karen Hawkins
A Most Dangerous Profession
Hurst Amulet series
Release dat
e October 18, 2011

Elizabeth Hoyt
Scandalous Desires
Maiden Lane series!!!!!
Release date October 18,

Tamara Lejeune
The Pleasure of Bedding a Baroness

no author website
Release date November 1, 2011


I like the titles:

Alan Bradley
The Swe
etness at the Bottom of the Pie
Release date: Out now

Flavia deLuce s
eries (#1)
I am Half-Sick of Shadows
Release date November 1, 2011
Flavia de Luce series (#4)

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


DIK blogging

I will be blogging over at DIK the next couple of days. Check out the quiz!!!


A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

September 20, 2011

Welcome to the island of misfit women...

Well, it's not really an island but the women are misfits and they have isolated themselves far away from the pain that society has created. Yes, they have found a safe haven. Which is about to be disrupted by - you guessed it - men! Men who blow up sheep. Well, they don't actually blow up sheep, because then we wouldn't want them for heroes. These manly men just want the sheep to move, and because blowing something up makes noise and men like to blow things up - well, it just seems logical. So, bang! And so the story begins with the invasion of peaceful Spindle Cove.

A Night to Surrender is the first in Tessa Dare's newest series, and welcome to the lovely safe haven of Spindle Cove. Oh, by the way, it is a battle of the sexes story. Depending on the story, I'm not always a big fan of this battle, because usually one side has to give up too much to win. However, there was plenty of humor, so some of the losing/winning was a little easier to swallow. I did have a small problem with the men not being able to see just how really nice Spindle Cove was. After all, what's wrong with a blacksmith making jewelry if he wants to; besides, Rosey Grier says "It's all right to feel things, Though the feelings may be strange, Feelings are such real things."

Now, on to the lovely characters of Spindle Cove. There were some pretty interesting people in this book, and I'm looking forward to the rest in the series to see how all of them fit. One of my favorite was the rock-wielding geologist Minerva and her nemesis Colin. I can hardly wait for her story, (which is next.) Also very likable was the heroine, Susanna Finch. She's a very strong woman, she's smart and it is because of her that the women in this story have sanctuary. She has made little Spindle Cove quite a community. I liked her a lot. The one problem I had with her was she's one of those heroines who have a neglectful parent, in her case her father. Now, because she is such a strong person, I was a little disappointed that she didn't shake some sense into her father - that is left for the hero to do. I did find Susanna's past to be really interesting. Blood-letting. I think it's interesting how Ms. Dare used this awful practice as a main plot-line in determining what makes Susanna tick. I know that we've all read about it in romance books, and if you're like me I get a squeamish reaction but I really don't think too much about it. However, in this book the archaic practice is brought to the forefront and we really get to see what kind of damage it can or could have done to not only a person's physical body, but their psyche as well. And this is why Ms. Dare is such a good writer - who'd have thunk that such a gruesome topic could be turned into something so poignant.

Now, on to Bram, our hero. And Alan Alda he's not! Bram is all male, and not only is he pure manly male, he is a pure-stubborn-manly-male-alpha-with-blinders-on kinda guy. Just the kind that one would love to konk over the head with a loose, hard object. Even though the character of Bram was the more simply drawn, his character had the farthest to go to change or have that epiphany all heroes must have to be heroes. And, I found myself being mad at him a number of times when he couldn't see how really nice a place Spindle Cove was. Pass that hard object.

Susanna and Bram are a cute (yipes) couple and they are sexually attracted to each other immediately. Once they act upon that attraction, there's no stopping them. All over the place humping - pumping - thumping. I did find my eyebrows going up at how often and how indiscreet this couple from the early 1800's were. I confess, I did get a little bored with the abundance and variety of places, and positions they found to do the whankey-woo in. Get a room already - and please don't tell me about it!

This book has a little bit of everything: a strong couple, great secondary characters, humor, some poignant moments, and a pet lamb. And they all go together to make a delightful story with some nice writing. The next in the series, A Week to be Wicked, doesn't come out till March of 2012 - aakkkk!

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!


The King's Courtesan by Judith James

September 16, 2011

Warning! Cover rant coming!

Let's get this over with, shall we. The cover has some lovely colors, and some sumptuous clothing. Nice layout. However, what's with the Grace Kelly outfit the woman has on? This outfit is so Edith Head. It could have been worn in Rear Window. This outfit is not something any self-respecting restoration woman would wear. Not even to bed! So, then I looked at the guy - ah, a lace shirt. That's sort of restoration. Wait a minute! It's open down the front! Akkk! Didn't men slip those shirts over their heads because shirts didn't open in the front? I may be wrong, but I think I'm right. Nice try with the lace though, you almost fooled me. And, one more little tiny nit-picking thing. What's with the finger on the red lips? I think I know exactly what it means, because I think I know what scene this is supposed to be from. So, I think she needs to get up and rinse.

Now, to the inside. Judith James is writing some really interesting books, in time periods that are usually overlooked. The King's Courtesan takes place in one of my favorite times, Restoration England. This time in history had so much going on; I'm always surprised that there isn't more out there on it. What a lush time. However, on top of all that lushness was some pretty gritty dirt. And Ms. James does not disappoint in her description of what is going on around the protagonists who inhabit The King's Courtesan. I loved the visions she evoked.

So, you would think with a time period I love, vision evoking, and a king who I've always found fascinating, I'd be happy with this book. You'd think. Well, here's the problem. The couple. By their third fight, I just wanted to reach into those pages and smack them. It was one of those let's-have-wonderful-orgasmic-sex-and-then - what, you like white? How dare you like white! I hate you, I hate you! Blacks better and I'm never going to speak to you again! Oh, let's tumble down this hill. OOH! You're wonderful! Ahhhhh! What, now you like black! You cretin! I'll never speak to you again! And, I'm not going to tell you any of my secrets! So there!

Now, I might have exaggerated just a tad, but you get the point. Our couple, a real whore, not a fake one, and a hero bent on revenge might have been wonderful. At least, the heroine was different and the hero had to deal with the fact that maybe someday in the future his wife would have to go back to the bed of King Charles. So, just that part of the story would have made for some great dynamics. But the constant bickering just got on every one of my nerves, causing many an eye-rolling moment. I do like books that are semi-old school; however, some things are better left with Steve and Ginny (Sweet Savage Love.) I just don't see a HEA with hate you, hate you, couples.

So, in the end, I was disappointed in The King's Courtesan. Maybe I was expecting too much after The Libertine Kiss, which I liked a lot. Even though I was disappointed in this read, I will be keeping my eyes out for the next in the series. I'm not sure when it's coming out, but I think it's about the young boy that Robert rescued.

Time/Place: Restoration England
Sensuality Rating: Hot!


Ripe for Scandal by Isobel Carr

September 13, 2011

Two! Two! Two books in one!

I'm glad I stuck around for the second in Isobel Carr's League of the Second Sons series, Ripe for Scandal. This book had some wonderful stuff in it.

Have you ever been surrounded by nincompoops? Have you ever felt like everyone was out to get you? Are you the only sane person in the world? Well, those questions and many more are some that our heroine and hero might be asking themselves.

For those of you keeping count, we've met this couple in the previous book: Boudicea aka Beau was the sister of Leo from Ripe for Pleasure. Gareth is one of the second sons and the best-est buddy of Leo. And, let me tell you, with friends like Leo you don't need any enemies. Also, while I'm on the subject (I'm not), I hated the name Beau. Every time I read it, I had to remember that Beau was a girl.

This is a story of two people who have known each other forever and are in love/infatuated with each other. Of course, for one reason or another, nothing can ever - ever come of this love - so, Boudicea/Beau moons over Gareth. And, being a rake, Gareth does what any self-respecting rake would do when deprived of the woman he lust after. Jumps on anything in long skirts that moves. He's one of those Romanceland heroes that I get concerned over. You know the ones with diseases and what-nots. Anyway, the first part of this book is taken up with the abduction of Boudicea/Beau, the rescue by Gareth and their being forced to marry. It is during this part of the book that we grow to understand Boudicea/Beau and Gareth. We watch them as they discover each other. They are truly an amazing couple, and a step above other romance couples struggling with misunderstandings. These two are mostly honest with each other, they like each other, they enjoy being together. It was an amazing relationship. And, this was in the first part. So, if the couple are getting along with each other by the first half of the story, where's the tension you might ask?

Well, let me tell you, there were so many things beating against this couple, it's amazing they made it through to the HEA. There were also quite a number of horrible people in this book; it was really quite horrendous. Horrible friends, horrible families, horrible villains. And, I really wanted to choke Leo...I don't think I liked him very much in the first book. This book didn't change my mind. He was not any kind of friend to Gareth. He gave no thought as to what his actions might be doing to his sister. He was truly a creep! Thank goodness there were animals in this book. The animals were the only beings that were nice to our couple.

And then - there is the BIG problem and the mood of the book shifts. By the time this happens, you have come to love Gareth and Boudicea/Beau. When the BIG problem came along, I knew how my wonderful couple would react. Knowing how Gareth and Beau were going to react and wondering how the author was going to resolve the BIG problem led to some mighty tense moments in my mind. All I can say is my fingernails are gone and I stayed up late just to finish this book.

Yes, there was some uneven plotting. Yes, there appeared to be some things that were rushed...but, overall this was a good book and a great addition to the series. Good job Ms. Carr aka Kalen Hughes, glad you're still around.

Time/Place: Georgian England
Sensuality Rating: Hot


Lord Langley is Back in Town by Elizabeth Boyle

September 8, 2011

OMG! Who are all these people??
Elizabeth Boyle is one of my favorite authors; she's an automatic buy. I always look forward to her books, because I know that I'm going to get a good yarn. Now, that doesn't mean there are some I don't like as much as others,cause there are, and Lord Langley is Back in Town is one that I don't like as much. Bummer.

I am a number one fan of books in a series and those little handy dandy pedigree charts that are stuck there to stop us from floundering around. However, even though I have read every single book in this series, I was lost. I couldn't remember who did what to whom when. And that was too bad, because I became so distracted by trying to remember all of these people, I found that I could not enjoy the book as much as I wanted to. That's doubly sad seeing as how I really, really, really liked Lord Langley. I thought he was just the bees-knees! He was older, sexy, and charming. He had a mischievous quality about him that I found most amusing.

Minerva I was less enchanted with, in fact I found her just a bit tiresome and I wasn't really that interested in her back story. I think in this case I would have been just as happy without her back story, because it didn't add too much too the overall book. Here we go: If it had been me writing the book, I would have enhanced the farce that was created by the four ex-lovers of Langley being in the same house. I could see all manner of Preston Sturges' shenanigans going on with all the women under the same roof. However, while humorous scenes did happen, I wished there had been more of a farce. And yes, I know, I didn't write the book!

I loved Langley, and I wish his romance with Minerva had been stronger. There were just too many other people crowding into this book for the romance between Langley and Minerva to develop. It's not a good sign when I can be easily distracted while reading a book, especially one that I was looking forward to with much anticipation. Anyway, I'll be waiting for the next in the series, Along Came a Duke. Maybe I'll do some rereading before then.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Hot