The Prince and I by Karen Hawkins

September 29, 2015
I yam what I yam an' that's all that I yam!


Tautophrase. While you may never have heard of the word tautophrase, I bet you've heard a tautophrase. Let me run through some: It ain't over 'till it's over, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, tomorrow is tomorrow, facts are facts, and a win is a win. According to Wikipedia a tautophrase is a phrase or sentence that repeats an idea in the same words. Which leads me to one of my all-time, least favorite phrases of modern time: "it is what it is." I cannot tell you how much I loathe that phrase. Every time I hear it, all I can see is someone’s shoulders shrugging. I've always felt it was a rather defeatist phrase - a just-give-up-there's-nothing-anyone-can-do-about-it phrase - too bad, sorry, a shrug of shoulders. I really don't like to hear it. So, when the hero of one of my historical books says it I am really thrown out of the story. I am tossed out firstly because I hatessss that phrase. Secondly would someone from I am assuming the 19th century say that? Thirdly, would someone from Oxenburg in the 19th century say that? Nyet! I tried finding any reference to "it is what it is" origins and all I was able to find was that the first time it showed up in writing was 1949. That of course does not mean a prince from Oxenburg would not have that phrase in his vocabulary, but I doubt it and it has such a modern cadence to it that I could do nothing else but stop my reading. But, hey it is what it is.

The Prince and I, by Karen Hawkins, is the second in The Oxenburg Princes series and is loosely based on the Robin Hood story. In this case our heroine, Murian (get it, Murian-Marion-Murian), is Robin Hood. She's the one who robs from the rich to give to the poor. Her band of merry men are mostly widows who have been kicked out of the castle which once belonged to Murian's husband. They all live hidden right under the bad guy’s nose in some run-down cottages in the forest. How the villain of this piece is never able to find them is beyond me. They have fires in their fireplaces in those cottage, how can you not see the smoke coming over the top of those trees? They also have the prince and his men taking wagon loads of building supplies daily to their little hidden place in the woods. All I can say is that the villain’s trackers should have been fired.

Anyway, Murian holds up Prince Gregori Maksim Alexsandr Romanovin and his feisty grandmother's carriage one evening. (Everyone calls him Max by the way.) Also, grandmother Natasha is a stubborn, outspoken elderly person who I think is supposed to be there for comic relief. She refers to herself as a Gypsy and goes around scaring people by casting spells and curses.  There is also a plethora of accents: Murian has a high-class Scottish burr, while her followers have a lower-class burr. Then there is Max and gang's Russian/Oxenburg/Romania accent - it gets to be a little confusing.

If you are looking for a heavy-duty historically accurate book, this one is not for you. There is a cute romance and funny secondary characters with thick accents. The entire read is light and fun. If you don't have a problem with modern language creeping into the story you will find this an enjoyable read, but if you are a historical stickler you might want to pass this one by and avoid the pain it will cause your verra wee brain.

Time/Place: Sometime after some war Scotland, maybe early 1800s
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare

September 29, 2015
Oh what a tangled web we weave, blah blah blah.


We certainly have a deceit in When a Scot Ties the Knot, by Tessa Dare. What we have in this book is a heroine, Madeline Gracechurch, who has to come up with a fiancé really fast. She needs to get her father off of her back. He's trying to force her into wedded bliss so he can enjoy his own. So, she invents a fiancé who is off fighting in the war. For years she keeps this letter campaign up, she is even given a house in Scotland to live in by a relative. She kills off her pretend fiancé so she can be totally independent, goes into mourning and then one day who should show up on her door but her pretend fiancé. Well, he's not so pretend and he most certainly isn't dead and he's here to claim her has his wedded wife. Oh dear.

I'm rather fond of pretend fiancé/fiancée/husbands/wives scenario. It makes for a fun story, usually. I like Tessa Dare. I like her humor and I was looking forward to reading this one - however. There were a few stumbling blocks for me, the biggest being the age of the heroine, Madeline. When Madeline first embarks on her plan she is 16 years old, a minor. At this age Madeline would really have no rights of her own, she would definitely be under her father's authority. How a 16 year old could have a fiancé who her father would agree to without the father ever having meet him was a really big stretch of the imagination. Then while still very young she is given the land in Scotland to go and live in. That was also a big stretch. If her father had been portrayed as a mean, creepy guy maybe I could have bought into this a little better, but he's not. He just seems to be neglectful. But even with him being unaware of what his daughter is going through, I just couldn't buy into his approving of someone he's never ever been introduced to. I wish her age had been bumped up a few years, it would have made the whole scenario a bit more palatable. Then there were the letters. If it was all pretend anyway, why even bother to write letters to a fake fiancé. I guess we wouldn't have a story then, but there were a lot of stretches in this story.

Even though I didn't buy into the 16-year-old letter writer part of this story, I did like the older Madeline. I thought she was a wonderfully quirky character. She has pet lobsters, oh not because she likes lobsters, but she is supposed to be illustrating their life cycle (up to 31 years for a male and 54 years for a female). She is a highly talented illustrator. She has dreams of illustrating and has a patron who might get her a job illustrating for a dictionary. She wants that job, she needs the money, the independence - that job would be the answer to her prayers. Because she is a single woman, her patron thinks she will have an easier time getting that job - she won't have all those little kiddies hanging on her skirt, you see. But who should show up to ruin it all - her dead fiancé, her pretend dead fiancé, and he wants one thing. He wants marriage.

Captain Logan MacKenzie is an orphan. He's done well for himself in the army, but he wants something else. He wants a place he can call his own, a place where he can take his rag-tag group of soldiers who followed him and give them a home. Most of his men were originally from Scotland and it is the time of clearances so most of his men don't have a place to go. Because the name Madeline invented for her fiancé actually belonged to a real man, Logan has been getting her letters for five years. He sees his chance: he threatens her with revealing her secret unless she marries him. It will be a marriage of convenience for both of them. She grudgingly agrees. What she doesn't know is that Logan has cherished each and every one of those letters. He has fallen in love with the woman who has corresponded with him for those five years. I did enjoy watching Logan and Madeline grow into being friends and then lovers.

When the Scot Ties the Knot will make many of Ms. Dare's fans happy campers. I found it to be another pleasant read, which had a number of "could have been" moments in it and one too many stretch of the imagination moments. It isn't one of my favorites by Ms. Dare.

Time/Place: 1817 Scotland
Sensuality: Warm/Hot 

Scotsman of My Dreams by Karen Ranney

September 29, 2015
GGAG Alert!! Gigantic Girth and Growing!!


It's been awhile since I've read a Karen Ranney book. I don't know why, she's not one of my auto-buys and this one was receiving good reviews, so what the hey. I'm always on the lookout for a good read. While Scotsman of My Dreams wasn't a super-duper-fantastical read, I did find it a pleasant one.

What we have in this book is a grumpy Gus hero who is feeling sorry for himself. Yes, Dalton used to be a man about town, a rake (a real one) and he didn't have a care in the world. He was also bored, bored, bored, so what better thing to do than have a grand adventure. His idea of a grand adventure was to journey to the United States and join the fighting going on at that time called the Civil War. What a good idea, huh? Not only did he think it was a swell idea, but his group of idiot bootlickers thought it would be fun too. So, they followed him to the United States and when they arrived they flipped a coin to see who would fight for the North and who would fight for the South. See isn't that a fun idea? Well, it isn't long before Dalton's eyes are opened to the cruelty which is war. He loses many of his friends along with his eyesight. Or most of his eyesight. So, now he's back in England wallowing in self-pity; he can't see, he's guilt-ridden because of his idiot friends who followed him into war only to die. I'm forgetting a very important part of the plot. It seems that the reason our hero Dalton is blind is because someone tried to kill him while he was off fighting for the North in the United States Civil War. The last thing Dalton saw before he passed out was one of his friends, Neville Todd aiming a pistol at him. Well since this is romance, Neville has a sister, Minerva. Ta ta ta dah.

Minerva is looking for her brother; he seems to have disappeared. Most everyone thinks he's dead, but not Minerva. She knows there is only one person who can tell her where Neville is, and that one person is Dalton. However, Dalton refuses to see her because he's wallowing. That doesn't deter Minerva. She breaks into his house and forces an audience with him. She blames him for everything that has happened to Neville, she hatesssss Dalton, but as it soon turns out not enough to avoid his bed. Which leads me to a short rant and a discovery of my own double standards. Minerva isn't a virgin and I really don't care, but she was relieved of her golden gate years ago by her footman/carriage guy, whatever he is. His name is Hugo and he's still in her employ and also helping her break into places. He appears to still have feelings for her, she doesn't appear to have anything but friendship for him at this point - only fond memories of some wonderful passion. Here's where my double standard crept in. I was uncomfortable with her being his employer and having a one-time passionate relationship with him. It dawned on me that I was more uncomfortable with her still being his employer than I am when it is a male having a passionate relationship with one of his employees. I'm going to have to sort that out, maybe after so many years of reading, I'm used to a male employer being a user of his subordinates, than a female employer being a user of her subordinates. Don't know, haven't arrived at any conclusion other than the relationship between Hugo and Minerva made me uncomfortable.

While we are talking relationships, in the beginning of this story I didn't sense any strong chemistry between Minerva and Dalton. Maybe that was due to the fact that it wasn't until chapter twelve that they were together for any long period of time. Long. Let's talk about long things, shall we. I had an OMG moment in this book. In fact, I pinned a note that said OMG. Plus this moment was a biggggg (and I do mean big) distraction. It became a yardstick moment. I'd say ruler moment, except a ruler wasn't big enough. Dalton seems to be the proud owner of a mighty big Mr. Toad. Not only did Minerva's forefinger and thumb not touch while encircling this gigantic beam, but his Timothy Toad seems to be nine sprayed fingers long! Now, I don't have big hands by any means, in fact my ring finger is a size five but when I sprayed nine of my fingers out I had to find a yardstick because I came up with a whopping 12 and 1/2 inches. That converts to 31.75 centimeters. This proved to be a really big distraction to the story. I kept asking myself why, oh why do authors insist on writing about such humongous hero handles? Here's the deal: a woman's love canal is between 3 to 4 inches long. Granted, it does expand to accommodate things that come knocking, but really 12 1/2 inches, that's a lot of expanding, a lot of arousing. Yes, it does expand to expel little children, but usually that takes hours and hours of pain to stretch that much. Plus, that's expelling, not oh baby bring it on. Authors, please... If you don't want me reaching for a yardstick make those hero handles normal. They don't have to reach up to the sternum to satisfy! Talk about heartburn!

Back to the story. Except for the major distraction of Toads and yardsticks and sternums I found this a pleasant read - not incredibly fantastical, but pleasant. The chemistry between the couple was lacking in the beginning and then when they do become involved another subplot came along and diluted the chemistry that was starting to form. They were apart too long to begin with, which lessened the time allotted to romance. This is a standard romance, nothing earth-shattering, maybe something for a plane ride. It was ok.

Time/Place: 1860s England
Sensuality: Yikes


Historical! Historical! Historical! Upcoming Historical Romances!

September 18, 2015
Authors with an asterisk*, I'm picking up! For more Upcoming Releases that aren't historical see Hey Delia!!! For: October 15, 2015 to November 14, 2015.
Alissa Johnson
A Talent for Trickery
The Thief-takers series
November 3
Amanda McCabe*

The Demure Miss Manning
October 20
Anna Bradley*
A Wicked Way to Win an Earl
Sutherland Scandals series
November 3
Anne Barton

One Wild Winter's Eve
Honeycote series
October 27
Carla Kelly
Georgie Lee
Ann Lethbridge


It Happened One Christmas
October 20

Eva Leigh*
Scandal Takes the Stage
Wicked Quills of London series
October 27

Gayle Callen 
 The Wrong Bride
Highland Wedding series
October 27

Grace Burrowes*
 Daniel's True Desire
True Gentlemen series
November 3

Jane Shoup 
Spirit of the Valley
Green Valley series
October 27

Leigh Greenwood  
Forever and Always
Cactus Creek Cowboys series
November 3

Lisa Kleypas* 
Cold Heared Rake
Cold Hearted Rake series
October 27

Lorraine Heath
 Falling Into Bed With a Duke
The Hellions of Havisham series
October 27

Louise Allen
 His Housekeeper's Christmas Wish
Lords of Disgrace series
October 20 - book

November 1 - ebook
Lynna Banning 
Smoke River Family
October 20

Olivia Drake 
Bella and the Beast
Cinderella Sisterhood series
November 3

Piper Huguley 
A Treasure of Gold
Migration of the Heart series
November 10

Sabrina Jeffries
Karen Hawkins

Candace Camp
Meredith Duran  
What Happens Under the Mistletoe
October 27

Valerie Bowman
 The Irresistible Rogue
Playful Brides series
November 3


What to Do With a Duke by Sally MacKenzie

September 16, 2015 
Curses and Friends and Gossip – Oh my!


What to Do With a Duke is the first in Sally MacKenzie’s new series called Spinster House. While I was not all that enthralled with her last Naked series, I like Ms. MacKenzie’s humor enough to pick up her latest.

What we have in What to Do With a Duke is a curse, a cat, and a spinster or a should I say a trio of spinsters.

The curse is that all of the Dukes of Hart will die before the birth of their heir, unless the curse is broken by “true love.” The curse must be true because when this story begins it has been going on for 200 years.  So, it comes as no surprise that the current Duke of Hart, Marcus, is in no hurry to walk down the matrimonial isle. However, he is lonely, blue and sad. He doesn’t know what the problem is, but something is missing in his life – except matrimonial-minded women. These women keep throwing themselves at him in the hopes of entrapping him into the bonds of marriage. Which is what happens when this story begins. Another woman has tried to trap him, she is caught with her clothes half off and him standing over her. Her outraged father tries to force him into marriage, but Marcus says a firm no, nope, never and in so doing creates a small scandal. It is at this time that Marcus and his two friends, Nate and Alex, decide now would be a good time to take a hike. Before they do Marcus receives word from his estate that he needs to choose the next spinster of Spinster House.

Now this is part of the story that is a little confusing. There is a house on Marcus’ property that was established by the same woman who put a curse on the Dukes of Hart. I’m a little unclear as to why she established this house, because it doesn’t have anything to do with the curse, but there is a magical cat that lives there. In between licking its hind quarters, the cat communes with people and walks around the house as if it owns it. Anyway, back to the Spinster House. For some reason there has been a spinster living in the house for 200 years. Not the same spinster - that would be silly because there’s no such thing as a 200-year-old spinster. I think. Anyway, for some reason the Dukes of Hart must be the ones who choose which spinster lives in the house. In the past there has always been only one woman interested in living in that house, so Marcus believes that he won’t be at his estate all that long. Then he and his friends (future heroes), can go traipsing off for a walk through the countryside. Enter Catherine, aka Cat.

Poor Catherine lives in a house with nine other siblings, or most of them since two of them are married. Even though Catherine has been raised in a loving family, she is tired of sharing space with them. She is tired of the noise, the sharing of a bed, the disorder. She can’t write her great novel because of the constant cacophony. She wants the Spinster House. Who should arrive on her father’s doorstep? Well, you see Marcus must talk to the Vicar (Cat’s father) before he can choose the spinster. Well, Catherine jumps at the chance to become the spinster of Spinster House. Marcus doesn’t have a problem with it either, less work for his brain to do. So they agree, however there is a fly in the ointment (or should I say “flies”). Two of Cat’s friends, Jane and Anne, want to be by themselves also. I’m assuming we will find out when their books come out what their reasoning is. Now Marcus has three women to choose from for the Grand Spinster job. It is written in a contract somewhere that they must draw straws to choose who will be the spinster if there is more than one applicant. Cat wins the draw. It is at this time that Cat finds out what friendship is all about, because her friends turn into vicious harpies. They become frenemies and start some really nasty gossip about Cat.

There was a lot going on in this book, a lot of humor but also a number of things that irritated me.  Let’s start with Cat. Even though she is surrounded by a crowd of people, she is really a self-centered person. She has no conception of how her leaving the loving, affectionate family will upset her younger siblings. She has never let on how much she wants to leave, so it comes has quite a shock when she announces it at the dinner table. Her lack of perception makes her a very unlikeable heroine. The only saving grace at this point is that when she finally moves into the Spinster House, she is unable to do any writing because of the quiet. Spoilers ahead. While we are talking about Cat, let me just say this: she turns into one of those heroines who cannot marry the hero. At first it’s because she wants to be alone, but then it’s because if she does he will die. The curse only works if there is marriage and a baby. I found Cat to be a very tiresome character.

Speaking of tiresome, let’s turn our attention to Marcus. Yes, Marcus the cursed Duke who can never hold his heir because of the curse. He is doomed, doomed, doomed. Of course he could marry for love, but he doesn’t know what that is, even when it’s staring him in the face. He is downright depressing. But that doesn’t stop his overactive Mr. Toad from erupting every time Cat enters the room. No sirree, Marcus’ trousers were constantly tented. And, while we are talking about tents, let’s talk about a “c” word which rhymes with rock. Let me say right up front, I am not offended by this word. I’ve read enough romances to become almost immune to the word.  But here’s the problem: Marcus thought about his “c” a lot. Everywhere he went it was up – all the time. But did it ever get to do anything? Nooooo. Did the heroine ever notice it? Noooooo. Was there enough sensuality in the book for this troublesome creature to blend into? Nooooo. It was like a sore thumb just flopping around in the breeze and didn’t really have a purpose. Except it did concern Marcus – a lot.

What’s with all the heroines writhing around? Almost all the heroines in the romance books I’ve read lately are writhing. The word even looks odd. Someone needs to hold these poor ladies down. How can any of those poor heroes find any orifices with all the squirming that’s going on?

Gossip. There was some really mean and explicit gossip in this book. There were all these supporting characters who were asking mighty explicit questions. I think that maybe they were supposed to be humorous, but I had to raise my eyebrows and question the kind of questions coming out of the mouths of these women from this time period. Sure there were busybody, in-your-face women in this time period, but I think they hid their words behind other words. Words that would have the same meaning but not fall so harshly on one's ears.

Finally, yes finally, I am almost done with my rambling. We have a stupid misunderstanding, jump to the wrong conclusion moment in this book. It is the heroine who jumps to the wrong conclusion and throws a tantrum. She jumps to the wrong conclusion about the woman who caused the scandal in the beginning of the book. It was silly and not needed. One last thing – where’s the epilogue? Yes, we believe Cat and Marcus love each other and that the curse is broken and that he won’t die. But, gee-willikers we need to have it in black and white right in front of our faces. I needed to see a baby bouncing on Marcus’ knee to be satisfied.

I was disappointed in What to Do With a Duke. There wasn’t any chemistry between Marcus and Cat. Marcus was overly concerned with his Mr. Toad and for no particular reason because he seemed to be the only one who knew he had one. The “I can’t marry you” routine became tiresome. The secondary female friends were mean. Not even the humor in this book could save it for me.

Time/Place: 1817 England
Sensuality: Cardboard


Luck Be a Lady by Meredith Duran

September 12, 2015


 I loved this book! When I first read the characters of Nicholas O’Shea and Catherine Everleigh in the previous book, Lady be Good, I wondered just how Ms. Duran was ever going to turn this pair into a romance couple. Well, I’m happy to say all my worries were for naught. What a wonderful couple! What a wonderful romance! Sigh.

Nicholas O’Shea. Sign. Nicholas O’Shea seemed like such an unlikely hero. In the previous book he was a pretty scary guy. While he is extremely sexy, he also has a bit of Michael Corleone’s ruthlessness about him. But where Michael is clean, Nicholas is dirtier, more rugged, grittier – ah, shucks – he’s one hot scary guy. In Luck Be a Lady we get to see his gentle side. The one hiccup I had with Mr. O’Shea wasn’t his fault, but the authors. She made him a crime lord over Whitechapel and unless I’m wrong, in this time period Whitechapel was a pretty dangerous, seedy place to be; filled with overcrowding, squalor and some pretty notorious murders.  I was a little uncomfortable with some of his “do-gooding.” Especially, when in reality, I know how decayed this area of London was at this particular time. However, I rose above my issues.

Catherine. What an interesting character. She is perceived as the “ice queen.” Many men have tried to win her, but she doesn’t want anything to do with them. The little glimpse we have of her as a child, trying desperately to win her father’s esteem, is not only enlightening but very poignant.  She is clever, ambitious and beautiful. Her life is Everleigh’s Auction Rooms, an auction house which she and her brother Peter share. Everleigh is Catherine’s true love, her only friend. When this story begins, Peter is trying to take this joy away from her. But she has a plan. Her solution is to find a man who is strong enough to stand up to Peter; someone controlling, someone who doesn’t really care about society, someone ruthless - and marry that someone. Of course, this will be a marriage of convenience. She has it all planned out. Once she’s married she will have control of Everleigh’s Auction Rooms. When she comes up with her grand plan she doesn’t take the man himself into consideration. Since this is Romanceland we all know how marriage of conveniences work. They are usually anything but convenient and it isn’t long before Nicholas and Catherine know that too.

There is so much in this book. Nicholas and Catherine are from two totally different worlds; they are two totally different people and their relationship shouldn’t work, but it does. Thanks to Ms. Duran, we have been gifted with a pretty powerful love story.

This is one of the stories this year that is not to be missed! Nicholas is one sexy guy, and ladies/gents watch for the door scene. Catherine is an unlikeable character who is made lovely. And, Peter is truly one slimy, creepy villain/brother. Luck be a Lady gets a high recommendation and I would read this one over again just because I liked it so much.

Time/Place: 1886 London
Sensuality: Hot


The Reluctant Governess by Maggie Robinson

September 14, 2015
Both sides of the mouth.

The Reluctant Governess by Maggie Robinson, is the third in the Ladies Unlaced series and takes place in Edwardian England. Here’s my take on the Edwardian time period. One would think as time passes, morals would become more flexible and people would relax. However, I don’t think that’s the way things work. I’ve always believed that certain time periods are reactionary to the previous one. I’ve always felt that the Victorian era was a bigggg reaction to the Regency era. Though the Regency time period had lines that weren’t to be crossed, it always seemed to me that the Regency period was wilder than its successor the Victorian period. Of course, there was always Queen Victoria and her strict morals which came into play. So, when the Edwardian time period came into being, people were still struggling with the heavy duty strictures of the previous period. I think those Victorian morals had a really strong grip on the people who followed and even though we moved into the Industrial world with all the inventions and scientific advancements, the mentality and the morals were still pretty much restrictive.

Now why do I say that? I say that because our heroine Eliza is a working woman, a suffragette of sorts and her dream is to someday be a secretary. While her choice of a “career” may strike us as mundane we must remember that 90 years ago for a woman to be a secretary was truly shocking. Secretaries in Edwardian time were mostly men. Even though Eliza is presented as being progressive because of her career choices, to me she seemed to be a heroine who talked out of both sides of her mouth. On one hand, she is a vote-for-women, free-thinking, equal-rights kind of girl, but on the other hand she is an uptight prig of a woman who faints at the sight of nudes and condemns the man painting those nudes. I had a problem liking Eliza; I found her to be pretty much a hypocrite. The only bright spot in her personality was her fondness for the little girl in this story, Sunny.

Sunny and Eliza had great chemistry, however this was a romance surrounding Nicholas and Eliza. And, as much as I tried, I could find no chemistry between the two of them.

I did like Nicholas Raeburn, even though he is a younger son with money. A younger son in romance novels with his own money is rare. Because he’s a younger son with money, he has been able to indulge in a rather hedonist life style, become a painter of nude women, and father an illegitimate child – Sunny. At least he thinks Sunny is his. His mistress at the time had so many men she’s not sure who fathered her daughter, but when she was dying she sent out letters to allllll the men she’d sleep with who could have been the father. Nicholas is the one man who stepped forward to claim Sunny as his own. The relationship between Sunny and Nicholas is one of the bright spots in the book. He’ll do anything for her; he’s pretty much wrapped around her little finger. Because Nicholas is wrapped around that little finger, Sunny has grown accustomed to a lot of freedom and has free range to run wild throughout the house. While Nicholas is not too terribly disturbed by this, he does realize that he needs a proper governess, so he applies to the Evensong Agency for help.

They send him Eliza, temporarily (remember she wants to be a secretary). In the meantime, she accepts the position. When she arrives at his house she is greeted by chaos and nude women. Her reaction is not what one would expect from a “free” thinker.

This story had all the ear-markings of a “could have been” tale. It could have been so much better if Nicholas and Eliza were allowed to be more fully develop or if there had been more of their delightful banter or if villains were not used as a catalyst for the story.

This was a pleasant read, the humor was fun, and I feel there should have been more of it. However I found Eliza to be a hypocrite and her constant judgmental attitude irritating.

Time/Place: 1904 England
Sensuality:Sort of Hot


Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase

September 2, 2015
Peregrine and Olivia, all grown up! Sort of.


And now Olivia and Peregrine are all grown up. Last Night's Scandal is the story of those precocious children from Lord Perfect, except now they are adults, sort of. Well, they are physically grown up, but mentally they are the same. Olivia may have boobs, but she still is yearning for adventure and she is still getting in trouble. Peregrine is still trying to keep her out of trouble and failing. Last Night's Scandal is Ms. Chase's return to some fun, lots of fun and on occasion close to silly.

I like both characters a lot. Peregrine another Chase male who is gob-smacked right between the eyes when he sees his childhood friend for the first time in years and discovers she has a bosom. After that, it's all downhill or uphill, depending on your point of view. While Olivia was a troublesome child, she is even more of a menace since her chest has enlarged and her hips have curved. Peregrine just cannot stop the whirlwind who is Olivia from sweeping him away.

For years he has avoided his melodramatic family by doing complex, mundane, exacting work in Egypt, but now he has been called back to England to attend the Carsington's matriarch’s birthday. At this point his father threatens him with having his funds cut-off if he doesn't go to Scotland to check into a family estate. So, he reluctantly goes and Olivia tricks, maneuvers, bamboozles her way into the trip to Scotland. She wants her adventure after all.

What an adventure it is, filled with daft chaperones, stupid villains, leery villagers, a treasure hunt, mysterious servants and a haunted castle. This books is a fun-fest. Does the book skate close to the lines of borderline goofy? Yes, but not much. This is a Loretta Chase book after all and it's filled with wonderful fun dialog and some great snappy banter. I had a great time reading Last Night's Scandal and I do recommend this story.  The Carsington series for the most part has been an enjoyable reread.

Time/Place: 1830s Scotland/England
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Not Quite a Lady by Loretta Chase

September 2, 2015
More Carsingtons


I wasn't going to reread Not Quite a Lady, but I don't like to read books in a series out of order so I did.

It is time for Darius Carsington to put in his Mr. Spock appearance. The ears may not be pointy, but everything else about Darius is Mr. Spockish. He is a rake, however, he is also an emotionally vacant hero. He's a cold-hearted logical man and his father is fed up with him. You know the Carsington brother's father is one controlling guy who expects an awful lot from his grown sons. I'm not sure why Darius' logical personality got on his father's nerves but it did. So, his father ships him off to the wilderness of England to straighten out an old estate. By the way, Darius has some super powers. He is able to perceive when a woman is innocent just by looking at her. I'm not sure how those super-powers work, but he's been relying on them for a long time as he works his way through the widows, bored wives and brothels of England. Even more amazing! His Mr. Toad has not fallen off. Anyway, he is puzzled when his super-powers are telling him that our heroine, Charlotte, isn't pure but her standing in the community is telling him that she is. He becomes obsessed with the puzzle that is Charlotte. What is there for him to figure out?

Well, quite a lot actually. You see, when Charlotte was very young she was seduced by a rake who left her pregnant. Thanks to her step-mother she was able to hide the birth of her child. Even though she believes that child has had a good home through the years, she has yearned for him. She is also guilt ridden. She feels guilty for giving her son up and guilty for keeping the secret from her beloved father. Charlotte has long held her father up on a pedestal and has tried to be the person she believes he wants her to be. She also believes she can never marry. What man would want a woman like her as a wife? So, there are some major issues Charlotte is carrying around.

It took me a little longer to warm up to Darius. His attitude toward using Charlotte when he thought she was experienced was a tad bit cruel. I've also noticed that none of Ms. Chase's men seem to use any protective measures when they are involved in dippity-dooing. This stood out more in this book, because Charlotte already had one child that she was forced to give up. Darius didn't do anything to protect her from becoming pregnant or getting any kind of disease. Charlotte, who had already experienced one unwanted pregnancy wasn't all that sensible this time around either.

While this story is a little darker than the rest in this series, there is still some of Ms. Chase's trademark humor but not enough for me to give it a higher rating. I didn't care for Darius too much and thought his treatment of Charlotte irresponsible. While there were some tender moments, they were too rushed and too close to the ending. For me Charlotte and Darius didn't work quite as well as the others in this series.

Time/Place: English countryside 1820s
Sensuality: Warm/Hot

Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase

September 2, 2015
Ummm, this sounds familiar.


Sometimes when you do a bit of glomming you notice how similar an author’s voice can be from one book to another. This happened for me when I reread the last four books in the Carsinger brother’s series by Loretta Chase: Mr. Impossible, Lord Perfect, Not Quite a Lady and Last Night's Scandal. It just so happens that I love Ms. Chase's comic voice and I didn't mind reading things that seemed the same; however, I think I have to recommend putting some space between the books in this series if you decide to read them.

Ms. Chase's Carsington men fall hard and fast. They are mostly oblivious to just what it is they are experiencing. One of the things I like about her heroes is that they are usually not so very dark. Oh sure the heroes may have some problems, but they are not too angst-filled nor do any of them seem to have developed the I-can-never-trust-another-woman-because-my-mother-lied-to-my-father-my-fiancee-ran-away-with-the-butler-my-mistress-betrayed-me-the-dish-ran-away-with-the-spoon-I-hatessss-all-women routine. Ms. Chase's heroines are mostly strong aggressive women who know what they want and go after it, including unbuttoning trousers and delving in.

Lord Perfect is the story of the eldest Carsington brother Benedict. He's the perfect one. Our heroine is Bathsheba Wingate. Bathsheba is one of those "Dreadful DeLucey." How do we know that? We know that because this phrase is repeated about a hundred gazillion times in this story. In my opinion Bathsheba never came close to being dreadful, although she believed that of herself. This belief is reflected in her mothering skills and the way she views her daughter Olivia. She views Olivia as a "Dreadful" and tries to control her daughter. Of course, this suppressing of her daughter only makes Olivia rebel against those strictures. I do admit that Olivia is a pretty precocious wild child who seems to be a lot older than what she actually is. She is a scene stealer and she's not the only one. There is Peregrine, the nephew of Benedict and for some reason Peregrine has been left in Benedict's care. Peregrine's parents are over-dramatic selfish people who don't seem to care very much for their son. Peregrine is the total opposite of Olivia and when these "children" are in scenes together it's pretty amusing. The problem I have with this is that Peregrine and Olivia take over the book and while I found their antics to be very funny, they are a distraction from the romance between Benedict and Bathsheba. And, in the end this is a romance about two people who are different, fall in love and journey toward their HEA. Speaking of a journey, this is a road trip book and this trip triggers one of my buttons.

Peregrine and Olivia run away. Olivia runs away because she wants to be a knight and have an adventure and dig for treasure. Peregrine runs away because he wants to protect Olivia. So, it turns into a road trip because Bathsheba and Benedict give chase. Here is where the book took a downward spiral for me. Even though Olivia is street smart, she and Peregrine are still children who could be facing all kinds of trouble. How Benedict and Bathsheba could have the desire to partake in ca-doodling was beyond me. I find as I get older and read more and more romances, I am becoming less and less tolerate of sexual explosions happening while part of the plot-line revolves around endangering a child. Or the endangerment of anyone for that matter. I don't buy into the "make me forget" routine.

Overall, I found Benedict to be a wonderfully stuffy hero who losses all of his senses when he stumbles into Bathsheba's world. The banter between the two of them was delightful, but the children's story took up toooo much of the tale for Lord Perfect to be one of Ms. Chase's outstanding perfect romance books.

Time/Place: English Road Trip 1820s 
Sensuality: Warm/Hot