Friday, January 23, 2015

It Must Be Your Love by Bella Andre

Image linked from Goodreads
When this book started, Ford is being a rock star alpha-hole. He hooked up with Mia Sullivan five years ago and then dumped her fast when she refused to leave everything in her life to travel with him. Now, thanks to his biographer, Ford realizes that he still loves her and wants her back. So he sets up an anonymous house showing (she's a successful realtor) and thinks that he can win her back in the course of a conversation. Hell, he's even envisioning their kids in the house. He's ready to give it all up for her (well, he's tired of touring anyway, so it shouldn't be a big deal, right?)
I was really frustrated at this point. Andre is sort of uneven for me anyway with her heroes bordering on some really reprehensible behavior and I was ready for this book to be the one for me to be able to put it down and say, "I don't need to read this author anymore." BUT. But! Mia smacks him down! Yes, there's still all of the wildly annoying vacillating but she doesn't just fall into his arms. AND. And! Ford wises up and realizes that he's being and alpha-hole! There were still some problems
Ford was still very controlling, not letting their relationship progress physically because of HIS plan but at least Mia called him on his initial bullshit. Which means I have to keep this series on my list, if only to see how Ian and Tatiana turn out <spoiler>though with all of the references to his dark past and her innocence, I don't have high hopes for this book

Minor quibbles
Time with his parents was too short and really felt like the grown up version of plot moppets. Except they weren't young. Or cute.
Crap, I had some more but can't remember now.

Bottom line: if you like your Bella Andre (REALLY alpha heroes), you'll probably still enjoy this book. Mia was less wilting flower than some of Andre's heroines and that made for more enjoyable book.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

If the Viscount Falls by Sabrina Jeffries

Image linked from Goodreads
Possibly my favorite story of the series. Dominic Manton arranged it so that he would be jilted by Jane Grey. His brother had disinherited him so Dom knew (oh, you foolhardy male) that Jane would be better off without him. But now George, his brother, is dead, and Dom has ascended into the title. Jane is newly engaged, but she still comes to Dom for help when her cousin disappears. The cousin who was married to Dom's brother. The cousin who helped orchestrate the jilting.
The cousin who might be carrying a baby that will disinherit Dom.

Great character development between these two. No Big Misunderstandings. And, yes, some of these could have been solved if they just talked, but a lot of it was gaining maturity.
This book follows How the Scoundrel Seduces, it comes out on January 27th.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

Grace is one of the most eligible heiresses out this season. Or... she was. Once word of her mother's madness gets out, their family is going to be shunned. That's why she's making one last bid for respectability. By being really, really bad. Except that she catches the wrong brother in her trap. While Amherst is a congenial escort who loves society as much as Grace, his brother is ... not a nice man. Especially according to Amherst. So Grace is mortified to have caught him instead.
Jefferson has no interest in Grace. Except that he has too much interest in this woman. She is his living fantasy (and he has a LOT of those that we see) but he can't connect with her. He is either scarred by his abusive father's actions or a little on the Aspberger's scale (he likes things to be even, is obsessed with the number 8, etc.) Also, he just doesn't like society very much.
For her part, Grace is trying very hard to make the best of the mess that she put herself in. She's trying to understand what is going on in her husband's head but can't figure out why he's so distant. I LOVED that she actually just kept talking to him about it, though. There was no Big Misunderstanding just because the main characters never sat down and talked.
The story was a little two "happy ever after" what with Jefferson's many tics being overcome by "twu lurv" and very little else. Also, I didn't love that it seemed like Jefferson made all the concessions in their relationship. But overall, I liked the characters, I liked the pacing, and the story.

Followed by: The Scoundrel and the Debutante

Friday, January 16, 2015

Secrets of a Scandalous Heiress by Theresa Romain

I  really enjoyed this book. It's a non-traditional hero and heroine from Regency times. Both are on the fringes of the ton, neither being titled. And surprisingly, neither wants to be part of the highest of society. They each have their own reasons for hanging on. 

Augusta is an heiress. As such, she is supposed to make a brilliant match. But she's bored. Bored, bored bored. So she escapes to Bath (with a friend who has had a miscarriage and is in mourning, when does that happen in a romance?) and pretends to be a widow so that she can find a lover to shake up her life.
Joss Everett is one-quarter Indian which sets him outside of society to begin with. Plus, his father was a profligate. He's just trying to help his cousin out with one more problem before Joss can leave his employ. Well, his cousin is actually being blackmailed and Joss needs to sell some of their ancestral lands so his cousin can pay it off. Joss isn't sure how he's going to meet with the movers and shakers of Bath because he's not a part of their society either. But he does know August, especially he knows the fact that she's not a widow. And she knows how to play the middle-class society, specifically how to manipulate the businessmen who think she is nothing more than a fluff-brain.
A good read and one that doesn't seem to connect at all to the previous two in the series (at least, not that I can remember) so it's not necessary to start at the beginning.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Mad Night by Julia London

This was an okay story which is a surprise given the fact that I didn't particularly like either of the characters.
Chelsea is an ad exec who is certain she's going to nail the new Tesla presentation and get the account. As long as she can overcome the new wonderboy, Ian, who was lured in from another company and has snagged more than one of the accounts that she should have gotten. Now they're going head-to-head for the latest account. Only, she's been trapped inside the office because of a Snowpocalypse and she's there with... guess who? Sexy times follow.
I had quite a few issues with the story but it was overall okay and a fast read. It came out on January 1, 2015.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Echo Lake by Carla Neggers

The book opens with Knightsbridge hometown girl Heather Sloan slogging through the snow chasing a golden retriever puppy, Rohan (my favorite breed, I was hooked pretty fast). She isn't dressed for the weather but she can't let the puppy get away. He belongs to Vic Scarlatti, a newly retired diplomat who bought a house in Knightsbridge twenty years ago but has just moved in. He's hired Heather to do the renovations. He also called in Brody Hancock, Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent. There have been some strange things going on and Vic is worried that someone might be after him. Brody isn't so sure, and he's not enamored of going back to a town he gladly left behind, but he sure is enchanted by the woman chasing a cute ball of fluff.

A very surface-level romance between Brody and Heather as the stay-at-home girl and traveling man work through their attraction. They were both nice enough characters but I didn't really feel  like we got to know either of them very well. And while the lust was slow burning, the insta-love was there.
Also includes a sub-plot with Vic and his house sitter, Adrienne Portale. Both felt like sequel bait. Well see them again.
Not my favorite in this series but certainly not bad enough to make me quit reading.

Friday, January 9, 2015

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Image linked from Goodreads
I was so nervous when I started reading this book. A continuation of "Garden Spells," the first book I ever read by Allen, the book that started her magical realism series, couldn't possibly be as good as the first?
Why did I doubt? This is a fairly simply plotted story with some conflict but it seems fairly gentle. Instead of a rollicking tale, we get a character study of who Claire, Sydney, and Bay have become. We even learn a little more about the husbands of Claire and Sydney and how they've adapted to ten years of living with Waverly women.
Addison's world building is so complete. With women who have just a hint of magic, but nothing spectacular. We find out that Claire has shifted into candy making rather than catering (though she's very unhappy about this). Sydney is still doing hair and excelling at it, but she feels like her husband needs a son and she's worrying about the lack. Bay is now fifteen and she's come into her own. She knows where things, and even people, belong. This has caused her some heartache since people don't always like to be told that they're not where they're supposed to be.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Little on the Wild Side by Robin Kaye

Image linked from Goodreads
Wow. This book was... problematic. It's a word used a lot these days but I'd say that kidnapping a woman from New York to Idaho and then taking away all forms of communication could definitely be categorized in that way (not a spoiler, this happens in the first couple of chapters). I have to say that I was uncomfortable reading this book the whole time. Other people may not have issues with that but if you do, do NOT read this book.
Bianca Ferrari is a ex-supermodel who has been enjoying a string of 72-hour stands with Trapper Kincaid. And now, she's having a hard time dealing with an unexpected pregnancy
which Magically clears up when she again lets Trapper's magic wang inside her. Seriously. Puking so bad she's been put on bed rest, but a few rounds of sex, and she's good to go.
Trapper comes to New York, ostensibly to find Gina's long-lost brother. But instead, he finds out that the girl he just can't forget is pregnant. And in dire straits. So he decides to fly her home. To his home. In Idaho. Without talking to her about it. Which everyone tells him is a bad idea, but nobody seems truly upset about.
And we're told over and over (and over and over) that Bianca is a workaholic... and yet... we never see her asking about work. She gives control of her company to James, no problem. Okay, so he's a good friend who knows the company inside and out. But then, even when she does get ahold of the phone, she doesn't ask about the company. It's annoying.
I didn't particularly like either of these characters and may not have finished the book if it weren't an ARC (not that you have to finish them,I just feel like it's a nice thing to do).

Oh, and, major complaint, Bianca talks about having a 43" inseam. Um, no. Even if she's six foot, that is just WAY to long. At 5'9" (and 3/4 on a good day) I have a 32" inseam. My torso is a bit long but... another foot of leg? Not hardly. Now that I'm typing this, I'm guessing they meant 34" (nope, went back and checked, they typed out forty-three). Hopefully that is a typo that will be fixed in production.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Scandalous Summer Nights -- Anthology

I got this book for free from one of the authors, who I generally like. And... it took me a long time to read it because I just wasn't loving the stories and I felt bad about leaving a bad review for a free book. But then, I told myself, "These book reviews are opinions, they asked for your opinion, so just freaking put it up!" And, in re-trying, I've once again discovered something about sync. Sometimes, some books just don't capture you at one time, but when you re-read, you find something more. That's what I found with this book. I did not enjoy it when I got in the spring, but, at a different place some months later, I quite enjoyed it.
The Widow Vanishes by Grace Callaway
Will McLeod sold his commission eight years ago and has been working for various cutthroats doing the hard jobs ever since. His latest payment? A night with one of the man's whores. Who does he pick? The upright widow who is trying to work off her late husband's debt. An interesting premise,but it didn't work well for me. Scandal before Sunrise by Sabrina Darby Abigail Billings was known as the girl most likely to be caught in a compromising position. It's this title that draws younger son Honorable Elliot Jones to her. But Abigail is trying to overcome this name since she's trying to get married before news of the "great family scandal" can make its way to London. An okay story. I liked both Abigail and James but just wanted to knock them both over the head.
A Highlander's Heart by Jennifer Haymore
This story opens with Robert Campbell waking up on the battlefield of Waterloo. It's then that he sees an angel. One with the face of his wife. She's come to be with her husband. Whatever it is that she may find there. Because she wants to make amends. This is my favorite sort of short story. Where the characters already know each other so there's a reason they can fall in love in ~100 pages. Or less. This is a great story of two past lovers finding their way back to each other. And sets up a new series.
Lord Lucifer's Disciple by Sue London
Mr. John Howards is an incredibly shy man. His family and his schoolmates have put him down so much that he never believed in his own worth. At a masked ball one night, he manages to overcome the shyness by pretending to be someone else and flirting with a young lady. Elisa is an heiress of much renown. Men have been circling for years. But until that night at a masked ball, none have caught her fancy. But will she be willing to forgive when she finds out who he really is?
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Kate McKinley
This seems to be a popular title. I've read a book recently and seen another with the same (though one did say 10 instead of ten) In this one, Miss Pippa Welby, our heroine, is the daughter of a wealthy man. The upper echeclons of the ton have always sneered at her. So when the Duke of Arlington, Lucas Victor Alexander, tells her that they are to be engaged, announced at a ball ten days hence, she knows that she needs to act fast. I really didn't like Lucas. He was too used to getting his own way, and rather than subverting it, Pippa seemed to fall pretty handily in line.
  Miss Amelia lands a Duke by Sandy Raven
Amelia Manners-Sutton is acting as chaperone for her social-climbing aunt. The woman, a viscountess, has her eyes set on a duke. But the duke... well he seems to have eyes only for Amelia. Quite a May-December romance though. More like January-December. I know it happens....
  Lady Northam's Wicked Srrender by Viviennne Westlake
The Countess of Northam, Rowena, is shocked to find out that her former suitor, her husband's best friend, Simon, the Earl of Waverly is staying at the same house she's just braved a storm to get to. There was a Big Misunderstanding that probably would have been better played out in a full book since this one took way too fast for her to forgive and he was more than a little bit of an ass.