Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Unlikely Lady by Valerie Bowman

I had read the first book in this series , The Unexpected Duchess, and noted that, while I thought the author was trying to make the main characters Lucy and Derek similar to Beatrice and Benedick, the honor belonged more to her friend Jane and the man I called Lucy's brother, Derek. Well, this is their book only Derek is actually Garrett, a very good cousin of Jane's and they more or less grew up together. And while I think the author was still shooting for a play on "Much Ado about Nothing," it just didn't work for me. I did enjoy most of the book however and made it all the way through to the HEA.

The Unlikely Lady (Playful Brides, #3)Jane doesn't want to get married. She is a student of Mary Wollstonecraft and thinks that men are thoroughly unnecessary, even pests. However, her mother thinks differently. Which is why Jane resurrects the fictional Miss Bunbury from the second book in this series, makes her a Mrs., and creates a fictional chaperone so she can attend the first week of Lucy's houseparty by herself.
Garrett, for his part, is an avowed bachelor.  He is also a big softy who has been supporting the widow of his dear friend for years. Mainly because he feels responsible for the man's death. Now, the widow has invited herself to his cousin's party, mainly to follow him around. Somehow, she seems threatened by Jane. Is it the fact that at the masquerade ball, Jane and Garrett kissed (well, rather more than that) not knowing who the other one was?
I honestly think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had just been an exploration of Jane and Garrett's relationship. Isabella, the widow, was a complication that didn't need to happen. She helped bring about the ending... sort of... but it was the ending given to Hero and Claudio in the Shakespeare play so I was rather confused.
This book comes out next Tuesday and is an okay read, but if you're a fan of the Bard, this might not be the book for you.

Preceded by Playful Brides #1 The Unexpected Duchess (I DNF'd the second book)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London

The Scoundrel and the Debutante (The Cabot Sisters, #3)Prudence Cabot's older sisters both married amid clouds of scandal. So she decides to get the heck out of dodge.  But, rather than travel with the chaperones she was supposed to meet, she decides to follow the handsome American who she sees on the road. More than a bit of a departure for the girl who was supposed to be the family's sensible sister.
Roan Mattheson is not in England by choice. He's following his wayward and headstrong sister. Yes, he thinks Prudence is attractive but he's not quite sure how he ended up being pulled into the adventures that Prudence is trying to find.
Prudence was a bit over-the top at times and Roan was a little bit too much of a hero. But I overall enjoyed the book.

The book comes out April 28th and if you enjoyed the other books in this series, I know you will like this one as well.

Follows: Devil Takes a Bride

Friday, April 17, 2015

Stay with Me / More of Me by Samantha Chase

Yargh. I just didn't like "Stay with Me" as much as the first two books in the series.  Mac was fine, but I just didn't feel like there was a good connection to Gina. There was certainly hot sex, but a true connection? Especially in light of all of the drama with Gina's father dying? I just didn't feel it. Mac felt vaguely bossy, even when he was trying not to and Gina came across as a little bit of a pushover.
The novella introducing the Montgomery cousins was more enjoyabe. Casey and Ryder had dated in college but he had abruptly dumped her thinking it was for the best. He went to the West Coast to run that branch of the family business. But he's been thinking lately that he needs something more. And seeing Casey on the beach reminds him of what he was missing. And learning that he was in line to help her plan his cousin's wedding? A perfect time to recapture something he had lost. Perfect sense of remorse, recrimination, and reuniting between these two.
This book will be coming out on April 21st.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress by Victoria Alexander

For those readers who hate a plot based on a Big Misunderstanding, one that would negate the whole rest of the story, I will counsel you now to run away.
For those readers who have enjoyed Ms. Alexander's books in the past, I can only tell you that this book is just as wonderful as the rest of her Millworth Manor series with the addition of a tie-in to the next generation of Effingtons.
Cameron, "Cam," Effington is the youngest son of Jonathon and Fiona from "Let it Be Love." He is somewhat irksome to the duke, who has become somewhat more staid in his older age, since Cam insists on being a reporter for the Cadwallendar papers. And the duke has just now realized that this particular paper is a bit more controversial than he had realized. At a family dinner (setting up Cam's three brothers and sister to be sequel bait), he challenges Cam to write a book (since that would be something more respectable, I guess). Which leads to Cam needing a story. Which he finds when he visits his investigator friend, Phineas. It seems that Phineas has just been engaged to keep an eye on a young, American heiress, something he is loathe to do. But Cam sees the beginnings of a serial which he can turn into a book. What he's not expecting to find is Lucy.
After losing her long-time fiance to another woman (The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding), Lucy is relieved to finally be free. She can live the life she wants, starting with checking off the list of regrets her great-aung left. Luckily, her great-aunt also left her a bundle of money so Lucy has the means to do what she wants. Adventures, with Cam in tow, ensue.
An absolutely infuriating book in that Cam kept failing to admit his ruse, even when given the chance multiple times. And, as seems to be very popular in romances these days, there is a distressingly public denouement but overall, I enjoyed this story.
In addition to the Effington siblings, I very much look forward to the further adventures of Phineas and his partner, Miss Clara West.

Monday, April 6, 2015

This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak is a straight three-mile author for me with occasional forays into the four-mile category (A random note, I give very few five-mile reviews so three is darn good). Part of the reason that I keep reading her books is that her stories make me so darn uncomfortable, often tackling hard subjects. In this book, it's the return of a girl who got knocked up as a teenager and was accused of running down the girl her ex dumped her for. 17 years later, she's just getting out of prison and returning home to Whiskey Creek to live with the obese, hoarder mother who has just gotten worse since she's been gone. No, Phoenix Fuller is not your ordinary romance heroine.

The story opens with Phoenix meeting her now sixteen-year-old son along with his father, Riley Stinson. Riley is understandably cautious. After all, this is a woman who was convicted of killing someone.
Phoenix keeps reminding herself that she was wrongly accused (do we need to know this so many times?) but that doesn't seem to help her confidence levels much. After all, it's not like she has a lot to live for.  And going to prison didn't help.
But somehow, Riley and Phoenix work together to find a way to integrate themselves back into a family, complete with an HEA.
She was not a very likable character. Do we really want a martyr who has forgiven all her enemies as a heroine? Most of the book was spent propping up her self-esteem and she wasn't even the one to set up a confrontation with Penny, Riley had to set it all up for her. And then to have no consequences for Penny... It's hard. But, actually, now that I think of it, very consistent with Novak's writing style.
I also wasn't really sure of the romance between these two. It was a little tepid and I didn't really see the attraction between Riley and Phoenix. The plus side was that there was no insta-love. The relationship between Phoenix and her son was perfect though

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Duke's Disaster by Grace Burrowes

And this is the reason that I keep reading Grace Burrowes. Not every story of hers connects with me but every once in awhile, there is one that just poings my happy reading nerves. It's not an all out adventure running from villains book, just a book about two people who have already gotten married, and are trying to sort out what to do about it.
Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, has had enough of courting. The SYT he was after married someone else so he proposes to her companion. Simple enough, right? And now he's married.
But Thea Collins has her own reasons for getting married. Well, she tried to resist at first but Noah was sort of insistent. When he discovers one of her secrets on their wedding night, it changes the nature of the relationship. But he isn't a complete dick about the whole thing, as many men of his time would have been (even some "heroes" in romance novels.) Instead, he tries to figure out how they're going to live given that neither really came to the marriage without secrets. Because yes, he has a few of his own...