Posts filed under: ‘Romance‘




Mr Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn

 

Oh dear. There comes a time when I want to weep, and now is that time. I love Julia Quinn as an author, and I was really happy when this book came out. I eagerly downloaded it (it was an ebook). However, I want my money back. This book is a total waste of time and money.

This is the second in a series – the first being “The Lost Duke of Wyndham.” However, it appears that rather than having 2 different books with the same characters appearing in both books and with different stories – this has the same scenes as the first book but told with different point of views. There are some new scenes, (scenes that were alluded to in the first one) but not enough to warrant an entirely new book.

Once I had realised this, I skim read through and lost all sympathy and interest in the characters. I really didn’t care.

Surfice to say, I am disgusted that a) Julia Quinn agreed to release this book and b) that her publishers seem to have total disregard for her readers by trying to fobb off the same story with the same scenes in two separate books. It’s such a shame because the first book in the series was brilliant.

I want my money back. I think it may take me some time to forgive Julia Quinn for this. All I can hope is that it was her publishers idea and that she was forced to do it….

Rating: 0/10

(I don’t normally rate books I didn’t finish, but this is an exception)

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Add a comment October 12, 2008

Jack of Clubs by Barbara Metzger

This is a new author for me, recommended by one of the girls from Bookishly Attentive.

 

Here is the synopsis:

Year’s ago, Captain Jack Endicott’s young half sister vanished after a carriage accident. Now, hardened by fighting in the Peninsular wars, Jack sets out to honour his father’s dying wish that he find the missing girl. Disdainful of “proper” gentlemanly pursuits and refusing to live off his noble brother, Jack makes a bold play. He’ll open a lavish gaming parlour in London – and, by hiring only beautiful ladies to deal cards, possibly find his sister. All he needs is a little luck.

Schoolteacher Allison Silver is at her wits end. After an arduous journey escorting a precocious pupil to her grandparents in London, the old folks are not even home to take delivery! And the only possible alternative guardian is a known womanizer who runs a gabmling house, of all things.

Yet when the proud Jack meets the prim Alllie, the odds are surprisingly even – and all bets are off in the wild game of romance….

This is the second in a series of 3 books, and I haven’t read the first. There was no problem with getting into the book becasue it was the second and the author gives a well dispersed overview of the series storyline (that of the missing girl) so you know whats going on.

I did feel howwever, that the plotline of the missing girl was a bit of a misnomer and a little contrived. It wasn’t mentioned all that much, and instead of information about her being dispersed through the book, suddenly near the end, the bow street runners who were looking into the case found loads of information.

That aside, I did enjoy reading this book very much. All the characters were wonderfully written, and the author has a great and vivid way of drawing them. Certainly one of the most appealing things about this story was how different it was to other Regencies. Set in a gaming house, it was very refreshing from the usual country houses or town houses. The setting also meant that the secondary characters were more colourful (if you know what I mean)…

The story revolves around prim Allie and handsome Jack who are the perfect match if only Allie can get over her worry about losing her reputation and Jack can…well it’s just the usual man who is wealthy, has a mistress, why would he want to marry?

However, Jack is lovable and sweet and Allie can be a bit annoying at times. But this was a page-turner albeit more of a soap opera than an epic drama. Near the end I was expecting something major to happen but it never did. When I closed the book having finsihed it I was also surprised that there was no love scene. I don’t mind either way if a book has a love scene as long as it fits in with the story. In this book there was a lot of pent-up sexual tension and I was expecting it several times but it didn’t happen.

So overall, while I was reading this book I loved it. When I finished it and reflected back there were many plot points and issues with characters that just didn’t add up…and I feel a bit disappointed with it.

I will probably give Barbara Metzger another go maybe the 3rd book in the series.

Rating 7.5/10

Add a comment August 28, 2008

Blue Remembered Heels by Nell Dixon

Nell Dixon has a new book out with Little Black Dress, here is the synopsis:

Life is sweet for con-woman Abbey Gifford until, one ordinary Wednesday afternoon, she’s struck by lightning. They told her she might have some bizarre side effects, but nothing could have prepared Abbey for the fact that, since that fateful day, she can never tell lies again! Truthfulness is a big drawback for a con-woman, especially when suddenly she’s being followed by the suspiciously gorgeous detective Mike Flynn. If only Abbey could stop blurting out secrets every time he asks her a question! And if only Mike knew the real reason Abbey spends her life tricking other people out of their money!

I must admit, I’m not exactly the target reader for Little Black Dress, and I have tried a few before but not been overly impressed. However, they have struck gold with Nell Dixon. Having read most of her previously published work, I was sure whatever she had written for Little Black Dress would be good. I was correct.

This book has a brilliantly thought-out plot, and characters. The relationships between everyone (be it siblings, aunts, and others) are realistic, as are the characters themselves. In fact, as I read it, I thought perhaps that this book could have been longer and more in depth, but I realised that Little Black Dress don’t do long books. It keeps the reader wanting to turn the page, and I read it very quickly (always a good sign).

Couple of things: I loved the fact that Abbey was in the shadow of her sister – who is more attractive than her. I thought the scenes where Abbey had to answer Mike thruthfully were hilarious (I didn’t want them to end) and I almost (just almost) wanted Abby and Phillipe to get together…..

I was slightly disappointed that the romantic element of the book between Mike and Abbey wasn’t persued more. I’d have liked to have seen more interaction between them, especially when Abby had to answer his questions (as I’ve mentioned before), but this doesn’t take away from the fact that this was a great read, and I’d highly recommend it.

Rating: 9/10

2 comments August 8, 2008

Here Comes the Bride by Pamela Morsi

More Pamela Morsi….here is the synopsis:

When well-to-do businesswoman Gussie Mudd turns thirty-one she decides it’s time to wed her reluctant beau Amos Dewey but he is still grieving his late wife. So Gussie enlists the help of her friend and business associate Rome Akers to make Amos jealous. When Gussie and Rome get to know each other they start to fall in love, though she won’t give up on her plan to marry Amos.

This book wasn’t as good as the other two Morsi books I’ve read. I did finish it, and did enjoy it, but I came away thinking it could have been better.

I think the main problem was that I didn’t feel like I got a good or thorough picture of the main characters, or get inside their heads. Also there were two sub-characters whose story I felt was more interesting and believeable.

There was a lot of page space dedicated to these two sub-characters and I thought that the book would have been better with these two as the main characters instead.

So, overall, not bad, but not great either.

Rating: 6.5/10

Add a comment June 15, 2008

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Hurrah! Julia Quinn has a new book out!

Oh No! It’s only out in the USA and I live in the UK….

Ahh But I wouldn’t let a trifling thing like the Atlantic Ocean get in the way of me reading the latest book from one of my favourite authors!

I bought it as an ebook of course (I used ebooks.com). It was approximately £4.50 and I would have paid double that (don’t tell Julia’s publisher!)

Anyway, here is the synopsis:

Will the real Duke of Wyndham please stand up?

Jack Audley has been a highwayman. A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine… until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she’s not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have…

I loved it, loved it, loved it! I could rave all day how much I loved this book. It was classic Julia Quinn, and after being slightly disppointed with her last book (The Secret Diary of Miss Miranda Cheevers) I was glad to see that Julia is back to her usual form. I won’t tell you what actually happens in the book, but Julia has created a wonderful story and she slowly reveals things about the main characters that makes it entralling and a real page turner. Jack the main character has a “problem” that is revealed later on in the book and though I have read another book where the hero has this same “problem”, she did a great job.

I suspect she created her Dowager Duchess (the old dragon) based on Lady Catherine De Burgh. But I won’t speculate!

So overall, I couldn’t put it down (read it in 24 hours). The ending was a surprise – it felt like it was leading up to a different twist, but I wasn’t disappointed.

A lovely heroine and hero, great love story, great secondary characters and another book out in September that’s kinda tied to this one….can’t wait!

Rating 10/10

2 comments May 31, 2008

Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot

 

Nicola and the Viscount is a regency teen book (who’d have thought it!), written by the same author who wrote The Princess Diaries. I saw this in the library and was intrigued what it would be like. Having enjoyed the Princess Diaries (films) I thought it might be worth a go.

Here is the synopsis:

Nicola is in love! And not just with an ordinary man. Her heart has been captured by Lord Sebastian, better known as The God – the most handsome and dashing man who ever lived. But are gods always as perfect as they are meant to be?

The heroine in this story is just 16, (no surprise there since its a teen book) and she can get a little irritating at times. But she is a strong girl, and with a good heart. She calls the hero of the book “the god” throughout and it is quite funny. She also calls her annoying cousin “the milksop”. This is a bright, quirky book but with a predicable plot (nothing new about it) but it does hold a certain charm and I’d definitly recommend this book to teenage girls (esp those daughters of women who love regencies and want to get their daughters into them). The romance is not very strong in the book, but when it’s there, it’s nicely done.

I got the impression that Meg Cabot was a Heyer fan and had always wanted to write a regency. (Nothing wrong with that – if it helps along the next generation into the regency world, I’m all for it.) In fact Meg Cabot has a writing style very similar to Julia Quinn. Again, nothing wrong with that!

Rating 7/10

Comments Off on Nicola and the Viscount by Meg Cabot May 7, 2008

The Paradise Will by Elizabeth Hanbury

I’ve been hoping to find another author as good as one of my favourites Wendy Soliman, and I can safely say, that Elizabeth Hanbury has made the mark.

I saw this book mentioned on another blog, and decided to give it a try – from the synopsis it sounded great:

When spirited Alyssa Paradise unexpectedly inherits her uncle’s property in Dorset, she is determined meet the challenge of running a grand estate. However, there is a surprising condition: every week for six months she must dine tête-à-tête with the enigmatic Sir Giles Maxton, who owns the adjoining land. Alyssa wonders how she will endure this arrangement – Sir Giles cuts a dashing figure but he is positively insufferable!

Although Alyssa soon discovers the warm, generous man beneath his laconic exterior and Giles in turn finds Alyssa beguiling, they fight their growing attraction, knowing they are both promised elsewhere. But when Alyssa is unwittingly caught up in a web of intrigue and revenge, Giles must race against time to rescue the woman he loves…

The author draws a rich picture of the regency period – the language in the dialogue is spot on (just like reading a Georgette Heyer) and the detail draws you in.

The story was charming, the heroine sensible and likeable and the hero – thud! (You have to read it – he’s just hits the spot!) The sexual chemistry is brilliant and the minor characters charming too. All that plus the humour – I can’t fault it! I’ve always thought that it’s the minor characters that turn a good book into a great book, and this is a great book. I’ll definitly be re-reading it. Highly recommended.

This is the authors first book and I’m looking forward to some more of her work asap! (hint hint)

Rating 10/10

2 comments May 2, 2008

Garters by Pamela Morsi

 

Following on from loving Pamela’s Morsi book “Courting Miss Hattie” I was eager to try another of her books. I wasn’t disappointed. 

Here is the synopsis:

When Esme Crabb steps into the Vader general store one day in 1888, she wants just one thing – the storekeeper – and she has only one way to ensnare him: with the longest legs in all Tennessee. Esme is determined to wed a rich man to save her featherbrained sisters and worthless pa from a life of poverty.

And Cleavis Rhys fits the bill perfectly….

This book was delightful, and I thoroughly recommend it. It’s not quite as re-readable as Courting Miss Hattie, but it’s a page turner and I read it in 2 days. There are some great comic moments and it was hilarious watching Esme chase after Cleavis – something you just expect a woman to do in a historical book. She was determined to get her man! Esme was a lovely heroine. Not well educated, but sharp and determined to get her and her family out of poverty.

The minor characters were great – Esme’s sisters, Armon Hightower (no relation to the tall cop in Police Academy!), Cleav’s mother, Esme’s father. They all had their little quirks and were really lovable. I think the best minor character was Sophrona who was annoying by her constant ability to quote the bible to answer everything! She turned out ok in the end though.

The hero – Cleav was very lovable, and poor man didn’t quite know what to do when he was ruthlessly persued. This book didn’t go on too long by the way – it was just about right.

The love scenes were well written and the sexual tension between the two main characters was great.

So overall a great read….will definitly be reading more Pamela Morsi….

Rating 8/10

Add a comment April 23, 2008

Courting Miss Hattie by Pamela Morsi

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Don’t you find it annoying when you are in the middle of a really good book and real life gets in the way of you reading it? You desperately want to read the next chapter but you have to cook dinner/answer the phone/etc etc…well this is me for the last 48 hours as I tried to find minutes in the day to read this book.

This historical novel is somewhat of a departure for me from my usual reads. It was listed as being Victorian historical, though I think it may be a bit later than Victorian as at the end there are motor cars in it…anyway, it was a departure for me because it’s set in the USA. I usually don’t go in for books not set in the UK but this one caught my attention from another book review website where everyone gave it high ratings.

The synopsis is this :

Handsome and dark farmhand Reed Tyler has always considered the hard-working Miss Hattie Colfax as a best friend and confidant, until widower Ancil Drayton comes to court Hattie, bringing Tyler’s true feelings to the surface.

There are so many things I loved about this book – the heroine (Hattie) was a “dried up old spinster of 29” with a nickname of “Horseface Hattie”. She is independent and owns her own farm, yet craves a family and a husband. The hero (Reed) is 5 years younger and engaged to the local beauty. How on earth was this going to end satisfactorly? Well, there are many twists and turns in this book, but it all worked out in the end. The author does a wonderful job of showing how Reed’s feelings change towards Hattie, and the same for Hattie. This is a very earthy book and filled with some wonderful characters and one-liners.

There are a couple of really touching scenes; many between the Hattie and Reed and one with Reed and his father as he tries to make sense of his new feelings for Hattie.

So, if you can get hold of a copy of this book (I got mine from the USA via ABE books) then do.

Pamela Morsi has quite a long back-catalogue, so I’m looking forward to reading some more of her books.

I was going to give this a 10/10 rating, however, I do feel that the end went on a bit too long (I know, I know: normally I’m complaining they don’t go on enough.) So my rating for this is:

Rating: 9/10

Add a comment April 4, 2008

Dangerous to Know by Nell Dixon

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I seem to be on a roll with Nell’s books. This one I read very quickly and like her other books, I enjoyed very much. This one has a lot more action than the others I’ve read, but it was just as good.

In this one we get to know Jerome and Gemma and how their relationship develops when Gemma is dumped by her boyfriend and Jerome begins to realise that he wants a more serious relationship.

I particularly liked the fact that the heroine was a character I’ve met before and that in the other story (Be my Hero) she was a bit of a mouse of a girl, but in this one she got to have her day (and get her man).

The plot was very interesting and had a lot of real life connections (the evil man who wants to trash the countryside to build houses for a start!) and you did wonder what was going to happen next. It’s a rollercoaster ride. Like Nell’s other books I wished it had gone on for longer.  

I liked it that Jerome has liked Gemma but could only make a move on her now that she’s single.  Also, the fact that Gemma needs to re-discover herself when she’s single again and realise that her ex was just bringing her down.

Jerome was very dangerous to know…poor Gemma, she certainly puts up with a lot, but he was worth it, I feel.

Rating: 8/10

Dangerous to Know is available as an ebook here.

1 comment March 31, 2008

Just Say Yes by Myretta Robens

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I read this book a few weeks ago, and I had to buy from the USA via ABE books. It cost me 50p, though the postage was a few pounds on top. (You can order it from Amazon.co.uk, but you may want to read my review before you do!)

Ok, what can I say? This regency book had so much potential to be a great but was a bit of a let down. The blurb sounded great, and the book starts off well. The story is about a member of the aristocracy moonlighting secretly as a groom. He then falls for a local clergyman’s daughter. Thereby there are lots of class issues over their romance, as well as the fact that the hero is hiding his true identity from the heroine. However, there are parts that are just plain boring, and though I did manage to finish this book, I was just “going through the motions” because I felt that I’d got that far, I should finish it. Some of the minor characters seemed cliched too (the heroine’s mother and the squire’s son).

The problem is, I don’t actually know what was wrong with this book. The writer is american but she did a great job of not having an american tone to the book. The story is good, and the ending satisfactory. The writing and description was good, the heroine well rounded. The hero was also nice. But it just missed the “X-factor” or the book equivalent of the X Factor. (You you see what I mean).

So, I’m sure I can recommend this. My rating says it all really..

Rating: 5/10

PS  I also recently read her book “Once Upon a Sofa” which I won’t review because I hate to give ratings under 5….

Add a comment March 17, 2008

A Rational Romance by Melinda Hammond

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This book I had to get from a neighbouring county’s library service again as my own county did not have it. Shame because I enjoyed reading this book.

The story is a regency and starts off in the midst of a gambling table. Then, soon after the plot takes a swift turn and the heroine (Rose) finds herself in the power of Elliot (the hero). However, Elliot is an honourable man and soon takes Rose under his wing.

This book was very readable, and what I particularly like about Melinda’s writing is that though her writing is not the most flowery or descriptive, she quickly pulls you in and her dialogue is excellent. Before you know it, you are half way through the book!

This is not my favourite Melinda Hammond book (that is still Dance for a Diamond) but this is still a very good read. I thought the heroine was a little too weepy (and perhaps dare I say, “needy”) in this. But she proved herself later on. The story took quite a few surprising twists, so as to keep me guessing.

There are a few very touching scenes, and lines between the hero and heroine- won’t spoil it for you by telling you, you’ll have to find out yourself! But I this book is a great way to while away a few hours. I admire touching scenes much more than cliched romance. Well done.

Rating 8/10

2 comments March 16, 2008

Be My Hero by Nell Dixon

Having promised to look out some more of Nell Dixon’s writing, I did just that and have read “Be My Hero”, a novella (I think) as an ebook. (Again at a bargain price of £1).

This story didn’t disappoint – it’s one of love lost and re-gained (always a good one in my opinion). The plot revolves around two people who are tormented by their past and need to get over current problems in order to get together. It was heart-warming and though at times you really felt for their problems (especialy the woman – don’t want to give anything away) it was a lovely ending.

This story is one of a series (that can be read independently). I’ll be checking out the others because the supporting characters were well drawn and interesting. Thank you Nell for few hours of happy reading.

Criticisms? Well actually only one with the publishers website Moonlit Romance – it’s not easy to navigate or look around and I’m no techo-phobe! Though on the plus side – they do take paypal!

Rating 8/10

Add a comment March 13, 2008

The Carstairs Conspiracy by Wendy Soliman

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I eagerly awaited the release of this book, being a big fan of Wendy Soliman’s but for personal reasons, I have only just been able to get hold of this and read it. I was waiting for my county’s libary to stock it too, but it seems, though they stock Wendy’s other 3 books, they have not chosen to stock this one yet.

Luckily for me, I live near the border of another county and that library service stock it.

Right, onto the review…..

Mystery, intrigue, romance and a naked man in bed by chapter 2……what more could a woman want?? (Actually, this scene in chapter 2 is very funny..)

This book didn’t disappoint, and it was a real page turner. The heroine is feisty and though young, didn’t simper. She was brave and though innocent, was a real treat to read about.

The hero – well, I never thought a man called Sebastian could be attractive – but he was….he was just what a hero should be: strong, capable and a bit of a rogue (but not to our heroine of course!).

This book, though serious in it’s plot and mystery, had a wonderful amount of humour in it (I always love a bit of humour) and the last scene is so beautifully crafted, I didn’t want it to end…wonderful dialogue and sparring between the hero and heroine.

The plot hangs together beautifully, this really is a great read. It combined romance and intrigue so that I found I couldn’t put it down. (Well I did read it in 2 days). Can’t wait for Wendy’s next book out in June…

Rating: 9.5/10

Add a comment March 10, 2008

Marrying Max by Nell Dixon

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This review is for my first EBook. Well, the first book I’ve purchased as an ebook….there are plenty of free ebooks available on the Girl Ebooks website. I have a Blackberry phone, and download my ebooks onto that. Very handy!

This book is the winner of the Romantic Novelist Association Romance Award in 2007. That is the sole reason why I read it, and I must say, I enjoyed it a lot. I’m sure what titles it was up against, and I must admit, it’s not usually the sort of book I read, it being a “category romance”, and it NOT being a historical.

The characters are are well drawn, believeable and likeable and the storyline is very good, and though the things that happen are not world changing, you feel they are for the characters. Which, in fact makes me think Nell Dixon did a very good job in writing it. As each chapter ends, you read on quickly to find out what happens next.

As usual, I won’t give away any plot details, but if you like escapism with a happy ending, then this book is definitly for you.

There is a gentle humour in the story and I found myself chuckling very often.

My only criticism of it is that at the ending could have been a bit longer. It felt a little rushed, but I suppose this genre has a shorter wordcount. But if the only criticism for a book is that it wasn’t long enough, then it can’t be too bad!!

I will be looking out for other works by Nell Dixon.

Marrying Max can be purchased from Samhain Publishing at the bargain price of approx £2.25. What are you waiting for?

Rating 9/10

4 comments March 3, 2008

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