Saturday, June 9, 2012

More Quick Reviews - June

Well, since life is throwing a lot at me these days I'm posting six more quickie reviews and this will most likely be my regular format for the time being until I get over this busy time.  Not forever, but I seem to be enjoying reading these days much more than writing, so... c'est la vie.

Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Book Description:
Ash Turner has waited a lifetime to seek revenge on the man who ruined his family-and now the time for justice has arrived. At Parford Manor, he intends to take his place as the rightful heir to the dukedom and settle an old score with the current duke once and for all. But instead he finds himself drawn to a tempting beauty who has the power to undo all his dreams of vengeance... 

Lady Margaret knows she should despise the man who's stolen her fortune and her father's legacy-the man she's been ordered to spy on in the guise of a nurse. Yet the more she learns about the new duke, the less she can resist his smoldering appeal. Soon Margaret and Ash find themselves torn between old loyalties-and the tantalizing promise of passion....

My first book by this author, I downloaded it on kindle because of all the talk of how great it was.  It's nominated for the RITA and all that, so I had to see what it was all about.  Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'm the odd one out in regard to it. I just didn't feel the love for Unveiled.  Maybe it's because I'm not a huge fan of revenge themes nor of self-sacrificing types who are much too saintly - this book had both.  I grew tired of it early on.  Maybe it's me, but the lengthy deception of Margaret's, disguised as a nurse instead of the daughter of the dying duke seemed interminable. Ash's instant attraction to her was just so unbelievable and boring for me, despite the fact he is her adversary. Yes, yes there was a lot of inner turmoil and self-analysis and ultimate realization that "Gee, I guess I really don't have to be a martyr to find fulfillment!" But by that point, at the end I'd already grown bored with it all, for it was all too obvious what needed to be done on their parts.  I just wanted the book to end already and have them admit their love and to hell with their family obligations!   I found it more frustrating than anything else, although I liked Ash's brothers and am looking forward to their books.  I loved Milan's novella, Unlocked which is about Margaret's friend with the horsey laugh.  An endearing story that was 4 1/2 stars.  I don't normally like novellas, but this was an exception, a worthwhile quick read on kindle.


London's Perfect Scoundrel by Suzanne Enoch

Book Description:
A determined young lady vows to give one of London's infamous rakes his comeuppance - but when the rogue turns the tables, who truly learns a lesson in love?

The ton gossips call him "Saint" - but the Marquis of St. Aubyn has well earned his reputation as London's perfect scoundrel.

Evelyn Ruddick knows she should avoid him at all costs-but the strikingly beautiful lady wants to aid the children of the Heart of Hope Orphanage, and he heads the board of trustees. Evie is determined to teach the charming, arrogant man a lesson in compassion, but it won't be so easy-especially since his touch is setting her desire aflame, making Evie yearn to submit to his passionate instruction...

The idea of joining in her "project" is unthinkable, but this enchantress refuses to give up! So what else is there for a self-respecting rake to do but seduce the lady? Yet soon it is he who is being seduced by Evie's tender heart and fiery blushes. Could the temptation of long, passionate nights in her arms bring about the impossible? Could the disreputable Saint at long last be reformed?

I don't know how Suzanne Enoch does it, but I went from loathing this scoundrel of a hero, Saint Aubyn, to loving him by the end. There's something about him that was so awful, yet he was so damned sexy and outrageous, no wonder Evie couldn't resist him. The first half of the book dragged and the entire orphanage storyline was blah and then the kidnapping scenario when Evie locks Saint in the dungeon was unbelievably far-fetched, yet it did bring life to the story and the second half was much better than the first. Nice proposal scene too.  I can't understand it, but I wound up loving this book!


The Perfect Mistress by Victoria Alexander

Book Description:
Widowed Julia, Lady Winterset, has inherited a book—a very shocking book—that every gentleman in London seems to want. For a charismatic businessman, it's a chance to build an empire. For a dashing novelist, it could guarantee fame. But to a proud, domineering earl, it means everything...

Harrison Landingham, Earl of Mountdale, can't let the obstinate Julia release the shameless memoir that could ruin his family's name. But the only way to stop her may be equally sordid—if far more pleasurable. For his rivals are intent on seducing the captivating woman to acquire the book. And Harrison isn't the sort to back away from a competition with the stakes this high. Now the winner will claim both the scandalous memoirs and the heart of their lovely owner... 

I really enjoyed this romance which is the prequel to another book I loved, His Mistress by Christmas.  This is a fun Victorian historical about of an aristocratic widow in need of funds who decides to publish her g-grandmother's scandalous memoirs. In so doing, she winds up fending off the attentions of three different men who want the memoirs for their own particular reasons. Of course, the stuffiest, stodgiest and - most good looking of them all - captures her heart. Humor, passion and some deliciously awkward moments. Loved it! Much better than I thought it would be based on the mixed reviews I've read.  I enjoyed her g-grandmother's ghostly pep talks as well! 


The Snake the Crocodile & the Dog by Elizabeth Peters (audio)

Book Description:
The delightful seventh adventure for popular heroine Amelia Peabody. The 19th-century Egyptologist and her dashing husband, Emerson, return to Amarna, where they first fell in love. When Emerson is kidnapped, Amelia must rescue her husband, find the culprit, and save her marriage.

I very much enjoyed this installment of the further adventures of Amelia Peabody. Amelia and Emerson are on their own in Egypt (sans Ramses) and, as usual, someone is trying to harm them. Now an old married couple, Amelia longs for the early days of their courtship. All I can say is, be careful for what you wish for - you just might get it! Lo and behold, Emerson is kidnapped and when he is finally found he has amnesia and has no memory of ever meeting Amelia - much less marrying her! As Amelia copes with this new (but very much like the old) Emerson, they try to determine who is after them and why. Much humor (Ramses letters to his parents are hilarious) and I very much enjoyed the character of Cyrus Vandergelt, their American friend.   Barbara Rosenblat, as usual, is Amelia Peabody, she is one of the best readers out there in the audiobook world!  All her voices, whether it's Amelia, Emerson, Cyrus or Ramses - great, great, great!


The Bridal Season by Connie Brockway

Book Description:
Letty Potts has gotten into a few fixes in her twenty-five years, but this is her worst predicament yet. A petty schemer by necessity, the struggling music hall performer has decided to go straight. But after narrowly escaping the wrath of her partner in crime, she finds herself at Paddington Station with nothing but the gown she's wearing ... and another woman's train ticket clutched in her hand. Now masquerading as the redoubtable "Lady Agatha," of Whyte Wedding Celebrations, Letty arrives in the backwater burg of Little Bidewell, where she is to arrange the nuptials of a young society bride.

Amid the dizzying whirl of pre-wedding festivities, nobody suspects Letty's secret ... except the sensual and aristocratic Sir Elliot March. A war hero who has forsworn love, Elliot senses something decidedly amiss about this outspoken young woman. Yet she awakens a passionate yearning he'd thought was lost to him forever. And soon a desperate masquerade embroils them both in a web of scandal and danger as Letty's past catches up with her - threatening their lives ... and a love without peer

An entertaining and different Victorian historical, not your run of the mill... Letty Potts, an actress, finds herself in the unusual role of impersonating Lady Agatha Whyte, a wedding planner who has run off to get married to a Frenchman. Picking up the reins (against her own better judgment) she enters into the role of wedding planner with gusto, orchestrating a high society wedding in the remote village of Little Bidewell, in Northumberland. This serves her purposes just fine, for she is in hiding from her ruthless ex-boyfriend and former partner in crime, Nick Sparkles. Having dabbled in a many a con game with Nick, she wants no more part in his schemes. Little does she know that while in Little Bidewell she meets the man of her dreams - Sir Elliot March. Tall, dark and handsome - he's also the local constable. Uh-oh. Will he be able to see past her beauty and vivacious personality and realize she's really a fake? What will happen when he learns the woman he's falling in love with is a liar who has hurt not only him, but the rest of Little Bidewell? A quirky and fun Connie Brockway romance that kept my interest until the very end.


The Indiscretion by Judith Ivory

Book Description:
Lady Lydia Bedford-Browne's small rebellion becomes the adventure of her life, when her coach crashes and leaves her stranded on the treacherous Dartmoor with the only other passenger: a rugged, disarmingly attractive Texan named Sam Cody. Sam's slow, melodic drawl and dark, hypnotic eyes tempt Lydia in ways she never thought possible. But dare the lord's daughter loosen her proper English restraints any further?

Foul luck has caused the dashing American millionaire to miss his own wedding to an unforgiving bride...for the second time! Worse still,he's stuck in the middle of nowhere with a straight-laced noble beauty. But there is an unmistakable spark of courage, sensuality, and wild passion beneath Liddy's prim exterior, daring Sam to pursue even further what his heart and his soul now desperately desire - even though both the Texan's and the lady's vastly different worlds will be rocked if they dare surrender to...The Indiscretion.

Another winner by Ivory with an endearing hero and heroine. Sam and Liddy make a great pair. The book is broken up into two parts. Part one takes place as Sam, a cowboy from Texas at the turn of the century and Liddy, the aristocratic daughter of a viscount, are lost together on the Dartmoor in England for four days - and nights. Much happens as they get to know one another intimately (the peeing sequence was a bit over the top, but I will overlook it since I loved the book overall).  Eventually they become lovers. Their time together is idyllic and sensually romantic. What a pleasure to see how they savor their time together, love mad with touching and coupling. As if they are honeymooners.  The love scenes are really sensational - especially their first.  But reality steps in when they are found and so begins Part Two of the book when Liddy finds out who Sam really is, and that he's not just some nobody cow poke from America. She's afraid to admit her feelings towards him and acknowledge him in public, when it's obvious he wants to court her and continue on with their relationship. She's afraid that their secret of what they did on the moor will get out.  What they had on the moor was special and unforgettable and she doesn't want it tainted by a scandal.  Obviously, she's not thinking clearly when he obviously wants to marry her, yet she keeps pushing him away!  I found the second part of the book sad, frustrating, heartbreaking - and hard to put down. Fortunately, there is a happy ending.  As a bonus, I was enamored of Liddy's prowess at archery which added a new dimension to her character.  Overall, a different romance with top notch leads and Ivory is easily one of my favorite romance authors now.  Very, very special.



Julia Rachel Barrett said...

You know, when you don't have time for a long review - these are perfect. I get a great overview and a good sense of the book and they are fun to read!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Julia, thank you! I admit, it makes it so much easier this way! I don't feel so guilty either about having so many backed up reviews to worry about either! My plate is full these days with son's graduation coming up and my elderly mother back in town - not to mention training two people at my job! Uggh! I'm swamped with real life!

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