Tuesday, July 23, 2013

June, 2013 Reviews Part I

I have been remiss in posting my reviews, I'm just having a very busy summer and I'm loving reading all my books!  So without further ado...

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare

Book Description:
What’s a duke to do, when the girl who’s perfectly wrong becomes the woman he can’t live without?

Griffin York, the Duke of Halford, has no desire to wed this season—or any season—but his diabolical mother abducts him to “Spinster Cove” and insists he select a bride from the ladies in residence. Griff decides to teach her a lesson that will end the marriage debate forever. He chooses the serving girl.

Overworked and struggling, Pauline Simms doesn’t dream about dukes. All she wants is to hang up her barmaid apron and open a bookshop. That dream becomes a possibility when an arrogant, sinfully attractive duke offers her a small fortune for a week’s employment. Her duties are simple: submit to his mother’s “duchess training”… and fail miserably.

But in London, Pauline isn’t a miserable failure. She’s a brave, quick-witted, beguiling failure—a woman who ignites Griff’s desire and soothes the darkness in his soul. Keeping Pauline by his side won’t be easy. Even if Society could accept a serving girl duchess—can a roguish duke convince a serving girl to trust him with her heart?

I simply loved this Regency story of Pauline Simms, a pretty tavern girl who is swooped up by Griffin York, the Duke of Halford and his granny-driven mother.  Taken to London to become his duchess, the duke has no intention of marrying her, but wants to teach his mother a lesson - yet, he falls hard - and not in the way he expected. Hottest of the novels in this series so far - the scene on his desk - whoa! *fans self* Tons of chemistry and loved both Pauline and Griff  - his mother was great too!  This whole series is fantastic!  I can't recommend it enough, it's sexy, full of humor and cleverly written, a real pleasure!


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (audio)

Book Description:
The gifted young Swiss Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of renewing life where death has apparently devoted the body to corruption, and makes a creature of his own - the most celebrated monster in the history of literature. 

Starting out handsome and cultured, deterioration turns this intelligent freak into an appalling creature, spurned by his maker, shunned by his fellow citizens. Victor wants nothing but company and affection, but instead learns to kill as he encounters only rejection and loathing. When his demand for a female counterpart is turned down by Frankenstein, the grim tale moves towards its horrifying climax as the monster tells his creator "I will be with you on your wedding night!"   To put it simply, the gist of the story is "don't mess with Mother Nature" because playing God is never going to do you any good. Poor Victor Frankenstein learned this lesson the hard way when he creates the "monster" who, because of his feelings of alienation from his "creator" goes about killing all of Victor's closest and dearest friends and relations. A depressing story overall and quite a lengthy lead in, but interesting philosophically on the theme of responsibility of the creator of what he "creates".  A classic I'd never read before.   Narrated by Simon Vance who did a fine Swiss sounding accent for Victor, and a very good monster.    


My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley

Book Description: 
Desperate to help her widowed sister and baby escape a deadly pursuer, Lady Chastity Ware dresses as a highwayman and captures the first coach to travel down the road. Coming face-to-face with its occupant, the arrogant aristocrat, Cyn Malloren, she orders him to drive her to a remote cottage.   Little does Chastity realize that after long months of recovering from his war wounds, the handsome Cyn is looking for adventure, and being abducted by a cocky highwayman—obviously a lovely woman in disguise—is even more than he had hoped for. Willingly he is drawn into her devilishly reckless plan...and helplessly he is seduced by her wonderfully wicked ways. 

My goodness this book had me up and down and all over the place!  First of the never-ending Malloren Series, I really enjoyed the chemistry between Chastity and Cyn and they had some very sexy moments - boy! Food sure is their thing! I also really liked Cyn's brother Rothgar - I can't wait to read his story! (sort of like a Wulf, Duke of Bewcastle).  Still, I was very uncomfortable with their first sex scene since it was not honest because she is in disguise, even though he knows she's disguised.  It just didn't sit well with me. Also her father was awful and a bit over the top about what he did to her. Really made me squirm.  The orgy they attended was a bit too much too, but overall a good story and vintage romance.    


Forever a Lord by Delilah Marvelle

Book Description:
Lady Imogene Norwood lives a sheltered life of quiet respectability and routine...until she debuts at her first Season. There among London's elite she meets the wild and broken Lord Atwood. And the very shy English rose suddenly realizes that a little chaos might just be what her heart desires.

Lord Nathaniel James Atwood doesn't believe true love exists. Since scandal tore him away from his family at an early age, he has spent his life fighting for what he wants. That attitude has made him a rising star in bare-knuckle boxing, and now leads him back to London to reclaim the life that was stolen from him. But upon meeting the innocent Imogene, his beliefs are trounced...as guarding his heart against her proves to be the fight of his life.

I think this last installment in The Rumor Trilogy is the best of the three, although I really enjoyed the first a lot as well.  Imogene and Nathaniel make a good - albeit unorthodox team.  Nathaniel, kidnapped as a child in NYC, learns he is a lord as an adult and is not taking to it too well.  While in London, he is going for the title of the best prize fighter in England.  He trains for while romancing Imogene.  A quick read with a touch of trendy bondage thrown in to please the latest romance craze.  I enjoyed it, but not the most unforgettable romance.


That Summer in Cornwall by Ciji Ware

Book Description:
A different latitude…a different world…

Meredith Champlin unexpectedly finds herself the legal guardian of a child she’s never met: Janet Barton Stowe, an unruly eleven-year-old “Beverly Hills brat,” whose mother – Meredith’s cousin-- has died in a private plane crash.

At the urging of the child’s Anglo-American aunt, Lady Blythe Barton-Teague, Meredith and her Welsh Corgi decamp from Wyoming to spend the summer at Barton Hall, a shabby-chic castle perched on the remote cliffs of Cornwall, England.

Taming the wild child proves a handful, but Meredith’s summer escape gets even more complicated when former British Army Lieutenant Sebastian Pryce, veteran of a bomb-sniffing K-9 squad in Afghanistan, proposes they establish the Barton Hall Canine Obedience Academy and that she join him on the Cornwall Search and Rescue Team. She wonders whether their instant attraction is an unexpected blessing or the prelude to another heartbreak like the one she left behind in the Rocky Mountains.

Even with an assist from a novice search dog named T-Rex, the odds seem long that three months in the land of Meredith’s Cornish ancestors can transform her troubled ward into a happier child, heal the wounds suffered by her soldier-turned-rescuer, and save the Barton-Teague estate from pending insolvency.

As a friend of Meredith’s confides, “It all sounds like a stretch, but we never rule out miracles.”

It was a welcome return to Cornwall and the Barton-Teague family in this sequel to Ware's A Cottage by the Sea, though this one has no time traveling or supernatural hopping around from century to century.  Meredith Champlin flies to Cornwall, England with her bratty niece who has just lost her mother (sister to Ware's heroine from the last book, Blythe) in a plane crash. Her father, a film director is too busy to take care of her. While in Cornwall for the summer, Meredith finds love in a hunky search and rescue veterinarian who is also an Afghan War vet. Lots of different plots going on and overall I liked it, but Meredith's pushiness when it came to having Sebastian (the vet) reveal all his past irked me. She knew she needed to lay off - but did she? No! and it sent him scurrying. But, eventually they find their way back to each before she leaves for Wyoming at the end of the summer. I liked this a lot, but it lacked the emotional oomph I have found in some of her earlier books and most recent A Race to Splendor.  Still, it really makes me want to go to Cornwall myself and see this area of the world.


Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (audio)

Book Description:
You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in This Heart of Mine. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.
Annabelle's endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair's a mess! But that's going to change now that she's taken over her late grandmother's matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City's hottest bachelor as her client, and she'll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.

Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she's entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success -- the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?

Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she'd do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn't careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.

This was sensational on audio! I laughed and laughed so much! It's definitely one of the funniest in the series and the incomparable Anna Fields voice-overs were priceless!  I won't go over the whole plot-line, but some scenes were a riot, like the the book conversation on the golf course between the men - hilarious!  Another favorite was the scene at Annabelle's house with both teams settling in for pizza and Chinese and all that ensues, I felt like I was there in the midst of it!  I loved Bodie as well, his voice was a scream!  An odd coupling there with Portia, but I was happy for them in the end, but kind of weird.  Dean Robillard was hysterical too, I'm gonna love his tale.  Overall, a great book and on audio even better!


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