Hero: Alexander Foakes, Earl of Sheffield, looks just like his twin, and like his twin, he’s a rakehell. His twin is just more charming. Alex meets a mysterious lady at a Cyprian’s ball, seduces her, takes her virginity (surprise!), and follows her too late to discover who she is… fast forward and now he’s a father and a widower, having married a woman who cheated on him repeatedly. He’s got ISSUES.
Heroine: Lady Charlotte Daicheston allows her friend to badger her into going to an ill-advised and unchaperoned party with a “parson” who gets the two women drunk and tries to make out with the friend. Charlotte spies a handsome stranger and
her passion the alcohol overrules her natural inhibitions. She finds out she likes sex, but a lady shouldn’t, and she berates herself for it. She’s got ISSUES.
Review: The cover! Oy! Terrible. The original in paperback isn’t much better (which I realized too late that I owned, although unread).
The heroine’s situation in how she met the hero should be a lesson for all. Please be aware if the person you are with has been incapacitated by alcohol. Don’t assume just because you do not know them that this is normal behavior, not even if you’re at a ball/party/bar. Ask permission. Pay attention.
Now when Alex and Charlotte are behaving like rational people the story is great. I love his persistent courting of her. I love how he tenderly cares for her before and after his proposal. I love when the twin comes back and the rumors start flying. BUT when they’re not behaving well, it’s all kind of wack-a-doodle… and it’s mostly Alex who is the dunderhead. I normally love angst, and big misunderstandings, but Alex crosses a line. For that, this romance shows it’s age.
Narrator: I listened to and rejected a lot of audio books because of Susan Duerden’s narration in the offered sample. Somehow I accidentally chose this book without realizing she also narrated it. I’m happy to say that her sample pieces aren’t the end-all be-all of her voice work and that she was better than my expectations.
Buy: Potent Pleasures (The Pleasures Trilogy)
Heroine: Lady Clara Fairfax receives too many proposals. (If only we all had this problem.) Men from the ton all seem to be proposing, but none of them interest her. She’s smart and she wants a man she can hold a true conversation with and discuss important matters.
Hero: Oliver Radford is a barrister that is too smart for his own good because he often sticks his foot in it. Although he normally doesn’t care, because he knows he’s right. He can’t afford to let Clara overrule his judgement, but he can’t seem to help it.
Review: I didn’t like this one very much at all. It was hard to like the hero. He’s too condescending, gives back-handed compliments, and renders apologies that are negated by the next words out of his mouth. I don’t think I would feel so antagonistic toward him if it wasn’t for the fact that it was an audio book. I don’t really fault the narrator, it’s just the difference between being able to skim read and having to listen to every word. At least the heroine repeatedly tosses his words back into his face. I did enjoy how he had to argue for her hand with her parents, that was fun.
Narrator: Kate Reading has some great lower London voices. I like her children voices quite a lot for the side characters like Squirrel.
Buy: Dukes Prefer Blondes (The Dressmakers Series)
Heroine: Lucy Merryweather is an American heiress. She’s also a spinster, a runaway, and a burgeoning adventuress intent on fulfilling most of her great aunt’s bucket list.
Hero: Cameron Effington, the youngest son of a duke, and a journalist with lofty intentions of writing a book, meets Lucy and his identity is mistaken for that of a bodyguard/private investigator. He continues the charade because Lucy is a great muse.
Review: I loved the exploits (listed below to reduce unintentional spoilerage). They were fun and cute and risque for the period (some of them anyway). Lucy is a wonderful heroine who combines sense with adventure. Does she trust the hero too quickly and without references, of course, but she does so to keep her own runaway adventures a secret from her folks for as long as possible. Cameron is a sweet and sexy protector. I enjoyed the pairing very much.
Narrator: Gemma Dawson is very good. I loved the voices she created for the story. Dawson exhibited nice pacing. I would listen to her again. She’s definitely a candidate for being one of my favorite readers.
Buy: The Daring Exploits of a Runaway Heiress
Exploits: painted nude, hot air balloon flight, ride an elephant, enter a gentlemen’s club, get a dog, make an unexpected friend, travel to England, dance with a prince
Let the Magical Mayhem begin! Cindy Eller has not one, but two weddings to prepare for in less than two weeks when the cupcakes hit the fan – a mysterious man has appeared, claiming to be betrothed to Cindy and that she must marry him before her sister’s nuptials can take place. Obviously this doesn’t sit well with Cindy’s Ordinary boyfriend, Timothy. That’s the way to cake – and the wedding – crumbles!
Start at the beginning: This is the second book in the series and there were times as I was listening that this became quite clear for as a reader I didn’t know what the author was referring to, which is fine, as I generally didn’t really need to know it. Because this is the second in the series, the conclusion is a happy for now with some threads left open for the next in the series.
How to know if you’ll like this book: Are you a foodie? You’ll love this. Lots and lots of descriptions of baked goods. You’ll want to open up a shop and start selling some of the goodies described.
Is there romance between a chef and a prince? One of my favorite scenes is when the prince kidnaps Cindy because he read a romance novel and thought it was considered romantic. Bwuahahaha.
Narrator: Michele Carpenter’s narration and accents give all the characters flair. She does a great job using a similar accent for all the characters so they sound like they’re form the same region, without making any character too similar. They are all distinguishable.
Disclaimer: Michele Carpenter is the narrator for my own trilogy.
Buy: How (Not) to Kiss a Prince (Cindy Eller #2)
Summary: Marcus Bradley, the Marquis of Fleetwood, is angry to find out that his future bride has run off with another man. What’s more he knows the person who helped her elope, a Miss Danielle “Dannie” Strafford, owner of a bookshop called Gretna Green’s Books (which as you might guess helps couples elope to Gretna Green.) If Marcus doesn’t secure a suitably wealthy heiress soon his sister will be forced to wed a horrible man because he hasn’t the funds to break the arrangement. Marcus decides that since Dannie lost him a bride, she’s the perfect person to find him one next.
Review: This is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. One of the best scenes is when Marcus forces Dannie to help him kidnap Ginny right out from under her family’s noses and then rush the ill-fated duo to Gretna Green. Dannie of course wishes to sabotage the whole thing and Ginny’s father, the admiral won’t be pleased none if it succeeds! But when Ginny gets kidnapped again, Marcus and Dannie must work together to rescue her. Marcus suffered severely at the hands of his father growing up and has several PTSD symptoms. When he suffers an attack he blacks out. Dannie herself is hiding a secret, she knows even as she falls for Marcus, she’s the heiress he desperately needs. Her dowry would be enough for him to save his sister. Overall, a fun series of madcap antics.
Buy: He’s No Prince Charming (Ever After series)