Audio Review: The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel, Book 1) by Sarah MacLean

rogue not takenLADY SOPHIE’S SOCIETY SPLASH

The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

ROYAL ROGUE’S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!

The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip becomes anything but boring.

WAR? OR MORE?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

Top Ten Hero Alert!! King is one of my favorite heroes. I LOVED HIM! He doesn’t want to be a good guy, he doesn’t want to help Sophie, and he wants to push her away. He sticks his foot in his mouth multiple times and then berates himself for being horrible. He’s dragged into his emotions one moment at a time.

Top Ten Heroine Alert !! I rarely say I love a heroine the way I love a hero. Sophie is witty, strong, and self-sufficient. I love how she can match the hero in wits.

One of my favorite moments in the book:

“You left my Hessian in a hedge.”

“You left me in a hedge.”

“I had no use for you.”

“Well, I had no use for your boot.”

[Rating:5]

Buy: The Rogue Not Taken: Scandal & Scoundrel, Book I

Audio Review: Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter

midsummer magicHero: Philip Hawsbury is no longer the second son. When his older brother died, he became the next Earl of Rothermere. Now his father is on his deathbed and Philip must fulfill a longstanding promise his father made to impoverished Alexander Kilbracken, the Scottish Earl of Ruthven. He must marry one of the daughters – Viola, Clare, or Frances.  He has no desire to wed anyone and would prefer to stay in London with his mistress. Now how can he proceed to do both?

Heroine: Frances does not want to be married off to Philip or really anyone sight unseen. She’s certain he’s going to be an arrogant Sassenach. She’s the apple of her father’s eye and has a premonition that her father would like to see her marry the man. Since she must be present and participate, she decides to do so in the worst way possible. While her sisters, Clare and Viola, vie for the young earl’s attention, she’s going to make herself ugly, aloof, and a shrew. Little does she know that she presents the perfect image of a wife for Philip – who wants to fulfill his father’s promise, but leave the missus behind at Desborough Hall while he pursues his London life unchecked and unencumbered.

Review: This book comes from the era of the “bodice-ripper” / “forced seduction” and has the flaws that associate with that period of romances. The hero for instance is not a worthy hero by today’s standard’s. He’s shallow and doesn’t learn to love the heroine in her disguise, but rather falls for her [beauty] when it comes off. He’s also either a product of his times or an idiot because he doesn’t think wives should be treated like mistresses and in so believing makes zero attempts to please his bride when he and she do their “duties” to conceive.  But it’s supposed to be acceptable and tolerable because both characters don’t know any better. Baloney. He also likes to pretend he’s the wounded party in all of this, which is very aggravating.

When he’s not being an irritating jerk he at least remembers the cream (which is not saying much.)

It should be noted that the heroine’s characterization starts off great – she’s feisty, stands up to her father, and tries to trick the hero with a “clever” ugly duckling disguise. But then this tom-boyish, heart of gold (she walks miles to visit her father’s tenets,) strong heroine gets replaced by someone else entirely during their “honeymoon” stage. She’s uncertain, quiet, mousey, and timid – and not just for the appearance of keeping up her disguise.

So what did work for me was the beginning and the initial set-up.

Narrator: Anne Flosnik as usual had a wonderful performance. She is one of the reasons I stuck with the story to the end.

[Rating:2]

Buy: Midsummer Magic (Magic Trilogy), Midsummer Magic (Audiobook)

Review: Under Her Skin by Susan Mallery

I had some issues with Cruz Rodriguez, the hero of the story. First, he’s paying his nasty evil father blackmail money like a little kid with a secret when he’s supposed to be extremely powerful and self-confident now. Second, and more importantly he eschews all contact with his daughter, Kendra. He clearly doesn’t want to be a dad and this is waved away like it’s no big deal because he doesn’t want to be like his evil father. Grr…

This is not a marriage of convenience plot, but it should have been. Lexi Titan needs 2 million dollars to pay off a loan that was called. Cruz offers it to her in exchange for bringing him into the “first families” and elite tier of Texas Society. He wants them to be engaged (with sex – not negotiable – my thoughts: tacky and in bad taste on his part worse when she accepts) and he wants to be introduced to potential trophy wives so that when they ultimately separate he can move on with ease. Ugh.

Lexi and the rest of the Titan girls have daddy issues too. Daddy Titan pits them all against each other because with him it’s all or nothing and no in-between. Where she’s unwilling to trust her sister’s with her problems she easily accepts Cruz, bringing him into her personal and social world at the same time. She’s also a strong advocate of Kendra, which is nice.

….Spoilers ahead….

Skye’s story will be like Jane Austen’s Persuasion which will be interesting. I’m looking forward to that too. Izzy’s not so much. Dana’s either – she goes for weak men and while I know her story will be flipped and the hero will be a strong man, I’m not particularly drawn to her.

I really liked the plot that will fuel the remaining novels. The whole thing with Garth, their evil half brother is pretty exciting. I can’t wait to see where that goes. I’ve picked up the next in the series to read just because of it. I can’t wait to see what stunts he pulls next. I’m almost rooting for him – how crazy is that? It would be nice to have it twist and prove he’s a good guy, but that would probably take some work.

On a side note I just love the cover.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Buy: Under Her Skin

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Review: How to Marry a Rake by Deb Marlowe

how to marry a rakeHow To Marry a Rake is a spin-off from The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor.

Back story: Mae loved Stephen and followed after him as often as she could. He never pushed her away, reveling in her attention. Then she manipulates him into a kiss and he tramples on her infatuation with a sharp rejection. The next day she and her parents set sail for Europe.

Hero: Lord Stephen Manning is determined to make a success of his brand new racecourse Fincote Park.  To do that he’s got to get a race set up to inspire the racing community to travel far and wide to come. He thinks he can get that match with Earl of Ryeton’s horse, an unbeatable race champion, Pratchett.  The last thing he needs is an encounter with a girl from his past.

Heroine: With a newly mended heart, heiress Mae Halford returns from Europe ready to face the ton and make a splash. It’s only a matter of time before her father marries her off to the first gentleman to ask for her hand so she’s made a plan. She’s going to find her own husband and she’s going to do it the only way she knows how, by being someone else… at least at the start, so she doesn’t scare them away like Stephen.

Second chance: Stephen requires Mae’s help to find a stolen horse. They strike a bargain. Her help collecting gossip and leads from places Stephen can’t get at for his help finding her a husband and eliminating the gentlemen who wouldn’t like and/or fit her.

Review: How To Marry a Rake is a fun, flirty, fantastic read! There’s a second chance romance, a hero who realizes his own flaws, a mystery involving a stolen horse, and characters you can root for. If you love regency romances, don’t miss out on this one.

[rating:4.5]

Buy: How To Marry a Rake

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Review: The Chase by Erin McCarthy

by Carla F., guest reviewer

I have a confession to make. Despite having no interest in sports except for the occasional tennis match, and no interest in cars except their ability to get me from Point A to Point B, I started watching NASCAR this year. This is entirely the fault of Erin McCarthy and her Fast Track Series about NASCAR drivers.

The Chase is the fourth book in the series, and it has in fact two drivers as the main characters: Evan Monroe (brother of Elec Monroe from Flat-Out Sexy – Fast Track #1) and Kendall Holbrook, the first female driver in the cup series. Evan and Kendall were teenage lovers but broke up. Evan doesn’t even know why. One day they were together and the next she wouldn’t talk to him or answer his phone calls. Now Kendall is a rising star and Evan is on a losing streak.

Spoilers (perhaps): It was interesting to finally hear Evan’s story. In the previous books he seemed like a guy who only wanted to drive fast, chase women, and argue loudly with his sister Evie. To find that he was terribly hurt by his breakup with Kendall and is really sweet man is a pleasant surprise.

Kendall was a disappointment. After she and Evan get back together (extremely early on in the story) and face a serious situation, she wants to hide from Evan and not talk it over with him. Even though she knows that was what caused their teenage breakup.

Favorite scene that sounds like it would be cheesy but ended up hot: The deodorant commercial that Evan and Kendall film together.

Overall: This wasn’t as strong a book as others in the series. (Flat-Out Sexy and Hot Finish are better). I would recommend this whole series though. If you don’t like (or think you don’t like NASCAR), but love stories about teenager lovers coming back together, you should take this one out for a spin.

Fast Track Series:

[rating: 4]

Buy: The Chase

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