Review: Bedding the Wrong Brother (Bedding the Bachelors, Book 1) by Virna DePaul

bedding the wrong brotherSummary: Melina Parker has been dumped again for being the opposite of what a man desires in the bedroom. She doesn’t understand what she’s doing wrong. Enlisting the help of one of her close friends, a trusted playboy with a heart of gold, she plans to get practical hands-on experience to improve her future performances. Little does she know that Max Dalton plans to substitute his twin brother Rhys for the sexual teaching/awakening.

Review: Max got in the way of Melina and Rhys when they were in high school and has felt bad ever since. Rhys hasn’t ever really moved on, so when Max is propositioned by Melina to turn her into a sex diva he jumps on board in hopes of making amends. It’s little work to convince Melina to drop the spectacles and push his brother into the hotel room. Once the door is shut the rest is on them. This story starts off very sexy but derails a bit as the story progresses. I found future scenes between the two lacking that initial heat and passion. A lot of time is devoted to unraveling the threads of the past, getting over hurt feelings, and then figuring out if the relationship is worth it. (Max and Rhys are traveling magicians; Melina wants 2.5 kids and a white picket fence.)

[Rating:2.5]

Buy: Bedding The Wrong Brother (Bedding the Bachelors, Book 1)

Review: Must Love Breeches (Must Love, Book 1) by Angela Quarles

22664678Heroine: Isabelle Rochon thought this reenactment ball would be spectacular. She did the research, came dressed in a period-correct gown, and finds the evening less than enchanting. The women are dressed slutty, the dancing is a boor, the lights too bright, and her coworker crush turns out to be an ass. Where’s the magic? Clearly her expectation for the evening were to high, but wouldn’t this ball have been just the thing in the past? Sigh.

Hero: Lord Montagu, the Vicious Viscount, espies the lovely Isabelle Rochon in her exquisitely French and modish attire and is intrigued. He’s in luck that she’s talking to his cousin so he can finagle an introduction. She’s a delightful distraction and he rues his growing reputation because he feels it precludes him from pursuing her… but then he strikes on just the thing… she can be part of his scheme for revenge on the men involved in his sister’s ruination.

Review: Lord Montagu is the kind of perfectly charming and sincere man Isabelle has been looking for – but when she finally realizes what happened and that she’s back in time she’s heartbroken because she can’t have him. She takes his cousin in her confidence and shows off her phone (and calculator app) to prove her story… but alas the battery dies before she can show him (when she’s ready to trust him… after all Bedlam is not a nice place she hears).

Pro: A focus on the progress of the times – it wasn’t all balls and parades in the park, there was also science and differential engines, and flying mechanical horses (that didn’t work).

Con: The heroine was too hesitant to snap the hero up… Lord Montagu would have been whisked off his feet before he had a chance to rise up from his bow. 😉

One of the best time travel romances I’ve read. Definitely recommend.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: Must Love Breeches: A Time Travel Romance (Must Love Series Book 1)

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)

Audio Review: Her Secondhand Groom (The Grooms, Book 3) by Rose Gordon

secondhand groomHero: Patrick Ramsey, needs a woman. She must like children, be good with children, and able to teach children. And Viscount Drakely will get what he needs – a motherness – or a mother and a governess for his three girls (Celia, Helena and Kate), all rolled up into one female. He knows the perfect woman to fill the position – Juliet Hughes, because her family borrowed money to send her to school and to give her a London Season and are indebted to him.

Heroine: Miss Juliet Hughes, was educated at London’s finishing school for young ladies. She’s plain. She’s common. Not at all like her sister, Henrietta, who Patrick thinks is her and the one he wants. He doesn’t bargain for Juliet to be confident, determined, and strong-willed. She is his match and equal in every way and she won’t let him look down on her.

Review: If you like mistaken identities and big misunderstandings, you’ll love Her Secondhand Groom. Juliet tries to tell Patrick he’s wrong but he won’t listen now that he has a plan to put in motion. I liked Juliet’s nickname for Patrick – Lord Presumptuous. She’s a heroine who can call her hero out on his idiocy and pigheadedness. She does it so charmingly too. I liked her relationship with the girls and how they all interacted. About the only thing that doesn’t work is Patrick’s devotion to his dead wife who he later calls manipulative.

Narrator: Louisa Murray has a very nice voice and I enjoyed listening to her narrate the story. She was very lively in her recitations between Juliet and Patrick. I would listen to Louisa again.
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins

[Rating:4]

Buy: Her Secondhand Groom (Groom Series Book 3), Her Secondhand Groom (Audio Book)

You Don’t Need Great Vision to Spot a Great Catch

spectaclesI’ve always been a fan of bespectacled heroines and blind heroes. Their circumstances create instant empathy in me as a reader. In the historical genre, there is a trend in how each character type pans out at the end of the story.

For example, I fully expect hilarious hijinks in the case of the heroine throughout the novel. She will bumble around stepping on Hessian shoes, spilling teacups full of hot tea in very eligible gentlemen’s laps, and fall for a man other ladies fail to truly see. He, by the way, will love her in spectacles.

When it comes to the hero’s case, I fully expect his happy ending to include a full recovery of his sight. This healing coincides with the healing of his heart as he falls for the heroine that is as stubborn as he is. She will be able to handle his gruffness, pessimism, and brooding behavior and draw him into the light, figuratively and actually.

Some of my favorite romance novels feature these fabulous lead types. Here is my list of romances too fabulous to overlook:

  • Lion Of Darkness – Blind heroine and her doctor… and a fantastic swimming pool scene.
  • Yours Until Dawn – A blind hero must choose between his old flame and a new flame.
  • Sleepless at Midnight – Bespectacled heroine likes to spy on the hero bathing.
  • Dreaming of You – Hero steals heroine’s glasses as a reminder of her. Too cute!
  • Hunt Her Down – Hero has zero night vision and gets a little frisky in front of the heroine when he thinks she can’t see him.
  • Love is Blind – Scarred hero + blind-as-bat heroine = fabulous read.
  • The Spymaster’s Lady – He’s a spy and she’s a spy, but she’s also blind…
  • The Viscount in Her Bedroom – Blind hero supervises his grandmother’s “fast” companion.
  • The Dangerous Viscount – A twist on the “bad bet” trope as the heroine bets she can seduce the hero.

What books have I missed? Historical, contemporary, chick-lit, sci-fi, doesn’t matter what the sub-genre is! Share your favorite vision impaired romances in the comments.

Photo Credits: misteraitch