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: ★★★★½

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: ★★☆☆☆

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: ★★★★☆

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

Review: The Lady Most Willing (Lady Most, Book 2) by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway

lady most willingWhat happened:  Laird Taran Ferguson and some of his clansmen kidnap four ladies, one by mistake, and carry them back to Finovair castle. Along the way the men accidentally kidnap a duke and everybody gets snowed-in. Will there be hell to pay or marriages at the end of this debacle? Whatever the case this is guaranteed to be the most talked about scandal all season!

Why was it done? Taran wanted to provide wealthy matches for his reluctant nephews to wed.

The players:

  • John Shevington, Duke of Bretton – He wasn’t meant to be in the carriage, but since it was his, it shouldn’t have surprised the laird and his men to find him in it.
  • Byron Wotton, Earl of Oakley – A proper gentlemen who’s horrified by his uncle’s actions.
  • Robert (Robin) Parles, Comte de Rocheforte – A rake of the first order whose reputation may or may not be deserved.
  • Lady Cecily Tarleton – She knows who she wants and she refuses to let him get away.
  • Catriona Burns – The lady kidnapped by mistake all because she wore blue. Cat is not an heiress and is therefore out of the running according to Taran for his nephews. Good thing the Duke doesn’t care what Taran thinks.
  • Fiona Chisholm – Bespectacled and respectable heiress usually overlooked when her lively, younger, and prettier sister is around…. But somebody notices her!
  • Marilla Chisholm – A gorgeous female who knows it. This is one hellcat whose claws you don’t want to sink into you!

Favorite match: The Duke and Cat.

Most surprising match: Marilla’s.

Review: I loved the house part games and kind of wish we had house parties like it now! A must read if you love humor, Regency house parties, and love at first sight!

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: The Lady Most Willing

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Review: Maximum Witch by Jodi Redford

Reviewed by Susan S.

Summary: Book Three in That Old Black Magic Series

Maxwell Truitt (hero) is a shark-shifting sheriff. And for reasons unbeknownst to me, I want to sing that to the tune of Bob Marley’s song, I Shot the Sheriff.

All right, let’s move on. Max is patrolling the Atlantic one night when he rescues a woman from the clutches of a leviathan. And now Sheriff Truitt wants answers! Why was the leviathan so far from its territory? Why was Willa Jameson (heroine) parked near the ocean…at night? Max may want answers, but he’s not going to get them. For starters, Willa’s unconscious. When she does come to-she doesn’t remember what happened. And when she does remember, her memories can’t be trusted. Someone’s tampered with them.

The sheriff and his seal-shifting friend (Boone) will give Jameson medical assistance and nurse her back to health. But their involvement with the witch is about to plunge them into a deep-dark oceanic secret. A secret that may herald a horrific Armageddon. It’s a race against time to find Poseidon’s trident! Can a shark-shifter, one seal, and a witch save mankind from annihilation? May…be. After all, Willa’s not exactly-human.

Review: Ms. Redford is exceptionally proficient in escapism. In this third novel in That Old Black Magic series she introduces us to a plethora of new characters (all shifters): sharks, seals, dolphins, eels, walruses, and soul collecting leviathans. Just to name a few. Those readers who enjoy fantastical worlds will enjoy the portal journey from a land based Georgia into a watery Atlantis.

I felt that Maximum Witch was funnier than the earlier installments, and thoroughly enjoyed Willa’s inner slut as well as her naked cowgirl. It was also nice reading the contrasts between what the characters’ were thinking vs. what they actually say. It’s those contrasts that shed light onto the characters themselves, and also make for some comedic moments for the reader.

Because books one and two explored the witch-familiar link, I kept expecting Maximum Witch to do the same. Which sadly, it didn’t. On the plus side, the author gives us an eerie insight into the leviathans’ powers. How the soul collecting ones track a soul and how they’re able to transform their physical appearance, etc. This is one of those I can’t-get-enough-of series! And I’m eagerly awaiting Getting Familiar with Your Demon. It’s about a virgin witch and a demon soul collector named Samael Gorasola.

Recommendations: Recommended for sea loving paranormal erotic romance readers, erotic readers, adults who enjoy the fantasy genre, and those who like stories about Atlantis. Note: This novel contains certain paraphilic scenes such as steamy voyeurism and exhibitionism. It also has M/F and M/F/M sexual encounters.

What I Enjoyed:

Favorite Character: I thought the antagonist rocked! Reva’s a homicidal siren. If her ear-splitting wail can crack a driveway, imagine what it could do to your eardrums. Reviewer shudders violently.

Scene: There’s a scene where Max and Willa are having sexual intercourse in a Jacuzzi and Boone’s watching them. `Course it isn’t long before he goes from watching to participating. Reviewer grins wickedly. Then rereads the scene for the umpteenth time.

Disclaimer: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

What’s Next? Getting Familiar with Your Demon which releases in Feb. of 2012.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Maximum Witch

Samhain Publishing, Ltd., eBook, Copyright 2011, Paranormal Erotic Romance, ISBN# 978-1-60928-530-2.

Review: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Let me start off by saying Derek is one hot hero, he’s like number 11 on my top ten heroes list, just a hairsbreadth from being there.

Derek Craven is a self-made man. He’s wealthier than most of the gentry, but he is not one. Born in the slums of London to a prostitute and abandoned into the care of others, he’s had to fight for everything. He gets his kicks sleeping with the married women of the ton as a way to get back at the men who won’t let him into their inner circles. He makes the mistake of tangling with Joyce Ashby, who seeks retaliation when he breaks off their affair.

Miss Sara Fielding is a quiet country mouse and an acclaimed author. Most people confuse her with the fictional character of her second novel. Part of the reason her novels are so well received is because they are so well researched. Determined to make her third novel on gambling an equal success she decides to research the most infamous and exclusive club of all – Craven’s.

Favorite Sex Scene: Where Derek introduces her to the pleasures of doggy style… and how she thought sex wasn’t possible if she was on her stomach. Tehe. It was hot and cute at the same time.

Aw Moment: When he steals her spectacles so he can keep a little reminder of her in his life.

Big Page Suck: I could have done without the giant interlude at Greenwood Corners where she gets engaged to the pompous mama’s boy, Perry Kingswood. At the very least I felt that maybe Derek should have stalked her or been lurking nearby somewhere.

Evil Woman: I could also have done without the wicked and perverted Lady Ashby. Without her the giant angst-ridden conclusion wouldn’t have gone off the way it did what with kidnapping, presumed death, etc. but something similar could have occurred and been just as good.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

PS – Magdalen this is the book you’ve DNFed a few times, so don’t go out and buy a copy again! lol

Buy: Dreaming of You

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Review: Love and Scandal by Donna Lea Simpson

A lady in Victorian times had little options when it came to acceptable jobs. Writing novels was simply not one of them and certainly not publishing them. That’s why Collette Jardiniere hides her authorship of The Last Days of a Rake behind the pseudonym Collin Jenkins. That is until some trumped-up peacock of a rake refuses to deny authorship. So she goes to London to rectify the gross injustice of her work be unfairly attributed to another and for the first time finds herself experiencing freedom and passion. A very heady combination for a virginal spinster.

Charles Jameson (Jamie) wants nothing more than to meet the man behind the scandalous novel and pick his brain. As a lover of the literary world but lacking skill with a pen, Charles is very much a man of the time. He refuses (at first) to believe woman capable of intelligence, thinking they merely parrot men in their lives. He also can’t believe that they write, let alone one having written a novel he considers to be written by a rakehell.

Simpson does an excellent job weaving both characters together. They’re helpless attraction to each other doesn’t hurt either. She carefully chips Collette’s cowardice to claim authorship away and slowly builds Charles’ character up so that he can be the hero Collette needs. Of course their relationship is not without a series of hardships but eventually all obstacles are overcome.

In addition to Love & Scandal, I read the companion novella Last Days of a Rake. It’s not a love story. Collette didn’t write a romantic piece, it’s a dark look into the redemption of a rake who doesn’t even understand why he’s changed. It reflects everything the characters from Love & Scandal claim it to be and that includes its flaws. If you have a little time on your hands, be sure to check it out and read it before starting the other. I thought it helped a lot with understanding points made in the novel about the heroine’s writing, but you don’t have to read it to enjoy the romance.

Rating: 4 Stars

Buy: Love & Scandal

Free Download: The Last Days of a Rake