Audio Review: The Tattooed Duke (The Writing Girls, Book 3) by Maya Rodale

tattoed dukeHero: Sebastian Digby, the Duke of Wycliff, is in need of a wealthy bride. His newly inherited dukedom is full of responsibilities and short on cash. All he wants to do is travel and discover Timbuktu. Unfortunately for him, all his dirty laundry is being aired by The London Weekly negating any chance he has at finding a suitable bride. He can’t prove who it is, but he suspects either his cousin or an employee.

Heroine: Eliza Fielding hasn’t had much to write about for her boss at The London Weekly. She’s about to be fired unless she can produce some scandalously meaty prose. Her undercover disguise as a housemaid in the duke’s household is perfect for getting close to the duke… in more ways than one. But as she gets to know this tattooed duke, Eliza has to wonder if getting her own dream – a column of her very own — is worth more than helping Sebastian obtain his dreams.

Review: This historical romance has a very modern edge. It worked for me where it might not work for others. I bought this book as an audiobook and I enjoyed the narrator, Carolyn Morris, immensely. Her accent work really placed me in the story and gave a sense of sophistication and Regency glamor. Sebastian Digby (whose last name, I must have missed… ha!) is a different duke than you’re used to meeting. He doesn’t want the duchy if it means curtailing his own desires for adventure, but it’s not exactly something you can just pretend isn’t yours. The scene where Eliza sees his tattoos for the first time was deliciously steamy (pun intended.) Eliza is a feisty heroine, who because she’s not gentry, can do things most well-bred young ladies can’t… like hide in plain sight of the hero she’s covering for her newspaper. Sebestian thinks the leak in his household is Eliza, but refuses to really give it credence because he doesn’t want it to be true. Overall a great listen!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: The Tattooed Duke

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Movie Review: Ever After starring Drew Barrymore, Dougray Scott, and Anjelica Huston

Ever After has been one of my all time favorite romantic comedies. Drew Barrymore is at her best in this Cinderella spinoff (the first of a long string that soon followed.) Her prince is played by Dougray Scott, a very handsome devil that captures the sulky spoiled regent character very well.

This movie is one of those movies takes place in France but everyone speaks English. Good thing too or you’d miss out on a lot of the subtle and fun expressions this cast of characters do on a regular basis throughout the movie. My favorite one is the sly glance Jacqueline gives near the very end. She’s a wonderful supporting character that you’ll love to watch.

Danielle, Drew Barrymore, losses her father at the tender age of eight. The very day following his first night with his new wife, the Baroness, played by Anjelica Huston. You would expect poison or some other form of trickery, but this is never revealed. From that moment forward Danielle’s life is changed irrevocably from the life of a wealthy merchant’s daughter to the unloved and unwelcomed position of an unpaid servant in her stepmother’s home.

Meanwhile, Prince Henry has lived a relatively easy life until his father has made the unpardonable declaration that he is to wed some Spanish princess he has never met. Horrified by this backward thinking, Henry runs away (and this is not the first time he’s run off either). He encounters Danielle during this mad escape when she knocks him off his stolen horse. Paying her for her silence of his passing, Henry takes off again as if the very devil were after him.

everafter

The money paid for her silence heavy in her pocket, Danielle runs back to the manor excited and bubbly at the prospect at being able to save a man who has been servant, friend, and father figure in her life. A daring plan to dress above her station and a sharp-tongued speech directed at his royal highness insure the release of her old friend but starts a delightfully enchanting tale of cat and mouse between Henry and Danielle as he pursues and she flees until finally she is caught.

If you’re looking for a Cinderella tale that features a headstrong, book-read, saucy female lead this is the movie for you.

Rating: ★★★★★

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Review: Miss Foster’s Folly by Alice Gaines

This Victorian romance is the very opposite of sexual restraint. If you’re in the mood for something hot and spicy with a wide streak of naughtiness you’ll want to read this book! You’ll love it from the very first page.

Miss Juliet Foster upon her father’s death is given all of his wealth while her brother gets the businesses, and her sister the real estate.  Suddenly Juliet isn’t just a virginal American spinster. She’s also an heiress and the leeches are popping out the woodwork to try to force her into marriage so they can get control of it.

Determined not to get caught but to still enjoy her life, Juliet decides the best thing to do is seduce her way through the Continent. First she’ll go to Britain, find a nice staid man to start. Then she’ll hit France to turn herself into a more sophisticated lover. Next Spain, for a little passion. All because, if she’s going to end up with a man he’s going to be Italian – the most perfect of lovers to be found anywhere! There’s just one flaw – somebody has to take her virginity first.

David Winslow, the Marquess of Derrington, Derry to his friends, suffers from the Winslow curse which skips between generations. If he’s ever going to be happy and successful he needs to find a woman more wild than he is because in taming her he’ll tame himself. It’s his ‘dying’ grandmother’s wish that he marry soon and so he goes to America to find himself the perfect bride, one who meets all his grandmother’s requirements and cares not a fig for his wealth or title. When Juliet Foster asks him to take her maidenhead he’s both flabbergasted and excited because he knows she is his perfect match. When she runs away he knows he has to chase after her.

It’s a fun romp of cat and mouse and hot hot sex. Really, it’s decadently delicious in every way.

My one complaint is how often the heroine runs off. The very last time she does was one time too many for me. I felt the angst moment could have been satisfied a little sooner with better results if the North & South type moment had been seized upon with vigor.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Miss Foster’s Folly

Movie Review: The Tourist starring Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp

I can’t say enough good things about this movie. The movie got lambasted in my newspaper. I haven’t checked, but I have to wonder if a man wrote the negative review. The Tourist is a cat-and-mouse romantic comedy with lots of action and suspense. Just the sort of movie I want to see! There’s no gross body part/fluid humor. There isn’t anything negative in the movie at all – I can’t think of a single thing I wished was cut or changed to get rid of something stupid. There wasn’t any stupid… refreshing! The humor is hysterical and dry and subtle. I laughed so hard at times I got tears in my eyes.

A friend of a friend saw it and hated it because he was expecting Johnny Depp’s character to be like his characters Jack Sparrow, Mad Hatter, and Edward Scissorhands. I thought it was great that Depp took on a character that showcased other strengths of his. He’s so good at subtleties, which might surprise some because of his more outlandish past roles (see previous). I always knew he had the capability and once the movie gets rolling you can see just how many layers upon layers Depp took pains to create. He’s brilliant in this film (as usual!)

Speaking of layers, there’s a lot of them. The filming doesn’t do any of the common disjointed cutting (think Duplicity) to hint at these layers. Rather as the plot of the movie continues in a direct horizontal fashion you mentally see the story expanding up and out to give you the whole picture. I figured it out three-quarters of the way through the movie, the friend I saw it with said they wouldn’t have until the conclusion rolled across the screen if I hadn’t told her. The commentary on this film I bet will be well worth watching to see to what extent the characters actually knew what was going on to what they thought/appeared to know was going on.

Elise (Angelina Jolie) is a woman who dresses like Audrey Hepburn and knows she’s followed by the British Economic Police because of her lover with whom she hasn’t had contact with for two years. (They want him because he embezzled over two billion pounds and owes a slew of back taxes.) Today though she receives a missive from him directing her through a series of steps that ultimately puts her on a train headed for Venice where she’s to pick someone that looks like him. Elise picks Frank (Johnny Depp), a simple math teacher from the States on vacation. Her singular attention places Frank under a lot of scrutiny from the British Secret Services to Venice Police to Interpol to the mobster and his gang that Elise lover stole from years ago.

Don’t miss The Tourist!

A perfect score!

Rating: ★★★★★

Sign Up: The Tourist

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