Review: Compromised by Kate Noble

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One word: charming.
Two words: engaging hilarity.
Three words: sparkling/sparking chemistry.

Most decidedly, Compromised, is a great way to kick off your summer reading. Kate Noble engages readers with narrative that is tongue-in-cheek. Part of the narrative reads third person omniscient and part is third person lead-centric as we are use to in romance. It changes without warning sometimes, but after the first time or two you don’t really notice it. I started to look forward to it actually because it was so funny, not that the lead-centric parts were not, but the omniscient portions offered a look into Regency society and how gossip spreads.

Maximillian (Max) St. John, Viscount Fontaine, the future Earl of Longbowe, is in desperate need of a wife. Not because he needs money, not because he particularly wants one, but because his father is determined to wield the very last bit of his power over his son before he dies.

You’re probably wondering why on earth Max would give in to this ridiculously patented scheme.

He gives in because his father threatens to spread gossip that Max is a bastard child from a time when his wife cuckolded him (which is completely false mind you), sell off everything that is not entailed and will all of the money to distant relations leaving Max without a name, without funds, and with land in perpetual need of expensive upkeep. Wow! That is pretty darn harsh.

Max is determined to make the best of it, but he only has three months to accomplish such a feat. He’s attending balls, musicales, and parties meeting women who are tall, short, blond, brunette, intelligent, insipid, but none of them are for him. In fact, all of the ladies he’s been meeting lack something.

Gail Alton is unfashionably tall and unfashionably intelligent and unfashionably irksome. She prefers to spend her time at museums and in a book. She loves history and languages and horses. Her sister, Evangeline, is petite, blond and practically perfect in every way. They share a loving relationship and neither one begrudge the other anything. However, compared to Evangeline, Gail is basically invisible, which works for her because she doesn’t find conversations about ribbons to be particularly interesting.

What follows is a regular comedy of manners as Max stumbles into a compromising situation with both ladies. Once with Gail while riding through Hyde’s Park and once with Evangeline including a stolen kiss in a conservatory. He ends up engaged to one girl and falling in love with the other. How will this tangled mess unravel?

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Buy: Compromised

Review: SEALed with a Ring by Mary Margret Daughtridge

Mary Margret Daughtridge comes out with another fantastic SEAL story. It’s got everything! A smart savvy heiress heroine to a car empire in desperate need of a name-only husband and a hero with partial amnesia, headaches, scarring, charisma, good looks, and skilled in bed! Yum. Yum. Yum. See, I told you it had everything. Wow!

Davy Graziano is a Navy Seal corpsman. The quote at the beginning of the novel gives real insight to Davy as a hero. He figures he will die in service for the Teams and when he doesn’t he’s adrift. It doesn’t help that his mother passed away shortly after visiting him in the hospital. The situation makes him feel that his mother traded her life for his with God and he doesn’t know what to do with his second chance at life. He wants to continue being a Navy Seal but a head wound resulted in brain trauma. He’s forgetful of things he knows he knows and it’s frustrating to no end.

One thing he forgets is JJ Caruthers. Twice. Poor schmuck. Jane Jessup however is very relieved. The more she learns about Navy Seals and Davy in particular the more she sees them and him as the perfect solution to her husbandless problem. JJ contracts Davy into being her husband in an effort to get one over her grandfather who is trying to manipulate her to his liking. Davy won’t take her original offer and renegotiates the terms to his liking but as the marriage unfolds Davy just wants his life back! What’s JJ to do? I’ll tell you… she’s going to save her hero.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: SEALed with a Ring

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Review: To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn

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To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn was a fairly decent story. There were times in the story when I wondered if the main characters would ever fall in love before the pages ran out. The sex scenes were scrumptious and more than counter balanced the long wait to get to them. Also the scenes where Eloise’s brothers participate are quite hilarious from when they darken Phillip’s doorstep to when Eloise joins them in a shooting contest.

Sir Phillip was in desperate need of a wife. Since Marina’s death, Phillip had come to the conclusion that he wanted his wife to be happy, not melancholy like Marina. Plus his two children were out of control and he had no idea how to handle them. So what he really needed was a mother for them and who better than a desperate spinster?

Of course, poor Phillip had no idea that Eloise Bridgerton had turned down half a dozen proposals. By his letters, Sir Phillip seems the perfect man so when his daring invitation to visit him in the country arrived; Eloise made plans to escape her overprotective family.

Upon her arrival to Sir Philip’s home, Eloise is bitterly disappointed. Why Phillip could hardly speak to her! He was a grumpy moody sort, not at all the dashing charmer she’d pictured. He certainly never mentioned his two children in their letters! Reluctant to turn around and go home with her tail between her legs, Eloise decides to stay and stick it out to see if the two of them would suit.

Warning: This book contains mentioning of child abuse. While one can never call child abuse lightweight, it was not graphic. The nanny, Nurse Edwards, was caught beating the children with a book and action was taken.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: To Sir Phillip, With Love

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Review: Coming on Strong by Tawny Weber

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Coming on Strong in three words: kinky, flirtatious, sassy. Bonus on the cover for the sexy as sin hunk. If you’re looking for a heroine who owns her sexuality and turns her hero into a pile of mush this is your novel. Weber has a way with words and is very clever. I’m positive you will devour this novel with enthusiasm and delight. I know I did.

Mitch Carter is in trouble. Somebody is sabotaging to his hotel; nothing overt, at least not yet, but he needs to find the culprit before the opening. Meanwhile, his event planner has canceled and he is in desperate need for a new one. Desperate enough in fact to hire the woman who dumped him at the altar for the job.

Belle Forsham has never forgotten Mitch and the stupid way she acted. Her only excuse is that she was young and vulnerable. When Mitch’s sister played with her nerves and fears, Belle chickened out of the wedding. Now it’s years later and the opportunity to be with Mitch has come again. Grabbing at this second chance, Belle plans to give it all she’s got and knock Mitch right off his feet… and if by any stroke of luck she can get him to help her father so much the better.

Problems continue for Mitch after Belle’s arrival. He finds himself as strongly attracted to her as he was before. Grown-up Belle packs more of a punch to his gut, tightening him knots right from the very first. Despite his attraction, Mitch is determined to keep it just business between them… and pardon the pun, but it’s going to be harder than he expected.

For a Big Misunderstanding plot that is sexy and full of quirky humor pick up Coming on Strong.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Review: Arabella by Georgette Heyer

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I found Arabella to be wickedly entertaining; a superb comedy of manners! It is a little slow getting started. A good fifty pages are devoted to simply getting ready to go to London – the hero isn’t even introduced! When you get past that portion the story really picks up and is very exciting.

Arabella Tallant is very cheeky and clever. She has a temper that gets her into trouble and a mouth that often runs away with her. She and her family are impoverished. Her father’s a parson and it is by the ingenuity of her mother that Arabella is able to go to London to have a season. It is very important she makes an excellent match so she can help her family.

Robert Beaumaris is sick and tired of young ladies and their mothers throwing themselves at his feet in hopes he’ll trip over them and into marriage. He is defined repeatedly as a Nonpareil, which means he has no equal and is peerless. Men imitate him in fashion. Persons, male and female, strive for his approval. A glance or comment from Robert can make or break someone socially.

Reading parts of the story from his point of view opens lots of wonderful insight to what’s going on and how’s he’s thinking of things. This novel seemed very modern to me because of the amount of head switching.

When Arabella overhears a flippant remark by Robert to Charles Fleetwood, she’s angered and in a fit of spontaneity affects superior airs and claims to be an heiress. On a whim Robert chooses to put weight behind her story and instantly Arabella is thrust to the top of society. Mamas want their sons to marry her, gentlemen want to woo her, and several fortune hunters start sniffing around her most eagerly.

In too deep, Arabella doesn’t see a way out. She can’t marry any of her suitors; they think she’s wealthy. She can’t tell the truth; it would socially ruin her. Then her brother, Bertram Tallant, shows up in London and makes matters worse by gambling far and above his means. The love of her life could also become her salvation, but how can one tell a man you just married you’re not an heiress and in fact in desperate need of funds?

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Arabella

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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My Top 10 Favorite Romance Movies

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Everyone has movies that they tend to watch over and over and over again. We watch them because they make us happy, because we love the acting and the story. Yesterday I saw for the first time a movie that came out in 2007. It was stunning and has without a moment’s hesitancy, entered my favorites list. That movie was Arranged. Look out for a formal review as I will be writing one.

My Top Ten Favorite Romance Movies

(In order by release date.)

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991) It’s easy to see that this is most girls’ first introduction into paranormal romance. The Beast and castle are clearly enchanted through magic. The castle itself is very Gothic, and our poor hero is as shaggy as any werewolf, though he certainly cleans up nice!
  2. Walk in the Clouds (1995) This lovely postwar romance follows a young soldier as he attempts to sell chocolates and winds up rescuing a damsel in distress. The grandfather makes this movie and the scene in the vineyard during a frost warning is breathtaking.
  3. Ever After (1998) I am surprised I haven’t worn the finish off this DVD. I used to watch it every day or two many many years ago. Prince Henri is a charming rascal in desperate need of a love match to stop his father’s political matchmaking.
  4. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Colin Firth as Marc Darcy. Clearly this is an awesome romance. Very strong language warning, but other than that it’s very delightful. If you haven’t seen it, you’re going to love the fight scene. Sigh!
  5. North and South (2004) Four hours is not nearly enough Mr. Thornton or Richard Armitage. I would like more please. Is there an unedited eight hour version hiding somewhere? No? Drat! I guess I will have to settle for one, “Look back at me!”
  6. Pride and Prejudice (2005) My favorite version of Jane Austen’s classic. I know I said Colin Firth and Marc Darcy and it’s true. Colin is great as Darcy, but this version with Keira and Matthew and Donald really yanks at my heart. The scenery is gorgeous too.
  7. Outsourced (2006) This movie is a call center and technical support romance between one yuppy American male and one spunky Indian female. Culture shock to say the very least and wickedly entertaining.
  8. Arranged (2007) One Orthodox Jewish girl and one Muslim girl are getting matched. They know each other from their teaching positions at the same school and as they go through the process of meeting men under watchful family eyes they become fast friends. Very satisfying ending!
  9. Enchanted (2007) I just love the songs in this film, especially “How does she know that you love her?” Patrick Dempsey is devilishly handsome and a treat to watch as he struggles against falling for a loopy girl who thinks she’s in love with a prince. Amy Adams is perfection.
  10. Lost in Austen (2008) Be honest, who hasn’t wanted Mr. Darcy to herself? One English miss from today’s world manages to get stuck in Jane Austen’s ‘fictional’ Georgian England at the start of the story and the rest as they say is history!

So there’s my list. What movies are on yours?

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