Review: Never Miss a Chance (Kellington Series, Book 2) by Maureen Driscoll

Never Miss a ChanceHeroine: Lady Elizabeth Kellington is a bluestocking interested in women’s rights. Not a good idea for a Regency England heroine even if she’s a duke’s daughter. Scandal reaches even the highest nobility of the ton. Her marriage chances dwindle rapidly as those who before it hit courted her favor now gave her snubs and others who never would have approached her before are seeking her out. Ouch. But not everyone is cutting Lizzie from their social circle.

Hero: Marcus Redmond, the Marquess of Riverton, has loved his best friend’s sister for a long time and the scandal puts her in his reach for the very first time. A damaged reputation is the perfect opportunity for a marriage proposal. But Lizzie even now wants a love match… So how does he prove that they’re already a match? Especially when he doesn’t agree with her politics?

The Kellingtons: The first book Never a Mistress, No Longer a Maid sets up the family dynamic, but it is not necessary to read it to enjoy the sequel. The three main characters of the first book have cameo appearances in Never Miss a Chance.

Review: Lizzie is a feisty heroine who is a bit too ahead of her time. She is an idealist and on some levels it works, especially when she tells the uppity snide woman from her little club where to shove it. Marcus is a hot, staid, reserved hero and that works for me. I like it when the hero appears to the world as one thing and in his private life as something else (when the change is positive like a passionate nature.) A witty and happy romance.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Never Miss a Chance (Kellington – Book 2)

Review: Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel (Beau Monde, Book 1) by Samantha Grace

miss hillary schools a scoundrelHero: Lord Andrew Forest is the eternal confirmed bachelor. He will never get married. But when the enticing virginal Alana “Lana” Hilary seduces him and disappears he’s hooked. He has to find her, win her, and make her his in every way that counts. She can’t reject him a second time can she?

Heroine: Lana needs to make a good match, so she’s instituting a no-scoundrels policy. Her ex-fiancé was one and Andrew is as far from a respectable gentleman as she can get. He’s even caught in the act of meeting a lady friend when he rescues her from the tree. But despite his similarities to her ex, Andrew is far more honorable. If only he was dependable and she was certain he’d never break her heart. Best not to chance it!

Review: I love how Lana escapes from the window to avoid an overbearing older admirer. Good thinking! Too bad she got caught in the branches and gave Lord Andrew a view up her skirts in the process. ;) This was a touching, feel-good, happy romance with a twist of danger! Also loved that he called her peach and that at first she was horribly put out by it (because of her red hair) until he explained it. Sigh. Cute. Great debut.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel

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Review: Pretty Persuasion by Olivia Kingsley

Reviewed by Carla F.

At the age of 10, Lady Georgiana Montford is introduced to her betrothed, Robert Balfour, who will one day be the Earl of Sheffield. Robert is already a young adult, but he treats Georgie with kindness. A friendship develops, and Georgie falls in love with Robert. She is then devastated to discover Robert in the arms of another woman. Robert is unaware that Georgie saw him, and can’t understand why she is being so cold to him. However, he soon goes off to his father’s Caribbean plantation. Georgie tells no one what she saw, but she is determined to not marry the “Rat” when he returns, and she will take control of her life and destiny.

Things I liked: The story of Robert’s time on the plantation is sad, but shows why he had changed from the happy, more carefree man that Georgie once knew.

It is very sweet that Robert wants to regain Georgie’s friendship even if they will never be married.

The May Day scenes where Georgie washes her face in the dew in an attempt to get rid of her freckles, and the one with her bumping into Robert which causes him to miss the target in the archery contest and lose the prize of kissing the May Day Queen.

The heat in the picnic scene is not caused by the weather!

Things I didn’t like: Georgie was way too headstrong for me. While I admire her decision to not let others particularly her parents run her life, her choices led to other people being hurt.

Georgie and Robert were caught in compromising positions (or intimate discussions) way to many times by family members.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Pretty Persuasion

Review: The Secret Mistress (Dudley, Book 3) by Mary Balogh

I listened to a narrated audiobook version of this novel. Read by Anne Flosnik.

Hero: Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, knows he must marry. As a spare, now heir, he knows the importance of preserving the family lineage. The candidate he has in mind is his family friend and favorite bluestocking, Eunice Goddard. A wife should be a friend, someone intelligent that one can converse with, and a lady unblemished by scandal or wild behavior, but when the lady refuses him, he’s flummoxed. What now? Well, his family wants him to court Angeline Dudley and so he does. He’s flummoxed again when he realizes that the scandalous Miss at the inn is none other than she!

Heroine: Angeline Dudley is preparing for her first Season. She’s determined to catch herself a simple steady gentleman, a man completely opposite her rakish brothers and father (now passed away). A potentially scandalous incident at a public inn reveals to her just such a man and it’s instant attraction for her. All she wants is his good opinion and his love, but it seems to be the thing he’s determined to hold back. She suspects his interested lie elsewhere and does all in her power to bring them together, for his sake and Eunice’s sake (who becomes her friend).

Review: I really liked the pairing of a stuffy, circumspect, and introverted hero (who doesn’t think he is and takes offense when he’s called on it) with a bubbly, impulsive, and extroverted heroine (who rambles and says things to upset the hero… like calling him a dry stick :D lol).

He’s extremely dignified and extends politeness and courtesy as a shield. She prattles to fill uncomfortable silences and makes jokes at her expense to hide her insecurity. Angeline feels she doesn’t deserve him and her innocent behavior appears to be reckless behavior.

I also thought it was incredibly sweet that the heroine put the hero’s desire so far above her own she tried to orchestrate opportunities for him to meet Eunice in hopes he’d propose to her. There were lots of great quotes in the story, my favorite is below.

Favorite Scenes: Their first meeting at the inn, and Edward’s first proposal to Angeline.

Favorite Quote:

In a few short minutes he had shown himself to be her ideal of manhood. Of gentlemanhood. He seemed perfectly content and comfortable with his ordinariness. He seemed not to feel the need to posture and prove his masculinity at every turn preferably with his fists… He was in fact, more than ordinary. He was an extraordinary man.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Review: Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, Book 4) by Nora Roberts

Narrated by: Angela Dawe. The narrator sounded like Parker, but overall she bored me. I continued to listen because it was easier once I had it to listen to the book in the car than it was to go grab the novel from the library.

Series: Bride Quartet, Book 4

Series Background: Four best friends create a wedding business together called Vows. This series is how they go from planning other brides’ weddings to planning their own.

Series Strengths: The friendships between Parker, Emma, Laurel, and Mac are what make this series – that and the crazy brides!

Series Weaknesses: Bogged down in wedding minutia and tame conflicts.

Summary: Parker Brown is the last of her girlfriends to find someone. Of course what she thinks she wants is not what she gets. Malcolm likes Parker’s uptight, Type A, controlling behavior; it makes him want to get under her skin. It’s something he’s particularly good at! *wink wink, nudge nudge* Parker’s not sure where their relationship is going but she’s certain it’s not to the altar.

Review: I love that Malcolm calls Parker “Legs.” I hate that they shorten his name to “Mal.” Bleck. Parker was the one I was looking forward to the most, but she has turned out to be too perfect – She works out all the time (Everyday, without fail, for hours just after she wakes up to perfect her already perfect body. If she wasn’t doing it, I bet her friends wouldn’t be exercising nearly as much either as she’s their ringleader. So can I hit her? Please? I want to feed her a dozen sugary donuts… but to get back on track:) I did like their story, though I’m not sure why Parker fights her attraction to Malcolm all the time. Malcolm makes the book which surprised me, because like Parker in the beginning I wasn’t so sure he could pull his weight let alone hers. Over all it’s not a shabby way to end a series.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Happy Ever After (Bride Quartet, Book 4)

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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

Review: Gallant Waif by Anne Gracie

Story: Lady Cahill is Jack Carstairs’ grandmother and is determined to see her moping scarred and wounded grandson back on his feet and back in the market for marriage. Just because his father disowned him, and his fiancée dumps him doesn’t mean he can turn his sister away from his door and refuse to see her! That is just outrageous. Well let him try putting his grandmother off! Ha!

On the way she’ll kill two birds with one stone and pick up Kate Farleigh. Except there’s a snag… one headstrong girl. Not to worry! Immediately after Kate refuses her offer for a Season in London Lady Cahill kidnaps her. The Lady can’t imagine why the stupid chit turned her down. They have a connection! She’s the godmother of the girl’s dead mother, so of course it’s not charity!

The morning after she arrives with Kate in tow Lady Cahill decides to get the two kids together… for the animation in Jack’s face inspired by Kate is just too tempting to ignore. But Kate still isn’t interested in a Season. What’s a grandmother to do? She hires Kate as Jack’s housekeeper and dashes off to get out of the way, that’s what.

Review: I love Jack. He’s so outraged on Kate’s behalf its funny! A genteel lady shouldn’t be scrubbing floors, cooking his meals, or anything else a housekeeper does. He doesn’t understand why Kate thinks its good enough, because clearly it isn’t!

Their banter on it was hilarious – the kind of hilarious that requires stitches. :P Jack doesn’t know how to fight with Kate and usually ends up flustered and speechless with rage. She’s so calm about most of their confrontations, but sometimes she seeks to egg him on too because she loves his responses. She knows it means he cares and with her background (being unloved by her father) knowing someone cares means a lot.

I liked a lot of this novel… but

(Spoilers) I felt Kate’s secret history was very sad… she was raped during the war by a French man who took advantage of her amnesia (and maybe caused it, who knows, because she definitely was knocked over the head by someone). He claimed to be her husband and she gave him conjugal rights.

I didn’t feel her emotions connected to this made much sense. I would have reacted differently been angry or bitter or something more than accepting. Especially since all she’d ever wanted was a nice husband and kids (she really wanted kids.) Luckily for her, she’s the heroine of a romance novel!

I’m very glad that when the other soldiers show up that they don’t treat her like a whore (how she was treated on the continent by those who knew) and that they wanted to see her and Jack together. Nobody made an inappropriate advance on her from among Jack’s friends… (but someone tries for other reasons.)

The ending sequence when the group of soldiers ban together to help Jack save Kate’s reputation at a ball is so sweet and heartwarming.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Gallant Waif (Harlequin Historical)

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Review: Exchanging Grooms by Terry Spear

Story: Peter Crawford first spies Lisa Robbins as she’s attempting to return an unused wedding gown. The groom? His arch rival Pembrooke Hastings. Peter is determined to take her out on a date to see what kind of gal could rope in the state’s most confirm bachelor. Finding out she jilted Pembrooke is just icing on the cake. Little does Peter know that Lisa’s going to get the state’s second most confirmed bachelor down on bended knee faster than he can get out his proposal!!!

Favorite Scenes: I really enjoyed how the two originally agree to go out to make Pembrooke jealous, but end up trying to avoid him on these beginning dates… especially the double date with Peter’s brother and his girlfriend. I also liked when Peter takes care of Lisa and makes her food, his proposal, and when they first make love.

Least Favorite Scene: Lisa is a strong heroine and can handle her own, but on the eve of her wedding to Peter, his ex shows up at her apartment and because her best friend and Peter’s brother’s girlfriend invited the ex in, Lisa lets her… and she lets the trio bash on men and Peter too. I had a huge problem with that, because who in their right mind would allow that? Even drunk I wouldn’t allow that. It made me mad, but Peter handled it all with aplomb.

Review: You’ll love what Terry Spear has whipped up! Exchanging Grooms is a cute contemporary romance that’s fast to read and will give you a tooth ache, it’s so sweet! I heard about this book from following Terry Spear’s blog. I thought the title was extremely clever and catchy and I had to read it. I even made fanart for it:

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Exchanging Grooms