Audio Review: Surrender by Amanda Quick

surrenderHero: Lucas Colebrook, the new Earl of Stonevale, needs an heiress to finance the repairs of his crumbling estate and projects to revitalize the lands. He goes to his former love, the perfect paragon of society, Jessica (I can’t recall her last name.) She presents him with two choices – a young woman just out of the schoolroom (almost an exact replica of Jessica) or the very independent Victoria Huntington. Lucas knows instantly which heiress he’d prefer and strategizes how to win her. His conclusion is to give her exactly what she thinks she wants.

Heroine: Victoria Huntington, heiress, orphan, has fought off fortune hunters since being in leading strings. She’s even had suitors for her friend investigated by Bow Street Runners! Not easily fooled, Victoria knows if she waits just a little while longer, her status of spinsterhood will be sealed and the real adventures of life can begin. But she doesn’t really wish to wait – she wants to experience it all now and accepts Lucas’s escort through these experiences.

Review: Victoria is wildly reckless with her reputation and that of her friend’s. She doesn’t seem to truly grasp the consequences of any one of her little escapades. It off-balances the intelligence she seems to have regarding men. Lucas manages to distract her with what she wants – from adventures to watch boxing matches in the wee hours of the night or trips to brothels dressed as a man – and so escape her notice as another fortune hunter. He’s able to do this because Jessica is circulating that he’s due to receive a huge influx of funds. So, I have little sympathy when Vicky bemoans getting caught in the parson’s trap.

Lucas is patient and protective. His scheme is manipulative, but his intentions are roughly pure. He wants to aid his tenets and bring prosperity back to the region. I loved his stodginess and how it played with Vicky’s recklessness. They rub off on each other. He becomes a little less stodgy and she a little less reckless. I loved how he’d climb garden walls for her even with a wounded leg. Very romantic.

In the novel, he decides quickly he wants Vicky for more than her money, but doesn’t reveal his true need for the wedding until it is much too late. On their wedding day, before their wedding trip, Jessica reveals all to Vicky in an attempt to beg kindness for Lucas. What a little viper! Jessica is not a paragon – she’s clearly manipulative and while her words don’t endear her to hero or heroine, there’s no true repercussion. Vicky takes it out on Lucas instead of Jessica… and then in the end the couple uses Jessica once more. I find that very odd.

Narrator: Anne Flosnik is one of my favorite narrators. I liked listening to her immensely.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Surrender, Surrender

Review: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton, Book 3) by Elizabeth Michels

how to lose a lord in 10 days or lessHero: Andrew Clifton is Lord Amberstall. On his return to London society, he realizes he is being followed and takes measures to evade his pursuers. At first it seems like a successful attempt to escape… but then his horse nearly lands on a young woman and he gets thrown.

Heroine: Katie Moore used to love horses until she had a bad fall off of one that left her with a permanent limp. Her retreat to the countryside was a decision she took knowing she would never be on the marriage mart again. Terrified to be near horses, Katie is still determined to save Lord Andrew’s horse.

Review: First of all, I love this book title. How fantastic is it? I think it’s great. I also love the series title. The hero and heroine couldn’t be more opposite. The hero is pragmatic while the heroine is overly sentimental. Katie is determined to put her foot down on Andrew’s decision to shoot his injured horse. He says it’s a fatal injury. She claims it is not. Who is right? What is humane? If the horse can be rehabilitated it won’t be able to walk or run like normal. Katie is not impressed. She wins the first round by refusing to lend Andrew a replacement horse and invites him to stay on her father’s estate while the horse mends. I’m sad to say, that both characters were kind of flat for me and I was never really involved in the story despite the intrigue around Lord Andrew.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Buy: How to Lose a Lord in 10 Days or Less (Tricks of the Ton)

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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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