Review: Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale

Lessons in French is a feel-good story. It’s cute, lighthearted, and full of whimsy. It was the right novel at the right time. I needed cute, lighthearted, and whimsy. I smiled a lot when reading it and rooted for both of the main characters. They’re imperfect, but that just makes them extremely likeable.

The heroine is as Laura Kinsale describes–an anti-kickass heroine.  Callie Taillefaire is pretty shy. She prefers her animals to men and ballrooms. In ballrooms she’s an absolute wallflower without even trying. She was betrothed three times and all three men left her cold. The people of Shelford love her, but even they have to wonder what’s wrong with her when eighty thousand pounds won’t get a man to the altar. What’s great about Callie is that even though she’s not one of the kickass heroines running around in other romances, she can be fierce and courageous. She’ll even save the hero.

Trevelyn d’Augustin is a very interesting character. He is the son of aristocratic but impoverished French émigrés. Nine years approximately before the story starts, he was in love (or pretty darn close to admitting it anyway) with Callie. That her father did not approve of him is an understatement. One bad episode and Trev runs away to France where he does a lot of things from organizing fights, shooting at Englishmen, becoming a war prisoner, returning to England and organizing more fights, and getting in trouble with the law. He’s avoided Shelford for ages because he’s positive Callie is married with kids, but with his mother extremely ill he can no longer stay away.

They both get a second chance at first love. Trev pulls Callie out of her shell, one hilarious incident after another. Callie gives Trev comfort and quiet strength and a sense of purpose, but she can’t imagine that he feels anything beyond friendship and gratitude for her. So when her sister, Hermione gets engaged to Sir Thomas Vickery, Callie seriously entertains the attentions of an old fiancé. She won’t burden her sister and she won’t stick around with her cousin and his wife Dolly. Trev won’t pursue her romantically because of his legal troubles and because he feels she deserves more than he can offer… and certainly more than this idiot who’s back and sniffing after her eighty thousand pounds.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Lessons in French

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: 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: The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell by Samantha James

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Great start. Mediocre middle. Great ending.

There was one discrepancy that was glaring to me… how probable was it to have two people to get married to cover a brewing scandal, get divorced/separated after a year (claiming annulment maybe?), and go about their lives as if nothing happened? It wasn’t something I thought too much about because with romance you know they’re going to stay together and find love so it wasn’t really an issue.

What I didn’t like was that the book spent too long repeating the same things. I was eagerly and desperately waiting for the point when Annabel McBride smartened up enough to realize she couldn’t make a man love her if he wasn’t willing or that she couldn’t compete with a dead wife and kids.

The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell is one of those widower plots that combine brooding hero and a fresh untried miss. I did like that Simon Blackwell generally and truly loved his late wife, but it was hard to read Annabel’s determination to win him over. She can’t if he isn’t willing to let go and the book took too long for Annabel to reach a quitting point that would force Simon to either give up his ghosts or to give her up.

This is too bad because I honestly love reading about heroes who find a second at love or get a second chance to find their first love as the case sometimes is. However I did believe Simon falling in love with Annabel even if he was a stubborn fool about the whole affair. If it wasn’t for the middle section I would say this book was just about perfect.

Rating: 2.5-3 Stars

Buy: The Secret Passion of Simon Blackwell