Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: When the Marquess Met His Match

When the Marquess Met His Match
When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins…

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income—in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

My Thoughts: One of the things I like about Ms. Guhrke's books is her time period (a bit later than many historicals) and her independent, modern heroines. That continues here, although the story, or perhaps maybe the hero, didn't grab me as much as some of the past books have. It was still an enjoyable read, setting up the next book well, and parts of the book were very enjoyable. I like seeing England through the eyes of the Americans at the time, it is a different angle than many books take, and makes for stories that are new and different, which I enjoy.

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Review: The Sum of All Kisses

The Sum of All Kisses
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she's long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

Sarah has never forgiven Hugh for the duel he fought that nearly destroyed her family. But even if she could find a way to forgive him, it wouldn't matter. She doesn't care that his leg is less than perfect, it's his personality she can't abide. But forced to spend a week in close company they discover that first impressions are not always reliable. And when one kiss leads to two, three, and four, the mathematician may lose count, and the lady may, for the first time, find herself speechless ...

New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn's enchanting third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud and tug at your heartstrings in equal measures.

My Thoughts: I adore Julia Quinn and everything I have read of hers. This was no different and came through with a wonderful story with entertaining characters and a hero/heroine who both come to know themselves a bit better, in both good and bad ways. Moments in her books always make me giggle out loud, and that trend continued. This was one I quickly read and enjoyed from start to finish. I can always count on Julia Quinn for a quick, enjoyable read.

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Review: The Wicked Wallflower

The Wicked Wallflower
The Wicked Wallflower by Maya Rodale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Maya Rodale's captivating new series introduces London's Least Likely—three wallflowers who are about to become the toast of the ton…

Lady Emma Avery has accidentally announced her engagement—to the most eligible man in England. As soon as it's discovered that Emma has never actually met the infamously attractive Duke of Ashbrooke, she'll no longer be a wallflower; she'll be a laughingstock. And then Ashbrooke does something Emma never expected. He plays along with her charade.

A temporary betrothal to the irreproachable Lady Avery could be just the thing to repair Ashbrooke's tattered reputation. Seducing her is simply a bonus. And then Emma does what he never expected: she refuses his advances. It's unprecedented. Inconceivable. Quite damnably alluring.

London's Least Likely to Misbehave has aroused the curiosity—among other things—of London's most notorious rogue. Now nothing will suffice but to uncover Emma's wanton side and prove there's nothing so satisfying as two perfect strangers…being perfectly scandalous together.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this first book in a new series by Ms. Rodale. I have not read many of hers in the past, but this may have me hooked! I loved the three main female characters, their friendships, their quirks and personalities. They were definitely relatable, even though we're talking about generations ago :) Our hero had work to do, but most good heroes do to earn the title. The story was fun, but what really shined here were all the characters involved in the story, from minor to major. Definitely a series I will be looking to follow!

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Review: The Ruin of a Rogue

The Ruin of a Rogue
The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Charm, wit, and nerves of steel have helped Marcus Lithgow gamble his way across the Continent. But when his heart is at stake, all bets are off for this most perfect rogue...

It's been years since Marcus set foot in England—why toy with the ton when he can fleece wealthy fools in Paris and Rome? Yet everything changes when he inherits a ramshackle estate. Marcus's first and only chance at a respectable life needs funding . . . the kind Anne Brotherton can provide. Such a wallflower should be ripe for the picking. So why does Marcus feel like he's the one hanging by a thread?

Anne Brotherton is sick and tired of being an heiress. She cannot bring herself to marry a fortune hunter. Why can't men like her for her sharp mind and kind hearts rather than her impressive dowry?

She nearly falls for Marcus's smooth seduction. But when Anne realized she's being strung along, a lust for payback empowers her like never before. Two can play the game of deception. The game of love, however, has its own rules.

My Thoughts: A slow start had me putting this down a few times, but I typically really enjoy this author (and enjoyed the first in the series as well and so I was determined to finish. I'm glad I did, the last half read much faster and with more entertainment in both the story and the characters themselves. The bit of a twist at the end was a plus. I don't recall enjoying this series quite as much as some of Ms. Neville's in the past, but she is still an author you can count on for a good read.

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Review: The Governess Club: Claire

The Governess Club: Claire
The Governess Club: Claire by Ellie Macdonald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: For fans of Christina Dodd and Elizabeth Boyle.

Claire Bannister just wants to be a good teacher so that she and the other ladies of the Governess Club can make enough money to leave their jobs and start their own school in the country. But when the new sinfully handsome and utterly distracting tutor arrives, Claire finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance that could change the course of her future.

Jacob Knightly has a secret. He is actually the notorious Earl of Rimmel. He's just posing as a tutor to escape his reputation in the city. He never expected to fall in love with the kind and beautiful governess. She is the first person to love him for himself and not his title.

But when Jacob's true identity is revealed, Claire realizes she has risked her reputation and her heart on a man she doesn't truly know. Will Jacob be able to convince her that the Wild Earl has been tamed and that she is the true countess of his heart?

My Thoughts: A great author to watch! This was the first I rad of Ms. Macdonald and I will most definitely look for more. One of the best examples I've seen recently of how to write a short story/novella. The story felt complete, and I actually feel like there was character development...most of the time I feel like one or both is lacking/rushed. That wasn't the case here at all, and I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and the prelude of what is to come.

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Review: The Governess Club: Bonnie

The Governess Club: Bonnie
The Governess Club: Bonnie by Ellie Macdonald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: Miss Bonnie Hodges, governess to the Darrow family, is desperately trying to hold it together. Tragedy has struck, and she is the sole person left to be strong for the two little boys in her care. When the new guardian arrives, she hopes that things will get better. She wasn't expecting her new employer to be the most frustrating, overbearing, and…handsome man she's ever seen.

Sir Stephen Montgomery is utterly distracted. He should be trying to figure out how his two best friends were killed in a suspicious accident and why the new young viscount seems destined to be the next victim. But he can't concentrate on anything but his growing infatuation with the beautiful, mysterious, and utterly captivating governess.

Together they're doing their best to save the two boys, but will Stephen's feelings for Bonnie get in the way of their search for a killer?

My thoughts: Another good example of how to write a short story and still be able to actually tell a story. I didn't quite like this one as much as the first in the series, but I have had a hard time decided if that was the story or the characters (which for some reason I just never quite connected with). Definitely an author I'll watch and look for further stories.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: The Devil's Heart

The Devil's Heart
The Devil's Heart by Cathy Maxwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell returns with her most unfortgettable novel about the Chattan family yet…

They call her the Unattainable. Lady Margaret Chattan spurned every suitor for her hand, vowing never to marry. The only way to break the curse plaguing her family for two centuries is this ultimate sacrifice. But now her brothers' lives are in danger. Determined to save them, she risks her very soul by traveling into the heart of the highlands to battle a force that has transcended time.

Heath Macnachtan is not superstitious. Laird of the most independent, nonconforming, madly infuriating clan ever to grace Scotland, he believes he has his hands full. And then, a woman lauded as one of the most beautiful in England, arrives on his doorstep with wild accusations and a mystical quest . . . one that just might help him discover who murdered his own brother.

But the real danger for Heath and Margaret is not a supernatural foe, but a very real love that could destroy them both.

My Thoughts: Devil's Heart is the third book in the Chattan trilogy and wraps up the tale regarding the curse affecting the Chattan family. Our heroine is the first female to be born in her family since the curse...our hero is the last male in the Macnachtan family (the curse originators). I liked the story overall very much, and enjoyed the entire trilogy. However, something about the story kept me from saying I "loved" it. I think the issue nagging in the back of my mind was that there were too many side story lines going on that in the end I felt weren't given a full account or space. Instead, I would have preferred that some of the side stories have been dropped to all the ones that remained to have more room for development. In addition, I felt as though the ending didn't quite wrap up the ties back to the origination of the curse and whatever happened to Fenella and Rose. It was another one that was somewhat addressed, but I might have like a bit more. Overall though, a lovely story of forbidden love (think Romeo and Juliet in a sense) with a bit of the mystical thrown in as well.

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