A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

Just Finished:
Synopsis: The Wallflowers are four young ladies in London who banded together in their wild and wickedly wonderful searches for true love. Now happily married, they join together once again to help one of the world’s most notorious rogues realize that happiness might be right under the mistletoe.…

It’s Christmastime in London and Rafe Bowman has arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie Blandford, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady in waiting and, if it weren’t for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen. And winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

A Wallflower Christmas takes a trip to Victorian London, under the mistletoe, and on a journey of the heart. With her trademark charm, sensuality, and unforgettable characters, there’s no one like Lisa Kleypas to make you believe in the magic of Christmas.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed spending some time with the Wallflowers again. It was great to catch up on their lives and what they’ve been up to since Daisy’s story concluded the series.

Rafe and Hannah. Loved them! I really enjoyed their chemistry, from their first meeting until the end of the story. I thought it was really well done and I was rooting for them the whole time. Lots of awww moments between the two of them which made this book one I could not put down.

Hannah’s cousin Natalie? Didn’t care for her so much. She came off as a spoiled pampered princess and I didn’t find anything likeable about her whatsoever. Maybe this wasn’t intention, but she was condescending and mean to Hannah, which made me seriously dislike her character. Thankfully, her story is summed up by the end of this book also, so I don’t need to worry about a follow-up book about her.

Verdict: This was Very Good. I highly recommend it!

Seduce Me at Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

Just Finished:
Synopsis: He has tried hard to forget her.
Kev Merripen has longed for the beautiful, well-bred Winnifred Hathaway ever since her family rescued him from the brink of death when he was just a boy. But this handsome Gypsy is a man of mysterious origins—and he fears that the darkness of his past could crush delicate, luminous Win. So Kev refuses to submit to temptation…and before long Win is torn from him by a devastating twist of fate.

Can she remember the man he once was?
Then, Win returns to England…only to find that Kev has hardened into a man who will deny love at all costs. Meantime, an attractive, seductive suitor has set his sights on Win. It’s now or never for Kev to make his move. But first, he must confront a dangerous secret about his destiny—or risk losing the only woman he has lived for…

My Thoughts: I have been looking forward to Kev and Win’s story ever since I finished Mine Till Midnight (I know, I know, that was just last week….). This one did not disappoint.

Seduce Me at Sunrise takes up where MTM left off. What I liked about how SMAS started is that LK devoted two chapters to Kev’s history with the Hathways, going back in time to explain why Kev is the way he his. The instant connection between him and Win also added so much to the story for me. Additionally, there was also the history of the Hathaway parents and getting to know them as well.

No surprise, I absolutely loved this story. I really felt for Win, putting her heart out there to only be trampled on by Kev, thinking he is doing the right thing for her by not letting her be with him. I honestly wanted to delve into the pages myself and slap him upside the head a time or two.

Then came page 244. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet, but that was the turning point for me. That was where Kev became my #2 favorite LK hero of all-time. If you’ve read it, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it, you need to and when you come to this page, you’ll figure it out.

Additionally, there was the relationship between Cam and Kev. I enjoyed seeing them come closer and bond. I look forward to seeing even more of this in future Hathaway books.

Now, Dr. Julian Harrow. He was predictable. I had him figured out right away. Again, not going to go into details, but you already know Kev and Win are going to end up together by the end of the book. So, you know one of two things are going to happen with Dr. Harrow. He’s either going to be exceptionally good and back away gracefully, or he’s going to be exceptionally bad and try to rid himself of the competition so that he can have Win all to himself.

Then there are the Hathaways. I still don’t feel like I know Poppy very well ~ hopefully she will be explained in more detail in upcoming books; Beatrix has matured somewhat and I cannot wait to see how she’s grown by the next book; Leo ~ I’m so looking forward to his and Miss Marks story (someone put a shout out to LK to finish it soon!); and Amelia and Cam were an integral part of SMAS so I felt justly caught up with them.

In MTM, we either saw or got mentions of all of the four wallflowers. In SMOS, we got to see Simon and Annabelle! I hadn’t realized I’d missed them so much until they were featured here. It was great to catch up on these characters and their lives as well.

Win and Kev’s story was everything I expected and more. I’m so glad to see how strong Win became. She’s a wonderful heroine. As for Kev, I’m so glad he came to terms with demons and allowed Win to love him; and allowed himself to love her. It made for a great story.

Verdict: The story was Excellent. Of course, I actually read this one “on time” so now I expect it’ll be another year before I get my fix of the Hathaways (although I hope not!!!). I know I said it before, I cannot wait for Leo and Miss Marks’ story!

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

Just Finished:
Synopsis: THEIR LIVES DEFY CONVENTION.
When an unexpected inheritance elevates her family to the ranks of the aristocracy, Amelia Hathaway discovers that tending to her younger sisters and wayward brother was easy compared to navigating the intricacies of the ton. Even more challenging: the attraction she feels for the tall, dark, and dangerously handsome Cam Rohan.

THEIR DESIRE CONSUMES THEM BOTH…
Wealthy beyond most men’s dreams, Cam has tired of society’s petty restrictions and longs to return to his “uncivilized” Gypsy roots. When the delectable Amelia appeals to him for help, he intends to offer only friendship—but intentions are no match for the desire that blindsides them both. But can a man who spurns tradition be tempted into that most time-honored arrangement: marriage? Life in London society is about to get a whole lot hotter….

My Thoughts: I cannot believe that Cam and Amelia’s story has been languishing in my TBR pile for almost a year. I should be banned from the romance reading community for this one.

That being said, I’ve been anxious for Cam’s story since Devil in Winter when he stole a kiss from Daisy. In fact, I bought this book the day it came out. Just shameful, I know.

I enjoyed Cam and Amelia’s first meeting. How he went out of his way to try to help her look for her brother, and then when Leo was found he kissed her goodbye with every intention of never seeing her again. And how sweet was it that he stole one of her ribbons from her bonnet? I was already hooked, but that right there sealed it for me.

But they did meet again on several occasions and each time they met the attraction grew, and I as the reader became more and more submerged in the story. And then came the turning point, as I rooted “He’s got to go back to her!”

I absolutely loved this story. I enjoyed Amelia and how protective she is of her family. In fact, I enjoyed the whole Hathaway clan and cannot wait for each of their stories. I cannot wait to see what LK has conjured up for each of them: Win, who’s health was affected by a bout of fever ~ who isn’t rooting for her and Kev after they almost stole the show in MtM???; Poppy, I cannot wait to get to know her better; Beatrix, still so immature and I know LK has a great story planned for her (she said so over at Book Smugglers this week); and Leo, I cannot wait to see how LK redeems his character after this one.

As if it weren’t enough to have such a great story between Amelia and Cam, I got to see the Wallflowers again. Lillian, Evie, Saint and Lord Westcliff all got some time in this novel so I felt I was able to catch up on their stories; and Annabelle, Simon, Daisy, and Matthew were all mentioned! That in itself is enough of a reason to read this for those of use die-hard Wallflower fans.

The one thing I probably loved the most is Amelia didn’t automatically give up her independence. Cam actually had to work pretty hard to convince her that they were meant to be together. Her resistance and his determination kept me turning each page until the very end.

Verdict: The story was Excellent. Of course, I really expect nothing less of LK by now and cannot wait to read Seduce Me at Sunrise.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Just Finished:

Synopsis: Jack Audley has been a highwayman. A soldier. And he has always been a rogue. What he is not, and never wanted to be, is a peer of the realm, responsible for an ancient heritage and the livelihood of hundreds. But when he is recognized as the long-lost son of the House of Wyndham, his carefree life is over. And if his birth proves to be legitimate, then he will find himself with the one title he never wanted: Duke of Wyndham.

Grace Eversleigh has spent the last five years toiling as the companion to the dowager Duchess of Wyndham. It is a thankless job, with very little break from the routine… until Jack Audley lands in her life, all rakish smiles and debonair charm. He is not a man who takes no for an answer, and when she is in his arms, she’s not a woman who wants to say no. But if he is the true duke, then he is the one man she can never have…

My Thoughts: This is another winner for Julia Quinn. What a great story this was! I was taken with Jake the moment he was introduced in the story and I liked him more and more the further I read. Same with Grace. The two of them are easily one of the best couples JQ has ever written. I loved Jack’s humor, his wit, his love of family, and most of all, his love of Grace. Just an awesome character. In Grace, I loved her loyalty, her caring, the way she found humor in almost every situation, and finally , I loved her love of Jack.

There were also some great side characters ~ Thomas, the man formerly thought to be the Duke of Wyndham who had befriended Grace when she thought herself no more than a servant in his household; Amelia, the young woman who found herself betrothed to Thomas since infancy who I got to witness form a tight friendship with Grace throughout the pages of this story; then there was the Dowager, a woman I loved to hate at every turn of the page, but yet also found myself liking in spite of myself.

Verdict: This was Excellent. I love Julia Quinn anyway, but this story was exceptional. It had a lot of emotion, and a lot of laughter which is what I expect from JQ. I am now anxiously waiting until October when I can purchase the follow-up book, Mr. Cavendesh, I Presume? which is the story of Thomas and Amelia. I cannot wait!

Reforming a Rake by Suzanne Enoch

Just Finished:

Synopsis: A Governess must never be alone with a man. Her reputation mustn’t have even a hint of scandal. She must never reveal personal emotions. No matter how strong the provocation by her employer. A governess never questions her employer’s commands. Even when he’s tempting her to forsake respectability for desire? She must never, ever, fall in love with someone above her station. Especially a rake–no matter how devastating his kisses may be…

Alexandra Gallant is a governess extraordinaire–and if it weren’t for that unfortunate incident at her last position, she wouldn’t now be forced into the employ of Lucien Balfour, the most notorious rake in London. Though the sinfully attractive earl hired her to teach his young cousin, his seductive whispers and toe-curling kisses suggest he has something far less respectable in mind…And that will never happen. For although Lucien seems determined to teach her about pleasure, she has a few lessons to teach him about love.

My Thoughts: For me, the chemistry between Lucien and Alexandra leapt from the pages of this book the moment I started reading it ~ from the moment they first meet when she is interviewing for the position at his household, to the very last page. Between the witty banter and their sexual tension, I was immediately hooked on this story.

I enjoyed watching the transformation of Lucien. At the beginning of this story, he is an unapologetic rake; single, and enjoying everything that comes with it. Unfortunately, as the last male heir of his family he gets stuck as guardian for his young cousin, Rose, and her manipulative mother, Fiona. Which is why has to hire a governess so that he can quickly get his young cousin married off and consequently she and her mother will leave his home.

Alexandra is a ruined governess. Not by her own doing, but by the unwanted attentions of her former employer. Lucien hires Alexandra without references, with one specific purpose. He wants to make her his mistress. In spite of this, Alexandra accepts the position because it’s the first post she’s been offered in the last six months.

Enoch does a fine job in telling the story of Alexandra and Lucien. In addition to the banter and the tension I’ve previously mentioned, Enoch also provides some wonderful secondary characters: Emma and Vixen, friends of Alexandra’s (and consequently the two heroines in the other books of this series); and Robert, friend to Lucien and unassuming suitor to Rose.

Verdict: This was Very Good. Of course, I expected nothing less because I am a fan of Enoch’s Lessons in Love series as well. I now am on a mission to read the rest of this series before I read anything else.

The Charm School by Susan Wiggs

Just Finished:

Synopsis: An awkward misfit in an accomplished Boston family, Isadora Peabody yearns to escape her social isolation and sneaks aboard the Silver Swan, bound for Rio, leaving it all behind.

Ryan Calhoun, too, had a good family name. But he’d purposely walked away from everything it afforded him. Driven by his quest to right an old wrong, the fiery, temperamental sea captain barely registers the meek young woman who comes aboard his ship.

To the Swan’s motley crew, the tides of attraction clearly flow between the two. Teaching her the charms of a lady, they hope to build the confidence she needs to attract not only their lonely captain’s attention, but his heart, as well. For everyone knows the greatest charms are not those of the formal lady, but rather the possibilities of a new world built on love.

My Thoughts: ***apologize in advance. I read this about a month ago, and my recollection of the story is sketchy at best. I also am unable to find my book to reference certain points, so it is what it is.*** Also, Charm School was one of the books that’s been in my TBR pile for years. I’m challenging myself to try and get my pile down this year.

Isadora “Dora” Peabody is the misfit of her entire family. While her siblings are all tall, blond, and beautiful; Dora is dark, homely, and overweight. Which, I guess, makes her the perfect heroine for an ugly duckling kind of story. Ryan, on the other hand, is the handsome son of a Virginia plantation owner.

Dora’s first meeting with Ryan was actually through his mother who had been searching from him. And let’s just say he was **ahem** otherwise occupied **ahem** when they first come upon him on the boat. But, this was exactly the catalyst that Dora needed in order to hire herself as a linguist on Ryan’s next venture. See, a friend of Dora’s family owns the ship, and thus she seals the position as linguist, but also agrees to spy on Ryan for her friend. And as poor Ryan’s luck hadn’t just gotten bad enough, his mother and servant also book passage on his ship to Rio.

I enjoyed how Dora forced herself a position on Ryan’s boat and how they begrudgingly became friends. I enjoyed how Dora lost herself on the boat, lost her inhibitions, and soon became comfortable in her own skin. She eventually becomes less clumsy and also loses weight, morphing into quite a beautiful woman (which is a side rant for me. Why, why, why, why, why do authors have to do this? Why can’t the heroine stay a little plump, or homely, or whatever? Personally, that’s a story I’d love to see). I love the friendship she developed with Ryan’s mother, Lily (?? I think that’s her name??).

Frankly, at the beginning, Ryan really isn’t that endearing of a character. But what does endear him to me is his friendship with Journey, his former slave who he gave his freedom. And now, he was sailing in order to save enough money in order to free Journey’s wife and children from their lives of slavery as well.

Verdict: This was Okay. I’ll need to read its sequel, The Horsemaster’s Daughter before I decide on whether or not it’s a keeper. I’m just undecided. The read itself was okay, and there were some humorous parts. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a story that stuck with me.

Once a Rake by Rona Sharon

Just Finished:


Synopsis: IRRESISTIBLE SEDUCTION ONLY LEADS TO. . .
War had scarred the Earl of Ashby’s face…and perhaps his soul. Before being wounded in the Napoleonic war and shunning society, the dashing lord had been a notorious rake. Now, Isabel Aubrey, a proper lady, dares to approach the masked, reclusive nobleman for a large donation to a worthy charity-and decides she must save him from his self-loathing. She begins to flirt. He responds. She invites him to a masquerade ball. He accepts and dazzles her with a kiss.

THE MOST SCANDALOUS PASSION. . .
But Isabel already has a fiancé‚ and despite her attraction to the earl she knows she must reject him. Yet no force on earth is greater than the passion that leads her into his bed; nothing she has ever experienced is more exciting and erotic. Now he asks her to stay with him although it will mean her ruin. Isabel must not say yes-and the smitten earl cannot let her say no. To win her body and her heart, he initiates an outrageous scheme that only a rake would devise-and no woman can resist.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed Isabel and Ashby’s relationship. I’m a big fan of friends falling in love, unrequited love (girlhood crushes), or anything else that remotely resembles it.

By the middle of the book, it was clear Ashby wanted Isabel as much as Isabel wanted Ashby. So, then I thought, where’s the conflict?? I still had 200 plus pages to go before I finished it! And then as I read the next 200 pages I thought “be careful what you wish for”. There were conflicts everywhere. John (Isabel’s suitor) and Isabel, Ashby and John, Ashby and the ton, Ashby and his war demons, Ashby and his self-esteem, Ashby and Isabel ~ you name it, there was probably a conflict.

Then there was the whole “I’ve been scarred for life and look like a gargoyle and you can’t see me without my mask on” factor. Seriously. The first half of the book. Then something happens and Ashby loses his mask and *gasp* his face is seen. But wait. There’s really not much difference. And with a shrug, Ashby gets over it. Just like that. Okay ~ so what was the big deal? One minute it’s a huge factor that’s keeping Ashby and Izzy apart and the next it’s as if it was never a factor at all.

That being said, I did enjoy the characters. I liked Ashby ~ a lot. I liked his history with Izzy’s family; his friendship with her brother, Will. I enjoyed that. I liked Izzy ~ I loved reading about her as a 15 year-old girl smitten with the then 27 Ashby. I enjoyed seeing the changes in the characters in the 7 years since they’d seen each other.

I also enjoyed the side characters very much. Izzy’s friends, Iris and Sophie were a great addition this novel, as well as their friend Ryan who was also betrothed to Iris at one point in the distant past. They added a great depth to Izzy and her cause. Then there was Izzy’s family as well as Ashby’s hired help. They all added something to the story as well.

Verdict: I’m really torn on this one. I do think Rona Sharon is a wonderful storyteller and I’m looking forward to reading more of her in the future. However, as much as I liked Ashby and Isabel, I do think this story was about 200 pages too long. I think there were just too many conflicts. Once one conflict became rectified, another one immediately took it’s place. It became frustrating and at times rather hard to even enjoy reading this story. All in all, I’d say this was Good. It would have been excellent if Ms. Sharon would have cut the number of conflicts to at least half.

Annabelle’s Courtship

Just Finished:

Why I Read It: I’ve seen reviews for this one all over the place. I had to get my hands on it, even if it is an ebook.

Synopsis: An inconvenient proposal.

Ian MacKay, Laird of Graenfrae, has no use for love or marriage. However, his stepfather’s will mandates that marriage is what he must have…to an Englishwoman. A sensible man, Ian develops a list of requirements in a wife: Plain, moderately dowered, older and practical. He thinks he has found the perfect candidate in Lady Annabelle.

Labeled The Ordinary her first season, Annabelle longs for a man who will see her as beautiful and love her as her father loved her mother. When she meets Ian, she thinks she has at last found that man. Until his proposal, in which he has the audacity to list his “requirements.”

She refuses his proposal. He informs her that she will marry him at the end of the season.

The battle of wills is on.

My Thoughts: Well, I’m wondering what I missed. I should have loved this book, and I’m not sure why I didn’t. I liked Annabelle and her independence; I liked Ian and his willful attempts to get Belle to agree to marry him. So what was off?

I expected Belle to hold off longer than she did. That’s why I got the book. I wanted to see how resourceful Ian would be in getting her to change her mind. And I wanted to see how resourceful Belle would be in getting Ian to fall in love with her. I was disappointed with how quickly Belle relinquished, to tell you the truth. Not even halfway through the book she agreed to marry him, knowing he didn’t love her. The crux of the whole thing was she wasn’t going to enter a loveless marriage. Sure, she fell in love with him like at page 2 (okay, that was sarcasm), but I really wanted it to take the length of the whole book for them to come together. I felt cheated.

I’m also left wondering what William (the supposed protagonist) was doing in this story. It’s almost like he was there for decoration and didn’t really add anything to the story. In fact, at first when he popped back into the story I had to go back to remind myself who he was. I just didn’t think his character was necessary. But he eventually served his purpose and the conflict caused by him was quickly rectified.

Also not necessary were the number of times Belle had to be nearly kidnapped (3) and for Ian to rescue her. That irked me. Why create what should be a strong character in Belle only to have her become helpless and in need of Ian’s rescuing so many times?

I’d say it’s a Good read. Not as good as I’d hoped for, but not a complete waste of time. The ending was satisfying and I got my happily ever after, which is why I read in the first place.

Eternity

Just Finished:

Why I Read It: Because it’s part of the Montgomery-Taggert series, and I want to read all of them.

From the Back Cover: Carrie Montgomery had grown up with seven adoring older brothers, and she was used to getting her way rather easily. Joshua Greene was only looking for a hardworking, practical mail-order bride to help with the farm and feed and clothe his children. Yet from the moment Carrie saw his photograph, saw his devastatingly handsome, sorrowful smile, the petite and pampered beauty knew she was the perfect wife for him.

Josh didn’t see it that way. Wed by proxy, he refused to be charmed by his new bride’s blond curls and effervescent laughter, or impressed by her trappings of wealth…even if his son and daughter believed she was a fairy princess come to life. He was furious — and ready to send her packing, until a near tragedy convinced him that her beauty was more than skin-deep. But even after he had yielded to the wild desire that surged between them, Josh could not admit how much he truly needed her. Then an old scandal threatened to re-emerge, and he realized that he could lose her forever….

My Thoughts: I think I may have officially read more books in September than I have all year long. Anyway, I digress.

Well, I liked it ~ it’s not great by any means, but it was okay. The book didn’t immediately grab me and it took me a few days just to get through the first few chapters. Honestly. But, I got through the little slump and then I pretty much read it nonstop.

Carrie is the spoiled youngest sister of the Montgomery clan. She’s gotten everything she’s always wanted, so when she “falls in love at first sight” with the photo of a man advertising for a wife, she jumps at the chance to marry him. She quickly manipulates a marriage by proxy and soon is headed on a long carriage ride to Eternity, CO.

Joshua Greene (Templeton) is the man Carrie marries. He’s a struggling farmer, trying to raise two children on his own. Finally realizing he needs help, he advertises for a wife ~ one who knows about farming who can help him with chores, cooking, cleaning, etc. What he gets instead is Carrie Montgomery.

The attraction between Carrie and Josh is immediate, from the moment he helps her from carriage when she arrives in Eternity. But Josh has secrets from his past that he’s ashamed of ~ secrets that he attempts to hide by keeping Carrie away (This “huge” secret comes to light towards the end of the book and has a very quick esolution). So he pushes her every chance he gets, so much so that “they” decide it would be best if Carrie returned home to Maine.

Carrie is likeable, feisty, and beautiful (but isn’t this a prerequisite for our historical novel heroines, for the most part?) She has a mind of her own, and uses it in creative ways in order to take care of the people she loves.

I also thought Josh was likeable ~ but my problem was I couldn’t quite get a visual on him, if you know what I mean. I don’t know about you, but when I read, the characters become alive in my mind and the story plays out almost like watching a movie. But I couldn’t get a picture of him in my head.

Josh’s kids are both precocious and gave me several laugh-out-loud moments. Tem, the son, and Dallas, the daughter, quickly became attached to Carrie and it was great fun reading about Carrie becoming so beloved to the kids and vice versa.

Anyway, this was Okay. It was sweet, but I doubt it would be something I’d read again.

FWIW~~ quick Montgomery family history: Carrie is the youngest sister of ‘Ring, the hero in Mountain Laurel; Ring also happens to be the father of Jace, the hero in Wishes.

The Ick Factor

Did Not Finish and Not Sure I Ever Will:

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Recommended by:I can’t remember.

From the Back Cover: Ellen Drake has seen firsthand how dangerous scandal can be. Her family was torn apart by an unjust accusation ten years ago, and now, working as a paid companion, Ellen must keep her reputation above reproach. Catching her employer’s betrothed in a sizzling tryst is bad enough; even worse that Ellen should find herself so infernally enthralled by the spectacle! Ellen intends to prevent Alex Marshall, Lord Stanton, from dallying with other women before his wedding day, but the rogue turns the tables—with an invitation to be his paramour. It’s a proposition that is too outrageous, too indecent…and strangely irresistible. With a single touch, Alex opens the door to a secret world of sensual desire, a world Ellen is burning to explore…

Alex intends to be faithful once he’s married, but in the meantime, London offers so many tempting bed partners. Giving the prim Miss Drake a taste of the excitement she clearly craves will be a delightful diversion, nothing more. But their secret dalliance unleashes the vengeance of someone who is plotting revenge, someone whose own erotic pursuits are twisted with madness. And the scandal that destroyed Ellen’s family is about to come calling once again…

My Thoughts: The first few chapters were great. I like Ellen ~ she’s strong and stands up for what she believes in. What she believes is that Alex, who is engaged to her companion Rebecca (who also happens to be his cousin), needs to be faithful until he’s married. She becomes the bain of his existence and catches him at any attempts at dalliances before he can take them further than a mere kiss in the dark. He begins to look over his shoulder everywhere he goes in fear that she’ll be there. And of course, they’re attracted to each other. Of course they are. Their attraction is what made me want to read the book.

Unfortunately, I read past the first few chapters and my interest began to wane. Rebecca is sweet, but naïve. But, she has an older sister, Lydia. Oh my sweet Lord. The woman is hideous. And she’s out to trap a husband ~ so she gets Nicholas, Alex’s younger brother (and also her cousin). Okay, I’m into genealogy so I get that marriages often occurred between first cousins in this time. That didn’t throw me. The fact that Lydia slept with her father (repeatedly) did. I almost threw the book. I really wish I would have.

Ellen’s brother, James, is likeable. He was unjustly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Alex may or may not be a part of that. I don’t know. I haven’t read that far. Not sure I’m going to. James is attracted to Rebecca. Can you say background character romance?

The book is just icking me out now. If it was just Ellen and Alex, maybe. If there were a secondary story between Rebecca and James where I didn’t have to endure Lydia and Nicholas, perhaps. But, I’m not sure anything can get me past the fact that I am now subconsciously counting how many times someone can include prick or cock in a story. I’m down to counting per page. Just ick. And don’t get me started on le petite morte. Ick. Oh, and can we talk about the word phallus? Oh, come on. And really. Is a woman going to yell “Desist!” in the middle of “lovemaking” just as his “phallus is contacting her center”. Even if she was as “dry as an old hag”. (Okay, I admit I did laugh at that).

It’s times like this I wish I were as talented as the Jaynes over at Dear Author. I’d love to make a review like they did of Passion.

For now, I’m filing this under Did Not Finish. I may be masochistic enough at some point to finish it, but not now.

England’s Perfect Hero

Just Finished:

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England’s Perfect Hero by Suzanne Enoch, the final book in the Lessons in Love series. This is the story of Lucinda and Robert (Bit). I was immediately drawn to Robert in the first book of the series, The Rake. He’s a wounded soldier who’s cut himself off from the world. She is the dear friend of his brother’s wife. He offers to help her with her Lessons in Love, although he doesn’t quite agree with her choice of students.

I really liked seeing Robert come out of his shell and start to heal. In the first book, the reader knew something awful had happened to him ~ but in his own book, Robert finally starts to open up. He begins to talk to the people who care about him. And he finally asks for help. This, in large part, is due to his friendship with Lucinda.

I liked the fact that Robert approached Lucinda and he befriended her. I liked the fact that she didn’t treat him with kid gloves like the rest of his family does (with the exception of Edward). Their friendship is sweet. Theirs is a true give-and-take friendship, with a little something more.

What I didn’t like ~ Well, this is me being nitpicky. This book starts only 2 months after London’s Perfect Scoundrel ends. At the end of that book, Georgie was 3 months pregnant, and Edward had just celebrated his 9th birthday. Now, all of a sudden Georgie is 7 months pregnant and Edward is 10. Amazing what 2 months will do. Although, if I hadn’t read the books back to back, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. Also, where are the aunts? In The Rake, the aunts were active background characters. In this book, they barely got a mention ~ and the book spanned a month of time.

This book is still a keeper.

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Scandal in Spring

Just Finished:

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Scandal in Spring is the fourth and final book in the Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas. First off ~ I like Daisy. She’s always got her nose book; just like someone else I know . And let me just say, within the prologue of the book I formed an immediate disdain for her father. Sure, in It Happened One Autum, he was a pushy, bullheaded, arrogant tyrant. But, you never, NEVER, tell you daughter that she is a parasite. Although he became more tolerable at the end of the story ~ I still can’t get past that.

Daisy is crafty ~ much craftier than I thought she would have been. For those who have read the book, I’m referring to incident with the key. I laughed so much through that part. I truly like Matthew ~ liked him since the beginning of the book, and their love story was so sweet. I read the book pretty much cover to cover and stayed up way past my bedtime. I just couldn’t put the thing down. As far as the big “secret”, I pretty much had figured out the gist of it long before it was revealed.

Lily was quite a bit high-strung, but I forgave her for that. She’s honestly looking out for Daisy’s best interests. She truly does love her sister and just wants to keep her sister close. I also enjoyed the fact that the 4 wallflowers spent quite a lot of time together.

I would say that for me, this book was somewhere between good and very good. Devil in Winter is my favorite of the series, but I’d say Scandal in Spring is now my second favorite.

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