Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Say Yes to the Marquess (Castles Ever After #2) by Tessa Dare

Description...

Your presence is requested at romantic Twill Castle for the wedding of Miss Clio Whitmore and . . . and . . . ?
After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She's inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.

Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself.

So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride's cold feet?
● He starts with flowers. A wedding can't have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
● He lets her know she'll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
● He doesn't kiss her.
● If he kisses her, he definitely doesn't kiss her again.
● When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
● And no matter what—he doesn't fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.
*********** 

Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series is just so much fun! She's given historical romance a refreshing twist while staying true to what we love most about the genre.

Say Yes to the Marquess is the second book in the series, and tells the story of two of society's less...acceptable...peers - Clio Whitmore who has been given the nick name Miss Wait-More thanks to her eight year engagement to Piers Brandon who seems in no hurry to tie the knot, and Rafe Brandon, Piers' black-sheep brother who prefers the title of Champion Pugilist to any he'd carry due to his bloodline.

But eight years have given Clio enough time to realize that she wants more from life than to be the property of a man who doesn't care for her. She wants to be independent, to make her own choices. And if she ever does decide to marry it'll be to someone like Rafe, a man she loves.

Rafe knows he's been a constant disappointment to his family, so when it comes to watching over Clio until his brother returns from his wanderings to claim his bride, he's not going to let anything, not even Clio's decision not to marry Piers, stand in the way of holy matrimony.

There are only a handful of authors who can pen a tale guaranteed to sweep me off my feet, and Tessa Dare is one of them. Rafe and Clio are proof that opposites attract, and attract with a chemistry that burns up the pages. The supporting cast is made up of great characters, but Phoebe, Clio's sister...that is a girl I adore and want to see her find her happily ever after with a man who will love her for all her...quirks.

An eARC of this story was provided by Avon Books via Edelweiss. To show my appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Many years ago I took my now adult kids out of public school to home-school them. This book was one of the first I bought to add to their reading library when I was looking for entertaining ways to teach history, and I loved it. I've thought about it often through the years and now... I think it's time for a re-read. It's thought provoking in a way younger readers can understand, and older readers can appreciate.

Blurb...

It's late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn't get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family's coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie's concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family's small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie's struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive.

I HIGHLY recommended this book!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Merry Christmas, Baby (Lucky Harbor 12.5) by Jill Shalvis


Chloe and Sawyer's happily ever after has always been my favorite of all the couples in the Lucky Harbor series because theirs was the hardest fought and the most richly deserved. These two amazing people grew up hard, and finding each other ... well, finding each other gave them a chance at a beautiful life filled with family, joy, and the best kind of love - the kind you get when you've found your soulmate.

Blurb...
Wild child Chloe Thompson can't believe how much things have changed. She still can't get enough of her sexy husband Sawyer, but he seems to prefer working to thinking about impending fatherhood. So tonight, a very pregnant Chloe is escaping her troubles at the town Christmas party.

Sheriff Sawyer Thompson hopes surprising Chloe at the party will give him a chance to set things right. But as the snow begins to fall and the wind rages, he wonders whether he can make it back in time. While mother nature conspires to keep Sawyer and Chloe apart, an unexpected arrival will require them to kiss and make up . . . and ring in the happiest holiday Lucky Harbor has ever seen.
Merry Christmas, Baby made me smile, made me sigh, and even had me a little misty eyed. I loved this visit with my favorite couple and being with them and seeing their family grow is the perfect ending to their beginning and a perfect holiday read!

An ARC was provided by Grand Central Publishers via Netgalley.

Purchase on Amazon: Merry Christmas, Baby: A Lucky Harbor short story


 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Twilight 3.5) by Stephenie Meyer

I want to say, right up front, that I hadn’t planned to read this book because those of us who read the entire Twilight Saga already know that things don’t turn out well for Bree Tanner. She played a very, very minor role in the book, Eclipse - I don’t even think she appeared in more than 2 pages - so, why read something about a character I cared very little about and already knew the outcome of?

Well, one day I went to my mailbox and there was a package from my dear friend and fellow Twilight fan, Dee, and inside was my very own copy of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. I was excited and touched by her thoughtfulness and realized that my fate was sealed! I would be reading Bree’s story, after all.

I’ll be honest, the first 50 pages or so seemed rather ho-hum to me, and I've decided that's because I began this book dreading the outcome. Once I wrapped my mind around reading this for the story as it related to Victoria’s army of newborn vampires, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not going to go into the plot, because frankly, if you've read Eclipse you won't need details, and if you haven’t read Eclipse, you’ll not understand what the point of this book is, and it would take way too long to explain.

What stands out most to me about Bree’s story is how all of the newborns were manipulated. It made me think of charismatic leaders around the world — political, religious, corporate or yes, even vampire — and how much influence they have over the people who are dependent on them, because if you can convince someone or some group that they need you, that you’re only looking out for their best interest and that life without you as their leader would be filled with pain and anguish, possibly even death… you’d have absolute control over them.

Such was the case with the newborn vampires, and when looking at them in this light - as people violently torn from humanity and forced into a new way of life which they nothing about – were literally newborns and dependent on someone else for their survival — I found myself actually feeling sorry for them. I started wondering about the families who are missing them, what kind of people they would have been had they lived out their human lives. So what started out being a dreaded read, became one that really made me think about life and those we trust to lead us.

And for the first time since reading Eclipse, I wished with all my heart that things could have been different for Bree Tanner.  


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (Rules of Scoundrels #2) by Sarah MacLean

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is the second book in Sarah MacLean’s The Rules of Scoundrels series, and from the first page to the last, simply wonderful! It’s witty, poignant, romantic, and sexy, and a story I simply couldn’t put down!
Cover blurb: Lady Philippa Marbury is odd. The bespectacled, brilliant fourth daughter of the Marquess of Needham and Dolby cares more for books than balls, flora than fashion and science than the season. Nearly engaged to Lord Castleton, Pippa wants to explore the scandalous parts of London she's never seen before marriage. And she knows just who to ask: the tall, charming, quick-witted bookkeeper of The Fallen Angel, London's most notorious and coveted gaming hell, known only as Cross.

Like any good scientist, Pippa's done her research and Cross's reputation makes him perfect for her scheme. She wants science without emotion - the experience of ruination without the repercussions of ruination. And who better to provide her with the experience than this legendary man? But when this odd, unexpected female propositions Cross, it's more than tempting . . . and it will take everything he has to resist following his instincts - and giving the lady precisely what she wants.

My review...

 I don’t know where to begin when sharing with you the many things I love about this book! The story is amazing - fast paced, sensual, deliciously sexy and very romantic. It's the perfect backdrop for our hero and heroine who are also amazing. They are vulnerable yet strong, stubborn but yielding, flawed yet in a word, perfect!

Lady Phillipa Marbury, with her black and white, scientific way of thinking, drew me in and had me loving her early on. At times I laughed at how naive her ideas were, and at other times, I almost cried because of the same. I wanted to protect her from the harsh world of The Fallen Angel and Cross's life, and at other times I wanted to push her right into the middle of it - right into his arms! Pippa, like all of Sarah MacLean's heroines, is wonderful! The kind of woman I would like to be if I were living in her era.

And then there's Cross. Cross is such an interesting character! A man of many contradictions. He's got secrets, demons that torment and eat away at him. At times he's oppressive and bleak, yet at other times he's compassionate and determined to protect those he loves. He's devoted, exciting, sexy... a truly perfect hero!

And as if all that weren't enough, toss in an incredible supporting cast of characters, people whose stories I want to learn and whose lives I wish I had a place in... there's nothing more I can ask for.

The bottom line: This book has everything I look for in my historical romance reads. It’s funny, romantic, heartwarming, sexy… indeed, it has everything I want, everything I’ve come to expect from Sarah MacLean’s stories.

Many thanks to Avon Books for providing me with a paperback ARC of this story. It was a true pleasure to read!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happily Never After (Charming #2) by Jack Heckel

Happily Never After, Volume II of the Charming books, picks up where Once Upon a Rhyme left off and continues the story of the less-than-prince-like Prince Charming's plight. As with Once Upon a Rhyme this story is a mix of various classic fairytale characters and loaded with humor.

Blurb...
Once upon, once again…

The dragon has been slain, but the problems have just begun for Prince Charming.

Disowned by his father, the King, and abandoned by his only friend, William Pickett, Charming must find a new path in life...but he's going to need a lot of help. His love, Liz, barely survived an assassination attempt; his former fling, Rapunzel, is in danger; and William is under an evil spell cast by Princess Gwendolyn.

The fate of Castle White hangs in the balance as Charming tries to find himself, while finding new allies along the way — including an odd number of dwarfs (or is it dwarves?) and a reformed beast. But he's running out of time to stop royally ruinous wedding bells from ringing…
My thoughts...

To be clear, I'd say these books are comparable to Shrek, The Princess Bride and, because of the eye rolling humor, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I enjoyed Happily Never After, but I have to be honest - with this brand of humor a little goes a long way with me and I found myself setting it aside often. That's not a criticism of the story which is funny and clever, just that it would probably be enjoyed more by younger readers - say the 11-15 crowd, though I've seen that many adults adore it, too.

An ARC was provided by Harper Voyager, and in appreciation I'm giving them an honest review.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Accidental Duchess (Fairbourne Quartet #4) by Madeline Hunter

I really enjoyed this book! There was something so fresh and compelling about Lady Lydia and Penthurst's relationship that I just couldn't help but be drawn in and held captive by their story!

Description...
When Lady Lydia Thornton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.

Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.

When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.
Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur Magazine

Author: Madeline Hunter
Title: The Accidental Duchess
Publisher: Penguin/Jove
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-0515151312